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I’ve Got a Fever and the Only Prescription is More Tuttle Twins!

Do you remember that old Saturday Night Live skit? You know… the Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell one. The one where Walken says, “I’ve got a fevah. And the only prescription is more cowbell!”

It’s a classic, and one of my all-time favorite SNL skits. If you’ve never seen it, stop right now and click here.

I’ve felt myself channeling my inner-Walken these last few weeks as I’ve watched, fairly amazed, at how quickly the Tuttle Twins brand is growing and expanding.

When Elijah and I sat down to do The Tuttle Twins Learn About The Law, we didn’t actually have plans to do more than just one book. Then The Law ended up being pretty successful, so we figured we’d do another one. Miraculous Pencil was even better received than The Law, so we figured we’d do one more.

And repeat.

Now and we’ve got our twelfth book slated for release in the next few months (hint: it’s based on Robert Higgs’ Crisis and Leviathan), workbooks to accompany each book, an award winning economics curriculum that offers weekly, age-specific lessons for the whole family, a set of teen, Choose Your Consequence books, and a bunch of digital content.

We even have a podcast where me and Brittany Hunter chat all things liberty! It’s called The Way the World Works and you can catch new episodes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on your favorite listening platform. Ron Paul joined us for yesterday’s episode—you should for sure check it out!

It’s amazing how far we’ve seen the brand come in less than ten years, but I’m left with my head spinning when I see the growth we’ve experienced in just the last few months. Since the lockdowns began and the whole world (except Sweden apparently) became homeschoolers, our sales have TRIPLED.

We’re about to pass the “1.5 million books sold” mark. *pinch me*

All the sales have launched me and the rest of the Tuttle Twins team into hyper-creative mode, and we’ve been busy working on a ton of new projects.

And that includes the cartoon!

A Tuttle Twins cartoon has been on our wish list for years, but knowing the cost (in the MILLIONS) it seemed like a very far away, if not impossible, dream.

This morning, I got word that we had hit the $600k mark for investments in our joint effort with The Harmon Brothers, and VidAngel toward the funding of our TV show. VidAngel estimates that at the rate we are going, we’ll hit our goal of $1Million within the next ten days. Is this really happening?? I’m starting to think it actually is!

(To read more about the project, or to invest, please click here)

Serving to quicken the breakneck speed that things are happening around here has been the hit piece by the socialist magazine Current Affairs which of course we monetized by offering 50% off our combo set with code CURRENTAFFAIRS.

(The sale is still on, so click here if you haven’t snagged your set yet!)

That piece was responsible for the sale of at least  6000 Tuttle Twins books! I’m so grateful for their shining endorsement that I even offered to cut them in on the profits!

They’re ignoring me. No idea why. 😉

This week, FEE did a writeup on the hit piece and the ensuing surge in sales:

Current Affairs published the expletive-laden piece in its July/August print issue, calling libertarianism “one of the most disgraceful political tendencies in the world.”

Apparently, not everyone agreed with the far-left writer, Rob Larson, that a political philosophy grounded in individual rights, personal responsibility, and consent is “disgraceful.” Soon after the article appeared online at the end of September, Boyack noted record sales of The Tuttle Twins books, which have already sold more than 1.4 million copies.

“Overall it’s clear the author, a dedicated socialist, has a fundamental disagreement with our values and perspective,” Boyack told me in a recent interview. “When a socialist calls your free market literature a ‘cliché-ridden [heap] of steaming garbage,’ it’s not a criticism—it’s a badge of honor you wear proudly. It means we’re doing something right to provoke this kind of ire from someone who sees liberty as ‘one of the most disgraceful political tendencies in the world.’”

My friend, Kerry McDonald, wrote the piece, and I had a chance to sit down and talk with her as she was preparing it. I shared this thought with her, and I think it’s worth sharing again here:

The left has dominated the education of the rising generation for decades. Teachers see their students increasingly as ‘the front line of battle for the future of our nation.’ For too long, parents have surrendered their children to the indoctrination of these social reformers. The Tuttle Twins is finally giving parents a shield to defend their kids, and a sword to fight back. Our ideological enemy isn’t used to facing organized opposition. We present a threat to those who want to continue molding the minds of kids to support socialism.

I have never been more certain that the world is ready for our message. Parents and grandparents—whether because of government regulations that forced them into homeschool, or just because they are sick and tired of the leftist indoctrination that their kids face in school, media, and pretty much every other setting—have decided, “No more!” and are taking matters into their own hands.

I’m grateful that so many have seen our books, curriculum, podcast (and soon our TV show!!) as something that meets their needs; something they trust to help shape their kids into the free-thinking defenders of liberty that all people should be.

Our future is so bright it sometimes burns my eyes. We’ve heard you loud and clear! You want more Tuttle Twins—and we are giving it to you. More to come—and soon.

Connor

Can You Talk About the Collapse of Venezuela Without Mentioning Socialism? The New York Times Can!

I think there was a time when journalists actually chased stories and reported on them in an unbiased manner. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen this firsthand—I was born in the early eighties—but I’ve heard whispers that such a time existed.

For as long as I can remember, we’ve all known which news sources “leaned” which way. There are even charts and graphs that show where you should get your news if you subscribe to this ideology, or that, so that you avoid the discomfort of hearing a spin on the events of the moment that conflict with your personal biases.

I saw an ad on Facebook today for the Wall Street Journal. It simply read, “We Report Both Sides of the Story.” Fully half of the reactions were laughing emojis, and the comments section was about a 50/50 split of praise and mockery. We don’t event try to pretend that unbiased and non-narrative-driven reporting is a thing anymore—it’s crazy.

And yet, even knowing this truth, I still sometimes find myself surprised at just how “selective” reporting can be. Such was the case when I sat down to read this New York Times piece about the collapse of Venezuela. The writing is good, the story is heartbreaking with no detail of the misery and suffering of the people spared:

The decline has diminished beyond recognition a country that just a decade ago rivaled the United States for regional influence. It is also unraveling a national culture defined by oil, a source of cash that once seemed endless; it financed monumental public works and pervasive graft, generous scholarships and flashy shopping trips to Miami.

Crippling gasoline shortages have led to an outbreak of dozens of daily protests across most Venezuelan states in recent weeks.

In the capital, Caracas, periodic fuel shipments from Iran, paid for with the country’s remaining gold reserves, provide a semblance of normality for a few weeks at a time. But in the countryside, residents have defied the pandemic lockdown to block roads and clash with police amid their desperate demands for the modicum of fuel they need to survive.

