Practicing self-reliance in our own lives and in our communities is one of the most important ways we can strive for liberty. If we are going to prove that we don’t need big government, we need to prove that we can come together as individuals and help each other out and practice self-reliance.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hi Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: So, today I want to talk about self-reliance, and this is something that I know we’ve talked about in various capacities throughout the show. And I know Connor and Brittany did an episode about personal responsibility, which I highly recommend. It’s gonna have a lot that ties into this podcast. So if you just started listening, I would definitely say go back and listen to that one as well. there’s gonna be a lot that we build on from that, but I wanna talk about, you know, sort of what this idea of self-reliance means. And I think there are a lot of different layers to it. Like there’s your personal belief in self-reliance, there’s what you can do to sort of help yourself live and be self-sufficient. But then there’s also self-reliance on like a community level or a family level or even a national level. and there’s so much we can talk about here, but first I just wanna give a super quick definition just so we can kind of separate this out from what personal responsibility is. Self-reliance is reliance on one’s own powers and resources, rather than those of others. So that falls again, right in line with a lot of what we talk about on this show. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people right now who don’t know how to provide for themselves, maybe because they were never taught or because they never valued being able to take care of themselves. And then what ends up happening eventually is they demand that other people or usually the government Yeah. Take care of them.
Brittany: Which is really just us.
Emma: Those needs, right? Yeah. The government is paid for by us, by we the people. So basically what they’re doing is they’re saying, Hey, I can’t meet this need of mine on my own, therefore I’m going to demand that my neighbors pay for that need to be met for me. So, you know, it, this sounds kind of harsh, but it’s ultimately selfishness because you are expecting other people to, you know, pay for things that you need or pay for things that you want, whether or not you have actually worked for them. And the thing that ends up happening is usually the people who have worked really hard, who have built up resources and money, and you know, they have the things that they need because they’ve worked very hard for them. They are the ones who end up paying to meet the needs of people who did not work hard or maybe who didn’t take the time to learn those skills and, and learn how to provide for themselves. And I don’t wanna sound like, you know, if you can’t meet your own needs, you’re a bad person, you’re lazy because there are people who are underprivileged and who maybe they have a disability or maybe they can’t meet their needs completely on their own. And we’re gonna talk about that a bit in the community portion of this podcast. But at the end of the day here, what we’re talking about is this idea that people and community groups should be able to mostly or completely take care of themselves. And that doesn’t mean you’re doing it all on your own. It means you’re working with your neighbors, you’re cooperating with people, you’re finding opportunities that you can use to make sure that you don’t need help from the government. Because help with help from the government always comes with strings attached. And that’s another thing, maybe we’ll talk about that another day, but that’s like people who demand things like, free college, free healthcare, yeah, free this and that. They say that because they think it’s impossible to have those needs met through their own work. So really this is a crisis of education and of attitude and of thinking that, you know, there’s no way I can ever pay for these things on my own. I need someone else to do it.
Brittany: You actually just reminded me of one of my favorite Ron Paul debate moments in 2012 is a moderator of the debate asked him, you know, how are people supposed to pay for their college? And he picked up his iPhone. He goes, how are, kids paying for their iPhones? Which are, you know, about a thousand dollars if not more. How are you paying for your MacBook Pros? You know, if you want something, you will find a way. And there’s definitely a major crisis right now with our generation of millennials and Gen Z, where we want things to be paid for. Yeah. And we think everything is too expensive. And obviously, that’s partially all our fault. It’s partially the education system that set us up for failure. It’s partially, you know, the Federal Reserve. It’s partially the housing crisis that happened Yeah. When we were coming of age. But instead of learning how to deal with these ebbs and flows of the market or, learning about personal finance and maybe what careers work and what doesn’t, you know, if I get a degree in women’s studies, I’m not going to be a millionaire. Right.
Brittany: So if we’re not planning for all this stuff, then of course we’re, we’re not gonna be set up for success in our life. So we are responsible for a lot of this. But like you said that doesn’t mean, that doesn’t mean if somebody’s not able to care for themselves, they shouldn’t. Right. That’s why we have communities.
