Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How I became an anarchist...the extended version

So...it's the middle of September, always a shitty time full of bad memories. This is the part where I would normally tell you folks to wake up and start questioning your government. How many of you remember that there was a third building falling into its own footprint, that was never struck by an airplane of any kind?

But enough about that. 9/11 was twelve years ago. If you're too stupid to even start questioning the official story, based solely on the plausibility of it alone, you're far too stupid to be listening to anything I'd have to say about it...so I'm going to just move on past the whole 9/11 thing and talk about something else.

This afternoon, I was looking at the news feed of a friend from Baltimore, and she was discussing how even if we anarchists don't necessarily agree with Rand Paul, he's still a "gateway drug" to the ecstasy of freedom. His message may be from the viewpoint of being the latest in a long line of GOP heroes of the moment, but his message isn't necessarily about him. Sounds strange, right?

Here's my viewpoint on the whole deal. 15 years ago, I'm sitting on my grandma's porch. Mailman shows up, and we get the newsletter of our congressional rep...none other than TX-14's Dr. Ron Paul, three-time presidential candidate and long-serving member of the House of Representatives.

It was kinda funny, most people think of "democrats" as being lazy welfare whores who sit around smoking blunts, sipping 40oz bottles of gut-rot, and sport-breeding for the extra food stamps. Nothing could be further from the truth with our family, even though my family has historically been hard-core democrat voters. No, it wasn't because my family had been needing an increase in welfare. It was because my father, who had worked for the same construction contractor as a rig welder for 19 years, did not receive a pay raise throughout the entire 12 years of Reagan/Bush I...even though inflation was still kicking everyone's ass.

I was always told that a democrat looked out for the working man, and the republican looked out for the business man. Seemed legit, from my limited knowledge of politics, since we kicked financial ass during the Clinton years. Yes, my father worked all the time and was known to miss birthdays and little league games just the same as he did during republican administrations, but we had a shitload of more income flowing in. Having seen this first-hand, without recognizing the real issues at play there, I was convinced that the Democratic party was the way to be for anyone who wished to work for a living.

So there I am, 19 years old, and I'm sitting on grandma's porch. I see this newsletter in the mail as I'm looking through the mail, and I see that Dr. Paul is a republican. I knew his name before this, but I had no idea as to his ideology. The only reason I opened it was because I was bored out of my mind and wanted something to do while I sat on the porch having a cigarette.

The words I read were mind-blowing. It made so much sense to me. Keep in mind, this was back in the day before everyone had the internet at the house...it was back in the late 1990s. No matter how much people want to hype the "Clinton's economy did well because of the internet going public" bullshit, it just wasn't true. I was one of the first kids in my school to have access to the internet at home, back when it required a $15/month fee to AmericaOnLine and a long-distance call to their phone server bank via telephone modem. A two-minute YouTube video took half an hour to load. The best you could hope for, if you got online, was checking a few of the major national newspapers, the stock exchange, or buying airline tickets. The era of broadband and mass information simply wasn't available at home.

Still, I went to the library in my time off and learned as much as I could about this "Ron Paul" guy, because everyone seemed to speak so highly of him...except his colleagues in the house, who referred to him as "Dr. No". Clinton's new "crime bill" was fresh in my mind, as it delayed me getting the pistol my father bought for my 16th birthday due to the waiting period and background check my father had to go through to purchase it...but Dr. Paul, instead of talking about how a waiting period was infringing upon our rights, was talking about how the BATFE needed to be abolished altogether. Freshly kicked out of the Corps over a juvie arrest revolving around some fake LSD, I liked what I was reading about Dr. Paul wanting to do away with the DEA. More than anything, I remember having an actual legit on-the-books job as soon as I became old enough to get one...and getting fucked in the wallet every payday by the IRS, which was yet another federal agency Dr. Paul wanted to get rid of.

The whole thing was eventually pushed onto the back burner over the next few years. Things like a full-time job, several stints in college, a marriage, and copious amounts of partying with my friends took the place of being interested in politics. My general outlook on politics was "shit is fucked up, the super-rich are screwing us all, cops are thugs with badges, and there ain't a lot that's going to change it".

Fast-forward to January of 2003. I'm married, living in a home without cable television. The internet still isn't close to being what it is now (although the Lycos chat room had been created, leading to the meeting of me and my ex-wife, hence the reason I'm married and living in Sterling IL at this time), and I'm working at a Walmart warehouse in Spring Valley IL...DC 6092, VALLEY PROUD!!! The warehouse is an hour and a half commute, one way, but they were paying. Me and a coworker rode together and split gas to cut down on expenses. I usually got over to his house about ten minutes before we left, and his television was almost exclusively tuned to CNN. It was during this time that I watched the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq happen right before my eyes.

