The Moment of Truth
It was 2007, a little under a year away from the very memorable 2008 presidential election. It was a very chilly, winter evening in Los Angeles (the temps were in the high 40s!!), I was cozied up on the couch with my then boyfriend watching the political debates. These debates were before the primaries. It was pretty much the first time I had ever paid real, lasting attention to any type of political debate in my life, they had always seemed so boring before.
It seemed exciting this time and there was a charge in the air. Maybe it was for the same reasons that so many others were fascinated with the election that year – the fact that Barack Obama was running for president. Hilary Clinton made it interesting as well. The possibility of either America’s first black president or first woman president was alluring. Plus, there was the big housing crash that had just occurred and spiraled so many people into financial ruin.
Everyone felt worn out with the Bush administration and wanted something new and different; whatever the reason was, it was fashionable and trendy that year to be ‘in the know’ of politics.
What’s to come sounds like such a boring, insignificant thing, that to call it the “event” that triggered the upheaval of someone’s life sounds preposterous. And yet, it was that small, divine moment, that one winter evening, that changed everything for me.
As I watched the debates leading up to the elections, a candidate stood out to me. It wasn’t Obama or Clinton, despite my strong, left wing social beliefs or the fact that if either of those candidates won, it would be a great historical social moment for America. For those candidates, it didn’t matter what their policies or politics were, they pretty much had the women’s votes and the blacks’ votes.
The person who stood out to me was a Republican.
The quiet, older guy rocked my world!
An elderly gentleman stood at his podium, he was of smaller stature, more soft-spoken, less smooth in his delivery compared to the other candidates, but he was firm and clear in his arguments. He had been purposely excluded from one of the earlier televised debates for some reason and now, in this one debate, the mediator was trying to prevent him from answering the same questions that had been asked of all the other candidates.
The network that was airing the debate seemed intent on not giving this guy as much air time, either, as the other candidates. It was curious and interesting. Why were they blocking what this guy had to say?
And the more I listened, the more I realized I agreed with what was coming out of his mouth. He spoke with common sense, clarity, and transparency. He spoke of limited, constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies. He backed up every argument with unassailable reasons.
Truth is Recognizable, it’s Just Whether You Want to Accept it
It’s funny, but when you hear pure, unadulterated truth, you recognize it. We all do. Sometimes, emotional wounds or preferences can keep you from accepting and acknowledging truth. But he was telling the truth and there was nothing to say to thwart it.
The other candidates could only respond with scoffing and laughing because they could not beat his truth and weren’t even going to try. The only thing they could try to do was to silence him. He explained why America became as great as it has and why she’s in danger now. He told Americans the truth. In that one debate, he taught me things that vast amounts of prestigious schooling had never taught me.
The man’s name was Senator Ron Paul.
What came next was A LOT of reading. And research. And investigation. Into the history and principles of America. Into business principles. Into Christianity. Into freedom. Into capitalism. And I haven’t stopped. I have been non-stop reading and learning for the last 8 years, now, and I’m still learning tons of truth and history that I was never taught in school.
My priorities flipped drastically. I still pursued my lifelong dream of acting but now there was another passion on the horizon, another pursuit that seemed infinitely worthwhile. I began to learn about history, government, the economy, the Founding Fathers, freedom, and how it all affects my life, my parents’ lives, my friends’ lives, everyone’s lives! It was no joke. This information was key to a bright new future. This knowledge actually gave me confidence and more certainty in achieving my goals. A new dream for me was born!
In 2012, I met a British hunk in Malaysia, fell in love with him in Singapore, and globe-trotted around with him to over 15 countries in the following three years.
The travel was astonishing but not for the reasons you would typically think. It was astonishing because what I witnessed in all these countries was the unfolding of all my studies proving true in real life! All the different governments I saw, their policies, and the resulting lifestyles of their citizens reinforced what I had learned.
