How I became a libertarian

I hate generalizations, especially when talking about human beings. We all are individuals, with different thoughts, motivations, emotional/physical strengths and weaknesses, talents, shortcomings, cultural influences, pathologies, etc. That said, it’s safe to say you won’t run into many black libertarians on a given day in the streets or on social media. There are many reasons, one being their aren’t many self identifying libertarians in general, but second is most blacks identify with the democrat party (since 1964, 82 to 95 percent of blacks voters have voted for the Democratic Presidential candidate). Now this isn’t to say most blacks are liberal. They might approve of some liberal policies depending on the issue, but like most Americans, most blacks are in the middle.

That was me. I grew up in a democrat household. My mother, a catholic church going woman, and my father, a Baptist preacher and entrepreneur were fairly conservative culturally. The didn’t drink, didn’t party, use welfare. They went to church and bible study and instilled in their children morality and love. But, every election, when it was time to vote they would take their democratic election ticket and vote down the line. I remember my mom taking me with her in voting booth, “why are you voting for him, ma?” I asked. She responded “Because he’s the democrat.” As I got older I would ask what’s wrong with the Republicans? They would typically say “Oh they’re a bunch of racists” or “David Duke was a Republican!” (the infamous ex-KKK leader who ran for Governor of Louisiana in the 90’s). As I grew into an adult, I began to gain more interest in politics. George W. Bush was president, and I knew most blacks didn’t like him so I fell in line. I wasn’t a fan of war, but it did fascinate me. I appreciated America having a super powerful military, and how we used it to spread democracy around the world to defend people. I didn’t like Bush because I figured he just wasn’t doing enough domestically like helping the poor, etc. When Katrina tore through my hometown of New Orleans, I witnessed the failure of all levels of government, and how they created a false sense of security for the citizens of the New Orleans. I often brain stormed on what could be done to bring more prosperity to my city. I was sick of seeing my people poor and riddled in crime and despair. “We need more businesses, and economic opportunity!” But how does that work?

I read typical black authors like Michael Eric Dyson, Cornell West, etc. While I enjoyed their readings, I still found myself unfulfilled. I read some Malcolm X and Booker T. Washington, I was impressed by their preaching’s of self ownership, self determination, and building strong foundations for economic freedom in the black community. I started getting more into the “game” of politics. I would watch Fox News and CNN and looked at it more as a sporting event. Still, I found myself without a  home ideologically. While I liked Democrats for the most part since they were good on police brutality, and  normally “said the right things” like “We need more money for education instead of prisons”, but I wasn’t a big fan of taxes and I’ve seen the dependency created by the welfare state first hand. I appreciated Republicans emphasis on lower taxes and building businesses. I was a young man in the work force, so I finally got to experience paying taxes and living on my own. So I identified with that. Yet, I still couldn’t buy into the Republicans love of war, and their emphasis on controlling culture. I also wasn’t a fan of some of the xenophobic behavior of some self described Republicans I knew. I was lost. I found myself becoming more and more disenchanted with the U.S. Foreign policy, especially after working for the Army as a contractor. I struggled to find a good reason we were over there. Then one day, I saw a movie called “Why We Fight“, and it opened with President Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation where he warned about the “Military Industrial Complex”.  Eventually I started flirting with conspiracy theories. The Skulls and Bones and Masons! The Bush Family bloodline! The Illuminati!!! All this was fun, but still, seemed a bit fantastical to me.

“Ah well, guess I will get in line a vote for Obama.”

One day, as I walked by this coffee shop, I saw dozens of college kids inside wearing “Ron Paul 08” shirts and holding signs and stickers. I wondered “Who is Ron Paul?” The next day I recall driving to work, and seeing Ron Paul signs EVERYWHERE, hanging from over passes and on every corner.  Even though I planned on voting for Obama, I was always interested in candidates that weren’t mainstream, such as Ross Perot, Cynthia McKinney, and Ralph Nader.  I eventually google’d him. As I read Ron Paul’s stances on issues, I was floored.

Views on Education: Abolish the Department of Education

Views on Economy: Abolish the Fed

Views on Taxes: Abolish the IRS

“What?! This guy is nuts! I like him!” But after some research I saw the media had labeled him a “fringe candidate” and he had zero shot of winning the nomination, so I moved on (yet he lingered in the back of my mind). One night, I watched this documentary called “Zeitgeist Addendum” and they talked about the Federal Reserve, and how the fiat money is all a sham. I was very intrigued and found myself doing some research. “There goes that Ron Paul again!” when saw a video criticizing the Fed.  I started gaining more interest in the economy and how it worked. Then the 2008 bubble burst. Obama and McCain were running to DC to figure out how much of our money to hand to bankers. This felt wrong to me. “Shouldn’t Republicans be against taking tax payer money and giving it to big banks? Isn’t that the opposite of what a “free market”  is supposed to be?”  Eventually Congress approved a $700B bailout of various banks. There was one republican steadfast against this bailout, that was Ron Paul of course. This was my first time as a working adult experiencing a recession, and the media is telling me this is the worst since the great depression! I must know more! One day, a coworker sent me a link to a video called “Peter Schiff was right“. I was floored. This guy warned about the recession for years while everyone else thought he was a joke. Media is telling me no one could have saw this coming, but clearly they are lying.

I read Schiff’s wiki page and it noted that he was “Economic Advisor” to (You guessed it!) RON PAUL. Ok, something is pulling me to this Ron Paul guy. I researched him more and more, watched videos of speeches and debates, and read his writings. I found out about libertarianism. I watched Youtube videos of Milton Freidman talking about libertarianism and free markets. I bought Peter Schiff’s book “How and Economy Grows and why it Crashes”. I begin listening to programs like “Freedom Watch” with Judge Napolitano, and Lew Rockwell podcast. I stumbled upon Mises.org, which opened the door to a treasure trove of information, articles, books, etc from great libertarian thinkers and economists. For the 1st time in my life I was absorbed into gaining knowledge on something that had nothing to do with school or career. I just wanted the truth, and this felt RIGHT. The logic made sense. The morality felt honest. In 2009 while I was still in that small government libertarian phase, I noticed one of my coworkers wearing a Mises University polo shirt. We started talking about libertarianism and he was the first to make me aware of anarcho-capitalism. As a burgeoning libertarian myself, this was quite much to hear. He could tell, so he handed me 3 books:

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Anatomy of the State by Murray Rothbard

Private Roads by Walter Block

I read Economics in One lesson the same day, and it was like a light bulb going off in my head. It cleared up so much. Then I read Anatomy of the State. If “One Lesson” was the light bulb, Anatomy of the State was a hydrogen bomb laying waste to everything I was taught to believe all my life. This was my “red pill” moment. Since then the education process has continued. Reading as much as possible from people I agree and disagree. Thankfully we live in the internet age, where we have sooo much access to knowledge right at our fingertips. I love listening and reading guys like Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell, Brion McClanahan, Judge Napolitano, and Bob Murphy. I am constantly amazed at the foresight and brilliance of people like Murray Rothbard, Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig Von Mises, Robert Higgs, Thomas Sowell, Frederick Bastiat, Lysander Spooner, and so many others. What other philosophical ideology could have done that for me?

I plan on using this site to share the knowledge I come across and to document my growth. I deeply care about the state of the human condition, and I believe freedom and liberty is the ultimate answer to us living free and prosperous lives. I will focus a lot of my thoughts on issues concerning blacks and minorities due to the fact that I think the message of liberty is not being exposed to that demographic for various reasons. I want to make a very very tiny contribution to moving us ALL in the direction of liberty.

Ryan

 

 

Source: The Afro Libertarian

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