Hi, I’m Skyler.

Welcome to my website.
Who the hell am I?
Just a man.
And a husband.
And a father of 3.
Also a writer.
And a podcaster. (Join me?)
Sometimes a web designer.
But always a seeker of riches.
And the richness of life.
Explore what I do or have done at the links above.

 

Contact me if you please.


My Latest Content 

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

  • Thoughts on “Me Too” and Sexual Assault (44m) – Episode 086

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Episode 086 welcomes Jessica Burden back to the podcast to chat with Skyler about the “Me too” campaign going around Facebook, designed to increase awareness of the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault. They discuss the ways bad parenting practices create and contribute to these problems, the responsibilities of everybody in not hurting other people, and in protecting themselves, what parents can teach not only their sons, but also their daughters, in preparation for dealing with these problems, and many more related topics.

    Listen to Episode 086 (44m, mp3, 64kbps)

    Show Notes

    Jessica Burden, Facebook Profile
    EVC, “Introduction to Peaceful Parenting
    EVC, “Introduction to Radical Unschooling
    Robin Grille, Parenting for a Peaceful World
    Robert Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
    EMDR.com, “What is EMDR?
    Helen De Cruz, “Alloparenting, attachment and the impossible mother
    Aryssa D., “5 Steps All Women Can Take To Protect Themselves
    PMC Study, “US women’s choices of strategies to protect themselves from violence

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  • Alex’s Journey, and Writing Fiction (1h21m) – Episode 085

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Episode 085 welcomes Alex Knight, III to the podcast for a chat with Skyler. Topics include: large print books, becoming a fiction writer, his rock bands, growing up in the Northeast United States, his parents, political awareness as a teen, marijuana legalization, Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, Harry Browne, Marc Stevens and his No State Project, thoughts on veganism, dating as an anarchist, libertarian themed short stories, and Netflix recommendations.

    Listen to Episode 085 (1h21m, mp3, 64kbps)

    Show Notes

    Alex Knight III, Facebook Profile, TwitterAmazon Author Page, Smashwords
    Skyler’s Small Business, LargePrintLiberty.com
    Alex’s Non-Fiction Articles: Strike-the-Root.com, c4ss.orgDailyAnarchist.com, Everything-Voluntary.com
    Marc Stevens, No State Project
    George Donnelly, Amazon Author Page

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  • “Me Too” is a Branch Issue, and a Distraction

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Social media, following mainstream media, has a way of putting and keeping the focus on what I call “branch issues.” Branch issues are secondary problems. The term is from a metaphor given by Henry David Thoreau, who wrote in Walden,

    There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

    Branch issues are all the rage in the media, very rarely is a root issue given the light of day. Root issues are things like the childhood trauma, monopoly policing, compulsory education, interventionist war, and inflationary central banking. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but the deepest root of them all is the belief that some people have the right to hurt or steal from other people without just cause (eg. self-defense). The roots are the primary source of nourishment for the branches. Think about that.

    Root issues are best left undisturbed if you want to avoid ruffling the feathers of powerful people.

    But branch issues are fair game. Well, they’re often much more than just fair game. They’re very useful in keeping the masses from looking to deep and discovering a root. Branch issues get 24 hour coverage because of how profitable they are. Not only do big media companies get the political privilege of staying in business, but they also get to increase their ratings by increasing sexy branch issue coverage.

    Fear sells, and the powers that be know this very well. Every time a politician opens their mouth he or she is generating fear, usually on the basis of classifying people, and them pitting them against each other. Blacks vs. Whites. Men vs. Women. Rich vs. Poor. Majorities vs. Minorities. There is literally, and I do mean literally, no end to the ways that you can divide people based on some characteristic and then fluff up related problems to stoke the fire.

    This new “Me too” campaign on Facebook (and elsewhere?) is yet another example of stoking a branch issue into a distraction. What is the “Me too” campaign? It’s the campaign for women to share the following on their Facebook walls:

    Me too.

    If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

    Please copy/paste.

