One of the most important principles of individual liberty is the understanding that you own yourself. While the government likes to tell us what we can do and even what we can put in your body, only we can make those choices.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi Emma.
Emma: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: So, we’ve talked a lot about terms that begin with the word self. In fact, we even talked about selfishness being is sometimes a good thing. So you and I recently talked about self-reliance, I think just a couple of episodes ago. And Connor and I talked about self-responsibility or personal responsibility. So today I wanna talk about something called self-ownership, which is kind of related to those two things. In fact, we’ll have like a tie-in at the end, but it’s a little bit different. But it does tie into our ongoing theme on the show, even though we haven’t maybe used the word. But Emma, let me start by asking you who owns you? And I know that might be a, you know, oddly worded question, but I’m sure you know what I mean. So who owns you, Emma?
Emma: I mean, I own me to put it simply, I’m the person who owns my body and who owns the decisions that I make and the things that I do and the life that I live. You know, there are a lot of people that are involved in my life and a lot of people that I look up to and that help me out along the way. But at the end of the day, the ownership is on me.
Brittany: Exactly. And you know, because you own yourself, that means that no one else can really tell you what you’re allowed to do, unless, of course, you’re hurting other people or taking their stuff or violating their rights. But this means they can’t really tell you know, what to read, what to say, and especially what to put in your body. And I know for the kids listening, your parents do have the right to tell you what to do. Right. Because you’re still young and I, so we’re not, we’re not telling you that your parents don’t have any control over you or your parents might be very mad at us. But when you’re an adult, you know, these decisions are up to you. And Connor and I talked about in one of our earlier episodes about how the government tries to make rules. Like you can’t even drink raw milk, which is milk that hasn’t been, pasteurized is the term. So it’s like coming directly from the cow, you know, substances, drugs, which, you know, the government has tried to ban in order to protect people from themselves. But one thing we found out with certain drugs that they’ve banned is they’ve actually ended up being medicine in some circumstances. So, Emma, what are some other things the government has tried to tell us, you know, that we can’t do or put in our bodies?
Emma: I mean, the most recent one that comes to mind is the vaping ban, which if you don’t know what vaping is, you know, if you’re a kid, obviously this is not something that’s meant for children, no but it is something that was invented to help people stop smoking because we know that there are a lot of dangers with actually smoking tobacco. and the, you know, people came up with this idea that was like, Hey, there’s a less dangerous form of nicotine that people can use to ease their symptoms when they’re trying to quit. And the government has actually banned a lot of flavors of vape. Like I guess they would be.
Brittany: Vape juice.
Emma: Pod or Vape juice. And you know, essentially the government is taking away something that a lot of people are using to basically not need to use something more harmful. And it’s had this adverse effect where it’s like, well, if I can’t, you know, if I can’t pick out the flavor that I want out of this, maybe I’ll just keep smoking. Cuz the government likes to pick and choose, you know, what sorts of things we’re allowed to consume and which ones we’re not. And it’s not always about what’s more or less harmful to us. It’s a lot about, you know, the government’s interests and it’s, we’ve talked a lot about special interests before. Yes. But a lot of the times it’s connected to money and it’s very political and it’s not actually about our self-interest or, or what’s best for us, I should say. and at the end of the day, you know, we’re talking about self-ownership. It’s just not the government’s call to begin, with.
Brittany: Absolutely. And you know, you reminded me of something we’ve talked about several times, which is, you know, crony capitalism or protectionism, and a lot of the people or the driving force trying to ban these vape juices and these vape devices have been big tobacco. The people who put all, you know, they own the cigarette companies and so Yeah. They want you to keep smoking. So it’s just a big giant mess. But you know what, even if not as kids, obviously, and hopefully not as adults, even if a person wants to smoke, they should have the choice to. Right. We’re not saying that either. Exactly. But you know, just because you can do something also doesn’t mean you should do something. Right, exactly. And that is exactly, that’s kind of where self-ownership comes in, is you have to have the personal responsibility to say, okay, like maybe even though I can do this, it’s not the best choice. And we have to show like we’ve always talked about, that we can live in a society that has less government and you know, fewer authoritarian figures. And so we have to prove that we are responsible. But side note to that, I wanna talk about something that was kind of recent. You guys will listen to this a couple of weeks after it was recorded, but Britney Spears, who was popular when Emma and I were younger. she’s probably like, it’s funny, somebody called her vintage the other day and I’m like, how dare you?
