I’ve been pulled over a lot in the last month or so, and by “a lot,” I mean somewhere between five and eight times. We’ve officially reached a point, however, where it simply isn’t my fault; I’m trapped in the wheels of inefficient, moronic bureaucracy, and there’s no quick or easy way out.
During the month of August that I’ve alluded to, my driver’s license expired, and I couldn’t do anything to prevent it because I didn’t have the money. When I did have the money, I had all my paperwork–except my birth certificate, which has to be a certified copy because my license was expired. So I contacted my family in Mississippi and had them send it to me. Although mailed out in early October, and postmarked the same, it was early December before it actually arrived. When it did arrive, what I found were useless photocopies, so at the first available opportunity I called the number in Jackson and ordered one.
When I got pulled over again two days ago, it inspired me to look at the order number and see what the holdup is, and I learned that Mississippi requires additional identity verification and that I must send them a photocopy of a valid, non-expired governmental ID. There were no other identity verification options.
I need my birth certificate to get an ID, and I need my ID to get my birth certificate.
“Ain’t life grand?” remarked my grandmother when I called her, to give my debit card information and let my father order it for me, but it isn’t “life” that created this quagmire. It’s the state.
Of course, the reason I am continually targeted by the local thugs isn’t my expired driver’s license. It’s my expired licence plate, which I can fix much more easily–by sending someone in Mississippi the money, having them go to the courthouse and paying my “privilege to travel” extortion fee, and mailing me my magical “I’m a good tax slave” sticker. The problem with this is that there aren’t many people in Mississippi I can trust with this, and my grandmother is in her 80s. My sister is the only viable option, and she tends to be pretty busy, but that’s exactly what I’m doing.
A different and totally unrelated issue is that my driver’s side brake light is extremely uncooperative and just… stops working… at random times. If I didn’t catch it, then I’m effectively driving around with a brake light out. If I do catch it, then it’s easily fixed my tapping the fixture. I don’t know why it’s doing this, but it is what it is.
A week or so ago, I expected to be arrested. I’d been pulled over on Main Street here in Keene for the brake light being out, at which point they found my license expired and my registration expired. In Mississippi I’d have gone straight to jail, my car towed away. However, they didn’t even issue a citation, or technically a warning. Instead, the officer essentially asked me, rather politely, to take care of the brake light, and sent me on my way. Very curious.
Except it isn’t. I’ve been in Keene less than a year, but I’ve already made a few waves, primarily by running for sheriff, which earned me a fair bit of media coverage, most importantly in a feature article for New Hampshire’s largest newspaper. During the campaign I also went on the show of none other than Chris Cantwell to discuss the campaign and trans matters, so they were a fun few months (for those curious, I received 2.4% of the vote, which is phenomenal considering the absolute lack of actual campaigning).
I’m also associated with the Liberty Radio Network and less so associated with Free Keene, a group notorious in this small town for creating problems for the state. So if the local thugs don’t recognize me (which is, to be frank, impossible), the LRN bumper stickers on my car will give it away. I’m essentially a complicated set of headaches that they don’t want to deal with, nevermind being trans.
It’s also not like I’m intentionally flouting the authority of the state. Quite the opposite: I’m doing my best to accommodate its contradictory and asinine demands. It’s literally not my fault the original birth certificate took an incredible two months to arrive from my family, or that the state of Mississippi in its never-ending brilliance has decided one must have a valid ID to get the birth certificate needed to acquire a valid ID.
I don’t mean to insult the Keene PD here. In fact, I find them to be the most benevolent of all law enforcement agents with which I’ve ever dealt. During the month of August, I was given a ride on two occasions by a Keene police officer, and they’ve never been anything but polite and friendly toward me, even when, by all legality, they probably should have arrested me.
Most importantly, I don’t feel it when the Keene police are about to pull me over, and this is what the enormous prelude above was getting to. I’m willing to bet we all know the feeling to which I’m referring: it’s a sensation that can only fairly be described as “being hunted.”
