"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." ~ John Marshall
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Lenin made a famous statement once upon a time: "Who, Whom?" This is widely regarded as one of the most pithy statements of political analysis ever. Recently on STR, the questions were asked: "How did you come to your beliefs?", and "What reasons are there to be optimistic?" We can rephrase that as "How? Why?", I think, which has an endearing symmetry and a certain ironic twist to it that seems to me apropos. The answers to these questions are linked. I will exposit on this link somewhat obliquely and in a heavily stylized fashion, for that is the best way to truly apprehend its outlines as I perceive them.
I believe there to be plenty of reason for optimism. Now don't take my word for it, of course. Look at the new Root Strikers. There's one what, every day? Sometimes two or three? Take a look at some of the other sites out there (LewRockwell.com, No Treason, et al.) How many contribute? How many new contributors do you see, and how often? How many more do ya think just read? What do those site rankings look like, what's their direction, which way is the water flowing and how fast? How many see the implications of this state of affairs?
Let's look at those readers for a minute.
Each new reader is there, reading these things, drawing of this sweetwater aquifer's archipelago of deep and connected wells, because he is looking for something. He has taken the red pill, and is in the process of seeing how deep the rabbit-hole really goes. Perhaps he came by the pill from contact with another who put him on the Path. He may have come by it courtesy of personal research, brought on by curiosity or a bout with some State-originated personal injustice. Perhaps he chanced to Google the name of an author of a book he had half-forgotten, recalled from a childhood memory, sitting on his favorite crazy uncle's shelf. The whys are many, but the whys don't matter. What matters is that he is there, and he is reading, and understanding, and speaking. He speaks at his workplaces, with his clients, with his friends and family, at his church, at the bar. He points out the other half of the truth that is always felt but never spoken, "You bow down, or the State will kill you." He demonstrates that it need not be this way, and in fact was not this way until recently. He cuts through the lies, and sows doubt in furrows of discontent. He rephrases and rewords things from the Orwellian language of euphemism, translating them to ordinary speech that somehow makes them sound so much less attractive. He speaks with the authority of one who sees things clearly and plainly, and who carries equally clear and plain answers that have the ring of truth. There is a certain suspension of disbelief attendant to those social and political theories endorsing endless and boundless murder, theft and fraud (i.e. "statecraft"); one must believe, with the naive faith of a child who believes that world hunger can be eradicated by making a law that everyone can have ice cream for dinner if they want it, that one may kill the goose bearing golden eggs and still have eggs every day for the taking. The iron laws of time, human desire, and economics are in the process of refuting that belief; its defense rings hollow, there are no believable Utopian adherents of this philosophy anymore, only those that make no pretense about wanting to kill millions of people and suck the marrow from their bones for the sake of their own glorification and what they conceive of as a better world, organized by boot heel and rifle butt. There is an "answer vacuum," a credibility gap requiring an ever-larger leap of faith to cross, a gap that can only be filled with the Truths that nothing in this life is free, that stealing from Peter to give things to Paul benefits neither Peter nor Paul nor the passersby, that destruction and theft do not create wealth, that that dried-up old preacher on the street corner really was right and that they who kill their neighbor, steal from him, or covet his things shall not prosper. He is the one who fills this gap, and his voice is coming through more clearly by the day.
But again, don't take my word for it. Listen. Listen to the noise-makers, and see how few seriously believe them these days, see how that noise evokes an apathetic and ever-dulling stereotyped response, adrenal fear/anger burnout, "Yeah, whatever, yawn, same old same old." Listen to the background instead, pay attention to what's coming through the chinks in the wall. Example: lotta buzz, these days, about "V for Vendetta." Why is there such a buzz? Because it should never have been made, and Everybody Knows It. Ponder, just for a moment, the implications of the motto "People should not fear their governments--governments should fear their people," appearing in front of God and everybody on the teevee screen, where it might actually be seen, by children or heart patients, actually playing in a movie theater, with all its icky anarchy and tinfoil battiness and all that, right out where decent people can just go and watch it if the mood strikes them, why, it's un-American. This film is the fart at the tea party that punctuates perfectly the pompous silliness of the whole affair, and is to me the harbinger of the Zeitgeist of the near future.
If you want more examples, hell, there are plenty of other cracks in the facade. The Katrina debacle breached some levees, too, not all of which were holding back the sea. When the talking heads can't hide multiple on-air breakdowns because of a visible, forcible and unpleasant reconstruction of some worldviews ("Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?"), Shit Is Changing. When the Wall Street Journal begins talking about how much of your portfolio should be in gold, a topic previously the sole province of those whom concerted propaganda efforts had branded "lunatic racist survivalist redneck gun nuts who live in the woods and never bathe," Shit Is Changing. When it is not even remotely abnormal to hear of or know apparently normal, God-fearing, staid, polite people who mow their lawn and drive a Volvo violating copyrights, stockpiling "illegal" weapons, hoarding gold and advocating the wholesale shutdown of the Wars On Drugs And Terra, they are strange days indeed (alas, Babylon!) When solutions to modern problems recommended by paid liars garner about as much mindshare as the local kennel club's Dog Walk For Charity on public-access cable channel 23, and as much consensual approval as a plan to inoculate nuns and kittens with the Ebola virus, when 99% of the population finds it not just thinkable but a damn-near certainty that there is some form of illegal and/or immoral State cover-up of something, be it WMDs in Iraq or aliens in Roswell, there is a big problem in the making, mostly for those who fancy themselves to be the ones twisting the knobs on the Big Picture.
