One of the most unfortunate components of language is euphemism. The creation and use of euphemism seems mostly a dastardly act, to fool others into agreeing with something which should be held in contempt. George Orwell called it “newspeak” in his book, 1984. Inflicting pain through violence on children is morally outrageous, but “spanking” is not. Devaluing people’s hard-earned savings through counterfeiting is scandalous, but “central banking” is not. Others assuming coercive power to decide the course of your life and property offends the sensibilities of civilized people, but “democracy” does not. Lying is shameful, but using euphemisms is the mark of social grace. I can’t recall who said it, but I agree: the first step toward wisdom is destroying euphemism. Have you been fooled? And that’s today’s two cents.Open This Content
Aside from the fact that spanking is abuse, it’s also unintelligent, lazy and selfish, and unnecessary. Spanking is unintelligent because it doesn’t require any rational thinking about the needs of the child. Rather than using the uniquely intelligent mass of neurons, dendrites, and axons between your ears to figure out what need of the child is not being met, you opt to use stupid brute force. Spanking is lazy and selfish because its seemingly a quick fix or simple life hack to make your child comply with your preferences. Obviously, their preferences are less important, and may be forcefully discarded. Spanking is unnecessary because no matter what the issue is that your child is experiencing, there are other tools to help them with it. I outline several in my book, No Hitting. Of course, those tools require a parent to value intelligence, patience and compassion. Fundamentally, what makes these tools difficult to wield is the fact that a parent were themselves an abused and traumatized child who became a broken adult. Perhaps that should be fixed before one decides to raise children. And that’s today’s two cents.Open This Content
January 2019: I read this essay and added commentary for Episode 274 of the Everything Voluntary podcast.
Discovering voluntaryism usually happens after a long road through other intermediate political philosophies. It’s not an ideology on the forefront of political thought, that’s for certain. Step by step a person has reached conclusions that aggression and coercion are bad in various ways and circumstances. At last they’ve decided that aggression and coercion should always be avoided, but just as importantly, they’ve come to the realization that aggression and coercion are not only common place in many different types of relationships, but in some, they are foundational.
Once a person adopts the label of voluntaryist (or the like) for their political identity, they assume, with good reason, the following premise: human suffering is terrible and should be prevented; aggression and coercion necessarily create human suffering. This premise leads the voluntaryist to hold a number of hypotheses with varying degrees of accuracy in some form or fashion within their minds at all times. Here are several of those hypotheses (in italics and prefaced).
Political aggression occurs when the production of law and order is coercively monopolized by a single person or single group of people (an institution, corporation, or firm in a given area which adopts the moniker of “government”). Monopoly incentivizes bad behavior and disincentivizes good behavior, leading ultimately to human suffering.
Economic aggression occurs when markets, the array of economic exchanges between people, are coercively interfered with by “government”. Political interference (or intervention) in markets skews or disables economic signals (prices, supply and demand), to the benefit of one group at one time, and the detriment of other groups at the same time or other times, leading ultimately to human suffering.
Parental aggression occurs when parents use the tools of coercion (punishments like spanking and time-outs) to correct what they identify as “misbehavior” on the part of their children. Punishment used to discipline is both a failure to understand a child’s real needs and produces trauma in childhood, leading ultimately to human suffering.
Educational aggression occurs when parents and teachers use the tools of coercion (punishments, rewards, curriculum) in the attempt to impart knowledge and skills onto children that they, the parents and teachers, deem necessary and important toward becoming an adult in society. Coercion based learning ignores the interests and passions of students and their evolutionarily programmed needs to inquire, be curious, to move constantly, be loud, and to play, leading ultimately to human suffering.
Not every hypothesis described above undergirds the premise that each person who has adopted the label of voluntaryist holds as true. Many voluntaryists haven’t even considered the effects of coercion in parenting and education, for example. But the premise as laid out above is typically held by those who identify as a voluntaryist.
The voluntary principle, the foundation of voluntaryism, states that “all human relations should happen voluntarily, or not at all.” It’s easier to understand the “should” in that sentence once you understand the voluntaryist premise. You may not value or desire the reduction and prevention of human suffering, in which case you are unlikely to identify as a voluntaryist. However if you do, then I recommend taking a hard look at the premises you accept as true, and how realistic are the hypotheses thereon based that you rely on for the attainment of this desire.Open This Content
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.
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!
Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “everything voluntary”.Open This Content
#metoo, #toxicmasculinity, #rapeculture, #violenceagainstwomen, #patriarchy, et cetera…
These topics are everywhere right now, we almost can’t avoid it. I see solutions being thrown out all the time:
Fire the men, hold them accountable, take away all the guns, mental healthcare reform, call the person out on social media, make the work place safe, march your heart out, et cetera, ad infinitum.
The problem with these solutions is that they simply offer a band-aid rather than getting at the root or the heart of where these problems originate. Which is basically how we do everything is our society, yea? We give out band-aid solutions because if we were to actually address the root cause of the issue, we would have to take a deep, hard look at the way we choose to live, how our culture operates, our beliefs we cling to, and ultimately we would have to change on a fundamental, collective, and individual level.
And change is terrifying to many people. It is nothing short of life or death to them. It is a complete disintegration of their ego. This life, this person, the circumstances and choices they so heavily identify with would have to be examined to the point of breakdown, and therefore, radically change.
The solutions and change I am suggesting would require us to look at how all the ways we deviate from our true nature are harming us on a cellular, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual level.
Healing (true healing) requires we go back to living in accordance to our biology, and comprehend the laws of nature. I know that statement is triggering, given all the ways we so desperately want to outsmart and override our biology these days. But we simply can’t any longer if we want to heal as individuals and as a culture.
All of these perceived problems are actually a divine intelligence that is sending us messages in many forms that something is off and something isn’t right. The only thing “wrong” is that we have forgotten how to listen. These problems are the alarm bells of our bodies and souls that are telling us that something else is desperately needed and that we have deviated too far from who we are.
The violations that plague us don’t come out of thin air one day. It is the result of the culmination of traumas inflicted onto us from day one (and actually before, while we are still in the womb) of entering into a world that profits and runs off of others people’s trauma. We literally live and operate in a place that is rooted in trauma and carries out traumatizing rituals on its most vulnerable people. So long as we passively accept these cultural narratives and practices, we cannot and should not expect better from our society.
It starts from the beginning of life and it starts with us.
So… what do we need?
Somehow, somewhere we were sold the idea that birth is a medical event. Today, 90 something percent of women are abandoning their nature and undergoing a medicalized birth, leaving thousands and thousands (millions!) of women and babies traumatized every year. This is where it begins.
Medicalized birthing practices and the allopathic birthing system is the epitome of #patriarchy and subtle (but increasingly not so subtle) violence against women. It is internalized misogyny at its core.
It begins with a violent, forceful, against the will of the child, entrance into the world (artificial induction of labor), a body filled with synthetic drugs and hormones that interrupt the hormonal blueprint of birth and bonding that nature provides for mother and baby (epidurals, pitocin, etc), followed by the swift severance of the cord that connected them for 9 months that is still pulsating blood into the child’s body so that baby and mom can immediately be separated for further examination of the child. To name a few devastating events…
Throw in a woman submitting her birth experience to a man (or a system created and run by men), lying on her back, a hand up her vagina, unable to move, and being poked, prodded, fingered, and cut against her will and you have the biggest scam and act of daily, habitual violence against women ever committed in the history of humanity.
There’s a cultural function to essentially traumatizing the participants of birth, (both mother and baby) and that is to initiate the child and the mother into patriarchy, preparing them to take their place within a technocratic, capitalistic culture of dependency and consumption. -Yolande Clark
They told you your body couldn’t give birth? Well they fucking lied.
At 6 months of age, only about 40% of babies are being exclusively breastfed in America, and the numbers significantly decrease after 6 months, and even more drastically by one year. The world average weaning age is 4-6 years old.
As mammals, we come into this world expecting our biological needs to be met, and breastfeeding is one of them. A big one of them. Not a small one where we can simply just see if breastfeeding happens or not, and then move on. It’s something we should be fighting for, because the health and lives of our children depends on it. Over 800,000 lives could be saved every year if everyone (or most women) breastfed.
Breastfeeding contains antibodies that intelligently help fight viruses and bacteria, it lowers your baby’s risk of things like asthma and allergies, all the way to some cancers and common diseases we chronically see today. There are too many benefits of breastfeeding to name here. It absolutely cannot be replicated.
When a biological need isn’t met, the human will go into survival mode and fight for that need to be met. This is going to manifest and look differently for everyone, but sometimes violence is the extreme end of the spectrum when a human carries so much pain as a result of severance of their human bonding experience. Depression, anxiety, mental health problems are other possibilities. Sometimes, survival mode looks like shutting down and suppressing emotions. We live in a world full of humans carrying out these defense mechanisms.
