Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's

Number 867, April 10, 2016

"Clowns" is the only proper word for this
bunch, although "killer clowns" might be
more accurate and appropriate.

Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

"When I forget who I am, I find myself by finding my stride. I remember that I am strong, free, and loved..."
—Kristin Armstrong

Some years ago, I started a group called "Sovereign Mutual Aid Response Team." It got a bit of traction, and there were some folks who agreed to start similar groups in their areas. For all I know, these groups have continued to operate. A particular situation needing a great deal of my attention, combined with the rather disturbing information about Facebook deliberately provoking people through behavioural modification, and the revelations of Edward Snowden caused me to leave Facebook for several years. If any of these groups are still operating, they are doing so without any of my attention, which is good, since it is essential that sovereign individuals run their own lives.

More recently, I have been thinking that the name might work better if it were "Sovereign Teams Responding to Injustice Deliberately and Effectively," or STRIDE. Taken individually, what are these words? Sovereign means that you have natural rights, that you have power to run your own life. It is my belief that this status is the natural state of each individual human, though, clearly, some people disagree with my view.

Teams are groups of people acting in concert for a particular purpose. You might be a part of a team, in a sport of your choice, or in a choir, or in helping to raise a barn. Teams are sometimes organised, occasionally hierarchical, but very often they are ad hoc or for the temporary purpose of what's going on now. When I was a kid we picked teams every day at recess. It was a proud day for me when I got picked second to last. ;-) So a team isn't necessarily a professional sporting group, it might just be people who agree for the moment that they are working together.

Injustice is where you see it. You find it everywhere, and rather more in places where there is a great deal more of government. I'll give some examples here in a bit. Injustice isn't only about what I consider to be unjust, it is what you consider to be unjust. If you think something is wrong, and you can say or do something about it, go for it. If you need help, ask for help. The whole point of building a team to fight against injustice is to take your cause to the next level, get support for what needs doing. Injustice, in my opinion, is about people, especially people claiming to be part of an organisation, especially claiming power over others as a "government" doing things against the will of other people. That might be robbery, rape, theft, extortion, murder, or it might simply be creating a Byzantine bureaucracy so that people die trying to get the help they need. In my opinion, what you do to yourself is your choice and cannot be injustice. What you say, how you say it, to whom you say it — only your business, none of mine, and not injustice no matter what words you choose. If you prefer, injustice is, to my way of thinking, a violation of the zero aggression principle. Making someone do something, taking away from them anything of theirs, or preventing them from surviving by attacking them in various ways, these are unjust because they violate the zero aggression principle.

Deliberately means with intention, with forethought. It is fine with me if you respond instinctively, reflexively, and momentarily, but I would really like people to put thought into their actions. What you choose to do is your responsibility. Your actions are your responsibility, and since actions have consequences, it would be awesome if you thought things through before you did something. If your action intended to help person A also harms a bystander, person B, then perhaps it was not well thought out. Deliberation is a good thing.

Effectively means with an outcome of good results. It is not always possible to be effective immediately, but with care, deliberation, thought, planning, and cooperation, it is often possible. You can be effective if you work at it.

Obviously, it isn't up to me to define these words for you. English is a language without authority, there is no one telling you how to use words. If you want to assign new meanings to words, and other pepole start using those words in the new way, the Oxford English Dictionary will eventually pick up on it, and publish another definition. If you create brand new words, they'll find their way into an English dictionary eventually. If you construct sentences in new ways, that'll work, too. One of the reasons for the staggering success of English as a language is that people can do whatever they please with it, without any "language authority" holding them back. (I wrote about this matter in "Who Will Build the Syntax," published in these pages years ago.

So, how do you become a member of STRIDE? How do you form your team? That's up to you. If you want to start taking actions, do so. If you find people who share your point of view, work with them. If you need help getting things started, please let me know. I know a bunch of people, many of whom are very dedicated to helping others, solving problems, or taking care of business.

