Stop vb. , to arrest the progress of; to hinder; to impede; to cease

State n. , a gang of thieves writ large; a territorial monopolist of compulsion and
ultimate decision-making (jurisdiction) which may engage in continual, institutionalized property rights violations and exploitation in the form of expropriation, taxation, and regulation of private property owners; the group within society that claims for itself the exclusive right to rule everyone under a special set of laws that permit it to do to others what everyone else is rightly prohibited from doing, namely aggressing against person and property.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Response to a Lame Attack on Non-Interventionism



Thanks very much to John Kurtz for having me on his great radio show on this topic.
  
                                          Part 1

                                          Part 2


I was recently presented with the following question in regard to the mess developing between the U.S., Israeli, and Iranian governments:  

Is standing by and refusing to act while harm befalls a neighbor a virtue?

Restated in the specific context with the countries’ names included and it reads something like:

Is it right for America to stand by and refuse to act while Iran attacks Israel?

I won’t elaborate too much on the facts that: 

-Iran has yet to initiate any kind of aggressive act against America or Israel despite enduring provocations to do so for years.

-Iran completely lacks the means to pose any kind of real threat to any other country even if it desired  to.

-Iran is outgunned by the U.S. and Israel by about a million to one and knows full well that any kind of aggressive act against the U.S. or Israel would be sure suicide.

-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is on record in the past six weeks saying Iran is not even trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

-The U.N. and its International Atomic Energy Agency “found nothing to worry about” at Iran’s uranium enrichment site.

-Iran’s borders are surrounded by forty-five U.S. military bases.

-Iran is actually the victim of aggression in this developing scenario ever since the U.S. began imposing coercive sanctions on Iran, i.e., preventing goods and services from getting to regular Iranian people –  people who have far more in common with us Americans than our own government does.

- Benjamin Netanyahu gave an address to Congress last year saying Israel can defend itself and doesn’t need American military aid.

-The American State is the only government in the history of the world to use nuclear weapons against another country, instantly vaporizing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and possesses absolutely no moral authority to go around judging other governments over their weaponry.  

-Ron Paul, perhaps the most anti-war presidential candidate in the entire history of America and the most outspoken opponent of war against Iran, receives more donations from active-duty soldiers than Obama, Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich combined.


No, I will judge this case assuming that every bit of the lies and war propaganda spewing from those who desire to see innocents slaughtered in another evil war is completely true and factual –because even then a war against Iran is not justified.

Let us pretend for a moment that Iran does possess a nuke.  So what?  Is Iran not a sovereign country?  America has nukes.  Israel has nukes.  Why can’t Iran have nukes?  Why is one country allowed to have nukes, but not another country?  Why is it that the American government is the sole decider of who can and can’t have nuclear weapons?  

Americans who believe it is the role of the U.S. government to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy are subscribers to an evil nationalist philosophy of American Exceptionalism, which holds that America is a superior country composed of a superior class of people and for that reason America may go around hypocritically condemning and attacking other countries for doing things the American government itself does.  Americans are the best, our government is the best, and foreigners are just a subhuman, homogeneous blob that we may impose “our” political opinions on.  America is allowed to boss other countries around, but not the other way around, of course, and if they resist America’s control and instead seek independence from the U.S. government’s dominion, “we” are somehow morally permitted to obliterate them.

It’s ironic that America imposes coercive sanctions on Iran when it was Britain’s interfering with the American colonies’ trading that contributed to the initiation of the Revolutionary War.  Was the American founding generation wrong to throw off Britain’s control?  Should they have just shut up and obeyed King George the way Iranians are supposed to obey King Bush or King Obama?

Why in the world would Iran not acquire a nuke?  A quick examination of America’s foreign policy over the last half century clearly reveals that the U.S. government almost exclusively picks fights with defenseless third-world countries and leaves alone countries that actually do have nukes and can put up a fight.  You only have to look one country west of Iran to see shattered, destroyed Iraq and understand that Iran acquiring a nuke is completely understandable.

