Lion of the Blogosphere

Credentialed learning vs. learning

with 63 comments

In our current time, learning (for those who are self-motivated to learn) has never been easier or less expensive. Besides being able to buy any book you want at, most textbooks can be pirated for free at online sites like Library Genesis. (And as much as it pains me to advocate breaking the law, after consideration, I am in favor of poor people, who can’t easily afford to buy books, pirating them in order to increase their knowledge.)

At the same time, the cost of credentialed learning (in other words college degrees) has never been higher.

It turns out that it’s only credentialed learning that United States society values. Try getting a job by telling people you don’t have a degree, but know everything that a degree holder has because you read pirated textbooks. Good luck with that!

Well, there may be an exception for computer programming (and by “computer programming” I mean a broader range of technical skills related to information technology and software development). But even in information technology, you will eventually hit a glass ceiling for those without formal degrees. Plus the problem with those sorts of jobs is that after a certain age, you become too old to keep learning new stuff and you eventually become sort of useless. I haven’t coded anything in approximately 9 years, and I know that I could never pick it up again because of cognitive changes as I’ve grown older.

Most people lack the self-motivation to learn much without some sort of external motivation, but I’ve previously written about the BARBRI model of education. BARBRI helps people pass the bar exam. You can just buy their books, but most students prefer to pay more for the classroom approach where you attend lectures (and the live lectures are the best, it’s pretty unfortunate if you have to view the lectures on a video screen) and get a few graded homework assignments, and the structure motivates you to get through all of the material and pass the exam.

BARBRI type of education could be used for learning most anything, except that actual learning isn’t valued by anyone, only degrees from universities, preferably prestigious universities, are valued.

I think it’s important to break the university monopoly, especially given that universities are controlled by liberals and SJWs. Only conservative-controlled government can break the monopoly, because there is no desire by private companies to change their existing hiring and promotion practices. If the government started handing out jobs based on passing tests and ignored college degrees, it might trickle down to private industry.

But right now, this doesn’t seem to be anything that conservative politicians are interested in. Perhaps if Steve Bannon is reading my blog, agrees with the idea, and starts promoting it, then we could see some action.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 13, 2017 at 9:43 am

Posted in Education

63 Responses

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  1. I believe that fellow suing Harvard based on admissions is on the right track.

    Universities and colleges have become cultural, social and career gatekeepers and they are leveraging this power on behalf of the open borders profiteering & cultural atomizing Left. They get indirect subsidies through public loans to students, subsidies that allow them to inflate the price they charge. This is the potential legal leverage point. It needs to continue to be pushed.

    They also need to be called out for what they are doing by alumni.

    Having said that, Fussell was absolutely correct when he said that the 60s politicians increased social peace by selling people on the false notion that their social status had increased by turning old business colleges, teachers colleges and other middle skill education establishments into universities when before the word was reserved for the cream of the crop. With 30% or more of each generation attending some college, the term college graduate no longer signifies the cream of the crop. Too bad.


    November 13, 2017 at 10:01 am

  2. <>

    I took the California bar exam seven years ago and used BARBI to prepare. All of the bar exam lectures were videos, lecturers handpicked by BARBRI as being the best in the nation. (Erwin Chemerinksy covered Constitutional law, for example, delivering an hours-long lecture without notes, in outline form, completely from memory.) I wasn’t bothered at all by the video lectures. The speakers were great, the information was all there. Why do they need to be in the room?

    Also, while I totally agree with your overall point in this post, is it really the “structure” of BARBRI that motivates people to get through all of the material and pass the exam? BARBRI certainly shows that other pedagogical techniques can work, but I think most bar prep students are largely motivated by fear and career pressure to get through everything.

    One last little point. A key ingredient for me during bar prep — along with the lectures and a few graded assignments — is having someone to study with. Having a good study partner to bounce ideas off of, motivate you when your energy flags, and generally keep you on your toes helps enormously.

    Blowhard, Esq.

    November 13, 2017 at 10:03 am

    • Nothing beat seeing Erwin Chemerinksy LIVE on stage.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 13, 2017 at 10:11 am

      • I mean, the guy’s impressive, but he’s not Jimmy Page or Keith Richards in the 70s, at least not to me. The video was more than adequate.

