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My “Road to Freedom”

By Peter Bos

[Editor’s Note: Peter Bos, the author of this short piece was the first person (to our knowledge) to assert (in the words of Richard Boren) that "the property protection function of government could be assumed by insurance companies," and to point out "that those insurance companies would have a proprietary interest in the protection of the insured's property." Furthermore, Bos noted that "this would not require the creation of a new industry, or a new technology, because the basic mechanism already existed." His book, THE ROAD TO FREEDOM AND THE DEMISE OF NATION STATES (2015), elaborates these concepts. For a more detailed discussion in THE VOLUNTARYIST, see Issue 167: Richard Boren, “Insurance Companies as Competing Governments: Whose Idea Was It?”]

My life’s story and the stages by which I discovered the road to freedom could be the subject of another book, but in the meantime, I offer this brief explanation. As a survivor of the Nazi occupation of my native country, the Netherlands, I became acutely aware of what it means not to be free and personally saw the violence and destruction of which nation-states are capable. As a result, I early on became interested in individual freedom and sovereignty. Fortunately, I was able to come to the United States after receiving a scholarship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering.

After graduation, I was drafted into the U.S. Army and received a commission from Officer Candidate School. Because of my technical background, I became a NIKE maintenance officer and, shortly thereafter, was assigned as head of the U.S. Army Air Defense School at Fort Bliss, Texas. After discharge from the Army, I became part of a small space program team at Chance Vought, Inc. that launched a successful SCOUT missile that placed a small payload into orbit in response to the Russian Sputnik.

Sometime thereafter, I became associated with the Space Technology Laboratories of Ramo Wooldridge and the Aerospace Corporation in California, where I learned about Andrew J. Galambos, an astrophysicist and owner of the Free Enterprise Institute (FEI), from Alvin Lowi. [1] They were friends and colleagues. At that time (the early 1960s), we were all part of the U. S. government’s space program.

Alvin asked me to handle the CCI (Capitalism, Constitutionalism, and Individualism) bookshelf at the FEI course he was presenting. I accepted, and thus had a chance to personally monitor the original Galambos course materials. At that time, Galambos, like Ayn Rand, was a strict Constitutionalist and both were strong supporters of Barry Goldwater. Both were advancing a constitutionally limited political democratic State Government. Actually, Galambos' concept was to further expand the State to include two more branches - a constitutional branch and a resistor branch, the latter to provide checks and balances. They, like Mises and Hayek, and most classical liberals, succumbed to the fallacy of ceding the protection, jurisprudence, and money issuance functions to the State. The exceptions were Spooner, Riegel, Heath, and LeFevre. However, they did not have or provide a workable solution for providing protection.

It was during this exposure to Galambos' materials in 1962, that I first introduced “the proprietary government using insurance” concept to Alvin Lowi. After my close friend, Chuck Estes, suggested this to Galambos, I subsequently presented this idea at the following year's FEI Alumni conference. Fortunately, unbeknown to me and to his credit, Galambos realized the value of this concept and totally changed his subsequent lectures to incorporate it, albeit without giving credit. (I personally never attended any of the presentations given by Galambos nor got to know him except by reference).

Around the same time, I had become quite acquainted with Ayn Rand's books and presentations. When Nathaniel Branden came to Los Angeles to present the lecture series on Objectivism, I chose to attend these rather than continuing with Lowi and Galambos. The main reason was that I found that Rand and Branden provided a more fundamentally integrated approach to philosophy, ethics and the psychology of individualism.

Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to properly introduce the insurance concept to either Rand or Branden and, even then, I may not have been able to change their minds. I had not formally written about this concept - other than preparing an outline of my presentation. Fortunately, some years later, Murray Rothbard did incorporate the insurance concept in his writings.

During these years, I also became very interested in education and, as a parent, in the Montessori Method. I served as chairman of the board of directors of Escuela de Montessori, a school in the Los Angeles area. I was also instrumental in founding several affiliated Montessori schools there. Personally, to gain additional business experience, I enrolled in the Anderson School of Business at UCLA, where I received an MBA degree.

After establishing a successful solar energy program at the Aerospace Corporation, I became director of the new energy technology program at the Electric Power Institute in Palo Alto, California. In 1981, I founded my own company, Polydyne, Inc., which did some of the earliest electric vehicle design and fuel cell development for small-distributed energy systems for residential and commercial applications.

[1] For more on Galambos see the following entries on www.voluntaryist.com under the heading “How I Became a Voluntaryist”: Richard Boren, “Andrew J. Galambos and How I Became a Voluntaryist;”, Charles Estes, “We Never Called Him ‘Andy,’: My Recollections of the Person and Philosophy of the Earlier Joseph A. Galambos Alias Andrew Joseph Galambos - The Liberal;” and Alvin Lowi, “Voluntary Government as a Marketable Service: Reminiscences on the History of an Idea.”