Monday, July 06, 2009

Is this your call to action?

Larken Rose, author of The Iron WebYou're Not the Boss of Me!
July 4 version

by Larken Rose

Delivered to a crowd of July 4 celebrants before Philadelphia's Independence Hall

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, in Philadelphia, a bunch of guys got together and wrote a letter to their king. The letter was very eloquent and well thought out, but it basically boiled down to this:

Dear King George,

You're not the boss of us!


A Bunch of Troublemakers
That's essentially what the Declaration of Independence was: a bunch of radicals declaring that they would no longer recognize the right of their king to rule them, at all, ever again. They went on to create a new boss, which turned into a new oppressor, but we'll get to that in a moment. First, let's consider the essence of that attitude: "You're not the boss of me!"

This July 4, like every year, millions of Americans are celebrating Independence Day with various parades, picnics, fireworks, and so on. But how many of those people celebrating have ever actually considered what the Declaration was actually about and what the colonists actually did? The colonists did not merely beg the king to change his ways. In fact, the Declaration explains how they had tried that, to no avail. Instead, the colonists were doing something far more drastic.

In short, they committed treason. They broke the law. They disobeyed their government. They were traitors, criminals, and tax cheats. The Boston Tea Party was not merely a tax protest, but open lawlessness. Furthermore, truth be told, some of the colonists were even cop-killers. At Lexington, when King George's "law enforcers" told the colonists to lay down their guns, the colonists responded with, "No, you're not the boss of us!" (Well, that was the meaning, if not the exact verbiage.) And so we had "The Shot Heard 'Round the World," widely regarded as the beginning of the American Revolution.

Looking back now, we know the outcome. We know who eventually won, and we don't mind cheering for the rebels. But make no mistake: when you cheer for the founders of this country, you are cheering for law-breakers and traitors. As well you should. But, for all the flag-waving and celebrating that goes on every July 4, do Americans actually believe in what the colonists did? Do they really believe in the attitude expressed in the Declaration of Independence? Are they really still capable of supporting a mantra of "You're not the boss of me!"?

In, short, no. Imagine the equivalent of what the colonists did so many years ago being done today. Imagine a group of people writing a letter to the United States government, sending a letter to Congress and to the President, saying that they would no longer pay federal taxes, that they would no longer obey federal laws, and that they would resist -- by force, if necessary -- any attempt by federal agents to enforce those laws. How would a group that did such things be viewed today by most Americans?

They would be viewed as nut cases, scofflaws, and terrorists, despicable criminals and malcontents. They would be scorned as the scum of the earth, despised by just about everyone who today celebrates Independence Day.

How ironic.

So why the double standard? Why would the American public today condemn the very same attitudes and behaviors that they glorify and praise in the context of the American Revolution? Quite simply, it's because, for all the proud talk of "land of the free and home of the brave," the spirit of resistance -- the courage to say "You're not the boss of us!" -- has been trained out of the American people.

We have become a nation of wimps.

For years and years in the churches and schools, on the news, in the media, and from everywhere around us, we have been taught one thing above all else: that obedience to authority is the highest virtue, and that disobedience is the worst sin. As a result, even most of those who now claim to be zealous advocates for individual rights and personal liberty will almost always couch their "demands" with disclaimers that, of course, their efforts for justice will be done "within the system," and that they would never advocate anything "illegal." They claim to be devout proponents of freedom, and yet all they ever do is seek a political solution, whether through lobbying of politicians, elections, or other government-approved means.

Of course, government never approves of anything that might actually endanger government power. As the bumper sticker says, "If voting made a difference, it would be illegal." And why should civilized people assume that change must be done "legally" and "within the system"? That is obviously not what the Declaration of Independence was about. In fact, the Declaration states quite plainly that when a government ceases to be a protector of individual liberty, it is not only the right, but the duty of the people to alter or abolish that form of government. In other words, when the government becomes an oppressor, instead of a protector -- as is obviously the case today -- the people are morally obligated to adopt an attitude of, "You're not the boss of us!"

So how many Americans are doing that? Almost none. Instead, even the most vocal critics of corruption and injustice usually do little more than bang their heads against a brick wall, begging, in half a dozen different ways, for the tyrants to please be nicer to us. Meanwhile, they go to great lengths to distance themselves from people like me, for fear of what the general public might think of them. As a result, I believe the general public and those in government view them pretty much as I view them: as harmless and irrelevant conformists, destined to forever beg for freedom and never achieve it.

