Thursday, April 19, 2007

Which side are YOU on?

From The Lawless State, by Karl Hess, one of a series of “minibooks” from Constitutional Alliance, February 1969:

“Government, gone wild in growth and its powers, has gone also above and beyond the law. Today it is widely accepted, as a matter of fact, that Government Is The Law. Just as a ‘divine’ king once could say, ‘I am the state,’ governments today everywhere say they are the law, even that they are the people.

“Each citizen can ask himself the most grave questions in this regard. Frank self-answers should be revealing.

“Do you feel that the state is more important than you are?

“Do you feel that the state should enjoy freedoms that you do not?

“Do you feel that the state should be able to rise above the law?

”Do you feel that you could not live unless the state protected you?

“Do you feel that you could not thrive unless the state nourished or subsidized you?

“Do you feel that service to the state is more desirable or more noble than service to your self, your family, your neighbors, or your own ideals?

“Do you feel that it actually is a privilege to pay taxes?

“Do you feel that since the government, the state is more important than any one man, that every single man should be prepared to give his all, even his life, to or for his government?

“Do you feel that the state is something with a life and identity of its own, beyond the men who might hold office in it?

”Do you feel that ‘the government’ and ‘the country’ are the same?

“Do you feel that, when all is said and done, that if big problems are to be solved in this world that government will have to do it?

“The crucial separation between men today is not anything more, or anything less than the separation between those who answer ‘yes’ to those questions and those who answer ‘no.’ The only important gradations in the thinking that separates men today will be found along a scale of how many ‘yes’ and how many ‘no’ answers are given.

“My own position is a resounding NO to every single one of the questions.”

The entire “minibook” is reprinted in Mostly on the Edge: Karl Hess, An Autobiography (Prometheus Books, 1999).


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