Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Voluntaryist Project

So there I was, out on one of my long weekend bicycle rides in the Indiana countryside with my husband. We are usually riding side-by-side, but occasionally I drift ahead as I get deep in thought about one topic or another. At around 25 miles, I’ve usually solved all of the world’s problems.

This day was different though. This day I was thinking about improving myself.

I’ve been self-identifying as a Voluntaryist for several years now, yet I’m sure I don’t understand the philosophy as well as I’d like. I subscribed to The Voluntaryist publication when I first discovered it existed, but stopped after a few years.

Now I have some time again and want to get back to it, but what I really want to do is read all of them, from the beginning. I knew it was considered the longest running libertarian publication, since 1982, and I’ve been curious as to what is in each issue. I know an anthology has been published, but I wanted to understand it all in context.

I have questions I want to answer. How did the publication develop over time? What was happening in the world as each issue was published? What treasures of thought remain hidden in its pages? How could I kick myself in gear to actually sit down and start reading them and answer these questions?

Next, my mind trailed off to a movie I saw recently called Julie And Julia, where a lady named Julie decided to cook every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and she blogged about it.

Not being one who is above copying a good idea, I yelled out, “Hey, I could do something like that with The Voluntaryist!” I almost swallowed a bug my mouth was so wide open.

So, at 30 miles, as I routed by bike around some road kill, I hit upon the idea that I could do this as a blog project. I could write about what I’m learning, what other questions come up as I read each issue, etc.

I was really pushing the pedals now and what really motivated me was that, unlike Julie, I could reach Carl. Would he participate, perhaps by giving me his thoughts and perspective, in real time, as I proceed? I contacted Carl and he liked the idea. He said he will participate if time and interest prevails. I’m going to try not to bother him much, but hopefully, we’ll get to hear from him here occasionally.

At 34 miles, when I told my husband about this project, and its comparison to Julie and Julia, he was at first very enthused, mostly because he was really hungry. But then he realized he wasn’t going to get any great meals as a result of my project.

“As a matter of fact,” he said, “It sounds like I’m going to have to do all the cooking for a while if you’re going to be so busy.”

He’s probably right. Sorry honey, but I need to feed my mind.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! Really looking forward to reading and learning from your posts Debbie. I'm actually a little jealous of your project:)

justino said...

Looking forward to it ...

David said...

Very cool idea. The email Carl send out forwarding your philosophical odyssey no doubt parallels most people's. I suspect that few reach individualist-anarchism in a single leap and all of us nod in agreement while reading parts of your narrative.

Either now, or after you've digested more of The Voluntaryist, I'd like to see you address why you think it is that most people do not follow what often seems like an inevitable path to voluntaryism.

I have my own view on this, but I think the answer to this question is perhaps the most interesting personal aspect of philosophical anarchists (or voluntaryists, market-order"ists", or whatever term is preferred). I suspect that how people see this (whether they attribute endogenous or exogenous causes) is a key element of differentiation among us.

joybran said...

Like David, I can relate to your philosophical odyssey, although my journey started from a very different place, selling office equipment to business and government. Private businesses (especially small businesses) buy based on productivity increases. Government offices buy based on spending all of their equipment budget so they get a bigger budget next year. Productivity increases are the last thing they want because they might lose some of their budget for employees.

I went from card-carrying Libertarian to small-l libertarian to anarcho-capitalist/individualist anarchist to now finding voluntaryist the most accurate term. It seems like a natural progression if one continues to study and think. I see a combination of endogenous and exogenous causes for why people either continue on the path or drop out at some point.

gophergraphics said...

Great idea Debbie! Your talk of your "battles" with the state during your homeschooling experiences sure sounds familiar! We'll try to follow along and comment when time allows. How will we know when you have posted? Yours, Jamie & Janet

alanrowley said...

I'll be following along. My path to Voluntaryism started with the Ron Paul Revolution which lead me to the path of true freedom. I've read some of The Voluntaryist stuff but haven't had time to go backward in time. This will be a great journey and I'm looking forward to the ride.

Debbie H. said...

Thanks for all the comments so far everyone. It sounds like many of us have a lot in common as to our personal journeys. Now we get to take another journey together here. Buckle in. :)

Oh and Jamie & Janet, I have now set up the blog for email subscription, so just type in your email in the form and follow the directions and you will be emailed whenever I put up a new post. Please let me know if you have any problems with that.

Ned Netterville said...

Hi Debbie, Good idea; thanks for taking the initiative. I've been reading The Voluntaryist for 15-17 years, or thereabout, and I have read Carl's anthology, I MUST SPEAK OUT, plus a few back issues Carl has sent me from time to time, but I missed the first 10 years or so and catching up on those will be fun and informative.

Wow, 34 miles and you guys weren't even through riding for the day! I envy you. There were a couple of years in the 1990s when I racked up over 10,000 miles on a bike because a judge had stolen my car and I'd be damned if I'd let the MAN keep me from going where I wanted to go. As you can imagine, the judge's nefarious act turned out to be among the best things that ever happened to me. It got me into cross-country cycling, bicycle commuting, night riding and because all that peddling got me in pretty good shape, I started racing my mtb, which was easily the best late-in-life sport I ever sampled.

Carl and Julie and their four children have each been an inspiration to me. Although I've never been involved directly in home schooling, the home-schooled children and adults I've come in contact with have uniformly made manifest to me that among the greatest gifts a child can possibly receive, home schooling ranks near or at the top.