Opinion and Reason


Column by Jim Davies.

Exclusive to STR

From time to time a market researcher calls me up and asks for a few minutes of my time to answer his or her survey questions. I always answer “Yes, I'll be happy to; what rate are you offering?”
“What was that, again?”
“What are you offering to pay? My opinions, on a range of topics, are highly valuable. So is my time.”
At that point (always, so far) the caller explains that no money is being offered. That tells me he thinks my opinions are worthless and that I owe him my time, so I bid him farewell. It has a corollary, though; it means that all market surveys (whether about merchandise or politics) are based on opinions that have no value, even in the view of their holders. In the case of politics, that brings no distress, since the candidacies have no value either. But it troubles me a bit that some goods and services are being planned for sale on such a flimsy foundation.
Are opinions really two a penny? Would $1 really buy 200 of them? Maybe. Everybody has a bunch, and it's unusual to find one that's well thought out. I think, however, (mind, it's only my opinion) that they may come in three flavors. One comes from pure prejudice, a second is well considered but poorly founded, while the third is sound in both basis and superstructure.
The first – pre-judgment – is by far the most common sort, and it's a puzzle how these came to be implanted in the holder's mind. Perhaps many are inherited, absorbed gradually during childhood from parental and other influences. Possibly a few result from an occasional flash of insight. Some come, it seems to me, from particularly stressful experiences. For example, I recall one friend who had fought at Iwo Jima. During his life after WWII, he had come to the conclusion that government spending was almost all a dreadful waste – and even that its money was fraudulent – but despite my efforts, he never would shift from his perception that a “strong defense” (i.e., a powerful military) is essential. He would not answer to reason on that subject; his mind was fixed. I think it had a lot to do with how, as a young man, his buddies had been torn to shreds on either side of him. The sheer terror of that time must have so impressed him that he could never accept that his bravery too had been the subject of wicked fraud.
Then more recently there was another friend, who also clearly grasps that government money is bogus, but who gave enthusiastic endorsement to a story that a Texas lady had shot dead a purse-snatcher who was running away, yet she was acquitted. This I found very hard to understand. Where on Earth had he acquired such a bloodthirsty belief? Of course the thief needed to be caught and obliged to return the property, with expenses and some compensation for the trouble and distress he'd caused, and such will take place in the coming free society with a proper, competitive justice industry; but my friend would hear none of that. “He got what he deserved” was all he'd say, so placing himself downstream of the barbarism that cuts hands off thieves in certain Muslim theocracies.
Opinions hold that the Sox are the greatest team on the Planet's face, either White or Red according to the holder's place of residence. And while such preferences are obviously irrational, the eager fan may amass good reasons to support his choice. This is not unusual. Begin with a prejudice out of thin air – a philosophy, a religion, a sports team – and select facts that tend to support it, then polish the result until it looks just like a sound rationale. Begin, for example, with the premise that “education is a human right” and show that nations with near-universal literacy do better (long term on average) than those without, and it looks just like a rationale for stealing the needed funds and compelling the kiddies to undergo government indoctrination. In religion, begin with the premise that a creator or God exists, and all manner of complex doctrine can be very credibly constructed on that foundation, including of course an irrefutable proof that there exists a creator. Aside from its circularity, there's not much wrong with the reasoning power of history's leading theologians. The problem, rather, comes with the premise. Most relevant to this website is the common premise that “...to secure these rights, governments are instituted...” and treat the word “are” in the sense of “are necessarily and properly” and presto pronto, you have a perfect rationale for dismissing anarchism out of hand. Where people stand depends on where they sit; the end is determined by the beginning.
So, we have two of the three kinds of opinion we encounter; raw and unsupported bigotry, like my friend's preference for shooting petty thieves dead in the back, and prejudice carefully crafted upon a premise, not always stated, that may itself appear quite credible but which can in fact be denied. Now consider the third variety: opinions formed on the basis of one that can't be denied.