We can no longer tout things like “fed is best” in order to keep peace and claim we have to support all women for all choices they make no matter what. Breastfeeding, like natural birth, is the biological norm, and all of our promotion and encouragement that deviates from the biological norm is actually disempowering women and a violation on humanity.
Whole, Intact Genitals
In America, when the majority of babies boys are born, one of their first experiences of life outside the womb is wrought with trauma, pain, violence, and sexual abuse. And then we are confounded when men express anger, violence, and inflict this same trauma and assault onto others.
This isn’t excusing men of their behavior, but we can no longer ignore the double standard and scratch our head in confusion of where this violence, entitlement and anger is rooted.
Men’s autonomy and full spectrum/functionality of their sexuality is violated and annihilated upon entering the world. It is not uncommon to act out what was done to us. (Whether it is conscious or not. We remember it on a cellular level.) If we want men to respect the bodies, sexuality and autonomy of women, then one big way we ensure that, is by giving them the same respect and opportunity. And we do that by not mutilating their genitals.
Establish and Maintain and Revere Bonding for All Humans
The biggest reflection of “profits over people” is evident by our lack of honor and understanding for the relationships being established when new life enters the world. We expect fathers to go back to work immediately, or never take off (cue the absent father epidemic), and mothers are expected to return to work shortly after, usually within 3 weeks to 3 months. Having a new baby and staying home to establish the bond with that baby doesn’t really do much for capitalism and the economy.
But not doing so is inflicting so much harm…
Capitalism (as we know it today) at its essence must ensure the separation of families and communities. It wouldn’t function with the daily maintenance of those relationships and lifestyles.
The separation of women from their babies to return to work isn’t liberating women. It’s an interruption and severance of a physiological bond and symbiotic relationship that is required for humans to thrive. It increases risk for postpartum depression and makes breastfeeding extremely difficult, if not impossible. It can be traumatizing for both mother and child, and our trauma wounds is where all this violence stems from. We cannot ignore our biology in favor of playing into the patriarchal, capitalistic agenda.
To Love Children, Not Hit Them
I am not going to go into too much detail here, because if this is not painfully and clearly obvious to you at this point, then I have little hope.
Hit people hit people. Hurt people hurt people. Violence begets violence. Children live what they learn. How you respond is how they respond. This isn’t rocket science, and in fact, the science is very clear that hitting (or “spanking” as we like to euphemize it) produces the same and similar outcomes in humans as physical violence; because it is, in fact, physical violence in every sense of the word.
If you wouldn’t hit your spouse, friend or dog, please, for the love of humanity, question why it is okay to hit a child. Look at the world, and tell me if more hitting and hurting one another is what we need.
Teach Girls about Their Bodies and How to Track Their Cycles
In a study done where young teen girls were taught fertility awareness and how to know their monthly cycles and stages, it showed that when women have this knowledge and power over their own body, they are more proactive in their health care, and less likely to oblige to peer pressure.
It unquestionably showed that these teen girls were more self-directed, confident and less depressed than those who took the pill and/or were not taught about their cycles, and menstruation.
The moral of this is, that when women hold this deep sense of knowing in their bodies and control of their fertility, they lead with more power and maturity, making them far less susceptible to outside influences and a false sense of outside authority figures around their health and sexuality.
Which leads me to…
Break Up with Allopathic Medicine
The revolution will not be pathologized. Like I mentioned above, healing cannot happen without comprehending and honoring the laws of nature. It’s a system fine for critical care, but fails in every way to maintain the vitality and spirit of our truest nature as human beings. It has successfully stripped medicine women and witches (all of us) of our intuition and self capable abilities to heal ourselves and our families.
We have been indoctrinated into the religion of western medicine. We must turn back to the plants, living food and water sources, and sunlight nature provided for us to thrive, as to not perpetuate our hostile, pained, depressed, ill, neurotic attitudes and behaviors that stem from being slighted by our given society.
We must recognize the cause of all disease (toxicity, inflammation, acidosis, trauma/emotional blocks), and seek holistic care for our bodies and souls. Which ultimately requires an unshakable trust in nature. Which is an unshakable trust in yourself. A trust that this system we currently live under actively attempts to break down by instilling a lot of fear.
Taking this back from the ultimate patriarchal authority, is the ultimate reclamation of our autonomy and control over our own being. It is the deepest display of personal integrity.
“WHEN YOU EDUCATE THE MOTHER YOU EDUCATE THE NATION.”Open This Content
We have been using the slavery analogy to support the validity of the Non-Aggression Principle. In a serious oversight by the writers here at NAP Parenting, we assumed that because that particular debate was over, we could use it as precedent to pursue the rights of children next.
