While walking around in Philadelphia, I got to thinking about independence. This is, after all, the birthplace of American independence. The much celebrated Declaration of Independence, whereby a bunch of dudes wrote down on paper that they weren't going to take orders from the king anymore. A grand idea, though they knew it wouldn't mean anything unless they could back it up with force. Say what you will about these men or the government that they ultimately created, but you can't deny that they had some serious nerve picking a fight with the most powerful empire on the planet. Because let's face it; when you live under tyranny, declaring independence is equivalent to declaring war.
The sad truth is that no matter how much people may want to think otherwise, might makes right. At least as far as the formation of governments goes. The United States of America was just an idea until thousands upon thousands of people died proving to King George just how serious they were about their inexorable yearning for freedom. The nature of political power is such that only those who are willing and able to fight off all other contenders are able to wield it.
What I began to wonder, as I toured Independence Hall, is how much longer we the people are going to put up with such a system, especially given the fact that most us know better. The question is simple: does the ability to dominate with violence grant anyone the right to rule over others? Unless you're a voluntaryist, there's no easy way to answer this question. Because if the answer is no, (as most people would agree) then how can any form of government be legitimate? What, if not the use of lethal force, separates governments from a bunch of dudes writing things down on paper?
Our country was founded on the idea that a group of people can get together and declare their independence from outside rulers, choosing instead to govern themselves. So if they could do it, why can't we? I am being totally serious here. What's to stop those of us who want liberty from declaring independence once again? Some of us already have. I wrote and officially declared my own independence over a decade ago. I know that many others, either as individuals or in groups, have done the same.
The fact that none of us are, in fact, free to govern ourselves reveals the truth about our society. We do not live in a free country. Our government does not work for us - it claims ownership of us, asserting its right to command, imprison, or kill us as it sees fit. Does anyone wish to dispute this? I welcome discussion/debate on the topic. For all my friends in the liberty community I know I am preaching to the choir, but to those who still believe that we live in a free country or that government authority is legitimate, then please, let me know where my logic is fallacious.
Because governments (ours in particular) hold a monopoly on violence, it is impossible for any of us to truly be free while such institutions still exist. Only when people wake up to the hoax of government authority will freedom even be possible. Only when we see this whole charade for what it is - a bunch of violent gangsters bullying and enslaving everybody else - can we ever hope to be free. This awakening is already underway, and one of the primary goals of my work is to hasten this process by posing the challenging questions that all too often go unasked.
What gives governments the right to tell anyone what to do? What gave King George the right to govern and tax the colonies? Was it God? Was it some document? Or was it the military he commanded? The colonists eventually decided that he didn't have the right to govern them, and thus our country was created.
So now, as our nation stands on the precipice of its own fall from global dominance, many of us are wondering just how much worse things have to get before the critical mass is reached and we decide once again to claim our rights to self-governance. Sic semper tyrannis.