Over the past twenty years, my political thoughts seem to have undergone quite a bit of evolution. It was mostly informed by my own lived experiences, vis-à-vis empty theories and naïve idealism over time. At the same time, I see in retrospect, my fundamental political beliefs remain unchanged since when I first developed a sense of political consciousness while in middle school. It was just that I did not know how to articulate those thoughts in the words or concepts that already existed, and it took me many years of engaging with a wide variety of political and social movements to finally realize this.
This history of my exploration took me to some wild mix of organizations and movements, both mainstream and extremist. At the same time, it also made me well-read and well-rounded in understanding all sides of controversial issues.
My mother was a product of the 1960s radical student movement. As a student at an art college, she was involved in the anti-war activism and student activism. By the time I was born, she was married to a privileged son of a reasonably wealthy entrepreneur, but she had consistently voted Communist. As such, I was influenced by the far-left ethos of the time. At the same time, my privileged upbringing availed me the kind of education that was seen as fairly progressive and experimental.
By the time I entered middle school, I was anti-authoritarian (sure, most teenagers are anti-authoritarian, but I took it to a much greater level) backed by a very strong DIY ethos. I was making zines and bought a low-power FM radio transmitter to run my own underground radio station that would reach a few blocks (I recall it had the transmission power of 500mW or so, low enough that it required no license). At school, I caused ruckus by rallying against the existence of the school-mandated, monopoly student government (which I saw as meaningless, only worked as an extension of the school administrators, and violated the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of association) and organizing a rival student union (which lasted for about a month).
Another major influence as it related to the formation of my early political consciousness was Christianity. Having raised without religion by parents who generally disliked any organized religion at all, I did not see religion as a limiting force, but rather as another way for me to rebel against my parents. Christianity instilled within me two important ideas: inherent human dignity and universalism. At the time, my exposure to Christianity was limited to Mainline Protestantism. Later, during my last two years of high school and the first year of college, I was exposed to the American Evangelical right-wing ideologies (My introduction to American Christian conservatism was Chuck Colson's BreakPoint radio commentaries that aired daily on a local Christian music radio station during the junior year in high school), but it did not take too long before I begin to realize the cognitive disconnect between this uniquely American form of theocratic nationalism and the essence of Christian gospel. While I remained a member of Evangelical Christianity (Baptist, later Pentecostal) until 1996, I was becoming more of a libertarian by then. I was an avid reader of Seattle's Eat the State newspape and the Reason magazine. The emerging cyberculture of the mid-1990s was also heavily libertarian-leaning.
I was a hardcore (and rather naïve) Libertarian (in the American sense of that word) until around the turn of the new century. I had a particular dislike of identity politics and "group rights" as I saw them as contrary to the individual right to self-determination. By extension, I rejected the idea of class struggle or even equality in general; I even viewed absolute monarchy as morally superior to democracy (ochlocracy). I was also an assimilationist, who believed that immigrants would be disadvantaged by retaining their ethnic cultures and languages, as if their cultures were a hindrance to achieving freedom.
My view has, however, shifted precisely because as an adult I began to experience extreme poverty and ultimately, years of homelessness. This gradually took me away from American Libertarianism to the far-left activist movement (which was strong in Portland, Oregon, the "Little Beirut," where I lived at the time). I became heavily involved with immigrant rights activism and homeless rights movement, while also immersed in the DIY-Punk subculture of Portland. It was the Punk community that helped me survive in those tough years, through its social "institutions" such as Food Not Bombs, infoshops, free stores, Black Cross medics, and Punk houses.
My engagement with the radical left community culminated in the Occupy movement in the fall of 2011. I was a very active part of the encampment community and later, one of primary organizers of what remained of the Occupy organization well into 2015. But at deeper levels, I did not agree with most of Occupy's ideologies, nor with its tactics. I was beginning to get tired of the constant Oppression Olympics, conflicting identity politics, incessant infighting and organizational dysfunction, and the movement's penchant for "direct action" that was nothing more than aimless theatric for the sake of doing it. During this period, I had a period of soulsearching and explored the world of thoughts outside the radical leftist bubble. I studied the fundamentals of American and British conservative thoughts (or, classical liberalism), especially the works of Robert Nisbet, William Buckley, Edmund Burke, and Russell Kirk, but also paleoconservatism and even those of Alexander Dugin and Julius Evola. Ultimately, I felt burned out and withdrew myself from all political activities, shifting my focus on entrepreneurship and fine art.
Briefly (for about two years), I was a member (later an associate member) of American Solidarity Party, which billed itself as a centrist party with roots in the Christian Democratic political philosophy, Catholic social teaching (in particular, Subsidiarity and Distributism) and consistent life ethic. I disaffiliated when ASP's new leadership took the organization to a more theocratic and conservative direction in 2018. Currently I am affiliated with the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party. I am not affiliated with either of the two state Libertarian parties in Oregon. Thus I came a full circle back to Libertarianism after nearly two decades.
The very nature of the libertarian movement makes it very difficult to easily pigeon-hole all libertarians into one box. There is no official party ideology to which every libertarian must goose-step. The only unifying principle is the Non-Aggression Principle (and for the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, also the Non-Exploitation Principle). By nature, it is a big tent movement full of many variations.
While "libertarianism without adjectives" sounds like a lofty idea, in reality it is very difficult to articulate where I stand on a number of issues that way.
My philosophy and ideological tendency can be best summarized as Geo-Mutualist Panarchism, which, in turn is a fusion of Georgism, Mutualism, and Panarchism. In the Nolan chart (perhaps better known as the "Political Compass"), Georgism and Mutualism occupy the most "centrist" and most "libertarian" part of the Libertarian Socialist space. Panarchism is a radical libertarian thought that could appeal to both Libertarian Socialists and pro-capitalist Libertarians.
On practical terms, this means: