Emma Phillips is joining the podcast starting today! Learn a little bit about her in this brief episode.
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Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Connor: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: Hey, Connor.
Connor: Well, I’m excited to have a kind of special one-off episode today. We’re not talking so much about any particular issue. We’re actually here to welcome a new co-host. Emma, welcome.
Brittany: Hi Emma.
Emma: Hey guys.
Connor: Awesome. So, Emma recently started working on the Tuttle Twins team, and as part of that, she’ll be helping co-host some of the episodes of our podcast. And so you’ll still be hearing from me, still be hearing from Brittany, but also Emma, and we’re gonna mix it up on some different episodes and just kind of take turns and have fun. So, Emma, we’re excited to have you. maybe why don’t we start by you just telling us a little bit about yourself? Yeah,
Emma: Sure. Yeah, I grew up, I was born in Portland, Oregon, which I think had a lot to do with sort of shaping my worldview and shaping how I see the role of the government. definitely how I first started to get fired up about, you know, issues of the economy and liberty and letting people do what they want rather than trying to control them. Portland is pretty much the opposite of a free society, so that was kind of an interesting place to grow up. And, you know, I saw some friends run for local office, kind of got me interested in how folks can get involved in their local level and impact sort of the way that their community is run. And ended up getting an internship that took me out to Washington dc It was an exciting time, but I got to also see how crazy the government is and how much corruption there is in Washington. And worked out there for a while. Worked at, a couple of different jobs, but got really involved in the cause of liberty and fighting too you know, kind of decrease the size of the government and make sure that people’s rights are being protected because boy, something that we’re seeing right now a lot is folks who, you know, the government’s trying to control every little aspect of their lives. So that’s how I got into this line of work and it’s why I care so much about what I do.
Brittany: That’s awesome. So I actually met you in DC before you moved away, cuz you, you’re gone now, I believe, right?
Emma: Yes, I’m down in Nashville now.
Brittany: Okay. Ooh, that’s fun. I’ve always wanted to go there. So I’m curious, I know Connor and I have kind of always talked about like the issues that we’re most passionate about, you know, whether it’s unschooling or, I know with me it’s like entrepreneurship is huge with me. What would you say is that one issue that really gets you excited when we talk about Liberty?
Emma: Oh man, there’s so many I think the big one is, you know, just day-to-day not having government bureaucracy in people’s lives. and that covers a lot of different things, but the reason I say that is I think that’s how so many people first have like an encounter with, you know, the idea of limited government is just dealing with the government. Like, you go to the D M V and you have to wait three hours and there’s no sense of urgency and there’s no sense of customer service, it’s because they’re not being motivated by profit. Like most places that you would go during a day when you’re running errands, and even just today I had to deal with paying my water bill and my electric bill and the government owns those utilities in Nashville and operates them. And you can tell because it’s not operated in a way that makes sense. And I think if we could get more folks involved on a local level and sort of making those things better, cleaning them up, and also, you know, just letting the private market sort of have a role there, I think it would impact day-to-day wellbeing of people a lot more than we realize. So I guess long answer to your short question would be, bureaucracy drives me crazy.
Connor: Emma. So you had a, you know, a lot of options out there. Why choose the Tuttle Twins team? Tell us a little bit about what excites you about the work that we’re doing and the Tuttle Twins project,
Brittany: Putting her on the spot. Connor.
Emma: Yeah. I love it. I think, you know, when I look back, there were a few people in my life that really spoke to me about, you know, the ideas of what freedom looks like and what it means to us and why it’s so important. And I had people that spoke like that to me and that talked to me about those things. But there were no resources, there were no real books that you could read to learn about these things. If you were a kid, you only had adult books. And those were really tough to get through when I was in elementary school and middle school on. And I think the fact that there are people now working to make these ideas easy to grasp if you’re a kid, I think that’s so important because, you know, these things affect you. You grow up and you’re gonna be constantly surrounded by different ways that the world can go and people are gonna be telling you their ideas and telling you what to think. But I like these books cuz they teach you how to think instead of what to think. And at the end of the day, that is just so exciting to me and it’s why I’m so thrilled to be a part of this, series and this team.
