Time for America’s New Great Experiment
From Fr33 Agents
We lovers of Liberty are not alone — We The People. And so I am thankful that we have forums like FR33 Agents. We have blogs, we have Twitter, Facebook, Wave, torrents, and host of other media outlets with new outlets arriving all the time.
In fact it is through social networking, notably FR33 Agents, that I have seen just how large We The People really are. Jim Davidson pointed out that the number of people voting is eyebrow-raising close to the number of income tax forms filed. Others post links to articles showing how large the “unofficial marketplace” (or “shadow economy” or whatever) has grown in recent years.
We are not alone. Even if they don’t all call themselves libertarians or anarchists … if they are not voting, not paying taxes, and doing business within the alternative economy, they share a common enemy with us. Our enemy: the State.
It is easy to be discouraged. Violent. Angry. Despondent. … and then dependent. But then, this is what the political class wants of the private class. They want us to be soaked in negativity. Fear, war, sickness, mistrust of each other.
We battle that with trust, discussion, charity, and love. And today, we have many tools with which to do that.
What does the political class have? To start they have a dependence on negative emotion — so they are at a disadvantage already, both philosophically and spiritually. They also have a slow, bloated, and expensive apparatus called the State. Thus, the time has come for the New Great Experiment.
The following was originally published through AC on Dec 23, 2009. I wanted to share it here, especially after seeing so many others expressing similar hopes for the near future. Here’s to Liberty within our lifetime! Here’s to a new and much needed great political experiment.
Replacing the State with the Market
Almost a decade ago, some politicians lamented that while America was at war, Americans themselves were at the mall. There’s some truth to that, to be sure. I think a more accurate way to put it might be: while the Political Class is declaring war on everything from vaguely-defined terrorists, to a free-market … American private citizens are trying to peacefully live out their lives. It is my observation that what we have in the West generally, and in American culture specifically, are the makings of widespread American Agorism: a free people who have faith in the Market, and not in the State.
The American Democracy is on the way out. Not by violence, but by revolutionary and peaceful lack of participation. People are unplugging, so-to-speak, from the system. We Americans have a massive and widespread loss of faith in the politicians living in Versailles D.C.; while we do still have faith in the voluntary marketplace. This, despite the politician’s attempts to discredit free-market Capitalism. Let’s be honest about it, the average American will trust her hair stylist more than a politician any day of the week. The average American will trust a banker with his retirement account before any fool in Washington.
The entire Political Class has done a great job at only one thing: reminding We The People why our Founding Fathers staged a revolution against government in the first place. From taxing and spending, to gun control, to abortion, and everything in between, the entire Political Class has been unified in their hypocrisy, their elitism, and their willingness to employ violence and coercion to remain in power.
They are the plundering class, and we are the plundered. This fact was true in the days of our Founding Fathers, and it is true in our time. Our culture was built on suspicion of power, and a general contempt of the ruling class. Think about this: even those who call politics a “necessary evil’ are still acknowledging that it is, in fact, inherently evil. Our culture was built on revolution. As the American anarchist writer and speaker Voltairine de Cleyre pointed out in 1932, while criticizing the government school system:
To the average American of today, the Revolution means the series of battles fought by the patriot army with the armies of England. The millions of school children who attend our public schools are taught to draw maps of the siege of Boston and the siege of Yorktown, to know the general plan of the several campaigns, to quote the number of prisoners of war surrendered with Burgoyne; they are required to remember the date when Washington crossed the Delaware on the ice; they are told to “Remember Paoli,” to repeat “Molly Stark’s a widow,” to call General Wayne “Mad Anthony Wayne,” and to execrate Benedict Arnold; they know that the Declaration of Independence was signed on the Fourth of July, 1776, and the Treaty of Paris in 1783; and then they think they have learned the Revolution–blessed be George Washington! They have no idea why it should have been called a “revolution” instead of the “English War,” or any similar title: it’s the name of it, that’s all. And name-worship, both in child and man, has acquired such mastery of them, that the name “American Revolution” is held sacred, though it means to them nothing more than successful force, while the name “Revolution” applied to a further possibility, is a spectre detested and abhorred. In neither case have they any idea of the content of the word, save that of armed force.
Over 200 years ago, the Great Experiment successfully threw aside monarchy, and moved into modern party politics (aka “partyarchy”). The Great Experiment was indeed great because it allowed the evolution of Western society, tossing aside class restraints, shunning the possibility that a State would favor one religion over another, and scoffed at a centrally managed economy.
The Great Experiment also created a land free of government guarantees. In fact, people came here to escape the European lands of government guarantees against poverty to come to a the land where no such guarantees existed. We had no government trying to convince people of some “right” to education, medicine, food, clothing, or anything else. Yet this became the land of plenty. Why? Because unlike many other places around the globe, people here have been free to accumulate wealth … right up until the income tax earlier last century.
Why do we need the Federal Government?
What if you learned that about half of the American population doesn’t see a need to participate with the Federal State? Imagine that, at best, turnout for a vote in a major presidential election is about 50%. Consider that, at best, the number of people even bothering to fill out a Federal Tax Return is also about 50%. This means that half of the eligible population in the United States couldn’t care less about our so-called “civic duties” of income taxes and voting.
