The following piece by Jefferson Mack, was posted to another website that I'm involved in. I originally read it though, back in 1999 and I thought I'd share it with you all and hopefully it will spark a good discussion. RV
By Jefferson Mack
From a Chapter from The Secret Freedom Fighter
Paladin Press, 1986
The thing a leader who wants to deny you freedom loves most is a good citizen. A good citizen obeys the law-every law. A good citizen works hard-at whatever job the government tells him he is supposed to work at. A good citizen pays his taxes-even if he doesn't have enough left over to feed his kids. A good citizen never complains-no matter how a stupid or crude government official treats him. A good citizen obeys the rules-all the rules.
Give a tyrant enough good citizens and he will rule forever, fat and happy while the good citizens sweat and suffer and die to make sure the tyrant keeps the good life.
Tyrants and their lackeys spend a great deal of time and effort trying to convince the people they rule that a moral person must be a good citizen. Back in the Dark Ages they called it the "Divine Right of Kings." Nowadays it's called patriotic duty, or civic responsibility, or given a dozen other different names, but it all adds up to the argument that any decent, honorable person must put the interests of all the people-that really means the interest of the man in charge--above his own personal interests.
BAD CITIZENS HAVE MORE FUN BECAUSE THEY ARE MORE FREE.
A true democracy is supposed to have free citizens, not good citizens. So, the day you wake up and find You don't have all the freedom you deserve, the first thing you have to do is stop being a good citizen. If you can't be a free citizen, then you want to be a bad citizen.
Any tyrant who's got a country full of bad citizens has got a problem. A tyrant has got all sorts of ways of dealing with a rebel, a criminal, a jungle fighter, an insurgent, or a political activist. They stand out, easily identified, almost as if they had signs hung around their chests.
You find those kinds of people in jails, dark alleys, cellars, forests, and jungles. But a bad citizen-how do you tell him from a good citizen? A bad citizen isn't a bad person. He wants to keep feeding his kids, so he'll keep going to work at the factory, or planting the potato crop, or milking the cows.
What a bad citizen won't do is help the government make his life miserable. He avoids making it easy for the people in power. He continually tries to maximize the freedom he has, even if he has to break or ignore a few laws once in a while.
A bad citizen files his income tax return but cheats. A bad citizen sees a crime against the state but he doesn't report it.
A bad citizen turns the heat up when the government says he should turn it down. A bad citizen loses his census form, or fills it out wrong. A bad citizen flushes too much paper down the john in a public building. A bad citizen that's got a government job takes all his sick leave, goofs off every chance he gets, and hauls paper clips home for the kids to play with.
A bad citizen doesn't spend all his time trying to make the work of the government more difficult, but he doesn't sacrifice his own pleasures or happiness voluntarily just because the government tells him his sacrifices are in the common good.
Too many bad citizens make government almost impossible. That's one big reason why the Soviet Union doesn't work very well. Too many Soviet citizens have realized they are never going to get a fair share out of the government, and they have stopped being good citizens. They look out for themselves rather than the good of the state.
A smart bad citizen won't let himself get caught being bad. He won't brag to his friends and neighbors about what a bad citizen he is. He won't tell the local commissar how proud he is of being a bad citizen. He won't even tell his kids he enjoys being a bad citizen. He wants it kept a secret.
In a free democratic society, we don't have much use for bad citizens. They endanger Our highways, litter our public parks, embarrass our womenfolk, and make us mad. A free society is supposed to be made up of good citizens who take their share of the burdens of taxes and social duties and get their share of the benefits of living free.
That's a true free and democratic society, the kind the people who wrote our constitution wanted to give us. In every other kind of society, good citizens are suckers. They never get back what they put into it. So, if the government is interfering with your freedom to do whatever you want to do with your time and money, don't be a sucker. Learn to be a bad citizen.
The more bad citizens there are, the harder it is going to be for the people who stole freedom to stay in power. The tyrant's problem is that he is always outnumbered. He can get the guns and the thugs to use them. He can build concentration camps and forced labor camps. He'll have spies and prison gulags. But he can't put everybody in jail. He has to have people to till the fields, drive the trucks, work in the factories, and staff his bureaucracy.
So he has got to convince most of the people that life isn't all that bad and that there is hope of a better future.
He will go after the visible troublemakers, the guys who run around telling good citizens they ought to throw the bums out, or the ones who fight him from the hills. Those kinds of people are in a small minority, so they are easy to find and kill or cart off to camps. With no newspapers to tell the truth about the tyrant, with nobody daring to talk out loud, the bastard will count on the good citizen to continue to act like the good citizen.
