Tag: patriotism is bad

Puppets of Parasites: Escaping the State is Impossible

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.

Ardent Supporters

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 Unaware

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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Stationary Plane Leaves American Patriots Breathless

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Upon reading this headline, one may expect a miracle of nature to have occurred. It appears, though, that such an event is no longer necessary to astound everyday citizens. No, some force in Burlington did not freeze a plane in the air like Michelle Gomez’s character in Doctor Who did. The stationary plane of today sat on the ground, a hundred yards or so behind tall, outwardly sloped barbed wire fence, waiting for take-off.

From a crowd standing at a laser tag, mini golf and arcade complex across the street, murmurs grew, most of them mentioning the vice president. The plane, sitting motionless on the runway, just so happened to be Air Force Two. Surely, Mike Pence himself sat aboard, as the American patriots sat and watched. And sat and watched. And sat and watched some more.

At several strategic locations, police cars sat, lights flashing, harassing the occasional citizen. At times, they let the cars pass, parking in front of them at other times. It appears that traffic was alternating, one direction at a time, for at each point, the blockade only existed in one direction.

Running by the spectacle, I pondered why the crowd simply sat staring for several minutes. Not a thing was happening, and the brutal Vermont summer gnats were swarming the muggy afternoon. As the crowd, and the preceding and following cops, faded into the distance, so did the spectacle from my mind.

A bit over an hour later, though, my run took me back through the same location. Much to my surprise, an officer was still parked in the same location, about a half mile from the plane. Passing the first blockade, I asked the officer why it was necessary to halt traffic, and was given a short, curt response of “The vice president is leaving soon.”

Following up, I questioned what half of a traffic blockade had to do with Mike Pence. But as I kept jogging, the only sounds I heard were the tune of “Come Sail Away” in 5/4 time in my head, in perfect rhythm with the soft tone of my shoes hitting the pavement.

As the laser tag arena came into view, I noticed at once that the crowd had grown. However, many of the same faces stuck out, and I realized that they had been staring at the stationary plane for over an hour. Air Force Two was admittedly a neat sight. Yet, this was because I had been looking at overgrown fields and working-class homes for the past hour. For families with children at an entertainment complex, what was the draw? It seemed as if golf and ice cream would be much more entertaining. So, I asked several of the American patriots just what in the world was going on.

Unsurprisingly, none of the answers particularly stood out. A few of those who had been standing the entire time remarked that the vice president was leaving soon. But, those same people had mentioned the exact same thing over an hour ago. Just how long was soon going to be, and just how long would the stationary plane mesmerize them?

The most peculiar response came from a middle-aged man, who remarked that he was an American patriot, and even though he did not support Pence, this was a once in a lifetime experience. Burlington International Airport was only a couple of miles away, I thought, and he could watch planes sit still as nobody boarded or went near them any day he wanted. Maybe the neat colors on the side intrigued him.

Statism is quite an interesting ideology. The last police officer, on the opposite end of the crowd by a quarter mile, was still stopping cars with his own. When some of the drivers asked and were told of the situation, they appeared stunned, immediately losing any hint of anger or disapproval. Keep in mind, this is in Vermont, where Trump and Pence scored less than a third of the popular vote.

Despite this, the American patriots showed utter respect, almost worship, for the vice president. Though they overwhelmingly despise the man, the group, as well as the cars, appeared to simply forget this fact. The ideology of statism, surely, comes into play, for they all found Pence’s stationary plane quite interesting.

Beyond politics, it is hard to imagine such a love, such a deeply ingrained fascination, for such a hated figure. This is especially true when the figure himself is not even visible. It would have been more understandable, had Pence not been sitting in the craft the entire time.

Ultimately, every human life in existence is equal, and all possess an equal claim to life. Why, then, must even the most tribalist of us come together around a figure of destruction? The state, through its wars, drone strikes, taxes, regulations, and imprisonments, inherently hurts the individual. Arguably, the state is actually what causes tribalism in the first place, at least politically. Literally and metaphorically, I ran away from the spectacle of hero-worship, deep in thought, imagining a world where a stationary plane stained with the blood of innocents would not leave American patriots breathless.


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Is Patriotism a Gateway Drug to Slavery? – Jonny Watt

By Jonny Watt | UNITED STATES

Is patriotism the mere act of loving one’s country, or is this movement detrimental to the wellbeing of society?

This blindly followed movement is extremely contradictory with liberty and self-ownership, and on a praxeological basis, we can deduce that this ideology should have no support amongst freedom-lovers.

That said, patriots will argue that, while it has its faults, America is the greatest country to exist, and without the state, this wouldn’t be possible. While I tend to agree that America is better than most, I see a direct flaw in saying that the state is responsible for this. Rather than America being great because of the intervention of the state, America is great despite it. In fact, just about all of America’s flaws exist due to the government, and saying that it could be much worse, and thus continuing to praise America and the state is both illogical and hurtful for society.

The more leeway we, as citizens, give to our government, the more in control they are, and the more likely a shift to a more coercive and tyrannical government will occur. In fact, this is one area in which a private run (monarchical) government is superior to that of the public run (democratic) government. The very visible and extreme dichotomy between the general populace and ruling class nobles, as seen in democracy, left the former with more discontent and distrust for their government, as they felt completely separated from said government.

Due to this, monarchs had to be mindful of everything they did, as any decision deemed too coercive by the general public could be followed by either a revolution or perhaps simply a less productive society, which would hurt the king and his fellow nobles. While citizens of a democratic government tend to be more trusting of their government, as they feel a sense of involvement, American Patriots take it to the extreme and continue to let the government commit terrible, coercive, right-infringing acts.

With Patriots continuing to stay quiet, how long could it be before an age of total enslavement by the state is upon us?

Conscription, taxes, and jury duty indicate that we’re already in a state of partial enslavement. While patriots tend to be opposed to taxes, they, generally speaking, see no problem in supporting the government when it comes to conscription and jury duty, both of which border onto involuntary servitude.

If the definition of traditional slavery is the state of being the legal property of another, and thus being forced to obey them, then how can anyone justify conscription or jury duty, the legal act of the state forcing you to give them your labor? A patriot would respond that, as we are under state law, and given what the state does for us, we should be willing to give up some of our labor and fruits of our labor in order to “pay back the state.”

The problem with this argument is it completely misses the point, as this exact same argument could be applied to any other instance of slavery (including traditional slavery in America prior to 1865.) Of course, some patriotic Americans will argue that the state is what grants us our rights, and as such, we should thank them for this. While the government cannot give us rights, in rare cases, the state does protect certain God-given, inalienable rights, however, we should not thank an institution prone to infringing on our rights, just because it hasn’t yet infringed on them all.

Living with and preaching this mindset would only lead to further infringement and an overall reduction in wellbeing and freedom.  

The only solution, then, is to be as critical and judgmental of the state as possible, rather than being patriotic and supporting our country at every turn. America was founded by straying away from an overreaching and overly coercive government, and thus, to support the states attempted enslavement of its populace by following the blind path of patriotism is about as un-American as it gets.