Freedom will not be achieved overnight. It will probably not even be achieved in our lifetimes.
That being said, if we do not start the journey and help each other to find the path, it will likely not be achieved at all.
My path towards liberty
My path towards liberty, a path that I am still on, has been a long and rewarding one with no small number of mistakes.
That being said, here is how I eventually came to see liberty clearly.
About my parents
Being primarily raised by an anarchist father who did not know he was an anarchist and a mother with a libertarian bent that had no idea what libertarianism was, I had a lot more experience with liberty than most of my peers.
This is not to say that I had no supervision growing up, but rather that few arbitrary rules were set by my parents and a I was given the freedom to make, and learn from, my own mistakes.
As a small child
As a kid, once I showed myself to be semi responsible (around the age of 10 or so), I could head out for the entire day if I wanted and spend my time exploring the woods, swimming at the nearby river (about 5 miles away), or (when we lived in arizona) exploring the desert.
As long as I got home before dusk, I got in no trouble. Yes, my mother worried (mothers always do), but she did not use that as an excuse to keep us confined to our yard.
When I did something wrong my father would take me aside, ask why I did what I had done, explain why it was wrong, and provide appropriate punishment, typically in the form of my providing restitution to those I had wronged.
I received my first knife at the age of 8, my first bb gun not long after that, my first rifle (a 22 caliber rifle) at the age of 13, and my first shotgun (a breach loading 4-10) the next year.
Most people could not conceive of giving their children such things at such a young age, much less letting them go out on their own with them.
Obviously, my dad didn't just let me go out with any of these until he had spent some time with me showing how they worked, how to maintain them, and how to use them properly without any risk of harming myself or others.
Also, he generally required that if I wanted to use my rifle or shotgun I needed to stay on the back side of our property unless he was with me.
I never got into any trouble with any of these things because I understood how to use them and knew the difference between what was right and what was wrong, not because I was an angel.
As a young adult
Once I moved out of my parents house at the age of seventeen, I held a job in the meat market of a local grocery store so that I could pay bills and finish high school.
From there, I went to a local community college to study math, computer science, engineering, and pretty much anything else I was interested in. I paid my own way (with some help from my mom for the expensive books required) via scholarship and the meager monies I had left over working at a bookstore after paying rent.
Eventually, I quit college as universities were simply too expensive and there was no way that I was going to take out a loan for tens of thousands of dollars.
Once I quit college, I started working in various computer related fields, starting out by doing internet modem connection trouble shooting, moving to video game technical support for a small childrens video game company, and eventually moving to enterprise database design and administration.
Eventually, I started wondering why it was that no matter how much money I was making, it seemed like I was little better off than I was previously... which led me to start looking at two things:
- The how and why of taxes
- Welfare and other methods of living off of the state
I was shocked to realize that even though I was making 60k at the time, if I were to quit working and go on welfare I would be just as well off though I'd have less spending cash on hand. Of course, spending cash would be an easy thing to address by doing something productive with all the free time I'd have via having no job.
This realization is what started my taking a very hard look at what was going on and why someone like me who worked hard and did excellent work was no better off than some of the people I knew who did nothing more than sit around the house all day collecting checks from those calling themselves government.
This digging led me to stumble upon the ideas of liberty, voluntaryism, anarchism (the first time someone said I was an anarchist, I was shocked... because I was mis-educated about what the word meant), and freedom.
I saw the problem, but not any viable solutions
At this point in my life, I could see what was wrong but was unable to find any real solutions that I considered to be viable.
Of course, I kept searching for solutions. I found quite a few different solutions over the years, but it was really difficult to tell those that were insane from those that simply appeared insane but were actually quite useful. This was primarily because I was a public school victim and had no framework for comprehending some of the potential solutions that I stumbled across.
Because of this, I spent a lot of time reading a variety of authors related to topics on liberty and law.
Many of the writings I found on liberty made good sense, but offered few (if any) real solutions on how to start moving towards actual liberty from where we are now.
