The following two articles were posted on the Libertarian Party of Washington website:
This article is part of series of articles commemorating the service and spirit of Americans for the 237th anniversary of Independence Day, featuring libertarian leaders, activists, and community servants and their thoughts on how liberty and the American Dream have influenced their lives.
Brooke’s Story: Plato, Ron Paul, And Other Things That Changed My Life
June 25, 2013
Although I am only 15, I have gone on a long journey to finally find out that I am a Libertarian.
Being of European decent, I have a fondness towards European history. The thing that really caught my attention was Plato’s philosopher king. I thought this would be such a great model to try to imitate in the states, but then I understood why it could never work. We have seen time and time again that when one person assumes power bad things tend to happen. So I tried to find a system where the people’s ideas were truly represented and where the government doesn’t have to control every single thing we are doing.During the 2012 elections, and watching the republican nominees, only one candidate caught my eye. That was Dr. Ron Paul. Dr. Paul was the only candidate who made sense, who didn’t change their views the next day, who was not trying to abuse his power, and who truly cared about the people. I understood he wasn’t really republican at all, and was a Libertarian. I searched out this party and saw how underrepresented they were. I thought this shouldn’t be because this party shows more compassionate values than the two parties. So from that day forward I was the school’s Libertarian.Students used to come up to me and tell me that my idol Ron Paul and my Libertarian ideals were stupid. What I did then was join my debate team. I trained up so I could properly be informed and represent the Libertarian party. Now, I am my high school’s debate team captain. I am Brooke, the Ron Paul girl. I am ok with this. I want to get involved now, and I want to try to help this underrepresented party as much as I can. I have done a lot in my community thus far, but when I get a college education I really want to get into international relations. It is a bit ironic considering the Libertarian’s views on foreign policy. That’s why I want to do it though, so as a country we can stop policing the world and I can lead us to a better ideology hopefully.Libertarianism, although seemingly small, has helped me in huge ways and for the better. I can thank the party for where I am now.
Brooke Curto, 15, is an avid supporter of Ron Paul, and a part of the Libertarian Youth Caucus. She is captain of her school’s award-winning debate team. She teaches students to speak out while advocating her libertarian beliefs on a daily basis. She is also a semifinalist in the Euro-Challenge national competition. Brooke has debated at her town’s library about issues such as affirmative action. She will be spending a week in London over the summer for a debate program through the University of London. She currently lives in Redding, Connecticut with her family of 6.
Marc Connuck: Stories, Philosophies and Viewpoints
June 26, 2013
Every so often, someone will come up to me and ask “why are you a Libertarian?” Sometimes I have an answer which satisfies them, other times I do not and they keep asking more questions. But, what I do know is that I did not develop my political and economic views overnight. Upon reflection, I have found that there are several different ways to approach such a question. There is the philosophical, the empirical, and the “principled” approach. Many may argue that the philosophical and the principled are one in the same, and while they could be, in this instance, they are not. When I talk about philosophy, I speak of topics such as ethics and metaphysics. When I talk of principle, I speak of political principles such as never wanting the raise taxes, or having a less powerful government. Even then, the question still remains: “why did I develop that specific philosophy or ideology?” The answer to that question lies within my life. As a person with a horrendous memory (I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast this morning), it is difficult to retell exact stories, but I assure you, they are there.
Each moment of your life has some impact on your worldview. Some moments may define how you live while others will have a small, almost negligible, impact. Now, the earliest political views I have ever had probably were formed before I even knew what politics was. As a child growing up just outside of New York City, before moving away from New York to just outside of Philadelphia, I observed both worlds: the super-rich and the super-poor. Living only a half an hour from Philadelphia and an hour and a half from New York, it was hard to avoid seeing the homeless and the impoverished. As an 8 year old child, it was relatively difficult to understand how the economic elite are sitting, quite literally, next to the impoverished (take a walk through any city, especially New York, and you will understand what I am saying). So, even before knowing what socialism was, I was socialist. My thinking, at the time, was that the economic elite should have to give money to the poor because then the poor would not be poor. Of course, I know now that the world does not work that way.
I would say that my views became more moderate over the next few years quite simply because I learned more about how the world works both through personal experience and through the academic world. Having always been a book lover, reading was, and still is, a passion. I “devour” everything from autobiographies to sci-fi. I read everything I could get my hands on. When I was around 13-14, I found a copy of “Human Action” by Ludwig von Mises and I attempted to read it. I can tell you right now that I did not understand much of the book. As I grew older, I started following politics. At the same time, I started to do more community service work. To be blunt, I realized that wealth redistribution would not solve the problems the United States faces today. And my transition to the “right” began. As time went on, I formed into your traditional neoconservative Republican. Well, that was mostly because at that time, the “War on Terror” was becoming an even larger conflict than ever before. I saw everything that was happening in the world, took it at face value, and used such events to justify the United States’s actions. In hindsight, that was wrong. Nevertheless, it was not until I found that my own arguments were horrendous that I abandoned them (For the record, it was not Ron Paul who “inspired” me.).
As my views matured, I began to read more and more philosophy. Many people like to read, but most do not find enjoyment curling up by a fireplace reading books about Kantian ethics. I also started to really take an interest in following and learning about political systems. I joined my schools debate team for a year. Eventually, I grew to realize through philosophy that no collection of individuals has natural rights and only individuals do. As such, an individual’s rights ought to be protected, whereas a collective entity has no such ethical protections. A person has no more natural authority to act than you or I do. We empower certain individuals to put in place protections for us, but that does not mean they have the natural authority to do so. While we may try to give the government more and more authority, ultimately, the government’s authority ends where my rights begin. They have no authority to act if it means violating one individual’s right to life, liberty, or property security.
While I was born and raised in the United States, before being an American, I am a human being. I respect the life, liberty and property of my fellow human beings, and, for the most part, they respect my life, liberty and property. Ultimately, that is the basis of the United States: Mutual respect and mutual dependency upon each other. For the most part, people did and still do respect their fellow human beings rights to life, liberty and property security. When we look back, that is the basis of the United States; that all people have the right to life, liberty and property security and that those rights shall not be infringed upon.
Marc Connuck is a member of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania and a managing partner for We Are 1776. He currently works as on the Legislative Action Committee for the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania to develop positions and create connections with other organization who hold Libertarian positions on issues. Through the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, Marc Connuck has worked closely with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Philadelphia.