Monday, January 23, 2006

Joining the Libertarian Party

The Girondin brought up the question on his blog so I decided I might as well address it this morning: How did you join the Libertarian Party? That could actually be read different ways: When did you become a libertarian? When or why did you register to vote as a libertarian, and so on. I'll try to cover them all.

I actually registered to vote as a Libertarian back when I first registered to vote. The LP had just been formed some time earlier and I'd read about it in the underground newspaper, the Los Angeles Free Press. It described it as some kind of Peace, Love and Hippiness party that sounded intriguing. I didn't really pay much attention to any issues the LP advocated for or against.

I was a punk hippie at the time so, after I moved to Eureka and turned 18, I registered to vote and wrote in Libertarian Party as my party affilliation. Since the LP had just recently been formed, it wasn't officially recognized by the State so you didn't have the option of just checking a box off.

It seems like a few months after that I was reading something in a news magazine, Newsweek maybe, about the Libertarian Party. The article was on Roger McBride, who was in the running for the Libertarian Presidential nomination. The article mentioned the LP was pretty much a collection of "ex marxists". Despite being a punk hippie, I didn't think I wanted to be any part of that. As soon as I got the opportunity, I re- registered to vote as a Republican and stayed with the Republican Party for almost twenty years.

I didn't really hear much of the LP over those twenty years except in some cult type reading materials I frequented. Kurt Saxon, who lived in Eureka at the time, wrote the Poor Man's James Bond and a series of survivalist magazines. I think they were called The Survivor. He mentioned Ayn Rand and a couple of her books, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. I believe he also mentioned libertarians and maybe even the LP. The seed was planted in my mind from Saxon and Rand's works. The LP was still rarely heard about in the main stream media back then.

Fast forward to 1991, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: I was reading a copy of Soldier of Fortune magazine one day. In the letters to the editor section a writer wrote: "Hey, I'm a libertarian; You smoke your joint, I keep my gun...". I liked that. That really struck a note with me, being one who didn't have much of a problem with people smoking pot- having smoked quite a bit of it myself in my time. And I was a gun owner as well. Seemed weird to me that those two groups, always under the thumb of government for the most part, were on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

It then hit me that the problem was everyone wanted to do their own thing, they just didn't want anyone else to do theirs. With a system like that, everyone loses. That's when I started to realize what a libertarian was and that it pretty much described me. The seed had sprouted.

In 1992 I was back in Eureka again, starting my gardening business. I went to get a business license and was told that, in addition to a business license, I also needed a Home Occupancy Permit, since I worked out of my house. I guess that shouldn't be any big deal as it was only a one time $25.00 fee, but it really irritated me. Government just comes at you from all sides, doesn't it? I decided as I left City Hall that enough was enough, I was switching to the Libertarian Party. I re- registered to vote as a Libertarian almost immediately. It was kind of exciting.

I'm one of those "joiner" types; always wanting to contribute to and be kept informed of whatever interest I have at the time. So, I wanted to contribute to the LP and maybe get a few of their newsletters. The internet wasn't nearly as ubiquitous in '92 as it is now. I had no idea how to contact the LP, so I used the old fashioned Information. What's that number now, 411? The operator gave me an 800 number the LP of CA was using at the time. I called them and they sent me some material. I sent back $25 and became a member of the state party. Then I received some other material from them and found there was a national party so I joined them as well.

Been with the LP ever since and have no plans on leaving.

Update, 10/28/2013: I haven't been a dues payer to the LP for some years but am still registered to vote with the Libertarian Party.


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