The sounds coming from the apologists for the State are the sounds of a tinny Civil Defense air-raid shelter speaker announcing that things will be okay and everything is under control, please leave your belongings at the fence gate and let the guards know if you need any special medications or have a pacemaker or any gold teeth, and are increasingly drowned out in a haze of feedback, overdrive, 60-hertz buzz, and the murmurs of a crowd that is becoming aware of the dangerously lunatic irony of the whole situation. The background noises are the Truth, breaking through the static in half-second bursts of lucidity, siren-calling one or two more from the crowd every day. They are the words of dead men that ring true a thousand, five hundred, two hundred, one hundred, fifty years later, jeremiads on liberty and paper money and the dangers of democracy and foreign adventures and yielding to glib gladhanders and social engineers the power that they covet most, screeds that read like they were written for yesterday's newspaper. They are the explanations and refinements of a philosophy that many had thought quaint and moribund, irrelevant and senile and doddering like old Aunt Jenny in the wheelchair who keeps babbling on about how she has to go vote for Ike. They are the complete formulation of and answers to those unanswerable, half-formed questions that arise in the wee hours of the night, when the worries about how you're gonna pay both your goddamned tax bill and your health insurance premiums this month and why your son's teacher is such an incompetent asshole and why the hell the government employees that coffeebreak all day long just had their union shake down you and all the other taxpayers for a raise even though you don't get one this year even though you actually work for a living and why everything at the grocery store costs more all come together and mate and spawn little flashing bursts of insight and questions about why things are the way they are that couldn't be answered before, oh no, because before you had to go to the goddamned library and spend eight hours there like some kind of no-life pencilneck and track it down only to find out that the book that explains it all is only available if you wait six months for your library to loan it from Botswana, but now you can just go to the computer and type it into Google and find all the answers you want, just for the asking. It's just that easy, even if you're just an ordinary Joe. Chew on that for a bit. When has Joe Sixpack ever been able to get ahold of this stuff easily and contemplate it, even with the limited time he's got in a day? The last time was in the mid-1700s, I believe, and y'all know what happened then.
Most Root Strikers, in my estimation, came to their beliefs because they are officially broken, factory defects in a world not of their making whose functions are strange and counterintuitive, where everything seems at least the slightest bit "wrong." Because of their perception of the craziness of the things they are told and made to do whether they will or no, whether that perception was conscious or not, they started pulling and tugging at threads around them until a couple came loose. They did not and do not BELEEEEEEEEEEEVE On The State like they were supposed to, never completely, and so consequently went looking for other explanations and found 'em, back when it was hard (or harder, at any rate) to do. That's my story, in a nutshell; I've been broken since Day One, non-traditional all the way, a freak from the word Go. I've had a general low-level dislike for things which violate that natural law which all of us are born knowing but most somehow manage to forget, but only since 1998 have I made any strides toward understanding the larger picture and its mechanics, largely due to the improved access to information the Information Age has afforded the general public. Now, here I am, scribbling out little screeds in my spare time, one of the phosphorescent plankton flagellating about in a decaying Leviathan's wake, doing my best to keep afloat and prosper. That's my "how," and from what I've read, it's scarcely unique. Most heartening is that it seems to be getting less and less unique as time goes on.
The danger to the State is not that these people, these heretics and apostates of its Cult, will band together and work to destroy it; it is far more insidious, and far more overwhelming, than that. These people have access to the information that was previously unavailable due to cost, or inconvenience, or both. These people are replicating this information, analyzing it, reading it, disseminating it, discussing it, and refining it, all without realizing or caring that they are only meant to be burning it during the Two Minutes' Hate. They pound little drums for Liberty all across the planet, and slowly those drums are coming into synchronization of their own accord, converging on one single, pure harmonic, the low seismic thrumming of Truth and self-fulfilled prophecies that even the oblivious are feeling and swaying to. These people are wise and canny; they do not need the State, and feel no love for it in their breasts, and will not be there to prop it up when it begins to fall under its own weight. And that is, perhaps, the greatest danger they pose; that while they may not lift a hand to harm they sure won't lift a hand to help, that they will, at the very end, the last extremity, that crucial hour when all good men must come to the aid of their Crown so that the unthinkable prospect of an outbreak of uncontrolled human activity can be stifled, will finally render unto those panic-stricken, directive-spewing, impotent toadies of Caesar begging for assistance and compliance just that which is due them, the immortal wisdom of the fat sage Cartman: "Screw you guys, I'm going home."
And the by-now-certain-to-occur, once-in-a-millennium opportunity to deliver that line and walk away smiling to live our lives free, that is why we should be optimistic.