IPFS Larken Rose

More About: Philosophy: Anarchism

New Year, New Paradigm

So, the people are upset at what "government" is doing. The people are outraged, fit to be tied. This time, "government" has gone too far! This time it's serious! And the people are hopping mad! They're not going to take it anymore! The people are demanding change!

In other words, it's business as usual.

The level of oppression and the intensity of the discontent may fluctuate, but it's always been there, for all of my life and all of yours. "Government" has always been acting against the will of the people. Politicians have always been corrupt, and have always been violating the rights of individuals. It was happening before the ink was dry on the Constitution, it was happening for thousands of years before that, and it continues to happen today. And it keeps getting worse.

Whether it's war-mongering, socialist wealth redistribution, police state fascism, or government take-overs of more and more aspects of our lives, the story is always the same: "government" power increases, liberty diminishes. Centuries of campaigning, voting, lobbying and protesting have been utterly powerless to stop it.

And here comes the part most people don't want to hear. When I was actively and zealously campaigning and doing the whole political activism thing, this is the last thing I wanted to hear--but it's exactly what I needed to hear:

For all the greed, nastiness and corruption of all of the political crooks, "left" and "right," the primary problem does not reside in Washington. The main problem exists between the ears of several hundred million Americans, probably including you. Until what's in your head changes, all of your determination, righteous indignation and hard work will accomplish nothing. Actually, it will accomplish less than nothing. Until your understanding changes, your efforts to preserve liberty will actually result in less freedom and less justice, for you and everyone else.

If, as I myself did years back, you've spent lots of time, effort and money trying to petition the system for justice, and trying to create a responsible, "lawful" and righteous "government," then honestly ask yourself: what did you get for all of your noble efforts? What do you have to show for it? Are you more free, or less free, than when you started? We both know the answer to that.

(You might be tempted to claim that, if not for your efforts, things would be even worse today. Even if that were true, all that would mean is that you slightly slowed down the slide toward totalitarianism, but did nothing to actually prevent it. At best, you made it into a problem for our kids to deal with, after you and I are gone. Is that good enough for you?)

Good intentions are good. But without understanding, they are worthless. Like the brave soldier who eventually realizes that he isn't actually fighting for freedom and justice, but is only acting as a mercenary for crooked politicians, most freedom advocates need to realize that their valiant efforts are not actually helping. The trouble is that, when people's motives are good, their intentions honorable, and when they've been working hard for what they believe in, for years if not decades, the last thing they want to hear is, "What you're doing is utterly pointless."

But in most cases, it is.

The good news is that you do have the power to change the world for the better. Achieving liberty--yes, even in our lifetime--is possible. But as long as you focus only on the external manifestations of tyranny, you will get nowhere. Whether you're talking about a sick body or a sick society, treating symptoms doesn't make a problem go away. And all the "government" power-grabs, all the war-mongering, all the police state bunk, all the Orwellian garbage going on--while those are all extremely serious, they are mere symptoms of the underlying problem.

If you take a moment to step back from your righteous zeal, and reassess the situation honestly, you will find that the underlying problem, in the vast majority of cases, is to be found inside your own head. No matter how enthusiastically pro-freedom you consider yourself, you are probably a "carrier" of the real problem, and while you're "demanding" freedom, you are unwittingly feeding oppression.

In the coming days and months, I'll be elaborating on exactly what I mean by that. For now, I'm going to end this article like a cliff-hanger. Today, I'll just end with the assertion that, with extremely rare exceptions, the primary problem is not the politicians or their jackbooted thugs; the problem is in your own head. The good news is that you have the power to fix it, if you really want to.

For the most complete and thorough explanation of the issue that I can give, go get yourself a copy of a book which has been over fifteen years in the making, and was just released two days ago: "The Most Dangerous Superstition." It can be ordered HERE. Otherwise, just keep checking out FreedomsPhoenix, and eventually you'll get the whole explanation in bits and pieces.