        Blowhard, Esq.

        November 13, 2017 at 10:14 am

      • He has since died, correct?

        I passed two state bars using Barbri (one while working full time). In my opinion, studying for a bar exam is probably not a real form of learning. You’re cramming a massive amount of facts into your brain in order to pass a test. I can’t speak for others, but I’ve retained very little since passing those exams. And I will probably kill myself if I ever have study common law land conveyance rules ever again.

        That said, sitting through lectures and regurgitating platitudes come exam time is not worth $50,000 per year. Ultimately, college is less about learning than it is internalizing leftist politics and learning to parrot those talking points in your professional and social years to come.


        November 13, 2017 at 11:34 am

    • I signed up for BARBRI when I was working a veryb full time job. I found the video lectures to be a waste and sitting in a windowless room in Times Square every day after work to be a stressful waste of time.

      After a few days of that I decided to work from the books and stop going to class. I passed on my first attempt.

      I also work in technology, and had a similar experience. The one related class I took as an undergrad wasn’t good for my schedule, and I knew he professor socially. So I didn’t go to class and emailed my assignments in. Everything else I’ve learned came in a book or on the job.

      I had a similar experience with finance. The information is all out there if you are motivated. As is the work. Any job that doesn’t have a licensing and degree gate should be available if you’re smart, hardworking, and young. You may still want a degree for the rubber stamp and socialization.

      Luke Stiles

      November 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

  3. I think credentialed learning would still be ok if it wasn’t drowning young adults in debt. Sen. Foamboi for all his faults has been a pretty strong advocate of vo-tech and low-overhead learning options.

    Politically, a resurgence of admin-bloat-free education is far more likely than getting corporate America, enamored as it is with pseudoscientific Dilbertesque jargon, to suddenly become good at recruiting for skills.


    November 13, 2017 at 10:08 am

  4. “BARBRI type of education could be used for learning most anything, except that actual learning isn’t valued by anyone, only degrees from universities, preferably prestigious universities, are valued.”

    I see the following permutations here:

    – Education is a positive good and therefor however you obtain it is a net increase in your monetary value regardless if you took the Jane Austen class at Princeton or North Western Plains University at Tundra.

    – A degree is just a exterior, independent confirmation of a number of important virtues such as intelligence, diligence and creativity. Therefor your credential from Ivy League to high school drop out and post-doc to GED represents the extent to which you have these virtues.

    – A degree is just ticket into a club. You are an elite if you went to an Ivy League and a Yale man is never going to let a Yale man fail.

    I think you pose this as a unnecessary all-or-nothing. The problem with social sciences (in addition to mostly stupid people doing them) is that there are often conflicting explanatory functions simultaneously. And some people are reacting to the existing functions because they are aware of them (like Harvard hot-shotting the news cycle every couple of years by enrolling some homeless minority kid).

    It would be interesting if there was an actual retrospective on the results of that “College That Change Lives” book. Or the dude that recommended Community College- Cal Newport?

    ” I haven’t coded anything in approximately 9 years, and I know that I could never pick it up again because of cognitive changes as I’ve grown older.”

    Well the assumption of all these object oriented methods still throws me. But did you enjoy programming? I did, but I am finding it takes a lot of gear back up to the right mindset. The level of concentration is different that attending meeting while answering IM’s and updating a spreadsheet.

    Lion of the Turambar

    November 13, 2017 at 10:24 am

    • “But did you enjoy programming?”

      Once upon a time, but not anymore.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 13, 2017 at 10:29 am

    • Is the Lion is falling for the American myth about the role of higher education and social and class mobility?

      There are really at least two markets for education, 1) the top elite for admission (or at least intergenerational transmission / inheritance & confirmation of elite status and admission to the fast track to get inside to opportunities for the best value transference professions 2) functional education to prepare the not too terribly paid “coolies” of knowledge work in our post industrial economy.