I was scared. Not for me, but for so many people I knew back home. I enlisted when I was still in high school, but got bounced out after 14 days. My 4-year hitch would have been up a month and a half after 9/11, likely planting my ass right in the middle of Afghanistan. A lot of the people I grew up with were in that boat, and a lot of them would go on to be veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq, or both.

Thankfully, I didn't know any of the thousands of American war dead from my generation or the generation to follow it...but a lot of people I know knew a few of them. One of my father's friends lost a son in Iraq to a roadside bomb. His best friend from childhood promptly enlisted to "finish the mission" or fulfill whatever duty he felt he had to his friend, and was himself permanently disfigured and disabled by an IED not long after he arrived there.

In '04, I started back to school, pursuing a degree in Graphic Communications. I had the fortunate experience of attending a college-level government class during a presidential election being held in the midst of two simultaneous major foreign wars. The US had not held such an election since WWII, so it was somewhat of a historic event...and while that campaign is ramping up into its final days, I'm in class learning more about the background of the US constitution. We're learning more about the constitutional mandate that congress declare any war we fight, and also about how it hasn't happened since we declared war upon Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania in the summer of 1942.

Over winter break, I picked up a job working at a friend's 8 Liner parlor (quasi-legal video game casino) during the midnight-8am shift and was a full-time student during the day. I scored a pair of huge tips over the process of a single week, combined them with my weekly pay, and managed to build a very nice computer setup. During '05, having broadband at the house was no longer a "rich man's game". If there's one thing in this world that causes a man to research something carefully, it's the fear of being wrong on the internet! Get something wrong on your homework, or during a discussion at the local bar, and someone might either politely correct you or just tell you that you don't know what you're talking about. Get a simple date wrong in a forum discussing politics, and all hell breaks loose! It was roughly around the time of building that computer that I also pretty much stopped watching television. My computer was on the desk next to the TV stand, and I spent more time looking for obscure 1990s alt-rock music while diving even deeper into current and historical political events.

For the spring semester of '06, I moved in with a friend in Crosby. He had just finished his Masters already, but his now-wife and I had both transferred to UH. We worked at the same CNC machine shop (me as a machinist, he as a programmer), had the same lust for horsepower, and both now had contempt for television. We didn't keep one in the house. I spent a lot of my time away from work either chasing women or drinking beer at the local watering holes, but still spent a considerable amount of time digging around about politics on the web. Well, honestly, it was a mixture of politics, porn, and hitting up MySpace to pick up chicks...but you get the picture. I was in college, what can I say?

The next fall, I'm dealing with all manner of bullshit in my personal life. One morning, when I've got a test in my Art History II class, my car won't start. I borrowed the roomie's bike, and the last thing he says when I call to ask if I can borrow it is "Don't crash my bike." Naturally, as I'm making my way down I-10, I end up sliding that Suzuki down the interstate after a minivan pulls out in front of me. I spent the next two weeks camping out at my dad's house healing up. Getting up to eat, shit, or answer the door makes the scabs split open. I wasn't doing a whole lot of anything except discussing (read: ARGUING) politics on the internet, because it was either that or Judge Judy reruns. It's the middle of the day, in the middle of the school year. Most "normal" people are either at work or school. I'm arguing politics on the internets.

It was around this time that I became familiar with people whose names are now readily recognized by people within "this thing of ours", mostly via a now-defunct web forum known as "BureauCrash". The Iraq war was now burning in everyones' minds...but God help you, if you even think about speaking out about it. Even start to dream about questioning any of it, and you're in some serious shit. You're gonna be in a world of shit when you wake up. You're now a godless heathen hippie scumbag communist piece of shit liberal America-hater who supports Al Qaeda, testicular cancer, drunk driving, and Satan.

It was also around this time that I started reading a lot of Lew Rockwell. I became acquainted with the writings of people like Norman Grigg (who, up until about a year ago, I was convinced was a black man due to the fact that his disdain for police was thought to be matched by only me and Ice Cube), Eric Peters, Fred Reed, and so many others. On the sidebar was a lot of links to the works of people like Larken Rose, who I imagined to be someone totally different than the red-headed normal next-door-neighbor type that I now see in his YouTube videos. A major fixture of LewRockwell.com, of course, would be the work of the man he used to work for...none other than my district's congressional representative, one Dr. Ron Paul.

In '07, I had moved back home to Angleton. I eventually moved into a shack on the river with a woman I was in a relationship with. I spent about six months being almost completely disconnected from the outside world, not knowing that broadband access available there. After the relationship fell apart, I was at the bar 1/4 up the road...and found out that the cable company started servicing the area with broadband about a year prior. My days consisted of going to work, grabbing a sixer and a burger basket from the bar, and getting online to check the days' events and other random goings-on. I discovered info sites like cryptome.org. I knew about the guns/ammo shortage of '09 about six months before everyone else, and happily laughed at all those who laughed at me when I told them to buy bricks of .22LR while they could still find them.

