Gregory Wolfe, Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human In an Ideological Age:

In biblical terms, a prophet is someone both on the margins of society and yet passionately engaged in it. The prophet is both gadfly and lover of the community. By reminding human beings of the fundamental order of the universe that exists prior to the exercise of will and power, the prophet calls his people back to reverence and humility. And while the prophet is traditionally seen as thoroughly wayward — think hair shirts, locusts, scraggly beards, and bulging eyes — he is, in fact, the castigator of waywardness in others.

Eric Hoffer, Before the Sabbath:

Capitalism’s greatest predicament is that several paradoxes of the human condition combine to turn capitalist successes into failures… Take mass education: it was the capitalists and not the intellectuals who initiated and promoted mass education. In capitalist America every mother’s son can go to college. Most capitalist societies are being swamped with educated people who disdain the triviality and hustle of the marketplace and pray for a new social order that will enable them to live meaningful, weighty lives. The education explosion is now a more immediate threat to capitalist societies than a population explosion.

Hoffer also said elsewhere that “nothing is so unsettling to a social order as the presence of a mass of scribes without suitable employment and an acknowledged status.” He attributed the education explosion to the post-Sputnik panic, when billions of dollars were shoveled into the universities to produce scientists and technologists wholesale; following the money were large groups of mediocre talents and intellects who saw an opportunity to avoid business careers and climb the academic ladder instead. In our day, we have a similar glut of mediocrities who have been educated just enough to think themselves above “ordinary” careers and lives, which makes the bitterness of debt and failure that much harder for them to take. The difference between a generation shaped by the Cold War and one shaped by the Great Awokening perhaps explains why so many today have channeled their ambitions and frustrations into careers as prophets of social justice. “They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves…”