      Has the gang here had a look and discussed this article and book yet? Would seem to be quite relevant to the interest in class & education…

      Working-class students are more likely to enter college with the notion that the purpose of higher education is learning in the classroom and invest their time and energies accordingly. … This type of academically focused script clashes with the “party” and social cultures of many US colleges. It isolates working and lower middle-class students from peer networks that can provide them with valuable information about how to navigate the social landscape of college as well as future job opportunities. The resulting feelings of isolation and alienation adversely affect these students’ grades, levels of happiness, and likelihood of graduation. … [This] also adversely affects their job prospects. (p.13 Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs)

      “There is this automatic assumption in any legal environment that Asians will have a particular talent for bitter labor. … There was this weird self-selection where the Asians would migrate toward the most brutal part of the labor.” By contrast, the white lawyers he encountered had a knack for portraying themselves as above all that. “White people have this instinct that is really important: to give off the impression that they’re only going to do the really important work. You’re a quarterback. It’s a kind of arrogance that Asians are trained not to have.

      Someone told me not long after I moved to New York that in order to succeed, you have to understand which rules you’re supposed to break. If you break the wrong rules, you’re finished. And so the easiest thing to do is follow all the rules. But then you consign yourself to a lower status. The real trick is understanding what rules are not meant for you.” This idea of a kind of rule-governed rule-breaking—where the rule book was unwritten but passed along in an innate cultural sense—is perhaps the best explanation I have heard of how the Bamboo Ceiling functions in practice.

      In summary, the reason low cost “functional education” hasn’t really caught on is that it can at best prepare one to be the IT programming coolie but in no way provides the social skills or connections for entry into the coveted tracks that strivers of any class can recognize as superior. Also there is a certain element of “rent seeking” among educators & credentialing powers that seeks to protect their livelihoods by mandating classtime so there will always be a demand for students to pay stupid tuition. They wouldn’t want kids showing up and passing the bar exam without spending 7 years locked in the ivory tower while they accruing decades of indebtedness, now would they…

      Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta

      November 13, 2017 at 11:25 am

      • Not so long ago law school took two years and, I believe, the bar had wide control over law school accreditation and #s of graduates. Perhaps even greater control over bar exam applicants and where they received a degree, favoring in state schools.

        Those days ended by the 60s and too many people started going to law school so the curriculum was increased from two to three years. When that failed to stem the flow of lawyers they started increasing the price. Don’t be surprised if it becomes a four year program soon.


        November 13, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      • The 1960s is a pretty long time ago.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 13, 2017 at 8:44 pm

  5. It’s very likely that the cognitive issues you face are not the result of aging but instead result from constant overeating and obesity.


    November 13, 2017 at 10:36 am

  6. The main purpose of college, from a business standpoint, is to give young people a few years of independence to gain some maturity and to keep their minds sharp and ready to learn for when they get a job. So if you want to replace college, you have to replace that function, or you have to find a way to make high schoolers grow up faster so that they’re ready to be adults at age 18. I was very, very not ready for adulthood at that age.

    Most people learn approximately 100% of their job skills on the job anyway, aside from basic knowledge like reading and arithmetic. Engineers and a few other professions might be sort of exceptions. But for liberal arts majors, i.e. most people — even most people with decent jobs — no particularly useful knowledge was acquired in college classes.

    I work in finance. I have a pretty solid career. I went to a highly-regarded school and majored in Econ, which is typical of finance people who went to higher-tier schools, as most top schools don’t offer a finance or accounting major.

    I took exactly one class that was highly relevant to my career: Accounting 101. Some of my Econ classes were indirectly relevant, but the majority of the classwork in Econ was irrelevant. And I only took 30 hours of Econ classes; the other 3/4 of my college education was just random classes that seemed interesting at the time but had zero relevance to any job outside academia.

    All told, all of the college learning that was needed to get started at my first job probably could have been acquired in a 2-week crash course. Some additional study on nights and weekends wouldn’t hurt, though we have the CFA Exam for that.

    Now, you might think the state school kids who majored in Accounting or Finance came out knowing more than me, but that doesn’t seem to be true in my interactions with such people. Companies would rather hire an Ivy League grad who took one Financing/Accounting class than a state-school grad who took 10, and they are usually right to do so.


