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

(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).

(L100) Income Redistribution

“Would it be moral to grade exams, so that all students get C’s? If not, is it moral for the state to redistribute incomes?”

It would be nothing less than immoral for a teacher to assign grades in accordance with equality, rather than true individual scores. The reason that giving every student a C (for example) would be wrong, is that every student did not earn a C. Some students earned a much higher grade, and are being punished (receiving negative sanctions) because of those who did not score as high as they did. Others however scored lower than a C, and are being rewarded (receiving positive sanctions) for doing worse than the other students. While obviously far from fair, this system cannot even be chalked up to being remotely positive as it rewards the underachievers and punishes the successors.

The only way to fairly award grades to students would be to grant them the exact grade that they earned. Each student, regardless of each others score’s, would have to reap the rewards or consequences of the grade that the results of their test’s warranted. (Now, yes, I do recognize the flaws in standardized testing, and I understand that many students fail not due to effort exerted, but because of the fact that they are being forced to learn in a way that they do not understand. In this example however, I am referring to an imaginary class of students, all of equal learning ability who have either scored higher or lower based upon the effort they put into studying and learning the test material. In short, this would mean that it would take every student the same amount of time to learn the same amount of information; thus, every student gets the grade that they worked for and can all be graded using the same scale.)

In both the academic and career worlds, people (should) get what they work for. I personally work my little butt off to earn an income that can support my needs, and to be stolen from is heartbreaking. Now, when I speak of being robbed, I am not talking about a masked purse-snatcher assaulting me on the street. No. I am speaking directly about your friendly neighborhood politician; I am talking about his superior, and the man in charge of him too. Every single hard working American is robbed at gunpoint on a daily basis, but does it hurt you the way the plain-sight bandit does? Would you cry the same, or file a report with the police the very same? Do you even notice?

More often than not, these questions are answered with a simple no. Sometimes however, these practices are even encouraged with phrases resembling, “I am just doing my part” or “it’s for the greater good”. So what exactly is the greater good and who is the authority on such? In my opinion, the greater good is to “love thy neighbor” and the overall authority is God. What I do know however is that funding the lives of lazy, alcoholic, drug using, and/or jobless adults and their offspring with stolen money is not the greater good. Welfare programs not only theoretically encourage mooching and joblessness, but have been proven to increase poverty levels throughout the United States. It also has been shown to destroy marriages, reduce the likelihood of a welfare child having a successful future, and increase mental health and home abuse issues.

Why should somebody be granted what another person earned at the threat of force and violence? Would God believe that this is the greater good? Did God say that “thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote”? Absolutely not. God said to help those around you, he said to be generous and love every man. I believe that there are people out there that do truly need help, but I do not believe that coercion and theft are the ways to help them! Allow people to keep that which is theirs; their income in full. Encourage one another to share, trade and lend a helping hand. Charity has changed hundreds of thousands of lives already, and I don’t believe that the power in giving is lost. We can make a difference, even as one person. We can reduce poverty, mental illness and spousal/child abuse. We can build communities that revolve around charitable action and helping rehabilitate people; but first, we must stand up against being forced to enable these things with our own weekly paychecks.

Theft is immoral whether you wear a business suit or a hoodie. It hurts the lives of people on both the receiving and the losing ends.

(L65) Some Answers Must Wait

I will sell my business when it makes a profit of [$??] a year, so that I can [??].

There are a few reasons why I cannot yet accurately provide an answer to this question.

The first being the fact that, I have no idea how much money I would be putting into this particular business to get it started. Would it be out of pocket, or from loans? How much money will I have ultimately paid in interest on those loans?

The second reason being that if my business is doing good enough to sell, that may just be all the reason in the world NOT to sell it! After all the hard work, sweat, and tears, I am just going to sell the polished business? I don’t think so! I will make more money owning the business myself than I will selling it. However, when it is time for me to retire and my days are almost done, it is more likely than not that I would pass this business in my family. This business is my legacy, and I will only leave it in the hands of those I most trust to upkeep my morals and standards within it.

There are plenty of reasons to sell a business, and while I cannot predict the future, I can be nearly sure that something I pour my lifeblood into will not so easily be bought.

(L45) Loans & Depreciation

Why shouldn’t I borrow to buy something that depreciates?

I will never borrow money to pay for an item that depreciates in value because in the long-run, the item will end up costing me even more than it should have in the first place. Say, for example, that I borrowed money to buy a brand new car. Well, not only will I be paying interest on the loan that I used to buy the car with, but the car will also immediately drop in value the second that I drive it off of the lot.

In short, this means that I am going to pay more than the car is actually worth from the minute it’s mine. On top of the extra money I am paying to own the new car which will only decrease in value over time, I am paying money to the person I borrowed from. Added together, I am paying a great amount more for the car than it is physically worth. Five years down the line, the car will sell for even less money than it would have the year before. Basically it is just a great loss to me in terms of the future.

Another reason not to borrow money for something that depreciates in value is the issue of repayment to the lender. Borrowing money to invest in a business for example would be a great future oriented decision. A business would bring in more income (hopefully) than it cost me, and I would be able to repay the lender with the least amount of interest costs possible. However, borrowing money to pay for an item that loses value over time will only make it more difficult for me to repay the lender because I am losing money (value) each day. This will also result in me paying more money in interest than I would had I invested in something that has increasing value over time.

(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!

(L55) High Bid Wins or First Come, First Served?

In what area of your life would you prefer ‘first come, first served’ to ‘high bid wins’? Why?

Well, in my current situation first come first served is more convenient for me than high bid wins because, quite honestly, I am nearly broke and I have more time than money. Convenience however does not always equate to morality, and so I would have to say that I would always prefer high bid wins. My reason for this is that by deciding first come first serve should be the standard of the market, I am penalizing people who’s time is more valuable than their money.

A high bid wins standard throughout the market would be comparable to (something along the lines of) a six-flags line for a ride. There would be two lines alongside one another; one where time is less valuable so the wait is longer and the price is cheaper, and one line in which you can pay more for a shorter wait. This is a more fair, and  free market based system of serving customers because it favors both people who have more money, and people who have more time. Nobody is penalized or excluded.

Another example of this would be online shopping. Nobody waits in line to shop on the internet, they just pay and wait for their product to be shipped. At checkout however, there is an option to pay more in order to have the product shipped faster. The idea of high bid wins, otherwise known as priority shipping, is not condemned in society because it is private. However should this system be applied in public, people who have been trained their whole lives to wait in line become outraged, as they feel their have been cheated or treated unfairly by this high bid wins system of market freedom.