The State Versus the Living Dharma
by Jeff Knaebel
by Jeff Knaebel
"The law is to do unto others as you would be done by. All the rest is commentary."
The purpose of this brief essay is to explore how the State violates the most fundamental precepts of the all the great religious and wisdom teachings of humanity. The State systematically and structurally violates the basic precepts of morality which every family attempts to inculcate in the coming generation. This particular writing will be based mainly upon "Socially Engaged Buddhism" as promulgated by Thich Nhat Hahn, the famous Vietnamese monk nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King.
This vehicle of exposition was chosen not because of any false idea about the superiority of one ethical teaching over another, but only because of its accessibility to me as a student of Eastern thought, and because Thich Naht Hahn has formulated the principles in terms so cogently useful for ordinary persons. The principles are the same in all the great traditions of mankind.
Thich Nhat Hahn is an expatriate Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author and peace activist. He has studied and taught at Princeton, Cornell and Columbia Universities. He has published more than 100 books, including more than 40 in English. He was instrumental in ending the Vietnam War and led the Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks. He has established monastic and practice centers around the world and is a leading advocate of nonviolence and peace, presently residing at his teaching center in Plum Village, France. Information about his work and his worldwide centers can be found at Wikipedia.
Thich Nhat Hahn has formulated the basic Five Precepts developed during the time of the Buddha into Five Mindfulness Trainings that are easily accessible to all of us. He says, "The Five Mindfulness Trainings protect out freedom and make life beautiful. As guidelines for our daily lives, they are the basis of happiness for individuals, couples, families and society." The Five Trainings are shown verbatim below as downloaded from the Plum Village website.
The First Training: Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking and in my way of life.
The Second Training: Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants and minerals. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on earth.
The Third Training: Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.
The Fourth Training: Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord; or words that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
The Fifth Training: Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body and my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self transformation and the transformation of society.
Considerations and Discussion
Let us examine the relationship between these Five Precepts and the intrinsic, structural compulsions of the State. First, a brief working definition of the State: it is the "organization of the political means of livelihood." The "economic means of livelihood" is to work and earn. The "political means" is to take by force the labor product of others, thus dividing men into two classes — those who work and pay taxes and those who consume and live upon taxes.
The State is a recently conceived institution, an artificial construct that arose not from a natural progression of human society, but from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. It is a product of political expediency for a Power Structure to maintain control over an arbitrarily defined territory. The goal of this control structure is to maintain Power and to increase the wealth of Power. It is not a humane institution. Its politics have long been divorced from ethics.
The State Versus The First Training
"I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking and in my way of life."
Mohandas Gandhi is a good place to start. He said that the State is conceived in violence and can never be weaned from the violence to which it owes its very existence. Randolph Bourne's famous quote is the foundation of many books: "War is the health of the State." One need only survey the bloody genocide and ecocide of the last 100 years to see the obvious truth of this statement. As Howard Zinn has said, people do not spontaneously rise up and rush off to kill one another in large numbers. War is the deliberately designed product of the Money Power which controls every State. To reach the roots of war, follow the money. Read Brig. General Smedley Butler's book, War Is a Racket.
The State turns neighbors and natural friends into warring enemies.
"The Bush administration has announced to the world, and to all Americans, that this is what the United States now stands for: a vicious determination to dominate the world, criminal, genocidal wars of aggression, torture, and an increasingly brutal and brutalizing authoritarian state at home. That is what we stand for." ~ Arthur Silbur (Lew Rockwell.com., 2007)
We support this because we pay for it. We are responsible for the actions of our government because we pay for them, and we vote for the perpetrators thereof. The Iraq war, the Vietnam War (during which I trod on the homeland of Thich Nhat Hahn as a foreign aggressor) — these wars represent us. We must remember this, and withdraw our tax support.
I do not see how it is possible to adhere to the First Precept without a refusal of taxes. In my book, Experiments in Moral Sovereignty - Notes of an American Exile, I have written about trying to exercise of the right of secession which is the birthright of every individual. This right was also protected on behalf of the several states by the original intent of the US Constitution.