Brittany: So would you say, did you grow up in like a household where your parents talked about, you know, individual liberty and th kind of principles a lot? Or is this something you had to figure out on your own as you got older?
Emma: Yeah, I was fortunate enough my parents, you know, they have always believed in limited government and they had plenty of stories about, you know, the government getting involved and trying to fix everything and making it worse. And I think just growing up and hearing those stories, even down to things like they wanted to build a house. They bought a piece of land in the woods and they wanted to build a house and they built these beautiful plans and had an architect draw up all these papers. And I remember as a kid seeing, all the plans for this amazing house and then the government told them, oh, there was a zoning issue and you actually aren’t allowed to build this house. So they had to get rid of the property and it didn’t end up happening. And just seeing that when I was really young and understanding how much that affected me and my family, that was sort of my first encounter. And I feel very fortunate that my parents actually took the time to explain that to me and to say, Hey, here’s why this is happening. instead of this being our decision, it’s, the government’s decision and they’re telling us what to do even though it’s our land and our property, and our lives. So things like that, having parents to explain that to me was really helpful. but again, if you have books and resources that you can go even deeper, I just think that’s so awesome.
Connor: Emma, you have, younger siblings, do I remember that right?
Emma: Yes. Three younger brothers.
Connor: Okay. And so, you know, and when, you think about them and the kids out there listening, we’ve got thousands of kids listening to the podcast so far. why do you think it’s so important that they learn this type of stuff? for me, I didn’t really learn about it till frankly, kind of after college, I went to college. Yeah. And just, it wasn’t really till after college that I really started to explore and learn some of this stuff. and I think just like Brittany said, and so many others, like you, don’t really, encounter a lot of these ideas in the school system or at a young age. Why do you know, as you think about your brothers and, the kids out there, why do you think it’s helpful or critical or important, to have them learning about these concepts like free markets and entrepreneurship and property rights and all kinds of stuff like that?
Emma: Yeah, I think a lot of people forget to talk to young people and kids about these ideas because maybe they don’t understand how important it is. every child that’s in school right now that is learning and starting to learn about history and our economy and the way that this country works, they’re going to grow up and they’re going to vote, they’re going to work jobs, they’re going to pay taxes and they’re going to become adults. And that seems like a really obvious thing to say, but if you allow people to become adults without ever really talking to them about why things are the way they are and how our country works and what the founders of this country cared about and what they thought that life could look like for us, I want people who are growing up to understand, first of all, how amazing of a country we live in, but also that it’s sort of in danger because there are a lot of folks that don’t understand those basic liberties and they actually wanna take them away from us. So that’s what gets me really fired up. And my brothers always joke about how they’re, my two youngest brothers are both in high school and I warned them that there was a day during their freshman year when they would go to class and just learn about how FDR Franklin d Roosevelt was the best president ever and he just fixed everything. And I warned both of them, I said, they’re gonna try to tell you that and it’s a complete lie, and here’s what you can say to the teacher when she says, you know, blah blah blah about, you know, the Great Depression. And he saved this country and they rolled their eyes, but then they went to class and I’m told by my parents that they actually did use the lines I gave them. so I guess I got my start in teaching kids about this stuff long before I joined this team, but Oh right. it’s a lot of fun and I think it’s, it’s so important.
Brittany: That’s funny. That’s actually the issue that turned me into individual liberty was FDR. Cuz I thought he was just nice the bee’s knees, if you will, after a college class and then somebody’s like, I dare you to find out what he really did. And I’m like, oh yeah, yeah.
Emma: Yeah. Internment camps are not so fun.
Brittany: or just rooting the economy. All of the above. So you did not, you said your brothers are in high school, so you were not homeschooled. Cause when I hear about your story, I’m, you like, oh, were you, like, did your parents homeschool you, did you do public school?
