“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”- Albert Camus”

We are many things, but free is not among them.

I am in the process of preparing my tax returns for two thousand twenty one. For the third year in a row, I will be writing a check to the federal government for an obscene amount of money (as far as I am concerned). Make no mistake, I’m not some rich dude whining about paying taxes, either. I worked my ass off (multiple jobs, sleepless nights, classes, side hustles, and all sorts of student loans) to get to where I am, which is reasonably “successful” at this point in the career trajectory I have followed as stipulated by the State as the proper path to be a good little worker bee.

In addition, my significant other runs two companies, for which a similarly inordinate amount of hard work is required. For the “privilege” of being able to operate the companies, which, again, my sig O started and built from the ground up, the federal government requires a nice big chunk of those earnings, right out the gate, including the portion you pay simply for having the audacity to have your own company. With the money the Fed steals from us, we could have our kids’ college accounts fully funded. When we work and earn, we are working and earning for the State.

If we want to turn our hard work into something tangible, aka by spending our money, we take that percentage that the State has deemed ours, and head to the store (in person or virtually) where the State takes its next piece. Groceries are taxed, gas is taxed, the data we use on our phone is taxed. Go to the movies, there’s tax, pay an entry fee into a “public” park and there’s tax (while income taxes are already going to prop up the park’s hefty bottom line), park your car on a “public” road that our tax dollars paid for, and you have a parking meter which better get fed, or the State can come in and have your car towed, at your expense… For every transaction in which we are involved, the state takes its percentage. If I buy a fucking glass of lemonade at the lemonade stand that the little girl on my street corner is running, and the Almighty Fed finds out about it, you better be goddam sure I am paying a tax on that and so is she.

***Most lemonade stands are fairly small operations, earning only a few dollars. However, if that amount exceeds $400, it is taxable by the IRS as self-employment income. Even if this money is characterized as charitable contributions to the child, it is considered income. — Lindey Law***

You think you have options on this? Miss your taxes by a day, and fines begin to accrue. In fact, if you own your own business, you owe quarterly taxes ahead of time, based on estimates, which, if you get wrong, you pay fines and fees. Try to stand up to that… well, ask Wesley Snipes how that worked out. (for the record, he *only* did some small amounts of jail time and paid huge fines a few times, and he has the best legal team money can buy). The State can put another human being behind bars — in a cage — because that human does not give the State part of the money that person made…

I am one of the lucky Americans who was able to budget properly and save enough to purchase a home. Except, now that we are here, I find out that “ownership” is a funny term insofar as the State looks at it. I bought my house with a bank loan, distributed under extraordinarily rigid rules, mandated by the State, which takes fees at each step along the way. Eventually (fingers crossed), I will have redirected enough of my State-truncated earnings to reduce that balance so that the bank has no further financial stake in my home, yet I still have to pay taxes to the State. If you fail to pay property taxes, they start with fees and fines, but they can foreclose, throw you out, and *auction your fucking home for their financial benefit*. If “ownership” requires that I have to pay tithing to stay somewhere or I can be thrown out and my asset sold for the financial benefit of the entity throwing me out, then I don’t actually own it.

Transportation is the most clear-cut method of operationalizing freedom of movement, but I can’t get in a car and go somewhere unless I hold a license showing I have met a State-mandated requirement of testing and suitability. Further, the car itself can’t go anywhere, until — and this is where it starts to get really crazy, so bear with me… Think about this — every year that you “own” a car, you have to pay the State a percentage of its value to be able to continue “owning” via with the ever-popular property tax. But, before you are even allowed the *honor* and *privilege* of paying off the State’s tax, which “frees” you up to be allowed to legally drive the car, you have to take said car to a State-approved location where it is inspected for safety and emissions standards which the State deems sufficient. Once the State deems the car “satisfactory for driving” and you have forked over more of the portion of your earnings you were permitted to keep as a “fee” to document that the State gives this car a thumbs up… only then are you allowed to pay an additional percentage in property tax. The sum result of all that bullshit — which often includes everyone’s favorite visit to the State-run DMV — is that you are now allowed to pay your property tax.

