Going Galt: Individuals Seceding

December 9th, 2013   Submitted by Wendy McElroy

objectivism“I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
–Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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.

In Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, a group of producers withdraw their talents from a parasitic society so as to speed along its collapse in order to rebuild on the ruins. But Going Galt doesn’t need to be a strategy for social change. It can be an individual choice and a strategy that increases the Galter’s freedom, quality of life, and self-respect. It doesn’t require leaving society for an isolated community or ceasing to fight for general freedom – for example, through writing and other activism. Going Galt as an individual choice simply means withdrawing support from parasites in a process that resembles a private boycott or secession. The withdrawal can be partial or it can be total; the extent of Going Galt depends on many factors including the comfort level of the individual.

The parasites fall into two basic categories: the state and the state-aligned segments of society. The state includes all politicians and government workers. The state-aligned segments of society include crony capitalists who receive state privileges (e.g. banks), people who accept entitlements (e.g. welfare recipients), workers who choose to join unions, those who argue for government intervention (e.g. mainstream media), and people in the ‘private’ sphere who make a living through the state (e.g. many lawyers). Galters remove their political and economic support from both categories because both victimize them for being productive; they remove the sanction of the victim.

The most common form of Going Galt is a financial disconnect from the state due to high taxes, a crushing burden of paperwork, or hyper-regulation. An industrialist may decide not to run a factory, a doctor might cease to practice medicine and retire early to spend time with family or hobbies. When taxes are progressive, there is a point at which it is folly to work and earn more because taxes become so high that making more can result in keeping less.

The following specific steps are a handful of the many tactics that individuals can use in Going Galt.

Removing Political Support

The state functions through the implied consent and legitimacy it receives whenever people use its services, participate in the political structure or obey unjust laws without protest. Consider adopting the following behaviors instead. (Note: few will adopt – or, perhaps, agree with – all the behaviors listed below. Most are suggestions with no necessary moral force behind them.)

–Do not donate to, vote or campaign for any politician. Do not register to vote, do not register for any state function or process that is avoidable.
–Refuse to fill out state forms or do so in an incomplete, illegible or confusing manner.
–Do not call the police or use the court system. Using the state legal system lends it legitimacy, places you under its active scrutiny, and rarely produces justice.
–Do not use so-called ‘benign’ state services such as the post office or the public school system. They are far from benign and they are paid for through the theft that is taxation. Pay bills online and home school children instead.
–Make yourself as independent as possible from the necessary services that the state has usurped. Medical care is an example. Learn basic first aid and maintain your health through exercise and other common sense measures.
–Do not support state-sponsored charities or businesses. Do not attend their events. Explain the reason why and gravitate to truly private ones.
–Do not socialize with people who work for the state, including ‘private’ contractors who are paid with tax money. Ostracize them from your life and politely explain the reason why if the subject should arise.
–Do not socialize with those who accept entitlements from the state.
–Do not socialize with people who willingly join a union. Modern unions are a product of state privilege and a main bastion of Big Government.
–Consider using alternative currencies, such as bitcoins or precious metals, in order to escape the state’s monopoly on currency.
–Do not accept entitlements from the state.
–Relocate to a state that charges low or no income taxes. Or relocate outside of the United States.
–Practice civil disobedience to unjust laws. Unjust laws are easily identified; they punish people for peaceful behavior.

Removing Economic Support

Going Galt is also called “Starving the Beast” because the state depends upon the flow of taxes and tribute (e.g. fees) to sustain itself. Inflating the money supply and borrowing can only provide so much of the state’s requirements. It needs to plunder the productive sector in order to acquire genuine wealth. Consider adopting the following behaviors instead of paying up.

–Earn less to make your income fall into a lower tax bracket.
–Profit invisibly so that visible income falls into a lower tax bracket. For example, learn how to barter goods or services and who to barter with in your local area. This also avoids sales tax.
–Couples should consider one person staying home to increase the quality of life for both. Often the taxes and other work expenses (e.g. commuting) almost offset the amount of money that would be gained from a second job.
–Cut back on possessions that you do not use or do not value. For example, sell a house that is far larger than needed and so reduce property taxes.
–Buy good quality items that are used. Not only are they far less expensive but they are also sales tax free. Used goods avoid putting money in the hands of corporations that lobby for tax funds and other state privileges.
–Maintain property and fix broken items.
–Try to deal with people on a one-on-one basis. This may mean buying and selling locally when convenient. Try to find people with whom it is possible to conduct a handshake deal.
–Pursue alternative investments such as start-up businesses, including one of your own. Think outside of the box because that area is less like to be taxed and regulated.
–Get out of the stock market. It is a game rigged by insiders and traders in which the ‘little guy’ is often victimized even if a stock does well.
–Seek alternatives to having an account with a large bank or other financial institutions that function as arms of the state. Credit unions are a better option. If a credit union is not feasible, then prefer small, local banks.
–Minimize use of credit cards, preferring cash or alternative currencies. Every time a credit card is used, a database record is created and it can be used by the state.
–Do not borrow. If you must raise money, try crowd funding or another innovative method. And get out of debt.
–Do not buy union-produced goods.

Going Galt is a step-by-step approach to a voluntary society in which people live and trade in freedom and good will. There is no need to wait for a repeal or a roll-back of the state in order to live more freely. Many of the decisions in which freedom resides are under your control right now.

119 Responses to “Going Galt: Individuals Seceding”

  1. John GaltNo Gravatar says:

    Great article, while I don’t agree with every point made I agree with most of them.

    >–Do not donate to, vote or campaign for any politician. Do not register to vote, do not register for any state function or process that is avoidable.

    “Let’s put it this way: Suppose we were slaves in the Old South, and that for some reason, each plantation had a system where the slaves were allowed to choose every four years between two alternative masters. Would it be evil, and sanctioning slavery, to participate in such a choice? Suppose one master was a monster who systematically tortured all the slaves, while the other one was kindly, enforced almost no work rules, freed one slave a year, or whatever. It would seem to me not only not aggression to vote for the kinder master but idiotic if we failed to do so. Of course, there might well be circumstances—say when both masters are similar—where the slaves would be better off not voting in order to make a visible protest—but this is a tactical not a moral consideration. Voting would not be evil but, in such a case, less effective than the protest.

    But if it is morally licit and nonaggressive for slaves to vote for a choice of masters, in the same way it is licit for us to vote for what we believe the lesser of two or more evils, and still more beneficial to vote for an avowedly libertarian candidates.” – Rothbard

    > –Couples should consider one person staying home to increase the quality of life for both. Often the taxes and other work expenses (e.g. commuting) almost offset the amount of money that would be gained from a second job.

    Absolutely, you’re going to pay more than you’ll make in daycare fees, commuting fees and various other fees after the state steals a cut of your wages.
    Even worse is to use milk formula instead of breastfeeding or committing genital mutilation (or as some people call it, “circumcision”) unto your child.
    Why have a child if you’re not going to raise it properly?

    • Brian TomlinsonNo Gravatar says:


      If you were to shoot blindly into a crowd merely because you believed that you might hit someone who had hurt you, and thus reduce your further harm, you are still doing evil. The error that Rothbard makes is a rather obvious one, in that voting is that act of shooting blindly into a crowd, with the guarantee of harming innocents in the faith based hope of harming those who are causing harm.

      When you vote you are not acting in self defense, because your actions are guaranteed to harm innocent persons and you have little or no reason to believe that they might reduce harm to yourself.

    • JdLNo Gravatar says:

      The problem with Rothbard’s refutation to the immorality of voting is that his analogy (two slave-masters, one a sadistic killer and the other much nicer) doesn’t hold when it comes to politicians. They’re ALL “nice” on the campaign trail, and they ALL just do whatever they please once they’re in office. What’s the point of trying to change a bunch of pathological liars, especially when doing so confers some sense of legitimacy to a process which is inherently illegitimate?

    • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

      Hi John. Thanks for the post. I’m glad you found the article of some value. And I agree with your comments about couples and families, included circumcision.

