See, this is what gets me…

December 2, 2007 at 4:35 pm 10 comments

Ran Prieur has written yet another of those posts that get me fired up to go all Outlaw.  I’m copying it here in full for posterity, because posts from his blog “drop off the edge” after about 10 days:

December 1. There’s a lot of buzz about the Homegrown Terrorist Radicalization Whatever Act. According to the script, we’re supposed to respond, “Unthinkable! Outrage! Constitution! Fight through usual channels! Oh no, usual channels not working! American reality different from American ideal! Protest! Ow, stop hitting me!”

If we respond this way, we are going along with the abuse ritual. To an abuser, there is nothing sexier than when the victim expresses shock and outrage and fights back in a way that’s totally ineffective. The next sexiest thing is to grovel in submission, and next after that is total numb defeat. These strategies not only don’t work — they actually feed a demon that inhabits the collective consciousness and many individuals, and they encourage more abuse.

So what can we do about it? As Thaddeus Golas said, “A great deal, if our heads are clear.” The common mistakes of abuse victims and political dissidents correspond exactly to the first four of the five stages of grief. It’s time to stop fucking around and get to the fifth stage.

America has passed from Republic to Empire, and will not go back. We are living in an authoritarian state in rapid decline. The federal government will pass more and more repressive laws, because that is what declining empires do. By all means, we should pay attention to hostile moves by government and business, the same way you would pay attention to rising floodwaters. You don’t get angry at the water. You don’t say “the Constitution forbids water getting this high.” It is not a good idea to march through the water holding signs demanding that it recede. But you might be able to channel the water to where it will do less harm, or pile up sandbags to protect critical areas, or at least evacuate to higher ground.

Moving from metaphor to reality, we can fight big domination systems with little systems that are still democratic. Your vote for president is now worth less than your vote on Reddit, but you could make a huge difference by starting a group to run a candidate for city council, or to connect responsible squatters with vacant houses, or to fix and give away old bikes, or to turn an abandoned parking lot into a garden.

Another thing we have to understand is that the law is a distraction. The highest and lowest classes already know this in their bones: the only thing that matters is what you can get away with. The police will invade your house, kill your dog, and steal your computer if you run a perfectly legal website that scrutinizes the police too closely. But you can flagrantly violate the law by occupying an empty house, raising chickens in your back yard, and providing unlicenced medical care, as long as you maintain good relations with everyone who knows you’re doing it.  (emphasis added)

I know he’s more or less right.  And it just gets me, you know?  Because I have the hugest love and admiration for Ron Paul and what he’s taking on.  Yes, I’ve been supporting him with my plastic FRNs – and I want to see him win.  Just to observe the look on the faces of George Stephanopoulos and Ann Coulter and all those who say “he can never win.”  (How come no one ever makes the so-called expert explain just why he can’t win, when it’s still a month to the first frackin’ primary?)

Dangitall.  I’m stuck in hope.  I love this particular underdog.  I can’t help it.  He’s a dear.  And he’s mostly right.

But my dark side whacks me upside the head with a 2×4 and yells, “So is Ran Prieur right!  Not even a President Paul  can save us now!  You know it – you gotta save your own ass.”

So I guess the best I can do is to support two underdogs with my plastic FRNs – Ron Paul, and myself.  Hedging, I think they call it on Wall Street.


Entry filed under: Anarchism, Big Picture, Doing Freedom, Free Your Mind, Living Free, Outlawry.

Two bits of bad news for freedom outlaws Happy 2008, baby!

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. PintofStout  |  December 3, 2007 at 10:31 am

    I read somewhere that the author (the one I was reading somewhere) takes inspiration from the movie Hope Floats. It gives her hope. I could only think that if hope was substantial at all, that bastard would surely sink….unless, of course, it was in a sea of b.s., in which case in might “float.”

