Why do I talk about shows like Penn and Teller and Stossel, and other shows on television so much? It is because I know they can bring people into the ideas of libertarianism. Even the trashiest show can bring converts, and so I relate my own story.
I realized I was a libertarian was while watching a trashy talk show. It was about 1988 I was 16, it was a late night talk show called the Morton Downey Jr. Show, Ron Paul was running for president as a libertarian and I saw him on the show discussing drug legalization and agreed with everything he said, after that I started calling myself a libertarian and the rest is history. As soon as I turned 18 I registered as a Libertarian and the next election I voted for Andre Marrou.
Back then I didn't know much about libertarianism, but I knew they were against public schools, and I knew they were for the legalization of drugs. Two really important issues for me at 16. Over time I have learned more of the intricacies of libertarian thought, and I have only became more hardcore in my beliefs. In the last few years I have given up on the idea of any coercive government at all and have became a voluntaryist, but a loud and raunchy talk show was where I realized there was a whole movement of people who beleived in things I did and it connected me to them.
One of the best things about the internet age is that when you go down memory lane, you can often find references on the internet to help you rediscover what had been lost. I found the Morton Downey Jr episode on youtube. This is great classic television. Remember this was near the height of the crack cocaine scare and the “just say no” movement. Morton Downey Jr. Was the Jerry Springer of his day and his show was very rowdy and this is no exception. This episode is wild and sometimes hard to follow, but it got me interested in libertarianism and back then it was more difficult to find information on libertarianism than it is now (pre-internet for the masses). It was still enough.