Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Happiness possible in police state

Happiness possible in police state

(My Clovis News Journal column for August 8, 2014.)

Perfect happiness. It may not be possible as a permanent condition in life, but you can still experience moments of perfect happiness if you know where, and how, to look.

Even while people calling themselves "government" work to steal happiness right out of your pocket and regulate or criminalize the bits they can't take.

If you can't find some happiness in a police state, you probably wouldn't be happy in a free society, either. There will always be something to complain about, and there will always be thieves and bullies trying to bring you down to their level. Don't let them.

Happiness and freedom mean doing exactly what you want to be doing right now- even if it doesn't appear wonderful to people looking in from the outside. As long as you are respecting the rights of everyone else to do the same, it's no one's business what you do.

So, what little moments of perfect happiness do I find?

A few nights ago I sat out under the stars. The temperature was perfect and no mosquitoes were bothering me. As I sat there looking up I saw a meteor flash across the sky. I listened to cattle in the distance, and heard the hooting of an owl a time or two. There was nothing I would have preferred to be doing right then.

Earlier in the day I had felt joy while listening to a woman talking about one of her life's passions- and even more joy because what she loved to do was entirely voluntary and violated no one in any way.

My daughter often brings me these moments, as well.

Almost every day I'll suddenly think "Right this moment, I am really happy!"

I want others to feel this same contentment and freedom, doing things which make them happy while not violating others or their property. I am content to leave you alone to pursue your own happiness, and I want others to not meddle in your life, as well.

Sometimes, I even feel happiness when exposed to the liberty-killing coercion of government. I recently felt amusement, exhilaration, and joy watching a man rip up a citation from some wildlife officers, put it in a trash can, turn his back, and walk away as they gaped after him. Little acts of self-ownership such as this are very inspiring. It gives me hope there is still a little of the American spirit left in the people of the USA; the spirit which doesn't automatically bow down to "authorities" and reflexively comply with their demands. Yes, life is good.


"Everybody got a gris-gris."

Penn Jillette said it: "Everybody got a gris-gris."

Everyone else's "gris-gris" are easy to see: gods, governments, "good cops", whatever. No basis in rationality whatsoever, but they are "believed in" regardless. Some may even be helpful for some individuals to hang onto- others are neutral and some are decidedly harmful.

Some of my own are easy for me to see. I even have a medicine bag, for crying out loud- a physical "gris-gris". Although I don't believe it has any "power"- I see it as a scrap book in buckskin more than anything else. But it is what it is.

I also don't automatically discount sightings of Sasquatch as hoaxes or hallucinations or mis-identifications, and the same goes for UFOs. I could be wrong.

However, I also accept that everything I believe may be nothing but a gris-gris. So I try to dig into them to see whether they are or not. Maybe liberty really isn't good for humans. Maybe The State is necessary, and isn't always evil*. Maybe guns aren't useful tools, and unless you are a cop or in the military they just endanger innocent lives.

And maybe "borders" are necessary, even if Massively Big, Omnipresent Government, "taxation", and socialism are essential to maintaining and "defending" them.

If I'm wrong, I want to know.

But, I also don't constantly dwell on whether each thing I believe is a gris-gris. If new information crops up, I try to honestly evaluate it. I have changed my mind about many things over the years, when presented with a good enough argument. So far, each time I do, though,I move a little more toward liberty and eliminate more exceptions where government can hide. It has been a one-way process, going on my whole life. I used to hold some beliefs I ditched when exposed to new, more, or better information- or experience. It's why I used to be a minarchist, but am now an anarchist. I recognized some gris-gris I was holding to, and I tossed them aside. I can do without that extra weight. I'll bet you can, too.

*Maybe a troll site- it's so absurd I am just not sure.