Don't Burn Your Bra, Just Stop Wearing It

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As filmmaker Aaron Russo (The Rose, Trading Places, most recently America: Freedom To Fascism) tells it, he was sitting around sipping drinks with Nick Rockefeller when the latter asked him what he thought the whole Women's Lib movement, culminating in the early 1970s, had been about. Russo responded that he thought it was mostly about equal pay for equal work and universal suffrage. Rockefeller's reply: "Russo, you're an idiot." After Mr. Russo balked indignantly at this callous remark, Rockefeller went on to explain that these things were but mere ruses in a larger and more sinister picture. Namely, that "Women's Lib" had the net effect of getting roughly half of the adult populace out of the household, into the workforce, and hence, into the income tax system -- along with getting the juvenile population out of homeschooling, and into tax-financed government "public" schools where their minds could be more effectively molded into conformity. And all in one fell swoop.

Cynical as this story is, and regardless of whether you choose to believe it or not, there's something freedom fighters can learn here. Call it bait and switch. Call it the fox rather than the ox, if you like. One of the things I remember about Women's Lib was the public bra-burning on street corners (though admittedly the myth was more common than the meat . . . if you'll pardon the imagery). I was a little young to suss out much about it -- other than how cool I thought it was that all those good-looking topless chicks were reputedly everywhere. Now, looking back, I'm given to contemplate how much wiser it might've been for those women to just not wear bras anymore. Why all the need for such ceremony?

In fact, isn't the State often empowered by being able to identify the "leaders" of a given movement? Aren't they, by cracking down hard on the most visible dissenters (whether tax resisters, war protestors, gun law violators, drug users, etc.), capable of fearmongering the less outspoken into compliance? Don't their well-publicized acts of attrition against the populace have a chilling effect throughout the ranks of any social order that seeks change?

In short, revolution in the streets, where it is all too often seen and stopped, is many times best conducted (particularly in its nascent stages, of course) in apartments, and living rooms, and basements. It's accomplished via the entirely uncelebrated but also unfiled tax return, "Selective Service" registration card (and note how that is of late being pushed anew big-time on radio stations nationwide for perhaps the first time in 25 years or so . . . shadows of Iran?), application for gun permit. It's in the failure to obtain an "on the books" job, a driver's license, a "Social Security" card, a passport, a bank account. It's in the unspoken, the unseen, the unknowable, that which is invisible to the Dark Lord and his ringwraiths. Naturally, we all "have to do what we have to do," and further, we all have to pick our own battlefields, lest we be crushed. This, in a twisted kind of way, I suppose, is part of being free. Government cannot place any restrictions on the methods and forms by which we choose to resist. It has even less control when these methods and forms are entirely beneath their radar screens.

I'm not saying that the bra-burners aren't important from time to time. Of late, we have folks like Ed and Elaine Brown to remind us (proverbially) of that. But I'd also like to propose that what the disgraceful individuals in government don't know can hurt them just as much or more, when enough of us are doing those things. So think twice . . . maybe even a third time before you just comply with some insane edict of the State, knowing of course that there's no mandate to go public. Flaunting your defiance of authority might not just make you a prime target of the control freaks -- you also run the very real risk of ending up looking like . . . well . . . a boob.

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Alex R. Knight III's picture
Columns on STR: 111

Alex R. Knight III is the author of numerous horror, science-fiction, and fantasy tales, including Tales from Dark 7.  He has also written and published poetry; non-fiction articles, reviews, and essays for a variety of venues; and is former Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.  In 1998, he was awarded Activist of the Year for that organization.  He now lives and writes in rural southern Vermont where he holds a B.A. in Literature & Writing from Union Institute & University, and looks forward to living in a governmentless society of liberty.