By William R. Toler
It’s sort of a running joke around the office that I’m the “free speech, anti-government guy.” In fact, that’s often how the executive producer introduces me to newcomers. (Despite the fact that there are at least 5 other libertarians at the station, I’m obviously the most outspoken.)
During an engaging discussion over a late-night dinner in Mooresville with my mom (who is visually impaired) and two of her blind friends (one being a preacher) mainly on the topic of victimless crimes, she made the comment: “I don’t know where he gets this from.”
It’s not that she totally disagrees with everything I have to say. In fact, she may understand my points more than others. I think what she was meaning was that she didn’t know where my passion for the subject comes from.
After thinking about it, I realized that my roots actually begin with family. I grew up hearing my grandad grumble about how high a parcel of useless swamp land he owns is valued, and therefore how much he’s taxed on it.
When it comes to taxes, I think the biggest thought provokers have been from my dad. It was he who first clued me in to the double taxation of vehicles. You pay taxes on a car when you buy it. Then, the county government of the boundaries you happen to be located in tax you to keep it…every year. The same goes for land that you “own.” (More detailed post on taxes coming later.)
One of my first anti-government arguments came in my first year of high school. I was taking a class on civics (I forget the actual acronymical name of the course) when I first learned about eminent domain. When my teacher told me that the government could take my land for any reason, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it.
But there it was, a loophole in the Fifth Amendment giving the State the ability to take my land for “just compensation”, as it sees fit. I remember arguing that our land would not be given up without a fight. It’s been in the family for more than four generations.
I later found out that much of our land was taken for failure to pay a “ditch tax” in the mid-1900s. Thanks for “putting people to work” FDR.
During my college years, I held a mix of conservative, liberal and populist viewpoints. In was the later years I was introduced to libertarianism…and I’ve been growing ever since. It was also in that time period that I had my first brush with bureaucrats, when college adminstrators tried to reign in the Campus Communicator, the student newspaper of which I was managing editor.
It was that fight that led to me becoming an advocate of civil liberties and to the creation of the Independent Register, with two other staffers. When Corey Friedman and I relaunched IndieRegister.com in 2008, we inserted our libertarian views into every op-ed we wrote, and still do.
Following the demise of our fledgling, alternative news source, I became involved with a pirate radio station in a nearby city. It was through that experience I was introduced to Alex Jones and leared more about the Soverign movement, something I knew about from working on a movie several years prior. I was later a guest on another show by the same host/producer on a “legit” station.
Over the past several years, I’ve read works by Lysander Spooner, Ron Paul, Milton Friedman, Judge Andrew Napolitano and Tibor Machan, and perused the pages of Reason Magazine. And through the wonderment that is Facebook, I have met and discussed topics with a variety of freedom lovers ranging from Libertarians to Voluntaryists, a philosophy which is quickly winning me over.
The purpose of this series of posts, as with all posts, is to make the readers think about statism and the ever-increasing power usurped by the government as it is taken from (or given by) the people of our society in the hope that, through reason, we can change things for the better.
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