Living Free in an Unfree World
Can We Live Free in an Unfree World
by Karen Kwiatkowski
This presentation was given at the Agora Unconference, on March 27, 2011
Stefan Molyneux, a well-known anarchist, gave a great talk last year where he pointed out that, “The enforcement of the state does not come from the state. It comes horizontally, from the mass of the people who have been cultured to believe the storyline of vertical state control.” He calls this “the genius of the state.” He calls these enforcers slaves, enforcing their own slavery.
The genius of the state is that it gets us to voluntarily, without pay, to stand up for it, and to deter, damn, and defriend not just the people who challenge its presumed authority, but to heartily reject both ideas and factual information that challenge the state’s façade of moral certitude, and its the mask of justness.
Etienne de la Boétie (namesake for our conference this weekend) observed the same thing in the 1500s, and he wrote about it in his Discourse on Voluntary Servitude. He points out that the governing system rests and rises only on the consent of otherwise free people. The slave-citizens voluntarily serve the state, and willingly consent to the order, and the orders of, the state. Of course, part of the reason we give our consent is that we fear being jailed, hung, shot, beheaded, losing our property, our families, or our physical freedom at the hand of an angry or disappointed state. In some ways, this fear of rejection and isolation, is logical. We consciously or subconsciously decide to trade our consent for continued life as we know it.