Why would a middle class white boy grow up to be an enemy of the State? That’s a question I have asked myself for years. It was not always the case. I grew up like most people, waving the flag and brainlessly regurgitating the mantra that is the Pledge of Allegiance. There was a time when I believed the United States had the world's envy and presented the standard other countries desperately tried to emulate. As far as I was concerned, anyone who disagreed with me was simply uninformed or crazy. I usually dismissed those people as un-American liberals, femi-Nazis or just utopian, peace-loving hippies. I naively thought I had the world figured out.
My hero of the Eighties was Ronald Reagan. I'm embarrassed to admit Rush Limbaugh served as my Zen master of the Nineties. It was unimaginable to me that anyone could disagree with such reasoned philosophy. Rush carefully guided me through the "big government" days of the Clinton administration and solidified my dedication to the small government Republicans. (I can hear you laughing at me.) Incidentally, I currently yearn for the relatively small Clintonesque government as compared to the current drunken Bush leviathan. I actually believed if we could only get a Republican in the White House, then all would be well again.
I remember how fortunate I believed I was by virtue of being born in the world's freest country. I never challenged the traditional patriotic brainwashing I had been fed all my life. I felt bad for others who lived in such un-free places such as Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and other "backwards thinking" countries. I was a hard core, patriotic and brain dead American. I was also damn proud of it!
I was as philosophically happy as a contented sheep. I was neither looking for another philosophy nor was I inclined to accept anything that differed from my thoughtless patriotic mantras. A loudmouth friend of mine insisted on constantly babbling about freedom to me. Initially, I thought there was nothing to discuss. After all, who is against freedom? Over time, I came to realize I didn't have the slightest understanding about what it meant to be free. The constant discussion began to shatter my little sheepish world. At first I tried to fight it. I didn't understand how anyone could believe people could be trusted to make decisions concerning their own life. I did not comprehend how humans could survive without government.
Who would build the highways, deliver the mail or pick up the trash? Surely people were not smart enough to figure these things out on their own. What a strange concept this thing called libertarianism was, people actually taking responsibility for their own lives and deciding for themselves what they should be able to read, write, watch, drink, smoke or ingest. How would people be able to handle so much freedom?
How would we educate our kids without the Department of Education? How would we know what medicines are safe without the Food and Drug Administration? Without the Drug Enforcement Agency, would everyone be a drug addict? Any reasonable and logical person would be able to see the tribal need for government. Government is a necessary evil, right? No matter how clever I thought my argument to be, it was quickly shot down by one of my libertarian friends, who had been freed from The Government Matrix some time ago.
I was now beginning to understand the scam of government. The Democratic guise of nine wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner was now clear. Freedom good, government bad, bad, bad, bad, bad! I was now re-born. I felt like I had seen the truth for the first time in my life and I was angry that it had taken so long. How could the Maharushi of the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies have been wrong? Even Ronald Reagan did once say that he felt the heart and soul of the Republican Party was libertarian. Did he secretly know the truth?
I then started to wonder why others did not embrace freedom as well? Surely if I presented this thing called libertarianism to everyone else, they too would freely accept it. How could anyone be against freedom? To this day, it still puzzles me that I have to try and sell freedom to people. Truth is, with freedom comes responsibility, and people are afraid to take on more responsibility than they have to. If the government will make decisions about their own life, well, that’s one less thing they have to be concerned about. I had come to understand that most people were nothing more than Sheep. Sheep go where they are herded, eat and drink what they are given and never question why.
I would never be able to drink their Kool-Aid again, not now. I owned myself, and I must be the one who decides what happens with my property. I now understood the meaning of “self ownership.” Even though I now knew that others were not interested in freedom, I never thought that they would encumber my freedom. Surely just because they did not want to live free, they would not try to coerce me to accept their chains of slavery. Miserably, it would seem that slaves desire company. It is not enough that they are sheep, but you must join their herd as well. The premise seems to be safety in numbers.
A peculiar thing happened to me on my road to freedom: I hit a blockade. I realized that we had become an Orwellian society where the sheep are more than happy to give up their rights if Big Brother can guarantee their safety. I could not believe the pathetic declarations that the sheep had now begun to recite: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.” “I am willing to give up some freedom for security.” What a pathetic people we have become! We have sacrificed essential freedom for security and we now had neither.
What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just learn to conform? What is it that separated me from the herd of sheep on the street? Maybe the libertarianism that I love so much was really a double-edged sword. Life would be easier if I just learned to "bah" like the rest of the sheep . . . to hell with that, I am right! I don’t just think I am; I know I am! It's the George Bush's and Bill Clinton's of the world who are wrong. Freedom good, Government bad, bad, bad, bad, bad!
I can now comprehend the fact that there is no possibility of freedom in this Country. It’s too late. Call me a bad American, but I am ashamed and hang my head low when I think of what America has become. Why would we enforce our will on others and disregard their sovereignty? Who appointed the United States nanny for the rest of the world? What an arrogance we must depict. The experiment is over, freedom lost, tyranny won.
I now desire to learn to speak with an accent and claim to be from somewhere else, anywhere but here. I am in the process of country shopping since this one is obviously going to be bombed into oblivion soon. I can’t say that I will even feel remorseful. I look at it as doing the rest of the world a favor. Maybe the rest of the world will learn from our mistakes and grasp the true meaning of Peace, Liberty and Freedom? I am aware that talk like this will label me a terrorist; so be it. I guess in reality I am a terrorist. I support Freedom, Peace and Property; these days those are fighting words. I was once proud to be an American, now I am proud to be an Enemy of the State!
September 7, 2004
Mike Wasdin is an Anarcho-Capitalist from Phoenix, Arizona. He also moderates an anti-government website on Yahoo.
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