Why I became a Libertarian
Lloyd Jeffrey Mallan
Before living in India, in 1965, as a U.S. Peace Corps. Volunteer, I had little idea that politics had any relevance to the world. Then, as time proceeded during my service there, seeing the marked contrasts of poverty and wealth, in an ancient land, I began to ask myself why. I kind of began to compare my observations with the young, wealthy Bhudda, traveling for the first time in the midst of poverty.
Like the Bhudda, I thought that perhaps I had been blinded by the wealthy country that bore me. I asked myself why. Politics actually had more relevance to me than I had thought. The vibrant spirit of John Kennedy had truly influenced me. In fact, the picture of John Kennedy along with Prime Minister Nehru hung proudly in scores of tea shops and stalls I saw along country roads. In almost every tiny village, one could see the freedom that these pictures represented to people, showing Nehru and Kennedy walking together. A boy in the neighborhood where I lived often ran towards me while I was riding my bike, shouting "Kennedy stamp." "Kennedy ka istamp. Kennedy Ka Istamp," he yelled. The boy's frequent cries and entreaties prompted me to write a letter to my mother and ask her to send me a Kennedy stamp.
She sent me a full sheet of Kennedy stamps. Now, the next time I drove by him with my bicycle, with stamps in hand, I stopped. I got off my bike and approached the boy. Appearing frightened, he inched away. He seemed like he was afraid of my wrath. After all, every time I passed by him, he yelled "Kennedy Ka ishtamp." Perhaps he expected me to be annoyed. Instead, I handed him the stamps. He reeled with disbelief. Then with amazement, he walked slowly away, while looking reverently at the postage stamps. He probably was the first kid in his neighborhood with a Kennedy stamp. A small miracle had occurred for him.
Often, as a Peace Corps. Volunteer, even in remote villages, I found myself forced to defend the policies of The United States. "Why are you in Vietnam? Why did you give tanks to Pakistan, our enemy? Why do you hate black people in America?"
I would separate myself as an individual from these policies. I answered that I am an American, but I did not like US involvement in Viet Nam. I did not approve of giving tanks to Pakistan and I did not hate black people.
Back in the United States, after returning from India, my father and I had bitter discussions about Viet Nam. He supported America's military involvement and I opposed it. Most of my friends opposed the draft and the Americas military involvement in Viet Nam. American society was attacked in every direction during the 1960's and 1970's. Every moral, every more, every law was attacked or questioned. As a result, many of us saw the politicians in power increasing laws, increasing repression and penalties.
Privacy, a right most Americans expect, had been dissolving. Instead of radical, violent approaches I, myself, believed that I pursued a more constructive approach towards social protest. The social activism of The Peace Corps. influenced me in these areas. I became a social worker for Child Welfare Services in Protective Services.
Yet after being a case worker for two years, I questioned the effectiveness of public agencies. It seemed to me that the public agency's ideals to which I was so devoted was becoming a police agency, instead of an organization that would help to improve family conditions. I saw children removed from homes for arbitrary reasons. I began to believe that working for a public agency did not work for me.
I decided to go to graduate school in play writing. I was blessed to become accepted at Carnegie-Mellon University in the drama department. Soon, I saw that all art is actually political. The greatest works are those that have had effect on social awareness and change. After receiving an MFA in play writing at Carnegie-Mellon, I was offered a position as an Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I taught Play writing, Directing, Acting, Children's Theater, Dramatic Literature and directed plays.
It wasn't long before I realized that politics also has a deep influence in the academic community. Many professors then were afraid to speak out for fear they would lose their jobs. Often people who did criticize often did not have their contracts renewed. I realized that teachers do not always live what they teach.
After enjoying four years of teaching, I went to Hollywood. A multi-media play I wrote was produced. I also free lanced as a writer there and produced commercials. About two years later, a camping trip to Deep Creek Hot Springs changed my life once again. I became fascinated with the "counter culture" people and their lifestyle, living near the hot springs. I decided to leave L. A. Many of my friends and associates thought I was crazy for leaving a burgeoning career. I wanted to be free and live closer to nature.
Reality did not prove my premise to be completely correct. Most of the time, even though receiving food stamps, I still needed to find some way to get my next meal. I was free, but poor. My point of view as a person on the fringes of society sharpened my awareness. I saw how government made a lot of arbitrary decisions for welfare families and recipients.
I did a lot of thinking. Our government had been involved in continuous military conflicts. Most of the people I knew had become disenfranchised from society. Inherent in our American political system, was a mechanism for self destruction. The government was becoming more and more authoritarian. More and more people were going to prison. I saw an increasing disrespect for law. The authorities often showed little respect for people.
Though I once believed that government itself could change society with government programs, I now came to see that government itself created the problems it was attempting to solve. Even while I was in India, I saw how corrupt government programs were. Sincere government workers were often transferred if they attempted too much change. There was a saying in India: "Death, taxes and getting transferred." The word government in itself means to have authority over another. I began to see that our government favored some and rejected others.
While living in Apple Valley, I met a remarkable person that influenced the rest of my life, John "Talbot" Winchell. Here was a person that devoted his life to the advancement of good will. As a writer and Fellow in The Institute of General Semantics, he had coined the word "eutropia," which means the "good turning" in Greek. It was meant to replace the word "utopia," which means "no place" in Greek. His "eutropian postulation" asserts that if the adult world would take its cues from the child, instead of conditioning children with punishment and exclusion, the world would enjoy a world free of social dysfunction, including war. History has shown a continuous repression of children, regardless of class, race or nationality.
As a semanticist, Talbot saw that the adult culture teaches the infant, which means "no speak." in French, how to speak. If the semantics, which includes all cultural symbols, are fraught with repression, semantic reactions would occur that would create a cultural neurosis that would engender itself through future generations.
As a writer, I began to see how violence is often the centerpiece of literature. Even Shakespeare has built his philosophical arguments around plot structures centered around violence. Indeed, violence has been the core of our modern culture. The nightly news, as just one example, revolves its stories around dehumanization and carnage. In reportage, they speak not of individuals but of collective classes.
We hear and see that so many died and so many were injured on news reports. Even our government and politicians operate on the principal of the "greatest good for the greatest number," a semantic impossibility because it is an equation proving two non existent classes. I began to see history and even literature as a battle between authority and rebellion against authority. In fact, this conflict seemed to be a continual theme throughout history. What seemed to me to be the recurring is a reenactment of the adult-child paradigm.
Before he died, Talbot allowed me to use the word "eutropia," to form a production company based on the advancement of good will and the reduction of ill will. Eutropian Productions and Enterprises has been a non-profit organization that has sponsored events like Art Fairs, education seminars and theater groups. We hope to enter into motion picture production, too.
The Libertarian Party for me became the closest solution to the advancement of good will and the promotion of the individual. In 1980, I was excited to vote for Ed Clark to become the president of The United States. He espoused the thoughts and conclusions about society that I had been reaching.
I joined the Libertarian Party. As a Libertarian, my vision has expanded. If government were decentralized, people would become wealthier and have more choices with less repression from government. Free enterprise allows for the highest potential of growth for the individual.
In Hawaii, I ran for a member of The US House in 1988, 1990 and 1992. In 1994, I ran for Hawaii Island County Council. In 1998, I ran for the US Senate and now in 2002, I am privileged to run again as a Libertarian.
My purpose for running for office is not to win a popularity contest,not to be a salesman for myself, but to promote a libertarian agenda. I hope to share with you my profound hopes that we all will one day enjoy the fruits of a libertarian society.