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My Libertarian Lifestyle

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This Libertarienne’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2017

It’s a new dawn.

It’s a new day.

It’s a new life for me.

And I’m feelin’ good.

—Feelin’ Good

This year I’m focusing my resolute intention on continuing to evolve as a free-thinking individual — mind, body, and soul. Here are some of the ways I plan to do just that:

Revitalize My Mind

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Read More Liberty-Minded Philosophy

I plan to read a new libertarian, objectivist, individualist, anarchist, agorist, or voluntaryist book each week. I seek to broaden my horizons even further and learn even more about these philosophies that I love and find so interesting. I want to continue to challenge my long-held views and see if they still hold up. Re-examine old ways of thinking.

I already read these types of literature on a regular basis, but I know I can do more. There’s still so much to learn! And still so much to teach my children, so that they can teach their children, and so on. So little time, so much to read!

Starting this year, I will delve into researching the works of all the great free thinkers, and then tell others about my favorites, and about what I’ve learned from them. I will share the works and writings of those great free thinkers here, and with my family and friends both in person and on social media. These ideas were made to be shared!

Start Brush Fires of Freedom in the Hearts and Minds of Others

Continue to sow seeds of liberty in the hearts and minds of my spouse, my children, my extended family, and my friends.

  • This year, I plan to tell my friends and family about every great liberty-minded book I’ve read—new or old—and give them a copy or send them a link so they can read it themselves and maybe even share it with others.
  • I will open up to my extended family and my friends about what I’ve learned on my quest for liberty, peace, healthy living, and about my transition as a free-thinking individual.
  • This year, I will adopt a willingness to listen and learn. When others have something to say, I will listen to them. Really listen. I won’t assume. I won’t argue. I won’t insult them. And I won’t talk down to them. I will encourage their questions, listen to what they have to say, and acknowledge their concerns. I will do my best to always respond with equanimity and compassion. You catch more flies with honey.

Renew My Body

My body is a temple.  My temple.  The temple of me.

This year, I aim to keep it sacred, to honor it, and quit treating it like a trashcan.

Move Me

Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise or movement each day, without exception.

  • This year, I plan to walk outside in the fresh air for at least 30 minutes every day to get the blood pumping and boost my heart rate. I used to do this habitually, ritually, and I absolutely loved it. I was also in excellent shape and looked and felt great! I want to get back to that place.
  • Recruit a friend or family member to walk with me whenever I can. Maybe I can even turn it into a regular routine for our mutual benefit.
  • If walking alone, I will consider combining my walk with a mindfulness meditation.
  • Whenever possible, I’ll venture out of my neighborhood and out into the wilderness. There’s so much beautiful untouched desert nearby. I’ll find a path, or forge my own path — the path less taken, where the State is nowhere to be seen.

Eat Ethically

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‘You are what you eat’, as they say. As a freedom-lover, opposed to violence, cruelty, and injustice, I’ve made a steady progression over the years towards eating increasingly ethically. In September of 2016, I made the informed choice to go Vegan. I’m so glad I did!

Some other excellent ethical dietary lifestyles (if you’re interested) include:

Reinvigorate My Soul

Be Mindful

Set aside time for Kundalini yoga or some other kind of mindfulness meditation every single day.

Whether it’s just finding time to meditate for 3 minutes during a hectic day, or luxuriating in a full half-hour of Kirtan Kriya — this year, and from now on, I won’t allow myself to blow off the importance of cultivating my own inner peace and love. This year, I’ll make nourishing my soul a priority and a daily ritual, like my morning coffee. Even your morning cup of coffee can be a mindfulness meditation, if you’re a coffee-lover like me.

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A New Dawn, a New Day, a New Life for Me in 2017

I’m inspired just thinking of all the ways I can shift my lifestyle into greater alignment with my liberty and peace-loving values.

Maybe you’ve already done this to some extent. You probably have. But there’s always room for improvement.

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Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year!

Cheers!

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This ‘Big Think’ Video Featuring Toni Lane Casserly Will Blow Your Mind: “How Bitcoin Empowers the Idea of Money – And Makes it Honest”

Prepare to be enlightened.  This might just be my favorite Big Think video of all time. Watch it, and then watch it again.

