The Conversion

February 14, 2007

The final straw was, of all things, a hockey rink. A family friend, who just moved into a new neighbourhood could not take her kids skating because the city refused to put up an outdoor rink. The local community association even offered to pay half the cost and all the maintenance, since it was in the community. No, said the city.

And yet, the news is full of the deliberations on the new city budget and how we might again – for the 5th year in a row – have a tax increase. Our services our have been drastically reduced in that time. Oh and our bus fare is going up 16%.

It may not seem much but it was enough.

Until a few days ago I was a proud, active true-believing social democrat, a member of the New Democratic Party of Canada. I argued for government programs, more taxes, tax breaks, regulations. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was helping. I was an avowed lefty and truly honestly believed that the state could do good.

But I finally came to the conclusion that I was wrong.

I was raised partly in rural Northern Ontario and partly on a farm in Southwestern Ontario. We had, through necessity, developed the DIY mentality – do it yourself. That had led us to be active members in our local Farmers Coop and Credit Union and for my dad (and later myself) to be active in the CAW. We did this because we knew we needed to do things for ourselves and our community because the government and the big businesses wouldn’t.

It was this cooperative spirit that, ironically, led me to support from the first time I could vote, the NDP. For over 20 years I thought that they would be the ones to help people – after all, Tommy Douglas had created the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, predecessor of the NDP, by direct action and organization. I happily played the game, drank the koolaid and supported the party, voted and pushed for one government program after another.

But it was not satisfying. Something to me was not right. Why would the NDP demand tax dollars in parliament to help the poor, but not go out and organize to feed them? Why would they advocate single-payer public health care, but balk at not-for profit private clinics or cooperative, employee owned clinics as a solution?

I used to happily pay taxes, because I thought they were doing good. But lately I discovered that despite 1/3 of my income going to taxes, I still had terrible wait times for healthcare, the poor were getting poorer, our government was locking up individuals indefinitely without trial or charge, yet the rich get tax breaks and corporations making record profits get billions in government subsidies. But my friends can’t get an ice rink and my 7-year-old daughter has more homework in the 2nd grade than I did in highschool. And I have no choice about what she learns or how much gets spent on what at her school. I just write the check.

And when I recently purchased a new house, I got to pay thousands in land transfer taxes, property taxes, fees and surcharges, but I have no sidewalk, crappy snow removal and a list of things I cannot do with my property that are beyond the pale ridiculous. And my tax bill is going up.

Finally watching the circus of liars we call the House of Commons spin and manoeuvre, knowing none of the parties, least of all the Liberals and Conservative twins, will ever actually do anything except try to gain power and find new and interesting ways to take our money and remove our freedom.

I have been disillusioned for a while.

About a year ago, I made a “Mad Max” crack to Jay Jardine on a friend’s blog. He didn’t take kindly but was kind enough to point me to the Blogsphere of the Libertarian Left and I began exploring. I found Kevin Carson, Larry Gambone, Eugene Plawiuk and freeman among others. I had some discussions and, especially Kevin Carson, everyone made sense. I have been learning from Meaghan at Somena Media almost since I started blogging and if not for Ian Scott giving me a great book, I might never have gotten serious. After the “hockey rink” incident and the absolute inaction on green house gases, I happened to watch the documentary “Anarchism in America” on Youtube. And I was hooked. After hearing Karl Hess and Murray Bookchin and even Murray Rothbard, I just knew.

As Karl Hess so eloquently put in the famous Plowboy Interview in Mother Earth News from February 1976:

I still believe in the same’ things I’ve always believed in…Individualism. Self-reliance. Decentralization. Individual responsibility…I’m still holding out for the same old values I always supported the only difference is that I’ve changed my mind about the identity of the good guys and the bad guys.

Exactly.

And now I am no longer a statist. I am an anarchist.

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7 Responses to “The Conversion”

  1. Kevin Carson Says:

    Thanks a lot for the link! I look forward to reading more posts.

  2. theconverted Says:

    Thanks for coming by Kevin, you were a big inspiration to me. I have posted over at your place as ‘Mike’ from rationalreasons.blogspot.com.

    I hope to have more in the coming days….


  3. […] seinen eigenen Worten: Until a few days ago I was a proud, active true-believing social democrat, a member of the New […]


  4. […] seinen eigenen Worten: Until a few days ago I was a proud, active true-believing social democrat, a member of the New […]

  5. Felix Benner Says:

    As it was so aptly put in the movie The Matrix: Welcome to the real world! šŸ™‚
    Now that you’ve taken the red pill, you’ll find yourself persecuted by former friends and family. But our numbers are growing and eventually we will find ourselves a sanctuary. Check out http://freestateproject.org or http://europeanfreestate.net

  6. theconverted Says:

    Felix,

    Thanks. And thanks for the link. However, I just moved to a new house and I hate moving, so as nice a New Hampshire is….


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