Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Dreamed I Saw MamaLiberty Last Night, as Live as You or Me

I met ML on the highest ridgetop near the Gulch, and she spake unto me the words she left in comments a couple of days ago:

Well, we already do know the solution, Joel. It is self government, and self responsibility. It is having NO "boss."

Unfortunately, that requires real hard work on the part of the individual, and most people are simply not willing to consider it.

So, that's the problem. We know what to do... just not how to convince enough people to do it.

Now, truer words were never spoken. On the planet MYOB, somebody might carve "self government and self responsibility" in letters ten feet high on a granite crag and never start an argument – as long as he owned the crag. But alas, we don't live on that planet.

In my dream I agreed with her philosophy, but questioned it as an approach to life. I replied something like, “You're right, but you're forgetting the Cardinal Law of the Universe:


“Oh, not all people. Some people are just fine. You. Me. Maybe M. But the main flock will always bleat for somebody to [promise to] solve all their problems for them. And there will always be a sufficiency of other people willing to make that promise, in return for power. And so there will always be "bosses." You won't accept those bosses and neither will I, but we still have to deal with them. They won't go away just because we disdain them. So 'convincing enough people' is out of the question, because we never will do that. The question is how to live in peace in spite of them.  All we'll ever have is ourselves.

“And I don't have a perfect answer to the question of how we deal with them. The only way I've been able to find, to live life with some modicum of freedom, is to borrow Harry Harrison's analogy and live like a rat in the wainscoting of society. Seldom dishonest, except to the nosy. Never larcenous. But frequently criminal.”

Why my wise and wordy dream self didn't use Claire's beautiful phrase “Freedom Outlaw” instead, I dunno. I didn't think of that until just now.

(Heavy sigh) It's the “frequently criminal” part that gets people down. Claire herself has written of freedomistas who dropped out, stopped paying the Danegeld, lived like that for a period of years and feared they would run melancholy mad from the stress of it. They imagined themselves hunted – and sometimes it wasn't all that imaginary. I've done it, looking over my shoulder every minute for that one every-day traffic cop who can bring it all crashing down. And of course one day I met that cop.

Freedomistas who decide they have no choice but to “drop back in” always seem to suffer some crisis of conscience, as if they're breaking the rules by going ahead and paying the Danegeld to get some peace from the cops, and from the fear of them. They forget that there are no rules, that nobody has the right to tell you what you should or shouldn't do. So long as you harm no innocent soul, you make your own rules and to hell with anybody who says different, even – no, especially – the purists who insist that you “must” do this or refrain from doing that or you just don't love freedom, you Sheeple, you. Every one of those purists I ever met in the flesh lived in suburban comfort, paid those taxes, carried those licenses. Keyboard Kommandos the lot of them, filled with rules others should follow, afraid to do it themselves. The crack of my ass to them.

(I just re-read that paragraph and fear that ML might think I'm talking about her, since I started out talking about her. But no, I don't include her in that lot. I've never heard her prescribe any such thing, and we've corresponded for damn near ten years.)

You do what you can, not what you “must.” Everybody's got his own comfort level, and his own notions as to how far he's ready or willing to test or exceed that level. I never prescribe anything here, in terms of lifestyles of the poor and ragged, because I'm well aware that I'm a statistical outlier. I have the luxury of being alone, for one thing – my choices harm nobody but myself. I didn't burrow completely into that wainscoting until my child was grown and gone, because she didn't choose to live that way and I wouldn't choose it for her.

And even so I'm very far from independent – the very ground I walked on when I watered a tree this morning belongs to somebody else, and I'm here by that person's largess. I can't own property, not legally, and couldn't afford to if I could. I constantly bum rides from people, because I'm afraid to be seen driving a car. I freeze in the winter and roast in the summer, my cabin is made of things others have cast off and I might lose it tomorrow for the sniff of one bureaucratic nose. Do I walk the walk? Yes I do. But shall I demand that anybody else do that? Oh, I don't think so.

