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I'm currently looking for a private, non-government-funded university where I can go to study physics. I've found one web site (Here: http://www.earnmydegree.com/online-schools/) where I'm looking into online schools. I do not want to go to a government-funded university, because I believe that the government-run education system is both immoral, and provides crap education.

 

Any suggestions, aside from the web site I already posted?

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I cannot offer any advice on universities, but...

 

I think you should go to the best university suited to your career/learning goals, your academic achievements, your budget, etc. but without any regard to its funding (zero, zilch). To do anything else would be a self-sacrifice. So, places like MIT and CalTech are probably the places to be.

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I do not want to go to a government-funded university, because I believe that the government-run education system is both immoral, and provides crap education.

Government funded doesn't mean government run. The government grants research funds to the private polytechnic universities where you'll find the best education and research opportunities, and they accept those funds. If you shun them, you'll be depriving yourself of an invaluable opportunity.
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I'm currently looking for a private, non-government-funded university where I can go to study physics. I've found one web site (Here: http://www.earnmydegree.com/online-schools/) where I'm looking into online schools. I do not want to go to a government-funded university, because I believe that the government-run education system is both immoral, and provides crap education.

Any suggestions, aside from the web site I already posted?

You will find many private colleges infected with the same nonsense as public universities. However, as long as you do not attend a place like Cal State Monterey Bay, the worst university on the planet, you should be able to find good programs with good people.

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I'm currently looking for a private, non-government-funded university where I can go to study physics. I've found one web site (Here: http://www.earnmydegree.com/online-schools/) where I'm looking into online schools. I do not want to go to a government-funded university, because I believe that the government-run education system is both immoral, and provides crap education.

 

Any suggestions, aside from the web site I already posted?

 

I'm curious what leads you to believe that colleges with government funding provide crap education. I'm all for trying to find free market alternatives to things... but many of the brightest minds in the world attended or currently work at publicly funded universities. Just because someone's philosophy disagrees with yours doesn't mean they have nothing worthwhile to say. A person can be a brilliant physicist and have differing philosophical beliefs from your own.

 

Go to the best place that you can. Learn from the best people that you can. There's nothing immoral about picking the best possible option of schooling. We work to change the culture and the world that we live in - but unfortunately, even when our philosophical beliefs are at odds with the culture and world we live in, we must still live in it, and make the best of it. So make the best of it.

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I think you should go to the best university suited to your career/learning goals, your academic achievements, your budget, etc. but without any regard to its funding (zero, zilch). To do anything else would be a self-sacrifice.

 

I don't consider it a self-sacrifice, because I want to live in a world where people profit through voluntary means. As a result, it is in my self-interest to act in a manner that does not involve relying on stolen money, so that I can participate in a community of people who do the same.

 

In addition, I've found that classes at college are poorly run, and tuition is way too expensive. This would not be possible for a private university, since it is dependent on the free market and therefore must provide good education at a reasonable price in order to survive. In addition to being annoying, the high tuition rates make it impossible for people from poor families to go to college, which means they're at a disadvantage in the job market, which means they can't send their kids to college, which means the cycle continues. So if I go to a government-funded college, I'm simultaneously spending my time struggling to get through homework for a class I don't enjoy, just so I can get a passing grade, and profiting from a caste system where I get to be on top by virtue of being and coming from an affluent family. And also enabling people to make a profit they could not make through voluntary means, ripping me off in the process and pricing out millions of people who are perfectly intelligent and could be good students. That's not how I want to get ahead in life.

 

And I don't consider living honorably to be a sacrifice, even if it's inconvenient due to the nature of the world we live in.

 

Of course leftists will use these problems to justify all sorts of socialist garbage. They don't realize these problems are caused by socialism. But, as someone who wants to live in a just society, and sees the free market as the means to that end, I want to practice free market principles in my own life.

 

 

Government funded doesn't mean government run. The government grants research funds to the private polytechnic universities where you'll find the best education and research opportunities, and they accept those funds.

