“Professionalism”: the tendency for elites to claim expert status based on their exclusive interpretation of a body of facts which they define, and much of which they invent. As de Tocqueville noted, professionals in the U.S. from the earliest days have unionized themselves into the modern equivalent of guilds and slammed the door shut on hoi polloi — defined as those banned from participating — by requiring graded certification by exam, which is often little more than public affirmation of their “guru” like status in Masonic-type lodges. This tendency has the effect of guaranteeing the ossification of any practice that involves a body of knowledge and those that claim to be based on such.

Every aspect of “knowledge” today has thus been compartmentalized and monopolized by some faction of licensed or degreed “professionals” who invent and discard facts as they please in order to consolidate their status position and serve their pursuit of economic rent, the most obvious of these webspinners being the largest lodge of all: Ivy League academia where the conferring of a Ph.D. has come to entitle any plurality of such degree holders to form their own academic department.

This and this alone explains the rise of such “bodies of knowledge” as Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, and increasingly Sociology, Psychology, and the Humanities in general. This also explains the tendency for such exclusive clubs to acquire the trappings of a religion, with the result that Ivy League colleges today more resemble seminaries conferring priestly status on fervent initiates through religious ordination than institutions devoted to discovering and disclosing facts to the public at large.