There are not many of these. The one I like best is the premise “I exist.” Is that deniable? No. If you try to deny it (while applying it to yourself) you will use your power of reasoning to do so. Yet if you truly don't exist – you're just a figment of imagination in the possible mind of some ephemeral entity – then there is neither a “you” nor a “power of reason” in play. In order to try to deny the premise explicitly, you'd be obliged to assume it implicitly – and that's the acid test. If that is passed, the premise is undeniable and can be called an “axiom.” This one is a tad more primitive than even the famous one formulated five centuries ago by René Descartes: Cogito, ergo sum: I think, therefore I am. It's my favorite because it's so primitive; if one is trying to figure out what one truly knows about reality, there's no simpler place to begin.
Here's another: “I own myself” -- to “own” meaning that I have the right to make all the choices pertaining to the life I'm living, and you have the right to make all those pertaining to yours, and therefore that neither of us has any right to make choices pertaining to the life of another person. Is this premise deniable? Let's try. No, let's say I have the right to own your life, in whole or in part; you are my slave. But from where did I acquire such a right?If the premise is incorrect, then not only do I not own any of your life, I don't even own my own – and so I don't even have the right to comment on how you are living yours! Thus, in order to try to deny the premise explicitly, I would have to assume implicitly that it's true. Consequently, this premise too is an axiom. We call it the SOA: the Self Ownership Axiom.
The SOA is of huge importance. It makes nonsense of the entire theory and practice of government. Suppression of the SOA is the garbage-in, that leads to the garbage-out of which you can read in today's headlines. If each human being has the right of self-ownership, nobody else does--not voters, not governors, nobody. This is not simply saying that society works better by voluntary cooperation than by compulsion – though it certainly would – it is saying that a zero government society is the only one that fits human nature, whether it “works” better or not.
The use of reason requires a premise and a sequence of logical steps developed from it. If the premise is deniable but the sequence perfect, the end result or conclusion is as sound as the premise, neither more nor less. If the premise is an axiom and the sequence of logic correct, the conclusion is as near to true truth as we're likely to get; it's something on which one can rest one's life. Therefore, to call it merely an “opinion,” as if it were plucked unsupported from the nearest prejudice list, fails to do it justice. Probably the word “opinion” spans too broad a range. One person's opinion is not, or may not be, as good as the next guy's. It depends entirely how the opinion was reached.
Is everyone “entitled to his opinion”? Of course! Everyone is his own self-owner, so can do with his mind whatever he pleases. That includes gutting it of all value, and trashing its capabilities, by ignoring reason, the primary attribute that distinguishes humans from other animals, and immersing it in superstition and bigotry. Sadly, most of our neighbors are doing exactly that, and the result is what we see: a ruthless but adequately intelligent élite, taking advantage of that idiocy by stealing ever more decision-making capability from everyone, i.e. governing us. This will get worse, until everyone reverses the process by adopting reason as their principal guide in life. Hence in the very first segment of the Freedom Academy, for example, we lead the student to grasp that reason is paramount and that all further understanding (and opinions) must be based on it.
The necessity of such universal re-education cannot be avoided or bypassed. Do it and succeed in bringing about a zero government society, or fail to do it and watch the inexorable increase of tyranny and the evaporation of our highest hopes and dreams; that's the only choice. The task seems formidable at first, but really it's not – when the simple method of exponential growth (each person helps teach one other, in a time period such as one year) is put to work. I'm not aware of any easier way, and if earnest seekers after liberty were not willing to do that much work to turn our ideals into reality, the doom that awaits the human race would be richly deserved.
Authoritarians – peddlers of myths like God and Government – try hard to prevent people depending on reason. The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer wrote a book with the extraordinary title Escape from Reason, which its contents amplify. Its thesis is that rationality works only together with revelation; exclude God, and reason leads, he says, only to a dead end. A clever argument, but he's dead wrong; it leads rather to the liberation of mankind from the shackles of superstition, to achieve and enjoy all of which we are capable. Government people behave in just the same way; yours, they say, is not to reason why, yours is but to do and die. Ask one for a reason or an explanation, and he will either go speechless or else just repeat his commands more loudly.

