story is part of Walter
Block's Autobiography Archive.
How I Became a Libertarian
journey to liberty began at the tender age of seven, when I fell
madly in love with Walt Disney’s rendition of General Francis Marion.
This legendary Southern freedom fighter harassed the British during
the Revolutionary War and became known as the elusive Swamp Fox.
My infatuation was not simply with the hero of the TV show, played
by actor Leslie Nielsen, however. Somehow the concept of freedom,
poorly understood by my young mind, drew me like a magnet.
I had exhausted everything that the library had on the Swamp Fox,
I began reading accounts of the American Revolution, just to gain
a better understanding of what my hero had been up against. My history
classes dealing with the founding of our nation were disappointing,
however. They dealt with prominent battles and dates and not with
the true meaning of liberty.
throughout high school, I still equated liberty with democracy.
My first introduction to hard-core libertarian concepts was in my
freshman year of college when a friend insisted that I read Atlas
I enjoyed the book immensely, I was concerned with its apparent
lack of compassion. Raised as a Catholic, I could not reconcile
the concept of ending tax-supported welfare with Christ’s admonition
to love our neighbors.
considering this dilemma, I suddenly became aware of a pivotal point:
although refusing to help others might not be very loving, pointing
guns at our neighbors to force them to help those in need was even
less so. Honoring our neighbor’s choice was more loving than the
forcible alternative. If people needed helping, I should expend
my energy to offer that help, rather than forcing others to provide
the next couple of years, I quickly went from an objectivist to
anarchist. In the late 1960s, Morris and Linda Tannehill lived in
the E. Lansing, Michigan area, where I was going to school. Through
the friend who encouraged me to read Ayn Rand’s books, I met this
fascinating couple and obtained a copy of their libertarian-anarchist
Market for Liberty.
was easily won over to anarchy.
the next several years, although philosophically a libertarian,
I was not even aware of the term. I finally discovered the Party
in the early 1980s.
me, libertarianism continues to be an evolution. As I detail in
Our World, all paths, whether spiritual, practical, rational,
or humanitarian, appear to lead to liberty, where these separate
modalities become intertwined. Perhaps we truly are hard-wired for
freedom so that nothing less will do.
J. Ruwart, PhD [send her mail]
is the author of Healing
Our World (new, updated edition now available) and Short
Answers to the Tough Questions. Her
website details her tapes, books, and free downloads.
© 2002 LewRockwell.com