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Let's boil this article [UnsubscribeUSA.gov, Part 1] down to its essentials. What you're saying here is "give up your material goods (and property rights), and ye shall be free". Essentially the same message delivered by ascetics down through the ages. I don't buy it from them, and I don't buy it from you, much as I like and admire you.

I'm hardly a hard-core libertarian theorist, but I've seen it credibly asserted that strong property rights are one of the foundations of individual liberty. How, then, can you possibly feel that giving up a substantial claim to those rights can in any sense make one more free? That seems to me at least to just unilaterally concede one of the most important elements of the struggle without even a fight.

This is the same argument advanced back in the sixties by the counterculture. Antimaterialism does NOT equate automatically to freedom, any more than it equated to virtue or enlightenment or whichever of the claims the flower children used to make you wish to cite. Its [sic] worth remembering that almost all of THEM are now living the very life they used to denounce.

You also blithely gloss over the substantial benefits one gains for one's freedom by owning property in the form of a home and a car, while at the same time ignoring the very real risks entailed by rental or ownership in someone else's name. While I'll concede that legal protections are something of a sick joke any more, it is still true that they are much stronger in the case of even a mortgaged home than a rental of any sort. Cases of people busted with the help of landlords abound, no matter what aspect of freedom you want to talk about. You can't ignore that downside of renting, just as you can't ignore the very real benefits of ownership. From privacy to independence of transport to simply having the space (and freedom of action) to develop unpopular skills, there is a lot to be said for owning both a home and a car.

And there are psychological benefits beyond that, too. Cutting and running at the first sign of trouble or official notice is all well and good if that's what you want to do. But I contend that all you're doing is delaying the inevitable. While its [sic] entirely possible that you can "run away to fight another day" your entire life, what does that really accomplish? All you're really doing is allowing the government-worshippers to set the agenda, and ultimately to choose the battlefield. Starting the fight by unilaterally walking away from a couple of fairly substantial resources seems pretty dubious tactics to me. Be READY to cut and run, yes, but making it a central part of your strategy appears from my observations to be a lose.

the Hunter

This disagreement is what they call "merely verbal" in logic. "[G]ive up your material goods (and property rights), and ye shall be free" is absolutely not the essential point of the article, Unsubscribe USA.gov, Part 1. It is true that having to make monthly payments on a brand new BMW, suburban palace, and other accoutrements of the golden cage so many people live in can limit their choices a great deal, and that is part of what was being said. However, the piece specifically spoke against ownership enforced by the very protection rackets some readers are trying to unsubscribe from. That's not the only kind of ownership, and reliance on the state to enforce contracts would undo the whole purpose of unsubscribing. Property rights are a human right, and the pretenses of protection rackets notwithstanding, they pre-exist and don't require the sanction or help of the state to continue existing. The article specifically says that if someone has the means to own property while making sure that that ownership isn't of the legal sort that can enable the IRS or other thugs to seize the property, that's great.

DF! agrees that pauperizing everyone in the freedom movement would be a bad move tactically--it would certainly be great to have a few more billionaires on our side! Speaking of which, it is worth noting that a wealthy person could place his or her cash in an interest-free account (or, more likely, offshore accounts that can't be taxed) and live off the money without paying income taxes legally, because they wouldn't have any income. Between the prince and the pauper, there must be a million or more ways to arrange your affairs so as to minimize the support you voluntarily hand over to the coercivists.



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