 

Enjoy!  c:

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Why I Decided to Go Vegan

How It All Began

Saturday morning, when I opened up Facebook, right at the top of my news feed I saw that a video was posted in a public Facebook group I belong to called Compassionate Anarchy with the following message:

“Can you find the time to watch this? Please?”

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Hey, why not? It’s only six minutes long and I’m open minded. I figured I could squeeze in a quick video before getting started on my work for the day.

Maybe before we go any further, you should check it out too, just to bring you up to speed.

I also noted in the description under the video it said (among other things):

The hardest part about being Vegan is… trying to understand why otherwise good and caring people continue to participate in needless violence…

The Vegan Activist

That bit really got my attention. I mean, I would never willfully participate in needless violence.

Besides that, the meat, eggs, and dairy I consume and buy for my family are sustainably sourced and humanely treated. That’s the paleo and primal way. They’re raised without added hormones or antibiotics, cage-free, free-range, or backyard raised by local farmers whenever possible, and of course, they are organic.

And after the livestock have lived out their full, happy, healthy lives, they are butchered in the most humane way possible.

Right?

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As I sipped my coffee and proceeded to watch the video, that statement about trying to understand why otherwise good and caring people continue to participate in needless violence turned over and over in my head.

I mean, I really try to be a good and caring person. I’m against violence and coercion. I believe in peace.

I love animals, and take excellent care of my own furry friends. I have even fostered and adopted many animals, and helped find fur-ever homes for others. I’ve fed and cared for strays, and in some cases taken them in.

I always search Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database before buying beauty products to make sure they’re safe for me and cruelty-free for animals.

My typical diet has been kind of a blend of paleo and primal, but some days I eat entirely vegetarian. Sometimes I do Meatless Mondays for my family’s dinnertime meal. I care about food being sustainably sourced, as well as the ethical treatment of farm animals, and I participate in—and advocate for—ethical and local consumerism. In fact, I’ve written a lot about ethical consumerism. I have an entire section on my blog dedicated to it because it’s something I’m passionate about. I care about farm animals being humanely raised and I want to do my part as a consumer to ensure that animals are treated well and that my dollars are spent on positive things.

I also grow a lot of my own organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs for organic food for my family, and I had a pretty awesome plan to incorporate backyard laying hens into it so that my family and I would have fresh eggs from well-kept healthy, happy chickens. This idea delighted me and I have been anxious to put my plan into action as soon as possible! My backyard chickens would be living the sweet life!

Right?

The Thoughtful Discussion That Ensued in The Comments Section, and Led Me Toward The Light

Check out this discussion that took place in the comments under the video that started it all.

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After reading the discussion above, I found this article called, Do Chickens Mourn the Loss of Their Eggs? at a blog called Gentle World. (The name of the blog alone already had a hold on my heartstrings.) I had a pretty good idea what the article would say. I knew I would be confronted with an uncomfortable truth. I knew I wouldn’t like what I’d find, and that it might reveal something to me about myself that might be painful to confront.

True to my truth-seeker soul, I trudged on ahead and read the article.

“Although today’s egg-laying hens are the descendants of the Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus) which laid around 60 small eggs a year, most modern domestic hens have been bred to lay over 300 large eggs a year.

If free to behave “naturally,” most chickens will lay the number of eggs they desire for a proper nest and then stop producing more eggs until her chicks are old enough to fend for themselves. The time before her eggs hatch, while she sits on her nest warming and protecting her eggs, is called the “brooding” stage.

If a chicken’s eggs are removed on a regular basis, she will continue to lay, in a futile attempt to follow her instincts and form a proper brood. In fact, a chicken’s nesting instincts are so strong that they will continue to try to build a brood whether or not there is a rooster present to fertilize their eggs.*

* It is believed that chickens cannot tell which eggs have been successfully fertilized.”

Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati for Gentle World, Do Chickens Mourn the Loss of Their Eggs?

I never knew that chickens naturally—when allowed to live free of coercion—actually plan their families and then stop producing eggs. I didn’t know that removing a chicken’s unfertilized egg was stressful to the chicken or unhealthy for her quality of life. I never thought about her eggs being hers. I didn’t realize chickens keep laying eggs that we keep stealing because they’re trying futilely to have the family they desire.

