Of Dogs and Men

Column by Paul Hein.
Exclusive to STR
We have two dogs. They are both miniature poodles, pure-bred, with papers (gosh!). What I am about to reveal now may make you despise me and my dogs, but at least give me credit for honesty: our dogs are defective. I cringe to admit it, but it’s true.
A poodle, I have learned from the appropriate authorities, may be any color (although white is preferred) but the color must be solid. Our black poodle has a blaze of white on his chest. When I take him for a walk, people will often point to him and snicker, but I’ve learned to live with the derision. Not only that--he isn’t square. A poodle should be about as tall as he is long, and our black poodle is somewhat longer than he is tall. It is almost more than I can bear.
The other poodle is slightly smaller, and white. However, along his back is a faint, but just discernable smear of cream, or “apricot” color. Apricot is an “acceptable” color for a poodle, but not preferred. But, as I noted above, a poodle must be a solid color, so our white poodle’s faint apricot streak would probably disqualify him for serious consideration in any contest of poodle-ness. In addition, his muzzle is a little short, and not the elongated, aristocratic muzzle of the perfect poodle. Fortunately, both poodles have been neutered, so at least we don’t have to face the possibility that they may pass on their ghastly defects to another generation. To cap the climax, neither animal has the required poodle clip. In fact, they are usually in need of a grooming, looking like curly mops. NOT acceptable!!
You may well ask why we tolerate the presence of such animals in our house. Admittedly, they are fun-loving and affectionate pets, and we derive much enjoyment from them. But there are standards--laws, if you will--that regulate what is proper to poodles, and our pets are, sadly, illicit. We thank God that the poodle-police have not, as yet, swooped down upon us to seize our dogs and transport them to a canine Guantanamo.
No, wait a minute. Let’s get real. The truth is that there are no poodle-police, and no canine Guantanamo. There are, as I have indicated, “laws” relating to what is, and what isn’t, acceptable in poodles. You may have a plaid poodle with very long legs and a short body that would make the judge at the dog show collapse in horror. It’s OK. There’s nothing he can do about it, even if he wanted to. Adherence to the poodle laws is entirely voluntary. If you want to enter your poodle in a dog show, the “laws” apply. Otherwise, nobody cares. Just think: freedom for poodles--and their owners!
There are standards and “laws” for humans as well. They are often incomprehensible, sometimes mutually contradictory, and frequently vague and confusing. Not to worry, though, there are judges to interpret the laws for us, and their opinions, unlike those of the dog-show judges, are binding. You may wonder at the difference. If you choose not to enter dog shows, you can, with impunity, utterly disregard the standards set for the various breeds. If you choose not to be a “citizen,” however, it doesn’t work that way. You and your behavior will be judged anyway, and God help you if you don’t meet the standards set by the distant and anonymous rule-makers.
What’s the difference? Don’t our rulers govern us with the consent of the governed? I’ve never been asked for my consent. Should I attempt to withdraw it, I’d quickly find out the real difference: in a word, violence. If I’m walking my poodles and everyone we meet is a fully qualified dog-show judge, specializing in poodles, who is utterly aghast at what he sees, he can’t raise a finger to stop me, destroy my dogs, or punish me for owning them. But if I’m walking with a slogan on my shirt, or a motto on a sign, or a cigarette in my mouth, offending anybody, I can be arrested and punished for violating some “law.” It’s OK with me if groups of people want to publish their opinions regarding what is acceptable or not acceptable speech, or behavior. They can even strongly urge us to accept their standards. What isn’t OK is their assumption of the right to use force to bring about compliance with their wishes. In fact, the rule-makers of human society take it for granted that they can use whatever violence it takes to shape society into the image they prefer. If you look into it, you’ll find that they have this right to use violence because--they gave it to themselves. I wasn’t consulted, and I doubt that you were, either. Because a statute is “the written will of the legislature,” they don’t need to consult us, or gain our consent, although they pretend the opposite. (I hope the poodle connoisseurs never get into the legislature. If they do, our dogs are dust!)
The depressing fact about our “free” society is that if you decide to opt out of it, without harming a soul or damaging anybody’s property, you might find yourself pepper-sprayed, tasered, or water-boarded in some foreign torture chamber. The New Hampshire motto needs changing, from Live Free Or Die, to Live Free AND Die!
The poodles have it better.