Make no mistake, begging and whining is not what the Declaration of Independence was about. It was about breaking the law when the law is unjust. It was about committing treason when the rulers became oppressive. It was about disobedience -- civil disobedience when effective, and not-so-civil disobedience when necessary. It was about open resistance, including violent resistance when called for.

So where is that attitude today? Where is the candidate advocating such a thing? Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams -- where are the modern equivalents? For all the whining about extremists, where are those willing to openly resist injustice? Not only don't most Americans believe in resisting tyranny, they feel extremely uncomfortable just hearing others talk about it, even in abstract terms -- like this.

Maybe it's just that we're not quite at the level of oppression to justify resistance. Is that it? Hardly. If two or three percent taxation justified rebellion in 1776, why doesn't 50 percent taxation justify it now? If a few puny excise taxes on tea and pieces of paper justified it then, why don't the myriad of unavoidable, crushing taxes at all levels, and the hordes of callous, vindictive tax collectors justify it now? If the relatively unusual cases of Redcoats abusing colonists justified it then, why doesn't it justify it when American police see no problem with randomly stopping, detaining, interrogating, and searching anyone they want, whenever they want, for any reason or no reason at all?

Does anyone think Thomas Jefferson, if he were alive today, would quietly allow himself to be strip-searched, and allow his belongings to be rummaged through, by some brain-dead TSA thug? Read the Fourth Amendment. They had a revolution over that sort of thing.

Does anyone think that Patrick Henry would take kindly to being robbed blind to pay for whatever war-mongering the politicians wanted to engage in this week? Read what the Founders said about standing armies. They had a revolution over that sort of thing.

Do you think James Madison would go along with being disarmed by the various state and federal control freaks? Read the Second Amendment. They had a revolution over that sort of thing.

Do you think George Washington would be happy to have both his earnings and savings constantly looted by a parasite class, to pay for all manner of wealth redistribution, political handouts, and other socialist garbage? Do you think Thomas Paine would gladly be extorted to give all his money to some giant, failed corporation or some huge international bank? Do you think the founders would have quietly gone along with what this country has become today? Do you think they would have done nothing more than vote or whine?

Well, the founders are dead. And, unfortunately, so is their spirit of resistance. In short, just about all of the flag-waving and celebrating that happens every July 4 is nothing but empty hypocrisy. How many Americans today can say, loudly and proudly, like they mean it, "Give me liberty or give me death!"? Or, at least, in the modern vernacular, "You're not the boss of me!"?


In this nation that imagines itself to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, where are those who dare to resist or even dare to talk about it? And I don't mean voting, or whining to your congressman, or begging your masters to not whip you so hard. I'm talking about resisting, refusing to obey.

America, where is your Independence Day pride now? Exactly what are you proud of?

I have a message for you, from a guy named Sam -- Samuel Adams, that is. Yeah, the beer guy. But he did a little more for this country than make beer. Here is his message:
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
When's the last time you heard a modern so-called "statesman" say something like that?

So what happened? When did Americans lose their ability to say, "You're not the boss of me," and why? Yes, most people are scared, and for good reason. With the capacity for violence of the current police state, and the willingness of the politicians and their thugs to crush anyone who threatens their power, everyone has to choose his battles carefully and decide for himself what he's willing to risk, what is worth fighting for and what isn't.

That makes sense, but there is more to it than just fear. Because not only won't most Americans resist, but they will condemn anyone who does. If you do what the founders did, most people in this country would call you a tax cheat, a malcontent, a criminal, a traitor, even a terrorist. Why? Why do Americans now vehemently condemn those who say and do exactly what the Founders did a couple hundred years ago? When did our priorities and view of the world change so drastically, and why?

I'll tell you why. Gradually, and very systematically, we have been trained to measure our own worth, not by what we produce, not by how we treat other people, but by how well we obey authority. Consider the term "law-abiding taxpayer." How many people wear that label as a badge of honor? "I am a law-abiding taxpayer!" When they say that, they mean "I'm a good person." But is that what it really means?

Well, "law-abiding" just means that you do whatever the politicians tell you to do. We speak with great reverence of this thing called "the law," as if it is the decree of the gods, which no decent human being would dare to disobey. But what is it really? It's whatever the politicians decide to command you to do. Why on earth would anyone think that obedience to a bunch of liars and crooks is some profound moral obligation? Is there any reason for us to treat with reverence such commands and demands? No rational reason, no. The only reason we do it is because we have been trained to do it.

