Larken Rose, my favorite anarchist, gave a talk on this July 4th in Philadelphia and what he had to say was so much in line with what strikes me when I see the flag waving and BBQing patriots of this day, that I just had to share it here, in the hope that – maybe – at least one or two of you put the little red-white-and-blue away and smell the roses (pun accidentally but then intended);
You’re not the Boss of Me!
Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, in Philadelphia, a bunch of guys got together and wrote a letter to their king. The letter was very eloquent, and well thought out, but it basically boiled down to this:
“Dear King George,
You’re not the boss of us!
A Bunch of Troublemakers”
That’s essentially what the Declaration of Independence was: a bunch of radicals declaring that they would no longer recognize the right of their king to rule them, at all, ever again. They went on to create a new boss, which turned into a new oppressor, but we’ll get to that in a moment. First, let’s consider the essence of that attitude: “You’re not the boss of me!”
This July 4th, like every year, millions of Americans are celebrating Independence Day with various parades, picnics, fireworks, and so on. But how many of those people celebrating have ever actually considered what the Declaration was actually about, and what the colonists actually did? The colonists did not merely beg the king to change his ways. In fact, the Declaration explains how they had tried that, to no avail. Instead, the colonists were doing something far more drastic.
In short, they committed treason. They broke the law. They disobeyed their government. They were traitors, criminals and tax cheats. The Boston Tea Party was not merely a tax protest, but open lawlessness. Furthermore, truth be told, some of the colonists were even cop-killers. At Lexington, when King George’s “law enforcers” told the colonists to lay down their guns, the colonists responded with, “No, you’re not the boss of us!” (Well, that was the meaning, if not the exact verbiage.) And so we had “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” widely regarded as the beginning of the American Revolution.
Looking back now, we know the outcome. We know who eventually won, and we don’t mind cheering for the rebels. But make no mistake: when you cheer for the founders of this country, you are cheering for law-breakers and traitors. As well you should. But, for all the flag-waving and celebrating that goes on every July 4th, do Americans actually believe in what the colonists did? Do they really believe in the attitude expressed in the Declaration of Independence? Are they really still capable of supporting a mantra of “You’re not the boss of me!”?
In short, no. Imagine the equivalent of what the colonists did so many years ago, being done today. Imagine a group of people writing a letter to the United States government, sending a letter to Congress and to the President, saying that they would no longer pay federal taxes, they would no longer obey federal laws, and that they would resist–by force, if necessary–any attempt by federal agents to enforce those laws. How would a group which did such things be viewed today, by most Americans?
They would be viewed as nut-cases, scofflaws and terrorists, despicable criminals and malcontents. They would be scorned as the scum of the earth, despised by just about everyone who today celebrates Independence Day.
So why the double standard? Why would the American public today condemn the exact same attitudes and behaviors which they glorify and praise in the context of the American Revolution? Quite simply, it’s because, for all the proud talk of “land of the free and home of the brave,” the spirit of resistance–the courage to say “You’re not the boss of us!”–has been trained out of the American people.
We have become a nation of wimps.
For years and years, in the churches and schools, on the news, in the media, and from everywhere around us, we have been taught one thing above all else: that obedience to authority is the highest virtue, and that disobedience is the worst sin. As a result, even most of those who now claim to be zealous advocates for individual rights and personal liberty will almost always couch their “demands” with disclaimers that, of course, their efforts for justice will be done “within the system,” and that they would never advocate anything “illegal.” They claim to be devout proponents of freedom, and yet all they ever do is seek a political solution, whether through lobbying of politicians, elections, or other government-approved means.
Of course, government never approves of anything which might actually endanger government power. As the bumper-sticker says, “If voting made a difference, it would be illegal.” And why should civilized people assume that change must be done “legally” and “within the system”? That is obviously NOT what the Declaration of Independence was about. In fact, the Declaration states quite plainly that when a government ceases to be a protector of individual liberty, it is not only the right, but the DUTY of the people to ALTER or ABOLISH that form of government. In other words, when the government becomes an oppressor, instead of a protector– as is obviously the case today–the people are morally obligated to adopt an attitude of, “You’re not the boss of us!”
So how many Americans are doing that? Almost none. Instead, even the most vocal critics of corruption and injustice usually do little more than banging their heads against a brick wall, begging, in half a dozen different ways, for the tyrants to please be nicer to us. (Meanwhile, they go to great lengths to distance themselves from people like me, for fear of what the general public might think of them. As a result, I believe the general public, and those in government, view them pretty much as I view them: as harmless and irrelevant conformists, destined to forever beg for freedom, and never achieve it.)
Make no mistake, begging and whining is not what the Declaration of Independence was about. It was about breaking the law, when the law is unjust. It was about committing treason, when the rulers became oppressive. It was about disobedience–civil disobedience, when effective, and not-so-civil disobedience when necessary. It was about open resistance, including violent resistance when called for.
