"It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men." ~ H.L. Mencken
A Decade of Striking the Root
Column by Alex R. Knight III
Exclusive to STR
Although for myself personally, it’s been very close to half that long at the time of this writing. My very first STR column, “The Trouble With Star Trek,” appeared on August 22, 2006. It was the first time I came to recognize the immense power of the Internet. I’d only learned of STR’s existence maybe a week prior via my good friend -- and fellow STR columnist -- Jim Davies, who’d just started publishing pieces himself (and has since proven at least three times as productive in this regard as Yours Truly), and had been in contact with the editor (a.k.a. “strike”) regarding my desire to write a debut piece. To make a short story even more brief, it was roughly four hours between forming the idea for the aforementioned essay in my head, and receiving an e-mail from the student services co-ordinator of a small community college in Kodiak, Alaska, complimenting me on the job I did. Four hours. From inside my own gray matter here in Vermont to an Alaskan island. That, my friends, is power.
It is perhaps fitting that STR debuted on August 11, 2001, precisely one month before one of the most precipitous events in American, and world, history took place. 9/11 has had the effect of hurling the forces of statism at all of us like never before, and has caused the invasive usurpations of government to avalanche almost logarithmically. I recently went to inquire about some fireworks at a store in New Hampshire, and was told that as a provision of the PATRIOT Act, that even the manufacture of firecrackers, bottle rockets, M-80s, or cherry bombs are all now felonies. I was stunned. Blackjacks and whistlers were such an indispensable part of summers for me growing up, one of the last innocent pleasures of boyhood before girls and all-night parties loomed ever more large. Feeling a tad nostalgic, I’d wanted to procure a few. Thanks to government, they are now a thing of the past. It wasn’t bad enough that labor laws and trade sanctions meant they all had to come from Taiwan or China. Now they’re not even allowed to exist, period.
To be sure, there will be no easy or rapid remedy. To most human beings in 2011, Americans most certainly included, life without the coercive violence of government is as alien of a concept as life without air or water. That’s the kind of backwards lunacy we advocates of liberty are up against. But we can remain silent and do nothing, or we can be active and speak out. Our efforts are paying off, even if only by an infinitesimal amount at a time. In the 17 years or so I’ve been a libertarian, I’ve seen the Freedom Movement make major advances and become ever more mainstream. The next 10 or 20 will not be so difficult. They will begin to bear fruit. Strike The Root stands among the very finest of resources available towards spreading the anarchist/voluntaryist message. And in the decade it has existed, our ranks have swelled considerably. Disgust with government and the status quo is at an all-time high. The world is screaming out for drastic change. STR is one of the most cogent yet accessible voices for that change. Indeed, just look at how its readership has grown, along with an expanding list of excellent columnists who have taken up the torch.
We currently live in a time of both great pessimism and great hope. Given that very little of value has ever been accomplished by embracing the former, and veritable miracles have been achieved via the latter, I know where I want to plant my feet – tough as that can be sometimes. STR has been a vehicle for my thoughts, ideas, passions, and frustrations over the past few years as I’ve watched the State grow . . . and simultaneously drive more thinking individuals towards the ranks of those desiring to live in a truly free, governmentless society. I will look forward (editor and webmaster willing, of course) to contributing more of these things here at STR as we move inexorably towards freedom. Please help by e-mailing STR’s URL far and wide, talk about this site with everyone you know and provide links to it from your own websites. One day – maybe only another decade or two – you’ll perhaps see how you did your small part to help save the world. I’d like to see Strike The Root up and running and abuzz with activity on that day.
And I’d like to see you there, too.