It appeared that my family was ruined six years ago when I was publicly accused — never investigated, never tried in court, as social smears seldom are — of felony-level abuse. We were devastated, of course, but not ruined. Next week I release Chapters 4 and 5, and I pull back our curtains even more to show the miraculous transformation my family went through.
But six years ago when our smear first hit the internet, there was a coordinated attack-machine in place to stir up the original accusation and push it into all corners of the online world. It was a web of deceit that held my family captive for at least a year, and in many ways still cripples the impact my family can have in the real world. In my book I refer to this attack machine as “the mob,” and it operates like a mafia of organized crime, writing and publishing and sharing and spreading hit pieces in an attempt to tear down people like me — along with any family, business or ministry that might be in the line of fire.
This machine was led by former debaters in the homeschool speech and debate movement, of which I am a significant leader. I have always viewed debate as a catalyst for finding the truth. I still do! Policy debates produce better laws, values debates lead to better decisions in conflict situations, factual debates empower us to separate truth from fiction.
These debaters don’t view debate like I view debate. They use it to defame and shame those of us who challenge political and moral propositions. They are typically (almost all) radical leftists who have a slanted desire to ruin families. They happily make no bones about their ideology or goals. One of the leaders literally claims to have “asked Satan into my heart” and it’s as if he now uses his debate skills like a demon, twisting and manipulating logic and evidence to support his radical agenda of stripping children from their parents, redefining their childhoods as abusive, and forming a community of other knotted-up young adults who are trained to hate their childhoods.As my student debaters grow up and become adults, many become powerful influencers. They move on in life and get degrees, get married, have children, become professionals who make unique impacts in the world. I have countless examples of former debaters who take their debate skills into politics, the clergy and mission fields, mass media, education, etc. I’m so very proud of the good they do in the lives of others.
On the darker flip side, some have used their skills to seek out victims and destroy their families. I knew these debaters when they were younger, more innocent and optimistic about life. One was in my club, was close friends with my children, and took top awards at nationals and whose name sits proudly in the league’s Hall of Fame. Today he has not only disavowed all from that community, he has proudly helped new debaters turn their backs on their parents and smear their family names.
Another I had hired to be an assistant coach one summer, but the head coach told me not to renew him for the next debate camp. At the time we found him to be a lonely, frustrated young man who hadn’t quite figured out what to do with his debate skills. He was an excellent debater, but he didn’t seem to have a wholesome purpose for his growing talents. For a few years he published a competing sourcebook with mine, and I encouraged it and its success. But he eventually hung that up. That was too bad, because he was (and still is) a great writer.
If my pedagogy is debate, theirs is destruction; mine is persuasion, theirs is seduction; mine is logic, theirs is manipulation.
I met up with one of the most loyal followers of the mob (another former student of mine) at a national tournament shortly after my smear. She, too, was sharing an online narrative of how much she “hated” her mother. I share with you the conversation we had in my Chapter 4, which releases on Monday. Without getting too far ahead of myself, the conversation revealed the fundamental dilemma of the mob’s drive: the truth doesn’t matter.
Social smearers do not care about the truth. I was naive in 2014 to think that they did. They are out to kill and destroy, and today they have social media platforms to do just that. They are social keyboard warriors who are not interested in discussion of the systemic problems of raising children; they hide behind their keyboards and type out accusatorial abuse claims about the very people who want to promote real change. And I think they see me as a threat to their activism. I do, in fact, have a family of love as a most perfect rebuttal to the lies, and the Jeub Family is a powerful promoter of “love in the house.”
Now, I am being extremely raw and honest in my new book Facing Hate, and my first three chapters begin unwinding a story that allows me to “lean in” on truths my family needed to come to terms with. The rest of the story is outlined in my book, and it is both heartbreaking and infuriating. The trolls are watching, and they are ready to pounce. I contemplated ignoring them, as they are trolls, and conventional wisdom says “don’t feed the trolls.” But they collectively serve as a most perfect example of social smearing, which is what my book is about. I’ve seen this play out in all sorts of online communities, not just speakers and debaters, as I am sure you have, too.
My book isn’t about the mobsters themselves, but it is about the tactics they use. They use social smearing to abuse. How ironic. They accuse me, other parents, even an entire movement of parents as abusers, while using tactics of abuse themselves.
The mob is the abuser.
There is hope in this dark story. Ultimately, you’ll see how social smearing — no matter how damaging — is a moveable mountain. Watch for Chapter 4 on Monday.