Publisher’s Note: I met Ben last year via the airwaves and he was kind enough to interview me on his show and we had several conversations on his podcasts. We talked the gamut from the police state to liberty to history and formed a tight friendship. We met for the first time this year at PorcFest in NH in June. Ben has a natural sonorous voice made for radio and a quite deep understanding of not only what history means but why history is; he groks that the key to a free world is knowing that if you establish where you’ve been as a species, you may have a better road-map on where to go in the future.
After years in the aerospace industry and in private business, Ben Stone is spending his retirement years traveling around North America in his RV, working on his mission to spread the knowledge of liberty and the desire for freedom. Ben’s podcasts can be found at www.badquaker.com and Ben is a regular co-host on the Freedom Feens radio show, heard coast to coast on the Genesis Communication Network. He can be reached at email@example.com. Enjoy. -BB
Tell us about your evolution to abolition.
In a way, I was raised as an abolitionist by my parents. They were about 80% there and I just took the ball a little further. So by the time I was 16, I was more like 95% across the finish line. As I often say, my dad was a self-taught pilot who refused to get a pilots license because he didn’t believe a government could own the sky. And my mother was an amateur historian who almost always assumed the pro-government official history was fake. The little faith I had in government was first challenged in the 1970′s when I worked with NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). Then, after I wasted time, money, and effort on the 1988 Ron Paul campaign, I came to the conclusion that the American Democratic-Republic model of government was flawed beyond repair, but I still couldn’t let go of the last 2-3% of statism. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that my daughter began using the Socratic method, along with gentle logical arguments, to crush the last remaining strongholds of statism in my mind.
By 2008 I still supported Ron Paul, but only for the purpose of getting the message out to a wide audience, not as an actual politician. In 2009 I had a moment of clarity when I realized that coercive government wasn’t just a bad idea, but it was the actual source of evil in the human experience. You can’t have a coercive government and freedom at the same time. They are mutually exclusive concepts.
What’s a Bad Quaker?
I find there’s a lot of confusion as to what a Quaker is, so let me answer that first. Quakers are officially called The Religious Society of Friends or casually referred to just as Friends. They are often confused with Amish or Mennonites because an oat company uses the name and made up an image of a guy with a hat. But real Quakers don’t care about how a person dresses. Also Mennonites and Amish have a Swiss Anabaptist origin based on conformity, whereas the Quakers originated in England and are an older sect based on freedom, individual spiritual discovery, and a peaceful life. Modern Quakers tend to be pacifists and often lean toward socialism. The reason I consider myself a “Bad Quaker” is that I don’t attend Quaker meetings, I’m not even remotely a pacifist, and I view any form of coercive socialism to be evil. So in a way, the phrase “Bad Quaker” is an oxymoron, but it tickles the ear and plays well with Google.
Can you draw any secular object lessons from the Quaker, Amish and Mennonite communities for advancing individual freedom and liberty?
Quakers rarely form communal societies, although there are some exceptions. But the Mennonites and Amish are good examples of how people can live without police or coercive government while settling their disputes through voluntary arbitration.
Your podcasts draw from a deep well of historical knowledge and understanding, what lessons can be gleaned?
I think the most important thing to understand about history is that almost every aspect of the government-approved narrative is either an outright lie, or it’s so deeply twisted that it doesn’t even remotely resemble the actual events it depicts. State-approved schools intentionally teach history using a method that makes it as boring as possible while leaving a perverted view that almost always glorifies some government “Great Man” as the hero. But once you’re set free from that mind numbing schoolhouse history, and you start to view the human story as it actually happened, it becomes a never-ending journey into fascinating ages gone by.