Think of the beliefs you have which you hold most dear. How much will it cost for you to change those beliefs? Will you change them for a title? Will you change them for prestige? Will you change them for riches? We would like you to be compliant and obedient, so tell us what it will take for you to change those beliefs?
Archive for the ‘Civil Disobedience’ Category
Let me begin with an apology. Normally I try to maintain some level of intellectual stoicism in my writing, but tonight I’m pounding on my keyboard. Over the years many events have inspired me to write about white “privilege,” whether it’s the Occupy Movement or the Knockout Game. This time it was an article by a courageous college student named Tal Fortgang who wrote Why I’ll Never Apologize For My White Male Privilege. Thanks to him the issue of white “privilege” is surging on social media to twerking Cyrus proportions. Usually I come to my senses before I publish these rants, but if you’re reading this it’s because this time anger got the better of me. Hopefully I can tease out some kind of teaching moment about race.
I am now on day fifteen of tax disobedience. This year I refused to file taxes on income earned as an independent contractor. In the past I had always had jobs that paid a wage, where taxes were withheld by my employer. Because my earnings in years past have always been so paltry, I filed paperwork only because I knew I would be getting some money back. But last year I worked as an independent contractor, and so the onus was on me this tax season to write a check to the federal government. I disobeyed. I’d like to explain why I’m telling the world and why you should too, if you’re a tax rebel like me.
It seems like every time I fly I have an interesting interaction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I make it a point to always opt out, and if possible always strike up a conversation with the man molesting me. But yesterday was by far the most frightening, as well as cautionary for Bitcoin users. I’m going to begin simply by relaying the facts as observed, including some that will seem insignificant at first. Then I will provide some analysis, as well as speculation what’s going on here. What’s absolutely clear is that the TSA is looking for Bitcoin, and Bitcoin users need to be conscious when they travel, especially internationally.
Whether one is being interviewed by a potential employer, or interrogated by a state sanctioned “authority,” just as the words interview and interrogation should be viewed as synonymous and are thus interchangeable (and should always be thought of in this manner), so too are the application of techniques to resist the divulgence of information interchangeable between the two venues. Thinking of an interview as desirous (from the perspective that one is usually thrilled to be called to an interview after submitting a resumé or job application), and thus harmless, while attaching malevolence only to the term interrogation, may lead one to a false sense of security when one’s interrogator uses kindness to extract information or one’s interviewer suddenly changes tactics and utilizes a more forceful tone or body position mid-stream to the interview.
Before you can build something new you have to tear down something old. So, we’re going to do some tearing down. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but given the situation we’re in today, it’s time to get serious. Too much is at stake. There have been too many missed opportunities in history to win this fight, and if we’re not smart about this we’re going to leave this task on future generations.
The other week a lady from the Department of Labor decided to audit the restaurant I worked for. I say “worked” for because I recently quit that job for a completely unrelated issue. Anyways, my employers were freaking out just a little bit. And can you blame them? Even though they do everything by the book, there is always something the state can trump up to extort money from you.
In the course of her audit she felt it was necessary to interrogate all of the employees. She walked into the kitchen one day, flashed her badge, and said she’d like to ask all of us some questions. She turned to me first. I politely said “one moment please.” Then I walked off and left the room. So, she began her questioning of others before she got to me. I made a B-line for my smart phone because I had zero intention of answering any of her questions. I also wanted to record the encounter.
You’ll note in this video how uncomfortable she is in front of a camera. No penalties were levied against me as a result of my refusal to participate. My employers even stayed cool. Their attitude was to just go along to get along. I made it clear to them and all of my colleagues that her job is to build a case against us to extort money, plain and simple. I think a lot of my colleagues were surprised that one could refuse to talk to the “authorities” and get away with it. I definitely see this as a victory since my colleagues have been shown, from somebody they know, that the state really is a paper tiger. Enjoy the video!
I have mixed views about “Anonymous.” Overall, I would say they are a net positive. I tend to lean more on the defensive side to digital activism. For example, if I had the talents these hacktivists have I would be more likely to found companies that compete with established banking and insurance institutions. I know there are a bunch of digital gold trading companies out there but I’ve yet to find one that completely operates without any government blessings. A true free-market banking company that uses real money as its currency and spans the globe is in dire need. And going after Westboro Baptist Church just seems like a waste of time to me. On the other hand I do love the fact that they are helping to throw a wrench in the gears of the machine. Enjoy this short video interview by the Nightly News and let me know what you think about Anonymous.
Editor’s Note: Parts two through four below.
Well, today is my birthday as well as the day that my driver’s license expires. I have to say it feels quite liberating to soon be exercising my liberty without permission. In taking Gandhi’s advice I decided to be open about my disobedience. Gandhi says that civil disobedience should never be something that is kept secret or hidden from the authorities. I want the world to know that my conscience is clean and that if any crime gets committed it will have been the state who holds the guilt.