[this page is a mirror of this original].
Don Lobo Tiggre
Many people wish they could declare their personal independence from Uncle Sam (and his ilk in other lands), but few people take any actions to bring this about in their lives. It's easy to understand why. Most people who want to change the world in which they live believe that they must do so through participation in the electoral political process. This is a daunting and rather grizzly process, one few people have the stomach for, rightly (in my opinion) fearing that their efforts will be wasted. Of the tiny fraction who encounter the notion of living in greater freedom without waiting for all of society to become more free, most are scared off by the realization that those in power take a rather dim view of unilateral unsubscription from their protection services. There are thousands of people, wearing hundreds of uniforms, carrying lots of guns, who will come and make life unpleasant for anyone who doesn't go along with the charade of modern American "freedom". Of the even tinier fraction of people who actually try to unsubscribe from society's most powerful coercive institutions, many are beaten into submission by the difficulties they encounter, though, it's interesting to note, few of them are actually caught. It's a lack of good information and preparation that ends most people's attempts to achieve greater freedom in misery. But it can be done. I have done it, and I know others who are doing it happily now-have been for years.
So, how? How do you get the govgoons and other ruler wannabes to leave you alone?
Well, it ain't easy. And it sure as hell isn't foolproof, but it can be done. I'll give you some specifics in a moment, but first, we need to cover some basics: How important is this to you? Do you really mean it when you say you want to live freer now, or is that just a whim? I'm not trying to be insulting, but you have to understand that statists and other coercivists have worked for centuries to make things difficult for anyone who won't go along with them. Of course, I think enduring "discomfort" isn't even in the same league of values as being free, but bucking the system can be pretty darned uncomfortable. It can kill you, if you get careless. But the same can be said for crossing the street--and is it really all that fun to run yourself ragged on the Golden Treadmill like a good citizen/subject? Your own efforts on that rack are used to make the chains that hold you there.
At any rate, if you want more freedom, but want to continue living in a nice suburban house, with two cars in the garage, and no trouble from the IRS, you're not ready for what I have to say. It's your life, so I won't criticize you, but if you're going to wait for freedom to be legal, you're going to have to wait until all of society changes.
On the other hand, if you are serious about wanting to unsubscribe from coercive institutions now, I'm telling you that it can be done, and I'll write more, as time allows, about how you can do it.
The first things that have to go, however, are the nice house in the suburbs and the two cars. There's no one right way to do this, and I know people who don't pay the U.S. income tax but do have driver's licenses, but as national databases grow and interlink, going in to government offices to secure such papers will become more and more dangerous. The sad truth (for those who value comfort over freedom) is that houses and cars (things almost everyone needs) are the bait and traps the state uses to ensnare us. It's not just that the house is a fixed location subject to taxation, papers, dossiers, etc., it's also that would-be tax resisters look at their 1040s and think, "God, the IRS will take my house away if I don't pay!" A house is a huge investment for most folks, and, being every person's own "castle", is very important emotionally--hence, it's a great lever for arm-twisting. You can't hide a house, can't take it with you... You can hide a car and take it with you, but you can't use it for long without getting it IDed, taxed, inspected, etc. Most other things people own and care about can be made fairly invisible to the state, but these two, the house and the car, both make you a sitting duck and give them a reason to come gunning for you.
This doesn't mean that you can't have a house, or even a car, and be truly free; it just means that such things had best not be in your name, and you'd best not do much driving on government roads. Some might object that if they are not free to buy the house or drive the car they want, they are not truly free. Well, you can't levitate either, just because you want to be free to do so. The law of gravity does not violate your freedom, it's just a context within which we operate. Similarly, our socio-political context is one in which large gangs of powerful predators track, control, and punish their prey by regulating real property and many means of transportation. Now, if you really want to ignore the consequences, or accept them, you can choose to buy houses and drive cars without cooperating with the "authorities". But sooner or later--probably sooner--it's going to place you in direct conflict with those large gangs of powerful predators. Nevertheless, it is a choice. Fortunately, there are other choices.
You can rent a house, or buy one through an agent you trust (and who trusts you), or even rent through an agent, if you're really trying to stay off the records. This isn't necessarily as hard as it may sound, especially if you have a large family, or a large group of friends, or both. There are ways to do the same thing working through strangers (lawyers), but it's riskier, and much more expensive. I'm going to assume for now that people who have that much money don't need my help. (You don't think really rich people, some with more assets than many small countries, let legal protection rackets shake them down for more than token amounts, do you?)
