March 31, 2015

Freedom Outlaws Handbook 22-27


22. SNAP OUT OF HYPNOSIS

In earlier books, I've recommended taking your TV to the shooting range and blasting its little cyclops eye out.  And for damned good reason.  There's a word for what happens to your mind when you're sitting still in a darkened room, with your eyes fixed on a flickering light.  That word is hypnosis.


Given the omnipresence of television in our lives, it's amazing how very few studies have been done on TV's physical, psychological, and social impact on our lives.  But those that have been done are pretty telling.  Yes, our brains really do function like those of a hypnosis subject when we're watching the tube.  One study even showed that television makes permanent changes in the the brain development of infants and toddlers who watch it.  Ugh!

Television will suck the brains right our of your head.  The messages are nearly always malign.  Watch enough TV and you'll be the perfect paranoid, consumerized consumer of everything the corporate state would wish.  But the medium itself is pernicious, aside from the message.  It's hypnotic-- flickering lights in a darkened room that invite you to stare passively into their electronic fairy dust.  Even with the best content, TV encourages us to life life vicariously and think (or not really think, but merely absorb) the ideas of others.

Recently, with most TV having gone to some sort of subscription service, television has also become one more tracking device. "They"-- our cable company, their advertisers, the satellite program provider-- watch what we watch.  They crunch our individual habits in their databases.  They sell our preferences.  They can even make our viewing habits available to government profilers or investigators.

If you're not ready to take that machine down to the local plink quarry and shoot its electronic eye out, consider unplugging from your cable or satellite service (think of the money you'll save, anyway).  Use it only as a VHS or DVD viewer.

But almost nobody wants to hear any of that.  It would mean giving up one of the worst of all our bad habits and our most reliable child-pacifier.  (Never mind that children actually behave worse after watching even an hour or two of television.)  So okay, don't shoot the monster.  But wouldya do this?  Once a year, during "TV Turn-Off Week" (http://www.tvturnoff.org/) in April; read a book, build a model, go for a hike, take up art, teach the dog to jump through a hoop, visit a nursing home, make beef jerky, learn to use a lathe, hold a subversive meeting, write a book, teach your child to play the flute, visit a musem, hold a bake sale... you know:  live.

The ultimate consequence of protecting men from the results of their own folly is to fill the world with fools.-- Herbert Spencer


23.  DON'T BE USED BY YOUR POSSESSIONS

I love stuff.  Stuff is fun to acquire, comforting to own, even more fun to sell at garage sales when the time comes.  But... hey, its just stuff.

He who dies with the most toys... still dies.  Nobody's life was ever made more meaningful by being the first on the block to get a plasma TV or a cellphone with a digital video camera built in.  (Both of which are big deals as I type this by might be showing up at church rummage sales by the time you read it-- which is a pretty good Clue about how important they are.)

The problem isn't having stuff.  The problem is being used by your stuff:
  • Do you need things to make you feel better about your life?
  • Are you so attatched to those goods that their loss would devastate you?
  • Are you going into debt-- that is, trading away your precious, one-and-only future-- to acquire them?
  • Do you own things that might unnecessarily attract police scrutiny to your lifestyle?
Then it's possible your possessions are using you, rather than you really enjoying them.

Tools... now tools are a different matter, whether they be tools of your trade, your avocation, your health-and-skill building, or your survival.  Tools are cool.  As are those possessions that enhance the experience of living-- whether that be a beautiful painting, a fine firearm, a ceramic pony your nine-year-old made, a musical instrument, or something whose significance only you truly know.

But if you have a lot of stuff that falls into the category of status symbol or impulse fulfillment, doodad or dust-gatherer, anchor or ball and chain... you might consider selling it and using the money to start some wonderful freedom project.

If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace.  We seek not your counsel, nor your arms.  Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you.  May your chains set lightly upon you;  and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.-- Samuel Adams, American Revolutionary

24.  DON'T BE A SLAVE TO DEBT

Speaking of going into debt merely to own possessions... a lot of us need to look at our personal relationship to debt.

Nationally, we're teetering at the top of an unstable economy, using phony, increasingly more iffy paper money backed by nothing, and we're listening to "experts" who tell us that perpetual escalating debt is wealth.  Hey, as long as we've got money to spend, we must be rich, right?  Who cares where the money came from?

Debt is wealth?  Get a Clue.  Do you believe that?  In many cases, going temporarily, and judiciously, into debt may be a tactic for gaining wealth.  But taking 125% of the equity out of your house to buy a new SUV, take a vacation, or get plastic surgery isn't "wealth."  It's insane, self-indulgent, immature, there-is-no-tomorrow folly.

