By: Luke Jason Willis
About a week ago I was driving home around sunrise and happened to tune in to one of the syndicated morning radio shows. You know the kind — where you have a minimum of two jackass dj’s who usually blather on endlessly about inanities between bouts of forced laughter and sports chat. Well, these two apparently considered themselves conservative patriots of some stripe or another, because they were bemoaning (cue Imperial fanfare, please) ‘THE DEATH OF THE REPUBLIC’. And no, they weren’t disgruntled “Star Wars” fans bitching about the Disney buyout– apparently, in the far-off reaches of D.C., the group of cross-dressing oligarchs commonly known as the Supreme Court had struck down an Arizona law which required all good subjects…er, “citizens”… to present their papers proving said citizenship when they wished to attempt to foist their wishes and preferences upon their fellow subjects using coercion and threats of force, something which I believe is known colloquially as “voting”.
Now, apparently the aforementioned robed oligarchs already had a law that they liked, which requires only that before voting one attest, under threat of perjury, that one is indeed a subject in good standing. And apparently they felt that the Arizona law spoiled their fun, because this is their club and they get to make the rules and if Arizona doesn’t like it then their mom said Arizona isn’t allowed to come over and play anymore. Or something like that. I’m admittedly a little hazy on the details (as a Voluntaryist* I try to stay that way as a matter of principle, as I feel that my simple mind would only be hopelessly confused and corrupted by trying to follow the labyrinthian reasoning of people who assume authority over others) but suffice it to say, the decision had ultimately convinced these two morning show hosts that we were indeed witnessing… wait for it… THE DEATH OF THE REPUBLIC.
Anyway, the thing about these galumphing jackasses getting all serious and frothy, the thing that crisped my bacon, that made me have to seriously ponder whether I should just laugh, change the station, or aim my car for the nearest bridge abutment and pray for release, was this: NOW it’s the end of the Republic?! THIS is what finally gets you to throw up your hands and yell “GAME OVER, MAN!!”?
Now, these two had their reasons. Boy, did they ever, and they weren’t shy in the least about voicing them. Minorities and foreigners are going to come here and tell us how to run our country. The states no longer have any say in what goes on locally. The Tenth Amendment is tossed in the trash like an old banana peel. The Democrats are gonna win every election from here on in because these dirty foreigners just want handouts and they know who to turn to for that. And something about terrorists.
Leave aside for a moment my nose-smashing facepalm at the idea that people need your permission (or the permission of your imaginary friends, the government) to move freely about the planet on which they were born, or the idea that you can somehow delegate, to a fictitious entity known as “government”, rights which you do not yourself possess, through the arcane magic of “voting”. THE END OF THE REPUBLIC is here now because there’ll be one less instance of some bureaucratic goon shouting “Your papers, please!” at people? Not because the country that we were all raised to believe was the bastion of human rights and freedom has become the world leader in incarceration of its own people. Not because it’s become routine and approved procedure for police to go full-out Rambo SWAT raid, storming homes with automatic weapons and flash-bang grenades in the middle of the night, just to serve a warrant for non-violent drug offenses (routinely getting the wrong house and sometimes shooting everything from family pets to terrified occupants). Not because we who live in this arbitrarily-defined geographic area of planet Earth commonly known as “America” are routinely robbed of our wealth which is then used to pay for drone strikes on other arbitrary geographic areas, routinely striking civilian targets and even coming back around for the old “double tap” in order to hit first responders and rescuers. And not because the population has become so frightened and apathetic that they literally cheer in the streets after being subjected to a full martial law lockdown in their homes while the authorities– unsuccessfully –scour a city looking for a single suspect in a bombing that (let’s face it) amounts to a cherry bomb in the school toilet compared to what other people face day in and day out at the hand of “our” government. Not because said authorities went door-to-door, dragging people from their homes, aiming weapons at them.
No, it’s none of these things that spell THE END OF THE REPUBLIC, apparently, nor any of the abuses for the hundreds of years preceding these things. Instead, it’s that there’s one less instance of human beings having to be subjected to onerous regulations by bureaucrats backed up by the threat of violence and death from the state. This is not to say that I agree in any way with the activity that these people will now be able to participate in without said onerosity (yes it is too a word, look it up). But I have to smile just a little when I hear that naturally free human beings are subject to one less instance of “Papers, please!” (why is there no font for ‘threatening German accent’?). Which I suppose is one of the reasons that the indignance of the dj’s hit me so hard. It’s something that hits me every day– people who jump up and down frothing at the mouth yelling about freedom while metaphorically waving a flag which they imagine represents that freedom, and yet they haven’t the slightest conception of what “freedom” really means. “Freedom” doesn’t mean having to ask for permission to do something that is no one else’s business – i.e., doesn’t harm anyone else or infringe upon their rights. It doesn’t mean being forced to pay for a system that, more often than not, works against your interests. But our society seems to have forgotten these things, and I live with the burden of it every day. Most days I don’t even want to leave my house, because once I step out my door it’s wall-to-wall pickup trucks with flags and yellow ribbons, driven by people who I know in my heart would cheer at the sight of me being beaten, cuffed, and caged if I were caught with a bit of banned vegetable matter, or if I were known to not pay my taxes. People who somehow find the gall to bemoan the death of freedom, when what they’re usually saying is that someone, somewhere, is being allowed a bit of freedom that they don’t want that person to have. They’re the people who chant “USA! USA!” and all but wet their pants with excitement when things go their way, but turn around and cry when the inherently immoral system they blindly support does something they don’t like. On one side of the political spectrum: glad to pay their taxes for war, but indignant when the taxes are for welfare programs. On the other side: rabid for government regulations and codes for big businesses, but incensed when they have to apply for a permit for their patchouli and vinyl records shop (that’s a thing, right?).
But I’ll tell you a secret: It’s all bullshit. To quote the late, great George Carlin, “It’s bullshit and it’s bad for ya”. If you want to dictate how others live their lives through the power of the ballot box, then I must respectfully suggest that you are not within a mile, philosophically speaking, of actual “freedom”. And going around wailing about the death of a Republic which is built on this idea that you are somehow free if you are allowed to vote every so often for a new set of masters and overseers– spare me.
Anyway, where’s that bridge abutment….?
Luke Jason Willis, TheFreeThoughtProject.com