Now let us ponder the scenario where Iran is on the literal verge of attacking Israel.  

This brings us back to the initial question “is standing by and refusing to act while harm befalls a neighbor a virtue?”

For starters it is worth mentioning that this suggestion of Israel being an ally is contrary to the founding principles of America.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, stated in his first inaugural address that American foreign policy should consist of "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none." (Emphasis added)

George Washington warned in his farewell address  against "permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

Opponents of a non-interventionist foreign policy should be prepared to publicly denounce the advice of Washington and Jefferson as kooky and dangerous if they are going to use such labels against Ron Paul and his supporters.

Non-interventionists are not cold-hearted, apathetic people who simply wish to see other countries perish in wars.  Non-interventionists oppose entangling alliances precisely because they only serve to exacerbate international conflicts, make wars more likely, and make wars larger and involving more countries.  It is the non-interventionists who have performed the deep thinking on this matter, not the jingoists who hate and agitate for war against whoever their government tells them to hate and fear.

The sole purpose of the U.S. military is to defend the U.S., not defend other countries.  A war is not defensive if it involves soldiers leaving the borders of their home country.   A war is not defensive if the country claiming to defend launches a preemptive strike.  A preemptive strike, as the warmongers prescribe “we” hit Iran with, is an act of aggression, making the government who launches the preemptive attack the actual aggressor.

Individual Americans who worry about Israel are completely free to donate their money to the country and even go and volunteer to fight, but they may not use the U.S. government to compel other Americans to pay for Israel’s defense.  There is nothing honorable or courageous about forcing people to fund a cause they may not agree with or feel has nothing to do with them.  In fact, it is grossly immoral.

As Murray Rothbard explains in his timeless and heroic essay War, Peace, and the State, if Jones is being aggressed against by Smith, it is perfectly legitimate for Jones to use violence to repel Smith’s aggression.  It would not be legitimate for Jones, however, to compel other innocent third parties to aid him.  People may voluntarily contribute resources to Jones’s effort, but Jones may not force others to contribute their labor or money to his cause.  

 “Is standing by and refusing to act while harm befalls a neighbor a virtue?”

Is it virtuous to use coercive taxation to make other people pay for your cause against their will?  Is it virtuous to throw them in jail if they don’t pay up?  Is it virtuous to kill them if they resist being jailed?


Friday, February 17, 2012

Against College Cultism Part II: Responses to Common Objections


My first article on the subject of college ended up being very long, so I chopped the last half off and made this part II article out of it.

Here are the common reactions I received, and continue to receive, due to my decision to withdraw from college.  


1)      “Most people go to college, so you should too.”

Could it be that the absolute dumbest reason for going to college could also be the most popular?  Yes.  I think this reason is in the background of every other reason people give for going to college.  “Hey, this is what the majority of people do.  The majority can’t be wrong and anyone who doesn’t go along with the majority must be wrong. “

If the majority jumped off a bridge, would you?  Neither would I.  In fact, the best life advice you can give yourself right now is to always be weary of what the majority is doing.  Most people: are in heavy debt, are depressingly bored with their lives, and aren’t doing with their lives what they wanted to.  Don’t take advice from people who aren’t living the lives they wanted to when they were younger, unless you want to end up in the same situation.

Just think of the majority as a bunch of zombies ready to follow whatever path the government-brainwashers set them on and you’ll be fine.

2)      “If you drop out you’ll never be able to go back”

This one is just laughable.  The logic behind it goes something like this: if you drop out you’ll likely get into some kind of trouble like getting a girl pregnant and you’ll be forced to work fifty hours a week at some low-paying job you hate, you’ll never be able to go to college again because all your money is going to support a family, and you won’t be able to afford to reduce your work hours in order to attend classes.

But can’t all of that happen if you are going to college?   

People seem to think that upon enrolling in college a shiny blue force field bubble immediately forms around you that will protect you from screwing your life up.  

