(This article was originally published on June 30th, 2009. I was proud that it got a live read from Mark of Free Talk Live.)
Do you believe you own yourself? If so, you may come to believe differently by the time you´re done reading this article. If not, do you believe you ought to own yourself? These are fundamental questions that many have pondered over the millennia. They are basic to the principles of liberty.
I happen to believe I own my own body. I happen to believe that my thoughts are mine to contain, conceal, express or disseminate as I see fit. I believe that the knowledge I´ve obtained through my life´s experiences, education and observations is mine to apply in any way that benefits myself or others and that any compensation others may give me for such an application of knowledge is well earned and mine to keep. I believe that the labor capabilities of my body are mine to sell to others as I see fit and that any compensation freely given or previously agreed upon for the products and/or services produced by said labor is also well earned and mine to keep. I believe that anything I pay for in full with compensation that has been well earned is mine to keep and any successful attempt to forcefully or stealthily remove it from my possession should be considered theft. I believe that the concepts outlined above should be considered basic private property rights that all humans should enjoy and everyone should give respect to others in regards to those rights as they would expect others to do for them.
If you happen to believe the above statements as I do, then it will probably come as no surprise that there are many who don´t believe as we do. Indeed, there are many who believe that they own us. There are many who believe they own the things we may consider are rightfully ours. Not only do they feel this way, but they have created a reality that better reflects their point of view than ours. These people are best known as government officials and bureaucrats, but some would argue that there are secret and not so secret moneyed and special interests that will also make the claim of their ownership of humanity. These people will likely do anything to make certain that their belief system is upheld and strengthened and make sure ours is never realized.
It could be and has been argued that these people do, in fact, own you. If you don´t believe that, just try not paying your taxes and see what happens. They will eventually send men with guns to your door and throw you in a prison cell if you try to exert your freedom and make the claim that you have the right to keep the fruits of your own labor. They will prove that they own you. They will claim that you owe them a portion of your labor for services they provide, even if you don´t use their services, even though they hold a monopoly on certain services, and even if you might find some services offered abhorrent. This happens because most people allow it to happen. Most people just grumble as they accept their fate and pay to keep the wolves from the door. They suffer in silence and do nothing because they have the perception that nothing can be done.
Not only do these people own you, they own your progeny. They have taken money they do not have and given it to their elite friends with the promise that future generations will pay with their taxes. They use the promise of easy money to enslave and they use fear of the mindless enforcers and obedient courts to prevent the masses from so much as questioning their legitimacy. They have used the media to build an illusion that they are invulnerable and so the individual´s spirit gives up. They use public schools to indoctrinate the youth so the system perpetuates itself. They own you, and your children, body, mind and soul; lock, stock and barrel.
At one time, perhaps this wasn´t so bad. At one time, perhaps when I was younger, perhaps before I was born, government was at least responsive to the people. We were prospering and so it seemed to many that giving a small portion of our wealth to Washington DC and the rich political elite wasn´t such a bad thing. Oh, there were things going on that people didn´t like, there were protests and the like, but those in charge seemed to pay attention to the people. At least there was still some amount of freedom in this country. At least there was representation of the common folk. At least there were free markets and the government stayed out of our business for the most part. Well, maybe not, but it seems to me that government has gotten a hell of a lot more blatant about the fact that they own you lately and have been turning a deaf ear to the demands of the people more than ever over the past couple of decades.
Now government and their corporate cronies wish to put the final screws to you. Now they want to remove what little semblance of freedom you may perceive you have left. They moved quickly to bailout the banking elite despite more calls and emails from their constituents against such measures than any other bill has ever generated. They moved just as quickly to bailout and in essence take over auto manufacturers over the objections of the tax payers whose money they were spending. They use the excuse that they are trying to save the economy, but the common folk are the economy. They have proven their disdain for the ordinary citizen. They don´t care what you have to say or what you think because they consider you a slave. They are not saving the economy, they are saving their ability to control it, and their positions as masters.
Still, this is not enough for them. Still, the power brokers in congress wish to extend their reach into every man´s life. Last Friday the congress voted to impose a huge cap and trade bill upon the populace of these United States of America despite popular opposition to the bill. This is yet another massive bill that has not been read by the majority of congress members, if indeed it was read in its entirety by any of them. This bill is yet another government intrusion into the free market. It´s just another tax scheme passed under the guise of trying to “save” the environment. It´s funny how congress is forever trying to “save” something by spending our money. It will increase energy prices. It will increase the amount of taxes you pay, albeit in a less obvious way than increasing your income taxes. The common man, as always, will pay for this legislation, not the wealthy elite who can afford to pay off congressional members. Once again, the political elites manage to solidify their positions as masters.
Do not think for a moment that this government apparatus will stop there. For some time now there has been chatter prevalent amongst the political class that will increase the servitude quotient of significant segments of the population. With the new regulations that are being suggested in health care, doctors will quickly become some of the most slavish people in our society. They will not be able to charge (or not charge) for their services as they see fit, but will be paid as mandated by government decree. As a result, the consumer will lose options he currently has. Doctors will not be allowed to offer certain medical services unless those services are okayed by a governmental medical bureaucracy. Doctors will be under the watchful eye of Big Brother and will have to document all procedures carefully and be sure to remain within bureaucratic guidelines or they may lose their ability to legally practice medicine. They will be forced to service even those who may not require medical services and they will be forced to accept whatever compensation the government deems appropriate, not what the law of supply and demand, nor even the individual doctor´s capacity for human compassion, determines is appropriate.
Doctors are already over regulated. They already have too much oversight by the few health insurance companies that remain in business. Many doctors have been retiring early because of these conditions. In many places there is a shortage of doctors and those who remain in business are overworked. Further government regulation will only make the problems worse. Who would want to be a doctor if it means you become enslaved to government mandates?
Those in favor of more government regulation in health care seem to believe they should be able to determine compensation for the application of the doctor´s knowledge. They think they should be able to determine how to apply that knowledge to best benefit others. They seem to believe that they are best able to determine the labor capabilities of doctors. They will argue that everyone has the “right” to health care without realizing that saying such is tantamount to claiming someone has the “right” to force another human to provide services simply because that other human obtained a bit of knowledge. If they can do this to doctors, it won´t be long until they will try to force everyone to provide labor at compensation levels determined by government mandate.
Indeed, further down the road we can see what is being called “national service” coming into vogue. For now such a system is being set up to be voluntary, but one can imagine that making it mandatory is just around the corner. Already there is talk of creating such coercive measures as not allowing children to graduate high school unless they “volunteer.” It has also been suggested that the carrot of money for college be offered to those who take part in this system. It is not volunteering if you are compensated. Mandatory service of any kind, national or otherwise, for any period of time, is just indentured servitude. I would have thought that by the twenty first century mankind would have gotten past such measures.
It is time we started living once again as freemen. It is time we started calling a spade a spade and to stop pretending that we own our bodies, out labor or our knowledge when in fact we don´t. In order to live as freemen, we need to act like freemen. We need to show that we are not afraid of the whip. The political elite in this country has shown that they don´t care what we think. They have shown they will spend our money as they see fit, so why should we continue to pay taxes and why do we continue to let them print money and keep us indebted? As long as we pay and allow them to print money, they will remain our masters.