How Analyzing Mixed Martial Arts Can Be Used to Prove the Need for Alternative Education Pathways

khabib nurmagomedov ufc champion and alternative education pathways

The necessity of alternative education pathways can be illuminated by an analogy to the mixed martial arts approach. Neither the pursuit of education or mixed martial arts should have singular pathways due to the massive limitations on achievement ensured by singular pathways over alternative education pathways . Today, all of us should pursue alternative education pathways, and broaden our educational horizons way beyond the traditional institutional form of schooling that is severely lacking in nine pillars of education that I’ve identified as critical to education, but yet nearly entirely absent in traditional academic classrooms. I have written quite a lengthy article and produced a video about this topic so I will release them at a later date, but in the meantime, let’s continue onward with our present subject matter. As children, curiosity is one of our greatest educators and one of the most compelling originators of alternative education pathways, as the curious nature of children generates a seemingly endless stream of questions based upon our observations of our environment. For this reason, I end nearly every one of my videos with the phrase “stay intensely curious” as I want to ensure that I constantly encourage the pursuit of alternative education pathways. In the past, I’ve observed parents make comments about their young children, similar to the following: “They ask so many questions,” with a hint of exhaustion in the comment.

Why Do We Call Air Oxygen if It’s Mostly Nitrogen?

In fact, after hearing one friend state this about her young daughter, I encouraged him to keep fostering her daughter’s curiosity instead of stifling it. I said to him, “Don’t kill that spark. Encourage her to always remain curious, because the more questions she asks, the more she will learn throughout her entire life. You don’t want to kill her interest in alternative education pathways while she is still so young.” In fact, my friend’s comment about his daughter’s relentless curiosity was spurred by his daughter’s question of, “Daddy, if the air we breathe is mostly nitrogen, then how come people say we need oxygen to live?” I became involved in the conversation when I heard the father provide an improper response to her daughter’s question. In fact, though I’m sure children ask a lot of questions to which I don’t know the answer, I happened to know the correct answer to this one. However, I surprisingly discovered, by asking a few of my friends this same question, that many adults do not know the answer to this question. Consequently, before reading further, answer this question yourself, because if you answer incorrectly, this speaks volumes about how our levels of curiosity disappear as we grow older.

The answer that the young girl’s father provided was, “We don’t need nitrogen to survive, but we need oxygen.” That is completely untrue. In fact, not only does the human body require nitrogen for vital functions like cellular repair and protein synthesis, but even plants need nitrogen to survive, and nitrogen serves as great fertilizer for plants. In any event, I interrupted my friend’s conversation with her daughter to let her daughter know that nitrogen is vital for human survival, but the reason we refer to the air we breathe as oxygen and not nitrogen even though it is 78% nitrogen is because the nitrogen that exists in air is an inert gas that humans don’t absorb. Consequently, because oxygen is the element of air that we absorb, we refer to air that is primarily nitrogen as oxygen. All scuba divers, including yours truly, understand the dangers of nitrogen, as diving at considerable depths causes the nitrogen which we inhale to condense into liquid and enter the bloodstream. All divers know the reason we need to make safety stops on the ascent is to allow the nitrogen to transform back into gas at lower atmospheric pressure (atm pressure increases with greater underwater depth), and to give the nitrogen gas adequate time to safely pass out of our bloodstream and into our lungs, where we can exhale it out of our bodies. Ascending too rapidly and not allowing adequate time for this process leads to a very dangerous symptom called the “bends”. In such instances, nitrogen, an inert gas in the earth’s atmosphere, and normally harmless to humans, becomes dangerous.

Given that all children possess what seems to be an endless amount of curiosity, it is quite interesting that nearly none of them question whether the platform of institutional schooling provides the best platform to learn the most important knowledge in life that will lead to a better quality of life, and that nearly none ever pursue any alternative education pathways during their entire lives. This really should be the number one question asked by every child before committing to being processed by the institutional schooling system, yet is asked by nearly none.  Or perhaps, since parents make this decision for children, many children pose this question to their parents but are quickly shut down by their parents in the consideration of any other avenue of learning other than institutional schooling. Stated another way,

Every child, and every child’s parent, should be completely agnostic about the pathway of education, and simply choose alternative education pathways that provide the best education possible and simultaneously bestow the most useful and transformational knowledge that possess the highest probability of allowing one’s dreams and purpose in life to be achieved.

