1776 2.0: The front lines of the New Revolt
Affluent Investor – Jerry Bowyer – 7/11/2014
It seems to be that as the United States federal government and the Presidency in particular have gradually morphed into something more like a European monarchy, our attitude towards its sovereignty has shifted. Certainly no state or province or faction of the ruling class would dare to challenge the military might of the United States in a single act of open revolt. But as time goes on we challenge it in small acts of secret revolt. Violation, for example, of our draconian system of immigration laws has become quite common. How many appointees to the federal bench or to the office of Attorney General must be caught in nannygate scandals involving child care payments to illegal aliens made under the table before we get the fact that our governing class, even that part which is directly pledged to enforce the law, routinely ignore this law?
Businesses split in half so as to be qualified for small business exemptions from federal regulation. Farmers look the other way when they hire day laborers who clearly are not citizens. Federal regulators write their regulations, and financiers change their form of organization in unforeseen ways to avoid the regulations, even ones they pushed for.
And most people have absolutely no moral compunction about any of these violations of either the spirit or letter of the law, because deep down they no longer believe that the law, especially the tax code, represents any compelling moral principle, nor do its dictates any longer seem to be fair. They don’t think their home state has earned taxes on the Amazon purchases or that it deserves any share of the mutually beneficial exchange between you and your dry wall guy.
Increasingly we’re all in business and in personal life thinking of more and more ways to game a system which we have less and less faith in.
It’s not civil disobedience that I’m talking about. It’s the opposite: Civil disobedience is meant to be noticed. It is a price paid in the hope of creating social change.
What I’m talking about is not based on hope; in fact, it has given up much hope on social change. It thinks the government is a colossal amoeba twitching mindlessly in response to tiny pinpricks of pain from an endless army of micro-brained interest groups. The point is not to teach the amoeba nor to guide it, but simply to stay away from the lethal stupidity of its pseudopods.
The amoeba does not get smarter but it does get hungrier and bigger. On the other hand, we get smarter. More and more of our life takes place outside of the amoeba’s reach: in the privacy of our own homes, in capital accounts in other nations, or in the fastest growing amoeba avoidance zone ever created, cyberspace. We revolt decision by decision, transaction by transaction, because we believe deep down that most of what government tells us to do is, at bottom, illegitimate.
Article originally published on Forbes.com
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