Hi, I’m Skyler.

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And a husband.
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My Latest Content 

    Skyler J. Collins (Editor) – Everything-Voluntary.com

  • Cultural Marxism’s Fundamental Flaw

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I just listened to a Munk Debate titled, “Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress…” (found here). It was semi-interesting. Much to Stephen Fry’s and my own disappointment, “political correctness” was hardly discussed or debated at all.

    Still, what was discussed had my mind bouncing around different ideas on race and gender. Psychologist Jordan Peterson made the point that only individuals have rights (and thus responsibilities), not groups, and when we assign groups rights without responsibilities (his opponents weren’t interested in doing so), disaster likely ensues.

    I wasn’t quite sure why at the time, but this brought to my mind cultural Marxism. It was not a term used the debate at all, but it is a term associated with the idea of political correctness. And in fact, I’m not well versed on what it even means, so I did some searching. I read the introduction on the Wikipedia page, which wasn’t very helpful. Then I watched this video explaining cultural Marxism, linked to by the Mises Institute.

    The foundational claims made by cultural Marxists seems to be that 1) groups exist, 2) groups act, 3) groups are either oppressive or oppressed, 4) group identity is mostly unchosen, but not always (eg. transgenders), and 5) group identity entails privilege, or not.

    As a cisgendered “white” heterosexual male, I am a member of a number of groups that have historically and contemporaneously been categorized as  oppressive and privileged. The funny thing is, the only person I have ever oppressed is my cisgendered “white” heterosexual (I think) son. I oppressed him violently, actually.

    Cultural Marxists would argue that cisgendered “white” heterosexual males have, at least in the Western world (and for heterosexual males, the entire world), been the group that has oppressed all others, those who identify with groups such as women, “people of color”, homosexuals, and transgenders. Seems inarguable as we survey the history of the West, does it not?

    And as oppressors, they have enjoyed political and legal privileges not afforded these other groups. This also seems inarguable as we survey history. But there seems to me to be something wrong with this so-called “critical theory” approach to topics of oppression and privilege.

    This brings us to what seems to be the fundamental flaw in cultural Marxism: the refusal to engage in methodological individualism. From the Mises Wiki:

    Methodological individualism is the theory that social and economic phenomena can be explained by reference to the actions of individuals rather than groups or collectives. Based on this theory groups and collectives are not entities which can act in and of themselves but only through the action of the individual members of which they are composed.

    If instead we approach the analysis of oppression and privilege under methodological individualism, what you see when you look at me as an individual who happens to be cisgendered, “white”, heterosexual, and male is not an oppressor of women, “people of color”, homosexuals, and transgenders. Never once in my life have I done any such thing (except, again, toward my son). Nor, to my knowledge, has my father (except to his children).

    And when I look out at my group peers, I see nary an individual who has oppressed anyone (except perhaps their children, at some point). You see, I am not an oppressor, and when I was, it was only toward another single individual. It was never toward a group, nor any of the above listed groups.

    For that I consider myself a good person, a good man. And I believe that there are many other good people, good men from “my” group, in this world. And not only my contemporaries, but throughout history. There have been many who have been good men, and most men have never wielded any political power.

    Yet here are the cultural Marxists (and social justice warriors), in their fight against oppression and privilege, grouping good men like myself in with bad men just because we share characteristics. I find that sickening. Not only am I being grouped in with violent pricks, but violent pricks are and have been quite arguably the minority of “my” group.

    And here as a supposed member of “my” group, I must feel guilty for it’s abhorrent actions and “check” the privilege I supposedly have, which having was never in my control to begin with. If you think telling me these things and making demands on me is going to be received with supplication, you are a certifiable idiot.

    I don’t wonder why other cisgendered “white” heterosexual males get pulled into identity politics on the right. I know exactly why. It’s because they’re being accused of doing something horrendous which they have no recollection of doing as individuals. It creates resentment, which breeds radicalism, and when they live in a society ruled by one-size-fits-all policy, which we most unfortunately do, they just might feel like violence, either through the ballot box or not, is their only recourse.