Some might point out that obeying the laws against theft and murder is a good thing to do. Well, yes and no. It is good to refrain from committing theft and murder, but it is not because "the law" says so. It is because theft and murder are inherently wrong, as they infringe upon the rights of others. And that was true before any politician passed a "law" about it, and will be true even if they "legalize" theft and murder (as every government has done, in the name of "taxation" and "war"). What is right and wrong does not at all depend upon what is "legal" or "illegal." And if you need politicians to tell you what is right and what is wrong, you need your head examined. Instead, you should judge the validity of so-called "laws" by whether they match what is inherently right and wrong. Thomas Jefferson put it this way:

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because the law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."

So why should anyone be proud of being "law-abiding," when all it means is blindly obeying whatever arbitrary commands the parasite class spews out this week? And pride in being a "taxpayer" is no better, since all that phrase means is that you give the politicians lots of money. When, exactly, did obeying politicians and giving them money become the measure of whether you're a good person?

Consider Nazi Germany. Were the law-abiding taxpayers in Nazi Germany the good guys? No. By obeying the so-called "laws" of that time, the majority allowed, or even assisted in, a nearly incomprehensible level of evil. And by being "taxpayers," they provided the funding for it. No, the good people in Germany were the criminals and tax cheats, who refused to assist, even passively, in the oppressions done in the name of "government."

The same is true under the regimes of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro -- you can go right down the list (and it's a very long list). Under every nasty regime in history, the obedient subjects who quietly did as they were told, the law-abiding taxpayers, were not the good guys. The law-breakers and rebels, the so-called traitors and terrorists, those were the good guys. How about in this country, when slavery was legal? The cowards were the ones obeying the law, while the good guys broke it.

How about here, today? Is it good to fund what the government is doing? Do you have some moral obligation to give your "fair share" of however many thousands of dollars, so Obama can give it to his banker buddies? Is it noble to fund whatever war the politicians decide to engage in this week? Do you like paying for the detention and torture of people who haven't been convicted, or even charged with any crime? (By the way, instead of doing away with that, Obama just gave it a new name: preventative detention.) Is it some great virtue to have helped to finance the police state growing up all around you, on both the federal and state levels? In short, is being a "law-abiding taxpayer" really something you should be proud of, or is it something you should be ashamed of?

Over time we have forgotten a very important secret -- a secret the control freaks don't want you to know -- a secret some of the Founders hinted at, though even most of them didn't seem to fully grasp it. Ready for it?

You own yourself.

You are not the property of the politicians, or anyone else. I own me, and you own you. Each of you owns himself. Sounds simple enough, right? And most people respond with, "Well duh, of course. That's no secret. We knew that." But in reality most people don't know that.

If you own yourself, would anyone have the right to take, without your consent, the fruits of your labor -- what you earn, with your time and effort? Does anyone have the right to take that from you by force? Of course not, most will answer.

Really? And what if they call it "taxation"?

"Oh, well, that's different."

No, it isn't.

If you own yourself, would anyone have the right to force you to pay rent for a house you already paid for, under threat of taking your house away? Of course not.

What if they call it "property taxes"?

"Oh, that's different."

No, it isn't.

And you can go right down the list: if you truly own yourself, the vast majority of so-called "laws," at all levels, are absolutely illegitimate. As Jefferson put it, any so-called "law" that infringes upon individual liberty -- which is dang near all of them -- is inherently bogus.

But let's take it one step further. If you own yourself -- your life, liberty, and property -- doesn't that imply that you have the right to defend those things from any and all aggressors? Yes. What if the aggressors call themselves "government" and call their attacks and robberies "law" and "taxes"? You still have the right. Changing the name of an act cannot make something bad into something good. And if you have the right to defend your life, liberty, and property from all aggressors, it stands to reason that you have the right to equip yourself to do so. In other words, you have the right to be armed -- the right to possess the equipment to exert whatever force is necessary to repel any attempts to infringe upon your rights to life, liberty, and property.

I know it makes people uncomfortable (especially people who work for the government) when I say the following: I want every sane, adult American to have the ability to use force, including deadly force, against government agents. I don't want people randomly gunning down cops, but I do want the people to retain the ability to forcibly resist their own government. The very concept bothers a lot of people, but what is the alternative? The alternative is something a lot scarier: that the people should not have the means to resist their own government.

But, once again, even most people who claim to be vehemently pro-freedom, don't like to talk about what that really means. Many "gun rights" organizations, for example, go to great lengths to beg the politicians to let them remain armed. Why? At Lexington, when the British troops told the colonists to lay down their weapons, what was the response? Did the colonists say, "Aw, can't we keep them, pretty please?" No, they had a very different attitude, something along the lines of, "You're not the boss of us!"

