How do you talk to a 6-year-old about socialism? How do you explain eminent domain to an 8-year-old?
These were questions Connor Boyack, President of the Libertas Institute and author of the best-selling Tuttle Twins book series asked himself when he wanted to talk to his kids about what he did all day at his job.
“I founded Libertas Institute a decade ago, which is a think tank which focuses on changing hearts, minds, and laws in favor of freedom,” he said.
He went to the marketplace to find something to break down his day-to-day for his children and came up with nothing. Being the creative free-market capitalist he was, he “recognized there was an opportunity here,” he said.
He then connected with his friend, Elijah, who had the same issue with his children and was unable to find liberty/freedom-centric literature for children. “We teamed up and we did the first book, and it was really just a fun little side project, but since has ballooned into quite a major initiative because of the demand we have seen from the community,” Boyack said.
And there is an extreme demand. In a world where Leftist indoctrination is rampant in every facet of a child’s life outside the home (and often inside), Connor and Elijah knew they needed to arm their kids with the knowledge and resources to navigate it when they were not there.
For other parents, Connor has some sage advice: “If you don’t know you’re in the middle of a battlefield, then you’ve already lost. Too few parents realize that we are in the middle of an ideological war and that there are people who want to capture the minds of our children and who want them believing the way that they believe, and if you don’t recognize that there are kind of hostile people out there with those intentions, then you’ve already lost because they’re going to have influence over you without [you] realizing it.”
One of the biggest offenders of the indoctrination of children? The schools (especially public schools).
“There are two major problems in schools. I call them: The sins of COMMISSION and the sins of OMISSION. … ‘Sins of Commission’ are instances in which teachers/curricula is intentionally committing misinformation, propaganda bias, [and] they’re trying to engineer a certain set of opinions about the government, the climate, our culture, or ‘The Founding Fathers were bigoted white supremacists.’…Then there are also ‘Sins of Omission’ wherein schools and curricula omit information that is so critical for kids to learn: critical thinking skills, entrepreneurship, economic theory, classical liberalism [and] the ideas that made this country great to begin with.”
To combat this in his personal life, Boyack chooses to homeschool his children. However, he knows this is not always an option for a lot of families:
“That’s fine, some families have to do it [send their kids to public school],” he said, “but recognize when your child comes home, you’re going to have some ‘unlearning’ to do with them…It is something that requires some intentionality on the part of parents… Parents need to understand this [indoctrination] is happening and then they need to pull their kids out or supplement their education (if they are in school) to make sure that these kids are learning true stuff.”
For those exiting high school and going out into the world sans-parents, Connor says there is not an “easy answer” for next steps for the high school graduate. While he says it is possible to go to even the most “woke” college in the country and still receive an education without influence of the leftist progressive agenda, he warns “that requires having a very strong foundation and being very confident in your beliefs and having a really good understanding about ideas before you get there.”
There are, alternatively non-woke colleges in more conservative or “red states” in the country but, as Connor points out, post-high school education is also becoming less and less a requirement in the work-world. “We’re in a day in age where increasing numbers of companies are dropping the requirement to have a bachelor’s degree. They’re seeing that simply sitting in another chair for another four years does not convey one’s competence…[For] parents who are concerned about “wokeism” and campus culture, it’s worth exploring these alternatives to see if your children can avoid college entirely and find a path to success in life, and the job market, without being corroded by this negative campus culture that we so often see.”
The other offender in children’s indoctrination and “brainwashing” comes from general culture/art in America today, which is predominantly ruled by Leftists and social media (also controlled by Leftists). “You get these woke celebrities and the kids like their music and then all of a sudden, they’re agreeing with their political opinions because they [they children] think that they [the celebrities] are cool,” opines Boyack when asked about this realm of propaganda, “We live in a day where things are very partisan, things are very tribalistic and everyone is extremely vocal about their views; and we have “The Karen Effect” now, we have virtue signaling and victimhood and all these things – it’s just SO extreme.”
“Kids need a bulletproof vest before we send them out into the world and what I think that really means – that’s why we do the Tuttle Twins –…it’s talking to them about these types of ideas, it’s giving them an age-appropriate reference point so when they’re flooded with garbage in the public, they can at least process this rather than just swallow it wholesale.”
And it works. Selling over 2 million copies worldwide, the Tuttle Twins books have taken off in an otherwise leftist-dominated market, battling those trying to get to the hearts and minds of our children with a radical, often socialist-driven, scheme. But why does it work? The accessibility of the material, for one thing, helps bring complex issues to children in a fun and interesting way; this is often difficult, however. Boyack’s personal standard for each book is that it tackles and explains a real book or essay from an important liberty-minded thinker and sometimes that is not easy. For instance, the first book, The Tuttle Twins and The Law, is based upon Frédéric Bastiat’s book The Law; The Tuttle Twins and the Messed-Up Market is based upon a book called Human Action by Ludwig Von Mises, a famous Austrian economist.
“This book [Human Action] is powerful, but it is dense. And it is so needed for people to understand what is in here [the book] but it’s not written for the lay audience. I wanted to kind of do justice to some of the ideas in this important book but simplifying such complexity for a young audience was quite the task,” Boyack said.
Despite the tall order of explaining concepts like “praxeology” to school-aged children, Boyack was more than up to the challenge. With the success of his book series appeared a demand for more content and thus was born a variety of different mediums: a podcast, a card game, books geared towards toddlers (The Tuttle Toddlers), books for teens (a “choose your own adventures” novel series), and, most recently, a television cartoon show.
The show, currently being invested in by supporters through Angel Studios (the masterminds behind the hit The Chosen), is the reinvented Tuttle Twins for children of all ages in an entertaining, 30-minute TV presentation.
Of Angel Studios, Boyack is extremely confident, saying, “I had a lot of trust in this team to be faithful to the message of our books…We’ve already raised enough money to do the first few episodes, which are already kind of in the works, and just trying to teach in this fun format where families can watch together, and learn about some of these ideas, and discuss them as a family afterwards to kind of continue learning.”
There are, as always, critics of Boyack and his efforts. Lately, the Tuttle Twins Facebook page has taken to “monetizing their haters” (to crib from Eric D. July) by posting the negative critiques they receive in their inbox, turning them into advertisements – much to the delight of the Tuttle Twins’ fans/audience. Though he and his company might disagree with the sentiments in the negative messages, they passionately believe in the detractors’ right to say what they think/feel, no matter what.
Unfortunately, the hypocritical Leftist denizens do not feel the same way.
“We’ve had lots of cranky Leftists online bashing us, saying we’re propagandizing children, but of course they don’t object when children are propagandized to their preferred political perspective,” said Boyack, “So yeah, they’ve criticized and rightly so; I can understand their objections but they’re inconsistent and hypocritical for objecting to what we’re doing and not anyone else who shares their worldview…there are people out there trying to influence children and trying to set these narratives from a young age – it’s happening already [from the Left]. Why in the world would we, who believe in freedom, not be teaching that [our values]?”
Connor Boyack does not let this naysaying weaken or distract him, however: “The more that socialists hate what we’re doing, that’s just an energy bar for us that we’ll snack on all day long.”
For more information on The Tuttle Twins, go to their website, their Facebook, or Angel Studio’s Tuttle Twins show crowd-investing initiative page.