Sarah Hoyt had a post up yesterday that started off like this…

Yesterday I took a shashay down to Otherwhere Gazette, where someone in the comments of the posts was asking what the difference was between us and the SJWs, except they had a college degree and we didn’t.

Go read the whole thing HERE and bring your BP meds (or the duct tape of your choice)!

I’m not going to rehash what Sarah said, as she’s much more erudite than I, but I do want to add my perspective, FWIW…

We all know that Larry Correia has been branded the International Lord of Hate for his fisking of the SJWs and the whole Hugo nomination and voting scheme, along with Brad Torgerson.

So anyway, about the edumacation thingie…

A few of the authors I know that are on the ‘right’ side of the equation (take that any way you want), are in fact degree holding individuals. But the thing that I think really separates us from the SJWs is real world experience and skills. Brad Torgerson, Mike Kupari, Tom Kratman, Tom Rogneby and John Ringo all US Army veterans; Peter Grant South African Army veteran, Marko Kloos West German Army veteran. Michael Z Williamson and JD Kinman USAF veterans; I’m a US Navy veteran. Kelly Grayson is a paramedic and nationally certified ALS instructor. Larry Correia didn’t serve as far as I know, but did work as an accountant and ran a business for a number of years. Most of the ladies, like Sarah, LB Johnson, and others I read have at least one degree too…

But to me the real separator is real world experience. Making payroll, serving your country in various parts of the world, teaching, flying, WORKING FOR A PAYCHECK, and a myriad of experiences that most SJWs never do. They seldom leave their ‘hallowed ivory towers’ to actually DO anything, preferring instead to continue their ‘education’, ensconced in a safe and comfortable environment of like individuals as they catalog the ‘damage’ people like us who are out there working do to the world everyday.

There is also, IMHO, a significant difference in the old farts of my generation and the younger, in that educated or not, they are not able to fix the simplest things… A leaking faucet, a light switch, change a tire, change the oil…

They have always had one of those ‘service people’ to do it for them, and I’m betting 90% of the follow on generations don’t even have a basic set of tools either in the car or in the house.

The other ‘push’ is ‘qualifications’, e.g. having a sprinkling of letters after your name saying you are certified in something. At dinner Friday night with Turin, his FIL, Stretch and I, the conversation turned to that. Turin, in a previous position, was tasked with putting together training programs for the military and one of the ‘requirements’ was an instructor classification code, and a Master Training Specialist (MTS) designator, plus X years of experience. It got a laugh out of me since I would not have qualified for the position even with a BS degree in Adult Education/curriculum development, 14 years military instructor experience, and a 9502 NEC; because I wasn’t an MTS… Because they DIDN’T HAVE that designation when I retired…

Education means many things to many people, my parents never finished high school, actually neither one made it to the 7th grade. They grew up in the Depression and had to work. They were both self taught and lifelong readers, who kept up on not only local but national and world events. My dad traveled the world drilling oil wells until he married my mother and settled down in the pipeline side of the oil business, and he was a district manager when he died. Not bad for a ‘uneducated’ Southerner… My mother, along with running rental houses, also managed a school kitchen for a number of years.

I look at the work I do now, turning PHDs ‘dreams’ into reality… That reality is by and large accomplished by folks without a ‘degree’, but who can get the job done, navigate, design a plan that works and they execute it. The have a PHD in real world…

I think the last difference is we take responsibility for what we do. We don’t try to foist blame off on others, we admit our mistakes (mistakes are experiences one lives through), and get on with life. We accept the cards we are dealt, and play the hand out win, lose or draw.

If you’re still here, thanks for reading and I’d be interested in your thoughts.




Edumacation… — 42 Comments

  1. Never served, but did earn 4-year paper as an engineer, primarily as a side effect from my father’s parenting “skills.” His motto was “why are you bothering me with this? Isn’t that your problem to solve?” So, I began climbing the (sometimes vertical) learning curve on problem solving at a pretty early age. He never allowed me to fall far, but did expect me to find my own handholds on the cliff and experience all the minor cuts and bruises.

