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.