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Category: Essays

What Is The Truth, Anyway?

What Is The Truth, Anyway?

Some Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door and opened the conversation with, “What’s the most important gift you can give some one?” “Easy,” I thought. “The truth.” “Interesting,” the young woman said, “we haven’t heard that one before.” I can’t say I was genuinely surprised; it’s not a very popular subject. This is where the world is, philosophically. You can make it your job to visit people’s homes and ask such an important question, and never get this answer. We…

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My Stint at a “Democratic” School – A Horror Story

My Stint at a “Democratic” School – A Horror Story

I had been a teacher for five years, and I was weary of the coercion inherent within the public school system. If a student didn’t want to learn, I tried to find engaging methods to draw him in. At first it was exciting. As a student teacher, I had designed lessons around a 6th grader in a hypothetical science class who only wanted to draw dragons. I suggested assignments on the history of dragons, the chemistry of breathing fire, the…

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Stealing Wallets (Spanking); A Common Conversation

Stealing Wallets (Spanking); A Common Conversation

What does it mean to follow the NAP? Simple! Just don’t aggress against people or their property. Oh great! I already do that, most of the time. Oh? What about the other times?  Well, I’ll admit, sometimes I steal people’s wallets in dark alleys (spank my kid). But you know, I try to follow it in general. Oh, well, you’re failing. You’re not following it. Well I am actually. Day in and day out, I’m very well behaved. But sometimes,…

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Punishment: What Is It? And Why Is It A Dirty Word?

Punishment: What Is It? And Why Is It A Dirty Word?

Students of psychology, specifically operant conditioning (think B.F. Skinner), understand that punishment is a stimulus, or aversive event, that occurs after a behavior and that reduces the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future. In short, punishment weakens or decreases a behavior. “Positive” punishments are the introduction of a negative stimulus to decrease behavior. Hitting a child would be an example of “positive” punishment, because pain is introduced in hopes that their behavior will decrease. “Negative” punishments, or…

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This Just In: Reinforcers Reinforce Behavior! (A Summary of Our Research On Rewards, Contracts, and Praise)

This Just In: Reinforcers Reinforce Behavior! (A Summary of Our Research On Rewards, Contracts, and Praise)

We’ve been grappling with the issue of rewards for years. They seem straightforward, helpful, and obvious to us, but we often meet criticism, specifically by readers of Alfie Kohn. His voice is the strongest of the few researchers who assert that rewards, even verbal, should be abandoned; that they damage “intrinsic motivation” by turning the activity into something that is motivated only by an outside reinforcer. Here we share the most recent meta-analysis on the subject, its conclusion, and our…

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What does an NAP-parented household look like?

What does an NAP-parented household look like?

What distinguishes the NAP parenting paradigm from other parenting styles? Here is a list of some of the big concepts of NAP parenting as we practice it. All are rooted in the non-aggression principle; with respect for the person and property first. We’ll expand on these points in more detail in other posts. Private Property: Everything in the home is privately owned, and that ownership is unambiguous. Things are only shared when we explicitly agree to share them. If the…

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The Corruption of Parental Power

The Corruption of Parental Power

Power corrupts. The most power over anyone that the average person will ever have is their power over their children. Liberty, voluntaryism is the antidote to corruption. Liberty is defined and safeguarded by moral codes; the non-aggression principle. Conclusion: In order for us to protect our children, we must recognize our inherent and vast power over them, and its natural potential to corrupt our treatment of them. By extending to them the protections of the NAP, of the right to…

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FYQ (Frequently Yelled Questions)

FYQ (Frequently Yelled Questions)

Don’t tell me what to do. Aren’t you violating my right to choose? We aren’t telling people what to do. The NAP isn’t a mandate backed by force (like a law). It’s an ethical framework that determines which actions are immoral, but we leave the choice to you. If you accept the argument, which we do our best to outline, we want to support you in doing what is right. If you don’t accept the argument, we’d love to hear…

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Whose “Principles” are We Talking About?

Whose “Principles” are We Talking About?

Aren’t ethics ultimately subjective? Are we just picking the principles that we like? Shouldn’t we encourage individuals to find their own relative truth and ethics? Ethics, or moral principles, are those principles concerned with Right and Wrong behavior. Many people assume that what’s right for one person may not be right for another, and therefor claim that ethics are relative. For example, in the US it’s wrong to cut in line, but in China it’s normal and accepted (so I’ve…

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