OPINION – Finding personal freedom in an unfree world isn’t for sissies. It is the prize of confident individuals who understand who they are and the principles upon which they stand.
It requires a willingness to break from the herd and allow your deepest principles to inform your daily actions rather than the dictates of those who seek to control you.
Fearful and uncertain people are easy to control. They won’t exercise their rightful freedom, because they’ve been trained to first seek permission from the nearest authority figure. That’s not what free individuals do.
For every strategy being employed to bring us to heel, new strategies emerge to reclaim our freedoms.
For instance, free men and women can claim their freedoms by opting out of unfree systems and practicing a form of free market civil disobedience known as counter-economics.
This sounds terribly subversive to those in the thralls of Stockholm Syndrome toward our government, yet despite their shrieks of horror, the end result is perfectly peaceful and empowering.
The idea behind this frugal revolution is to advance personal freedom in a world where it is being systematically erased.
The goal isn’t to overthrow the existing order but rather to reduce our governmental footprint by engaging in free market exchanges that aren’t regulated by the state. The formal name for this idea is “Agorism.”
Agorism is sometimes described as “a revolutionary left-libertarian political philosophy that advocates the goal of bringing about a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges.” The beauty of its applicability is that it doesn’t rely on political institutions for legitimacy.
To the contrary, it allows its practitioners to enjoy free market voluntary exchange with other like-minded individuals without having to seek political permission in the form of fees and licensing.
This could be as simple as growing a garden and exchanging produce with your neighbors. It might mean taking on a few odd jobs or selling unused items for cash. Or taking up a hobby that allows you to create useful things that can be sold or bartered.
A friend who keeps bees likes to barter the honey he harvests with his neighbors. His only stipulation is that they cannot pay him in cash. They must find something else of value to exchange.
As long as the exchange is creating mutually agreeable value for both parties, it needn’t be subject to government scrutiny or official plunder in the form of regulation.
As Jacob Vidrine explains in his essay to the “First Annual Libertas Essay Contest”:
Agorism works as not only a short term way to obtain freedom in an unfree world, but as a long-term strategy for liberty to be reclaimed. You are taking freedom back immediately when you decide to disregard immoral restrictions on your trade. For example – you have every right to purchase and consume raw milk and unpasteurized cheese; and by finding a way to avoid the prying eye of government, and choosing to consume goods that are the victims of government prohibition – you have made yourself instantly freer.
Not only does this approach limit unnecessary bureaucratic power over us, but it also denies the government extra tax revenues that it would gladly extract from us in the form of payroll taxes or sales taxes. For those who get weepy at the idea of government not getting a cut of every single transaction in our lives, spare me the tears.
We are currently taxed in so many ways, both openly and hidden, that government itself has developed a sickening entitlement mentality that causes it to see our money as its own. Not only does it plunder our earnings in the form of never-ending taxation, but it turns around and uses that revenue to increase its control over us.
Why should we feel it a privilege to help fund our own enslavement? There’s nothing moral about it.
The less money we allow government to siphon out of our wallets, the less funding it has to expand its power over us.
Free market counter-economics is not an antisocial approach to freedom. If anything, it sparks broader opportunities to interact and exchange with our neighbors while opting out of governmental controls wherever we are able.
It’s a self-regulating system that doesn’t require official coercion to work.
A perfect example of this has been taking place right here in Southern Utah for decades. The Tradio program which airs six days a week on 590 KSUB in Cedar City is living proof that such a system works.
People call in daily to buy, sell and barter in order to meet their specific needs.
Everything from cars and car parts to firearms and appliances to help needed for yard work are put out there for the market to fill.
So far, this system hasn’t been taken over by criminals or warlords.
It turns out that freedom still works.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator, radio host and opinion columnist in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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