 

It would depend on whether or not tuition is reasonable (Meaning, at a level it could realistically be in a free market) and if the way the classes are run is to my liking.

 

 

I'm curious what leads you to believe that colleges with government funding provide crap education.

 

Mostly there just aren't the kinds of options that ought to be available, and which could be provided in a free market, and the system that exists is too authoritarian for me. I'm willing to be ordered around and pushed to meet deadlines when I'm the one getting paid. When I'm paying someone else for a service, I expect that service to be provided to my tastes, instead of having a top-down model forced on me.

 

Granted, I might be able to put up with all of that, except that in the process I'm enabling an entire corrupt system to exist.

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In addition, I've found that classes at college are poorly run, and tuition is way too expensive. This would not be possible for a private university, since it is dependent on the free market and therefore must provide good education at a reasonable price in order to survive.

Where are you getting this data? Could you provide a couple of examples of colleges. This does not mesh with my own knowledge, but perhaps you're talking about very different types/levels of college.
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I don't consider it a self-sacrifice, because I want to live in a world where people profit through voluntary means. As a result, it is in my self-interest to act in a manner that does not involve relying on stolen money, so that I can participate in a community of people who do the same.

Not only is it not in your self interest to do that, you physically can't do that. How are you going to get to your privately funded school, without using a public road?
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As a result, it is in my self-interest to act in a manner that does not involve relying on stolen money, so that I can participate in a community of people who do the same.

Either you use it for good ends, or it remains stolen and given to someone else. In this sense, you could right a wrong. The other option is not to go to a university. By the way, I'm pretty sure absolutely zero universities do not receive some government funds. If you know of some that don't, please tell me, I'm genuinely interested.

 

When I'm paying someone else for a service, I expect that service to be provided to my tastes, instead of having a top-down model forced on me.

I think your impression of public universities is that they are all run like public high school. This is not true. The problem is that education runs in such a way that all universities *must* take government funds to survive. If they don't take the money, they won't last long. The free market cannot overpower government force in the education. Yeah, it sucks. That's the reality. Just pick a university carefully and you won't receive a bad education.

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My advice is not to worry about the details of funding and etc. As Nicky observed, you're going to be driving on public roads and highways on your way to class anyhow.

In studying physics, I'd guess you are somewhat in luck. The discipline would seem to require some fair adherence to reality (more than many other programs, at least), and calculus is calculus everywhere. I expect that most universities will be able to at least provide a decent physics program.

So honestly, I would suggest spending some time researching other particulars that could impact both your education and your college experience more generally. Four years is a long time.

Is there any individual that you're interested in working with, or whose research appeals to you? As an undergrad, you might not have many opportunities for specialized study or networking... but you never know what might arise, especially if you have something specific in mind from the outset.

Is there a region of the country that appeals to you? Some place that you'd like to explore? What about the campus lifestyle itself?

If you can find a place that lets you do the work that you're interested in (or explore various fields, if you do not yet know what specifics appeal to you), with people that you admire and wish to learn from, in an environment that will not only support your education but your continuing growth as a person... then you'll probably have an incredible experience that will prepare you to make your life even better. Have fun!

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To be clear, I have attended a few years of community college, at the second-highest rated community college in the country. And I hated the classes there. Most of them weren't even relevant to what I wanted to learn, and were filled with socialist propaganda. (I remember a sociology class I made the mistake of signing up for during my first year there, which was particularly awful.)

 

In addition, even the classes which were about things I cared about, I still hated because of the authoritarian model being used.

 

 

How are you going to get to your privately funded school, without using a public road?

 

Government roads are a different matter. There is, physically speaking, no option except to use them. But I can make a choice whether or not I want to go to a government-funded college.

 

 

Either you use it for good ends, or it remains stolen and given to someone else. In this sense, you could right a wrong.

 

I don't agree with this arguments. Granted, there are some cases where you might have a point, like someone who can't get a job because of government regulations taking food stamps in order to survive. But when there is an option, making the choice to rely on government services is, in my opinion at least, legitimizing the theft necessary to fund them.