    So no, unless I’m totally mistaken on the details, I don’t consider myself a cultural Marxist. It’s fundamentally flawed because it fails to recognize that groups are imaginary and that only individuals exist and act. And further, it seems to call for political solutions, which are by definition violent, and in this case, violent toward individuals by virtue of group identity. No, thank you.

  • Let This Promise in Me Start, Like an Anthem in My Heart

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    If you haven’t seen “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, and more, you are missing out one of the best movies and musicals of our time. It’s mesmerizing and uplifting, a true tour de force, and has captured the hearts and minds of my entire family.

    Every one of its ten songs is an absolute gem. But the one I’d like to bring to your attention is from the end of the movie titled, “From Now On”. Here it is in official audio form:

    While it’s not the intended interpretation, the theme that has found its home in my mind is based on the chorus, and goes like this:

    From now on: This voice will not be used to encourage violence against peaceful people.
    From now on: These hands will not used to hit or strike fear in my children.
    From now on: This body will not serve as a means for expropriation or indoctrination of others.
    Let this promise in me start, Like an anthem in my heart!
    From now on!

    Alright so, it’s doesn’t rhyme, but oh well! One of the reasons that I engage in the work of writing and podcasting is to turn hearts and minds away from violent solutions to the problems they have with other people, with special emphasis on the parent-child relationship. Nothing validates my work more than when a parent tells me that I was instrumental in their own “from now on” moment of ceasing to use violent parenting tools. I was told that in my latest podcast conversation, and it warmed my heart.

    It can be difficult internally and challenging to deal with opposition by friends and family when making these sorts of changes. But your children deserve your promise and anthem to never hit or strike fear in them again.

    And when you move forward in partnership, the relationship you build and maintain will last the rest of your life paying dividends every single day. From now on!

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

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    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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  • The Voluntaryist Ethnicity

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Thinking of “ethnic” as an American of Northern European descent fills my head with images of people and cultures from Latin and South America, Polynesia, Africa, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Asia, and aboriginal Americans and Australians.

    Reading about the etymology of the term is interesting. It began in the English language (after the ancient Greek and Latin) as a term for pagans and heathens, anyone who was not a [white] Jew or a [white] Christian. Then it was transformed through secularization to mean anyone foreign. Do Africans or Polynesians think of me as “ethnic”, I wonder? It’s very strange to think of myself that way. Ethnic was always non-“white” people, from my particular perspective.

    Related uses around ethnicity include “adopted to the genius or customs of a people, peculiar to a people,” “band of people living together, nation, people, tribe, caste,” and “people of one’s own kind.” Your ethnicity is the array of customs peculiar to your people. So yes, I have an ethnicity, as do each of the various cultures and subcultures of Americans of Northern European descent.

    In any event, as my family has traveled the country and met or stayed with other voluntaryists and unschoolers, I can’t help but notice certain general customs among people and families of this kind. Without putting anybody in a box or limiting how it is expressed or experienced, here is the voluntaryist ethnicity as I’ve seen it.

    Peaceful parenting: Voluntaryists don’t use corporal punishment, don’t hit or smack their children, and typically don’t yell or traumatize them in any other way. Many are the tools employed by the voluntaryist parent in guiding, mentoring, correcting, and disciplining their children, all of which are based on love, compassion, play, reason, and, when required, serious talk or swift protective force (not allowing one child to hit another, et cetera).

    Radical unschooling: Voluntaryists range in their approach to childhood education, from eclectic homeschooling to radical unschooling. The basis for whichever approach is employed is the realization that every child is unique and has needs specific to their personality and interests. For myself and my family, we’re radical unschoolers. We don’t employ any level of control on what my children do with their time day-to-day, and every day looks different for each of my children. Spontaneity is a regular feature of our time spent exploring the world around us.

    Intellectual discussion: Voluntaryists, in my experience, always want to engage in heavy intellectual discussion, far more so than those not of this or similar ethnicities. Whenever voluntaryists are engaged in conversation, the topics range from politics to religion to philosophy to science to economics. You won’t find a lot of discussion on the Kardashians or the latest sale at JCPenney.

