2004 Issues #1 to #16
Seventeenth Issue 10 January 2005
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Buy this essay and others in Jim's new book Being Sovereign.
The Indomitus Report
11 April 2005
Annual Sovereignty Review
"If from lawlessness or fickleness, from folly or self-indulgence, [individuals] refuse to govern themselves, then most assuredly in the end they will ... be governed from the outside. They can prevent the need of government from without only by showing they possess the power of government from within. A sovereign cannot make excuses for his failures; a sovereign must accept responsibility for the exercise of power that inheres in him; and where ... people are sovereign, [they] must show a sober understanding and a sane and steadfast purpose if they are to preserve ... liberty."
speech at the Jamestown Exposition
Theodore Roosevelt was a fraud, a reprobate, and a corrupt politician. As Washington and Jefferson had been among the chief architects of a republic of sovereign individuals, Lincoln and the two Roosevelts were obliterators of the same. TR's unconstitutional Food and Drug Administration and socialistic National Parks have been roundly criticized in these pages previously. His above captioned speech was made to justify the conquest of the Philippines.
Yet, in speaking to a shrewd audience of sovereigns, Roosevelt had to use language consistent with the ideas of sovereigns. His ideas may have been twisted to support an unjust cause, but they have a thread of truth.
Throughout this series of essays, the essential purpose has been to convey the idea that you as an individual are sovereign. You ought to be sovereign. You have the same power, the same honor, the same integrity, the same merit as any other individual.
Should you be sovereign? Yes.
You should be sovereign because you were created equal. You should be sovereign because you have the same inherent capacity to self-rule that any other sovereign has. You should be sovereign because to govern yourself is the highest form of government, the most praiseworthy, the best approach to wisdom in government. Who else is more fit to govern you?
Is a mob better fit to choose for you how to dispose of your property? No. Democracy is folly, at best, demagoguery at worst. It has been famously described as three wolves and a lamb casting votes on what's for dinner. Every election, as Mencken wrote, is an advance auction on stolen property.
Representative democracy is a sham, where representatives have no agency contract, do no proper representing, are inevitably corrupted or disempowered, and at best pretend to represent those in their district who did not vote for them as well as they do those campaign contributors outside their district who seek influence. Participatory democracy is either a lie in which participation is managed by opinion leaders, or a reality where every whim is acted out impetuously. As James Madison noted, every democracy ends violently.
Is a monarch better fit to rule your life? Only if you are that monarch. For who knows what is best for you? Who has any inkling of what you desire, how you feel, what you prefer? Who else has any serious reason to care? Jefferson wrote that one cannot suppose individuals unfit to govern themselves unless one posits angels in the shape of kings to govern them. No such angels have been found.
Indeed, tyrants, whether their title is emperor, dictator, chairman, or president, have only their own interests at heart, no matter what publicity and agitation propaganda their organizations spew. Tyrants seek to rule others because it flatters their egos. The tyrant seeks to be at large and in charge. Those who won't cower before the tyrant must be whipped, beaten, or destroyed. Jefferson also taught that the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of tyrants.
If you are sovereign, then are you also a tyrant? Again, no. If you are sovereign, then your only proper subject is yourself. You govern yourself. You need not govern the actions of others, except as agreements in the course of business require it.
Your ideal relationship with others is as a sovereign to other sovereigns. You as a sovereign individual treat with her as a sovereign individual. What is a treaty but a contract among sovereigns?
In recognizing your own sovereignty, you lay claim to a heritage of greatness. You take on the capacity to recognize sovereignty in others. Greatness arises from self-responsibility, from taking up your own cause, from being responsible for your own actions. Integrity is a term for describing the persistent keeping of promises made. To whom are your promises most important? They should be most important to you. After all, you are their maker. If you won't keep your word, then why give it?
Everyone around you, everyone you meet, each person with whom you deal, is a sovereign. Some are poor, some are rich, some are wise, some foolish, some sly, some sincere, some trustworthy, some deceitful. Many have been deceived, and do not act as sovereigns. Some have chosen to become subjects of another sovereign, whether willingly, knowingly, and competently or in some compromised fashion. Some take on the role of citizen or national, subject or serf, either by choice or force.
Indeed, some are governed externally, by coercion, as Roosevelt imagined was the best way to handle the Filipinos. Many have been enslaved, either through conscription or debt peonage or tax servitude or some other mechanism. One of the first steps to wisdom is to call things by their proper names.
What is the proper name for a contract entered into without full knowledge, or with the illusions of deceit shrouding the truth? The term for such a contract is fraud, and thus no contract at all.
What is the proper name for an agreement entered under coercion? The proper term is command, and no agreement at all.
It is questionable whether any subject, citizen, taxpayer, debt peon, serf, or slave has entered their condition willingly. Various traditions are described in ancient documents to give credence to this idea. Among the ancient Hebrews, a slave who was freed in the jubilee year but chose to remain bound to his master would pierce one ear and wear an earring to symbolize this chosen condition of bondage. It is certainly noteworthy that single pierced ears have been fashionable from time to time in other cultures, whether consciously echoing this tradition or not.
