“But I was just following orders.”

I do not like the public “education” system. I say “education” because there’s a difference between education and school. School is through and through an indoctrination system of obedience. This is just one aspect of why I don’t like schools.

From the time we are young, we are told that we have to raise our hand for everything. To go to the bathroom, to speak, to ask a question. To clarify. As adults, we see that this is not the way the world works. In board meetings at work, we do not raise our hands to make a point. If there’s a quarterly meeting where all the employees are in one meeting, yes we raise hands hands to ask questions of the speaker, or other presentations, but that’s only because there’s a specific speaker in the front and they have an agenda; after all, that’s the polite thing to do rather than jump into the middle of the speech. We do not send emails to our bosses to ask if we may use the restroom. Somehow as adults, we manage to navigate the world without raising our hands.

So why, as children, are we taught that we must raise our hands for everything in school? The reason has nothing to do with politely waiting your turn. It has to do with obedience and authority. We are taught to never question authority. If children so dare as to question authority, it’s called “talking back,” and the action is usually quickly stifled. “Don’t you talk back again, young lady!” If we don’t raise our hands, there’s various punishments to show that disobedience in this realm is unacceptable, from the teacher ignoring kids who speak out of turn to the principal’s office for repeat offenders. I think that this is unacceptable.

Whenever I say in discussions that authority must always be questioned, I am agreed with (I have never been disagreed with). However, is this what we are teaching our children? Is questioning authority ever practiced, or do people just agree with the theory and principle without ever actually questioning authority? When you stifle a child’s natural inclination to question what’s valid, they are being told not to “talk back.” How does this circular logic make any sense? Do any of these adults actually believe that authority should be questioned? I think that children should question the authority of everyone, including their own parents.

There is a reason I think this is very important, and should be closely examined. How many terrible things happen because no one questions authority, and just does as they’re told? Psychological testing has shown that people will do horrific things if they believe in the authority role someone else supposedly has over them. This has also happened in real life.

There are two well known tests that show this. One is the Stanford prison experiment. There were two groups randomly chosen from the participants: the prison guards, and the prison inmates. They played their roles in a basement of a building at Yale. The two groups quickly fell into the roles, even though they were just acting. The experiment was supposed to last for two weeks, but was stopped after six days because of the harassment and abuse the “guards” inflicted on the “inmates,” even though the abuse started on only the second day. The professor who designed and carried out the experiment got caught up in the experiment, and it was an intern who said that the experiment should stop. This study was a good example of how people fall into the role of authority and how it can be abused.

The other study was done by Stanley Milgram. He would have the participants come in, and had an intern, and they would draw slips of paper to determine the “learner” and who would be the “teacher.” However, both would say “teacher” and the intern would say he had the paper that said “learner.” The third person would be the authoritative figure. The learner would be strapped to a chair connected to an electroshock system. The teacher would have to read lists of words that the learner was supposed to learn, but would always get something wrong. The teacher was told to shock the learner every time an error occurred, and to notch up the amount of electricity delivered. There was actually no electricity and no shock, but the teacher did not know this. The learner would also say he had a heart condition, and after a certain point of “shocks” would start screaming in agony. The authority figure would tell the teacher to keep going, until all 450 volts of electricity were amped up. 65% of people went all the way, because the authority figure told the participant to keep going, even through screaming and pleading, and finally silence at some point.

Milgram’s experiments were controversial, because the participants were not aware that there was no shock actually being delivered. But if they had known, would they have gone as far as they did administering shocks? But this has also happened in real life. Did all of the soldiers under Hitler actually believe that they were doing the right thing to the Jews? Or were they just following orders? At what point do you stop simply saying it’s a good thing to question authority, and actually doing it? When it starts harming other people? If you were a soldier, and ordered to kill people in a certain house, would you do it? How about if your commanding officer tells you that your family is in that house, but there’s also “the bad guys” in there, and you have to kill them all? Is it because you’re taught to dehumanize the “enemy?” They aren’t people, they don’t matter? How many innocent people are murdered because people are just following orders?

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Where’s the line? When are people going to start actually standing up and questioning the validity and legitimacy of these perceived authority figures? People are all too good at rationalizing behavior. “Well, there are terrorists out there, so, yeah, we need the government to spy on us.” Is that really legitimate? Who creates the enemies? It’s a really good question to ask yourself. The CIA puts people all over the globe to intervene in foreign matters. Doesn’t that create a situation where there could be some upset people that want retribution? Since this is a country that claims to have control over the government because they are the People elected by the People, other countries think that attacking the inhabitants of this soil is the same as attacking the government. Nationalism, right?

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So when does it stop? Where does it begin to stop? This is why it’s SO fundamentally wrong to indoctrinate children to not question authority. It’s downright dangerous. It puts everyone in jeopardy, from liberty to actual physical harm because the US government meddles. How many people need to die? How many liberties are going to be taken away, before people start questioning the authority of the people in power?