Emma: Oh, My gosh.
Brittany: Cause it means like old and I’m thinking, okay, I was 13 when she came out and she was really cool but apparently now she’s like old these music, it’s like when you see things on, is Nick at night still a thing?
Emma: I honestly don’t know, man. That was huge when I was growing up.
Brittany: If it’s not around Nick at night is where they used to play the old shows on tv, it was Nickelodeon. And like now they’re playing like Full House, which was a show when I was growing up. And I’m like, wait, this is not an oldie. So anyway, people calling Britney Spears vintage hurts my soul. But there was, she was in the news recently because she had something called a conservatorship, which is a very complicated legal term. basically what it meant is she was going through a rough time. And so the courts of California gave her father the right to control everything, including her money. And that’s the part I wanna talk about today. So with self-ownership, it’s also tied in with economic liberty. Right. So John Locke, who we’ve talked about before, talked about self-ownership and a person owning the fruits of their own labor. And Emma, when I say that, that kind of is a weird term if you can explain what does that mean? A person should have controller ownership over the fruits of their labor?
Emma: Yeah. So that’s kind of like an old-timey term. And even if, you know, if you’ve ever read the Bible, sometimes they use those terms. But basically, this means, you know, you’ve worked hard for something. You, you imagine you go out in the garden and you’re, you’re growing something and you’re working hard and you’re digging in the dirt and you’re sweating cause it’s hot outside and you work and work and work. And then eventually, you know, maybe the thing that you’ve been growing actually produces fruit. So it could be a strawberry or it could be a tomato or whatever. Tomatoes are technically fruits. So I guess I can say that and that’s sort of what it means. It’s like you’ve been working hard for something and you get that reward, you get that return. So typically for us in modern times, unless you’re a farmer, the fruits of your labor is your paycheck or it’s your compensation from work, or maybe it’s something that you’ve earned by working hard. So that’s sort of what he’s referring to there. So great, great idea to clarify that.
Brittany: Yes. And that’s, you’re exactly right. So part of the problem with this Britney Spears comparison is, so the courts, which are the government, right? They said, you know, she’s not competent, meaning she’s not able to care for herself or one reason or another. So her father’s gonna get control of all her money. And a side note, her dad ended up being kind of the villain in this story. where he hasn’t been letting her have her money, she’s not allowed to leave her house, she’s not allowed to make friends. So it’s a very, you know, she’s living in a world where she does not have any self-ownership in this.
Emma: At 39 years old.
Brittany: At 39 years old, is she really? 39? That also hurts, years Old. But I guess I’m 35, which also hurts me. So yes, she’s not allowed to do anything. I mean, she has lost all rights to self-ownership, but when it goes back to the fruits of her labor, one thing that’s really bothersome to a lot of people, including myself, is while the judge is saying that she’s not able to care for herself, she’s still touring and doing concerts, she’s still making music, she’s still doing all these things, it’s actually proving that she can bring in money that she can care for herself. Not only that, she’s creating jobs for other people because when you go on tour, you know, first of all you have backup dancers. You have people who are, you know, working on the stage and the lights. You have people who are running the tour bus. So she’s creating all this stuff. And in a testimony, which is when you go before a judge last week or a couple of weeks ago when you guys hear it, she said, all I want is to own my own money. And I thought that was really just powerful to be honest with you. Yeah. And it reminded me of what John Locke said. I know people don’t normally hear Britney Spears and John Locke in the same sentence. But, that really struck me because I was like, you know, John Locko always says, you should be able to keep the fruits of your labor. And here Britney Spears is working very hard. In fact, she works seven days a week without a day off. She’s in rehearsals that are like 12 hours long. she also choreographs, which means she actually makes the dances. Like she figures all that out for her concerts and she’s not allowed to keep her money. And so this really, the reason I wanted to bring this up is this is a pop culture, a modern example of people not having or being allowed to have self-ownership because of the government. So I don’t know m if you have any thoughts on that or anything, but I was pretty outraged when I heard about it.
