I am a life long anti-authoritarian and lover of liberty. From as long as I can remember, even as young as 4 or 5 years old, I simply couldn’t stand someone trying to tell me what to do. As a young adult I became very concerned about the growing government encroachment into every part of our lives (something that has only increased since). I thought that my freedom and liberty were being restricted by various government entities. With perhaps the wisdom of age came the realization that in fact that the real loss of freedom was the result of my focus on the issue rather than the government intrusion itself.
You can live a mostly free life almost anywhere except under the most repressive systems. I’m not saying that the government isn’t an force for evil and that things wouldn’t be better if it would get out of the way. It certainly is and they certainly would be. What I am saying is fretting about it or trying to do something about it makes it worse for you personally.
I make a decent income and have my entire adult life. The government takes a big chunk of it and theoretically you could call that percentage of my life slavery to the state. I used to look at it that way and it was very demoralizing. Something like 40% of my life is spent as a slave to government – that kind of thinking. However, that is the wrong way to look at it. Now I simply eliminate the thought that I ever earned that money in the first place. I don’t even include that income as mine to begin with. I view it as never having been earned in the first place and ignore it. I have plenty left over and It doesn’t affect my freedom on a day-to-day basis in any significant way, unless of course I sit around thinking and fuming about it . When my income was less the percentage confiscated was less and thus it really didn’t matter how little or much I made I still had plenty left over. So as much as I’m philosophically opposed to this dreadful confiscation, it is my opinion we all can mostly just ignore it.
There may a million laws and regulations that nobody can keep track of. Some of these may create a big headache for a few people. However, there is very little from government that in any significant way restricts my freedom. Of course if you focus on ridiculous specific restrictions, like I used to do, you can get yourself all worked up about it. If I craved pot every waking moment and was terrified of getting thrown in jail for smoking it then maybe my life would be a living hell as a result of the government. However, if I reflect honestly on it, on a day to day basis, there is very little I want to do that I am restricted from doing by government. I submit that for most of you the same thing applies. There are exceptions of course but not for most people.
I know a number of people including members of my own family who spend an excessive amount of time and stress tracking and fretting about all the government is doing that they think is wrong. If they would stop watching Fox and ignore the government an enormous burden would be lifted from their shoulders and a world of freedom would open up to them. When I finally realized this it made a huge difference in my life. For the most part ever since I realized this I just mostly ignore the government. I’m not in favor of mass movements but if there was a mass movement to just start ignoring government I would heartily endorse it. Of course the same thing applies to those who think the government is not intrusive enough. They spend their mental energy worrying about what the government is not doing.
I don’t deny there is much government evil. When I do think about it, I am appalled by all the warring, droning, bureaucratic meddling, spying, and money creating. However I can’t do anything about it and I’ve watched for 30 years while very committed people have been trying and failing. If I could only get back all the hours I threw away doing the same.
Whatever the government does, focusing on it takes away your freedom to a far greater degree than whatever the government is doing that upsets you. For the most part you can just turn off the political media and do something constructive with your time. As far as breaking the law when it comes to personal freedom and not the violation of the rights of others, I recommend that anything you think you can get away with to go for it. If you want to smoke some weed, the chances of the government doing anything about it are almost nil. For a trivial example, I regularly ignore speed limits while driving (apparently like most of the rest of the other drivers on the road). A huge percentage of the population gambles illegally. Most of us break laws in one way or another.
If you want to live free, my advice is to ignore politics and government. Focus on what you can do directly in your own and your life will immediately be a lot more free. This is the worst fear of most politicians. They fear apathy and non-participation far more than they fear opponents. As long as people are passionately involved the winners claim they have a mandate and that we all give a damn what they are doing. I believe a strong non-participation movement would do far more good than choosing between elephants or donkeys.
I’ve watched this political spectacle my entire adult life. For over 30 years in which alleged conservatives have been in power for more often than progressives or liberals the growth of government has proceeded unabated. During that time there has been unprecedented increases in government intrusion, expansion, debt, death, and incompetence. Thinking it makes much difference in who wins is a delusion, but it is a delusion the “public servants” depend upon for their legitimacy.
If you forego alternatives in time and joy and freedom to worry about the government, you have only yourself to blame. I know whereof I speak. I made this mistake for many years. You have a choice to live free by simply ignoring the government and its meddling bureaucrats.