I’ve been harassed by thugs throughout my peaceful existence enough to bet that everyone knows that sense of being a prey. Is it that they drive so aggressively when they’re prowling for victims? I am not sure.
Most recently I was accosted by a state trooper, and I immediately knew, as he pulled out behind me, that he would pull me over. This did not change over the next mile, as he continued to follow me, and I was not in the least surprised when those blue lights began flashing just outside of where I live. On this occasion, I was being pulled over not for having an expired licence plate, but for having an out of state license plate. Through our brief conversation, I was rudely informed that I can’t be in New Hampshire while having Mississippi tags.
This, of course, is extremely stupid, and quite obviously false. There are three states within a fifteen minute drive of Keene, and there are people from all over New England in Keene. There are reasons beyond the cost of registration (in New Hampshire it’s about nine times more expensive than in Mississippi) to keep my registration where it is, but they’re not worth getting into here, and it’s even worth the additional cost to sign the car over to my business located in Mississippi.
But I think it says a lot about the current state of affairs that law enforcement agents generate the same primal sense of dread and fear that are triggered when one is being followed by a rapist through a back alley, or when our ancestors were stalked by predators thousands of years ago. Of course, they are predators, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise–just something we consider.
In a shocking turn of events that I honestly didn’t see coming, a few weeks ago I received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service telling me that I had about ten days to pay them an absolutely ridiculous sum of around $2,000. Why? I honestly couldn’t tell you. Based on what the letter says, I’m assuming it’s a mistake on their end, but it’s not like it makes very much of a difference, does it? Right and wrong are meaningless in this matter; if right and wrong mattered, then under no circumstances would someone put a gun to my head and tell me to give them two thousand dollars. With right and wrong discarded long ago, it’s irrelevant who is actually right.
If the IRS checks and insists that I owe them this money, then I have two options:
Pay them this ridiculous sum.
Go to prison.
O’er the land of the free… and the home of the brave…
I received this letter shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, and I attempted to call the IRS, only to be told that they were too busy and that I needed to call back. That’s well and good, except I work the same time the IRS is open, so there aren’t a ton of opportunities for me to call them and find out what the hell is going on. 2014 was a simple year, as far as my taxes are concerned–I worked for Harrah’s as a slot tech, filled out a 1040EZ, and that was it. You can’t screw up a 1040EZ–it’s like Paint By Numbers. Yet somehow “changes to my W-2” mean I owe them a figure that is about 1/4 of what I even made last year.
This is a shitload of money we’re talking about. It may not be for everyone, but that’s half of my Move to Vegas money. With my car currently in the shop–again, this time with a busted fuel injector, busted intake manifold gasket, and busted head gasket–it’s not like I’ve been adding much to the savings account through the last two months, but it will be a cold day in hell before the IRS gets that money.
Honestly, it will be a cold day in hell before the IRS gets this money from me period, regardless of what they say.
What’s really amazing about this is that the IRS has my income records. They know as well as I do that $1,979.60 simply isn’t going to happen. If it was that or jail, I could probably pay $400~ without it absolutely bankrupting me and leaving all my bills unpaid, but they should know better than that. I’m not just bitching, though. I am going somewhere with this, and I am making a few different points. This one being that the IRS, better than anyone else–other than myself–knows exactly how frankly impossible it is for me to pay that amount of money. So what the hell do they want from me?
Meanwhile, President Elect Donald Trump isn’t paying that much, right? I don’t know, because I never pay any attention to the candidates’ taxes or income.
I knew this was going to happen. Not because I did anything wrong, but because rumors began circulating of threatening letters from the IRS sent to everyone who hadn’t purchased insurance, and that certainly included me. I have an exemption that means I don’t have to purchase health insurance, which is good because I’m young and in great shape, have no health issues, and no need of health insurance; since no companies are offering rates that a young, healthy person like myself can find agreeable, I am not purchasing health insurance.
Through the last few months, I’ve been expecting to get one of those letters. Instead, I got one of these. And I am almost positive this has something to do with the Affordable Care Act.
