Norton I, Emperor of the United States
One day the State will come to an end, just as slavery and serfdom. The way I think it will happen is through mass non-participation, also called non-cooperation. You see, the State only exists because people believe it exists. It is a phantom that exists only in the minds of its adherents. Stefan Molyneux says
There is no such thing as “the government,” or a “country,” or “society.” All these terms for social aggregations are merely conceptual labels for individuals. “The government” never does anything – only people within the government act. Thus the “government” – since it is a concept – has no reality, ethical rights or moral standing.
When a bureaucrat makes a decree, the only reason the decree has any power is because the people acting under the bureaucrat obey the decree. They are free not to, of course, but they choose to obey anyway, perhaps mistakenly believing that their fealty to the bureaucrat is righteous and noble. If, when Barack Obama ordered the people calling themselves the military to go to Libya and begin blowing things up, they did not go, Barack Obama would have no power over them.
Of course, if just a few of the military people said no, then Barack Obama (or whatever other tyrant you prefer) would simply order the other military people to punish the few non-participants and then go to Libya. However, if all of the people calling themselves the military decided not to participate, then Mr. Obama would have absolutely no power. The government power in this case would simply evaporate.
In 1859 Joshua Norton distributed a declaration among the newspapers of San Francisco declaring,
At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.
That sounds nice, doesn’t it? It sounds sort of like a certain other declaration
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they ahve full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.
But what was the difference between the decree of Emperor Norton I and the decree of the Representatives of the united States of America? Nothing more than the simple belief, held by people, that one was legitimate and the other not.
Note that at the time of the declaration of independence, not all people living in the colonies wanted independence. These people can hardly be said to be represented by the General Congress that declared independence.
Emperor Norton, in his two decade reign, issued both bonds (at 7%) and currency. He made decrees, levied taxes, and directed the army to collect said taxes. He inspected the public areas and pardoned police officers. He did all the things that the people calling themselves the government do now.
But nobody listened. Norton was thought of as a harmless eccentric and his strange behavior was tolerated and satirized by the people and press of San Francisco both during and after his life.
He had no power simply because of mass non-participation. The people calling themselves the government have power only because of mass participation. It is believed that they have power, therefore they have power.
The government doesn’t exist in the same way that people and objects exist. I exist regardless of whether anybody believes it. Not so with the government. It is simply a figment of the imaginations of millions of people who cannot believe that there ever was a time without a government.
Do not participate in the immoral and irrational belief in the State. Do not lend your support to the violent and monopolistic dictates of the people claiming State power.