Strike The Root Can Teach Everybody Something


Column by John Shelkop. 

Exclusive to STR 

On its 10th anniversary, it has been both a joy and an education keeping up with the links and commentary on Strike The Root. One month before thousands of Americans were killed on September 11, 2001, a site filled with links to stories and ideas of a classically liberal slant had begun. I will confess that I did not even know this site existed until just a couple of years ago. In 2001, I am not sure what I would have thought about a site like this. Yet in these past ten years, so many things have been processing in all of us. Thanks to the Internet, we have been provided many avenues to cope with this rapidly changing world. Most of these sites follow a political slant, and as I once had ideals towards a conservative party that once held limited government as a high priority, I was sensing and noticing a negative change. Government was getting bigger. The economy was taking on the appearance of a shopping cart on “Jackass,” speeding down a street towards certain doom. I also held that the liberal party in power was philosophically driven towards equal distribution of wealth for different levels of economic contribution. I contend that this is highly illogical insomuch that somebody with a gun would have to implement such a system.
One day I was really fed up with the system. For years I was taught to believe that if I did not like it, I needed to change it by voting. I was old enough to vote in 1985 and have voted in every presidential election since 1988. At first, I voted my conscience. I usually voted for the right-of-center candidates. Albeit my education mostly came from public schools, the right-of-center candidates seemed to appeal to me more. But with each passing year, something was missing. Something like integrity, honesty, and accountability. All of these values which I hold so dear were not quite the norm in government for either Republicans or Democrats. Still, I would go to the ballot box and vote for “the lesser of two evils.” By now it was getting ugly. It was as if I was going to choose which guy was going to kick me in the shin versus the one who would kick me in the gonads.
That is no choice, my friends. It is an epiphany that there truly is a sucker born every minute, and I no longer wanted to be one of those suckers.  As if the sun were peaking over the horizon at dawn, I began to see something spectacular and beautiful because it was always right in front of me. I began to realize that knowing myself as a free individual meant turning over all forms of adherence to the norms drilled into my head since I was a child. It was time for real maturity to set in. The realization of my independence was taking hold. A belief that I am great and that no government is greater than myself was beginning to power up like a warp drive in my brain and my heart. Logic and reason began to take over. It was time to give up the paradigms that have entrapped us for centuries.
Time to surf the Internet! Where do I go to feed this idea? How do I learn how to live without voting, let alone government? I began Googling words like “liberty” and “anarchy” and “minarchy.”  I would scroll through the search results sifting through the information and disinformation. And there it was: “”.  I clicked on it. First, I noticed a very unassuming yet highly functional website. The catchy liberty-laden quotes always catch my attention. Yet the picture of Henry David Thoreau always stands right out. I remember studying Thoreau in high school. As a stupid kid though, my priorities were different. In my youth, espousing the philosophy of Thoreau was only something to chase girls, putting myself on the pedestal of a pseudo-intellectual. Girls could not set me free. Of course as a young man, I thought the total opposite was true. 
I have learned some valuable things on Strike The Root. I am still learning. Even though I am a person of faith, my faith has grown stronger because of many of the things I have read on this site. Things are really getting crazy in the world. I want to make a real difference. I hope I am not too late. Thank you, STR.
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jd-in-georgia's picture
Columns on STR: 1

I am still learning how chaotic things actually are. I am still believing how wonderful things actually will be.


Suverans2's picture

Well said, jd-in-georgia, at least you know, (and have the courage to admit), that you were putting yourself on the pedestal of "intellectual". Some of us, even as adults, are not aware that that is what we are doing, and if we are cognizant of it, are not courageous enough to admit it openly. With respect, a tip of the hat to you, sir.

Temujin's picture

Great read \o

Glen Allport's picture

Nice column, jd-in-georgia, and very positive. Anyone in the freedom movement knows how rare it is to see a person open their mind to voluntaryism, and I appreciate your sharing a bit of your own path with us.

You mention your faith, and I'll mention that while I am not a believer (of the supernatural elements), I very much do believe that Jesus' core, secular teachings are an amazing gift to mankind and -- because they describe the most important elements of human nature and the human condition -- are in harmony with many other religions and philosophies that have some version of the Golden Rule at their center. These teachings are completely in harmony with voluntaryism, with non-Statism, with genuine freedom: a person who loves others does NOT aggress against others. Few people seem to make that connection, at least where the State is concerned. Christians could be and should be (some are, but not nearly enough) a major force for non-coercive, non-State, civil society. I hope your journey to voluntaryism is representative of a similar enlightenment for increasing numbers of the faithful.

One of my related columns might be of interest to you; it's "The Earthly Lesson of Jesus' Crucifixion, and Why His Secular Teachings Live On" [url removed because my comment was rejected by the STR's "spam filter", and I'm hoping this will fix the problem]