Surmounting barriers to freedom (3)
Here’s the conclusion of El Ray’s “Surmounting Barriers to Freedom,” from the August 1969 issue of Innovator.
Change your interrelations, not your values. Avoid psychotherapy, group therapy, dianetics, and the other kinds of “treatment” which focus on YOUR neuroses, seeking to change your drives and attitudes — to “adjust” YOU to “society.” Instead, “adjust” SOCIETY to you, by changing your pattern of interactions with it. While you may have hang-ups which reduce your effectiveness (most people do), these are predominantly secondary — the result of living in a very sick culture. Once you are free, most of your neuroses will go away. And you can better handle any which remain. By analogy: if you wake up in a house on fire, don’t stop to put salve on your burns; get out! The only hang-ups to concern yourself with immediately are any which keep you from becoming free.
Seek associates going your way. Cultivate long-term relations only with libertarians achieving compatible objectives. Cut your ties with tied people, be they long-time friends, relatives, husband, wife, or whoever. Some libertarians are held by a mistaken sense of contractual obligation. I consider a State marriage contract to be morally invalid on several grounds: it is entered under duress; its terms are not objective; a criminal organization is a third-party to it and abrogates to itself the resolution of any disputes. But even if a traditional marriage is considered valid, it doesn’t give someone moral license to hold you in servitude. Since you cannot properly care for a spouse and children within THAT society, obligation, if any, is not for you to remain with them, but for them to accompany you.
Emphasize the positive — enjoyment of freedom living, rather than survival of some future catastrophe. While coercive States always have been and continue to be prone to wars, depressions, plagues, witch-hunts, and other “emergencies,” the time, place, and circumstances are not so predictable that you can afford to wait until just before a disaster occurs. And there may not be a single apocalypse but, as in the Roman Empire, stagnation and decay lasting for centuries, punctuated by various calamities and partial recoveries. Someone who hopes to get out of that society just before a disaster will tend to spend much time keeping posted on “affairs of State,” which is psychologically destructive. He will be reacting to the statists instead of taking the initiative. Some have decided that “things aren’t bad enough yet” to opt out, but they are apt to find that if/when conditions get worse, their resources will be correspondingly less and freedom options within their means not so attractive. This is not to deny the value of “survival insurance” — preparation for some of the more likely dangers, but this should be in addition to, not in place of freedom now.
Look before you leap. Especially if you are new to the freedom scene, be sure you understand what you need freedom FROM before you commit yourself. Some young people — without benefit of experience, capital, or philosophy courses — have dropped out and STAYED OUT, building free lives. But many more drop out only to drip back in. Don’t react, for example, merely to the superficial ills of megapolis, such as smog and congestion, and invest much time and money in a conventional farm, only to discover later that you have less real liberty than ever. If your humanities studies have been limited to courses in State schools plus “left-wing” and “right-wing” political tracts, spend a few months broadening them. Read some books on libertarian philosophy, free-market economics, and revisionist history. With the last, include some horror stories on the American government’s treatment of Indians in the 19th century, incarceration of Japanese-Americans in the ’40s, incineration of innocent civilians in enemy-controlled cities during World War II and since, and forced repatriation of refugees from communist countries after World War II. When you no longer dislike just the draft, taxes, “welfare” programs, Vietnam War, anti-psychedelic laws or other specific depredations, but detest coercive government per se; when you realize that the American Empire and other major powers are utterly without redeeming social value, you are ready to become free.