    Thanks, Dad. Where I am today is because of where you were then.

    I’ve designed everything from semiconductor manufacturing tooling to multi-million dollar computer systems, and I’ve noticed the more letters people have behind their names the less they are able to do. I also think people today are more willing to accept what I term “practicality isolation” where they believe not only is it not their place to understand the complexities of day-to-day existence, but to develop, and maintain, a dependency on “experts,” defined as “anything outside of my particular specialty.” Today I pay people to work on my car, but one summer long ago I earned a PhD in differentials and “awfulmagic” transmissions on my first car and my sister’s second one which left me unafraid of anything man-designed forevermore. Actually fixing the cars was inconsequential compared to learning that I could do it.

    Skills can be learned; mindsets are much harder to change. This morning SiG celebrated his 5 year blogversary, and included this: “Survival is for cockroaches; let’s thrive.”
    I worry that too many Americans don’t comprehend that.

  2. Experience…… successful experience (meaning we survived it), seems to be what you are angling at.

    Agreed. Edjumacation, especially the college variety, means one has acquired a piece of paper with a seal and fancy writing on it. Boiled down in real terms, that paper says one showed up, most of the time, and the check with their name on it cleared. It says nothing about actual knowledge imbibed, and certainly doesn’t imply actual competence in any way.

    Oh… and at least one of those lady writers is more properly addressed as ‘Doctor’.

  3. James, my experiences, and the conclusions drawn from them, are similar to yours. Four years in the Army (1973-77) after ROTC, been a salesman in Maryland since then. So I am well-acquainted with self-identified “well-educated” people who believe that education entitles (nay, requires!) them to run other folks’ lives. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Marylanders who seem content with being told what to do, how to live their lives, etc.

    An experience I had several months ago is illustrative. I attended a few get-togethers of people who claimed to be anarchists. (My version of anarchy is the Greek one: no rulers. Not chaos, not nihilism, but rather personal responsibility for one’s life and not initiating violence against others or their property.) Long story short: damn near every one was a leftist, and most were far left. Many were still in academia (both students and teachers), the rest mostly had jobs that required little responsibility nor mental effort. Each had a litany of complaints about the world that they believed (only) government could solve, and when questioned about why government hadn’t done anything about it yet, the answer was always some variation of “It’s the fault of Bush/Republicans/Koch brothers!” Whiny children. I stopped going, because I prefer adult conversations with people who actually use data, reasoned arguments, and relevant life experiences in their arguments.

  4. When the Wizard of Oz gave the scarecrow a diploma, he was suddenly able to recite the Pythagorean Theorem as evidence of his newly gained intelligence. I think some people still equate the credential with the ability, and this is not always the case, as you have observed.

    Some of the brightest people I know have no degree beyond a high school diploma or trade school diploma, if they finished any formal education at all. I see that in manufacturing and on the shop floor in machine shops every day.

  5. NFO, I know you heard this before, but I post it here because I was reminded of it when reading your post.
    Bill Bennett authored “Is College Worth It?”:
    <a href="link text“>Bill recognizes his limitations.

  6. Fix a leaky faucet? Please. I know someone who spent a fortune hiring a painter to paint his matchbox sized bathroom, because he didn’t have a clue. I have neighbors with take-out delivery guys at their door every night, and another who tossed out a perfectly good shirt because a button fell off. These people all college educated, yet they couldn’t manage basic repairs or day to day tasks I learned in my teens. I hate to think of what they’d do if they got a flat – probably trade in the car. I figure in another ten years tradespeople are going to rule the world.

