Mugging the Boot Camps

Monday, February 03, 2014

Suppose you developed an interest in a lucrative field and suspected you could do well in it with a small amount of additional training. Suppose further that, for whatever reason, you didn't have the time or money to attend college classes. Or maybe, already being educated and having work experience, you simply didn't see the need to go back to school just to pick up a few new skills.

In such a situation, you might, say, arrange to work intensively on the skills with an expert for a time. Common sense says you'd vet the expert beforehand and pay for his services in the meantime. Of course, there is the risk that what you'll "learn by doing" isn't the marketable skill set you originally sought: Instead, you may learn the hard lesson that you just aren't cut out for the new field -- or even that you simply don't want to spend much of your time doing it or try to build a career on it. You might even learn one of these other things quickly enough that you decide to cut your losses by ending your proposed immersion program before finishing it.

Oops! According to the state of California, you aren't able to make an intelligent decision like this on your own and need the government's help every step of the way -- at least if your way of going about this is to attend a "hacker boot camp":

They aren't your traditional vocational schools. There are no grades, no degrees, and no diplomas. They're usually staffed by professional coders, not licensed teachers. Many of the teachers are volunteers -- even though the schools are usually private companies, not non-profit organizations. And many schools are backed by investments from big-name Silicon Valley venture capital firms.
The article goes on to note that, "the state would rather get the schools into [regulatory] compliance and licensed", rather than closing them down.

Of course, since the state could have butted out, but it didn't, this brings another, similar situation to my mind... I'm sure that your average mugger would rather get you "into compliance" with his request for your wallet rather than have to actually carry out his implied threat, too. But he didn't just let the person he didn't want to "shut down" walk by, did he?

The article raises the legitimate issue of fraudulent outfits purporting to offer training, but fraud is already illegal. This is all about extorting loot and control from a new set of victims.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

Note how they (the California State Parasites) phrase their language so that it looks like those freely interacting adults are somehow the criminals. And a significant majority of what passes for an American citizen will fall for the rhetoric.

Your comparison to muggers is apt. But the state actors are actually worse. I don't know if it was Mencken or Rokyo (or Mencken via Rokyo!) that said "at least a highwayman has the decency to leave you alone after the act. Unlike the gov't functionary who continues to ride alongside, jawing endlessly about how he had done it for your own good."

c. andrew

Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

I tracked down that fragment and while my version is more succinct (and could very well have been how Mike Rokyo conveyed it) the original belongs to Lysander Spooner.

But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: Your money, or your life. And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the road side, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a “protector,” and that he takes men’s money against their will, merely to enable him to “protect” those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful “sovereign,” on account of the “protection” he affords you. He does not keep “protecting” you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the quotes. You're right to point out that what is going on is actually worse than a mugging, and not just because the government is supposed to prevent such occurrences.