Visiting all these different countries, it was all right there for me to see – the solid proof that my studies of Austrian economics, how governments operate and grow out of control, the shrinking of freedom and wealth for citizens, and how it affects people were glaringly true. It was disheartening. Disheartening because there is so much hardship around the world because of lack of this truth and knowledge, and much suffering at the hands of vast government abuses.
Where you live geographically can be your prison
Countries become suffocating prisons for their citizens when governments have too much control and power. And what a tragedy to be born imprisoned instead of born free. To have never had any choice from the very beginning of your life.
This brings me back around to why I’m not a liberal anymore. Many liberals, I have discovered, are people who are for government. They are the “government” party. They expect government to take care of things and people, rather than people just taking care of themselves.
Problem is, ‘government’ is basically a group of flawed people. They aren’t Gods. And most of the time, they are in office because they like the power, or money, or both. That position attracts that type of personality. There is a reason most people do not trust politicians. To give this group of people (or any group, for that matter) central planning powers, where they control many different aspects of the lives of whole populations, with no regard for each individual citizen’s unique circumstances, is foolish and dangerous.
Liberals have good intentions but most of their ideas are not economically viable. Meaning they can’t be done with any kind of financial responsibility. I had to learn classical and Austrian economics to understand this. My studies of Keynesian economics during my college years now seem nonsensical and contrived. Keynesian economics feels like a formula of economics that gives governments an ‘excuse’ to seize more power and money from their people.
Many liberals rally for policies that sound good because they want to “give” some group of people something, unfairly, at the expense of another group of people. It sounds great to be given something and so those politicians get the votes of the people receiving benefits (which is usually the larger group). But like the mantra in life that we all grew up with says, nothing in life is free. Someone else had to pay for that unwillingly, and sometimes unknowingly. That is flat out wrong.
In order for government (a group of people) to give other groups of people favors, for example food stamps – where one group of people pays less for groceries than other people, government has to take from someone else to subsidize the group receiving food stamps. That’s not right.
Instead, people with freedom should get to keep most of the fruits of their labor, but expect to take care of themselves, their families, their loved ones, and their communities. If people need help and loved ones can’t step in or are not around, charities and churches willingly step in to pick up the slack. This has been the successful model in the history of America. We have the most charitable citizens in the entire world.
Being a liberal Democrat, it turns out, went against my morals and values as a human
So, long story short, it turned out that the very definition of the Democratic party and many liberals’ methodologies, clashed with my morals. They want to take in order to give? Many liberals mistakenly believe they know what’s best for you and everyone else and they want to impose that on everyone. Problem is, that’s theft, coercion, and imprisonment.
When someone willingly gives you something or acts the way you want them to, of their own free will, that’s freedom. And that is right.
When you take something from a person by force (be it money, land, spouse, the opportunity to run a business, etc…) that is thievery. When you make them do something you want them to do because you think it’s right, even if they don’t want to, that is the assault of a person’s freedoms.
So I discovered in 2007 that being a liberal was actually contradictory to my value system.
And no, I’m not a Republican. Many Republicans behave just like liberals. They, too, want to take away people’s freedoms and money for programs that they think are right. They act like liberals with the tag of being Republican.
You might think that many countries around the world seem to be doing fine with big governments that overtax and coerce their citizens into doing things the government’s way. That’s the wrong way to look at it. Many countries around the world are making things work despite their governments always getting in the way.
Just imagine how much more successful citizens of the world would be if they had more individual freedom in their countries. If they had less bureaucracy taking money, land, and resources from them. If governments left people alone, affording them the opportunity to keep their own money to build their own businesses, houses, and have more control over their own lives. It would be a beautiful thing. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it’s darn near close enough. Because perfect doesn’t exist.
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One thought on “How understanding economics and liberty changed my left-wing liberal stance (article)”
Were you born into poverty? Are you completely self-made or did you have a family that supported you. Must be nice to be born so lucky and be able to have such an insular view of how you did it all by yourself.