Experiments in Moral Sovereignty Notes of an American Exile

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare


DIGG THIS

During October–November
2006, the writer gave presentations at workshops and seminars across
India that had been convened to address the existential crises facing
humanity. Sponsors and venues included Prakrit Bharati Academy and
Kapil Smarak Samiti, Jaipur; Friends of Gandhi Museum, Pune; Gandhi
Peace Foundation, New Delhi; and World Buddhist Cultural Foundation,
Varanasi. The following introduction is the first in a short series
of condensations.

These presentations
across India express three main themes:

  1. A call
    to people of the world to generate an evolutionary quantum leap
    into a higher consciousness of nonviolence in order that we may
    survive as a species. This call is for a revolution from fear
    to love, from greed to generosity, from cruelty to compassion,
    from deceit to truth, from dependence to self-reliance, from war
    to peace, from corporate enslavement to individual liberty.
  2. An appeal
    to India to help raise humanity to a more sacred destiny — not
    as a nation state, but as a people — to guide mankind to that
    spiritual unity which alone can bring peace on earth.
  3. The story
    of one man's quest for individual moral sovereignty in a world
    of institutionalized structural violence imposed by the corporate
    warfare state. This struggle — within himself as well as with
    powers that be — led him to renunciation of and severance from
    his native land. He lives in India in self-imposed exile.

As
a US citizen, he remains subject to the tyrannical power of the
USA Patriot Acts and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Publication
of these seminars places the author at personal risk. He could be
put on some government watch list or no-fly list. He could be jailed
indefinitely, without charges and without right of habeas corpus.
He dares not return to American soil.

I,
Jeff Knaebel, undertake this risk as a duty to humanity and the
ideals of liberty. Guided by my conscience, I openly declare repudiation
of US income tax law. I do not labor for my earnings to be employed
to finance bombs which shred the bodies of women and children. My
purpose on this earth is not to finance destruction and murder,
but to learn the practice of gratitude and reverence for all life.

Deeds
are essential. All morally vigorous people express thought as action.
The inner work is primary and crucial. One gains strength from introspection.

The
background from which these presentations emanate — as well as the
motivation for speaking — is a set of simple yet horrifying observations.
In all but about twelve of my 67 years, USA has been engaged directly
in foreign warfare. Within the past century, nation states have
murdered at least 200 million people in wars and internal conflict.
The modern corporate warfare state has wrought such vast wanton
ecological and cultural destruction as to threaten survival of human
species. We live under threat of an insane political theory of nuclear
deterrence through mutually assured destruction.

At
this moment, an American nuclear armada is standing off the coast
of Iran. A nuclear attack seems easily within the realm of possibility.
It will precipitate an unimaginable conflagration throughout the
Middle East and West Asia, if not the whole world. For six billion
human beings to have organized themselves into a structure, such
that a handful of powerful men can trigger a final holocaust, is
to me insane. Nuclear proliferation is expanding to include new
players. The sheer scale of violence emanating from a hierarchy
of power relations — fuelled by greed and the drive to dominate
— is leading us to destruction.

The
Corporate Warfare State is the most abominable failure of humanity
in all of history.

My
presentation discusses what the State really is and how it actually
operates, stripped of propaganda and delusion. It points out the
fatal ethical design errors of system. It shows how power structures
attract the most corruptible of men: those who will to ruthless
murder in order to accomplish their evil ends. At the peak of its
growth cycle, the State becomes a gang of criminals ruling by a
mix of force, deceit and manufactured consent.

Using
Gandhi's demonstration of means is to end as seed is to tree, it
is shown how an institution based upon the fundamental moral flaw
of a monopoly on violence can never lead to peace. The State is
likened to a machine which has run amok — out of control. The relevant
operational fact is that State-sponsored endless war is no more
than a profiteering racket. War is health of State. War is profit
to the big corporate money interests. Loss of life does not report
to the corporate balance sheet.

