I recently had a debate on facebook with someone whose opinion I once shared. I thought the only way for significant change in government to come about was through electoral politics, and if that failed, revolution.
The debate was spurred by a post in which I said that the only reason Donald Trump is a problem, is because of a system where some are elevated to positions of political power, versus economic power. Although economic power is significant, the key difference between political and economic power is that in economics, you must gain consent: from customers, from partners, from investors–anyone with whom you wish to associate.
But I hash-tagged the post #NobodyForPresident which made this person accuse me of having no backbone to make tough decisions about who to vote for. You must choose the lesser of two evils, he said, and not participating makes me a party to the terrible condition of the nation. I was accused of hiding behind a keyboard, and doing nothing but talking about problems, without offering any solutions.
I was once just like him. I attempted to get two different guys elected to congress, I voted for the lesser (maybe) of two evils in 2008, and supported Ron Paul in 2012.
I was that guy calling my congressman, railing about Constitutional violations, and trying to educate people about how if we all joined together, we could make a difference. This blog was once called vigilant vote; I literally made the same arguments this facebooker made about how each cycle “we” had the power to change 100% of the House and 1/3 of the Senate!
But that is all playing into the rigged system. It is a top down approach; a dictatorial approach. Individuals in this political system don’t make a difference until they reach critical mass or a majority. I have come to learn that individuals need to make personal changes which make a difference on a personal level, and also culminate to societal change. In the market, one person can choose to withhold their dollar from someone they disagree with; it may not de-fund the organization, but it saves the individual a dollar!
Change will be grassroots. Here’s how we can take steps to solve the problem of terrible government, and liberate ourselves.
- Find ways to legally avoid taxes through barter and trade. I don’t pay rent. I work on a mini-farm for room and board. This means I don’t have to pay taxes on my earnings before paying rent, my labor goes straight into rent. What we produce on the farm we also consume without having to first earn, pay taxes, then acquire. Wherever possible find ways to avoid converting labor to fiat dollars which are taxed, and lose value everyday due to inflation, another tax. I don’t know much about it, but I found a website the other day called Simbi.com which claims to facilitate the trade of goods and services without exchanging money. If you check it out, comment below or send me an email to let me know what it’s all about!
- Produce more of what you need yourself. Okay, so I get it, specializing and trading makes people more productive. But at some point, the amount the government takes make it not even worth it. We can at least cut down on what we need to buy (which includes taxes when we earn and when we buy, and if we save in between). I currently make my own toothpaste, deodorant (yes it works), and soap. I produce 100% of the eggs I eat, just recently have started getting 1/2 a gallon of goat milk a day (cheese, yogurt etc.), and am trying to produce a larger percentage of veggies I eat.
- Use unregulated money and services. My first two examples are pretty homesteady/ survivalist. But even if you live in a city you can avoid taxes and regulation. Use bitcoin and other alternative currencies as much as possible. You can shop on Amazon with bitcoin using Purse. Use AirBnB and Uber, or better yet, Arcade City and pay with bitcoin. Convince local businesses to start accepting bitcoin if they aren’t already. Check out this blog post from Derrick J about his and Steven Zeiler’s bitcoin evangelism in Portsmouth, NH! It is not as hard as you think to get your yoga studio and local restaurants to start accepting alternative currency.
- Choose a better state/ country. So this might sound like a contradiction to a post I wrote about a year ago called 5 Reasons It Doesn’t Make Sense to Say, “If You Don’t Like America, Leave.” And I still don’t think it is necessarily the best solution, nor super easy, especially since the United States will tax all citizens regardless of where they live in the world (though there is a hefty exemption). But recently I have realized it isn’t so hard to move outside the country. If you find a good fit, go for it! But much easier is finding a state with a better fit for the freedoms you hold most dear, and voting with your feet. Some states like Texas and New Hampshire might even be exploring secession, which I expect to come into play as a great solution to start improving government and making life easier for individuals.
- Clear your head of the state; liberate your mind, liberate your body, liberate your soul. The spoon does not bend, your mind bends. I used to get so worked up about all the terrible things the government would do. Yes, it is important to come to the aid of those the state unjustly attacks, but daily living should be done outside of the 24 hour news cycle. When political discussions arise, use the opportunity to let people know how the state doesn’t affect you, and shouldn’t affect you. Make people realize that it is possible to ignore the state, and work around the state in much of life. If nothing else, let them know that even though the state can mistreat you, they won’t get the better of your mental state. You can remain out of their reach, at least in your consciousness and positive thinking.
These are what I call opt-out solutions. Notice it does not involve revolution or violence. These solutions make the state obsolete. This is called agorism: suffocate the state, work outside of it. If you fight the state, you will lose. If you ignore the state, it is only a matter of time until it withers and dies.
You will stay up to date with all the liberating projects I am working on like novels, documentaries, Startup Societies, and the mini-farm. I’ll offer you free samples of my fiction, some even before the books are released in order to get your feedback! It’ll be fun, what are you waiting for?