On the Other Hand...
by Jim Davies
Peering into what lies ahead is highly hazardous, but here's a try. I'm interested - as are you, I certainly hope - in whether individual freedom is likely to increase or decrease in the coming years and decades. I have no crystal ball or other superstition, so will try to sketch out a likely scenario based on the facts we can all see now, using reason.
And on the whole, I believe the future is bright.
Definition:By "individal freedom" I mean that each individual is free to make his or her own decisions about everything affecting his own life. It follows directly from that definition that nobody is free to make decisions about anyone else's life; and since to do exactly that is the entire business of all governments, it also follows that by "freedom" I refer to a society from which government is entirely absent. "Anarchist", if you wish and if you agree to use that word only in its literal sense, of favoring the condition of being without a ruler.
Notice that trite alternatives like "freedom under the law" are literal nonsense. The Pols who solemnly pronounce them pretend they mean something, but they do not; one is either free (making one's own decisions) or under the law (some decisions are made for one, one's own wishes notwithstanding.) The phrase is a contradiction, an oxymoron; one cannot be free under the law any more than one can stand in a shower of dry rain or hot snow. The same is true of all the other government-generated contradictions like "Constitutional liberty" and "limited government."
That doesn't say the Constitution hasn't been valuable in hindering the development of tyranny, nor that it won't be useful in helping attain freedom in the future; merely that it should be recognized for what it is, and nothing more.
So, what's the prospect for such freedom, in this government-infested world? - surprisingly bright, and I do think the change will start in, and spread from, America.
Answer #1: because an increasing number of people want it. Far too slowly for my liking, that does mean that eventually, people will get it. Reason: government is 100% dependent on the sanction of the people, its victims. When that sanction or support or consent is withdrawn, government will certainly collapse. On its own and without that consent, government is 100% incapable of producing any wealth or imposing any rule; or at least for long.
Why Freedom Will Come
Even the vicious regime in Moscow, which seemed to have a total grip on Soviet people for most of the 20th Century, collapsed like a punctured balloon after a mere 71 years the moment a sufficient minority in some of its satellite states - East Germany, Poland etc - walked away.
Answer #2: because the means of fast, lateral communication now exists. By "lateral" I mean, from person to person instead of government to person, top-down.
Take any authoritarian in any age: the first thing he does on grabbing power is to seize the radio or TV station or newspaper offices. One of the first radio organizations was the British Broadcasting Corporation; over its door is carved in stone its motto, "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation". Notice, not person-to-person, but nation (government) to nation. And so it was, in that country, for forty years; the BBC had a total grip on all that was broadcast.
The control over all the German media by Josef Goebbels is legendary, as is that over the Soviet media by the Communists. Free speech is fatal to government; because with it, sooner or later people will show each other what a total, irrational fraud is the entire institution of government.
But today the Internet exists, and there seems little if anything that any government can do about it. Anyone can say anything to anyone, worldwide; fast and cheaply. The radical idea of freedom can spread at the speed of light; and if some reactionary Pol should try to restrict it, we can continue with the unbreakable code of PGP - thanks to that very great hero of liberty, Phil Zimmermann.
Governments have lost control over what people say, and therefore over what individuals think. Their pomp and power is therefore doomed.
Like the ultimate though hopefully unnecessary resource of the wide, private ownership of firearms that advantage of fast, free communication is greatest in America, and in America there is a nominal limit on the power of government: the Constitution. It's powerless to deliver freedom, but has been, is, and will be a wonderful stick with which to beat the Pols and a most valuable standard with which to focus the attention of the less intelligent in society. Those are the basic reasons I think freedom will be accomplished here first. Here's how it may happen.
