On a summer several years ago, I began transitioning into middle school. That very summer was the dawn of the Tea Party Movement. My mom had just picked me up from a camp and she was tuned into the Sean Hannity show on the radio. At first, I was, probably, annoyed and wanted to listen to music but I soon heard him do an obviously mocking impression of Obama and his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. I began to listen to his broadcast every day. I was hooked on conservative talk and politics.
Over the next few years my political routine was pretty set, listen to Hannity after school, I would add Rush Limbaugh in the summers and eventually the Five on Fox News; on top of some political books to my consumption of literature.
I had become a full-blown Christian conservative who wanted limited government but had no idea what that truly meant. I admit I knew little to nothing of actual politics (don’t we all realize this at one point?). All I did know was what I heard on Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and what the Google searches of conformation bias got me. But things changed.
In November of 2013, the 19th I believe, I entered a new world of politics. I started the political Instagram known as Young Tea Party, initially as a place to store memes, I never expected anyone to take a liking. I was wrong but the accounts popularity is fairly irrelevant to this story. Soon, I began my first exposure unto libertarianism. I began my transformation into a radical libertarian, although I would not agree that I was a “free-thinker” at this point.
My transformation began in December 2013/January 2014. Over the next nine months, I read and watched libertarians. Not only did I become a libertarian, but around October of 2014, I almost went peak libertarian. I was a hair away from anarcho-capitalism but the entire time something always bugged me about libertarianism. Till this day I don’t think I can identify what it was. Something just irked me and held me from going all.
Whatever that something was, I soon regressed up the political compass. But I was not becoming more moderate, just more conservative. I held many of the same views but I held them in a conservative way. American conservativism is a specific based in classical liberalism. That’s where I went after I almost became an ancap. For the first year of my return to Conservatism, I didn’t have any guides. There were no specific political thinker alive who guided me or and a specific influence on me. There were a couple I followed and listened to their commentary or content because I enjoyed it, but none which had a great and consistent influence on me.
That changed in late 2015. I discovered the original gangster himself, Ben Shapiro. The reason I discovered Ben Shapiro is because of earlier that year, in the summer, I became a consumer of podcasts. A little ironic given my earlier obsession with conservative talk radio. Overtime I added and dropped many podcasts from a variety of places and people. Today, no other medium influences me more than the podcast world and I have no bigger single biggest political influence than Ben Shapiro.