Thankfully, there ARE people that question authority. People like Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and other whistleblowers. The brave journalists that continue to publish information that’s important for the People to know. I just wonder when more people will start to do the same.

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A Year in the Life

I was at work today, listening to my Free Talk Live podcast, and it struck me that I’ve been learning about the liberty movement for about a year. About a year exactly, actually. As I’ve moved along in this journey, I’ve grown and changed my views a lot. I’ve also gotten quite angry. More on that later.

First, how I’ve grown. I’ve gone from “fuck yeah, Anarchy!!” I’ve lost “friends” and have been blocked. After debating and learning new ideas, my thoughts are a bit more refined. As an example, I no longer like the term “Anarchist.” I’ve learned that it has a lot of negative connotations because of the other definition, and it was really difficult trying to explain, “no, that’s not what I mean.” I don’t want a society filled with chaos. I also don’t like the term Libertarian to describe my beliefs, because there are too many definitions, and it’s even more confusing trying to explain what I mean by the term. I’ve learned it’s important to discuss semantics first when discussing ideas, because if you don’t, things can get messed up later in the conversation, and it could turn out that you and the other person meant a different thing entirely.

The term I’ve come to use is Voluntaryist. It means that I follow the Non-Aggression Principle: I will not initiate force against you, and you will do the same for me. Do not harm me, and I will respect that in turn. That includes my property. I own my body, I own the things I’ve purchased with what I’ve earned. Don’t steal from me, and I will return the favor. I don’t believe that the government’s monopoly on violence is true or just, nor is it moral. It isn’t legitimate. Just because I happen to be born here doesn’t mean that I should have to give up my inherent rights as a human being to satisfy the government using me as a resource. I pursue Liberty. I want to be a free person in mind, body, and spirit. Currently, my body and my free will are. Not. Free. Whatsoever.

They say that this is the land of the free. I would like to see the evidence of that. Every single thing that you ARE as a body, as flesh, is regulated. Everything you do. When you travel, every item you purchase has been regulated many times by the time it’s in the store, your work place, where you live, things you adorn on your body, the items you sleep on, your entertainment, the list goes on and on and on. Thousands and thousands of ways that there’s regulati0n. Your entire life and being, down to your very basic necessity: food. The federal government is so steeped in your life and you don’t even realize. Is it really for your safety? For your well being? For the greater good? Or, could it possibly be that they want to control everything about you? They claim the fruits of your labor by stealing money from your paycheck. As an aside, do you really believe that the social programs the government has are the best ways of helping people? The government is actually a cause of the state of the poor in this country (and in other countries, such as countries in Africa). They cause it, and they create an environment in which the poor become dependent on welfare with no incentive or resources to better their situation. Not to mention, any government entity is horribly inefficient. PLEASE, someone, tell me, WHAT part of the government runs efficiently?! I have yet to see a program or situation, nor have I heard of anything the government does that is efficient in any way.

So WHY do people keep looking to the government for answers? It’s like people are foaming at the mouth like rabid animals, voting for the people they think will serve them best, arguing and debating useless topics where no one gets anywhere, and then are disappointed when the politicians fail them and then point fingers. The point that this has gotten to is sickening, and I don’t understand it. This is what frustrates me. People seem to want to be regulated to the point of no freedom and taxed beyond repair, until they have so much money taken from their paychecks to pay for war and inefficiency and at the same time bemoan the system. BUT. Still look to them to fix it, for answers. As long as we have at least a federal government and this two party system of rabid beasts, we are never going to have freedom. There’s no compromise of politicians on a federal level. The corruption is disgusting and rotting our country to the core.

This is what’s frustrating, but only recently have I been truly angry, to the point of wanting to cry. I was SO disappointed in humanity when the Boston bombings occurred, and basic human rights were trampled upon, and no one cared. I was very upset that people were willing to sacrifice liberty for safety. And, as it turns out, the bombing happened because of US foreign policy. The government is here to keep you safe? Where’s the proof of that? All the proof points to the contrary, my dear Americans. The government is here to protect your freedom? Where is the proof of that? It must be in the NDAA, where it lays the groundwork for the feds to detain you indefinitely without trial. Or I guess it could be that the NSA is spying on you. No, I’ve got it. The proof is that the FBI is killing American citizens with drones. BUT WAIT. The US Supreme Court overturned DOMA. THAT’S what’s important, my dear Americans, my dear sheep. Granting rights and permissions to something that should be inherent in the first place. So let us wave our little American flags a little more, and beg the government to grant us more of our rights. Beg the government to fix all the problems its created, and beg them to fix the problems they’ve caused in our lives. I’m frustrated and angry that these people that debate over the right and the left don’t see that nothing changes, ever. Maybe some policy changes some times in whichever way is your favor, but the majority of the time, there’s more ways created to impede your liberty and freedom rather than doing anything good.

