Something that has always been difficult to wrap our heads around as lovers of freedom and liberty is this idea of a one-size-fits-all education model. The very nature of public or private generic classroom education is coercive and constraining. It is determined what we will learn and when we will learn it. If something does interest you, it is implied that you do not get to pursue that topic until you are 18 years old and then it is saddled with an additional range of classes labeled “general education”. These classes have been deemed necessary to include in your academic profile no matter how irrelevant they are to your educational objective. And then, this “learning” can only commence if you have the resources to attend a university or the ability to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.
If you cannot attend college, what then? Will you be forever doomed to a mind-numbing job with no advancement opportunities where you are only free to daydream on the weekends about what could have been if only you had pursued a higher education? That is certainly what we are led to believe. So by this measure, everyone who has been successful, every brilliant mind has certainly put in all four, or six, or eight years in to the system plus a residency or some other proof of knowledge before going off to achieve anything of value. Right?
We know that to be completely ridiculous and untrue. We have heard stories of autodidacts. People like Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla who dropped out of university and went on to make significant advancements in a variety of fields. That is not discussed in a classroom of course. We hear about them much later in life. Typically once we have already sunk a vast array of resources in to our own education.
The beauty to how autodidacts function is that while they may have some formal education, the substance behind their success is that they choose what interests them and how they want to study. They are self-guided and direct themselves in how they become educated in their interested topic. They then determine how they will go about implementing this knowledge in the real world.
Professor CJ Killmer of The Dangerous History Podcast, knows a thing or two about self directed learning. As a self described “Professional History Dork”, Professor CJ is an actual professor who does his best to implement his critiques of the education system into his classroom. Delving in to history on his own, he also digs in to little known or discussed historical facts. Things that do not quite fit in with what the establishment has decided is the mold of how we educate ourselves and our kids.
The overall goal of The Dangerous History Podcast is to help us to learn what really happened in the past. Armed with this knowledge, we can better understand the present and prepare for the future. We can also realize that it is entirely possible to achieve a level of education outside of the formal classroom setting.
Education’s Role in Building a Voluntary Community
How does self directed education fit in to our theme of building a voluntary community? Perfectly. The idea of voluntarism allows us to take action in to our own hands. Taking responsibility and initiative with our own education and allowing it to be self-guided is the natural development to spark a generation of free thinkers and self learners. Taking individual initiative and becoming empowered to seek things out for ourselves is the only way to break free of the mold that has been cast for us.
This is why we are so excited to have Professor CJ on board with us for this year’s Freecoast Festival. His speech “Autodidacts Throughout History” will take a fascinating look into what has been accomplished by empowered and self-guided free thinkers and leave us pondering the opportunities that could arise from implementing a different approach to learning. Don’t miss it! Get your tickets to Freecoast Fest today!
CJ Killmer has been teaching college history since 2006. Since 2014, he has also been hosting and producing the Dangerous History Podcast, a show that covers a wide variety of historical topics from an antiwar, anti-establishment, anti-state, pro-freedom perspective. The Dangerous History Podcast takes CJ’s countless hours spent as a Professional History Dork and boils all the most interesting and/or important stuff he has learned into podcast episodes, combining education with entertainment with the ultimate goal of empowerment.