“On this particular morning I was helping trim back some lavender on a farm I was volunteering at. My host and I were well into chopping back the lavender when we suddenly heard an agitated clucking below us. As we moved back one of the bushes we discovered a large black hen who had started a nest. She was attempting to shield her brood from the intruders hovering above her, but this hen was not a rescue. She had been brought onto the farm to produce eggs, and even though she had been clever enough to attempt a nest away from the chicken cage, her eggs were not considered her own.

How we got her to move off her nest is a bit foggy in my memory, but I believe I distracted her while my partner in crime quickly picked her up. And then I snatched her eggs out from under her. I quickly placed the eggs in the fridge for the farm staff to take home, as we didn’t think she had been sitting on the nest long enough for chicks to form.

When I went back outside I found the black hen frantically weaving in and out of the lavender, calling to her fellow chickens, some of whom ran over to her aid as she continued searching for her missing eggs. I tried to push my guilt aside and continue on my day. But when we returned for lunch, hours later, she was still there moving slowly in and out of the lavender and muttering to herself as she searched in vain.

I voiced my guilt to my host and we debated about whether we should put the eggs back. Finally it was decided it was too late, the eggs had been cold too long and we had to let it be.

Each egg laid had in some way drained her body of calcium and other essential nutrients*, unnecessarily shortening her life to feed her captors. And now, no matter how long her small sad eyes searched, all her work was lost.

* Some chickens (if they have not been de-beaked) will eat their own unfertilized eggs if the egg is broken, if they are under stress, to replenish nutrients lost from laying (if they are lacking nutrients), or if there is not enough nest space.”

Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati for Gentle World, Do Chickens Mourn the Loss of Their Eggs?

Libertarians, individualists, voluntaryists, and peaceful anarchists are big on property rights. After all, the philosophy of liberty is that you own your life, your liberty, and your property. You also own the product of your labor, and no one else can lay claim over any of these things because they belong to you and that would be stealing.

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Voluntaryists, in particular, believe that all interactions should be voluntary and free of coercion.

And let’s not forget the Non-Aggression Principle that libertarians, voluntaryists and peaceful anarchists adhere to.

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As advocates for property rights, freedom, and against violence, oppression, and coercion, shouldn’t libertarians, individualists, voluntaryists, peaceful anarchists, and anyone who believes in non-violence consider applying the Non-Aggression Principle to the treatment of farm animals too?

Of course we should. It’s our job to be the change. It’s our job to show others the better way by living it rather than just by talking about it.

We need to confront our darkness where it hides, and carefully scrutinize it. If what we say we believe doesn’t add up with the way we are actually living our lives—and teaching our children by example—then we need to re-evaluate how far we’ve really come as enlightened thinkers and truth seekers.

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Being a truth seeker sometimes takes you places you never thought you’d go. I have experienced this phenomenon many times, but I certainly never thought it would take me down the road to veganism.

Though truth-seeking can be a rough and uncomfortable ride, it’s always worth it.

And you get to meet some pretty cool fellow truth seekers along the way.

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It’s always nice to make new friends. 🙂

Shining A Bright Light Into All My Dark Corners

Watching that video and reading through the discussion in the comments beneath it prompted me to do further research. I watched several videos over the weekend and read many compelling articles about veganism.

I also learned some uncomfortable truths about myself, how far I’ve come, and how far I have yet to go.

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I will use this new information, and this new perspective to grow. I will be a good example for my children and others. I will do my best to live in greater alignment with my values and my convictions as a libertarian, and as an animal lover.

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I didn’t realize that I was being willfully ignorant in this area of my life.

I never wanted to watch vegan videos or PETA videos because somewhere deep down I think I knew that I would be faced with an uncomfortable truth about myself. And, boy, I was right.

I am so sorry.

I was so wrong.

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I will do better from now on.

I hereby commit to living out my compassion for animals, and for the good and caring people who—like me—consider themselves to be ethical animal lovers, and are blissfully unaware of their willful ignorance.

It starts with me and how I choose to live my life, and the example I lead for my children and others I interact with.

It’s time for a change. A change towards a better, more peaceful world, not only for us humans, but also for non-human species.

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I won’t ask anyone else to go Vegan. Right now I’m just going to focus on finding my own way. I have a lot to learn. I committed to go Vegan for a week, but each day I feel more and more compelled to dive in and commit all the way. So that’s what I’m going to do. There’s no turning back now. I can’t un-see what I’ve seen. My heart’s changed.