The
nature of power relations which create the operating dynamics of
the State is examined. I conclude: For power, there is no tomorrow.
There are no grandchildren. Even of earth, there is none. There
is only power.

The
way has been lost. We stand on the brink of a maniacal holocaust.
How shall we live?

The
relationship of individual to State is examined. How did it come
to be? Is it a valid relationship in terms of reason, law, common
sense, and conscience? I ask basic questions of the State. Does
it murder? Am I financing this murder? Am I therefore responsible?
Do I finance murder voluntarily? Am I therefore a slave?

Conclusion
is that the constitution is of no authority. There can be no valid
binding agreement among men who never met even to discuss a document
which itself was drafted by men long since dead. The dead cannot
bind the living. Whatever agreements they made, whatever constitutions
they made, applied only to them and died with them. Thus the State
which rules my life is invalid at inception.

A
list of 72 violations of my human rights perpetrated by the United
States is presented. It is clear that — measured by the parameters
of clinical psychology — the historical "run of the mill"
heads of State suffer from paranoid delusions, kleptomania, a pathological
tendency to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty,
an obsessive acting out of ruthless domination. Diagnosis: criminally
insane.

The
reader is asked to question for himself, what three behavioral traits
did the following men all exhibit in common: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore
Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Churchill,
Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Mao Zedong, George Bush,
Tony Blair? For one clue, is not the lust for power and domination
quite clear? How did it manifest? Absent the institutional architecture
of an all-powerful State, would it have been possible for them to
have wrought so much murder?

The
government has perverted justice and public morality into such grotesque
forms as to be unrecognizable to a rational man with a conscience.
The State is an abomination vile, corrupt, vicious, destructive
and murderous. It has become the single greatest threat to human
survival.

Perceiving
the American state to be a criminal operation of nigh incomprehensible
scale — having perpetrated innumerable heinous crimes against humanity
— and having executed no contract by which it has any jurisdiction
over my life, I declare my right to renounce and depart from it
without obligation.

I
will present for your consideration my personal Declaration of Severance
and Independence from the United States. It says in part: I hold
these to be self-evident truths, that all people are endowed at
birth with equal, inalienable and independent rights, among which
are sole possession of their own life, liberty and the seeking of
happiness in their own way. That men may secure these rights by
forming such associations as they choose, which must operate by
non-coerced full consensus, and from which any member is free to
secede.

We
make a mistake to plead and litigate with our masters using only
the tools they have provided us. We cannot prevail within a frame
of the same rules by which we are enslaved. By this pleading, we
only feed the monster with our energy and money. We must take back
personal responsibility for our independence, and for our survival.
One way is to exercise our natural right to ignore the State, to
renounce it, and to work at building an independent life, accepting
neither the State's "benefits" nor its costs, to the extent
we are able to avoid them.

Gandhi's
example of Satyagraha (strong adherence to truth) with Ahimsa
(non-violence) points the method. We must be the change we wish
to see. I submit that a simple first step is to tell the truth in
every transaction, to every person, at all times, in every situation.
When we begin to call things by their true name — for example, "collateral
damage" is murder pure and simple — we will begin to wake up
to the reality of the human condition created by The Powers That
Be, and to which we have acquiesced for far too long.

I
conclude that there is no political institution/ism, no authoritarian
person/ist, no economic policy, and no government that can save
us from the self-inflicted disaster bearing down upon us. Only the
freedom to be in love with life, and to express that love without
arbitrary institutional barriers that label us as "the other"
— and thus block person-to-person natural expression — can save
us. This is a freedom to live in the original unconditioned character
— found deep within each of us — of total, sweeping, deep, overflowing,
unconditional love of life, of this earth, of its creatures, of
ourselves, of each other. To express this love, we must get the
State out of our way.

May
you live long, live free.

December
21, 2006

Jeff
Knaebel [send him
mail
] is an expatriate American domiciled in India since 1995.
He formerly practiced as a registered professional engineer, having
been trained at Cornell Univ. and the Colorado School of Mines.

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare
  • LRC Blog

  • LRC Podcasts