About Seth King

June 4th, 2010   Submitted by Seth King

This testimonial is of myself, Seth King. I invite other anarchists to share their stories with the Daily Anarchist of how they became anti-statist.

I was born and raised by libertarian leaning parents and learned about injustices of the world at an early age. By sixth grade I was debating topics like abortion, the drug war, prostitution and guns with my teacher during class. He would give the rest of the students busy work while we debated and played chess in front of everyone. This was the beginning of my activism as well as my emotional separation from other children. I was different. They knew it and I knew it.

My father discovered the John Birch Society shortly after the Assault Weapons Ban and Brady Bill passed. He knew something was seriously wrong and the Birch Society’s answers contained more truth than he had ever heard before. Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Oklahoma City, coupled with the heavy indoctrination in conspiracy theory I was getting from the JBS created in me a worldview that once you have, there is no going back.

By high school the debates with my teachers stopped being friendly. I knew more history than my history teachers who doubled as football coaches. My junior English teacher was still teaching us the definition of a simple sentence. Classroom discipline was non-existent. Education was sparse even though I was attending a high school in one of the wealthiest counties in California. My time in school was a waste and to this day I still feel genuinely ripped off.

When September 11, 2001 hit, I knew full well what the true ramifications would be. I knew it would be more than a few thousand dead. It would mean a new assault on freedom. But I was going to school in beautiful San Diego and was inactive politically. I was ambitiously studying physics and didn’t know anybody else who shared my views, so I left it alone.

While at a friend’s house one day I had the fortunate chance to meet someone who would forever change my life. We were watching an interview on the television with Ralph Nadar and I made the offhand remark that he was a “commie-ass-bastard.” My future friend at the time respected Ralph Nadar. Most people at that point would either write me off or take offense and argue with me. He did neither. Instead, he resolved to understand where I was coming from.

My entire life I had always tried to get other people to read books, to absolutely no avail. I could respect a person who would read my literature and disagree. But that never happened. Instead, people’s ignorance and unwillingness to be open-minded only made me lose respect. But for the first time in my life somebody was willing to read whatever it was I had to offer. Little did I know that the learning would not be a one-way street. Over the next several years we spent hundreds of hours debating and reading each other’s literature. We covered every topic the two of us could fathom. And during that time I came to see some of the shortcomings of the John Birch Society and conspiracy theories. I learned to develop a much healthier respect for nature and genuinely garnered compassion for the truly believing leftists of the world.

Over the next few years I made sure to always do my best to walk in other people’s shoes and empathize with their points of view. I often played devil’s advocate in debate. I’ll never forget vociferously defending Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the necessities of inflation, and the importance of junk food. But what I gained most from these experiences was the ability to believe in the falsehoods I was propagating.

Fast forward to 2007. I was living in Portland, Oregon and I received a book in the mail from my mother. It was Ron Paul’s A Foreign Policy of Freedom. A note was attached that he was running for President. I had known of Ron Paul since 1998 when I first saw him speak in Sacramento with then Congressman Bob Barr. I had always known that Ron Paul was the only true libertarian in Congress, but it had never dawned on me that he could someday run for President.

When I got the news, something ticked inside of me and I knew it was game time. But before I could lend him my support I had to make sure he was the real deal. I systematically read every one of his books and thoroughly inspected his voting record. He passed with flying colors.

The next two years were spent alienating my friends with spam emails, selling Ron Paul books door-to-door, and doing activities through Ron Paul Meetup groups. The phase of idle indifference was over. I had become a super-activist.

It wasn’t until Ron Paul ran for President that I realized how un-alone I was really was in my political opinions. I was part of a community I could call my own for the first time in my life, and it felt good.

Throughout the campaign and to this day, I was devouring books and glued to my favorite websites like Daily Paul, Lew Rockwell, and Mises. But after Ron Paul got demolished in the primaries and his startup organization Campaign For Liberty languished, I started to do some soul searching. For starters, I wanted to get to the bottom of why the intellectual giants of economics like Walter Block, Lew Rockwell and Tom Woods were anarchists, and why they wouldn’t vote for Ron Paul even though they loved him.

I contacted Walter Block by email and Tom Woods in person and asked them to recommend to me the books that would convert me from a limited government libertarian to a full-blown anarcho-capitalist. Three books were recommended to me, which I promptly set out to read. The rest, they say, is history.

I’ve come to the conclusion that limited government is an impossibility, that government is an unnecessary evil, and that every “service” governments currently provide for us can be done more efficiently and qualitatively in the free-market, including such functions as courts, police and military.

My goals now are to live like a free individual without permission and spread the message, for I do not believe we will ever vote the state into extinction, but will instead disobey it into oblivion.

11 Responses to “About Seth King”

  1. Patrick ByrdNo Gravatar says:

    Seth, which 3 books converted you? I’d love to read em. Or maybe perhaps you could recommend 3 books, fiction or non, for someone like me, someone who already considers themselves an AnCap, but who wants to really sharpen my knowledge and become more of a social beacon for my philosophical stance.

    Thanks for the great site.

