Tag Archive | taxation is theft

The Myth of American Self-Governance

Here in the United States, we are absolutely in love with this thing that we call “public property.” It sounds like such a great and noble idea–have the state take control of property and resources, and use them for the good of “the people.” Never mind that this is a verbatim description of socialism.

The Federal Government alone owns nearly 28% of all land in the United States, and much of it is in the west, where it owns nearly fifty percent. In Alaska, the situation is even worse, and the Federal Government owns nearly 90% of all land, even though, by all rights, the whole of Alaska was a private purchase. But never mind that, too. This handy resource incidentally lists “Public Land Ownership” by state.

“Public land ownership.”

If you add “state government land ownership” and “federal government land ownership” together for each state, you get figures that are absolutely shocking.

We colloquially call this stuff “public land,” in the same way that we say “We are the government.” After all, if the government owns all that land, and we are the government, then we own all that land. It’s a simple step of logic. Resting as it does on the assumption that “we are the government,” it would follow that, if it should turn out that we are not the government, then we do not own that land–some third party called “the government” does. So let’s move to Rothbard and have some logic dropped on the subject.

First, there is the argument of self-harm: if “we” are the government, then anything that the government does to us is considered voluntarily, and it is taken that we did it to ourselves. Quite to many people’s surprise, Hitler’s Nazi regime was democratically elected. By this reasoning–that in a democracy, “we are the government”–the Jews were not systematically murdered by the government. Instead, the Jews committed suicide.

This is not some word game. It is the logical conclusion of the fallacious notion that “we” are this third party entity that does stuff. Most assuredly, I am not the government. I have no hand in governance, and my votes to do so are routinely thrown away entirely. The people with government power–they are the government. Not you and me.

Then there is the argument of voluntary conscription. If “we” are the government, then if the government institutes conscription and sends many young men against their will to fight and die in foreign countries, then nothing untoward has happened. Because “they” are somehow the government, they weren’t conscripted; they volunteered to be sent, against their will, to foreign countries. I would hope it isn’t necessary to point out the absolute absurdity in saying that they volunteered to be forced to do something against their will.

Moreover, if the government criminalizes homosexuality, then the homosexuals who are arrested and imprisoned “did it to themselves.” After all, “they” are the government, so “they” somehow voted that they should be considered criminals and imprisoned against their wills.

It’s painfully obvious that we are not the government. In fact, this is so obvious that it wouldn’t be necessary to point out at all if this banality hadn’t propagated largely unchecked throughout western society. Those people who make up the city council? They’re not me. They and I are different people. Those people who make up the state legislature–they are not me. They and I are different people. Those people who wear badges and enforce the rules of the state and federal legislatures–they are not me. They and I are different people. We are not “them.” We are “their subjects.”

Representatives

“Fine,” the American liberal begrudgingly admits. “We aren’t literally ‘the government.’ But we do elect our representatives, who act in our best interests. Obviously, every single person can’t be their own government agent, and this is why representative democracy [what others would call “a republic,” of course] exists. So while you aren’t literally ‘the government,’ you are in control of it, because you pick your representatives.”

What a statement of astounding privilege. It must be nice to be so firmly within an ideological majority that one is assured representation among the government that rules us and that we have agreed “we are not.” Let there be no doubt: if you want to know what genuine privilege in the United States looks like, that is it–the notion that because we vote for our representatives we are represented.

As a Nietzschean Anarchist, I am an extreme ideological minority. In fact, I’m the only person I know who is a Nietzschean Anarchist. My ideal form of governance cannot be enacted by a third party representative, because the representative himself would be ruling me, and, as a Nietzschean Anarchist, I reject his authority to do so. So even if there were ten million other Nietzschean Anarchists out there, we could not be represented within the government, and the idea here is that if we do not think the governance system in place is compatible with our worldview, then we are not entitled to have the governance system that we want.

“Some exclusions apply,” would be a fitting end to the statement that “We elect our representatives.”

This state of affairs, where minorities of whatever flavor are not allowed a seat at the governing table, is entirely democratic–the rule by the mob, by the majority. Whoever has the most numbers makes the rules, and anyone who isn’t in that majority can get over it. Because I’m a minority of one, I am not entitled to self-governance as they are, and they are entitled to rule over me, whether I like it or not.

Already, the idea of “representatives” is on shaky ground. Some people have representatives. Have we not heard throughout the last 9 months that “Donald Trump doesn’t represent me”? Welcome to my world, where none of these people represent me. It doesn’t feel very good, does it, to be ruled over by someone with whom you disagree fundamentally? This is what you force upon me every time you elect your representative. You force me into the exact position that you are in right now because you are ruled by a government entirely controlled by Republicans. And those Republicans who felt this way in 2008, when President Obama was elected with a largely democratic congress–you are forcing upon liberals and people like me governance that we do not want. So it quite obviously isn’t “self-governance,” because it’s “governance by representatives.” And these representatives quite obviously do not “represent us.” They “represent some.” Those not represented… can just get fucked, as far as the ruling power is concerned, and this is ubiquitous throughout human history and American history, regardless of whatever political party or political ideology controlled the government.

As if all that wasn’t enough (which it should be), there is a deeper fallacy underlying the idea that, just because we can elect people to government, these people constitute “representatives” and are actually bound to do anything that we want them to do. Senator John McCain’s voting against the bill to “slim repeal” the Affordable Care Act is incontrovertible proof that “representatives” are what we already knew them to be–individuals with their own predilections, preferences, and concerns. They act in accord with our wishes only when our wishes overlap with theirs. It is a simple matter, when our desires conflict with theirs, to smooth over the matter and hold onto power anyway. If this was not true, then we would not have terrible approval ratings and such absurdly high re-election rates. While these ratings and rates are exaggerated on social media, there is still truth to them. As much as Mississippi despises Roger Wicker for being a typical neo-con, he’s not going anywhere.

As it happens, Rothbard also addressed the Representative Myth:

We cannot, in this chapter, develop the many problems and fallacies of “democracy.” Suffice it to say here that an individual’s true agent or “representative” is always subject to that individual’s orders, can be dismissed at  any time and cannot act contrary to the interests or wishes of his principal. Clearly, the “representative” in a  democracy can never fulfill such agency functions…

If these don’t sound like the “representatives” you think we have, then I would suggest the “representatives” that you think we have are not “representatives” as much as they are “people elected to power whose desires theoretically overlap with the electing individual’s to some degree, and, ideally, this overlap would cause the elected person to behave in a way the elector desires.”

In practice, however, the government and its members do, more or less, whatever they want. To restrain them, we produced a piece of paper and called it “The Constitution.” It is not “the highest law of the land” as people often suggest; it is more than that. It is the document that defined our government. It is the charter that defined our government. It is also completely meaningless today, with every single part of the Bill of Rights lying tattered and buried beneath 6,000 pages of legalese bullshit. Because if a judge can produce such an argument about how stopping and frisking people “totally” doesn’t violate people’s Fourth Amendment rights, then the government can freely violate the Fourth Amendment with impunity. The sheet of paper does nothing to stop them. It basically says “You must not do that.” Yeah, but they do that, so…

Back to Public Property

So if we are not “the government,” and if our representatives do not represent us, then what is the government? It is a cabal of people with the power to rule over us all. We are not those people, and those people only do what we want if it happens to coincide with what they want to do anyway. If this is sounding less and less like the “land of the free” that you think we’re in, I’d suggest that you probably attended a public school. Of course, their goal is not to create free-thinking, independent, autonomous citizens. That’s the last thing any government would want. Do you expect Wal-Mart to open up seminars and education programs on how to become self-sufficient? Of course not.