Across Venezuela’s oil towns, the sticky black crude that once provided jobs and social mobility is poisoning residents’ livelihoods.

In Cabimas, a town on the shores of Lake Maracaibo that was once a center of production for the region’s prolific oil fields, crude seeping from abandoned underwater wells and pipelines coats the crabs that former oil workers haul from the lake with blackened hands.

When it rains, oil that has oozed into the sewage system comes up through manholes and drains, coursing with rainwater through the streets, smearing houses and filling the town with its gaseous stench.

Cabimas’s desolation marks a swift downfall for a town that just a decade ago was one of the richest in Venezuela.

But as I continued to read, I noticed a terrible omission: nowhere—not one time in the entire article—was the word “socialism” used.

How could the NYT make such a mistake? We all—literally anyone who has been paying any kind of attention—know that Venezuela is the news story that it is today because of the rise of a socialist government, the nationalization of industry, and the unavoidable consequences of those two things. It’s not some sad, mysterious, complex puzzle one must reason out—it’s socialism.

Thankfully, I don’t have to write an entire piece pointing out all the omissions (and the questionable integrity of the writers of this piece) because the folks at FEE already tackled it:

This is journalistic malpractice. Sort of like writing about 2020 and not mentioning coronavirus or writing about 1944 and not mentioning World War II.

For those of you who do care about facts, it’s worth knowing that Venezuela has the world’s lowest level of economic liberty according to Economic Freedom of the World and second-to-lowest level of economic liberty according to the Index of Economic Freedom.

Yes! “Journalistic malpractice” is precisely what it is! The article goes on to quote Daniel di Martino’s USA Today column where he details his personal story of the fall of Venezuela:

All my life, I lived under socialism in Venezuela until I left and came to the United States as a student in 2016. Because the regime in charge imposed price controls and nationalized the most important private industries, production plummeted. No wonder I had to wait hours in lines to buy simple products such as toothpaste or flour.

…My family and I suffered from blackouts and lack of water. The regime nationalized electricity in 2007 in an effort to make electricity “free.” Unsurprisingly, this resulted in underinvestment in the electrical grid. By 2016, my home lost power roughly once a week. …The real reason my family went without water and electricity was the socialist economy instituted by dictators Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. The welfare programs, many minimum-wage hikes and nationalizations implemented by their regimes resulted in a colossal government deficit that the central bank covered by simply printing more money — leading to rampant inflation. …I watched what was once one of the richest countries in Latin America gradually fall apart under the weight of big government.

It would have been really great if the New York Times had, ya know, reached out to people who watched Venezuela collapse because of their socialist government for some insight into how Venezuela collapsed. That seems like a pretty “journalist” thing to do…

But what do I know? I just write kids books. 😉

Here’s the problem with stories being written like this: Young people are going to read them and they’re going to learn about the fall of Venezuela, but they are going to not ever connect socialism and massive, centrally planned government, with that fall. And so, when they think about Venezuela, they might think, “Oh… that was a really sad story. Those poor people,” but they won’t connect that sad story to the policies and programs that candidates in their own country are promising to implement if they are elected!

We have to teach our kids about socialism and the impact that socialistic policies always have on the people of the countries where they are installed. What happened to Venezuela wasn’t some random oddity that can’t be explained—it’s what has happened (and will continue to happen) to every country that ever votes itself into socialism.

Pretty much every negative piece that so-called “progressives” write targeting The Tuttle Twins  books mentions Ayn Rand. “Look, some terrible person wrote a kids version of terrible-human Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged,” they say.  The Tuttle Twins and the Search for Atlas teaches truth about the selfishness of socialism and the virtue of merit-based reward, so it’s pretty easy to see why it grates on the nerves of the “takers.” It even takes a segue through life in soviet Russia when the circus calliope player is reminded of breadlines and suffering in his native Russia—something that Rand was more than qualified to write about considering her family lost everything and nearly starved to death under Lenin.

Socialists hate the truth about socialism getting out. They want to paint it as friendly and virtuous and all about “sharing” and “compassion,” so those of us who know the truth have to speak up. We need to be tireless in our mission to educate the next generation and to tell the truth about socialism (and call out lies about it) whenever we have the chance.

I don’t want to live through a Venezuela, and I don’t want my kids to ever have to experience the things that inspired people like Ayn Rand and Daniel di Martino to write in warning to the rest of us.

I choose freedom and prosperity—for myself, and my kids.

— Connor

Young People and Socialism: Maybe There’s Still Hope!

I’m recently home from Jekyll Island with loads of great new ideas for future Tuttle Twins projects—we’ve got so much great content coming out this year and I can’t wait to start sharing it with everyone! Less cool are the loads of bug bites I came home with—I swear they’re multiplying!

In spite of the oppressive humidity and biting creepy-crawlers, it was a great trip, and I’m grateful to the folks at the Mises Institute for bringing our team out for it. It’s always so refreshing to spend time with like-minded people.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how easy it is to get kind of bogged-down with all the bad news, corruption, anger, and fear that seems to accompany pretty much every area of life right now, but I was reminded over the weekend that all isn’t lost, and that there can be good found in nearly any situation if we simply determine to look for it.

A great example of this was the hit piece a couple of weeks ago by Current Affairs magazine (if you missed it, you can read about it here) where a socialist writer tried to bash on our brand but ended up generating record sales for us when we decided to offer a massive discount for those who referenced the article at checkout.

(Coupon code: CURRENTAFFAIRS for half off our combo set if you haven’t taken advantage yet 😉

Sometimes, bad can be turned almost instantly to good. I’ve become a pretty big believer in monetizing the hate that some groups like to throw our way. Of course not all bad news can be monetized, but a lot of bad news can be turned into a teaching opportunity.

For a couple of years now we’ve been following the growing trend among young people toward socialism. We often reference polls that have shown millennials overwhelmingly supporting socialism—a trend which seems to just increase every year. But I came across this article the other day, and it made me see things from a little different perspective:

In an article written last month for the New York Times, 29-year-old Sarah Leonard suggested that millennials are turning to socialism in droves. The reason, she opined, is that capitalism has let them down:

“Across Europe and the United States, millennials are worse off than their parents were and are too poor to start new families. In the United States, they are loaded with college debt (or far less likely to be employed without a college degree) and are engaged in precarious and non-unionized labor. Also the earth is melting.”

