“Land of the free and home of the brave” is the last line of the National Anthem, but many people argue that Americans are not truly free.
There is a movement among Libertarians called “voluntaryism” that argues that a government in which participation is not entirely voluntary is by default oppressive and illegitimate.
Well, what do they mean by “voluntary”?
Taxes are certainly not voluntary. If you don’t pay your taxes in the United States you can be forcibly placed in jail and prosecuted.
Laws aren’t voluntary. If you violate a municipal, state, or federal law then you can be forcibly placed in jail and prosecuted.
There is a varying amount of freedom among the states within the country and people can choose to live in a state that has a legal philosophy that is more in-line with their beliefs, but that is not a true opt-out from all government interference.
There is, however, some leeway in the U.S. for those who choose to “opt-out” of participation in the current government.
There are those who live “off the grid” and do not rely on any government services and so do not pay taxes.
There are communes of hippies, socialists, or anarchists that are self-sufficient and do not participate in government.
For those strict voluntaryists who aren’t satisfied with these compromises and require absolute individual sovereignty there are always places like Montana where a person can go homestead a piece of land, build a house, and live unmolested by government and society for their entire life.
The more extreme solution is to move out of the United States and to go somewhere else.
The common argument that voluntaryists make against this is “why should I have to go somewhere else to be free when I own property here?”
They argue that they didn’t choose to be U.S. Citizens, they didn’t sign the Constitution, and they never agreed to be subject to the laws of the United States so why shouldn’t they be able to declare sovereignty wherever they are.
The answer is that, if they choose to live in a country (or continue to live in the country that they are in), then they have four choices.
1. They can submit to the laws of the land.
2. They can fight the powers that be and try to force their own system of government (or non-government) onto the inhabitants.
3. They can bargain with their government and try to convince them to change to their system.
4. They can leave and go somewhere else.
In a democratic society, change is easy (theoretically). If you don’t like the way that the government is being run then, next election, you can vote out the people you don’t like and vote in people that agree with your views and the system changes.
If you believe in anarchy then you either have to convince the current government to disband (not likely) or violently overthrow it.
If none of those option appeal to you then the only option left is to leave.
Which brings us back to the “It’s not fair, why do I have to leave?” argument.
No one gets to choose their parents, no one consents to being born, and no one consents to the rules that their parents enforce. But once you are old enough, you can leave your parents and you are free from their rules and can do as you wish.
Countries are the same way. You don’t get to choose which country you are born in and, until you reach a certain age, you are subject to their laws. Once you are capable of leaving you can leave at any time and go anywhere that you want, but if you choose to stay you must abide by the rules in place.
The alternative is to petition the government for change (which you can do in a constitutional republic) — get effectively involved in the political process.
If you feel that the system is broken beyond repair here in America then it is either time to start packing your bags.
For the rest of us who still have hope and choose to stay and petition our government, it is up to us to fight for all the freedom that we can get.Published in