So our great task, as above, is to help everyone escape from myth towards reason. That is the prime human attribute, and the race will prosper only to the extent that its primacy is restored. 

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Jim Davies's picture
Columns on STR: 243

Jim Davies is a retired businessman in New Hampshire who led the development of an on-line school of liberty in 2006, and who wrote A Vision of Liberty" , "Transition to Liberty" and, in 2010, "Denial of Liberty" and "To FREEDOM from Fascism, America!" He started The Zero Government Blog in the same year.
In 2012 Jim launched http://TinyURL.com/QuitGov , to help lead government workers to an honest life.
In 2013 he wrote his fifth book, a concise and rational introduction to the Christian religion called "Which Church (if any)?" and in 2016, an unraveling of the great paradox of "income tax law" with "How Government Silenced Irwin Schiff."


Thunderbolt's picture

Just so, Jim. Thomas Jefferson also argued that one should take all things to the throne of Reason.

Thunderbolt's picture

Just so, Jim. Thomas Jefferson also argued that one should take all things to the throne of Reason.

fmoghul's picture

Fantastic! great article!

fmoghul's picture

Fantastic! great article!

Glock27's picture

Hope your are here for a long time to come. It will be a great loss should you ever depart. Thanks for penetrating insight.

AtlasAikido's picture

Jim Davies is still exhorting us to become teachers and Doug Casey shows us by example how HE became free.


Jim Davies's picture

Doug Casey's is an outstanding example; brilliant mind, successful investor, and yes as you say he enjoys a good measure of liberty.

As far as I know he still has to suffer government gropers when traveling, and still pays some tax when he earns or spends his money; to the government in Argentina if not the one in the US. "Feeling free" or even actually becoming less unfree in reality than most folk, is not the same thing as actually _being_ free, namely exercising 100% control of one's own life as is one's absolute human right.

The difference between the two kinds of freedom - partial or relative, and total - is explored in "Freedom's Benefits" at http://tolfa.us/ben.htm We do have to wait, but there's no need to stop part way.

BTW: learn first. Then help teach.

AtlasAikido's picture

According to Jim, I and you Dear Reader will NEVER be free until Jim's Burning Issues are satisfied. Nope!

THE BURNING-ISSUE TRAP is the belief that there are compelling social issues that require your participation.

You can *enslave yourself by assuming* a responsibility to observe, judge, and correct any social problems. For the problems will continue indefinitely. They’ll never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The demands upon your time, energy, and money can never cease...

Campaigns for social change are excellent examples of the indirect alternative—*working through others to get what you want*. Your success depends on the responses of literally thousands of people. Your control over the situation is minute.

*The existence of evil isn’t a claim upon you*. “Evil” will always exist in the world. To accept as a principle that you must fight something because it’s evil is to believe you must fight anything that’s evil. *There’s no end to the number of evils that could command your attention*. Is that all your life is for—to spend it fighting evil?


But you can get a better perspective on the issue if you ask yourself a few questions:


Suverans2's picture

It's called "job security". It all hinges on how one defines "free". If you believe, as Jim Davies apparently does, that you are not free until you are "exercising 100% control of one's own life", then you will most likely never be free.

Other people define "free" to mean having enough purchasing-power to do almost anything they want. They don't particularly care if they are groped by men calling themselves 'TSA', or taxed by men calling themselves 'STATE', as long as there is enough left for them to basically do as they please.

Still others, like myself, define themselves as "free" when they have dissolved the political bands which have connected them with man-made governments and assumed among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them. Does that mean that we are "exercising 100% control of [our] own life", without interference? Not just no, but hell no; there will always be gangs and bullies in the world trespassing, or attempting to trespass, upon our natural rights, that must be evaded or overcome. One thing it does mean, it means that we are free from membership in the gangs doing the trespassing, and to a few of us that means quite a lot.

Why does the link you gave us, after it is already up and one has begun reading it, continually bounce to "Oops! Page Not Found Sorry, the page you were looking for could not be found"?

AtlasAikido's picture

Suverans2, Yes indeed! Nice summation. Hmm link works for me.

Suverans2's picture

It’s also important to recognize that there is no such thing as absolute freedom.

Samarami's picture


    "...It all hinges on how one defines "free". If you believe, as Jim Davies apparently does, that you are not free until you are "exercising 100% control of one's own life", then you will most likely never be free..."

You've hinged onto my "Sidewinder Freedom Theory", Suverans:

    I'll never be free to walk barefoot in the woods.

Actually, I got bit once, almost died, and the little doc told me afterword that I'd forever be immune from snakebite danger. I don't trust his theory -- stickin' with my own. My best theses stem from lessons learned, not "expert opinions".

I steer clear of rattlers. But I know they'll always be there. I don't waste energy trying to eliminate 'em. In fact rattlers and I share pleasure in mountains and dense woods and freedom and isolation.

When I build a house I spend a good deal on security (locks, etc) against non-state criminals. It adds to the building costs, but probably necessary, because it also serves to deter neighborhood kids from wondering in and possibly coming to grief, which could give rise to "legal" difficulties.

There's not much I can construct as protection from dangerously armed clowns in state costumes, however. The gangsters who control them send 'em out in hordes with war surplus attack vehicles bristling with all the modern technology known to modern man -- just like on TV (for those of you who own such worthless contraptions). They'll beat down your door, shoot your dog (and your wife and kids if they don't immediately behave in their prescribed manner that nobody can know ahead of time) and later ask if they're at the correct address.

Many are leaving. Some are settling in New Hampshire -- hoping against hope that "minarchism" (but monopoly state nonetheless) there might manifest a greater degree of liberty. Those with the economic means are leaving "The USSA" for places like Costa Rica and Argentina, longing for mini-state Utopia -- never acknowledging The Law of Absolute Monopoly: all monopoly rule everywhere will always expand and become tyrannical all the time -- forever.

Collectivism is patient and does not shrink.

There is one thing I can do right here and right now: I can Abstain From Beans and urge my family and friends and neighbors to do so also. If they ignore me (and many do -- often), that's not my responsibility.

You and I, Suverans2, share similar views of "liberty" and how we can achieve it. Every now and again we'll gently jab each other over phraseology, etc., but our bottom lines coincide. It's important to distance oneself from state and statist thinking if one is to be free.

But tilting at windmills is fruitless. Sam

Glock27's picture

Greetings Atlas,

Don't shrug too soon. It appears as if you have or are reading Henry Brownes book "How I found freedom in an unfree world". When I hit that part it exploded in my face regarding all the efforts I have attempted to alter the worlds point-of-view. Sadly though I am compelled to participate, obsessive compulsive. I realize what I do is a useless effort since only about one or two percent of the population votes. That's a guess. My notes to legislators anymore are more heavily into this ideology, they don't own us, they don't own me and they need to begin recognizing this. That is my futile hope at this point in time.
Anyway it is certainly a fine book. I owe a great amount of gratitude to Samirami for recommending it to me.

Despite the text and its burning issues I have always felt that there would never be an excape from our current system, although [o]bama has certainly made great efforts to change the whole structure and turn us into a third world nation. Evil, I believe ,is part of the Human Condition.


AtlasAikido's picture

Hi Glock27, I look to the UNSEEN power of not no rules but self rule (anarchy. It has not always been legible but the oral is spoken and becoming legible when it needs to.


This is NOT even the half of of it...(I will find the links for the following)...

Iceland (Still has no State); 90 million do *not vote* in USA; Sagra Model In Russia (200,000 law enforcers jobs taken off market, crime drops significantly, individuals protect themselves, ward off Drug Lord etc); Wenchou Province Model (Anarchic) spreading around the world etc etc.

Not to mention the hidden (legible) that is now seeing the light of day...I will post that in my reply to Sam...

Best Regards

AtlasAikido's picture

Glock27, But back to Harry. I cannot remember how long it has been but many many years until I started actually using this technique...

Throughout this book, we've considered many possibilities and alternatives that can enable you to live a freer life. Now we've finally come to the important question: What do you do about it?

The only sensible answer is to eliminate from your life whatever isn't suited to you, acquire the freedom you've craved, and start living your life as you want to live it.

The **starting-from-zero technique is an essential means of getting from here to there. If you use your present life as the starting point, you have very little chance of getting what you want—you can find too many justifications for hanging on to each part of your present routine**.

You have to go back to zero and start there, asking yourself what you'd do if you weren't involved as you are now. Only in that way can you see a clear, realistic picture of the life that would make you happy. Then you can determine the relevance of each of your present activities....


Glock27's picture

Things are always easier said than done. My ultimate freedom, I guess, will come when my heart stops beating and my breath ceases. Thanks for your response. I really appreciate it.

AtlasAikido's picture

Glock27, I am running thru the starting from zero steps I went thru...

The paradigm shift (the front and middle of the book) was excruciatingly exhausting as was where I was at...And then this one life changing technique got dropped but then when I went back to get it and use it, it turned out to be surprisingly easy. **Due to an important set-up and work-it-out mind set and prototype.** It cut thru the Box, Treadmill and Despair Traps and made it all come together as a progression.

1. Mentally step outside your present way of life. Start from zero by imagining yourself outside of your present routine. (Ok that was hard to do for me...Next question. I can answer this part now that I am free...It was fuzzy as anything is when groping)

2. What would you do? Ask yourself what you'd do with this totally free situation. (Hard to say in the beginning!)

3. What is your present life like? List the activities in your present life—if you haven't already compiled a list for the techniques mentioned in the last chapter. (This was self evident and too painful. Next question)

4. Cross off everything in your present life that doesn't appear in your dream life. If there's something in your present life that isn't part of the life you want for yourself, there's no reason to perpetuate it. All you need to find is a way out of it—and we're coming to that.

