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The Epiphany of a Cog in the Machine

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As a writer and a blogger, I do occasionally correspond with some of my readers who my writings have touched. Sometimes I am exposed to interesting stories about their lives and maybe some epiphany they might have had. Such is the case with Howard who recently emailed me with a personal story about an interaction he had with what he described as a liberal/socialist on facebook. He now faces a dilemma many others who have discovered the message of freedom face, the dilemma of extricating themselves from a system they find repugnant without starving to death.

What happened was that the socialist pointed out to him that he was a hypocrite because he works for a defense contractor that supplies food to soldiers in Afghanistan. The money he was earning through his labor was coming from tax payers. Therefore, he was just as much of a tax feeder as anyone else who earns money through government. He was just as responsible for legitimizing big government as most anyone else. He argued that he worked for a private company and had no control over where his employer got money from, but when he went to bed that night and had a chance to think about it, he began to think that maybe the socialist was right. This thought disturbed him greatly.

Let me say now that I commend Howard, and anyone else who may be have had a similar epiphany. It's easy to criticize others, it's much harder to look inside yourself or at your own way of life and see the same or similar flaws. It's easy to maintain a state of denial and blame the woes of the world on others. It's harder to see how you, yourself, might be contributing to the misery.

Good German soldiers were just doing their jobs guarding the gates of the concentration camps. Good German citizens were just doing their jobs driving the trains to those same camps. They were just doing their jobs making clothes for the soldiers. They were just doing their jobs providing food to the guards. They were just doing their jobs shuffling paperwork and making sure all the proper forms made it to their superiors. They were just being good citizens doing their civic duty by reporting their neighbors' suspicious activities to the proper authorities. Like so many who testified at the Nuremburg trials, they were all just following orders. They were all just doing their little part to make sure the tyranny was well oiled and running smoothly.

And yet, how were they supposed to stop it? How were they, tiny cogs in a huge bureaucratic machine, supposed to bring the system to a grinding halt? Especially in a time of war? Especially when the people of Germany were surrounded by enemies and battling for their very survival? How were they supposed to worry about the freedoms of a few "undesirables" and "misfits" when they were so worried about their own fates? Well, any act to help those targeted by the Nazi regime, including merely pointing out the tyranny, would have taken tremendous courage.

It starts by recognizing that there is a problem. This is more difficult than it may sound when one considers that most people are brought up inundated with statist propaganda. Think about it for a minute. Do you think that German school children in the 1920s and 30s were being taught that their country was bad? Do you think they were taught that their system was no good? Do you think they were taught to question authority? I doubt it. Likely they were taught that theirs was one of the most advanced systems in the world. They were, after all, a modern industrial democracy, just like us. They were likely taught to accept the will of the majority, to respect and obey authority figures, especially those elected to high office, to find their niche, do their jobs, pay their taxes, and to just go along to get along. As adults they were likely faced with a barrage of propaganda aimed at keeping them from thinking too deeply. They were but a tiny entity in a greater collective. The security of the fatherland was paramount, all else was inconsequential.

So, at least Howard recognizes that there is a problem. He has admitted it to himself. He even recognizes that he is part of the problem. The socialist he was chatting with on Facebook might not even recognize that much. He might think the system is a good thing. He might think that extortion is fine as long as they call it taxation and use it for the betterment of all mankind. As long as the mob doing the extortion calls itself government. The socialist might think that slavery is fine as long as the slaves are doctors and they are forced to service sick people with no money. He might not see it from this perspective, or he might refuse to believe such terms are appropriate in these cases. Worse still is the socialist who does see it in the terms described above and still makes excuses for criminal behavior.

Once the problem is recognized and the individual's part in it is seen, the question becomes what to do about it. While our modern society might not have devolved to the point that German society in the 1930s did, there's no sense in waiting that long. We certainly don't want to revisit that dark time. So what can be done before it's too late? What can be done before dissenters are being handcuffed and dragged off to prison for speaking their minds? What can be done before those with power start abusing it in ways no one wants to think about?

