Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 623, June 12, 2011

"The State is Crumbling"

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A Call to Action
by Shaun Lee and Jim Davidson

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Individual Sovereign University is not part of any one movement, nor any one group of people. It is the ultimate open-source educational tool where you determine what you want to learn or teach and we will find you teachers, students, and as needed, sponsors. We see to pioneer networking being used not only as a social tool, an activists tool, but also as a way to connect learners with those that have knowledge they are seeking. Where appropriate, we also connect teachers and students with sources of funding, including businesses that want trained individuals for future jobs.

What are the goals of the Individual Sovereign University, and why is a "university" the correct structure for achieving them?

1. The primary goal is to show people how to teach and how to learn without intrusion from any organization, or group of people. All peoples from the youngest to the more aged adult learners and teachers can create the opportunity to use our de-centralized and global platform to share their knowledge. Through the great many means that the technology available today allows.

2. A secondary goal is to provide authors with opportunities to give away their written works while continuing to be paid for, e.g., teaching classes. We know that the structure of the publishing industry is changing, and that the cost of reproduction has fallen to essentially zero. Authors are beginning to wonder if they can personally survive the transition from the old style of publishing to the new. By providing a publishing service, Individual Sovereign University expects to show new business models to authors, and thus to the industry.

3. For approximately the last 2,400 years, give or take a few hundred years (because we simply don't know our ancient history that well), people have proposed to withdraw from the state. Laozi was among the very first to make this proposal. Étienne de La Boétie made this same proposal in 1563 when his discourses on voluntary servitude were published. Murray Rothbard, Samuel Edward Konkin III, and Lew Rockwell have made this proposal. One is left to wonder, what sort of structures exist that can last for thousands of years.

We find that corporations last decades, sometimes, before shifting to new ownership and totally new plans. We find that partnerships rarely survive the death of even one partner. We find that governments are even more fickle, changing within only a few years. Two human-founded structures last longer: universities and religions. The oldest surviving university on Earth is probably the University of Bologna, founded circa A.D. 980. The oldest surviving religion is probably Taoism. But none of us have the combination of arrogance and self-righteousness that seems appropriate to founding a religion.

Given the history that places of education have lasted even longer than corporations and the birth and death of states and governments, a virtual place of learning, that is open to all, seems to be the best route.

We encourage spontaneous organization, and order. If you have a need, speak up! We will find you a teacher. If you have knowledge that would benefit another, speak up! We will find you a student.

Business opportunity
There is an enormous business opportunity in providing educational services. However, this market is currently distorted by guaranteed student loans which, combined with extremely high cost and almost exclusively state-oriented universities, prevents the finding of market-clearing prices for particular types of training and education. Education is a key element in the growth and development of every individual, so making it available without tying the individual to debt peonage, would be an important accomplishment.

Peter Thiel has proposed [here] that higher education is in a "bubble" because it is widely perceived to have very high value, it is extremely costly, and it is being financed by debt. Indeed, we see in Sallie Mae the same sort of bizarre national program, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to organise these student loans. It would not surprise me to see collateralised debt obligations, with the student as human collateral (or chattel), and the bundling of student loans into slavery-backed securities. The derivative potentials are monstrous.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in articles written time and time again, a great majority of college graduates are in a career field that has NOTHING to do with their major. There is no reason in this age of technology that we currently live in, that many trades, IT, networking, and many other related types of courses could not be taught, virtually. Look at the virtual "degreed" programs offered by state-approved schools. It has been shown, that everything "they" do the private sector can do better. Lets do better!

Decentralisation can be tricky in that one often wants to find everything in one place. But we believe that is possible without creating a huge centralised bureaucracy with bureau-rats and bursars and registrars and other parasites latched onto the process. Ideally, as few people as possible other than the student and the teacher would be involved in purveying education. Where we have to create a third party involvement, we are failing in our goal of decentralised education.

And, remember, our very first goal, above, is: education beyond the state. Teaching without being state employees. Learning without being state conscripts.

Industry analysis
The industry for education is highly fragmented. Although many elite institutions are ostensibly private, nearly all universities in the United States derive substantial benefit from government funding of research, government guarantees of student loans, and various types of government grants, scholarships, and other funding. These distortions of the market for education are compounded throughout the arts, letters, and sciences by other government intrusions. The generation of knowledge and the dissemination of knowledge have come to be dominated by government action.

Nor is the market at all remarkably free of government collusion and interference in any other country that we've found. It seems that wherever the groves of Academe are found, they are infested with parasitical government functionaries.

We are choosing not to go there. Not be attached to an approval process, but to allow our students, teachers, parents and their children to decide the market. What do you want to learn? How can we aid you in attaining that knowledge?