Emma: Oh, me too. And you know, I grew up, she was like the number one pop star. Yes. The most popular person making music just across the board when I was a kid. So obviously I grew up always knowing who she was and seeing her. Now, you know, I have become an adult and now I am taking care of myself and I have my own family and I’m married. And I’m like, wow, I have completely grown up in Britney Spears now it’s almost like the roles have been reversed because when I was a kid, she was kind of this adult and now she’s being treated like a complete child. not only by her family who’s sort of controlling her, even though she’s an adult. but by the government as well. The government has basically said, we are going to keep treating you like a child. Like you can’t support yourself, you’re not capable of taking care of yourself. And what really has struck me is how people are taking advantage of her. Yes. and they’re taking advantage of this, sort of corrupt system that’s allowing people to, you know, leach off of her, her family is able to live, you know, a really comfortable life because she makes millions and millions of dollars because she’s super popular she is.
Brittany: Which they’re getting more of than she is I think right now.
Emma: Right. They’re getting more of that than she is. She isn’t even being allowed to, you know, go out and get her hair done or get her nails done, and like silly things like that. Like they’re silly to us, but she is earning that money. Yes. And if she wants to be able to spend it that way, you know, you talk about self-ownership, she should be able to. So it’s been really crazy to see this because I think a lot of people just didn’t realize how bad of a situation it was. And the reason why this all happened is because she went through a period where she was having a hard time, she was having some mental health issues. And during that time, you know, the government said, we are going to, you know, basically have someone else in charge of you and someone else taking care of you.
Brittany: Which was a long time ago too.
Emma: It was really long, it was in 2007, 2008, I believe, which is quite a while ago. Yeah. and basically I think that’s like a really good example of how sometimes the government can, you know, use these weird circumstances almost like the pandemic where they’re like, Hey, you’re in danger. Like your health, you know, you don’t really know what’s best for you. We’re gonna come in and tell you what you need to do with your life and we’re actually going to take control and like, take away your right to self-govern and your right to make your own decisions. And that’s something that we’ve seen a lot of in the last year. so it’s, you know, it hit a nerve with me and I feel very badly for her. I’m glad more people are paying attention, but it definitely does makes you think, all right, well how else is this happening in the world? Not just with Conservatorships and pop stars, but how else is our autonomy and our self-ownership being taken away through Government force?
Brittany: I think you’re absolutely right. And I’m glad you brought up COVID because, you know, a lot of us felt comfortable maybe not social distancing for as long. Yeah. Or not wearing a mask outdoors for example, but we weren’t really allowed to make those decisions for ourselfves. Our self-ownership was taken away. So I think that’s a really good thing to point out is we’ve all kind of, you know, had that happen to us recently. And I think another thing to tie in before we close is, you know, it like I said, it is our body. We choose what to put into it. We choose what to do. And you know, like I said, that doesn’t mean it’s always a good thing, right? Like we learn through natural consequences. So somebody who smokes might end up getting lung cancer, you know, it’s their right to smoke cigarettes, but there are consequences to every action. And so it’s important to remember that other self-words, self-responsibility are personal responsibility because with self-ownership comes that need to be responsible with our choices. So I think that’s something that’s really important to keep in mind. So yeah, I dunno if you had any closing thoughts, but that’s all I had to say.
Emma: Yeah. Free Brittany man, we gotta get her outta this conservatorship. That’s my 2000 baby speaking. But, yeah, it’s, I mean, self-ownership ties in a lot with stuff that we’ve talked about in the past. we’ve talked about self-responsibility and self-reliance and sometimes it can sound like all of these things sort of mean the same thing and they’re definitely related. But I’m glad that we have the chance to talk about each of them. we’re gonna wrap it up here guys, but definitely, check out the other episodes that we’ve mentioned. There’s lots that we could talk about here and I’m sure that we will continue talking about these ideas. But thank you for listening and thanks Brittany for chatting.
Brittany: Talk to you later.