If this were the case, nearly every rational person would admit that every child would seek multiple avenues of education, including alternative education pathways like the highly important avenue of self-education, and not just commit to one platform. However, the near complete absence of this behavior in society, to seek any alternative education pathways outside the mandated schooling system, raises an important question. Have we all been brainwashed into blindly complying to an institutional academic system that does not provide the best learning opportunities for us?

A Singular Pathway in Martial Arts Produces a Martial Artist with Many Weaknesses

As a martial artist, I was always astounded by the level of close mindedness I encountered among teachers of the arts. I had been told not just once, but by multiple teachers throughout my martial arts training, that I should not study any other art form under any other teacher than the one being taught in my current class. And these teachers that were against any student training in another art form or at another dojo usually did not wait for the inevitable question of why, but they quickly offered up their rationalization against any “extra-curricular” training, or what we could easily label as alternative education pathways in martial arts training. They mostly stated that training in another form would not only slow down learning the present style, but would also introduce bad habits into one’s learning of the present martial art form, because different styles advocated different methodologies of kicking, punching and striking. In retrospect, this “advice” sounded eerily similar to Google executive Eric Schmidt’s stated desire for Google’s search engine, in the future, to think for us by only returning one “correct” answer to every search conducted on their search engine and to censor multiple possible answers to searches conducted on Google that would encourage the user to exercise critical thought that would allow the user to reach his or her independent conclusion regarding a question searched on Google (watch the 1:10 minute mark of I wonder what one correct response Google executives would program their blacklisting, censorship- happy Google search engine algorithm to return in response to the question, “What is the best martial art for combat?”

If one is training to become a professional mixed martial artist, one has to be proficient in wrestling, grappling and striking, or not just in one style, but also in alternative education pathways for the arts. One can’t be proficient in only one of these three aspects and expect to be successful over a sustained period of time, because there are too many other people that are proficient in all three combat skills. For example, if you only work on wrestling and grappling and never striking, once this glaring weakness becomes readily apparent, all fighters that have an upcoming fight with you will ravenously work on their take down defense and make you fight them standing up so they can exploit your weakness and likely defeat you. And vice versa. Furthermore, as a mixed martial artist, if you never pursue alternative education pathways in the arts, then your weaknesses will be forever exploitable. Even though I never had plans to become a professional fighter, when I started training in martial arts, I loved training in different styles so that I could synthesize the different styles and techniques that worked best for me into my own unique style. I trained in Kyokushinkai karate, Chin Na, Aikijutsu, Aikido, Muay Thai, Krav Maga and Northern Shaolin Gung Fu, and trained on two different continents. Though there is truth to martial arts legend Bruce Lee’s comment, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”, diversity of knowledge is equally as important, so every martial artist must find the proper balance between knowledge of diverse arts and specialiization to become an effective martial artist. 

Many people misinterpret that above comment from Bruce Lee as stating advocacy for only learning only one martial arts style, but if we look at Bruce’s actions, we clearly understand that this interpretation is incorrect. Long before anyone was combining grappling and striking skills, Bruce was executing guillotine chokes on Chuck Norris in The Way of the Dragon and arm bars on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in The Game of Death. And for those people that think Bruce Lee was a film fighter and really didn’t know how to fight, listen to interviews with US heavyweight full contact kickboxing champion Joe Lewis, who credits training with Bruce for his progression in skills that enabled him to defeat all the top kickboxers and stated that “in a great way”, Bruce’s instruction improved his fighting style. Mr. Lewis even recalled a story about Bruce’s incomparable strength, even when compared with men twice his weight. In this video, Joe Lewis recounted how Bruce could take two 34 kg (75lb) dumbbells, hold them at chest level while standing up, move them horizontally in slow motion until his arms were fully extended and hold that position for a few seconds. Mr. Lewis said that even men he knew that could bench press 225 kg (500lbs) could not duplicate this feat. Or listen to one of the best boxers of all time, in any weight class division, Sugar Ray Leonard, speak about how all of Bruce’s movements had a tactical fighting purpose with no wasted movement with incredible speed, power and accuracy. When one of the greatest boxers of all time states that Bruce had the ability to “compete at the highest levels”, one should listen to actual fighting champions’ assessment of Bruce’s fighting skills, and not to keyboard warriors who often state that Bruce couldn’t fight in real life, was only a “movie” warrior, but yet have never trained a day in their life in martial arts. You don’t learn the skills Bruce possessed without knowing how to fight in real life and without pursuing many alternative education pathways in the martial arts. Had a competition like the UFC existed when Bruce was in his prime, his skillset, speed, power and accuracy would have been second to none in his weight class, especially since there were virtually no professional fighters back in his time that knew how to strike and grapple.