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      The three books that converted me were For A New Liberty by Murray Rothbard, Democracy: The God That Failed by Hans Hermann Hoppe, and The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rothbard.

      How did you become an AnCap?

      • Patrick ByrdNo Gravatar says:

        Awesome, two of those were already on my list of to-reads.

        How I became an AnCap? Hard to really say, but via Ron Paul I got into the Austrian school and naturally heard a lot of good things about Anarcho-Capitalism.

        Its funny; almost immediately before I discovered Ron Paul/Libertarianism for myself, I almost rented that Al Gore global warming movie (don’t care to remember the title), but instead, thank the universe, I got sidetracked into studying REAL philosophies, not half-baked schemes at further controlling people by pulling on bleeding heart-strings.

  2. Adam MorganNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for sharing. I haven’t read any of the three books that “converted” you but I just added them to my wishlist on Amazon. I’m currently reading The Anatomy of the State, but I’ll probably read those three shortly after.

  3. michael meinhofNo Gravatar says:

    anarchist capitalism is an oxymoron. youre just another greedy capitalist that doesnt want the state to be able to disrupt your ability to exploit. you are NOT an anarchist. for a real look at successful anarchism i recommend you study the anarchist unions of the spanish civil war.

  4. Owen KelloggNo Gravatar says:

    Ah yes, the JBS. I was fairly active with them several years ago. I don’t agree with everything they stand for, but they started the beginning of my awakening. Thoreau, Tolstoy and Spooner are my most recent inspirations.

    “I do not believe we will ever vote the state into extinction, but will instead disobey it into oblivion.” – Beautiful!

  5. Jim LovingNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Seth:

    I found my way to your web site today when reading about the Liberty Movement (and Libertarianism), then one link led to another and saw your post on preparedness and preppers being marketed to exclusively within the Liberty movement. By the way, I liked what you had to say there.

    Anyway, the last time I heard about anarchism as a philosphy for our time was the german group in the movie “The Big Lebowski.” To me, the idea of anarchism as a solution to the challenges of our time smacks of “extreme idealism” vs lets say, “Practical idealism.” One question that comes to mind when reading the history of anarchism – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_anarchism, where has it ever succeeded? OK, suppose you say it has never succeeded because it has never really been given a chance in the last 2000-10,000 years, the next question is how do you get there from here? What is the transition plan? To me, for it to be taken seriously there would need to be an informed polity that seeks what it is offering. You would need some governance and institutional (even NGO, something within civil society) inertia, otherwise, it is an acedemic excercise. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you recognize it for that and no more.

    Wikipedia says Ghandi 1st developed the term “practical idealism” and “in its broadest sense can be compared to utilitarianism in its emphasis on outcomes, and to political economy and enlightened self-interest in its emphasis on the alignment of what is right with what is possible.” See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practical_idealism.

    Anarchism to me, does not seem possible – not remotely so. I would love to hear/read/see any literature anywhere that lays out a reasonable transition play to anarchism in the 21st century.

    Thanks and regards,

    Jim Loving

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      HI Jim,

      I hope you enjoy reading books, because that is what it took for me to convert from minarchism(Ron Paul style) to anarchism. The book that did it for me was For A New Liberty by Murray Rotherbard. That book will give you a strong foundation by what we mean when we talk about anarchism. Only after you see that can we begin to discuss how to get there. Good luck!

    • Bob PodolskyNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jim. I want to address your reservations about anarchy – because you seem an intelligent critical thinker with an interest in the subject.

      In fact anarchy has always worked – in small groups. Every time a few people (2 or more) do something together, their decision to do so was achieved anarchically – whether it was a choice of which movie to attend, or what kind of business to launch.

      The difficult trick has always been to extend such mutual voluntarism to larger groups – and a method of doing so was developed in the 1980s by John David Garcia, and a few of us have been carrying on his work since his demise in 2001. You will find a lot of information on the subject on the titanians.org website – with the most relevant particulars concerning your specific concerns at https://www.titanians.org/holomats-octologues/.

      I hope you’ll keep an open mind about anarchy – as it can and does work. This fact just hasn’t been widely known. It remains to be seen whether enough people will learn of this organizational lore before those in power drive our species into extinction.

      Live free!

  6. Bob PodolskyNo Gravatar says:

    Seth, it’s amazing to me the parallels between our lives. I too went through a transformation that led me to anarchy – starting with a study of physics and parents who encouraged critical thinking. Check out my bio at https://www.titanians.org/about-bob-podolsky/.

    And for my take on why government can’t be fixed, visit https://www.titanians.org/government-the-borg-robot/.

    Unlike most anarchists, I believe anarchy can be highly organized and effective in meeting the needs of our species. You’ll find a explanation of this concept at https://www.titanians.org/holomats-octologues/.

    I applaud the work you are doing!
    Live free.

  7. Rusell ToranNo Gravatar says:

    Seth, I am on my over to Suzee’s house on the Russian River. It is 100 degrees today. There are fireworks every where however I think Suzee likes to stay home on these crazy holidays. Glad to see that you are keeping the site up. Say hi ti Kenny and Kathy for Suzzee and me. Russ Toran