"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion." ~ Thomas Jefferson
Here, Please Read My Pamphlet!, Part II
I have received a number of responses from people reading my column Here, Please Read my Pamphlet!. It seems many agree with my saying that libertarians really should lead libertarian lives, but that most libertarians find it very hard and risky to find freedom 'within' the state. I agree that it can be difficult. But I did not propose that you should completely hide from the life you are living at the moment.
Instead, one must consider different options and compare the benefits with the risk--all action requires a cost/benefit analysis to provide the necessary information on consequences in order to make a rational decision. It may not be in your interest to sell your house and automobile early tomorrow morning and move into a cottage in the Rockies, living off fruits and berries. But there are other things, some of which are not even illegal (if that is your problem), which you should at least consider. What is really standing between you and your libertarian life is ignorance of the opportunities available, and a little courage to take the small step to change your life.
Trust me, I have given this a lot of thought, and I know quite a few people living a free life. Some of them have decided to vanish completely from the oppressive embrace of government, and are now living in 'hiding.' They are doing good and living civilized lives among the rest of us. They are, however, always on the run and more or less daily face the risk of government catching up with them. It is a life in freedom and liberty, but it takes a little effort to do it.
Others are just transforming their hobbies into profitable businesses in the 'black market' or on the global, non-state market on the Internet. Some have learned a lot about investing in stocks, futures or other financial instruments. Others have come across a lot of information on how to make profits offshore, or how to hide your resources from taxation. They were making a lot of money doing this, and are now making even more telling others how to do it.
The first thing you should do as a libertarian is to stop supporting the ones who oppress you. It is in your interest both financially and morally, so what are you waiting for? I know, it is generally considered very hard to escape the IRS (or other states' theft authorities), and one could end up paying more to lawyers than the amount of taxes one is already paying. But it is not as hard as the government and its statist supporters want us to believe.
Begin small-scale and then push further towards a full-scale libertarian life as you realize how to do it. Your hobby or profession can probably be directed in full or partly to a website, where you sell your services. Everybody has something they are really good at ' something others want. The Internet opens a global market, and you do not have to worry about taxes if you conduct business with a little imagination. (But states are usually very good at controlling what passes borders, so be sure your non-digital deliveries are not intercepted and taxed.)
Your 'webbed' shop or service can easily turn into something which can support you and your family and maybe turn into something very profitable. Start with what you know, and expand as you discover the possibilities. There are a lot of cheap libertarian web site construction services available. Aparadigmal Productions is dedicated to the libertarian philosophy, and offers professional, high-quality websites from only a couple of hundred dollars.
Also, placing the little money you have in offshore markets or bank accounts generally can generate profits well beyond what is possible in the taxed domestic market. The Sovereign Society offers free information on offshore markets as well as seminars and courses.
If you are a writer, or wish to be one, nothing is stopping you from cheaply publishing your story or essays cheaply abroad. It is rather easy to get in touch with printing companies and publishers in cheap countries such as Poland, the Baltic states, Russia, etc. They usually have no problem printing whatever you wish without paying taxes, so you should be able to do it very cheaply. Just make sure you have proofread your work before sending it, as Poles and Russians are not very good at English. (The libertarian proofreading service New Chapter might be able to help you.)
There are also a lot of great opportunities on the Internet that you can exploit. Foreign banks (such as the Latvian bank Parex or the Swiss bank Swissquote Bank) generally offer websites on which you can trade stocks in real time, and save the money in an offshore account. Websites such as eBay.com offer an environment in which you can trade things with people all over the world ' at a profit. And of course you do not file with the government, right?
Also, there are a number of Internet communities offering password-protected markets where you can get together with other libertarians and trade goods and services. Communities such as Free West Net are available only to libertarians, and offer a perfect starting point for your own business in the 'black' market. Start small-scale and let your business grow with the number of clients, then get a website and go global.
If starting your own business and trading is not your idea of fun, you can at least support others doing it. You probably know people where you live who offer their knowledge and services on the market ' such as carpenters, painters, automobile mechanics, restaurant owners, etc. They would probably welcome your asking if they can offer you their services with no receipt, and pay no taxes.
The government tells us that avoiding taxes is immoral and will be severely punished. It is not immoral, and it is to a large extent not even illegal. But you have to be patient and spend a lot of time and effort to find the loopholes. Not filing your small-scale business with the government is probably not legal, but how is the government going to find out if you exchange services with another libertarian? They won't.
It can be a lot of work trying to keep everything from the stinking tentacles of the government, but it doesn't have to be. What you are doing when trying a libertarian life is actually a double treat: Not only do you live a life as you would like to live it--a morally acceptable life--but you also keep your money away from the government, thereby fighting its powers. It is all up to you, there is really no good reason not to try leading a libertarian life.
Another piece of advice: You of course have to make sure to use only reliable partners; I have mentioned only a few of the ones available that seem reliable. But you will have to make the final judgment on the reliability of the services, since only you can make the decision. No one else can be responsible for your actions, so do not blame me if you make improper investments or send all your money to someone who steals it from you. But on the other hand, isn't it worth a shot? Your money is stolen as it is today and used to support the guns pointed at your head. As I have tried to show you here, it is not very hard to live a free life, you just have to be well-informed and committed to doing it.