Emma: We did a mix of everything, so, oh, okay. When I guess I started in kindergarten at a public school. I got through about half the year there and my parents weren’t really a fan of how things were working out there. So they put me in a small private school in our town. I grew up in a pretty small town of about 8,000 people. it was even smaller at the time, and they put me there for a while. I went there for a couple of years. We moved around a bit and I went to some private schools, different basically church schools. and that was really fun. Some of them I got to take, you know, Greek and Latin classes and that was fun. And then I went back to public school in middle school and that was where I really learned how crazy the education system is and how wild some of these things are that they have these kids learning. I remember, you know, doing history class and just wondering when are we gonna talk about this? Or when are we gonna talk about this? And it just never really came up. So in high school, I actually enrolled in a charter program that, you know, this is something that was possible actually through school choice, but I enrolled in a charter program that basically took my funding from the state when I enrolled in their school and just used it to pay for community college. So by the time I graduated high school, I was actually halfway to my bachelor’s degree, which was awesome. Yeah. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about education and about school choice is because it actually gave me the ability to, you know, get ahead and get a lot of college done without going into debt and really learn some serious life lessons about organization and time management and all of that. so yeah, that’s kind of the school journey for me. It’s been all over the place.
Connor: So Emma, as you said, you’ve been in Washington DC in the past working on really big issues, you know, you’ve been on the tv, you’ve been interviewed a lot, talking about issues at the federal level and the Congress is working on. Talk to us a little bit about where, you know, do you think, do you think we’re ever gonna be successful in like, reforming the federal government or should we be focused more at a local level or where are your thoughts when it comes to like where people should be putting in the effort to try and make a difference?
Emma: Yeah, great question. I definitely think everything important starts at a local level. And I’m actually gonna quote Elizabeth Warren, even though we don’t totally agree with her. She said that the local ideas of today are the national ideas of tomorrow and the local leaders of today are the national leaders of tomorrow. So I think everything that starts sort of on that local level, local movements, folks pushing back on things that they care about, rallying their community, that usually ends up playing out later on the national scale. And I, I think the more folks can get involved and get to know their own community and the issues that affect them, like your water bill, like the DMV, working on those things and seeing what works and getting those stories and those success stories of when things are done right, gives folks on the national level the chance to fix those bigger problems. And I think, I’m a little cynical when it comes to fixing DC I don’t know if it can ever be fixed. And I think that’s why the founding fathers set up a system that limited DC’s power or at least tried to. And, you know, I think at the end of the day, it’s those local and those state-level actions and laws and things like that that really affect our day-to-day lives. And those are the ones that I would say I would spend most of my time focusing on.
Brittany: So what are you most proud of for the, for all the amount of time you’ve spent, you know, in the broader liberty freedom movement, what’s the thing you’ve done that you know, that you not, that you wanna brag about that you’re most proud of?
Emma: Oh boy, that’s a good one. this is not political. Graduating college without going into debt was a big one. That’s great for me. That’s, yeah, I got some of that community college done before I graduated high school, and then I went into an online degree program. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy, but it was actually competency-based, so it allowed me to go at my own pace through my classes and I got my degree just by paying my way through while I was working and working in politics at the same time. So that was kind of crazy. but definitely, I think being a part of the liberty movement is what I’m proud of. I went to DC sort of having like a basic understanding of, you know, there’s Republicans and there’s Democrats, but once I got there I saw that the Republicans and Democrats actually do the same thing a lot of the times and they pretend like they’re enemies on tv and then they’re all buddies afterwards and it’s a lot of just fakeness and theater and I’m really proud that I found folks who really believe in liberty as an idea and not just in the red team and the blue team. And I think discovering Ron Paul and sort of his ideas was a big part of that. And watching his videos on YouTube and that kind of thing. That’s what really put me into the crowd that I found and these folks that I get to know and work with now.
Connor: Well, awesome. maybe Brittany, what we can do is on the show notes page for today, we can link to, one or two of Emma’s interviews so people can see more of what she’s done and some of her writings, but then also, Emma, you just mentioned Ron Paul, obviously, Brittany and I are big fans as well. Yes. He’s been on the podcast and so we’ll link to that episode as well. so make sure to head to the show notes page for today to see those items. Tuttletwins.com/podcast. Emma, we’re very excited to have you on board and helping out with the podcast and we’ll be hearing from you soon. So thanks again for being with us here.
Emma: Thanks guys.
Connor: All right, Brittany. Until next time, we’ll talk to you later.
Brittany: Talk to you later.
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