What One Can Do
by Jeff Knaebel
A Man Can Become Free, He Must First Choose Freedom
(He begins by de-conditioning his own mind)
most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of
~ Stephen Biko, anti-apartheid activist tortured to death by State
police (D. Jensen, 2006)
If I lose my
mind in love of life, how will they employ it to kill?
If I don’t
pay taxes, then I am not an accomplice to the murdering State. I
have become free to respect the lives of others, and to love.
Earth – And
All Beings – how do I love Thee? Fiercely, with all of my heart
and mind. With my body, should the occasion arise, and until then
with whatever words and action I can muster, I will try to protect
and nurture and conserve Thee, knowing full well my shortcomings.
I write out
of my longing for relatedness and meaning, and that I may contribute
something to prevent the suicidal self-destruction upon which our
human species is embarked.
which destroys its ecological life support system can survive long
term. To survive, a species must enhance both itself and its environment.
Two roads lay
before us. The one we are now upon, which leads to selfishness,
greed, war and destruction. And the one less traveled, the path
of love, which beckons to generosity, kindness, compassion, peace
We have lost
control of our lives, our liberties, our labor, and our destiny.
We have indentured ourselves to the Corporatocracy – the Corporate
Warfare State (as coined by John Perkins, Confessions
of an Economic Hit Man). We have allowed ourselves to degenerate
into cannibals, consuming the lives of others. Rapidly now, we kill
off and consume whole species of animals, birds, fishes, trees and
plants. We are shredding every living being in the way of our greed.
Coerced and manipulated by the Corporatocracy, we are killing ourselves
in a mad scramble for diminishing resources, instead of learning
to share. The life of our own human species has now become "the
tragedy of the commons."
make more money designing, building and employing the machinery
of murder than they can by enhancing the true beatitudes of life
such as wisdom, restraint, compassion, kindness, respect, and nurturance.
We are the market to whom they sell. Our young are the cannon fodder
sent to die, presently as volunteers openly recruited on the steps
of our schools. The market for murder is there, and we are selling
ourselves into it. On the scale of the Corporate State, murder is
no crime, it is just another business deal. Life itself has become
a consumable, bought and sold in the marketplace.
as programmed machine robots, 24x7 we kill, moving to the war drum’s
dirge of death. The dead eat the living. We leave behind rivers
of blood and poison as our effluent. As the inheritance of our grandchildren,
we leave these.
We must evolve
to a higher level of consciousness. Change begins in the mind. In
complex human societies, institutions such as corporations and State
are tools employed by the minds of the powerful to maintain power
and its emoluments at any cost, including unspeakable atrocities
of our struggle for survival is the mind of man. Nothing about ourselves
can be changed unless it is first accepted. In an alleged democracy
– where voting can supposedly stop this carnage – where does the
buck stop, if not with us?
is that corporate-controlled democracy doesn’t work. This essay
hopes to make a small contribution to conceive and persuade
the peaceful deconstruction of the Nation-State Corporatocracy which
is destroying us. The following perceptions of fact, moral
hypotheses, and actionable suggestions are placed before the reader,
with an important caveat as introduction.
I draw attention
to the fact that I write as a person with at least some access to
are likely far too mild for those savagely oppressed people of the
"third" and "fourth" worlds from whose bent
backs and starving children my writing equipment is extracted. Readers
in circumstances similar to mine, gentle and nice people, may refer
to Subcomandante Marcos in his Declaration of 1994, responding
to an offer of amnesty by President Salinas de Gortari: "And
what are they going to forgives us for? For not dying of hunger?
For not keeping quiet in our misery? For not accepting quietly the
gigantic historic burden of contempt and abandonment? For not rising
up in arms when all other roads were closed to us?" The
armed protestors of Nandigram, India, recently defending their ancestral
lands from government confiscation – intended to create a "Special
Economic Zone" in which MNC manufacturers would be granted
tax exemptions – is another example.
The Nation-State is the sword over our collective heads. This system
of organizing a society of six billion human beings doesn’t work.
Its institutionalized structural violence is destroying humanity
and the earth. States have murdered more than 230 million human
beings in the past 100 years. A system that places the power of
planetary incineration into the hands of a few psychopathically
aggressive tyrants is clearly insane. It is impossible to reform
a system whose very foundation is organized criminal violence, lies
and deceit. It must be abandoned, as a sinking ship. Don’t fight
it. Just quit supporting it, quit cooperating with it, quit paying
taxes to it. Simply leave it. Build your own ark, or look for like-minded
others to join, forming islands of light in a sea of darkness.
Origin of the problem is fear caused by the paradoxical, ambiguous,
unsolvable inevitability of the human condition. Institutions such
as State arise in response to fear.
