The Truth About Gary North & The Ron Paul Curriculum

Let me just start this off by saying, wow. What a journey it has been these past two years.

I began homeschooling in my junior year of high school with the Ron Paul Curriculum. My classes were great for the most part, and I was just struggling with getting into the swing of things. I had teachers like Tom Woods (my favorite!) and Gary North (we will get to him later). After completing all of my classes for junior year, I decided to re-enroll and finish my senior year with the RPC too. This is where things get interesting.

In my first year, I took notice of how Gary North talked to students; especially in comparison to how other instructors regarded students. (For anyone who does not know, the instructors do not grade your schoolwork, and all communications are through online forums. The forums are probably about 95% student moderated, and all posts are visible to all members.) Although I enjoyed his courses, I was met with animosity whenever I asked a clarification question, and I was not the only one. Since I was so new to the curriculum, I mostly just kept my head down when I saw North making an effort to belittle students.

The way he spoke was not with authority, but rather, arrogance. Students as young as freshmen were subjected to public embarrassment and humiliation on the public forums;  and each and every question asked was answered with another question: “do other students feel the same?”. If other students would confirm that they agree, he would again ask more questions to avoid fixing his mistakes. Under no circumstances would North accept advice or requests from the students.

Within 6 months of being in the curriculum I had seen an encounter between North and another student that actually upset me so much I contacted the support email for the RPC. North was far beyond disrespectful towards the student, and was clearly aiming for public humiliation in an attempt to deter him/her from asking North to fix his course mistakes. It was my understanding at this point in time that Ron Paul was the founder of the curriculum (hence the name) and it was my honest intent to have Gary North spoken to about his demeanor. Instead, I discovered that Gary North is the founder, and that it is his curriculum. He also puts out a great deal of the courses himself. Ron Paul’s only involvements are his name and his photo on the front page (which is extremely misleading). I was basically told to deal with it. (And suddenly the relentless displays of power and rudeness all made sense.)

In my two years with the RPC, I have not once seen Dr. North directly answer a student’s question, or offer to fix any of his mistakes with the coursework. It did not take very much observation to gather that Gary North sits on a horse so high he has to shout down upon middle and high school children. I was however taken aback by his most recent actions.

(Disclaimer: I am not here to justify my actions; I was not as polite as I could have been. Two years of being disrespected and talked down to in a curriculum I helped pay for myself is atrocious. Students deserve to be respected just as much as instructors do. If I wanted to continue the treatment I received in public school, I never would have left in the first place. When I first began with the RPC, I was extremely polite and kind with North. That behavior lasted up until the past few months.)

This is the final conversation that broke my patience and kindness:

STUDENT 1: Hi I have just started Business and am greatly enjoying it. Thanks Mr. North for the wonderful course. I have a few questions about the lessons and assignments however.

In Lesson 12 below the videos, you state this: For the next lesson, make a list of three things: “How will I add value that is worth paying for in 2030?”. What exactly are you trying to say? How will I make people want to pay me for something that robots can’t do? If you could clarify this I would appreciate it so I can do the assignment with a clear vision for what I have to do.

Then in Lesson 18, I feel that you are telling us to make a goal list for our life but I can’t quite tell. Is there something I missed that tells us straightforwardly that we should?

Finally in Lesson 19, you tell us: For tomorrow’s lesson, you will be required to write an essay on the program you selected, and why. Then in Lesson 20, you say: No writing assignment. What are we meant to do? If you didn’t contradict yourself it would help a lot.

Thanks for everything. I really appreciate this course and am trying to get the most out of it as I want to start a business myself.

STUDENT 1 (after no response): What I am trying to ask is if you could clearly write out the essays and assignments you want us to do on each lesson. Thanks again for the wonderful course!

GARY NORTH: Are others confused?

If so, suggest new instructions.

STUDENT 1: Would you just be able to answer my question? I would greatly appreciate that instead of you just making your own question for other students. Thanks.

GARY NORTH: There is an old rule: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I think you are needlessly confused. If I change the wording, others will be needlessly confused.

I want to see if others are confused.

