“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” – Benjamin Franklin
It’s no secret that governments tend to be fond of passing laws that obligate their citizenries to the government. In fact, most countries operate a system of direct taxation, which, in itself, allows a government to enact a host of laws obligating the individual to the government, complete with significant penalties for failure to comply.
And, of course, governments, when deciding what sort of general behaviour should be tolerated by its citizenry, tend to legislate less for recompense to those whom a citizen may have wronged and more for recompense to the government itself, even if it has not been wronged in the slightest.
Generally speaking, the larger the country, and the older the country, the more extensive the laws.
Of course, in a country that claims to be a democracy, the idea is supposed to be that the will of the people is followed by its elected representatives, which suggests that the people actually have a say in how they are governed – that their government may only impose such laws as the majority agree on.
Well, there’s nothing unusual in that concept. In fact, all contract law is based on the principle that a contract is created that two or more parties agree to. And, with the passage of further laws, the contract would be updated.
However, if I were to ask you to show me a copy of your current contract with your government, I’m guessing that not only could you not produce one, but that it never occurred to you that you should expect one.
That being the case, the only way that we could cobble together a contract would be to list a set of general principles under which you are presently governed. We can use US Law as an example, but much the same laws are common in many other countries.
For the sake of convenience, we shall use the terms “Servant” and “Master” to describe you and your government.
- The Servant may not leave the Master’s property without permission.
In order to travel outside the US, you are required to present your government-issued, identifying document for approval for you to leave, even briefly. The decision as to whether you may leave is unilaterally for your government to decide.
- The Servant may not receive income of any kind without disclosure to the Master.
All income that you receive, whether it be through wages or the sale of goods or services, must be reported to your government.
- The Servant shall pay a large percentage of all income to the Master.
The amount taken from you will be determined unilaterally by your Master.
- The Servant may not own anything that the Master disapproves of.
The Master shall have the authority to declare any commodity or good unlawful.
- The Master shall have the authority to fine or imprison the Servant.
If the Master determines that the Servant has violated any of rules #2-4, he shall be entitled to fine the Servant or lock him in a cage for a period of time to be determined by the Master.
- The Master shall have the authority to monitor the Servant at all times.
The Servant’s activities shall be monitored by the Master, through telephone, texts, emails, social media, and other forms of communication.
Of course, these are just the basics, but you get the idea. When looked at in these terms, it becomes difficult to maintain the self-deception that “I live in a democracy. My government exists to serve me, not the other way round.”
Interestingly, in most countries, a contract such as the above does exist under the guise of “Law.” And yet, this is not a contract that the Servant agreed to. It existed before he was born, and he was obligated to adhere to it merely by being born in a given jurisdiction.
Moreover, the Master has the right to change the contract, to the detriment of the Servant, at will and may do so unilaterally. The larger the country, the greater the degree to which the Servant is unable to take part in the discussion as to whether a proposed change in Law has his approval.
Not surprising, then, that the larger the country, the more numerous the laws are likely to be and the more imposing they are likely to be on the Servant.
Still, the relationship of Master and Slave exists most everywhere on the planet, to one degree or another.
And it’s understandable if the reader concludes, “Yeah, well, it’s the same no matter where you go. Whattaya gonna do about it?”
And yet, that’s not exactly true. It’s not the same everywhere.
There are countries, for example, that have no direct taxation of any kind. The individual, therefore, is not required to disclose his income to his government.
Similarly, in countries where there’s no tax on property, the government doesn’t have the power to confiscate property for failure to pay a tax.
Also, there are borders between some countries that are “porous.” Nationality documents are, in some cases, merely waved at border agents and, in some cases, dispensed with entirely.
Most governments declare some items to be illegal, but the First World appears to have a lock on regulating or outlawing virtually every commodity.
And, of course, the monitoring of the populace is quite unequal. The more sophisticated the technology in a country, the greater the surveillance. This does not mean that you have to live in a hut in the jungle to escape surveillance; it means that many countries simply cannot afford to fund or choose not to fund maximum surveillance.
The bad news is that, in any country, we’re enslaved by our government to one degree or another. The good news is that we can, at least at the present, vote with our feet and choose to reside in a location where we have greater autonomy – in some locations, far greater autonomy.
Reprinted with permission from International Man.