March 27, 2015

Freedom Outlaws Handbook 5-8


Chapter One:  SOME THINGS YOU CAN QUIT WASTING YOUR TIME ON

5. SURRENDER THE IDEA OF YOUR OWN INCOMPETENCE
One of the saddest lessons we often learn in government school (or from our families) is that we're incompetent.  While homeschooled, unschooled, private-schooled, or particularly motivated and well-encouraged kids build their own cabins or bicycles, write books, found organizations, and lead orienteering expeditions, millions of others learn to sit, listen, do meaningless makework projects, and to work not for real-wold accomplishment goals, but merely for grades (of what real value is a grade?) and to pass tests.

This passivity and fixation on irrelevancies throughout our childhood can lead to an assumption of our own incompetence as adults.  We fall prey to impressive "experts" and to promises that governments or corporations will "take care of us."  And we do it gladly, because we're convinced we're not capable of doing things for ourselves.  And of course, because we see ourselves as only marginally competent, then those other (presumably dumber) people must really need a nanny to get them through life!!

Yes, it's an inevitable trait of modern, sophisticated society to rely on specialists.  In our busy lives, there's plenty of reason for doing exactly that.  I'm not advocating a return to some primitive, pioneer lifestyle (though some freedom lovers live exactly like that).

I'm just saying we surrender something strong in ourselves when we assume we can't pour our own foundation for the spare room or fix our own lawnmower engine or grow our own veggies.

Some lucky souls are supremely competent at do-it-yourself skills and they know it.  Good for you; wish we had more of you.  And frankly I wish I myself were more like you.  One reason I include this item is because it applies to me.  My own lack of confidence and training has often held me back from trying to do tasks for myself.  Yet when I  try the scary and unfamiliar, I've more often than not discovered the unfamiliar tasks are far easier than I feared.  And the discovery that "I can do that!" becomes a great, long-lasting pleasure and a real boost to self-confidence.

If you approach unfamiliar projects with a sense of inadequacy, start picking some small independen-living project, whether they be building a garden shed from scratch, brewing beer, or tanning leather, and discover what one person can really do.

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." -- Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

6.  DON'T GIVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
This book will have lots of things to say about Social Security numbers--our Beast number, our national ID number, our slave brand.

This number floated into our lives on a raft of lies--that it would never, ever be used as a national ID number, that Social Security was a form of insurance policy, that each of us had an individual account into which we paid and from which we'd draw benefits, yada yada.  The number has become our de facto national ID.  And yes, this must be stopped.  Right at our doorsteps.

But the first thing to say about The Number is something that--fortunately!-- more and more people are getting wise to: Don't just give your number willy nilly to anybody who asks for it.

In most cases when a private business asks for your number, you really don't have to give it.  Even when a prospective employer asks for it the most sensible response is, "I'll be glad to supply it if you're interested in hiring me.  But for privacy reasons, I prefer not to give it until then."  Anyone should understand that simple precaution in these days of identity theft and heightened privacy concerns-- and any employer who doesn't is one you don't want to work for.

Unless you're a deeply dedicated Ghost, you probably will have to give you SSN to open a bank account, get a credit card, accept a job, or get insurance.  And if you are a Mole, you'll certainly give your SSN anytime that refusing to do so might draw suspicion on you.

But if a utility company, a school, a library, a gun dealer, or many other businesses ask for your number, you can nearly always persuade them to leave the SSN blank truly blank or use some substitute numeric identifier if they need and account number or ID number for you.

If they insist, then politely resist and press for an alternative to giving your SSN. (For instance, when signing up for utilities, you can usually give a deposit in lieu of an SSN; the deposit will be refunded or credited against your monthly bills once you've demonstrated a history of paying on time.)
If you're talking with a clerk who gets flummoxed by your insistence, respectfully ask to speak to a manager.  Keep insisting-- and give the number only when you've assured yourself there's absolutely no other alternative.

Don't be reassured by soothing statements that your number will be kept strictly confidential.  That's what thousands of people have heard-- just before their numbers were "accidentally" posted on the Internet or not-so-accidentally sold to marketing companies.

I quit using my SSN a few years ago.  But the card I was issued says right on it "NOT TO BE USED FOR IDENTIFICATION."  Yours may not.  The fedgov dropped that in embarrassment after the number had long been allowed to become, by default, a national and all-purpose ID number.
So it's now entirely up to you to make sure your number is NOT USED FOR IDENTIFICATION.  And that's increasingly difficult.  But throughout this book we'll keep coming back to some ways to at least diminish, if not altogether eliminate, SSN use in you life.

Government and your SSN:  When a government agency asks for your SSN, theoretically only those requests that comply with the 1974 Privacy Act require your obedience.  The Privacy Act states, "It shall be unlawful... to deny any individual any right, benefit or privilege provided by law because of such individual's refusal to disclose his Social Security number."  And following passage of the Privacy Act, basically only four uses of the SSN were considered mandatory:

1.  As a tax ID number
2.  To recieve public assistance
3.  To obtain and use a drivers license
4.  To register a motor vehicle

The act had teeth, too.  In cases where a person was denied a right, benefit, or privilege by someone who knew the Privacy Act's provisions, you'd be entitled to: "Actual damages sustained by the individual as a result of the refusal or failure, but in no case shall a person entitled to recovery receive less than the sum of $1,000; and... the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court."

However Congress has passed many laws since then requiring SSN use-- even for such things as hunting licenses and marriage licenses.  They didn't even have to repeal the Privacy Act.  If Congress creates a conflict between a new law and an existing one, the courts simply treat the new law as a trump card.  The conflicting portion of the old law no longer counts.

So the Privacy Act, for all that conservatives continue to wave it like a tattered flag, is basically dead.
Never fear, though.  We don't need no steekin' laws to fight the SSN.  Just our Outlaw wits-- and some information to be found later in this book.

And as usual, a whole lotta luck.

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.  It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. -- William Pitt the Younger, British prime minister

7.  CHECK YOUR AUTHORITARIANISM
As our fellow citizens goose-step toward the American police state, we might want to stop to check our (or their) F-Scale Rating.  After World War II, researchers strove to identify the beliefs that made people receptive to fascism.  The F-Scale is the modern refinement of the test they developed.  You'll find the F-Scale tester here: 

http://www.anesi.com/fscale.htm

The test is serious, but the ratings are tounge-in-cheek enough to be fun.  You might quibble with the scoring categories (I am NOT a "liberal airhead;"  I am a libertarian airhead), but it's interesting and the table of personality variables at the end is revealing.  Test yourself.  Test Mom, Dad, teachers, preachers, cops, and politicians.

As long as Americans are happy with their diversions (bread and circuses have become Big Macs and the Internet), then the steady erosion of their rights will continue.  As long as our national motto remains "Convenience Uber Alles," then there's little reason to be optimistic.-- Th. Metzger

8.  DON'T CONFUSE NOTHING WITH SOMETHING
If you've just lifted your creaky bones from that chair where you've been typing on chat rooms, forums, and e-lists all evening, don't tell yourself you've "done something" for freedom.

The Net is indeed a miraculous place for networking, and it can be a powerful political tool.  When an activist is in trouble, Netizens can raise thousands of dollars in legal defense funds in days.  When danger strikes, the Net warns us at light-speed.

But talking ain't doing.  Don't confuse hours of idle bitching or bad-news gathering with action.

Liberty means responsibility.  That is why most men dread it.-- George Bernard Shaw

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