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My Path to Liberty

My Path to Liberty

It Took a While, but I’ll Never Look Back

I didn’t have much of an opinion in my youth and I was completely oblivious to the world around me. I was never up to date on global issues. I had an extremely poor understanding of history, science, politics, law, government, economics, and pretty much any topic of importance. I was young, immature, naïve, ignorant at times, and completely indifferent to the realities of how the world works. I was content with my own personal life without any curiosity for ideas that actually matter. I was only interested in motorsports and girls (I wasn’t any good with those interests either). I tried to avoid “serious” topics of discussion by making jokes, changing the subject, or simply staying silent.  But some people grow up and change dramatically. Thankfully, I’m one of those cases.

After High school, I tried a few different paths. I worked full-time off and on for three years while attempting to attend a 2-year Tech School (I only lasted one week) and then half-heartedly attempting a move to Fargo, North Dakota (“The City”). I was still young and immature and really had no idea what to do with my life. Although I had a lot of fun during these years, I always felt a little embarrassed about my failed attempts to pursue certain goals. But these failed attempts only strengthened my desire to pursue and achieve other goals.

I have always had a passion for working with children (I’ve been involved with a Youth Summer Camp for the past 12 years), so I decided to attend my local college (Mayville State University) and pursue a teaching degree. It was 2009, I was 21 years old, and I was finally ready to commit to something and see it through. It was my time in college where I finally matured intellectually, realized the importance of self-education, established a firm set of principles, applied those principles to understanding the world around me, and began to speak out and get involved regarding issues I felt passionate about.

Although the first few years of my college career were basically focused on my “Schooling”, in 2012 I became very interested in the Presidential Election cycle; specifically the Republican Nomination process. I remember hanging out with a few friends, and I made a comment about how I was upset with Obama’s Presidency, but no Republican candidate seemed any better. This was my first rude awakening to the phony 2-party political system. A friend of mine, and It LPND Insurance Commissioner Candidate, Nick Bata, told me to check out one Republican Candidate; Texas Congressman, Ron Paul. My life has never been the same.

After a Google-search of Ron Paul and watching a few YouTube videos, I was hooked. He was talking about issues nobody else would dare mention, and he spoke with conviction; some issues I had never heard of before. He talked about U.S. foreign interventionism and the idea of blowback; he talked about Austrian economics and the economic efficiency and ethical superiority of free markets; he talked about the Federal Reserve system and Fractional Reserve banking and how they distort the value of money negatively affecting the living standards of anyone who uses U.S. currency; he talked about the War on Drugs and how it has ruined the lives of tens of thousands (if not millions); he talked about the expansion of Presidential War Power and how Congress doesn’t perform its Constitutional duty to declare war; he talked about all of these topics and more while clearly explaining his reasoning for holding such “radical” positions. He related each and every issue to a central theme: Individual Liberty.

The more I researched Ron Paul and his ideas the more confident I was in them. But not only did Ron Paul change my life; he introduced me to his intellectual influences. During Ron Paul’s political campaign he constantly discussed topics including foreign policy, history, political theory, and economics. As he mentioned authors, books, and articles, I began to read and research almost non-stop in my spare time. I became obsessed with learning as much as I could about these topics, and I never seemed to get enough. Even to this day, I cannot stop reading and studying. I always feel like I should be doing more; reading, writing, or reviewing. I can’t seem to enjoy any ‘down-time” but constantly look for more information regarding these new interests of mine. Luckily, the “Liberty Movement” has many committed and impressive authors, columnists, and economists who I read and study daily to better understand the significance and importance of free markets and individual liberty.

Some major intellectuals that have contributed to my “Path to Liberty” include Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Henry Hazlitt, Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods, Robert Murphy, Peter Schiff, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Walter Block, Thomas DiLorenzo, and more. These great thinkers have covered a vast array of topics including praxeology, epistemology, economic history, economic theory, economic policy, monetary history, monetary theory, monetary policy, international trade, international banking, trade cycles, business cycle theory, banking, world history, U.S. history, European history, U.S. foreign policy, educational history, educational theory, entrepreneurialism, political theory, capitalism, socialism, Marxism, communism, ethics, social order theory, and more. This is only scratching the surface of what these giants of thought have covered in their writings.

Although all of these authors have contributed enormously to my intellectual growth, there are a few who stand out; Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. These three intellectual giants have drastically influenced the way I view the world and carry myself. Mises’s great works on ‘Socialism‘, ‘Bureaucracy‘, and the ‘Profit and Loss‘ system have shown me the inefficiency and impossibility of government management and control. Rothbard has repeatedly blown me away with his clear and concise rationale for the Libertarian philosophy, which he thoroughly discusses in ‘The Ethics of Liberty,’ in both economic and ethical affairs. In his book (1 of 25 {and counting}), ‘For a New Liberty’ he laid out why to support the free market system in providing goods and services; not just typical Libertarian cases like roads and schools, but also national defense and court systems. Hoppe has provided an eye-opening analysis of Democracy and other Political systems in his book, Democracy: The God that Failed, and has also written a rational and logical foundation in support of a pure free market society with his great work on property and property rights; The Economics and Ethics of Private Property. These three individuals have provided me the knowledge to refute many common intellectual errors and the courage to do so boldly.

In the last five years after reading close to 100 books, thousands of articles, and watching hundreds of interviews and lectures I am still in amazement by the intellect and commitment to truth by these great men. They have all added unique insight regarding the importance of the ideas of liberty and how they affect the lives of all individuals. In economics, the concept of individual liberty supports free markets. In ethics, the concept of individual liberty supports free markets. In all areas of life, the concept of individual liberty is superior. I’m grateful to have found this path, and I will never look back.

 

TomSkadeland1

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