 

 

By the way, I'm pretty sure absolutely zero universities do not receive some government funds.

 

I think some online universities are fully privately funded. I know Khan Academy is privately funded, but they don't offer any actual courses where I would be working with an instructor.

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Government roads are a different matter. There is, physically speaking, no option except to use them. But I can make a choice whether or not I want to go to a government-funded college.

What if there was a private alternative to a government road, but it was only a tiny footpath so that it took you 3 hours to get to college, and what if this was because of laws or simply because the government road "crowded out" the competition? Would you call that an "alternative"? How poor an alternative must it be before you think it is not a true alternative?

 

Granted, there are some cases where you might have a point, like someone who can't get a job because of government regulations taking food stamps in order to survive. But when there is an option, making the choice to rely on government services is, in my opinion at least, legitimizing the theft necessary to fund them.

No, it does not legitimize it. Ignoring government-funded colleges as an option ensures that the people who attend are people who support the idea of taxing you and me to have that college, and to build more like it. Not only do you get a worse education by not attending, but you also end up leaving the opportunity to the opposition, and then being taxed to pay for their education! (Relatively, there's little excuse to take food stamps. )

You say you attended a relatively good community college and the quality was bad. Fair enough, but that's a separate issue. Go for the best quality college your academic ranking and your money can buy. Start by figuring out the quality of the place, instead of starting with an assumption that government-funding means low quality.

In any subject, colleges range from poor to great. It is quite possible that some of the ones at the "poor" end of the scale are simply not worth attending at all.

Edited by softwareNerd
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Government roads are a different matter. There is, physically speaking, no option except to use them.

That's not true. You could choose to not use them, by staying at home at all times. That would be a huge self-sacrifice, just like refusing to enroll into a good college (if you can, I don't know what your grades are) is, but it is an option.
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Ignoring government-funded colleges as an option ensures that the people who attend are people who support the idea of taxing you and me to have that college, and to build more like it. Not only do you get a worse education by not attending, but you also end up leaving the opportunity to the opposition, and then being taxed to pay for their education!

 

What would be in my self-interest, in that case, would be to support private education, so people who want to get an education without relying on theft have that option.

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What would be in my self-interest, in that case, would be to support private education, so people who want to get an education without relying on theft have that option.

I wish you'd tell us what your options actually are, so that we don't have to keep guessing, but if you have the option to go to MIT or any other good school, and you instead choose to attend an online school, that wouldn't be in your self interest. That would be self sacrifice, for the sake of these vague "others" you mentioned. Edited by Nicky
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I think some online universities are fully privately funded. I know Khan Academy is privately funded, but they don't offer any actual courses where I would be working with an instructor.

Khan Academy is basically a collection of Youtube videos lacking professional expertise. That is far from an education on the level needed for a degree. Community colleges aren't much better, mostly they're a temporary option for various circumstances, so none are actually so great. Online universities often make their money by gaming the system and getting money from the government. I can't find the article I read, but this works. http://chronicle.com/article/Data-Points-For-Profit/63388

 

All you've got is Coursera for free options that are good, but that's still supporting universities that get any public finding. No matter where you turn in education, the government is omnipresent. Yeah, it's horrible. The nature of it is that the government has eliminated the ability of private universities to be private, making you screwed with no options for private learning. Still, there are viable schools for physics education, because at least the government doesn't run college education. I imagine you want to be in research for physics.

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What would be in my self-interest, in that case, would be to support private education, so people who want to get an education without relying on theft have that option.

 

You just gave an altruistic reason and claimed it was self interest. It's not self interest if your reason begins with "so (other) people can...". 

 

 

What's your actual reason for not wanting to attend a publicly funded college? If it's not in line with your philosophy, you have no real argument here - I'm sure you do tons of things that aren't technically in line with your philosophy as a result of the world you live in. Relying on any public service or publicly funded service at all is a violation of your philosophy by these standards, and I guarantee you that you use more than a few public or publicly funded services. If you claim to be an Objectivist, then doing it for the benefit of other's isn't a very good reason either. Besides that, you'd hardly be benefiting others in the first place - as another user pointed out, by not going to public colleges, you're just ensuring that the only people who get educated are the people who support the current system.

