Hattip to Steven Hayward at Powerline. Decades ago I recall watching a commercial, see the video below, where Abraham Lincoln is turned down for an executive position because he lacked a college degree. I have often thought that Lincoln would not have been Lincoln without the arduous process of self education that he continued throughout his life. (During his election campaign in 1860 he was pained to see that his campaign claimed that he had read Plutarch’s Lives. He hadn’t, but he took time out to do so before he was elected.) Of course in his day it was not unusual for a self taught man to rise high politically. In our day it is almost unthinkable, Harry Truman being the last president who did not attend college. This is a great pity. Self taught men and women can sometimes end up as town cranks or bores at bars, but sometimes they bring vitality and fresh insights that cannot be taught at any institution of higher learning, and their intellects are sharpened by their lonely quest for knowledge. Lincoln regretted his lack of almost any formal education, but in his case I suspect his genius would have been lessened by it.