This is uncharted territory for me, but it’s my choice because I believe it’s what I should do.

“We need to realize, like now, it is not about politics. It’s about the change that we can make in the spheres of life that we can control, which is mostly just ourselves.”

-Jeffrey Tucker

If any of you have any great vegan resources you can send my way, please share them with me in the comments. I’ll take all the help I can get. 🙂

I’m not going to push veganism on my family. I want them to ask their own questions in their own time, if they want to. I want them to seek their own truth, and live according to their values and wants and needs (even if they’re different from my own). If my children or my husband have questions about why I’m going Vegan, I will answer them with humility and honesty. I will let them know that I’m learning as I go, but I’m following my heart, and that this is what I believe is right for me.

This is my libertarian lifestyle. And it’s a work in progress.

Thanks for reading.

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PeacefulConnectedHolisticEcologicalCompassionate

 

Live free with me.

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YouTube Star Savannah Brown’s Top 3 Core Values

One of my teenage daughters—a 2nd generation self-professed libertarian and voluntaryist—is a big fan of YouTube star Savannah Brown.  I’ve checked out a bunch of her videos and I think she’s amazing!

In one of her videos from back in 2015, Savannah Brown shares her top 3 values, which are:

  1. Independence
  2. Creativity
  3. Skepticism

Nice!

In the video, she elaborates on each of her top 3 core values, and explains why she chose them.

Independence 

“Independence in the sense that I want to be comfortable in my own body, as a person. And I want to be happy, as myself, and not depend on any outside thing to make me happy. So, I think just being independent, in that respect, to just have the independence to live your life as yourself without relying on anything else.

-Savannah Brown

Creativity

“I like making things. I like being able to take an idea and kind of shift it, and being able to look at it from a different point of view.”

-Savannah Brown

Skepticism

My third value is skepticism. And here’s why: This might have to do with the fact that I’m a literal anarchist and have issues with authority. But, as a child, we’re just told to obey the people in charge… without question. In first grade… listen to your teacher because they know. But then, as you get older, you realize that people don’t know, and the people in charge don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re just people… I can think things myself, and I can disagree with people who are seen as higher than me, and I can do that. And sometimes I can be right.

-Savannah Brown

 

Don’t be put off by the fact that she uses the word ‘anarchist’. Although the word anarchy is often confused with things like violence and destruction, chaos and disorder, in truth the word ‘anarchy’ just means without rulers. 

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Anarchists are really just peaceful people who believe individuals can govern themselves. In fact, we all do exactly that in many ways every single day, without even realizing it.

What a great inspiration and role model for teenage girls and young women! In the video, she talks about living her life according to her core values. She puts into practice the things that she values most. The world needs more independent feminine voices like hers.

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I hope more young women will come out publicly and express their thoughts on independence, anarchism, and living life according to our values. They have the power to be thought leaders for the next generation of independent young women.

Check out this awesome quote from another one of her videos.

“You are damn right, my body is a temple. I am the god it was built for.”

-Savannah Brown

Thank you, Savannah Brown. I am grateful for you, your independence, your creativity, and your skepticism. You have chosen to use your sphere of influence in such a beautiful, positive way. The world is enriched by your presence. You have touched my daughter’s heart, and mine as well.

You can follow Savannah Brown on YouTube here.

You can follow her on Twitter here.

You can follow her on Instagram here.

And here’s her website where you can order all her cool stuff, like this “My Body is a Temple” poster.

 

Live free with me,

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The Change That We Can Make in the Spheres of Life That We Can Control

Check out this awesome 5-minute clip from an interview of Jeffrey Tucker by Brett Veinotte of the School Sucks Project in which Jeffrey Tucker talks about the whole point of Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns.

Brett Veinotte:  How did you feel when Ron Paul first appeared in 2007?

Jeffrey Tucker:  To me, liberty is not really about having the right person in charge. And the thing—even though I worked for Ron and I love him dearly, and he’s a good friend—I always worried about those campaigns that they would send the wrong message. That the answer would be to elect the right person to enact the right policies from the top. And our only job is to become wildly devoted to this person. The Ron Paul movement was weird because most of the movements are better than their leader, like the Taft—if you go back to the Taft movement—Robert Taft. He was never that great, but the Taftians themselves were wonderful. You know? Sort of the origin of modern libertarianism in America. But Ron was kind of the opposite. I always thought he was much better than his followers.