If this “government” is not us and is, in fact, some external thing that rules over us, then it follows that property it owns is not “public property.” It’s government property. If this was true, then we would expect the government to create all sorts of rules about how its property can be used, we would expect severe usage limitations on it, and we would expect it to use its enforcers–police–to ensure that “we the people” who allegedly “own” this property abide its rules and regulations. And, in fact, that’s exactly what we find.

Ostensibly, the American people are taxed to pay for roads that snake across the country. Supposedly, these roads belong to us, and we can use them as we want. Except that’s obviously not true, is it? Sobriety checkpoints, random insurance checkpoints, vehicular registration, drivers’ licenses, inspection stickers, and all kinds of other shit are required to use these roads that supposedly belong to us because we paid for them. And this state of affairs is supposedly okay because “we are the government,” so we imposed these rules on ourselves. Except we know this last statement is untrue, because we already proved it to be untrue. The government imposed these rules on us. It doesn’t matter if you agree with them or not–you didn’t impose them, and you cannot depose them if you have a change of heart.

Imagine that for a moment, if you truly think that we imposed these regulations on ourselves. Put yourself in the position of becoming a Mormon and having the epiphany that insurance is tantamount to gambling (which it is), and that you cannot, in good conscience, participate in the scheme (because it is a scheme–imagine if everyone was required to go to a casino and spend $100 in a slot machine every month knowing that “the house always wins”). What can you do about it? What can you do about it once you have decided that these laws imposed upon us are unjust?

Nothing.

Because you didn’t impose them, and you don’t control them. You are at their mercy, and the only reason this is somewhat escapable is because so many Americans reflexively have decided that the insurance scam is a positive thing (especially now that it has extended to health insurance scams).

This argument about “public property” applies to all public property. It’s a fiction. There is only personal property and state property, and we must stop confusing the two. If we understood that we are most certainly not “the government,” then this myth would have to fade, because it would become obvious that we and the government are entirely different things. We are the subjects of government.

Even if you agree with the Republican federal government, you are not governing yourself. You are being governed by other people, and you knew this eight years ago when you were pitching a fit because the Democratic federal government was governing you. You knew this to the extent that you flooded the White House website with secession petitions. And you, liberals, you know this now–you are not the Republican government, and neither are you represented by it. It rules over you, whether you like it or not.

And if you don’t obey, it will send its footsoldiers to kidnap you and imprison you against your will. If you resist this kidnapping, its footsoldiers will murder you. If you don’t respect its authoritah! to order you around and tell you what you can and can’t do, then it will send people to kill you. The bullshit lie that democracy and republic governments are somehow different, and that these truths are no longer truths.

We hold these truths to be self-evident–that all governments are created evil, that they are endowed by no one with the power to commit crimes without repercussions; that among these crimes are murder, assault, theft, and kidnapping.

UBI: Manna Doesn’t Fall From the Sky

While there are obvious similarities between the Universal Basic Income and the Minimum Wage, there is also a difference that causes the former to be immeasurably more stupid than the latter. The MW, of course, is a legal guarantee that one’s labor will have a certain value; the UBI is the guarantee that one’s existence will have a certain value.

It’s absurd, stupid, and another example of how our confused species has enjoyed luxury so great that we’ve forgotten we live in a universe where it’s an organism’s responsibility to secure its own survival.

I voluntarily provide my cats with a UBI. I’m not kidding, and anyone who thinks I’m kidding has missed the point. Nothing is required of them, and each day they’re provided with food, water, air conditioning, medical care, and a roof over their heads. This is precisely what the UBI is meant to assure people.

While I’ve undertaken this as my responsibility, the fact remains that they are subsisting entirely off my productivity. My labor acquires food, and so they don’t have to expend their own labor hunting mice in the surrounding fields. That I refill their water bowl means they don’t have to chase down water sources. Whatever else is true, it costs me to do these things, and it requires no more effort from them than to get their fat asses to the food bowl.

Even so, I don’t owe this to anyone. There are millions of cats to whom I give nothing, simply for practicality’s sake: if I spent all my time chasing down stray cats to take care of, I’d have no time to secure the money I use to buy the stuff they need. And though it really doesn’t take long for me to buy a can of cat food, it remains true that someone has to put in the effort to get my cats something to eat. It’s easier for me to work a few minutes and buy what they need than it is for them to go out and find dinner, water, and a place to stay; moreover, they are incapable of getting health care for themselves. It also remains true that food is not going to magically appear for them.

This isn’t true of humans. It’s no easier for me to go to college and establish a career than it is for anyone else to do it. The ease with which I, being a human, can acquire the stuff my cats need and want means less energy is expended when I simply take care of it. Additionally, it’s an obligation I chose to take on voluntarily, because I like them and they’re my friends.

In the grand scheme of things, I actually had a harder time securing a college degree and a career than the average person. Yet advocates of the UBI don’t care. Part of my productivity should, they argue, be siphoned off and used to secure things for other people. After all, manna doesn’t fall from the sky. My cats may not realize it, but their food bowl isn’t magical–I have to actually expend effort earning the money to buy their food. It’s not free food. It’s just free to them.

So let’s drop the bullshit for a moment and call things what they are.

It’s Socialism. It’s entitlement. It’s this notion that one is entitled to the necessities of survival, and that it’s okay to enslave other people and command them to provide one with food, water, and other things.

Bullshit. It’s backward. It’s called “slavery.”

There is no escaping this. That food, that water, that electricity, that doctor, that pharmacist… All of that stuff is other people’s labor. The doctor is a human being, not a mechanical dispensary of diagnoses. The farmers, the biochemists, the nurses, the coal miners–these people are all entitled to be paid for their labor. They must be, because the idea that it’s okay to make them work for free is unequivocally called slavery. If you can put a hundred people to work in a nightmarish coal mine and then not pay them because no one has paid you for your coal, then you don’t have a hundred employees–you have a hundred slaves, and you are simply the Enslaved Slave Master, enslaved and commanded by others to command other slaves. You’d be the ultimate Uncle Tom: the slave given a prestigious position and power over other slaves.

It can be taken a given, then, that the owner of the coal mine and the coal miners should be paid for their labors. “But it’s so useful to the function of society!” can’t be used as an argument to justify refusing to pay them, because people once said the very same thing about cotton as a justification for slavery. “Cotton is critical to the function of society and to the economy!” people claimed [which, it’s worth mentioning, if this was truly the case, then people would be willing to pay enough for it to keep the industry alive without slavery]. Perhaps doctors do provide a service to society that is so extremely useful, but it doesn’t matter–the utility of the service a person provides cannot be used as an argument for their slavery.

Someone has to put in the productivity to earn the money to pay the coal miner, the doctors, the farmers, and everyone else. Again, this is because manna doesn’t fall from the sky. We live in a universe that pretty much never stops trying to kill us. Life is born with an expiration date. That expiration date can be pushed back by eating, drinking, and taking care of oneself, but it cannot be postponed indefinitely. The only thing a living being is entitled to… is death.