Emma: Right, exactly. And like, I wanna talk about that self-reliance on a community level. there are rural communities all over the country where, you know, maybe one family raises cows and raises like dairy cows and beef cows, and then another might have a specialty of raising chickens. And we’ve talked about comparative advantage on this show before. This is kind of people finding their comparative advantage. Like maybe one person’s land is better for cows and one’s better for chickens. but people pick up different skills and they share them together to meet each other’s needs and to work together. And this is what a lot of people, I think see the government as, you know, all just pulling our resources and working together, but when it happens through the government, it’s not efficient and it doesn’t work. Like, the government is not good at doling out our taxes to causes that actually matter and affect our lives. Like, we just saw during the pandemic, a bunch of stimulus checks went to people that had died. It’s like the government is so bad at stewarding these resources. So when you can strip it down to a small community level where, you know, there’s one person doing this, one person doing that, they call them co-ops and that stands for Cooperative and cooperation. And it’s these people working together to meet each other’s needs. And another example of this is the education community education co-ops for children’s schools have popped up all over the country throughout the year.
Brittany: Yes, they have.
Emma: And I know that a lot of people who read the Tuttle twins are part of co-ops. And I think that’s such a special thing that happens when people come together and say, Hey, this parent is really good at teaching about math. Maybe they’re an engineer and they really know math. This teacher maybe understands, or this parent in the community even really understands health. Like they’re a nutritionist. They’re gonna teach kids about health and how to take care of themselves. And when you pull people together whose children are actually in those schools and you just share resources and like help each other out, it doesn’t mean that one parent has to be so self-reliant that they can teach their kid how to do everything on their own. Like.
Brittany: It’s like specialization.
Emma: That’s, yeah, exactly. That’s not the point. It’s finding your comparative advantage and leveraging that with the people in your community, their comparative advantages, and working together to meet everybody’s needs. And a huge part of this is, you know, churches, work a lot on the community level to help people who are dealing with problems in their life. They do, they do stuff for people with addictions and they help them work through those things. Or maybe they help people who are dealing with homelessness and who want to live a better life and who want to improve their situation. Churches will work with those people. And growing up, my family was a part of a church that did a lot of that stuff. And we would work with, you know, foster children who, you know, they didn’t have parents that they lived with. And people in my community would step up and say, Hey, I’m going to take this kid into my house. I’m gonna treat them like my own child. I’m gonna help them. I’m gonna feed them, help ’em with homework, whatever it is, take ’em to soccer practice so that they can live a happy life. And I think that’s a really good, you know, aspect of the community stepping up. But the problem that they would run up against a lot of the times was the government-run foster care system. Yeah. That had all of these rules that were written by people who were not involved in the actual process of helping these kids. And that ended up actually doing more harm than good. So that’s just one example of sort of how the community can be involved, but this doesn’t necessarily need to be something that only happens like out in the country. Brittany, do you wanna talk about a little bit like in DC in the city, sort of how you see these things happening?
Brittany: Yeah, absolutely. And I do also wanna mention cuz sometimes when we say co-op or communities, cause we’ve talked so so vehemently events against, communism. I wanna make sure that there’s a really big difference here. And the difference is that it’s voluntary. And I, think you’ll get into this later, Emma, but this is something that people agree to do. There is no government forcing them to do it. Yep. And because there’s nobody forcing us to do it. It’s not communism, right? Communism, socialism. Yeah. That is when you’re being made to do it. So in the city, one thing that I really love are farmer’s markets, right by my house. There’s a farmer’s market every Saturday morning that I can go to, and that’s where people come together. Now, I could go on a rant about all the licensing you have to get, you know, to set up a booth at the farmer’s market, but we’ll ignore that for a second. So, Farmer’s market, Facebook marketplace. In fact, my couch came from the Facebook marketplace where people sell things online. Mine, red desk. Yeah. You know, it’s great. I’ve saved a lot of money. So things like that where you can buy things directly from each other. And actually, Facebook marketplace in Craigslist are a little bit more free market because there’s no like fees that you have to give anybody. you’re just working directly with the person. eBay’s kind of like that. I mean, it’s changed over the years, but eBay used to be this place where you could like find anything you wanted. I used to collect vintage typewriters. I could find vintage, you know, vintage typewriters. Fun. Yeah. It was a lot of fun on eBay. I could work with, you know, other people who were into the same things as I do. So there’s layers to this and there’s layers to self-reliance and taking care of your community and taking care of yourself. Like Jordan Peterson talks about a lot. you know, that’s about more than it’s a broader topic, you know, staying healthy so that you need less intervention so that maybe you can be strong for someone else or able to volunteer time in your community. So all these things, taking care of yourself, taking care of your community they all ladder up to each other. They’re all kind of part of this big, you know, all fall under the same umbrella.
