My Personal Declaration of Independence


I pledge allegiance to the ideals

Upon which this country was founded

Not one nation indivisible

But millions of sovereign individuals

Trading peacefully among themselves

With liberty and justice for all

On my honor as a human being, I solemnly pledge to give zero respect, support, or obedience to illegitimate laws upcoming and present:

- The law, coming soon, which will forbid private conversations across the internet. The government HATES programs like PGP which allow encryption of private messages that, even with all their supercomputers, they cannot break. They hate Voice over Internet programs like Skype because it also uses strong encryption. Tapping into (potentially) all internet traffic at will is probably already possible, and the government plans to force ISP's to make it even easier (paid for by the people being spied upon, of course). Encryption renders tapping moot, however, and this fact sends would-be kings into screaming fits of impotent rage. Talk about poetic justice! Now, I realize that terrorists, child pornographers, and other bogeymen can and will use encryption to facilitate plans against law-abiding citizens. Therefore what? The important thing to realize is that the government is a much greater threat to one's life, liberty, and property than any terrorist, child pornographer, or other private criminal is ever likely to be. I assert my right to speak to friends, lovers, and business associates privately. If using PGP openly becomes illegal, or subject to court orders to provide unlocking keys, I will turn to steganography, which conceals the fact that an encrypted message is being sent by embedding it within a photograph or music file. And, as I've said before, if the government doesn't like it, they can "Kiss My Bits!"

- Gun confiscation. I will not "register" any firearm(s) that I might own. Should I choose to purchase additional weapon(s), I will make every effort to do so in a way that does not leave a paper trail for thugs to follow. Unlike the government, I do not arm to aggress, and if I do own weapon(s), they will be used strictly for immediate self-defense. Given the fact that the government is both armed AND aggressive, and given the fact that, if a private criminal targets you, the government is unlikely to respond on your behalf before you're already dead, anyone who doesn't at least consider arming himself is a fool.

- Drug laws. I have a little confession to make: I once tried cocaine. OK, more than once. Many years ago I had a girlfriend who liked the stuff, and for awhile I did it too. It was a nice high: pleasant, energetic, happy. Much like booze, but the mind stays sharper. However, the next morning I always felt like s***. On balance it wasn't worth it, even setting aside the cost. So I stopped using cocaine and haven't touched it for years. BUT, if I ever decide I want to start again, I will NOT run to George Bush for permission; I will act as a free and sovereign individual and find me some coke on the open market. Ditto, I need hardly add, for other drugs. My body belongs to me, and what I put into it is my business and my decision.

- Flag burning. I have no burning desire to incinerate that scrap of cloth or any other, but on the day a law or Constitutional amendment goes into effect banning flag burning, I will burn the flag, not once but many times. Any nation which passes such an asinine law DESERVES to have its flag burned. I have in mind making print-outs of both the U.S. flag and many different variations (different colors, number of stripes, etc., etc.) to test the limit of what is legal and illegal, and to protest the absurdity of such a law.

- Income tax. I currently work as an employee, so there's no escaping notice by the IRS. I pay over ten thousand dollars in federal taxes each year, ripped off for such things as financing Israel's ongoing genocide of Palestinians and the disaster in Iraq. If I ever get a chance, I'm going to cut that monster off at the pocketbook, and stop paying this blood-money. I consider it a moral imperative to make that day happen as soon as I possibly can.

- Any of the other thousands of illegitimate laws Federal, State, and local, present and future.

When is a law illegitimate? Whenever it regulates or prohibits anything but actual aggression (force or fraud) upon others. The laws which enabled slavery were illegitimate, for example, and anyone who flaunted them acted morally, while anyone who supported them acted immorally. Laws which enforced segregation in the South were illegitimate, and the protesters who flaunted them were virtuous and courageous. Laws in Nazi Germany which prohibited harboring Jews were illegitimate, and thank God for those who had the cojones to flaunt them.

A true crime will and should always remain illegal. No one will or should ever have license to aggress against others. But anyone who equates toughness in response to true crimes with support for any and all laws on the books is more than a fool; he is an instrument of evil.

For the record, please note that I have not stated that I have actually violated any existing laws, except for a possibly apocryphal story from years ago. Nor am I "advocating" that others break laws. Each of us is responsible for his own actions, and I neither urge others to do as I do, or to act otherwise.

After all, freedom of choice means that any of us may, if we wish, support and help enforce illegitimate laws. Many grow rich and powerful doing so. Why not go along, and even profit from the endeavor? My own answer is, if I'm ever held to account for my life, I don't want such crimes to answer for. Besides, running my own affairs is enough fun and enough challenge for one person.

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John deLaubenfels's picture
Columns on STR: 17

John deLaubenfels is a 61-year old native born citizen of the United States, a programmer by profession and music lover by avocation, who is passionate about preserving (and restoring) the basic freedoms of this country, and, if possible, the world.