Reposted without permission from Facebook:
In the 16 years I have run an elite educational business, I have never gone to any student’s college graduation. Students have asked, or begged, often offering to pay for travel and hotels. Parents have asked. But I haven’t gone. Not to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, or any of the Ivy League colleges, or non-Ivy league colleges my students have attended. Not event to local colleges, whose graduations are walking distance from my house.
My reason: I consider college an inferior and destructive form of education. I consider it a toxic enemy to higher education. I think that by attending college, students are wasting time in a toxic and counterproductive environment, while losing the opportunity to do something better. That’s one reason I support the Thiel Scholarships, which give students $50k a year for 2 years to not go to college, and see how much more they can achieve without college.
For many of my students, college is essentially a legal requirement. If you want to go to medical school, in most cases you must first go to a four year college. My students who want to be doctors have no choice.
But even for them, college is a necessary evil, not something to be treasured.
I do often, however, go to graduation parties, and let people know that I am glad that they are finally free of that prison of pretend education. I attend those parties for the same reason I would attend a party for someone who had gotten out of prison after being immorally imprisoned.
It’s not because I dislike my students. The bond between a teacher and student is very strong. Between a tutor and a student, it’s even stronger. I know how hard many of my students worked to transform themselves academically. I know that they feel pride at having defied the educations of, at times, their entire family who scoffed at the idea that they could attend an Ivy League college, or often any college at all. I was there for struggles of students who went from academic failures to members of the academic elite. I know that college means something very important to them.
But that doesn’t make college good. It doesn’t change what college is doing to education and culture.
On the flip side, when a former student does something through initiative, I always support that. If they start a business selling something that I can afford, I buy whatever it is. If they write a nonfiction book or novel, I read drafts (for free). If they have art work in gallery, or just on the side of the road, I come to show my support. If they choose to study a topic independently, I give any advice I can, and share any resources that I have. My particular brand of tough love also has a supportive side.
During the last days, many of you felt that I hated you as people. My students have, at times, felt the same way when I refer to their Ivy League degrees as “not even useful as toilet paper” or other colorful descriptors. I don’t hate my students; for some, I disagree with their actions. I consider them destructive and weak. For others, like the ones who go to college since that is the only way to medical school, I actually agree with their actions. It’s the least bad choice. It’s the only choice. But even a necessary evil is evil. It’s not something to be glorified.
A popular bumper sticker says, “Support our troops. Bring them home. Help them heal.” I agree with that sentiment. But I also believe in supporting our kids. To me, that means encouraging them to not go into that environment in the first place.
Many who have been part of the military know about the psychological damage that combat causes, especially when soldiers later realize that they were misused for immoral or counterproductive purposes. Dave Grossman discussed some of these issues in On Killing. Often the depression, anxiety, PTSD and other psychological illnesses that veterans face often come from what they were manipulated into doing, not by what was done to them. It goes both ways, of course. Often the psychological illnesses are associated with physical injuries. But they are often experienced by people who are entirely uninjured.
The psychological toll can be unimaginable. In my travels around the country, from convention to convention, I have spoken privately on this issue to many veterans. In the last few days, I have spoken with many of you one on one, and I expect to do the same over the next several days or months. Most of those conversations have come to the same place: to prevent people from undergoing the psychological trauma that requires needing healing in the future, we must do two things. At the policy level, we need to stop military overreach and participation in non-defensive, immoral wars. At the personal level, we need to stop the worship and glorification of the military. And in that process, we cannot bring knives to gun fights. The deglorification of military combat must be done with the same intensity as glorification is done today, through the massive advertising budgets of the military.
If we continue glorifying the military out of politeness, or out of a sense of “Haven’t they already been through enough hell?”, the very predictable result will be more young men and women joining the combat duty that then later requires healing.
In many circles today, the hashtag #AllCopsAreBastards has become popular. I haven’t used it for one simple reason. I don’t think it’s true. All drug cops are kidnappers. All traffic cops are thieves. But I don’t think that they are bad people. They are doing bad things. They may be acting out of a manipulated sense of honor, financial pressure, or social pressure, but they aren’t bad people. I think when you know a person’s story, even their immoral actions make sense. Before you ask – yes, even Hitler and ISIS. They did the wrong things, but they thought they were doing the right things. That makes them tragic. Their actions are evil; but their personal story is tragic.
Many of you, understandably, believed that when I use words like “murderer”, it is an expression of hatred of you as a person. It is not. I strongly disagree with many of the actions you have done. I strongly and fiercely want to end the enlistment cycle in America. I want troops to not need healing in the first place. I want those who seek honor to know that it’s not going to be found in the kind of combat the military does now, and it should be sought elsewhere.
Words like that are a wakeup. They are a way to let the world know that I do not, and will not, passively go along with a culture of military worship that predictably leads to needless killing, dangerous foreign policy, and massive psychological and physical damage to those who want to do the right thing. They are my way of letting you know that this culture and set of policies, that has continued to have predictable and damaging consequences, has at least one dissenter. If I am the only dissenter, so be it. That culture of military worship that has destroyed so many lives is no longer unanimous.
Some of my students, by the way, have dropped out of top tier colleges to start businesses. When I told them in 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, they weren’t ready to hear the message. But when all of their experiences in college lined up with what I had told them, the message made sense. I do not expect that all of the young men and women that either I alone or with your help speak to will all refuse to enlist. But I do believe that a single dissenting voice can make a difference. It may make a person use their ELS option to leave once they start realizing truths that their recruiters left out. It may give someone the courage to speak out about the negative parts of military service, without being afraid of being called a traitor or a weakling (which several vets have expressed.)
During the next days I will be discussing the dangers of military worship, as well as putting forward a larger, overall vision for the Liberty movement. Thank you for being part of this discussion.