      Clearly, we disagree on voting, however. I see you’ve quoted Murray’s reply to “Konkin on Libertarian Strategy” and specifically the slave analogy that has been picked up and carried forward by Walter Block. I wrote an entire Daily Anarchist column in July devoted to rebutting the analogy between voting and slavery and, so, I won’t go into the voting issue here but merely post the link. “The Faux Slavery Analogy to Voting”…http://dailyanarchist.com/2013/07/31/the-faux-slavery-ana logy-to-voting/ I’m not trying to cut off discussion on this point but I’d prefer to hold any such discussion in the thread at the end of the July article so as to not digress from the topic here. Cheers to you, me.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      “…a tactical not a moral consideration.” I heard this rationale from Libertarians in the ’70s every time they could not justify an action on principle. What does it mean? The action is amoral? Or in context is moral, but only appears to be immoral out of context? I don’t think so. It was an attempt to avoid the morality issue of action, e.g., political actions. But tactical actions have moral consequences. When the morality is not avoided we cannot but condemn the institution of govt. Slavery was not fixed. It was abolished. Govt. cannot be fixed either.

    • James St. JohnNo Gravatar says:

      I agree with the not voting out of protest, but you actually have to show up and not vote by writing in “none of the above” or voting third party if that isn’t an option. Those that don’t vote still have to suffer the decision of those who do. Politicians don’t care if only 5 people out 50,000 show up to vote as long as 3 of them vote for them. They only count the peo

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        You’re wrong. Politicians want/need everyone to vote. That is why it is forced in some countries. The more voters, the more legitimacy they claim. When people see no real choice and don’t vote in protest, or don’t vote in protest of politics, the explanation given by the politicians/MSM is that people are apathetic, implying laziness or the acceptance of all candidates. The opposite is true, as word of mouth demonstrates, but TPTB control the MSM and kill debate. That is changing with the ‘net. Politicians fear having to drop the pretense as protectors, at least domestically, and show their brutality, but they will before giving up control. For example, they posture as “representatives” whenever possible but drop the pretense to preserve control, as they did in the “great bank bailout” which had less than 1% support.

  2. qedstarNo Gravatar says:

    >> “The most common form of Going Galt is a financial disconnect from the state due to high taxes, a crushing burden of paperwork, or hyper-regulation. An industrialist may decide not to run a factory, a doctor might cease to practice medicine and retire early to spend time with family or hobbies.”

    Idiotic. This is true only in case you are willing to die on hunger. Your only choice how to stay alive is slave-work for some master, probably paid from top. The only way to be free in the slavish society is to DIE. I’d rather die fighting than on hunger. You are all cowards because you are not willing to die for truth, goodness and justice. Go to hell.

    • StormNo Gravatar says:


      Do you know what a false dichotomy is? It is when you make a claim of only two choices, when in fact other choices exist. This is one of the errors you make in your attack.

      I’ve not worked a “slave” job in over a decade, so clearly the choice between “slave work” (an absurd appeal to emotion btw) or death is a false one. You can choose to live and work in ways that do not require chocking debt, or be at the beck and call of a “master at the top.”

      If you would read the article without the bias you express here, you would see that these suggestions are actually ways to avoid the very thing you arbitrarily deny is possible.

      • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

        >> “Do you know what a false dichotomy is? It is when you make a claim of only two choices, when in fact other choices exist.”

        Sad, but true. There are other two ways to fight against NWO, except by gun. But those ways are EVEN HARDER than fighting with a gun. So when someone claims that he is not willing even to fight like a man with a gun against the state, there is really no hope for him, and the civilisation he is living, which is full of the same cowards like him.

        I guess you have no idea what are the other two ways… but don’t worry, you aren’t even going to fight like man, because you are NOman.

        • StormNo Gravatar says:

          There is a common name for those who think that mindless headlong assaults are the only option: Cannon fodder.

          You can call working to bring about real change a refusal to fight because it is not such a mindless headlong and doomed assault, but your own very limited use of the term “fight” won’t change the facts. The methods described here are in opposition to the state, while yours are those used as excuses by the state to grow the state ever larger as we saw after the OKC Murrah building and after 9-11.

          Contrast that with the successes of the Quakers and others and you might begin to understand why choosing practical opposition to the state is a far more successful approach.

          That you think living life deliberately, practically, and authentically is cowardly merely reveals how scared you are of life. I am sorry to see it for anyone.

          • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

            Words and articles are weightless… noone cares about them, except libertarians themselves. Action (against the state) is far more important than anti-state rhetoric.

            • StormNo Gravatar says:

              Obviously you are not familiar with history or practical approaches. A simple proof that your claim is false is that were it true, then none of us would be anarchists. The fact is that at some point in each of our lives the idea came to us, and we embraced it. Without this idea that change would never have happened.

              As for faux or futile opposition to the state in the most limited fashion attacking the area of greatest strength of the state, well you are free to be the cannon fodder that grows the state. I will continue the practical proven approaches that actually oppose the state while having the advantage of giving me and others greater freedom.

              You may lash out at the world of ideas, but you cannot change the fact that we live in a world of ideas and those ideas determine the nature of the world in which we live.

              If you cannot see this obvious fact, then there is no possibility of communication because communication requires commonality. The only common ground available to us is reality.

              • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

                >> “you cannot change the fact that we live in a world of ideas”

                We live in a world of matter, not in world of ideas.

                >> “and those ideas determine the nature of the world in which we live”

                Matter determines the nature of the world in which we live in much more than our ideas.

    • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

      Your response is so bizarre that it doesn’t merit a response. For example, I have no idea why disconnecting from the state = death rather than life. If you wish to state your argument in a rational manner, then I’d be happy to engage.

      • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

        >> “I have no idea why disconnecting from the state = death rather than life.”

        Well, because what would you do if you are going to be economically disconnected from the state? Live on Tajga? Ok, maybe you can survive there, but in a manner of some prehistoric man. There is no way to disconnect from civilisation and keep living civilised life.

        Realizing this, there is either going to be free society, or we have to fight for it. Words will not change much.

        • StormNo Gravatar says:

          Very strange and unfounded assumptions there in your position. The state is not civilization and civilization is not the state. The state stands in the way of civilization in fact.

          As for the notion that ideas don’t change much, do you expect your words expressing that idea to change anything? Seems you have undermined your own position logically speaking.

          The fact is that ideas do change a great deal, as do actions. The actions described in this article lead to greater personal freedom and a lessening power of the state. Simply continuing to do the same thing over and over won’t give you a different result.

          It appears that you think the only way to fight the state is to support it else what? Build your own tanks and play by its rules to do what it does best with ho hope of any chance of success?

          I for one will stick with these proven approaches disregarding the failed ones you seem to believe we must embrace.

          • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

            >> “As for the notion that ideas don’t change much, do you expect your words expressing that idea to change anything? Seems you have undermined your own position logically speaking.”

            You are right, I don’t expect it. But I’m walking my talk, so because I do something against the state, I talk about it. This underlines my position.

            >> “The fact is that ideas do change a great deal, as do actions.”

            Ideas without actions are effectively non-existent.

            >> “Build your own tanks and play by its rules to do what it does best with ho hope of any chance of success?”

            Less hope comes from talking than from acting.

            • StormNo Gravatar says:

              “Ideas without actions are effectively non-existent.”

              Obviously false and furthermore absurd, but also this assumes a false dichotomy and a straw man. Ideas have had changes as has already been proved conclusively. In fact you obviously believe that they must as you keep offering ideas, not logically or factually supportable ideas but ideas nonetheless, in hopes of getting us to abandon practical and effective approaches to liberty.

              • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

                Your approach is not effective and will NEVER work :). You either gonna beat the enemy up or you lose and end up like a slave (= nowadays).

                • StormNo Gravatar says:

                  Since it has worked, your claim is objectively speaking false. Unless or until you decide that reality determines what is true there is no possibility of communication.

                  • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

                    When and where it has worked? There are dozen examples where it has not worked, and one good example where my approach has worked. You are deluded.

                    • StormNo Gravatar says:

                      Zomia, Iceland, Ireland, the area controlled now by the US.. A great many examples of small and large victories exist showing the power of ideas. The mindless marching of cannon fodder that you suggest has no such examples where it has led to liberty.