It’s easy to forget this, especially in western nations, where food and water are so abundant. A newly born infant, however, is going to die in just fewer than 48 hours if someone doesn’t provide it with food and water. We could certainly justify making the argument that it’s the parents’ responsibility to provide the helpless infant with the necessities of survival, much in the same way that my choice to take in two cats came with the responsibility to ensure their well-being, but the entire reason the parents may be required to provide the food and water is because the infant will die if it doesn’t get it. By being born at all, the infant is sentenced to death, and it becomes the responsibility of the parents not to ensure survival but to postpone death until such time as the infant is old enough and capable enough to postpone their own death.

Attrition is part of the universe. We are mortal beings. Starvation, malnutrition, disease, dehydration, and countless other things are literally trying to kill us around the clock. The very moment we lapse in our responsibility to stave off these bringers of death is the very moment they overtake us. Life itself is trying to kill you right now. It’s the reason you’ll become hungry and thirsty today. It’s the reason you might catch a cold. At this very moment, life is trying to kill you, and it requires effort and energy to stave off its victory. If you do nothing–if you simply sit there and do nothing–you will die, with 100% certainty. Our efforts to eat don’t assure immortality; they postpone mortality.

Energy must be expended. Someone must use their labor to keep you alive. Ideally, that person is you. No one has to take care of me and ensure that I have food, because I’ve gone out and secured my food in the way that any healthy, sane organism has to be able to do because the very essence of life is constantly trying to kill that organism. This is true of literally everything in our universe. The passage of time ensures the destruction of everything and everyone, from planets to humans, and the best anything and anyone can do is expend energy to postpone that moment. Stars expend this energy through nuclear fusion; humans expend this energy by taking jobs. These are the most basic aspects of our reality, and they cannot be ignored with good feelings that are meant to obfuscate systemic slavery.

Effort is required simply to stave off one’s own destruction, because the universe is trying to kill everyone, and because if that energy isn’t expended, then death is imminent.

The Sword of Damocles constantly hangs over our heads. This is literally what it means to be mortal, to have a finite existence. We must strengthen the string by which the sword hangs, because the moment we fail to is the moment the sword will fall and kill us. If we choose to just lay there, then gravity and friction will take over, the twine will tear, and the sword will break free. Only by constant effort can we prevent that, and only temporarily with our very best efforts.

The universe doesn’t owe us anything, and I certainly don’t owe anyone anything. I expend my energy keeping my sword from falling. Coming up to me and demanding that I use some of my energy keeping them alive so that they don’t have to is parasitism, slavery, and statism. That’s exactly how we ended up with the state in the first place, and how it became our responsibility, as productive members of society, to provide ancient kings and lords with food so that they didn’t have to toil in the fields.

People call this UBI shit progress–it’s quite clearly not. Having a class of people who sit in their homes with another class of people bringing them food and water? We’ve been down that road before: it’s called serfdom. In feudal times, that lord had to eat, after all. Someone had to work in the field to grow the food. The lord, who didn’t want to do it, instead used force and violence to force people who did work in the fields to bring him food. To say today that we should revisit this idea is the opposite of progress. Whether it’s someone who calls themselves a lord using knights to force everyone to give a portion of what they have for the lord’s benefit, or someone who calls themselves a progressive using police and the state to force everyone to give a portion of what they have for the progressive’s benefit, it’s still just feudal serfdom, and we’ve been down that road before.

Having a larger part of the population make up the unproductive parasitic class of lords, whose defining feature is that they use force to acquire necessities from productive classes, hardly constitutes progress. It simply means that the lowly peasants who are productive must pay the lords a greater tax, because now there are more lords. Whereas feudal times saw fewer than 1% of the population being titled lords parasitically siphoning resources from the productive classes, modern UBI times would see huge sections of the population setting themselves up as lords parasitically siphoning resources from the productive classes. Instead of a member of the productive class paying 65% in taxes to sate the lord’s greed, the member of the productive class has ten times the number of lords and has to pay 95% in taxes.

“Progress”

Perhaps.

Progress down the Road to Serfdom, but that kind of progress won’t take us anywhere else.

Conscription: The Bane of Self-Ownership

It’s been a while since the United States implemented conscription–what we now call “The Draft” since we’ve turned it into the lottery that no one wants to win–and there remains a lot of negativity attached to it. The last time there was any serious talk about conscription was during George W. Bush’s presidency, and my father was so convinced that the draft was imminent that he routinely suggested that I go ahead and sign up. The high school had just required us to take the ASFAB, and I scored very highly, which caused Army Reserve recruiters to pester me pretty extensively. When the recruiter insisted twice that there were no reserve units deployed to Iraq, my father thankfully made him leave.

I don’t know whether my father ever served in the military or not. Through most of my life he insisted that he fought in the Vietnam War, and my sister and I realized as adults that this couldn’t possibly be true. He said that he had been drafted out of high school into the Navy. I don’t know enough about the draft to know whether conscripts served in other branches, and I don’t really care, but he asserts that his recruiter told him he would be able to choose a submarine as his assignment, only to ultimately not be able to. Who knows? Nothing my father says is ever really true. At best, it’s a lie with a bit of lean toward the truth.

When I went through a difficult patch around 20 years old, I contacted the Navy about recruiting. Much to my dismay, I had to again take the stupid ASFAB, as well as a Navy-only code-breaking thing at the end, and it took all day even though I finished the test in about two hours. That’s the worst part of any standardized test. Just hand me the test and let me leave when I’m done. Don’t make me sit around for five hours waiting on other people to finish.

There were a few oddities, though. First, it was my intention to enter the nuclear research program. I hadn’t yet entered college, but one half-truth after the other led to the realization that, unless I had a BA, then I was going to enter the service at the lowest possible rank–which, not being arrogant, is a tremendous waste for someone of my talents. Handing me a gun and sending me to the frontline is probably the least effective way to put me to use–and yes, I realize that the Navy doesn’t really fight on the front. That’s not the point. However, I had a BA, then I would have no need or desire to enter the military.

The $5,000 signing bonus didn’t sound particularly appealing. That buys a ten year old car. I’m sorry, but if I’m signing my literal life over to you and essentially becoming your slave for a period of time, and if this gives you the right to basically tell me to go and die, then five grand isn’t going to cut it. Not by a long shot. Up that to fifty grand, and then we can talk.

It was hilarious, though, how the recruiter kept going on and on about how much money he makes by being in the service. In fact, he stopped by the bank while taking us to take the ASFAB, and made quite a show of transferring one thousand dollars from one account to another. I don’t know if the other kids bought it or not, but it was clearly a scripted piece of bullshit. After the test, he said he would treat us to lunch, at which point he began looking around the car for change, and then ordered us each two things from the dollar menu at McDonald’s. What a farce. I’ve taken clients to lunch before, and it has never crossed my mind to take them to McDonald’s, scrounge around for change, and then tell them to order from the dollar menu and drink a cup of free water. Coming after his display of how much money he has, it was really funny. No doubt, he had no more or less money than any average person–probably less, really–and the accounts he manipulated at the bank were official navy accounts for exactly that purpose: impressing impressionable teens.

The main killer, though, was when it turned out that I was qualified to join the nuclear program, but was told that I couldn’t apply to it until after I was in boot camp, at which point the decision would be made about whether I would be accepted.

Yeah, no. I’m not doing that.

They might fool people who aren’t qualified to join nuclear research programs with that sort of thing, but not me. I can tell you exactly how that would have played out. “You didn’t get accepted. Now march, maggot!”