To advance her point, Leonard goes on to say that a recent Harvard survey found about a third of the U.S. population says it supports socialism. Nowhere is this support more apparent than in a recent YouTube clip from Campus Reform.

The video shows a number of interviews conducted with students in the D.C. area. When asked if they support socialism, students agreed overwhelmingly.

Okay, so none of that is surprising—it’s pretty much what we already know. Young people hate capitalism and favor socialism. But here’s the part that gives me hope:

The video gets more interesting, however, when students are asked to define the political ideology which they support.

Reporter: “How would you define socialism?”

Student: “Um, it’s definitely more of an open-form of government, and it feels like a lot more accessible to a lot more people. And that’s kind of how I see it, like, being more accessible and more, kind of like equal ground. Yeah.”

Reporter: “What does that mean necessarily though?”

Student: “To be quite honest, I don’t know!”

Now, this article is from 2017, so I’m not saying it’s the most up-to-date hot take on the mind of college students or recent college grads, but I also feel pretty confident assuming that professors and celebrities haven’t suddenly started telling the truth about socialism.

So what does it mean?

Well, I’m inclined to think that a lot of this pro-socialist thinking in young people is coming from a total lack of education on what socialism even is. Of course young, idealistic adults just starting out into the world would see a government that is “more accessible to the people” and “more equal” as a good thing! They want to support virtuous and good things—they want to make the world a better place—and the way socialism has been presented to them appears to be exactly what they’re looking for!

Enter: The Tuttle Twins.

This story really makes me feel so recommitted and excited about what we are doing! We’ve now sold 1.4 MILLION books! That means that thousands and thousands of families are learning the truth about liberty, freedom, and prosperity at bedtime, and around homeschool tables, or during family read-alouds. We are on track to seriously influence the rising generation!

I woke up yesterday to find that Newsweek had run a story on the new Tuttle Twins cartoon we are working on with the Harmon Bros. and VidAngel Studios:

Some of the folks behind The Chosen, one of Hollywood’s earliest “equity” crowdfunded shows, will distribute an animated series based on The Tuttle Twins, a group of children’s books that promote capitalism and free markets and decry socialism, Newsweek learned on Tuesday.The best-selling 11 books include titles like The Tuttle Twins Learn About the Law, a simplified version of French political economist Frederic Bastiat’s work, The Law; The Tuttle Twins and the Creature From Jekyll Island, about a “powerful creature” stealing their grandparent’s money; and The Tuttle Twins and the Road to Surfdom, about how central planning (like government bureaucrats’ insistence on a new road to the beach) can ruin lives.

The Tuttle Twins “teaches our kids why America has succeeded, what the principles of freedom are and how they can stand up for those principles,” said Daniel Harmon, who will direct the TV show. The books have sold 1.4 million copies thus far.

“Hollywood won’t touch a show like this; too many truth bombs, not enough F bombs,” an actor playing a teacher says in a Tuttle Twins humorous promotional video that explains equity crowdfunding and the intent of the show to prospective investors. The video, embedded in this story, compares Tuttle Twins to animated shows like Phineas and Ferb, The Magic School Bus and The Simpsons.

I’m still cracking up at “… too many truth bombs, not enough F bombs,” but guys—this show is going to be ridiculously good! We are still needing all the help we can get to get this project funded and out there for families to enjoy. Please click this link (and spread the word to your friends!) to learn how you can invest in this awesome project!

I feel hopeful. Even in spite of all the bad things happening in the world, and even in spite of the feeling I sometimes get that the “bad guys” are winning, I feel hopeful.

Up to this point, I think we’ve been losing the culture war. The minds of our kids have been polluted by Marxist indoctrinators in classrooms and on campuses across America. A lot of parents were just too busy building businesses and raising their families to realize what was happening—but we know now. We have seen the world they want us to live in, and we are going to fight against it, and we know that the fight starts in our own homes as we teach our children the truths that will inoculate them against Marxism in all of its ugly forms and prepare them to craft a peaceful, free, and prosperous world.

And so I feel hopeful because I know we can do it. Each day we ship over four thousand books to families who want to change the world—we’re making a difference and it’s starting to show!

— Connor

 

Greetings from Jekyll Island!

I’m writing this morning from one of the rooms in the infamous Jekyll Island Club Resort on Jekyll Island, Georgia!

Our awesome illustrator, Elijah, summed up the feeling nicely when he remarked that this place feels like a mix of The Great Gatsby and an episode of Scooby Doo. He’s right… when the fog hangs low under the Spanish moss-covered trees its easy to imagine a creature lurking somewhere along the swampy shoreline.

Perhaps the Creature from Jekyll Island… 😉

The Tuttle Twins team is here at the Mises Institute Supporters Summit, so I’m writing this in between awesome talks by anti-Fed freedom fighters—I’ve got to hurry and get back to it because I don’t want to miss anything, but I wanted to give you all a little peek at what we’re up to!

Last night we toured the Federal Reserve room where the wealthy elite of the early twentieth century met secretly to draft their plan to bring all of America into financial slavery. I wondered for a moment if they really knew how terrible a thing they were doing, but was brought back to my senses when I read this story, written by one of the attendees, which was framed and mounted on the wall:

At the train in New York…

We were told to leave our last names behind us. We were told, further, that we should avoid dining together on the night of our departure. We were instructed to come one at a time and as unobtrusively as possible to the railroad terminal on the New Jersey littoral of the Hudson, where Senator Aldrich’s private car would be in readiness, attached to the rear of a train for the South.

Congress, after 1907, had realized that something had to be done to strengthen our banking system. Senator Aldrich was on the whole the best informed and the most dominant man in Congress on financial measures. He became increasingly concerned about the report he must wrote on behalf of the joint monetary commission; likewise there out to be, he knew, a bill to present to the new Congress and none had been drafted. This was how it happened that a group of us went with him to the Jekyll Island Club on the coast of Georgia. It would have been fatal to Senator Aldrich’s plan to have it known that he was calling on anybody from Wall Street to help him in preparing his report.

When I came to that car the blinds were down and only slender threads of amber light showed the shape of the windows. Once aboard the private car we began to observe the taboo that had been fixed on last names… We proceeded, in the rear room of that private car, to get to work as soon as the train was moving. That first discussion of the banking structure and of what out to be done about it produced scraps of ideas as formless as the contents of a rag-bag. Ever one had some little piece of a project to throw on the table for discussion and every one’s pet scheme encountered some other fellow’s objection.