Mohandas Gandhi: "It is a sin to pay taxes, directly or indirectly, to a State organized in a military way."
We must also desist from voting, for when we vote we give our implied consent to a system that is and must remain corrupt. If we wish not to be accomplices to systematic genocide and ecocide, we must withdraw from every form of participation in an organization of society which is based upon coercion and violence. These ideas are explored almost daily on my website at www.freeofstate.org.
A headline written by Johan Galtung in the JUST Newsletter summarizes: "To End Terrorism, End State Terrorism."
The State Versus The Second Training
"Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving kindness… I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on earth."
To tackle this is a real grown up's job. Simply put, our economic, military and political institutions and activities are destroying the planet at an ever-accelerating pace. Practically every human economic activity or product is supported in some way by State subsidies. The awesome global transportation, communications, health, education, agriculture, scientific and technological infrastructure is substantially built, operated and maintained by direct and indirect government subsidy.
One of the State's most terrible powers in regard to exploitation is the power of Eminent Domain — the power to "condemn" land that is supporting living beings, and convert it into The Machine.
As the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) has written, "Small is beautiful, big is subsidized." To which I would add, "or condemned." We pay for these subsidies with our taxes. Thus are we conned into our own self destruction.
The perpetrators of this planetary destruction are acting from behind the shields of State Sovereign Immunity and Corporate Limited Liability, without responsibility or accountability. Corporations are creatures of the State. They are abstract legal constructs with the deemed rights of persons. They are killing us slowly, but the death process of the planet is accelerating.
We pay for all of this with our taxes. It is a slow-motion suicide, the death of a thousand cuts.
We can read about it in Jared Diamond, Winin Pereira, Derrick Jensen, T.N. Khoshoo, Rachel Carson, Mohandas Gandhi, Kirkpatrick Sale, Sunita Narain, Jerry Mander, Vandana Shiva, Chellis Glendinning, Arundhati Roy, gloomy statistical reports, and the daily news. But we don't need science or statistics. Just look around and see the destruction of life in your own neighborhood. The ecology that is being consumed and destroyed is our life. The child who imbibes toxins from his mother's breast milk might be our child. The food chain has become poison. Every well informed person knows this. And then?
As for government stealing, it is rampant and pervasive. Thousands of books have been written about it. The most sophisticated theft operation known to me is that of the US Federal Reserve. An excellent and superbly documented book on the Fed is The Creature from Jekyll Island by Edward Griffin (American Media, 2007, www.realityzone.com).
There are many books on international economic exploitation by the US government. One of the most informative is Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. Simply by virtue of our citizenship, we are accomplices to this oppression. Derrick Jensen (Walking on Water, 2004) points to our complicity: "The fact that industrial civilization murders souls instead of bodies doesn't reduce my culpability. I am participating in the larger processes that destroy or deform humanity. By simply doing my [industrial] job well, I am committing genocide and eviscerating what remains of the natural world."
"I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering…" Who are these others, if not the Corporations (legally determined to be "persons") and the Money Power Structure?
How to go about prevention of suffering that is directly caused by the Money Power acting behind the sovereign immunity of the State?
The State Versus The Third Training
"Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct… I vow to learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society."
According to quotations of Money Power Insiders that I have read — and that I believe, because of what I have seen, and because of my experience in the health and human services establishment through Hospice — it is the intention of the Power Structure to break down the family, so that the populace becomes dependent upon government subsidized programs. Aaron Russo (From Freedom to Fascism, and other works) has helped us to see some of these operations. During community service volunteer work, and on the reservations of Native Americans, I have seen enough of State interference in the lives of families and children to make me sick.
An apathetic and helpless populace is easy to control and to keep sending off to the factory for their eight hour grind of drudgery every day. It is easy to propagandize them into believing that harmless people are enemies who must be destroyed with financing from the Central Banks — the great alchemy of converting blood to money.
The family is foundation of society. It is, biologically, the "organization" of human sexuality. By breaking the family and creating a society of alienated and lonely individuals who are dependent upon government programs, or subsidies, or even "jobs" (the "all-volunteer" army could not exist in a healthy society), the State gains control and becomes an all-pervasive presence in society.