    My first reaction to this was a bit of umbrage on the part of lumping the many degrees of sexual harassment in with the many degrees of sexual assault. They aren’t the same. One’s speech. The other is violent action. And within each are several degrees of severity. I think lumping these all together allows women who’ve only experienced the former to latch on to the pain of women who’ve experienced the latter. That seems disrespectful and dastardly to me. Not to mention completely unscientific. It also seems to indicate that women can’t tell the difference, that they are too stupid to, or something. Give me a break.

    I shared that first reaction on Facebook in a couple of places and got some interesting discussion going. But as I thought about it some more, I realized what was going on here, as I’ve already indicated.

    This is a branch issue. Nevermind the umbrage I took initially. That’s irrelevant, really. What this little campaign is doing is burying far more serious root issues.

    Me too. I had a body part removed as a baby.

    Me too. I was yelled at and hit as a child.

    Me too. I was forced to endure an intellectual prison for 12 years.

    Me too. I was bullied. And I bullied.

    Me too. I’m regularly threatened with prison if I don’t pay tribute to my political masters.

    That’s just some of the effects of the root issues I listed above in my life. Consider everybody else in the world.

    How many people are murdered every day by American bombs? How many people have their life savings devalued by the Federal Reserve every year? How many children are being traumatized and imprisoned by the adults in their life, who themselves were traumatized and imprisoned as children? How many women and children are being failed by their governments and communities and being taken and put into bondage? How many people are being failed by their governments and being made the targets of terrorists? How many people are being beaten, raped, and murdered by unaccountable and unbankruptable monopoly policing?

    How many people are getting rich off the dissemination of and distraction by branch issues?

    Like Thoreau said, there are a thousand people hacking at the branches of evil for every one striking the root. I hate being among the ones. We need more ones, goddamnit.

  • Jessica’s Journey (1h20m) – Episode 084

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Episode 084 welcomes Jessica Burden to the podcast for a chat with Skyler. Topics include: books, living in Washington State, Facebook diplomacy, free range childhood, public school to homeschool to unschool, and back to public school, raising her younger brother, learning responsibility from a young age, meeting her husband through an online dating website, practicing several different parenting philosophies at once, the benefits of multi-generational households, unschoolers considering school, parental displays of affection, our growing children and the forthcoming teen years, !Kung san bushmen parenting, her availability for anyone, especially women, for counseling on having babies and body image.

    Listen to Episode 084 (1h20m, mp3, 64kbps)

    Show Notes

    Jessica Burden, Facebook Profile
    Skyler’s Books, EVC Publications
    Peter Gray, “Beyond Attachment to Parents: Children Need Community
    Daniel Vitalis Podcast, “On Lions, the San and Being Alone — Dr. Nicole Apelian #141

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  • The Association for Teaching Kids Economics (35m) – Episode 083

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Episode 083 welcomes Thomas Bogle back to the podcast to talk about his new organization, “The Association for Teaching Kids Economics”. Topics include: The Tuttle Twins by Connor Boyack, illustrated by Elijah Stanfield, teaching economics, liberty, and free markets to kids, why teachers fear teaching economics in primary school, “mainline” economics, Leonard Read’s “I, Pencil” and The Lego Movie, Tom’s search for sponsors and personnel in each state to aid introduction and expansion, Socratic method based curriculum, CinemaSins, and the classroom ambassadors program.

    Listen to Episode 083 (35m, mp3, 64kbps)

    Show Notes

    Tom Bogle, Facebook Profile
    Episode 069, “Thomas’ Journey, Free Market Educators, Praxis
    The Association for Teaching Kids Economics, Website, Facebook Page, Twitter
    The Tuttle Twins, Website, Facebook Page, Twitter
    Leonard Read, “I, Pencil” (Video Documentary)
    CinemaSins, Website, YouTube Channel

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  • Does it Matter Who’s at Fault? The Responsibility is Always Yours

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I’m reading Mark Manson‘s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and the entirety of Chapter 5 is focused on this idea:

    There is a simple realization from which all personal improvement and growth emerges. This is the realization that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances.

