In my earliest memories, as I recall them, I was always an American patriot. I believed that America was the biggest and baddest nation on the planet and that those who dared defy us should reep the consequences of standing against us. I studied obsessively about the military, the government and how our system works. I was indeed in a state of delusion.
Then around the age of twelve I developed a keen interest about the Founding Fathers of the United States and I wanted to learn about what they said and the meanings behind the laws they passed, so I took up reading the Federalist Papers. This opened up my world view tremendously as I now knew more about the Constitution and the actual reasons for it than any of my peers did. I would debate adults on the subject and would leave them in awe, which probably had more to do with the fact they were discussing these matters with a young teenager than anything else. At this point I was definitely a Constitutional Conservative, my first step down the libertarian path.
I still held a deep respect for the military and other government agencies and was involved with patriotic groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, the Young Marines, Explorer Scouts, etc. I made it to Eagle Scout and retired as my Company First Sergeant in the Young Marine program. I was a tall and fit figure so they put me in the Color Guard with the prestigious honor of being the one to carry the American flag. On one occasion, directly after the events of September 11, 2001 our local school district held it’s first football game since the attack. I was not scheduled to be in the Color Guard that day but it turned out that the flag carrier couldn’t show up for the event, probably out of fear. I was chosen to carry the flag, nervous as hell, in front of hundreds of people I did so. All eyes were on me and that flag that day, it is a feeling I will never forget and it was the proudest moment of my life.
Through the years following I continued to believe in limited government but developed a sense that to be a true patriot was to have a healthy fire of rebellion against the government and the status quo. I began to develop much more Minarchist ideals and believed that freedom could only come about through limited government. I would speak to my family and friends about how I felt economics should be. At one point my brother said that I ‘sounded like a Capitalist’ and that I should check out Objectivism. I found myself much in agreement with Rand but could not get over the seemingly cult like feel of the philosophy of Objectivism. If you didn’t agree with it on everything you were deemed irrational or a ‘disgusting monster’ as she was known to call people of differing views than her own. I discovered that I had more in common with Libertarians than anyone else and finally joined the Libertarian Party.
I would join various freedom and patriot groups on the web and debate the politics of liberty with them, to often disdainful ears. Nobody seemed to understand the philosophy of liberty well at all, most of them being your typical neo-conservative types. There were some people that I would find myself in agreement with on alot of issues but the one I found myself in agreement with the most was a man by the name of James Cox. Inevitably he and I would team up in debates and we would wind up saying the exact same thing, a trend that continues to this day. I thought to myself, ‘Who the hell is this guy?’ I was confused, here was somebody that for the first time I had agreed with everything down the line, and it all made perfect sense to me. So I contacted him and he introduced me to the camp of Anarcho-Individualism, something I had never even heard of before. Like most people my perception of Anarchy was that it was just a punk phase people went through as teenagers. I never imagined that it was an actual viable and logical philosophy, certainly not one that I would find myself in absolute agreement with. James showed my videos by different Anarchists, including Stephen Molyneux. I would find that I matched the description of an Anarcho-Capitalist to a T.
I had long held the belief that the state was the negation of freedom and that it used coercion in everything it ever did, but I just couldn’t get past the idea that limited government was the surest way to secure freedom. Upon self reflection I would discover that my wish for a limited government was based on nothing more than how I was raised and my blind acceptance of mainstream norms brought on through indoctrination. The principles of Non-Aggression, Voluntaryism and sound money through free markets is something that I believe in very strongly and hope to be a sounding voice in favor of for years to come.
How did you arrive here? Are you an anarchist? A libertarian? Why? Comment. Discuss.