A solution exists. All beings love life and fear death just
as I do. Therefore it is good that respect for life guide my actions,
that I should take not life, but that I should nurture and enhance
life, if only for my own self-interest. If the precept is not to
kill, and the means employed is always nonviolent, the end must
be peace. Let go of fear in order to love.
now that our actual situation is that of pilgrims lost among fearsome
killing fields, what to do? I am unable to propose a solution as
a "roadmap." However, it seems obvious that the road we
are upon leads deeper into darkness. If we can recognize and admit
that much, then we can try to find the way together. Rather than
a "solution," I offer my one-step-at-a-time actions. Like
a man on the road in the dark of night, I walk to the edge of the
light cast by my lantern, and then again, and again to the edge
of the light, keeping faith in reaching the goal.
The means of solution. Here I offer myself (value unknown, and without
warranty), in the form of a few footprints on my own path of civil
disobedience, and in my stated intentions. I have chosen tax refusal
and exile in a foreign land, together with a radical renunciation
of rules and laws – a renunciation that is escalating with time.
I have set myself against blind obedience to traditional authority
of patriarchal domination, as well as bureaucratic legalistic usurpation
of individual rights. I renounce the State and declare my right
to ignore it. I renounce any "authority" that demands
violation of my conscience.
In a culture
where true madness masquerades as sanity, my public denunciations
in a foreign nation of the U.S. war are likely to be labeled as
"treason" by the State, and "crazy" by the Establishment.
Against whom shall I commit treason? The brotherhood of man? My
own rational mind and conscience? The universal commandment against
murder? Or the State?
I have more faith in war criminals – like George Bush and Dick Cheney
– than in my own conscience, to make life and death decisions? Why
should my life, and yours, and uncountable others, be subject to
the decisions of money power, of who to kill and who to let live?
Who is criminally insane – these psychotic nuclear-weapon-brandishing
tyrants, or us?
If I voluntarily
violate my personal integrity and abdicate my conscience to these
war criminals, and keep on financing their mass murders and torture
by paying my taxes, what does that say about me? And if I participate
in a sham election – by secret ballot, so there can be no contract,
no acknowledgement of responsibility – to pick one of the next two
carefully groomed war criminals-to-be, put up and financed by the
Corporate Establishment, what kind of fool am I?
How does one
come to peace with his hiring of murder? How does one negotiate
How does one
find truth from the propaganda spun by corporate media as "journalism?"
Is it the angst
of facing ourselves that forces us to sit in front of the TV every
night? Does this mental-moral anesthesia help maintain the denial
of my own complicity? Or, does it just make endless mass murder
To work against
the State, one must begin with himself and his local sphere of influence.
Nonviolent methods include tax refusal, boycott of State services,
withdrawing to the extent possible from participation in all functions
of the State. Become independent and self-reliant. Avoid identification
documents, work for barter or cash, shun credit cards and banks.
Convert depreciating fiat currency into physical gold in personal
possession: quit letting the State embezzle your savings with its
printing press inflation. Form local service organizations, community
support groups, and local direct unregulated exchange markets. And,
importantly, educate others. Spread the word. Return self-government
control to the local level, beginning at home. Ignore the State.
Live by your own lights and your own wits, and face the consequences.
You will enjoy the happiness and freedom of the brave.
Each must work
out his own destiny if he is to reclaim his personal identity. One
must never give in to power. Walk the talk.
the people have made up their minds to be free, there is nothing
that can stop them."
Desmond Tutu, in the video A Force More Powerful
In my case,
the next point of intersection with Power is the expiry of passport,
which I will not renew, foreign domicile notwithstanding. Since
freedom of movement (a basic human right) is required to maintain
a livelihood, these are tantamount to permission-to-live documents.
Without them, in many ways your life is at risk. The State has usurped
my right to life itself, and placed it in the hands of some faceless
I don’t know
what the Nice Government Men will do, but my working hypothesis
is this: if they detain me, imprison me, harm me, or kill me – any
or all of which are possible if as planned, I put up unarmed, unaided
physical resistance – then they will have advanced my cause.
amounts to this test. Does a physically more powerful individual
have the right to put a collar on me, track me, restrict my movements
except by his permission, and extract from me the product of my
labor? Does a group of thugs have this right? Does a group of "lawmakers"
(a significant number under indictment for major crimes), placed
in power over me, against my will, have this right?
Lysander Spooner (circa 1882), a Constitution has no inherent authority
unless as a contract between man and man, and obviously can be binding
only upon those then living who acknowledged it. No man can give
to another any right of arbitrary dominion over himself, for that
would be giving himself away as a slave. No man can give to another
any right of arbitrary dominion over a third person, for that would
indicate a right in the first person to make the third person his
slave. The fact that no man can delegate or give away his own
natural right of liberty, nor any other person’s natural right of
liberty, proves that he can delegate no legislative power whatever
– over himself or anybody else – to any man or body of men.
