I do not wish to imply that the universities constitute an elite, as they are often said to do. On the contrary. A politician who uses a word that suggests he has been to college or assumes anyone in his audience has read a book is ridiculed in the press not only for pretentiousness but for, in effect, speaking gibberish…. People writing in this country in the last century used a much larger vocabulary than we do, though many fewer of them and their readers were educated. I think it is the association of a wide vocabulary with education which has, in our recent past, forbidden the use of one. In other words, the universities now occupy the place despised classes held in other times and cultures in that they render language associated with them unfit for general use.
Marilynne Robinson, Introduction to The Death of Adam