Living Free – Freedom From Government

by Stephen Mills on November 22, 2013

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.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ingrid Kast Fuller November 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Stephen,
I can’t believe you wrote this blog entry, it’s wrong on so many levels, I don’t know where to begin. Evidently, you have never been affected by an election that was won by only one or two vote difference. There in itself explains why YOU CAN do something about government interference in our lives by just voting. Why would anyone stop listening to NEWS, is beyond me. (And by pointing at just one News entity, we begin to understand the liberal message you are trying to spread to your audience.) Everyone IMO should participate in their government, because it affects THEM! And by listening to the news you become a more informed person in the way of the world and what will affect your life. (I believe you should listen to many sources on all sides of the story to begin to make a good decision on what YOU believe or NOT believe.) This blog entry is all about shrugging your responsibilities to yourself and your country. It is very anti-patriotic too and if you were a true believer of liberty, then you would want to protect our constitution and bill of rights whenever you could. I’m sadden by this entry as I thought you were more level-headed.

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Stephen Mills November 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Your entitled to your opinion but I disagree. Your arbitrary assertions to the contrary I do love liberty and that is THE REASON I wrote what I did. Apparently somebody who doesn’t agree with your ideas can’t believe in liberty. This dogmatic attitude is in contrast to your claims about listening to all sides. Apparently 250 years of elections hasn’t protected the constitution or liberty.

I have to laugh about you claiming I’m trying to spread a liberal message. What nobody who knows me ever calls me is a liberal. The reason I mentioned FOX is because that is the station the people I know watch all the time and who fret about the government. You need to be more skeptical about what YOU think you know. I’m patriotic to freedom not an arbitrary geographic area nor a particular batch of politicians or institutions. Finally if you understood the article you would understand it is not at all about shrugging responsibility. It’s about taking responsibility for your own life and not throwing it away on useless political activities.

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Ingrid Kast Fuller November 29, 2013 at 10:50 am

Whether you like it or not, you live in a certain geographical area and the politics on the news that affects your geographic area (city, state or federal), affects you and your neighbors. I believe everyone should take responsibility for their own life and I even have to turn off the news from time to time for my sanity. It is NOT a USELESS political activity to educate yourself on the activities going on around you. If you never watch the news or pay attention to your city politics for instance, you might not know of new laws that affect you, your home or even driving to work. It is irresponsible for anyone to go with blinders on.

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Stephen Mills November 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I don’t have blinders on, I am not ignorant or uneducated. I simply believe I have better ways to improve my own life and that of others than USELESS political activity. You seem to be of the belief that my statement that I mostly ignore the government and spend my efforts elsewhere (and recommend others do the same) means I’m ignorant of what is going on. Another false assumption on your part. I can’t help but being somewhat informed unless I get rid of all technology and communication and move into the woods. In fact I bet I’m far more informed than the vast majority of people despite the fact I spend very little time becoming informed and waste virtually no time trying to do anything about it because that would be USELESS. I’m perfectly aware of what is going on around me. You are simply missing the point of the article. I suggest you read it again with some nuance this time instead of getting all fired up and making false assumptions. My whole point in disagreement with you is that there is very little that affects me and my neighbors and to whatever degree it does I’m better off ignoring it and living my life because I can’t do anything about it. You are welcome to disagree but you are missing the forest because of the trees. The other part you are ignoring is that I’ve been there done that. Maybe that was another part of the article you didn’t read. So please read the article again.

Just like on my deathbed I don’t think I will be wishing I spent more time at the office, I don’t think I will wish I spent more time fretting about the government. I don’t think anyone who follows my advice will either.

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Marc December 14, 2013 at 5:14 am

Each indivdual controls his mind energy, his physical energy, and his spiritual energy. No is a powerful word. Becoming less reliant(start small) on governments and giant corporations adds to your individual freedom.
Disobedience combined with high moral conduct is a powerful force.

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Stephen Mills December 14, 2013 at 9:21 am

Marc, absolutely. Although I would add becoming less reliant on anything or anybody increases individual freedom. Of course government and big corporations are #1 and #2 on my list as well.

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Doug L. January 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

What is Government? For the most part it is a bunch of ordinary people just like us. The real secrete is that, like a pyramid scheme, it does boil up to a relatively few; of course I’m referring to the profits that is. People need to be content with the obtainable things in life, not “lotto fever”.

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Doug L. January 14, 2014 at 8:16 pm

I am fortunate to live in a state that grants me the basic securities for life. Abundance of work for my skills, which cover most concerns, and the personal right to bear arms should I feel the need or desire. I obtained a degree from a University in my thirties but still chose to be involved with a skilled trade for a living, as well as serving in our armed forces for 8 years. Whether swinging a hammer or debating political or philosophical ideas, I agree with the essence of Stephen’s posting; people tend to get caught up in political hype that serves only as a distraction to their personal life’s meaning.

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John May 24, 2014 at 2:58 am

Great post Stephen. I for one fell into this rabbit hole when I got involved in politics on a local level and then carried the torch for the GOP as an Island Campaign chair. I’ve wasted too many of my productive years worrying and fretting about politics and in the end, its all BS. Left, Right, it doesn’t matter. It’s only been 6 months since I’ve made a conscious choice to ignore it and not give two nickels worrying about this or that. When the campaigns call, I laugh and wish them luck and kindly let them know that “my give a damn’s busted”. It’s time to put the effort and focus back on me and what I can do to make the world, my community and the people I love better as a result of our relationship. Peace!

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ROLLEY July 23, 2014 at 10:34 am

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KA August 26, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Oh man, I wish I could force a few of my relatives to read this and come to the same conclusion! It sounds like we have differences of opinion regarding some things, for example, I don’t have children but I am glad my tax money goes to help schools to help educate our populace, and to keep roads in decent repair, and to have services for my elderly relatives and disabled people. I do NOT make that much money and it sometimes physically hurts to see what’s taken out of it each month. But I accept it in part, because at least some of the result is positive for me and for society in general.

And I do agree with you that our government (and all governments) lie to us and do unethical things but we cannot control that and if we look at the bigger picture of how we have advanced overall (curing diseases, more equality, longer life spans), we can have hope that things will sort out and continue to improve. I don’t think that necessarily means to never think about it, or have your voice be heard, but as you say, DON’T DWELL ON IT EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY because (like anything) it’s going to drive you nuts.

Thank you so much. Nice blog.

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