My economics degree was basically worthless.

My classes taught equations that made it seem those who understand them understand this thing called an “economy.” They mentioned this thing called “the free market.” However, they certainly didn’t teach what it was. They didn’t teach the mechanics of voluntary exchange without government intervention (and especially how such an evolved state of society changed the world forever).

The prevailing paradigm in my classes was Keynesian economics. Basically, this is a school of thought consisting of sophisticated-sounding verbal diarrhea whose prime directive is to make young minds think the world would end if a central bank were not controlling the volume of a nation’s currency. To me, Keynesianism is just another attempt to teach that enlightened despotism really can work.

But what else would you expect from college?

I was aware of my lack of education, even during school. I knew I wasn’t being empowered with world-changing knowledge; I knew that corporations don’t strategize over their financial positions by consulting economics textbooks; I knew that my real education would begin on the job. My classes at Rice felt like mere stupid dances. Over twenty years later, my opinions haven’t changed.

This never sat well with me.

So, after graduating, I started reading books. In fact, I read more books in the year after graduating than I had read in the previous 23 years of my life. And the subject matter of the majority of those books pertained to free markets, and freedom itself. It seemed prudent that I should have some authoritative knowledge on economics, and I do say if you don’t understand the most basic mechanics of voluntary exchange, you can’t speak authoritatively on economics yourself.

One of the books I read was Adam Smith’s 1776 classic An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. I’m not going to get deep into it. On the one hand, looking back, it seemed like an apologetics manifesto for the British Empire. On the other hand, Smith did make clear that free markets – that freedom itself – was the prime factor in creating the wealth of a nation. The prosperity of the Anglo-Saxon nations in the 19th and 20th centuries, I say, attest to truths Smith wrote.

And boy were many of his words bloody hard to read!

I knew I was reading English. I knew the definition of 96.5% of the words. When I came across a word I didn’t know, I looked it up. That helped sometimes. Other times, it made no difference.

The fact is that reading this book produced moments of frustration I’d never felt before. Smith was constructing complex arguments with archaic verbiage that caused me to curse his soul with profanity my apartment neighbors heard more than once.

So why aggravate yourself doing something like this? Simple: you still learn. Yes, you bloody do.

Granted, many of those arguments were over my head. Many were not though. In fact, as I progressed through the book, my mind started naturally translating the older English into the new. By the end, I went back to some of the hard phrases I encountered at the beginning and read right through them.

The point is that even if you don’t fully understand all that you’re reading, persevere. Read them anyways. Educate yourself.

Yes, you’ll feel stupid sometimes. However, you shouldn’t care that you feel stupid. You should have faith your mind will still be sharpened. You should know that the more you persevere through this type of frustration, the more you’ll be telling the part of your mind that says “you can’t” that “I can,” and this ability spills over into other areas of life.

It does.

However – obviously – reading old, hard words is just not something most will do. Most have let their minds be destroyed by evil people, and don’t care. It’s too hard to change. They’re content just to survive. So, pass the remote… give me another beer… and shut the EXPLETIVE up!

Fine. Be a retard. Nonetheless, I do say words that endure through centuries radiate with a power which still impresses itself upon your mind and will give you the advantage of unique perspective in a world filled with people who possess nothing but pre-fabricated perspectives.

Like Mark Twain said, “Those who don’t read have no advantage over those who can.”

But whatever.