I can not say that I have always been a Libertarian, but I should have been. There was simply not enough opportunity for me to be aware of a philosophy that encourages real individual freedom for everyone. On the contrary through the education system and the lack of opportunity I had settled for a vague set of standards that would be considered conservative in conventional political thinking. It is fortunate that by example of my father that philosophy remained skeptical even though my father would be,considered, conservative too.
He was also a doer and a worker. Much of his work helped much more than his family. In fact, many people would not have made the sacrifices he made or done the amount of work that he did because to them they would not have seen direct personal benefit. My father, on the other hand, understood that what he did had great personal benefit. He understood a broader and important self interest encouraged by individuals and to the benefit of all. This is essentially the heart of Libertarianism and has its corallary in a truly free market.
fortunately I started from that base that allowed me to eventually work through the cloud of inadequate education and active suppression of information by agenda driven individuals, organizations, government. He left me an abiding love of history and reading that has allowed me the ability to make up for lost opportunities.
Being that I considered myself conservative I dutifully if not thoughtfully supported the Republican Party. The first Presidental election I really participated in was when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. I ended up joining the Presidential Task Force, a fund raising organization that operated during his terms as president. I was even briefly part of the Republican Central Committee of Monterey County. I do not recall why, but I was not able to participate on that committee.
So from that time to 2008 I supported Republican candidates, campaigns, and policies. I supported Republicans and nothing changed. Government never shrunk, taxes were always increasing for the federal government, more and more decisions came from government bureaucrats, we continued dangerous economic policies and military policies that undermined our country. It seemed not to matter who you voted for it never helped move our country back to what I knew was what our founding ideals were. Wasn’t that what voting for Republicans meant.
At that point, I had started a concentrated reading effort prompted by a dissatisfaction and to identify something better. I had been listening to a local conservative, but in retrospect was closer to Libertarian radio show than the host, Mark Carbonero, probably would admit. He had a number of authors on and that is where I started reading. In a system that I would call “grazing”, reading one book and moving to other books connected with the book just read.
Since just before retiring in 2014 and now I have read over 100 books, mostly history, politics, and economics. I have read in great variety, from Milton Friedman to Bertrand Russell, Karl Marx to Adam Smith. I have read core libertarian and Austrian economics, fredrick hayack, Mises, Rothbard and Woods. I read American history on the founding of the nation, books written about the founders, and books written by founders. all of this put me where I am at now.