Freedom meme

January 18, 2008 at 12:25 am 5 comments

Thanks, Lewlew, for tagging me on this one: “What motivated you to start looking into Anarchist/Libertarian thought?”


When I was in second grade and we were learning about Hawaii, the teacher told the boys to cut paper surfboards out of big rolls of construction paper and to decorate them, while the girls were told to make paper hula skirts. I remember going ballistic about that. I didn’t want to have to put on some stupid skirt and dance around in front of people just because I was a girl.

So I insisted on making a surfboard instead. At least I wouldn’t have to feel like a simpering idiot. There were other similar instances through my childhood, all centering, in hindsight, around the issues of justice, individualism, and common sense. So, like Lewlew, I think the predilection existed in me already, but I don’t know why.

In high school I was lucky to have The Fountainhead assigned in English class, and the teacher was a rabid individualist who devoted a whole month to discussion of that book. But I didn’t have any leaning toward or interest in politics then. I was a budding philosopher, though – read a lot of Sartre and Camus, I recall.

It was during college that I got to thinking about the sweeping issues of freedom and liberty. I ventured to Washington, DC and fell in love with the brave words inscribed in the Jefferson Memorial…in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress…in the National Archives. I thought I’d found the real thing and it stirred my soul. I even decided to take some poli-sci courses, because I expected they’d go deeper into the wonders of liberty and the history of how it was intentionally protected. D’oh.

During sophomore year, I also read Atlas Shrugged in three wild, wonderful days, gasping and then grinning at the unexpected but perfectly logical plot twists and turns. I read The Passion of Ayn Rand and learned of the utter totalitarianism that woman had fought and escaped – learned a history that had eluded me until then. This, and my disgust with the poli-sci and other courses in school, gave me to understand that the learning I wanted would not be found in expensive classrooms. Philosophy in college, for instance, was sheer senseless misery – Kant and Hegel, Hume and Marx – forced regurgitation of which did nothing to illumine my life.

After graduation, I floundered. Now I see that I was disillusioned with the world around me versus the world I knew within myself…still am. But one day, wandering through stacks at the library, I happened on a section of DIY books – two in particular, about building one’s own house (one from stone, one from logs). It was like the skies opened and rays of light broke through. “I could do this! And be very happy living this way!” That was the beginning of my journey down the path of gulching, although I wouldn’t call it by any name until many years later. But what a sense of freedom and competence reading those books (and many more) gave me about life, a real life in freedom! It was about this time that I found Claire Wolfe’s early books too – they were a great help to more understanding, and a big challenge to action too.

However, I didn’t have the means then even to follow that simple dream. I’m still striving, in fact. Almost got to that point while I was married, but divorce took away what I’d managed to build. When I was starting over, I figured it would be good to join the LP and meet some likeminded people. But – well, suffice it to say that what I saw in the LP sent me into the anarchist camp. Bigtime.

Only I knew nothing about anarchism – I’d vaguely classified it in my mind with Satan worship and black magic, dark and destructive and dangerous. All I knew was what I’d told myself for years: that I never wanted to be a boss nor to have one. Bingo…things came together as I looked into the subject.

I remain on the cusp now, an anarchist at heart but not always in deed, knowing mostly that the system is rigged against freedom, yet holding out hope for one last change. Not just through Ron Paul, but through the phenomenon of so many individuals coming to understand and passionately to embrace his message. I have no interest in further political action, personally. But I do see that these Paul supporters are at the point I was at a few years ago, and many are beginning to see the man behind the curtain, so all is not lost, yet…even though the election is a longshot.

I’ve been wondering lately whether we’re seeing today the equivalent of maybe 1770 or so, when the Boston Massacre was just beginning to galvanize people of conscience and intelligence. I think of old Sam Adams, for instance, who rabble-roused for years before he got the Sons of Liberty riled up enough to garner serious attention from the powers that were. No, I don’t want to see a war in this country or in any other. What I’m driving at is the mindset, the dawning awareness of insufferable tyranny.

Perhaps, with that awareness growing, a peaceful yet passionate revolution could indeed be in the future. I like to think so, anyway.


Entry filed under: Anarchism, Big Picture, Doing Freedom, Free Your Mind, Gulching, Living Free, Outlawry.

Nerd Queen! Welcome to the gulch, Brad and Wendy…

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joshua Katz  |  January 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Gary North, among others, has suggested that the next step after the Ron Paul rEVOLution is to channel the same energy and supporters (and mailing lists) into local politics. With the coming energy crisis, the local environment becomes far more important, since travel will be more difficult. You seem to already have prepared for that. I doubt the effectiveness of working within the system at all, but for now, it seems to be one of only two options: politics, and education. Education is something we are all working on, in our own way, but we need to take it to politics, particularly local politics. I am running for Connecticut General Assembly myself, and encourage others with similar ideas to run for local or state positions too. This will maintain a venue for Ron Paul activists to remain active and working, bring the ideas into the culture, exposing more people to them, and maybe, just maybe, protect some local freedoms by having local and state governments willing to stand up for liberty.

  • 2. Favela Cranshaw  |  January 18, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    …and many are beginning to see the man behind the curtain,..

    There’ll always be a man behind the curtain as long as there’s a curtain. The curtain is the naivete and ignorance of people who can’t think for themselves, practice evasion and depend on their emotions for guidance. The best organized sociopaths of these are the ones who become MBTCs. They’re known to us as preachers and politicians–“witch doctors and attilas” in the words of Ayn Rand.

  • 3. lewlew  |  January 18, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Hi Taran,

    Thank you for sharing your story. You write so eloquently.

    Only I knew nothing about anarchism – I’d vaguely classified it in my mind with Satan worship and black magic, dark and destructive and dangerous. Isn’t that so weird that we associate anarchism with dark, dangerous things until we come to learn that it simply means of living without government control. The violence associated with gaining such a lifestyle is an urban myth, I think, perpetuated by the government through the actions of rabble-rousers who commit violence for violence sake, like the WTO Protests in Seattle that attracted such an unsavory crowd that swept in behind the more peaceful protesters.

  • 4. Brian N.  |  January 19, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Much the same, am I: I think we’re part of the freaks. I simply had no patience for the institutional stupidity I observed around me. This instinct grew worse as I got older; I looked on every ‘important’ aspect of my daily life with utter contempt. I simply could not be bothered. As to philosophy, well, that comes later (is still coming along) but the basic viewpoints including economics, an area that’s fascinated me since I was a child, were there, and they’ve only crystallized now. The refinement comes with time and self-correction; the essential of liberty is never going anywhere. May your trip be long and strange.

  • 5. Taran Jordan  |  January 19, 2008 at 11:43 am

    What fabulous comments, y’all! Thank you.

    @Joshua – I wish you the best in your campaign, and I agree that local efforts are becoming more de rigueur today, for multiple reasons.

    @Favela – “There’ll always be a man behind the curtain as long as there’s a curtain.” Marvelous! I would stipulate that the curtain in this case hides the workings of power – it is not a curtain of privacy for all, but of secrecy for a few. As such, unfortunately, it tends to be a one-way curtain. Thank you for visiting and commenting!

    @Lewlew – Great point, I do think that .gov propaganda was influencing me unawares in this case. I also think that certain “flavors” of anarchists have furthered the black-blue-and-bloody image. I wrote once about anarchy being qualified by various groups because the term itself does not name what one stands for, but only what one stands against. Need to think more on this one.

    @Brian – “The refinement comes with time and self-correction; the essential of liberty is never going anywhere.” What a great reminder. May your trip be long and strange as well. 🙂


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