Thomas Anderson has just graduated from CSU Stentoria, with his degree in Political Science. It's an election year, and as a young "progressive" in California who has been raised by equally progressive parents, he is very much concerned with the political issues currently being discussed in the mass media.
A chance encounter with a fellow graduate named Kelly Kelso, however, shakes up his sett led view of the world. He is challenged to examine the rising number of alternatives to the two-party system presented by "third party" movements such as the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, and is forced to acknowledge that there is far more to politics than simply Democrat versus Republican, and liberal versus conservative.
Thomas delves energetically into not only the growing Libertarian movement, but the free market perspective of the Austrian School of economics, as well as the rigid yet compelling view of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. His explorations grow wider, now encompassing the Tea Party movement and the Christi an Right; tax resisters and gun rights advocates; survivalists and militia members; anarchists, communists, and Democratic Socialists; as well as the Occupy Wall Street movement.
He debates the radical environmental views of animal welfare and animal rights advocates, and challenges opponents of corporate globalism as well as deniers of global warming, as he struggles to reformulate and articulate his own developing beliefs, while coping with a sea of conflicting ideas and opposition.
But this abstract political theory is brought into sharp encounter with concrete political reality, when Thomas hears a news report of an armed conflict with authorities taking place just outside of town, involving someone with whom he has become emotionally involved...