STUDENT 2: Hi Paul (that’s your name right? 🙂 ),

It can get a little confusing, but here’s what I did:

1. I made my own opinion about how I think robots couldn’t replace us. You will write an essay on this for lesson 15 (I think), so that’s the purpose of the question. Here’s my essay: https://baroquemyriam.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/robots-and-jobs-employment-in-2030/

So, I believe what Dr. North wants is that we develop our opinions on the subject.

2. I believe Dr. North’s main purpose in posing all these questions, etc…is more than to have us make an actual list (although that’s really good) is to start thinking about this and make it part of our lives.

3. This last part is a bit confusing. I think Dr. North changed this since I did it because I had to write an essay on it, and then another the next week. (Here are my business essays: https://baroquemyriam.wordpress.com/school-essays/business/ )

So, I don’t know what you should do, other than just follow the instruction to the letter, or else write the essay anyway. 🙂

I hope this helps,
Myriam

ME: Dr. North: Yes, this is confusing. You were being inconsistent with your work/essay requests. If you typically place all requirements above the videos in text, and then you request some things verbally but do not include them with the rest of the assignments it gets confusing.
(To student 1) Unfortunately, I suggest you get used to the absence of direct answers. Dr. North (from my experience) will only answer questions with questions, and call upon other students in the process. While this seems to be his attempt at forced student to student problem solving, it does not fix the root issue. For example, in this situation another student helped you decide what to do, but the clarity of Dr. North’s request has not been improved, only avoided. The symptoms of the issue (confusion) were remedied, however the issue itself (Dr. North’s clarity and consistency) has not been resolved.

Good Luck!

STUDENT 3: I have found a few assignments confusing. Especially on Lesson 19 and 20. You mention out assignment for lesson 20 and in lesson 20 you say we have no assignment. The course is great though!

ME: Dr. North, now that we have established that it is in fact “broke”, and that this students confusion was not “needless”, are you planning on fixing these issues?

GARY NORTH: You fix them. Then get agreement from the others.

Then I will post your jointly agreed-on recommendation.

GARY NORTH: Fixed.

ME: Considering we all pay you good money for a quality education, I feel that you should be the one to fix your own mistakes. Do not volunteer for a position you will not completely fill. Take some responsibility and use the advice we have all provided here.

As per your request, I stated earlier that I believe all of the assignments and requirements should be in one place: above the videos in text. It seems that other students would want this too because the widespread confusion came entirely from your inconsistent tactics.

It is not the job of the students to clean up your messes, Dr. North. You asked if other students were confused in order to avoid fixing your issues. When it was confirmed that yes, other students were confused as well, you then dodged responsibility once again. This is seemingly consistent behavior on your behalf.

You had two options here. One: take the easy route, shift responsibility onto the students (customers) and lazily avoid fixing the problem. Or, two: take the constructive criticism that you specifically asked for, use it and learn how to be a better teacher from the whole experience. You chose option number one. That is on you, Dr. North. Not us.

(At this point, I was KICKED OUT of the curriculum. My subscription was cancelled mid-year. I was not the most polite student here, but I was also not wrong; I took it upon myself to speak to North like he has spoken to me and others. In a curriculum based on personal responsibility, you’d think that North would own up to his issues.)

GARY NORTH: Sorry, but I have not understood what the problem is.

If one person is confused, and I have no idea what the student is talking about, then I want confirmation from others.

I have understood none of the criticisms. So, a group solution is called for. If I fix what I do not know is the matter, I am like to make it worse.

There is a rule: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I do not want to break it for others by trying to fix it before I understand it.

Group knowledge is usually a good way to deal with an imperfection. Committees are not creative, but they are a good way to prevent or repair mistakes that affect a group.

Now, group, please spell out in detail what you think is wrong. I want (1) agreement on what is wrong; (2) a suggested solution.

I want to make sure that everyone agrees on the solution before I implement it.

GARY NORTH: I wish to respond to Camillie.

She writes: “Considering we all pay you good money for a quality education, I feel that you should be the one to fix your own mistakes. Do not volunteer for a position you will not completely fill. Take some responsibility and use the advice we have all provided here.”

Who is “we”? Your parents pay. You do not. The Ron Paul Curriculum has a contract with legal adults. Minors are not legally allowed to make contracts.

She writes: “As per your request, I stated earlier that I believe all of the assignments and requirements should be in one place: above the videos in text. It seems that other students would want this too because the widespread confusion came entirely from your inconsistent tactics.”

