If you could travel back in time to 1999, (no reference to the song by Prince), and see the Neal Ross that lived back then, you would probably not recognize him. My son was just about to enter kindergarten and the furthest things from my mind were history and politics. I had been concerned, for quite some time, about the infringements upon my right to keep and bear arms, but that was about the extent of my political awareness.
Back then I did vote, and I voted strictly according to party; going straight down the ballot and voting for whomever had an R next to their name. I used to think the Democrats were pure evil and that the Republicans offered the only hope for America’s future.
So what happened to me?
I still cannot, with any clarity that is, explain what exactly happened to me, but I can provide a couple of quotes that may give you some insight as to why I went from a contentedly ignorant person to one who craved knowledge and freedom from an oppressive government.
The first quote comes from the film The Matrix, when Morpheus first meets Neo and is explaining to him the basics of the Matrix. Morpheus tells Neo, “What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.”
I suppose my earliest years on this planet were about like those of all others; I played, I obeyed my parents, and I did what every other kid in America did. But as I grew older I began to rebel against authority. I pushed the boundaries that my parents imposed on me, I acted out in school, and I even refused to conform to standards in the military as far as the restrictions on hair and mustache length. So yeah, I’ve always been somewhat of a rebel; so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I would seek out the biggest authority in the country and rebel against it as well.
But there is more to it than just the urge to rebel; at least I have come to believe there is. I think there was an underlying force, that I was unaware of until recently, that pushed me to question authority over me and my life. A few weeks ago a friend suggested I find a copy of a book by Etienne de la Boetie about voluntary servitude, so I looked it up on the internet.
While reading through that book I found the following passage; which somewhat explains the reason why I am like I am. That passage states, “There are always a few, better endowed than others, who feel the weight of the yoke and cannot restrain themselves from attempting to shake it off: these are the men who never become tamed under subjection and who always — like Ulysses on land and sea, constantly seeking the smoke of his chimney — cannot prevent themselves from peering about for their natural privileges and from remembering their ancestors and their former ways. These are in fact the men who, possessed of clear minds and far-sighted spirit, are not satisfied, like the brutish mass, to see only what is at their feet, but rather look about them, behind and before, and even recall the things of the past in order to judge those of the future, and compare both with their present condition.
These are the ones who, having good minds of their own, have further trained them by study and learning. Even if liberty had entirely perished from the earth, such men would invent it. For them, slavery has no satisfactions, no matter how well disguised.”
Now I’m not saying I’m a better human being than you are, I’m only saying that there was something inside me, from the moment I was born, that was waiting to be awakened; something that caused me to rebel, to seek out the truth about the history of my country and its system of government.
Are you aware that during the American Revolution there were basically 3 categories of people living in the British Colonies? There were those who took neither side, who just wanted to live in peace without becoming involved in the brewing conflict between the Crown and her Colonies. There were those who chose to remain loyal to the Crown regardless of what laws were being imposed upon them. Then there were those who took offense at any and all laws that they felt violated their natural rights. They were the leaders of the revolutionary movement, and they had names like Jefferson, Adams, and Henry.
I think those categories are still in existence today, with the only difference being that those who understand their natural rights and resist encroachments upon them make up a much smaller segment of the populace.
If you were to look at things today with a 1776 perspective you would see that our government today is just like the Crown was in 1776; the lawful government. There are those in this country today who pay little to no attention to what their government does; choosing to fill their time with an endless quest for entertainment and self-gratification. Then there are those who, aside from partisan differences, remain loyal to the system of government that rules over them. Then there are those, like me, who have decided that the system is oppressive and we want no part of it. We just make up a much smaller and less influential segment of society than did the men like Henry, Jefferson and Adams did in 1776.
The thing is, what we stand for is the same principles that they did; liberty and independence from a government that seeks to bind us in all cases whatsoever. We are those who, as Boetie explained, “Even if liberty had entirely perished from the earth, such men would invent it. For them, slavery has no satisfactions, no matter how well disguised.”
We are those who yearn for liberty, those who, in our minds, tyranny is that splinter that Morpheus spoke of to Neo; it is something that drives us mad.
Do you know how pearls are formed? A pearl is formed when some silt or sand is introduced into an oyster. That silt annoys the oyster, so it covers it with a substance in an effort to stop it from annoying it. However, that does not work so it repeats the process over and over again until a pearl is formed.