At the moment, the American military is completely voluntary, and that’s a good thing–if there’s going to be a military, then at least it’s voluntary. I’m not particularly fond of the recruiting tactics, though. I hate that many young men and women just have no real options for making a better future for themselves than joining the military. I hate that recruiters know that and use it to their advantage by targeting poor and minority communities. One of the few Michael Moore documentaries worth a shit is the one where he confronts some recruiters on this sort of predatory behavior.

It’s voluntary at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Conscription, however, isn’t a tool to protect the country. This is common sense, and it takes only a moment to think about it. It’s common knowledge that, immediately after Pearl Harbor, countless people joined the military. This is exactly what we’d expect if the United States–or any country, actually–was attacked by a foreign power. Just imagine what would happen if Russia stormed the beaches of California. Conscription wouldn’t be necessary to fill the ranks. We’d have people rushing out to California with guns loaded in their trucks without even bothering to enlist, they’d be so willing and so anxious to protect their country.

Conscription only serves the purpose of making people go and fight wars they don’t want to fight.

While there are pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers in all countries, if people want to fight, then they will volunteer to. That’s what it means to want something, after all. It’s readily apparent, and historically documented, that one of the things that make people want to fight is a foreign attack against their homeland. So while pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers wouldn’t want to fight, most people would, and I’m not seeing much benefit from making pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers fight. In fact, they’d probably do more harm than good.

Arguing this point with a friend a few years ago, he replied, “Yeah, but then they’d have to be sent through boot camp and trained, so there would be a delay…”

What a remarkable thing to say. That delay will exist whether the enemy attacks and people volunteer, or whether the enemy attacks and people are drafted. The only way to prevent that is to have a perpetual conscription requirement, which some people have campaigned for, where every adult must spend 2 years in the military or Peace Corps or something. I’m obviously not a fan of such an idea.

The very idea is stomach-churning. By what right does the government kidnap me, put a gun in my hand, and tell me to go and die? Shouldn’t I be the person who gets to make the determination that a cause is worth fighting for? Why does the government get to make that decision for me? So let’s call it what it is: enslavement. Literal enslavement, at that.

If the government needs soldiers, then the government has two options. It can either enslave people against their will, or it can offer people more stuff to enlist. If the government really wanted my service, they could have upped their bonus to fifty thousand dollars. However, force is what people use when they don’t want to compete. So instead of competing with non-dangerous employment by offering me a better wage and better signing bonus, the government chooses instead to circumvent that whole process and simply kidnap and enslave me.

If it ever so happened that the government needed more soldiers, they wouldn’t take the obvious route of offering people more money and more perks. They may make some token effort of doing this–raising the signing bonus to $5500, for example, as though an extra $500 will entice many more people to risk their lives for Uncle Sam–but they wouldn’t put any serious effort into it. Why should they? They hold the ultimate trump card: force. They don’t have to compete with free market jobs if they don’t want to, and they don’t have to expend much effort trying to compete, because they can just force people to join.

It’s bad enough that the state enslaves us through taxation and steals a sizable chunk of the fruits of our labors for itself. Conscription, however, allows the state to take 100% of our labor and to dictate exactly what that labor is. Maybe it’s digging trenches in Europe and fighting people who haven’t done anything to you. Maybe it’s taking and abandoning one hill after another in Vietnam, where success is measured in body count rather than territory. With conscription, you belong to the state. Your life belongs to the state, and it can effectively order you to end your life.

Now American society is asking whether women and transgender people should be required to sign up for selective service. Obviously, the answer is “No.” Instead of asking whether this archaic vestige of state supremacy should be expanded, we should be pointing out that it has no place in anything that calls itself a free country. If the cause of a war is just to a person, then that person will enlist to fight it. If the cause is not just, then they won’t. We cannot steal this agency from people. Their lives don’t belong to us or to the government. We don’t get to tell them to go die for a cause they don’t think is just. We don’t get to kidnap and enslave them.

Sure, we have an all volunteer military right now. But we’re only one major terrorist attack away from throwing that away, and tradition won’t stop people when the cards are down. Other people generally have few qualms about throwing away other people’s lives. The draft isn’t just some idea. It’s an omnipresent threat to every American, that we are never more than a moment away from becoming slaves to the government, and being sent to die in other parts of the world. It must be abolished. We do not belong to the government, and our lives are not its to throw away.

Exodus 20:13

Please forgive me if I’m not quite up to date with the latest in the Christian world.

When I was in junior high and high school, we received a notebook every year around January that contained on its cover the Ten Commandments. There were even occasions (at least once when I was in the tenth grade) that we were given those little New Testament Bibles. So naturally our school had no sex education program–abstinence or otherwise, which is fine since it’s a parent’s duty to explain procreation to their children, not the state’s–and only barely had a drug education program.

I’m speaking for… basically all… Mississippians when I say that the Bibles and notebooks were unnecessary. In a pragmatic sense, the notebooks were fantastic, because they always came around the time I needed a fresh notebook to continue my writing and not doing schoolwork. Teachers often loathed me for that, because they knew I was not paying attention, that I was writing some story, but when I passed the tests it didn’t leave them many ways to chastise me.

I’d wager that maybe one in two hundred kids didn’t have their own copy of the Bible, though, and I had at least two.

There was controversy surrounding the Ten Commandments, though (because of course there was), specifically whether it was stated that Thou shalt not kill or Thou shalt not murder.

This is an important distinction for a few reasons. First, God kills a number of people in the Bible by any translation, and, if you really want to split hairs, is inadvertently responsible for every death by creating life (unless you subscribe to the literal interpretation of Genesis, in which case he’s still responsible for putting the tree in the garden, but it’s not my intention to attack theology). Second, large portions of the Bible prescribe killing people as the punishment for everything from witchcraft to adultery. In order to avoid a conflict between “Thou shalt not kill [period]” and “Thou shalt kill these people,” it was necessary to draw a distinction between killing (The taking of life) and murder (presumably the unjust taking of human life).

It’s worth mentioning, though, that if our universe has a creator, then its moral mandates to us are not commandments to itself. Such a being has a perspective on human existence that we simply cannot attain, and is sure to abide what would seem to us as Blue & Orange morality. We silly mortals are unlikely to understand the value system of this creator, its criteria for assessing value, or its reason for doing so. Mandate from such a being would be perfectly acceptable, because we couldn’t even grasp its reasoning.

But the “Do as I say, not as I do” thing isn’t really a point of contention for Christians anyway–whether they’ve given it sufficient thought or not, they understand this. It’s mostly just a masturbation exercise for atheists (The Atheist Experience comes to mind, as they do it a lot) who refuse to accept that the existence of a god would instantly invalidate all moral values that weren’t its own. But he who makes the rules determines who is just; he who defines morality determines who is moral.

So the true importance of this distinction isn’t whether the creator of the universe must abide the moral proclamations it passes down to us; the true importance is whether the state has to.

Whew! What a leap, right? Here we were discussing theology, with no mention of the state, then BAM!

It’s not a leap at all, though, because what is the institution that would be responsible for outlawing and punishing heretics and adulterers? It would be the state.

Obviously, the church and state were not always separate things; if they had been, we wouldn’t today have the phrase “separation of church and state.” However, we’d be delusional to suggest that the separation of church and state has been total, throughout the world or throughout the United States. In fact, many sects within Christianity attempt to legislate based on the moral values that they (correctly or incorrectly) say stem from their religion. North Carolina’s transgender restroom law comes to mind, and anti-sodomy laws have only recently been repealed.

