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Freedom on the Halfshell
A Collection of Poems on Freedom
Copyright 2002 by Bobby Matherne
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Poll Tax — Prologue
In a "Notes from FEE" for January 2006, celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) they abridged a 1961 lecture at FEE by Leonard E. Read (1898-1983).Leonard E. Read said:The "right to vote” is hurled as an epithet as if it were some God-given benison, but little voice is given to what happens when one votes for a coercive bureaucracy such as the one which rules this great land under the guise of "government", up until now. Every time one walks into a polling booth, one votes to continue the coercive bureaucracy. One gives it freely one's support, no matter who one votes for. What is one to do?
The first level of leadership requires an individual to achieve that degree of understanding which makes it utterly impossible for him to have any hand in supporting or giving encouragement to any form of socialism whatever misleading labels and nicknames it takes.
This level of attainment requires no "original” thinking, writing or talking, but we should not underestimate the enormous influence set in motion by an individual who does absolutely no ideological wrong. His refusal to sanction or promote unsound actions and his faithfulness to free-market ideals — even if he is silent — has a radiating effect and sets high standards for others to follow.
One can do "no ideological wrong” only by choosing to "vote” for proprietary organizations which provide one a service one wants quickly, conveniently, and without any coercion. Any fast-food establishment, for example, does that. Take their innovation of drive-up service. Can you find an example of any "government” office which provides drive-up service? Even the Department of Motor Vehicles requires to you get out of your car to apply for a license plate renewal, etc. You have to sit in an uncomfortable chair or stand in a long line in "government” offices, all the while people are waiting in short lines in their comfortable automobiles to buy food from fast-food outlets. What's the difference? The "government” offices force you to comply because they are all part of a "coercive bureaucracy” — a so-called government and not a true government. A true government would operate volitionally and not coercively — just as any proprietary business does. And, as a proprietary business, the clerk across the counter would treat you as a valued customer. The clerk would have an incentive to be nice, or helpful, and accommodating, just as the clerks at the fast-food outlets. Instead we find all too often at our at our so-called government offices, clerks who have no incentive to be nice, or helpful, or accommodating because they know we have nowhere else to go for their cherished "service". Every time we voluntarily support a so-called government office or program that we are not required to support by dint of a coercive law, we foster and perpetuate such behaviors. In addition, the product or service the office or program provides is supported by taking money out of the pockets of other citizens, citizens who may or may not use that product or service but are required to pay for it anyway through coercive taxes.
What are we to do? We can take Leonard E. Read's advice and refuse to take "any hand in supporting or giving encouragement to any form of socialism whatever misleading labels and nicknames it takes” and recognize that what our so-called government in this land is a form of socialism under the guise of a more palatable name. This is a baldfaced deception supported by everyone in office and everyone who accepts a public office.
Rightly understood, we cannot achieve freedom by fighting for it — fighting only brings in its wake more fighting. So don't fight it. If the so-called government insists that we get a license to drive a vehicle, go do it. Yes, we have to go the Dept. of Motor Vehicles for a license. We have to pay taxes. But, consider this salient exception: we do not have to vote! It requires no fighting, it violates no laws to stay away from the polls in the United States of America, although voting is already mandatory in Australia and other countries. Americans in droves are staying away from polling booths. Meanwhile those who endorse our coercive form of bureaucracy, our so-called government, choose to label as "apathetic voters” those who stay home from the polls. This is a "misleading label” which disguises the true motivations of those non-voting Americans who stay away from the polls. They are seeding a new birth of freedom in this great land, one which will eventually proclaim a true government, a government of the free, by the free, and for the free. When will that day come? When no one shows up to vote for coercion in polling booths.
Who are you going to vote for come next election day? My plan to drive past the polling booth down to Dairy Queen, Wendy's, or Burger King and plunk my money down willingly for a delicious and nutritious product.
We think it incorrect to shun
The blessings of coercion:
Please force the voters to attend
Their duties in the next election.
The right to vote a duty must become
So jail the beggars who beg off,
Make them vote for liberty or else
Why should we fight for them?
Thoreau had the right idea-
Although it wasn't carried far enough —
Let's institute a brand new practice:
That when you go to vote, you pay your taxes:
Income, excise, sales, and property —
Paid in one lump sum for liberty.
How many would out the window toss
The right to vote, if they knew its cost?
So secure the blessing of our roots,
Stay away from polling booths,
With the voice of freedom sing,
"Next election vote for Burger King."
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