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Paul Hein's picture
Columns on STR: 150


Suverans2's picture
    "I’ve never been asked for my consent." ~ Paul Hein

Have you ever filed a "United States' income tax return, which, by law, must be signed as true and correct under penalty of perjury"?

    "Should I attempt to withdraw it, I’d quickly find out the real difference: in a word, violence." ~ Paul Hein

Have you ever tried it? And, then refused to apply for, or willingly accept, any member-only benefits/privileges?

BrianDrake's picture

Filing an income tax return is not consent. You are threatened with violence if you do not, just as you are threatened with violence (under PENALTY of perjury) if you file it inaccurately. It is well established in law and reason that consent given under duress is non-binding; i.e., not consent. Really, this is so simple it's astounding to me that people make this claim. Read Spooner's "No Treason" for a thorough demolishing of this nonsense.

"Have you ever tried it?"

Yes, and my bank account was emptied by the IRS completely without my involvement.

I have friends and know of people who are either currently languishing in a cage, or have in the past for the "crime" of saying "no thank you" to the demands of the IRS. This isn't some intellectual fantasy, real people have their lives ruined by the IRS all the time.

Paul is completely correct. No, it is not always immediate. But eventually, those who refuse to comply come face to face with the iron fist, the violence, that is the State.

Suverans2's picture

G'day BrianDrake,

What I wrote was: "Have you ever tried it? And, then refused to apply for, or willingly accept, any member-only benefits/privileges?"

This was in reference to what Paul Hein had written: "Should I attempt to withdraw it [consent to be governed], I’d quickly find out the real difference: in a word, violence."

Did you and/or your friends formally withdraw your consent to be governed, or formally rebut the presumption that you had consented to be governed, and "then refuse to apply for, or willingly accept, any member-only benefits/privileges?"

Quite frankly, it sounds more like you and your friends may have been, or are, "tax protesters", or "tax resisters" and the usual route of tax protesters/tax resisters is that they use a membership number, i.e. a Taxpayer Identification Number (U.S.), to procure member-only benefits/privileges, but then refuse to pay for them, i.e. they refuse to pay their "dues[1]", their Federal Income Tax.

You may be right that "Filing an income tax return is not consent", but if one is not a "taxpayer[2]", i.e. not a dues-paying member of the "country club", why on Earth would he perjure himself by filling out, (complete with a "membership number"), and signing, "under penalty of perjury", a document essentially demonstrating that he is one?

There is a very big difference between "those who refuse to comply", and those who are not "subject to". It's as big as the difference between "dogs" and "men".

[1] Dues. Certain payments, rates or taxes. As applied to clubs and other membership organizations, refers to sums paid toward support and maintenance of same and as a requisite to retain membership. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page

[2] Taxpayer. One who is subject to a tax on income, regardless of whether he or she pays the tax. I.R.C. § 7701(a)(14) ~ Ibid., page 1462

WhiteIndian's picture

Hocus pocus legalistic "word magic." You have to get it *just* right, with a pinch of shrew spleen and always, always Black's Law Dictionary.

It always works -- until it doesn't.

'Paper terrorist' headed to prison
Anti-government radical gets 5 years for filing bogus liens, paperwork
By Adam Bosch, Middletown Times Herald-Record
December 12, 2011

The only sovereign individuals on the planet are those who live in egalitarian Non-State sociopolitical typologies, bands and tribes.

If you live in a hierarchical chiefdom or agricultural city-Statism (civilization,) you're just another brick in the wall.