  7. I (kind of) qualify in both camps.
    Sadly, before I worked 22 years as a credit card fraud investigator, I had 40 jobs!
    And I started there at age 34!
    AND, after dropping out of the University (because I’d not yet matured), I attended community college and obtained an A.A. degree in police science – with high distinction!)
    Lots of job experience, and (some) education.
    TODAY, I write a blog read by 10s of people! (sometimes)
    I feel as if I’m at the far bottom of the list.
    But, am on it (?)


  8. I never confuse education with intelligence, or degrees with experience. Learning how to present information is important, but it is secondary to understanding the application and end user.

  9. Anon- Thank you sir, THAT is exactly what I’m talking about! And I’m betting you were proud of the fact that you fixed both the differential and the trans. Being able to SEE the final product of your labor never gets old.

    Art- Yes, that’s true too! And yes, Dr. is appropriate 🙂

    Chris- Excellent point and “self-identified “well-educated” people who believe that education entitles (nay, requires!) them to run other folks’ lives.” is a pretty damn good description of the SJWs! Thanks!

    Liberty- True, and those ARE the people actually producing things, unlike the others!

    Andy- Thanks!

    Ed- But you didn’t quit, you found the right link! And I agree with Bennett… sigh

    Mrs.C- You may well be right, but ONLY if they toe the SJW’s utopian line in the sand…

    gfa- Like many of us, you have a PHD in real world… And you’re still hanging in and hanging on. Many would have given up in your circumstances. YOU haven’t and won’t…

    Gerry- Good point! 🙂 Thanks!

  10. +1 on the comment about intelligence vs. education. Most degrees aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, and life in the workforce bears that out. After 44 years of in said workforce, I’d rather hire folks who know how to get things done.

  11. I’m someone whose chosen profession requires a few of those letters after my name, and now that I’m going to be shaking things up a bit, I’ll be heading back to school for a few more letters to scribble after my name. It’s part of being a physician and then side-tracking into the research side of things.

    But I have an extensive collection of tools, both mine and those handed down from my grandfather and father. I can change the tires, the oil, and the brakes on my car and truck. I can breakdown and reassemble my firearms and shoot them fairly well. I know how all of the appliances in my house work. I can hang drywall, lay tile, do simple plumbing and minor electrical repairs, and know how to paint around the house. My parents trained me well before they turned me loose.

  12. For the record, I’m a USAF vet, not an Army vet. Those guys in the Army run way too much and I’m more at home either in the air or in the water. Air Force offers the opportunity to do both. Airplane runs out of gas over the ocean, you get to go swimming. Perfect. (I would’ve joined the Navy except that they didn’t have enough airplanes.)

    It was my military service that not only allowed me to earn a college education, but that also gave me the discipline and confidence to do so with academic honors.

    My real education began the day I stepped off the bus at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. My college education at Texas Tech University simply used a solid foundation of real world skills, knowledge and experience to build upon.

    I detest intellectual snobbery every bit as much as I detest the “bubba pride” that I define as “I’m ignorant, I know it and I take pride in the fact that I purposefully work harder each to day to get more ignorant and stupid. If that bothers you, then here, hold my beer and watch this!”

    I spent the bulk of my professional years using the gray matter between my ears to write headlines and commercials and descriptive BS about various sugar waters, stale pizzas and other hoorah Madison Avenue creations. Not complaining as it paid obscenely well and was mostly indoor work.

    But now, in my semi-retirement years, I find I enjoy working with my hands and creating things. The people I admire come from many walks of life. Engineers fascinate me, scientists amaze me and theologists inspire me. On every bit as equal footing as them, however, are the electricians who can take one line of magical, mystical static and run it into a structure and so that every electrical device known the mankind can run. Plumbers and carpenters are like wizards, and nobody can touch the gifted automotive mechanic.

    Yet, a large portion of our society holds their nose up at the blue collar trades. Not me. I salute them and I encourage more young people and returning veterans to pursue vocational degrees.