Our government is in debt for twenty trillion dollars, a figure so large that not even the most insane mathematician can wrap their mind around it. Our government is absurdly broke whether it harasses me and imprisons me over this paltry figure or not. Moreover, I don’t owe the government this money. I don’t. The government proclaimed that I owe it this money, and because it controls the courts it can have a judge rule that I owe it this money. So let me paint this little picture for you.
I’m going on about my life, working and trying to move to Las Vegas where I can put my degree to use, be transgender in peace, and live out my life happily. I’m a relatively normal, law-abiding citizen. One day I get a letter from the IRS telling me that I owe them two thousand dollars, which is to me a very large amount of money. I contest it, but the IRS insists that I do owe it and that I have to pay it; if I don’t, I’ll be arrested for contempt of court or tax evasion or some other charge. Even under the best of circumstances, I can’t come up with that kind of money. I’m arrested and thrown in jail.
How is that not among the most fucked up things ever?
While you’re going on about your life, I’ve got paperwork that says you owe me $2,000. You insist that you don’t owe me that money, but I take you to court. At court, the judge agrees with me and tells you that you have to pay it; if you don’t, you’ll be arrested. Unable to pay, you are then arrested.
This is the true nature of the state, and I’d be becoming an anarchist right now if I wasn’t one already. This… is… ridiculous.
It’s like, “Damn. I knew the state was a group of predators robbing, killing, and kidnapping people, and I’ve long been speaking out against that–and now this group of robbing, killing, kidnapping predators have turned their attention onto me. Shit.”
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Let’s not be unclear or ambiguous about this. It is the government’s Mission Statement to protect the lives, liberties, and happiness of American citizens. And rather than doing that–rather than protecting us from all manner of wicked humans we are told are lurking in the shadows, eager for the destabilization of the government so that they can rob, kill, and kidnap us, my very own government is declaring that I owe it a debt, and will use the existence of that “debt” to rob, kill, and/or kidnap me.
Any pretense of government goodwill falls utterly apart in this scenario. Just who in the hell do they think they are? They passed a law that said I had to pay them, invented some magical figure that I can’t possibly pay, stated that I owe them that large figure, and will rob, imprison, or kill me to get it. This is our government. This is the American government.
This vicious group of thieves, kidnappers, and murderers who have sworn to protect me, who managed to work up a twenty trillion dollar debt ostensibly in my name, have now turned their hungry eyes onto me. They don’t exist to protect us; they exist to predate us. Here are all the possible relationships to the government you can have:
What I mean by “no one” is that the government is mostly leaving you alone. It’s not sending you threatening letters and telling you that you owe them a giant chunk of cash. You will never be under the government’s protection because the government doesn’t exist to protect you. It will leave you alone–probably if you bow to every arbitrary demand that it makes–but it will never protect you. It will either victimize you or leave you alone.
A lot of people like arguing against anarcho-capitalism by saying, “What’s going to keep me from robbing you, kidnapping you, whatever, since I’m rich and have better weapons than you?”
Do you see what an asinine question that is? There are good people out there who would protect me from you if you attempted to kidnap me. It happens every single day; we’ve got entire groups of people who dedicate their lives to stopping that kind of behavior. Yet who is there that can protect me from the IRS? What’s going to keep the government from robbing me or kidnapping me? Who even can come to my defense when the government sends its soldiers to take me hostage and kidnap me for not being able to pay its extortion fees? There is no one stronger than the government, and definitely not stronger than the American Government.
The ultimate warlords, the ultimate thieves, the ultimate kidnappers. That’s our government.
And if they decide that I owe them this money, there isn’t a goddamned thing that anyone can do about it.
I’d take my chances against you any day, if the alternative is to take my chances with the “benevolence” of the government.
The state, I have often said, is merely a type of government. Though I do occasionally use “government” and “the state” interchangeably, it is generally because I grow weary of constantly saying “the state… the state… the state…” or because it helps a non-anarchist (one would say “statist” here most of the time, but I don’t believe that most people are statists–I believe they just haven’t quite thought about what they’re saying) understand what I’m saying.
