By Ryan Lau | @agorisms
By definition, a government is compulsory and coercive. Do you want to be the living embodiment of Ron Swanson, despising its very existence? How about a radical revolutionary, aiming to bring about serious political change? Rather than simply holding a belief, the proper course of action, in this case, is to take action.
Ideas Without Actions
It is safe to say that only having ideas for the sake of entertaining them, to borrow a phrase from Civil Disobedience, is not bringing about any change. Even the most ardent supporter of the state, in fact, is all too quick to point this out. With a stained American flag shirt and a hollow conscience, the patriot approaches the complaining anarchist brusquely. If only were he to have voted, then he would have seen his change! By sitting at home, is he not complicit in the crimes he claims to oppose? How is he escaping the state by allowing it to exist, unchanged?
The anarchist, then, bored and well-versed, is used to such questions. Almost as if reciting a second grade play for the thousandth time while one child cannot understand, he calmly asserts that a vote is a consent to be governed. By paying taxes into the system and voting for a leader, he would be complicit in the crimes of the state. Thus, he cannot, in good faith, do so.
An Inescapable State
Despite the vastly differing mannerisms and ideologies of these two particular individuals, they have one critical thing in common: they are both right. In fact, the very design of the state prohibits anyone, in any way, from stopping its injustices. Whether it did so intentionally or not, the state has a crippling grip on its people, to the point where not a single action can fully excuse him or her from its great injustices.
The average American has quite an interesting concept of liberty. As a general rule, the Land of the Free supports freedom everywhere except right here on planet Earth. With the magnificent Space Force, the outward bound of hypocrisy may soon expand beyond even our atmosphere. For all intents and purposes, though, I will primarily focus on the crippling nature of the United States.
The Three Types of Rebels
Simply put, the right to rebel is an integral part of American culture. It is interesting, though, that nobody really tries to bring this belief into reality. Is it perhaps because of the fact that the state is currently not acting unjustly? With soldiers slaughtering children across the globe, anyone with the slightest shred of morality cannot possibly vouch for the state in this manner. However, a sweep of the country reveals that not everyone has the slightest shred of morality, or for that matter, even pauses to think about whether or not something is right.
An individual must either support, be unaware of, or condemn the inhumanities of government. The first group, of course, has no desire to act in a civil or moral sense. Wearing stability and order like a grotesque mask, such actors in a society are no better than mounds of dirt that small children may play in. Their necessary barbarism is not even worth the passing glance a slightly concerned parent may give. Of course, the idea is terribly destructive, and like that mound of dirt, it is nearly impossible to rid the kids of it. The dirt, at least, lessens as they mature, but war only impacts them more.
The ideology of war, of murder, has no place in a civilized society. Also, those who practice it willingly will clearly have no desire to end it. Thus, those associated with it will garner no significant further mentionings.
The second group, then, would be those who are unaware of the government’s injustices. Someone without a great deal of political knowledge, for example, likely does not know how the state spends their money. Likewise, a backwoods recluse in a home without electricity, even if well-versed in politics, likely is largely unaware of modern drone strikes.
Though not as detrimental as the former, the uninformed do prove to be a bit of a roadblock. They act as lukewarm Spam on a table, beginning to gather E. Coli on its surface. Though not so hard to take care of, it is hardly the most pleasant thing to encounter. Without a doubt, the less knowledgeable are not meaning to cause any harm, but by silently paying into the system, they perpetuate it.
The Opposition: Tepid Supporters Nonetheless?
By process of elimination, the last group, of course, is the only one which may have any way of truly escaping the state. The first would have no desire to, and the second, at the minimum, must pay some form of tax on property, sales, or income. The third and final, having both a moral disposition against violence, as well as knowledge about the state, the institution of violence, is the only one that may have any hopes of escaping it. It is comprised of those who condemn the actions of government.
The vast majority of these individuals do not strongly attempt to escape the state. Though nominally decent, they sit and fund the wars while still criticizing them. Are they not so horrific that they are not worth any amount of self-sacrifice? This point would lead one to suggest that like Thoreau, one can live morally via tax evasion. But even then, one is not making a difference.
Innocent or Guilty: A Common Result
By not paying for the wars, sure, you didn’t pay for it. But why does this make a difference? The military budget does not rely on your tax dollars. While it would greatly appreciate them, to make itself easier to fulfill, they are not necessary. So long as a small enough percentage of the people pay, then the state may merely print the remaining money.
A government in charge of both budgets and the coining of money is a dangerous combination. This danger only multiplies when the figureheads are using this for the immoral practice of war.
Moreover, a large percentage of tax evaders end up going to jail. In this situation, the state is paying for your food, utilities, clothes, and more. Does your clean conscience excuse the fact that because of your actions, the state now needs even more money? Not only do the wars not stop, but your place in a jail cell only furthers state action, transforming you from the puppet to a part of the parasite itself.
The Boulder Comparison
Compare the situation to a group of one thousand men rolling a boulder up a hill to a cliff. Armed guards stand behind, and will shoot anyone who dares to step out of line. Additionally, the guards have a nearly endless supply of men that, also held at gunpoint, will fill in if enough men stop pushing. A town lies below the cliff, and at this rate, the boulder will miss a few of the closest homes and sail farther away, crushing most of the town. But, if you stop pushing, the boulder will lose a tiny bit of speed, crushing every home and person in town.
Two options exist: you may either continue to push the boulder, or you may step out of line and face severe punishment. By pushing the boulder, you may be able to slightly lessen your role in the collective harm done. When you avoid prison, the immoralities still occur, but you are not adding to them. When you accept punishment for yourself, you live with a clean conscience, but the burden on others is even more. What is the value of your clean conscience, when it may only bring further harm to others?
Puppets of Parasites
Much like the boulder situation, the state is inescapable, even through lack of participation. By taking an inactive approach, even if you do not find yourself in a jail cell, there is no real improvement, so long as the state has control of the treasury and does not change the budget. Is there, then, a way to truly escape the state’s parasitism? It appears, at least in the short term, that such a notion is impossible. We all, for now, are either puppets of parasites or the parasites themselves.
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