**And it turns out the following mobilized me and shoe horned me into a new life, whilst radically cutting my expenses and invigorating me**: "Freedom Road by Harold Hough** http://www.campingsurvival.com/freedroadrvb.html

The next part deals with the means of financing your new life.
5. What do you need to make your dream life possible? (Again "Freedom Road by Hough made that do-able as doors/opportunities opened that could not be seen nor imagined before!!)

6. What are your present assets and liabilities? Set aside your dream world long enough to make an inventory of your present financial situation. (I liquidated everything....)

Aha, So I can go back and answer the questions now because in that new world the bus gave me access to new friends, new survival skills, and people more compatible with me.

Cheers and Thank you Glock27 for prompting this conversation...

AtlasAikido's picture

If I had to do it over knowing what I know now. I would print the amended list above and use it as a to do list. And use HB book to walk me thru the steps.

**But again the Freedom Road book by Hough is a working model (SHTF) embodiment to read and progress thru incremental improvement and prototyping standing on Harry Browne's shoulders. It was obvious to me that Harold Hough had read How I found Freedom In An Unfree world...

LOL and smiling...

AtlasAikido's picture

Most books dealing with freedom present an involved plan that depends upon the support of other people. These usually urge you to pass the book on to others, sell the idea to a great many people, and gain the support of the public in order to be free.

**This isn't that kind of book. If you were holding the only copy of it, and if no one else could read it or accept its conclusions, the ideas would still be useful to you**. [I concur]

**We'll be dealing ONLY with your freedom. Whether the ideas would work for others is unimportant; what you have to decide is whether they can work for you**.

**You won't have to convince anyone else of anything. Every idea in the book will depend solely upon your own action**.

I can assure you that I didn't achieve my freedom through long hours, articulate oratory, or mysterious powers of persuasion. And yet I am free. [Aha]

More than for ANY other reason, I'm free because I've chosen to live that way. I've concentrated **upon the things I control, and used that control to remove the restrictions and complications from my life**.

AtlasAikido's picture

The above reference links with commentary are in AtlasAikido comments to "But Wouldn't Warlords Take Over"?
Mises Daily: Thursday, July 07, 2005 by Robert P. Murphy http://mises.org/daily/1855#idc-cover

Recommend using Latest Activity button (as Mises site does not have Strike the Root ease of localizing a post).

Glock27's picture

Greetings Sauverans2,
Just posted Bionic Mosquito to my desk top to try and get to. I have so much reading that I am not sure I can even get to all of it. Reading is becoming overwhelming.
Thanks for linking.

Suverans2's picture

I believe you will find that that link came from AtlasAikido.

AtlasAikido's picture

The Bionic Mosquito article is so exquisite that I just nibble at it. The book itself is not in my possession but a friend and I do talk about the book he is reading (The Art of Not Being Governed). I think the point for me is to enjoy it. Relish it. Inspirational.

I live on a bus (Freedom Road by Harold Hough fits in with all this and is great way to practice Harry Brown's HIFFIUFW becuase it gets one out of the rat race scape) and I trek from one incremental place to another much like the mtn people of S.E. Asia (100, million in the 20th Century). No doubt there is still a significant number of people who live free in the mtns which is why the US is in Afghanistan. which is an extension of Zomia (Laos, S and N Vietnam).

Thanks for walking with me Glock....

Samarami's picture


    "...Consider this query: where has anarchy worked? ..... First, what does “worked” mean? Worked for whom? Worked how?..."

John Hasnas has what I deem to be the best rather brief treatment of "anarchy" in his "The Obviousness of Anarchy". You can read the PDF version here.

I recommend, Glock, that you study the first couple pages, then go back to our old and late friend Harry Browne, before coming back to Hasnas. Hasnas can get intense where Harry was skilled in making the obvious simple and easy for us dull-headed old farts. But Harry rarely used the scary term "anarchy" -- he just spoke of ...Freedom in an Unfree World... Same thing.



Samarami's picture

Speaking of John Hasnas, if one truly wants to explore his presentations on "freedom" he should also read, "Myth of the Rule of Law".

You can read that here.