    JD Kinman

  13. Rev- Yep, I got an email that said words to the effect that- I hire people smarter than me. Degrees be damned.

    Pedi- YOU have real world experience that goes with those letters. You EARNED them, don’t forget that. And you served. You know what I’m talking about.

    JD- Oops, sorry bout that… And agree with all!

  14. I’m one of those who have letters after my name. I’ve also got a son who dropped out of college after one year and now runs his own multi-million dollar construction company (to clarify, his revenue is multi-million, but so are his expenses – his profit is not in the multi-million dollar range, but he makes a good living and provides jobs for many). One could argue that he has done more to benefit society than I have.

    IMO people who get hung up on degrees or certifications are no different than those who judge other people by how they look, rather than by their character. Which brings us back to the SJWs. A degree in a feel-good field such as Sociology, Minority or Female Studies, etc. entitles them to feel superior to others, regardless of how much they contribute to society.

  15. As a graduate of the University of Adversity, I can say that I’m not discontent with the paths that I chose. The Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School has helped, I guess, but rising above adversity does more.

  16. Tim- Thanks, appreciate that story and your perspective.

    LL- Agreed! And that FIRST degree informs your outlook on life too!

  17. There is perhaps more education, but less learning today. Schools want to teach kids a dozen and one ways to have sex. Why couldn’t they take that time and teach the kids a Dave Ramsey course, instead? I know why they don’t. They want teens having babies and living off the gubmint. Self-sufficiency is actively discouraged.

  18. I was given a Continental 7 cylinder radial engine when I was 12 years old. (don’t ask). It had a broken con rod on one of the cylinders. So it wouldn’t run anyway so I took it completely apart down to the last nut and bolt, to see how it was made and what made it tick, then put it all back together minus the broken piece, and was able to turn it over using a 2×4 as a prop. Got the timing right. I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life for at least twenty years. Joined the Navy became an ADR and got to do what I liked best. Have three boys who can fix,repair,build,weld,any piece of gear that needs it. Only because when they asked me how to fix something I always told them to figure it out themselves and that way it it would stick with them.

    So please enlighten me, what the hell is an SJW? Stupid Jerk Wacko? That is the best I could come up with!

  19. Ev- Why am I NOT surprised… LOL Reading your book was enlightening to put it mildly! SJW is social justice warrior- e.g. one with a degree that is telling us what we’re doing wrong… in EVERYTHING!

  20. A friend and I were talking about this very thing the other day. If the those of us in the “trades” were to go Galt as it were, half of the people in this country especially the SJW’s would die off within a month. They have no concept of what they don’t know and can’t do. We, on the other hand, would be just fine on our own.

  21. I have an utterly worthless University degree that had zero positive effect on my work-career. I think it’s real use was in linguistics as a hone for my bullshit detector. But my dad was a Shop teacher and living overseas in a 3rd world poverty-stricken country I learned how to do a lot of things on my own. When my first very-used car burnt a valve and dropped a rod that lunched the motor, my brother helped me remove it from the vehicle and take it apart. I thought he was going to help me on the “project” but he took-off and I didn’t see him for several years, so I had to f’ing figure it out myself. When I got into computer graphics and design I had to teach myself because there weren’t any classes to take at the time, let alone anything to do with user-interface design. Nowadays you can graduate with a major in the topic, and a big jargon-packed vocabulary with which to bullshit Marketing Managers and other non-tech types.

  22. A boss who taught me a lot of useful procedures said a college degree, for initial hiring, showed the individual was able to follow through and complete a course of action. Beyond that, performance mattered.

  23. I have the most respect for people that know what they are dong. My personnel have no degrees, yet do the hard work well, and with a minimum of fuss. Yes they have needed State licensing for the job, but they are so much more than that.

    I have never served, but have multiple degrees and industry certifications. All of that paper and a buck fifty will get you a Coke out of the machine. I get paid for results, not the sheepskins.