But, the question for you in treating with others is not whether the citizen or subject, serf or slave has chosen their condition or not. It is up to you to choose whether you would recognize that condition in them. In other words, if you choose to deal with someone as an equal, as a sovereign individual, rather than as a slave, that choice is up to you, not them. They may beseech you to bind them into servitude, they may demand that as citizens they be treated dishonorably, they may insist that as taxpayers they have no right to expect decency from you, yet it remains among your choices to free them, treat them honorably, and be decent, in spite of their apparent wishes to the contrary.
By choosing to treat others decently, honorably, as equals, and as sovereigns, whether they understand or accept their own sovereignty, is to refuse the role of despot. A despot treats others with sneering hostility, arrogance, dishonor, and coercion, which should be wholly alien to your character. Despotism is a sure sign that one doesn't truly believe in oneself. The despot acts in this bizarre fashion to create the impression of superiority where he actually reveals inferiority and weakness by stamping about yelling and terrorizing to try to conceal those very traits. You have no need of such nonsense, for you are truly free, truly sovereign, truly the master of your own destiny.
Who are you? You are whoever you say you are. You are who you choose to be.
Are you defined by documents or papers? Of course not. You are self-defined. Identity papers describe a mandrake or mandragora, a strawman or homunculus. In some countries, such as the United States, identity papers describe an enemy alien using language set down in the 1917 Enemy Aliens act as amended in 1933. At best, a passport or state-issued driver license describes a sort of corporate entity, a simulacrum which stands in your place if you let it. At worst, the identity paper and related numbers are a sort of incantation of bondage. The Social Security Number functions as a slave number.
Why are passport and driver license photos so often absurd or unlike you? It is because the camera captures reality. The reality is that you are not the person depicted on the document. You are a thinking, feeling, wise, and complex sovereign individual. The pasteboard document describes, at its very best, an echo of that person. So, of course you look like yourself and you don't look like this person on the document: because you are yourself, a natural person, and not the corporate person - or unnatural person - described on the document.
Most treacherous of all, to the extent that you tie your wealth and information to your state-defined identity, you risk considerable loss, inconvenience, and harm from identity theft. An identity thief may steal your good name, may harm your credit, may purloin property from others who think they are dealing with the reputable person you actually are, may take money from your bank accounts or online accounts, and may otherwise harm you - even unto death. You may be killed because you have a convenient identity unsullied by the killer's past misdeeds. Is that any way to live?
Free yourself: burn your identity papers. Then design new documents of your own choosing to identify yourself as you please. Consider a common law trademark of your name, both as it appears on official documents and as you use it in everyday life. Consider the traditions of heraldry for establishing an image with which to associate your name and sovereignty.
How do you go about common law trademarking your name or heraldic achievement? One of the simplest ways of doing so is to publish your name or names or the image you've created with the text "trademark at common law." You may also use a paper of record in your local community with an affidavit of publication indicating that your trademark claim has been published in a newspaper of record. (Many cities have one major newspaper, which is a paper of record. You'll find that there is often another paper of record, which reports on the court cases in the city. Very often these daily court reporting papers are more amenable to odd legal notices of various kinds.)
Now, you've accepted your sovereignty. You've freed yourself. You identify yourself with whatever name or nickname or pen name you please. You choose a photo that you like to put on a photo ID of your own creation. You no longer waste your time nor money supporting tyrants nor sham democracies nor bankrupt republics.
What choices might you take to advance your cause, to make yourself better off, to enhance your sovereignty? There are an infinite variety of choices available to you, but some of the things to dwell on are wealth, violence, knowledge, communications, and mobility.
Indeed, a review of the last twenty-seven issues of this report finds these topics discussed in some depth. You've read here about withholding your consent to be governed, about jurisdictional arbitrage, about private communications tools, about defensive tools, and about the futility of holding posts. These things fit together to form a picture of a sovereign, transnational, wealthy, free individual who is comfortable using encryption, rifles, vehicles, and information technology to his advantage.
You've also read about the choices you now have in free market money; in methods for holding and transferring wealth; resisting attacks with your body, body armor, knives, guns, rockets, or other weapons; and quite a lot about the attitudes and ideals consistent with being sovereign. So, what's the goal of all this stuff?
Each subscriber or reader has individual goals. You may read these pages because you have some desire for knowledge, some enjoyment from an occasional turn of phrase, or some satisfaction from reading about government indignities accurately described in ... colorful language. You may hope to find an investment tip to increase your wealth, learn about space or launch technologies that could change your future, hear about some new country, or provide for a longer life through healthier living.
All or any of these things may have led you to pay for a subscription, or trial, or read the occasional issue as a guest. You may have some motivation not identified here. None of which answers the question about the goal here.