Renting is often looked down upon by society (or creditors), but it has some advantages over buying a house. Rent may be "throwing away money without building equity", but mortgages are huge burdens; you have to keep working to make those payments, and keep at it for decades. Buying through others places them at greater risk, risk they may not be happy about if they have the kinds of resources it takes to own multiple properties (i.e., the ferals have plenty of ransom leverage against them). Also, even if you make your payments to them like clockwork, you're still paying property taxes along with the mortgage, which undoes part of the goal you're trying to achieve. Perhaps more importantly, if the house is in someone else's name but it's "really yours", then it's something you're going to be unhappy about losing--in other words, a millstone around your neck that may make it hard for you to make a quick exit, should it ever become necessary. On the other hand, if you're renting, you can walk away much more easily--toss everything in storage if you must, or just head for the hills with your pre-packed emergency backpack. You may be breaking a contract, something that most freedom lovers hate to do, but it's a contract with a built-in penalty (they keep your deposit); they'll just rent the place again and no one gets hurt. If the contract is in a friend's name, he or she might even be able to get out of it with more time at their disposal than you might have, and even recover the deposit.
So, you work through others to secure a warm and dry place to hang your hat. Their trust in you to make the payments that they will be held responsible for really is at least as important as your trust in them not to rat on you, if not more so. Next you need to get around. You can work through others to own a car, but there's not much you can do about the hazards of operating one illegally, unless you are willing to resort to fake IDs. Now, I've no problem with the concept of fake IDs, but they'd have to be very good replicas (or real documents from foreign jurisdictions) to get you through sobriety roadblocks and other traffic stops. Many people are not comfortable with such risks, and it shows on their faces, even if their papers are adequate. A simpler way to avoid trouble is just not to drive, except in emergency cases.
I know this idea makes most modern Americans' skin crawl, so ingrained in our culture is the way of life that includes hopping into the car to go just about anywhere, anywhen. Some folks might protest that if they are not free to jump into a car and go where they please, then they are not free. Well, perhaps we should also be "free" to jump in the ocean any time we please and not worry about sharks, but there are sharks, and we don't regard them as a moral affront to our sense of freedom. Sleek state troopermobiles prowling the highways are just another kind of shark, and you are free to choose to take your chances with them. But, if you want to "drop out" and stay unnoticed and unmolested by the minions of coercion, you can find other ways of getting around. The amount of money it takes to make monthly car, insurance, gasoline, maintenance, and other payments is a significant portion of what keeps so many Americans working so hard at jobs they hate. It may take a little more time to bike to the corner store, but then you won't have to spend time sweating on that damned StairMaster your wife bought you. You might have to--gasp!--plan your day more carefully if you're going to take buses to and from a workplace or a school, but it sure won't cost you more than a car payment. And it might be "expensive" to take a cab to the airport, but it will probably get you there faster and with less hassle than taking your late-model millstone to leave in long term parking. And if you prefer rural settings, there are plenty of states where 4-wheelers are not licensed... Personally, I love living in a place where I can still ride a horse to the store! There are other options.
This idea that you simply must have a car to live is a peculiarly American thing (I'm not knocking it, and I surely do wish automobiles were not regulated in the U.S.), and I don't mean that billions of Mexicans, Indians, and Chinese don't have cars. I don't know if it's still "most", but a heck of a lot of Europeans living in "wealthy" countries don't drive either. Think about it.
Okay, so you can find a place to live and means of getting around, all off the books, but what about work? How will you pay for these things and neither pay the taxman his blood money, nor let his stooges bash your skull in for electing not to participate in his "voluntary" system? The truth is that there are as many ways of arranging you life to avoid the taxman as there are lives to be arranged. There is no one right way, and what works for one woman might get a man in another state busted. But there are ways. The simplest and safest is to stop earning income. There's no tax (as of this writing, March, 2000) in the U.S. for having a million dollars, but there is one for acquiring a million dollars. If you have money saved up (hopefully, but not necessarily in banks outside the U.S.), you can simply hop off the golden treadmill, give up on buying another boat (or whatever else it is), and live in a modest way, off the books, on what you have. This is actually legal... but not an option for many people. However, it is an option for far more people than realize it, who could live on far less if they didn't have to make monthly car- and home-related expenses and could bend their minds around the idea of living in simpler freedom instead of more expensive slavery.
