Category Archives: America is not the Good Guy

5 Reasons You Should Not Have Faith In Your Government

You never signed a social contract agreeing to any terms or conditions regarding what authority your government has over you or what you get in return for ceding authority to your government. You were just born into a country at random and told what laws you were expected to follow and how bad the consequences would be if you didn’t follow them.

 

 

1: Your life, liberty, and happiness are bound to the conditions of a contract you didn’t sign.

You may have some freedoms, but you only enjoy those freedoms at the whim and leisure of politicians you didn’t elect. Even if you would have chosen to follow all the rules politicians have decided for you, there’s a very important principle implied by the fact that you didn’t choose them: The laws you’re subject to…subjugate you. You’re an indentured servant to the rulers of the land you were born in.

 

2: Being forced to follow rules you never agreed to is an indignity, even if you embrace them.

The more you celebrate your own subjugation, the more indignity you heap on yourself. Anyone who tells you to celebrate your own degradation is not your friend. Your government doesn’t treat you with respect and dignity. By forcing you to follow rules you never consented to, your government treats you with the disrespect and indignity of a slave, not a free and equal human being. It’s even more degrading to you if you drink the Kool-Aide and celebrate all the rules you never agreed to. The more you celebrate your own subjugation, the more you shame yourself.

Anyone who tells you to celebrate captivity is not your friend. By forcing you to follow rules you never consented to, your government treats you with the disrespect and indignity of a slave, not a free and equal human being.

 

3: Paying taxes you didn’t agree to is extortion.

Not only are you not free to live how you want, you’re not free to keep the money you earn. You never agreed to pay taxes, but you’re not free to refuse to pay. You never agreed to what kind of taxes you’ll pay, how much they are, what they’re spent on, or what the punishment is for not paying them. You were simply told you have to pay an arbitrary amount decided by someone you’ll never meet. Even if you emigrate, American citizens are required to file taxes in America every year or risk going to jail.

Even though you get something in return for your taxes, that doesn’t justify taking any amount of money from you for any reason, especially when you’re punished severely for not paying. Even if your taxes were completely fair and were spent entirely on public works that benefit you, if you’ll go to jail for not paying taxes you never agreed to, then you’re being extorted.

 

 

If there’s any basic human right that everyone deserves, it’s the right to choose how much money you give to your government in return for services of your choosing, but you don’t have that right. You owe your government a lifetime of money the moment you’re born, and since the only way to get money is to work for it that means you owe your government a time debt. That time is infinitely valuable because life is short and irreplaceable; the fact that you have no say in how much of your life is taken from you is infinitely degrading.

Not only are you denied the right to choose what taxes you pay, how much you pay, or what that money is spent on, you don’t have the right to even know what your taxes are spent on. There are thousands of rooms in this world with “Top Secret” signs on the doors that nobody outside is allowed to enter or know the contents of without authorization and a need to know. You don’t have authorization or a need to know…what your taxes are spent on. You never chose to be kept in the dark about what your taxes are spent on, and you have no recourse to rectify the situation. If you don’t continue to fund these mystery projects, you’ll go to jail. This is not a situation you put someone you respect into.

The people who authorized your taxes to be spent on classified projects will tell you that you’re being kept in the dark for your own protection and benefit, but what are you being protected from? You’re being protected from someone overthrowing your existing government and replacing it with one that forces you to follow rules you never agreed to and pay taxes you never agreed to for projects you never asked for and aren’t allowed to know about and will get thrown in jail for not funding.

If you assemble in a group of protesters large enough to have the leverage to influence your political leaders then your political leaders will order the law enforcement agencies (that you fund to protect you) to terrorize you and your fellow citizen/protesters until you disperse. If you need any proof how free or represented you are, just watch footage of the last protest your government shut down. If you need any proof how much dignity your government believes you’re worthy of, watch footage of the last instance of police brutality that went unpunished.

 

 

4: Paying taxes to a country you can’t leave is extortion.

If you come to the conclusion your government only cares about you to the extent that it can exploit you for taxes and farm you out to businesses as wage slaves, and no amount of protesting will influence your leaders to treat you with the dignity becoming of a human being, then you might decide to just leave your birth country.

That sounds reasonable in theory, but all the governments of the world (by intent or incident) have effectively colluded to make that option impractical to the majority of the human population. In order to emigrate to pretty much anywhere you need a degree from an accredited university and at least $10,000 in cash. Plus you have to be perfectly healthy. University degrees tend to cost more than $30,000. So unless you have at least $40,000, an able body and a brain smart enough to pass all your university classes then you can’t leave your home country. You’re effectively a prisoner.

I know all the arguments and reasons for why immigration laws exist, but if they sound reasonable and justified then that just means it’s reasonable and justified to imprison human beings in their birth country. Furthermore, it means the poor and stupid don’t have the right to choose where they live or which laws they’re subject to. So by justifying the current immigration laws, you’re justifying denying equal rights to all human beings. You can make that argument, but in doing so you cede the right to claim you believe in freedom, equality or the right to life, liberty, and happiness.

 

5: Serving unaccountable leaders who don’t serve the people is supporting tyranny.