In order to carry out and enforce this fundamentalist morality, it is often necessary to break that morality, as we mentioned above. In order to carry out the moral proclamation “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” it is necessary to break the moral proclamation “Thou shalt not kill.” This is why the state, much as the deity we mentioned earlier, gets a pass on its own moral statements.

We do this with euphemisms. “Thou shalt not steal” doesn’t apply to taxation for some inexplicable reason. “Thou shalt not murder” doesn’t apply to war, the abomination of capital punishment, or a police officer killing someone. “Thou shalt not keep slaves”* doesn’t apply to forced military conscription or prison labor. “Thou shalt not rape” doesn’t apply when you send someone to a place where you know they will be raped.

The knee-jerk reaction is to say that taxation isn’t theft, that conscription isn’t slavery, and that being an accomplice sending someone to a rape factory doesn’t count as rape. But no arguments can be put forward to back these positions. One can only say, “Nuh-uh!” and leave it at that, because the position is indefensible.

It is called “theft” when a large group of people gather together and decide to take money and resources from other people who don’t consent to having their money taken. It doesn’t really matter whether three hundred million people agree and only one objects; it’s still theft to take money and resources from the one who objects. We cannot consent to taxation on his behalf any more than one can consent to sex on his behalf.

We recoil at that analogy, and rightly so. The mere thought of consenting to sex on a woman’s behalf, even though she is expressly against it, strikes us as vehemently immoral, but it’s really only a stroke of luck that we don’t live in a world where “sex” is alongside slavery and murder as things we consent to for other people while they object. There appears to be no limit to what we may mandate for other people. We kidnap them against their will, steal from them against their will, enslave them against their will, and kill them against their will. It’s only a matter of fortune that “have sex with them against their will” isn’t on that list.

We can give an omniscient creator of the universe a pass on our morality, because its perspective is too wide for our tiny minds to grasp, but we cannot give the state a pass. The state, after all, is filled with people of no particular greatness. They are not wiser, smarter, or more considered than anyone else, and that rulers are not special was the great revelation that set forward the rise of governance “by the people.”

We can’t have it both ways, of course. We can’t say in one breath that “we are the government” and then say that our government can violate moral values because it is special and exempt. It must be that trying to do such a thing is merely an attempt to give ourselves a pass on morality, to make ourselves into official hypocrites, because “we are the government” and “The government is exempt from our morality” means literally that “we are exempt from our morality.”

So are we? Are we exempt from our morality?

Of course, the truth is that “we” aren’t the government. Even if we buy into the conceit that our representatives actually represent us, “we” still wouldn’t be the government; our representatives would be.

What use is a morality system if we establish loopholes and exemptions that allow systemic violations more horrible than anything an individual might do? Despite our philosophy that killing is wrong, governments last century managed a body count above 160,000,000–a staggering number of dead people. Despite our maxim that theft is wrong, the American Government steals huge chunks of everyone’s money.

We established this moral system. If we judge ourselves by our own rules and standards, I don’t think we’d like the result.

What role do I play in the atrocities committed by the state? Very little, but I could certainly do more to fight it beyond writing articles and arguing with people. Shouldn’t I be out marching in the streets, demanding an end to war, theft, kidnapping, and slavery? By this measure I’m as guilty as anyone.

What role does the average voter play? Well, the average voter is more of an accomplice than a weakly active resistor. The average voter doesn’t just allow it by not resisting strongly enough; the average voter encourages and legitimizes it. The average voter is the rubber stamp that legitimizes the euphemisms and allows the theft, murder, kidnapping, and slavery to continue.

It’s one thing to perhaps-be-not-as-adamant-as-one-could-be about seeing a moral tragedy ended. At least we Pen and Paper Anarchists do something, even if we don’t do enough. Then again, what more can we do without violating the very moral tenants we are trying to spread? We cannot zerg rush DC with guns–the entire point of anarchism is that violence cannot be used to prevent violence. If we use violence, we cease being anarchists immediately and become statists, because its exemption to violate morality is what defines the state. That’s how authorities always function. “For the greater good, we must do evil.”

Fear is what I think compels us to embrace the state and its lies. “Government is a necessary evil,” went the advocates of classical liberalism. “Government is a necessary evil, except ours. Ours is a good one,” states the modern liberal and modern conservative. They arrive at this conclusion by different roads, but they reach it all the same. For the liberal, the government is mostly good because it protects us from ourselves; for the conservative, the government is mostly good because it protects us from others. And the miraculous thing is that these statements can be flipped without problem.

Any skilled chess player will tell you that there are huge differences between defence and offense, and between protecting and attacking. This isn’t to say that the two are always exclusive, because in chess they aren’t–the best attacking moves are those that defend, too.

But we’re not chess pieces to be moved about on a board and sacrificed to gain the upper hand. The pawn would never advocate a pawn sacrifice.

Unless the king had convinced him it was the only way to win.

* Although, to be clear, the Bible never states this.

So the State is After Me

In a shocking turn of events that I honestly didn’t see coming, a few weeks ago I received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service telling me that I had about ten days to pay them an absolutely ridiculous sum of around $2,000. Why? I honestly couldn’t tell you. Based on what the letter says, I’m assuming it’s a mistake on their end, but it’s not like it makes very much of a difference, does it? Right and wrong are meaningless in this matter; if right and wrong mattered, then under no circumstances would someone put a gun to my head and tell me to give them two thousand dollars. With right and wrong discarded long ago, it’s irrelevant who is actually right.

Ohhhh… goody!

If the IRS checks and insists that I owe them this money, then I have two options:

  1. Pay them this ridiculous sum.
  2. Go to prison.

O’er the land of the free… and the home of the brave…

I received this letter shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, and I attempted to call the IRS, only to be told that they were too busy and that I needed to call back. That’s well and good, except I work the same time the IRS is open, so there aren’t a ton of opportunities for me to call them and find out what the hell is going on. 2014 was a simple year, as far as my taxes are concerned–I worked for Harrah’s as a slot tech, filled out a 1040EZ, and that was it. You can’t screw up a 1040EZ–it’s like Paint By Numbers. Yet somehow “changes to my W-2” mean I owe them a figure that is about 1/4 of what I even made last year.

This is a shitload of money we’re talking about. It may not be for everyone, but that’s half of my Move to Vegas money. With my car currently in the shop–again, this time with a busted fuel injector, busted intake manifold gasket, and busted head gasket–it’s not like I’ve been adding much to the savings account through the last two months, but it will be a cold day in hell before the IRS gets that money.

Honestly, it will be a cold day in hell before the IRS gets this money from me period, regardless of what they say.

What’s really amazing about this is that the IRS has my income records. They know as well as I do that $1,979.60 simply isn’t going to happen. If it was that or jail, I could probably pay $400~ without it absolutely bankrupting me and leaving all my bills unpaid, but they should know better than that. I’m not just bitching, though. I am going somewhere with this, and I am making a few different points. This one being that the IRS, better than anyone else–other than myself–knows exactly how frankly impossible it is for me to pay that amount of money. So what the hell do they want from me?

Meanwhile, President Elect Donald Trump isn’t paying that much, right? I don’t know, because I never pay any attention to the candidates’ taxes or income.

I knew this was going to happen. Not because I did anything wrong, but because rumors began circulating of threatening letters from the IRS sent to everyone who hadn’t purchased insurance, and that certainly included me. I have an exemption that means I don’t have to purchase health insurance, which is good because I’m young and in great shape, have no health issues, and no need of health insurance; since no companies are offering rates that a young, healthy person like myself can find agreeable, I am not purchasing health insurance.