The on to Jekyll…

We were taken by boat from the mainland to Jekyll Island and for a week or ten days were completely secluded…

We put in the most intense period of work that I have ever had. Sometimes Davison and Strong would be up at day-break to get a horseback ride, or a swim before breakfast, but right after breakfast the six of us would gather around the table and resume where our discussion had ended the previous midnight.

We lived during those days on Jekyll Island at the biggest pitch of intellectual awareness that I have ever experienced. It was entirely thrilling.

Now, although the Aldrich Federal Reserve plan was defeated when it bore the name of Aldrich, nevertheless its essential points were all contained in the plan that finally was adopted… There can be no question about it: Aldrich undoubtedly laid the essential, fundamental lines which finally to the form of the Federal Reserve law (three years later).

From Farm Boy to Financier by Frank A. Vanderlip (1935)

So yeah… It was all totally sinister and clandestine. Yuck.

Still, it’s really cool to get to be here and to walk through the same halls that the men who took it upon themselves to decide how the rest of us peasants should live walked.

It’s always kind of surprising to find out how many people don’t even know the history of the Federal Reserve. It could be argued that there isn’t a law that has had more of an individual impact on each American for over a hundred years now—and yet it’s never talked about in school, and most people simply remain ignorant.

Even as we’ve walked around and talked to folks who work here at the resort—no one really knows about that secret meeting, and if they do, they certainly don’t understand why it was such a big deal!

So we figured that the best way to commemorate our Jekyll Island trip was to offer a huge discount on The Tuttle Twins and the Creature from Jekyll Island. The only way to combat ignorance is to feed it knowledge—that’s pretty much our whole mission with the Tuttle Twins books!

So for the rest of the month, and in honor of the the secret meeting at Jekyll Island and our desire to make it infamous, use coupon code CREATURE to snag The Tuttle Twins and the Creature from Jekyll Island for only $2.99! (So be sure to buy in bulk to give copies away!)

Consider it a Halloween gift from the Tuttle Twins Team.

Because is there anything scarier than the Federal Reserve?!

— Connor

Current Affairs Magazine’s Attempted Tuttle Takedown…!

You guys, get a load of this:

“The Tuttle Twins series is among the most wretchedly contrived, grotesquely unethically indoctrinating, cliché-ridden heaps of steaming garbage I’ve ever had the misfortune to read.”

A few days ago I awoke to discover that the ultra-liberal magazine, Current Affairs had devoted a significant chunk of their print and online space to a detailed “takedown” of The Tuttle Twins. They even got an illustrator who copied Elijah’s style and created some mock-book illustrations and a comic strip.

I mean, you guys, they went to a ton of work to put this piece together! And at the risk of sounded totally conceited, I have to say I’m enjoying an “Ahhh… we have arrived,” moment. I mean, yeah, our books have sold over a million copies; and yeah, we’ve got an award-winning economics curriculum; and yeah, we’ve received over $160,000 in investments in our new cartoon in just the last few days; but when a magazine with a “progressive perspective” wants to criticize our work, it’s hard not to take a step back and just soak it all in.

I really want everyone to take the time to read the article in its entirety, but I’ll give you a teaser just to whet your appetite. Here we see the reaction of the woke tolerant to the inclusion of a strong, female, African American character holding a recurring role in the series:

Over the course of the many, many, many books in the series, the twins learn other lessons steeped in the hoary right-wing fever dream of the oppressed wealthy. In The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil, the kids learn the staple economist story that “no one person knows how to make a pencil,” because all of its components are made in different places around the world, each with their own processes, workers, and inputs. The market efficiently organizes such activity through price signals driven by supply and demand.

Much of this market worship is explained to the children by their elementary school teacher, Mrs. Miner, who is rendered as a Black woman. This is somewhat problematic, as women and people of color are famously underrepresented among the far right in general and the libertarian tendency in particular, and in fact African Americans are broadly more socialist than the wider US population. Something about the white, white Utah author’s having his far-right words come from the mouth of a working class woman of color is, shall we say, distasteful. (Or, shall we say repugnant valor-stealing turd polishing? I leave the reader Free to Choose!)

Oh! The humanity! A person of color is portrayed in a non-collectivist way! This must immediately be condemned!

The writer, in fact, takes specific issue with each person of color included in the books and misses no chance to make the claim that non-white Americans are socialists and thus should not be “used” to “spew” free-market principles of empowerment and entrepreneurship. That sounds a lot like racism—believing that all people of a certain skin color must think, act, and value things the same—but what do I know?

Even our teen, Choose Your Consequence, books aren’t spared the harrowing criticism and profanity-laced ranting of the reviewer. He seems to take particular issue with the idea that Emily and her family would choose to pay to replace a beautiful stained glass window of a church that was damaged by an errant baseball in order to keep the parishioners from having to pay a hefty deductible to have it replaced through their insurance.

The article reads pretty much as you’d expect. Religion is mocked, those who don’t agree with the writer are stupid and evil, children are portrayed as gullible little dummies who will believe anything and have no sense of reason or rationale, and government is lifted up as a savior without which everyone’s lives would be literally ruined and everyone would probably be destitute and starving.

You know. The norm.

You may be wondering how I have chosen to respond to such an attack on something that obviously represents my heart and has occupied much of the last six years of my life.

Well, I am a capitalist, after all. So the first thing I did was purchase a print copy of the socialist magazine. I think I’m going to have it arranged in a shadowbox so that I can display it proudly in my office, but I might just keep it on my desk for awhile as a reminder that all of our work is making a difference in the world.

The second thing I’m doing—see aforementioned “capitalist”—is monetizing on the hate. Coupon code CURRENTAFFAIRS will get you—and everyone you share this message with— a whopping 50% off our kids books.

While I wait for my magazine to arrive I’ve printed my favorite excerpts from the article as a daily motivation to keep fighting the fight! It reads:

“The Tuttle Twins series is among the most wretchedly contrived, grotesquely unethically indoctrinating, cliché-ridden heaps of steaming garbage I’ve ever had the misfortune to read. Written to bring young people into one of the most disgraceful political tendencies in the world before they have the critical thinking skills to recognize it, it is a hideous fraud and an ugly twisted farce.”