This is how the world works. These are the indignities you’re subjected to. Yet you’ve been told your entire life that if you don’t like it then you can change it by voting. And yet, year in and year out new politicians get elected and appointed to power without changing the system that imprisons, exploits and degrades the poor. How many more impotent politicians do we have to elect before we accept that electing different politicians isn’t changing anything?

And why would you expect electing politicians to change anything when your politicians are in no way held accountable for their actions? They’ve given themselves and their friends’ diplomatic immunities you don’t have. They may as well have painted the words “Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.” On every government building.

 

 

 

That’s not just a line from a dystopian children’s story. That’s reality even in democratic capitalist countries. Politicians don’t get in any trouble for reneging on their campaign promises either. The can even break the law with impunity, because when politicians break the law, it’s legal. If they get really backed into a corner they can just get another politician to absolve their criminal charges. That’s true freedom. Now, why would you expect your politicians to restrain themselves when they have free reign to abuse their powers? Because they represent you? They don’t represent you. Most people have never even met a politician. We only find out who we get to vote for a few months (at most) before it’s time to vote.

You’re not represented in government. You have no say in government. Your vote is meaningless at best and a lie that enables your victimization at worst. You don’t know what your government does or why it does it. If you don’t like it you have no recourse, and if you take matters into your own hands you’ll be punished with severe prejudice. The only thing you can do is run for a government office yourself and dedicate your life to your political career until you have the power to make the changes you want, but everyone can’t do that, and nobody should have to.

 

What can we do?

So what can we do about this? You can’t do anything alone. The only leverage the civilian population has is their numbers. No army can stop a hundred million people acting in unison. A hundred million people literally don’t even have to do anything to effect change. If they all went on strike at the same time or stood in the streets and refused to move then their inaction would have enough leverage to twist the arm of their politicians, but a hundred million people are never going to act in unison until they think in unison.  Nothing will change as long as people have faith in their government and believe the benefit of keeping calm and carrying on outweighs the cost of sticking their neck out.

If you want to make meaningful change in your government the first thing you need to do is explain everything I’ve just said to your fellow citizens, particularly those in law enforcement and the military who will be called on to terrorize anyone who makes any progress in effecting meaningful change. When the majority of the population loses faith in their government then the stage will be set for the people who are capable of organizing nonviolent political change to do so.

If you choose not to help erode public confidence in your corrupt government, then you should build a bunker to protect you and your family from the problems you’re enabling. You might survive that way, but you’re choosing to live without dignity, and you’re condemning your fellow man and future generations to live without dignity. If that’s your choice, then you have no right to pat yourself on the back for anything you ever accomplish for the rest of your life because all of your accomplishments will be tainted with the indignities you’ve accepted for yourself and everyone else.

Why should you have dogmatic faith in your government anyway? Your government exists to serve you. Why would you be expected to have unquestioning loyalty to your servant? Your servant should have unquestioning loyalty to you. When you subjugate yourself to your servant you make your servant your master and place your dignity under your master’s feet. You’re better than that, and you deserve more than that not just because you’re a human being but because your government is a product that you paid for with your blood, sweat, and tears. You deserve to get the highest quality product for your tax dollar. If you’re not going to demand to get what you deserve, I guess you didn’t deserve it in the first place after all.

 

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Patriotism Is Not A Virtue. It’s Insanity.

A patriot is defined as:

“a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion”

 

On the surface this concept is innocuous. If the country you live has given you the freedom and opportunity to secure meaningful employment and build a life for you and your family, then why wouldn’t you feel some kind of gratitude? If that’s all patriotism means then patriotism is a good thing, but in practice, patriotism is rarely so blase. More often than not a patriot takes a more fanatical tone; the tendency is to support and defend your government unobjectively against all forms of criticism.

Blind patriotism is the definition of insanity.

 

“Sane” is defined as :

“having or showing reason, sound judgment, or good sense”

 

Insanity is the lack of use of reason and judgment. Patriotism throws reason and judgment out the window in favor of blind faith, and the effects are catastrophic. The patriot sees their country like a parent who has put a roof over their child’s head, sent him to school and bought him lots of toys. However, the parent also beats his child, and any time the child complains about being beaten, the patriot defends the parent’s actions by focusing entirely on the positive things the parent has done for the child. We should give credit where credit is due, but that doesn’t justify or excuse the harmful behavior… especially because if the child grows up crippled by their abuse, then all the positives are wasted.

The more unconditionally one supports their government, the more their patriotism defeats its own purpose. If you’re truly devoted to your country, you’ll want it to fulfill its potential. Refusing to acknowledge its flaws will only cripple it. Sincere patriotism necessitates hunting down the flaws in your government relentlessly and then rigorously addressing those issues through open conversation and political change. If you view the desire to change your government as treason, then you cripple its ability to ever improve. The only thing that kind of patriotism can accomplish is defending tyranny.

Patriotism misses the whole point of government existing, which is to serve its citizens. People don’t exist to serve their governments. If a person feels, perceives, or understands their government is not serving them, then it’s their right and responsibility to change it. If people lose their ability to change their government, then their servant becomes their master, and they literally become slaves to their own creation.

 

"Patriotism is like religion: Have no one before me. I know where you are and what you're thinking. Obey me. You are unworthy. If you leave me, I'll punish you. I love you."