Let’s say you want to do something outrageous, like sleep soundly in the house on which you pay taxes filling the State coffers while working your ass off to save up enough to continue “owning.” You put your head down on your pillow and close your eyes, content with the knowledge that, if nothing else, your house is yours and anyone intruding is doing so in a criminal fashion, and you are able to deal with the situation accordingly. In an instant you go from sound asleep to full activation, when you realize that this nightmare is real, and that is actually people screaming and boots kicking down doors. You grab your constitutionally protected firearm to defend your home and family, and it’s the last thing you do, as lead rips through your body. Want to hear more about being completely innocent of anything and having the cops go 11th century Viking on your house? Ask Amir Locke, or Breonna Taylor, or Duncan Lemp, or Ismael Lopez, or married couple Dennis Tuttle (59) and Rhogena Nicholas (58) and their dog for good fucking measure (and a dirty fucking piece-of-shit cop lied to get the warrant), or 80-year old Eugene Malory, or 19-year old Isaiah Tyree Williams, or seven-year old Aiyana Jones. Oh wait, you can’t ask them, they’re all dead.

Think about how insane this is — the cops can break into a person’s home violently and unannounced in the darkest hours of the night and kill that person (not that it should matter, but who is often innocent of any crime) and that person’s taxes pay for the police salary, pay for the bullets that killed him/herself, and pay for the legal defense team that sees to it the cops are cleared of any wrongdoing. Just to be clear who is in charge, the State often sends your family a bill for the damages. I am commenting here on the deaths of innocent bystanders, notwithstanding the cops who steal a quarter of a million dollars and get away with it, or handcuff a women to her bed naked for hours, or traumatize three-year olds because the silly cops made a whoopsie on the address, or beat the fuck out of a dude in another silly whoopsie, or raid the wrong house and post snarky pics of it to social media, or the one-year old who police roughed up and then charged his dad with attempted murder for shooting at intruders in the wee hours of the morning. And this happens roughly 20,000 fucking times a year! Further, an estimated 10 percent of these fucking unrestrained marauding home invasions are at the wrong goddam fucking address!!! That’s freedom?

OK, you’ve decided that the city life is too dense so you’re moving out to the countryside to breathe free and reap the fruits of your labor. Want to grow food? Better make sure it doesn’t have certain genes that have been patented by Monsanto, or the full force of the State will be unleashed to ensure you aren’t doing something as audacious as eating vegetables from seeds that the wind blew from somewhere else. And that’s just the food for your personal consumption — god fucking forbid if you want to sell your produce. By the time you have passed all the requirements, inspections, taxes, and our favorite “fees,” there’s essentially nothing left. Food waste is a massive problem in the U.S., and a little effort could end hunger AND food waste in our country, but there is no chance that happens right now with the hurdles that must be jumped through to get that extra food into the belly of a hungry person.

I get it, this is all super stressful. You need a minute to unwind, relax, decompress… That’s allowed, as long as you use State-bonded alcohol, with full State taxes paid on it, and consumed within designated confines. Of course, if you are 630,720,508 seconds old, that’s actually not allowed and the State can require forced labor or put you behind bars for drinking any alcohol. You are able to vote for leaders and kill someone in the military, privileges bestowed on you by the State since you were 567,648,000 seconds old (18 years), and you are definitely expected to keep paying those taxes from the instant your work earned money regardless of age, often long before you could theoretically vote on where that money was spent.

Now, one second later, you are 630,720,509 seconds old, or 21 years (yay) and the State has decided to allow you to consume alcohol, as long as it is State-bonded and State-taxed. That’s it, though, stop right the fuck there! I mean, if you were to procure, cultivate, grow, harvest, cure, and partake in a plant that has extensive documented medicinal uses, all of which is done self-contained in the property that you “own,” harming no one else in any way, the State would be forced to save you from yourself and send its “peace keepers” in their uniforms and badges — so we know its official — charging in, guns blazing, all funded by your taxes (at a cost of about $3.6 billion each year). Roughly 40,000 people have their freedom taken while they languish in a cage for using this plant.

19 year-old Marshala Perkins, part-time college student, part-time dangerous criminal because a cop said he “smelled weed.”
Preventing people from relaxing with this insidious plant is of such high importance that just the scent of this plant is enough to achieve “reasonable suspicion” — which is a cute little term that explains how the State gets around that inconvenient Fourth Amendment. We have established that you own your home, except you absolutely don’t if you don’t pay the State your living fees, but “ownership” also entails a little open-door policy for the State to come barging in basically whenever it feels justified. The play is simple — codify a little something to chisel into the protections we thought we had, and then aggressively redefine the terminology under that codification. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “reasonable suspicion.” Making sure all bases are covered, we have the lovely no-knock warrants we talked about before. And wrapping it all up neatly, while violating the sanctity of your home with essentially no fear of reprisal whatsoever the State can take all your shit — money, art, cars, property, freeze your bank accounts — if it considers you to be under criminal suspicion, and this is shit you ain’t getting back, an action for which they have another cute little term, “civil asset forfeiture.”