The whole health and welfare mess can in many ways be attributed to our abdication to the State of our procreative responsibilities. This is what the State wants: total abdication of individual responsibility.
How are we going to "learn to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, families," unless we ignore the State and do it ourselves? Whose responsibility is it, anyway?
The State Versus The Fourth Training
"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech, I vow to cultivate loving speech… in order to relieve others of suffering… I vow to learn to speak truthfully... I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain… I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts."
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, writing out of his experience in the gulags of Russia (we have the American Gulag just offshore, and Nice Government Men are constructing domestic models now itself), says it all in one line:
"When violence is adopted as method, falsehood becomes principle." Since the State is violence, falsehood must be its principle.
The title of Noam Chomsky's speech given in Calcutta about two years back is another succinct guide: "The Lies of the State and the State of the Lie." We live in a sea of lies and propaganda and corporate media spin in every area of human action: economics, education, health, justice, "security," politics, diplomacy, warfare.
Since war is the health of the State, truth is abandoned in order to promulgate lies and propaganda that will ferment and foster warfare. We are living in an era of "Endless War." People in the right positions are making a great deal of money.
The "speech" of the State is also aimed to generate and foster endless economic growth in support of a corporate — rather than human — based economy. This growth cannot continue endlessly for the simple reason that it is destroying the web of life upon which we all depend for survival.
Since the judicial system is closely related to the "Right Speech" precept, it must be noted that the administrative and judicial systems are rigged in favor of the corporations, and thus in favor of destruction of the planet's life supporting ecology.
In my personal experience with the judicial system, I learned that there is no "justice." There is only a war, fought with money and lies and manipulation and bribes. I recommend Adventures in Legal Land by Marc Stevens.
The duty of man is to love. Mohandas Gandhi and others have said, "Truth is God; God is Love." Therefore, Truth is Love. If I would live by love, then I must live by truth. The State is a lie. I must not support it, lest I become a lie.
The State Versus The Fifth Training
"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption... I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace… in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of… society. I am determined not to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs... I will work to transform violence, fear, anger and confusion in society…"
For the purposes of this writing, there is a direct connection between this Fifth and the Second Precept above. As noted above, the State directly and indirectly supports our wanton waste of this planet, our cannibalization of life. In my view, the State is the vector of our disease of mindlessly violent greed.
It seems self evident that a species which destroys its environment cannot survive. It is equally obvious that in order to thrive, a species must enhance both itself and its environment. The two are not separate. By their mutual support, they form a single organically integrated system.
The roots of both war and environmental calamity are in greed. The State is the instrument of greed, the tool of the Power Structure. Follow the money, and if you pierce the veil of Sovereign Immunity, you will find standing behind it the Corporate Complex. Pierce the veil of anonymity and Limited Liability, and you will find individuals who comprise the Money Power.
The merchants of death now comprise the wealthiest class in the world. They engage either in merchandizing the machinery of war, or in merchandizing a raped earth ecological destruction in order to maintain a consumerist economy gone mad with its insatiable greed and utter disrespect for life.
We are leaving behind such a wasteland of destruction that science can begin to calculate the "drop dead" date when life will not be sustainable on the planet. Our educational system is intended to produce more and more participants in this dance of death. We teach a philosophy of consume and destroy, along with the technical training in design and use of machines to accomplish the purpose.
Thich Nhat Hanh has told a Buddhist story of a couple who were forced to cross a desert with their young son and, running out of food, killed and ate the child, whose diminishing corpse they carried with them, constantly apologizing to it. "After the Buddha told that story, he asked the monks, 'Do you think the couple enjoyed eating the flesh of their own son?'" Nhat Hanh recounted. "The monks said 'no, impossible.' The Buddha said, let us eat in such a way that will retain compassion in our heart. Otherwise we will be eating the flesh of our son and grandson."
What is the wanton waste of a planet, if not cannibalism?
