It’s funny how life works. The daily interactions and experiences we have seem trivial at the time but can have profound ramification on our futures. Here I sit, trying to strategize how best to proceed with the writing of this post, the future of this site, my reading list, my son’s education, financial planning, dinner tonight… It’s an unceasing string of seemingly random thoughts that are all interconnected, at least for me. Everything fits into a web and has varying degrees of influence on the other nodes of the web. It was this web that brought me to the political opinions I hold now, which in turn changed my views, or at the least enlightened my views on many other topics. My political journey so far is what I’d like to talk about in this post.
I was brought up in a conservative, Republican household. I don’t recall the issue-specific positions my parents took on most things. It was the typical Republican platform, patriotic, lower taxes, anti-gay marriage, pro-life… While I took on many of those view as a child and teenager something about them – something I can’t pinpoint – didn’t agree with me. I missed the age cutoff to vote in the election that put George W. Bush in the White House for his second term by two months. If I’d been able to vote, I wouldn’t have voted for him. Neither would I have voted for John Kerry. My choice was Michael Peroutka, who was running on the Constitution Party ticket. I found out about him, and his party after someone online suggested that I might like the Libertarian Party. I dismissed the Libertarian Party at the time on the grounds of its pro-choice stance, but the suggestion lead me to look into other “third parties”.
Excuse me now, as I delve down the first of two rabbit holes you’ll find in this post. For the sake of illustrating the web I discussed earlier, I want to map out the events that lead me to the Constitution Party more fully. The earliest I can trace it was a periodical for teens called ‘Guideposts for Teens’ – an offshoot of the ‘Guideposts’ publication. My parents bought a subscription for me and my siblings. There was also a Guideposts for Teens website, complete with a message board. There were a lot of other people my age on forum, with similar beliefs. It was a fun place to spend time online. Ultimately Guideposts pulled the plug on the publication and the website – opting to reformat for a more feminine audience. One of the other members of the message board decided to set up his own message board to fill the void. Many members moved over, and I was one of them. I became part of the site staff, and it was through the site admin that I learned about the Libertarian Party.
My political allegiance stayed with the Constitution Party for a few years (I even registered with them), until sometime in 2007 when I discovered the most profound influence on my political growth – a Congressman by the name of Ron Paul, who happened to be running for president.
This event was brought about by a different chain of circumstances, though just as unlikely as the story above. Our second rabbit hole began some years before. I don’t remember the exact source, but it had to do with my learning of the existence of a television channel called ‘TechTV’ (now G4). I was very interested in computers and technology, as I still am. The idea of a TV channel dedicated to it was wonderful. One of the shows was a tech news program called ‘The Screensavers’, which I watched whenever I could. Eventually TechTV was turned into G4, and went from a focus on technology and PCs to a focus almost exclusively on gaming. The Screensavers was cancelled. One of the hosts on the show was Kevin Rose, who went on to found the user-centric news aggregation site Digg.com. I followed and was a member at Digg.com until it’s downfall in 2010.
It was on Digg that I first heard of Ron Paul. I was delighted to find a politician who made sense. I still follow Dr. Paul today, and supported both of his presidential runs on the Republican ticket. He, in turn led me to the Austrian School of economics, and to giants upon who’s shoulders I aspire to stand so that I can see over the haze of misinformation and faulty logic – brilliant individuals like Henry Hazlett, Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Tom Woods, Robert Murphy, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Lew Rockwell, and Murray Rothbard among many others. Their profound contributions to the fields of economics, political theory, education and the pursuit of liberty have all left impressions on my own thinking and understanding. The more I read the more I see and the more coherent the web of ideas becomes. Now that I’m out of school, my education has begun.
I was homeschooled though high school, and it is to that which I attribute a great deal. The environment and living the challenges that I did better positioned me to break from the status quo and the box of “allowable opinion” (to borrow a phrase from Dr. Woods). I’d like to think that had I been subjected to a public education I would have found the same level of disgust with the reality of it as I now find with the thought of it. Either way, it’s a fate I hope to spare my son from.
If you’ve been following the site for a while, you may have noticed a gradual shift away from focusing on the constitutionality of topics. When I write about government activities, I still attempt to frame them within the construct of the Constitution. However, as I have grown in understanding, I’ve come to the sad realization that the idea of restraining a government with a piece of paper was doomed from the very beginning. As a result, I focus less on the constitutionality of topics since doing so is a purely academic exercise without any real world application. Instead I now focus more on the illegitimacy of government control over whatever the subject at the time may be. I’ve found this to be both a satisfying but also infuriating task. Infuriating because of how systemic the government infection is and satisfying because there are few things more fun than the challenge of eviscerating one’s enemy at a cerebral level.
The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. It’s wonderful. It’s invigorating to discover new avenues of thought that were previously unbeknownst to me. I cannot think of a time in my life that I’ve been more interested in learning. For my own satisfaction I need to learn all that I can, but beyond that I need to learn so that I can facilitate my son’s learning and hopefully yours in some small way.
I started with the web analogy and continued with it because as our thoughts are interconnected, so too are we as individuals. We depend upon each other for our economic wellbeing and for our social needs. It’s been said that everyone you meet knows something you do not. I humbly hope in some very small way this site has helped you. I hope it has enriched your journey. Even if you vehemently disagree with everything I’ve written I hope your horizons have been expanded. I hope I’ve made you a little uncomfortable with the ideas you hold. I hope you question them. I question mine constantly. I’m in a losing battle with myself to reach a more perfect theorem. What I hope for myself, my family, and you is that we work toward the embodiment of absolute freedom. In the words of Albert Camus, “the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion”. The world needs more rebels!
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Based on a work at http://www.considerliberty.com.
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