I feel like we all share in the credit for this great work—without the humbling support of our readers and subscribers, we would never have found ourselves with a target on our backs. To you, my friends, we are indeed grateful!

Remember: coupon CURRENTAFFAIRS gets you 50% OFF this week — share it with your friends and let’s keep these socialists afraid of a rising generation that learns to love liberty!

— Connor

No, I’m Not Saying This is Like Nazi Germany—Just Listen

I shared some thoughts on Facebook this morning that I think are worthy of expanding on and sending out to you guys.

Here’s what I wrote:

Milton Mayer was a Jewish American journalist of German descent who interviewed a variety of Germans, with different backgrounds and circumstances, to better understand how Nazism became a mass movement.

By the end of his project, Mayer observed that he could “see a little better how Nazism overcame Germany—not by attack from without or by subversion from within, but with a whoop and a holler.”

”Each step was so small,” one of Mayer’s interviewees explained, “so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”

“Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last,” he continued, “but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow.”

You can see where this is going, right?

“You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it.…”

And here’s where the interviewee lands his sucker punch at humanity:

“But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked—if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.”

Guys, are we paying attention?

I get that it’s “dramatic” to compare things to Nazi Germany. I know that people from all political parties have made it a habit of calling every leader they don’t like “Hitler” for so long that it’s just kind of an “eyeroll” thing now.

But here’s the thing. Hitler (and others like him) actually did rise to power. They actually did manipulate their populations into accepting their evil designs by small measures until they had the power to do the terrible things that they did. There’s a reason we know the “frog in boiling water” analogy. There’s a pattern wicked governments follow in bringing people into bondage and getting away with (literal) murder.

Are we paying attention? Are we heeding the warnings we’re seeing?

Just yesterday I saw two stories that highlight how quickly things have slipped into something we as a country would absolutely not have accepted only eight months ago.

In Moscow, Idaho, several people were arrested for holding a “sing in” as a way to protest the Mayor extending an emergency order that the people feel is unjustified. As I write this, Lataha County has had 377 total COVID cases, and zero deaths. This video shows the arrest of a couple who were simply singing with the rest of the peaceful demonstrators. Another, longer video, shows the couple’s peaceful interactions with the two arresting officers in the moments before they were cuffed.

How are we here? When did this become okay?

Another video shows a woman at her child’s grade school football game. She is sitting on the bleachers with her mother and kids. An officer approaches her for not wearing a mask (even though she is “socially distanced” from others and only sitting with her family) and an argument ensues between the woman and the officer.

The argument ends when the very small woman is tased. In front of her mom and kids. While exactly zero people make any move to stop what is happening.

I think that’s the part that really gets to me about these videos. Everyone just stands there. Everyone just lets it happen. Watching bystanders mumble to themselves about the injustice of it, or take cellphone video, or talk in whispers with those around them makes it really hard for me to not draw comparisons between what I am seeing happen here in my country (and around the world) and the things that Milton Mayer learned in his interviews.

We know—we’ve always known—that governments have a tendency to become authoritarian. The Founders warned us. History has warned us. Survivors of fascist regimes have warned us. I even wrote an entire Tuttle Twins book about it, and an adult book about the way governments use fear to manipulate people into allowing (and even welcoming) terrible usurpations of rights.

When people are arrested for singing hymns without covering their faces, we have a problem.

When mothers are tased in front of their children for not covering their faces while sitting outside, we have a problem.

When does it stop? How much farther is it going to go?

What are we going to do about it?

I think we are closely reaching a point of no return where if society is conditioned to accept all the small/medium violations of our rights, there’s no point they will object to large ones that follow.

What will you do about it?

— Connor

Why do People Freak Out Over Supreme Court Nominees?

By now I’m pretty sure everyone has heard about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how this is just another thing in the long line of awful and unexpected events that mark the now infamous “2020,” but I’ve gotta say—I really didn’t find the passing of an octogenarian with cancer to be terribly shocking.

Some people are totally freaking out about it though. Like this woman who posted a now viral video of herself driving her car and reacting to just having heard of Justice Ginsburg’s death. She has a total meltdown (major language warning) at the fact that the Supreme Court justice couldn’t make it to 2021 (presumably so that her spot on the court would be filled by Biden rather than Trump).

Screaming Car Lady certainly isn’t the only person who is melting down over the idea that Trump will be nominating a new justice soon. I’ve seen a lot of really creepy tweets by people who think that burning the entire country down is a totally reasonable response to the president filling a vacancy on the court, and I just keep coming back to the same thing: how did we get to a place where people believe that their freedom, and even their very lives, somehow hinge on the letter next to the names of the people who sit on the Supreme Court?

Peter Schiff recently said, “If Supreme Court justices did their jobs properly their political party affiliation would be irrelevant. It’s only because they ignore the Constitution and decide cases based on politics, not law, that it’s an issue. The Supreme Court is the branch that has failed America the most.”

This thinking affects members of both major parties and seems to be especially prevalent when someone from whatever team isn’t theirs is in power.

Back in 2008, Ron Paul said, “It’s sad that so many Americans see their freedoms as dependent on a single Supreme Court justice. Federal Judges were never meant to wield the tremendous power that they do in modern America. Our Founders would find it inconceivable that a handful of unelected, unaccountable federal judges can decide social policy for the entire nation,” and it still holds true today. If anything the fear that people have of the “wrong” party filling the Supreme Court has only intensified.

This Supreme Court hysteria is just the latest in a long line of evidences that show how woefully ignorant most Americans are about the way the country is supposed to work—the legal boundaries that elected (and appointed) “leaders” are supposed to stay within when doing their jobs.

How many people have spent the last several months blaming Donald Trump for every COVID-19 death because he allowed the governors to manage the pandemic on their own—without issuing federal mandates? Ironically, it’s often the same people who call him a “dictator” and a “tyrant,” which is kind of weird to me. Why would you want someone you view as “literally Hitler” to localize more power at the federal level?

Anyway, I digress…

We have to do better when it comes to teaching young people about the role of government in a free society. The founders did a pretty decent job at laying out a foundation that has the potential to keep people more free than most other forms of government, but despite all the warnings they left us, we’ve still allowed it to be twisted and bent by those who are “just looking out for us” into something that is hardly recognizable anymore.

This is one of the reasons we took it all the way back to Frederic Bastiat when, in our first book, The Tuttle Twins Learn About The Law, we set out to teach kids the very most basic principles of a government that guarantees the people the most freedoms and protects their natural rights. It’s why we talked about natural law, and true law, and why if something is wrong for an individual to do, then its also wrong for people in government to do.

