Sunday, February 21, 2010

Statist brainwashing still works

Statist brainwashing still works

Recently a person wrote to me to disagree about how government has impacted liberty in America. He made a couple of statements that I think reflect the perceptions of the majority of the people around us. I'm betting that if you have spoken to many people about liberty you have heard the same statements. He starts off with this assertion about freedom of travel:

"I can travel anywhere I want, at any time I want, without fear of being

That just isn't true, as much as I wish it were. Passports, the TSA, "highway patrol", driver's licenses, "checkpoints", and other such government nonsense have destroyed true freedom of travel in America. That other places around the world may be worse does not change the reality of what travel in America has become. Government now views travel as a privilege to be granted or denied at its whim.

The same goes with jobs, concerning which he says:

"I can work where I want, doing what suits me to earn a living, without
government interference."

Yet that isn't true either. I once needed a job, and wanted one I would enjoy. I applied at a business I really wished to work at, and that I could see really needed the help. They said they couldn't afford to hire anyone. I offered to work "under the table" for less than "minimum wage", but they were too afraid of getting in trouble with the government to agree to it. Licenses, permits, taxes, certifications, and red tape have destroyed true freedom to work where you want, doing what you want, in America. Once again, other countries may be worse, but that is still no excuse to allow it here.

Both examples are what I call the "Fire ant/lava parable", which goes like this:

Imagine you are standing in a bed of fire ants. While looking east you see a crater filled with lava. You should be very grateful that you are not in the lava. If you only look toward the east, you might truly believe that your situation is the best that there can be. All the while, west of you is a green meadow filled with Twinkies and butterflies (or your pleasures of choice). If you are surrounded by a chorus of voices telling you that your fire ant bed is the best place there is, and that you are Utopian or stupid for thinking that there might be a better life, you may believe it. Don't be complacent about "OK" when "better" is within reach.

He also parroted many of the justifications for government, as well as some of the half-hearted criticisms that are common. Such as "they" want to destroy our freedom, and government protects "us" from "them".

Government and its actions are the only credible threat to our liberties. The US government and its local co-conspirators are the only force "that may want to alter or change the way we are allowed to live and the freedoms we enjoy" (and, they have in fact done so relentlessly); not Arabic goat herders living in caves.

Without a government to "take over" it is useless to even invade a country. Invaders, even if they win the war, need a centralized government and its bureaucracies already in place which they can then co-opt in order to "take over" the country. Having a government puts "us" at risk. It is the same with home-grown socialistic politicians. Remove the legitimacy that they seek through a "vote" and they are no danger to America any more.

Democracy is the opposite of Liberty, for the very reasons he outlined. No group has more rights than any individual because rights are not additive. They are individual. As long as a person is not attacking the innocent nor stealing or defrauding no one has any right (or authority) to tell them how to live their life.

Government education, and the "dumbing down" he also spoke of, is another example. It is not an accident, but by design. Statists need people to believe what "the authorities" tell them, and not be smart enough to figure out the truth.

As you go about your life, whether in Albuquerque NM, Meshoppen PA, or anywhere else in America, remember that this is how most people have been brainwashed to think about America, government, and "freedom".

From Loss to Activism

I was just sitting around today thinking about how I went from a quietly "anti-government" individual to a somewhat outspoken advocate of individual liberty.

It is an evolution I would like to share with you.

All my life I have been characterized by those who knew me as "anti-government". I didn't make an issue of it, but I wouldn't always keep my mouth shut when confronted by "governmentism", either. Mostly I just went about my own business of living as free as I could and kept my opinion to myself unless pressed.

An acquaintance (who later went into government "work") once informed me that I was "conservative" because I did not like or trust government "solutions". For years I accepted this without really examining his contention. I did keep noticing that "conservatives" acted no differently than the "liberals" once elected. They were just as quick as the "other side" to stab me in the back with their every action. This kept me confused for several years. My observation eventually made me forget about looking for solutions from any political party or politician. Once again I was content to ignore the world of politics, except when a new "law" injured liberty in some way that I noticed. I would be irritated, but not surprised. Through it all, and involved in my own little world, I stayed quiet. My attitude was "Who would listen to me anyway?"

That all changed in late December 2003. Without going into gritty details, my life (which was already barely balanced on a worn tightrope) fell apart when my Significant Other left me. At this point I had nothing left to lose. In my grief I jumped feet-first into the first online libertarian group I ran across. I had already found L. Neil Smith's book "Lever Action", which put a label on my deep-seated sentiments, a couple of years before. The internet allowed me to find, and interact with, people who felt the same basic way about individual liberty that I did. It made me feel somewhat less alone and lost.

For a few years I tried to hang on to my anonymity, until my presidential campaign made that impossible. Now I am "out". I am no longer anonymous, and am easily found. I am "on record" with a lot of very unpopular statements and opinions.

If I could change the past, would I? I don't know. Some days, I know I would. Other days, I think I might not.

The remaining chapters are yet to be written. I would love to live out my life unmolested by agents of hatred and "governmentism". Maybe I will; maybe I won't. I hope that from my own heartache I have contributed something to the discourse concerning liberty. At least, in that way, it wasn't suffered in vain.