Suverans2's picture

It's difficult for you to stay on topic, isn't it? I made no mention of "fake bills, bogus property liens and bizarre court papers". There's no *word magic* in withdrawing from membership in your "agricultural city-Statism", unless you deem the American declaration of independence, *word magic*. And, the *just* right doesn't require "a pinch of shrew spleen"; it does require your being what you say you are, something, of course, that you can't do, because the evil "agricultural city-Statists" won't let you, no matter how much, or how often, you beg them with your own *word magic*, "Officer, am I free to gambol about plain and forest?" Sheeeeesh! Get up off your knees, WhiteIndian, it doesn't become a man to act that way.

Here's a definition for you.

"Agriculturalism, also known as the School of Agrarianism, the School of Agronomists, the School of Tillers, and in Chinese as the Nongjia, was an early agrarian Chinese philosophy that advocated peasant utopian communalism and egalitarianism."

WhiteIndian's picture

Legalistic spell casting, "word magic," or legalistic spell casting. Membership in the zoo of agricultural city-Statism (civilization) isn't voluntary, you're well part of it too, whether you want to be or not; it's enforced by aggression. If you earn enough money, or travel enough public roads, I think you have a good chance of learning the hard way of how convincing your "withdrawal" is to law enforcement.

"Officer, am I free to gambol*" isn't begging, it's a literary device for teaching libertarian types who say , "officer, am I free to go?" how Non-State foragers would view our Gambol Lockdown society.

P.S. , If you haven't caught onto that yet, I'm against agriculturalism. Tilling the soil is THE primary problem. The Original Affluent Society didn't do back-breaking toil; work is a curse (as recognized in the Genesis mythology of the "Fall of Man," i.e., the "Agricultural Revolution.")

* Regarding the word "gambol:"

Why agriculture? In retrospect, it seems odd that it has taken archaeologists and paleontologists so long to begin answering this essential question of human history. What we are today—civilized, city-bound, overpopulated, literate, organized, wealthy, poor, diseased, conquered, and conquerors—is all rooted in the domestication of plants and animals. The advent of farming re-formed humanity. In fact, the question "Why agriculture?" is so vital, lies so close to the core of our being that it probably cannot be asked or answered with complete honesty. Better to settle for calming explanations of the sort Stephen Jay Gould calls "just-so stories."

In this case, the core of such stories is the assumption that agriculture was better for us. Its surplus of food allowed the leisure and specialization that made civilization. Its bounty settled, refined, and educated us, freed us from the nasty, mean, brutish, and short existence that was the state of nature, freed us from hunting and gathering. Yet when we think about agriculture, and some people have thought intently about it, the pat story glosses over a fundamental point. This just-so story had to have sprung from the imagination of someone who never hoed a row of corn or rose with the sun for a lifetime of milking cows. GAMBOLING ABOUT PLAIN AND FOREST, HUNTING AND LIVING OFF THE LAND IS FUN. That's all one needs to know to begin a rethinking of the issue. The fundamental question was properly phrased by Colin Tudge of the London School of Economics: “The real problem, then, is not to explain why some people were slow to adopt agriculture but why anybody took it up at all.”

~Richard Manning, Against the Grain, p. 24

Suverans2's picture

PLEASE DON'T FEED THE TROLL seems in order here.

WhiteIndian's picture

Playing Soviet Political Officer? Da, comrade, Suverans doesn't like the information presented.

Suverans2's picture

"...you're well part of it too, whether you want to be or not..." ~ WhiteIndian

Why because you say I am? Who the f**k are you to say what I am a "part of"? I am no more a "part of" your "agricultural city-Statism" than is a man who happens to be caught in the middle of riot is a "part of" that riot. Yes, the riot very likely will affect him, but the fact that it affects him in no way makes him a "part of" the riot; and anyone who accuses him of being a "part of" that riot, without a shred of evidence, is a false accuser, i.e. a goddamned liar.

WhiteIndian's picture

Agricultural civilization is the sociopolitical typology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociopolitical_typology , one of only four, in which we live.

You don't live in an egalitarian Non-State band society.

You don't live in a egalitarian Non-State tribal society.

You don't live in a hierarchical Cheifdom (proto-state) society.