Once again, I think it's important not to get bogged down in this quest for liberty. Harry Browne wasn't into a lot of "theory" -- he simply had the pizzazz to show us how to be free -- right here, right now. Jim Davies' essays here on STR do the same thing with energy and vigor.

Our friend Mark Davis had an excellent but short essay that filled the bill right here on STR: read it here.

Keep it simple. Sam

Samarami's picture

Atlas, neither you nor I will ever make the "Who's Who" columns. Fer sure, fer sure.

But we'll be free.

There'll be a few -- even right here on the STR page -- who will argue, "No! You're a slave! You're NOT free!..." and on and on. They might point to the fact that we possess a state-issued drivers license or a social "security" card. Their insinuation will generally be that we MUST join their movement(s) or remain in slavery.

Not to be of concern.

I see attempts by good friends all over the web on various libertarian forums to "...bring about a free society..." Ain't a-gonna happen. Unless you want to accept my premise that the world ("society") revolves around MY belly-button, not yours.

My world. And I am a free, sovereign state -- whether you agree with that statement or not.

The summation of my above argument is that YOUR world revolves around YOUR belly-button (you don't have to admit that if you prefer). Knowing that is what keeps me free. I don't have to worry my head over your understanding of my premise(s) of "freedom".

My neighbor across the street, Ako, is a "mover and a shaker". He's in Who's Who columns all over this part of the world. He came over and welcomed me to the neighborhood last year after I bought this place. A pleasant, good neighbor. That's the last we've actually visited, except a nod and a wave as I bike by (I'm car-free -- bicycle everywhere -- keeps me out of the nursing home), but I remember his cordiality.

Think I'll ever proselytize Ako into any freedom "movement"? Not likely.

Possibly, however. By the example I set I MIGHT breach his egocentric, statist armor -- just a tad. I often review Mr Davies' essay, "A Dollar In Peril" from four years back, because that's the paradigm I'd like to perfect. Don't think I'll start with Ako, though.

But I will say this: presuming Ako is still "running" for some parasitic or predatory "office" over at the state house ten years from now, I will not have wailed or gnashed my teeth over my failure to have made an anarchist out of the guy.

I think that's what you, Atlas, and our old and late friend Harry Browne were trying to get across. Sam.


Samarami's picture
    "Everyone who hasn't embraced anarchism is a statist to one degree or another"...~Gary Gibson

Minutes after posting my reply I scrolled over to "Dollar Vigilante" and read Gibson's ideas.

Interesting take on the same line of thought. Sam

AtlasAikido's picture

Truth of that quote was borne out by what I came to dub Constitutional Trolls at But Wouldn't Warlords Take Over? Mises Daily: Thursday, July 07, 2005 by Robert P. Murphy. http://mises.org/daily/1855#idc-cover

Constitution Trolls misdirect by attacking anarchy (or personal contracts or whatever) hoping no one will notice that there is The Swiss Model. Which is CERTAINLY not what the US has!

Freedom vs Force
Why The Failing US and EU Should Follow the Swiss Government Model! http://www.lewrockwell.com/holland/holland14.1.html

PS If a Constitution Troll points to the Swiss Model they might perhaps have some credibility. But to do so would make it glaringly obvious that the US system is but a *"Hologram of Liberty"* (See James Royce's book). It is not consent they need (certainly not Unanimous Consent) but the pretense of such and the complicity and sanction of victims (divide and conquer). And as a consequence ALL they know boils down to force, and more force...

AtlasAikido's picture

...the point I am driving home to myself (and my belly button) is that We're All Anarchists Now (and have been without realizing it):

Another way to put it: Government and its Constitutions have lots to give in the way of laws, loot, privileges, protections and punishments. Every pressure group and political party has an idea about how its power over us needs to be used. (Harry Browne solved this problem for himself (Govt Trap, Group Trap with Direct Alternatives and Starting from Zero technique*) and those who also seek freedom...)

The state is being brought in to tell people what they can and can’t do. In this sense, the left and the right have more in common than either side cares to admit: Both have a plan for how the state can better manage the social order. (All Indirect Alternatives based on assumptions (Traps))

So long as people are arguing about how to use the government, and not whether it should be used to achieve social and economic goals at all, the government comes out the winner...(The Box and Despair Traps)


When it comes to the most important things in life, when it comes to our family and friends and to deciding how we spend the precious time we have with them, we’re all anarchists. It’s high time we took the statist (cancer) shackles off the rest of our lives and started acting like it. This process is made possible in Harry Browne's book HIFFIUFW.


