Some old roman guy, Marcus Tullius Cicero to be wikipedially exact, said that the sinews of war are infinite money. The state’s minions only have three ways of getting the money that their war machine needs to stay strong; debt, currency debasing, and taxation. There isn’t anything we can do about the first two. But when it comes to taxes, a common theme I have seen in the liberty movement is to avoid earning money altogether to avoid paying into the system. This might be a worthwhile strategy.
If you are fresh off the boat and have only recently stepped foot onto the stable intellectual territory of voluntaryism, you might be anxious as hell to learn that you are a milk-cow with giant, pink teats. I know I was. If you aren’t anxious, then puff, puff, pass please. I became a nervous wreck when I disembarked the badly listing Ship of Statism for the first time. I saw that the financial storm was starting to ravage the ship back in ’08, and that rattled my worldview enough to where I set out looking for a life-raft of answers. If you would have told me that I would eventually wind up on Anarchy Isle, I would have laughed at you, and then probably called the cops, as were my evil, statist ways at the time. I’m sure they could have found you guilty of something, especially if you just took my advice on the puffing and passing.
When I first learned about self-ownership, individual sovereignty, the non-aggression principle, the subjective theory of value, and especially where those flimsy green pieces of paper with crusty old guys’ pictures on them come from, for the first time in my life, I saw “the farm” as Stefan Molyneaux says. Everywhere I looked I found coercion, intimidation, and confiscation. I soon became a worthless employee as it made me feel guilty to work for a business that only survived because the car companies and banks got bailed out. I began thinking it was my moral duty to be unproductive and do everything I could to stall the “machine.”
I had many dreams at the time, some of which I thought could really make me a lot of money. My dreams have always focused on some economic niche that seemed obvious, but unexploited. Most ideas required too much capital as it were and capital was something of which I have never had much. But when I learned that I was a piece of human livestock, meant to support people in power, the thought of making millions and handing over a large chunk of it galled me. Loopholes aside, a corporate tax rate of thirty five percent on a million bucks is three hundred fifty thousand Fed notes. Why in the world would I have to give those thugs that much money, for no good reason at all?
When I was a statist, I was happy to fork over my tax dollars because I thought that was the price of “society.” I felt like I was doing my part to keep things humming along. Being a part of the most kick-ass nation on the planet meant I was morally obliged to contribute for all those awesome aircraft carriers and stealth bombers. Man, I felt like I was somebody special.
But when I realized that all of those aircraft carriers and stealth bombers were pissing off the other six billion people, and that some of them were motivated enough to blow themselves up just to kill a few people that lived in the same pasture as me, I really saw my “contribution” in a whole new light. I felt dirty and rotten and I didn’t want to do “my part” anymore for the most ass-kicking nation on the planet.
And that is what this post is about: guilt.
These idiots who fancy themselves to be the high potentates of the Bald Eagle Tribe depend on your continued guilt to keep things humming along. You see, all of their schemes depend on you forking over your hard won effort. So naturally, when I realized that these people were sociopaths, the last thing I wanted to do was hand them any more of my flesh. They want you to feel guilty for not paying your “fair share.”
I eventually turned this into a kind of virtue where I imagined that if I stopped paying my debt, got on welfare, engineered unemployment, or even went to jail, I could help hasten the demise of this beast by starving it of what it needs. Every time I saw a patrol car sitting sinisterly behind the bushes awaiting its next victim, I would get angry, and would spend the next twenty minutes of my drive engaged in a verbal shouting match with no one at all about how evil that cop was for preying upon people who hadn’t harmed anyone. I can only imagine how funny it must have been to the people in the other lane. Or maybe they thought I was completely nuts. My guilty feelings about paying these vampires overwhelmed me and I was perpetually anxious. It didn’t do any favors to my health. That’s for sure.
But, as is the case with life, I was wrong to feel guilty. The truth is, I am a captive on their little game preserve and they are gonna get their meat and trophy antlers one way or the other. I’m gonna lose no matter what I do. Either I lose a portion of the wealth I create to the strong-box of those fiends, or I lose the opportunity to take care of myself and everyone else. Everything has an opportunity cost, even inaction.
As Viktor Frankl, a nazi death camp surivor said, “when we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
We can’t stop the state from robbing us blind, and throwing us under the tank tracks when it no longer needs us, but we can choose how we are going to live, faced with that fact. Any work I perform will benefit me much more than some bureaucrat in an office. For each round of ammo, medicare pill, or ear of subsidized corn my stolen dollars fund, I gain much more opportunity from the remainder to get out and tell people the truth. I could start a company and make a film about liberty, or buy up some land for a liberty settlement, or even create some television ads. Those outcomes are much more worthwhile than me digging around at home in the dirt trying to scratch out a life just to avoid paying a tax. If you want to convince your soft statist neighbors and friends of the righteousness of voluntaryism, do you think they are more likely to listen to you if you are wealthy, or destitute?
So don’t sacrifice yourself, not even to starve the state. Because any money the state takes from us at this point is just a speck of dust compared to the universe of debt this monster has created. The paltry amount of wealth you’ll hand over in taxes will only delay the death of the state for a fraction of a second, so don’t feel guilty about making money to live and prosper with. Guilt allows them to control how you react. Don’t let them. It will benefit you, me, and the liberty movement much more to earn, save, and prepare for when the old dragon finally breaths its last, puny puff of smoke.
So, get out there and make some damn money for yourself! Once you start earning you will start learning about how to keep it out of their grubby, little hands.