Why would an anarchist join the Marine Corps?  I’ve asked myself this question many times.  2012 was the year that I decided to make the commitment to the world’s finest fighting organization.  I was still campaigning for Ron Paul in Louisiana after having volunteered the previous summer in Iowa, in which he was snubbed at the Ames Straw Poll.  (If you read Brian Doherty’s “Ron Paul’s Revolution“, I’m the ‘Ron Paul van nomad’, Britton Sprouse in chapter 8).  I had even campaigned with Orlando’s robust Ron Paul Meetup group in the 2007-2008 primary election.  Still to this day, campaigning for Dr. Paul continues to be some of my fondest memories.

Being such a vehement supporter of a man who consistently argued that our military intervention was causing more harm than good, why would I join that military, knowing that the neocons and their nefarious intentions were still in control?  Unfortunately, ideology had given way to more practical concerns.  I was broke, in debt, and struggled to find steady work.  I was using food stamps, living with my father and grandmother in a small trailer on a lake in Louisiana, and had gained a large amount of weight for the first time in my life.  After months of living like this, I was getting desperate.  Since high school (when I was a rabid liberal democrat), I thought of the military as a last resort, and my situation called for a last resort.  With few to no options available, I enthusiastically signed a five year contract with the United States Marine Corps.

Now, two years since shipping off to Parris Island for recruit training, I’m mixed as to the wisdom of my decision.  On one hand, I have paid off all my personal and student debt, and have invested in Bitcoin and a retirement account.  On the other hand, freedom and quality of life are in the gutter.  The idea of defending the freedom of our country seems more a myth when we see that our foreign policy is that of destabilization.

When I signed the contract, I felt like I knew what I was getting into.  I figured I was just selling the second half of my twenties for freedom for the rest of my life.  I thought I knew how miserable I’d be, and that it would be worth it.  Now that I’m experiencing it every day, I look back and feel that I was economically conscripted.  Had we had an anarcho-capitalistic society, the economy wouldn’t have been in such a long recession. Gainful employment wouldn’t be so scarce.  Schools, being more competitive and plentiful, wouldn’t be so expensive (or a complete waste of time and money).  There would be many militias to choose from, not a federal monopoly of the defense market.

I often yearn to be a civilian again, and I’m not alone.  Most Marines only serve one term of enlistment, and Marines who are about to EAS (end active service) speak proudly of it as others congratulate them with obvious envy.

At least the military isn’t monolithic in thought.  Of the few people who are willing to talk about politics at all, many of them have professed to be libertarian or seem to lean that way.  I ask any Marine I can to take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz on my phone, and over 45% of them have scored as libertarians.

Thanks for reading.  Ask me anything about what it’s like being in the Marines, and I’d be happy to answer.

Lance Corporal Britton Sprouse, USMC