AtlasAikido's picture


AtlasAikido's picture

Bravo Sam! indeed TINA (“There is no alternative”) is a lie forced upon the majority of the world’s population by the oligarchic elites. But it t'aint so. It t'aint so. Thank you Harry Browne for sharing how YOU found freedom in an unfree world!


AtlasAikido's picture

Hi Glock27 regarding "Evil, I believe ,is part of the Human Condition".

Actually, I think "Government is the Engine for Perverse Incentives" | Liberty Report

Some people live in the valleys some in the mtns...

Some play the cards others just throw off the table and cards altogether...

The following article refers to two types of people just like in "The Art of Not Being Governed"

Imperial Conditioning and the American State by Bill Buppert Posted on August 31, 2012 by Bill

A new signature line for me: Indeed TINA (“There is no alternative”) is a lie forced upon the majority of the world’s population by the oligarchic elites. But it t'aint so. It t'aint so. Thank you Harry Browne for sharing how YOU found freedom in an unfree world!

I do grow weary of looking at my avatar so today and at least till tomorrow it is to be this wonderfully beautiful woman wearing an incredibly interesting mask...

AtlasAikido's picture

I too have been inspired by Jim Davies and have used this comment over and over as it relates to--variations on a theme regarding--TINA (“There is no alternative”).

"If mankind can turn on a dime from being honest individuals to being dishonest thieves (i.e, original sinners as some imply) then I suggest there is no hope whatever and we might as well give up. I don't. There is a rational (non-superstitious) basis for ethics and inter-relationships, and it is that self interest is best served by acknowledging self-ownership rights".


And most especially his article on Thorium.

Quote: "US physicists in the late 1940s explored thorium fuel for power. It has a higher neutron yield than uranium, a better fission rating, longer fuel cycles, and does not require the extra cost of isotope separation. The plans were shelved because thorium does not produce plutonium for bombs." [This is the work of "The State and its Perverse Incentives"]

Thank You Jim

AtlasAikido's picture

Re: Jim's "There is a rational (non-superstitious) basis for ethics and inter-relationships, and it is that self interest is best served by acknowledging self-ownership rights".

Indeed the Covenant of Unanimous Consent is a political statement of *interpersonal relationships* based on the following moral principles: Galt’s Oath and the libertarian Non Aggression Principle (NAP/ZAP) moral/ethical principles.

The Covenant satisfies the objections noted by Lysander Spooner. Instead of being a document that describes how the government shall act, and a document YOU did not sign, the Covenant is a document that describes how YOU will act and is a document that YOU voluntarily sign, if you agree. Those who do not sign (the “dissenters” mentioned by Ayn Rand) are not punished, they are simply and clearly warned what to expect if they violate the rights of Signatories.

(Unlike the U.S. Constitution--which was created by a committee of Lawyers to replace the (much better) Articles of Confederation, while both Jefferson and Adams were in Europe--the Covenant actually FULFILLS the promise of individual freedom in Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. The Covenant is simple, rational, personal, easy to understand and even short enough to memorize).

Excerpts from: How the Covenant of Unanimous Consent
fulfills the promise of Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence:

Suverans2's picture

"No, let's say I have the right to own your life, in whole or in part; you are my slave. But from where did I acquire such a right?" ~ Jim Davies

    You could only acquire such a right ["just claim"] to my life from my consent, (be it express, implicit or tacit), as the original owner of my life, which, of course, supports the Self Ownership Axiom. And, for the record, Jim Davies, I DO NOT CONSENT.

"If each human being has the right of self-ownership, nobody else does--not voters, not governors, nobody." ~ Jim Davies

    Unless, of course, the original owner, who has the right, [authority via "just claim"], to dispose of his own life as he sees fit, consents to let, or allows, another man, or other men, to have dominion over him.

"Citizens" are members of a political community who...have...submitted themselves to the dominion of a government... (Herriot v. City of Seattle, 81 Wash.2d 48, 500 P.2d 101, 109)

    To submit is "to yield to the will of another", it is an unwillingness to stand up and loudly proclaim, "I DO NOT CONSENT TO BE A MEMBER OF YOUR POLITICAL CORPORATION AND I WAIVE ALL MEMBER-ONLY BENEFITS." This unwillingness to rebut the presumption that one has tacitly consented is nearly always based on the refusal to let go of those "member-only-benefits" inside the "monkey trap" called government; but to admit this, is to accept responsibility for one's own condition, and this is a not a very popular concept.

