Ep. 170 - The THREAT of Authority?
Examining the clash of authority, rules, and the right to self-sovereignty.
Are we slaves?
“If a slave can be convinced that he should be a slave, that his enslavement is both proper and legitimate, that he is the rightful property of his master and that he has an obligation to produce as much as possible for his master, then he does not need to be physically oppressed. In other words, enslaving the mind makes enslaving the body unnecessary. And that is exactly what the belief in “authority” does: it teaches people that it is morally virtuous that they surrender their time, effort and property, as well as their freedom and control over their own lives, to a ruling class.”
Those prescient words were penned by Larken Rose in his 2011 masterpiece The Most Dangerous Superstition. Throughout the book, Rose forcefully presses the point that “authority” is little more than the assumption that one person or group has the right to forcibly control another person or group.
This supposed right to impose one’s will, or even the will of the majority, upon any person who stands opposed does not exist in nature. Attempt to control a wild animal and you will quickly see what I mean. Even domesticated animals have a mind of their own, as every pet owner knows. This is a pristine example of self-sovereignty.
Individuals each have their own will. With that individual will comes the inherent ability to exercise the power of choice. This is an inextinguishable aspect of our humanity. Making our own choices, from what shoes to wear, what we eat, where we go and what we do, and especially what we think, is a natural expression of self-sovereignty. It is an interminable extension of being alive.
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
These words are attributed to Patrick Henry and they famously capture the American Spirit. Sure, the colonists could have simply paid their taxes and bowed to the demands of the crown. In fact, the majority of early settlers were content to do just that! The majority had no appetite for revolution or war, for discomfort or hardship, for freedom or justice. The mere threat of authority was sufficient to stifle their spirit.
They would rather live as slaves.
Forfeiting self-sovereignty for the illusion of safety and stability is a timeless issue, pounced upon by tyrants. Some percentage of the population, generally the majority, is always willing to go along with the ruse. They want to feel safe and protected. They look to the powerful to make the rules and tell them what to do. They assume those in positions of “authority” have a right to be there, that the rulers have the right to rule.
Besides, it’s easier if you don’t have to think for yourself.
Of course, this sets the stage for tyranny. As power and control feed off of one another, they feed the ego of the tyrant who firmly believes in his own authority. They have a right to make the rules. Historically, this was often claimed to be a divine right. Always this “right” was substantiated by might. The peasants were only given two choices: either listen and obey, or get beat into submission.
Those were the rules.
And the rules were enforced by force. Or the threat of force. Or the threat of authority.
Being beaten into submission is physical enslavement. The assumption of authority is mental enslavement. Either is sufficient for spiritual enslavement.
If you cannot move your body, travel freely or even breathe freely, are you free?
If you cannot tell your story, speak your mind or verbally disagree, are you free?
If you cannot express yourself, exercise sovereignty and choice, are you free?
The answers are obvious. If those are the rules, then you are a slave.
And those are the rules.
But do you have to obey? Or are you just scared to disobey? Does anyone actually have the authority to take your money and control your life? Or are you just being threatened? Were you born to be a slave to the state? Or were you born to be free?
Self-examination, asking ourselves these questions, can be disturbing. When we find ourselves confronted with the reality that we’ve been conditioned to accept slavery, there is some impulse to deny the fact and make excuses for why we go along. The root of these excuses is anchored in the superstitious assumption of authority.
They have the right to punish you. They have the authority to destroy your life. They have the power to control how you live. It’s the law. That’s the rule. If you don’t comply, you might die—or get fined, go to jail and be publicly ridiculed, which to the ego is essentially the same experience.
If you don’t comply, you might get a record. You might be labeled as fringe. Others might think you are acting stupid or strange. You might be treated like an outcast.
These social pressures are induced by the threat of authority. But are they real? Perhaps. If you muster the courage to not comply, some of these things might happen. Then again, they might not. In the end, there’s only one surefire way to find out. Unfortunately, most people will never take that step.
They are too scared and intimidated by the threat of authority.
They would rather deny their enslavement and think that they’re free. They would rather assume that the authority is there for a reason—to keep people safe and provide structure, to ensure peace and civility. These are all lies.
Or, more accurately, they are illusions. Does the government keep people safe? No. Does the government ensure peace and civility? No. Does the government provide structure? Maybe. It’s a more subtle premise, but consider this insight from Rose:
“Such assertions are intended to make ‘government’ sound like a natural, legitimate, and useful part of human society. But all of them completely miss the fundamental nature of ‘government.’ Government is not organization, cooperation, or mutual agreement. Countless groups and organizations—supermarkets, football teams, car companies, archery clubs, etc.—engage in cooperative, mutually beneficial collective actions, but they are not called ‘government,’ because they are not imagined to have the right to rule. And that is the secret ingredient that makes something ‘authority’: the supposed right to forcibly control others.”
Put differently, structure naturally exists as an extension of human relations. Please come to my store and buy my goods. We can build a relationship. If you get caught stealing, I’ll kick you out. Do it again and I might beat you with a stick, ridicule you in the town square, or perhaps in more barbaric places, I might cut off your hand.
Such is the natural order of things, the natural structure of society. It does not require forfeiting freedom to a fictitious entity or accepting arbitrary rules and authority.
Until more Americans reject the notion we are meant to be ruled, until we shed the assumption that our rulers are justified in imposing their will by force, our country will continue its accelerating descent into abject tyranny. Until we grow tired of being slaves, we will continue to suffer under the threat of authority.
Who really has the right to rule your life? The answer: Only you.
There is no “authority” except that which we accept, and this acceptance is a matter of choice. The spark of life, the indomitable spirit within you, the inner awareness that awakens with truth, the very essence and soul of your being, was ultimately born to be free. The only real authority is the authority of your own Self sovereignty.
I often make the bold declaration: I am the only person on the planet who has any authority at all! My wife laughs, but she knows my heart and understands my point. She too has her own authority, as do you and every other person on the planet.
Here’s a proposition:
Reject the threat of authority. Reclaim your own Sovereignty and prepare yourself to defend it. There is nothing extreme about living free. It is in fact your birthright.
And never forget that freedom is contagious!