Freedom Loves Autodidacts. The State Demands “Credentials.”

Sunday, January 2, 2011
Posted in category Public Uneducation

“The scientific method is not about credentials…..Ultimately, the letters that tag at the end of your name have nothing to do with the process of science.” That is a quote from the autodidact Chris Masterjohn in an upcoming podcast with Jimmy Moore. Chris is the master of exposing the government-medical-pharmaceutical establishment on cholesterol issues.

Believe it or not, some self-educated and otherwise critically-thinking libertarians still think mandatory credentials are a part of one’s expertise, and that without the “right” credentials – that are granted, controlled, overseen, and sustained by the state – one is not capable of commenting on topics that people typically associate with credentials. I get this attitude a lot from libertarian readers who disagree with me on an issue. Often, if the issue is one that appears to be the stomping ground for only credentialed “experts,” there is the ultimate line, “What credentials do you have….?” I hear this interrogation come up often, even during casual conversation. Folks look for a credential they can believe in, sort of like a blind faith. If it’s on gold-outlined paper, a stamp, a certificate on the wall, a card, or other marker of completion of some course of education, it must make you an expert, or, it puts you in the proper position to express your knowledge, whether or not you have bonafide expertise. Yet, somehow, years of self-study and diligent research is not the same as a credential, and therefore, the onus is on you to defend your knowledge and explain why you might be knowledgeable about the issue at hand.

Note this is the same thought process that guides the establishment’s condemnation of self-taught bloggers, as opposed to those servile flatterers in the paper press who went to some “properly credentialed” college and received a journalism degree in between bong hits, video games, MySpace postings, and beer parties. It is also the same notion that inspires government tyrants to conjure up ways to silence or black out bloggers.

Getting back to Chris Masterjohn (proprietor of, just as a good example on the topic, he is not a doctor, and in fact he is only now pursuing his PhD in Nutritional Sciences because of the passion he developed for the topic – and the truth – when his life and health experiences led him to the myths and lies of the medical-nutritional complex that sits firmly in the grip of the corporate state that owns U.S. lawmakers and associated policy hacks. He became an active force against the medical establishment well before his pursuit of a PhD.

Maybe I’ve had a slight edge in thinking along these lines  - my dad was a brilliant man, and an inventor, engineer, and builder who refused to patent anything, and his last formal education was probably about 7th grade. Still, I think much more thought has to go into dissecting staid societal “norms” (such as credentials) that are passed off as established facts and accepted at face value by the masses. Individuals have the ability to critically assess, reason, and make choices. Blind acceptance of conventional wisdom or standards is anti-freedom and anti-progress.

For the autodidacts out there who believe that passion and knowledge are far more relevant than institutionally-granted paper degrees or certifications, there is Salman Khan. Khan, with his Khan Academy, is a tremendous asset to the world with his growing library for autodidactic folks. For self-motivated folks with spare time and ambition, there is also the MIT Open Courseware. See Gary North’s “Digital Education vs the Ruling Elite” where he discusses these options. Gary North – a poster child for self-learning – has also recommended a plan for the Ron Paul Curriculum, a free, digital education for homeschoolers. Imagine the “credentials” you won’t have after such great learning experiences as listed above.

By the way, North briefly mentions the Junior Achievement program for business as a part of the early Ron Paul Curriculum. I volunteer and work with middle school and high school kids in the Junior Achievement Finance Park program in Detroit, where they learn the basics of home and personal finance. My employer even grants me company time to do it, while I put up the effort. Those of us who have the knowledge and skills should be philanthropic and generous with our time if we truly value a voluntary and cooperative society that will break away from the grip of Big Government’s propaganda that is disguised as public education.

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5 Responses to Freedom Loves Autodidacts. The State Demands “Credentials.”

  1. Jeannie Queenie says:

    January 3rd, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Geez Karen, I thought for a minute you were talking about my father who passed away over a year ago in your neck of the woods. He too was brilliant, a builder and inventor, voracious reader of just about everything when he wasn’t working his tail off..and never got pass the 7th grade having come to the US from Belgium at the age of ten. He built his own home with his own hands, designed it and for his time, was way ahead of the curve. Large spacious rooms, loads of light, lots of closets, and the open concept not the norm back sixty years ago..and he was smart enough to buy a double lot on the point on Lake St. Clair.

    I can thank my father for instilling a love of reading and math at an early age. The artistic side came from him as well. He had a love for sculpturing which made its way into the family genes, that being me. He often over the years spoke of all the college educated idiots he knew..and the older I get the more I understand what he meant, for higher education here is hardly an indication of brain power. Middle management all over the country is proof positive of that in many ways. We have an entire administration of Ivy Leaguers who can’t put two and two together or else they wouldn’t be doing the dumbest things possible like stimulus plans and printing more and more fiat money..and you know all the rest. My father predicted that we would have a revolution here in time..and with each passing day and the more I learn about what is going on behind the scenes, he had a fine crystal ball predicting fact.

    On another note, the man in my life while in Nam sent for a mail order course in Aeronautical Engineering, and when they weren’t fighting he had his head in books. The other guys would taunt him telling him it was dumb to study for they’d never get out of Nam alive…of course, a good share of them were doing drugs. His answer was simply, “well if we do get out alive, I want
    to assure myself I can get work when I get back to the States”. What a mindset compared to all those today who stand there with their handout expecting any and all entitlements. Friend told me that actually mail order courses are superior to college degrees for you get the best professors from all over the country who excell in the given subject you study. So in his case, he had access to around forty profs and learned so much in this mail order course, he did come back, start technical companies, was very successful…and did all that when he wasn’t doing cia work for the gov’t. He swears by online or mail order courses. Of course, this is a helluva lot cheaper than going on a four year drinking binge as far to many do in colleges today. And evenmore sad to say, is knowing that you too can be president of the US if you major in booze and minor in coke..and with both O and W, we saw just that. Dad passed before this latest presidential election but had he known that both W and O were potheads or worse, and then got to rule the free world, oh boy, I can hear him already..he was a passionate, articulate man and didn’t abide morons or miscreants all that well.

  2. Karen De Coster says:

    January 3rd, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Jeanne – those great Flemish genes!

  3. Iluvatar says:

    January 3rd, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Actually, I surfed “Scary Gary’s” MIT lecture notes some time ago. In electrical engineering, the course notes are pretty close to superb.

    And it is FREE!!!

    I loved the courses in signal processing.

    This is a land mine in delivering education, and I feel, one of the best moves MIT has ever made.

  4. Vasco says:

    January 22nd, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    The “magister dixit” argument is completely ridicule. I wonder what credentials Abraham Lincoln had. Congratulations for the articles.

  5. ian says:

    January 24th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Comparing Obama to W for smoking pot is asinine, as is slandering all pot users as morons, or all college students asbinge drinkers. There are plenty of intelligent and creative people who use drugs or alcohol heavily. making stereotypes about people like that just makes you llook dumb. I favor the legalization of all drugs and open availability of pharmawithout prescription. Many doctors, esp psychiatrists, are not doing much for their money but writing prescriptions. if all drugs were available freely on the open market, with government regulation and taxation and quality control, the crime rate (violence ad robber) would drop by 80-90%, along with the price of drugs dropping by 99%, since most drugs are easy to grow and cheap. anyone who favors drug prohibition or stigmatizing people for drug use is a moron and they are no doubt complacent about legal drugs like alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and pharma. LOL.

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