What brought me to Libertarianism

by Rachel Wester

Secretary, Collin County Libertarian Party

I grew up in a liberal family and was a conservative Democrat through my college years and early 20’s. My college was extremely liberal and at the time, I didn’t really question it. It seemed like the kind, just, right way to believe and vote. I cared about the plight of the poor and the downtrodden, and wanted to make a difference.

My Grandpa once told me “if you’re not a Democrat when you’re young, you have no heart. If you’re still a Democrat when you’re older, you have no brain.” I think there’s a lot of truth to that.

The issue that started my transformation into a Libertarian was gun rights. I never had a ‘problem’ with guns, but I still believed that there must be such a thing as ‘common sense’ gun control and that any reasonable person must see that. But over 10 years of discussing it with my husband, listening to his reasoned arguments as to a) why it simply wouldn’t work in the first place and b) it would actually make things much worse, I started to come around.

It felt like there just had to be a way to solve issues of gun violence. My heart desperately wanted to find a magic solution, but my brain finally, reluctantly, accepted that there was none.  That was a frightening realization at first, but it was followed by a strange peace that comes with accepting reality rather than fighting it.

No amount of legislation can create a perfect, peaceful society. Restricting freedoms accomplishes the exact opposite. Once I accepted that, it left me free to think about how I could create the change I wanted to see, versus relying on some far away government. Libertarians want to be a positive force for change as much, if not more, than Democrats do. We have simply accepted that it’s up to us as free individuals, not a government that would restrict our freedoms in the name of improving society.

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