I suspect it has been a very long time since these ideas have been talked about and promoted in schools, and the result is evident all over social media and the news. People have no idea what it’s supposed to look like so they just keep begging for more government to “fix” their lives for them. The idea that they can fix their own lives, and that society can fix its own problems through cooperation and persuasion (something we talk about in The Tuttle Twins and the Fate of the Future) is entirely foreign to them.

They truly think that the only way to make things “better” (whatever better looks like to them) is to appeal to an authority who will enact a law or a tax that will force and coerce others into giving them what they want. And its not going to go away—this backwards thinking—until we replace all of this ignorance with knowledge.

I don’t think people are a lost cause. I think they just don’t know a better way.

We can help them by introducing them to the empowering principles of freedom and liberty like the ones taught in the Tuttle Twins books, and by setting good examples for others by the way we choose to interact with people with whom we disagree.

If we can help just one person see a better way, we’ve changed the world for good that day.

That’s the thought that motivates me every day.

— Connor

Six Months to Flatten the Curve

Happy six month anniversary of “two weeks to flatten the curve!”

Is it flat yet? Or do we just not talk about that anymore?

The other day I had the chance to visit with some teenagers and the topic of lockdowns and mask mandates and curve flattening came up. A sixteen year old girl said, “It’s so funny because everyone just continues to go along with it, and yet the virus is hardly even in the news anymore. All the news stories I see are about the election, or riots and forest fires, or why capitalism is bad, but you’d think that if we were actually in the midst of some massive, life-threatening pandemic that justifies all of this (waiving her arms around to indicate basically everything) then reporting on the virus would still be a top priority. It seems like its just kind of taken a backseat to everything else. It’s almost like people are just kind of, over it, but still going along with all the rules and restrictions out of habit.”

She went on to call it “weird.” I have different words that I would probably choose to use, but we’ll go with “weird” in the name of keeping things family-friendly. 😉

On Wednesday, Yelp release its latest Economic Impact Report. The news was not good:

As of Aug, 31, 163,735 businesses have indicated on Yelp that they have closed. That’s down from the 180,000 that closed at the very beginning of the pandemic. However, it actually shows a 23% increase in the number of closures since mid-July.

In addition to monitoring closed businesses, Yelp also takes into account the businesses whose closures have become permanent. That number has steadily increased throughout the past six months, now reaching 97,966, representing 60% of closed businesses that won’t be reopening.

“Overall, Yelp’s data shows that business closures have continued to rise with a 34% increase in permanent closures since our last report in mid-July,” Justin Norman, vice president of data science at Yelp, told CNBC.

This is pretty terrible news. That number—97,966—is one I just keep getting stuck on it. How many people’s entire life work is encapsulated in it? How many of those people would be expanding their businesses, building their dream home, or helping their kids through school so they don’t have to get into student loan debt? How many people did those 97,966 businesses employ? And what are all those workers doing to support themselves and their families now?

It’s no secret that I’ve been against the lockdowns since day one. I’m the guy who wrote a kids book about why central planning is so terrible and all the harm it causes. Even good intentions and noble causes, when forced upon the masses, can lead to bad, unintended consequences.

Then I wrote another one about how markets can’t be controlled by government and how human action can’t be planned or directed by some central authority. Not only have the lockdowns been devastating to businesses, but there’s been a waterfall effect of domestic abuse, and mental health numbers quite literally skyrocketing.

Government has caused the largest scale suffering that I’ve witnessed in my lifetime, and in many places it doesn’t show any sign of stopping. These tyrant-governors seem to be totally unashamed of their willingness to use fear to push their agendas with many “COVID-19 regulations” that can’t be in any reasonable way linked to actual virus-related anything.

When I look around and see a lot of people really not understanding how burning a person’s business to the ground has any effect on the life of the business owner because, “they have insurance,” and when I see people in the streets demanding free… well, free everything… it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s certainly evident to me that today’s youth have been fed on a diet of anti-capitalist and anti-freedom propaganda. If you stop and listen to the things they’re saying—they really believe that freedom is selfish and capitalism is evil and they actually think that they’re some type of revolutionaries trying to usher in a more fair, tolerant, and equal world.

I’m encouraged by conversations with many teenagers, though, who seem to have had parents who took the time to teach them, and talk to them about the fallacies being peddled in school and media. The sixteen-year-old I talked about earlier told me that a lot of her peers are sick of all the violence and destruction—they don’t agree with the anti-capitalist, race-fueled anger and upheaval. She said she sees a lot of kids her age on TikTok and other social media platforms denouncing claims that racism is rampant in the U.S. and calling for an end to divisive agendas and pro-socialist messaging.

Maybe she just happens to have a really good group of friends. But maybe it’s true and there is a rising group of young people who see the world a little more clearly and aren’t going to be easily recruited into ideologies that lead to nothing but a loss of freedom and economic ruin. At this point I’m willing to take good news where I can find it, and I’m encouraged at the thought of young people who are thinking for themselves and using their voices to promote peace and goodness.

I think a lot of young adults have just been raised with agenda-driven educators and celebrities being the primary voices in their upbringing. Why are we surprised when they grow up angry and entitled?

The good news is that we have the power to shape the rising generation, and I think we’ve already got a really great group of kids to work with. The fact that we’ve sold over a million Tuttle Twins books tells me a lot about the role that parents, grandparents, and good teachers are taking in making sure kids are growing up learning true principles.

It’s easy to look around and feel beaten down, but I think there are really good days ahead, and I think our awesome kids are going to blow us away with what they’ll do. We just have to give them the resources to succeed and they’ll take it from there.

It’s exciting. Do you agree?

— Connor

Is it Time to Bring Kids Home?

Check this out!

A parent took to Twitter to share an experience she recently had:

My daughter turned around yesterday to grab her charger and her teacher immediately snapped and said she needed to be facing forward at all times. I said, “Go ahead, let the computer die!” in the background and the teacher quickly apologized. Didn’t realize I sit through every class!

Another parent responded saying, “Zoom school is really showing how much of American education is just about controlling and punishing children and not actually, you know, teaching and educating them.”

We used this series of tweets in one of our social media posts and a parent shared her opinion that, “The mass exodus of kids from government schools to unschool is an unintended consequence of media fear hype over the virus. Now there are going to be free thinking kids with an actual education who are not indoctrinated in socialist political views of liberal teachers and the establishment is terrified!”