This is an important distinction, though, because… just take a moment to process all the things that govern your behavior:
the need to breathe
the need to eat
the need to drink water
the desire to procreate
the desire to have sex
the desire to be entertained
… and many, many more.
All of these things, ipso facto, govern your behavior, and they govern my behavior. They govern the behavior of every animal on our planet, to varying degrees. Who can say that my cats are not governed partially by the desire to be entertained? I would ask you to re-evaluate that claim when they are doing aerobics and acrobatics across my kitchen.
I apologize the central line is crooked. Evidently, my television isn’t level.
There is certainly a hierarchy to these governments, as we all know intuitively, whether we have stopped to consider it or not. A person’s desire to have sex will not be considered until the person is not starving to death or suffocating. Obvious truisms, of course, yet they are of critical importance to understanding the nature of the state.
As Rothbard wrote in Anatomy of the State:
Once a state has been established, the problem of the ruling group or “caste” is how to maintain their rule. While force is their modus operandi, their basic and long-run problem is ideological. For in order to continue in office, any government (not simply a “democratic” one) must have the support of the majority of its subjects. This support, it must be noted, need not be active enthusiasm; it may well be passive resignation as if to an inevitable law of nature. But support in the sense of acceptance of some sort it must be, else the minority of state rulers would eventually be outweighed by the active resistance of the majority of the public. Since predation must be supported out of the surplus of production, it is necessarily true that the class constituting the state–the full-time bureaucracy–must be a rather small minority…
We see in these two ideas a similar pattern: until basic needs are met, something else extraneous to those needs cannot occur. Until a person’s need for air, food, and water is met, the individual will care nothing for entertainment or casual sex, not even with the most beautiful of women or sexiest of men. Again, this is another obvious truism: as a person nears starvation, the value that they place in food will increase exponentially; as they approach death, the value placed onto food will approach infinity. In the fraction of a second just before suffocating, the value that a person would place on air (that is: what they are willing to pay to acquire air) would be infinite, to the extent that they’d be willing, in that moment, to consign their entire lives to sexual slavery and barbaric torture to get a gasp of air. Horrific though that idea is, it is nonetheless true.
Now, all of this is rather important, because the state consists of a parasitic caste that sucks off the excesses and surpluses of society and appropriates them for its own ends. We like to think that this isn’t true, and that all of our tax dollars and state-confiscated resources are being used for the betterment of society, but such naive idealism has no place in a serious conversation.
This, in purely economic terms, lowers the supply of resources available to a society, making the entire society collectively poorer, even if the scope is felt only by certain individuals who are overly taxed. Yet again, this is an obvious truism. If the total “resources” of a society equals 100 and they are divided among society’s 1,000 members (however evenly or unevenly), and a parasitic caste siphons of 6 of those resources for their own use (however they justify it), then society is suddenly left with 94 to divide among its members. If the parasitic caste consisted of 6% of society (e.g., there were 60 parasites), then this would amount to socialism by force: “We want what you have to divide among ourselves.”
It may seem that I’m jumping the gun a bit here by defining the state as a bunch of parasites sucking society dry. I assure you: I’m not. This is ground that I’ve already covered (and that countless others have covered), and I’m not interested in re-writing the same article over and over.
If you dispute the equivalence of the state to a parasitic caste that relies primarily on force, violence, and coercion to achieve its ends, then the above podcast would be a good place to start. An even better place to start would be Murray Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State, one of the finest collections of essays dealing with the nature of the state that has ever been compiled. To quote one passage:
The great German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer pointed out that there are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth; one, the above way of production and exchange, he called the “economic means.” The other way is simpler in that it does not require productivity; it is the way of seizures of another’s goods or services by the use of force and violence. This is the method of one-sided confiscation, of theft of the property of others. This is the method which Oppenheimer termed “the political means” to wealth… The “political means” siphons production off to a parasitic and destructive individual or group; and this siphoning not only subtracts from the number producing, but also lowers the producer’s incentive to produce beyond his own subsistence… The state, in the words of Oppenheimer, is the “organization of the political means.”