    I was put on guard when I read those words, and quite enlightened as I read the chapter.

    My first thoughts were about my own life and everything that has occurred over its course. I’ve made mistakes. Those were mostly my fault, but in many cases I operated on incomplete information. I’ve also endured the consequences of mistakes made by others, not always accidental.

    My second thoughts were about when people complain about someone else’s privilege, which ultimately led me to write “White Privilege is Definitely Real“. Also about someone else’s “offensive” actions, of the triggering variety.

    My third thoughts were on my children’s constant squabbles and their blaming the other for every conflict in which they find themselves. They’ve never started anything, of course, but somehow conflict ensues and escalates to the point of parental involvement. For quite a while now, when they’re playing the blame game, I tell them that I don’t care who did it, that each of them knows who did what, and then I follow with an appeal to be careful not to let it happen again.

    After touring my mind palace, visiting every room listed above and more, the truthfulness of Chapter 5 became obvious.

    My reactions to the happenings in my life are completely my responsibility. I thought about that word etymologically, which is my wont. I wondered if it came from something like “respond-ability.” It didn’t really, but I like that, so I played around with it.

    Responsibility: the ability to control your response to events in life.

    Even if all we can control are our thoughts as things are happening to us (thinking of someone paralyzed), we still have responsibility. We can choose what it is we want to take away, to learn about the situation and how we want to react.

    How empowering is this? It seems to completely invalidate or eradicate any sort of self-limiting or self-destructive victim mentality.

    As I mentioned, I’ve been harmed. What am I going to do about it? Here are some options: 1) sit around and mope, 2) enact a plan for revenge, or 3) learn the salient lessons from the situation. 1 might feel good for a bit, but is ultimately a waste of time. 2 might also feel good, but is likely to escalate the conflict. There are major consequences here to consider. 3 seems the most appropriate. It’s sure beats 1, and depending on the severity of the harm, would make a necessary companion to 2. In every case, its my choice, isn’t it?

    Therein lies my power, and the building blocks to creating my future. This is true for everybody. Even you! I hope that I can successfully impart this wisdom to my children. That’s where most of my opportunities to do so currently reside (outside of myself, that is).

    Thinking more about it, it’s a stoic concept, although the author never mentions stoicism. The entire book is, really. In stoicism this is called your “sphere of control.” Your reaction to circumstance is well within your sphere of control, and you must be mindful of it if you are ever going to find and maintain inner peace and happiness. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it so far, and highly recommend it.

  • Join Skyler on the EVC Podcast, Tell Your Story!

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I’ve come to enjoy recording my podcast regularly again. And I look forward to sitting down with someone every week (at least) to talk about their journey to wherever they are today, be that a voluntaryist or an unschooler.

    I haven’t had nearly enough guests of the latter variety for my liking and hope to change that in the future.

    I’ve also, for the very first time, interviewed a friend who is no longer a political ally. That was something new, and fun.

    I am much more open today with discussing ideas on my podcast with which I disagree. My goal is to allow my guest to undress, as it were, and reveal themselves to the world in all their nakedness, be it beautiful, or disturbingly hideous.

    Whether we agree or not, you want to tell the story of your political or parenting journey, or you just want to discuss a random topic of interest, you are hereby invited to join me on the EVC podcast. To do so, click here to schedule either an afternoon time Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday, or a late evening time on Wednesdays. If none of these times work and you’d really like to participate, contact me directly to find something agreeable.

    (I will assist with the necessary software installation if we are chatting over the Internet. All you need is a microphone and headphones. Windows preferred, but not required. I will confirm our conversation topic in advance of recording.)

    Please don’t be shy! I promise to help you feel comfortable and have a good time. You can listen to example episodes in the “Toward Freedom” or “Conversations” podcast series.

    Let’s do this!

  • Does Action on Behalf of Another Tend Toward Abuse?