 

What end can blind servitude to the random government someone happened to be born under serve? If you want the answer, ask any German. Germans today are possibly the least patriotic people in the entire world. To them, it’s taboo to even say you’re proud to be German because they know all too well where the path of patriotism leads. Let me spell this out loud and clear. The Holocaust would not have been possible were it not for blind obedience to the state. Patriotism enables atrocity under the guise of appreciation. Blind, fanatic patriotism enables tyrants. Tyranny cannot exist without fanatic patriotism. Thus the truest form of patriotism is the most critical of government.

 

"You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul." Mahatma Gandhi

 

Finally, patriotism undermines humanism. Why would anyone value the good things its government does? Because they value people. Whatever value a government has is derived completely from the value it places on people. But if you value the people who just happened to be born in the same geographical area as you, then why not value all the people who were born in the same universe as you? Are we not all equal? If so, then why pledge allegiance to one bureaucratic system? Why not pledge allegiance to humanity? If you truly value humanity, then why pledge allegiance to one system that cares for a relatively small portion of humanity, especially if it does so at the exclusion or expense of others?

 

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20 Problems Americans Accept As Normal, But Don’t Have To

 

1. “Corporate financing of political campaigns leads to corporate control of the country.”

You know it. I know it. Protestors know it, and nobody knows it better than politicians, but campaigning politicians never promise to end corporate sponsoring of politicians. Until that happens nothing will change, and we all know it, but people still act like it matters which politicians we elect when the only people they represent are their campaign donors.

 

Photo of a protester with a sign that says, "The heart of the problem: corporate financing of political campaigns leads to corporate control of the country."

2. The War in Iraq

George W. Bush told the world Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and gave Iraq an ultimatum: give up the WMDs or get invaded. Sadam didn’t give up the WMDs, and America invaded. Then it became public knowledge that the Bush administration knew Saddam never had WMDs. Then George Bush said the real reason the U.S. invaded Iraq was to free the Iraqi people. Then the U.S. spent 10+ years fighting off people in the Middle East who just wanted the American military to leave their country and quit killing civilians. Meanwhile, there are countless other people begging to be rescued and freed from ruthless dictators who are too poor to attract America’s attention. There should be an entire prison built to hold all the people who should go to jail for the Iraq war. We know this, and we accept that no one will ever hold the Bush administration accountable.

 

3. American soldiers are not fighting for the freedom of the American people in Iraq.

Nobody can agree on exactly why America invaded Iraq, but everybody knows it wasn’t for the freedom of the American people. There’s just no way to connect the two. So nobody knows what the American troops are dying for, but everyone just says “freedom” and lets them go on dying.

 

4. Global warming is real.

For argument’s sake, let’s suppose global warming isn’t real. Just because we can screw up the planet a little more doesn’t mean we should. In a lot of ways taking care of the environment is the most important thing we can do. It’s even more important than corporate profits. Suppose environmental regulations cost companies money, which lowers their profits, which forces them to cut jobs, which hurts the economy. The worst case scenario still can’t be worse than poisoning the planet until it’s unable to support life. We know we should be taking care of the planet. We shouldn’t be arguing about this.

 

5. We live in a wasteful consumer economy.

We slash and burn resources and produce mountains of trash. There’s a layer of garbage the size of a continent floating in the Pacific Ocean. We shouldn’t be using disposable kitchenware or disposable plastic bags, but we’re using more disposable goods than ever and speeding up our production of garbage.

 

6. University degrees are flawed.

The hardest part of getting a university degree is paying for it. It’s a glass ceiling for those who can’t afford it, and it’s an unfair advantage to those who can. It’s classist, and pampered idiots all over the world are riding their paper credentials to the top of their professional organizations where they’re destroying and squandering companies built by intelligent, hardworking people who couldn’t afford as many degrees as their bosses. The higher education system is broken and overpriced. A lot of smart professors have said all this a billion times, but the glass ceiling factories keep churning.

 

7. The war on drugs needs to end.

Legalizing drugs worked in Holland and Portugal. The results are in. The debate is over. Academics have made their case, and every year another South American politician tells America to end the war on drugs because it’s a futile war that does more damage than it prevents. Even American policemen are calling for an end to the war on drugs. The American people used the whitehouse.gov site to send a petition to the president to legalize marijuana. The president laughed at the people, the professionals, and all their evidence. Then everyone just said, “Darn.”

 

 

8. Nudity isn’t evil.

Women shouldn’t be forced or even pressured to cover their heads or their breasts. That’s basic human equality. If a 5-year-old kid in a nudist colony sees an 80-year-old penis the kid will be grossed out. If a 5-year-old kid sees an 80-year-old penis in suburbia the old man will go to jail and the kid will be told by a therapist they’re supposed to feel traumatized. You know what would happen if we got rid of all nudity and censorship laws? Not much… because nudity is not an issue. The people who told us to hate our bodies also told us it was okay to own slaves. We stopped believing them about slavery, and most of us have stopped believing them about sexual taboos as well, but more often than not we act like prudes so nobody will suspect we’re as amoral and horny as we really are. But deep inside we all know nudity and censorship laws are overblown and unnecessary. Even if a lot of people want censorship laws in place, if their right to not be offended supersedes another human being’s right to free will, then we’ve set a dystopian precedent. Come on. With as much blatant sex is on television, cartoons and the Internet it’s obvious that the world is okay with nudity and sexuality. We just haven’t come out of the closet to ourselves about it.