The old adage, "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" rings true here. All that need be done on your part, is asking for what you want. We will find it.

Market analysis
The market for education is typically divided into three major categories. Those persons 18 and under are typically relegated to K-12 or "kindergarten through 12th grade." A very few persons 18 and under sometimes are able to take accelerated course work in order to qualify for college-equivalent courses, or take actual college courses. The home schooling market typically focuses on educating children through high school equivalence.

A second major category covers students 18-26 who are typically engaged in undergraduate and graduate university studies. This age group also frequently looks to community colleges and vocational or technical schools for training. A four-year undergraduate program followed by a two-year master's program followed by a four- to six-year doctorate is a typical course of study, with some students getting off the treadmill sooner, and others, notably medical doctors, studying longer.

A third major age category covers "continuing education" which is a term for professionals who are expected to keep up with current techniques and practices, such as in law, medicine, and engineering. It is a term that has been applied to all other adult education whether there is any continuity involved, or not.

Although the market for education is both highly fragmented, with a great many providers, and largely stratified by age, the Individual Sovereign University is not attempting to focus our course offerings on any of these major categories. Instead, we are focusing our efforts on offering any courses that teachers wish to teach. We are open to providing a forum for students to request classes that they wish to take. Our objective is to facilitate any sort of education, without regard to the age of the student.

We have opened our minds to the prospect of many multi-use real estate projects on every continent. These will be used not only for campuses but also travel and leisure of our clients and customers. Learning is not something that happens only in childhood, but all life long.

Part of the process in locating the areas that suit our needs best, will be in planning and executing exotic, culturally educational and respectful vacations for our clientele. These vacations will be planned, and networks expanded by our advisors within the university that hold many years of experience, in vacation planning. In planning these travel extravaganzas we will expand our reach through our new business contacts in all regions, and offer our clients the experience of a lifetime. Through cultural and exotic experiences, we seek to not only offer trips of a lifetime, but learning experiences that could be gained no other way. This does not exclude space travel.

The future of freedom.
The future of freedom lies in people making decisions for themselves. In learning just what you want to learn and not being forced into spending your time (which we each have a very limited amount of) on classes and subjects that do not relate to you and your goals. Taking the reigns of each of our individual educations and acting on such, is empowering. It seems almost to be too much at times, as we are used to being handed a curriculum and being told "here, take these classes, spend this much time, this much money, and we give you a piece of magic paper". Let the power structure go. Take control of your destiny and make decisions for yourself.

In this forum, letters of reccomendation, certificates of achievement etc. Will be available. It comes back around to, "Ask for what you need or want. Speak Up!"

The sky is truly not the limit. What do you want to learn? To teach? How do you learn best? From what kinds of people do you learn best? One on one? A group? How can you pay for your classes? Do you need a scholarship? Alternative forms of payment?

We seek to fulfill your answers to these questions as best as we can. We seek to not lay out a grid and tell you what to do, but to allow you to follow your own path in learning.

When we are learning what we want, it sticks. Let your learning stick, let it be of value to you. Determine what you need or want and Ask For it! Freedom in education is available. Spread the word!

Things you can do today to make a difference:

1. Visit and register—for free. Look at the classes on offer. Check with one of our team about upgrading your account (for free) so you can blog—we had a problem with some spam blogging.

2. Consider taking a class or offering a class. Set your own prices. If you don't see what you want, ask around in the forums. If you can't afford what you see, ask one of our team members. We're here to solve problems.

3. On the home page we have links for donating through PayPal, through credit cards using Google Checkout, and a text block that should let you donate to us using bitCoin. We also accept cheques, money orders, cash, gold and silver coins, Pecunix, c-gold, Loom gold, gold Globals, and other alternatives. If you would like us to support some local or national currency, please let us know. We have a very widespread network.

4. We have books and merchandise for sale. We'd love to link to your site, your books, your good and services. We are working on an online library of learning and teaching resources, not only for adults, but also for people of all ages.

The future you create may be your own.

Shaun Lee, poet, agorist, and entrepreneur has agreed to promote Individual Sovereign University in the freedom community through her extensive contacts. She is assisting in securing a positive image for the university, our faculty, and our products in the agorist, freedom-oriented, and anti-war communities, among many others. Shaun Lee brings a wealth of contacts and networking skills through her many years in organising and leading different parts of the freedom community.

Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and anti-war activist. Contact him at or Come visit IndSovU teams at gatherings in June 2011 in New Hampshire, September 2011 in Montana, December 2011 in Florida, and March 2012 in Austin, Texas.

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