When I argue that the social benefits of education are grossly overrated, one thought bothers me: Poorly-educated people bore me.  If education levels fell to efficient levels, the long-run effect would be a world with fewer people for me to talk to.  And truth be told, I would be horrified if my own sons refused to go to college.

On reflection, though, this doesn’t show that my critique of education is wrong.  It just reinforces the obvious fact that, as a nerd and a professor, I greatly benefit from the educational inefficiencies I decry.

Education is a lot like opera.  I love both.*  Government support of education and opera personally benefits me.  But why should the world revolve around me?

* In one important respect, I love opera more: The elite of the opera, unlike the elite of the humanities and social sciences, actually
deserve their status.