 

9. Fox News is the most unethical, hypocritical, malicious disgrace in the history of journalism.

Fox won a court case that said they had no obligation to tell the truth. The entire world laughs and cringes at Fox News. This isn’t even a slanderous thing to say. It’s just a simple fact. The organization wears its business model on its sleeve for everyone to see. Fox News is not fair and balanced. It pushes the limits of free speech by lying and sensationalizing disinformation for the purpose of instigating social disharmony. That’s dystopian, and it’s real, and it’s still respected. That’s terrifying.

 

10. Israel invaded Palestine and forced the Palestinians into ghettos where they’ve been systematically stripped of their humanity and are being ethnically cleansed.

Israel shot aid workers trying to bring medicine to the Palestinians. Israel tortures Palestinians. These are human rights abuses. There’s no ambiguity here.  Just like there’s no secret or ambiguity that North Korea is committing human rights atrocities. The world superpowers know all about these problems, but they let it go on because…even if they didn’t actively create the problem they’ve been complicit long enough to share the blame…just like the general public.

 

11. Police shouldn’t beat up protesters.

When the police beat up protesters then you officially live in a police state. When it’s a crime for people to gather to demand freedom, justice, and representation in government then you live in a police state. When the police shoot a veteran in the head with a tear gas canister and crack his skull and then throw a flash-bang grenade into the group of people trying to rescue him, and nobody gets fired over that incident then you live in a police state. If warrantless wiretaps, x-ray body scanners and full body searches don’t constitute a police state then what line do you have to cross before you concede you’re approaching a police state? Maybe America isn’t a police state, but it’s not the land of the free. But people keep saying it is like if they say it enough times it’ll make it okay to get groped at the airport and have your E-mails read.

 

 

12. There should not be for-profit prisons.

There should not be prisons traded on the stock market. The richer a man can get by filling prisons the faster prisons will fill. We shouldn’t incentivize incarcerating as many people as possible by allowing prisons to exempt their inmates from their basic human rights so they can work in sweatshop conditions. We’ve seen enough movies about prison to know that the guards let the inmates tear each other apart like you’d expect animals in a cage to. They even made that “Scared Straight” program to make sure children understand how unethically human beings are treated in prison. We all know how inhumane prisons are, but we’re not using that knowledge as a call to action to do the right thing.

 

13. Suburbs are a terrible way to design a city.

Major suburban cities are congested, unsustainable, stressful and dangerous. Every single building looks the same, and the same businesses are on every corner. Everything is too far to walk to, and the suburbs are so bland and lifeless you wouldn’t want to look at them if you did have to walk through them. They force us to spend our lives in traffic wasting time and resources traveling. But cities don’t have to suck. We have the technology to build ultra-efficient floating cities for less money than it costs to maintain the broken, unplanned cities we’ve scarred the earth with. If nothing else, we could just stop expanding suburbia and start designing new suburbs more effectively. But we’re not even doing that. 24 hours per day somewhere there is a crane and a tractor clearing the earth to make way for another isolated, unsustainable, boring cookie cutter suburb. And they’ll keep going until there’s no land left. And we’re all watching the train wreck shouting for it to stop while paying our mortgages and rent in the suburbs.

 

14. Everyone who has ever bought a house knows that the housing market is a giant scam.

Mortgages are full of meaningless add-on fees and charges. Interest rates could be set at anything. They’re set high to squeeze more money out of the customer. That’s it. Banks don’t make money unless they’re fucking their customers in the ass. And we let them get away with it because we assume there’s some higher economic reason why it has to be nearly impossible to buy a home. But really it just comes down to “fuck you.” That’s why houses are so expensive, and that’s why homelessness is so common. Again, this isn’t a secret. But it is something you’re children are going to have to learn for themselves because apparently nobody is going to change the way banks fuck their customers in the ass.

 

15. Politicians should have competency and sanity tests.

Anyone familiar with politics at all can name a few examples of politicians who were arguably unqualified to hold office. There’s nothing un-American about competency exams. Everyone’s careers are built on competency and character tests. The people with the most responsibility should be held to the highest level of accountability. Anything less is a recipe for disaster. Everyone wants a better president, and it’s crossed everyone’s mind that maybe if we screen the candidates a little better, then we’ll get a better pool to choose from. If nothing else the voters would be fine with giving politicians drug tests…just like politicians have mandated that soldiers and school janitors have to take drug tests.

 

16. Everyone knows teachers are being used as a scapegoat for society’s failures.

Schools don’t suck because teachers are stupid. School suck because they’re underfunded and the parents have made it illegal for schools to enforce discipline. Every political and religious organization big enough to fill a P.T.A. board or donate to a politician’s election campaign can have their warped ideology forced onto the Department of Education. The one person with the least amount of say or control over the classroom is the teacher. And they’re too busy filling out paperwork for the performance-monitoring companies that are bankrupting the school to build meaningful relationships with their students. Kids in school know this. They know the system is rigged against the teachers. Everybody does, and we know it’s crippling children forever. But the only way it’s going to change is for parents to accept some responsibility for their children’s performance and cede some authority to the school system. Experience has taught me not to expect that level of humility from first world parents.