Fact is you can go back anytime you want.  You have infinite, unlimited chances.  The colleges will still be there happily willing and ready to take your money.  People who raise the fallacious objection that you won’t be able to go back are probably just cowardly, lazy, stupid, and stagnant people who simply can’t imagine themselves being able to drop out and then one day return.  

Pity them for having such uninspired attitudes.


E         Envy

More and more we are hearing stories about young people who go into horrid debts to finance their college education with the goal of scoring a spectacularly paying career, only to graduate and fail to find a job that pays more than $10/hour.  I know a girl whose sister earned not one but two B.A. degrees and years after graduating the best job she’s been able to find is working at a movie theater. 

People in this situation are understandably bitter.  After getting their degrees they’re not a bit better off in the job market, only now they have a debt that will haunt them for years and possibly decades.  Some of these people also lose their souls and become monsters.  They want to see other people wind up in their situation.  Instead of climbing out of their hole, they’d rather drag others into it.

These people do not want to see college dropouts surpass them.  They will speak ill of and hate those who bypass college.

Even if they came out of college with no debt and did land a well -paying job, most college graduates are still hostile towards those of us who aspire to do great in life without getting a degree.  Why?  Because it makes them feel inadequate.  They had to get a degree to do well in life; they don’t want to see people without degrees doing well nor do they want to see dropouts developing enjoyable careers.

Current college students will also express this toxic attitude towards drop-outs because many of them, maybe even the majority, don’t want to be in college.  They have no idea what they want to do, they have no interest in what they’re studying, they’re depressed that they might be committing themselves to a life they probably won’t like, but they’re afraid to take a risk and pursue a different path.  I have my own name for these people: stay-ins.

Stay-ins just keep staying in college because they’re afraid to do anything that isn’t a part of the prepackaged one-size-fits-all life plan society expects them to follow.


4)      “Just get any degree.  It doesn’t matter what kind.  Getting a degree is all about showing employers that you’re willing to put in the time and hard work necessary to accomplish goals.”

Or it could show employers that you don’t understand the relationship between cost and benefit and don’t know what a good investment looks like.  

You don’t actually accomplish much in college.  You feel like you’re actually accomplishing something.  You’re speeding through traffic to get to your morning class on time, you’re passing exams, and you had to write essays for three different classes last week, but at the end of the semester you have nothing to show for this labor other than a few extra letters on your transcript.  Having some employer references on your resume looks better to employers than these letters you slaved away for.



5)      “Without a degree you’ll forever work at McDonalds.”

This is the most offensive one.  When someone says this to you they are literally calling you stupid to your face.  They are saying you’re incapable of providing for yourself without a college education.  I would say you should explain the meaning of this rude comment to anyone who utters it, but that would be a waste of time – just cut that person out of your life.  Give them three strikes maybe if you’re a kind person.  I’m not kind.  I don’t care.  I’ll cut out anyone who says something like this to me.  No one is sacred.


                                                      ****************

Want to show you can accomplish something?  Then get out in the world and actually accomplish something.  My friend Alec is twenty-one. He was not an exceptional high school student and he dropped out of college after one part-time semester.  Alec has his own aerial photography business now.  He gets paid hundreds of dollars an hour to fly his RC helicopter around and take pictures for people.  This is an accomplishment.  Alec had to invest thousands of dollars that he saved from delivering pizza into building a state-of-the-art remote control helicopter that can fly for miles, thousands of feet above the ground.  

Alec also invested about $10,000 he made by delivering pizza into building a top-notch music recording rig and now he gets paid to produce bands and has even gained the written respect of a few famous music producers.

He didn’t have to have a professor threaten to fail him if he didn’t do it.  He did it through raw ambition and will, the whole time being told by his elders to drop it all and go to college.

If only his elders were aware that:


Students are now borrowing TWICE as much money to fund their education than they were just a decade ago.

The average college student is now graduating with $25,000 worth of debt hanging around their neck and the average amount of time it takes for these debts to be repaid is approaching twenty years.

More and more girls are engaging in “sugar daddy” prostitution to pay for their education.