You do live in a hierarchical agricultural city-State (civilization) mass society.

Evan's picture

While I'm not in complete agreement with everything White Indian has said, his mention of the tilling of the soil as being a problem is something that I think deserves some analysis by thoughtful readers of this fine journal.

In particular, agorists, (conscious participants in the underground economy,) may do well to recognize another kind of underground economy, (in the sense that practitioners of permaculture mean it, the underground economy is literally the underground networks of plant roots, fungi, bacteria, micro-organisms, and systems for retaining, transferring, and releasing nutrients, minerals, and moisture that naturally develops in undisturbed soil.)

In the same way that heavy-handed top-down intervention in the human economy is disruptive and results in long-term inefficiencies, heavy-handed top-down intervention in the soil ecology is also disruptive and results in long-term inefficiencies. Agorists who wish to increase their ability to sustain themselves efficiently with as little effort as possible may do well to incorporate insights from permaculture, an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that is modeled on the relationships found in nature.

Check out this excellent piece on the underground economy in the permaculture sense: http://southwoodsforestgardens.blogspot.com/2011/05/underground-economy....

As a self-proclaimed eco-agorist, I'd like to think of myself as internally reconciling the apparent dichotomy between market anarchism and certain elements of the anti-civilization philosophy White Indian appears to be promoting, and regardless of whatever derision this will earn me from either side of this ongoing debate, I, for one, welcome the "TROLL"'s criticism.

Carry on. :)

tzo's picture

I don't disagree for a moment that land property and agriculture is one of, if not the most important problems to consider. Anyone who wishes to discuss the pluses and minuses of how land should best be dealt with in a voluntary society will find plenty of people to discuss the issue with here, I believe.

It seems to me that WI is being a bit dogmatic with his insistence that agriculture = slavery, and his citing of Mr. Whomever as the infallible and ultimate authority on the subject, subject closed. That's not much of a discussion.

As a starting point, I believe that in a voluntary society wherein the agriculturist is truly dependent upon his land for his profession, he will quickly discover the best methods to preserve the soil, which is in his best individual interest. This seems like common sense to me. The reason why this hasn't happened very often is that sure enough, in agreement with WIs observations, agricultural societies have been run by coercive governments which distorts the agriculture market's behavior to the point of it being self-destructive to the land. Modern government is all about short-term benefits to temporary office-holders and long-term who really cares?.

A free agricultural society would probably blow the doors off of the bounty that is currently being produced.

WhiteIndian's picture

- "..bit dogmatic with his insistence that agriculture = slavery..."

I'm not dogmatic. I cite scholarly sources that have analyzed empirical data.

- "...his citing of Mr. Whomever as the infallible and ultimate authority on the subject, subject closed."

Empirical data directly refutes widely held libertarian's premises. You're having an emotional reaction against it, and falsely attribute to me some lame-ass anti-intellectual excuse so you don't have to study it yourself and think. You're being lazy, even intellectually evasive. Do I have to get my John Galt speech out and spank you with it, Mr. "Blank-Out?"

- "...agricultural societies have been run by coercive governments which distorts the agriculture market's behavior..."

LOL That is truly funny. Zombie religio-economics. I suppose that dead organs are distorting the behavior of corpses that should really be Zombies walking.

Look, agriculture itself, all by itself, is coercive. You're taking a huge tract of Land and claiming: This is mine, and mine only, and nobody else can use it, and I'll kill ya even if you walk across it. And when the fertility gets "farmed out," I'll kill ya "savages" (savage means etymologically dwellers of the forest) so I can get more vast tracts of Land.

Jean Jacques Rousseau was correct when he said in his Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men (1754), "The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this imposter; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."

We know who started agriculture. Manipulators. Power seekers. Those trying to be "Big Men." Know any of those in Congress today? "Big Men" is actually the term anthropologists use to describe the Emergent Elite.

Volumes of archeology, anthropology, and other sciences show that domestication = greatly increased violence, human sacrifice, sacrifice religions, slavery, cannibalism, repression of women, etc.

