- [The other day the Tulises got an email from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. In it he asks and warns, “Are we closer to losing our basic freedoms than any time since the American Revolution?” He cites an Edwin Meese quote about the U.S. government’s drift toward monarchy; he cites Obamacare and two evils that could put you in jail. “Shocking cases like these are why many Americans believe we are on a path to lose essential freedoms — a path to tyranny if we do not act wisely, strategically and immediately. We cannot afford to lose our freedoms, please give a donation to help FRC’s counteroffensive.” Conservatives and evangelical lobbies often warn about losses of liberty to come. They don’t give followers the real context as to how far down things have already gone. They are all about hype and marketing. Perhaps if we stopped worrying about the evils out of Washington and its congresses we could start bearing some responsibility and taking things into our own hands. — DJT]
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
WESTPOINT, Tenn. — An ancient Tennessee story tells of a renowned fisherman. Whenever he went fishing, his catch filled the boat. A notorious loner, he always refused to take anybody fishing with him.
At last a friend nagged at him so long that he relented and took him fishing. The famous fisherman piloted the boat out to a secluded bay in the lake, reached down into a box at his feet, and pulled out a stick of dynamite and some matches, and began stuffing fuse into a blasting cap.
His friend was horrified because he knew that dynamite fishing, though highly efficient, was also highly illegal. In shocked disbelief he said, “You’re not gonna light that dynamite and throw it in the water, are you?”
His friend looked back at him calmly and asked, “Did you come to talk, or fish?”
It’s high time everyone decides whether he came to talk or fish. Talkers are cheap, thinkers abound, and philosophers are a dime a gross, but doers are exceedingly rare, and only doers get things done.
Freedom isn’t free
Everything I’ve learned in life I’ve learned from watching my wife or my children. Well, not everything, but most of the big things. Most of all I have learned from her faith, freedom, and self-confidence.
Sure, every American claims to be free, but that’s just talk. You think you are free, free of all the brainwashing you took in public school, free not to jump when that bell rings, free of all the fervently held but false beliefs of the people and time around you?
If you do, just wait until you land in a medical situation. You’ll turn idolator faster than a Fiji Islander and bow down and obey that medical doctor faster than a New Guinea native worships a witch doctor. (We give a like credulity to any authority “credentialed” by the Establishment, whether by a university degree, a license, or a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize. We trust the credentials more than our own judgment or our own eyes. Think of the public’s adoration of Alan Greenspan.)
I have actually witnessed my wife, Susan, before and after heart surgery, look several doctors in the eye and say, “I’m not going to do that.” Instead of the lightning strike or earthquake erasing Susan, they changed tack and looked for another treatment. Yes, it’s true, Susan will say no even to a doctor. A doctor friend of mine says that doctors are the most powerful people in the world because when they tell you to take off your pants, you’ll do it at once. Who else has that power?
Susan was free enough, and had enough confidence in the truth and her own judgment, that she was able to say the very first word that guarantees freedom: “NO!”
If you can’t say no, you aren’t free.
Now I am not encouraging you to ignore or disobey your doctor, unless you question whether his counsel is correct. In Susan’s case, she was absolutely right. They put her on metropolol to slow her racing heart, but it made her feel that she was mired down in swamp mud waist deep, so she couldn’t take it, regardless what any doctor believed and recommended. The authorities would have to find another way.
Same thing with Coumadin for thinning blood. Coumadin is a very effective blood thinner (for folks whom clots might kill) but it is also very dangerous — it is rat poison. It exterminates rats by thinning their blood until they bleed to death.
Coumadin must be managed by frequent blood sampling, a torturous experience for someone like Susan with rolling veins. (I’ve seen her give a phlebotomist three and only three chances, and walk out when she couldn’t hit her vein.) The easiest thing for doctors to prescribe is Coumadin, although many alternative and natural options exist that work without the dangers. Susan said, “I’ll put up with Coumadin a little while, but I’m getting off of it.” And she did, and they dealt with it.
If you misinterpret this as an attack on physicians, you miss the point. All Americans are the unquestioning brainwashed slaves of all authority, anybody in a white coat. After all, since before kindergarten that they must kowtow to every authority, from their first authority, the great looming kindergarten teacher who scared them to death. A white coat or badge must be obeyed, or . . . or what?
What if they’re wrong?
Nearly 40 years ago I read Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgrim. It reported a study done at Yale to measure how willing Americans were to obey authority. Volunteers were told they were participating in an experiment about pain’s influence on learning. Set down in front of a machine with a dial and a gauge, they looked through a window into another room at a subject attached to the machine by wires. The volunteers were told that the machine they were controlling administered an electric shock to the “subject,” who in fact was an actor. When the subject failed to answer questions correctly, they administered an electric shock to prod his memorizing.