During the spring of '09, I moved back to my father's house. He and four of my senior-citizen relatives lived in Angleton, and I was usually the go-to guy when they needed help because I was the single guy that didn't have softball practice, karate lessons, PTA meetings, or whatever it is that people with families and kids are supposed to do. Me and dad got along great, especially after he got healed back up from his health issues. Grandma and her siblings didn't get any younger, so I stuck around. I had my job to go to every morning, but other than that, didn't have a care in the world except for the occasional call to change a light bulb, repair a cabinet hinge, or pick up a random prescription.

It was around this time that I had embraced the AR15 rifle, Facebook, and the concept of anarchy as being the logical conclusion to an acceptance of libertarianism and the Non-Aggression Principle. It was also very near the time I got pulled over by a local cop on the way home from work for drinking a bottle of water, and recognized that the questions she was asking me weren't just for "my own safety" and "for emergency purposes". Even though she was too stupid to properly read the expiration date on the temp insurance card I'd recently received for the Jeep I'd bought the week before, and kept asking me all manner of questions about shit not pertaining to the traffic stop that were surely bound for the nearest Fusion Center, it was the one and only time I'd ever been pulled over by the police and not asked if I had any firearms in the vehicle. This actually saddened me, because I was actively anticipating it...and had every intention of basking in the glory that would have been the look on her face when I responded with "Yeah, bitch, there's an AR15 and three loaded mags in the back seat!".

My cousin, who had recently joined the local police academy, was often butting heads with me over the concept of American police practices around this time. He was (and presumably still is, I wouldn't know because we stopped talking years ago) of the impression that the average person is too fucking stupid to live life properly...and should be robbed at threat of violence via taxation in order to pay a special class of people wearing state-issued costumes, so that these costumed individuals with guns may extract extortion monies and/or kidnap and/or kill people over victimless crimes.

Ironically, he became a police officer under a strange set of circumstances. For starters, he had to get past the fact that he had ingested (in his words) "copious amounts of cocaine" in his younger years, making him an admitted felon seeking employment in a profession whose top priorities include arresting and imprisoning people who are doing the same things he once did. He likens the total destruction of lives and families via felony conviction and imprisonment by the state to a swat on the ass by a father looking out for his children.

Even more ironic is the fact that after all the bullshit I've come to see in my lifetime regarding those who look to the state for their paychecks, it was a conversation with a blood relative who represents everything I hate in this world that finally pushed me over the edge of minarchism to being a total anarchist. I simply ran out of excuses for the idea that we actually need men with guns to rule our lives.

What's really warped is that one of the last conversations I had with this man was in the parking lot of my former job, when he pulled up wearing his Police Academy uniform (the one my grandmother says made him look like a boyscout, still laughing at that!) in a car equipped with a radar detector and illegal window tint. At the time, I was a manager at an auto accessories outlet, selling window tint and radar detectors. While strictly adhering to the laws regarding window tint, we didn't agree with the notion of being restricted by law to using only the lightest-available window films on front door windows in the name of "highway safety" when that same law made a specific exemption for police cars that by definition were used by those whose jobs consisted mainly of driving up and down this state's highways. It's common knowledge that a radar detector is used only for one purpose, and that purpose is to detect police using radar guns. There is no reason whatsoever to have a radar detector, except to avoid being caught breaking the legal speed limit.

It was his girlfriend's car, but I noticed the illegal tint before he ever stopped, because I anticipated quoting a price on a strip and re-tint of those two roll-up windows...it's something I'd done a thousand times before, because the cops like to pull people over for illegal tint. Instead of pulling into a parking spot, he pulls around to the install area. I'm on the passenger side. He rolls down the window, and I'm about to start rattling off prices before I even recognize that it's him. I see him, ask him if he knows he's "ridin' dirty" with the windows, and he starts laughing right about the time I see the radar detector in the windshield. I ask him, in obvious sarcasm, why a future cop would ever be worried about being caught breaking the law...half of the sarcasm going to the notion of law enforcement supposedly being upstanding to the point where they don't break the law, the other half going to the fact that cops have "professional courtesy" and don't get tickets.

He laughs and tells me he doesn't have a badge yet. I look up, see the letters "F. R. E. E." on the side of Dr. Ron Paul's office in Clute TX, about 75 yards to my southwest across the street, turn around around and walk my happy ass back inside.

Dr. Ron Paul didn't tell me "hey, you should become an anarchist!". Dr. Ron Paul just put me on a path to figure it out for myself...

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