If there are examples of this, let me know. I fixed the one example I was given. I said so. Then she posted her complaint.

She writes: “It is not the job of the students to clean up your messes, Dr. North. You asked if other students were confused in order to avoid fixing your issues. When it was confirmed that yes, other students were confused as well, you then dodged responsibility once again. This is seemingly consistent behavior on your behalf.”

She is disrespectful of authority.

She writes: “You had two options here. One: take the easy route, shift responsibility onto the students (customers) and lazily avoid fixing the problem. Or, two: take the constructive criticism that you specifically asked for, use it and learn how to be a better teacher from the whole experience. You chose option number one. That is on you, Dr. North. Not us.”

She was incorrect. I had a third option. I cancelled her parents’ subscription to this site. She is now locked out. She will remain locked out. Her parents will have to find a different curriculum for her. I will give her parents a full refund, of course. I have told her that they must contact me by email for an explanation. I will provide this by sending them her comments. They will see what tone she adopted.

There is a biblical principle: count the costs before you take action (Luke 14:28-30).

Be very careful when challenging someone in authority. He may have more options that you have thought about.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

 

Gary North was in violation of a contract between himself and my grandmother; that is why he offered a refund. (He was also wrong about the money, I did help pay for my own schooling.) What he failed to mention to the other students after kicking me out was the fact that he offered me my membership back ONLY IF I never posted on the forums, and if I agreed never to write about the Ron Paul Curriculum on my blog or elsewhere. He also took it upon himself to make a new username and password for me should I decide to come back. The username was Humble and the password was Self-Restraint2016. (He really loves public humiliation as we have already covered.) I chose to retain my right to free speech and share my experiences with others. My personal experience is the most important thing to me regarding the situation now, and the fact that he attempted to silence me makes me feel that I should be speaking out even more!

Besides his social behavior, I also began having issues with his economics and his business courses. Towards the end half of the courses (and throughout other courses as well), our assignments were solely written for the purpose of promoting the RPC. Each week, we were instructed to write a specific number of good things about the RPC. Believe it or not, for a 10 day session in business, North even had another teacher do special instruction lessons on how to buy a domain name and run a website. We were expected to pay around $100-$200 to buy a domain name, and pay to run our own website in promotion of the RPC. We were supposed to sign up as affiliates with the RPC and when we got another person to join he would pay us. This was explicitly stated, not implied; as a student I was nothing more than free advertising to Dr. North, and it became more and more clear every week. I had already been creating alternative assignments for myself because I was so uncomfortable with how I was being used when this assignment rolled around. (Many RPC-promotion assignments can be found in my Business 1 course category, but keep in mind I refused to do many.)

The RPC is not about you. It is not about your children or your family. It is about Gary North. He constantly assigns articles he wrote himself, requires us to watch his own speeches, etc. As unfortunate as it may be, Gary North is the only instructor in the RPC I would not recommend for anyone, under any circumstances. I loved every other instructor and never had a single issue with anyone else.

Gary North is an egotistical man of self-preservation and promotion. He has put himself on a pedestal so far above the rest of us that the education of your children is one of his last priorities with the Ron Paul Curriculum. If you want true education, I am sorry to say go elsewhere. The only other option I would recommend would be to get courses released by people other than North (ex: Personal Finance, Govt 1A & B, Algebra, Western Civ, Public Speaking, etc.)

Good luck homeschoolers, and do not be discouraged! Although this experience was nothing like I expected, I still learned a lot from it. I have no regrets. I wish you all the best in your curriculum hunts! I hope I was able to shed some light on the truth of the Ron Paul Curriculum for you.

If anyone has any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to comment!

 

God Bless,

Lillian

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(L150) We Were Not Raised to Be Leaders

Big actors, singers, performers, etc. are typically (publically) biased against capitalism. In my opinion, this more likely than not has a great deal to do with the people at the very top of the entertainment food chain who are controlling who truly does become famous, and who does not. In the opinion of Gary North however, the chance that guilt has a role to play could also be an option to explore. He states that the fans are the ones who truly make normal people into widely known stars. According to his logic, since famous people do not consider the fans or their talents as the root of their success, they actually develop guilt about their lavish lifestyles. In turn, they begin to support socialist/communist models of society; in order to ease their success guilt, they support routes of life that are equal for everyone.