What we know for certain, from MMA competition results, is that if you stick to one pathway in your training, you will not rise to the top, unless deliberately plucked as a money-making asset like Brock Lesnar, who had tremendous cross-appeal with WWE fans, and therefore given the easiest road possible to become champion that avoided all the top contenders in that weight class. For example, had Brock Lesnar had to fight Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, two of the best heavyweights at the time, on his journey to become UFC Champion, the chance that he would have become a UFC champion is less than 1%, as Brock may have won 1 in 100 fights against a prime Cain Velasquez, because Cain was a world-class striker and wrestler whereas Brock was only an elite wrestler. As the person martial artists consider to be the father of Mixed Martial Arts, Bruce Lee stated, to become a successful fighter, you study many styles, discard what doesn’t work and keep what does.

Likewise, in education, one must pursue many different alternative education pathways, determine what works and what doesn’t, and discard not only alternative education pathways that do not work, but also make the decision to completely forgo the traditional route of a university and college education if these systems simply cannot provide the best educational experiences that match your goals. With mixed martial arts, this assessment is easier to make than with education, as the criteria is winning or losing in actual combat. In education, however, the definition of “winning” is much more opaque. In education, winning is not about knowing a million facts, or even in knowing more facts than the next person. Who cares about how many facts you know if it doesn’t improve your quality of life? On the opposite side of this argument, I’m not advocating education as a strict Machiavellian pursuit, because learning things due to curiosity is still a worthwhile endeavor. If you’re fascinated by astronomy, then learning about the planets in our solar system and the Milky Way galaxy is still a noble pursuit if you extract enjoyment from studying this subject matter. Everything we learn does not need to be about the improvement of our quality of life, though one could argue that when someone extracts joy from the learning process, this joy ultimately improves one’s quality of life.

Winning in education is knowing more than others about things that have great utility in the real world, not relegated to only improving our lives to a greater extent than whomever may serve as your point of comparison and reference, but also in improving our lives relative to our individual goals. For example, someone may learn a great deal of information that helps one earn a lot of money in life, but for a person that ranks money as fourth in order of importance to them, and ranks time with family, connection with community, and a meaningful life ahead of money, this information should not be ranked as high as someone that may take this same list and rank them as follows: (1) meaningful life; (2) money; (3) family and (4) community. In other words, the pursuit of alternative education pathways should be similar to the pursuit of mixed martial arts training in that a mixed martial artist will discard techniques not suitable for his or her particular style and retain techniques that are suitable for him or her. For example, certain jiujutsu techniques require a very high level of flexibility and cannot be executed properly if the martial artist lacks great flexibility.  Consequently, inflexible people may discard this technique as not apropos for them, just as a person in his or her journey of education may discard alternative education pathways that are not a good fit as well as specific courses, like one about trading currencies, if making loads of money is not on the top of his or her list.

Every Individual Should Customize His or Her Education Journey

If we realize there is no singular “best” path of education for anyone, we would immediately recognize the foolishness of the schooling system that mandates entire curriculums of prerequisite courses in nearly every nation, including mandatory language, literature, mathematic, and history courses as well as even introductory courses in biology, chemistry and physics for non-science majors. If any of these courses actually significantly improved critical thinking skills, then I could support them much more strongly over alternative education pathways, but as critical thinking skills and real applied science with strong utility in the real world has been systemically stripped out of science classes in most academic classrooms over the past few decades, until the academic system is completely overhauled, including the return of applied science to science classes, I cannot blindly support any “college prep” or college curriculum just because it is the “accepted” educational forum of the masses. Though I spend a great amount of time proving the points in this paragraph in one of my upcoming skwealthacademy courses, here is a simple social experiment you can conduct with any mechanical engineering university graduate. Ask the mechanical engineering graduate how he or she can use the knowledge gained in his or her degree to immediately improve his or her life or the life of others without going to work for someone else. If a graduate needs to work for a corporation to learn the skills one needs to engage in projects that will improve his or her life, or even the lives of others, and can’t apply the knowledge he or she knows upon graduation to achieve this goal, then obviously there was a failure in the academic process of providing real applied knowledge. If a college graduate needs the assistance of a company to learn how to apply the knowledge he or she has learned in school, then there was a significant failure in the academic process, as a corporation should not need to provide the knowledge that should have been taught during the education process.