    Abstention from electoral politics: Voluntaryists typically don’t participate in voting, as the futility (at least) of doing so is recognize early on in their philosophical journey. Oh, they’ll have plenty of opinions on the many aspects of electoral politics, but their voice is not limited to entering marks in the ballot box. Many write and podcast and debate, doing so for reasons of mental stimulation, improvement, entertainment, and enjoyment.

    Critiquing coercion: Voluntaryists are quick to recognize and criticize the use of coercion and aggression by other people and groups. The opposition to coercion is the lynchpin of identifying as a voluntaryist. The use of coercion in society, beginning in the home, is the root cause of people being unable or unwilling to settle conflicts over scarce resources peacefully. All of the world’s social ills can be traced back to the use of coercion (unjust, by definition).

    Bias against government: Voluntaryists typically have a bias against considering government “solutions” to social problems and a prejudice against people working for the state. Government is, factually, “a bandit gang, writ large.” Most criminals hide behind a veil of being a regular person, but public criminals where badges and insignia to make their willingness to initiate violence against peaceful people clear, making it easier to identify them as people that should be avoided, if it can be helped.

    Aside from the above, voluntaryists come in many stripes. Some are business executives while others are off-grid survivalists. What they have in common is [mostly, but not always entirely] the voluntaryist ethnicity as broadly outlined above. Meeting new people of the voluntaryist ethnicity is like being reconnected with old friends and family. There has always been an immediate feeling of kinship and connection for me, personally. If you have the opportunity from time to time to gather with other voluntaryists, I think you’ll find what I’ve written to be accurate. And I highly recommend doing so as much as you can.

  • White People Should Call Each Other “Nigga”

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Okay, bear with me. I have no doubt what I’ve been thinking alot about lately is controversial, if not totally taboo. Alright so, growing up around all white people (Mormon Utah) meant my only experience with black people and black culture was through pop culture. Movies, TV shows, music videos, sporting events, et cetera, and I mostly saw black people calling each other and, well, everyone else, “nigga”, all the time.

    They did it, do it, so smooth like, it just rolls off the tongue. My impression was that it was a very cool thing to do. Aside from movies like Glory and documentaries about slavery, black people were typically portrayed as always having a good time. They wore nice clothes and shoes, gave each other high fives, were great at sports and very athletic. Blackness was coolness.

    Even in the hood, black people would have phat rides or stacks of bills or shiny pieces, selling drugs or turning tricks, and what not. It was all very different than what my life was about, and all very “badass”. Seriously, being black was/is just a very cool thing in my view. When I would encounter a black person, I just wanted to stop and observe, to see what they were like in real life, to absorb some of their cool. It was a bit of a novelty. My first trip to Chicago with my wife (then girlfriend), we drove through a black neighborhood on our way in and I had major culture shock. I just wanted to take it all in. To watch them playing basketball like I’d seen on TV, or to yell from their windows down to the street, or walk around with a boombox on their shoulder blasting something hip-hop.

    My secret desire was to be accepted by them on a level where I could speak their language and say everything they said. To make jokes, and have laughs, and to call each other and others “nigga”. That was just so freaking cool to me. Of course, that could never happen. I was always told that word was forbidden, that it was incredibly racist to use it as a white person. Even thinking it was sinful.

    It’s their word, and by virtue of the legacy of slavery, it’s only their word, and we can’t have it. But goddamn it’s so cool!

    Here’s the controversial part: what if white people said “nigga” as casually as black people? I must admit, I’m envious. They have a word that’s fun and smooth and I can’t have it. “Cracka” or “honky” just doesn’t have anywhere the same ring to it. I’ve told my kids they can say “beaner” and “spick” since they’re half-latino, but even those fall short on coolness and smoothness.

    I’m a big believer in the idea that people give words their power. If “fuck” is said often by a three-year-old (which in my house, it is) then it loses its power. It’s just a fun thing to say, and when used non-playfully, it just doesn’t have as much bite. And isn’t that a good thing? Don’t we disarm pricks just a little bit by softening the meaning of the words they want to use against us?

