This did bring up and crystallize some interesting points.
Without claiming to be an expert on either path, going to live at Wheaton labs does have some major differences from ERE.
The main difference I am thinking about is that, with the traditional ERE path, you can ultimately live without working. As long as you stay in your budget, you can do whatever you want. At Wheaton Labs, even if you get your acre and develop a permie garden, you still need to work to eat. (goes without saying that, if this is what you love to do, it is not a drawback). What does strike me about this difference, is the resilience of your lifestyle in each path.
Once you've achieve your ERE lifestyle, you have tremendous personal resilience. If you get injured or sick and need to spend a year recovering, you can do that, because you have the income to cover food and shelter without having to do any work. On the other hand, you have much less systematic resilience - meaning that in a major societal disruption, you are not super well insulated; your income depends on the stock market doing well, and your food supply can be disrupted by - for example - a worldwide pandemic.
If you go for a self sufficient permaculture lifestyle, without building up the cash savings that ERE does, you have a lot of systematic resilience (lots of insulation from societal disruption). But personal resilience is not automatically built in; if you get sick even for a few weeks during the harvest period for your staple crops, you are in trouble for the next year.
I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on what you need in order to have personal resilience within a permaculture lifestyle. For the sake of discussion, maybe two scenarios: one, you are willing to live at Wheaton labs, and have an acre there. Two, you are not "adult" enough to want to store your feces in buckets for two years, and so have decided to live on your own on a couple of acres in the country, and built a self sufficient permaculture system on that property. Also for the sake of this discussion, let's clump "developing passive income streams" into the same category as ERE - both are saying that you have money coming in for which you don't have to work. Is that what you need to be resilient in the face of personal accident? How much do you need to feel safe in each scenario? Does community play a role? How much could you depend on the community to help you (i.e. bringing you meals for a week vs. feeding you for a year). Is it just a matter of having a full year of food and fuel stocked up, so that you can make it to the next harvest if you miss your main one? Are you comfortable depending on the social safety nets, like welfare, if you need them? Is it fair to do so if you aren't working and paying into those systems?
Just some food for thought.