"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." ~ John Stuart Mill
Confessions of a Former Political Junkie
Exclusive to STR
Hello, my name is Mike, and I’m a recovering political junkie. Yes, it’s true, I admit it. Like countless others before me, I was of the naïve assumption that I could change the world for the better through political activism. That, somehow, by participating in the democratic process, I could help to improve the lives of others. Boy, was I ever wrong.
Looking back, I have a pretty good idea how I reached that point. Like most kids growing up, my beliefs were heavily influenced by my parents. They tried to teach me all of the right things--clean your room, do your homework, go to college--while steering me away from the bad--just say “no” to drugs! However, they were not politically active and I don’t recall much political discourse around the dinner table while I was growing up.
Probably the greatest influence on my political views came from my twelve-year career in the
I remember a girl in my fifth grade homeroom class who would always remain seated during the pledge, and I thought it was strange that she would do that. Of course, her non-conformity earned her the label of social outcast by her peers. I never knew the reason for her objections, but I understand and sympathize with her now much more than I ever could have as a fifth grader.
Public schools taught me that taxes are the price we pay for a “civilized” society. That democracy is the greatest form of government in the history of the world. It’s where I learned that
Public schools taught me that voting was my civic duty. “Your voice won’t be heard if you don’t vote,” they said. I was informed that millions of Americans before me fought and died in countless wars so that I would have the “freedom” to cast a ballot in order to choose someone to run my life.
I vividly recall my first “real” experience with the electoral process. During my senior year, our high school held a mock election of the 1984 presidential campaign. Our election was modeled after the Democratic National Convention, since Ronald Reagan was running unopposed for reelection on the Republican ticket. Students played the role of Democratic candidates for president, campaign managers, and state delegates. The campaign managers introduced their candidates, the candidates gave their stump speeches, and the delegates nominated their party’s candidate for president.
My best friend, Ken, played the role of John Glenn, who was seeking the Democratic nomination for president that year. And I was his campaign manager. This will be great, I thought. Who wouldn’t vote for John Glenn? After all, he was the first American to orbit the freaking earth, for Chrissakes! Well, despite our best efforts, Glenn lost, as did the real John Glenn in his own run for the presidency. It was my first taste of political defeat.
Around 1995, I had enough sense to realize the failures, fallacies, and immoralities of the two major parties. I looked to libertarianism and the Libertarian Party as the antidote to the diseased, two-headed Demopublican hydra. I read as much as I could on libertarian ideology, and I easily identified with the limited government philosophy of the LP. To say that I was active within the party would be an understatement. I got involved with the LP at the state and county levels, and acted as campaign manager for several candidates.
After a few years of intense activism and numerous campaign defeats, I became disillusioned with the political process, though somehow I still believed in the legitimacy of the system. Perhaps I saw no other alternative at the time.
I remember when my friend told me that he was starting a website called Strike The Root, a pro-liberty journal whose mission is to advance the cause of liberty through non-political means. First of all, I didn’t know what the hell Strike The Root meant. I never read Thoreau, not even in high school literature class (thank goodness for CliffsNotes--another great product of the free market!).
Secondly, the concept of promoting liberty through non-political means was foreign to me. How is this possible? At least elections and the political process are tangible entities. There are distinct winners and losers in every election. How do you quantify success if you are promoting liberty through non-political means?
Of course, none of this would be possible without the editor and founder of STR. Because of his ceaseless efforts, STR has grown from a little-known journal seeking an audience in the Internet wasteland to become a beacon of liberty around the world.
Among the many extraordinary discoveries and inventions of the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes was the law of the lever, which demonstrated that a rigid object used with an appropriate fulcrum or pivot point will multiply the mechanical force that can be applied to another object. “Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I will move the world,” he reportedly said.
Strike The Root is the Archimedes’ Lever of liberty on the Internet. It’s the intellectual Red Pill--an escape from the Matrix of government propaganda and pro-statist ideology espoused by the mainstream media. It’s a sharp stick in the eye of the political establishment. It’s a Twelve-Step Recovery Program for collectivists in one giant libertarian leap.
STR seeks a world where people are free to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they don't use force or fraud against peaceful people. Five years on, it’s fulfilling its objective. Keep the dream alive!