 

17. People want to be able to listen to any song whenever they want and watch any television show, movie or clip ever created any time they want.

And we have the technology to allow that. We’re just not allowed to use it. If Hollywood won’t give their customers what they want, then their customers will go somewhere else to get it. If Hollywood made one website where anyone could access any song, show or movie anytime and it would work without any hassle then everyone would pay a premium for that luxury. As it stands, you can either go pay a ton of money to a bunch of different services to get random access to media or you can go get it all for free on a pirate site as long as you’re willing to deal with pop-ups and virus threats. Customers don’t pirate because they’re evil. They pirate because it’s a more user-friendly way to access the content they want. Hollywood needs to stop blaming their customers for expecting a better consumer experience. The world is waiting for Hollywood to get its shit together and offer everything it’s got in one place for a flat fee. You can make excuses for why that’s not legally possible, but as long as that excuse continues to prevent customers from getting what they want legally, they’re going to keep paying pirates to host and organize pirated media. We’re all waiting for Hollywood to save itself, but we’re not holding our breath. All we really expect Hollywood to do is bribe more Orwellian-worded spying legislation through Congress.

 

18. Everyone knows Hollywood creates anti-intellectual crap that is lowering humanity’s potential.

“Jersey Shore,” “Full House” and “Saved by the Bell” should never have been on television. Television was supposed to help mankind fulfill its potential, not record it celebrating its suicide. Celebrities are irrelevant. If you buy celebrity gossip magazines at the checkout line you’re retarded. That’s not mean of me to say, because if you buy those magazines, you know you’re an idiot, and you don’t care. But when you look at those magazines in the future look at them as a test. The more of those that get sold the more people there are who are living in the dumbest reality you can create in a Los Angeles basement. The most dangerous force in the world is a large, frightened group of dumb people. The more gossip magazines you see, the higher the apocalypse threat level is.

 

19. Everyone knows their phones and shoes were made in sweatshops.

But if you boycotted every product that was made in a sweatshop you’d die from starvation and exposure. Slavery isn’t the exception in our economy, it’s the premise. So what do you do? Apparently, you just give up thinking about the problem and carry on with your life. We’ve been ignoring the problem for over 10,000 years. Why would we do anything different now?

It’s common knowledge that these problems and their solutions exist. People have been talking about them for years. Maybe if we just talked about them a little more we can actually fix them. If you don’t see any of these problems getting fixed in the coming years though, then that may be a good sign that you should invest in a bunker because we can’t stay this ignorant and apathetic forever without blundering into some kind of avoidable extinction level event.

 

20. It’s past time churches started paying taxes.

Taxes help people. Tax havens attract dishonest people. Taxing churches is a win/win situation for everyone. And why should believing in mythology be rewarded anyway? The tax-free status of religious organizations is archaic and obsolete. Even religious people understand that…even if they won’t admit it.

 

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8 Reasons America Is Not The Land Of The Free

1: Your home is not free

In many cities, it’s illegal to sleep in your car or public spaces. So you’re practically forced to rent or buy a home. It’s becoming harder to find housing in neighborhoods that aren’t deed restricted and/or managed by a home owner’s association, which can fine you and ultimately confiscate your property as punishment for not mowing your lawn, planting trees that are too short, having the wrong kind of vehicle in your driveway, painting your house the wrong color or having a garage sale in your front yard without first paying for permission, etc., etc., etc.

 

 

Local, state and federal laws place further restrictions on what you can and can’t do in your own home. In some states, a deadbeat renter can stop paying and stay in your house rent free until you pay to go through the year-long process of having them evicted, and you can go to jail if you inconvenience them in any way while they squat on your property.

There are so many laws dictating how to buy/sell property that you have to hire a professional realtor to help you navigate the labyrinth of rules. Mortgage and tax laws double the cost of a 30-year mortgage, making it impossible for poor people to afford even the cheapest real estate. The laws that inflate the cost of housing don’t have to exist. The government that keeps saying it’s going to fix the housing market created and enforces those laws.

Even if you buy land in the country, where building laws are laxer, you still have to pay property taxes you never agreed to, or you’ll have your property taken away. So it’s impossible to move off the grid with no money and survive like our pioneer ancestors did.

 

2: Your roads are not free

Traffic laws are necessary evils. Drivers should have to stop at stop signs/lights, but many traffic laws fall into morally gray areas, like why you have to wear a seatbelt in a car (yet it’s legal to ride a motorcycle, which has no seat belt), or follow arbitrary speed limits in the middle of nowhere, park on the side of the road in the direction of traffic in low-traffic suburbs, register your vehicle every year or pay private companies for auto insurance. Probably the most cut and dry example of government overreach is jaywalking laws. If you can’t walk across the road, how free are you really?

Even if these laws are reasonable, the consequences for breaking them aren’t. If you have no savings and make $1,000 per paycheck, a simple speeding ticket can cost 10%-50% of your total net worth. If you’re poor, traffic fines come out of your rent and grocery money. If you’re rich, the cost is inconsequential. This is why some European countries have made traffic fines relative to income, so the rich can feel the same magnitude of consequences as the poor. This will never happen in America, and some people would call that a win for freedom, but I call the system we have now, economic oppression.

