Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. – Albert Einstein
So it has come to this: for a number of years now, it has been literally impossible to live in the United States (and a number of other Western countries) without breaking the law on a regular basis; civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate estimates that the average American commits three felonies every day. Nobody can pinpoint exactly when the goal of universal criminality, long sought by the ruling class, was finally reached; all we can say is that it was sometime during the 20th century, an era which opened with the criminalization of dozens of private, consensual behaviors (ranging from non-marital sex to intoxicant use) and closed with the “tough on crime” laws, “drug war” escalation and discarding of the concept of criminal intent in the 1990s. And though I will continue to speak out against the government’s granting itself new excuses to abduct, torture, rob, cage and enslave people (such as California’s Proposition 35, which if passed will become the model for similar laws in every state), the fact of the matter is that it’s several decades too late; any enterprising prosecutor already has a wide variety of local, state and federal recipes to choose from when deciding exactly how he would like to cook any given goose.
A few years ago, Americans who like to imagine themselves as “the political left” eschewed the traditional label “liberal” in favor of the older term “progressive”; this is especially interesting since the progressive philosophy (which holds that the world should be ruled by experts who are “scientifically” trained to know what’s “best for society” and therefore have the right to impose their will on everyone else “for our own good”) is if anything the exact opposite of classical liberalism (which holds that each person has the right to self-ownership and self-determination). In other words, the shift in nomenclature revealed the truth previous leaders tried to hide under the “liberal” label: the only philosophical difference between the American political parties lies in the fact that soi-disant “conservatives” think the all-powerful ruling elite should be made up of the wealthy and religious authorities, while soi-disant “progressives” think it should be made up of those “educated” for the task in state-controlled systems. In practice, however, there is no difference at all. Both flavors of fascism favor infinite expansion of government power with the ultimate goal of total establishment control of all wealth and every individual; both dole out bread and circuses so as to call attention away from what they’re actually doing. And if you believe the process can be stopped by elections, legislation and all the other trappings of “democracy”, ask yourself why each of the last four presidents simply continued the policies of his predecessor even if his electoral platform stated the exact opposite, and why Congress is completely impotent to control powerful, entrenched bureaucracies like the TSA.
I don’t pretend to know what the endgame for all this is going to be, but I can tell you one thing: it will be neither pretty nor peacefully-resolved. The American government is an immense, blind, idiotic hyper-organism which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of Washington amidst the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes; it acts on instinct alone, and therefore cannot be counted upon to control itself even if its actions can clearly be recognized by rational beings as evil, chaotic and self-destructive. Because of this, no sane and moral person should accept any of those actions as having even the faintest trace of moral authority; in other words, the laws and regulations produced by the American political system no longer reflect sense, morality, the well-being of society, the will of the people or any other recognizable principle of good government, and are therefore not binding on free people. Police, prosecutors and other government actors who enforce such laws are not legitimate authorities, but rather the myriad tentacles of a mad, amorphous abomination flailing about wildly in its delirium and killing or maiming everything with which it comes into contact.
Given these facts, how is a moral person to act? The answer is, by one’s own conscience. Any resemblance between the laws and moral behavior is now purely coincidental; this is not a problem for those of us who have always relied upon our own moral compasses rather than guidance from authority figures, but those whose personal senses of right and wrong have been stunted through reliance upon external dictates will be much slower to adapt. It’s true that, as Voltaire said, “It’s dangerous to be right when the government is wrong”; however, our government is so totally out of control that even following all the laws one knows of to the letter is no guarantee against destruction. The “law-abiding” citizen is a thing of the past, so it’s better to do what one knows to be right even if it’s illegal, because everyone is constantly in violation of some law anyhow. It’s time for Americans (and all other subjects of repressive states, which means a large fraction of the world) to start practicing what Vaclav Havel called “living in truth”: in other words ignoring the lies and proclamations of tyrants and just living like free people, avoiding all contact with government actors whenever possible. If you’ve never read Havel’s essay “The Power of the Powerless”, you really ought to; I also highly recommend this recent James L. Payne essay entitled “Civil Noncompliance”, which covers much the same ground but in a much shorter space. Perhaps American fascism will eventually collapse just as Soviet communism did, but in the interim it needs to be thought of as something like a hurricane or earthquake: a mindless, super-powerful destructive force that cannot be controlled, but only avoided.