  24. Have you ever read Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘Glide Path’? There is an hilarious passage that addresses the issue of your dreaming Ph.D’s.
    Nothing really to disagree with in your post or Sarah’s. I always read your posts on this topic with interest and respect, especially since I have to curb a knee-jerk reaction of offense. (cue querulous essay below, sorry)

    Because on paper I fit that SJW profile: southern New England, white-collar background, three liberal arts degrees heavily subsidized by my family, no military service to speak of since WWI, three solid generations of Ph.D.’s and other fancy papers trailing behind me, I couldn’t make it worse.My degrees are economically useless: medieval Scottish government, really?
    Aside from the ‘non-credential’ experiences which I have not outlined above (thus your point), the saving grace is threefold: the most important point is that none of my degrees came from the US university system, which is a mockery of both scholarship and humanity. Secondly, I realized that I didn’t want to be a person who argued over angels on a pin but couldn’t change a tire. I decided to learn how to do both. Finally, I believe that humanity is the mixture of free will and a limitless creative urge.
    SJW’s and free will are incompatible.
    On the other hand, while I agree that our system of credentials is a useless (and entirely modern) creation; I do think that there is a danger in that ‘bubba pride’ thing one earlier commenter noted. My Ph.D. is economically useless; it does not follow that was a wasted four and a half years or that I would be a better person or the world a better place if I had spent the time in a more ‘real world’ fashion. The only judge I’ll answer to on that charge is God.
    Creativity is frequently useless to both the banker and the man, but determining ahead of time that a particular creative effort is necessarily useless because it doesn’t have an immediate economic benefit or practical gain? For what that leads to, as ironic as it seems, I’d suggest Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem’.

  25. USAF taught me a lot.
    After I got out I had a lot of manual labor jobs until I found a trade I liked.
    Started with a shovel and some years later was CEO of my own shop.

  26. Yep, I only have a few “letters” behind my name, but I was always able to figure out why something wasn’t working even when I had no documentation, and then get it fixed in pretty short order.

    And one of those jobs where I was counting on my “letters” to get me an interview, the guy that interviewed me mentioned my hobbies over my “letters”!

    Told me that what a man did in his off-time said a lot about him.

    Geez…….I’m feeling old!

  27. JMI- I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you could very well be right. And that would fall into the agenda… Sigh

    Rick R- Yeah, that would be interesting… Especially in your neck of the woods. Self sufficiency IS a vector the SJWs don’t seem to understand.

    NC- Great points! And you’re right, when there IS no curriculum, you DO have to learn it yourself.

    WSF- In OUR world, yes performance matters, for the SJWs not so much…

    Keads- Agreed! It’s ALL about production on the workfloor-

    Acair- Yes Glidepath is a great book! You, by your own definition are NOT a SJW, because you DID decide not to continue ‘counting angels’, but have gotten real world experience. You’re right too, we will all answer to God for what we’ve done. I work with PHDs every day that CAN do things, inventing new technology, and taking current tech in new and different ways. But a huge difference, IMHO, is they are not ‘lab rats’, they actually get in the field, get their hands dirty on the construction floor, and know HOW to assemble their tech to make it work. Thanks for the reminder on Anthem, I will go find it and read it again.

    Skip- Yep, those skills and persistence pays off!

    drjim- Another point, and I’ve never heard of an interviewer getting off script and asking about hobbies… LOL

  28. OK. I hold a Master’s degree in Information Systems. I’ve been working in the healthcare informatics (fancy term, means programming in the healthcare industry) industry for (mumble, mumble) years. Lets just say when I had my first job, the Bush in the White House was a combat veteran.

    I learn to work on just about everything from helping my father growing up. (I have a set of tools in the back of my vehicle and know how to use them.) Dad learned it from being a turret mechanic attached to the 1st Armored from 61-63. He then was a switchman for the B&O CT RR for 27 and a half years.

    Do I get to offset the Brady’s since I am decidedly pro-self defense and for enforcing the laws we currently have versus passing new laws that are ineffective and redundant?