                      I’ve nothing more to say to you since you see no reason for civility or reason itself.

        • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

          Qestar: I must emphatically disagree as to whether ideas change the world. The world you live in has been defined by ideas. What else would you call Marxism, Christianity, Islam…? These (and many others I could name) are ideologies, which are nothing more than a constellation of integrated ideas. The idea of democracy has a huge influence on domestic and foreign policy. Everywhere you look, every time you move, you are bumping into the impact of ideas.

          • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

            Yes, but our masters don’t care about what we thing. We must bear this in mind. They own everything whilst we are dispossessed. They will crush any dissent, by manipulation if it is going to be sufficient or physically if they have no other choice. That’s why I promote action over talk.

            • StormNo Gravatar says:

              “They will crush any dissent, by manipulation if it is going to be sufficient or physically if they have no other choice. That’s why I promote action over talk.”

              I am not sure if this is just incredibly poorly written, or if you are just admitting that you prefer explicit and immediate defeat over even the possibility of success, but I suspect the latter.

              • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

                Of course it is better to be explicitly and immediately defeated (killed) that to live a slavish life. Rather not to be than to be a slave.

                • StormNo Gravatar says:

                  Those false dichotomies based upon straw man arguments just keep coming from you.

                  Notice that what has been suggested is not a life of a slave, but a life of liberty. Also there are clearly other choices than mindless sacrifice to grow the state as you suggest is the only option, and mindless acceptance of the state. Perhaps these are the only two approaches you can imagine since you deny the value of the mind, but the fact is that the approaches suggested here have been proved to work. There are many different ways to help to increase liberty, though few if any require “building your own tank” and futilely throwing your life away.

                  I honestly do not know what your opposition to liberty is, but regardless there will always be some of us who embrace it and pursue it through practical as well as principled approaches.

                  • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

                    >> “Notice that what has been suggested is not a life of a slave, but a life of liberty.”

                    There is no place to be free.

                    >> “… and futilely throwing your life away”

                    Futilely is living like a slave. We just disagree on what has greater value.

                    • StormNo Gravatar says:

                      AGAIN you offer a silly false dichotomy.

                      Our disagreement is far more fundamental. I accept that reality determines what is true. You do not.

                    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

                      I think you may have overstated your position though I tend to agree that what we say is not nearly so important as what we do. Storm seems to live in the ivory tower and is quite bright in the academic ways of debate. But Storm’s concept of reality seems scewed with wishful thinking trumping observed fact at times. I do think you need to realize that life as a slave is preferable to the ultimate slavery of death. A slave may eventually find freedom. Dead men find only worms.

                    • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

                      @Fritz Knese: I’m a believer and I believe that once I’m dead I’ll rest in peace in heaven for all ethernity. But while I’m alive, I’ll not waste a second trying to fight the devil (= state).

                    • StormNo Gravatar says:

                      It is sad and of course purely from faith that some seek to dismiss the proved approaches and the principled and practical approaches because they mean actually doing something useful and not merely doing whatever they feel like doing. To call using reason and evidence an “ivory tower” idea is of course absurd, but worse yet it is a tactic of fear. To deny reality qua reality, because you are afraid that your faith is false, means that your faith IS definitely false. It means that you cannot make progress.

                      So too with mindlessly throwing your life away in a faux if flashy “opposition” to the state that can only serve to grow the state.

                      Ask yourselves this: Why instead of using evidence and sound reasoning, you choose to lash out at individuals? Honest answers to that will shine a light through the problems that you won’t now acknowledge.

                  • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

                    Storm, we have been through all this ad nauseum. My problem with your reasoning is that you do seem to accept theory over reality at times and do not realize it. I started college as a math major where theory and reality are one and the same. When I switched to physics I had to accept that theory is only as good as the experimental results say it is. Brilliant as your deterministic reasoning can be, it is nonsense if your assumptions are garbage. We tend to disagree about the assuimptions not the rational process.

                    • StormNo Gravatar says:

                      Notice that as always you make baseless accusations without any evidence. You are also making the very simple error of confusing your position, based only on itself, for reality then attacking me for relying upon reality. You call reality theory, despite the fact that we can verify the truth of the statements. Ask yourself why you do this, if you have any interest in avoiding these very obvious falsehoods.

                      Contrary to your claims we do disagree on methodology as well. While I keep trying to get you to abide the use of evidence and sound argument, you refuse to abide either as soon as they show without any room for any doubt that your faith is misplaced.

                      Offer up evidence. Use reason. Cite actual examples and accept that REALITY alone determines what is true. Until you are willing to accept that your faith can be and in fact is trumped by reality there is no possibility of growth or even communication.

                    • StormNo Gravatar says:

                      And we are back to where we were on the last thread. I ask you for a reasoned argument based upon evidence, and you lash out at me as a person, never for an instant even considering looking to the real world for something to support your assumptions.

                      Until you can be reasonable, until you can use evidence and reason, until you realize that truth is not correspondence to your faith, there is no possibility of communication.

                • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

                  It is difficult to have rational discourse with people who’s apriori assumptions differ. My background was in physics academically so I look for scientifically verifiable proofs. Religious belief requires the leap of faith which is inherantly irrational. Though I respect your freedom to have irrational beliefs, you won’t sway rational people with mystical claims.

                  • StormNo Gravatar says:

                    A great example of irony. The guy who offers only articles of faith and who refuses to recognize that reality determines what is true, attacks other persons for abiding reality and reason.

                    That you rely upon only ad hominems and declarations of faith speaks loudly and sufficiently.

                    It is worth pointing out here that science is the simple step-child of philosophy. IF you were willing to abide the philosophical method and proof then there would be no difference or disagreement. Those interested in truth accept that reason is the best, in fact the only, system we have. Those interested in knowledge know that all claims must be compared against reality in order to determine the truth of the claims, not against the emotion based positions adopted without regard to reality.

                    This conversation provides clear examples of the differences. Where you rely upon and offer only personal attacks without any regard for what is true, I’ve offered counter-examples to the false dichotomies offered as well as real world examples of these methods actually working.

                    As Gerry Spence suggests, keep in mind what your goal actually is. If it is merely to try to beat down another person for the illusion of a “win” then by all means keep up these failed and failing tactics. They will never work, but I have little doubt that you feel better for the use of them. If on the other hand your goal is persuasion, knowledge, truth, or anything at all connected with reality then you ought to consider adopting the use of reason and evidence.

                    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

                      Actually science is a step up from philosophy not the “simple stepchild”. Otherwise I agree that reality trumps debating tricks. But you use such tricks all the time to obfuscate when reality is not to your liking,ie. our discussions concerning human’s being violent by nature. You are philosophically opposed to violence and do not wish others to recognize the reality that violence is a sometimes necessary tool to fight state oppression. So you use various debating tricks to try to obfuscate the fact that children are violent until we teach them otherwise and that testosterone is linked to aggression so aggression is as natural to humans as their T levels. I think you not I need to reevaluate your commitment to rationality and scilentific reality.

                  • StormNo Gravatar says:

                    Fritz, your confusion is too great to overcome. As a matter of historical fact, scientists were known as “natural philosophers” because they focused on the natural world using the critical examination and critical thought methods developed by and inherent to philosophy. The more a person advances in any given field of science the closer they come to philosophy. This is why as you advance academically in those fields, you eventually get a doctorate of philosophy. There is literally nothing whatsoever to support your topsy-turvy redefining of the world, much less your personal attacks.

                    As you cannot be civil, and clearly have no interest in truth, I leave off the attempt to reason with you.

                    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

                      Historically uyou are undoubtedly correct. In reality today phisosophy is basically opinion with he who shouts the loudest winning. Scieance is still supposed to be evildence based. I just call it as I see it. If you do not wish to converse OK. I don’t really mind one way or the other.

                    • StormNo Gravatar says:

                      Fritz you clearly have no idea of the nature and practice of philosophy. Logic relies upon evidence and sound reasoning. Logic is the foundation of philosophy today as always.