Almost all the Americans tested would keep on twisting that knob, even pushing the needle into the red danger zone over the screams and protests of the actor, as long as the white-coated person standing next to them ordered them to continue. As I remember, the only ones who refused and walked out were Europeans.
I am not the revolution
Before y’all run off thinking I am just another aging hippy raging against all authority, think again. Mankind needs the order that comes from hierarchy and authority. God ordained that order — and authority — in all of creation for our safety and happiness. A child that defies his father’s authority runs the risk of death, and so every time we question authority, we ought first to draw in our breath and make certain our course is correct.
Then along came the French Revolution, which did not merely question some authority, but demonized all authority. No kings, no nobles, no elders, no church, no parents—all authority must be swept away and “freedom” brought to birth. All authority is evil, except ours, except the state’s, except the people’s will or more precisely, the will of those who control the people.
To the Revolutionary hatred of authority add extreme individualism in America. Society has no authority, and must give place everywhere and always to the individual, whatever his whim. The one triumphs over the many.
What is liberty?
Here reality wreaks its ironic vengeance: “Obedience to the law is liberty.” Ordered authority does not stand in the way of our freedom, it indispensably enables it. Without obedience and law, we face only tyranny and slavery.
All too well I remember this lesson taught me by Providence! At the very beginning of my 19-year fight with governments state and federal, I was on my way to file my first pleadings in chancery court at Marion, Ark. I parked my car and got out to walk into the Crittenden County Courthouse. Emblazoned across the frieze above the columns were these words, “Obedience to the law is liberty.” I would spend the next, oh, 18 or 19 years of my life studying that lesson.
Here lies what we all miss, and so we are all slaves: “Obedience to the law is liberty.” Most Americans confuse license with freedom, but the man who has no self-control, who cannot control his lust, his hunger, his thirst, his envy, his anger, his despair, his impatience, his ambition — this man is a slave. His spiritual slavery will inevitably give birth to other modes of slavery. He will be ruled by tyrants.
Our rulers well understand that, so they offer us the appearance of freedom without any substance, the freedom that enslaves. Americans are free to commit sodomy, adultery, legal drug addiction (by authority of prescription only, well within government control), to watch pornography on TV, movie, and video, to drink anything anywhere any time, to be charged usury as steep as the usurer desires, to buy all the lottery tickets they want, indeed, to fornicate loudly and nakedly in the street in crowds if they like, but all that only more firmly binds the chains of their slavery.
Masters encourage license because makes the slaves easier to control.
Where is your freedom?
Do you have any substantive freedom?
Can you get in your car and travel anywhere without your papers?
Can you open a business without government permission?
Can you own property, free and clear in fee simple, or must you pay an overlord or be dispossessed?
Can you choose the medical treatment you want, or will the government arrest the practitioner if he strays from accepted medical orthodoxy? Even if the medical treatment in question works, will government still prosecute your practitioner? If you make $100, can you keep it — all?
Does the policeman really have power to stop you any time? Do you really have to let him search your car?
Do you have to give him your social security number?
Tell him where you are going?
Does the law make you give him fingerprints?
Let him enter your house upon his mere say-so?
Can they really arrest you whenever they want?
What authorizes them to search your body at airports?
Can you cut hair without a license?
Can you plumb a sink, or install a ceiling fan without a license?
Can you sell raw milk?
Can you beg on the street?
Can you build a hospital or medical clinic wherever you want?
Can you make a labor contract between you and anyone, where you two alone determine the conditions?
Can you build a house — or a shed — without permissions from multiple authorities?
What is a “license”?
If a license grants “permission to do what is otherwise illegal,” what makes it illegal? How did all these acts become illegal? How were they placed outside the pale of everyday freedom shared by every man?
Oh, some things remain that we are free to do, and many more if we are willing to let the state peer over our shoulder and interfere, but not many, and they grow fewer by the day.
Confessions begins healing
As Buckminster Fuller says in the quotation beginning this article, you never change things by fighting the existing reality, you have to build a new model that makes the existing one obsolete. All the same, you won’t change anything at all until you admit that the reality is reality. Healing begins with a confession that you are sick, powerless, and need healing. If you never admit you are sick, if you still keep clinging to the notion you can somehow get around the reality, you’ll just get sicker and die.
Franklin Sanders is publisher of The Moneychanger, a privately circulated monthly newsletter that focus on gold and silver and the application of Christianity to economics, culture and family life. We have subscribed to this newsletter for more than 20 years, and consider it amust read. F$99 a year. Franklin is an active trader in gold and silver (he’ll swap your green Federal Reserve rectangles and give you real money in return). He trades with savers and investors outside Tennessee. Subscribe to his daily price report and market commentary on the website.