by Luke Marshall
I was born on November 23, 1998. In 2010, when I started 6th grade, I began to feel that the people around me lived their lives by going through the motions but never searched for any deeper meaning. Instead of fighting corruption, people fought their own personal struggles. Everyone seemed to want to fit in instead of making changes for the better. Everyone acted as robots who performed things in a mechanistic way. People did not seem to have the same sense of passion and curiosity with which I approached the world. Most people seemed to hate going to school or hated their job. I never could stand the thought of my life having no great meaning. I did not want to turn out to be another person who graduated, being bright enough to do whatever job might suit their training. I did not want to become another part of the machine. I did not know exactly what I wanted from life, but I did know what I did not want.
I was an only child in a middle-class family in the Bible belt. When I look back at my early childhood I realize I had better than average parents. My parents were always very supportive in what I did and always gave me attention. I spent a great deal of the time exposed to adult conversation. Naturally, I began to listen and learn about whatever it was they were talking about. Soon, I was introduced to the world of politics. I can remember hearing the adults talk about the president’s decisions and this candidate or that candidate. I found politics interesting ever since I heard about it.
A little bit after I began to hear adults talk about politics I began to watch the news with my dad. My dad’s favorite news personality at the time was Glenn Beck. A lot of what was on the news I did not understand, but I did look forward to Founders’ Fridays with Glenn Beck. Founders’ Fridays was when Glenn Beck would spend his show talking about one of the Founding Fathers.
I remembered hearing about the Founding Fathers in history class, but all of a sudden the stories told by Mr. Beck engaged my enthusiasm and passion. I almost immediately became obsessed with the Founding Fathers. Now I began to study on my own about their beliefs and the history of these men. I began reading about the political beliefs of Thomas Jefferson. This is how I uncovered my interest in classical liberalism.
My readings in classical liberalism brought me to libertarianism. I became more and more interested in limited government. When I was probably about 12 or 13 I began to read Thomas Paine and John Locke. I found their ideas so much better than that of the right wing or left wing paradigm. The Founders, who many current-day Republicans say they love, had many different views. I found limited-government libertarianism to be the only viable option to return to being a free country. And not too long after this I found Ron Paul.
I was a libertarian before I found Ron Paul, but I also learned many things from him, such as his ideas about ending the Federal Reserve and going on the gold standard. Shortly after learning of Ron Paul, my dad told me about an End the Fed protest. We went to Dallas and that is where I heard some libertarians speak and got to meet many like -minded people. I began to see the passion of others in the libertarian movement. Their love of truth and desire for freedom inspired me to learn even more.
Shortly after the protest I began to read many of Ron Paul’s books and eventually I ran across someone named Stefan Molyneux. I began to listen to his radio show and quickly learned about the ideas of voluntaryism. I had been a limited-government libertarian for probably about two years and I finally began to see the ideas of self-ownership and non-aggression taken to their logical conclusion. The philosophy made so much sense to me right off the bat. I began to look at our current situation in a different light. I used to think we needed to get new people in the political system so they could become advocates for smaller government. At that moment I realized the state is and always had been a structural issue. I learned the state was rooted in violence and aggression and that the state must rely on force to carry out its functions.
I began to read people such as Lysander Spooner, Murray Rothbard, and Stefan Molyneux. I have read about voluntaryism ever since. The ideas I have had for so long were finally brought to their logical conclusion. I learned that if we are to own ourselves we have to get rid of the state. If we are to have a non-aggressive society we must abolish government. Where before I saw a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces, now it seemed as if I had solved a big riddle. Soon I began to wonder how I could spread these ideas.
Soon after becoming a voluntaryist I went to a Syria Not Our War protest. At the protest a free-market anarchist group from Oklahoma University happened to be there. I had often felt lonely in my beliefs. Not only were there hardly any libertarian, but there were even fewer voluntaryists. Seeing the Students for a Stateless Society helped give me hope for the future. Here this group of kids went around their campus like I had at my school, spreading the ideas of non-aggression. I remember Jason Lee Bias, a member of the Oklahoma Students for a Stateless Society, stand up and give a speech in which he explained that there is no such thing as humanitarian war. His words inspired me, and ever since then I have been hell-bent on spreading the ideas of voluntaryism.
I have just recently started a website and a podcast in order to wake others up and am starting a philosophy club at my school. And since I get to decide the topics, for the most part at the philosophy club, I will be able to talk about voluntaryism. Now every chance I have to talk with others about my political beliefs I do.
I came to learn how not be part of the machine, and that is by being what the machine hates. The machine likes the ignorant and uninspired, so I have become informed and passionate. The machine hates free-thinkers, so I have begun to think. The machine hates free people because you can not control a free man, so I have become a free man. I have become the very thing my enemy hates. Governments hate freedom so I have become free. Now my life is dedicated to trying to help others think and become free. Hopefully my work will contribute to the first truly free society. Even if my efforts are useless at least I will have done what was moral and can die at peace. And I can live and die knowing I did what was right.
Like I said before, the state is a structural problem. It is a machine that runs on theft and violence. It is a machine that uses the people to help it run. People have been mad about poverty, taxation, and what have you for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Yet, no one attacks the root of all these problems. For years I had hated corporatism, taxation, war, and all the cons of the state. I became a voluntaryist when I quit fighting these individual problems and realized that they all shared a common root. The moment I realized government was the crux of problem is when I became a voluntaryist.
I am currently 15 and the only regret I have is that I did not become a voluntaryist sooner. I am excited to have come to these conclusions so soon in life and only have great expectations for the future. I am excited to live a life dedicated to liberty. All I ask is that my work and efforts continue to live on in the hearts of others after I die. I would not choose to live in any other time. I have seen peoples’ lives change because of these ideas. I would choose nothing other than being a voluntaryist.