I’d like you to think about becoming a runaway slave. I’m planning to escape. I don’t have my plan finished, but I’m working on it. I’d like you to come with me.
If you believe that taxation is a legitimate thing and that you have a responsibility to others to hand over your money and obey the will of the majority, please don’t waste your time reading any further. As I wrote Sunday, I realize that taxation is theft and is a moral issue, but I’m not trying to convince you to change your mind. I can’t change the mind of someone who’s been brainwashed into believing that he belongs to someone else — just as a plantation slave who’d been convinced that someone else owned him had no chance of freeing his own mind.
What’s it going to take to be a runaway slave? We don’t know everything about how to do it yet. I mean, there’s not a blueprint. We’re pioneers here. We don’t even know the destination for certain. But we know the beginning, because the beginning is in our own thoughts. It begins with a decision to quit being a slave — in our own minds.
When slaves started talking about trying to escape, I imagine that a few of them gathered furtively at night to talk about this crazy idea that one man had. Most of the others were afraid to even listen. Even the rest were fearful of the consequences. But a few overcame their fear of change and made an attempt. Some failed. Others made it to a place where they could live freely. They didn’t know where they were going, but they were going to work together to try.
Right now, I’ll be the crazy man talking to scared people around a campfire. Let’s talk a bit about how we might escape when the time is right.
First, you have to change your own mind. Accept the fact that no one owns you unless you freely give yourself to him. No one has the right to take what is yours without your consent. That’s your God-given birthright as a human being. No one can take it away from you — except you.
It might seem as though I’m belaboring an obvious point, but nothing can happen until you assert control of your own thoughts. If you’re still wondering whether you’re being a “bad citizen” when you reject majoritarian theft and other control, you have already lost. The politicians — who are a tiny minority — count on you being socialized to accept their orders. They’re powerless if people ever learn they’re free.
Accept that your obligations to others are up to you to decide. Nobody else. If you want to give away much of what you earn and live frugally, that’s your decision. (In fact, if you’re a Christian, it’s a very legitimate obligation to consider.) But if you choose to earn a lot of money and keep every penny of it for yourself, that’s your legitimate choice. No one can make it for you. No one can delegate that decision-making to someone else. It’s yours. Make it with wisdom. But whether you choose wisely or foolishly, it’s your decision.
Be open about your beliefs. Don’t be ashamed to assert that the majority don’t own you. I’m not asking you to march in the streets. I’m not asking that you make yourself or others uncomfortable. But in your daily life, you can quietly assert the truth when it comes up in conversation. You don’t have to be a shouting radical or a street preacher. Just quietly teach other people the truth. If you feel led to make it your biggest issue, then become a “tax abolitionist” and get serious about it. Somebody has to build the new Underground Railroad. Maybe it’ll be you.
Decide whether you’re willing to go to prison or not over the issue. If you are, by all means, go ahead and fight The Man in the court of public opinion as a tax protester if you want. This isn’t the route I choose. I choose to simply pay as little tax as the taxing authorities will allow me to get away with. I suggest you do the same — with the same attitude you might have if you were handing your wallet or purse to a thief with a gun.
It’s not cowardice to choose to pay the taxes that are required by the state. I think it’s smart, because I have no desire to pay legal penalties. It’s theft, but we sometimes hand our money over to robbers and extortionists because it’s the smart thing under the circumstances. If you do it, just make sure you keep your thoughts in the right place. Realize you’re the victim of extortion — and let that knowledge drive you to further action.
Look for a freer place to live. Leave if you can and want to. There are places in the world where you can live more cheaply with fewer hassles and more freedom. It’s hard to get legitimate information — especially since things are constantly changing — but the resources are out there. For instance, “Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America,” is a book a woman gave me a few years ago. It’s a great place to start if you’d like to browse the countries of the world and see what your options are. You’ll find that there are more of them than you might have realized. (The woman who gave the book to me voted for moving to Vanuatu or Panama, but your needs might differ.)
If you don’t want to leave, be prepared for consequences when things get worse here. Honestly, I don’t see why a rational person would stay. I think it’s going to be violent chaos. I can’t predict how long that’s going to take, though. It might be five years. It might be 20 years. I’m not a psychic. I’m just certain that economic and social collapse is coming. When it happens, the London riots will seem mild. I suggest you strongly consider leaving, but that’s your choice.
Exit the political system and tell people why. Don’t be an active or passive part of the coercive system. Explain to others why the system is immoral, when it’s reasonable, but don’t expect them to listen and don’t expect them to change. They won’t. A very few will listen to you and recognize something in what you’re saying as the same as a feeling they’ve had inside for a long time. Your goal is to find people who agree with you, not talk people into believing what you believe.
If you’re focused on the U.S. political system, you’re going to find yourself counting on someone to come along and become your savior. There’s not a savior, at least not among humans. Participating in the political system will give sanction to that system and distract you when you need to be focusing on the alternatives. If you are constantly watching “TV news” — which is an oxymoron, in my view — you are distracted by the entertainment value of what’s going on, but is it doing you any good? No. Turn the idiot box off and break yourself of the bad habit of caring so much what happens in Washington. That’s the past. We need to be concentrating on the future.
Next, understand that you don’t owe anyone (or yourself) a blueprint for converting society before you can start down this path. The biggest objections you’ll get from people are about how difficult and dangerous what you’re thinking of might be and how society can’t function if people quit paying taxes. They will imply that you have a responsibility to restructure society before you can demand that the theft stop. If I can stop a robber from stealing my money, I’m not going to be dissuaded by people who protest to me that the poor robber might not know how he’s going to support himself if I don’t allow myself to be robbed. Stop the theft and then we can talk about how the future works.
Some people are going to dismissively tell you that they know of no moral way to fund government other than by coercively imposing taxes. Don’t be intimidated by this argument. Remember that it doesn’t address the moral argument to say you don’t know a legitimately moral way to do something. It’s like responding to a slavery abolitionist by asking, “So who’s going to pick the cotton? We can’t afford to hire anybody. We won’t have cotton unless we can force dark-skinned people to do it.”
Last, become a part of a tribe that’s trying to do the same thing you are. I’ve run into scores of people who are looking to join other people and become part of something bigger than themselves. Maybe we can become one such tribe — together — over time. I don’t know everything it will require, but I know how to start and I’m actively working on the rest by talking with people who have advanced much further down the road than we can talk about yet. The serious possibility of establishing free cities in Honduras — which I’ve talked about before — is a strong contender. It might be seasteading. It might be a charter city. It might be half a dozen other things. The possibilities are endless. All of those are the destination. Right now, we just have to decide who’s willing to commit to finding the destination together, even if our destinations end up being separate places.
Right now, we’re just slaves sitting around a campfire talking quietly at night when The Man can’t hear us. What I can tell you is that the escape will be tough mentally, because it’s going to require a change in a lot of your attitudes. You’re going to have to be willing to undo some mistakes in your life. It’s going to be potentially dangerous, especially for some of the choices that some of you might make. But if freedom is worth it — and if the freedom of your children and grandchildren is worth it — then now’s the time to start.
I’m planning to escape. I want to take you with me. Will you come?