    November 13, 2017 at 10:58 am

    • This doesn’t really square with much of my experience in industry. You truly do need to know a decent amount of calculus and linear algebra to work in a huge number of good entry level positions that can lead to great things. And it is extremely rare that people manage to teach themselves higher math, or physics, or chemistry outside of a traditional program.

      If you’re saying that smart, charming people can show up and waltz through careers in whatever area of finance you’re involved in that probably says more about the bullshit culture of your area than the efficacy of instruction in the subject. I mean, actuaries sure as shit don’t waltz in and pick it up on the job.


      November 13, 2017 at 5:50 pm

      • “it is extremely rare that people manage to teach themselves higher math, or physics, or chemistry outside of a traditional program.”

        Because people with the future-time-orientation and self-motivation to do that almost universally go to college.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      • I don’t think it’s so much a matter of time orientation as that the programs actually work and it is almost impossible for even very smart people to self-study to high proficiency in many “real” subjects. It’s like saying you’re going to self train to Navy Seal levels of proficiency. It’s just not realistically possible for even very smart and capable and motivated people. The institution and its culture is necessary.


        November 13, 2017 at 6:05 pm

      • The litmus test is a high drop out rate. Caltech, last I heard, had an enormous drop out rate (pushing 50%?). Hard technical programs at any top 20 institution have very high drop out / failure rates.

        If a big fraction of people don’t fail out of whatever degree program you’re attempting it’s probably a waste of time. If it’s a system that screens at admission and then most people graduate OK, then it’s also probably a waste of time.


        November 13, 2017 at 6:12 pm

  7. O/T but relevant to HBD:

    In his heart, Gates knows about HBD. OK, mates, who is going to buy land there? What’s Tonopah like? I know the Tucson area only.


    November 13, 2017 at 11:03 am

    • It’s just empty land on the far outskirts of the Phoenix metropolitan area. It’s far away from any bad neighborhoods, but also far away form any good neighborhoods.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 13, 2017 at 11:10 am

      • It’ll become good once gates gets finished with it.


        November 13, 2017 at 11:33 am

      • Maybe he is starting a gatesded community


        November 13, 2017 at 11:34 am

    • Seems like a good idea to me. There are vast stretches of America that could be reinvented as modern experiment-cities. In fact, this is normal and healthy when so many big cities in America are terribly corrupt and have too many entrenched interests.

      Aside from the plumbing, the US southwest is a beautiful area.

      Panther of the Blogocube

      November 14, 2017 at 1:13 am

      • The problem is lack of water.


        November 14, 2017 at 10:15 am

      • “The problem is lack of water”

        They intend to steal it from the Great Lakes region. It’s been in the works for over a decade. The Colorado River beginning to run dry hasn’t halted development. They -plan- on getting water from somewhere else. It will be stolen under the guise of global warming.

        wagon wheel

        November 14, 2017 at 1:07 pm

  8. Universities provide standardized learning and most importantly their entrance criteria separates the wheat from the chaff an undoubtedly important function from the view of future employers. Note that reputation of once key European universities has waned since they relaxed their entrance requirements while the Ivies and Oxbridge continue to fly high.


    November 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

    • My previously reasonably prestigious college announced they were no longer requiring SATs for all applicants so they could make this overwhelmingly white and Asian student body ‘look more like America’.

      This is called contextual admissions and it is the cultural I nvasion wave of the future that will greatly redefine college.


      November 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm

  9. Agree with your conclusions, but let’s remember to trace the need for credentialism back to this pernicious SCOTUS decision:


    November 13, 2017 at 11:12 am

    • NO NO NO, not true. That decision also said that Duke couldn’t use a high school degree as a relevant employment credential. Has anyone bothered to read the case? How can it be said that the case requires credentialism when the court ruled that Duke couldn’t use a high school degree credential?

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 13, 2017 at 11:14 am

      • It gave employers cover to socialize the cost of training. Perhaps it would have occurred anyway.


        November 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm

  10. You’ve got IQ, Knowledge and socialization (for social reproduction). Grades wich doesn’t include the last part would lack prestige. To give prestigious grades, they would have to select people on value transfer abilities and make them socialze, wich implies attendance, and then, a university structure. The only niche would be a “caltech” or Indian-tech (ahmedabad) like institution who would give grades only to an elite combination of IQ and Knowledge. But few able people would like that, if they can attend Universities. Because you would have to invest a lot of time and effort without knowing if you ll be rewarded.

