Saturday, June 18, 2011

In discussing inalienable rights, one must take care to differentiate between what is and what ought to be. When John Adams says we have "rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws," he means they ought not to be repealed or restrained. Operationally, however, they are routinely repealed and restrained. Armed thugs, whether freelance or on government-payroll, do take away our "inalienable" rights--to life, liberty, property, free speech, religion, etc.--by threatening or inflicting violence on those of us who try to exercise them.

Adams himself signed into law the Alien and Sedition Act, thereby repealing Americans' right to criticize their government in sensory-sensual space-time, as Robert Anton Wilson tagged the here-and-now. Americans may well have retained the right in some Platonic realm. The fact remains they risked great bodily injury up to and including death if they presumed to exercise that right under the territorial monopoly of force we call the Adams administration.

That's the paradox as I see it. What "is" conflicts with what "ought to be." We can withdraw our consent to be governed. We can free our minds, recognizing the State for Rothbard's "band of criminals writ large" that it is. The insight in itself is worthwhile.

Nevertheless, if you evade its taxes or resist its edicts, the State may well sic its agents on you. You may get away with it. But the threat remains. You risk fine, imprisonment, tasering, a head-bashing or worse. That's the reality.



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