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? ūüôā ),

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. ūüôā

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

Advertisements

(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 na√Įve, 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.

(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;.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

(L115) Why Should I Choose The Ron Paul Curriculum?

NOTE: If you are looking for an accurate and honest recount of what the RPC is like, please see my article/essay The Truth About Gary North & The Ron Paul Curriculum

1.) The ability to incorporate lessons/courses that are important to you or your child (which are not already included in the curriculum), and the ability to learn (or teach) through experience.
This is not to say that the RPC is lacking courses in any sense, however should you have a child interested in studying something specific, then you have the ability to meet their educational cravings. This means going into the real world and allowing your child to do exactly what it is they are learning about. If you pair this hands-on-learning with a years worth the essays, projects, research, etc. it could end up counting as a high school credit.
This ability to personalize your own¬†(or your child’s) education is something that cannot be found anywhere but in a homeschool environment. Thanks to the RPC specifically, I was able to create my own entrepreneurship course with all of the information of¬†I acquired¬†about starting a business in my junior year. I designed the entire course myself, and with supervision from my guardian I set my own goals and regulations as well. I created my own business; this meant I had to¬†create a written business plan, make a custom logo, advertise on a budget, manage a schedule, be in charge of tracking and allocating my own expenses and profits, serve my clientele, and so much more. It actually became a good source of income for the time I was running it, and I ended up expanding my services after a few months. (Had I not moved across the country, I would still be in business today.) Not only did this custom course offer me real life experience, but it gave me an understanding of entrepreneurship which has¬†helped put me on a path to be a successful adult.

2. The ability to learn (or teach) at your own pace!
We all learn at different speeds and in different manors. Some people like to do one course each day of each class. Others (like me) like to focus on one course per week. The Ron Paul Curriculum offers the ability to learn and teach at your own speed for the entirety of your K-12 duration because the parents are 100% in charge of the deadlines! No rushing, no lost sleep, no stress; for you or your children! Sick child? Family emergency? No worries! School can wait until tomorrow Рthere will be no catching up to do, and no negative repercussions. You as the parent are in control; what better way is there to make sure you are satisfied with their progress and growth?

3.) A like-minded community of families and children, all at your fingertips.
The peer-run feedback boards¬†of the Ron Paul Curriculum¬†offer a broad range of constructive criticism, as opposed to getting one opinion from a single teacher. This allows your child to expand their own understandings of what they believe and why. It will also build your child’s conversational and debate skills, all the while connecting them with kids like themselves all around the world.
It didn’t take long for me to build both academic and personal relationships with other homeschoolers through our blogs. I learned how to put my knowledge into conversational practice, simply by offering and receiving feedback from other students.

4.) Flexibility
Every family dynamic is different, as is each individual child. No matter the work hours, travel abilities, and physical limitations of you or your child, the RPC can fit your needs. All you need to get class done is internet and a computer. In today’s day and age, these things can even be accessed for free at a library if need be.
During family emergencies, I have still been able to reach my own personal deadlines and goals because I do not need to be home to do school. I can be on the train, a plane, or even at the hospital completing certain tasks.

5.) Christian, and liberty-based: all in one!
Not only will your child get an honest and true education, but they will also get a morally sound education. I think that this piece really does speak for itself considering how hard it is to get top-notch educators living by the freedom philosophy.
The first year I¬†was a member¬†of the RPC, I was not religious. I was not offended, or crushed with Christian standpoints. I was simply educated enough to understand the morality of¬†Christianity. By my second year in the RPC, I had been born again. I did find my new understanding of God to be quite helpful and enriching when it came to some of the things I was hearing, however this is not only a curriculum for Christian families by any means. The RPC suited my needs when I was both a Christian, and an atheist; it also¬†gave me my first real life lessons about freedom, and liberty. I don’t know what more I could have asked for.

 

(L70) Labor Unions & Price Inflation

Do Labor Unions Cause Price Inflation?