I’m left wondering when people will see it. Maybe they’ll keep voting themselves into oblivion. Maybe some day I’ll get past the frustration. It’s hard being in the liberty movement. But that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying. Trying to change hearts and minds. I will have to do a better job of keeping up this blog, now that Xanga is pretty much gone.

Bitcoin and Business

This was a post I wrote for the DTOM Blog, which can be found HERE.

Unless you don’t pay any attention to any news at all, you have probably heard what’s going on with Bank of Cyprus in the EU. In case you haven’t heard, the government shut down the banks because they were in danger of bankruptcy. $13B (in US dollars, $10B in euros) in debt, these banks are. In order to prevent people from removing their money from their accounts, the banks were not doing business for about two weeks. It was announced that those who have over 100,000 in euros will have 60% of their money removed from their accounts and the money will go towards paying the bank’s debts. Those who have less than 100,000 euros are safe from the governmental raid, however, people will not be allowed to withdraw more than 1,000 euros and leave the island (source).

There are those that aren’t that alarmed, because it’s said that this is a special circumstance. However, I beg to differ. I don’t mean to fear-monger, because I hate that tactic, but I got a cold, cold feeling in my gut listening to the news on a recent podcast, being talked about on Free Talk Live.

We already know that banks are systems that are controlled by the government, and they have the ability to go in and freeze your account with no warning, garnish your wages for not paying taxes, etc. But, now there’s a precedent for them to go in and do whatever they like, including shutting down a bank and removing money from accounts to pay off debts that have nothing to do with these people. That’s a scary thought, is it not? What’s to say that another government can’t freeze all the accounts, and remove your earnings without your permission? These people earned that money, and 60% of it is going to be taken from them! That doesn’t include whatever income and property taxes they’ve already paid, and other fees from various regulations and what not. Central banks are bad, bad, bad. Fractional banking is bad, bad, bad. It’s just not sustainable in any sense of the word, and it’s being proven time and time again with all the banks and countries that are seeing the consequences of this horrible business model. It’s the worst kind of ponzi scheme, because now the people that have their money in these banks in Cyprus are paying for it. I honestly don’t know what’s worse: the government confiscating money in this manner, or inflation by printing billions of dollars in paper money. The confiscation plan is certainly much more visible.

All of this being said, I think the future of personal finances lies online,with open source, peer-to-peer currency. The kind of decentralized currency that is impossible to inflate. The only such currency that has real traction is Bitcoin. There may be a competitor or two, but it seems that Bitcoin is certainly the biggest contender at the moment, at over $100 FRN per 1BTC. In fact, it may not be a bad thing if there was more than one such currency. Of course, I still see value in gold and silver, but in this digital age where the future has every indication of new and great technologies in an online world, Bitcoin has a huge value. I mean, many of us already use  FRNs through technology. I personally carry very little cash, and instead have direct deposit for my paychecks, I pay every bill online (with paperless email alerts), and I make purchases online and in person with my debit card. I only pull cash out if I see myself needing it for some reason. Because, there’s also ridiculous ATM fees. My checking account is through the bank my school uses to hand out the financial aid, so there’s NO free ATMs. All the ATMs charge at least $2.50 to use THEIR ATM, and then my bank also charges a fee of $2.50 for the transaction. So every time I pull out cash, it costs me at least $5. I’m sure many people can relate to the first part about having very little actual cash on hand, or at least in limited amounts. This is the direction that we are headed as a society, so it only makes sense that a digital currency has immense value. It’s also much more secure than using debit/credit cards online (if someone steals your wallet or purse, they have all the info needed to use your cards, and that’s not the case with Bitcoin).

I think that as more and more people start using Bitcoin for transactions, the more businesses will pick up on the trend and accept Bitcoin as payment, because this is what their customers are doing. Unfortunately, since some bills have to go to the government, such as the electric bill, a government monopoly, those bills won’t be able to be paid in Bitcoin, I don’t think the government would allow it. But wouldn’t it be nice to pay your cell phone bill with Bitcoin?? I think this is where the future is headed, as more and more people realize that their money isn’t safe sitting in central banks, people will have as little in FRNs as possible. This is what I see for the future, and I think it’s wonderful. Of course, there are already businesses that accept payment in Bitcoin! I’ve listed some that I know of, and feel free to comment with more!