    Wouldn’t we disarm racist pricks by removing the power of racial slurs? Maybe if everyone used “nigga” as often and as playfully and casually as black people did, it wouldn’t have nearly as much bite as it does in the employ of racists. Am I wrong? “Fuck” has much less bite in our house than it used to due to our casual use of it. It’s still a bit low-brow, no doubt, but for those okay with low-brow language, it’s just a fun word. I can’t call my kids “little fuckers” out of anger like my father could, because it doesn’t mean the same thing. When my dad used it, I knew he meant business. When I use it, it takes the air out of my anger sails, so to speak. It’s ineffective.

    Isn’t making “nigger” and “faggot” and “cunt” and every other slur ineffective the goal? If so, then isn’t everyone using them playfully the best way to do that?

  • Involuntarily Celibate: Clever Rhetorical Trick

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I heard the phrase “involuntarily celibate” recently as a way of describing oneself. It was on the context of a man who had a grievance against women for not sleeping with him. Considering the ins and outs of this phrase was a near total mind fuck. That doesn’t happen very often these days, so I absolutely must tell you all about it!

    Obviously this person is not choosing to be celibate. As he puts it, his celibacy is completely involuntary. The women he’s encountered, and I suppose propositioned, have made it clear that he’s not worth their while. And since that’s an injustice, Mr. Involuntarily Celibate is a victim.

    What a clever rhetorical trick! I must admit he had me feeling sympathy for his plight. That poor, poor man can’t find any woman on the face of the earth to sleep with him. I’m sure he’s tried convincing a prostitute for an agreeable sum of his hard earned money, all to no avail. What is wrong with people? Why won’t they sleep with this man?!

    And then it occurred to me just how often this rhetorical trick is employed. Here are a few examples of grievances of this nature:

    Involuntarily poor: since other people won’t give me money or trade with me for my labor, I’m poor, but not of my choosing!

    Involuntarily sick: since other people won’t treat my illness, and I don’t know how, I’m sick all the time, but not of my choosing!

    Involuntarily lonely: since other people won’t spend time with me, I’m a loner, but not of my choosing!

    Just writing these has me feeling sympathy for these poor, poor victims of circumstance. Why should anyone be poor in our world of material abundance? Why should anyone be sick in our world of medical abundance? Why should anyone be lonely in our world of social abundance? That anybody is poor, sick, or lonely in our world of abundance is a manifest injustice that must be corrected by any means possible!

    And those means must be political and legal in nature. There’s simply no other way to help the poor, the sick, and the lonely than by passing laws designed to correct these injustices. Universal Basic Income will fix the problem of being involuntarily poor. Universal Healthcare will fix the problem if being involuntarily sick. Making it illegal to live alone will force loners together, and their loneliness will evaporate.

    And what about involuntary celibacy? Universal Sexcare, I suppose, is the answer to this most serious of problems. Nobody should be without sex. Everyone must pay their fair share to funding the Administration of Universal Sexcare so that everyone has a sexual partner when they need it. Such is good and noble in our world of abundance.

    When rhetorical tricks lead to government policy, hold on to your wallets.

  • Markets aren’t Miraculous; God Bless the World

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Markets, or the array of exchanges of property between individuals and groups, are responsible for the rising standard of living enjoyed by human beings all across the world. To the extent that markets are free to develop, people’s needs are easier met and conflicts over scarce resources are reduced. I’m guilty of describing these amazing effects of markets as “miraculous”. I wrote a few entries in a “Miracles of the Market” series back in 2009.

    But I was wrong to ever describe anything the market does as a miracle or as miraculous. Why? Because the positive effects of markets broadly described above do not depend on any sort of divine intervention, and its totally ridiculous to say that they do. Rather, they are the natural result of individuals and groups engaging in market action. No divine explanation necessary.

    What may require divine intervention, however, is increasing the knowledge that people have about the importance of keeping markets free, of allowing voluntary trade among consenting individuals and groups to happen however the participants involved see fit. What people need is a better understanding of rational economics, first, and second, to explore normative claims that free markets are good for people.

