I was 28 years old when I discovered libertarianism. Up to that point, I "knew" I lived in a free country. That's what I had been told and taught ever since I was old enough to think. Like most everyone else, from the first grade in the public schools to which my parents had sent me I was forced to stand up every morning and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, during which I affirmed that America was a "republic" with "liberty and justice for all." By the time I was 28, I was fully indoctrinated, as most Americans are.
I walked into the public library of my hometown looking for something to read. I ambled over to the political science section. I saw four little different colored books entitled Essays on Liberty, Volumes 1-4, on a lower shelf. They had been published by The Foundation for Economic Education some 20 years before. I pulled volume 1 off the shelf and began thumbing through it. I then began thumbing through the other three.
My life was changed forever. I had never read anything like that. All four volumes contained hard-core, pure, uncompromising, and principled libertarian essays unequivocally pointing out that Americans were not free and explaining why.
I took all four books home and pored over them. The scales were dropping from my eyes. I was breaking through the lies and indoctrination that had encased my mind since I was a kid. It was a liberating feeling.