I was apolitical through middle and high school. I leaned right, but only because I had fun cackling at videos of social justice warriors with my cackling friends.
If someone asked what I believed, I said people should just smoke weed and own guns, but I didn’t think about it much.
I thought news organizations were corrupt, I hated authority, and I said the party system is stupid. I said “capitalism rules” but I didn’t know what I was talking about.
After I left high school, I found one of my first copywriting clients, Gregory. He was a ten-year digital nomad and analytical genius.
He was my sherpa to the online world of making money. He counseled me on challenges and growing up and travel and all sorts of things.
He sent me a long message. When he was eighteen, he snuck into a philosophy class and met an old economics nerd-guru. They became close friends and the man gave him an old recording, “The V-50 Lectures.”
It was forty years old and contained forty-eight hours of content. The lectures’ objective is to convince the listener that involuntary interactions are immoral because of the nature of property rights.
I didn’t come close to finishing these lectures but I listened to the first several. Once I understood how fundamentally important voluntary action is, it was a no brainer. I didn’t have a violent conversion or a grand internal conflict that led me to opposing the state. It was simply, “Oh, the state is run through force and involuntary exploitation of citizens, and that’s bad. The state is bad.”
I now held these beliefs and nothing changed. I didn’t know I was a “libertarian” and I didn’t know there were communities of these beliefs. I thought I was one of a scattered few dozen or hundred that believed this. Nothing in my life changed and I kept building my online career.
Four months later, I discovered Praxis. I got accepted into the program and it became immediately clear that I was not alone in my radical ideas. As I entered the community of delightfully rational and intelligent people who thought often, I saw that many of them talked about the evils of authoritarianism.
I got on late-night video chats with dozens of them and heard terms I’d never heard of. They spoke of things I didn’t know about. I asked questions and gathered definitions and I finally realized we believed the same stuff.
My “Forceful government sucks” was the same as their “The initiation of force violates the Non Aggression Principal, which is why I’m a Voluntarist/Minarchist/Anarcho-Capitalist/Libertarian.”
Before Praxis, I reached my conclusions about government via a morality route. I never thought about the free market or its effectiveness. But once I engaged in these hugely valuable conversations with educated people, I started to see how much good the free market is responsible for. It became abundantly obvious that is the best economic system not only on a moral basis, but on a practical level too.
I got added to of Libertarian Facebook groups of every type. I engaged in debates. I tried to convince my family that involuntary taxation is theft. I became more educated as I was inspired by Praxis participants and their education. I wanted to that knowledge for myself.
Today, if I have to define my precise beliefs, I believe in only voluntary association and interaction. That’s it. It might make me an anarcho-capitalist, it might make a minarchist (if taxation could be 100% voluntary). Frankly, I refuse to pretend I am educated enough at this point to take a specific stance with razor blade exactness. One day, I will be.