‘Battle Born’ beginnings led to libertarian enlightenment

Growing up in Nevada lends itself to a unique adolescence. Born and raised in Las Vegas, I was exposed at a young age to a melee of wild political and social ideologies. I remember seeing billboards of naked women advertising anything from strip clubs to sushi joints. I remember progressing grade by grade through a struggling public school system, seeing many teachers who would have given everything they had to see their students succeed. I remember having friends and classmates whose families had traveled from across the country and around the world to take advantage of the economic opportunities the Silver State had to offer.

My own parents are hardworking, middle-class and college-educated, the kind that taught me about the importance of individual responsibility through chores and a set weekly allowance. In addition to a conservative look at finances, my family was open-minded and encouraged individual freedom of expression. The latter experience led me to a brief foray into bleeding heart liberalism, even where fiscal policy was concerned. But after a period of deep reflection, I gradually came to a more rational—dare I say, enlightened?—viewpoint, that of libertarianism.

As a libertarian, I embrace social and political freedoms, and while I may disagree with certain ideologies, I will defend to the death a person’s right to have them. I, myself, am a feminist, a gay rights ally, a gun rights supporter, an atheist, a vegetarian and a champion of the Constitution. But I also believe in responsible, sustainable economic habits from the government and support individual responsibility as well. This balance of social liberalism and fiscal conservatism is one that I think both Democrats and Republicans readily relate to. In truth, I think a lot of people are libertarians who just haven’t realized it yet.

I myself came to the realization of my libertarian leanings after I moved to Reno to attend the university. While I still strongly and whole-heartedly believed in upholding social freedoms, I felt uncomfortable following a liberal fiscal policy. In the news and in day-to-day life, I saw governmental waste of resources and invasions of privacy. I came to the conclusion that whether it came to the private lives of its citizens or to their wallets, I disagreed with the idea that “Big Brother” knows best. While I am by no means an anarchist nor a cold subscriber to the “dog eat dog” mentality, I believe that as long as they are not hurting anyone else, an American citizen should be able to make their own decisions for their personal lives and hold as much of their income as they can. I believe in cutting down on frivolous government expenditures and in pulling our country up by the bootstraps in order to reduce the nation’s deficit.

As a 21-year-old woman who will be graduating from college later this year, the future excites me. Ultimately, I want my life to be filled with adventure, success and meaning. I don’t expect to be given handouts nor do I anticipate voting for politicians whose values are to deprive their constituents of their freedoms and wealth. While I hope that most people join me in this goal, I think it’s important to evaluate how that goal will be achieved. Will it be through continued fiscal irresponsibility? Or will it be through a sincere appraisal of our state and country’s economic status, and a realization that we cannot continue down the path we are currently treading? It’s the mission of this column to do the latter, and it is my sincere wish that you come along for the ride.