Individuals are governed primarily by the need to survive, and this governance leads them to productivity. In order to secure their own survival, it is recognized as best to generate a surplus. The fools who grew only enough crops to survive died out in the fiery trials of human history, as any complication to the harvest rendered their deaths inevitable. “I grew only enough food to survive, and mildew destroyed some of it” leads to a slow and painful death. When the ancient villager went to the water source, they were not merely content to dip their hands into it and have a drink; they brought with them a jug, to collect more than they immediately needed, producing a surplus of resources that they could later call upon, if need be.
This is the mechanism of capitalism, the concept of taking resources and putting some into savings. Perhaps the villager draws five gallons of water each day, yet consumes only four gallons. After a year of doing this, the villager will have a surplus of some 365 gallons of water–profits, we would call these under most circumstances. You may prefer dividends, gains, or whatever term, but the basic idea is the same. The fool who brought back only enough water to survive the day died at the first calamity. The wise man who saved became wealthy. Sure, this wealth is measured in water rather than dollars, but the process is still the same.
To return to our fool, what if the village elder, being too old to go to the water source himself, decrees that every villager must surrender a cup of water to him each day? Again, the fool obviously dies (it is important to remember that we are operating on the idea that the fool takes exactly as much water he needs, and not a drop more) for the endemic parasitism of the ruling caste.
“But the elder is old,” some people might argue. “Surely it’s the village’s responsibility to continue caring for him? We are not just animals–we do not abandon our elderly!”
This is a fine argument, but there is a problem. We have here killed one person to save the life of another. Some people might argue, “But the fool should have brought back more water than he needed.” That’s probably true. However, the same could be said of the elder. If he had, as a young man, brought back more water than he needed–if he had brought back an extra gallon each day, then by the time he reached the age where he could no longer make the journey to the water source, he would have plenty of water to carry him through to the end of his life. The same admonition of the fool applies to the elder: they should both have taken more than they immediately needed.
This argument also ignores the fact that this elder probably has some family. Is it not the responsibility of his family to provide him with what he needs, if he is to dedicate his life to what must be called “intellectualism”? Surely before the elder decided to dedicate his life to the pursuit of ideas, he would have done something to ensure that he would be taken care of, since he would be producing nothing?
Indeed, this basic question is likely how we ended up with the state in the first place. Some people set themselves up as wise, intelligent people who were capable of putting their considerable intellectual faculties to use in bettering the whole village, but doing so meant that they would be unable to spend their time working in the fields and making trips to the water source. This wouldn’t always be the case, as there is plenty of reason to believe that the state came into existence by way of force and violence, rather than by intellectuals hoodwinking societies, but it’s not impossible to fathom that intellectuals presented themselves as our saviors, if only we would give them the power to do things for the betterment of us all, and would pay them in their services by providing them with the resources they needed to survive.
It was just a happy coincidence that we “paid” them far more than they needed, as they cut into our surpluses to generate their own.
It can be difficult to accept that we are ruled by a bunch of parasites who subtract from our resources to add to their own, who use force, violence, and coercion to avail themselves of our property and resources, and who hide behind the mask of doing things to better the whole of society. It may even be true that some of the things they’ve done have helped society.
If necessity is the mother of invention, though, it should be obvious that the state will hardly invent anything, and that the only things it will invent will almost universally be related to the military. It should be no surprise then, that the majority of the American government’s inventions have been for the military and by the military, as they invent newer, bigger, and better ways of killing people en masse. Why should the state invent the telephone, the personal computer, the smartphone, a search engine, or any of these other things? The state doesn’t need to, not to ensure its own continued existence and continued prosperity.
No, if the state wants to ensure its continued existence and prosperity, then necessity dictates that it will invent new weapons, new ways of applying military force, and new ways of securing its holds on a population. Lo and behold, that is precisely what the American Government does. Why did you think that 57% of all money spent by the U.S. government is used on the military? As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention.” And what does the state need?
