5/22/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
There are certain questions which one encounters in everyday life which demand a shocking answer.
For example, the everyday grocery bagging inquiry “Would you like paper or plastic?” can be responded to with the customary preference. This is the routine response and requires no creativity whatsoever.
A prepared, slightly creative individual may think outside of the box and have their response prepared. “I don’t need a bag, I’ve brought my own,” which is interpreted to mean “I am saving the earth and thereby reject your greedy corporate attempt to deliberately pollute it by rudely offering me an already manufactured bag for my own convenience.”
Then there is the creative genius, the one who rises above the imaginary philosophical bickering and takes what is given to them while at the same time disarming the mythical compulsion which the slightly creative person above felt threatened by. What is their shocking response to this common question?
“I’ll take either one, I’m bisacksual.”
In the same way, when approached with the somewhat common question posed by an eager petitioner “are you registered to vote?” One can give the standard yes or no answer which the question requires.
The slightly creative person may turn the question into an opportunity to share their point of view. “That depends, what is the issue?” Depending upon the issue, they may either wholeheartedly lend their support and sign the petition or engage in a lengthy debate about the error in supporting the proposed legislation.
Enter the creative genius, as in the grocery check-out line, they rise above the imaginary philosophical bickering about what the government should or shouldn’t require everyone to do and at the same time disarm the mythical compulsion which caused the slightly creative person to enter into a lengthy and meaningless debate. What, then, is their shocking response to this common question?
“I’m an atheist with regards to government.”
This is dedicated to the creative geniuses.
At the moment, we are residing in Oregon, where plastic bags are frowned upon to the point that the City of Portland passed an ordinance intended to reduce the use of them. The result is that large retailers in Portland are now one sack outlets, which not only clashes with Portland’s tendency towards plurality in any number of spheres, it has noticeably diminished the quality of the paper sacks available.
The great irony in the ban on bisacksuality is that the same people seen at City Hall protesting the “forced” use of plastic bags are likely to be the same ones who will chain themselves to a tree when the increased demand for paper sacks resulting from this action (the butterfly effect, if you will) leads to the acceleration in the destruction of rainforests in the Amazon.
On the bright side, the plastic bag ban and resulting plea to save the rainforests should combine to help Oregon’s ailing lumber industry in the short term.
Yet all of this nonsense about plastic bags, the rejection of bisacksual Portlanders, and backdoor stimulation of the Oregon lumber industry serves to illustrate the effects that government actions have on the population and industry.
As Henry Hazlitt astutely observed in his classic “Economics in one lesson,” actions taken by governments have the exact opposite long term effect on reality as that which was intended. For this reason alone, all government mandates must be met with suspicion.
Yet none of these government actions and the resulting imbalances would be possible without an unwavering faith in the government on the part of the people, which is why the only hope for the world to escape the crazy cycles inherent in placing faith in the government is for the populace to become not militant, but agnostic towards the actions of their government as they would a well intentioned but clumsy sidekick.
Take the example of Portland’s plastic bag ban. Were the disenfranchised bisacksual population of Portland to violently oppose the plastic bag police (which, most certainly, do not exist), they would be wasting their time and resources only to perpetuate a system which promises nothing more but endless power struggles and the short lived thrill of victory or agony of defeat.
Even if bisackuality were to be legalized, no sooner would the ink be dry on the new ordinance than would a band of sacktivist warriors covered in plastic armor be organizing to take back their right to a paper only Portland. The bisacksuals would then organize and revolt, etc.
To be clear, we have no strong feelings one way or the other on the sack issue, we have merely chosen to shamelessly embellish upon the theme in order to make a larger point.
The point is that militancy breeds militancy, and violence breeds violence. Ghandi, and more recently Martin Luther King, understood that long term, permanent change could never come about by force of arms. Rather, they understood that the only way to test whether or not an idea was true or simply temporary public opinion was to live in peaceful defiance of the idea and tolerate whatever opposition they met with.
In the case of King, the good reverend was thrust into the civil rights battle in the Southern US. For those who may be unfamiliar with this piece of history, we will oversimplify it by saying that there were rules in the South which demanded that African Americans sit in the back of the bus.
Rosa Parks and thousands of other African Americans began to put this rule to the test, not by petitioning the powers that be for permission to sit in front of the bus, but rather, by sitting in front of the bus as if the rule did not exist.
Would some supernatural force come and move her to the back? Or would those who used the rule to gain privilege for themselves be the ones who would force her to the back of the bus or even deny her entry onto the bus in the first place?
The creative geniuses amongst us already know the answer.
The deeper question which must be addressed, then, is not whether or not each individual rule is necessary, but rather, is a government which imposes rules and forces those effected to put them the test, a necessity? Or is it merely an imaginary framework to erect a series of rules which are imposed by one group on other groups in order to gain or maintain an unearned privilege?
The only valid way to test this theory would be for one was to live their life as if the government did not really exist. What if one were to test this theory not by withdrawing from the government or fighting to change it, for both courses of action would be to acknowledge its existence, but by simply deciding not to believe in it?
In other words, what if one decided to stop attributing power to the government by simply changing their own mind about its existence and acting accordingly? What if the simplest path to freedom were to become a peaceful Anarchist? An atheist with regards to government, as it were?
These questions must burn until another day. Please share your thoughts below, as we are intrigued.
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for May 22, 2012
10 Yr US Treasury Bond: 1.79%
FED Target Rate: 0.16% ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 0.25% AWAY WE GO!
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 12,503
M1 Monetary Base: $2,233,100,000,000
M2 Monetary Base: $9,836,900,000,000