For those who truly have to have an income to eat and support their families, the next best thing is to make so little on the books that they leave you alone. The IRS will occasionally persecute paupers, but it's extremely rare, and not at all worth the effort if they don't even have an address for you. There's nothing wrong with living a simple, humble life, but it's not the only way to go. You can make bunches of money, and keep it all off the records, which, coupled with keeping your location pretty obscure through not having any regulated property or licenses in your name, is pretty safe, but it's also pretty complicated. You have to work at keeping everything quiet, but that's no more an infringement upon your financial freedom than the sharks are an infringement upon your freedom to swim. It's just effortful.
There are many books on this subject available, though I understand that the authors of some have been jailed from time to time, so I'm not sure I'd trust any of them completely. Boston T. Party says no one who's followed his advice in Goodbye, April 15 has been jailed, but any sort of formula makes me nervous. Legalistic arguments based on the Constitution make me even more nervous. Finding loopholes is not where it's at, as far as I'm concerned, because storm troopers don't give a damn about loopholes; they've got guns and numbers, and they want your money. It's far better to stay off their radar screen than to try to deal with them in any manner at all.
That having been said, the IRS is one of the most screwed up bureaucracies there is, and while they do tend to challenge anyone who writes them a letter telling them that they don't have to pay the "voluntary" income tax, they are also known to lose track of people who simply stop filing. There are many people who have no strategy, but--whether it was moral outrage or any other reason--got tired of it all at some point and stopped sending in payments or filing any papers... and the IRS hasn't so much as written them a letter!
Making money online, making money in the informal economy, offshore banks, and many related subjects are important enough areas to justify going into at some depth on their own. I'll try to get to them all; the point to understand now, to believe now, is that there are plenty of ways to make money that don't leave a paper trail the ferals can follow to your doorstep. I was once in a strip-mall parking lot when a guy pulled up beside me and asked if I wanted a dent in my car door fixed. The dealer had said it would cost $750 to fix, and the guy offered to do it right there and then for $140, so I agreed. He pulled out a slide-hammer, popped the metal back out, spread some filler over the mess, and sprayed it with a primer (there's no way he could carry around paint for all makes and years in his car, but a slide hammer and fillers didn't take up too much room). It was great; all I had to do was get a can of touch-up paint from the dealer and the car looked (almost) good as new. It took the guy less than a half hour, and it was all off the books--I couldn't even turn him in if I wanted to. I've no idea how many such repairs he could do in a day, but there are plenty of cars with dents in parking lots!
There are lots of ways to make money off the books, especially if one is not set on trying to find a "job", but can be happy providing goods or services that others value. In other words, the basic key to living freer now is going into business for yourself. That this is also very important psychologically for your personal sense of freedom (anyone who's worked for a large corporation knows that they can be just as coercive as any state can be!) is an added bonus; it would be worth it, even if this wasn't so.
Now, the good news: the internet is making all of this easier!
It's still young, but as more and more people get used to the idea of buying goods and services on line (we can thank Amazon.com and E-Bay for that, if nothing else), it will become easier and easier for providers to go into business. And information-age technologies are skewed in favor of the individual, who can have as good encryption as the military, if they so choose. The ferals know this, and they're looking for ways to control, tax, and hobble the Net as fast as they can, but there's no way they can keep up with the changing technologies. Even better yet, large chunks of the population are falling in love with e-mail and chatting, and the boost to productivity that the internet is proving to be for business is not something Wall Street will let go of easily. My point: the internet is perhaps the greatest freedom-creating engine ever, and it has huge constituencies to defend it, even though they neither know nor care about the political implications of the technology.
There are a lot more details to get into, and as promised, I will try to cover them all in future issues. The basic strategy to grasp is: 1] get your name and SSN off of any records that relate to where you are and how you get around, and 2] go into business for yourself, so that you can keep your earnings, and information about your earnings, to yourself. This can be done. There are people who have been doing it for a very long time. I'll tell you more about it next time.
Next Issue: Privacy is Hard!
Table of Contents
Write a Letter to the Editor