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On Walking Away

    By its very nature, evil is parasitic. It's impossible to produce without thinking, so those who refuse to think must find ways to take the value produced by those who do. Because of the parasitic nature of evil, the maintenance of all freedom is done by a very specific type of action: walking away.

    In an individual-to-individual scenario, this is quite literal. If a conversation or a relationship does not bring you value, you can - and should - end it by walking away. In a broader social context, that action takes many forms - each playing the fascinating role of regulating a social system.

    In the economic realm, for example, you can walk away from the credit market by liquidating your debt. If interest rates are too low to make lending worth the risk, you can take your money home and hoard it, signaling both borrowers and middle-men that if they wish to borrow, they need to pay more. As I've talked about in the past week, government-imposed, debt-backed currency erases that possibility - it is a tyrant's way of forcing individuals to lend.

    In the realm of education, "walking away" is done by home-schooling. Specialization enables more efficient work, so specialized teachers, working for a company that specializes in teaching, should provide better education. Homeschooling isn't just an "alternative form" of schooling - it is the acknowledgement that the school system has become so corrupt that it is better to teach your kids at home. To make it illegal, as it used to be in my home country until a few years ago, erases that possibility - it is a tyrant's way of forcing parents to indoctrinate their children.

    Whatever the particular context, the logic is always the same, because the essence is always the same. Honest individuals benefit from interacting with one another, and establish institutions to mediate that interaction. An honest institution does not need to be forced upon the individual - the threat of individuals walking away is what ensures that those involved remain honest. Dishonest institutions cannot survive for long unless they take that choice away - and choice can only be taken away by the threat of physical violence.

    The most fundamental instance of "walking away" is walking away from your government, because the very purpose of an honest government is to protect individuals against physical violence. That choice is taken away, first by taxation, and ultimately by gun prohibition. If you think your government is unable to enforce just laws, you should be able to refuse to take part in it - to keep the money you would use to fund it, and use it to enforce those laws privately. If the situation is worse, and the laws themselves promote violence against peaceful people, you have the right to organize a militia, and bring it down by force.

    To fight one's government isn't a remote, romantic fantasy - it is a real necessity, and the reason behind the second amendment. As Thomas Jefferson brilliantly put, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

  -  March 5th, 2020

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