So here am I, Saint Joel the Philosophically Pure. This is the extent to which I had to go – some might say the depths to which I had to sink – and even so I compromise. I had my crisis of conscience when I met that cop – it'll be three years ago in April – because by the purity of MY philosophy I should have shot him dead and taken the consequences. I never seriously considered doing any such thing, which is why I'm still here to blather at you. That was the incident that pushed me into real hermitage, because after that I could no longer hold a townie job at all unless I dropped back in, paid the Danegeld. But I still compromised, I still bent the knee. Otherwise it would have been jail, and after that the feds who'd want to know what I've been doing with myself for the past decade or more – I never call, I never write. And when does that get fun?

Everybody compromises. The rats in my pantry would much rather I go away and take my cat with me, just open the covers on the pails and begone. But that's not going to happen, so they compromise; they hide in the walls when I'm around. I know they're there, but for the sake of my own peace I pretend not to notice so long as they keep their depredations moderate. Of course I don't promise Click will do the same, because those rats knew the job was dangerous when they took it.

And so, on another level, did I. I take my freedom where I can, compromise where I must. Only I can decide where that level is for me. Only you can decide where that level is for you.

So let not your heart be troubled. Do what you can and still have peace, not what anybody else says you “must.” And always remember to have fun with it. That's the ultimate answer to kings on this earth. ;^)


Anonymous said...

Dang Joel, that was particularly eloquent. Moving even. Thank you.

I make different choices than you, but I certainly respect yours and your opinions.

One piece that I'm still struggling with is that besides the "people are idiots" problem, which is very real, there is the "some people are truly evil" problem. These are the folks who get together a gang, or posse, or army, whatever you want to call it, then steal, burn, and pillage their way through life.

I think many people accept governments in the vain hope that said government will protect them against the rogue elements.

The hope is vain, but the fear has a basis in reality.

I agree that we have to learn to live side by side with those who choose to bend their knee to some pooba or another. But how do we defend our individual selves and loved ones against larger groups of genuine evildoers? That question has troubled my thoughts for a while.


Anonymous said...

Very well stated!


Kevin Wilmeth said...

Intentional or not, you've written a true resource here.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Folks who get together a gang to steal, burn and pillage their way through life? Sounds like government to me. They only burn you in cases like Waco.

Big Wooly said...

I don't know what was in your coffee this morning, Joel, but can i borrow a cup?

MamaLiberty said...

How do we defend ourselves against the truly evil?

Quit electing them...
Quit allowing them to steal and murder...
Quit making any allowance or excuses for them in our lives!
Quit fighting with each other and stand together for mutual defense.

Ultimately, that's what guns were made for. Their choice. The evil ones can leave us alone or suffer the consequences.

Not perfect? Of course not. Not nice or tidy or "peaceful" - not usually.

But remember that it is always their choice. They could so easily just leave us alone. The only way to help them make that choice is to make the alternative personally and drastically painful. Sort of the reverse of instant gratification.

So yes, we let them make the choice, and we avoid them as much as possible, but I - for one - absolutely reject any need to live "like a rat in the wainscoting."

The only time we really need to "deal with them" is when they push the issue. And then we need to "deal with them" decisively and with everything we've got. Disdain is not enough, by any means. It will take real strength, determination and probably a lot of ammunition. Freedom is a LOT of work, and no small risk.

I'm not an "outlaw" or a "criminal" because I do not recognize any legitimacy in the "laws" made by evil people.

Just why should we cringe, hide and make excuses for the evil? No sir, I refuse.

Anonymous said...

Well Done Joel.

Well Done Indeed.

Was/Am I the only one to hear the "Joe Hill" song humming in the back of my perverted memory ? [I am SO not a unionist in philosophy ...]
It has to be all of those years of music training (voice) in the Public Endoctrinucation System.

Stay Safe,


Anonymous said...

"You gotta scroll 'way down to find it ..."
It took me a while to find it so I thought I would save the hassle for any others who Might be interested.

Joel's breakthrough to Fame and Fortune is here.

Oh No thanks ....
Joel will take care of the gratuity I'm sure.
rolls eyes

all the best Joel,