    It can’t work outside of precise goals (passing an exam, a test etc) or certifying technical skills in very high demand. I would see a niche for such institution if it had very focused and tailored program : high frequency programmer/structurer/trader, pattent attorneys etc.

    E-learning : tool for preparing an existing exam or if it’s a grade would be either prestigious in a narrow field or not so prestigious at all. Not going to strike down Universities.


    November 13, 2017 at 11:29 am

  11. Big article today in the New York Times about the NSA hacking. So who did it, Israel or Russia or China? Norks?


    November 13, 2017 at 11:35 am

  12. But even in information technology, you will eventually hit a glass ceiling for those without formal degrees.

    It’s even worse than most folks imagine.

    Formal degrees are necessary, but not sufficient, and depending on the degree and the institution can be just as much of a hindrance. Case in point: Equifax CSO, non-tech degrees, but promoted up to the C-suite. How many white-guy engineers that knew the systems forwards and backwards, were an engineer’s engineers, and had the degrees on top of it all, was she promoted over?

    I’ll tell you what she had that they didn’t. She would be willing to cut corners to save a buck. Her blissful ignorance would insure she and everyone above her could swear with a straight face “Russians! Who could have known?” A white-guy with a real resume and the credentials to match it would be immediately recognized as someone that won’t be a team player because he won’t sacrifice quality in a outrageous penny-wise, pound-foolish fashion… he knows too much, and won’t be able to keep quiet about it.

    Ultimately that’s the problem with the Certification Exam model. Ignorant managers that don’t know their sh*t, at least do know the guys with the certificates value right answers more than politics… “Hey, if those certificate guys valued politics they’d have went into indentured servitude to get the most prestigious degree that would have them, right?”


    November 13, 2017 at 11:44 am

    • True that, but management IS politics so it’s a completely different personality type that’s needed. Once we had an accountant managing our IT group. Jewish, brilliant and a politician. He lasted about nine months. This guy announces that we are doing an implementation that the prior management was replaced for not doing on schedule. I tell the guy that it would never work and fail in the first hours. Now we are talking about 600 programs and merging two portfolio accounting systems. He goes ahead and I’m not invited to be part of the implementation team on site. Lols. Got a call at 2 am to come save the stupid project. I, with a few other guys, worked on it for 24 hours straight on the weekend and got it in. Fixing everything in production mode on the fly. This imbecile wanted to call off the implementation. I wouldn’t let him do it as long as there was enough time to restore the old versions. We made it and being a consultant I came home with $70×24 which wasn’t bad for 30 years ago. My freind an electrician had a 24 hour emergency and came home with $10,000, $8,500 after all the expenses. What job makes more sense?


      November 14, 2017 at 7:38 am

  13. tl;dr: The one thing you’ll never hear from an AA token is “I told you so.” They’re idiots. They couldn’t tell you the time of day, and everyone knows it.


    November 13, 2017 at 11:48 am

  14. OT/tangential:

    Perfectly inoffensive mixed panel of one Trump supporter, a black libertarian, and several liberals, invited to speak at Rutgers, disrupted by emotional and semi-coherent students in the audience. I honestly have a hard time understanding what about this triggered the students to feel like disrupting it.

    How long will the public continue to support this sort of thing? What value is created the coziest possible environment for adolescent rebellion? The sooner public policy turns against the university system, the better. “The universities we presently have must be smashed one and all”.

    Greg Pandatshang

    November 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    • “ I honestly have a hard time understanding what about this triggered the students to feel like disrupting it.”

      It’s about maintaining the hegemonic discourse. The way you win debates is never to have them; for everyone to understand that any deviation from the prescribed dogma is not allowed and deviations will be punished severely.

      When beliefs, such as those underpinning equalitarianism, are neither backed by science nor backed by folk observation they can only be sustained by sanitizing speech and thought. And this is achieved by punishing heretics.


