Public News (Houston) - - THINK ABOUT IT | LIBERTY FOR ALL - by Arvin Vohra

The first les­son I learned in col­lege: from each ac­cord­ing to his abil­ity, to each ac­cord­ing to his needs. Thus be­gan 4 years of at­tempted so­cial­ist and pc in­doc­tri­na­tion.

That first bit of so­cial­ism, by the way, was “fi­nan­cial aid”. To­day, the vast ma­jor­ity of stu­dents get “fi­nan­cial aid”. In other words, it’s not some­thing used to help the ul­tra poor. It’s just a way to de­cide how much to charge peo­ple af­ter you look at their tax re­turns.

The classes were of­ten bel­liger­ently anti cap­i­tal­ist. I re­mem­ber on the first day of an ad­vertist­ing stud­ies class be­ing warned that the class wasn’t go­ing to teach us how to ac­tu­ally do advertising. The same was true in many dis­ci­plines; they did what they could to avoid teach­ing any­thing use­ful.

Un­stated col­lec­tivism was the aca­demic re­li­gion. Each dis­ci­pline, it seemed, wasn’t pri­mar­ily show­ing us how we could use that knowl­edge to fur­ther our­selves. In­stead, it was try­ing to show us how we could pre­pare our­selves to fur­ther that dis­ci­pline. Given that the Ivy League has its roots in re­li­gion, this is hardly sur­pris­ing. But that “serve the col­lec­tive” at­ti­tude had zero to do with any­thing I was in­ter­ested in.

The tu­ition struc­ture it­self was fur­ther steeped in so­cial­ism. The as­tro­nom­i­cal fees were largely used to sub­si­dize grad­u­ate and pro­fes­so­rial re­search. I wasn’t buy­ing an ed­u­ca­tion. I was pay­ing for oth­ers to pur­sue their hob­bies. In­stead of a com­pet­i­tive free mar­ket giv­ing me what I wanted at the low­est price, a fed­er­ally sub­si­dized non-mar­ket was just charg­ing us all many times what the ed­u­ca­tion was worth.

Did I learn any­thing in col­lege? Sure. It’s im­pos­si­ble to learn noth­ing in 4 years of life. But I learned more the 4 years af­ter that, and more in the 4 years af­ter that. Was col­lege worth the money? No. Worth the time? No. Did I fall for the pro­pa­ganda? Def­i­nitely.

I could have learned just as much through in­de­pen­dent study. Given that most pro­fes­sors had lit­tle in­ter­est or skill in teach­ing, I es­sen­tially did learn most in­de­pen­dently any­way. I didn’t re­al­ize there were al­ter­na­tives to col­lege de­grees, in­clud­ing ac­tu­ar­ial ex­ams, other pri­vate sec­tor ex­ams, even govern­ment ex­ams like the FSOT. I didn’t re­al­ize that you can use th­ese ex­ams to prove your abil­ity, in­stead of us­ing a de­gree.

So­cially, there are so many other ways to de­velop. But if I had wanted some­thing very sim­i­lar, I could have sim­ply spent time on that cam­pus. The so­cial gath­er­ings, lec­tures, even din­ing halls are open to any­one.

To­day, lec­tures from some of the bet­ter pro­fes­sors, and many vi­sion­ar­ies out­side of academia, are avail­able on­line for free. Project Guten­berg has put much of the world’s great lit­er­a­ture on­line for free. The most in­struc­tive ed­u­ca­tion for me, how­ever, has been through en­trepreneur­ship. You learn more from run­ning a small (or large) busi­ness than you can in any col­lege on earth. To­day, thanks to or­ga­ni­za­tions like kick­starter, craigslist, fiverr, elance, 99de­signs, it’s never been eas­ier to start a small busi­ness.

Be­fore you take out an in­sane loan, spend your fam­ily’s wealth, or sell your con­science to the mil­i­tary to go to col­lege, con­sider th­ese and other su­pe­rior al­ter­na­tives.

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