Click to order The Iron Web by Larken RoseIf you own yourself -- and this is a big one -- it is not only your right but your most profound obligation as a human being to judge for yourself what is right and wrong and to act accordingly. But what if people claiming to be "authority" want to force you to do something contrary to what you deem to be right? Do you have an obligation to obey them and ignore your own conscience? No. What if their threats are called "legislation"? It makes no difference.

You are always, at all times, in every situation, obligated to do what you deem right, no matter what so-called "government" and "authority" and "law" have to say about it. And when the tyrants and control freaks, authoritarian thugs and megalomaniacs, try to tell you that you are an evil, nasty, despicable criminal and traitor for daring to think for yourself, you have a right and duty to stand firm and say with confidence, "You are not the boss of me!"


ray said...

I read this twice. I'm almost speechless. I would have loved to been a fly on the wall watching the faces on the people in the crowd as this was read. How many got it? How many agreed?
I have a pair of brass balls that sit on my desk. After reading this I think Larken Rose deserves them more than I do.

Mark Yannone said...

He's no lightweight, and he's got his head screwed on straight, that's for sure!

JP said...

But how, with our country the way it is, do we fight back? I want desperately to own a house someday, but knowing that it makes me more of an indentured servant to this once great nation; it turns my stomach. We have had all of our liberties stripped away with unconstitutional laws and I stand here helpless. I don't believe in violence, but I am steadily becoming angry at my "owners". Our political system is the aggressor and so we should fight back. But how? We are slaves to this system. If you say anything unkind about the government you are either labeled a fanatic or as anti-American. Those are harsh stigmas that prevent any real action. I want nothing more than for my government to be afraid of me and of my fellow Americans. Us 300 million people have the power to overwhelm the political process, but we lack the ability. We are defeated as soon as we are born and forced into the slave state of social security numbers. We have no options anymore. If we fight, we die. Only we wouldn't be martyrs' we'd be terrorists.

Anonymous said...

I'm grateful to have read this essay. Mr. Rose raises a good point, but extends it beyond its merit and in a troubling direction. Certainly, submission to authority can be carried too far (as required by dictatorship or fascist state, for example). He may well be right that this now has gone too far in the USA these days. People in a democratic republic should be careful not to become apathetic about about their freedom to think, speak, and act according to conscience and even to just a 'pursuit of happiness.' The problem with this essay is that it seems to call for a strident, even violent, response by citizens of the USA against their OWN federal government, which was designed by those very men he praises, to represent us in resolving our often competing and conflicting needs and wishes.

The king of England afforded the colonists no legal representation nor recourse, so an illegal one became an option that sufficient colonists chose to enable the war needed to back up their declaration.

We experienced an approach similar to what Mr. Rose seems to suggest in the first half of the 1860's...when the South violently acted out, "You're not the boss of me!" It left a lot of men dead --but for for what good? The South (I'm from NC) took nearly a century to recover.

A better admonition--although probably not so emotionally appealing as Rose's essay--would be to say, "Remember, WE are our own bosses. The battles fought with powder and lead in the 1770's should be honored today with serious battles fought with words, legitimate political activity, and VOTING." There are now too many of us, and too little land, for everyone to be a country unto himself/herself, particularly with any inclination to violence! It takes a lot of guts to spend your time, money, and reputation both speaking up and listening--to figure out how one can remain true to oneself and still accommodate the neighbor next door as he tries to remain true to him- or herself, perhaps in a competing way.

I can identify with "JP," and would add that I think we are just as likely to be enslaved by those with power from money--large companies that are now international (with little concern for patriotism). The last year has demonstrated that those corporate powers-that-be acted as if they were everyone's boss, selfishly; and we are now slogging through the mess that had been made. So, JP, it's not just the political system; it's that the corporate system had taken over our political system.

My big question is: How do we return political power from businesses back to citizens?

Mark Yannone said...

@ Anonymous

I don't know what you mean by "extends it beyond its merit."

Larken is saying that submission to authority is only possible when you give someone authority over you. No one has a right to assume that they have authority over anyone but themselves. The reason is simple: We own ourselves.

Please watch this brief, unforgettable video.

Our form of government is constitutional republic.

Please read the Declaration of Independence and you will see what our founders would have thought of Larken Rose. I provided a link to it because it is so damned important to know what it says.

Our federal government was absolutely NOT designed "to represent us in resolving our often competing and conflicting needs and wishes." The function of the federal government is to protect the rights (not needs or wants) of the individual.

There is no WE, as in "we are our own bosses." You have one boss, and you are sitting in the middle of his underwear.