Taxation Is the Essence of the State — And Its First Violence
The following is from Carl Watner (www.voluntaryist.com) and printed here with permission.
What would the State be without taxes?
It would be like every other institution and organization in society (except those engaged in crime). It would have to raise its income on a voluntary basis, taking what people would willingly pay for its services. I seriously doubt it would be able to raise enough money to go to war, because many people would not be willing to spend their money in that manner.
It is my contention that taxation is theft because the State threatens imprisonment and/or confiscation of our property if we refuse to pay.
In the Five Traditional Buddhist Precepts we find: Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Do not steal. Respect the rightly owned property of others.
I find these admonitions applicable to two situations.
One: in supporting government we are saying it is morally right to use violence to threaten those peaceful people who refuse to pay their taxes. We are accomplices, and we are aiding and abetting the theft of their property. Therefore we should stop supporting our government's collection of involuntary taxes.
Two: Governments use the tax money they collect from us for the engagement in wars with other countries. Therefore we should stop aiding and abetting this engagement by calling for a cessation of taxation.
To me, this is a serious moral issue.
Is taxation stealing?
Really it doesn't matter whether the government spends the taxes it collects on fighting or something we both might consider constructive (such as health care or schools). If it is stealing. It doesn't matter how the thief spends the proceeds, even if he gives it to charity.
It is the stealing that is wrong.
How would civil society exist if government were not funded by taxes? This is a practical question, which I am sure could be answered once we agreed that taxation is stealing
There are many scenarios which describe the thriving of civil society without government. One I would like to call to your attention was penned by Pearl Buck in her 1953 book, The Man Who Changed China:
"[China (1916)] was now divided between the Southern Republic and the war lords who were the rulers in the provinces. How were the people ever to be gathered together again under one flag?
"Any other nation would have been destroyed by such civil wars. But the Chinese people are old and their country is vast. While wars were fought in one place and another between different war lords, yet the good common people in villages and towns and cities went on living decently and working hard. They were civilized people and they had through the centuries learned that if people live decently and work hard and respect each other, then it is quite possible to live for a while without government and even without police. Policeman, after all, are needed only to protect people from each other, and if there is mutual respect and good behavior people can manage themselves. The Chinese had long ago learned this lesson."
Politics As an Ideology — A Contradictory Moral Code
"The law becomes the weapon of every kind of greed. Instead of checking crime, the law itself is guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish." ~ Frederick Bastiat, The Law
The following is excerpted from an essay by Lew Rockwell on LewRockwell.com, 12 February 2008.
People who believe that politics as an ideology is an excellent mechanism for the management of society end up adopting a moral code that contradicts the teachings of all the world's religious and ethical systems. Neither Aristotle, nor Moses, nor Jesus, nor Confucius, nor Mohammed, nor Buddha, nor Gandhi, nor any other revered figure in history conditioned moral teachings with majority rule (or rule by well organized factions). — end of excerpt —
The third precept of the Order of Interbeing — founded by Thich Nhat Hahn during the Vietnam War and now (year 2000) reporting thousands of members — reads in part:
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda or education." (Queen, 2000, Engaged Buddhism in the West).
Stephen Batchelor (Buddhism Without Beliefs, 1997) quotes the Buddha's advice to the Kalamas:
Do not be satisfied with hearsay or with tradition or with legendary lore or with what has come down in scriptures or with conjecture or with logical inference or with weighing evidence or with someone else's ability or with the thought "the monk is our teacher." When you know in yourselves, "These things are wholesome, blameless, commended by the wise, and, being adopted and put into effect, they lead to welfare and happiness," then you should practice and abide in them.
Considerations for an Ideology
Keeping in mind the three preceding quotations, along with the Five Precepts, I ask:
- What is it that we don't understand about the connection between paying taxes and becoming accomplices to murder?
- What is it that we don't understand about the direct connection between giving money to our "representatives" — which they will use for the hire of soldiers to go and murder women and children — and executing the murder with our own hands?
- What is it that we don't understand about the consequences to ourselves of hiring — again and again, cycle after cycle — people to "represent" us who are known to us in advance to be liars?