So where is that attitude today? Where is the candidate advocating such a thing? Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams–where are the modern equivalents? For all the whining about extremists, where are those willing to openly resist injustice? Not only don’t most Americans believe in resisting tyranny, they feel extremely uncomfortable just hearing others talk about it, even in abstract terms (like this).
Maybe it’s just that we’re not quite at the level of oppression to justify resistance. Is that it? Hardly. If two or three percent taxation justified rebellion in 1776, why doesn’t fifty percent taxation justify it now? If a few puny excise taxes on tea and pieces of paper justified it then, why don’t the myriad of unavoidable, crushing taxes at all levels, and the hordes of callous, vindictive tax collectors justify it now? If the relatively unusual cases of Redcoats abusing colonists justified it then, why doesn’t it justify it when American police see no problem with randomly stopping, detaining, interrogating and searching anyone they want, whenever they want, for any reason or no reason at all?
Does anyone think Thomas Jefferson, if he were alive today, would quietly allow himself to be strip-searched, and allow his belongings to be rummaged through, by some brain-dead TSA thug? Read the Fourth Amendment. They had a revolution over that sort of thing. Does anyone think that Patrick Henry would take kindly to being robbed blind to pay for whatever war-mongering the politicians wanted to engage in this week? Read what the Founders said about standing armies. They had a revolution over that sort of thing. Think James Madison would go along with being disarmed, by the various state and federal control freaks? Read the Second Amendment. They had a revolution over that sort of thing. Think George Washington would be happy to have both his earnings and savings constantly looted by a parasite class, to pay for all manner of wealth redistribution, political handouts and other socialist garbage? Think Thomas Paine would gladly be extorted to give all his money to some giant, failed corporation or some huge international bank? Think the founders would have quietly gone along with what this country has become today? Think they would have done nothing more than vote, or whine?
Well, the founders are dead. And, unfortunately, so is their spirit of resistance. In short, just about all of the flag-waving and celebrating that happens every July 4th is nothing but empty hypocrisy. How many Americans today can say, loudly and proudly, like they mean it, “Give me liberty or give me death!”? Or, at least, in the modern vernacular, “You’re not the boss of me!”? Anyone? In this nation that imagines itself to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, where are those who dare to resist, or even dare to talk about it? And I don’t mean voting, or whining to your congressman, or begging your masters to not whip you so hard. I’m talking about resisting, refusing to obey.
America, where is your Independence Day pride now? Exactly what are you proud of? I have a message for you, from a guy named Sam. Samuel Adams, that is. Yeah, the beer guy. But he did a little more for this country than make beer. Here is his message:
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
When’s the last time you heard a modern so-called “statesman” say something like that?
So what happened? When did Americans lose their ability to say, “You’re not the boss of me,” and why? Yes, most people are scared, and for good reason. With the capacity for violence of the current police state, and the willingness of the politicians and their thugs to crush anyone who threatens their power, everyone has to choose his battles carefully, and decide for himself what he’s willing to risk, what is worth fighting for and what isn’t.
That makes sense, but there is more to it than just fear. Because not only won’t most Americans resist, but they will condemn anyone who does. If you do what the founders did, most people in this country would call you a tax cheat, a malcontent, a criminal, a traitor, even a terrorist. Why? Why do Americans now vehemently condemn those who say and do exactly what the Founders did a couple hundred years ago? When did our priorities and view of the world change so drastically, and why?
I’ll tell you why. Gradually, and very systematically, we have been trained to measure our own worth, not by what we produce, not by how we treat other people, but by how well we obey authority. Consider the term, “law abiding taxpayer.” How many people wear that label as a badge of honor? “I am a law-abiding taxpayer!” When they say that, they mean, “I’m a good person.” But is that what it really means?
Well, “law-abiding” just means that you do whatever the politicians tell you to do. We speak with great reverence of this thing called “the law,” as if it is the decree of the gods, which no decent human being would dare to disobey. But what is it really? It’s whatever the politicians decide to command you to do. Why on earth would anyone think that obedience to a bunch of liars and crooks is some profound moral obligation? Is there any reason for us to treat with reverence such commands and demands? No rational reason, no. The only reason we do it is because we have been trained to do it.
Some might point out that obeying the laws against theft and murder is a good thing to do. Well, yes and no. It is good to refrain from committing theft and murder, but it is NOT because “the law” says so. It is because theft and murder are inherently wrong, as they infringe upon the rights of others. And that was true before any politician passed a “law” about it, and will be true even if they “legalize” theft and murder (as every government has done, in the name of “taxation” and “war”). What is right and wrong does not at all depend upon what is “legal” or “illegal.” And if you need POLITICIANS to tell you what is right and what is wrong, you need your head examined. Instead, you should judge the validity of so- called “laws” by whether they match what is inherently right and wrong. Thomas Jefferson put it this way:
“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because the law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
So why should anyone be proud of being “law-abiding,” when all it means is blindly obeying whatever arbitrary commands the parasite class spews out this week? And pride in being a “taxpayer” is no better, since all that phrase means is that you give the politicians lots of money. When, exactly, did obeying politicians and giving them money become the measure of whether you’re a good person?