                    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

                      Actually I had enough philosopy courses to have minored in it. Though I agree that logic is evidenced based and relies on sound reasoning, most of philosophy is anything but logical. And that part which is logical often has flawed apriori assumptions which usually invalidate the results. I see you getting so caught up in the beauty of logical deduction that you ignore the asininity of some of your assumptions. I mean really, saying that humans are not violent by nature simply because they spend the majority or their time doing other than violent actions is ridiculous on the face of it. A violent nature simply requires that one is willing to use violence as a tool to obtain one’s desires. This seems to be the case for most humans and pretty definitely for all humans before being trained that violence is unaaceptable. I do not know why this is so hard for you to see. Perhaps you have too much invested in the philosophy of non-violence.

        • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

          Qedstar: I would live much the same as I do now. Supporting myself through writing and selling on the free market, loving my husband and friends, enjoying my farm in Canada, associating with my neighbors and leading a productive life that harms no one. Nothing whatsoever about what I suggested as possible and personal strategies to disconnect from the state means moving to a barren island somewhere. Indeed, I haven’t the foggiest idea why you think it would.

      • absoluterightsNo Gravatar says:

        Two ancient sayings of wisdom:
        “Don’t cast pearls before swine”- Christ
        “D.F.T.T.|Don’t feed the troll “- Internet

        I loved the piece. Well done 🙂

  3. StormNo Gravatar says:

    The power of peer pressure, of demanding uniformity cannot be over-stressed. A great many of our problems today stem from this lack of awareness of alternatives. It is almost as if people have come to believe that if there is not a 12 lane interstate to a place, then the place cannot exist. They follow the crowd, doing only what everyone else is doing. The state of course loves this conformity as it makes harvesting taxes and maintaining control much easier.

    Yet there are 360 degrees around us, so why do we limit ourselves to one direction?

    Anther wonderful article Wendy. The more of us who live deliberately instead of by default, and the more of us who actively oppose the system with our actions, the better off we will all be.

    • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Storm. And peer pressure is one of the most effective methods of persuasion there is. Quakers and others who use non-violent resistance/activism know this, and they have used it to good advantage for centuries. All you need to do is walk down the halls of any high school and you will understand how powerful peer pressure is in inducing people to conform or to rebel as a response. Sometimes, when I walk down the street, I think we are all trapped in that corridor in high school in terms of the pressure that is applied to conform with every step we take.

      I think its strength comes from the fact that acceptance is one of the main needs human beings have…ranking up with (but below) food and shelter. One of the ways to drive a person mad is to hold them in solitary confinement — a condition that human rights organizations correctly identify as torture.

  4. Alex ZNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve reached the point where the only logical next step is leaving the country. (You can follow the challenges of doing so at The Boot-Strap Expat http://7thpillar.wordpress.com/ )

    I stopped using credit cards over a decade ago.
    I’ve started a number of small businesses and only consider contract work as an independent contractor or corp-to-corp.
    I’ve moved into a smaller house and liquidated more than half of my belongings.
    I stopped using credit cards over 15 years ago, and the only credit I’ve had since is a mortgage that was paid off when I sold the house eleven years ago.
    I’ve refused to work for the government at any level, although their is a boom of government requests for my particular skill sets at present.

    I hope to leave for South America early in 2014 and will be video recording my journey for a documentary. A road-trip from the Great Lakes to South America should provide plenty of challenges and wonders along the way.

    • Brad RNo Gravatar says:

      Alex, that sounds great. I’m going to visit The Boot-Strap Expat, and I’m looking forward to hearing about your journey south. I expect I can learn a lot from you.

  5. Single acts of tyrannyNo Gravatar says:

    Wendy, this is a great post. I think the key is to find a balance between avoidance and living a free life. You elude to this in an earlier post. Vaclav Havel, when under a diabolical communist tyranny (from which escape seemed impossible – sound familiar?) said thus, live as if you are free.


  6. Chuck MarshallNo Gravatar says:

    I have a concern about your advice “–Do not accept entitlements from the state”. I had my income confiscated for 50 years in the Social Security ponzi scheme. I feel that it would not be proper to let the state keep my property. Thus I am enrolled in the Social Security system.

    • StormNo Gravatar says:

      Except Chuck the money that was stolen from you is long gone. To take money from the state now means supporting theft from innocents today.

      • Chuck MarshallNo Gravatar says:

        Of course the same applies to the money you deposited into a savings account. The bank loaned it out and if you tried to withdraw it, the bank would have to take it from someone else’s account.

        • StormNo Gravatar says:

          Of course that is not true. There is a massive difference of type between taxation and a savings account. If your argument were valid then you are “taking back” your money that was stolen by a thug in the street when you rob from someone else in the same street.

      • Chuck MarshallNo Gravatar says:

        In addition, the state will not take one more cent than they would if I did not retrieve my property. They take as much as the traffic will bear.

  7. Lloyd LicherNo Gravatar says:

    In response to Chuck Marshall, the reason I do not take Social Security is that every cent that was taken from me for that program has been paid out to other people, and whatever I might get from the program would be money taken from other people, by force. My principles wouldn’t allow me to do that. I’m 86 and have a decent income from an annuity with the YMCA Retirement Fund, but I would rather beg in the streets than accept anything from Social Security.

    • Chuck MarshallNo Gravatar says:

      Good for you. You have one thing wrong though. Whether you take your money back out or not, the government is going to take their cut from workers anyway. You are not saving anyone from having their taxes taken. The money you are leaving in will find good uses by the corporate cronies that will get it in subsidies.

      • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

        Hello Chuck: You write in response to Lloyd on taking social security, ” You have one thing wrong though. Whether you take your money back out or not…” I must disagree with your wording because you never get “your” money back through social security. The money stolen from you through the years is long, long gone. It was stolen to support your elders and to enrich whatever/whoever else the state decided to ‘gift’ with it. I know you were a victim of social security…and that situation is/was 100% unjust. But it does not justify continuing the theft through to another generation.

        Otherwise stated…your money is gone. Social security is not like a lock box into which the unique bills that were your property were placed for good keeping to be retrieved in the future. The money stolen from you was thrown to the wind. And if you accept the entitlement of social security, then the money you will be receiving is taken from other people who suffer thereby the same injustice that was done to you. Only now you are willing to be part of doing it to them. And in doing so, you become part of continuing a vicious, vicious circle.

        BTW, I don’t see this primarily as an issue of “well the money will be spent elsewhere anyway”…which is how I interpret your remark “The money you are leaving in will find good uses by the corporate cronies that will get it in subsidies.” I see it primarily as an issue of personal ethics. If I truly believe taxation is theft and social security is stolen goods, then I can’t personally profit from the victimization of others.

        BTW2, although it sounds like it, perhaps, I am not passing moral judgment on libertarians who feel “entitled” to the entitlement of social security. It is a tough issue. But it is one on which we disagree.

        • Chuck MarshallNo Gravatar says:

          Then there is the Ron Paul expectation that this will end when the whole ponsi scheme collapses by running out of the ability to borrow money. By not retrieving what has been taken, you are prolonging that inevitable consequence.

          • StormNo Gravatar says:

            Repeating something as a mantra does not make it true. You are not “retrieving” anything, you are taking property you know is being stolen from other people. The idea that if you don’t steal as much as you can prolongs the state is absurd. You are assuming that there is a finite amount that the state will steal. The more you take from others, the more that they take from others. You are actively promoting and growing the system, doing your level best to guarantee that it never goes away.

            I’ll leave off the criticisms of the faux liberty politician.

        • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

          Wendy, this is one area where I really think you are wrong. Why should an old freedom lover suffer by turning down social security or any other government program he can get? Survival trumps everything else. I would love to see a true free enterprise society form, but it “ain’t happenin”. So we poor folks will grab any advantage to survive and if lofty libertarian moralists don’t agree…
          I know that you do not wish poor people harm, but I often think moderately well to do folks just don’t get it about how it is to be in the bottom quintile. Financial slavery is the best most can hope for leading to old age with often nothing but social security (for at least 33% of recipients) to live on. This kind of thinking is a reason I get so upset at libertarian “morality”. It tends to be absolutist not recognizling that all morality is situational for it is all manmade and thus amenable to change. I guess the bottom line is that if you are poor and wish to survive, morality is a luxury you just can’t afford!

