My Journey Into Voluntaryism

Column by new Root Striker Dylan Delikta.

Exclusive to STR


I never in a million years would have thought that I would become a libertarian anarchist. Of course, neither did my family, or my friends, or anyone else who got to know me throughout my life. When I was younger, my political views were primarily shaped by my father, although my public school teachers played a subordinate role in this process. In both cases, I blindly accepted whatever I was told; consequently, I never questioned any of the rules imposed on me.
I considered myself a staunch conservative at 15 years old, during the time Obama was running for his first term for president and when Glenn Beck still had a show on Fox News. I read Glenn Beck books, I watched his show almost every day, and joined my parents when they listened to Rush Limbaugh. I argued with my classmates because I already had a seed of dissent in me about public education, seeing as I listened to the big conservatives who would rail that public schools only teach the “liberal” side of politics. I didn’t do anything unless I could find a way to put a Republican/conservative spin on it, and every “liberal” I met I considered misinformed.
So what made me change from an “America First” conservative to an anti-war, anti-state, pro-market anarchist? It all started at around 16 or 17 years of age when I was watching my little brother play a video game called BioShock. There was something about the storyline that I could not get over. I thought, “How did they come up with this?” repeatedly, until one day I finally began searching about it. It turns out that the storyline was a bit inspired by Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
It took a month or two, but I finally decided to pick up the book and read it. Needless to say, I fell in love with it. The philosophies such as individualism, non-aggression, and free-market capitalism that were put forth in the book made sense, and they got me thinking a bit differently about life and the things I encountered growing up. I started looking up interviews with Rand, frequently visited the website for the Ayn Rand Center, and really started hammering out all I could learn from her. Reading Atlas Shrugged got me interested in pursuing philosophy and economic liberty.
A few months after that, I was lent a book called Restoring the American Dream by Ronald J. Ringer. A friend had lent it to me, saying that if I liked Rand, then I would like this book. I ended up devouring the book in a matter of days, and it opened my mind to a lot of new ways to apply the ideas that I was adopting. Reading Atlas Shrugged, one ends up learning about the natural, or individual, rights, but it was Ringer’s book that made me start applying voluntaryism to life, liberty, and property consistently. Being a conservative, I had supported the War on Terrorism and the War on Drugs, but that started to change. I was slowly becoming a libertarian, and there was no stopping me!
After that I started watching John Stossel and reading Atlas Shrugged again, along with her books Anthem and The Fountainhead. I read critiques of Rand, and I watched some of her successor’s speeches, but they left me somewhat unsatisfied. I wanted to learn different ideas, and I wanted to apply them consistently, but I couldn’t find anything new at the Ayn Rand Center. Then, when I was watching an episode of Stossel, I found out about Jeffrey Tucker was talking about his new book Bourbon for Breakfast, and I immediately went to the website because I figured that not just any person promotes a book on a libertarian news show.
Soon I read many essays by people such as Jeffery Tucker, Joseph Salerno, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Lew Rockwell, etc. I felt that I had stumbled upon one of the Internet’s greatest intellectual treasures. I was excited because I felt like this was what it meant to actually learn something that I truly enjoy, unlike all the wasted years in public school. All the why’s I could or would ask could be answered without someone just saying “It’s the answer because I said so.” I ended liking their page on Facebook, and then finding even more pages. I stumbled upon shows such as Adam vs. the Man and Freedomian Radio, and I came across websites such as Whiskey and Gunpowder, The Dollar Vigilante, Center for a Stateless Society, and more. I was so excited, that because I didn’t have Kindle, I printed out articles and books from the LvMI and read them in school and shared them with everyone.
To be fair, it wasn’t right away that I was convinced of Voluntaryism. However, it only took a matter of months, seeing that I had opened my mind up to it. I have to thank Murray Rothbard for that, but even that wouldn’t be fair, seeing as I went and read people like Lysander Spooner, Albert Jay Nock, Ludwig von Mises, and others just because he mentioned them in his writings. Moreover, Stefan Molyneux also helped, seeing as how he laid out a convincing way to run defense in a stateless society, and finally, Robert Murphy convinced me of private law working in a stateless society.
There are countless people whom I could mention that everyone in the libertarian community has heard of that I could thank. However, I am only 19, and I am still learning a lot more. I may have read a lot, but I have only uncovered a fraction of what is to be learned. Because of Voluntaryism and Libertarianism in general, I had found a love for philosophy, economics, and history that I never thought possible since school made them such boring topics to pursue. In turn, one of the biggest things I like to talk about is how the state has corrupted real learning, how militarism is a big no-no, and how rational good economics really can be when talking to statists.
Of course, this has come at a little bit of a cost, too. There has been many a day where I have gotten into tiffs with my friends and my family. I have been ridiculed, yelled at, and harassed about my views. There were times where even I got a bit angry and violated the Non-Aggression Principle to a certain extent. There are times where I feel that this is pointless, but then I go back to my books or I talk to my voluntaryist or open-minded friends on Facebook and get reminded that this is a challenge that I will have to face, and it will be worth it.
Though there are many things I could add about my journey into voluntaryism, I believe this to be a legitimate summary of how I got here. It seems funny to me that looking into the storyline of a video game got me to this point, but I would not trade what I have learned in these past few years for the world. If there are other teens reading this, please know this: All it takes is a little interest in something to change your life--one just has to cultivate his garden.  