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Besides, just because a school is small or obscure enough that the government didn't get around to give them any money yet, doesn't mean that won't happen in the future.

Even if your sacrifice does help such a school improve and grow, what are the odds that they'll reject the government funding once they have a chance to get it?

The only kind of school I can think of that has an interest in doing that would be a heavily religious school (because the funding, in that case, comes with certain First Amendment related strings attached). But, for a school with a rational curriculum, there really aren't any strings attached, at least not outside the limited scope of a particular research grant. For them, it's basically free money. What college is gonna say no to free money?

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You just gave an altruistic reason and claimed it was self interest. It's not self interest if your reason begins with "so (other) people can...".

 

I think there was a quote from the Fountainhead (Which I haven't gotten around to reading yet -- still working on AS) that someone posted on here a while ago. Something along that "giving one's life for freedom is only a sacrifice for someone who can tolerate life under tyranny." In other words, suffering for the sake of a world where all individuals are free to pursue their rational self-interest is not a sacrifice (At least in my case) because my desire to create a free world is sufficient to give up certain benefits from the world that exists.

 

 

If it's not in line with your philosophy, you have no real argument here - I'm sure you do tons of things that aren't technically in line with your philosophy as a result of the world you live in. Relying on any public service or publicly funded service at all is a violation of your philosophy by these standards, and I guarantee you that you use more than a few public or publicly funded services.

 

To some extent yes, at the moment. I still do my best to practice agorism, meaning that I avoid relying on the government where I can. I intend to practice it more fully as time goes on, and as a result I do not wish to invest in something which is dependent on government funding.

 

 

If you claim to be an Objectivist, then doing it for the benefit of other's isn't a very good reason either.

 

I'm not doing it exclusively for the enjoyment of others. I'm doing it to create a free world, which is the kind of world I want to live in. I want the people I interact with to be happy, because that will facilitate my own happiness, and this will be achieved by allowing them to keep what they earn, and have access to a level of education at its true market priced, not be priced out of the market by inflated tuition rates.

 

I don't see Objectivism as being about only caring about myself -- I see it as being about rejecting the dichotomy between my own interests and the interests of others. And I think if we're at the point where we can't succeed without using coercion against others, then it's time for us to quit the system and let it burn to the ground.

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..., meaning that I avoid relying on the government where I can.

... ...

I want the people I interact with to be happy, because that will facilitate my own happiness, and this will be achieved by allowing them to keep what they earn, and have access to a level of education at its true market priced, not be priced out of the market by inflated tuition rates.

Beware of reifying government. These people that you want to make happy... they are the foundation of the government. The government is their agent. The reason you have public funding for education is because almost everyone around you thinks that it is a good thing that government funds education and the sciences. An overwhelming majority of the people around you have agreed that this is right and good, and that their taxes and the taxes of those who disagree should be taken to pay for this. 

 

Consider K-12 education. I send my kid to public school. The people who live around me think that it is right and proper for government to tax them and me and channel the money into schools. If not for these neighbors, I would have more money and would use it to pay for a private school. If someone tells me I'm getting this K-12 education for free or cheap, he would be wrong. The opposite is true. My neighbors have put me in a situation where I use the school set up by a government inspired by their ideas, and end up losing. If the school district in my area was not so good, I might well have sent my son to a private school, and ended up spending even more money. By what logic would you say that I should send my kid to a private school and leave a bigger share of my tax money to the neighbors who put me in this position? Why?

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Beware of reifying government. These people that you want to make happy... they are the foundation of the government.

 

This may be true in some sense. I believe that the government continues to exist because people have been misled, and believe that we need government programs in order for society to function. If the majority of people were to wake up, statist would crumble.

 

 

The government is their agent.