I started this newsletter to identify and communicate with fellow sovereigns about the things I find interesting. I want to live among sovereigns rather than among slaves. One of my main goals for my entire life has been to go dancing on the Moon. Doing so, I believe, is utterly out of character for a slave living within a society of dupes.
Just recently, Sir Richard Branson gave away a trip into space - on 24 March 2005. He did so fifteen years after David Mayer and I announced our plans to give away a trip into space. Notably, he was not arrested for felony gambling promotion of a lottery.
Branson's Virgin Galactic has proven that a market for space tourism exists. His tens of thousands of identified customers have agreed to pay $200,000 each for the opportunity to travel in space, illustrating a $4 billion market for space travel in the clearest manner possible. There can be no doubt, today, that the market for space tourism exists. Economics is not holding the door to space closed.
Similarly, Burt Rutan has proven that access to space is technologically challenging, but easily within the grasp of private sector efforts. With funding from Paul Allen, Rutan's Scaled Composites has built a space ship capable of routine, airline-like operations. Currently in design and shortly to join SpaceShip One in the annals of proven technology is a space hotel being organized, developed, and paid for by Robert Bigelow. So, technology is not holding the door to space closed.
So why can't I fly to the Moon tomorrow, go to a hotel, hire a dance band, and start cutting a rug? It isn't economics holding me back. It isn't technology. It is external government to some extent, and a culture of servitude to a larger extent.
Indeed, these pages are filled with revolution, overthrow, radical ideas, a rejection of class structures, a desecration of caste limitations, and a great iconoclasm agaisnt authoritarianism. Do you want to live forever? Do you want to see the stars? Do you want to be free? Do you seek free market choices in money? Are you interested in other countries? Would you like to go dancing on the Moon? Then you have found in me a brother.
My goal is to find others who share these goals, who seek fortunes in these industries, who want to make changes to the way things have always been, if necessary to defy the inevitability of death, taxes, and the weather by making our own way in the universe as we see fit. With others of like purpose, I believe I can find allies, business associates, investors, customers, vendors, partners, friends, and neighbors, among whom or aloof from whom I may find greater happiness.
So, really, it is all about my sovereignty. My interest in your sovereignty isn't altruistic, but selfish. My self-interest is better served by being among educated, determined, and self-interested sovereigns. If nothing else, that should prove far more interesting than being among ignorant, unfocused, self-sacrificing slaves.
At some point, I believe that many of the people who seek freedom will choose to secede. In various ways, they have been doing it all along. Secession is one of the major economic trends shaping the world of the Twenty-first Century. Just as empire building shaped the 19th and socialism shaped (or sheared) the 20th, secession seems likely to make many thousands of countries where only hundreds were before.
Beyond secession, there is an opportunity for intentional communities, not entirely physical, but also virtual, to bring together people with similar interests and capacities for self rule. I'm uncertain what a community of sovereign individuals would look like, or what it might achieve. But that experiment seems well worth pursuing.
In the coming year, The Indomitus Report will continue to focus on the attitudes and ideals of individual sovereignty. We'll report on gold mining and other resource stocks, consider ideas that seem particularly fruitful or farcical, and evaluate free market money opportunities as they arise. We'll continue to examine fiat currencies and try to anticipate the coming hyperinflation and dollar collapse. Our interests in living longer and seeing more of the universe will be reflected in our reports on longevity, the space frontier, launch tech, and new countries. As you encounter things that represent opportunities for individual sovereigns, please feel free to pass along ideas or suggestions. Best of all, criticisms are always welcome.
No examination of what has been covered on the topic of individual sovereignty would be complete without considering what we haven't covered. We've not yet looked at many important transport technologies that can provide significant mobility when you need it most. We've only looked in a cursory and dilettante fashion at self-defense. More needs to be said about jurisdictional arbitrage and related tools for wealth protection. Volumes of literature and history should be reviewed to examine the relevant experiences of other individual sovereigns and free thinkers. It should be possible to apply the best ideas from philosophies promoting liberty and self-determination to being sovereign. And there is yet much to be said on the topic of sovereignty as it is seen and promoted by others, including groups like the Sovereign Society. Some room will be made for criticisms of groups or endeavors that appear to be mawkish adumbrations of sovereignty or assaults on individual liberty.
Since this year is not an election year in the USA, it should be possible to avoid some of those distractions in the coming weeks. Sadly, it seems that war is unavoidable, and its consequences for the health of the state as well as for the individuals chewed up by it are likely topics for consideration.
It has been a fun year. Coming years promise endless opportunities for more fun. The current war may be expected to result in conscription, higher taxes, economic chaos, and several years of rebellions that are very likely going to be brutally suppressed. Fun, certainly, and also occasions for lamentations and prayers for deliverance. Navigating these "interesting times" and laying the foundation for a stronger, better, wealthier, and more free society in the future should provide for excellent diversions.
Besides, what else are you going to do? Start your own country?
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