Many of the writings on law that I came across were extremely difficult to comprehend simply because I lacked a framework for understanding law and did not know that there was a difference between lawful and legal.
Eventually, I managed to piece enough things together and process what I had learned into a fairly clear lens through which to view reality without having it warped by the brainwashing that I received (both in schools and via the media).
At this point in my life, I had no dependents and so I chose to start testing my knowledge by doing things that were completely lawful, yet illegal according to those who write legislation.
Keep in mind that I did not just jump in and attack the cash cows of the establishment as I knew full well that doing so without being absolutely certain of what I was doing was not just risky (which it always is even once you can see clearly), but would be downright foolish.
For this reason, I restricted my experiments primarily to small things such as jay walking, having yard sales every day, and not obeying when told to do something by the local governments.
I had a very good track record, only once spending any time in a cell (a couple of hours while the officer who arrested me for having a tail light out tried to figure out what crime to charge me with) and in every other instance getting those who came against me to back down.
Of course, I don't go out of my way these days to test my knowledge for two reasons:
- I have 7 dependents who would suffer were I to make a mistake or have my rights criminally trampled
- I've tested what I've learned to my satisfaction, knowing that these things work well when done properly.
This is not to say that I kow tow to every demand made upon me, but simply that I no longer actively seek out contests with those who claim to rule us.
Key requirements to move towards freedom
Now, twenty years since I started my path down the rabbit hole, I have come across a variety of real solutions that I have found to work to varying extents.
This is not to say that I am living free, but rather that there are viable ways to claim as much freedom as one wants if one is willing to spend time, effort, and energy to do so.
In my experience, the main things one needs to work towards freedom are:
- Knowledge: Knowing how things work is the first step in being able to see where problems lie.
- Conviction: If you do not have conviction in your beliefs, your beliefs are not well formed enough to uphold them.
- Lack of Fear: With conviction comes a lack of fear. If you fear what might be done to you, you can be coerced into going against your knowledge.
- An Open Mind: If your cup is full, you cannot add more to it. While knowledge and conviction are important, it is also important to stay open to new ideas so that you can see them clearly, take what is useful from them, and discard that which is not.
- Open Communication: Learning to speak effectively with other people to spread the ideas you have found to be true and helping those you speak with to be able to do the same
Until you step out of fear, it is difficult to make any meaningful steps towards freedom.
Fear is the mind killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
~ Frank Herbert, Dune
How far one can go towards liberty depends, in good part, upon how many depend upon them.
Workable solutions - the machinery of freedom
Along with my series on legal self defense (which should probably be called lawful self defense), I'm going to start writing about some of the real workable solutions that I use in my own life.
Most of these will fall into the following categories:
- Being Self Sufficient: Once you know how to do something for yourself, you can choose whether to spend your time doing that thing or spend your stored time (money) to have someone else do it for you. Should everything collapse for a while, the more self sufficient you are at providing for your basic needs the better off you are.
- Understanding Criminality: If you can clearly see the crimes being carried out against you, it becomes much easier to prevent them from occurring in the first place and, when they do occur, address them properly.
- Living Lawfully: A clear grasp of the difference between lawful and legal helps one to see where to tread carefully so that one can avoid the pitfalls that so many good people fall into.
Much of what I will be writing in this series will sound utterly insane to those who do not see what I see.
I am starting this series separately from my series on legal self defense primarily because that series focuses on lawful process that can easily be proven to oneself by doing a little research.
This series will include things that range from simple and obvious once seen to things that many (most?) would call crazy.
As with anything you read (whether in a book, on the internet, or elsewhere), buyer beware.
Do your own research and separate the wheat from the chaff yourself. I am not all knowing and, like you, am still figuring these things out on a day to day basis.
Note that everything in this series is my opinion, drawn from my life experience. Your mileage may vary.
The primary reason that I will be writing these things here is because once established on the block chain, our writings become extremely hard to remove from the internet by legislative force.
If you are one of those running this system and do not want these types of writings shared here, just let me know and I will find some other means to spread them.