Josh and Eve’s Journey & Homeschooling (1h2m) – Episode 109

Episode 109 welcomes Josh and Eve LeVeque to the podcast for a chat with Skyler. Topics include: their separate journey’s to libertarian thinking; the value of discussion groups; each of their police and state court experiences; crimes verse torts; authority verse loyalty; Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) and homeschooling; phases of learning; having kids; marijuana; their new short term rental business; peaceful parenting and spanking; and more.

Listen to Episode 109 (1h2m, mp3, 64kbps)

Show Notes

Josh LeVeque, Facebook Profile
Eve LeVeque, Facebook Profile
Lysander Spooner, “Vices aren’t Crimes
Skyler J. Collins, “Rulers vs. Leaders
Thomas Jefferson Education, Website
Skyler J. Collins, No Hitting!

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Believing or Thinking

Believing is like accepting and eating a stranger’s casserole. Hopefully whoever made it had good intentions and was honest. You trust they didn’t use feces as an ingredient.

Thinking is like knowing exactly what went into making the casserole, and how it was put together and cooked. You might have even made it yourself from ingredients you chose and combined, then cooked.

Making your own casserole is no guarantee that you didn’t use a contaminated ingredient, or undercook it. But, at least any problems can be traced back to the source: you.

I am not comfortable believing but vastly prefer thinking.

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Encouragement as Bad as Discouragement

There is an absolutely horrible idea that is extremely popular in raising, teaching and generally working with children … encouragement. I know it sounds kind of shocking, but roll with me for a minute.

Kids are exploring who they are, what they are good at, what interests them, and a myriad of other concepts related to their goals and self-identity. This exploration is subtly negotiating the desires and skills of a child with the realities of the environment (people, markets, physics, etc). When left unimpeded, some interests will grow, some will wane, and all sorts of various subtle variations. The child might see an economic reality that shifts their desired profession, or they might lose interest in a hobby they aren’t adequately able to express themselves with to their desire. A child’s interests are a constantly evolving ecosystem.

In our society, we commonly and appropriately demonize discouragement because we see it as someone interjecting themselves into this exploration. Discouragement is a tool to distort the exploration of a child in favor of the insecurities and self-interest of the discourager. It is a means of the adult trying to live through their child. Discouragement is someone trying to tip and distort the scales within the ecosystem of a child’s discovery process.

The last paragraph also perfectly describes the problems of encouragement. You are just tipping the scales on another direction, but you are still applying pressures that a child now needs to also consider. An interest that was once waning, they might feel compelled to continue because of their parents investment. The encouragement provides the same emotional pressures, but in the opposite direction. Sure, in the moment, discouragement is much more harsh and feels worse … but in both scenarios you are providing the equivalent scale tipping and ecosystem distortions.

As added downside to discouragement we get insecurity, and as an added downside to encouragement we get delusional self-image (the first several episodes of any season of American Idol gives you a good image of that). Yes, the immediate feelings of discouragement hurt more, but they are equivalent distortions in the long run.

What runs through people’s minds when I’ve said this is “so I am supposed to be indifferent to my child’s activities and not say anything? That seems horrible.”

In some ways I suggest people to be indifferent. Be indifferent to their destination and dispassionately let them discover who they are. However, enjoy whatever you desire to enjoy and openly express this.

“I loved going to your concert” and “I think you have a beautiful voice” is different than saying “you should try out for this,” or “you can be famous.”

If my daughter asks me if she should play professional women’s soccer, I will say this … “I have no idea. While you seem skilled at this level, I’m not sure what your desires will be in the future, I’m not sure how your skills will develop, I’m not sure of almost anything in this realm to give you an informed opinion … and no one else is either. However, I enjoy going to your soccer matches, and if you continue to enjoy it, it might be something worth your time. That’s up to you.“

Kids can’t do anything they set their minds to. That’s a dangerous lie that promotes delusional behavior and ultimately leads to an extreme cynical view of reality.

While writing this I thought of a musical that had two very powerful songs that represent both sides of the coin in encouragement. From In The Heights, by the same guy who wrote the musical Hamilton (Lin Manuel Miranda) the song “Inutil” has a father who is incredibly discouraging ( and abusive). Eventually the kid grows up to be very encouraging of his daughter … this is to the point that when she drops out of school she feels suffocated by the shame she feels … in the song “Breathe.” I doubt Miranda had the same philosophy I have on the matter, but the music he wrote reflects the realities and downsides of both encouragement and discouragement.

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Dehumanization is the Order of the Day

The Nazis had their Untermenschen. Contemporary Republicans have their illegal immigrants. Contemporary progressives have their gun owners and users. Contemporary conservatives have their drug users and traffickers.

Everyone, it seems, has identified the members of certain groups as not people, but animals. Thus, dehumanization is the order of the day.

Pretty soon so many will have been dehumanized that the remaining three human beings will be able to sit down together and work out their differences peacefully without bringing down a hail of official force and violence.

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