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Dylan Delikta's picture
Columns on STR: 4

19 year old, free market anarchist trying to write about Liberty as he grows. His hobbies include reading, eating, playing guitar, and camping.


tzo's picture

Nice job. Keep 'em coming, Dylan.

Suverans2's picture

Excellent! It was Robert J. Ringer who wrote Restoring the American Dream. I found my copy of this treasure at a yard sale and bought it for a quarter.

Dylan Delikta's picture

Thank you for pointing out the correction!
I am glad I am not the only one who knows about that book!

Suverans2's picture

You are welcome. It's good to see a young man thinking outside of the box, or perhaps "cage" would be a better choice of words. Very well written, and you even used a semi-colon. lol

The comment found here may shed a little light on why some, or most, friends and family may turn against you, you bad little monkey.

Dylan Delikta's picture

That was a spot-on allegory! I guess I'm just a monkey who won't learn his lesson

Eric Field's picture

Great article! Welcome to STR.

Samarami's picture

This is indeed a good essay, Dylan. Keep it up!

I'm 76. Last time I voted was 1964. For Barry Goldwater. It took me much longer than it has taken you to see that individual liberty has to start with me -- nobody is going to give it to me.

One of my first forays into libertarian thinking was also Robert Ringer: Looking Out for #1. Here is a free pdf copy. The original came out in 1977, and this is labeled "revised 2008 for a new generation".

It's amazing it took me so long to get where you are at 19 when the truth was out there in the 60's and 70's almost as prevalently as it is today -- one only needed to reach out for it.

Seeing you on STR gives me hope.


Suverans2's picture

Thanks, Sam, feels like a hundred years since I read Looking Out for Number 1.

"Looking out for number one is the conscious effort to make rational decisions that lead to the greatest amount of happiness over the long term, so long as the actions stemming from those decisions do not involve the use of force or fraud against anyone else." ~ Robert Ringer

Glock27's picture

I feel left out. No one shared this with me. Boo-hoo-hoo. Well. I got it any way. Scribid wants $70 a year or $9 a month and $9 for a 24 hour day pass. Wonder if its worth it? Can't do it now. I am dropping $200 on Tactical Combat Handgun for next month. S**t! I hate being poor. Why couldn't I have done something better with my life. Never had a wise old mentor or even a young well studied opinioned mentor. I must be saying the wrong things, dumb a**ed things. Suck it up and get on with it!

Samarami's picture

I didn't pay Scribid a dime, Glock. I was goggling to see if I could find Looking Out for #1 on Amazon or on Ringer's website (I couldn't) and clicked this link. Fools stumble in where experts fail (or some such -- I think some guru had a kindred quote). Sam

Glock27's picture

Greetings Sam.
My comment regarding Scribid's dollars was rhetorical. I obtained the text you are refering too. Actually I believe it came from your post somewhere. I am almost certain of it.

Suverans2's picture

"Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread." ~ Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

Samarami's picture

Thanks, Suv!

I'm becoming inundated with what has been called "information overload" -- to the point I can't find my own scrawny butt with both hands!

(Age could also be a factor)


Samarami's picture

In reminiscing about Robert Ringer I now remember I had first read his "Winning Through Intimidation" before he wrote "Looking Out for #1". Just now I thought I might get lucky again with my goggle-boggling and find a "free" copy of "Winning". All I came up with was this site, which appears to be a "free download".

Since I have my original first addition (published 1973) I decided to steer clear of these guys 'cause they want me to "jine up" to download; but you might be successful if you really want to read it. It's sound libertarianism even 40 years later. Call me old and timid, but my policy is to not join things on the internet ("facebook", "twitter" or any other "tweats" -- too many potentially unfriendly "friends" for my money). I never enter a web tunnel if I can't see the daylight of the fur end.

But since Dylan brought up "Restoring the American Dream", I remember feeling somewhat disappointed in Ringer as I started reading it -- long after I had read and read "Winning" and "#1". Just as I was disappointed when Harry Browne decided to "run" for Grand Wizard of the Klan. I guess I had become rabid enough at that point to feel these guys were getting a little too cozy with governmentalism -- Libertarianism with a capital "L" -- that each in his own way believed government might just be a good thing for all if we could just get a higher class of shysters at the helm.

I was on my way to sterling anarchy.


Paul's picture

"I had found a love for philosophy, economics, and history that I never thought possible since school made them such boring topics to pursue."

There's probably a reason schools want these topics boring - so people don't learn them! Take a look at Gatto's "Underground History of American Education", available entirely online:

Congrats on finding the truth a lot younger than many of us managed it.