          • Alex ZNo Gravatar says:

            I’m presently in the bottom quintile, and would likely be considered in the bottom 1% if I weren’t liquidating all my possessions to keep the phone and internet on. It’s not my first Rodeo, which is why even now I refuse to apply for or accept the beneficence of assistance stolen from others at the point of a gun. Let me put that in perspective:
            – In the last ten years I have gone from six-figure incomes to zero income for extended periods no less than five times.
            – When times got really tough, I’ve lived in a tent in State and National Forests, even when my daughter was ten years old (I have always been her custodial parent).
            – As UnEnjoyment compensation at its maximum doesn’t cover the typical rent or mortgage of someone between jobs (learned experientially), being an employee, or “wage slave” is the height of idiocy. If you don’t take steps to be self employed some way, you pay the highest taxes for the illusion of a safety net.
            – After my last disappointment with EnEnjoyment benefits, I became an Independent Contractor. When this gig ended after nine months I had $17,000 banked including two months worth of receivables. Was able to keep all bills current and still had money in the bank when I lined up my next gig. If I had been a “wage slave” collecting UnEnjoyment benefits I would have lost my home and struggled to keep the utilities on and food on the table.
            – As a single father, when my daughter was ten and we were living in tents, I did apply for and receive “assistance.” But assistance comes with strings, and those strings actually made it more difficult for me to re-enter the productive class because government zombie social workers don’t know how to help anyone with more skills and experience than they have. I was forced to waste countless hours jumping through government hoops that did nothing to deal with the challenges of being productive.
            – Over the last 20 months I’ve been either UnEnjoyed or UnderEnjoyed but remain able to keep the utilities on and keep kibble in the dogs’ dishes. How? By drawing on my personal talents and helping others. My rent is $0.00, in fact I’m paid $50/month to live where I do. Why? Because I take care of a house that otherwise would sit empty. I create and sell original artwork including paintings and carvings, and as noted I’ve been liquidating all the material possessions I acquired when cash-flow was a lot healthier.
            – And I’m not looking for a “job.” I’m actively working on another start-up project that will not only meet my present needs, but will provided growing opportunities in the future based on my current efforts.

            Are there people that cannot take care of or support themselves? Absolutely. We now call them “disabled,” but most of the people “milking” Social Security Disability are not “crippled” (to use a more accurate if out of favor term), and fully capable of earning their keep even with their so-called disability. If you’re “disabled” and replying to any of these comments, you have the skills to support yourself. There are also those unfortunates born with physical and mental deficiencies that truly do leave them disabled, but the government at its best cannot compete with even a poorly run charity when it comes to meeting the individual needs of such people. If 100% of our taxes went JUST to the salary and benefits of the average government worker (not including contractors), it takes 25 (!) private sector workers to support each government employee.

            The bottom line is, unless you look out for your best interests, and the interests of those you hold dear, no government will ever look out for you and yours as good as you do. So before you disparage “lofty Libertarians,” try relying on your self for a change.

            • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

              Good for you. Now lets talk about thae vast majority of folks who can’t make more than a minimum wage job pay. Our society has rigged the system so that it is nearly impossible to be an independant contractor. Just like the welfare authorities, beauracrats make one jiump through so many hoops to contract in most ways that Joe Average is beat before he starts. Even smart folks who do not wish to be unethical find that they can’t play the game. If you want the free enterprise system to work for all then you need to advocate getting rid of the legal advantages to the rich before fucking the poor out of survival money. One third of seniors on social security have no other income. You would starve them for your damned ideals.

    • StormNo Gravatar says:

      Kudos Lloyd! All too often people look for excuses to get something for nothing, or just to nab other people’s property because they had their own stolen. My hat is off to you for being honest and principled.

    • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

      Hello Lloyd. You are exactly as I remember you in California. Refusing social security — which is assumed by the article’s advice “do not accept entitlements from the state” — is a step few libertarians are willing to take, let alone to do so with the conviction you express. My hat is off.

  8. DerickNo Gravatar says:

    If you refuse social security because it was stolen from someone else, you must also refuse ALL government “services”, which is an impossibility in todays world. Those who refuse to “take” from the thief, only help perpetuate its crimes and prolong the states imminent demise. I agree with Walter Block on this issue, if you don’t vote for or support the theft in any way, it is moral to take what you can.

    • StormNo Gravatar says:

      There is a world of difference between not having a choice and choosing to actively support theft and coercion of others. While it is true that if you do not vote or otherwise support theft it is okay to steal all you can, it is tautologically and trivially true since you are denying the possibility of any instance of the consequent occurring by stipulation in the antecedent.

      There is no help given to the thieves when you refuse to grant the illusion of legitimacy to their actions, nor is there any help given to the thieves when we condemn their actions. I agree that by refusing to support the thieves and their system we are helping to end the state, but certainly there is no prolonging of it to be found in this opposition to it.

      The participation and active support of the state, of theft, of coercion against innocents is what prolongs the state’s existence. Trying to find ways to justify theft because you personally benefit grants the same justification to the original thieves as well.

  9. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, and George Mason went Galt.
    George Clinton, Robert Yates, Samuel Bryan, Richard Henry Lee, and Mercy Otis Warren went Galt.

    Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, George Pickett, James Longstreet, Patrick Cleburne, Samuel Cooper, and Stand Watie went Galt.

    Jefferson sounding like an Anarchist.


  10. James HughesNo Gravatar says:

    This is a great article, Wendy. Thank you.

    • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks James. It is a departure for me from writing the political/historical commentary and analysis that I’ve immersed myself in for decades now. Certainly, I have not abandoned that writing but the idea of individuals living more freely in the here and now has captured my imagination. I have been a great fan of non-violent resistance for many years but that strategy is geared toward social change rather than an application to an individual’s life with the goal of more personal freedom. I’ve been wondering how adaptable non-violent resistance is to that latter goal. No definite answers yet…but a few ideas that I’m going to keep bouncing against Seth’s most excellent forum.

  11. SNo Gravatar says:

    This is the worst article I have ever seen on any anarchist site, especially when you consider that calling the essential crime of the state theft is basically defending the state when its actual crime is much, much worse-such a horrible crime in point of fact that it has no name, when the fact the crime has no sufficient name is in fact part of the crime. Many of the suggestions are counterproductive and in general it shows one of the most superficial analyses of the structure of the state I have ever seen, and of what it has taken from us all. It comes across not as “I don’t like a game that is both not very clever and that I’m forced to play” and more “I would love this game if only I had a few more tokens, and if only the rules removed a few types of players from it”.

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      Your response is the worst I have read on an anarchist site. No name? You have not defined the crime but yet you say it is worse? Theft is the name of all crimes I can think of. Slavery for example is a type of theft. Assault is a type of theft- it robs one of one’s peace and depending on the severity of injuries health to a degree. Is there a crime that is not theft? Which suggestions are counterproductive and why are they counterproductive?

    • StormNo Gravatar says:

      Pointing out that a thief is also a rapist in no way defends the theft, nor the rape. Your comments seem entirely unrelated to the article. I take it from your first statement that this is the first anarchist site you’ve ever been to, and the first article you’ve ever read.

      As for proven methods being counter-productive, obviously this is absurd. It seems evident that you are venting as you did not offer any hint of any basis for any of your claims. Certainly you cannot offer any support for your claim that there is any hint of any love of government “if only I had a few more tokens.”

      Consider liberty. Consider these practical approaches. Consider respect for persons.

      • SNo Gravatar says:

        Not associating with anyone in a union; fails to appreciate the distinction between unions-the IWW for example renounces participation in electoral politics. More than that, alienating a large group that in principle may be receptive to your message is a stupid idea, and alienating a group that the state has reason to be afraid of for the sake of a smug sense of moral superiority means you fail revolution 101. There’s also the fact that the unions have themselves been targeted by the state, even recently, leading to a triple dose of “this is a stupid idea if you want change”.

