The old tradition of scholarship is of asocial monasticism. Being in the office of someone who values the old ways, and looks at the new era of professionals expected to justify and share, to be out there, rather than all holed up, made you feel like you were in the company of a pederast -- and you may well have been. (Harold Bloom is old school, and you may have heard that Naomi Wolf accused the old sage of trying to feel her up while in his office for a chat.) It's about true nerdyness and fiddling, more than it is about leaving the genius alone to do his/her work.
I'm all for finding ways to stop spending on all the big lectures (they're just a different version of a textbook) -- let's get all those from itunes U, and from preferred universities/professors from all over the world. (If all you're going to do is lecture, you'd best be good, because I'll otherwise turn to so-and-so from MIT and hear what s/he has to say, instead. Actually, I think I'll do that anyway.) Lots of teacher/student contact/interaction (and lots of student/student interaction, which is just as important), I'm all for. Some say that the ideal of scholarship gets in the way of furthering this end, though.
Lots and lots of people going to university hasn't just meant free training for business. It's also meant a lot of people coming from the rough getting to know people/ideas of a different sort. It has been about rising a huge mass of people, making them better -- about furthering along the old humanist mission. As mentioned in my previous post, I'm all for turning off/trimming down the post-secondary, but only so long as it is because other, more empowering, ways for people to learn, invent, challenge one another, are becoming available.
better things for you, patrick