I don’t know that I think the public-education-powers-that-be are terrified of parents choosing education freedom—they seem too arrogant for that—but I do think it’s true that parents are opting out of this en masse. The data has certainly shown a trend toward parents making the decision to homeschool permanently as a result of lockdowns and virtual learning requirements. I suspect that this trend will only continue as the months wear on and parents have more and more experiences like the woman in the tweet.

Obviously, not everyone can—or wants to—homeschool their children. I get it. I myself am a product of public schools, and I suppose that’s evidence that kids can still turn out okay after getting off the conveyor belt.

But it’s especially important for public school parents to be wide-eyed and aware about the problems their children will experience and the forces at play in the system they are a part of.

Some schools—apparently unhappy with parents knowing what is going on in classrooms and then sharing their experiences on social media—have made parents sign forms agreeing to not monitor their kids online classes. This article is just one example of many which lay out the supposed reasoning.

Officials at all county schools are asking parents to sign forms agreeing not to watch these virtual classes.

The Tennessee Star received a copy of such a form this week.

“RCS strives to present these opportunities in a secure format that protects student privacy to the greatest extent possible, however because these meetings will occur virtually RCS is limited in its ability to fully control certain factors such as non-student observers that may be present in the home of a student participating in the virtual meeting,” according to the form.

“RCS strongly discourages non student observation of online meetings due to the potential of confidential information about a student being revealed.”

The form asks parents for their signature and warns that “violation of this agreement may result in RCS removing my child from the virtual meeting.”

Would you sign the form? I’m pretty sure this would have been the proverbial straw for me if my kids were in public school.

The article also includes a super creepy tidbit at the end about $1 million in funds set aside for COVID relief that will be used to support well-being checks on kids since they will be out of school for so long. Yikes.

A lot of parents and good teachers have, for a long time now, been concerned that the public education system seems to place their role as child-rearer above that of parents. John Taylor Gatto once said,

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents.

I remember the first time I read that quote—it hit me like a bolt of lightning. It changed my life.

Knowing that a well-respected, award-winning public school teacher of thirty years would make this statement woke me up to how awful a situation our country was in.

Naturally, when I decided to tackle education in The Tuttle Twins and the Education Vacation I chose to base it on Gatto’s The Underground History of American Education, and feature him as a main character. Who better to teach the Tuttle family about compulsory education’s problematic past or its founders’ vision for the future than the guy who literally wrote the book on it?

I know a lot of parents are kind of reeling still because of all the ways government overreach has upended their lives. For a lot of us, seeing the things that schools are doing right now isn’t really a surprise—although I’ll admit that even I’m a little shocked at how brazen they are—as much as it’s a confirmation of things that we already knew (or suspected) were happening. Now that it’s happening live, via Zoom, and in front of parents, a lot of people are waking up.

Turns out it wasn’t just the crazy homeschool moms and conspiracy theorists talking about schools abusing their power—now the general public is realizing that it’s happening. I was shocked to see comments on the article about the school in Tennessee.

A guy named Kaleb C said, “I think parents should check on their kid once in awhile to see how they are doing, but I don’t think the parents should watch them the whole class or the whole period,” and another person said, “I agree, and with the parents staying in the entire period/class, they could give the kid answers or help they don’t need, having their child learn nothing.”

Wait, what?

Maybe not everyone is waking up—most adults are a product of this system and it’s super hard to break away from the indoctrination they were fed through all of their youth and childhood. Still, I know that there are tons of people who are seeing clearly for the first time—and that’s really encouraging.

Everyday I get text messages and emails from parents telling me that they are new homeschool families and they love it so much they can’t imagine ever going back to the way things were before. I love getting messages like that.

I think if there was one piece of encouragement I’d give to families who are on the fence about homeschool, or who are struggling with this dystopian “new normal” it would be this:

It doesn’t matter what you think your abilities are (or aren’t) so stop worrying about that. You are qualified to teach your kids, and not only that, but you are the most qualified to teach your kids. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. No one knows them like you do. No one understands their strengths and weaknesses like you do. It’s okay to trust your gut on this and do what you feel led to do, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Of course there are things that you aren’t awesome at—that’s why there’s the internet. Viola! Problem solved.

There are practically unlimited resources for homeschool families these days. You don’t have to have a ton of time or a ton of money to homeschool your kids anymore—many companies offer free, or really inexpensive resources that you can weave into your curriculum. Even we’ve got an economics curriculum that provides weekly, age-specific lessons for everyone in your family for only $7.99/mo.

Really all it takes to homeschool your kids is patience and an internet connection. And probably some snacks—homeschoolers are really big on snacking. 🙂

Maybe everything is a total wreck right now. We’ve certainly seen what damage can be done when governments are allowed to run amok—using fear to manipulate people into submission as they implement their pet projects and advance their agendas. But our homes and families don’t have to be a wreck. In fact, they can even be a haven—a shelter from the insanity swirling all around us—if we put our focus on the things that really matter.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself caring less and less about whether or not my kids obey power-hungry adults in positions of “authority,” and more and more about building the bonds within our family and teaching them to trust their own abilities and their own instincts.

I’ll close with another quote by Gatto from his 1991 book, Dumbing Us Down. I think it’s one of the most prophetic things he said:

“If we use schooling to break children away from parents—and make no mistake, that has been the central function of schools since John Cotton announced it as the purpose of the Bay Colony schools in 1650 and Horace Mann announced it as the purpose of Massachusetts schools in 1850—we’re going to continue to have the horror show we have right now.”

Horror show, indeed, Mr. Gatto.

I think it’s time to opt out. I think it’s time to bring kids home.

For those who can’t, God speed—we’re with you, and here to help you counteract what your kids will be taught (things like the greatness of government, the beauty of socialism, the horrible racism that undermines everything the Founding Fathers did, etc.)

Parents who can accommodate homeschooling should give it serious consideration, especially these days. Those who can’t, deserve our strongest support. Let’s do what’s right by our children, come what may.

— Connor

Trump Hates the Troops and Sturgis Infected a Quarter-Million—or Not

Are you as sick of the “news” as I am?

I don’t think it’s a stretch for me to say that most of us have become pretty skeptical towards journalists, and journalism in general. In fact, as I wrote that, I had to resist the urge to write the word journalism in quotes—that’s how snarky I’ve become.

