"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." ~ Frederic Bastiat
The Chemical Ali Political Consciousness Evolutionary Time Line
Exclusive to STR
Let me start off by admitting that this is an autobiographical time line and not an effort at political propaganda or my personal reading list. We've got enough of those already. If gaining awareness of your intrinsic individual liberty were as simple as reading a few books we'd already be living in utopia. Instead here is what I've learned; take from it what you will.
May 1970 ' Born into innocent liberty, as are all human beings.
1986 ' High School: American Government class.
1989- Read Ayn Rand's Anthem.
1991- Returned from service in Kuwait and Iraq with the US Army. (24th Infantry Div). I was stunned by the death and destruction I witnessed in a war that only lasted a few days. Plagued by health problems ever since too.
Epiphany: War is indeed hell even when your side is victorious. (What did we 'win'?)
1992- Marry and move to Ann Arbor, MI. Buy real estate. Have children. Buy even more real estate.
1992- Voted for Bill Clinton for president and all the other Democrats on the ticket that year too. Voting Democratic is a family tradition.
1992- Lame duck President Geo. H.W. Bush orders the invasion of Somalia. Is America the world's police now? I feel betrayed and outraged.
Epiphany: American military power is seldom if ever is used to actually defend America or the American people.
1994-I was one of the Salesmen of the Year for Monsanto. ( Great Lakes region) Not thinking about much else except making money.
Epiphany: If you try hard you can make money; the trick is getting the government to let you keep it.
1995- I began the University of Michigan 's Master of Public Administration program. Left after one semester.
Epiphany: Most college education is for wankers.
1996-1999 - Hanging around in Ann Arbor with anarchists, Democrats, Democratic Socialists, Republicans, Libertarians, Green Partyers, and unaffiliated political sorts, all of whom formed a fermenting mix of political activism and debate. I read a lot too.
Epiphany: Except for highly technical stuff you can better educate yourself by hanging out with people who know what you wanna learn.
2000 ' Ann Arbor 's leftwing elements push to have rent control and a property management board passed into law by referenda. The LP ignores it all and devotes all its efforts toward fundraising and yard signs for its presidential candidate Harry Browne.
The Dems and the GP are for the rent law and the LP, while opposing it, devotes no time or money toward defeating it at the polls. The Republicans go all out to beat it. Nearly all of my assets are real estate in the city of Ann Arbor too.
Epiphany: Depend on yourself and your own judgement rather than the promises of politicians or parties. Even pols and parties you agree with. Especially those you agree with.
November 2000 ' Rent Control and Property Mgt Board are narrowly defeated in the election. Proponents vow to try again in two years. I decide to bail on Ann Arbor . Wife doesn't agree. Says we must 'adapt'.
Epiphany: 51% of the voters can take away everything you worked hard to get. So much for electoral democracy, I conclude.
January 2001 ' Wife leaves to visit her family in Ireland . She never returns. Slowly but surely I sell off our buildings and houses.
Epiphany: Don't love anyone who doesn't love you back.
Epiphany: When things go badly people, look for scapegoats.
November 2001- I move to Hillsdale County, MI to start life over again with two kids to take care of, no job, and an absent wife. I look around for a business I can run myself. I am appalled at all the licenses, fees, taxes, expenses, permits and just plain interference by the State at all levels (fed, state, county, city, and township) to starting up even a very simple small business. WTF? Were the Republicans right about the government being the problem and not the solution, I wonder? I read and surf the Internet voraciously.
Epiphany: Government loves employment but hate employers.
November 2002 ' Didn't bother with voting this time. Haven't voted since.
Epiphany: Voting is initiating force by proxy as well, which makes it immoral. (See November 2000)
2003 ' My business is up and running. The kids are adjusting. I find that the more things I do for myself, the more control over my life I have. This is very good.
Epiphany: What exactly do I need the state for again? Maybe I don't?
March 2003 - Geo. W. Bush orders Iraq invasion. I wonder how much longer America will exist as a (relatively) free society? I start to consider alternatives: Perhaps an enclave in Costa Rica or Belize ?
Epiphany: Always know where the doors are.
2004 - I take a philosophy class at the local community college. While perusing the library, I find a copy of Frederic Bastiat's book The Law. I decide that while I agree with his ideas about a minimalist state and laissez-faire economics, I begin to wonder: Do we really need a state at all?
Epiphany: If 'ands' and 'buts' were candy and nuts, then every day would be Christmas. So don't believe the hype.
Epiphany: The feedback I get tells me that there are a lot of us freedom lovers out here! Way more than I thought, anyhow. So it isn't just me. Hmmm..
March 2006 ' I am still living in innocent liberty nearly 36 years later. Only now I am aware of it.