Through the last few months, I’ve been expecting to get one of those letters. Instead, I got one of these. And I am almost positive this has something to do with the Affordable Care Act.

Our government is in debt for twenty trillion dollars, a figure so large that not even the most insane mathematician can wrap their mind around it. Our government is absurdly broke whether it harasses me and imprisons me over this paltry figure or not. Moreover, I don’t owe the government this money. I don’t. The government proclaimed that I owe it this money, and because it controls the courts it can have a judge rule that I owe it this money. So let me paint this little picture for you.

I’m going on about my life, working and trying to move to Las Vegas where I can put my degree to use, be transgender in peace, and live out my life happily. I’m a relatively normal, law-abiding citizen. One day I get a letter from the IRS telling me that I owe them two thousand dollars, which is to me a very large amount of money. I contest it, but the IRS insists that I do owe it and that I have to pay it; if I don’t, I’ll be arrested for contempt of court or tax evasion or some other charge. Even under the best of circumstances, I can’t come up with that kind of money. I’m arrested and thrown in jail.

How is that not among the most fucked up things ever?

While you’re going on about your life, I’ve got paperwork that says you owe me $2,000. You insist that you don’t owe me that money, but I take you to court. At court, the judge agrees with me and tells you that you have to pay it; if you don’t, you’ll be arrested. Unable to pay, you are then arrested.

This is the true nature of the state, and I’d be becoming an anarchist right now if I wasn’t one already. This… is… ridiculous.

It’s like, “Damn. I knew the state was a group of predators robbing, killing, and kidnapping people, and I’ve long been speaking out against that–and now this group of robbing, killing, kidnapping predators have turned their attention onto me. Shit.”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Let’s not be unclear or ambiguous about this. It is the government’s Mission Statement to protect the lives, liberties, and happiness of American citizens. And rather than doing that–rather than protecting us from all manner of wicked humans we are told are lurking in the shadows, eager for the destabilization of the government so that they can rob, kill, and kidnap us, my very own government is declaring that I owe it a debt, and will use the existence of that “debt” to rob, kill, and/or kidnap me.

Any pretense of government goodwill falls utterly apart in this scenario. Just who in the hell do they think they are? They passed a law that said I had to pay them, invented some magical figure that I can’t possibly pay, stated that I owe them that large figure, and will rob, imprison, or kill me to get it. This is our government. This is the American government.

This vicious group of thieves, kidnappers, and murderers who have sworn to protect me, who managed to work up a twenty trillion dollar debt ostensibly in my name, have now turned their hungry eyes onto me. They don’t exist to protect us; they exist to predate us. Here are all the possible relationships to the government you can have:

  • Victim.
  • “No one.”

What I mean by “no one” is that the government is mostly leaving you alone. It’s not sending you threatening letters and telling you that you owe them a giant chunk of cash. You will never be under the government’s protection because the government doesn’t exist to protect you. It will leave you alone–probably if you bow to every arbitrary demand that it makes–but it will never protect you. It will either victimize you or leave you alone.

A lot of people like arguing against anarcho-capitalism by saying, “What’s going to keep me from robbing you, kidnapping you, whatever, since I’m rich and have better weapons than you?”

Do you see what an asinine question that is? There are good people out there who would protect me from you if you attempted to kidnap me. It happens every single day; we’ve got entire groups of people who dedicate their lives to stopping that kind of behavior. Yet who is there that can protect me from the IRS? What’s going to keep the government from robbing me or kidnapping me? Who even can come to my defense when the government sends its soldiers to take me hostage and kidnap me for not being able to pay its extortion fees? There is no one stronger than the government, and definitely not stronger than the American Government.

The ultimate warlords, the ultimate thieves, the ultimate kidnappers. That’s our government.

And if they decide that I owe them this money, there isn’t a goddamned thing that anyone can do about it.

I’d take my chances against you any day, if the alternative is to take my chances with the “benevolence” of the government.

I’m Thankful For the Free(ish) Market

Clearly, what we have here in the United States isn’t a free market. It’s occasionally free in a few places, if you’re careful and if you’re doing something very innocuous, but we can’t really say that there is “a free market” here simply because the state doesn’t intervene in a few limited areas. No, we have a Fascist Market here in the United States, not a “capitalist plus regulation” one, because one simple pillar of capitalism has been utterly destroyed: private property.

Just this week, during emails to a friend of mine, I said,

We have meaningless property–the same property we’d be allowed to claim as ours under communism. Consumption items, I guess I’d call them. Food, televisions, phones. But actual, meaningful property? It’s not ours. It’s the government’s. Your house will always be the government’s and if you don’t pay your extortion fee, they will take it from you. With private property, that’s not the case: you are the owner, and anyone taking it from you is stealing it (unless you explicitly signed a voluntary contract with the property as collateral). Your house isn’t yours. It’s yours as long as you pay the government. If it’s your property, why can’t you add your own septic tank? Why can’t you add a wing to it? Why can’t you raise cows on it? Because it’s not yours. You’re simply allowed the privilege of using it as long as you pay their rental fees and abide their ownership rules.

And if they want, they can go “eminent domain” and take it from you. Their claim to it always supersedes yours x but they’ll let you stay as long as you follow their rules and pay rent to them.

Private property protects us from exactly that. But it’s not private. It’s “private per the government’s TOU, per your payment of extortion, and per their disinterest in it.” It’s an illusion that we can maintain until we come face to face with it, like the illusion people have that the police aren’t omnipotent falling apart once a person has been pulled over at 3 in the morning and held at their mercy.

To this, the friend replied:

I truly am not following you. In fact, I’m wondering if you’re joking with me. Are you not aware that the vast majority of property in the US is owned – outright – by private interests? For example, my father OWNS two houses outright – bought, fully paid for. No mortgage, no loan, no rent, no monthly fees, certainly no “extortion.” The farm, for example: Dad owns that house, the place you live in, and 10 acres of land. He owns vehicles, tractors, farming implements, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in furniture and assets related to my mom’s business. He owns buildings in <area>, the property they sit on, and for years he owned mini-storage units that he sold outright to another individual. Before that he owned a large building on 3rd St in Memphis, paid it off, and sold it, too. At any point he can sell anything he owns and do whatever he wishes with the money.

The house I live in: it’s owned, 100%, outright, by my father in law. He paid it off in full when he sold his part of <edited> Company – a company that was co-owned by two men.  He can dig a hole tomorrow and bury a septic tank by lunch, if he wants. Neither my dad nor my father in law pays the government anything in the way of rent, fees, or extortion. I guess you could say property taxes are along the lines of “fee,” but that’s a totally different matter than private ownership. Taxes are real. And taxes suck. But the property – land, houses, assets, etc – are owned outright.
My cousin is a farmer. He farms about 3000 acres of prime MS Delta farmland. He owns about 1/3 of it, and he leases the rest – from rich, “landed gentry” in the delta. Neither he as leasor or the landowners are in any way beholden to the government. If anything, most Americans spend their lives beholden to banks and other creditors – which themselves are private interests, owners of vast assets. In fact, what individuals don’t own, banks do, generally speaking. But the government certainly doesn’t own it.
I’m really not following you on this one. Are you speaking figuratively, or perhaps referring to taxes?
And I was truly blown away.