  • 2. morrigan  |  December 3, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    I guess I have a fatalistic view of this soap opera also known as the presidential election. My gut tells me that it has been decided and all the drama of campaigns is a mere distraction to hold the attention of the masses. I can see this unfolding two different ways:
    Scenario 1- The new president (which ever, just a different face) will continue with business as usual.
    Scenario 2- There will not be a new president. Some plan of another terrorist attack occurs, martial law is declared, elections are suspended and well you can imagine the rest.

  • 3. Taran Jordan  |  December 4, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    @Pint – Haven’t seen that movie, but Goddess knows we’re living in a sea of BS nowadays…

    @Morrigan – Yep, I have my cynical times too. There are plenty of unpleasant possible outcomes and permutations ahead. I do wonder, though, if a real rEVOLution might be igniting among the “rank and file” – and how they might then react should the PTB make things go all pear-shaped. People, quite a few people anyway, aren’t nearly as oblivious or sheeplefied as I used to think.

  • 4. B.W. Richardson  |  December 5, 2007 at 8:11 am

    Freedom is not dependent on who or what the government is. That ancient diplomat/politician got it right when he wrote of inalienable rights we are born with. Governments are created to secure those rights but eventually, by their very nature, they instead wear away at them. But in the end, freedom is an internal thing. I keep coming back to a movie scene – Dr. Zhivago? – where a man about to die tells his torturers, “I’m the only free man in this room,” and the others look at each other uneasily, knowing he spoke the truth.

    I think you’re right to have hope that people recognize Ron Paul speaks closer to the truth than most of his ilk, but you’re also right to hedge your bet.

  • 5. Brian N.  |  December 23, 2007 at 11:12 am

    I think Ron Paul’s days as a presidential hopeful are over:


  • 6. standard issue  |  December 24, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Lightning – Been trying to get in contact with you and Thunder, since I seen the forum go weird. I’d like to reconnect with you guys.

    standard issue

  • 7. Taran Jordan  |  December 24, 2007 at 9:22 am

    B.W. – True, one man in government does not utter freedom make. And hedging makes sense everywhere you look nowadays, I’m, coming to realize.

    Brian – After yesterday’s Meet the Press grilling, which went better than I expected, I tend to think you’re wrong. Curious – did I detect a smug note in your comment?

    Standard – Hey, man! Long time no shoot! Glad you’re doing well. I’ll drop you an email shortly.

  • 8. Brian N.  |  December 24, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Not at all smug, more upset. I think that Paul’s completely innocent of what he’s going to be blasted with on the basis of that photograph (follow the link to Beck’s place in the previous post) but there’s no denying what will happen; his chances of getting elected were uncertain before, he’s unquestionably out now. It’s such a perfect way to ruin a candidacy, especially an outsider candidacy, that I suspect a set-up. I think Paul’s carried himself very well, represented his ideas clearly, and made Giuliani and many others look like complete Putzes.

  • 9. Brian N.  |  December 24, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Forgot the Post-script to the previous comment:

    PS – Merry Christmas, and, if I don’t contact you again before the time comes, Happy New Year as well.

  • 10. Taran Jordan  |  December 24, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Ah, my mistake, Brian, and my apology to you.

    I see your point, and I know the powers that be would be viciously thrilled to bury RP in that kind of dirt. However, hope springs eternal – Ron Paul is the one candidate who can’t be utterly smeared, because his record is just too good, decent, and clean.

    And his supporters are too loyal to be alienated by the smear attempts. On the contrary, they’re becoming more and more elated – the old media tactics aren’t succeeding against their man! If this is the best “they” have to throw at him, maybe, just maybe things really are looking up for RP and for freedom.

    There was a good piece on LRC today about this issue:

    I am no longer a political animal in the soapbox sense, personally. I’d much rather live my life as a happy, peaceful, laissez-faire anarchist. But since Ron Paul wants to abolish the IRS and prune the tentacles of Leviathan, and since I see him having a real chance, well, hell, I’ll even go vote one last time. But only for him. I’m no starry-eyed fanatic, but I’m certain there isn’t a single other candidate worth the gas to drive to the polling place.

    Merry Christmas, Good Yule, and Happy New Year to you, and to all my kind readers, too!


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