The illusion of "government" ...
The greatest weapon the oppressor has is the mind of the oppressed.
May 13, 2008 - I get regular complaints from people who say that, while they agree with many of my criticisms of how our "government" functions, I offer no solutions. In reality, I repeatedly offer the only solution there is. Trouble is, there is a range of solutions people are willing to consider, and when I tell them that nothing in that range will do any good, they declare that I have no solution to suggest. (And I'm not even talking about violent revolution. While that can, by itself, remove a particular set of tyrants, it doesn't remove the problem of tyranny. To wit, the American Revolution ended up creating the largest extortion racket and the most powerful standing army in the history of the world.)
What even many "limited government" folk don't see is that they have been TRAINED to focus on completely worthless, ineffective methods of "change." And the one thing--which is amazingly simple-- which actually WOULD unravel the tentacles of tyranny, existentially scares the heck out of all of the indoctrinated peasants. The slaves are taught that petitions or elections, or lobbying for this or that legislation, is the only CIVILIZED way to achieve "change," and to fight for freedom. In reality, those are all ways to solidify your own enslavement, because they all reinforce the idea that you need the PERMISSION of tyrants in order to be free. In other words, all such "solutions" are premised on the assumption that you are the PROPERTY of "government," and so must beg it to LET you be free.
Do we try to "vote out" carjackers and muggers? Do we politely petition and lobby common thugs to please not assault us and rob us? Of course not. Not only is it ineffective to ask crooks to please be nice, but there's no need to "win them over." We don't need their permission in order to have the right to defend ourselves and our property. And yet ALL "political reform" that you'll hear about from any but the most "extreme" corners consists of ASKING tyrants to please not oppress us so much. In short, the minds of the oppressed are stuck in a paradigm which renders futile all of their efforts to achieve freedom.
Imagine an island tribe that believes that the volcano on the island is a god, and whenever misfortune occurs, they attempt to appease that god by giving it a human sacrifice. After a while, those in the tribe get bummed out, not only because lots of innocent people are dying horrible deaths, but because the crops aren't improving, the weather is as bad as ever, and nothing else seems any better. So they keep tinkering with their method of god- appeasing, but nothing seems to work. They try giving sacrifices only during full moons; they try giving the volcano only pretty young women; they try all sorts of dances and chants while flinging people in--nothing seems to work. Of course, no amount of tinkering will do the slightest bit of good. Until they lose their irrational superstitions, and realize that throwing people into a volcano will NEVER improve the crops, all of their efforts will be not only useless, but horribly counter-productive (especially for those fed to the volcano).
So it is with modern statists. As long as their efforts are focused upon trying to reform "government"--in other words, trying to somehow create a NICE master, who will CHOOSE not to oppress his slaves--their efforts will be in vain. As long as they believe in irrational superstitions like "servant governments," "the consent of the governed," "elected representative government," and so on, they will remain enslaved. As long as they accept the notion that someone has to be "in charge," that someone has to be making and enforcing "the rules" for everyone, that someone has to be given huge, super-human rights and powers to keep us all in line--as long as the people believe that, they will be extorted, assaulted, controlled, enslaved and oppressed.
The following is an excerpt from "How to Be a Successful Tyrant":
"However, while the peasants will tolerate a lot, there are limits to their patience. But those limits can be all but eliminated simply by giving them some sort of outlet (completely ineffectual, of course) for their displeasure with you and your regime. As long as there is some system of "checks and balances" whereby the peasants can appeal to different levels and agencies of your regime, they will almost never resort to violence. "You have to work within the system." That should be your mantra, and it will quickly be echoed by most of the peasants. Of course, working within your "system" is never going to get the peasants freedom or justice, but even giving them the illusion of "due process" and some form of appeal will keep most of them forever banging their heads against a bureaucratic wall instead of actually resisting you."
So what is the solution? Stop throwing sacrifices into the volcano. In other words, stop treating "government" as if it has any "authority" over you. Of course, it does have the power to hurt people, and you'll have to take that into account. But stop thinking, talking, and acting as if its control of you is inherently legitimate or justified. Stop voting; stop calling its commands "laws"; stop treating its thugs with respect, as if what they do is justified or legitimate. Stop sending them the message that you AGREE that they are your rightful masters. Again, you may have to comply with much of their coercion just out of self- preservation, but don't ever give them the "sanction of the victim" (as Ayn Rand called it) by treating them as if they have the RIGHT to rule you.
Of course, one or two people doing this won't end an empire. In fact, it won't even change the day to day life of the one or two people much. Nonetheless, being able to free your MIND--being able to escape the mindset of a slave--and then trying to help others do the same, will not only reveal a power and a freedom you never knew you had, but will plant the seed which will, slowly but surely, grow into the solution that will end all tyranny. As Steven Biko said, the greatest weapon the oppressor has is the mind of the oppressed. So are you ready to wrench YOUR mind out of the grip of your enslavers? Or are you still too attached to the cult of "government"?
Let me leave you with one more quote from my "Tyrant" book. Put yourself in the shoes of your oppressors, and imagine what the world really looks like to them.
Your peasants must never be allowed to realize the power they have.
Their power can be "deadly" to your regime, even if they do not resort to violence at all. Gandhi led millions of people in India in a bizarre "revolution" that crippled British control of the country. Amazingly, they did this without any violence. To a large extent, they defeated an empire by doing nothing. Mere passive noncompliance with the commands of an empire (a.k.a. "doing nothing"), if done by enough of the subjects, spells certain doom for any tyrant.
If one day all of your victims decide not to pay your "taxes" any more, there is nothing you can do to preserve your power. If they all decide to ignore your laws, your "laws" cease to exist. Always remember: your "authority" exists only in the minds of the peasants. If they ever stop perceiving you as an "authority," your reign is over. And it probably won't even be a dramatic, violent end. Instead, you may simply fizzle into irrelevant oblivion, as the peasants, including your enforcers, simply "forget" to bow to your will. They won't even need to oust you; they will simply ignore you out of existence.
Choose any historical tyrant and imagine what would happen if one day everyone in his regime woke up and said: "That guy is looney- tunes, and I'm not listening to him any more (and his mustache looks stupid too)." Would they then feel the wrath of the tyrant? Nope, because there would be no one to enforce that "wrath." The power of every tyrant is 100% illusion, and you darn well better know how to keep that illusion alive if you want to stay in power.
So, are you letting the illusion stay alive in you?
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