I started seeing my current girlfriend at the end of last year. Within the first couple of dates we went on she informed me, somewhat reluctantly, of her political views. She was hesitant because she said her views often made her look cold-hearted in the eyes of the ignorant. She was a libertarian.
I’m embarrassed to say I’d never actually heard that political term used before, at least from memory. I’d definitely never met a ‘proper’ one. She was definitely right, a great deal of what she had to say about her personal political views as a libertarian, at least at face value and through the eyes of a then ‘collectivist’, did seem fairly selfish and cold, in my naivety.
Looking back on it, I feel analogous to a devout Christian (or any other religious follower) who had never met an atheist before. I, like effectively everyone, was raised in a society run by a democratic Government, and all of the things she stated as her views seemed synonymous with an atheist’s blasphemous views when shared with a believer for the first time.
I couldn’t imagine a society without healthcare, without taxes, without welfare, ‘nanny state’ laws, without shared responsibility and without rights that were given to us by the state itself. Such a society would surely be anarchy and chaos… right…?
However, since meeting her I have learned a lot, being one who was never afraid to question, discuss and argue. But it seemed that all of my opinions and ideas were knocked back by rational arguments. When it was all laid out in front of me I really felt like an idiot for ever thinking, or even just accepting without thinking, that a ‘collectivist’ Government was the only way to live as a society… boy did I feel like an idiot.
Anyway, tonight she showed me this video and I watched it and couldn’t fault a single thing the narrater proposed. Every statement, every argument, every idea seems to just make total sense. It’s all so reasonable…
Now again I feel like, until now, I’ve been an ignorant, faith based, irrational believer. However, the light feels like it’s just switched on within. Even if it’s still only shining dimly, I feel this is the beginning of my rise to libertarianism. Though unlike atheism, which one effectively becomes by default as soon as one stops believing in any God(s), I don’t believe I deserve to wear the label of libertarianism until I have a more complete understanding of it.
So call me an ‘individualist’ for now… or maybe a quasi-libertarian. The light is getting brighter and brighter. Check back in a few months.