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A free in-depth education at your fingertips

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By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

Social media and its onerous censorship are taking a lot of heat these days. I am there with the critics in nearly all cases. Social media should be treated as a common carrier, like the telephone companies are.

But I want to pause this idea for a second to heap praises on the myriad of serious learning opportunities you can find on YouTube. All for free, some with commercials and some without.

By my nature, I will tend to cite conservative writings, but you can be sure there are plenty of liberal teachings as well. Some of my favorites are Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson of Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Most of their books are available (in audio form) as well as many shorter panel discussions on a myriad of contemporary topics. There is also a series called “Uncommon Knowledge” that is particularly good. The Mises Institute and the Austrian School of Economics are other favorites of mine.

Many other think tanks and institutions have their materials on YouTube in the form of panel discussions and book readings. Religious teachings of nearly every ilk are available online. Want to attend the same church I do? Just put “Perimeter Church” in the search bar of YouTube.

Coming to the everyday practical side, with YouTube you can find videos to rebuild nearly anything around your home and automobile. Carpentry and house repair videos abound, to the point they are affecting the viewership of old standard DIY shows like “This Old House” on PBS.

Renowned colleges and universities have endless courses available for free on YouTube. Distance and cost are no longer an issue. Your desire (or lack of desire) to learn is all that is between you and a better educated you.

You do have to have an internet connection and for some that is still an issue, although a Smartphone will do in a pinch (watch your data usage on the phone unless you have an unlimited plan).

Your local library is also a solution for this. Most libraries have from a few up to banks of computers these days. Won’t cost you a thing.

And by the way, if you are thinking about dropping out of high school and are pointing to my praise of a YouTube education as your alternative, forget it. Stay in school – I do not support your argument.

There has never been more good educational material available so economically in the history of the world.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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