There was a time in my life, not that long ago, that I thought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were just. There was a time I got angry at the government for its impositions on people. There was a time that I hated the politicians for not following their oaths. There was a time I thought that the only way to remove the horrible corruption of government was violent revolution, and I waited for the first shot. I’ve come to realize that the wars, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and quite likely every war the US has engaged in since 1776 has been unjust, aggressive, and wrong. I no longer get angry at the government, I laugh at it. I can no more hate politicians for lying than I can hate a snake for biting, it is their nature. I’ve learned the hard lesson that violence against the government won’t get rid of the violence that IS government.
In September of 2001 the towers of the World Trade Center were brought down and over 3000 people died. In response the US Government demanded that the Taliban, then the de facto government of Afghanistan, turn over the person of Osama Bin Laden. When the Taliban refused, stating that the US Government had not presented any evidence that Bin Laden was responsible for the collapse of the WTC, the US Government invaded Afghanistan and removed the Taliban from power. At that time, I fully supported the war, and the attack on the Afghan nation. I was, at the time, angry and hateful enough to think that the use of nuclear weapons, or at least the threat of them, was justified to bring those responsible to justice. I am proud to be a different person today. If Bin Laden was responsible for the collapse of the WTC towers, as the US Government said, and he admitted on video, it is possible that he did so for the reasons he stated in the same video. It is a fact that the US Government has kept troops in various Middle Eastern countries and propped up various governments in that area. It is a fact that Osama Bin Laden has a stated desire to be the king of Saudi Arabia, and the US Government support for the current king prevents that. It is a fact that the US Government provides military and financial aid to the State of Israel, which angers people in the region. It is very possible that the events of September 11, 2001 were a direct result of the resentment caused in the middle east by these actions of the US Government. If that is the case, then the events of September 11 could be viewed as a desperate act of self-defense, and the continuing war in Afghanistan as nothing more than continued aggression against a group of people who were only trying to protect themselves. I cannot support that. I cannot support aggression any longer. I cannot support war. I must support peace.
Before I found liberty, true liberty, I wondered how government could grow so bloated, and impose itself in so many areas of our lives. I ranted at each new regulation. I cursed each new law. It accomplished nothing. My anger was a pitiful and useless thing against the giant behemoth of the state. Now, I find the state has no power over me. It’s not that the state is gone, just that I no longer accept it, and the premises that make it work. I laugh at its pitiful and useless attempts to control me. There is nothing that the state can do that stops me from being free. They have no power over me. All they have is kidnappers and killers. All they can offer is threats. All they can do is lock me in a cage. They cannot elicit from me any action to which I do not consent, though that consent may be gained under duress. If they force me, I may give in, or not, as I chose. I may pay their extortion, or not.I may obey their statutes, or not. I may comply with their orders, or not. All the guns in the world cannot make me. They take themselves so seriously, and see themselves as so untouchable, and feel so powerful, all the while they can’t make one free man do anything he doesn’t choose to do. They are a joke gone to far. I laugh at their effort to control other people, for no man has that ability. I am free, not because of what they do, or don’t do, but because I know that only I can make myself do anything.
I used to hate politicians. They lied to get their job, took a solemn oath to uphold the US Constitution, and then set about breaking it. I wanted to get the tar and the feathers and ride them out of town on a rail. I repeated things like “Rope, Tree, Politician, Some Assembly required.” I no longer care about politicians. Of course they lie, it’s what they do. Birds fly, chickens fry, politicians lie. Some in the liberty movement have said that the way to deal with politicians is through love, but I can’t muster that much feeling for them. They don’t have that much impact on my life. I’m a free man, free from them, free from hatred, free to not care what they do.
When I supported war, when I was angry, when I was full of hate, I waited for the day the revolution would come. I planed how I would set about bringing violence to those who had harmed me. I knew the day was coming and I wanted to be there, on the front lines. Down that road lies madness. Down that road lie the battered and broken bodies of those who took the false path. Down that road lies Joe Stack, Timothy McVeigh, Lee Harvey Oswald, and every other damned fool who thought that by killing somebody, things would get better. Joe Stack didn’t get rid of the IRS, Timothy McVeigh didn’t get the federal government out of Oklahoma, and Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t get rid of the presidency. All that happened is these men became viewed as crazy, lone wackos who think the government is out to get them. All that happened is that the government reached its tentacles deeper into the lives of everybody. The problem only got worse. I now follow the path of Dr. Martin Luther King, the path of Gandhi, the path of peace. Peace works. Dr. King spoke of peace as the way to make equality for all. Kids today generally find racism to be funny. They laugh at the idea that a person is less than them because of the color of their skin. Gandhi used peaceful non-cooperation and freed India from British rule. Through the path of peace, the government will itself become a joke, and all nations will be free of this Bronze Age idea that one man can rule another.
It’s been a long journey. It has been a hard journey. It has cost me things I valued, and turned many of my heroes to villains. It has taken me from my family, and may have cost me my wife. The road is hard, and fraught with peril. The trip will cost much, but the freedom at the end is beyond price. I don’t regret the path I’ve taken, though the price was high. I’ve found peace, laughter, friends and freedom, things I didn’t have when I set out. A wise man once said, there is no way to peace, peace is the way. To that I would say, there is no way to liberty, liberty is the way.