When explaining the NAP, we often ask, “Why is slavery wrong?” and expect or provide the answer: “Because you can’t own people. They have sovereignty, they have autonomy, they own themselves.” Then we would argue: “Children are people, so they have the same inalienable rights. With the same personhood and self-ownership, they deserve the same protections. Like adults, they have the right to live free from aggression.”
Apparently we’ve spent too much time in an echo-chamber of NAP-followers, as we assumed that “self-ownership” was a well-accepted premise. We were wrong.
If Google is any indicator, this argument is not at the front of people’s minds. Try for yourself by searching some combination of the following: “Why is/what makes slavery wrong/immoral/unethical?”
Fortunately, the top results are at least regarding Philosophy, so we’re in the right field! People know that the question is philosophical in nature, as opposed to material or political or ideological. The answer should be derived through a process of reasoning and logic, and the results should be consistent throughout human time and space.
But beyond that, when it comes to the application of philosophy and its methods, the results are completely chaotic! We can’t present every argument, but we’ll list the few broad categories they tend to fall into, in order of approximate prevalence.
Our Informal Internet Search Result Census: “Why is slavery immoral?”
Most common, and most surprising, are the “Just because” answers. Literally no grounding at all. “It’s wrong because it’s wrong.” That ain’t philosophy, folks. Can we even call it circular reasoning? It’s tough to make a circle out of a single point…
Then we have the dreaded argument from outrage: “SLAVERY! ARE YOU SERIOUS HOW CAN YOU ASK THE QUESTION?? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!” That’s a lot like the first one, except typed angrily. We’re tempted to rebut: “NO! SLAVERY IS GREAT WHATS WRONG WITH YOU!!”, but we have the feeling they wouldn’t pick up on the sarcasm.
Next most common would be the argument ad populum: “Because the people of the world say so.” There’s some truth to that, that morality is a human convention, subject to our experience. But the people of the world accepted slavery for thousands of years. So was it right then? What is the role of philosophy if we settle everything by voting anyway? Surely we can do better than “might makes right”.
There are economic and other consequentialist arguments. “Slavery is wrong because it’s inefficient, free people work better.” If slavery was efficient would it be ok? Are they saying they’d be fine with slavery if Jeff Bezos was running the sale and distribution, and he promised to plant a tree for every slave sold? The ends don’t justify the means.
There are religious answers, which don’t start from principles or rely on logic, and so are not philosophical. This God says we should have slaves, that God says be nice to your slaves if they praise him, but then on a different page says free your slaves… Who can keep up?
Then we come across “The Golden Rule” and “How would you feel?”, which get us a little closer, but are still shaky and subjective. Not all slaves were miserable or subject to pain and hardship. Health care, housing, and they were exempt from being drafted to war… A lot of people are terrified of liberty. Or talk to people who are pro-spanking and pro-genital mutilation, they’ll tell you they couldn’t be happier with their abusive childhoods! We’re also back to the argument ad populum, that because most people would feel bad about something, it’s immoral. We can’t rely on people’s feelings to make moral claims.
Compiling this short list, we could be accused of straw-manning, or not presenting the best arguments. For what it’s worth, we’ve been pushing back on these same arguments for decades. When we hear them, we engage, we inquire, we study them. So although we’re presenting them casually and summarily, it’s not from a lack of understanding or willingness to grapple with them. We WANT to hear the best argument! Post it below if you got it!
Finally, we’ll discuss the elusive “People are sovereign, own themselves, can’t be owned by others” premise, which accounts for maybe 5% of the top Google results related forum responses.
We’ve encountered some reasonable refutations of this premise, with the biggest critique being around the claim that it’s “self-evident”. In that way, it looks like the other weak arguments. When I’m asked to prove that I own myself, I don’t have a quick and easy answer, I can’t produce a receipt. But I am responsible for my actions, and I chose how and when to use my body. These are qualities of ownership. And even with a gun pointed at my head, the decision to cooperate is still ultimately mine. I couldn’t forfeit control if I wanted to.
The critics say that “I own/control my body” is circular, convoluted word-play; that there is no “I” other than the sum components of my body, so the former can not be said to control the latter! Admittedly, it’s hard to prove that there is any such thing as the self, or ownership, or right and wrong at all! And this is where the conversation can become painfully abstract. We’ll attempt to untangle things.
