THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 742, October 20, 2013
Only the Zero Aggression Principle, and
the freedom it generates, can save us from
the same oblivion that swallowed the Sumerians,
the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the ancient
Greeks, the Romans, and the British
The Root of All Power
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to the Tea Party Rally! I'd like to personally thank M. Lee Hasenauer for asking me to share 10 minutes of time with you today.
Knowing that I've spent a large amount of time researching such topics as the United Nations, Agenda 21, local UDC codes and the manner in which they reflect such international schemes for slavery, M. had asked me to speak on those issues today.
As I began composing my speech this morning, however, I realized that I would be doing my listeners a great disservice if I did so!
Now, when I say that, it's not that I don't believe that those issues carry a tremendous impact and don't merit serious and reasoned discussion—because they do.
It's just that they do not lie at the root of what is happening around us today—and I strongly believe that if that root itself is not thoroughly explained and understood then none of the rest of our opposition will have any true meaning or lasting effect.
As a sidebar, however, on the matter of international treaties and the manner in which they are permitted, constitutionally, to bypass the Bill of Rights, I will refer you to the well-reasoned arguments presented by Kenneth W. Royce in his book, "Hologram of Liberty: The Constitution's Shocking Alliance with Big Government," published by Javelin Press, with an emphasis on Chapter 5 entitled "Concerns Then... Nightmares Today."
No, today, I'd rather speak on a topic with far more import that has profound implications for everything we think, say and do—because, as I told my wife Barbie this morning, "I've got 10 minutes to reach people's hearts and minds, and talking about Senate treaties is not the way to achieve that goal." That topic is: Power.
Now, "power" is a multi-faceted word which can mean a lot of different things, and Merriam-Webster defines power in the following fashion: As a noun, "(1) A position of ascendancy over others; (2) the ability to act or produce an effect; (3) one that has control or authority; (4) physical might—also, mental or moral vigor; (5) the number of times as indicated by an exponent a number is to be multiplied by itself; (6) force of energy used to do work; (7) the amount by which an optical lens magnifies." Also, "power," as a verb, means: "To supply with power and especially with motive power."
Some examples of such powers, then, would be: Electrical power, as in the ability to produce a flow of electrons through wires to light and heat our homes; mathematical power, as in 102 = 100; political power, as in the ability to hold a gun in our hands and force others to do our bidding; and economic or social power, as in the ability to produce goods and services in the marketplace.
For our concerns today, however, it is personal and intellectual power, as exemplified by definitions (2) and (4), that interest me the most—"the ability to act or produce an effect," and "mental or moral vigor"—as I believe that even a small amount of reflection will make it clear to anyone that these two categories serve as the root for all other forms of power.
However, despite the fact that these forms of power, personal and intellectual, serve as the base for all other forms, I would contend to you today that it is precisely these that are the most ignored and evaded—and not only by our system and culture in general, but precisely by us, as individuals, as well. And yet, it is exactly in an understanding and exercise of such power that the answers to the myriad problems facing us today lie!
As an example, consider the local UDC laws here in Cheyenne, which forbid the establishment of particular forms of landscaping and regulate the design facades and setback distances of building construction. What is it that ultimately makes such laws possible? Yes, of course, the plundering politicians are a necessary ingredient for such events to occur—but, on a much more fundamental level, our compliance, as individuals, is also required. What would happen if a significant fraction of the population of Cheyenne were to simply refuse to recognize the validity or practice of such laws, and build and landscape as they wish on their own private property? What would happen if enough people were to simply "Just Say No!"?
Yes, some of us might end up in jail... But I would submit to you that there is simply not enough jail space in our jails to hold even a sizeable amount of this city's population in the event of such an occurrence. And I would also submit to you that were enough us—not even a majority, and not even a large minority, just enough of a percentage to cause major headaches for the looters currently pointing their guns at our heads—to act in such a civilly disobedient fashion, the combination and synergy of all our personal powers would grind such systems of coercion to a halt.
And if you don't think that's true, history says otherwise. Remember, if you will, our very own Revolution and our Declaration of Independence of 1776, where a minority—not a majority—of individuals spoke up and declared to the world, "We don't need a ruler!" The power of coercion, when placed against the power of morally and rationally sound ideas, simply cannot compete, and the so-called "ineffectual" power of such ideas have toppled Kings and Dictators time and time again.
