Here’s an email from an anonymous reader, criticizing my views on education.  Reprinted with his permission.

So here is some anecdotal evidence in support of your
thesis.  I’m a working stiff (first in law, now in the financial sector) –
but an absurdly overeducated one (PhD and JD).  What I learned in four
years of college, five years of grad school and three years of law school did
nothing for my career.  Maybe 0.5% of the law school curriculum was useful
when I practiced law.  Being a lawyer is like being a plumber: you learn
on the job.  I suspect the other professions are mostly the same. 
What I got out of my education was the stamp of approval – pure
signaling.  I suppose if I had stayed in academia the stuff I learned in
grad school (e.g., the scholarly literature in my field) would have been more
helpful, so the usefulness quotient would have been somewhat higher than
0.5%.  You’ll have a better sense of that than I have.

But I remain stubbornly attached to the overblown,
romanticized, Allan Bloom-ish view of liberal education.  My story here
isn’t all that persuasive, I concede.  In those twelve years of higher
education, there were maybe four or five teachers who really moved me and
changed my path for the better.  That’s it…but I think it’s enough to
sustain the (massively wasteful) ideal.  If high culture (plus love) is
the only thing that makes our existence worthwhile, then a bit of waste in
pursuit of the goal is to be expected.  (I’d rather that the waste not be
at taxpayer expense, but that’s a separate topic.)  Would I have
eventually found all of those books, artworks, etc. without the handful of
great teachers?  Sure, probably.  I put nearly all of my free time,
energy and resources into things like literature, philosophy, travel, cuisine
and theater.  (I won’t feel insulted if you distrust this
self-report.)  So even with respect to the stuff I care most deeply about
I’m 98% self-taught.  But I think the 2% I learned in school justifies my
higher education.  It helped to kick-start me.  It planted
seeds.  I met some good people.  If the schools had been better, and
if I had been a harder-working and humbler student, the percentage would be a
bit higher.  So: two cheers (or maybe a cheer and a half) for liberal