How Freedom May Come
1. Government revenues will collapse. For Constitutional reasons, the single biggest source of federal revenue - the so-called "income tax", providing 50% of it - has never been enacted into law and cannot be. It has been cunningly disguised as a true tax and is enforced as such - but it's not, and that fact is quite easy to verify. Fully half the FedGov is therefore funded by a phantom! Once a large enough minority of the people understand that fact and take practical advantage of it, the arrogant superstructure of political power will vanish. Once that half of government is obliged to dissolve, it will be a very short step to abolish the remainder: once the realization reaches the public that the entire nation has been swindled systematically for nine decades out of trillions of dollars, the rest of that superstructure will not survive the outrage of its 280 million victims.
The "income tax law" is such a shambles that a couple of dozen rival leaders have emerged to offer practical ways for individuals to preserve their own earnings from this unlegislated confiscation; to my mind by far the best-researched, most logical and best-proven in practice is that of Irwin Schiff. His website is here and a School to teach his method as fast and inexpensively as possible can be found here.
Incensed by the discovery of how fraudulent the FedGov has been, individuals will then swiftly re-examine what their State and local governments are doing with their money; and it won't take it many heartbeats to realize that the biggest single money-waster is the "school" industry, monopolized since 1850 and the very cornerstone of the government industry's indoctrination machine. The procedures of democracy will then be used to terminate that monopoly and tax, substituting a free market in true education.
2. Government functions will be questioned. Not only its presumed "right" to indoctrinate each rising generation in its schools, but everything else it does will come under skeptical scrutiny. Why do they incarcerate one quarter of the world's prisoners, at least half of whom have never even been accused of harming another human being? Why do they force everyone into their own scheme for health and retirement insurance? Why do they run aggressive foreign policies, leading to war after war after war and hostility worldwide? Why do they transfer wealth, from the productive to the well-connected? Why do they monopolize money, only to debauch its value 95% in less than a single century?
Such questions have no answer, other than the obvious: that government does these things and a thousand others purely for the enjoyment of its own power, and is therefore 100% parasitic. As this realization also dawns, the mechanisms of voting will very likely be used to deal that parasite the final blow; and one political party - the Libertarian - has long been preparing to deliver it.
However, 3. Education is Vital. Today in America and in an encouraging number of other countries from Eastern Europe to Central and South America, free-market economics scholars are laying a fine foundation for a future without government. But much more is needed; the man in the street is still woefully ignorant and needs help. Readers of this article are probably better-placed than any to provide it.
In particular the encrusted supposition that a free society would not "work" needs to be scraped off. That is particularly bizarre; all around us every day is overwhelming evidence that its opposite - a directed society - does not work! while free, voluntary interaction between individuals is obviously the natural way humans associate. The literature is in place: it has only to be read and understood. One of my own favorites is the Tannehills' The Market for Liberty.
And the responsibility has to be taken. Freedom means the right to take one's own decisions; for it to function, everyone must be ready to take them and to live with the consequences. Such is the natural human condition; but people have been dumbed-down for so long by government propaganda that it badly needs reviving. "Somebody should do something" or "there oughtta be a law!" has to be replaced by "Hmmm. What shall I do about this?" Education about what freedom means - its responsibility and its fathomless potential for wealth, peace and health - is our most urgent task. Will you help?
4. Wars may delay, but cannot prevent the arrival of a free society. War is the favorite trick of governments since long before Macchiavelli; a time-tested way to distract the unthinking. Patriot-fever is frightening, when war is imminent; but it does not last. War is desperately evil and destructive, a fitting illustration of everything government is; but when the body bags come home, disillusion sets in and the public rage against those who wage it is deservedly stronger than ever.
Bush will no doubt have his way, and force a "regime change" in Iraq and then Iran and then Saudi Arabia; but by then Americans will be heartily sick of the whole pointless, murderous charade. I can't tell you by how many, but I do say that government's days are numbered.
© Copyright Jim Davies 2002
Jim Davies lives in New Hampshire,
and enjoys contemplating which way is up.
The above is Edition # 319
Back to Subject Index Links to Other Great Freedom Sites