Math Exists in Every Aspect of Our Universe Yet Many Math Majors Graduate Without Knowing How to Apply Math Knowledge in the Real World

Or better yet, ask a freshly graduated college mathematics major the same question. Mathematics exists in all phases of human life, and this is the reason why mathematics is the “language” astronomers use to try to communicate with extraterrestrial life in our universe. Consequently, 100% of mathematics majors should be able to affirmatively answer the question of how to apply mathematics in real life to improve their lives or the lives of others. Yet, when I have conducted this social experiment myself, nearly every single math major fails to provide an immediate answer to this question. If mathematics were taught as an applied science as it should be, then answering such a question would be as easy as making an apple pie. When asking this question, however, it is important to reject answers in which mathematics is not simply applied to help someone successfully navigate their daily personal tasks, as such an answer is infinitely easy to supply. Rather, one must demand an answer that is life-changing in its ability to improve life. For example, the use of mathematics is required to build a bridge, to calculate the necessary pillars and buttresses needed to support the projected daily dynamic stresses, load, and forces of shear, torsion, compression and tension over a required span of distance to provide functional safety over decades of time.  Consequently, a structural engineer with years of work experience could likely easily provide the blueprint to build an adequate bridge over a dangerous river greatly improve the life of the nearby villagers by cutting down the time the villagers need to carry out daily tasks. This is a simple example of how mathematics could be used to provide life-changing improvements for a group of others. But the greater question to answer is if that recent college graduate would require several years of work at an engineering firm to lead such a project, or if he or she would be prepared to successfully lead that project upon graduation. My argument is that if education is being dispensed properly, a freshly graduated university student should already possess this “know-how”.

Today, the academic system, for the most part, fails to provide this know-how during the academic process, though it probably is most successful in achieving this goal with engineers and architects, as these two areas of study, by nature, should deal almost exclusively with applied knowledge. Outside of the disciplines of study that specifically emphasize applied knowledge, because every discipline of study should stress applied knowledge but does not, every student should approach the educational process with all the diverse sources of education outside of the traditional schooling system under consideration, with self-education pursuits paramount under his or her list of educational pathways. Just as many aspects of martial arts taught by martial arts “teachers” are in reality, nearly useless or of very little utility in real world combat, there are many “teachers” in schooling systems professing to educate students that in reality, provide very little educational content to their students. And just as I have observed, over the course of my lifetime, teachers in many martial arts schools teach techniques that I know 100% would not work in real life situations, and consequently necessitated exploring many different martial arts styles and dojos before finding one that actually provided techniques applicable in the real world, I am certain of this truth in the academic system as well.

Variety within the Same System is Not Real Variety

To become truly educated one has to observe many different teachers in many different schools in many different systems and discard the ones that don’t forward critical thought and applied knowledge.  

When I speak of the necessity of pursuing alternative education pathways, I do not mean the consideration of different schools that all operate within the same educational delivery platform, or even pursuit of an education at the best schools within a singular system.

This is not real diversity. As a martial artist, I would never train in a martial arts dojo just because of a high ranking received on Yelp or Facebook, or whatever business website is considered to be the business ranking website du jour, if after observing a class, I felt that stylistically it was not a good match for my strengths and the weaknesses I wanted to develop.  Likewise, it makes no sense for a teenager that knows he or she wants to pursue music production as a career to attend a college-prep high school that will make him or her take mandatory English and Science classes that are completely unrelated to his or her life goal. It would be much better to pursue his or her education by seeking out a job with a highly talented music producer, even if it is an unpaid or low-paid internship, as long as he or she can learn about his or her desired craft. There are an infinite number of alternative education pathways to attaining the education that is most beneficial to our unique pursuits and it makes little to no sense that nearly no student pursues any of these alternate paths to education that are much more beneficial to his or her life goal than traditional academic classrooms. Furthermore, even for those that pursue alternate academic pathways, many still make the mistake of pursuing traditional academic schooling of low utility, and only pursuing learning avenues of much higher utility during the summer or after-school, instead of completely replacing traditional academic schooling with the much higher utility learning platform.

The pursuit of education should never be viewed as limited to the exact same path that everyone else selects, but to date, only an extremely tiny fraction of students, young and old, choose an alternate education pathway that is off the well-worn traditional path of institutional schooling and corporate-offered professional education courses. Just as many active duty military members today are unaware that the military used to pay salaries for military service to compensate for the high degree of danger of any theater operation in which life and limb  may be risked with the no cost reward of medals and the awarding of stars (like a gold star sticker awarded to a kindergarten student that achieves a high exam score), many students today are unaware that professional certificates and diplomas do not prove anything about their educational level and only prove, if the awarded certificate or diploma is from a prestigious program, that the holder paid absurd amounts of money to receive it.  Even today, most young people only consider one pathway for education – institutional schooling, and most of their parents only ever consider two pathways for their children’s education – institutional schooling (public or private) and homeschooling.

