Editor’s note: Yahoo News asked young libertarian-minded voters to share why they’re drawn to the either the Libertarian Party or to libertarian political principles in general. Here’s one first-person account we received this week.
FIRST PERSON | Not many people under the age of 35 can admit to reading the landmark copyright case Kelly v. Arriba (2003) for fun, but my path to libertarianism started with my questions about intellectual property as a photographer.
As a digital native coming of age in the late 90s, I grew up in an Internet culture that was freewheeling and unbounded in creativity. When I took up photography in 2005, this culture I was so accustomed to was suddenly in conflict with the culture of copyright restriction enjoyed by photographers.
Cognitive dissonance set in as I attempted to reconcile these two cultures I was straddling. I knew there was something wrong about copyrights, but I did not know what it was. As I researched this question, I ended up reading Stephan Kinsella’s "Against Intellectual Property," which introduced me to the basic ideas underpinning libertarianism for the first time.
After that introduction to the ideas of liberty, it was unquestionably Ron Paul who who made me political. I’d been against war since my combat deployment to Iraq, but Ron Paul’s high profile candidacy gave voice to those views. As a fellow veteran, I felt that he made it acceptable for me—a Marine and a 29-year-old Iraq War veteran—to hold antiwar views.
Thanks to Ron Paul’s impact on our national, political conversation, it is now permissible for me to not want my brothers and sisters in the armed forces to have to die for a lie. It’s because of my experience in the military—not because I’m ignorant or naïve about what war entails—that I don’t want my brothers and sisters in the armed forces to have their minds destroyed by mental trauma, their hearts broken by grief, and their consciences ravaged by guilt in their participation in a moral injustice.
The principles of libertarianism to which I was introduced when figuring out my views on intellectual property made perfect sense when applied to our foreign policy and interactions with other nations. The libertarian foreign policy isn’t isolationism; it’s an understanding that if we are aggressive toward others, they’ll respond with aggression toward us.
And this foreign policy based on peace and prosperity resonates deeply with my own convictions and experience in Iraq, in sharp contrast to the neoconservatism of the Republican Party during the Bush years (defined by the two costly and horrible wars, one of which is still raging to this day) and the macabre liberalism of the Democratic Party under Obama (epitomized by the Kill List, drone strikes, and military interventions in over 40 countries).
All in all, I’ve had a something of a weird but good journey to the Liberty Movement: Questions about copyright made me libertarian, Ron Paul made me political, and opposition to aggressive war made me a radical.
- Politics & Government
- Military & Defense
- Libertarian Party
- Ron Paul