Forget the no-knock aspect and think about what a search warrant is. A document, approved and signed by one individual (who works for the State and approves an order based on the word of the State’s foot soldiers), that eliminates any dominion you have over who comes into your property and cedes that authority to the State, entirely, at the discretion of the State. Again, because who the fuck else would pay for it, all funded by your tax dollars. You sure as fuck don’t own your home, you just get to pay huge sums of your money, already reduced by taxes, to maintain the place until the State decides your presence there is no longer convenient.

Well, maybe you can’t smoke that mar-jee-yuan-uh because big daddy government said its bad for us, but that’s fine, let’s stay pure and unspoiled. Drink water (and pay taxes for drinking it), eat healthy food (which the State has done the Lord’s work of approving for us and thrown on some additional taxes while our income tax dollars go en masse to making sure the least healthy shit is the cheapest), and go to work to earn that money — minus some huge percent for the state. Hahaha, you silly thing… before you are allowed the privilege of working (the end result of which, I must reiterate, you turn a chunk of your earnings over to the State instantly, the remainder of which you spend on “ownership” of a house or car courtesy of uncle Sam, or on provisions you and your family need to live which are *taxed taxed taxed*, and only those provisions the State deems acceptable…) well, now the State wants to mandate that you have to get these shots.

Just to be clear, this is not a violation of any freedoms. You are free to say no to the shots, you just lose the privilege of working to keep that State-allowed percentage of your earnings to support yourself and your family. And, if you don’t like the idea of being forced to receive an injection of a potent substance with an incredibly limited testing window in humans that literally uses genetic coding to tell your cells to do something they normally wouldn’t, you’re likely being irrational and it’s because of “misinformation” being put out there. And I don’t want to hear that the mandates are being withdrawn — they are already the source of massive violations of our liberties, but, and far more nefariously, the State is looking for another way to close its clawed fingers tighter around our throats. If you support vaccine mandates you are a coward and a tyrant, full stop.

Freedom of speech is great and all, as long as that speech doesn’t violate the State-approved narrative, and the White House will get in on supporting freedom of speech, unless of course it disagrees with that speech. Since there’s this pesky thing, the First Amendment, standing in the way, the State is coming up with a workaround — let’s just call anyone who disagrees with us a domestic terrorist. Since doing it by executive fiat seems to be failing (no surprise, our president forgets where he is halfway through most sentences), we will codify it into law, that should tie up any loose ends. This DHS memo specifically mentions anyone who disagrees with their preferred narrative on COVID as a potential domestic terrorist. To be clear, if you don’t agree with everything the government says about COVID, you can be considered a domestic terrorist by the department of fucking homeland security. This is the opposite of freedom.

I’m not even getting into guns, or gay marriage, or warrantless wiretapping, or indiscriminate drone attacks (the only thing we seem to do well since Joe “I have more trouble getting out of bed than out of Afghanistan” Biden somehow became president), or CPS, or other drug laws, or mandatory minimum sentences, or qualified immunity, or the slew of other murderous cops and how they get away with it, or eminent domain, or all the COVID lockdown bullshit, or corporate lobbyists literally writing our laws, or all the other myriad ways the State jams its cock up our collective asses and tells us to smile, dance, and pay it our money for the privilege.

Look, I get it. My libertarian, no-tax, no-Fed wet dream is either terrifying to a lot of people or they prefer the convenience that comes with giving up liberty to the State. I also understand that there are sacrifices made when living in a civil society and that there are things that do in fact, very much work toward the common good, to the benefit of all, and that some of those things are taken for granted. Further, I understand that there are some pretty basic tradeoffs, and the convenience can be real for a tiny cost (like paying county taxes but getting trash pickup, which I know has its own set of issues, but rarely are they worth freaking out about). Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because I doubt a truly liberated world is a real possibility (which is unfortunate, it would be so much better than what we have).

I am just setting the facts out here, so we can discuss from a common baseline. I haven’t yet offered any solutions (though we can start with reducing taxes as much as possible everywhere possible, ending no-knock warrants, banning qualified immunity and civil asset forfeiture, legalizing all drugs, and putting stringent time and authority limits on “Emergency Powers.”) All I am asking here, is that, if we’re gonna accept that there is some level of collective responsibility and contribution that we are OK having managed by the State, but which comes with a cost in the form of some State-given ability to create impositions on individual citizens, can we agree to challenge these intrusions into every aspect of our lives, and admit that in every way imaginable the State is absolutely in charge. And can we please stop lying to ourselves and acknowledge that we really aren’t free?

The opinions shared here do not necessarily represent the official position of the Libertarian Party. These editorial articles have been submitted by Libertarians across the country, and featuring these topics does not represent an endorsement of the content therein.