About WR

My Journey to Anarcho-Capitalism

Sometime in 2008, during my freshman year of college, but well after Barack Obama was elected President, I was turned on to Ron Paul. To preface, I was a John McCain supporter who followed the general, partisan, idea that the guy with the (R) beside his name was always going to be better than the guy with the (D) beside his name, no matter how imperfect he was. It was a lot like the rationale of most Romney supporters today.

I had heard of Ron Paul from some friends of mine, though they had most often mocked him and referred to him as “crazy,” and, admittedly, without ever having really heard a word he spoke with my own ears, I went along with the group. Whenever someone mentioned him, I’d sheepishly say, “Yeah, he has some good ideas, but he’s just too out there for me.”

Again, I should emphasize, I had never even heard the man speak.

If I recall correctly, it was around the time President Obama was inaugurated when I actually got around to listening Ron Paul speak. It was a youtube video, ironically, of Dr. Paul speaking on foreign policy and why Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11. At the time, I was a fervent supporter of both of our MIddle Eastern wars, even though, looking back on it, I never really understood why we were even in Iraq to begin with. I supported it because it was the Republican thing to do. Hussein supported terrorists, so we had to go get him.

After finishing the video, there wasn’t really a eureka moment. No lightbulb, no grand epiphany. I just kind of thought to myself, “Oh. Well, that actually makes sense.” But I had to wonder, why would this man receives so much criticism for speaking a common sense truth, that if you bomb, and starve people, they’ll probably get angry at you?

Truth be told, I simmered on that for a long time. I kept watching Ron Paul videos on youtube, almost nonstop. A freshman in his dorm room, watching Ron Paul speeches, debate videos, appearances in the media, etc. I really couldn’t get enough, and every word he spoke made sense.

The real eureka moment was when I read Ron Paul’s book “End the Fed” about a year later. I was kind of speechless, both at how ignorant I was of our monetary system, and of how blatantly immoral it was. 

Yet, as informative, and alarming, as “End the Fed” was, there was more that I needed to know about the Fed, and monetary economics, in general. Luckily for me, Dr. Paul was kind enough to cite an auspicious fellow named Murray Rothbard numerous times within the book.

The first time I really sat down and read “Man, Economy, and State,” Rothbard’s economics magnum opus, was in the Summer of 2009. As a whole, it was definitely over my head, and I’m still studying it so that I can eventually master its contents, but I learned more in those first two chapters than I thought there was to even be learned about the field of economics.

To preface, my exposure to economics, at that point, had been limited mostly to supply and demand lines, and some firm theory. I had always firmly believed that free market capitalism was the only economic system that worked, but Rothbard illuminated the foundational underpinnings and truly re-enforced the belief.

I became a very ardent Rothbard fan, and quickly devoured many of his essays. It would be no exaggeration to state that Ron Paul made me a Libertarian, Murray Rothbard made me an Anarchist.

The ethical foundation of Libertarianism is the non-aggression principle (the idea that any initiation of force or violence is immoral). If you accept it, which most Libertarians and many libertarian-leaning conservatives do, the existence of the state is irreconcilable with morality.

The basic Rothbardian anti-state argument is this: We are self-owners, as nothing else is really pragmatic or makes any logical sense, our private property rights extend from the fact that we are self-owners seeking to relieve some uneasiness in our situation, and initiating violence against another individual or their property is immoral due to the fact that it prevents such uneasinesses from being relieved.

Because taxation is involuntary, it is theft, theft is violent action, and thus, immoral. Likewise, because the state cannot exist without involuntary taxation, it is thusly immoral. If you accept the non-aggression principle, Rothbard’s case is very clear-cut.

These are facts that I’ve come to accept from Rothbard’s point of view, and under his posthumous tutelage, I’ve become a much more well-reasoned person than I thought imaginable. Not trying to toot my own horn, it’s just that, I used to be an intuitive Republican, as opposed to being a logical anarchist.

To clarify, no, I don’t accept that anarchism is utopia, or that an anarcho-capitalist society would be a perfect world. We are all flawed individuals who are, more often than not, victims of our own passions, but, to paraphrase Rothbard, because humans are both part good, and part evil, it is necessary to have a system which incentivizes the “good” aspects in our nature.

That being said, people holding public office face huge incentives to be evil, especially those who hold an office to which less than 100 percent of the individuals governed by such a position, did not consent. Be that as it may, it is an absolute marvel that Ron Paul has not become corrupt in his time, and that he still speaks the truth.

The very truth that lead me to Rothbard, and to Anarcho-Capitalism.

Brandon Muncy [send him mail] is an economics student at West Virginia University, and has written previously for The Daily Athenaeum. He lives in Princeton, WV.

1 comment:

  1. Anarchy?

    Fucking retarded.

    This guy is an idiot.