"Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest." ~ John Stuart Mill
I was young, and impressionable. Raised by those of a generation whose patriotism and self-identity as Americans was unquestioned, honed to a fine point by those family members who fought in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam, there was no question in my mind. The fact that my draft lottery number was so high that I would never be drafted mattered little. I enlisted.
It could have been Vietnam. I got orders to Turkey instead. Air-evac--shuffling the sick and wounded from unknown conflicts and wars to safe haven in hospitals in Germany. It didn't matter how or why--I was a faithful airman, doing my duty. An American, doing what Americans have seemingly done forever. The best of civilization was our country--we had to be right in whatever we did. It never occurred to me that there was any hypocrisy in my thinking. The concept of "American exceptionalism" was not a concern; it was my right.
After my tours of duty overseas and at the premier B-52 base stateside, I took off on the educational front--degrees in history, political science, and then, theology and all that entailed. Two decades before Fox News Network premiered, I was already a fan. I was was wedded to the conservative/neo-con group without apology.
I fell in love with Ronald Reagan. Somehow, he managed to incite the rebel in me, while maintaining traditional American values (as I thought they existed at the time). Perhaps--it was really a secret desire for Peggy Noonan, who was beautiful and wrote magnificently for RR. Then, Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran got into my reading list. Odd thoughts to the contrary of my conservative American exceptionalism began surfacing. Malachi Martin's tome, The Keys of this Blood, threw my thinking overboard. Something happened--not monumental in any newsworthy way, but certainly to me. At about the same time I was listening to Rush Limbaugh. In my 30's I found myself twisted and turned philosophically, in a way I had missed in my late teens and early twenties.
Fear of caving in to liberal policies kept me safely on the conservative bench.
George the 1st caused my first real awakening. Panama, the Gulf War--both seemed so much like the United Fruit business from years ago. I asked friends some questions that brought a lot of "but, buts"--but never any real answers. After Geo I blew his re-election, I endured the Clinton regime until Newt and his gang pulled off their coup. Those first 100 days were heady times, but it disintegrated into politics as usual. It was not what was advertised--a renewal of America--but merely, the same old political BS which the Democrats had long since perfected. Clinton was re-elected, and I finally despaired of any hope of a political solution. The rock group Police nailed it--there is no political solution.
Drifting politically, stung by divorce after a long marriage and raising two sons, 2002 found me cruising the internet. The conspiracy freaks were everywhere. A shred of truth was combined with a deluge of conjecture, and insanity usually followed. Conservative news sites became transparent as they merely defended their guys over against the liberal guys. I bumped into Instapundit, but he wants to be a liberal/republican/whig/slash whatever war-hawk, and gaining fame as he did, only reinforced his equivocation.
I discovered Lew Rockwell along the way last year. I hadn't really thought of my politics as being anarchist, but that was the real jump start. I zipped around the Net in some far different circles after that. I started my own blog, and began pontificating on my own. Heady stuff, but mostly self-serving for the ego.
Then I stumbled upon Strike The Root. Dang it--some kid half my age had more than a clue, and he was making things happen online. He was even courteous enough to put a few of my mental wild hairs on his site. I read everything he put up online. Questions flowed like water over a dam in my mind. Finally, the realization hit. I was neither liberal nor conservative. I am free by nature. Hence--I cannot be anything but an anarchist--a man without a ruler.
Saying so will be lost in the gazillions of commentaries online and in print. But I have said so, and if for no one but myself . . .
That is sufficient.