"How do we return political power from businesses back to citizens?" That's easy. Control 100 percent of your money. All of your income. All of your savings. All of your assets. Then the only power you will lose will be that which you willingly relinquish.

JT said...

Wow you are truthfully a douche. Why are you so pessimistic about this? The glory of our nation, if it wasn't for the revolution, you wouldn't be able to write this article because the government would fucking kill you! Celebrate your freedom asshole and learn to look at things in a positive way.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with Larken on everything in this article, he perceives the truth and articulates it in such a wonderful way.

I love how he makes this stuff so simple, because in reality it truly is. Its through all the false teaching and propaganda of media and public fool system that the average person doesn't recognize these truths.

Every time I read something by Larken I get so inspired, his articles are excellent for sharing with others. He puts things in such a way that cannot be argued against by anyone who posses true wisdom.

Larken said...

JT, spoken like a true slave. Let us take pride in our mutual enslavement, and in our subservience to our masters. Yippee!

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." [Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]

"It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere." [Voltaire]

And, Mr. Anonymous, as an analogy, which would have been the more effective and righteous means for a plantation slave to deal with his predicament: the "legitimate political means" of asking his master to let him be free, or the "violent" means of using whatever force was necessary to escape? (I'm sure JT would merely chastise the slave for being a despicable malcontent, and tell him to look at things in a more "positive" way.)

ALL "political" solutions rest on the assumption--and reinforce the belief--that we need the PERMISSION of "authority" to be free. In other words, they imply that we are NOT free, but are slaves merely asking our masters to be a little nicer. Those few of us who believe in unalienable rights don't think that's good enough.

Dean said...

We can just keep voting, hoping for a different result,(INSANITY) or we can wake up and realize that voting has gotten us nothing but servitude. The two political parties that we get to choose from are rotten to the core and worthy only of our wrath. It's time to get off the Fluoride and the accepted truth of the mass media,(kool-aid). The Traitors in Washington don't represent me and clearly never had any intention of doing so. I don't care what the scum in power thinks, as they don't care what I think. I know my thoughts are pure and righteous.

Anonymous said...

Good discussion!

@ Mark Y.
"The function of the federal government is protecting the rights (not needs or wants) of the individual." That distinction is not so black-and-white. The phrase ", liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..." addresses (correctly) that 'rights' and 'wants' can blur together. Protection of one individual's rights can appear to another individual to limit his!

@ Larkin
You responded by citing the grievance of slaves...and the discussion by others also refers to US as slaves...but those true slaves had essentially no rights and--again--no legal recourse with their masters (just as the colonists with the king). But specifically through government we have our rights spelled out, affirmed, and protected. The government is not my master and I am not its slave. To yield some things to government is not to yield everything and be enslaved.

An individual actually has LESS freedom if he goes totally lone wolf (No one is the boss of me!) or teams up only in a mob of such individuals. How much use would you get out of your car if the highway had no marked lanes, no speed limits, no signals and signs (all set up by government). Every trip would be a deadly game of chicken.

It is by giving up some freedom to a representative government (city, county, state, and federal) that the individual gains many other more complicated freedoms. Want to be treated by a physician who doesn't have to meet government standards and get a license?

A completely individualistic, accept-no-bosses, "law of the jungle" just means that the biggest, meanest, and most reckless will dominate--until old age or illness subjects them to others who have then become bigger, meaner, or more reckless. I don't call that freedom!

This is a matter of shades-of-gray vs. black-and-white thinking. I took the original essay to call for a shift toward more personal responsibility (yes!), but felt the violent element that also seemed to be touted just isn't warranted in today's USA.

Thanks again for a spirited yet generally civil discussion!

James said...

ANARCHY!!! I'm ready for some armed rebellion, hope it goes down soon.

Mark Yannone said...

You are ascribing to government some magical ability, and you bow in fear and respect at the thought of government.

The traffic control devices at a mall or shopping center parking lot are on private property, regulated by the property owner. Lights, signs, road striping, speed bumps, speed limits are all private, yet people volunteer to be guided by them.

Every private school in the world manages to teach, test, and grade students. Some of them taught millions of students without teachers, without schools, without school buses, and without classes. All of them taught without government.

We hired government to protect the rights of individuals. They can be fired for anything.

Loren said...

Go Larken. Balls is the word for a real American. I'm with you if you will do this. Let's get 'r' done and get our country back. Leave all the pussy men behind in this country. I don't want to die with a bunch of baby boys, I want to die for my country with real men who have the courage to face the enemy.