Saturday, June 18, 2011

How I became a libertarian

Officially, I've been a card carrying, big L Libertarian since December 28, 2008. But as I suddenly look back, I'm wondering how deep my libertarian roots go.

Back when I was a grad assistant, I taught Philosophy and Public Affair 2005 and 2006, and very quickly I discovered one of my favorite questions to ask was, "What exactly makes X wrong?" Very often I would find that the answer was, nothing. I spent semesters making my students think about why these things were considered wrong, and trying to discover any truth in this wrongness, and often finding nothing inherently wrong in so many things people thought were inherently wrong. And in the process, I realized the same; it was a glorious experience.

It's so strange to compare myself to the person I was 10 years ago. I made a few really big mistakes, but all in all I was what most would consider a good kid. I lived my rules of behavior that most in the rather conservative (note little c) community and college considered proper and correct. Looking back now, I really do wish I hadn't. Like Huxley's John Savage, I wish I had claimed the pain and suffering that freedom can allow, instead of repressing it for safety's sake. It took a year of walking away from all of the assumptions I hadn't even known I had to discover who I was. The first set of revelations frightened me; now, I find I discovered things that I gratefully accept now as excellent parts of me. On a side note, yes, Rene Descartes is my favorite philosopher.

I've spent so long on a wonderful journey of discovery, and I think libertarianism is exactly where I belong. I think so many more people would discover the same, if they were to break the character foundation society, culture, and even upbringing created for them, and build their own foundation on what they then find.

(Originally posted on

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