This concerns me personally, since my university belonged to the closes thing Germany has to an Ivy league school. (We don't have the concept of the Ivy league, but two years ago, when the Federal government identified Germany's "elite universities" for the purpose of giving them extra subsidies, the Ludwig Maximilians Universitaet
was one of the first three thus identified. If the original article's criticism is valid, I should see the adverse results just by looking in the mirror. So let me address them in turn.
The first disadvantage of an elite education, as I learned in my kitchen that day, is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren't like you.
be that my education -- elite or not -- makes it difficult for me to talk to average posters about physics. That's one reason I rarely post in the Science and Education forum. But from my perspective, the communication problem doesn't mainly come from us. It also -- and, I think, mainly -- comes from posters who don't see that talking about scientific phenomena requires correct terminology; that the brilliant idea they had in the shower yesterday isn't original, it has been debunked by Newton 300 years ago; that science has produced a lot of statements that defy common sense, but are nevertheless correct; and, perhaps most importantly, that it takes work
to see why
they're correct. There really are good reasons why we study this stuff for years, sometimes even for decades. And when people act as if their handwaving "common sense" "intuitions" are just as good as that, they
are the arrogant communication-deniers, not us.
My education taught me to believe that people who didn't go to an Ivy League or equivalent school weren't worth talking to, regardless of their class.
Can't reproduce. The author appears to be overgeneralizing from his personal case.
The first disadvantage of an elite education is how very much of the human it alienates you from.
Again, can't reproduce. The author appears to be overgeneralizing from his personal case. He also appears to think he comes accross as less human by incorrectly numbering his list of disadvantages to an elite education.
Bull. Nothing keeps you from giving your money away and living a more modest life.
I've been struck, during my time at Yale, by how similar everyone looks.
This one I definitely
can't reproduce. At our physics department we had the whole spectrum from smooth business school types to smelly quasi-bums. The average of the distribution was Jeans, wrinkled T-shirt, and sandals, but the standard deviation was huge.
I strongly suspect that William Deresiewicz is peddling a ton of populist clichees here.