The Achievement of Liberty and the Cult of the State
At work I overheard a conversation between a co-worker and a client about malicious teenage troublemakers. The client suggested that punk kids, who do things like slash tires, vandalize property, drink alcohol, and generally make a nuisance of themselves, should be tied up and dragged behind a truck while everybody throws stones at them until they are dead. This, he said, would teach them respect (or, if not them specifically, other teens who might be thinking of doing the same kind of misdemeanoring), and would be a suitable punishment for their crimes.
My coworker feigned agreement for the sake of not causing offense, but when we later spoke about it, he admitted he, too, was horrified by the suggestion.
Later in the day, there was a shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. The TV news networks reported that the aggressor, a student, had been killed, and that there were no accomplices. Despite this apparent fact, the police at the scene had all the students leaving the high school do so with their hands above their heads, as if each was a suspected criminal. At a certain point, each student was searched by pat-down before being allowed to leave. Every student was searched in this way. The TV showed footage of students walking out of the school in single file lines, escorted by militarized cops. It looked like a goddamned POW march, and was done even though the police knew that the killer’s lifeless body was lying in a pool of its own blood inside the school.
These students were innocent victims of their criminal classmate, and instead of being rushed to the safety of armed professionals and to the comfort of their families, they were treated like criminals themselves and prevented from leaving the site of what was for many of them no doubt the worst experience of their entire lives.
That evening, the Art of Not Being Governed Facebook page received a message from a man who was running for office and wanted support from the page. Obviously we don’t support political candidates (especially ones like this particular candidate, who are in favor of the State). We had a brief discussion about taxes, and I asked him what he proposed to do to people who did not wish to participate in taxation, people who rejected the authority of the State, people who did not wish to give financial support to the State. I was expecting the response he gave – it was the same response that advocates for State violence always give. He said, “Using the due process of law, I would support either imprisonment or seizing their property.”
In other words, his version of government was so important to him that he was willing to impose it upon others with threats of force. Anybody who didn’t give in to the threats would be thrown in a cage and have their property taken from them (probably at gunpoint).
A couple of days later, I posted an image on The Art of Not Being Governed Facebook page of a small child reaching out to her dead father’s body at his military funeral with accompanying text which made the point that leaving one’s family to deploy at the will of the State is not an honorable thing to do. As a result of this, The Art of Not Being Governed was overrun by military members and troop apologists. We received literally dozens of threats – from having our heads curb-stomped to having our throats slit to being raped by military equipment. These people didn’t restrict their threats to the admins on the page; one marine even went so far as to threaten to kill our families. Most threats came from current or former members of the military, and all of the most vile threats came from current members of the military. One former military member posted the personal details including address and phone number of one of our users and threatened to take violent action against them and against others if we didn’t recant our post.
All this was the result of our expressing an opinion in a public forum. Let that sink in: active members of the military threatened to rape and murder us, our children, our spouses, and our users because I posted an image and text on Facebook which was critical of their profession – a profession which they themselves claim is necessary to maintain my right to speak my conscience.
As long as the world is filled with blood-thirsty authoritarian thugs we will not see a successful stateless society. Many people are too far gone – they are simply past feeling and cannot be redeemed. There are many people who love their State so much that they would be willing to kill all those who might oppose it, or who might not recognize its authority. Many of these people are working for the State itself. They will do everything possible up to and including sacrificing their own lives for the glory and the power of the State. Statism is a death cult.
It is fallacy to attempt to end the State on anything more than a personal level. Grand plans to end the State by exposing its tyranny and violence will not be successful. Many of its members adore its tyranny and violence. To them, the violence of the State is its greatest attribute. One could spend a dozen lifetimes attempting to achieve freedom through mass education in a society filled with this type of psychopath and never make any progress.
So what do we do?
It seems to me that the best course of action is for those who care about liberty to seek it on a personal level, a familial level, and as a community. Larger-scale projects like Seasteading and Galt’s Gulch in Chile may be successful. They represent community-level movements and don’t rely on mass conversion of the State-loving death-cult member populace. Grand plans to usurp political power are not likely to succeed. I count the Free State Project in this category because many members of the Free State Project itself believe in the legitimacy and the necessity of the State, and its success will require both these members and the indigenous population to be willing to allow their beloved State to be destroyed. This is unlikely to happen, even in a relatively free place like New Hampshire. This and other grand movements will fail because there are many people who are willing to murder as many as are required to preserve their own power and the power of their political masters; no action which is directed at the State will be successful. This includes civil disobedience, demonstrations, political action, and other State-facing activism. Anything which requires the State as a dance partner won’t bring freedom.
Until recently, New Hampshire was the “soft” bug-out destination for my family. I signed the FSP Statement of Intent a couple of years ago. We intended to go to New Hampshire in the event of a dollar collapse and the accompanying economic turmoil. Obviously, we would prefer to stay in our own home in our own corner of the country. We are still working on our “hard” bug-out location, but the likely destination is somewhere in Latin America. We had intended to only go there in the event of a total Nazification of America. These recent experiences have caused me to reconsider our plans.
It is no longer our goal to remain inside the United States. We intend to get our affairs in order and be ready to flee, like the Israelite slaves out of Egypt. We recognize that there is no fully-free place on Earth. There are, however, places of relative freedom and relative safety, some of them in Latin America, some in Southeast Asia, and some elsewhere. We will flee there. If we are successful, our children will grow up in peace. They will never salute a flag. They will never be fondled by a government thug. They will never have their money taken at gunpoint to pay for aggressive warfare. Their labor will not contribute to the mass murder perpetrated by the State. We will live free.
If the observations I have made are accurate, then there is no better way out. As for Libertarian outreach, our goal should be to raise the banner of Liberty and invite all to follow us. The flight from tyranny cannot wait until we have gathered all under our flag. There will be no Moses. There will be no great crowd gathered at the gates of Egypt. There will be no mass exodus. We cannot wait to collect such a movement because we may never reach the numbers necessary. We may spend our whole lives attempting to create converts via outreach with little or no success. Instead we must go. Now. This is a guerrilla exodus. If we do so, we will walk across the Red Sea on dry ground and may achieve relative freedom for ourselves and any who will come with us. From there, it is a much shorter distance to true and total freedom. Gathering in places where the State is weak and ineffective will provide opportunities for us to live more free. If we wait, the path may close before us.
The State cannot be redeemed. Its fate is set and its collapse is the only and final destination. We know what becomes of those who cling to it. State collapse brings misery and destruction, most especially to its own. The only way to remain unharmed is to get as far away as possible before it is destroyed, both in physical proximity and also in terms of reliance on the apparatus of the State.
My family may not leave for another ten years, maybe even more. But we have decided to prepare now so that when we have an opportunity we will be able to take it.