 

I don't agree with this. I think that the government works for certain crony corporations (Not truly productive businesses), and parasitic banks which feed off the Federal Reserve. It stopped working for the people long ago.

 

However, I also believe that the majority of people are fundamentally rational, and capable of realizing that reason requires freedom instead of statism. How many we will be able to convert in practice is yet to be determined. But I don't think we can just assume that everyone supports statism, and that they all deserve to be looted, because we know that's not true. And we can expand the ranks of people who support a free market, but only if we live in accordance with our principles as best we can. If we're going to advocate a free market, then we should be willing to put our money where our mouths are, and seek alternatives outside the state. And if those alternatives don't exist, create them.

 

Statists have succeeded at creating a civilization built on looting and coercion. We believe that a better world can be created through reason and voluntary cooperation. I think it's time to act on that belief, and I intend to live my life in accordance with this belief.

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Eamon, you're welcome to throw your college years away if you want, but do me a favor: Whenever you end up realizing that the actions you're planning on undertaking have brought you nothing of value, don't blame it on Objectivism.

I lost count of how many people I heard say that they "grew out of Objectivism, because it's naive and idealistic" once they realized that in today's world it's impossible to do the things you're planning to do. It's tiresome. There's nothing in Objectivism that asks of you to refuse to attend a state funded university, or in any other way live outside society for the sake of showing other people how strong your convictions are. Remember this when it comes time to blame someone for not being able to get the job you want with an online degree.

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... people have been misled, ...

This topic (i.e. whether people are responsible for their government) deserves a thread of its own. If you go live in the Gaza strip and speak to ordinary people, you will find they have been misled about all sorts of facts of history. Among each other, you will find they're not bad people. They can laugh and love like any human being. Yet, their context of history is such that they can smile with agreement when three Israeli teenagers are kidnapped and a cartoon shows three trapped mice, and they can cheer on the kidnappers. Do they share no responsibility in the killing?

Totalitarian regimes control citizens by guns, but they often come to power riding a wave of populism. The most common example: Hitler was elected to power before he grabbed more of it by force. Even after he grabbed more power, it is not as if a huge majorities of German people fell in line purely from fear. These people were not ignorant of history, yet many were inspired by Hitler. These people had no inherent evil gene, any more than their British or American cohorts. Nevertheless, their understanding of history and philosophy led them to where they were. Do they share no responsibility for WW-2 if they did not carry a gun themselves?

In a country where information is generally available and where voting is fairly free and secret, the people get the government they deserve. Politicians do not always have to do what the majority wants, but nor can they stray too far. (See : "Overton Window"). People complain about Obama, but there were huge percentages of people who were very enthusiastic about his election, not just seeing him as the better alternative among two terrible choices. A majority of people will tell you that they don't know if there will be any social security when they retire. Yet, begin to quiz them about it and you will find at least 70% want to keep the system in place, just with more taxes or less payouts. Ask about Medicare... same answer. Obamacare may be reviled, but even Republicans actually support the ideas behind it, and their own think-tank -- Heritage -- created a statist plan where government is hugely involved in health-care. Obama might have shifted it from on end of the Overton window to the other, but it is still based upon widely accepted principles. People love to laugh or complain when government over-reaches (in their mind): when some innocent is killed in a SWAT raid, or when the EPA harasses a homeowner about some "wet-land" issue. Yet, if you quiz your fellow voters about drug-laws and the environment, you will find the source of the problem: in essence, the government's actions flow from the voter's ideas on these topics. 

 

This isn't new. When the South kept slavery, it was not a minority of slave owners coercing their white populations into letting them enslave blacks. Slavery had widespread support in the South. When Prohibition was imposed, by constitutional amendment, the politicians across the country did not fear that voters would be scandalized and would throw them out for the imposition. When it comes to policies, FDR might be the worst president ever; yet, poll average American voters about the best president in history, and FDR will be near the top. 

