John Holbo at Crooked Timber has a fascinating (albeit long) post on academia. Here’s a snippet.
In short, academia is aristocratic. This sounds elitist, since it is, but it’s also trivially true. If you don’t think some beliefs are better than others, why would you ever expend time and money to change anyone’s beliefs by sitting them in a classroom? Why would you think education was a good thing if you weren’t aristocratic about it?