As I said at the beginning of this article, it can be difficult to extricate one's self from the system without starving to death. It's not your fault if you're stuck in the system, the system has been designed to entrap. You were born into this system, you didn't design it. Part of being free is having the ability to design a system that works for your life, and part of tyranny is making sure that you are unable to do so. It is your fault, however, if you recognize the inherent evil and corruption in the system and you do nothing to try to overcome it. It is your fault if you willfully just go along to get along, head down, saying nothing, just accepting it, doing your job without protest and making sure the wheels of tyranny remain properly greased. It's your fault if you consent, either silently or with a clear voice, to being ruled over in such a manner.

Certainly if one has the means one should step out of the system. If one is able one should try to start a farm and work to provide organic food to those who are demanding it, which is something I would like to try. One should do their best to claim that they own their own property and owe nothing to anyone unless they voluntarily use services that are provided. One should do their best to advertise the claim that they own the product of their labor, the money that they've earned, and that they owe nothing to those who would try to enslave them by claiming a portion of that income. One should, if one has the means, do their best to convert debt notes into precious metals and find others who will be willing to trade goods and services for said precious metals. In short, if one has the means, one should do their best to participate in alternative markets and economies rather than just bending to the will of those who make laws proclaiming monopoly privileges on currency and economic activity.

But not everyone has those means. Some people need to stay inside the system to survive. These people should strive to do what they can to change the system from within. They can complain, deviate and educate. They can bring these subjects up, try to explain to others the principles of freedom and why we are not, as a nation, adhering to those principles. There is strength in numbers and the more people who understand the more likely it is that positive change toward the lofty goal of achieving liberty will be made. Just because you do a job doesn't mean you have to like doing it, and it doesn't necessarily mean you have to condone the activity and the corruption. But you should do your best to find some way to disempower the established practices and empower alternatives. Let it be known that you do not consent, even if you begrudgingly participate.

People can do what I do. They can blog about these things. The more people discussing such philosophies, the better. They can use social networking to voice agreement with principles of non aggression and freedom. These are powerful modern tools that weren't available a couple of decades ago. The more people expressing these ideas, the better. In this way we can become a force to be reckoned with. Remember, freedom is a uniting idea. It might seem counter intuitive, but the ideals of individualism actually unite while collectivist ideals have the tendency to be divisive. That's because most everyone understands the concept of having the ability to make their own decisions for their own lives. They want others to respect their choices, so they should respect the choices of others in return. Collectivism, on the other hand, moves toward a one size fits all solution across the board and removes choices, disrespecting your ability to make choices for your own life. It divides people into two or more camps, each camp vying to have their solution made into the one size fits all solution the collectivist government will adopt.

I'm sure there are other ways to express one's preference for freedom principles. There are as many ways to express them, as many ideas for moving toward a more free society, as there are people on the planet. We all have likely been hypocritical some way or another in our lives. We've all likely been in a situation where our principles may have been set aside for some reason or another. Life is imperfect and it is likely that nothing is exactly how one would have it if one were in charge. The important thing is that once one is awakened, one participates in waking others. All one can do is try to peacefully inform those who whose minds are open and try to open those minds that are trapped in the jail cells created by indoctrination and propaganda. All one can do is strive to live as best one can without interfering with others' rights to do the same.

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Below is a list of all my works available at Please help me by purchasing one or more of my ebooks and writing favorable reviews if you like them so that others might also enjoy them.

Ron Paul's Wisdom, A Layman's Perspective. A Collection of Opinion Editorials. By Szandor Blestman

Galaxium. A screenplay By Matthew Ballotti

The Colors of Elberia; book 1 of The Black Blade Trilogy. By Matthew Ballotti

The Legacy of the Tareks; book 2 of The Black Blade Trilogy. By Matthew Ballotti

The Power of the Tech; book 3 of The Black Blade Trilogy. By Matthew Ballotti

The Edge of Sanity. By Matthew Ballotti

The Ouijiers By Matthew Ballotti


Comments (2)
  • darwin mcleod  - american citizen

    I'm the guy howard was talking about on facebook...we had a few exchanges but its all good...I just look at things at a different angle...your blog was great, and howard seems to be a good man.

  • sblestman

    Thank you Darwin. It's good that we can have differences of opinion and still get along. We must all do our best to keep our minds open if we are to work together towards a peaceful coexistence.

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Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 23:33