“Journalism.” Sigh…

I feel like I’ve developed a pretty good ability to almost subconsciously weed through biases and half-truths in order to get to the meat and potatoes of a news story—to sift out the pertinent information without really seeing all the partisan junk. But even in spite of how much we all know about the serious decline in honest journalism there are still things that take me off guard and just shock me at how blatantly bad the media has become at being impartial and honest.

Case in point: this article from The Atlantic that named “anonymous sources” in a story about President Trump supposedly saying terrible things about service members who had served and died in combat.

When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

Look, I’m not saying that Trump did or didn’t say these things, and I don’t think it would be entirely out of the realm of possibility for him to want to protect his hair from an unflattering gust of wind. But this is the sitting president of the United States, and these are pretty awful things that he’s being accused of saying and doing—you would think that in order for this story to get air time there would be at least some validation of the claims being leveled?

Are we really just at a place now where major magazines can say whatever they want so long as they attach “according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day…” somewhere? It also struck me as weird that the whole thing supposedly happened four years ago. The article really just seems like a totally unsubstantiated hit piece, slapped together with the sole purpose being to make Trump look really terrible.

The thing is—it worked! This story got plastered everywhere, and nothing anyone could say would change people’s minds about it.

Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist or anything, but the great Pelosi “Maskless Salon Setup” sure disappeared quick when this “story” broke.

Hmm…

In another example of totally lax standards, we’ve got this article—which got a ton of playtime from everyone from Fox News to MSNBC—blaming the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, SD last month for “super-spreading” the COVID-19 virus to as many as 266,796 people. The headline is shocking and makes the claim that the 450,000 bikers who attended the ten-day event are directly responsible for over a quarter of a million COVID cases and up to $12 billion in healthcare costs.

Those are stunning numbers! Until you actually look at the study (which the article says is unclear if it has been peer reviewed or not—whatever that means) and learn that the whole thing is just based on worst-case-scenario modeling relying heavily on “could” and “might” and cell phone tower pings. And not much more.

Modeling that paints a worst-case-scenario without actual scientific backing—now where have we seen that before? It seems so familiar.

Facepalm.

Thankfully, some smart folks over at Reason decided to do some fact-checking and put out a counter piece to the Sturgis story. They drew some pretty important conclusions, but first they addressed the claims made by various networks and publications:

“Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was a  ‘superspreading event’ that cost public health $12.2 billion,” tweeted The Hill.

“The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held in South Dakota last month may have caused 250,000 new coronavirus cases,” said NBC News.

“The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally represents a situation where many of the ‘worst-case scenarios’ for superspreading occurred simultaneously,” the researchers write in the new paper, titled “The Contagion Externality of a Superspreading Event: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and COVID-19.

“Indeed, these types of headlines ran everywhere, and unfortunately, most people didn’t get too far past the headlines before assuming that those “selfish” bikers had literally caused harm to hundreds of thousands of people because of their flagrant disregard for public health and their responsibility to “do their part” in keeping “us” safe.

But when you look at what the study actually found, things look a lot different:

To get to the astronomical number of cases allegedly spread because of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the researchers analyzed “anonymized cellphone data to track the smartphone pings from non-residents and movement of those before and after the event,” notes Newsweek. “The study then linked those who attended and traveled back to their home states, and compared changes in coronavirus trends after the rally’s conclusion.”

Essentially, the researchers assumed that new spikes in cases in areas where people went post-rally must have been caused by those rally attendees, despite there being no particular evidence that this was the case. The paper, which has not been peer-reviewed, failed to account for simultaneous happenings—like schools in South Dakota reopening, among other things—that could have contributed to coronavirus spread in some of the studied areas.

The researchers also assumed a $46,000 price tag for each person infected to calculate the $12.2 billion public health cost of the event—but this figure would only make sense if every person had a severe case requiring hospitalization.

South Dakota resident and epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said that, the results of the IZA paper “do not align with what we know,” and what we know looks more like this:

According to South Dakota health officials, 124 new cases in the state—including one fatal case—were directly linked to the rally. Overall, COVID-19 cases linked to the Sturgis rally were reported in 11 states as of September 2, to a tune of at least 260 new cases, according to The Washington Post.

Now, it can be argued that even one death is too many deaths. It can also be argued that people should be free to choose to move about the country and live their lives assuming risk as they see fit. There are also about a thousand arguments in between, and I have no doubt they are being made in forums and threads all over the country as I type.

But the example in both of these stories—Trump’s remarks about war-dead, and the alleged Sturgis rally super-spread—of lax standards of truth, with a seeming panache for the dramatic and scandalous, is something I find pretty unsettling. I have seen first-hand how successful the media and politicians have been in manipulating young people into believing things about the world that simply aren’t true.

See the shocking rise in the popularity of socialism and communism as an example.

When we can’t count on journalists to tell the truth, or scientists to operate scientifically, what can we do to help keep our kids from being manipulated and used by the power-hungry elites and their seemingly endless mechanisms of propaganda?

I think the simplest answer also happens to be the most likely to prove hugely successful. We can teach them to think for themselves.

One of the things I hear a lot about the Tuttle Twins books is that people find it a little unbelievable that Ethan and Emily are allowed to make such important decisions and handle as many of their problems on their own as they are. Some people think it’s a little crazy to trust kids to figure things out to the extent that Mr. and Mrs. Tuttle trust theirs, but I don’t think it’s crazy or unbelievable at all! I believe that kids are capable of understanding and solving really complex problems, and that often all they need is the ability to discern for themselves truth from fiction and to trust their own moral compass.

Our books teach kids that they need to learn the way the world works for themselves and that they should never just blindly follow what someone else says or does. I think if we can arm the next generation with a healthy distrust of government, and an equally healthy spirit of self-reliance, then they will have in their arsenal powerful tools to protect them from the lies and manipulations of those in positions of authority and influence.

I don’t think media is going to become any more trustworthy or honest than it is now—in fact I suspect it will just continue to get worse—but I think that our kids can do a lot better than previous generations at learning to spot propaganda and rejecting it before it can be used to stoke fear, limit freedom, or cause them to see their fellowman as an enemy.

All they need from us is encouragement to trust themselves to know what’s right, and what’s wrong, and to question things and reason them out for themselves.

And maybe reading a dozen or so Tuttle Twins books can help, too 😉

— Connor