Everyone who produces and pays taxes is living for others to some degree. Their time, which is their life, supports the salaries of government workers and the entitlements of tax consumers.
Non-cooperation is most often associated with social movements but it can function on the individual level to preserve personal freedom. A person is as free as his ability to say “no.” But criminals who would compel compliance often respond with punishment backed up by force. It is far from clear how an individual should react to the threat of force because circumstances vary from person to person. A bachelor might be willing to say “no” and be imprisoned for doing so; a family man might not be willing to deprive his children of his income. For the family man, a better alternative might be a display of consent that is backed by the reality of non-cooperation.
In Part Two of the definitive 3-volume work The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Gene Sharp sketches the strategy of “alternative communication system.” Sharp writes, “Under political systems which have extensive control or monopoly over systems and media of communication, the creation by opposition groups of substitute systems of communication may constitute nonviolent intervention when they disrupt the regime’s control or monopoly over the communication of information and ideas.” That’s a dead-on description of America and the NSA, as well as a reason to review a neglected strategy.
Poised between two Thanksgivings — Canadian and American — I am indulging in a moment of annoyance directed at anyone who tells me what to think or how to feel at the privacy of my own dinner table. I am particularly annoyed at a political friend who has attacked me for celebrating the genocide of native Americans. (BTW, any link between Thanksgiving and genocide is based on utterly false history. In fact, standard accounts of Thanksgiving are flatly wrong. See “What Really Happened at Plymouth” by Murray Rothbard at the lewrockwell site.)
It is a new freedom strategy: liberating the human need for shelter from the state and the cronies called financial institutions. Small (or tiny) house pioneer Jay Shafer considers it to be a form of civil disobedience.
A number of libertarian concepts have troubled me for years. In at least three cases, my discomfort results from the manner in which the concept is being presented. Accordingly, I am throwing my doubts and conclusions into the movement ether in order to test them against feedback.
In presenting the Voluntaryist case against electoral voting, however, I commonly encounter the slavery analogy as a counterargument in support of defensive voting. A classic formulation of it comes from Walter Block who argues, “Suppose we were slaves, and the master offered us a vote for either Overseer Baddy, who beat the crap out of us all the time, or Overseer Goody, who only beat us once in a while, and then more gently.” Block concludes that voting for Goody would be an act of self-defense and not an endorsement; voting is morally justified.
A twenty-year old version of myself would laugh at anyone who suggested I would become a feminist. I was a libertarian verging on anarchism, and I thought feminism contradicted one of my core beliefs. Namely, every individual has an equal and identical claim to their own person and property, a claim that I call “individual rights.” No special or different rights could be claimed by anyone on the basis of sex, race, or any other secondary characteristic; individual rights said it all.
I have argued for decades that IP cannot be derived from natural rights. Most IP advocates claim IP is a product of your labor in the same sense as a chair you build; if you do not need a contract to claim the chair as property, then neither do you need one to own an idea. (See the Daily Anarchist article “The Basics of Copyright” for arguments against IP as a natural right.)
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