Might it be that many of the people who wrote such vile things to me, or pronounced upon my op-ed on social media or in actual media, were in fact offended by my pointing up the degradation of the contemporary university? Might it be that my even partially describing this degradation of higher education, and the subsequent devaluation of its degrees, ordinary and honorary, on which they feel that their prestige depends offended them more than a thousand kiddos? By mocking the state of the university, did they feel I was attacking the foundation on which their own lives have been built? Might R.R. Reno, writing about my op-ed in First Things, be on target when he writes: “That Epstein should note the obvious—that credentials are the cheap cellophane in which elites wrap themselves when they lack real achievements and nobility of soul that win respect—galls them.”
As long ago as 1931, in The Theory of Eduction in the United States, Albert Jay Nock argued that American universities were devolving to mere trining schools.