GOOD CITIZENS MAKE TYRANTS POSSIBLE.
Nazi Germany wasn't filled with people who wanted to throw Jews into bonfires, make slaves of Eastern Europeans, or rule the world from Berlin. Nazi Germany was filled with good citizens, and Hitler did everything he could to make all those good citizens think they were better off with him in charge, even if they did have to give up a few freedoms.
Hitler was more frightened that all those good citizens might stop being good citizens than he was of the Allied armies. He catered to them, he entertained them, he promised them better things. The Germans kept being good citizens right up to the bitter end.
Poland, Nicaragua, Cuba, Russia, Chile, Iran, and Iraq are filled with good citizens, all of them hoping that they will help things get better by being good citizens. Only things keep getting worse. The good citizen works harder but gets less to eat, has less fun, enjoys life less, and has less hope for a better future.
The only time things get better is when a whole lot of people start acting like bad citizens. In Russia, farmers started cutting off the time they spent in the collective fields so they could spend more time working small private patches where they got to keep or sell what they grew. Now those private farm patches are the only thing preventing mass starvation.
In Poland a lot of good citizens got fed up and walked off the job in support of a strike organized by an illegal union, and for the first time in years, a bit of freedom started to creep in. The government is still trying to stamp it out but is running scared.
BAD CITIZENS HAVE KEPT THE UNITED STATES FREE.
Back in 1917, a majority in the United States decided they knew what was best for everyone and passed the Eighteenth Amendment, taking away the freedom of a man to relax with a beer after an honest day's work. Hundreds of thousands in this great country suddenly turned into bad citizens. They didn't organize into a "let's bring back the booze" political party. They didn't stage massive sit-ins that interrupted the lives of a lot of other people. They didn't start blowing up police stations. All they did was to keep on drinking. And a lot of other bad citizens were more than willing to step in and smuggle, or distill, or brew the booze and sell it for a profit.
It took till 1933, but the social manipulators and the dogooders finally gave up, agreed to throw out. the Great Experiment, and tens of thousands of people went back to being good citizens.
In the Sixties, black people in the South got fed up with sitting in the back of the bus, getting chased away from the voting polls, and being turned away from the best restaurants and hotels, no matter how much money they had to pay the bills. So they started acting like bad citizens. Now a black man can go into any public facility he wants.
Those kinds of things keep happening all over this country. Richard Nixon gave us the fifty five mile-an-hour speed limit, which is absurd on most of the major highways in the United States, especially those in the West. No politicians since then have had the guts to undo the damage as yet because the insurance companies keep throwing them money to keep us driving at a snail's pace so they can maximize their profits.
Have you tried driving a fixed fifty-five along our highways? The great American game these days is to see how fast you can drive over the double nickel without getting caught.
A whole industry has gotten rich selling us radar detectors to give us a chance against the modern technology of the highway patrol.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, other federal enforcement agencies, and every state and local police department spend millions each year to try to stamp out the use of recreational drugs. Yet every year, the price of the drugs goes down, while availability goes up. Anybody who wants to smoke pot, can-anyplace in the United States.
Other freedoms are under constant attack from one side or another. Take the issue Of gun control. The people without this totalitarian Principle keep telling us that the majoritY of Americans want some kind of gun control. So what! No majority in a free country has the right to take away the freedoms of any minority. That's what freedom is all about and owning a gun is a good way to help make sure nobody starts interfering with your personal freedom. As long as the people who understand and believe that principle insist on keeping their guns, we are going to be able to keep them.
BAD CITIZENS GET GOOD LAWS.
After years of steadily spiraling upward, our taxes are finally starting to come down. That's not because it's what Congress and the president really want. They have no choice.
Americans used to be pretty good taxpayers, until things got out of hand. One day we woke up and realized that the fat cat friends of Congress had all been given special privileges and were paying less than their fair share.
So a whole lot of good taxpayers turned into bad citizens. They started to figure every angle, both legal and illegal, to bring down their own taxes. We are now a nation of tax-evaders. Every increase in the tax structure is matched or exceeded by losses as more ordinary middle-class citizens figure out ways to cheat on their taxes. The government's only choice is to try and convince us by lowering tax rates that things are fair once again. It's another example of bad citizens making good government.
Now you might not personally approve of all of the above examples. Neither do I. I think drugs are stupid. But each example goes to show just how much we are a nation of bad citizens. That's why we have as much freedom as we do.
That's why in recent years, this country has been moving in the direction of more freedom, not less. The politicians are finally beginning to understand that you can't take an American's freedom away and make it stick.