      November 13, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      • “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

        Greg Pandatshang

        November 13, 2017 at 11:37 pm

  15. Degrees are important in getting your first job. What degree and what school you graduated from matter for that first job. After you have 5 or 10 years experience, degrees become less important. Where you have worked and what you have done become more important.

    For most young people college is the first time they are away on their own without parents to supervise them. To graduate from college with good grades they need to be able to study without constant supervision or parents nagging them. Those are important attributes for an employer.

    I went to a top state university. You had to be in the top 20% of high school graduates to be admitted, most were probably in the top10%. I was amazed freshman year at the number of students that just goofed off, didn’t go to class and didn’t study.


    November 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    • “Degrees are important in getting your first job. What degree and what school you graduated from matter for that first job. After you have 5 or 10 years experience, degrees become less important. Where you have worked and what you have done become more important.”

      Without a degree you get a job at Walmart, and 10 years later you are still only qualified to work at Walmart.

      The degree put s you on the right TRACK and once you are on TRACK you stay on the track.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 13, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      • Somehow many do not realize that you cannot get the second job if you did not get the first.

        My Two Cents

        November 13, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      • Lion, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect you to be rational. Without any degree you learn a trade or open a business, such as a restaurant, and 10 years latter you maybe doing great.

        Again, wrong thinking. First you determine how much money you need, then you can chose an occupation. I say you need $250,000 net after taxes. That is if you want to have a normal family. Operating a restaurant or a commercial refrigeration business or an auto body shop can get you there. This is very simple.


        November 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      • Yakov — You need $250K post tax to raise family in America, especially NYC.

        I would love to wear this shirt if someone told me of this fact:


        November 14, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      • JS, how many kids you have? Lolz!


        November 14, 2017 at 10:15 pm

  16. Schools existed many thousand years ago. They still exist because they work. If you think you can do better without schools, you are at least mildly insane.

    My Two Cents

    November 13, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    • As in a brick n mortars school, the internet has changed the pedagogical process.

      Ironically, vocational based subjects are often delivered in a dry fashion, because the instructor has a “prole” mindset. Proles tend to learn things in a rote manner.


      November 13, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      • > the internet has changed the pedagogical process

        The internet hasn’t changed shit. Distributed collaboration in business environments is also total bullshit. I’ve turned around a few efforts in substantial part by forcing everyone involved to work in the same room at the same time for set hours.

        Look at what’s happened to industry over the last 40 years: accelerating high cost urban concentration. The Internet as a decentralizing force is a lie. Things are more physically concentrated and dependent on face to face meetings in NY/SF/DC/LA than ever.

        Why would you think there’s been some internet driven change in educational institutions that isn’t reflected in business and government?

        Go dig up the old text books from the 50s. They’re pedagogically *way better*. Better than “Kahn Academy” bullshit on Youtube by far. If you need to self-study something that hasn’t changed much in a hundred years deliberately try to find the really old text books because the modern ones all totally suck. All these books have been available free on library shelves for a century. The internet hasn’t changed anything.


        November 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm

      • In terms of the status quo in America, nothing has changed, except it’s now harder to join the ranks of the elites.

        This comment of yours give good reason for everyone to believe that my spiel about America is mostly right.

        Democrats will tell a lie that blue states especially the Northeast is subsidizing the rest of the nation, meanwhile, places in the South and Midwest have been decimated by technological value transference coming from these blue states.


        November 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      • And NY’s lying sociopaths in office have been saying this — NY has high taxes, because it needs to pay up and take care the rest of the nation.

        Baloney, NY has high taxes, because of immigrants and NAMs who make up the bulk of the miscreants. Taxes are needed to fund the police and buy equipment to keep the house in order so the elites can walk in the park unmolested.


        November 14, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    • that’s the ultimate just world phenomenon position.

      1. the economic reason for formal education was that books were super expensive. no paper. no printing press. they were written by hand on vellum. 20 kids for one book.

      2. it has persisted for political/class reasons and stupidity. the educationists have power. they have brand. people are irrational. rationality is punished.

      who wants to work with the guy who made the high score on the test but went to southern alabama uni?

      classism is stupid. but it’s hard to overthrow. especially as those outsiders who would be insiders worship the rich. thou shalt have no other god before thee…except the rich…i’m cool with worshipping rich people…just no golden calf stuff.

      ian smith

      November 13, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    • Many thousand? You mean like in Conan’s day, before the sinking of Atlantis? Conan seemed to get by without formal education.


