I remember the days before I immigrated to the United States. I was 20, and I was the first person in my family to get a passport. The first to get a Visa. I received several admission letters from Universities in the United States. None of my family could help. The idea of leaving my homeland was a risky proposition – leaving a familiar environment with lots of people to depend on, and moving to a strange land where I knew no one was dangerous. My family had no clue why I would choose to leave the certainty of home and family.

I remember the phone call to my mother, the day my husband proposed. I was the first person in my family to not have an arranged marriage. I did not know my husband’s family. My family had not met him. The usual screening process of an arranged marriage had not taken place. The divorce rate in India is less than one percent, while it is close to fifty in the United States. I was risking a lot; the Indian mindset is that marriage is forever. I was entering into it with no guarantees. I was giving up a “sure thing” for a risky partnership.

When I speak about some of my anarcho-capitalist ideas, the most frequent questions I get are the “Hows”.

How would you police the streets? How would you run schools? How would you resolve disputes? How … ? How … ? How … ?

When I left my home, I had no idea how I was to live in the new country I was moving to. I was not moving “to” something; I was moving “from” something. The hows came much later – and yes, I made them (the hows) up as I went along. Not by having a pre-planned road-map for each particular “how”, but having standards of conduct and tolerance. I knew what I would put up with and what I would not. When I look back at my twenty four years of marriage, I see the same pattern. I am not with my husband because I had “entered into it with guarantees”. I created the life, in the country and with the man I chose. And I created the hows as they came. Not because I wanted safety and comfort, but because I wanted freedom.

Here is the quote that inspired this essay:


. Possibly crawling on all fours might be safer than standing upright, but we like the view better up there.” – Isabel Paterson

And here’s another one just for good measure:

“If there were just one gift you could choose, but nothing barred, what would it be? We wish you then your own wish; you name it. Ours is liberty, now and forever.” — Isabel Paterson

Isabel Paterson (1886–1961) was a journalist, author, political philosopher, and a leading literary critic of her day. Along with Rose Wilder Lane and Ayn Rand, she is one of the three founding mothers of American libertarianism.