        Not associating with anyone on welfare; does nothing but fulfill in full one of the two unstated reasons why welfare exists in the first place(the first being “here’s some ‘please don’t riot’ money”, the second being “to reinforce class divisions by creating a group everyone else can heap their contempt on”). Creating alternatives to welfare and actively trying to reach out to people on welfare as a group(and contrary to popular belief, the ;underclass’ does not love the state) would create effective propaganda opportunities and actively destroy one of the talking points statists use to try to convince people that anarchy couldn’t work.

        Government workers of varying strata; if you can get an inside man, they can be worth their weight in gold. Why wouldn’t you cultivate those kinds of relationships if possible? The best friend of a politician is in the perfect position to whisper poisoned words in their ear.

        All three of these are more likely to create more bad blood than shame, leading to people who might otherwise be receptive to instead go into the arms of the state when THE MAJORITY OF SOCIETY WILL BE TELLING THEM THAT’S THE GOOD AND RIGHT THING TO DO. The circumstances for social ostracism to be truly effective simply do not exist in the current society to the degree that it’s the most beneficial option.

        Might post more later, but I hope that I’ve at least shown my opposition is based on at least some reasoning rather than just venting-though I do admit emotionally it reminded me very much of “lifestyle anarchism” which is an annoying distraction from real struggle against the state.

        • StormNo Gravatar says:

          The state has ZERO reason to be afraid of their close personal friends, the unionists. It is hard to imagine a greater supporter of the state than the unionists who so love the state that they created an entire new layer of bureaucracy just for themselves. If I had no principles and was not aware of the practical approaches to liberty, I might just say that I’d love to be similarly “targeted” by the state. Who would not want to be given a very significant share in a major corporation simply because you wanted it?

          As for your take on not associating with those who gleefully embrace the state and grow it, you clearly missed the part about letting them know WHY you cannot associate with them. There is no hint of the classism you allude to of course, this is pure emotional invention. I need not look down on someone simply because I refuse to associate with them.

          The “inside man” approach is doomed from the get go. Yes you are right that you might personally be able to benefit at the expense of everyone else if you have the ear of a person in power, but that does not bring about liberty. It may bring about a temporary personal benefit, but at what cost? Personal integrity and the lives of other persons are the minimal entry fees for that ride.

          I agree with your accidental admission that all three of your suggested approaches will bring about more bad blood than shame.

          Sorry to say but you have reinforced the impression, at least with me, that your position is at its very best simply an emotional response to the fear of the very idea of opposing the state. What you call “an annoying distraction” in order to dismiss opposition to the state, is a very practical approach with a proven track record. Tell us how well helping out and growing the state, how seizing the reins of power has been working with the goal of individual liberty in mind…

        • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

          S: If the article addressed social change — the attempt to change the hearts and souls of men so as to change society — then your remarks would have some relevance. The article was quite explicit about NOT addressing social change but limiting its observations to creating more freedom for yourself on an individual basis. Both approaches — social change and individual lifestyle freedom — are valid; in some cases, they call for entirely different strategies. For example, if the goal is social change, then talk to anyone about ideas at any time. If the goal is to personally disconnect from the state, then….

          I was also quite clear that many people would disagree with some of my suggestions…even when those suggestions were taken out of the realm of social change. I should stop now, however, because I have a policy of not responding to those who call me “stupid” etc. rather than calling me “wrong.” You did not disagree, you attacked on a personal level. And I am probably wrong to pay you the courtesy of a response.

          • SNo Gravatar says:

            I insulted your article(rating it relative to other articles I have read, including some of your other ones on this site that are of a far superior quality to this one) and what seemed to be(and in my view you can’t dissociate the two) your social analysis, specifically calling it superficial; I do not consider that to be insulting to you personally but just to this particular article.
            Any attempt to seek individual freedom can’t be totally separated from social change in my view, the two are too intertwined. This goes back to the exact extent of the crimes of the state going beyond mere theft, and my viewpoint on this makes me think that attempting to address a minor increase in personal freedom without addressing the overall oppressive structure of society is a distraction at best, an invitation to not engage in necessary deconstruction of oppressive social structures at worst.

            • Wendy McElroyNo Gravatar says:

              S: You are wrong. Despite major overlap, clear lines can be drawn between strategies for social change and strategies to increase personal freedom. When Jews left Nazi Germany, they did not do so to change Nazi society. They did so to achieve the greater personal freedom of staying alive. That is an extreme example but it illustrates the difference. If you read Harry Brown’s “How I Found Freedom in Unfree World” you will find many other lines drawn between the two forms of strategy. For example, he advises against confronting the state in protest movements if your goal is to personally live more freely. But, again, I am violating my policy of not responding to those who use ad hominems rather than arguments. I’ll give you the last word and not reply again.

              • SNo Gravatar says:

                Well, if I get the last words they would be; I wish you luck in obtaining freedom, may you find what you seek.

  12. Leo AutodidactNo Gravatar says:


    Agree with most, but I DO Vote, and encourage others to do so according to the motto “When In Doubt, Vote ’em out!”

    Long-time Office-Holders know how to manipulate the system for their (and their Crony’s advantage) “New Kids” don’t know how, yet . . . and are thus less likely to do major damage. When the “State Apparatus” is working AGAINST you, you want the Inept, Incompetent, and Clueless at the “Levers of Power” to minimize the impact.

    Until we can get something like L. Neil’s “Moratorium” going, this is likely to be the best we can accomplish. A “Blind Elephant” IS destructive, but it won’t destroy EVERYTHING. There WILL be isolated pockets that it will miss in it’s rampage simply because It can’t see that they’re there.

    THAT’s where we hide, until it falls.

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      I voted for Ron Paul in the primary in the “state” that I live in. I don’t regret it. Vote for Ron Paul or don’t vote.

    • Hi Leo: Many of the best people in the movement disagree with me on voting. Glad you found the article of value. Cheers…

      • Leo AutodidactNo Gravatar says:

        I was just taking a cue from Robert A. Heinlein:

        As he had Lazarus Long observe:

        If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for…but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong. If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of the franchise requires.

        What I’d REALLY Like is a binding NOTA (None Of The Above) where, as long as no candidate gets 50% + 1 of the vote, the election has to be RE-Done without ANY of the prior Candidates. THIS would be a REAL way for people to say “NO, we DON’T want ANY of your Apparatchicks!” and make it stick. But that would take Constitutional Ammendments in too many states to be workable. Another possibility is have any Election where 50% + 1 or more of the (Elligible) Voters DON’t Vote be INVALLID. If Half the Voters don’t want any of the Candidates WHY should they HAVE to live under them?

        Or we could just get rid of ’em they way they used too . . .

        (Remember the REAL reason for the 2nd Ammendment?)

        • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

          Even Heinlein was wrong sometimes.
          My dad originated the idea of none of the above voting as a student at Ohio State. His professor promptly stole the idea and won cudos for it. I am sure Dad was not the first to have the idea, but it was original to him.

          • Leo AutodidactNo Gravatar says:

            Just as a matter of getting the Historical Record “straight” Who was your Dad? When did he come up with it? Who was the Proff who “assumed it” as his own? And most importantly (to me) HOW did he come up with it, what prompted the notion in the first place?

            I’m quite interested in how “Memes” spread and grow and ‘mutate’ in their movement through the culture. I first remember seeing NOTA in a Reader’s Digest Article, but they never mentioned where it “came from,” just presenting it as an Idea “out there, in the wind” instead of attributing it to anyone specific.

            Thank you for adding your Memories to the Story.

            • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

              Father was Edwin Knese. He attended Ohio State but never graduated. Don’t know the Proff. Just relating what I was told as a young boy probably 50 years ago.

  13. qedstarNo Gravatar says:


    >> “I accept that reality determines what is true.”

    Seems like you are dreaming more than perceiving reality :).

    >> “Zomia, Iceland, Ireland, the area controlled now by the US.”

    US – United States are free? Give me links to these countries and events.

    >> “A great many examples of small and large victories exist showing the power of ideas.”

    Ideas have no power. Power is power, ideas are just a wind.

    >> “The mindless marching of cannon fodder that you suggest has no such examples where it has led to liberty.”