You’re almost guaranteed to get a ticket eventually, because law enforcement agencies partly fund their budgets by issuing citations. This motivates them to aggressively hunt and harass drivers. That’s life in America. When you see a police cruiser, you don’t feel safe. Fear and panic jolt down your spine, and you try to act as calm as possible and hope the shark circles away and eats someone else. This fear is completely rational, because everyone knows the cops are preying on the public for funding, and we all know they’re doing an amazing job at it. They shake down the public for $7.5 billion a year. The more money they make, the more tools they can afford to hunt more people with.

 

 

3: Your public spaces are not free.

It’s illegal to sleep, skate, loiter, smoke, or walk your dog in many public spaces. You can also be fined or jailed for public indecency and public intoxication.

I knew a man in Texas who walked home from a bar because he was too drunk to drive and was arrested for public intoxication. I went tubing on the San Marcos River in Texas, and when I reached the exit point, there were three police making everyone pour any alcohol they had left out in the river, and if anyone tried to bring an open container out of the water, they’d be given a ticket. Those police didn’t stop anything bad from happening that day. They just scared and harassed the public as usual.

Some American may say, “Yeah, cops are a hassle, but I don’t want drunk tubers and stoned skaters around me.” The more you justify banning any behavior, the more you justify banning freedom. You can’t go anywhere in America where some kind of behavior isn’t banned. Even if you leave the city and escape to nature in of the America’s national parks, you’ll have to drive past a guard shack where a government employee will charge you money and give you a list of all the rules you have to follow. Then park rangers will check up on you to make sure you’re following all the rules, and they’ll force you to leave when your time runs out.

 

Maury Povich reading a piece of paper with the caption, "You said this land was my land and that it was the land of the free. The fact that you're kicking me out unless I pay more money determined that was a lie."

 

Even though the First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” citizens are only allowed to organize a large-scale protest if they apply for a permit, and even then, the times and places you’re allowed to protest are severely limited, and the police will mace, taze, beat and arrest you for exercising your First Amendment right outside the cordoned area assigned to you. Even if you do everything right, you’ll still probably be attacked by the police.

 

i was told i could protest

4: Your workplace is not free

Employers can force employees to wear humiliating uniforms and drastically censor the way they talk and act whether they’re at work or off the clock. Hospitals are fining and firing workers who are caught smoking cigarettes at home. Employers can take their employees’ blood and urine for drug tests. Employment contracts often include clauses that require applicants to waive any number or rights and freedoms.

Citizens who join the military sign a contract that waives all their rights. This is legal because they volunteer, but most troops enlist, not out of patriotism, but out of economic desperation. So America’s economy creates poverty that drives poor people to sign away their rights out of desperation and then go fight to secure an economy that creates poverty and uses that desperation as leverage to get people to “voluntarily” waive the freedoms they’re fighting for. In this way, the military defends poverty and oppression more than it defends freedom. You can say it’s necessary for the troops to sacrifice their freedoms, but don’t say America is the land of the free when 1% of the population isn’t.

Most Americans spend half their waking hours at work. So they spend half their lives in a space where they’re not free. If a foreign government took over America and extended the same restrictions outside the workplace, there would be riots in the streets since that would be a clear violation of human rights.

Many Americans will angrily defend these practices when employers do it, arguing that if you don’t like the terms and conditions of a contract, you’re free to go work somewhere else. This argument loses weight when every business in the country places similar conditions on employment. Being free to choose who takes away your freedom isn’t freedom. In a utopia, the needs of a business wouldn’t trump the dignity of the workers to begin with. It just goes to show how far America has gone down the road to dystopia that we would justify and defend our own oppression. Freedom is so foreign to us that we’re scared and disgusted by the thought of it.

Business owners have a lot to answer for, but they’re also victims themselves. Every step of the process of opening a small business is mired in bureaucratic red tape. The tax laws alone are enough to scare reasonable people into closing their business.

I registered a small business in Texas in 2008. I didn’t make any profit the first quarter and didn’t report it to the government. They sent me a letter saying that since I didn’t report any earnings, they assumed I made enough profit to owe $1,000 in taxes, which they billed me for. They didn’t fine me. They picked an arbitrary number and sentenced me guilty without evidence, which violates the legal principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” They could have just as easily worded it as a fine, but the fact that they went out of their way to frame their actions in a way that violates the Declaration of Human Rights just goes to show how meaningless that document is to the American government.

I paid the fine and closed the business soon after. If my company had been successful I would have eventually had to hire a lawyer and a human resource department to make sure I was in compliance with the thousands of laws I don’t have time to learn. Conservative Americans in particular cry that there are too many regulations strangling businesses, and while don’t believe companies should be able to freely pollute the environment or exploit their employees, every business owner can agree the government has made it soul-crushingly difficult to operate a business.

 

5: Your school is not free

Schools that don’t require uniforms still have some sort of dress code. While it’s good that kids aren’t going to school naked, the rules aren’t always reasonable. At my high school men had to wear a belt, and if they were caught without one, they would be given a piece of rope to tie around their waist. Many schools forbid wearing offensive clothing, which is subject to opinion. Others don’t allow students to wear red or blue clothing because it’s considered gang-related. There are also puritanical limits on how students can talk or act.

