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* BFU Weekly Journal *
documenting creation of a
Visionaries Learning Center

Bastiat Free University offers internationally accessible and actionable student-directed learning to visionaries and entrepreneurs.
Your BFU resources are now available without cost.

Start Today
Rediscover the pleasures found in self directed learning.

BFUniv, BFU college, self-directed e-learning, Bastiat Free University

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What Price For Knowledge?

At BFU we talk about cost appropriate learning.

It is the student that is seeking that is most important, not authorities telling her what to seek.

What do YOU want to know?

We live at a time when knowledge itself is exploding, access to knowledge is simplifying, and tools for organizing knowledge are increasingly available.

Why then are college costs escalating when what we do is organize and dispense knowledge? Modern industrial age colleges have added research in the Prussian model; this does not effect serious learners - only grad students seeking to become professors.

You don't need permission to learn what you want to know. You do not need any help to organize and apply your new knowledge. Grab a mentor if it will help, but you don't have to give up years of your life and huge amounts of money, and your freedom, to learn.

Degrees are losing value as they become common and bureaucracies shrink. What will be important to you is making yourself more valuable. Rediscover the joys of learning, 24/7/365, as a life long pursuit.

Knowledge is virtually free and freely available.

Avail yourself of free knowledge.


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Friday, March 21, 2008

Those Who Have Gone Before - Those Who Will Follow

It is the changing of the guard.

Those that are not not close to ready are mocking those in charge. Those that have served well are willing, if no longer able, to once again enter the fray. Few of those approaching the coming unpleasantness have any idea of the dedication required to survive and succeeded. It will be their mind set more than their training that prepares them.

"It is no use saying 'We are doing our best.' You have to succeed in doing what is necessary." - Winston Churchill

For fifty years or more the world has been carried by the few individuals that willingly paid an enormous price in their efforts to unrelentingly do what is necessary. Others have coasted behind their efforts, receiving equal or greater acclaim and rewards, that time is now past.

It is only with unfaltering determination, and a conscious disregard of personal consequences within the coming engagement, that those now entering the battle will come forth as heroes. It is not a time for procrastination, hesitation, and half measures.

The world is changing, those that persevered in the last age will not be able to carry the torch into the new.

It is up to you.


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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Honorary Degrees

I was glancing through an online educational forum when I ran across a thread about professors and their doctorates. the essence was very dismissive of anyone that had not "earned a degree" but had instead received an honorary degree. To clarify BFU's position:

  • Bastiat Free University does not now award honorary degrees.

  • I do not have, nor am I seeking an honorary degree.

My viewpoint however is quite different then that espoused by the tenured professors in the forum.

It is not wisdom, understanding, or creativity adding value to various college degrees. Instead huge institutions value active compliance as demonstrated by fulfilling college graduation requirements. Submission to authorities, no matter how silly they are, is a virtue in bureaucratic organizations.

The purpose of education, as sold by the education industry, is career advancement, higher pay, and empowering a college graduate's job search. Modern schools and colleges are molded on the early industrial age Prussian formula - their purpose is to make compliant and uniform citizens. Students from government approved schools can be easily managed; the longer they stay in school the more uniform they become. In essence the entire formal educational process develops candidates for tedious jobs within bureaucracies.

"Academies that are founded at public expense are instituted not so much to cultivate men's natural abilities as to restrain them." - Baruch Spinoza

Brick and mortar colleges are where leather bound encyclopedias were a few decades ago - highly respected - unable to gracefully adapt to the information age. The tenured professors at these institutions frequently fall into the same category; respected but without adaptability.

"In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists." - Eric Hoffer

Formal colleges and their instructors still retain value, but their effectiveness is increasingly one of perception, not of reality. Investments in existing higher education are producing diminishing returns as degrees become common place, as bureaucracies shrink, and as technologically empowered individuals exercise increasing personal choice.

So what do I see as the difference between attending college for an extra decade or so to receive a doctorate degree and receiving an honorary degree? The difference is in the route to sheepskin.

  • studying a set curriculum from preschool through grad school, taking decades to earn a doctorate degree, gets the professional stamp of approval. Those so honored have proven that they can follow senseless rules and wend through bureaucratic red tape in a manner that pleases authority figures.
  • Those that receive an honorary degree most frequently receive it for actual accomplishment in their field; they have achieved impressive results due to diligence, knowledge, and hard work.
Frankly I believe an honorary degree is earned, a scholastically awarded degree is a sign of survivorship. I value more highly the honorary degree as a sign that someone can think for themselves, adapt within a real environment, and create value. That has to be far more important than mere practiced recitation, no matter how diligent the student.

I know very well that because I am unlettered some presumptuous people will think they have the right to criticize me, saying that I am an uncultured man. What stupid fools! Do they not know that I could reply to them as Marius did to the Roman patricians: 'Do those who pride themselves on the works of other men claim to challenge mine?'" - Leonardo da Vinci

To my way of thinking, Leonardo earned an honorary degree - even if it was never awarded.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Building For The Long Term

Don't spend most of your time dealing with the bottom line, on success, but on building a legacy that will sustain and nurture your organization.

As a principal in your own life, and in the organizations you direct, you will be called on to make short term decisions. If the decisions are made piecemeal without concern for long term consequences you risk suffering a drifting vision unanchored but by expediencies. To sustain a fixed vision your priority must be on direction and sequential consequences.

If you focus on other's ideas and forsake developing a set of personal absolutes you will flounder like a swimmer unable to decide toward which edge of the pond to swim. It is in the determination of goals and of a vision that you establish way points where your path is to lead.

Once established, these landmarks of intention will serve to re-align your walk when distracted by current events and personalities. With practice and attention you will learn that it is your goal that is important to you, not what others think of it. This will provide a dependable reference for making immediate decisions based on more than what is emotionally satisfying in the short term.

Take some time. and a pad of paper, and dwell on what you want to achieve. A first step is to write down the names of all the people whose expectations for your decisions affect how you act. Now write down what you would like to achieve in the long term, regardless of others approval or disdain.

Like plowing a field, if you look at your feet you will wander aimlessly. If instead you focus on a far point, a fence post or tree, and walk towards it your furrow will be straight. To achieve success you must have a goal, and a determination to achieve it within a long term mental commitment to your own moral code.

For a farmer, a series of straight furrows may be the difference between plenty with a salable surplus, and hunger. For your life well directed short term decisions may be the difference between a life well spent and wasted efforts that achieve no long term purpose.

While we must live today, our future is determined by consistency of choice based on personal priorities. Invest more time developing that priority set than you spend on solving small problems.

At the end of the growing season; may you be well fed and have a surplus to sell.


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Sunday, March 09, 2008

There is only one success

"There is only one success - To be able to spend your life in your own way." - Christopher Morley

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson

"An Avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he a establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine

"Fire, water, and government know nothing of mercy." - Albanian Proverb

"What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long." - Thomas Sowell

"The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened." - John F. Kennedy


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Sunday, March 02, 2008

keep moving, learning, and growing

The BFU story is about setting new educational goals, the old goals are almost completed.

"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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