    • StormNo Gravatar says:

      I said I was done with you because you cannot be civil or reasonable, but you offer such an obvious absurdity that you cannot see that I felt it useful to point it out.

      In response to my reference to the AREA NOW controlled by the US having once been free, you stated: “US – United States are free? ” with the obvious implication that even you don’t think that the US is free. Of course it is not free, but then as you know you were lashing out at a straw man not what I actually said.

      Then in the same “breath” you yourself claim the US as a prime example of your failed approach working to bring about liberty implying that you really think that the US is free.

      Google the law of non-contradiction.

      • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

        Man, it was 1776. That’s 238 years.

      • Brad RNo Gravatar says:

        You know, when someone comes onto a forum like this one that is discussing peaceful ways to achieve freedom, and starts saying things like “fight like a man with a gun against the state”, the first two words that pop into my mind are “agent provocateur.”

        Call me paranoid, but we know the feds are investigating “extremist” groups (specifically including anarchists), we know they are using social media, we know they are creating personas to post on forums and blogs, and we know they have used provocateurs in the past.

        Just a thought. Keep it peaceful, folks.

        • qedstarNo Gravatar says:

          You are agent provocateur? Hm.. ok, maybe from higher perspective, no fever will bring it down. But also no light was given, so they drown. And will we make it round the world through seven phases, and will we see that “no jesOs christ in his fucking vains”?? That’s interesting to me, not your bullshitting (of course, I do not have slightest hope that you know what I was talking about). Peace, with loaded guns and big shield, bro. Some fucking trees will also be handy.

        • StormNo Gravatar says:

          Good point. If nothing else we know that the way of violence only leads to another state. This is why it is called a revolution, they are moving in a circle! The only way that cultures actually change is through ideas, in this case very effective and peaceful ideas.

          Those who think that they can win by taking on the state using a pop gun clearly have no idea as to principled or practical approaches. Reminds me of the guy from Enemy of the State (F. Paul Wilson) who was always wanting to grandstand and make the dramatic, foolish, but flashy violent response that would accomplish nothing.

  14. rufrignkidnmeNo Gravatar says:


    Overall I agree with you and I did this myself soon after the so called aca bill was passed at midnight on a holiday. I left my professional job and have not paid federal tax since.

    However, I have to point out a fairly major error in this piece. You say, ” Do not use so-called ‘benign’ state services such as the post office or the public school system. They are far from benign and they are paid for through the theft that is taxation. Pay bills online and home school children instead.”

    The error in that bullet point is that the Post Office, in fact, does not take any public monies and has not since the early 80’s. The post office is run totally off of it’s revenues. There are many stories about the post office running in the red. But what many do not consider is that congress has required that the post office fund the future requirements of it’s benefits – somewhere around 5b per year. These are over payments and the result of paying them annually is the net loss we hear about.

    Perhaps you should substitute post office with amtrak. The rail company takes billions of taxpayer dollars every year. They are in the business of collecting subsidies rather than providing value.

    • cb750No Gravatar says:

      The post office has routinely been bailed out by the fed.

      http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/01/16/Inspector-General-USPS- bailout-or-shutdown/UPI-80811358326800/

      For example they have a credit limit with the fed. Borrowing money from the fed IS a bail out.

      And the post office is a monopoly. The constitution states

      “To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;”

      It does not state the fed is the ONLY post office or Post roads. So no one else can deliver mail so by that token the post office enjoys massive protection against competition. Only packages delivered at the doorstep are allowed. No other company can put mail in a mail box nor establish mail boxes.

      So clearly your comments are incorrect. And postal pensions are still guaranteed by the federal gov.

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        The last company to compete with the USPO within the USA was the American Letter Mail Company that ceased operating in 1851. The CSA operated a postal service however market carriers delivered mail from the CSA that was addressed to people and places inside the USA under a flag of truce and market carriers delivered mail from the USA addressed to people and places in the CSA under a flag of truce.

    • Thanks for the comment, Ruf. Overall, I agree with cb on the post office but you do raise a valid point in that the PO does not consume tax money in the same obvious manner as other state agencies. I’m turning the articles on strategy that I write for the Daily Anarchist into a book that expands on the points I’m making and, so, feedback like yours is particularly valuable to me. For the book, I’ll come up with an example that it is a better fit to what I am saying.

  15. cb750No Gravatar says:

    Some nice ideas. Yes I am all for starving the state. The faster the apple cart tips over the quicker we can recover. Even the Soviet Union collapsed due to counter economics. A few suggestions I have:

    – Avoid all voluntary taxes. Voluntary taxes are taxes you can choose to not pay if you change your behavior. So stop smoking to avoid cigarette tax. Don’t buy lottery tickets. Drive less to avoid gas taxes. Purchase a lower quality home with less property tax. Higher quality homes also have higher city bills.

    – Buy used. Wendy mentions this but it can’t be stressed enough. You should know where ever goodwill place is in your area. I even buy grandfather clocks from goodwill for like $75. A little repair and my house looks like Hogwarts.

    – Repair stuff! Wendy mentions this but this can’t be stressed enough. I have the same pickup since 1998. Its far cheaper to repair and old vehicle than to buy a new one.

    – Get out of debt. Another important one. The less debt you have the less of a wage slave you are. Tear up those credit cards if you can.

    – Stay Healthy. Can’t stress this enough. The more health issues you have the more you’re reliant on the state since the state is now monopolizing health care. Find other sources for commonly purchased items.

    • Hey cb: Good suggestion on avoiding “voluntary taxes.” BTW, I am writing this series of strategy columns for the Daily Anarchist in order to slowly assemble an outline of a book I’m planning to write on the same subject. So what you are seeing in this column are points that will be expanded into several paragraphs or pages when I actually sit down to produce a finished MS. Any other suggestions that I occur to you…let ’em rip.

  16. gdpNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent article, Wendy! Thank you for reminding us once again that the primary raison d’être of freedom-lover is to live freely, and that one does that by first embracing as many moments as possible where “the State is nowhere to be seen,” as your favorite Thoreau quote puts it, and only secondarily by resisting and starving the Leviathan State in those ways that one can, that will not cost one one’s first goal — which is to live one’s own life as freely as one can.

    Thank you also for listing many practical and moral ways to starve Leviathan that will not cost one one’s primary goal of being able to live as much as possible within those moments where the State is not seen.

    The State is still strong enough at this present time that quixotically charging headlong into the mouth of Leviathon will not gain one one’s freedom; it will only gain one imprisonment or death. It is wise to understand that at this current time, “Rambo vs. Godzilla” does not end any better than “Bambi vs. Godzilla.”

    I recall Sam Konkin talking about this topic in his book, that at the current time, the greatest need is to starve and weaken the State through countereconomics and nonviolent disobedience rather that quixotically charging into the mouth of Leviathan. SEK-III foresaw that, once the State Thugs have become starved and desperate enough, there may and indeed almost certainly will come a time when “Starving the State” via peaceful countereconomic agorism and nonviolent disobedience will no longer be an option, because the State Thugs will start aggressively hunting down agorists once they see their revenue stream drying up — and before that time, each agorist will need to make some hard choices about what level of self-defense they are prepared to engage in when Leviathan comes to batter down their front door. But it is not yet clear that we are indeed at this “Endgame” scenario; the agents of the State is still far too strong and not yet desperate, and there are still too few agorists for individual self-defense to be more than a pinprick to Leviathon.

    But the Mouth of Leviathon charging down oneself is a quite different situation than onself quixotically Charging into the Mouth of Leviathan.

    So for now, while one is not yet in the “Endgame,” first, live as freely as one can, and second look for opportunities to resist the State in those ways that will not cost one all of one’s remaining chances to live as freely as one can. The “Endgame” will come, but it is not clear that it is here yet — and a quixotic “Scream and Leap” charge into the Mouth of Leviathan is not a winning strategy against a Leviathan that is still vigorous and strong, not starved and weak. Until such time as Leviathan is starved and tottering, “Rambo vs. Godzilla” does not end any better than “Bambi vs. Godzilla.”