Moral policing is even worse in college, where teachers can be fired and students can be expelled for committing microaggressions that offend overly sensitive professional victims. Students and faculty aren’t allowed to speak out against legitimate grievances either. Staging nonviolent protests will likely end with you and your classmates being maced and arrested.

 

 

Teachers have even less freedom to dress, act and express themselves than students. They can lose their job and go to jail for breaking up a fight or defending themselves against a student who is attacking them, and they have little power to fight for more rights since it’s illegal for teachers to unionize in some states.

Some people might say the freedoms you lose in school are negligible, and that nitpicking them is just being whiny. This raises the question, how “big” does a freedom have to be before it’s important enough that it shouldn’t be taken away? Maybe Americans are so lackadaisical about their freedoms being taken away because they’ve been trained to get used to it at school.

 

6: Your electronic devices are not free

The American government spends billions of taxpayer dollars on top-secret surveillance technology that taxpayers aren’t allowed to know about, and if a government employee leaks this information, they’ll be labeled a traitor and face life imprisonment or execution.

Congress keeps telling Americans that their surveillance programs are well-meaning and limited in scope, but the public has to take that on faith and has no power to stop it. While citizens theoretically have the freedom of speech (when they’re not at work), the government has the freedom to sneak into almost any communication device to find out what you’re saying and who you’re saying it to. They also have broad powers to label anyone a terrorist, even peaceful political activists.  So Americans only have the freedom of speech until it becomes inconvenient for the existing power structure. Then they have the right to remain silent.

 

7: Your finances are not free

Even if you were free to dress, talk and act however you want, whenever you want, your freedom still only extends as far as your bank account. Nothing is free in America, and everything costs as much as possible. If you make minimum wage, which is less than the living wage, the cost of living necessitates you work at least 40 hours per week just to survive. Even then, your quality of life will be inhumane. You won’t be able to afford to travel, take time off (even when you’re sick or pregnant), change jobs, go to school, or go pretty much anywhere except to work and back home. You’re functionally under house arrest. While the government didn’t officially impose this sentence on you, they did meticulously craft the conditions that led to it.

If you have enough money to hire a lawyer and pay bail, you’re functionally free to break most laws. If you’re poor, you’re easy prey for the prison-industrial complex. Even if you obey the law, earn enough to save and have disposable income, your options in life are still limited to how much money you have, and every dollar you spend limits those choices. Since health insurance laws have made health care in America more expensive than anywhere else on Earth, the freedom money affords you will only last as long as your health. This guarantees that on a long enough time scale you’ll go bankrupt. Even after you’re too old to work, you’ll still have to answer to the hordes of bill collectors that have been hunting you since you were born.

 

8: Your county, state, and nation are not free

Police will tell you that “ignorance of the law” is no excuse for breaking the law, but there are literally too many laws for anyone to learn. It’s nearly impossible to figure out how many jurisdictions you fall under or how many agencies are responsible for policing you, especially since there are top secret security agencies you’re not allowed to know about. Given the ubiquitous presence of laws and law enforcement agencies, it should come as no surprise that America has more people in jail/prison than any other nation in the world. One out of every one hundred adults, and one out of three African Americans, are behind bars. If that isn’t evidence that America isn’t “the land of the free,” then how much worse does it have to get before it’s undeniable that there’s a problem?

There are millions of patriotic Americans who refuse to acknowledge America’s oppressive nature, and will tell any native who doubts their freedom, “If you don’t like it, then leave.” But unless you have a college degree, $10K and are in excellent health, you’re not fee to permanently leave. You can justify the glass ceiling of immigration requirements by saying, “Other countries have the right to decide who they want to let in their borders,” but that argument loses weight when every government has colluded to place similar limitation on travel. The fact that all the governments in the world have conspired to trap their taxpayers within their borders, doesn’t make it right.

Given all the examples cited here, let alone all the thousands that aren’t, it’s delusional to assert that America is “the land of the free.” Without being hyperbolic, it would be closer to the truth to call America a police state. It would require fundamental changes in the American system to turn it into a country worthy of the title “land of the free.” It’s going to take a lot of dialogue and cooperation to do that, but the healing process can’t begin until Americans collectively acknowledge their dystopian lack of freedom.

Please leave a comment if you have any other examples or stories of how Americans aren’t free.

 

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41 Major Crimes Against Humanity Committed By The U.S. Government Since 1945

Image of an upside down American flag

 

Every American civilian and soldier who has blind faith in the moral, cultural and political supremacy of the United States of America must not be aware of the atrocities the American government has committed in the past 70 years alone. Below is a list of major crimes against humanity that America has committed that we know about. These aren’t isolated incidents or accidents. They’re the product of systemic flaws in the American system. The call to action they raise isn’t to overthrow the government. They’re simply pointing out that America needs major change that its electoral system can’t and won’t provide. Until major changes happen, it would be naive to condone jubilant patriotism in the American system.

2015- The wealthiest 1% of the American population own more wealth than the other 99% combined.

2015– America has officially killed about 1,000 civilians (of which 200 were children) using drone strikes.

