"It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expence, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expence, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will." ~ Adam Smith
Authority Is the Problem
Exclusive to STR
December 5, 2006
It occurred to me just recently that I've done some pretty amazing things in my life. That may well be said of many human lives, but as a bellwether by which you might gauge for yourself, here's a sampling: I have . . .
* scripted two radio ads which were recorded by a once-famous Hollywood actor.
* nearly backed into and stepped on the foot of another famous Hollywood actor, had a mutual laugh about it, and gave him some of my first short stories in manuscript form.
* met the most successful fiction writer of all time face to face, and had a brief but serious discussion with him about that vocation.
* broken bread and gotten drunk with a famous rock musician (who also happens to be a good friend of mine, and lives in my childhood home in Massachusetts ).
* seen Robert Redford in Rhode Island and said hello to Richard Dreyfus on Cape Cod , both within a day of each other.
There's more but you get the picture. I didn't plan or anticipate most of those things, though a couple of them I did. What's more important, however, is that I pursued those things because I wanted to, and not for any other reason.
Now here's another sampling of things I've done in my life:
* Liberated myself at 16 from the mostly neurotic individuals in charge of the government-controlled, tax-financed "public school" I was forced up until that point by law to attend, and got myself into a private correspondence school diploma program.
* Owned, possessed, and used any number of illegal drugs.
* Had sex with prostitutes, including two incredibly gorgeous ones -- the first in Canada , the other in Florida .
* Bid the IRS defiance and refused to file returns or pay "income" tax on the basis of their own "laws," and/or, for that matter, lack thereof.
* Wrangled with the Exeter , New Hampshire , Pig Department regarding gross violations of my supposedly "inalienable" right to keep and bear arms, and to be free from unreasonable and unwarranted search and seizure. I later vigorously exposed them in the local media and on the Internet, and continually threatened them (much to their well-deserved chagrin) with a lawsuit in Federal District Court .
It would likely be impossible to recount all of the petty rules, regulations, moral edicts, et al, I've transgressed which Establishment types try to impose upon us with their arrogant presumption of a Right To Govern. But "underage" drinking, speeding, "indecent" exposure (more than once, in fact, on drunken dares -- one of which actually earned me some money), and driving an uninspected motor vehicle would be among them.
The main difference with this second set of examples is that I never wanted to do any of them. I did them because I had to. How so? As an example, I quit "public school" because I saw a better alternative. Had the "public schools" I went to actually been educational institutions instead of socialistic indoctrination centers where rules and discipline are held paramount above any form of real learning, I might've stayed and graduated with my friends. Were drugs such as marijuana and LSD available over the counter at drug stores, I wouldn't have had to risk invoking the ire of cops in buying, owning, or using them. I wouldn't have had to get into a pissing contest with cops either, had they respected my gun rights and the sanctity of my home (apartment, at that time) on an evening back in June of 2000. If the IRS followed its own "laws," there never would've been a question as to whether or not I was ever "required" to pay an "income" tax. And so on.
What amazes me is that from the time I first began questioning authority as a teenager, people of all stripes -- from screaming apoplectic high school "teachers" to arrogant power-mad cops; from lying snake IRS employees to, on occasion, my own parents -- have regarded me as "having a problem with authority."
I have a problem with authority?!?! Actually, okay, you're damned right I do. But that's only because I rather think it's those who place themselves in that very position who have a really big problem with it. To the extent, in fact, that none of them should or ever can be entrusted with it, period, as all of the above examples -- and many others -- demonstrate.
Oh, how Establishment goons hate people like myself for holding such an eminently logical view! As an automatic reaction, we're The Enemy. That's okay. So be it. We scare them, you see. We're the biggest threat to the survival of tyranny's hydra-head from which they both draw paychecks (from other people's stolen wealth, no less), and get a big, sick boost to their fragile little egos. And they know our numbers are growing. With every further injustice they foist upon us, they ensure that.
We're at war, friends and neighbors, make no mistake about it, and I can only hope it will be mostly bloodless . . . albeit history is mostly not on our side there. But what's important at this juncture -- in particular for the uninitiated -- is setting the record straight in terms of this simple truth:
Yes, people like myself (Anarchist, Libertarian, Voluntaryist . . . take your pick, all apply) do have a problem with authority, all right.
Authority itself -- whenever it extends beyond the ability of each individual to run his or her life as they see fit -- is the problem. It's time we dumped it into history's ashcan.