Personal, household debt is sky high as I write this, and Americans have been busy for the last several years, tapping the last of the value out of their homes, having maxed out their credit cards and depleted their (unprofitable) savings accounts several years ago.  And we're relecting what our government's been doing since the New Deal.  So shy no?  We're learning from our big-spending Big Daddy who's done the impossible for 70 years.

But please remember the old maxim, called to my attention by Gen. Elias Alias of the Mental Militia:  "Whoever owns one's debt owns one's ass."

Debt is the key to how international power-brokers like the IMF control desperate, bankrupt countries.  It's also one way bankers,, governments, employers, and "the system" control us.

Besides, guys, personal perpetual debt just sucks.  Literally, those payments just suck away huge patches of our lives.

Wouldn't you rather do something better with your life than spend the first four months of the years paying the Government's bills (via your income taxes), then spending the next four... or five... or six months merely paying your own mortgage, second mortgage, home-equity loan, student loans,  credit-card bills, and car payments?  What if you were rid of most of that?  Just business.  Or save for a vacation to Tahiti.

If you feel stuck in debt, be thinking about what you could do if you had your money and your life back in your own control.  think about how it would feel to know that your next paycheck was truly yours, not BankOne's or Wells Fargo's.  think about the old, independent concept of "not being beholden to anybody"-- and how that would enable you to stand tall.

We'll talk more about the "hows" later in the book.  In the meantime, if debt's got you, just place this thought in your mind:  No matter how hopelessly crappy your financial situation looks right now, you can get our of the pits-- and probably in less time than you think.

I know.  I did it.

The key to wisdom is this-- constant and fequent questioning... for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.-- Peter Abelard

25.  NEVER BEG FOR YOUR RIGHTS

Free people never beg governments for fundamental rights like free speech, freedom of association, self-defense, worship and freedom to travel.  If the government gets in the way of your ability to live your life peacefully, as you see fit, in voluntary relationships with others, then it's wrong and you're right.  Period.

Don't sit around and wait for Congress or the state legislature to "fix" violated rights.  The very essence of the government game is that legislators give you a tiny bit here while grabbing a double handful of what's yours there.  Even if you gain a victory or two, in the long run, government is a game freedom lovers can only lose.

Never, Never beg or negotiate for your rights.  Take them.  If enough of us do, no government in the world can stand in our way.

The State is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength.  I was not born to be forced.  I will breathe air after my own fashion.  Let us see who is the strongest.-- Henry David Thoreau

26.  GET YOUR PRIVATE INFORMATION OUR OF THE PUBLIC EYE

Information security-- keeping your private business private-- is a major faced of Outlaw living.  We'll see that again and again in this book.  But one simple step anybody can take is to make our phone numbers, home addresses, and other basic information less available to telemarketers, thieves, casual snoops, stalkers, etc.  For instance:

  • Unlist your phone number
  • Get a PO box or private mail box (Mail Boxes, Etc. or some such)
  • have UPS packages delivered to a business instead of your home
  • If your state allows it, don't put your physical address on your drivers license (some will let you use your mail box address, though they'll still want your home address for their database)
  • Never put your home address on applications or order forms
  • Own property and vehicles in the name of a trust or a Wyoming or Nevada corporation or LLC (limited liability company, a sort of midway entity between a sole proprietorship and a corporation)
  • Don't use credit cards if you can avoid it
  • Get your utilities in some other name than your own
  • Be self-employed or work underground
Liberty is not a means to a higher political end.  It is the highest political end.--  Lord Acton

27.  DON'T PAY MORE TAXES THAN YOU MUST

If you think it's wrong for the U.S. Government to blow the limbs off little Iraqi boys, or toss non-violent drug users in jail for years, or hand billions of dollars in subsidies to crooked cronies... then why are you paying them to do it?

If we'd quit handing them the money, they'd have to stop.  It's just that simple.  we have little choice about some of the hidden or very indirect taxes we pay (for instance, when we give a surgeon $5000, we can't help it if he ends up giving $2000 of that to blow legs off little kids).  But we have at least some control in two areas:  our own income tax and sales taxes.

Many hardcore Outlaws pay no income tax at all.  That's a huge step (whether you take it by refusing to cooperate with the IRS or simply by reducing your income to near poverty level).  But at least you can reduce the tax you pay.  Go part time on your job.  Be creative with your deductions (no, you didn't hear me telling you to do anything illegal).  Give more to charity.

To pay less sales tax:  Buy less.  Or cross a border to buy in a state that has no sales tax.  Or (while you still can) buy from internet vendors who don't charge taxes to out-of-state buyers.

"For your own good" is a persuasive argument that will eventually make a man agree to his own destruction.--  Janet Frame, writer

18-21
Chapter 2


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