Consider Nazi Germany. Were the law-abiding taxpayers in Nazi Germany the good guys? No. By obeying the so-called “laws” of that time, the majority allowed, or even assisted in, a nearly incomprehensible level of evil. And by being “taxpayers,” they provided the funding for it. No, the good people in Germany were the criminals and tax cheats, who refused to assist, even passively, in the oppressions done in the name of “government.”
The same is true under the regimes of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro–you can go right down the list (and it’s a very long list). Under every nasty regime in history, the obedient subjects, who quietly did as they were told, the law-abiding taxpayers, were not the good guys. The law-breakers and rebels, the so-called traitors and terrorists, those were the good guys. How about in this country, when slavery was legal? The cowards were the ones obeying the law, while the good guys broke it.
How about here, today? Is it good to fund what the government is doing? Do you have some moral obligation to give your “fair share” of however many thousands of dollars, so Obama can give it to his banker buddies? Is it noble to fund whatever war the politicians decide to engage in this week? Do you like paying for the detention and torture of people who haven’t been convicted, or even charged with any crime? (By the way, instead of doing away with that, Obama just gave it a new name: preventative detention.) Is it some great virtue to have helped to finance the police state growing up all around you, on both the federal and state levels? In short, is being a “law-abiding taxpayer” really something you should be proud of, or is it something you should be ashamed of?
Over time we have forgotten a very important secret–a secret the control freaks don’t want you to know; a secret some of the Founders hinted at, though even most of them didn’t seem to fully grasp it. Ready for it?
You own yourself.
You are not the property of the politicians, or anyone else. I own me, and you own you. Each of you owns himself.Â Sounds simple enough, right? And most people respond with, “Well duh, of course. That’s no secret. We knew that.” But in reality most people don’t know that.
If you own yourself, would anyone have the right to take, without your consent, the fruits of your labor? What you earn, with your time and effort, does anyone have the right to take that from you by force? Of course not, most will answer. Really? And what if they call it “taxation”? “Oh, well, that’s different.” No, it isn’t.
If you own yourself, would anyone have the right to force you to pay rent for a house you already paid for, under threat of taking your house away? Of course not. What if they call it “property taxes”? Oh, that’s different. No, it isn’t. And you can go right down the list: if you truly own yourself, the vast majority of so- called “laws,” at all levels, are absolutely illegitimate. As Jefferson put it, ANY so-called “law” that infringes upon individual liberty–which is dang near all of them–is inherently bogus.
But let’s take it one step further. If you own yourself–your life, liberty and property–doesn’t that imply that you have the right to defend those things from any and all aggressors? Yes. What if the aggressors call themselves “government” and call their attacks and robberies “law” and “taxes”? You still have the right. Changing the name of an act cannot make something bad into something good. And if you have the right to defend your life, liberty and property from all aggressors, it stands to reason that you have the right to equip yourself to do so. In other words, you have the right to be armed–the right to possess the equipment to exert whatever force is necessary to repel any attempts to infringe upon your rights to life, liberty and property.
I know it makes people uncomfortable (especially people who work for the government) when I say the following: I want every sane, adult American to have the ability to use force, including deadly force, against government agents. I don’t want people randomly gunning down cops, but I do want the people to retain the ability to forcibly resist their own government. The very concept bothers a lot of people, but what is the alternative? The alternative is something a lot scarier: that the people should NOT have the means to resist their own government.
But, once again, even most people who claim to be vehemently pro-freedom, don’t like to talk about what that really means. Many “gun rights” organizations, for example, go to great lengths to beg the politicians to LET them remain armed. Why? At Lexington, when the British troops told the colonists to lay down their weapons, what was the response? Did the colonists say, “Awe, can’t we keep them, pretty please?”? No, they had a very different attitude, something alone the lines of, “You’re not the boss of us!”
If you own yourself–and this is a big one–it is not only your right, but your most profound obligation as a human being, to judge for yourself what is right and wrong, and to act accordingly. But what if people claiming to be “authority” want to force you to do something contrary to what you deem to be right? Do you have an obligation to obey them, and ignore your own conscience? No. What if their threats are called “legislation”? It makes no difference.
You are always, at all times, in every situation, obligated to do what you deem right, no matter what so-called “government” and “authority” and “law” have to say about it. And when the tyrants and control freaks, authoritarian thugs and megalomaniacs, try to tell you that you are an evil, nasty, despicable criminal and traitor for daring to think for yourself, you have a right and duty to stand firm, and say, with confidence, “You are not the boss of me!”