An Airman's Story of Changing From a Neocon to Libertarian Anarchist

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by Christian Light

     

I was inspired after reading Ssgt. Rodriguez's story and would like to share my own. I am currently an Airman first class in the Air Force and am awaiting discharge from the military. I, like Ssgt. Rodriguez, am a libertarian anarchist and share many of the same beliefs that he does.

Growing up I was always interested in politics. I was a huge "Bush Republican". I thought Bush was the greatest president ever and I thought anyone who opposed the wars was just a stupid bleeding heart liberal. I never thought about joining the military until my senior year of high school. I often joke that if you told me junior year that I was going to be enlist in the Air Force I would have said you're crazy! I originally was going to enlist in the Army and wanted to eventually join the green berets.

One of my Dad's friends was former Army and convinced me to join the Air Force instead. I really wanted a combat job. My dream was to be a combat controller. However, my eyesight was too bad and I couldn't be one. So I decided to enlist, get the eye surgery from the military, and then cross train into combat control later. I was really excited about enlisting in the Air Force. I really thought that I was "serving and defending my country". I thought this could be the beginning of a whole new life.

I eventually went to basic and tech school. I enlisted with security forces planning on eventually cross training into combat control later down the road. I immediately saw how utterly ridiculous the military was. It is probably the most incompetently run organization I've ever seen. I was discouraged to observe this after I enlisted but I still kept up hopes. I was "serving my country" and would eventually be able to cross train later down the road. My beliefs didn't really change much for the first year or so I was in. I graduated tech school and was sent to Ramstein Air Base, Germany as my first base. I was excited to go to Germany, as anybody would. After being at Ramstein for about 8 months I eventually was "deployed" (TDY actually, Temporary Duty) to Kuwait. That's when my beliefs started to change.

Kuwait was a joke. Even when I first landed there and started settling in all I could think about was why I was even here in the first place. Me and my co-workers would joke about it all the time, Why were we even here in the first place? Most people just took it with a grain of salt and moved on. But the more I thought about it the more I began to wonder what was I doing here? It was usually pretty monotonous there, so after work and going to the gym I was generally bored. I started watching Penn and Teller: Bullshit! I heard them always mentioning the CATO institute and also libertarians. I had heard of libertarians before but didn't know much about them or what their beliefs were. I was intrigued but I never dug much deeper than that. I became increasingly frustrated with my leadership at this base in Kuwait. One day I was at a gate and one of our Msgt's came out and started chastising me about how dirty my post was and other frivolous things that don't matter at all. Shortly after my flight chief came out and I explained to him my anger and that, for lack of a better phrase, I wanted to beat the shit out of him. That was not the right thing to say. They took my weapons, and I was sent back to Ramstein to be seen by more "qualified" mental health experts. This is when I really started to become discouraged with the military.

I was only in Kuwait three months before I was sent back to Ramstein. I settled back in but I was very discouraged about the whole situation. I remembered about Penn and Teller though and so I started doing some research on the CATO institute and also libertarianism. I eventually started watching some Ron Paul videos and that is what really changed me. Everything he said made so much sense! It's like there was one man in congress who was actually intelligent! I gradually started moving away from the philosophy of the neocons to the philosophy of minarchist libertarianism. I was obsessed. I was researching everything I could think of. It came as a shock to me how much my beliefs starting changing. It's like my eyes were opened. I was blind but now I could see. By this time it was around May 2011. I heard rumors that Ron Paul was thinking about running for president again. I was very excited when I heard he was going to run for president again. I kept researching more and more. I eventually found my way to the Mises institute and also to LewRockwell.com. It's been a learning experience ever since then. I never knew Austrian economics and Libertarianism were such interesting subjects. I eventually crossed over to the anarchist side around October 2011. At first I thought the idea was utterly ridiculous. I wouldn't even touch it. Of course we needed the state right? But I eventually started reading more from Mises.org and LRC and realized that they were right. I was changed from a minarchist into an anarcho-capitalist.

All of this was taking a toll on me though. My beliefs were changing so much it was hard for me to wrap my head around what I really believed anymore. I had done a complete 180. I was against everything I used to believe and worse than that I was against the very institution which I was now a part of, the military. I slowly started to break down inside every day. Being in the military was now taking a toll on my mental and moral well-being. I wrestled back and forth for a couple months trying to decide if I should just finish my enlistment or voice my concerns to my leadership and see if I could somehow get discharged early from the military. Around December I finally couldn't take it anymore and decided to go up my chain of command and voice my concerns. I was done and I did not want to be in the military anymore. The constitution, the very document I took an oath to defend, was being trampled on every day, and worse than that most people I work with either didn't care or didn't even know that so much of what we were doing was unconstitutional in the first place.

I went up my chain of command. I told my supervisor, flight chief, first sergeant, and even went to go talk to the chief. I really thought that they weren't going to have anything I was trying to say and would just tell me to get over it and deal with it. Surprisingly they were pretty willing to help me out. (I now believe that the main reason they want to help me is not because they really care about my well-being but that they do not want me to "poison the well" so to speak. They know I speak my mind and will try to influence other people.) The first sergeant told me that currently the Air Force is downsizing and that they are trying to get rid of people. So I put in a voluntary discharge application. It got denied, twice. The second time I even had documentation from mental health stating my condition and the Air Force still denied it.

Apparently there answer for denying my discharge was because of "manning concerns". That was back in February. I was very discouraged. I went and talked to the first sergeant again and he said he was working on another way to get me out through mental health. I eventually had to go to a mental health evaluation. This was about 4 weeks ago. I had to spend most of the day talking to this mental health specialist. At the end of the day he told me that he was going to recommend an administrative discharge through mental health. He said that my current beliefs weren't compatible with military service. It's pretty sad when a person who actually cares about the constitution and liberty and freedom is no longer "compatible with military service". No matter though, I was so excited I couldn't believe they he was going to recommend discharge, albeit I was a little skeptical. Nothing is ever too easy in the military. My commander said he would approve the discharge.

So here I am now. I am currently waiting on my discharge to go through. Mental health said I should be home no later than July. We will see. However, it really does look like this is going to go through. I am excited to go home, and also to no longer be part of the military. Who knows what these crazy people are going to do next. All this talk about going to war with North Korea, Iran, and Syria scares me half to death. When you think about it, it's not logical at all to wage another war but if there is one thing we know it's that these people in power don't think logically or rationally.

I was excited to read Ssgt. Rodriguez's post of LRC. At least I know I'm not the only Libertarian anarchist in the Air Force. I am happy to say that I have met others in the military that are big Ron Paul fans and/or libertarians. More and more people are starting to see this debacle we call the U.S. government for what it is really is. I hope this isn't too long or that it bores you. I would be honored if you shared this on the main site. At least more LRC readers will know that not everyone in the military are a bunch of crazed neocons that want to invade every country on Earth.

LewRockwell.com, the Mises Institute, Ron Paul, and you yourself Mr. Rockwell have been some of the biggest influences in shaping my beliefs. As much as I hate the military I often tell people that if I had to come in the military to learn what I know now then it was worth it. Thank you.

Christian Light [send him mail], an Airman First Class in the US Air Force, is stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. He joined the Air Force about 2 1/2 years ago when he was 18, but has since changed from a hardcore Bush neocon to a libertarian anarchist. At this moment he is awaiting discharge (honorable) from the Air Force, and should be home within the next 2-3 months.

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