To learn more about Bitcoin:
We Use Coins

Places you can use your bitcoins:
DTOM (DTOM Facebook page) Don’t Tread on Meme clothing, silver dime cards, and other items
Savory Scents (I don’t have my website set up yet, but it’s a work in progress! For now, I still accept Bitcoin, you can just contact me regarding using Bitcoin and we can still arrange it. Savory Scents Facebook page) Savory Scents features candles, lotion, dead sea bath salts, and other items
Stateless Sweets (Stateless Sweets Facebook page) Stateless Sweets features the most delicious candy that will ever enter your mouth..the raw honey salted caramels are my personal favorite!
Terra Mater Botanicals (Terra Mater Botanicals Facebook page) Terra Mater Botanicals has a range of products including tea, essential oils, and assorted flower essences.
FPP.cc (FPP.cc Facebook page) The first link will take you to the donation page, but FPP (Free Press Publications) will also accept purchases made with Bitcoin.
Singing Tall Grass (Singing Tall Grass Facebook page) Singing Tall Grass is also working on her website, and she currently isn’t accepting bitcoins as payment, but she plans to accept them when her website is up and running, but you can still go and see what wonderful products she has available! She makes absolutely wonderful organic bath and body products. Everything I’ve tried is amazing, including organic lip balm that’s customizable.
Shire Silver (Shire Silver Facebook page) Shire Silver sells gold and silver in denominations that one can actually use (versus trying to use a troy ounce of silver, for instance)
Shiny Badges (Shiny Badges Facebook page) Shiny Badges makes some awesome pins. Not only that, but you can contact Davi for design work. He’s an awesome graphic designer (who designed my Savory Scents dime cards!!) and I don’t think it’s possible to be disappointed with his work. He also has a book that was recently published by FPP, Voluntary Islam, which you can buy with Bitcoin!

Liberty in Life

I’ve had this domain name for quite some time. I went to Libertopia 2012 in October of 2012, and right when I got home I contemplated names for the liberty-oriented blog I wanted to maintain. I came up with Control the Sheep, which is, of course, completely facetious. I created this blog, but never wrote anything in it, and now it’s months later. Life kind of got in the way, as it usually does. However, I’ve decided to dedicate my life to Liberty, and I think this blog is going to become a big part of that. At least, I hope it does. If I’m going to dedicate my life to liberty, I think it’s important to somehow get the word out there to other people who may be seeking more freedom in their lives, and I think that in this digital age, it’s important to utilize the internet for this purpose. I know that there are some people who don’t think the internet is a very effective mode of spreading such an important message, but I can honestly say that I’m far better at organizing my thoughts through writing than I am speaking. Verbal thoughts are a work in progress, but for now what I have is my writing. I created a video yesterday, but I’m not going to post it because it’s truly horrible.

I wanted to start writing a topic today, but I thought it would be important to write a little bit about myself and my background first, as it pertains to politics and freedom. I’ve never really been that interested in politics, and I even detest politics. Politicians have always been blood sucking parasites in my eyes, and politics are just the games they play to hide it. 2004 was my senior year in high school, and I could vote for the first time, “legally,” based upon an arbitrary age set by people who like to wave their granting privileges in front of everyone else. I started paying closer attention, though, and tried to decide what side I was on according to the “issues,” and gave up because my thoughts were neither entirely republican or democrat. I was left on some things and right on some things, and I thought this game was ridiculous. I didn’t vote. I didn’t vote in 2008, or in 2012. I decided right after the 2004 Presidential election that I didn’t care about politics, because I didn’t believe a word any of them said either.

I went about my life, hating politics and the issues that people hotly debate (I debated issues sometimes, but only from a morality perspective, and not according to any kind of politics). Then last summer, I started talking to a friend of mine about Anarchy. Everything I learned seemed to fall right in line with things I had thought, but never really organized into thoughts. It was like a light bulb went off in my head..I was enlightened, and I immediately adopted such philosophies as Voluntaryism and the Non-Aggression Principle. As I develop my thinking, I don’t really like labeling myself as an Anarchist, a Libertarian, etc. It can be really confusing to explain to people, so I like to just say that I’m liberty-oriented. I agree that no government would be ideal for freedom and liberty, because as long as you don’t harm anyone else, you should be free to do as you wish.

As I’ve lived the last several months, my eyes have really been opened to the horrific realities of government, and it has NOTHING to do with the “issues.” Those are manufactured ideas to throw around and “hotly debate” to cover what the government is really doing. Their goal is to split the population in polarized directions, because it’s easier to control people. I’m going off on a tangent in my introduction, so I’ll get back on track..

Right now, where I’m at is that I’ve started an agorist business. I do not believe that anyone should have to beg permission to own and operate a business, and this is what I want to spend my life doing. I want to create products that people want and enjoy, and to gain enough profit to live comfortably and have more time to engage in activism. As I move forward with my life and seeking liberty, I hope you stick around to learn new ideas on what can be achieved through peaceful activism and a peaceful life in general. I’ll be talking about the ideas I’ve mentioned here in more detail later on, but for now, peace!