Emma: Exactly. And I think, you know, you talked about the layers of self-reliance. I love that because it starts with yourself and we’ve talked a lot about, you know, building healthy habits and doing things that make you a healthy person and, that make you productive and able to take care of yourself. That’s what you sort of have to start with. Because if no one in a community is taking care of themselves, they’re all going to need other people to help them. But if most of the people in a community are taking care of themselves, they’re taking responsibility for their own actions, they’re working, they’re finding resources, they’re going to have an abundance of those resources and of their time and talents. And they’re going to be able to use that for people who, again, like maybe have a disability and can’t totally provide for themselves or who are in a bad situation. Like we’ve talked about foster care where people volunteer their time in their homes to actually help these kids live with a family. I think that is something that only happens when people are taking care of themselves. And that’s something called, it sort of plays into this idea where, you know, you talked about this is not communism. Yes. Because there are a lot of communists who talk about these things and they try to sell their ideas with this like, happy little picture of everyone working on a farm together and you know, oh, here, I’ll do the chickens and you do the beef. Like, that’s not what I’m talking about. No, because communism, you don’t just get a pick what you’re best at. No. They tell you the government forces you to do it. So this is just to be totally clear, this is not communism that we’re talking about here. We are talking about volunteerism, which is when people actually choose what matters to them and choose the causes that, they care about. And they get them up and then they go out and get involved in those things and they volunteer their time and they volunteer their resources and they work together with other people where it makes sense. There is a massive difference between a peaceful community of people living voluntarily and helping each other out and pooling resources and communism, which has been responsible for a lot of people dying because people get into these corrupt regimes of communism. There’ve been a hundred million people who have died under communist regimes. And I know that’s kind of heavy, but I just wanna really stress how, how important it is that we are not talking about Yes, the same kind of Marxist communism that people, you know, people are starting to talk about as a good thing. It’s like, no, actually that’s not gonna get us to the happy place we wanna be in. The only way that this stuff works is when people pick it up on their own and say, Hey, this matters to me. Like I want to live a healthy lifestyle, so I’m gonna work with people who can help me get ahold of healthy quality food. Or I want my kids to get a really good education and not have to deal with the education system. So we’re gonna pull together resources with other parents and help them figure out how to make a pod or make a co-op or something like that. So there is just a really big difference between, you know, the communism that the left talks about and a co-op or people sharing their resources. The difference is force. Yeah. Communism, you are forced to do that. And with everything else it’s voluntary and that voluntary part is very, very important. But overall, you know, the more self-reliant you are, the more you can help the people around you and the more extra resources you have and time and treasure that you can share with those that you care about. And you can show generosity to those who are less fortunate. You can volunteer your time and self-reliance at the end of the day. That definition that I read at the beginning where it’s like you rely on your own power and your own resources. Like, that sounds a little bit selfish when you first hear it, but when you really understand what this is like on a holistic level, self-reliance is not greed, it’s stewardship and it’s using your time and resources wisely. So that’s why I get so fired up about it. I love the idea of people working together same to accomplish the things that they want. it’s so wonderful.
Brittany: I think you’re absolutely right. And community is everything. Because if we wanna prove that we don’t need a government we can self-govern. Yes. We have to form communities that kind of take that place. Right. We have to say that we’re able to do that and communities are the way we do that. Whether it’s your church community, whether it’s, you know, your neighborhood, whether it’s your group of friends it is. That’s the key.
Emma: Totally agree. There’s one thing that I’m going to put in the show notes for you guys. You do have to pay for it because it’s on Amazon Prime. but it’s $2. Maybe you can, you know, go shovel your neighbor’s driveway or like rake their leaves or something and earn $2. So you can buy this, this movie it’s called Off the Grid with Thomas Massie. And Brittany, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but.
Brittany: I haven’t.
Emma: If you talk about self-reliance, Thomas Massie, who is in Congress right now, actually has a complete off-grid house Yes. Where he like built the house from trees that grew on his land and he like has all these chickens and cows and stuff. It’s a really fun picture of what it looks like to not rely on anyone for your needs. So that’s kind of a fun thing to check out if you’re into that kind of thing. But I’ll put that in the show notes. Thank you so much guys for listening, and thank you, Brittany, for chatting with me.
Brittany: Talk to you later.