Obedience Is a Choice. So Is Liberty.

"One of my favorite columnists (and fellow EMU alum!) Joe Sobran has a column out about how his sleep was disturbed one morning by "Officer Pig." It seems Officer Pig had a warrant for the arrest of Joe's grandson who has the same name as he does. It seems that Joe version 3.0 smarted off to another cop and received a ticket for "obstruction" (WTF this actually entails I will pass on for now as irrelevant). Which is why he was pounding on Joe's door so early in the morning.

Joe 3.0, being well grounded in the philosophy of liberty, understood that obedience is a choice. So accepting rule by government and the armed goons they hire to enforce their will against us is optional. Joe 3's choice was to ignore the ticket, not appear in court, nor to take any notice of it at all. Good for him too!

Joe version 1.0 says that "[So] many laws are petty, intrusive, absurd, and downright immoral. Why should we have an uncritical respect for them? And why should we respect either the politicians who pass them or the police and courts who are willing to enforce them? Can such people be reasonably considered benefactors of society? Can we even presume that their motives are honest, let alone benevolent, when a man like Bill Clinton can rise to the apex of law enforcement?" Or George W. Bush too, for that matter.

"It's no use telling our rulers to mind their own business," novelist C.S. Lewis observed. "Our whole lives are their business. You can run afoul of the law nowadays by standing still. Doing nothing is illegal. It means shirking legal obligations to pay taxes, show up for duty, and obey an array of commandments that makes the Talmud look like the Boy Scout Handbook."

Christian fundy that he was, Lewis was on to something here. Behind everything a state does is a man with a rifle, although the uniforms and weapons often differ. Some of these men wear brown, blue, or camouflage uniforms. Some wear "plainclothes." Some carry badges and some do not. However, all carry guns and like Unimog the Dread, if you destroy one, two more arise from its ashes. Meaning there are plenty more where that one came from. Differ as they may in uniform, their purpose is always the same: They use their guns to tell people on the government's behalf to shut up, settle down, get in line, pay up, pipe down, and move along.

Still, while not without consequence, the choice to obey or not is still yours to make. States and their apologists like to obscure or even deny this. Use smoke and mirrors all you want, statists, but the truth of what I say is undeniable.

"The simplest explanation is obvious: governments, as such, do not exist." says Objectivist philosopher Wolf DeVoon. "'Official' duties are carried out," he says, "by private individuals--all of whom started life as ordinary civilians, equally innocent, before they grew up to become bureaucrats or cops. I am well aware of their numerous misdeeds, exploiting the loopholes of official 'discretion,' while wielding the practical power of armed supremacy. This is an additional reason to frown, when someone says that government is a necessary or desirable form of social control. But the central bone of contention, throughout the centuries, was not whether individual magistrates acted properly in aid of liberty and justice--but rather, whether there should be created and maintained a class of men to govern other men, typically a few in power over the many. To this question, liberal fundamentalists (anarchists) shouted No!--while thousands of effete scholars whimpered maybe, claiming to discern the public weal in a kaleidoscope of buts and howevers."

I can already anticipate the bricks, rotten tomatoes, and verbal abuse that will be thrown my way for this article. "Sure Ali," my critics will say, "obedience is a choice, but isn't it better and more practical just to pipe down, pay up, and do whatever else Leviathan wants of us rather than to go nuclear over trivialities?"

To which I would respond that it is up to you, dear reader. It always was and it always will be. Much as the state and the parasitical classes that feed off of it try to obscure things, the truth about the state, the law, and obedience to it are as obvious as the air you breathe in and out every moment of your life. My formulation of it all is this: It is your life, so you can decide. Not much as a formal syllogism, but hopefully easy to understand.

Why the hell should the government or any other oppressive hierarchy expect my obedience and cooperation toward my own oppression? They shouldn't, but they do. Go figger.

In 1965 Bob Dylan wrote a song called "Subterranean Homesick Blues" that had a line in it that went, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." Meaning, you shouldn't need someone else to point out to you (more than once, anyway) what is obvious, real and apparent, no matter what the state and its apologists and courtiers say about it. The terrorist faction of the Students for a Democratic Society liked Dylan's observation so much they used it to name themselves the Weathermen. What they were trying to indicate was that they believed that they had a more realistic view of the state than the rest of SDS . History shows that whatever other shortcomings and misapprehensions the Weatherman Underground had, they were right about that.

Another champion of liberty (Mary Frohman) who was just as radical and committed to liberty as the Weatherman types but who rejected their unfocused advocacy of armed struggle against the state (and who died last month) put it in a cruder, but easier to grasp fashion. "You don't need a rectal thermometer," Frohman said, "to tell who's an asshole."

Remember this if nothing else I have written here. Your fate is mostly the sum of your choices.

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Ali Hassan Massoud's picture
Columns on STR: 43

Ali Massoud is a proud old-school isolationist who writes for the Internet and blogs.