A truism of modern contemporary politics is that some strands of the polity think there's a connection between their comparatively elevated degree of education and the inherent correctness of their political positions. (The NIF dust-up we're having these days reeks of this). The corollary, mildly distasteful as it is, is that folks who have spent fewer years accumulating academic qualifications may be less likely to understand what's right, or good, or correct.
I'm all for education. Some of my best friends are university professors. I even spent some years of my life in university environments, and put significant efforts into acquiring various degrees. Yet sad to tell, the case for the intellectual superiority of the academically-trained has never seemed compelling to me. I know too may people without the training who are highly intelligent, and too many folks with fancy degrees whose ability to understand the world is, how to put it, unconvincing.
Recently I've been engaged in an unusual exercise: I'm reading lots of doctoral theses. There are business reasons for this: in a nutshell, I'd like to offer the academic world a tool that will make life a wee bit more efficient; for this purpose, however, I've got to understand what different types of academic research looks like. What do doctoral students do when they get up in the morning?
Unfortunately, the more I read, the more I'm wondering if perhaps the acquisition of an advanced degree in today's academic world might not actively hamper one's ability to relate to humans. I'm not seeing that it strengthens one's ability to express coherent thoughts, for one; nor that there' an overriding curiosity about people. Paradigms, yes. Constructs, certainly. Models, there are those. People, and how they relate to their lives: less.
Maybe I'm simply finding the wrong doctoral theses.