I was raised as a true red state girl. Before I was interested in politics, I brushed off all debates with a simple, “Well the Democrats want to redistribute the wealth.” However, as I started to listen in to conversations about politics, I began to question the Republican stance on social values. I wasn’t sure why it was a big deal to allow gay marriage or to let people do drugs if they so chose. I thought the Republican party just wanted a smaller government.
As I entered my AP US History class, my teacher taught us that once upon a time, conservatives minded their own business. While I am dubious about that fact now, I was enamored by the idea at the time. I immediately began to describe myself as an “old school conservative.” Had I done more research, I would have realized I was essentially describing the libertarian party, but I was only in tenth grade.
My newfound conversion to a self-proclaimed old school conservative was much to the dismay of my peers. Before, I acted like a hardcore neoconservative, shuddering at the thought of increased immigration and mocking those who yearned for peace. However, as I began to question why the government regulated people’s personal lives, I was confronted with anger. “Damn girl, you sure you ain’t some yankee liberal?” Welcome to the deep south — which, despite its faults, I love dearly.
Senior year of high school was when I took a deep interest in politics, trying to figure out where my views fit. The more I researched, the more ostracized I felt from the Republican party. Nonetheless, I desperately tried to reconcile my views with the GOP, attempting to liken my position to that of Meghan McCain’s. As my ideas drifted further from the central Republican Party however, the party I once strived to fit into, became one that I knew would not accept my positions.
My interest in politics—and eventually libertarianism—became a full-fledged passion when I found myself reading books like Economics In One Lesson and applying for libertarian academic seminars. It was last summer that I made my new political ideology “Facebook official,” and I confirmed my libertarian stance with a vote for Gary Johnson in November. My love of liberty is still new, therefore I’m still feverishly reading everything I can get my hands on.
My first college economics professor, who is absolutely wonderful, assigned us books like No They Can’t and explained economic models using Stossel clips. She had a slight obsession with Stossel, but who doesn’t? I was shocked as she taught about the market benefits of prostitution and sweat shops. While the topics themselves were slightly controversial, I was mostly shocked by the sheer logic of it all. Since that class, I try to base most of my arguments for libertarianism in economics and logic.
I still live a relatively “old school conservative” life, but I’m not interested in telling others to live just like me. If that means I’m a libertarian, so be it.