NYU sociologist Richard Arum conducted a study involving 2,300 students at 24 different universities and found that after two years of “learning” 45% of students shows no signs of increased intelligence.  

In America (go to page 7), there are 107,457 janitors and 317,759 waiters with college degrees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a full one quarter of all the retail sales people in America have college degrees. 

70% of college graduates report that they wished they had spent more time preparing for the real world while they were in school.

Is Paul Gilbert a Libertarian?


I’ve been a fan of guitarist Paul Gilbert since I was in middle school. 

(Me and Paul.  2006?  2007?)

In addition to being one of the best rock guitar players ever, Gilbert is also a superb song writer, singer, lyricist, and not a bad drummer or bassist – something that can’t be said of the great majority of “shred” guitar players.  Most “shredders” usually never become known for anything other than their ability to mindlessly wank through scale shapes and sweep arpeggios.  There seems to be a positive relationship between guitarists’ speed and their lack of talent in all the other aspects of music.  But not Gilbert.  He has it all.  He was even one of the first DIY producers well over a decade ago, producing his own surplus of albums out of his home.

Gilbert has carved out his own small, but firm, place in the music market.  He won’t ever be a household name, but he has near complete control over every aspect of his career.  Little is outsourced.  He cheaply produces the bulk of his albums out of his own home, reducing his production costs and therefore raising his profits.  He’s been making his own line of very funny and very helpful instructional videos since he was a kid – which have not only probably brought in a lot of money, but have also probably acted as the best business card that could have ever been invented to advertise his music.  And there’s never a shortage of bands and projects that Gilbert can join when he gets bored.  He’s done sixteen solo albums, been a main contributor to twenty-one collaborative albums, appeared as a guest on thirty-nine other artists’ projects, and has released eighteen DVDs.  He’s been a non-stop productive musical entrepreneur since he was fifteen.

Kinda like how after you buy a certain car you all of a sudden start to notice other people driving that car around town, I became really sensitive to other people’s libertarianism after I discovered I was a libertarian.  It always feels awesome when you notice evidence that one of your role models shares your personal views and I was definitely pleased to find indications that Paul Gilbert… is a libertarian.

Indication #1

Gilbert has an anti-cop song called “I’m Not Afraid of the Police” (lyrics here).  Any real libertarian hates cops.  Cops are the only group within society who actually claim the official authority to routinely violate other people’s rights.  As a heavy metal youngster it is very possible Gilbert had some run-ins with state enforcers that inspired this song.

Indication #2

Gilbert has recently and often been wearing a shirt that says “Voting is for Old People”


 I won’t assume that Gilbert has read Hoppe’s Democracy: The God that Failed, but a shirt like this does display a healthy disdain for politics.  It’s difficult to imagine any serious advocate of democratic statism wearing this shirt.

The sentiment behind this shirt is one also shared by the radical, pure anarchist libertarians.  Lewrockwell.com, the best-read libertarian website in the world, has an entire section of articles on the barbaric practice of settling society’s problems through mob rule.

When the clothing store Urban Outfitters carried this shirt before the 2004 election, there was an outcry from the fanatical believers in mob rule about the shirt specifically because it was influencing young people to disrespect the idea of mob rule.

Indication #3

Paul Gilbert lived in Japan for several years, something that no flag-waiving, nationalist American would do.  American soil is sacred and magical and anyone who leaves it is a damn traitor!

***

Again I present these simply as indications that Paul Gilbert may have, at the least, libertarian leanings.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hank Hill: Model Statesman



Thanks to Adult Swim re-airing King of the Hill five nights a week I recently caught an old episode that has expanded my list of approved politicians to now feature two: Ron Paul and Hank Hill.  The episode is Flush with Power (or here) from season four.

It makes sense that the only politician in American history whose integrity would rival Dr. Paul is a fictional cartoon character.

In this episode, the Texas town Arlen is experiencing a severe drought and the local government has instituted water rationing policies.  Each household is permitted to only use a certain low amount of water each week until rain returns and an army of bureaucrats has been unleashed to patrol the neighborhoods of Arlen, randomly checking meters and cracking down on those who defy the ration.