Brett Veinotte:  Why?

Jeffrey Tucker:  His followers were looking for a leader on the white horse to lead them to some dreamy land, to give them their rights. And Ron never believed that. I mean, he always ran as an educator, but his followers never saw him as that. Ron always had to deal with this problem. And I think it was very unfortunate in a way. I mean, Ron sought the presidency in order to give himself kind of a stage to talk about ideas, but he could never make that message stick, in a way. I mean, he created this relatively robust but small movement of fanatics who found themselves dedicated to politics as a means of change. And here we are, 2015. Where are we with this movement? I mean, everybody I know who was ever deeply involved in that world is now demoralized.

Brett Veinotte:  Yeah, they seem to think the goal was to get…

Jeffrey Tucker:  To get him in office. They never understood. It’s like they didn’t really listen to what Ron was saying. I mean, look, I don’t think I’ve ever said publicly.

Brett Veinotte:  Thank you.

Jeffrey Tucker:  Yeah. These are thoughts I’ve had for a long time. So, I’m just telling you that was my perception all along. And my prediction was that these people—well, I could see it happening—this messiah thing going on, you know, and it broke my heart in a way because it’s not what Ron ever wanted. And I knew—because we all knew—the truth about politics is it leads you to nothing. Peoples’ hearts are broken. Their spirits are broken. Their financial resources are exhausted. Their emotional attachments are betrayed. I mean, that’s what politics does for you. It’s terrible what it does to peoples’ spirits. But, you know what, here’s the thing: We need to realize, like now, it is not about politics. It’s about the change that we can make in the spheres of life that we can control, which is mostly just ourselves.

Brett Veinotte:  Jeeze. Amen. We talked about this a hundred times on my show, but I want to get your thoughts on it. We deal with school a lot. School is a place where people—young people—feel very small. They don’t feel very efficacious. They don’t feel very powerful. And when people start to wake up to some of these realities of the world—especially the political world—part of the tragedy is that they suddenly gravitate to the biggest things, the furthest away from themselves, the hardest to control.

Jeffrey Tucker:  Yeah. That’s so interesting.

Brett Veinotte:  And I did it. I mean, in 2007, when I found Ron Paul, I was like, yeah, this guy probably should be president. And, yeah, we probably should end the Fed, now that I’ve read a little about it. This doesn’t sound like a good thing. Doesn’t sound like it’s helping us out. But all this energy that could’ve been devoted to a personal liberty mission…

Jeffrey Tucker:  Yeah. Changing the world, changing your life, fixing up the world as far as you can control it. I think what you said is really profound. And I hope the lesson is not to become hopeless. Right? Not to just say, oh, if we can’t get our guy elected into office there’s no hope whatsoever. My hope is that ultimately Ron Paul’s legacy will be as a teacher and drawing us to certain ideals. That would be awesome. But the question is then, what do you do with those ideals? And, I think the answer is, you find out ways to make your own life freer, and gradually spread that freedom as far and wide as you possibly can from your center of where you live right now. And, you know what? That’s going to be essential because it’s the only answer. I mean, we are not going to reform the system from the top down. It comes through decentralized, unpredictable, exciting, surprising, innovative ways from among the people, you know, starting with our lives. And in that sense I’m wildly optimistic.

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Just by realizing our ownership over our own lives and by living our lives as best we can, we can change the world—starting with ourselves. Because, like Jeffrey Tucker said, “it is not about politics. It’s about the change that we can make in the spheres of life that we can control, which is mostly just ourselves.”

Live free with me. 🙂

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Teens, Privacy, And Why The Only Text Messages I Read Are My Own – by Jennifer McGrail

Check out this awesome post by Jennifer McGrail over at The Path Less Taken. Privacy is a big deal, especially with teenagers. We must respect their privacy.

I’m a pretty private person.  Maybe that sounds weird coming from someone who has shared many intimate details about her life over the past several years, but I am.  Not just when it comes to…

Source: Teens, Privacy, And Why The Only Text Messages I Read Are My Own

Your Children Are Not Your Property

One of the biggest challenges parents face in attempting to raise our children to become peaceful, compassionate, critical thinking individuals, is overcoming the outdated authoritarian parenting programming that most of our parents modeled for us when we were growing up.