But this is exactly what is happening today in the United States. In 2004, one of the biggest turnouts for a major election, saw 122,294,978 eligible citizens bother to cast a vote. That’s a 55.3% turnout. 132.4 million individual tax returns were filed. It’s impossible to know exactly how many people are ignoring the income tax system; some people may file more than one, while some people file jointly. But we do know that 132 million is a very small number!
The 2004 tax year was followed by a bit of alarm. The Tax Foundation issued a warning that “the number of people living outside of the tax system is growing.” Why is this dangerous to the Federal Government? For the same reason that it was deadly to the Soviet State to have a continuous economic shift from the White (State-managed) Market into the Black Market. The more people traded for blue jeans, tractor repairs, food and clothing, and etc, on the Black Market, the more the Soviet State lost control over the people. Eventually the oppressive State lost all legitimacy and power, and it was peacefully eliminated.
In other words, this is not dangerous to the Private Class; only to the Political Class. And expect more of this. Already 2008 and 2009 saw more and more people vowing to deliberately report less earnings in an effort to move themselves into lower tax brackets, or to not file taxes at all. I saw people waving signs referencing Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, announcing “I Am John Galt!” for the first time in my life in late 2008, and I saw even more in 2009 — both in the news, and with my own eyes. Reports have been in the economic news of more of the U.S. economy moving to the Black Market this year, as well.
A recent column on the growing Black Market economy in the U.S., Richard Rahn of The Cato Institute writes:
The evidence is unambiguous; governments cannot increase tax compliance and decrease the size of the underground economy by ever increasing and more onerous regulations. It is no accident that those governments that allow their citizens a high degree of personal and financial liberty, including financial privacy, and spend taxpayer dollars wisely, honestly and competently, have much smaller underground sectors than corrupt and oppressive governments. Washington, take note.
For the record, I do not believe that the ruling class in Versailles D.C. will take note. That’s an entire class of people who always believe that the correct answer directly involves the Federal State. Thus we have the need for a New Great Experiment.
It is time to allow for the next political evolution, and entirely replace the State with the Market. In fact the revolution has already begun. This is evidenced by the peaceful lack of participation in the elections, in the tax system, and in the White Market. It’s interesting to note that most of the participants wouldn’t call themselves revolutionaries; rather, they are individuals simply trying to make their way through life, support a family, operate a business, pay employees.
The Reason for the Revolutionary Season
When considering our New Great Experiment, we should ask this question: Why did our Founding Fathers think that a Federal Government was necessary in the first place? Keep in mind that this was in the days before telegraph. A major obstacle in maintaining widespread liberty was largely one of communication and logistics. The Founding Fathers knew that practical livelihood would include delivery of messages, communication between businesses over great distances, and the ability to rally local militias in the event of a major security threat. Thus, they created a system that included the U.S. Postal Service, the Commerce Clause in the Constitution, election of Representatives to meet our behalf. And, for security, they allowed for the central government to call upon a military when necessary. But we have no such needs today.
Do we need the U.S. Postal Service; or can we do just fine with FED EX, UPS, and e-mail? Do we need representatives to meet on our behalf; or can we do well with mass transit, and mass communication? Do we need Dept of Homeland Security and CIA and FBI and the whole slew of other agencies that we barely even know about; or can we do fine with local policing, and fire dept, and the host of private security, insurance, and defense firms available? We have something valuable and powerful that our Founding Fathers didn’t have 200 years ago: the Market.
I believe that those in our government know they have become increasingly irrelevant. The Federal State has outlived its usefulness. They know this, and that is why the politicians strain their vocal cords trying to give us a plethora of reasons why we should need them: Bird flu! Swine flu! Great depression! Islam! Homosexuality! This threat! That threat! But it falls on deaf ears. Half of us don’t even bother looking up. The other half wonder why they even bothered.
Already this century has marked the beginning of a New Great Experiment! An experiment where we walk entirely away from the Federal State. An experiment where lovers of true liberty can turn to a source of direct democracy, and allow the Markets to meet our needs. Because the Market is already in place, we can join those already participating in shunning the State. This century will be a century that is home to the Next Great Experiment: a completely Agorist society.
“Fact on Policy: Tax Statistics for 2004 Tax Year.” Hoover Institution. 21 Dec 2009 .
De Claire, Voltairine. “Anarchism and American Traditions.” The International Anarchist Publishing Committee of America, Chicago: Free Society Group, 1932.22 Dec 2009 .
Kuhn, David Paul. “The Year of the Political Jackass.” RealClear Politics, 16 Dec 2009. .
Hodge, Scott A. “Number of People Outside the Tax System Continues to Grow.” The Tax Foundation, 9 June 2005. 21 Dec 2009 .
Rahn, Richard W. “New Underground Economy.” Washington Times, 9 Dec 2009. 21 Dec 2009 .
“Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960 – 2008.” Info Please. 21 Dec 2009 .