Rationing is a very typical measure imposed by central planners ignorant of economics.  Much like the saying that only having a hammer influences a person to see everything as nails, city managers see every societal problem as something that can only be solved by the exercise of their power.  As if they are wizards holding magical wands they believe each and every trouble in their jurisdiction can be fixed by regulations and policies.

This rationing policy is very bad news for Hank Hill.  Hank has a lush lawn he proudly maintains, but this requires a lot of water.  In order to stay within the restrictions of the ration and still leave his family with enough water for their needs Hank has to let his yard suffer.

If, instead of rationing, the Arlen city government allowed the price of water to freely fluctuate according to supply and demand, people like Hank would be much better off.  The price of water would rise, which would result in people who don’t value water as much reducing their consumption.  This would leave more water left over for those who value the water more and are willing to pay the higher price.  With rationing and price ceilings, yes the price is lower, but the supply is extinguished much faster.

An even better solution would be for the city mangers of Arlen to completely denationalize water distribution and let the market handle it.  Entrepreneurs would compete with each other over who can offer the highest quality water services for the lowest price and the victor would be awarded with the highest profits.  This profit motive would make new innovations in water distribution much more likely.  One entrepreneur might buy the rights to a water source in another well-hydrated territory and pipe it into Arlen.  Another might invent a new, cheap way to desalinize the ocean water surrounding Texas.

Another, more pitiful, solution the city managers of Arlen offer is the promotion of inefficient low-flow toilets being issued for “free”  (at the expense of the taxpayers being forced to pay for them).  This too is also a typical response of the central planners: reduce your quality of life by using lower-quality products, citizens, and shut up.  Rather than owning up to the problem being the result of foolish government management, the bureaucrats place the blame on the citizens for using the “wrong” toilets.  We not only see this with the American government on toilets now, but also with light bulbs and cars.


In the market you never hear entrepreneurs blaming their customers for problems.  The customer is always right and entrepreneurs have to slavishly find ways to continue pleasing the customer.  If an entrepreneur held a press conference and told his customers that they need to quit complaining and learn to accept lower quality products he would go bankrupt overnight, but with government it is always about making the tax-slave citizens sacrifice and suffer and using violent force against those who refuse.

Hank, desperate to have water for maintaining his lawn, breaks down and gets a low-flow toilet.

The toilets are immediately revealed to be inferior products – requiring many more flushes to dispose of waste than normal toilets.  This is a typical result of the government’s remedies: not only are they usually unsuccessful, but they also exacerbate the problems they were allegedly intended to solve.  All the extra flushing has resulted in the Hill family using much more water than they were using with the old “eco-unfriendly” toilet.  When considered that by now a significant number of Arlen residents are using these low-flow toilets, the city has a genuine decivilization crisis developing.  Their standard of living is decreasing.  They have less water and their waste is harder to dispose of.

Very quickly Hank expresses his desire to get his old high-flow toilet back, but discovers the old high-flow toilets that are collected get smashed up and dumped into the ocean to aid in the development of coral reefs.  When Hank stops by the hardware store to buy a new high-flow toilet he discovers that they have now been outlawed entirely in his county.  This is similar to the quickly abandoned “cash for clunkers” program of the Obama regime that consisted of using tax dollars to buy perfectly functional, but “eco-unfriendly”, vehicles, destroy them beyond repair, and replace them with “eco-friendly” cars.  The decivilizing effects were and remain many.  There were fewer used cars available on the market, which raised the price of used vehicles and hurt the poorer people who depend on the used car market to satisfy their transportation needs.  Each and every tax dollar that was spent on this program is gone forever, leaving the economy as a whole poorer and our tax burden larger.  And in the end it turns out the “eco-friendly” cars aren’t even any better for the environment.

Rightfully angry that bureaucrats have made it illegal to, as Hank puts it, “install a working toilet in your own bathroom!” Hank decides to go to the next Board of Zoning and Resources meeting and lobby against their ban on high-flows.

