Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Trouble with American Education (And an alternative)

As per usual, George Carlin had some very relevant points to make:

But now there is an antidote to the non-logic, non-thinking "education" that is promoted by the elite.

David Gordon is about to launch a seven-week online course: How To Think: An Introduction to Logic. Lew Rockwell writes:

The State Doesn’t Want Us To Learn How To Think
That’s why we should study with Dr. David Gordon, one of the great philosophers of freedom, at the Mises Academy. Writes David:

My course on logic will stress how to analyze arguments, especially in politics and economics, and to spot fallacies in them. Defenders of statist policies often commit straightforward errors in reasoning, and students in the course will learn some of the most common of these. We will also look at some libertarian arguments and learn mistakes to avoid.

Although a number of universities teach critical thinking, most logic courses today concentrate on mathematical logic and don’t have the practical orientation of my course. I will be using a textbook, George Joyce’s Logic, that is based on ordinary-language logic; so even if students are already familiar with mathematical logic, they may find it worthwhile to take my course as well.

The power of the state to a large extent depends on misleading the public, in part through fallacious reasoning. I hope that the course will contribute to resisting this process.
How To Think: An Introduction to Logic is $135 for seven weeks. It starts January 13, 2011. Be there or be square.
David Gordon is the man. In October 2010, when I attended a Mises Institute event, I wrote:
Next up was David Gordon, who spoke on "The Recovery and Statism". It was whispered to me more than a couple of times, by people who should know these things, that Gordon is the most knowledgeable person in the Austrian/libertarian movement, right now. He's up there with Rothbard, one person told me.
Nuff said, take the course.


  1. See the result of state education here folks, it is not pretty.

  2. I signed up for this class the other day as well as for Dr. Murphy's Anatomy of the Fed. If you haven't taken a class at the Mises Academy then you are missing out.

  3. I like where the LvMI is taking things with their own independent, for-pay lecture series. This is the beginning of the online, interactive and multidisciplinary re-emergence of the classical liberal education.

    David Gordon is an exceptionally kind, patient and knowledgeable lecturer. I took his recent course on European politics and history since the French Revolution of 1789. Overall, it turned out to be quite a bargain because besides the 1hr + 30m of scheduled lecture and Q&A time each week, Gordon recorded numerous, lengthy ad hoc interviews with Grayson Lilburne (serving as administrative aid to the class) which extended the discussion from the lectures. The suggested reading list was also helpful, opening my eyes and mind up to numerous primary sources I might not have come across on my own studies.

    My only complaint is there are a few technology kinks to work out and the LvMI staff could make more of an effort to get feedback on these concerns. I think related to this, the structure and organization of the "grading" and testing aspect of the course I took was a little fly-by-night -- which ultimately didn't bother me because I wasn't there for the grade -- and that is exacerbated somewhat when the course instructor is a man of great temporal experience, if you get my drift. I don't think it's anything that can't be fixed over time with a slight rethinking of how to structure and offer the material in a way that lets the lone lecturer, like Gordon, focus more on sharing his knowledge and wisdom and worry less about the technical aspects.

    One other aspect that was hit-and-miss: class interaction. We got some great, thought-provoking questions in the Q&A period each week but the chatter on the message boards died out after a few weeks. I think it's probably a result of many of the people having different interest levels (some casual, some serious) and the fact that for many they have the rest of their "real" lives to prioritize. Still, I was hoping to have a better sense of community and dialog with my classmates and was sorry that that didn't materialize as much as expected.

    But that certainly isn't the fault of David Gordon or the LvMI.

    Overall, I give the program a 5/5 for potential and a 3/5 on initial experience. I think this model is great and it's really going to evolve and get better and better over time. I would recommend anyone who is interested to give it a shot, so long as they temper their expectations with some of the caveats I shared above.

    And Gordon is definitely a bright guy who knows his stuff. For knowledge of subject matter, Gordon gets a 5+/5. Same score for general level of sympathy and care towards his students, which is a refreshing change of pace looking back on my interventionist university education, which cost far more!