No, this isn't a report on yet another aspect of the Constitution being ripped to shreds by The Shrubbery. Although that's distasteful, for a sovereign individual it's really not that important; our freedom doesn't rely on what any person or document "grants" us. What I'm lamenting is the loss of another PTer, a good friend who was unable to make the perpetual traveler thing work for her.
My friend is a smart person, with lots of skills to her credit. She is knowledgeable in a variety of areas and has common sense--a combination that ought to be on the endangered list. She isn't a "high maintenance" person, either; she's comfortable camping and cooking simple foods in order to economize. She was doing all this, and other things, in order to keep her overhead as low as possible. She traveled around the country and made it known among her friends that she was available for hire, could do a number of things (including manual labor), and would even haul "sensitive cargo" for trusted individuals. In short, she has the skills and the desire to stay out of the system, yet she's heading back in, because she couldn't support her spartan lifestyle. (If you want details, I can't give them, because it's really not my business. However, I know her vehicle is paid for [and reliable], and her other monthly obligations are low.)
Everyone who's thought about dropping out, or who has done so, knows how critical this point is. Yet it's also depressing to think that one must have some degree of savings or wealth in order to make a PT lifestyle work. I don't know of anyone who's been a "budget PTer" who's been able to make it work as a permanent arrangement. (If you're one such person, please write me!) There has to be some way to avoid paying the IRS, or your local flavor of tax thugs, and live without undue hardship at the same time.
It's important to find or create ways to do so for many reasons. Without paying upwards of 50% on each dollar earned in the system, it takes less money to meet your needs. Avoiding taxation as much as possible also keeps you from filling your enemy's coffers. The more individuals who drop out, the less income Leviathan has. It may not seem like much, but it's as much the control as it is the money the statists are after--and they hate losing both.
It simply makes no sense to me that an individual has to be in the system to make ends meet. I know the state tries to stack the deck in its favor as steeply as possible, but think about it: if the Soviets could create a black market economy in that fearful political climate, we can do it.
It's important that we do it.
The tribunals and roundups for anyone judged to be un-American are already starting in this country; similar laws are plowing through fertile parliamentary soils elsewhere. Those of us whom the thought police would like to make disappear will have to support ourselves somehow below their radar screen if we're going to continue our work.
I'm not suggesting charity, of course. I'm suggesting a true free market, driven not by capital but by consumers and those who meet their needs. Sure, it might be slower to send a package across the country via an informal network of trusted pro-freedom individuals, but your package would be treated a whole lot better, and the cost supports others who share your values, instead of those who scorn them. It needn't be a pure objectivist-style dropping out, either; the grey market has its uses and opportunities as well, and ought to be exploited as much as possible.
Engage in some mental exercise some evening or weekend: what would you do if it came to your knowledge that the Thought Police were after you (never mind the reason, the fact that you're reading this 'zine is reason enough these days)? Could you go underground and survive? Who are the people--close by and far away--whom you could trust to help you? What skills can you use to support yourself (and dependents, if applicable)? How far are you willing to go in defense of freedom?
This isn't an idle exercise. As I said, there's a real chance the Thought Police could show up on your door step some day. The preparations you make today could be the preparations that save your life tomorrow. Instead of preparing to go back in the system, we need to step up our networking and creative thinking for disappearing from it... before we start hearing the knocks on our doors in the middle of the night.
(c)2002 Doing Freedom Magazine
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