"Every generation, civilization is invaded by barbarians. We call them children."
- Hannah Arendt
As most of my readers know, my wife’s a teacher of intellectually gifted children and she is phenomenal at what she does. Teacher of the Year, coach of a nationally competitive robotics team, highly competitive cheerleading coach, etc. If you were to assume that we read a lot, you would be correct. She loves historical fiction and I miss Tom Clancy’s writing more than I can express. Of course, we also read the “hard stuff” and have books on history, biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, physics, energy, and economics floating around. She and I spent a few minutes calculating the number of books that we have accumulated over the years…that now rest in her classroom and our home. Ten thousand. I know that sounds high, but we did the math and two people can do that over a few decades.
My wife and I love to learn and we value education. I believe most of us do.
That love of education explains why the nation was outraged when the WSJ broke the story of Lori Loughlin’s (of Full House fame) involvement in the Operation Varsity Blues scandal; and why it was outraged again when it read of the scandal in which 38 families in Illinois released guardianship of their children to other family members in order to game the system and receive more financial aid; and why the rage turned to fury upon hearing of the Jack Zhao scandal where he purchased the home of Harvard's fencing coach for more than $400,000 above the market price, sold it 15 months later for a $330,000 loss... but Jack’s son found himself on Harvard’s fencing team.
As ugly as those stories are, our higher education problems run much deeper than mere fraud. The good news is that it is within our power to bring sanity back to our higher education system. That said, old ways die hard…
"Humans who acquire the Bomb never lose the ability to make them and they only get cheaper with technology."
- Eric Weinstein, PhD - Managing Director of Thiel Capital
Last year, I wrote a newsletter supportive of America's use of tariffs against China that surprised a lot of people, especially given my strong belief in free trade. With the volatility of the markets recently, I’ve received a lot of calls asking if I still hold that view.
The reasons for my position include issues of commerce, but they go far beyond it. What follows is a 4-point examination of why I believe China is a danger to the liberal world order.
For the sake of the free world, I encourage you to read it.
"It's better to be lucky than good."
- Lefty Gomez, National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher for the New York Yankees
The longer I live, the more impressed I am by the big truths that are hidden in plain sight. Who doesn't love the simple bit of brilliance that was made real when someone created a rear hatch on a SUV that opens with a touch to the bumper? Or how about the genius that created the cup holder in the grocery store shopping cart? I tip my cap to the people that could SEE what the truth was.....and that brings me to today's topic....the paradox of skill.
"America is the most educated, unskilled nation on the planet."
- Mike Rowe
I like this time of year, particularly for kids entering their senior year of high school. They are excited to be at the end of this stage of their lives and look forward to college. I am excited too, but I’m also a little worried. My wife and I were the first people in our respective families to graduate from college. Things are much different for people going to college today.
When I started college, 23% of men in the country had a 4-year college degree. Contrast that with the reality that nearly 65% of today’s high school graduates go to college. If college degrees really differentiated one person from another thirty years ago, that “degree” of differentiation no longer exists.
“If you want a house, you have to work hard for it. And, oh Lord, am I working hard.”
— Anita, future Habitat homeowner
As crazy as it seems, we are on the downhill run to Christmas, with 134 days remaining until the big day. It is in this half of the year when we begin to recognize our respective good fortune, and that tends to put us in a charitable state of mind. As a result, this is the first in a series of newsletters where I'll profile a non-profit organization that you might consider supporting. You know I like to be different, so I'm not going to bore you with their financials. Instead, I want you to know about the people that founded them, the people that run them now, and what they hope to accomplish.
To start, we are going to look at Habitat for Humanity International. Its story is very cool....
Entrepreneur, financial guy, husband and father of two great kids.