by Gary North
What if I could point you to an investment on which a 50-to-one return is about the lowest you could expect?
What if I told you that it has virtually no downside risk? You would ask: "What's the catch?" My answer: It is not SEC-regulated. Other than this, it's a slam-dunk.
Second, you would ask: "What's the barrier to entry?" A wise person knows that no investment this good can prevail unless there is a barrier to entry. The capital markets spot opportunities like this and bid up the price of the asset until it reaches a conventional rate of return.
Yet the investment does exist. The problem is, it is so utterly politically incorrect that most investors would never consider making it. No retail brokerage house would dare to mention it. There is a wall of silence keeping its existence away from the public.
I am hereby knocking a hole in this wall. But as soon as 99% of my readers see it, they will think, "That's not for me." They will not spend ten minutes to read the on-line prospectus.
This is why the opportunity exists.
A SURE THING
I now return to my recommended sure-thing investment.
Those of you who clicked the link probably were disappointed. "Why, this isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. It has to do with the preservation of family capital."
True on both counts.
If you ask someone who is trying to get rich why he wants to get rich, you hear this answer: "For my children." My belief is that this is not the primary reason why most people want to get rich. Rather, it is a convenient, socially acceptable answer. An answer higher on the priority list is this one: "Because I want to show up Billy Bossert, whose father bought him a Porsche in his junior year of high school."
In a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a media outlet not noted for its conservative editorial policy, an author waxed eloquent about the collapse of the tax-funded school system. He related a conversation he had with a lifetime teacher in the Oakland school system, who says the system is not bad. Bad would be an improvement. It's "absolutely horrifying."
We are, as far as urban public education is concerned, essentially at rock bottom. We are now at a point where we are essentially churning out ignorant teens who are becoming ignorant adults and society as a whole will pay dearly, very soon, and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait.But is his friend exaggerating? Is the situation really that bad? Here is first-hand evidence.
It's gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking — and nearly hopeless — dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad.
But most of all, he simply observes his students, year to year, noting all the obvious evidence of teens' decreasing abilities when confronted with even the most basic intellectual tasks, from understanding simple history to working through moderately complex ideas to even (in a couple recent examples that particularly distressed him) being able to define the words "agriculture," or even "democracy." Not a single student could do it.
It gets worse. My friend cites the fact that, of the 6,000 high school students he estimates he's taught over the span of his career, only a small fraction now make it to his grade with a functioning understanding of written English. They do not know how to form a sentence. They cannot write an intelligible paragraph. Recently, after giving an assignment that required drawing lines, he realized that not a single student actually knew how to use a ruler.
The standard response of the white, middle-class defender of public education is this (in private, anyway): "That's what it's like in those sorts of schools, where those sorts of children attend."
They are not aware of the assessment, three decades ago, of economist Thomas Sowell, who is one of those sorts of people, who describes Dunbar High school in Washington, D.C., one of the most famous schools for those sorts of people.
Back in 1899, in Washington, D. C., there were four academic public high schools — one black and three white. In standardized tests given that year, students in the black high school averaged higher test scores than students in two of the three white high schools.Then the test scores collapsed. This was not unique to Dunbar. SAT scores nationally collapsed after 1963. This has been known for four decades.
This was not a fluke. It so happens that I have followed 85 years of the history of this black high school — from 1870 to 1955 — and found it repeatedly equalling or exceeding national norms on standardized tests. In the 1890s, it was called The M Street School, and after 1916 it was renamed Dunbar High School, but its academic performances on standardized tests remained good on into the mid-1950s.
Sowell was criticized for using this example. "This was a school for the middle class," critics said. They of course had not actually examined the records. It was a typical knee-jerk response from professional jerks. Sowell researched the issue.
During the later period, for which I collected data, there were far more children whose mothers were maids than there were whose fathers were doctors. For many years, there was only one academic high school for blacks in the District of Columbia and, as late as 1948, one-third of all black youngsters attending high school in Washington attended Dunbar High School. So this was not a "selective" school in the sense in which we normally use that term — there were no tests to take to get in, for example — even though there was undoubtedly self-selection in the sense that students who were serious went to Dunbar and those who were not had other places where they could while away their time, without having to meet high academic standards.
The #1 question is this: "Who writes the textbooks?" There are various levels of difficulty, but they are all screened by state boards of education. They are all written to meet Federal guidelines for educational appropriateness. The old slogan about "our schools are different" ignores the obvious: the textbooks aren't.
A SOLUTION FOR $200, ONCE
My link takes you to the page for the Robinson Home School curriculum. There, you read about a kindergarten through high school curriculum that sells for $200. It's on CD-ROM disks. It includes everything except the math books. He recommends Saxon math.
The course is designed for students to teach themselves. Bright students can do this. His children did. They had time to help him run the family's sheep ranch. Some of them helped him with his scientific research. They all went to college. One got a Ph.D. from CalTech. Another earned a veterinarian degree (DVM) and a masters degree in chemistry. Two daughters got B.S. degrees in chemistry; one is studying to be a vet; the other is in grad school in nuclear engineering. One son earned a B.S. in chemistry and is studying nuclear ewngineering in grad school Another son is still in college: a chemistry major. Not all of them used exactly this curriculum; all of them worked on creating it. All were home schooled.
Think of it: $200, once per family, plus toner and paper, for a K-12 high school program. But that's not all. The course is so rigorous that three of his kids quizzed out of their first two years of college. That cost him under $1,000 for two years, saving $20,000 per student.
The three who quizzed out were able to avoid two years of liberal arts indoctrination before they majored in chemistry.
Would you say this is worth $200, plus math texts?
There are lots of arguments against doing this. Here is the main one: "I don't want to risk breaking with a collapsing educational system. I do things the conventional way."
Yes, they do. And their children are forced to run through the moral gauntlet for the sake of a third-rate education. That, too, is the conventional way.
Let us return to the concerned columnist in San Francisco. He of course is not willing to break with the system — too unconventional. He wants to side with the 97% allegedly still on the deck of the educational Titanic. He sees that the ship is going down, but he seems unaware of the $200 solution.
Most affluent parents in America — and many more who aren't — now put their kids in private schools from day one, and the smart ones give their kids no TV and minimal junk food and no video games. (Of course, this in no way guarantees a smart, attuned kid, but compared to the odds of success in the public school system, it sure seems to help). This covers about, what, 3 percent of the populace?
As for the rest, well, the dystopian evidence seems overwhelming indeed, to the point where it might be no stretch at all to say the biggest threat facing America is perhaps not global warming, not perpetual warmongering, not garbage food or low-level radiation or way too much Lindsay Lohan, but a populace far too ignorant to know how to properly manage any of it, much less change it all for the better.
Which is preferable?
A. Leave a large financial legacy to your children or grandchildren.Don't just circle the correct answer. Click through and order the curriculum.
B. Make sure they share your worldview, which will cost you $200, plus keeping the mother at home to supervise.
C. Both of the above.
November 1, 2007
Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com