I believe it is imperative that we rise to this challenge for two reasons:

  1. Because modeling peaceful and mutually respectful interpersonal dynamics is the best way ensure that the next generation relies on peaceful and mutually beneficial interpersonal dynamics.
  2. Because our children do not belong to us. They are not our property. They belong to themselves.

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Rejecting Antiquated Authoritarian Parenting Paradigms

Most of us were raised in controlling, authoritarian households in which one or both of our parents used coercion, bribery, emotional blackmail, spanking, and punishments to make us behave. Our parents and guardians used these traditional parenting methods because it was what they knew to do in order to get us to behave, be quiet, submit, and obey. Some of us had the misfortune of growing up in abusive households. Many of us learned what we lived, and now parent our own children using coercive methods too (even if our styles differ somewhat from our parents’ coercive parenting methods).

Now that I know better, I do better Maya Angelou

So, if we want to raise fully autonomous, peaceful individuals who think for themselves and don’t blindly follow coercive authoritarian systems of doing things, we need to carefully examine our long-held beliefs about parenting. Change starts from within.

Children Own Themselves

For centuries, people thought it was perfectly fine to own other people.

After that horribly violent abomination finally was abolished, it was still fashionable in Western society for husbands to believe they owned their wives. Husbands were even  encouraged to use physical force, humiliation, and intimidation to “discipline” their wives if they didn’t like their behavior.

Finally, the tired old idea that children belong to their parents is fading away, and it’s about time! Dayna Martin, author, speaker, and radical unschooling mom, wrote an excellent article on her blog called The Evolution of Children’s Rights that echos similar sentiments.

“We live in a world where parents are told to control and modify their children’s behavior. They are told that this is the goal of parenting. Most parents take pride in how obedient their children are and feel embarrassed when their children do not listen to them. It wasn’t very long ago that men were told to beat their wives if they didn’t obey. Men were encouraged by their fathers, friends and leaders to punish their wives harshly for disobedience. Look how far we have come since then! Men would be arrested today if they lived life this way now.

I believe that the same evolution is happening with children and their rights. We are on the cusp of change. In time, we will look back on these days with disgust and regret. When we can acknowledge the injustice that children live through being controlled, punished, and forced to live a subservient life we can begin to heal ourselves from our own upbringing.

Dayna Martin

John Locke, English philosopher and physician, wrote about the idea of self-ownership all the way back in 1689 in an essay called Of Property and Government, in which he asserted that everyone has property in their own person. In other words, everyone owns themselves.

Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a “property” in his own “person.” This nobody has any right to but himself.

—John Locke, Of Property and Government

Hundreds of years later, Robert LeFevre, American libertarian businessman, activist, and radio personality, took the idea of self-ownership even further in his book The Philosophy of Ownership, and even extended self-ownership to infants, back in 1966.

“An adult who is injured in some way, who may be ill or decrepit in old age, is still recognized as an owner of himself and his other properties. He may have to be waited upon hand and foot, yet his ownership of himself is not questioned, so long as he lives. The same realization should apply to all persons, infants included. I would set down as the fundamental instances of incorrect ownership the ancient practice of possessive marriage, possessive child-parent relationships, and control of the slave obtained in battle or in any other way.

—Robert LeFevre, Chapter 4, The Philosophy of Ownership

One of my favorite living voluntaryists is writer and speaker Wendy McElroy. She offers a very straightforward view of self-ownership that I absolutely love. It really gets to the heart of the matter of self-ownership and makes it clear enough for even children to understand.

“Self-ownership begins with your skin. If you cannot clearly state, “Everything beneath the skin is me; this is the line past which no one has the right to cross without permission,” then there is no foundation for individual rights or for libertarianism.”

—Wendy McElroy

“Evil does not arise only from evil people, but also from good people who tolerate the initiation of force as a means to their own ends. In this manner, good people have empowered evil throughout history.

Having confidence in a free society is to focus on the process of discovery in the marketplace of values rather than to focus on some imposed vision or goal. Using … force to impose a vision on others is intellectual sloth and typically results in unintended, perverse consequences. Achieving a free society requires courage to think, to talk, and to act – especially when it is easier to do nothing.