As Hank begins making his case to the board, the head bureaucrat, Nate Hashaway, cuts him off and announces that in order to discuss an issue at the meeting it must be formerly added to the agenda, but only a board member may add subjects to the agenda.  Hank is politely told to shut up and the gang of bureaucrats moves on to a more important matter – wishing one of their members a happy birthday.

Hank’s powerlessness against his local government is quite reflective of American politics.  Even the smallest, pettiest bureaucrats have no concern at all for the citizens they rule over. The political class doesn’t listen to reason.  We’re simply expected to shut up and unconditionally obey their every foolish, illogical, and/or immoral command.  If a local zoning board doesn’t care what you think, do you really think your congressman or senator does?  For every one U.S. representative there are over 700,000 Americans.  Your congressman, contrary to what he says in his campaign ads, does not care what you think.  For every U.S. senator there are over three million American tax-slaves.  How can one person possibly represent the interests of three million individuals?  Your senator simply doesn’t worry about it, that’s how.

As the condition of his lawn worsens, Hank decides to run for office on a platform that consists completely of repealing the high-flow toilet ban.  It turns out that a seat on the Board of Zoning and Resources has been empty for four years and Hank automatically wins the election upon submitting the paperwork.

Hank introduces a motion to repeal the ban at his first meeting with the board.  He’s shot down again.  Nate Hashaway is a bit more defensive this time.

After the meeting is adjourned and the members are leaving, Hashaway slyly asks to speak with Hank in private.  Turns out Hashaway has a secret stash of high-flow toilets.  He offers to give Hank one if he agrees to shut up about the toilet situation.  Hank heroically turns the offer down due to the gross immorality of a lawmaker not following the laws he himself commands others to obey.  Lawmakers seldom follow their own rules the way they say we must.  One example is how elite congressmen and senators are often exempt from the humiliating TSA search procedures the rest of Americans endure.  Anti-gun politicians often use tax dollars to pay for armed security for themselves.  Elite environmentalist seek to force us to reduce our fossil fuel consumption as they fly around on private jets that emit more carbon emissions in a single trip than most cars emit in a year.

By now the lawn is nearly dead and Hashaway has launched a surveillance and blackmail operation against Hank, but Bobby Hill discovers some dirt on Hashaway just in time: Hashaway is the exclusive seller of the low-flow toilets.

Corporatism, also known as fascism, is collusion between businesses and the state and involves businesses bribing the government for unfair advantages that are absent in a free market.  Examples include businesses lobbying for tariffs to protect from foreign competition (at the cost of domestic consumers having to pay more for goods), businesses lobbying for competitor’s products to be banned entirely (as with hemp and marijuana), businesses lobbying for monopoly privileges where the government outlaws their competition through instituting barriers to entry in the market, or any other scenario where private interests use the government to gain advantages at the expense of consumers.

Corporations often fear a free market because in this scenario there is no government there to protect them from new innovators and young entrepreneurs.  In a free market, all businesses must be constantly on their toes, constantly innovating, and willing to evolve.  Corporations instead frequently favor a vast regulatory-state that they can use to beat up their smaller competitors.  (For a good example of Wal-Mart doing this with minimum wage laws, see Lew Rockwell here.)

This political thug Hashaway is using his government power to make people pay for his inferior toilets and then he bans the competing toilets.  This is similar to the case of Michael “Skeletor” Chertoff promoting the installation of naked body scanners in airports during his time as the secretary of homeland security and then immediately going on to work as a well-paid consultant for the primary company that makes them.

Not backing down, Hank reveals Hashaway’s conflict of interest at the second meeting with the board and again introduces a motion to repeal the high-flow ban, but this time he begins a filibuster before the voting finishes.

As Hank reads his wife’s very boring columns from the local newspaper the members of the board eventually start needing to use the restrooms.  One by one they go and come back, obviously frustrated by the poor performance of Hashaway’s low-flow toilets.  All the other board members can clearly hear each restroom occupant having to flush multiple times.  After several hours, both the men’s and ladies’ rooms are out of order with broken toilets.