Regarding institutional schooling, many parents and students believe that if they choose from a variety of schools that they are exercising freedom of choice in their learning process. However, choosing from a variety of schools, public and private, that all instruct students under the same or very similar framework, is not an exercised choice at all – it is conformity to the highest degree under the illusion of choice. Confining one’s educational options to such a confining and restrictive menu eliminates the often much better learning opportunities provided by online education, internships, jobs, and self-education through books and other mediums like audio learning. In fact, as the hiring departments and leaders of more and more corporations also realize the low level of applied knowledge taught inside the  brick and mortar classrooms of institutional schools, more and more companies are no longer requiring a college or university diploma to secure some of their best paying job opportunities.  At one point, when seeking an assistant for my previous entrepreneurial venture, I decided to outsource those responsibilities after interviewing MBA after MBA graduate for the position, and discovering that attaining this “higher” academic degree failed to provide any of the candidates with the developed levels of critical thought necessary to fill the position. In retrospect, as I also achieved my MBA degree from a top 15 US business program, and encountered classmates daily that lacked any fundamental level of critical thought, this result should not have surprised me. In encountering more and more articles in the past couple of years about many company executives no longer requiring college degrees for their jobs, I’m only shocked that it took them decades to discover that high academic pedigrees do not assure job competency and to reach the conclusion that their interview and hiring process should have been based upon competency and integrity, and not academic pedigree, from the start.

Why Do Students Insist on Attending Learning Environments that Encourage Self-Censorship of Speech?

Various studies conducted among thousands of US university and college students have revealed a disturbing trend in which students admit that they regularly self-censor to avoid the wrath and condemnation of their fellow students and professors. Such environments create anti-learning environments in which a majority of students are afraid to challenge another’s views, even when they strongly disagree with them. Such aggressive suppression of thought in “learning” environments leads to zero development of critical thinking skills. In fact, I strongly believe that it is now near impossible to develop strong critical thinking skills within a traditional classroom university setting, and I would not be surprised if recent graduates from “top” schools like Princeton University and Cambridge failed rigorous exams that tested for highly developed critical thinking skills. It is nearly impossible today for a young man or woman to possess highly developed critical thinking skills if he or she has not aggressively pursued alternative education pathways. Since such systemic pushback against dissent didn’t exist when I was attending school in America, I have concluded that the systemic creation of a dissent-free, hive-like mentality at university and college levels of academics in the Americas is part of a deliberate agenda to dumb down students and to make them more compliant to the narratives and desires of the State. It further seems as though not only are teenagers in universities being emasculated in a mental capacity to always agree with the majority narrative, even if that narrative is wrong, but it also seems as if children are being groomed at a far younger age to view that anyone that disagrees with not facts, but their opinion, is their “enemy”, so by the time they reach their teenage-years, their critical thinking skills have been destroyed beyond repair. Consider how foolhardy is the proposition that we can’t strongly disagree with our friends about an issue here and there and still consider that person to be a great friend.

Warrior Cultures Always Value Mental Strength as an Essential Element in Becoming a Warrior

I recently watched a mixed martial arts documentary about the number of successful warriors that Dagestan, a relatively small Southwestern region of Russia, produces, given its relatively small population of little more than 3 million people. Among the MMA champions it has produced is current UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagamedov and future UFC champion Zhabit Magomedsharipov (yes, I’m naming Zhabit as a future champion even though he has not yet achieved this goal yet).  As I watched this documentary, which profiled lesser known, up and coming, but still very dangerous mixed martial artists, a Dagestani fighter pointed to the dozens of young mixed martial arts practitioners training at their central school and noted that every single one of them had fought when they were children in school. He stated that young boys always confronted one another, and either you backed down because you felt that person would pound you into submission, or you fought him, even if you believed you were going to lose, to gain respect. And everyone in that class, he said, had chosen to fight instead of back down. I laughed out loud because basically I remember school being the same way when I was little. Either you had to stand up and fight the bully or be bullied for the rest of your years in grade school, middle school and high school.