A way to make us bow when we say “Enough is enough.”
The State’s Interaction With Other Governments
The state wants to maintain its monopolies, there is no doubt of that. How does the state do this? By usurping survivalism, by placing itself above the other governments that govern you. Though you may need to avoid starvation, that is not the only concern when you go to hunt for your dinner. Instead, you are at least equally motivated by the reality that the state is in charge of you.
If suddenly you are fired from your job and destitute, for whatever reason, and need to hunt in order to eat, you’d better hope that the state doesn’t send one of its many footsoldiers to find you. You would be violating the state’s laws, of course. The state requires you to have a license, and you can’t afford that if you don’t have any money. Your need to eat has been overruled by the state. The Government of Food has been superseded by the Government of the State. Survival itself has been undermined by the state.
If you shoot a fourth deer, you are violating yet more of the state’s laws. The state does not care that you otherwise would have starved, because it reigns supreme over other forms of government. The government that is your need to eat must bow to the state’s demands, not vice versa.
You cannot create an Artesian Well on your property to avoid dying of dehydration; you cannot even collect rainwater in most American territories (it should be apparent why I used “territories” here). Neither can you just hop on down the local reservoir with a bucket. Once again, the other governments that govern you have been undermined, superseded, and overruled by the state. The state does not acquiesce to the reality that you need water to survive; instead, you must acquire water to survive within the framework of the laws laid down by the state.
Your very survival is undermined by the state. You are not allowed to do whatever is necessary to secure your continued existence, because the state has claimed ownership of everything that does not belong to individuals. It is a fact of extreme significance that every acre of land in the United States belongs to someone. Most often, the owner of these lands is the state, not individuals. Here in backwater Mississippi, I am surrounded by acres upon acres of land that belong to no one, but for which I will be arrested if I dare fish upon, hunt upon, or even walk upon. I could petition neighbors to allow me to walk, hunt, and fish their lands, to be allowed to draw water from the ponds in their backyards, and so on–I cannot petition the state for these things. And if I can, then it requires money, and must be done according to parameters that they set.
On the surface, that seems no different from my neighbor saying, “Yes, you can walk on my land, but you can’t hunt on it,” or something similar. Except that the Federal Government owns 28% of all land in the United States, a figure which does not include land owned by state governments. And when we remember that the state is a caste of parasites, it becomes positively alarming that they have taken hold of more than 1 in 4 acres of land in the nation. These parasites are extraordinarily wealthy, and the use the canals of government bureaucracy to obfuscate that basic fact.
Rather than being as obvious as taking 30,000 acres and putting themselves a house on it, state officials instead sell that land to Monsanto or some other monopolistic corporation. This feeds money into the state, of course, at the expense of some land, but the exchange does not typically stop there. Afterward or before, Monsanto may pay the state official $350,000 to give a speech at their company dinner. In more extreme cases, the state official may leave public office and begin working for Monsanto, where they’ll earn millions of dollars each year as “consultants” who are required to do nothing.
This is how aspartame was legalized, though the FDA had ruled it a poison initially. It should be a cause of concern for all Americans that the FDA ruled it as a poison for decades. Then the company that owned its patent presented it again to the FDA, and it was suddenly ruled acceptable. Afterward, the FDA chairman retired from public service… and went on to work for the very same company that held the patents on aspartame, where he was paid a ridiculously high salary and given a cushy job in exchange for his agreement to effectively poison the American population.
Look no further than the Clinton Foundation, which has curried favors across the globe on behalf of American corporations, taking huge “speaking fees” in exchange for their negotiation of contracts between American corporations and foreign states. Just look at what the Clinton Foundation did to Haiti. There is a reason that poor Haitians despise the Clintons. Information on how badly the Clintons fucked Haiti is widely available and reported even in the mainstream press, though the MSM decries it generally as “accidental” and “unfortunate,” rather than a systematic failure that follows the Clinton Global Initiative across the planet.
There is much obfuscation of this reality, but it does us no good to deny it.