With due respect to the Zen tradition, we’re not going to solve the violence of the world by refuting the existence of an “I”, or of categories, or of the ancient and ubiquitous concepts of good and evil. It’s true that by zooming-out or in, we all appear to be mere stardust, or it could be said that we’re “all one”. Those frameworks aren’t incorrect, but they also don’t help us solve problems, or direct our action. Spend 40 years meditating on the conclusion that “there is no conclusion!”, and you achieve precisely nothing for the world. You still feel awful when you hear your neighbors throwing plates at each other, and you’re no closer to solving that problem. Philosophy without action is meaningless, or self-defeating. Any philosophy that leaves us all shrugging our shoulders and doing whatever we feel like doing, is less of a philosophy and more of a justification for hedonism, effectively nihilistic. In that way we consider moral philosophy like the study of nutrition: it should be prescriptive, challenging, but also possible to actualize.
So our first axiom appeals to convention, linguistics, and the way our common experience is framed. We start with the conventional assumptions that “I exist”, that “I” am not just my body, and that I have some responsibility and choice for my actions. We presume that “I” have a relationship with my body and my actions.
Examining the relationship “I” have with my body and my actions, we would say that I generate, inhabit, possess, control, am responsible for… Ownership, the act or state of possessing, is a fitting description of that complex relationship.
Self-ownership, which implies behavior and property ownership is something that even toddlers and dogs have rules around: “Hey that’s mine! Try to take it again and I’ll defend it.” And if they don’t understand, we teach them, “Baby, don’t try to grab Fido’s chew-toy! It’s his. You have your toy. And Fido, stop trying to eat baby’s Cheerios!” This isn’t a proof of its validity by any means, but it does indicate that we’re biologically primed for it, and we could and do work within this paradigm. Self-ownership is a concept that does not require any further “uber”-evolution to grasp now.
We also argue that it’s useful and ethically correct to attempt to identify and act on virtue; we should do what’s right compared to what’s wrong, if we can understand the difference. We have the ability and drive to distinguish and categorize actions, shouldn’t we attempt to use that power consistently and for a good cause? When critics ask “Who are you to judge?”, we reply, “We’re human! We have the greatest capacity to judge the world has ever known! Let’s hone it and honor it and use it wisely and consistently! Let’s study the science of judging behavior, which we would call moral philosophy, and let’s elevate that field to the highest regard! How can we get anything right without using our judgement?”
Yes, there are assumptions in this approach. But without them, there’s no moral philosophy at all — no standards, no categories, no direction, no ability to compare behavior and intention. If we’re “mere stardust”, if the self and free-will are illusions, why have any discussion at all? If all choices are morally equal, our lives lose all relevance and meaning, and there can be no prescription for virtue.
Self-ownership makes morality tenable, and naturally gives rise to the question: what does it mean to violate the principle of ownership? The Non-Aggression Principle simply defines aggression as a violation of ownership. Adhering to the NAP means respecting others’ ownership rights. It’s prescriptive and entirely possible to achieve, you’re probably following it right now!
The concept of self-ownership and the resulting principle of non-aggression concisely prohibit slavery, murder, theft, rape, assault, fraud, and yes, spanking. But making the argument that we own ourselves is just half of the battle. Universalizing the concept, and explaining that it means you shouldn’t hit your kids, is a very different fight.
A simple explanation for the current philosophical disorder is that people are just not philosophically grounded, and that can be disheartening. People “play” philosophical by having some reason for their position, but do they demand that the reason meets any consistent or rational standards? And here we are, dreaming of saying the magic thing that brings about world peace, but who is listening? And do they speak our language? When we push for philosophical rigor in conversation, we probably lose at least 90% of our audience. And even the philosophical folks are often just tuning-in for the stimulating conversation, unwilling to stake their future decisions and lifestyle on its conclusion. We’ve met liberty-loving parents who understand our argument and concede entirely, who will chat with us for hours about it, and still go home and hit their kids.
The good news in all this: the masses don’t have to get it. We don’t all have to be philosophers! Slavery is over, and it’s wrong in people’s minds. Why? Because schools teach philosophy so well? Of course not. The truth is people actually don’t know why slavery is wrong! Let that sink in…
It’s wrong in people’s minds because abolitionists gave their lives to make it so. They applied the right pressure to the right people at the right time, and that’s the whole story. A small group of passionate people with pen and paper, a powerful argument, and a more powerful will.
Today the masses have forgotten the premises of the argument, but they swear by its conclusion. Maybe the best we can do is get people to the same place regarding aggression with children. A place where they know it’s wrong, but don’t know why. We’d settle for that.Open This Content