Each man owns only himself – he owns no other. Nor can any other,
or group of others calling themselves a "constituted authority,"
Maybe it is
time to stop being nice to these thugs who rule us. "Nice people"
have fomented two World Wars, built a nuclear arsenal that threatens
planetary incineration (quite possibly by accident or technical
failure), created corporations that are devouring the earth, and
launched a world-wide "war on terror," more accurately
described as a war on life.
atrocities are not possible because of the evil of a few, but the
weakness of the many. Because so many will not face the darkness
of their own hearts, a few can destroy all of us. We must come out
in broad terms from Professor J.D. Forbes (University of California,
1972): imperialists, rapists, exploiters and warmongers are not
just on the wrong road. They are diseased, insane, mentally unclean,
deranged. It is a soul sickness that is communicable and has become
global. People like Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Ferdinand
Marcos, Augusto Pinochet, Richard Nixon, George Bush – mass murderers
all – cannot stay in power without public acquiescence, and cannot
operate the machinery of power without technocrats and civil servants
who collect revenues and maintain the government. Henry David Thoreau
said he had no quarrel with a piece of parchment (the law), but
with the man he faced (the tax collector).
"civilized" people in power arrange for land confiscations
– such as "Special Economic Zones" – in Brazil, Columbia,
India, and elsewhere, the development of which annihilates the lives
of countless tribals and villagers. Although these "refined"
gentlemen of the elite do not personally point a gun and pull the
trigger, the effect is the same, and they know it.
is the Corporate Warfare State, operating through MNC’s and Central
Banks. But, and note well, they are using – and destroying – our
land, our water, our forests, our wild creatures, our ecology, our
human commons, and they are doing it with our labor, our money,
and our acquiescence. We succumb to the media propaganda and buy
their rubbish and finance their wars and send our children into
their man-made inferno.
out that the disease of exploitation has been spreading for several
thousand years. It gets worse across time. As people catch it, they
pass it to the young, who are taught more by immediate relatives,
peers, internet games, movies and TV than by schools.
is thriving – of children, of love, of women, old people, the weak,
the poor. Different body parts, odors, illnesses, insecurities,
desires, fears, religion, the desire for enlightenment, our DNA
genetic code, consciousness itself, all are exploited. Everything
is for sale, including the life of every creature, and every woman,
child and man. In the "free world," the buying and selling
is carried on through the inhuman agency of the corporation, an
abstract legal construct excreted from the legislative bowels of
have we built the heartless, bloodless corporate machine which now
enslaves us. Life itself, the whole of the human species, is at
risk of extinction by the machine’s inhuman, electronically controlled,
metallic cutter-crusher-pincers. By this machine does life get converted
to ciphers reporting to the bottom line of a balance sheet. Wasted
human lives – when flesh meets steel – do not report to this ledger.
The legal construct
of Limited Liability of corporate owners and managers, and the raw
power-of-the-gun protection of Sovereign Immunity granted to agents
of the State, are the shields that protect these malefactors from
accountability for their heinous actions. So long as they are thus
free of responsibility, they will continue, protected by "law"
from retribution. What "law," this?
We don’t know
who, or what, created this Universe, what Intelligence connected
Spirit to breath and flesh. But we do know that its physical manifestation
on our behalf is this precious blue-green planet that allows us
to play in the Fields of the Lord.
We might be
wise to consider some attempt at gratitude and respect for this
Great Benevolence that supports us, rather than tearing it apart
and smashing it to the last atom in a vain and arrogant attempt
to gain control over life and the Mystery. To what end our mad destruction?
Why not live, and let live, and love?
are really emblems of slavery…
…civilization is that mode of conduct which points to the path
of duty." (Hind Swaraj, 1908)
And what is
duty, if not to serve and nurture life?
could never get a man to the moon, but it may be the only way
we can survive on earth."
Sheldon Kopp (1972)
We will need
some well-controlled, highly focused righteous anger in order to
survive. Since the present course, unabated, clearly risks suicidal
extinction, we must risk "unknown" cut and try solutions,
as many as we must, for as long as we live, until we get it right.
Some of these ideas are further developed at my website, www.statelessfreedom.org.
does not mean electric lights. It does not mean producing atomic
bombs, either. Civilization means not killing people."
Nichidatsu Fujii, Buddhist Nihonzan Miyoji Temple,
quoted by J.D. Forbes, PhD (Professor Emeritus, University of California),
We must let
go of fear in order to love. It has been done. It can be done. Let
us do it.
May you live
long, live free.
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.
© 2007 LewRockwell.com