How could he not be following me? What I described was clearly taxation. And despite drawing a direct line from taxation to how it turns us into glorified renters, because of the words involved, he was unable to see what I was saying. I remarked that it was curious how dangerous words are. It’s so clear I don’t know how else to put it: if you don’t pay your extortion fees–property taxes–to the state, then they will take your house from you. How is it your property if you must continually pay a fee just to prevent it from being taken from you?

So even though we have to pay the government taxes regularly to prevent them from taking our property from us, we are not beholden to the government. It’s one thing to have to pay a bank monthly to keep the land, and that certainly does curtail ownership, but it’s a completely different thing to have to pay the government to keep the land, which doesn’t curtail ownership because “those are taxes.” As I said–what a danger words are. The situation I described is unimpeachable; it is a fact of life in the United States, but because he waves it away as this word “taxes,” it gets compartmentalized in his head as something that must be ignored.

Medicine and the Free Market

the-state-vs-the-marketWe can never have free market medicine until the ability of doctors to prescribe medication is no longer sanctioned by the state. Pharmacies, of course, can set their own policies. Does Pharmacy X wish to allow people to get medications without a prescription? Maybe they will for most medications, but won’t allow people to get opiates without a doctor’s prescription? Maybe Pharmacy Y will allow anyone to get any medications they want–as long as they are 18, I suppose, though I would also be against that.

There are several gatekeepers in the way of a person getting medication that they need.

First, it is simply assumed that the doctor knows more about your condition and physiology than you do. In a lot of cases, this is true, because someone who self-diagnoses through Web MD may go to the doctor asking for treatment for a disease contracted by not properly cooking frog legs that came from the Amazon Rainforest, when they really just have a cold. Is this always going to be the case, though? Certainly not.

I’ve contracted pneumonia four times in my life; I have a known susceptibility to it, and it will almost certainly be what kills me one day. I know exactly what it feels like, and I don’t need a doctor running a bunch of tests to confirm that I have pneumonia. This is a minor example, because the “tests” involve little more than using a stethoscope to hear your breathing, but the point remains perfectly valid. I can probably recognize the illness better than most doctors, but there isn’t a doctor alive who would just “take my word for it,” because the state would drop the hammer on them quickly if they turned out to be wrong.

The pharmacy, though, is the true holder of the drugs and the true gatekeeper. After all, they are the ones with shelves full of all kinds of pills, most of them as damaging as whatever symptom they’re supposed to address, but they will only give you those pills if you have a sheet of paper from a doctor–which costs, roughly, $100 to acquire. Why? Because the government has sectioned these pills off into varying degrees of acceptability, and if they let you have those pills without that doctor’s scrap of paper, then the state will drop the hammer on them. If they have that sheet of paper, then they have no responsibility in the matter; the responsibility is shifted to the doctor who gave you the prescription.

So what I’m about to call “free market medicine” isn’t in any sense truly free market.

My Involvement With Free Market Medicine

Last year, I took the extraordinary step of accepting that I am transgender. It was actually about a year ago today that I dropped the ultimatum on my sister that she could accept me or lose me, but I’m not going to hide it. Still, I was not doing well financially, having had my life completely wrecked by someone who betrayed me about as completely as anyone ever betrayed anyone, and it was a long, painful, awful road from that to where I am today.

Obviously, she chose not to have anything to do with me.

Click for full image

Click for full image. It’s more self-aware and devastating than you’d expect, so be warned.

So in January I moved, and I was not making very much money–about $150 a week on good weeks, but it actually came closer to about $100 a week on average. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I managed.

I had spent the previous few months looking into hormone therapy, and ran into brick wall after brick wall. Everything I found online suggested that even if I did find a doctor in Mississippi who would be willing to prescribe me estrogen, they would not do so until I had been in therapy for at least six months, and then all they would do is send me to an endocrinologist who, after extensive testing, would determine the quantity of estrogen that I could take.

Not only was I too old for that–because late twenties is old to be taking hormones to change your freaking gender, so don’t offer me any of that “No, you’re still young!” crap if you don’t know what you’re talking about–but there was no way that I could possibly have afforded it. Affording all that was a pipe dream with no relation to my situation. And I didn’t want to wait six months; I’d waited more than twenty years, mostly because my fundamentalist Christian parents had traumatized me to the extent that I’d forced myself to forget… It’s not something that’s easy to convey. But it took a long time to come to terms with all of that. And it took courage to say, “I’m an adult with friends and family who all know me as a male. But screw it. I’m coming out as transgender.”

So I turned to the Internet.

I was not just researching how to get hormones through the previous few months; I was learning everything there was to know about estrogen and taking it, with the only thing I couldn’t find being its impact on a person’s face. Luckily, it absolutely does impact the face–which is good because I’m sick of my masculine eyebrows, and they are, thankfully, the result of fat and muscle rather than the result of bone. It’s why it frustrates me when transgender friends lie to me about the effects hormones have on them: one girl told me that, after a year, she had already grown C cups. And no… No, she hadn’t. She might have had B cups, but with her using her arms to prop them up it was hard to tell. I know Cs, though–that’s my favorite cup size, and those are no Cs. Plus, the idea that a transgender person will grow C cups in one year is absurd. They probably won’t ever grow C cups, and if they do it will only be after the full 2+ year period of taking high doses of estrogen everyday.

I finally found a website that would let me order them, but it seemed a bit fishy. It was located in China, first of all, and no prescription was required in order to buy the estradiol. Most places I checked did require that a prescription be faxed to them, so obviously I was a bit skeptical. However, I took some money and ordered 56 quantity.

Nearly a month later, they arrived. That was in February.

The next several months were extraordinarily difficult. Every time that I tried to repurchase, the payment failed to process. The pharmacy said that my bank was blocking the international transaction. I spoke with my bank repeatedly, and they were not receiving any attempt to charge my account, much less blocking one. We underwent 3-way calls, and never arrived at a solution. Finally, I took some money and, after having been out of hormones for weeks because of the delays–

For whatever freaking reason, this international pharmacy does not process payments when you make them. They process your payment at some point “within the next 24 hours” after you give them your info. This meant that I had to give them my info one day, and then wait until the next day to find out if there was a problem. If there was a problem, then we would try something else–usually speaking with my bank–and then we’d try again, only for it to fail again. These sort of delays cost me months of being on hormones.

I finally bought a reloadable debit card from a store, loaded it with the money I needed, and the purchase went right through. The next month rolled around, and I took the card to the store, reloaded it, and–once again, the payment failed. Now, it was already difficult to come up with the $60~ I needed every month; there was no way at that point in time that I would have been able to order the next batch of hormones until the very last minute. Now I order them with plenty of room to spare, but I wasn’t able to then.

After a week of making no progress and repeatedly running into that same problem where they couldn’t process the payment because my bank was “blocking the transaction,” even though Visa insisted that they were not blocking the transaction, I broke down and asked a friend to order them, and I’d give him the cash. He did, and the payment went right through. There was yet another period of going 2-3 weeks without any hormones, completely undoing the previous period of taking them.

Not to mention that I was in some kind of emotional state from this extreme fluctuation of hormones. From 8mg estrogen a day for three weeks to zero mg of estrogen a day for three weeks. It’s amazing that I managed to be calm to any degree.

The next refill time came around, and I decided to just purchase another identical reloadable card. But wouldn’t you know it? I bought the wrong damned one. I meant to buy a My Vanilla card, and instead bought a One Vanilla card because, fuck me, I didn’t expect there to be a fucking difference. There was a difference, though, and that difference was that One Vanilla cards couldn’t be used internationally. So I had $65 on a reloadable Visa that served absolutely no purpose, and did not have the $65 I needed to buy the correct one for another week, since you can’t use a debit card to buy a reloadable debit card.