      November 13, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    • Some schools and teachers are terrible.

      Some books and self-learning apps are great.

      And vice versa. Generalizing one way or another is stupid.

      Though my personal opinion is that schooling in the West tends to be terrible, mostly due to anachronistic and forced curricula. Having to sit through a subject you hate for several years rarely builds character and eventual competency; it mostly fosters resentment and depression.


      November 13, 2017 at 11:16 pm

  17. “In our current time, learning (for those who are self-motivated to learn) has never been easier or less expensive”

    That’s correct. most people have very little discipline to learn something they would love to master, and require a feedback loop from an external source.


    November 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm

  18. >>I haven’t coded anything in approximately 9 years, and I know that I could never pick it up again because of cognitive changes as I’ve grown older.

    Nonsense. If you had to code you would be back at 95% capacity of your old self within 2 weeks.

    You know, I have found that certain abstract ideas in higher math come easier to me now than when I was 18. Don’t know why, just is the case.


    November 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    • “You know, I have found that certain abstract ideas in higher math come easier to me now than when I was 18. Don’t know why, just is the case.”

      One of my physics teachers once said, “You won’t really get this stuff until years down the track. Right now you’re just learning to do it.”


      November 13, 2017 at 9:51 pm

  19. in no other country do people have stickers or license plates of their school or their kid’s school or wear legible clothing with the name of their school.

    how it happened, i don’t know for sure. but…

    ‘mer’ca is doomed.

    stupidity can’t be fixed.

    ian smith

    November 13, 2017 at 5:16 pm

  20. Knowledge is a good thing. Someone doing all that study that you had done, can learn a lot and I’m sure you did. But today when you are walking down the street who comes over and asks you to do a job for them or for your advice? People beg me to look at their equipment. Get the difference? I say knowledge is good, degrees and spending tons of money and wasting your life on useless subjects just to get a piece of paper to supposedly get you into the door is a waste and stupid too. The best is to know how to do real stuff, not all this useless blah-blah-blah that you engage in. You got job security with all your degrees? No. You got job satisfaction? Fulfillment? Self-actualization? What have you got out of all these wasted years? If you say the knowledge and that’s what you value, I’m cool with that. But not much else realy.

    I’m being harsh on you, but that’s because I like you and because you are advocating nonsense.

    I know a guy who has a crowd outside of his restaurant, but he will not open extra tables, he sends people home instead. He wants to maintain a high quality atmosphere. This is called being in demand. It took about 10 years, but he’s well passed the $250,000. Doesn’t have a H. S. diploma. Could have graduated college now with a half a million in debt and a medical degree. If you like medicine, by all means, but otherwise? What a waste. What will all these people learn in college anyway when they and their professors are so stupid? I think not much.


    November 13, 2017 at 10:38 pm

  21. There is more to college than earning a degree to get a job and partying on the weekends. Sure, I’m a book worm who over the course of his life has read a hundred books for every book I was assigned to read in school, but in college and more so in grad school I could talk with intelligent people about those books. I’ve noticed that in the “real world” even book lovers end up talking about movies and TV a lot because people are a lot more likely to have seen the same movie than read the same book, but when taking a class, especially the electives you are interested in, you spend a few hours a week with other people who are also interested in that topic and have hopefully read the assigned materials. And when I was in graduate school in England, I made friends with people from China, Turkey, Kenya, Germany, Taiwan, India, and of course England.

    Unfortunately the rising tuition prices do make college so expensive that many people might be better off investing that money in opening their own business or learning a trade (was it Mark Twain who said that a society that respects it’s philosophers no matter how foolish and disrespects its plumbers no matter how good will soon have neither ideas nor pipes that hold water?) but that’s the price our society is paying for its tax cut addiction.


    November 14, 2017 at 8:40 am

  22. Have you blogged about the disaster that would be “universal college tuition” being promoted by Bernie Sanders?

    Ronald McDonald

    November 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm

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