Given the way young boys are, I think it’s rare for a young boy to escape his childhood without ever being bullied a single time in his life. In fact, I recall a time in 7th grade when a kid that sat next to me in one of my language classes just started punching my left arm without any provocation. I told him to stop, but he ignored me and just kept punching my arm. This was the first time anything of this sort ever happened to me, but I understood, even as a young boy, that either I had to stand up for myself right then and there and put a stop to it or be forever punched in the arm by this kid before the teacher arrived every class for the rest of the year. When I was a kid, snitching was out of the question, as if you sought the protection of the teacher by snitching on the bully, that would only ensure more bullying. Though the kid was a wrestler and I didn’t know anything about wrestling and he likely would have squashed me if we engaged in a wrestling match, I still didn’t care. I hit the kid, knocked him out of his chair and put him on the floor.  After that one incident, he never bullied me again. When I was a kid, I even remember punching friends in the face after getting in heated arguments with them and getting punched in return. I even remember friends using racial slurs against me during these arguments and calling me a ch*nk. Still, we always made up and remained friends at the end of the day. You know why? Because we didn’t have skin as thin as paper, and also because we were too young to realize how ignorant was the use of racial slurs.

Back then, when boys were still allowed to be boys, which I think is an important part of the growing up process, we fought, got over it, made up and continued to be friends. But today is a far different situation both physically and mentally for young boys growing up in America. When I was a kid, teachers never intervened in disagreements we had. They watched us punch each other, let us sort it out ourselves, and let boys be boys unless the fight was really lopsided. If one bully was just a complete jerk and like twice the size of the kid he was bullying, then a teacher usually stepped in to prevent the smaller kid from getting slaughtered. Today, however, from what I understand, teachers will immediately intervene, and a kid that fights back merely in self-defense is as likely to get in as much trouble as the kid that initiated the fight. I’m not encouraging fighting at all, as I didn’t get in a lot of fights and can only recall maybe four or five as a kid, but there is a certain point we must let boys be boys if we want the boys to grow up to become men. The important point is that I still quite clearly can recall these fights that I had as a child, even one time later that same year, in which I can recall my immense frustration with getting into a fight in the gym locker room, being put in a headlock and not knowing how to escape it. Incidents like that compelled me in later years to learn how to defend myself properly as a martial artist and that’s why it’s important to let boys be boys during their developmental years. I’m not stating that we need to let boys scrap in the schoolyard any longer, but at a minimum, young boys should be taught how to scrap in a controlled environment, like in a mixed martial arts class, to learn how to develop their mental strength when they grow older. Even though this particular opinion of mine might not be popular, I believe that teaching young boys alternative pathways for conflict resolution, some that even involve physical confrontation, is as important for a young boy to successfully transition into manhood as the pursuit of alternative education pathways is for the successful transition into becoming a true intellectual.

Mental Weakness Fostered in Young Children Leads to Entitlement by University Age

To elucidate the point of mental weakness being fostered among both young men and young women at the university level, let’s discuss three recent collegiate studies of American students. Although surveys are notoriously unreliable for the reliability of their results due to flaws in survey methodology, since it will always be impossible to design a survey that returns results with tiny variances in error, even if there were error margins of 20% in their findings, since these findings would still be horrifying, I think they still merit discussion. Furthermore, they should clarify the need to pursue alternative education pathways. A 2017 survey of 800 college students conducted by McLaughlin & Associates reported that 12% of surveyed students didn’t believe that Freedom of Speech should be an unalienable right in America. This same study revealed that 30% of students stated that it was okay to commit violence against those guilty of hate speech, which is a very grey area of morality since the definition of hate speech is open to personal interpretation. Finally, more than half of all students said they felt intimidated enough, while engaged in classroom discussions, to not voice dissenting opinions to both professors and their peers. However interestingly enough, these two results did not coincide with the more encouraging result that 93% of surveyed students believed that listening to and understanding other students’ opinions that diverged from their own was of value.

Another study of US college students concluded, however, that there was a rational reason behind the seemingly incongruous results of the above study. A 2018 Gallup and Knight Foundation of an even larger sample size of 3,014 American college students discovered similar findings to their first few questions about the idea of free speech, reporting that 89% of survey respondents replied that it was “very” or “extremely” important to protect the right of free speech, similar to the 88% reported finding of McLaughlin & Associates from a year prior. However, the Gallup and Knight Foundation drilled down deeper into these findings than the McLaughlin and Associates survey, reporting that the university students’ support for freedom of speech stopped with their own right to freely express speech. The Gallup and Knight surveyors discovered that when they asked students how they felt about their peers’ retention of the same freedom of speech, when their peers disagreed with their opinions, the results greatly deviated from the belief that they should possess this unalienable right. 64% of students stated that hate speech shouldn’t be protected as free speech, and that such speech should be censored. Although at first glance, censorship of hate speech sounds reasonable, the problem arises over the same issue as always – who determines what qualifies as hate speech? Today, many people believe that any speech that disagrees with their own opinions is “hate speech” though it definitely should never qualify as hate speech under any circumstances.