- Is there a contract of agency between us and these "representatives?" If so, please show me the specific performance provisions and the ratifying signatures.
- If there is no contract of agency, and if the elections are by secret ballot without signature of the voters, then just who do these people "represent?" To whom are they personally accountable and responsible?
- Since the "representative" cannot actually know the persons whom he pretends to represent, does it not follow that in fact he represents nobody — except his own self interest?
- Who, even by pretence, represents those whose candidate lost, or those who did not vote?
- What is the meaning of "representation" when you vote only against someone who is worse than the other fellow? What if you feel none of the candidates are worthy?
- If there is a power structure in which the possessors of power owe no responsibility to the dispossessed (there is no contract of agency), and in which that Power Establishment can by "laws" of its own invention define the limits of its own power, and if there are mind-boggling quantities of money flowing every which way, then what outcome can we really expect, at the end of the day?
- It is not possible for one person to know the moral conscience of another. At times it is difficult for us to know our own conscience. Therefore it is impossible for one person to represent the conscience of another. What then, really, is this so-called "representative" government?
- Although we may vote against those "representatives" who vote for war, and we may demonstrate in protest, we will go to jail if we refuse to pay for the war. Is this not tantamount to conscription (at least of our labor), or perhaps even slavery to psychopathic warmongers?
- A currently relevant quote: "Our electoral system is nothing less than a massive influence peddling scheme where both parties conspire to sell the country to the highest bidder." ~ Senator John McCain, 7 July 2006.
- Is it worth the effort to imagine an organization of responsible self government to replace this "voluntary servitude" in a condition of endless war? Imagination is far more powerful than intelligence. What we can conceive, we can achieve. Together.
The Engaged Action of Thich Nhat Hahn
"Meditation is to get insight, to get understanding and compassion, and when you have them,
you are compelled to act. The Buddha, after enlightenment, went out to help people. Meditation is not to avoid society; it is to look deep to have the kind of insight you need to take action. To think that it is just to sit down and enjoy the calm and peace, is wrong." ~ Thich Nhat Hahn (quoted in TIME magazine by Sister Uppallavana, 2007).
The Peacemaker Order founded by Dr. Bernie Glassman (www.peacemakercommunity.org) parallels much of the work of Thich Nhat Hahn. Bernie's idea of service is here paraphrased from Engaged Buddhism (Queen, 2000):
"When we realize the Oneness of life and become involved in service, each person is serving every other person and is reducing suffering. It's easy to get angry at people who are messing us up. But when I cut my hand and it's bleeding, I take care of it instead of being angry with it, because it is part of me. Like this, if I am part of humanity and humanity is part me, I must take care."
How To Manage the Gut Wrenching Polarity — Each According to His Own Lights
(further ideas are explored at www.freeeofstate.org)
I only wanted to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult? ~ Hermann Hesse (quoted in Jensen, Walking on Water, 2004).
When thought, word and deed are congruent, we are whole and integrated. When there is dissonance, the reverberations have profound effect upon our lives. Knowing deep within that by our taxes, we are sponsoring the actions of the State in mass murder — becoming accomplices in crimes against life — generates subtle emotional vibrations in a cycle that produces anxiety, tension, fear, inner conflict. We know it is wrong, but we fail to stand for what is right. This is emotionally and spiritually crippling.
I wanted only to serve. My first Indian guru had said, "Go and live among the poor," and I did. And I kept on doing my best, until the highest service became resistance. Nonviolence is not pacifism. When your child needs protection — or rescue — you act. When your Mother needs protection, you act. The earth is our Mother.
Rare is the human being who would not sacrifice his life for his beloved. There have been too many acts of heroism to deny this.
Now, instead of sacrificing life for our beloved earth and the many human souls that it supports, what if we just sacrificed a little greed, a little selfishness, a bit of aggressiveness?
If we quit our consumerist addiction, it will turn out finally not to be a sacrifice, but a door to the joy of simple living and noble thinking. A "sacrifice" only of the dysfunctional tension of a mindless rat race in favor of harmonious living. A "sacrifice" of hot pollution for cool water.
