How the Mises Institute Changed My Life

By: TJ Roberts

When I was eight years old, I received The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Tom Woods as a Christmas gift. Like most books, it sat on my shelf for years before I would actually read it. I grew up in a moderate Republican household in a moderate Republican area, so my schools weren’t challenging any of my pre-conceived notions of American history. One day, however, my fifth grade history teacher told the class that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a socialist. I was in shock over such an allegation. My family always told me that FDR led us through WWII, and he was, therefore, effectively beyond criticism. So, I grabbed the book from my shelf so I could put an end to this anti-American nonsense happening in my classroom. After reading everything Dr. Woods had to say, I can say with absolute certainty: FDR was a socialist who didn’t lead us through war, but dragged us into war.

This, of course, was only the beginning of my intellectual development. Having read the entirety of Woods’s book, I began looking for more resources to expand my knowledge. And when I was approximately 14 years old, I decided to google a writer Woods suggested to read if one wants to know the truth about the Great Depression: Murray N. Rothbard. It was by this internet search that I discovered the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, an organization dedicated to promoting peace, freedom, and Austrian Economics. I was hooked immediately. I downloaded and printed so many free books from the Mises Institute, that I crashed my old computer by overloading the storage space.

I always had an interest in politics. Mixing that with growing up in post-9/11 America meant that I was doomed to be a neoconservative. The Mises Institute saved me from that. The early writings I read opened my eyes to a world where war isn’t always the answer, and Murray Rothbard cemented this idea for me. The Mises Institute gave me the ability to challenge my society’s deeply held beliefs of exceptionalism and superiority. It enhanced my critical thinking as it compelled me to read sources I initially opposed. By learning from the Mises Institute, I doubled down on my support for Ron Paul for president in 2012.

The Mises Institute didn’t just change my mind, it changed my heart. Before this, my focus in life was to go with the flow and not rattle any cages too much. But having read The Ethics of Liberty; having read A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism; having read Americas Great Depression; having read Human Action; having read Economics In One Lesson; having read the works which provide the framework for a free society, I realized that we do not live in a free society. The Mises Institute inspired me to pursue the cause of liberty in all I do, and to never abandon my principles.

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