One thing to remember, though, is that being a bad citizen really only works when you do it for your own personal advantage. Trying to make somebody else's life miserable because you think the government is making your life miserable isn't what you want to do. Take the following example.
Anybody who loves freedom has got to agree that the current attempts at achieving racial percentages in our schools by busing small children across town is an insanity that free people should not permit to happen. The only problem is that a lot of parents have gone about protesting the wrong way. They have taken it out on some little black kid that agreed to ride a bus across town to go to a school that used to be white. If a free citizen wants to let his kids spend a couple of hours a day riding across town so he can be a minority in school instead of a majority, that's his right.
The only parents with a legitimate complaint are the ones who don't want their kids to be bused when there is a perfectly good school within walking distance. What a free citizen does in such a situation is keep his kid home, insisting that the child either goes to the closest school or he doesn't go at all. Then the TV news will be showing film clips of the social engineers going into homes and tearing children away from their parents to take them across town. Once the parents of the children who are being bused stop letting their kids get on the bus, that idiotic idea will come to a quick end.
It's not just our country where the willingness to be a bad citizen helps ensure a reasonable degree of personal freedom ...
BAD CITIZENS CAN BE FREE IN AN UNFREE COUNTRY.
I lived a number of years in a country in Asia that seemed at first glance to be quite totalitarian. The country had a military dictator, every government official was appointed from the capital, there were no elected representatives, taxes and customs duties were prohibitively high, and there were laws against just about anything you could imagine doing.
It sounds like a terrible place to live. Actually life was very pleasant there. Most people had more freedom than people in a lot of countries where they think they're free.
Just about everybody in that little Asian country was a bad citizen. They didn't care what the government said they were supposed to be doing,
they did what they wanted. They cheated on their taxes, bought smuggled whiskey rather than pay high duties, bribed government officials right and left, and broke every other law that got in the way of their personal enjoyment of life. The laws governing business enterprises were so complex that anybody running a business was by definition a criminal, yet the country had a thriving free-enterprise system. So many people were ignoring so many laws that the government couldn't do anything except try to enforce the few laws that most people won't break anyway. So they chased the murderers, the robbers, the political insurgents, and left the rest of the population alone.
There were a few jungle fighters in that country who claimed they were trying to bring freedom back. They were actually trying to take it away and turn the place into a communist hell. Fortunately, most people were succeeding so well at being bad citizens, they didn't have any time for revolution.They had already taken all the freeom they could get. They recognized that as bad as their military dictatorship might be on paper, it was so incompetent at enforcing its laws that it wasn't worth the effort to throw the government out.
PEOPLE DESERVE THE KIND OF GOVERNMENT THEY HAVE.
It is my personal conviction that most people in the world could be free if they only wanted to be free. If the vast majority of people in Russia, Cuba, Chile, Pakistan, Iran, and elsewhere stopped being good citizens tomorrow, doing whatever they thought was in their own best interest, every one of those countries would be freer societies. No government can arrest 90 percent of its population, shoot 50 percent of its work force, or hire every third citizen as a police officer.
Sadly, I know human nature well enough to be certain that isn't going to happen in most of those countries. Most people living in those countries are too frightened to take even the minimal risks involved in being a bad citizen.
So being a bad citizen probably won't get YOU much in a place like Russia or Nazi Germany. It will increase a bit the control you exercise over your own life, but things are still going to stay pretty miserable.
THE BAD CITIZEN WILL MAKE A GREAT SECRET FREEDOM FIGHTER.
But let's suppose that a much smaller percentage of the citizens in any of those unfree countries were willing to take more than just the minimal risks of being a bad citizen. Let's suppose that five, or maybe even ten percent of the citizens in one of those countries secretly decided to go to war against the government that took their freedoms away. In Cuba, five percent of the population would make up an army of 500,000 freedom fighters. In Russia, there would be an army of 13 million people. How long could any government survive if those numbers of people, acting independently and without organization, started to commit personal acts of war against their oppressors?
Totalitarian government would become impossible
If YOU live in a totalitarian country, learning to be a bad citizen is just the first step. It's the training camp for the secret freedom fighter. It gets you used to defying authority, ignoring orders when the boss isn't around, and looking out for yourself instead of those who took your freedom away.
More important perhaps, it gets you used to acting in secret, doing things that screw up the system, and learning to be proud of it, but without having to brag about it.
Practicing being a bad citizen gets You in the mind-set for the next step: to start taking some positive actions, still in secret, still not letting anyone know what you are doing. With that next step you'll be on your way to becoming a secret freedom fighter.