  29. Please… I’m having a stupid moment… what does SJW stand for

    • Social Justice Warrior.

      Odd, since most of them are seeking revenge for a percieved wrong instead of actual justice.

  30. When it comes to writing, I’ve found that people who have gone out into the big, scary world and done something that touches real things for a while tend to write better stories. When I read you, Peter, MZW, or whoever, I can tell there’s a lot of life experiences in those stories. Thought exercises that stretch for 400 pages aren’t that interesting to me.

    As for education, a degree is, to me, nothing more than certification that you’ve been exposed to information in a discreet, narrow, and sometimes arcane wedge of humanity. What you do with that degree, and what you’re able to do in circumstances it doesn’t cover, is what gives you authority.

  31. Responsibility and its cousin accountability, those things many of us who are accused of being “heartless” encourage others to develop, are not code words for “we lack compassion.” Rather, they are THE keys to freedom. I’m not free because I retired from the Navy. I’m not free because I’ve worked in a lot of different fields. I’m not free because I’m self-employed. I’m not free because I have a degree. I’m not free because I can build a house, navigate a ship, grow a garden, fish, shoot or field dress a deer. I’m free because at some point, thanks to the words and examples of men and women much wiser than I, I learned to not just accept responsibility and accountability for my life, but to insist on it.

  32. Dad was a Chief Machinist Mate. He thought that if I was going to drive a car, I needed to learn how they ran. So at age 14, he bought an old junker that I took apart, put back together and drove around the back field. Flash forward to 2 engineering degrees and working in a ship yard building offshore rigs. One time we had a hang up with the mooring system and had to go down into the chain locker to clear a fouled swivel. I was the only engineer in the group that climbed down into that hole.

    At one time I wanted to work in the diving industry (The Navy was doing their Man in the Sea program) so I learned how to scuba dive and even rented myself out as a lab rat to test decompression tables feeling that if I was going to be effective, I had to know what the diver had to deal with.

    It was sink or swim in the offshore industry. You were sent offshore with some welders and a pile of pipe and told to go build something. You were on your own. No fax, no phone, no laptop. At best you had 1 radio telephone call per day.

    I’ve been to most of the lousy places on earth that oil is produced. Last year I got a long term assignment to Paris and I had to remind my colleagues that it took me 40 years to earn it.

  33. Joe- You do, because you actually DO things… 🙂

    Chris- Joe is right.

    DB- Good point! And thanks!!! 🙂

    RM- I’m there with ya. Thanks for your service too!

    PE- You are one of the GOOD engineers! You actually have experience! And enjoy Paris…

    Crucis- True, but ONLY if one takes responsibility for one’s self…

  34. I had to leave school to help feed and provide a house for my family.
    I got a GED as well as PHD in hard knocks.
    I have managed a restaurant, a bar plus four different convenience stores. I went from bag boy to Head cashier and assistant front end manager for Kroger. I was a warehouse and an electronics manager at Toys R Us Before my health declined I was a Correctional Officer for ten years. I would have loved to have gone to college, but it never happened.

  35. Growing up on a farm really helped me out. I learned that I had a knack for mechanics and electricity. I went to school where they preached cross pollination. My electronics degree required machine tool work, welding engineering classes and a heavy dose of mechanical engineering. I got done when I was 28. It wasn’t a state school, so there was no curve. I earned my GPA.

    2 of the jobs I got, the interviewer was more interested in my hobbies and outside experience than my degree. The degree basically said I know how to learn. It’s been a handy door opener. But results are what matter.

    Thanks for this. I have a whole family of SJW’s. Teachers, the lot of them. But my policeman dad and the highway patrol uncle did more to influence their world for good in my opinion.

  36. Rick- Understood, and you DID what you had to do. You DID things!

    STx- Good point, and you’re the second that mentioned hobbies… 🙂 And kudos to your dad and uncle!