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon occurring in myself and through my actions when my wife asks me to do something concerning my children. If I desire that my children do something, or to stop doing something, I will employ peaceful means to bring about my desired state of affairs.

    For example, if I want one of my children to get ready to go somewhere with me, I will express my wish and peacefully negotiate my way to my goal. I won’t yell or threaten or otherwise coerce my child to do as a I want them to do. My primary and secondary instincts are peaceful in response to any pushback I get (as they are very busy with accomplishing their own ends).

    Now let us suppose it is my wife that wants one of our children to get ready to go somewhere with her. She’s busy getting ready herself, so she asks me to ask and assist the child in getting ready. I love my wife so I do her this favor. However, while my first instinct is peaceful, my second instinct, which kicks in after pushback, tends toward being less peaceful. I feel more willing to start coercing my child to get ready.

    When the goal is my own, internally motivated, I will behave according to my own values for respectful and peaceful cooperation. When the goal is not my own, externally motivated, I will at first behave according to my own values, but resistance may soon have me acting contrary to those values. Why is this?

    I don’t like this, and I’m finding that I have to be extra mindful and diligent in remaining respectful and peaceful when on a mission for my wife. I hope in time my second instinct in this regard mirrors my first.

    What I’m very curious about, however, is what this says about behavior in larger society.

    There are many types of requests given to others that are not primarily internally motivated by the requestor. Managers giving orders on behalf of department heads. Coaches giving orders on behalf of upper management. Law enforcement giving orders on behalf of superiors and legislators.

    Each of these are more or less likely to meet resistance, and when they do, how are the instincts telling the requestor to behave? When a manager is on the hot seat for his job because of team performance, will his orders downward tend toward coercion? Same for a coach whose team is not performing as upper management would like it to perform to sell tickets.

    And where this sort of analysis really matters, when law enforcement officers are trying to enforce laws that they don’t really believe in, but don’t want to lose their jobs, how do their instincts tell them to behave?

    It seems to me that having the power and ability to inflict great harm in the pursuit of your goals, and which goals are being aimed for on behalf of others, tends toward greater and greater abuse. We see this every time law enforcement use violence in response to resistance they receive while enforcing laws against nonviolent crimes. As these sorts of “criminals” are not themselves violent, the natural first instinct is to get compliance with your requests peacefully (never mind the gun in the room). That often works, but not always. Violence may sooner or later be employed by law enforcement in these cases, and it turns out that these are the sort that get national attention when the officer or officers become abusive.

    I can’t explain the psychology behind this. Perhaps someone with better credentials in that field can. Perhaps they already have. I don’t know. But what I’m more concerned about is how we can mitigate this tendency. In myself, mindfulness and diligence. In larger society, I don’t know. Maybe we train law enforcement better. Maybe we disarm law enforcement. Maybe we de-monopolize law enforcement. In any event, the first step is recognizing and accepting the problem.

  • Jason’s Journey, and Challenging Ideas (1h2m) – Episode 082

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Episode 082 welcomes Jason Marlow to the podcast for a challenging conversation with Skyler. Topics include: Being born in Brazil, Rush Limbaugh conservatism, Ron Paul and libertarianism, personal responsibility, what makes good neighbors, self-segregation, forced integration, political anthropology, the state as an ever-present hungry dragon and how to deal with it, importance of cultural collectives against the dragon, looking beyond libertarianism, Western civilization, the human story, ingroup privilege, and the European migrants.

    Listen to Episode 082 (1h2m, mp3, 64kbps)

    Show Notes

    Jason Marlow, Facebook Profile
    Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind

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  • Gun Control Won’t Stop Mass Shootings; We Must Look Deeper (7m) – Editor’s Break 035

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Editor’s Break 035 has Skyler explaining why he believes that gun control won’t stop mass shootings of the sort that occurred recently in Las Vegas, killing dozens and injuring hundreds.

    Listen to Editor’s Break 035 (7m, mp3, 64kbps)

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