The reason that I do not support the “guilt” solution is because of everything I have seen happen in the entertainment industry throughout my life. To believe that fans are the sole source of success would be naïve, especially considering the blatant one-world, universal control agendas propagated through actors and singers today. I do believe that actors feel guilt, and maybe even shame for their success, but it has nothing to do with wanting things to be equal for them and their fans. Wildly famous people are not idolized for their talents; the masses have just been so conditioned to follow and flock that they cannot see the truth of the matter: souls have been sold and strict orders are being followed. Should someone famous break this mold, they will disappear without a doubt. Fame comes from the devil; the fans just follow. It is my understanding that fame does not come from a capitalistic economic model, which is why I cannot point the finger at guilt.

I believe that the reason people are okay with the riches of the famous and not the riches of businessmen is because they idolize singers and actors. Children are raised to put pictures on their walls of the voices they love to hear, rather than the minds they admire. They grow into teenagers who obsess, cry and fight over the ability to be in the presence of these famous people; but never would they pay to see a successful entrepreneur. By the time they become adults, they are so conditioned to follow the entertainment industry’s every instruction on how to dress, what to listen to and what to say that they have been bought for life. We are not raised to support successful business owners. We are not raised to admire those rich in knowledge. But we are raised to fall to our knees at the command of our favorite corporate artist. We are raised to be followers, not leaders; and this is why a businessman’s success will never be glorified in society today, but rather seen as greed.

(L140) Bureaucracy & Brainwashing

Is tax-funded education inherently bureaucratic?

For the sake of simplicity, yes. The reason that we know this is because of the entire set-up of the educational system. First, money goes from the taxpayer’s wallets to the government. This money is then split up and a portion goes into public schools. Since the government is technically the source giving the money directly to the schools, it is the government who decides what the schools teach. In other words, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Public schools are an area/branch of the state; bureaucracy is the system through which such areas/branches are monitored. The monitoring is done through bureaucrats themselves – in the case of public schools, the bureaucrats are teachers and administrators. Each leader and/or representative of a tax-funded school is given a book of laws governing the entirety of their actions. This rule book spans from disciplinary action plans, to educational lesson plans and academic requirements. Again we find the issue of underlying special interests: the government is funding education through coercion, and mandating teachers every step dictating what they may and may not teach. (Otherwise known as common core education.) Government (tax) funded education goes beyond being a conflict of interest; rather it simply becomes means of indoctrinating children with a distorted and immoral view of life. Government schools dictate the teachings of statism because they are directly founded on statist principles. Tax funded education is undeniably and inherently bureaucratic.

(L135) Profit & Loss: The Free Market According to Mises

Mises was confronted with many questions concerning the free market economy. However, amongst his many detailed and sensible answers, one of the most telling responses that he ever provided was to the question of how profit could possibly arise in a free market (considering the fact that every factor of production is paid what it is worth to customers).

“Thus, profit and loss are generated by success or failure in adjusting the course of production activities to the most urgent demand of the consumers…Profit and loss are ever-present features only on account of the fact that ceaseless change in the economic data makes again and again new discrepancies, and consequently the need for new adjustments originates (Mises).”

Simply put, I could not agree more; ignorance is the name of the game. Humans are bound to make errors, but not 100% of the time. These mistakes, (or the lack thereof) are what create profit and loss in the economy. Outside of a free market economy, profit and loss are generated through exploitation (of workers, companies, natural resources, etc.), coercion, and monopolies (subsidies).

Bibliography

             Mises, Ludwig Von. “Profit & Loss.” Mises Institute. Mises Institute, n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. <https://mises.org/library/profit-and-loss-0&gt;.           

(L30) How Many Men Does It Take To Make A Candle?

Write 250 words on the division of labor required to create another simple household tool besides a pencil.

One thing that I use on just about a daily basis are aromatherapy candles. They smell great, and they’re so relaxing; but it wasn’t until I began collecting supplies to make my own that I realized just how much effort and man power it takes to make one simple candle!

