My Story – Steve Guillot

The phrase “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” has been used to describe the Libertarian philosophy but has always applied to me from a young age.  As native of New Orleans, I grew up in an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance of others; “live and let live” was a way of life.  In a life of work as an engineer in the oil and gas industry, I’ve been fortunate enough to see firsthand how a free market economy benefits all, and how government control benefits a select few at the expense of most of us, and it is almost always enacted with that specific intent.  Over most of my life, I saw where our government was utterly irresponsible with our tax dollars, and I tended to vote more according to my fiscal philosophy as I felt that money was power and restricting the flow of money to the government prevented them from exercising more power over us.  However, after years of betrayal, I finally realized that promises of politicians regarding fiscal responsibility made when they are campaigning or when their party is out of power are never to be believed.

Then, two things happened that reinforced my opposition to government abuse: one national and one personal.

The national event was our reaction to the war on terror.  The war in Afghanistan transformed from a normal response to the attack into a predictably failed venture into nation building, the war in Iraq was totally unjustified and unnecessary, and overall our response resulted in one million deaths of mostly innocent people as a reaction to 3,000 deaths on 9/11.  Plus, the assault on our civil liberties resulting from the Patriot Act was totally unacceptable to me.  Any increase in our safety has been far outweighed by the damage to our freedom.  Both parties supported all of this lunacy.  On top of all that, our response ended a period where our government had for the first time in my lifetime operated with a balanced budget and even surpluses.   This put us on the path toward our current $34 trillion national debt.

The personal issue was when my son got ensnared by our ridiculously oppressive police state and criminal justice system, starting as a juvenile, and the consequences were way out of proportion to anything he did.  This has all been resolved now, but he suffers from PTSD to this day because of these experiences, and if I had not had the financial resources to pay for a strong legal defense, he may have wound up spending time in prison and/or being saddled with a criminal record for the rest of his life.  I saw how in our desire for law and order, there is a lot of collateral damage done, again without making us any safer but only creating an illusion of such.  Again, both major parties are responsible for this and do little to correct it. 

I finally joined the Libertarian Party in 2016.  One of the easiest decisions ever, for me, was to support Gary Johnson for President over Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, in terms of both his qualifications for office and his political philosophy, and this brought me to my first LP meeting.  After the election, I learned more about the Libertarian philosophy and realized how closely it aligned with my personal beliefs, which is the case with many people who take the time to research it – many people are true Libertarians but don’t even realize it, and I hope to help others make that realization.

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