Agriculture is a 8000 year long Trail of Tears, cheered on and then the necessary genocide whitewashed by the capitalists.

"[The Native Americans] didn't have any rights to the land ... Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent." ~Ayn Rand, US Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974

Agriculture is the demon engine of city-STATISM.

Agriculture: Demon Engine of Civilization
by John Zerzan

tzo's picture


Your posts put me to sleep. I place the blame squarely on my intellectual deficit and apologize beforehand for not responding anymore to these deep thoughts that affect me like Prozac. Have fun trolling with others.

WhiteIndian's picture

Have fun your "act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment." (from John Galt's speech)

The only rationally-integrated, non-contradictory, evidence-based Non-State voluntaryist is a primitivist, or anarcho-primitivist.

"Voluntary City-Statism (civilization,") is an oxymoron (Rand was correct on that, even if many of her premises are debunked.) Keep hoping though, it'll happen right after we have power to cheap to meter. Libertarianism is a socio-political manifestation of Cargo-Cult techno-salvationist hubris.

Evan's picture

As tzo's breathing becomes regular and the rapid eye movement phase of sleep sets in, the falling green glyphs of his dreams begin to coalesce into a stunningly beautiful panorama. Without having to be told, tzo automatically recognizes the world he sees as being the politico-philosophical landscape. From his vantage point atop a glorious citadel on the fair continent of market anarchism, he can see across the ocean to the savage continent of primitivist anarchism, where pale natives frolic freely in the lush forests and trolls gambol across the endless plains. Suddenly, tzo's attention is directed to a small island floating in the seas between the two landmasses. This island, (a seastead actually, though the forest gardens growing on it make it seem like a natural island,) tzo intuitively recognizes as being the island of eco-agorism, (part of the broader archipelago of green libertarianism,) and from it he hears a faint song. The song seems to grow louder, and the music vibrates tzo's energy body, starting with 132 hertz at his root chakra, and moving slowly up his spine through sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third-eye, and finally crown, accumulating higher frequencies in layers as the cosmic strings play their soulful melody. As the song reaches its climax, and every quantum wavicle that constitutes tzo's energy body is vibrating in harmony with the sacred geometry of the universe, right at the peak where the metaphorical air is almost too thin to breathe, and tzo's consciousness blinks in and out of existence, between unity and void, beyond the 1s and 0s that make up the matrix, he suddenly awakens, perhaps enlightened, but in any case, prepared to face the white indian and continue their pow wow, now convinced of the terrible importance of such diplomacy.

Paul's picture

So... OK...

Well, trollish behavior is largely in the eye of the beholder. I think WhiteIndian's problem here is that he chooses ineffective means of getting his ideas across, not that his ideas are worthless. I am interested in the same sorts of ideas.

Voluntary city-statism may well be a dead end, but the thing to do is let those who volunteer for it have it. I don't see any other option. The problem is getting them to let the rest of us go.

I don't think letting us go is impossible. For example the Romany seem to do a pretty good job of living as they want, with some problems of course (e.g. their encounters with Nazi Germany) - but they are still around.

"Look, agriculture itself, all by itself, is coercive. You're taking a huge tract of Land and claiming: This is mine, and mine only, and nobody else can use it, and I'll kill ya even if you walk across it."

Well, even tribes and bands did that sort of thing. The only difference was that they were protecting hunting grounds, not food plots; and necessarily, much larger areas must be protected. And I don't see what is wrong with protecting your means of sustenance, although of course there are better and worse ways of doing that.

There is nothing inherently wrong with horticulture, outside of the fact that, being largely static, it is more vulnerable to attack by raiders and to being taken over by "big men". Although that certainly IS a serious defect.

WhiteIndian's picture

If pointing to empirical data are "ineffective means" then so be it.

No, tribes and bands didn't do agriculture. Stay with the empirical data, instead of your make-believe "axioms" that CULTure teaches you. You really don't know what you're talking about. Really.

Horticulture is the sweet spot. Learn the difference between it and agriculture.