"Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them -- and then, the opportunity to choose." ~ C. Wright Mills
You Haven't Done Nothing'
Exclusive to STR
December 28, 2007
As occasionally happens, dear reader, this column wrote itself. It has been nagging at me for a while now. Inspiration for it comes from no less than the great Stevie Wonder. It seems clear to me that he wrote this song to question authority. For your listening pleasure, click here. Best regards for a free and prosperous 2008.
'We are amazed but not amused By all the things you say that you'll do Though much concerned but not involved With decisions that are made by you 'But we are sick and tired of hearing your song Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong 'Cause if you really want to hear our views 'You haven't done nothing'!
A friend of mine recently took a walk on the wild side and endorsed Ron Paul for President. It was encouraging in a way to hear him say that government is out of control and that something needs to be done about it. He said that Ron Paul espouses civil liberties and small government, which is true. As thrilling as it is to hear someone say that government is out of control, I weary of most people's conclusions as to what it is that must be done.
Government is theft, pure and simple. If I refuse to hand over the money that I earned in exchange for their further surveillance of me and use of force against me, sooner or later the guns they always carry will come out. I call that theft. I almost always encounter resistance of varying degrees to this idea.
Michael Cloud, the inspirational libertarian speaker and teacher, taught me to get into a person's rhythm before attempting to move them around the dance floor. I tried a new tack with this capitalistic friend of mine.
'Do you like paying taxes?' I asked him. I was in no way hoping to discourage him from paying taxes. I was laying a foundation for a logical argument. Like a good lawyer, I was pretty sure of the answer I was going to get from him. He did not disappoint me. After a long pause, 'No, I don't like paying taxes.' I let that sink in and then asked, 'Then why do you pay them?' Another long pause followed. He summoned up the well-worn 'essential services' bologna.
'It's not too cool to be ridiculed But you brought this upon yourself The world is tired of pacifiers We want the truth and nothing else.'
Silently I swore to myself. There is nothing essential about government. Tell this 'essential' bullshit to the dead and their shattered loved ones. Tell it to the dead children in Waco , Texas and Fallujah , Iraq . Tell it to the dead people who were evaporated without a trace in Hiroshima and Nagasaki . Mass murder is not committed by anarchists. It is committed by governments and paid for by the sweat of the working man's brow.
The truth is, if you do not produce your papers and pay the man, one way or another, sooner or later, you will experience the violence of the state. It's pretty simple. They will taser you, prod you, beat you, hand and foot cuff you, incarcerate you and allow you to be raped in prison or water-boarded abroad. They'll lock you up in a concrete cell and feed you garbage that you wouldn't feed your dog. If you refuse to eat it, they will force-feed you because you do not own your own life. They will even ceremoniously execute some of you from time to time. It's all for security, the greater good and the provision of essential services, of course!
They will stick their snout into your bank records, driving records, insurance, your employment records, your medical records from birth certificate, to vaccination records to blood tests for a marriage license to your death certificate. They'll stick their snout into your lungs, (breathalyzer), your heart (medicine is the boy toy of the big government), your blood (drug tests). They'll stick them up your vagina, up your daughter's vagina and even your dog's vagina. (In our little piece of heaven, a dog license costs more if your dog is not neutered.) They'll stick that stinky snout into your email and phone conversations. They will kill you if they have to, all in order to safeguard your civil liberties, national defense and infrastructure--you know, those essentials. It's all for the children, the amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesty.
Face it, people--the government owns you now. (Someone owns you and it doesn't look like it's you.) Government must instill terror in you to keep you doing as you are told. It depends on you playing along with the terror elephant in the living room in hopes of a little security. Eventually they have to gut civil liberties in order to protect them. Do you feel well-cared for and safe yet? Don't try to understand how this works. Just keep paying homage with your bumper stickers, votes and tax dollars.
'We would not care to wake up to the nightmare That's becoming real life But when misled, who knows, a person's mind Can turn as cold as ice Why do you keep on making us hear your song Telling us how you are changing right from wrong 'Cause if you really want to hear our views "You haven't done nothing"!'
I asked my thinking friend if the answer to 'Why do you pay taxes?' could be fear of violence. I got another long, silent pause. He couldn't bring himself to answer the question honestly. I left him with food for thought and a loose thread for another conversation for another day. I'm content to just plant seeds in fertile ground. I understand that radical ideas require time to grow. Losing one's illusions is like burying an old friend--you just don't want to have to do it.
This is not the first person to tell me that I'm a tough friend. I'm not tough--I simply have no tolerance for deception; not self-deception or any other kind, because deception is the 'Miracle Grow' of tyranny. Deception is the basis and basic operating principle of government.
I believe our only hope is that the American Empire, as all empires have done before it, will implode upon itself and soon. Think mushroom cloud, George. Parasites eventually destroy their host, even if only by being an extra drag on its energy. Government is the pimp daddy Houdini of all parasites because it is one slick talker and it owns the presses of propaganda.
Things are bad in the U.S. today and they may have to get a lot worse for the empire to topple. Me? I'm just trying to help it along as much as one woman can by making one thinking person at a time very uncomfortable with the status quo. How bad does it have to get for people to wake up to the nightmare that is becoming real life?