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      Boycotting the state in every little and big way I can imagine has been my way of living a less enslaved life since 1954. I have felt “under siege” from the age of 12 and took evasive action. It was not easy to know what would work and my stubborn persistence almost destroyed me more than once. All my friends in the ’70s predicted my imprisonment or death. My survival without violence is living proof that the state cannot get everyone.

      I see the U.S. police state and I see the ‘net/BitCoin: Darkness & Light/hope.

    • Strange you should mention SEK2, gdp, because I was thinking of him while I wrote the column. SEK3 was big on preparing, on laying the groundwork that allowed agorists to weather the state-storm when the revenue stream dried up and agoists became targets. His main way of preparing was to make his life almost entirely independent from the state — he used the roads and that was about it — and to network vigorously. It was not merely an economic network but a social one as well because he realized that the more repressive the state became, the more people needed each other for psychological support. I sometimes think of this last point when critics complain that libertarians are just “talking to each other.” Well, sometimes we are. And it serves the valid purpose of easing the deep human need for companionship and to be understood by someone. Thanks for the post!

  17. MycenaeNo Gravatar says:

    I still disagree on the view that everyone who accepts help from the State is supporting the State. I would use the same analogy I did before — if you live in a communist country, it is not immoral to take a government job, because that’s the only job you can get. And similarly, I believe that the private sector in America is hampered to the point that some people have to take jobs that are paid for by the government in order to survive.

    I would, of course, take whatever measures I can to place myself in a productive job in the private sector, as soon as this is practical.

    I’m also not a big fan of ostracism. I like to associate with anyone who is of general goodwill, even if they live their life in a way that I disagree with. I might be for ostracizing police officers, teachers (Because they indoctrinate children with government propaganda, and are therefore heavily complicit in the existence of the State), bureaucrats, welfare parasites, and anyone who chooses to join a union for the purpose of getting special treatment instead of protecting their legitimate interests as a worker. But other than that, I don’t like the idea of ostracism.

    • StormNo Gravatar says:

      There is a huge difference between the prisoner situation and that of a free choice to actually aid and support the state. IF it were the case that there existed no option but to “work” for the state, then your argument could begin to make some progress, but the fact is that currently it is merely convenient to work for the state. Obviously countless other opportunities exist, opportunities that are morally justifiable.

      It sounds like you are for ostracizing in the same areas as are being suggested: Those who are actively harming others.

      • MycenaeNo Gravatar says:

        It depends on your life situation. If you’re a middle-class white guy with a college degree, then yes, it is immoral to work for the state. If you’re a teenager without a high school diploma and you’re running away from an abusive family, then you do have a right to take a government job, because it is likely that you will not be able to find another job because of government intervention, and I think this is equivalent to being a subject of the Soviet Union.

        • StormNo Gravatar says:

          So if you are an Asian female, murder is justified, but not theft? If you are a hispanic cross gender person, then what rape is justified, but not murder??

          The nature of an action is determined solely by the nature of the action, not upon the skin tone, sex, or income level of the individual who is acting or acted upon.

    • Mycenae…if you are not a fan of ostracism, then that suggestion on ho to personally disconnecting from the state is not for you. Few things about strategy are written in stone — eschewing violence is one of them — so that whatever you/people adopt as a tool or blueprint is determined by subjective factors such as personality and circumstances.

      • MycenaeNo Gravatar says:

        Yes, although I do support doing the same thing in a positive direction, by forming closer relationships with people who do reject the State. I think you’ve mentioned elsewhere that this strategy is what you tend to focus on.

  18. A. ManNo Gravatar says:

    Dear God/no God,
    words, words and more words!
    It’s all been said before, at sometime or another, by someone elses brother.
    Anyone got something new to say?
    Atlas shrugged? Yeah, me too.
    A. Man

  19. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    ” I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered.”

    – Number Six

    ” I am not a number, I am a free man.”

    – Number Six

    The Prisoner tv series shows one how to go Galt. Number Six did not cooperate.



  20. MotsNo Gravatar says:

    Wendy: thanks. These are all good ideas and suggestions.
    You overlooked a basic theme for going Galt: local resilient community development. Going Galt is a very fundamental shift that concerns how we basically live and dovetails with the shift from exponential growth to stationary growth culture. Agriculture/food is most fundamental: at the end of the day, the system controls via food (riots and rejection of the system only happen when food becomes scarce/expensive for example and Fed. Govt. most basic control is via food stamps). Any act towards producing your own food and sharing/exchanging with neighbors without entering the bankster/govt control and tax system is a major physical step. Local production/consumption of food should be an initial going galt goal. To this, local production/use of energy is a next peeling away of the control/taxation layers. Development of local sustainable communities is THE way to move from tax/controlled exponential growth (GDP/consumer religion organized and run by the parasites) towards stationary culture (no exponentially increasing population, money, cars, food, government etc) wherein the goal is quality and local resilience. this is a natural progression from the view of biology and leaves the non-productive parasites stranded and withering………. The bigger picture is that the human experience is shifting from exponential growth to stationary growth, and going galt fits very well into what is needed for this transition……..

    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

      Mots, for an interesting fictional discussion of the idea of creating self-reliant and sustainable living in a modern context read Daniel Suarez’s books Daemon and Freedom. He has a good handle on today’s asininity and ways around it in a very well written sci-fi setting.

  21. DiocletianNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you, Wendy, for another thought-provoking article. I have greatly enjoyed reading each of your essays on The Daily Bell, as I have this one during this, my first visit to The Daily Anarchist.

    I have read everyone’s arguments against receiving Social Security (and by logical extension Medicare) “benefits”, and I find that most of them have a lot of merit.

    However, I still think that a case can be made for participating in both ONLY if one treats the monetary value of what one receives as RESTITUTION, and ONLY up to the amount of money that the Fed has stolen from one in the form of FICA/Medicare taxes throughout one’s income-earning years. Beyond that amount, it is welfare–money stolen from others–to which one has no valid right.

    I think this approach is, in principle, the same that Ayn Rand proposed with regard to receiving money from the government to pay for one’s education; that is, as long as one treats the money received as restitution up to the amount of income taxes one was forced to pay–and NOT as money to which one has a right–one is on solid moral grounds.

    The Austrian School/laissez-faire capitalist economist George Reisman proposed some interesting solutions several years ago for phasing out and ultimately abolishing Social Security/Medicare. For all of the details, please refer to his website. If memory serves, some of his proposals appear in his masterpiece “Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics”. I like the idea (not sure if it was Reisman’s) of having the state and federal governments forced to sell ALL government-controlled (i.e. owned) lands–parks, wilderness areas, and forests–via unreserved public auction, with ALL of the proceeds allocated as a prorated, tax-free, no-strings refund to every current SSI/Medicare recipient, and as a 100% tax-free, no-strings refund to every future recipient.

    Yes, all of the money that “The Great God State” (as Ludwig von Mises derisively called it) robs from one is long gone. Unfortunately, the coercive system of taxation puts everyone in a situation of being both a victim and a “beneficiary” of theft. Until that system is abolished–and that, unfortunately, might require a civil war–I think that it is moral to exploit any opportunity to get back from the government as much of one’s stolen property as one can, as restitution–and ONLY up to that amount (not difficult to figure out from one’s income tax forms).

    If you believe that one’s participation in SSI/Medicare, or any other welfare scheme, serves only to perpetuate the state’s thievery, even if the aim of one’s participation is obtaining restitution, and no more, I think that this can be countered by one’s doing everything that one can to “starve the beast” of tributes (tax money) in the other contexts wherein it attempts to collect it, by engaging in many of the peaceful ways suggested here, and on other sites.

    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

      If one thinks that taking government money is fine up to the point of how much government has stolen from you, how to you monetarize the destruction of your individual liberty that government is the major cause of?! No, any money one can take from government is justified as simple self defense. This same argument applies for those who say that violence is OK in self defense but should never be initiated. Government initiated violence against us all before we were even born. Anything one does against government is philosophically justified. It just is not pragmatic to try violence against an organization predicated upon violence. They have armed thugs on retainer (cops and soldiers) with bad ass weapons and a killers attitude. Justified or not, fighting against government thugs will likely get you killed. I prefer to die of old age.

  22. Ball GownNo Gravatar says:

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