    I have had a few men, a small handful, say something to effect of; "What you say makes perfect sense, but I could never do that. I'd lose everything I've worked for."

    I understand. But keep in mind, "What the servant acquires, he acquires for his master", so you only get to use it at 'his' prerogative."

"The ultimate ownership of all property is in the State; individual so-called "ownership" is only by virtue of Government, i.e., law, amounting to mere "user" and use must be in acceptance with law and subordinate to the necessities of the State." ~ U.S. Senate Document No. 43, 73rd Congress, 1st Session (c.1933) (Brown v. Welch supra)

Glock27's picture

Greetings Sauverans2,

Me thinks you have just demonstrated a fact that the U.S. government is a sister to facism(?). My last understanding of facism is that the "state" is the ultimate and every person in the state has an obligation of make any sacrifice necessary for the good of the state. As the years pass I have observed that this tends to be the cognitive perceptions of all legislators regardless of how stupid some are. Enjoyed your comment and I need to keep this aspect in mind because of my obsessive compulsiveness to write to legislators. I expect at some point I will have the CIA, FBI and locals come hammering at my door and drawing me away as a terriost threat.


Suverans2's picture

And, greetings to you, too, Glock27,

You wrote, “every person in the state has an obligation of make any sacrifice necessary for the good of the state”. To clarify that, “every person who is a voluntary member [citizen/subject] of the state has an obligation of make any sacrifice necessary for the good of the state”. If one is a “stranger to the covenant” he is a “stranger...to [its] transaction[s]” and is therefor not “liable for the debt”.

Strangers' are 'Those who are in no way parties to the covenant or transaction, nor bound by it, are said to be strangers to the covenant or transaction. See also Stranger.” Okay, well will.

A “Stranger” is “one who in no event resulting from the existing state of affairs can become liable for the debt, and whose property is not charged with the payment thereof and cannot be sold therefor”. (Source: Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 1421)

Suverans2, Stranger to the Covenant

Suverans2's picture

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves." ~ Dresden James

"Citizens" are members of a political community who...have...submitted themselves to the dominion of a government... (Herriot v. City of Seattle, 81 Wash.2d 48, 500 P.2d 101, 109) ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 244

Samarami's picture


    "Now consider the third variety: opinions formed on the basis of one that can't be denied.

    There are not many of these. The one I like best is the premise “I exist.” Is that deniable? No. If you try to deny it (while applying it to yourself) you will use your power of reasoning to do so. Yet if you truly don't exist – you're just a figment of imagination in the possible mind of some ephemeral entity – then there is neither a “you” nor a “power of reason” in play."

But, Jim, you have to consider the Chinese story:

    "Once I dreamed I was a butterfly -- flying and flitting about, for all intents and purposes a butterfly. Then I awoke, and there I was, myself again.

    "I'm now not certain whether I was then a man dreaming he was a butterfly, or if I am now a butterfly dreaming he is a man..."


(PS: Your essay is good fuel for deep thinkin')

Samarami's picture


    "The SOA is of huge importance. It makes nonsense of the entire theory and practice of government. Suppression of the SOA is the garbage-in, that leads to the garbage-out of which you can read in today's headlines. If each human being has the right of self-ownership, nobody else does--not voters, not governors, nobody..."

Let's not forget "guv-think":

    Let's say some morning you are walking along a rural New Hampshire road enjoying the peaceful New England tranquility. I pull by you, stop the truck, walk back and say,

    "Jim! Do you understand I just saved your life?"

    "What makes you say that, Sam?"

    "Well, a few seconds ago your life and your safety were strictly in my hands. However, I stuck to 'my' side of the road! Had I swerved just a few feet I could have mowed you down. You'd now be lying dead back there!...Aren't you grateful for my courage and my prudence and my wisdom and my dexterity???..."

Let's face it -- that's almost how governmentalists reason. And they move a large number of our neighbors, friends and family members along with them.

If liberty's to be, it'll start with me. I am a sovereign state.

I attribute a sizable wedge of my liberty to your guidance over the past ten or more years. I mean that. You've written many articles and essays that have had powerful influence in the way I perceive "freedom". I hope you'll never stop writing because you feel rejected by the vast majority who charge you off as "extremist" ("dangerous extremists" is how media try to influence most folks to consider anarchists). Sam.

AtlasAikido's picture