Labor unions and the people who assemble within them cause great price inflation; this is probably done unknowingly by most, due to the fact that the people making up labor unions are ever so self centered. Some of the things most focused on by labor unions include minimum wages, mandatory hours, overtime pay and social security payments. In personal efforts to secure a higher pay for a minimum number of hours, labor unions have run the money supply of their employers nearly dry. In order to compensate for this lack of income, business owners are forced to jack up the prices of their goods and services. As hours grow and wages rise by force, prices will also be raised by force. The single-mindedness of labor union supporters is causing a worsening of their own economic situation. Labor unions are the product of selfish, uneducated and economically ignorant individuals; they do nothing but worsen the very situations that labor-unioners are trying to get themselves out of!

(L75) Domestic Politics, Economics, & African Government

1.) What kind of success did Africa have with governments that wielded great power over the different African economies?

In Zaire for example, ruler Mobutu Sese Seko (1965-1997) took a great negative¬†toll on the society he ruled over. During his time in charge, there was a copper fueled¬†economic boom; Mobutu took this opportunity to spend great sums of money constantly. He had eleven palaces erected, made his friends instant millionaires, and put up numerous monuments. Following this growth-spurt of power Mobutu launched the African “authenticity” program in which all Christian names were to be replaced with African ones. Christmas was also outlawed, as was dissent,¬†and Mobutu had his own image displayed within the church. Westernized clothing was banned, and to top it all off, he cut national ties with Asians, Belgians and others.
After copper prices once again fell, there was severe economic downturn; Mobutu had to invite the Belgians back after having driven them out. High price inflation and great debt plagued Zaire. Public transportation systems failed and broke down without repair, and even hospitals were barren of the most basic medical supplies such as bandages and oxygen.
The result of anti-capitalistic government practices were devastating to say the least throughout various African economies.

2.) What are some of the major arguments advanced by the Public Choice school of economics?

One major argument advanced by the Public Choice school of economics is that individuals are self interested and motivated, regardless of whether or not they are government officials.
Another argument that Public Choice raises concludes that when one acts in the market, they receive the benefits or suffer the consequences. This is not the case for (voting or) government officials because they receive no feedback as they would in the free market system. Considering the fact that bureaucrats face no feedback, they face no consequences either.

3.) What are front-loading and political engineering?

Front-loading is a practice of political scheduling that shifts momentum towards a particular candidate before the general (final) election. In military terms however, it is simply an over-promising and underpricing (weasel) system to get what they want. To counteract front-loading, rather than rejecting an item that costs astounding amounts of money (which had originally been low-balled in the price pitch), political engineering is then utilized. Political engineering is when the cost of an item (or items) is spread out between as many districts as possible; this creates a domino effect and no one congressmen will (or can) pull the plug on it due to the fact that so many other districts back it.

(L65) Swedish Prosperity & Fascism

1.) The standard claim about Sweden is that it shows that society can prosper without such a free market and with extensive government intervention. Based on the lesson and on your reading, what would be a good response to this claim?

Sweden’s prosperity¬†was originally birthed¬†from a free market capitalistic economy, as well as avoiding war (as best they could). There is no historical evidence, even as late at the 1950s, of great welfare funding, and Sweden’s¬†Austrian economics standpoint¬†lasted between the 19th and even the early 20th century. The economic strength and prosperity¬†that resulted from these practices was eventually funneled into a welfare state.¬†Between 1970 and 1989 taxes were raised and hand-outs were increased; Sweden’s place as the 4th richest industrialized country dropped to the 14th by 1993. Just as capitalism had built their country strong, the turn away from it had began to make their country weak economically; since then however, economic freedom has increased (and surpasses that of the United States greatly).

2.) What were the primary values of fascism?

The primary values¬†of fascism basically hold that the rights of the individual are far surpassed by the “good of the Nation”. In the words of Mussolini, “everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state.” Beside putting the state on a pedestal and pushing for¬†political centralization, fascism also highly encourages nationalism¬†and the glorification of the military.