—Ken Schoolland, The Philosophy of Liberty

So you see, your children are not your children—they own themselves. Children own their own bodies, their own lives, their own choices, their own successes, their failures, their hopes and their dreams, and they own their own property.

Life, liberty, and property form the basis of a truly free society. We, as parents, must learn to respect our children’s intrinsic self-ownership, and regard them as individuals worthy of cooperation and respect. If we want to escape the authoritarian, coercive paradigm that has been perpetuated on humanity by governments, religious institutions, our education system, and our culture, we must commit to raising our children peacefully, cooperatively, and in a way that respects their natural right to be safe and secure in their own bodies.

According to Wikipedia, “Self-ownership (or sovereignty of the individual, individual sovereignty or individual autonomy) is the concept of property in one’s own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity, and be the exclusive controller of her or his own body and life.”

“…every individual is the owner of their own body—even children.The fact that children are born in a state of incapacity doesn’t mean the parent owns the child in the child’s stead; it means the parent is charged with stewardship until the child has been raised out of this state of incapacity. This means that the parent should make rational decisions to preserve the bodily integrity of the child that they think the child would make if the child was able. This does not give the parent a license to verbally abuse or physically beat a child but rather puts an ever greater charge of ensuring that the child comes to no harm. By recognizing the child’s property right to their own body, we can frame aggressions against children as what they are (trespasses) and they can be dealt with accordingly.

Jared Howe, Rapper, writer, and voluntaryist

Jared Howe brings up an excellent point here. Because children own themselves (including their bodies), committing aggression against them (i.e.: spanking and other forms of physical violence, intimidation, and punishment out of rage, frustration, or for behavior modification purposes) is a violation of children’s rights. We owe it to ourselves, our children, and to the more peaceful and free world we know is possible to stop resorting to violence in response to problems.

Spanking Children is Not Only Antiquated, It’s a Violation of The Non-Aggression Principle and The Golden Rule

Spanking is Aggression Against Children

Compared to their non-spanked peers, children who are spanked are more likely to use aggression against their peers, they are less likely to internalize rules, they are more likely to engage in criminal activity during adolescence, they are more likely to engage in domestic abuse as adults, and they are more likely to suffer from depression. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics is publicly against spanking because of its numerous negative effects on children’s health and development.

molyneux spanking quote

In 2011, Stefan Molyneux, a well-known Peaceful Parenting advocate, put out a great video on the facts about spanking. It’s a topic he’s covered extensively. I hope you’ll check it out and learn the facts about spanking. I think most parents will be less likely to spank their children, after learning about its effects on children’s development.

The Non-Aggression Principle

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The Golden Rule

According to the Bible, Jesus spoke to the people and urged them to treat others the way they would wish to be treated. He even went so far as to emphasize that this precept is fundamental to Christianity. It’s a moral law of reciprocity laid down by the Christ himself, that two separate disciples of Christ (Matthew and Luke) wrote down for posterity.

Christians who ignore or overlook this tenet of Christianity as it applies to how they treat their children are quite honestly missing the point. See for yourself.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

—Luke 6:31 New International Version (NIV)

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

—Matthew 7:12 New International Version (NIV)

Universal Ethics

Maxims like The Golden Rule are universal ethics of reciprocity. That is why most of the world’s religions have key commandments that provide guidelines for how we should treat others.

the golden rule

How we treat other people—including children—should be no different than the way in which we would wish to be treated.

Whether you’re religious, atheist, or agnostic, the moral maxim to treat others with the same respect you would like to be treated is still relevant.

‘The Free Society’ Begins in Our Own Homes

How we treat other people—including children—should be no different than the way in which we would wish to be treated. It’s time to abolish all forms of interpersonal aggression and domination, and instead model the peaceful, free society we wish to live in.

We are the ambassadors of The Free Society, and it’s our job not to proselytize or coerce our children into behaving the way we want them to, but instead to show them the way by living out our libertarian principles so that they can see them in action and make the conscious choice to emulate them of their own volition.

Parents decide each day—sometimes consciously, and sometimes unconsciously—how we treat others in our own interpersonal relationships, how we speak, and how we prioritize what matters to us. Our children are watching and learning from our behavior.