Even issues of hate speech that we all would agree should be fairly clear cut such as the use of racial slurs, can come under heavy question. For example, though I’ve had racial slurs thrown my way dozens of times throughout my life, who becomes judge and jury when deciding if words with no widespread consensus as hate speech qualifies as hate speech? Deeply religious people may view any mockery of their deep faith as hate speech. Scientists may view any criticism of their unproven but widely accepted theories as hate speech. And even when it comes to racism, there is plenty of dissent even within races of what qualifies as hate speech. I’ve heard many Asians state that oriental is a derogatory, racist term to use when describing Asians, but I used to hear my own mother use that term as a child, and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t using that term in a hateful manner. I have heard friends use the term “Jap” to describe Japanese people though I know for certain they used the term out of ignorance and not in a spiteful, racist capacity.  I had to inform them that the term “Jap” was offensive to Japanese and explain the origins of this racist term for them to understand that it was a racist term.

Consequently, who gets to decide if ignorance without any malintent should be defined as hate speech as well if we start to punish hate speech, and how do we even define intent, because only the person speaking can possibly know his or her intent? Because it becomes self-evident very quickly that as much as anyone would like to regulate hate speech, if we are to maintain freedom of speech, this becomes a nearly impossible task, and that I take this stance even as the victim of hate speech dozens of times in my life. When it comes to the issue of hate crimes, however, this situation can be regulated much more easily because if someone yells a definitive racial slur during a situation in which they murder someone, then 100%, that crime should be prosecuted as a hate crime. There have been recent cases of US border patrol agents that have murdered Mexicans citizens situated on the side of Mexico from their posts on the US side that have been recorded as referring to Mexicans as “animals” and “subhumans” (watch the 1:35 minute mark of this video). In these instances, these border patrol agents should 100% be convicted for a hate crime, stripped of their jobs, and sent to prison for murder. Since banning hate speech is not going to change the behavior of someone prone to commit a hate crime, in terms of the law, it likely is best to concentrate on legislating actual criminal behavior over legislating speech. As defending one’s position against dissenting opinions is a key element of developing strong critical skills, as numerous American students have expressed a strong push against dissent at the university classroom level, it will be near impossible for any of these young students to become strong thinkers later in life absent the pursuit of alternative education pathways.

Why Privacy is Essential for a Free Society Even Though Eric Schmidt Doesn’t Agree

Finally, I want to conclude this article due to a practice I observe happen all the time that only serves to dumb a lot of people down, and that is the practice of using Siri or G**gle as the all-seeing, all-knowing god to answer all questions, and falsely equating internet G**gle searches as one of their alternative education pathways. In fact, I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase “G**gle it” in response to someone asking a question to which no one knows the correct answer. The use of G**gle as the only internet search engine to extract information from the internet is as foolish a practice as committing to the institutional schooling system as the only means of pursuing education and as foolish as committing to only learning one martial art style if one wishes to fight professionally in mixed martial arts. When I have stated in this article that one needs to pursue alternative education pathways of learning to become educated, I 100% am not referring to “G**gling it” as a means to becoming a learned man or woman. Relying on “G**gling” things to further your knowledge will assuredly make you a much dumber human being in some subject matters than you were prior to “learning” about them by googling them.

To begin, if you value your privacy, if you use G**gle, you should understand that zero of your G**gle searches will remain private. Furthermore, even if you choose whatever privacy modes you can on G**gle’s search engine, it is almost 100% certain that such privacy modes are only for show and that regardless, you will still be tracked. There are plenty of alternatives for search engines to G**gle that respect your privacy, unlike G**gle, including Duckduckgo, Ecosia, Qwant, MetaGer, Swisscows and Givero. G**gle executive Eric Schmidt stated, in regards to the lack of privacy afforded users that utilize G**gle’s search engine, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”, a ludicrous statement that marginalizes and trivializes all citizens’ right to privacy in any matter, not just in matters of internet searches. If he truly believed this unethical statement, then he should allow CCTV footage of his life to be streamed 24/7, 365 days a week, because as creepy as are the statements he makes, I’m fairly certain that he likely engages in some behavior that he wants to keep private from the rest of the world. Eric Schmidt’s statement about not doing something if you don’t want anyone else to know about it is further ludicrous in regard to internet purchases, because anyone that purchases a new mattress likely does not care if every single one of his or her friends finds out about this purchase. However, this does not mean that anyone in the world has a right to know this knowledge, especially if they are going to use that knowledge to bombard you non-stop, for the next 6-months, with emails and smartphone and social media account advertisements for pillows and bedsheets. If you have a gmail email address and you use this email address to receive confirmation of any online purchase, G**gle categorizes all your online purchases, much like an FBI dossier, and likely makes this dossier available to advertisers for the right price. It should be everyone’s prerogative to not have this invasion of privacy be the automatic consequence of using an internet search engine.