I think it was in July that I worked out the last of the problems, and had been taking hormones consistently for about two months–even though there were fluctuations in the dosage to avoid running out–when I ran into the last snag. I don’t recall what the last snag was; it may have been the one I just described, of buying the stupid One Vanilla card. No, it wasn’t that. Fucking USPS had lost my shipment. That’s what it was. They were just gone, having been sent to Jackson, MS, which was currently being overhauled and which was out of the way of where I lived. They should have gone to Memphis, and then to my local post office. Instead, they went right past Memphis and onto Jackson. And I had one day left, at only 2 mg a day–just enough to keep from undoing the progress I’d made, perhaps.

With nowhere else to turn, I called a pharmacy and told them everything. The pharmacist there, when I told him I’m transgender, confessed that he wasn’t that, but he was “something” himself. Like “No kidding, dude. You’re gay. I think everyone knows that.”

Thanks to his kind heart and sympathy, I was able to make it. He stole something like 46 2mg estrogen tabs, met me when he got off work, and then gave them to it at no cost. Why couldn’t I just have walked into the pharmacy and bought some of these non-narcotic meds? Because of the government. I am extremely thankful to this person for helping me out. And, wouldn’t you know it, ten days later USPS finally delivered the hormones, and I’d already ordered another batch, finally placing me ahead of the cycle.

Customs in New York rubberstamps my packages now when they arrive from Denmark. It’s a strange thing, but yeah–order from China, they ship from Denmark or Germany. Initially, my packages stayed in Customs for 2 or 3 days; now, they’re in and out. So I’m thankful to the people in Customs for recognizing the name on the package, the size of the package, and the contents of the package, and sending it straight on without delay.

Believe it or not, I’m also thankful to Barack Obama, who has promised not to prosecute or impede anyone who orders their medicines online from other countries. While that is fantastic, this entire arrangement could change under President Trump, and that does scare me. Rather than giving a blanket pardon and absolution to everyone ordering medicine internationally, Obama would have done more for health care in the United States if he had repealed the laws that make it technically illegal in the first place–even if he has promised not to enforce those laws.

I suspect, given his propensity for “free-ish markets” that Trump won’t do anything to limit the competition, either.

But this is why competition is such a beautiful thing. If all of these laws were repealed, then pharmacies here in the United States would have to compete with the International Drug Mart to get my business, by offering me lower prices and lower shipping. But they can’t, and they won’t, because they don’t have to. Instead, they can just petition the government to make it illegal to order medicine internationally, and then they have me by my transgender balls, able to charge me whatever they want and capable of making me jump through whatever hoops they want.

Things are different now. Obama, I have heard, has mandated that all doctors must assist transgender patients. I’m not okay with that, because I think that should be between the doctor and the patient. I was not happy when regulations required the doctor to send the patient to six months of therapy, and I’m not happy now that regulations require the doctor to write hormones to anyone who asks for them, whether they may be making a mistake or not. I think the doctor should be able to sit down with me and make that determination himself about whether he thinks I’m serious, without being afraid that I will sue him if he thinks some therapy would do me some good. If he did, I would just find a different doctor.

That wasn’t the case in January, though, that’s for damned sure.

Those eyebrows and cheeks, though... Just gotta let the hormones do their thing now. :/

Those eyebrows and cheeks, though… Just gotta let the hormones do their thing now. :/

Because of all these shenanigans, I don’t actually know how long I’ve been on hormones. It’s not an easy estimate to make, and international delays still occasionally cause me to have to cut down to 4mg a day–on occasion only 2mg a day–while I wait on the next package to arrive. I would guess, though, that it’s coming on five months of continuous, uninterrupted estrogen. The funny part about that is that my situation would be about the same today if I’d gone through the “proper” channels, only I’d have burned through a whole lot more money and would have been totally at the mercy of people who, for some reason, had the right to decide for me whether or not I should be on hormones. And, no, I’d probably just be in month 2 or so, if I’d gone the official route, when instead I’m actually starting to look fairly feminine.

My muscles are finally beginning to drop off–if only slightly so far–and there’s no doubt whatsoever that I’m growing breasts. I’m thankful that there was a backdoor for me to take control of my life and not be at the mercy of the government, its machinations, and the myriad mechanisms it has in place to force me to live according to the parameters set by other people.

The free market allows me to be transgender.

What are you not allowed to do because markets aren’t free? I’d wager there are more things than you’d immediately think of.

Happy Birthday, Me

2One year ago today, I connected all the dots and realized that I am transgender, an act I symbolized with the creation of my email address. It’s been a hell of a year. For the time being, please ignore this picture on the left; it’s just there to make it the default picture when this posts to Twitter, Facebook, etc.

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That is pretty much how I looked prior to this realization, and prior to accepting that I am transgender.

IMG_20150905_223548

This abominable pic is how I looked then. I know. This pic is awful. Everything about this picture is awful. It’s not just an ugly female; it is an ugly male.

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And that is how I look today. Yes, it has been a hell of a year.

It’s also been a fantastic day. Truly. There is a feral kitten outside that finally allowed me to pet her. But even better than that, I happened to have a supporter share something on Twitter that I just happened to see–someone rebutted some anarcho-capitalist claims. Well, you know me… I’m the Anarchist Shemale. To my knowledge, no one has yet rebutted anarcho-capitalism. So I looked at the video, and fifteen seconds in, I knew I had to do a reply, not because Tyler Preston was wrong, but because the anarchists with whom he was discussing it… clearly had no idea what they were talking about. I set out to do a reply, not to dispute Tyler, but to clear the air on anarcho-capitalism.

In fact, I was tremendously impressed with Tyler’s intellect and, above all, his intellectual honesty.

That is his initial video.

There is my reply. It’s worth mentioning that I realized how belligerent I sounded only after I’d uploaded it, and found it better to simply offer the disclaimer than re-recording my arguments. I had no desire to sound hostile, and I did… I sounded far more hostile and belligerent than I really am. I’m only hostile toward people who make fallacious and ridiculous claims, and Tyler Preston certainly did not.

My Youtube Playlist of response videos is called “Responding to Ignorance.” You’ll notice that my reply to Tyler is not in that playlist. That’s because I was not responding to ignorance. Or, at least, if I was, then it was not Tyler’s ignorance but the ignorance of the people that he was also replying to. As such, I added it to the Anarcho-Capitalism playlist, because he’s certainly not ignorant.

To my surprise, rather than just ignoring my tiny channel, Tyler not only watched the video, but liked it, and then did his own response to my response:

Although I’m sure to mention it in the video I’m doing later where I address Tyler’s last question about how many people would voluntarily pay taxes, I have to say: Tyler, I’m stunned and awed by your intellectual honesty. I can’t count the number of people who have heard my statements and then said, “Yeah, well, you’re still wrong.” To be met with someone who goes, “You know what? That’s actually a good point.” is refreshing in a way that I can’t even describe, and I’m a fiction writer.

I will edit this and post my own video later, but mine isn’t really a response video–it’s just answering a question about voluntaryism/anarcho-capitalism.

Here is the first of my three replies–most of my replies deal with “less than intelligent” comments. I say “less than intelligent,” because they’re things I addressed in the initial video, but… that’s statism for you.