All the board members, except Hashaway, vote for the repeal and toilet freedom is restored in Arlen.

Hank immediately resigns from the board.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Against College Cultism


by Austin White
I mean no offense to people who go to college with the goal of becoming an academic.  If you desire to be an economist, for instance, you are where you need to be.

But if you don’t know what to do, a very common and understandable circumstance, there is nothing wrong with refraining from impulsively choosing some random degree to commit yourself to for five years (the average amount of time it now takes a person to earn a four-year degree).  Such an act would be one of panic; not rational, calm decision making.  The opportunity cost of college is gargantuan in both time and money.  Ever year you spend doing busywork in college is a year lost forever that can no longer be spent developing a business, working full-time to accumulate capital, or any other activity you might like to experiment with.  As you make more progress towards completing your college education it also becomes more difficult to leave and you are more likely to stick it out and just finish the degree – even if you have no interest in pursuing a career that has anything to do with what you studied.
If you’re experiencing the above scenario then dropping out may be a perfectly rational choice.  But it won’t come without consequence.
Drop out of college and you are likely to be treated with nothing but negative reactions ranging from shame to disappointment and even envy.  Drop out of college, or bypass it entirely, and chances are high that your position in the family tree will be tainted.  Relatives will look at you as if you’ve just become addicted to heroin.  Aunts, uncles, and cousins come together at family events and put on a mock intervention to get you back on track because, of course, anyone who does not attend college has surely got off on a wrong exit towards self-destruction.
Don’t worry.  Those responses are no more than exhibitions of these people’s poor attitudes and fallacious thinking. Ignore them entirely.  Don’t even argue.  Arguing is a waste of time and college graduates have already demonstrated that they are really good at wasting irreplaceable time, so don’t expect arguments with them to be brief. 
If you’re brave enough to go against the college cult and have decided that you have better things to do than waste years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars of your money, your parents money, and tax payer dollars pretending to learn things about subjects you’re pretending to be interested in, then congratulations.  But beware; you need to be ready to deal with the college cultists.
A cult it certainly is.  People have a shockingly na├»ve faith in college being the door to a life of riches so much that many students seem to believe there is even a money-back guarantee.  Kids go in, rich adults come out and that’s it.  A pristine perfect plan if there ever was one.
College graduates if anything are worse off because they come out with a sense of entitlement to a great paying job – a very bad state of mind to have during bad economic times.   Any lower-paying job that doesn't involve what they studied is considered beneath them.  After spending four or more years writing papers and taking exam they feel as if they’ve already done all the work necessary to prove themselves.  Unfortunately, they forgot that it’s really about proving themselves in the market, unless they are aspiring tax parasites who want to work in government.
 There is a generation of people about to be unleashed on the world who have never worked an entry-level job and have no idea what the real world even is.  They’ve never had to meet the demands of customers and bosses who can fire an employee in an instant.  I delivered pizza for three years and during that time some of my coworkers were college graduates or about to graduate.  They had awful work ethics.  Every part of the job was beneath them: answering the phones, taking out the trash, and even having a good attitude was too much to ask.  They almost seemed to believe simply because they were in college they should be the automatic owners of the restaurant and not working in it despite the fact that for most of them it was their first job.
This is quite alarming when you consider that currently 70% of high school graduates go onto college.    Sociologist Richard Arum conducted a study involving 2,300 students at twenty-four different universities.  36% of students showed no improvement at all in their critical thinking abilities after four years of college.  They came out not a bit smarter even after four years of taking classes. The unemployment rate among college graduates is only slightly better than those with only a high school education and just as many graduates are finding themselves working jobs that don’t require a degree.  Despite all of this the price of a college education has risen 350% (adjusted for inflation) since 1980 and the debt a person incurs to pay for it is inescapable.  An education can’t be repossessed the way a car or home can if the borrower can’t pay back.  Student loan debt for the first time in American history is exceeding both credit card and home owner debt.