In some ways I think that is what has happened to a great many people in this country. They may realize, deep down, that they are not free, but they have covered that knowledge up with false trust in a system, or the quest for pleasure so that the knowledge that they are slaves is buried so deep in their psyche that it is barely noticeable. Yet Thomas Paine writes, “…though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.”
Samuel Adams once said, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” I used to think that quote was ridiculous; because for a brush fire to start there has to be some combustible material; and most people’s minds are devoid of any such material. But then I realized that what is missing is knowledge. Knowledge is the key that will unlock the chains that bind a people to tyrants.
It is not my job to try and change people’s minds. My job is to only seek out as much knowledge as I can, and then share what I’ve learned with others. I am not to question whether or not I have any success in this endeavor, only to keep on doing what I do regardless of whether I awaken only one person, or hundreds of thousands of them.
For a long time I’ve felt cursed; cursed because I could see and understand things that others could not seem to understand. I don’t see it as a curse now, I see it as a blessing; for I am among the chosen few who can see the truth, and I feel it is my sacred duty to share that knowledge with others; even when they refuse to accept it. Thomas Jefferson chose the following quote to use upon his personal seal, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Now I am not openly rebelling, as in taking up arms, I am trying to shine a light upon the lies that have bound a people to a system of government that, from the very beginning, was designed to enslave the people to it.
It is kind of funny that people consider me to be very knowledgeable regarding politics and history, yet they reject much of what I write about because to accept what I say would cause them to reject everything they had previously accepted as the truth. Some of these people come to me, from time to time, and ask what I would suggest to fix all our problems with government. They don’t like my answer, “Burn the whole fucking system to the ground and piss on the ashes.”
To them that idea is too radical, too extreme. They believe we need government and have to work within the system to fix it. That’s just it, there is no fixing it because it is not broken; it was designed to produce exactly the type government we have today.
We had a system of government in place prior to the implementation of the one outlined by the Constitution. Sure, it may, or may not have been weak and ineffective; but that’s why they sent people to Philadelphia in 1787 to do; come up with suggestions to strengthen the existing government so that it may better serve the needs of the Confederation.
But oh no, these megalomaniacs sought not to fix the system that would have preserved the States as sovereign and independent entities and ensured that the rights of the people remained secure, they sought to create a centralized form of government with all encompassing power over both the States and the people.
I can only make educated guesses as to how knowledgeable people are about how their current system of government came into existence by the comments they make regarding it. From what I hear people say, they aren’t very knowledgeable.
For instance, are you aware that during the Philadelphia Convention James Madison proposed that the federal government have an absolute negative, or a veto power, over every law enacted by the States? Are you aware that Alexander Hamilton wanted to have an elected King, or what he called a Governor, who served for life, and that the federal government got to select the governors of each State? Are you aware that when the proposals for amendments to make up a Bill of Rights were sent to Congress that James Madison purposefully omitted the word EXPRESSLY from what would become the 10th amendment, so as not to place any limitations upon the powers given this new government?
Of course you aren’t, because you weren’t taught those things in school. From what I recall of my studies of that period of our history it would seem that some guys went to Philadelphia, drafted a constitution, submitted it to the States, and they voted peacefully to adopt that system; no fuss, no muss. Well it wasn’t as peaceful a process as we were taught; there was conflict and a great deal of opposition to this proposed system of government.
These so-called Anti-Federalists, which is ironic because they stood for a truly federal system of government, laid out numerous arguments against the proposed Constitution. Having spent the last few months studying the Anti-Federalist Papers I have noticed a pattern; that most of what they feared would happen if the Constitution was adopted, has happened; while most of the promises made to the States by the so-called Federalists have been broken.
How could this have happened if the system outlined by the Constitution was not flawed? How could our government have amassed so much power and restricted so much of our liberty if the document establishing this system of government was perfect?
Our country became an independent nation not because the people sought an all powerful government that could take care of their every need and provide them with comfort and security. America became great because those who fought for it sought liberty; and it began to go downhill the moment liberty took a back seat to the idea that government should serve any other purpose than the preservation of that liberty. Or, as Professor Ross Lentz once said, “The Constitution failed the people in 1787.”
Which also means that Lysander Spooner was right, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
Voting is not going to fix this problem, not when the system itself if broken and corrupt, and your only voting for more of the same if you believe otherwise. I’m not saying there is an answer, at least not this far along in the game. I am only saying that you’re wasting your time if you think that by electing a few good people to a corrupt and broken system that anything drastic is going to change…it isn’t, and the sooner you accept that the less painful the lesson will be.