A "sacrifice" of stress-induced disease for health.
Two things that we — even as passive, unarmed, peaceful citizens — do that directly promote war, more than any vote we may ever cast, and despite any protest in which we may march:
- Pay the taxes to make the bombs
- Put our savings into banking institutions which then lend our money to the corporate-military complex to design ever more efficient killing platforms.
We kill by inaction as surely as by action.
"We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, affliction, or infamy. We kill when, because it is easier, we countenance or pretend to approve of atrophied social, political, educational, and religious institutions, instead of resolutely combating them." ~ Hermann Hesse
(Jensen, 2004, Walking on Water)
Think about human consciousness as an energy commons — a pool of energy — that we have no right to pollute. Every dollar that we spend is a vote, a casting into the pool of common human values. With our dollars, we vote for Goodness, Beauty and Truth, or we vote for destruction. We guard the pristine original mind that is our birthright, or we pollute it.
It is Man's duty to love. Absent this love, we must surely perish in the stinking swamp of our own waste, or through endless wars that are genocidal in sense of eventual destruction of the entire natural genome of the human species.
This love must be of the "tough love" variety that is bestowed upon addicts by those who love enough to try to save them. We must see clearly and face bravely the reality of what we have created and continue to create for ourselves. We must take up tough ethical positions.
A Unilateral Declaration of Peaceful Divorce
"Once it is conceded that any man, or body of men, have any right to make laws of their own invention — and compel other men to obey them — then every vestige of man's natural and rightful liberty is denied." ~ Lysander Spooner
I have been associated with healing and treatment centers both formal and informal. The best advice to someone in an abusive relationship is to leave it, get out from it.
I have been in — and to the extent of official identification tracking documents, remain in — an abusive relationship with psychopathic egomaniacs (exemplified by, but not limited to, Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld) at the head of the US government. They have been destroying my world, and their successors will continue. No vote will change this destiny of a democracy. At some point, when the public is hooked on the notion that everybody can live at somebody else's expense, democracy degrades into a sham, a game of power, played in the present day by corporations. Even if a few good men were elected, the system cannot be changed, because the fatal moral hazard is structural. No matter who wins an election, the Establishment gets re-elected.
In accordance with the declarative statement below, I have left this abusive relationship. And I have provided a generous settlement to my former co-dependent: many years of many taxes; military service; community service; productive enterprises; progeny who have elected to stay and work for the machine; nonprofit charitable foundations (small and now expired); co-founding of a parent-created Montessori school. Having left these and more, I claim secession as my human birthright, declared as follows:
I maintain that it is the right of any individual person to reject and renounce a government which violates his moral conscience. I maintain that it is my personal right, in this very body, here and now, to ignore the State, and to refuse participation in its actions which violate humanity and life itself. I also declare that the same is my intention insofar as refusal to pay direct tax to any nation-state. There can be no treason if one's first loyalty is to humanity and to life itself. Human life is above Nation-State. Personal conscience and individual moral sovereignty is above State sovereignty. How can the question of treason arise when one refuses to murder helpless women and children? He who claims self ownership can never commit treason because the State cannot own him. He is not the property of the State.
On August 6, 1945, the day that the US rained nuclear hellfire upon Hiroshima, the Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii, founder of the Myohoji order of Japanese Buddhism, turned sixty. From that day of conflagration, he determined to devote his life to the abolition of nuclear weapons. He carried a profound connection with Mahatma Gandhi as he asserted his belief that human survival depends on the ability to turn away from materialistic civilizations that have caused so much destruction, war and misery:
"Civilization has nothing to do with having electric lights, airplanes, or manufacturing nuclear bombs. It has nothing to do with killing human beings, destroying things or waging war. Civilization is to hold one another in mutual affection and respect. What constitutes its foundation is not the establishment of a judicial system, but religious faith that seeks gentleness, peace, simplicity and righteousness." ~ Nichidatsu Fujii
May you live long, live free, and find peace.
March 12, 2008
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. Visit his website.
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