You might be better off going straight into the market without a college degree.  Yes, college graduates still do better overall, but many will also have that debt to payback.  If you bypass college you’ll be getting a huge head start in the real world.  By the time your peers are graduating you’ll have already figured out how to progress and move up within your field.  Employers don’t necessarily want smart college-educated employees; they want productive employees who will help them make more money.  Only experience can give you this quality.
I spent three years in college and I can’t even remember 90% of my professors’ names.  There was one teacher who demonstrated the evils of capitalism by holding up a can of Coca-Cola and saying “the fluid in this can costs less to make than the can it’s contained in, but yet they charge you a dollar!”  It obviously never occurred to him that there are hundreds of competing beverages he can buy instead and he’s completely free not to buy the Coca-Cola.  I took an elective course called Government and Media taught by a lady who thinks the FCC should completely regulate all media, even the internet, and that all TV channels should be a variant of NPR. 
My U.S. Government teacher should rename his course Why I’m Infatuated with the State.  He lovingly described each and every department of the government as if he’s the one who thought them up and is currently in charge.  The only thing wrong with the state, to him, is that it isn’t even more controlling and powerful.  He had a little in-class election in 2008, I wrote in Ron Paul.  A humanities teacher I had taught me that one of the causes of the Great Depression was individualism, it grew worse because Hoover didn’t intervene at all, and military Keynesianism is what ended the depression.   On the midterm I wrote in the real causes of the Great Depression along with a big list of Austrian economists I would contact if he marked my answer incorrect.
The claim that college is a venue for the free and open discussion of ideas is a myth.  Teachers hate and despise anyone who challenges them.  They’ve been making a living regurgitating the same lectures every semester for over a decade and don’t want some kid refuting them because that could mean having to rewrite a lecture.  I probably wouldn’t put any effort into my lessons either if I was a college professor.  The average college student is either stoned, hung-over, just woke up five minutes ago, braindead from the prior thirteen years of government school indoctrination, or all of the above.  Boys speak with a combination of grunts and gargle sounds and the girls speak only with giggle sounds.  It’s also shocking how many of my peers didn’t work or had never worked a job.  “I’m a student” is what you hear when you ask many of them what they do for work. 
My old economics professor does secret studies on his students.  The last one he did showed the great majority of his students want tax victims to pay for their healthcare, tuition, and the down payment on their future homes – not exactly indicators of a generation that plans on producing much.
Of the twenty-five total classes I took I can honestly only remember useful concepts from two of them: a business law class and Jack Chambless’s economics class.  But I could have learned all of those concepts without ever actually enrolling.  All the business law teacher did was tell us to read the text book and then the next class he would orally skim through the book.  He gets paid to read to people out loud.
Jack Chambless puts high quality recordings of his lectures online for the entire world to view.  Anyone can take his economics class without paying tuition and they would be getting exactly what his classroom students get.  Buy his book, check out the pre-recorded lectures, and if you’re willing to pay enough I’m sure he’d be happy to arrange for some type of proctored testing if you really want to see how well you understand.
Or you could go to Mises.org and have access to thousands of hours worth of lectures by Murray Rothbard, Hans Hoppe, Walter Block, Robert Higgs, Tom DiLorenzo, Joe Salerno, and even a few by Mises himself.  For no cost at all you can receive the same economics lessons that Murray Rothbard’s actual students got.  You can even download Man, Economy, and State for free.
I’ve learned more from Wikipedia alone than I learned in college and more and more people will be saying the same of Khan Academy and Mises Academy soon.  The entire American education system is from the Stone Age.  There is no reason for schools to be spending millions of dollars on new buildings and hiring professors to read textbooks out loud to people when the lecture can simply be recorded and uploaded to the internet for all to see for free in whatever venue the consumer prefers.
The American education system is in critical condition with an IV and feeding tube pumping tax-payer subsidies into its lifeless body as the accreditation cartel feebly stands between us and educational entrepreneurs who seek to offer us cheap, innovative ways to learn anything we want.