The first item I bought was beeswax. Beeswax comes from a farm where a beekeeper collects/raises colonies on his land; in order to harvest the wax, he must take the honeycomb itself. The honey is scraped off, the comb is soaked and cleaned, then boiled until it melts into a water wax mixture. The mixture is then cleared of debris and refined by being poured into a fine mesh bag and squeezed. The remaining mixture is then cooled, hardened and separated; the refining process is to be repeated up to 6 times. When all of this is done, the wax must cool and cure for at least 12 hours. Then, and only then, do you have clean and refined beeswax.

Essential oils must also be purchased in order to make true aromatherapy candles. There are over 700 plants that contain useful essential oils, and they can be found all across the world. People who own stills must go through quite detailed processes to get high quality high concentration essential oils. It takes time, money, and resources. Not to mention the fact that most people do not have access to plants outside of their home region, and are limited to native plants.

Then, of course, you need a wick! There are all different types of wicks, and they can be bought online, in craft stores, and in specialty stores. Some people prefer to manufacture wooden wicks, while others find high monetary return with paper, thread and cotton wicks. People making candles have many reasons for choosing each particular type.

Finally, you will need a pouring kit, a hot glue gun, and of course, containers/jars! If you plan on coloring your candles, you will also need special dye chips for the wax. Candles that are being sold should be individually labeled, so as to support your brand. This would mean purchasing the stickers and making them on your home printer, or ordering them online.

It is clear that no one person could make a candle from scratch start to finish. From harvesting and refining beeswax to blowing glass for jars, the division of labor has got you covered!

(L120 & 125) The Broken Window Fallacy: Minimum Wage Requirements

Why wouldn’t someone voluntarily offer you a job at twice today’s minimum wage?

Story time! Let’s say that a small business opens up selling handmade jewelry and other goods in the middle of a New Hampshire town. Let’s also say that the current minimum wage in New Hampshire is $10.00 an hour. At this rate, the business owner can really only afford to hire 5 employees (in total). So the owner hires his employees, and business is alright; they are new in town, so large profit margins and excessive foot traffic are not to be expected.

After about 6 months of being open, business is rapidly growing. The owner is finally getting out of the red, and into the black! There is so much business in fact, that the owner needs to hire more workers just to keep up. He decides to add 2 more people to the team; it won’t quite cover all of his needs, but because of the high minimum wage, it is all that he can afford right now.

The night that he interviews for his two new employees, a woman comes in asking for nearly $20.00 an hour. Her skills are extensive, and she would be able to bring brand new products into the shop without any training whatsoever. Not only would she save him time, but she would make him money! He thinks back on his other employees; no prior knowledge or skills, no new ideas, nothing even nearly as valuable as this employee would be worth to him. If it were up to him, he would be paying his employees exactly what he deemed their skills to be worth; maybe that would mean $8.00 an hour for a cashier, $8.75 an hour for an opener and a closer, etc. However, since he was forced to overpay for their basic services due to government intervention, he cannot afford to hire this valuable and worthwhile prospective employee.

In short, he is in need of two more workers. He would be able to afford both the above average woman and another cashier/clerk if it was not for minimum wage requirements. With these requirements however, he must choose between superior product and a shortage of man power, or basic work and enough workers to scrape by. In the end, a shortage of workers is just not something that a business (owner) can afford, and so he must kiss this great opportunity goodbye. This issue could have been completely avoided had he and the employees been able to come to an agreement on a fair hourly wage without government intervention or mandate.

When an owner is forced to pay someone more than they’re worth, they lose out on opportunities to hire higher quality employees for a greater cost. This is the broken window fallacy; the seen and the unseen. While we do see that an average worker is being paid very well, we do not see that a better worker is being paid less than they deserve or not being hired at all (because of the average worker’s forced wage).

(L85) Counterfeiting & Fractional Reserve Banking

Is it counterfeiting when government-licensed banks create money out of nothing?

Fractional reserve banking is a system that allows banks to issue more deposits (by lending money out) than they have actually taken in. The banks basically create money out of thin air (deposit slips), and lends it to businesses and consumers with interest rates.

Deposit slips are a form of counterfeiting, and counterfeiting is theft. In the words of Gary North, “all good things that are counterfeited must come to an end”; the economic booms created by these low short-term interest rates result in a rise in prices because in reality, there was no saving throughout the economy as had been portrayed.