A Case of Injustice
Several weeks ago, a good friend of mine in Holland mentioned that someone he communicated with on Twitter was not only a committed anarchist of the free market sort, but also an interesting and good person. So I hit the "follow" button.

Recently, she posted the following information on her GoFundMe page:

Jenna is a mom of 6 with EDS and POTS. Until recently, she has always managed through her illnesses with minimal complications. She worked hard for her family. She woke up one morning unable to get up due to intense pains, fainting, etc. She was hospitalized multiple times and doctors concluded she has a very severe case of POTS. She will be confined to a wheelchair or in bed mostly now. Due to this unforeseen illness, the family is now struggling to make ends meet and eat since mom has been hospitalized, too sick to work and difficulty caring for the children. Any help to make ends meet with late bills, food for the kids and help this family get back on their feet is very appreciated. Thank you so much.

I went to the hospital last night for severe chest pain, breathing & heart issues. As it turns out, on top of everything else, since my immune system sucks, I keep getting really sick from everything. My body can't fight much off. I'm also having side effects from one of my heart meds that make my asthma worse & causes spasms in my lungs... Hence the severe chest pain. They also found what looks like the start of pneumonia. They did absolutely nothing for me. They refused to change any of my meds. They will make me wait another month for one specialist and 3 more months for the other. No one takes my insurance. So I'm stuck with worsening illness, asthma and severe chest pain until I can see someone. Their advice: rest, don't get up and do stuff. Come back if it happens again or gets worse. So I just have to rely on an inhaler that doesn't work anymore because of the meds, useless epi pens because the meds interfere with that too. And hope nothing bad happens again until then otherwise it's going to be continuous trips to the hospital to stabilize. I'm bummed out.

I'm very concerned about this situation, and quite glad that, so far, she has been able to organise the funds she needs privately. The best way to keep up with her situation is probably to read the updates on her page at

One of the reasons that I find this particular situation to be a matter of concern is because the "Obamacare" legislation that was supposed to be the "Affordable Care Act," turns out to have been a huge subsidy to the financial conglomerates who run health insurance agencies. It has not made health care affordable. It has not helped people in need. Jenna, in particular, has insurance, which doesn't cover the specialists she needs to see. So, what is she supposed to do? It seems like Obama is determined to see people in her situation die rather than have access to health care. But he'll no doubt get to make many fine speeches to big insurance companies and big banks after he leaves office, just as his Secretary of State has done in recent years, so he's all set financially, forever.

Does that situation seem unjust to you? Then take action. Does it seem like no concern of yours? Then don't act on it. Do you feel that your ability to help is so meagre that you need to ask others to join you in helping? Please do so. That's team work.

It happens to appeal to me that Jenna is an anarchist, is entirely against the political system of redistributing other people's stuff, and is a good person. It also appeals to me that she worked hard, was caring for her family, and is now having health problems which are due to matters beyond her control. But if these aspects of her situation don't appeal to you, then leave it alone.

As someone living in San Diego, I am confident that Jenna is not receiving much help from the State of California. Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown just commented that raising the minimum wage makes no economic sense, as he raised the minimum wage. He's not going to be on Team Jenna any time soon.

The purpose of STRIDE as a concept is that you can take steps. You choose. You find this situation deplorable, you object to its injustice, and you do something. You find it of no interest, you don't. Easy.

An Injustice You've Heard About
Without going into extensive details, I will simply place this link to facts about the LaVoy Finicum murder here:

It appears that several FBI agents conspired to kill him, lied about it, covered up their misdeeds, and are probably going to get away with murder. As well, it is definitely true that a number of people have been arrested, both those who were in Oregon at the stand-off (which a friend of mine has been calling "Occupy Y'all Street") as well as people who had previously been involved in the Bundy Ranch situation. At least one of the people that has been arrested is a journalist.

What should you do about this situation? That's not up to me. I clearly see what has happened as an injustice, and among the things that I'm willing to do is help with legal defence funds, help with letter writing to those incarcerated, and help with discussions about what ought to be done.