2015– Led by America, politicians from several nations signed a secret bill into law that gives corporations unprecedented legal power to manipulate market prices and sidestep laws that stand in the way of corporate profit.

2015– America armed ISIS, who uses those weapons to commit crimes against humanity. This also gives the American industrial war complex justification to escalate war spending in the Middle East.

2014– The Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) forced every American citizen to buy health insurance that has such high deductibles it’s basically useless. Anyone who can’t or won’t pay is fined.

2014– The CIA released a report detailing torture at the U.S. military base, Guantanamo Bay, which is located in Cuba so that it falls outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law.

2013– Edward Snowden leaked classified documents that revealed America is secretly spying on its own citizens. The government labeled him a traitor instead of a whistle blower. Now Edward Snowden hides from American “justice” in Russia.

2013– Bradley Manning (now Cheslea Manning) leaked classified documents revealing America was committing war crimes in Iraq. The government labeled him a traitor instead of a whistle blower and locked him in solitary confinement.

2011– Congress attempted to pass the “Stop Online Pirating Act” but failed to pass the bill after widespread public outcry. The bill would have allowed large corporations to control which websites the public has access to.

2011– Thousands of protesters camp in the financial districts of major cities across America to protest how the wealthiest 1% of the population controls the government through lobbying and campaign financing. The police in each city brutally crushed the protests.

2010– President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, which was supposed to limit unethical behavior by banks, but lobbyists influenced the wording of the bill to be essentially useless.

2010– The Supreme Court decided that funding politicians’ campaigns is protected as free speech, guaranteeing wealthy corporations have a legally protected avenue to bribe politicians.

2008– The U.S. Air Force killed 90 civilians in an airstrike in Azizabad, Afghanistan

2008– Banks that went bankrupt from committing fraud and other risky practices were bailed out by the government, and the banks executives received lavish bonuses.

2008– America officially has the largest prison population in the world, officially making it Orwellian to call America, “the land of the free.”

1991-2003 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. At the request of the Kuwaiti government, the American military defeated the Iraqi military, but president George Bush Sr. left Saddam in power though because his administration knew that removing him would create a power vacuum that would destabilize the Middle East. In 2003 President George Bush Jr. invaded Iraq again and removed Saddam from power under the pretense that Saddam’s military possessed weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to America. This destabilized the Middle East, and over 100,000 people have died from the sectarian violence that followed. It later came to light that America new Saddam didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction, and the Bush administration knowingly lied about their justifications to go to war.

2001– Congress signed the Patriot Act into law, which eliminated the American public’s right to privacy and gave the government broad powers to label anyone terrorists.

2001– Congress passed the “No Child Left Behind Act,” which reduced public education to an endless series of rote tests and sold out the education system to private testing companies.

1997– Corrections Corps of America, a private prison company, went public and sells its stock on the stock market. Since then it has spent millions of dollars lobbying congress to keep drug laws tough in order to keep its prisons full.

1994– President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law, which was originally created by his predecessor, George Bush Sr. NAFTA allows American corporations to build sweatshops in South America that don’t have to follow strict environmental laws.

1988– America sold chemical weapons to Iraq that it knew would be used against Iran.

1986– The CIA attempted to overthrow the Nicaraguan government and sold weapons to Iran to raise money to covertly fund Nicaraguan rebels.

1980– The USA helped overthrow the Turkish government.

1973– President Nixon personally oversaw the overthrow of the Chilean government.

1932-1972– The U.S. Public Health Service studied African Americans with syphilis and denied them effective treatments to further study the progression of the disease.

1971– The British military removed all the inhabitants of the island of Diego Garcia and gave the island to America to use as a military base, which is still operational.

1970– The U.S. National Guard shot thirteen student protesters at Kent State University in Ohio.

1964– The U.S. Navy created a false flag attack on one of their ships on the Gulf of Tonkin to justify going to war with Vietnam.

1962– The DoD considered false flag attacks on American citizens to create support to invade Cuba.

1961– The CIA attempted to overthrow the Cuban government, which wasn’t democratically elected; it was created after local freedom fighters ousted the puppet government run by America.

1960’s– The DoD sprayed multiple U.S. Navy ships with various chemical and biological agents to test their effect on the sailors.

1960– The USA helped overthrow the democratically elected government in the Congo

1954– The CIA overthrew the democratically elected government in Guatemala

1953– The CIA tested LSD and other drugs on unsuspecting civilians

1953– The U.S. Army tested biological and chemical weapons on its own troops.

1953– The CIA overthrew the democratically elected government in Iran.

1951– The U.S. Army colluded with private chemical companies to perform medical experiments on American prisoners.

1951– America created the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which exempts military personnel from being protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

1950– The U.S. Navy sprayed bacteria over San Francisco to determine its viability as a biological weapon.

1948– America and its allies backed the creation of the country of Israel, which killed or displaced 700,000 Palestinians in its first year of existence. Since then, with America’s protection, Israel has killed and displaced millions more. Those who remain in their homeland live in concentration camp-like conditions.

1945– America firebombed and nuked Japan killing over 200,000 civilians.

1898– America sent warships to the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The Navy arrested the Queen of Hawaii and forced her to annex the Hawaiian islands to America.

If you want a list of crimes committed by America dating farther back, read “A People’s History of The United States” by Howard Zinn

 

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