March 10, 2013
By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher
I recently had an exchange with someone who told me if I don’t like the government then I should just stop using its services. I naturally responded with the fact that boycotting entities that have a monopoly over your basic essentials is hardly a reasonable solution, and while I do try to avoid the government at all costs, it isn’t always practical considering it’s in everything I consume and everywhere I go.
If I turn on the radio, the Federal Communications Commission has its grubby little hands in it. If I go to the grocery, I have the damn Food and Drug Administration inspecting my food. If I go to the gas station, well, I got the public roads and the fuel taxed at nearly 20% per gallon. If I want a shower, I have to ask the city for permission and pay them. If I want electricity, I have to ask the city again.
What really sucks is, my depiction is rather generous considering the reality. When I call upon a private business for a service or good, I have the choice also NOT to call upon them. I can call several other providers. Or I can decide not to call anyone at all! But such is not the case for public utilities. I’m not sure if health insurance went the way of public utilities, or the other way around, but that signing up for any service be mandated by the government is really upsetting.
When the government forces commerce, it forces associations. When it compels associations with others, it tacitly compels association with government itself. It’s not like individuals can simply say, “I’m disassociating from government entirely,” and not for a moment think the government will sign off on such a divorce quietly. Just look what they do when you actually try to renounce citizenship:
“In 2008, Congress enacted the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Act that imposes a penalty—an ‘exit tax’ or expatriation tax—on certain people who give up their U.S. citizenship or long-term permanent residence. Effective June 2008, U.S. citizens who renounce their citizenship are subject under certain circumstances to an expatriation tax, which is meant to extract from the expatriate taxes that would have been paid had he remained a citizen: all property of a covered expatriate is deemed sold for its fair market value on the day before the expatriation date, which usually results in a capital gain, which is taxable income.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Behold the latest victim: Robin Speronis, a 54-year-old former real estate agent currently living in Cape Coral, Florida. She lives in a duplex run on solar panels, has a small camping stove run off a propane tank, and stores rain water. She admits to using the sewer system and is willing to pay for that, but otherwise would rather not be “plugged in” to city utilities.
I would think that even those “if you don’t like it leave” people would agree that the woman’s expectations to be left alone by the city is fair. She is walking the walk. She is finding alternative means of obtaining natural resources. So if she in fact does NOT use the city provided resources, should she be forced to subscribe and pay?
While the judge himself who ruled against her saw the folly in his adjudication, he did nothing to find alternative precedent which would’ve preserved the sanctity of her basic and inherent right to sustain herself outside government services.
Then again, our government forces its constituents to buy car and health insurance. It forces people to use digital rather than analogue. It forces people to register their cars and have it inspected while never indemnifying anyone for anything that goes wrong with their car. It never seems to put its money where its mouth is. Oh wait… its money is really our money.
Perhaps you read about this couple, also in Florida, who decided to grow a garden on their property, only it was in the FRONT yard rather than their BACK yard. They were doing this for SEVENTEEN years before it became a problem. The Institute for Justice is fighting this battle, given that this is a horrible imposition on property rights.
The truth is, government doesn’t want self-sufficient individuals. They are striving to achieve a culture of dependency. Dependency is the most effective means of maintaining slavery. Thomas Sowell points out that of all the slaves around the world, American black slaves were the most dependent. They were not allowed to do anything for themselves, so they had no trade to bring to the market place when they were freed. Unlike other slaves around the world, who were allowed to farm their own crops and sell them in the marketplace, American slaves were deliberately conditioned to depend upon their masters for everything.
This same methodology is being applied, on a much greater scale, here. What is unpopular amongst the self-sufficient is very popular amongst those living off the self-sufficient. And sadly, the entitlement crowd is larger than the one funding it.
I’ve heard several things likened to slavery. For example, if taking 100% of the fruits of your labor is slavery, at what percent exactly does it cease to be so? A famous radio personality says that debt is slavery. After all, you are working for someone else, not yourself. Many folks who suffered from addiction will say that addiction is slavery.
It’s certainly difficult to argue the contrary to any of these claims as the master/slave relationship is quite clear in all of them. But dependency is also slavery… When we lean so heavily on ONE entity or ONE person or ONE income, we essentially make ourselves vulnerable.
Look at all the folks who are one pink slip away from bankruptcy! They are current on all their payments… for now. Look at all those who were counting on Obamacare to help them get the coverage they needed at the price they could afford. Look at the indigent individuals now, who await their welfare checks, the refill on their SNAP/WIC cards, their Medicare/Medicaid stipends, and their Social Security checks. Look at all the veterans who expected to be taken care of… but aren’t. Look at all the young adults forging out into the world saddled with insurmountable debt.
All of them were promised something. They relied upon the government to provide something for them, and that government is over-extended. They are the growing number of dependents. These are the domesticated lap dogs, adopted by their well-intended masters, now left with an over-priced leaking shed in the back, Grade D horsemeat, and a pill to keep the worms away. Was this really better than the life of a stray? Perhaps the stray would go hungry one night, but score a nice find behind a fancy restaurant the next? Perhaps the wild dog would only find a tiny squirrel to eat one day, but a nice juicy rabbit the next? The domesticated dog will only get what it is given. Nothing more, and often times considerably less.
Aesop wrote a fable of this very scenario: a wolf meets its cousin the farm dog one night on a stroll. The wolf complains that he is hungry, so the dog offers to introduce him to his master who feeds him well and gives him full run of the farm during the day. The wolf notices a fence with a lock on it and asks what that is for. The dog says it’s for his own protection that no one would take him and that he would not wander off and get lost. The wolf notices a chain around the dog’s neck and ask what that is for. The dog responds that is also for his safety. The wolf thanks his cousin for the offer, but much prefers the struggles of freedom to the comforts of servitude.
Being independent passes for anti-social behavior these days. Being independent is slowly being criminalized. The fact remains, however, there are opportunities to do better off the plantation than on it. Get off the damn plantation!