What you choose to do is up to you. Despite endless equivocation and machination on the part of those who run the state, the fact that you and I happen to talk about something and then you go and do something that I think is incredibly stupid does not mean that you and I conspired to have you go and do that thing. Nevertheless, if you do plan to do something stupid, and you don't want me to face a conspiracy charge, I'm happy if you don't talk to me about it first. :-)

The main thing to understand is: how you live is up to you. The conditions you see all around you are monuments to the ineffectiveness of central planning. The Greater Depression that Doug Casey says is now upon us is due to central planning's tendency to help those in positions of oligarchy, wealth, and power, and to harm everyone else. The world we live in is beset by war, crime, and oppression.

These are injustices by any standard. You don't have to put up with injustice. Speak out against it. Talk it over with your friends, family, and those you trust. Take actions that you see fit. Disobey unjust laws, ignore unjust laws, and take action against injustice where you see it as you think best.

In 2026
For about 467 years (we don't know the exact date), people have been aware of Etienne de la Boetie's essay on Voluntary Servitude. In that essay, he writes that you don't have to place your hands on the tyrant to cause him to fall. All you have to do is stop supporting him. The tyrant needs the hands of other people to beat up and intimidate the populace, he needs the ears of many to spy on the populace, he needs the financial support of everyone who pays into the system to be able to afford all the people and tools he uses to keep power.

Since at least 2009, I've been suggesting that people withdraw from the systems that oppress them. I've written about those ideas in these pages. And I've reported on the fact that about 95 million Americans are not in the workforce even though they are of working age and not disabled. I've reported that 125 million Americans didn't vote in the last election, and that millions more probably won't vote this year. I've reported that over 100 million Americans didn't file taxes last year and that's up since the late 1990s when the IRS reported it as 66 million. There are so many people not being a part of the system that the government has no place to store all those people if it were to suddenly start arresting them, not enough people to make the arrests, not enough prisons or even stadiums to hold them in. The consequences of not being a part of the system are very minor and people are doing it in droves.

What if, as part of being involved in STRIDE, you agreed to be completely withdrawn from the system by the year 2026? You could probably be out of it today with creative use of solar power to get off the power company's grid, with a water well dug below your home, with Bitcon and other cryptocurrencies to move out of the banking system, with encryption and other tech to keep your communications and data private, and by cooperating with others in the free market. What if, as a response to the numerous injustices of major governments, you helped others stop being a part of the system that oppresses so many people?

So, there you have it. You can be involved, or not. You can work with others if you please. You can recruit people to your team. You can act alone. What you choose to do is up to you.

Your chains weren't there when you were born. Why keep wearing them?

Jim Davidson is a sovereign individual, entrepreneur, teacher, and author. He spent 2012 to 2014 withdrawn from world affairs. He joined the Digital Cash Alliance where he serves in an unpaid, voluntary capacity in 2015 and is re-starting classes in privacy technology at Individual Sovereign University. He currently browses the interwebs using As a sovereign individual, Jim knows that it is resolution and determination which separate sovereign from servant. In the words of Etienne de la Boetie, "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces."

As an entrepreneur, Jim has been involved in dozens of start-up ventures in industries ranging from banking, aerospace, real estate, software, and e-commerce to space travel, data havens, and longevity research. He has worked in companies founded by others and in companies of his own creation. Entrepreneurs know that many companies end in failure. It is the fear of failure which prevents a great many people from ever being entrepreneurs or sovereign.

As an author, Jim has written essays, articles, poetry, fiction, and is developing a book on the new country trend. Words about him have appeared in Time magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other major publications. Words by him have appeared in The Libertarian Enterprise, Final Frontier magazine, Space News, The Houston Post, The Houston Chronicle, and other publications. An earlier book, The Atlantis Papers was published in 1994 and is available from After Dark Publications. His collection of essays Being Sovereign is available from and his collection Being Libertarian is available from

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