 

When you look around at friends, family and neighbors, of course you see friendly people, who do not intend to hurt others, and say they want to live their own lives as best they can, and simply be left in peace most of the time. You see people who are rational in the main: if they lose a job, they might be depressed for a while but they pick themselves up and find an alternative, if the price of something goes up, they adjust their budgets accordingly, if things go downhill where they live, they consider relocating. The market works. Still, for all this, as a group, they think government should help the poor, stop people from getting drugs, help the old, provide education, provide healthcare... and so on. Regular folk are not plotting world-domination. They do not want to control their neighbor's behavior and pocket book from a power-trip. They want to do it from their understanding of what is right, virtuous, good.  So, they do not come to the table with evil intent, but their ideas are the bedrock, and they are the reason we have the political system, the rules, and the laws we do.

 

You're right: if we have to change the world, we have to convince people about other ideas. I do not think they "deserve to be looted" in the sense of you going over and stealing their lawn ornament as compensation. No, far from it. I love my family and I'm friendly with my neighbors. I understand that it is a mix of ignorance and mistaken ethics that lies at the heart of things...not some power-lust over me. I concede that I have to live in a system that reflects their values far more than it reflects mine, and that it will taken a lot of convincing -- over generations -- to change this. It makes no sense for me to pay taxes and then insist that the money that goes to the local K-12 school should only be used by my neighbors, not by me. It makes no sense that I should let all of them collect social security, but not do so myself. 

Edited by softwareNerd
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I lost count of how many people I heard say that they "grew out of Objectivism, because it's naive and idealistic" once they realized that in today's world it's impossible to do the things you're planning to do.

 

It is possible, and there's people doing it. Look up agorism. There is a movement based specifically on creating alternatives to the state, and I believe that even if private colleges don't exist now, they will in a few years.

 

I'm even working on doing this myself. I'm currently trying to grow broccoli in the backyard of the house I live in. I may or may not be successful this time around, but I'll learn eventually, because gardening isn't that difficult. And I'm going to sell it for silver and bitcoin if it ever does come up.

 

And I know many people who I'm sure would love to do the same thing, and some of them already have. The market just hasn't developed yet, but it will once more people start doing it.

 

 

Yet, their context of history is such that they can smile with agreement when three Israeli teenagers are kidnapped and a cartoon shows three trapped mice, and they can cheer on the kidnappers.

 

That has nothing to do with their context of history. Anyone who is capable of that is fundamentally evil, regardless of what culture they live in and what their history is. And there are also people in Palestine who want peace with Israel.

 

 

Still, for all this, as a group, they think government should help the poor, stop people from getting drugs, help the old, provide education, provide healthcare... and so on.

 

People don't believe anything as a group. Individuals have their own beliefs, and if they are fundamentally rational and moral, then they will be open to rational arguments. I'm even starting to convert one of my friends away from collectivism and statism to individualism. (He is coming around on his own, but he and I have also spent a lot of time talking about philosophy.)

 

 

It makes no sense for me to pay taxes and then insist that the money that goes to the local K-12 school should only be used by my neighbors, not by me. It makes no sense that I should let all of them collect social security, but not do so myself.

 

I think that there is a moral benefit to refusing to accept the scraps of what someone else has stolen from you. For instance, if a gang breaks into your house, takes all your stuff, and burns your house down, then offers you a share of the loot that they've accumulated from their victims over the years, I don't think it would be rational to accept it. Especially not if they're claiming that you back a share of it justifies what they did. It would be rational to work to rebuild your life on your own, with support from people who actually care, and persuade other people who have been victimized by the gang to help bring them down.

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It is possible, and there's people doing it. Look up agorism.

Well, I suppose there's not much else to say, except to echo Nicky's admonition. When you become a subsistence farmer, with a pittance of the values that many people like you possess because they trade with dollars in a thriving economy that you're trying to reinvent from scratch... then, do not blame Objectivism for giving you impractical guidance.

Everyone here has explained the (by far majority) Objectivists' position. I assume you are familiar with Rand's essay "On the Question Scholarships". If you want to ponder it a bit more, get "Understanding Objectivism".

Edited by softwareNerd
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