Though I want to make it clear that G**gle executives like S. Pichai have testified under oath that they do not sell its users private data to corporations, G**gle executives have been proven as liars in their testimony on multiple other occasions, and their lies have been outed by their own employees that revealed systemic, widespread violations of their executives’ publicly vouched promises of user privacy as a matter of corporate policy. Consequently, because we already know that we can’t trust a G**gle executive’s testimony at face value to be honest, there is no reason to believe any additional testimony given by their executives in court, even if given under oath. Furthermore, anyone that has ever purchased something online and had confirmation of the purchase sent to a gmail address and then been subsequently bombarded with advertisements of products related to the purchase can infer that most likely, G**gle sold information of that private purchase to third parties. However, this is not even the worst hypothetical scenario of Google’s constant violations of their user privacy promises. Consider another hypothetical scenario in which you purchased an uber secure home safe online. It should be your prerogative to keep that information private, but Eric Schmidt doesn’t think so, even if that leaked information could cost the buyer his or her life. If information of the purchase, which the buyer likely wants to remain completely confidential, is sold to a third party, then any employee that encounters this private confidential information could potentially leak this information to a criminal to whom such information would be highly valuable. And the end result of G**gle’s lack of respect for its users’ privacy, because Eric Schmidt believes he is god, and that no one that uses his search engine has a right to any privacy, could be a home invasion and death for the person that used the G**gle search engine to buy a highly secure home safe.   

And this hypothetical violation of user privacy online is not even the worst of the consequences of using G**gle. G**gle has now been accused by its very high level senior software engineers of censoring its own search engine results. This means that G**gle executives want to push their own view of the world upon the rest of the world, and if a perspective of a situation does not match their worldview, that G**gle executives have decided to completely censor any results that disagree with their own from appearing in G**gle search engine results. This means that in many instances of searches conducted on G**gle, you will never receive the truth, or at least any result that would let you formulate your own opinion on the matter. For this reason, I recommended the use of other search engine alternatives above: Duckduckgo, Ecosia, Qwant, MetaGer, Swisscows and Givero. Below I have even taken screenshots of a recent article I wrote titled, “The Number One Reason to Buy Gold and Silver is Not What You Believe.” Under the search “reasons to buy gold and silver”, my article ranked near the top of the search engine results, anywhere from number 7 to 15 of all results returned by several different search engines that do not heavily rely on G**gle based algorithms for their search results. However, on G**gle, when using the exact word-for-word search on its search engine, my article was not even returned within the first 10 pages of results!

alternate internet search engines that do not censor results
search results for my article about gold and silver on search engines that do not censor results
search engines that blacklist

Consequently, I want to end this article with a very strong word of caution in engaging in online self-education activities using the G**gle search engine, especially for the quite considerable subset of the global population that quite foolishly believes that self-educating through G**gle searches is an example of an alternative education pathway. More times than not, you will be dumbing yourself down to a much greater degree than furthering your education, especially when researching any topic about finance, money and politics – topics about which G**gle executives desire to wield an iron fist in controlling the global narrative. If you wish to ever find my articles that I post on my blog, your best bet is to bookmark the website here and to check back every few days for new articles as they most likely will not appear in G**gle’s search engine. Above, I discussed numerous college and university surveys conducted in America that have disclosed the widespread fear expressed by students of speaking up in class when they feel that the majority of students in the classroom or the professor disagrees with them, because of the consequent negative effect expressing a dissenting opinion may have on their classroom grade. Such systemic self-censorship in university classrooms has resulted in the widespread production of echo chambers, in which only one side of a debate is ever heard, that better describe anti-learning environments. If you choose to use G**gle as your internet search engine to “learn” things, you do not even have an option to consider a non-mainstream, disruptive, or anti-establishment view because these views are systematically being removed from their search engine results. However, options of alternative education pathways are still numerous outside of the institutional academic schooling system, and it seems to me, that it is highly counterproductive to continue the pursuit of “education” inside a system that crushes dissent to the popular view, especially when the popular view is often wrong.

J. Kim

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