And lest you think that the example of our own Revolution was merely a historical exception to the general power of the rule of the thug, I would caution you to consider two other examples as well: Mahatma Gandhi's toppling of British rule in India in 1947 and Lech Walesa's toppling of Communist rule in Poland throughout the 1980s, culminating in his election in 1990 as Poland's first democratically elected president.
What were the weapons employed by these two men? Not violence and force of arms, but... Boycotts, resistance and civil disobedience. By the use of such means, both of these men were able to crystallize and coalesce the tremendous personal powers of each of their nation's citizens into mighty social forces that wiped their respective dictators out of commission. However, be advised: Consistency and integrity in the practice of such methods is a crucial requirement— and it was Gandhi, himself, in one short sentence, who summarized the means of asserting such tremendous personal and social power: "You must become the change you wish to see in the world."
If you still doubt the revolutionary power inherent in such ideas and practices, be advised that your enemies certainly do not.
In January of 1991, for instance, in the midst of the Eastern European collapse of communism, Soviet troops assaulted the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, and took over several city locations in an attempt to crush the revolution. The targets? Not armories, nor troop concentrations—but the central publishing house and the TV tower, in an attempt to suppress the nationalist media.
And, in March of 2003, as part of a crackdown by communist Cuban state security, the house of Pedro Alvarez, Secretary-General of Cuba's CUTC, a prominent trade union, was raided; Alvarez was arrested and state-threatening materials were seized. The "state-threatening materials"? Not guns, bombs or artillery—but books, computers, radios and fax machines.
Why is it that despots consider the transmission of information to be deadlier to their tyrannical ends than stockpiles of guns and bombs? Because their propaganda-driven policies of aggression and enslavement cannot stand the truth of exposure. The "samizdat," for instance (the network of illegal and underground publications of banned books, thoughts and materials in the post-Stalinist Soviet Union), was a significant thorn in the side of Marxist-Leninist agitprop for decades—and its activities, when coupled with new, incoming Western technology throughout the 1980s, played a significant role in the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Actions, as everyone likes to say, speak louder than words, ladies and gentlemen—and it is such actions that make it clear that it is the power of ideas that such thugs fear—and, even more so, your understanding of that power—so, be advised: If you want to fight a battle against the coercive powers we find assaulting us today, the FIRST step of that process would be to become aware of your own personal and intellectual power, and start acting on it! Dictators both domestic and foreign are spending billions and billions of dollars in their attempts to propagandize your mind and get you to fail to see that answer—because they know that if you do, all of their schemes collapse.
As Ayn Rand once observed, "Ideas cannot be fought except by means of better ideas. The battle consists, not of opposing, but of exposing; not of denouncing, but of disproving; not of evading, but of boldly proclaiming a full, consistent and radical alternative." (Ayn Rand, "The Cashing In: The Student Rebellion," 1965.)
So, again, ladies and gentlemen, in closing, let me reiterate: PRACTICE your personal and intellectual power. Do NOT give your sanction or support to the thugs who are ruling you through your own tacit consent. Make such thugs display the true nature of the source of their so-called power by performing their demands at the point of a gun. If they place you in jail, if they steal your property, if they burn down your house or place you in front of a firing squad— do NOT given them the power of your sanction! Our forefathers once swore on their 'lives, fortunes and sacred honor" to defend the ideas of liberty—have we become so timid and programmed by the machine that we cannot stand up and do the same?
Once this issue is seen for what it is, with the window-dressing of the legal and social system and your voluntary compliance stripped away, you'd be surprised by how fast they retreat. You—as one human being, as one individual, as the spirit of one indomitable mind—are the key. "Become the change you wish to see in the world." And, together, not as a mass but as a collection of such individuals, we can topple these regimes any time we care to—because it is actually our sanction and our consent that makes such rule possible! My suggestion for you, today, would be to act accordingly and quit granting the rule of brute force a dignity and respect it does not deserve and has not earned... For, again, it is such tragic errors that maintain such rule, and when we finally realize that you cannot enslave a free man, but only kill him, our Second Renaissance will be assured.