We should consciously choose to be the kinds of people we want our children to grow up to be. We should treat them the way we wish to be treated—the way we would have appreciated our parents treating us back when we were children.

Quote-LRKnost-parenting-choices

If we seek a peaceful and free society, we should start by creating one in our homes for our children, so that they grow up knowing that it is possible—because they’ve lived it.

Peaceful Parenting (The Compassionate Parenting Approach We Wish Our Parents Had Known About)

If we as a people want to move away from using violence and coercion to get things done in this world, we have to start making changes at home. In order to raise children who will grow up to resolve conflicts peacefully, and respect themselves and others, we must lead the way as peaceful parents by consciously choosing nonviolent, persuasive, gentle parenting methods instead.

peaceful parenting

What Is Peaceful Parenting?

Peaceful Parenting is all about guiding children versus controlling them. Dayna Martin calls it a partnership. She relates to her children as she would with anyone else she enters into partnership with, and treats them with respect. When problems arise, they talk them out, and focus on the cause and solutions to their problems.

In the Peaceful Parenting model, nurturing connections with our children is emphasized rather than punishing them when they don’t behave in ways we like. Peaceful Parenting emphasizes encouraging children and using the power of persuasion and positive role modeling to gently guide children, rather than demanding they do as we say or using intimidation, punishments, or other forms of coercion to get our way. Peaceful parenting requires thoughtfully responding to our children’s needs and issues versus reacting to them out of frustration or anger.

Peaceful Parenting supports a stronger parent-child relationship because it is based on consistent mutual respect and mutual trust.

“Parents today are doing the best they can with what they know, yet many are feeling empty and wondering why their kids do not like them or want to be around them.  We hear words like rebellion and chalk it up to normalcy, but what if there was nothing to rebel against?  What if we lived the respect for our children that we demand they have for us? What if we could recognize that the punishments model injustice and that through using power to control another person we are teaching them to do the same? It is though loving kindness and understanding that our children learn love and peace and in turn will reflect this back to the world.

Families who live in peace and freedom do not usually deal with rebellion from their children because we are never the wall standing between them and their desires.  In fact, we see our role as helping our children get what they want in life. We move from power struggles and control to connection and partnership. When we make this shift, we discover the love and deep feelings of joy that we are naturally meant to experience as parents.

—Dayna Martin, The Evolution of Children’s Rights

This website, called Beyond Punishment, has compiled a list of helpful websites, blogs, and books for parents looking to learn more about Peaceful Parenting. I hope you’ll spend some time checking it out.

Dr. Laura Markham, another Peaceful Parenting advocate created a website called Aha! Parenting, which has resources available for every stage of parenthood, from pregnancy and birth all the way through the teenage years! You can check it out here. She also wrote a book called Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting that’s definitely worth reading.

It’s time we revolutionize our parenting approaches, and apply the same peaceful and respectful principles we use in dealing with others to the ways we parent our children. We must make the conscious choice to consistently respect our children’s self-ownership apply our libertarian values to how we treat our immediate family members.

I hope after reading this post, and checking out the links within, you’ll seriously consider transitioning towards Peaceful Parenting, if you haven’t already.

Additionally, you owe it to yourself to look into Nonviolent Communication. It focuses on solving problems peacefully, through effective communication strategies.

Free your children, and liberate yourself and your household from operating in a manner consistent with domination, coercion, and intimidation. Examine your parenting methods and do away with any parenting tools that don’t align with your values and ethics. And if you choose to make changes, talk to your kids about why you’ve chosen to change your parenting methods. They will appreciate it! I promise.

Don’t just talk about your principles, live them. Be the change you wish to see in the word.

dr. raison parenting quote

Finally, I’ll close with  a section from Khalil Gibran’s beautiful poem, The Prophet. If you haven’t read The Prophet, check it out! It’s lovely! This section is specifically about children and touches on exactly what I’ve been writing about. I hope it inspires you. (The link to the full poem is included below.)

On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

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My First Post On Steemit!

I just published my introductory post over at Steemit!

Steemit is an awesome new decentralized platform for blogging as well as an economic system.

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I hope you’ll check it out, upvote my post, and follow me there as well. Also, say hi in the comments.

I will be sure to return the favor, and I look forward to connecting there as well, with more like-minded individuals.

MyLibertarianLifestyle

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