Espousing Freedom While Waving the Flag of Your Oppressors: A Third Perspective Regarding Property Rights
By: Shane Radliff
January 14th, 2016
“You call yourselves Christians, or Jews, or claim to follow some other religion, but the truth is, what you call your religion is empty window-dressing. What you truly worship, the god you really bow to, what you really believe in, is the State. ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ ‘Thou shalt not murder.’ Unless you can do it by way of government. Then it’s just fine, isn’t it? If you call it ‘taxation’ and ‘war,’ it stops being a sin, right? After all, it was only your god that said you shouldn’t steal and murder, but the State said it was okay. It’s pretty obvious which one outranks the other in your minds. Despite all the churches, synagogues, and mosques we see around us, this nation has one god, and only one god, and that god is called ‘government’.” – Larken Rose [Emphasis added]
Everyone has their own path to liberty. That path is never consistent and spectating from the voluntaryist perspective is frustrating as all hell. I post quotes from Murray Rothbard accurately describing the State as, “A gang of thieves, writ large,” Ludwig von Mises stating that, “Liberty is always freedom from the government,” as well as a number of books and articles from various Austrian economists presuming that “if they just read this one book, they will get it; I really hope they will.”
But let’s dispense with the magical thinking, shall we? “Intellectuals” make up a small fraction of the total population, and those who have found their way to true liberty make up an even smaller fraction of that already minuscule number of people. It’s unrealistic to believe that the average person on Facistbook truly cares about the truth of statism. That being said, we can expect them to continue speaking ignorantly from an emotive position, rather than from one of logic and rationality.
Speaking of Fascistbook, I came across a “challenge” that encouraged me to write an article discussing the history behind a particularly worthless piece of fabric, more commonly known as the American Flag (the updated meme is on the left). Did anyone else notice that the character on the bottom is a skinhead Nazi? That’s too fitting for words, but I digress. The caption that came along with this meme was: “Yep, don’t disrespect our country.”
Those same folks who re-post this typically state something along the lines of, “Our troops fought for your right to stomp on that flag,” clearly alluding to America being “free.” That could not be further from the truth. For whatever strange reason, they assume that Old Glory represents the American people, when in fact, it is the flag of the federal government, as codified in law found at Title 4 United States Code §§ 1 & 2.
In my first article titled If You Worship the Flag of the State, You Are Worshipping the State, I highlighted exactly what this American flag represents; freedom is nowhere to be found amongst all the socialism, for example. In the second article titled American Hypocrisy: The Constant Violation of Title 4 Flag Code, I discussed the blatant cognitive dissonance and hilarity, when “law-abiding citizens” consistently violate the aforementioned statutory federal code on a daily basis, without even knowing it; to put it more comically, mass civil disobedience is being performed every day, most of it unwittingly.
That being said, there is one thing I have not touched upon in either of the previous articles. Namely, the issue of property rights when it comes to the American Flag.
When it comes to the fascist element of the left-right paradigm, most of them openly exclaim their support for property rights. They have no understanding of economics whatsoever, yet their advocacy for property rights seems to be initially plausible, at least when it comes to the rhetoric; their actions prove differently, however, but I will get to that in a moment.
Most of the American patriots, like the ones currently “occupying” (re: “sitting in”) the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, claim to value property rights. Isn’t that what this “standoff” is really all about? As the Occupy Wall St… *ahem*… Occupy Malheur protesters frequently quip, “They took the ranchers’ land!”
When it comes to the communist element of the left-right paradigm, there is at least a tinge of respect for property rights, as some of them do “own” private property, such as their cannabis cigarettes. Most of them would be pissed if it was outright stolen from them, by whomever, including their beloved government, especially if by doing so, it would violate their cosmopolitan sensibilities. Of course, none of the protesters at the wildlife refuge are screaming bloody murder about civil asset forfeiture, but hey, why bother pointing out systematically recurring grievances when petty grievances are much flashier under the limelight of the cameras?
With all of that said, I’d like to pose this question: If I purchase a shirt, aren’t the property rights then transferred to me? I don’t think either the “left” or “right” would dispute that I own that shirt. Following that same logic, if I purchase another piece of fabric, namely one that has red, white, and blue colors, containing patterns of stars and stripes, aren’t the property rights then transferred to me? Anyone that truly supports private property would respond with a resounding “yes,” which in this case, would be the humorously Orwellian anti-propertarian democratic socialists.
So, if the property rights have been transferred to me, aren’t I allowed to do whatever I want with it? For example, if I wanted to burn, stomp on, or use the shirt for target practice, that would be permissible, as I physically own the property. How is that different from the “Made in China” American flag?
There is no difference, but again, emotional volatility trumps empirical reasoning for statists. For the “right” (which, thanks to the neocon infiltration of the patriot community, now includes formerly constitutional minarchists turned statists), to disrespect the flag, is to disrespect their god (that is, government). When it comes to the “left,” what women do with their own bodies matters when it comes to abortions, but when it comes to those same women defending their own autonomy with firearms, that is not permissible, as their god (government) has promised them protection by way of monopoly government police, who, ironically are the very same entity tasked with enforcing said gun control against recalcitrant women.
I’ve concluded that neither the “left” nor the “right” truly gives a damn about property rights, mainly because both factions are comprised of notorious hypocrites. The fascists will “stomp your face in” for doing what you wish with your own private property (or worse), and the communists advocate for the registration, banning, and/or confiscation of firearms that you privately own. There is no difference when it comes to flags and firearms; the authoritarianism inherent within these individuals is obvious from their rhetoric that is inherently at odds with the non-aggression principle.
In my Libertarian Role-Modeling series, I expressed concerns regarding the inconsistencies within the libertarian community, mostly emanating from folks with a relative measure of public visibility, as being self-proclaimed anarchists. He who is most committed wins, and inconsistencies only befuddle the message and confuse the audience who are there (hopefully) to further understand the philosophy of voluntaryism.
Although, when it comes to statism, it is far worse. Statism is authoritarianism inconsistently applied. All I have ever asked from anyone is to live with integrity. If John claims to be a libertarian, then I expect him to uphold the non-aggression principle and the axiom of self-ownership, absolutely; if he doesn’t, then he is not a libertarian. If Jane believes in government (whether limited or not), then I expect her to honestly tell me to my face that she wants me punished for disobeying the government, such as being thrown in a cage for not paying taxes.
In summation, I am thankful for The Freedom Umbrella of Direct Action, because no matter how dishonest and inconsistent these jackasses are, I retain the ability to take the initiative in creating the freedom I desire in my own life.
And even better, I can do it honestly, and with integrity.