If the Egyptian protests can teach us anything it is that even the most tyrannical governments rely heavily on a veneer of overwhelming popular consent. When just a small minority of individuals withdraw their financial and moral support, the jig is up. This is because the state neither has the legitimacy, nor the resources, to capture and cage large swaths of the general public. Instead, it relies upon two major tactics to maintain hegemony: instill fear and attack weakness. Today, I will address how to combat both of these issues.
KNOW THINE ENEMY
It is widely understood in the realm of warfare to appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak. And let there be no misunderstanding about it, the state is at war with us. But the truth is that the state is weak, and the weaker it gets, the stronger it acts. It does this solely to create an environment of fear, because when an individual is afraid, he or she self-regulates their behavior to walk in lockstep with the state.
It is essential for the state to convince us to obey. When we do not, others become less afraid to disobey. Two perfect examples of legislation that have been effectively nullified by individuals are bans on downloading music and playing online poker. The state simply cannot prosecute millions of more people. It knows this and we know this. The result is that the state turns a blind eye to these activities. If the state were to attempt to enforce its prohibition it would fail miserably and lose its ability to instill fear in the populace. Instead, the state wisely attacks our weak spots.
Take, for example, the state’s prohibition on certain drugs. Clearly, it has no power to halt the cultivation, distribution, or consumption of any of the drugs it outlaws. It is estimated that roughly eighteen million individuals living within the geographical location commonly referred to as the United States smoke marijuana every year. Yet, why does the state continue to wage its war on marijuana producers, traders, and consumers? The answer is because the vast majority of those people have unwittingly castrated themselves. They have internalized the state’s fear mongering to the point where they hide what should otherwise be open behavior.
“Courage is contagious.” – Wikileaks slogan
If even a select few publicly disobeyed all marijuana prohibitions, the rest would follow suit, and the war on drugs would end once and for all. The same can be said for all voluntary activities. Yes, the state will lash out initially, much like it did when it went after Napster and intimidated Paradise Poker. But since that time we have seen tremendous growth in the accessibility to free music and gaming.
The state, therefore, is defeated each time an individual has the courage to confront their fears and disobey. The United States federal government, like all governments, is on its last leg. It is bankrupt, both financially as well as morally, and is attempting to fight on all fronts. It is also losing every war that it wages. The state is extremely vulnerable and hanging on to the productive class for its life. If you want to attack its weak spot, you merely have to let it go.