    I don’t know if there is a God [sic], but assuming for a moment there is, I say, “God bless the world” with a better understanding of what it takes to help people meet their needs easier and reduce conflict over scarce resources. “God bless the world” to stop its violent prohibition of voluntary trade among consenting individuals and groups. “God bless the world” to stop its campaigns of terror among innocent people. “God bless the world” to stop traumatizing its children and perpetuating the cycle of abuse. “God bless the world” to one day develop the technology to permanently make the state obsolete.

    Markets don’t need God’s blessing, but humanity sure seems to.

  • White Guilt, Technology and the State, & School Shootings (23m) – Editor’s Break 086

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Editor’s Break 086 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: why he shouldn’t have to apologize for the misbehavior of other white people today or in the past; how technology is necessary to make the state obsolete and bring about a free society; “gun free zones” are really “self-defense prohibited zones” and why the school shooting narratives are all wrong; and more.

    Listen to Editor’s Break 086 (23m, mp3, 64kbps)

    Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “everything voluntary”.

  • Body Cameras, Humility, Dueling, & Greed (18m) – Editor’s Break 085

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Editor’s Break 085 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: what it will mean and how tolerable it will be when everyone’s wearing body cameras; the humility inherit in libertarian ideology; the prevalence of dueling in a free society; how best to deal with greedy or self-interested people; and more.

    Listen to Editor’s Break 085 (18m, mp3, 64kbps)

    Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “everything voluntary”.

  • Technology Kills the State, Over and Over

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    The state is “a bandit gang, writ large,” wrote economist and historian Murray Rothbard. This is demonstrably true due to the inability for people who call themselves “the state” or “government” to produce any factual evidence that their rules, including the rules to give them money (or else!), apply to anybody they claim to have jurisdiction over.

    Like any other criminal enterprise, they operate within a certain temporal context. The tools they wield are limited to current state of the art technology. The first states probably used what everyone else used to hunt: sticks, stones, bows, et cetera. Later states added swords and axes, then rifles and cannons, and today’s states use high powered guns, missiles, and bombs.

    If we identify a state as not only the particular time and place in which they operate, but also by the tools they use, then what is revealed over and over again are the many ways in which technology has killed the state.  For example, hypothetical State A-Sticks enforced it’s claims of jurisdiction by sticks and stones. At some point swords were invented giving State A-Sticks’s victims more power to defend themselves. In order to maintain their rule, State A-Sticks was abolished and immediately replaced with State A-Swords. Had State A-Sticks not been abolished and replaced with State A-Swords, it likely would have been ineffectual and eventually gone away. Swords made State A-Sticks obsolete, and so the only way to survive was to replace itself with State A-Swords. State A-Sticks was killed by technology.

    Once guns were invented, State A-Swords became obsolete and its survival depended on abolishing State A-Swords and replacing it with State A-Guns. At each point, the state is made obsolete, then killed, then replaced. This same type of analysis applies not only to states, but to any other organization that operates within a certain temporal context. The Catholic church operated on the basis of keeping scripture away from the layman. Once the printing press was invented and scripture was distributed, the Catholic church as it was then known was made obsolete, then killed, then replaced.

    Organizations that refuse to recognize how they’ve been made obsolete will fail to kill the way the organization operates, and then replace itself using the tools necessary to continue operating. This necessarily applies to states, churches, businesses, charities, et cetera. Technological progress makes old ways obsolete, and survival depends on technological adaptation, if possible. The Catholic church as a monopolizer of reading scripture could not survive without a campaign of bloodshed against all non-permitted scripture producers and consumers, and likely would have failed at that. It survived because it killed it’s obsolete self, and adapted to the new technological environment.

    So, what does this say about the state’s future? To me, it says that the state will only cease to exist finally and permanently through technological change for which it cannot adapt. Taxi cartels are quasi-statist organizations. They will not survive the ridesharing revolution. The day will come when we look back at taxi cartels like we do the dodo bird, ie. extinct.

    Technology is constantly killing organizations through obsolescence, and I hope one day the state will receive it’s final shot in the chest, so to speak, and be unable to replace itself. No violent revolution necessary. That will be a glorious day for advocates of liberty, peace, and prosperity.