How I went from atheist to minister in the Shire Free Church.
Filed under: Charity, Essay, Introduction, Living Free, Personal Freedom, Police, Politics, Rant, Response, Secession, Victimless Crimes, Your Evolution
I just can’t do it anymore. I have had enough of paying for this inhumane and insane state system.
It’s more than just a system – “the state” is a belief system and a religion. It is an evil religion that masquerades as though it is good.
Of course, I didn’t always think like this.
I suppose I should start at the beginning. Probably like you, I attended state-run school while growing up. They told me I was “gifted” – a designation that to this day I find ridiculous – so I went to the state school where the other “gifted” students went. School still sucked, but I had no idea how much worse it was at the other schools as I was insulated at the institution that was generally inhabited by the kids of the elite, though there were exceptions, including me. My family were middle class Presbyterians.
Naturally, as a state school would, they inculcated me with the usual glorification of the monopoly on violence known as “the state” aka the “United States Federal Government” and “State of X” and “City of Y”. I remember how exciting it was when the school had a yearly event where the police came and allowed us to see and touch all their weapons and toys. I was really impressed, and the message took: The police have lots of guns and other equipment to use on you if you do illegal things.
I was subjected to “DARE” class in 5th grade as well as being propagandized about drugs throughout the years in-and-out of school. That message also took: Drugs are all equally bad and they are only done by bad people. Not only are they bad, but they are also illegal and could get you hurt by the police. Over time, I discovered that police hurt lots of people – people who’ve never harmed anyone – in their war on consensual activity.
When I was sixteen my “gateway drug” was alcohol. It was much easier for my peers to convince me to drink than it was to smoke cannabis. I knew it was illegal for teenagers to drink, but thought the product itself surely wasn’t as bad as those other drugs! (Turns out that the reverse is true. Alcohol is actually the most damaging – right up there with heroin and crack.)
Also at sixteen, I “came out” to my parents as an atheist. I’d questioned the Presbyterian daddy god for years, and I did not want to continue going to church. My folks were cool about it, telling me they supported me no matter what. I’ll come back around to religion later in this piece.
After breaking the law with alcohol, my friends convinced me to try cannabis. I was very paranoid those cops with their weapons would find out and raid my friend’s house while I smoked cannabis for the first time. Of course, that didn’t happen and I had a great time.
That was the first time I had really understood that the people calling themselves “the state” had lied to me. What else had they lied about? Turns out, pretty much everything.
I don’t recall exactly, but somehow I discovered Harry Browne’s campaign for president for the Libertarian Party. His book, “Why Government Doesn’t Work” was an eye-opener. (My favorite is Dr. Mary Ruwart’s, “Healing our World”.) I threw myself into the LP, working on Harry’s campaign, re-forming the Libertarian Party of Sarasota, then doing various outreach for liberty using the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz” at events like the county fair, gay and lesbian pridefest, and gun shows. I spent thousands of dollars and countless hours campaigning and reaching people with the message of liberty. People responded positively everywhere to the ideas, but virtually no one would DO anything. The LP wasn’t growing and the vote totals weren’t either.
Along came the Free State Project in 2001. I caught word of it and immediately knew it was the right idea – concentrate the best activists together geographically! After getting over the idea of being cold, I signed up and moved myself and my talk radio show up to New Hampshire in 2006.
When I moved, I was still really angry at the state people. They’d lied and lied. Some would kill and hurt peaceful people every day here and around the globe. I had thoughts frequently about taking them out before they take me out – that kind of violent fantasy.
I don’t think that way anymore. I found peace. Why and how?
I was scared. The state people are dangerous and their belief system justifies endless aggression without any real responsibility. They have guns and cages and aren’t afraid to use them. Fear can lead to anger and anger to violence, especially if one feels cornered and alone, as I did in Florida, where there were few activists and no hope for liberty-oriented change.
Keene was my chosen destination in the land known as New Hampshire due to the exciting civil disobedience happening here thanks to FSP early movers like Lauren Canario, the Kannings, and Dave Ridley. I’d never seen or heard of anything like what they were doing anywhere in the liberty movement. The Kannings had a newspaper, the Keene Free Press, and I had a nationally syndicated radio show – I wanted to be there to cover what they were doing in detail. I also had a video camera and wanted to be there to help document their heroic and courageous actions.
One of those standing up peacefully to the state-believers was Russell Kanning. He always had a smile on his face and was friendly to the state agents no matter what injustice they were perpetrating on him. Lauren Canario was also always at peace in her interactions with the uniformed aggressors. They both of course had been inspired by the many peaceful civil disobedients of the past, like Gandhi. I was inspired by their courage and it wasn’t long before I joined their ranks and engaged in various acts of civil disobedience and noncooperation.
Moving to New Hampshire was the right choice for so many reasons. One of them is how small and low-population it is. Keene only has about forty police officers. It is impossible to look at them as part of a faceless inhumane machine. They’re humans. They have feelings and families. Unfortunately their job involves aggressing against peaceful people, and that needs to stop, but peacefully. Violence is not the answer as it only brings more violence. I’m so glad I abandoned my anger. I have enjoyed getting to know and create relationships with many of the “law enforcement” officers in this area. I think many of them will make fine protection agents in the future free market of “the Shire”.
The police here aren’t as scary as down South, where I’m from. It also helps that there are a bunch of liberty-loving activists around who have a good habit of standing up for themselves and others. People standing up for themselves has a positive effect on repelling the police state. Hence, it’s easy to restore hope here in the Shire. We’re making progress for liberty while others elsewhere only dream of the successes we are already having with only just about 5% of the FSP being here as early movers. (As of this writing in Summer 2013. Many more activists are coming!)
The positive, courageous people I met in the FSP are only one part of how I found peace. The other involves finding spirituality through altered states via various chemicals, both empathogenic and entheogenic.
I’m not really into the conspiracy world, though I’m familiar with much of it. I generally consider it a waste of time. However, I must wonder if there is a conspiracy afoot to keep people away from certain drugs because of what they might realize about life and themselves, should they take them.
It wasn’t until my twenties when I tried MDMA, LSD, and mushrooms for the first time. (Not all at once!) Later in my twenties, I learned about DMT, the “spirit molecule”. I also came across information about metaphysics like the “law of attraction” – something that I’d always seen work in my life, but didn’t know had a name. In addition to this, various fascinating news has come from the science world about quantum physics.
As a result of what I’d learned and experienced, in my late twenties I abandoned atheism and became a panentheist. Panentheists believe that you, me, the universe, the emptiness, and everything beyond that – is god. The entheogenic drug experiences I had spoke to that. My layman’s understanding of science and quantum physics spoke to that. There is evidence that everything is connected and all came from the same place. We are extensions of the universe, experiencing itself. We’re literally creating our reality. So, as Gandhi said, you must be the change you wish to see in the world.
I want to see peace. Therefore, I must be of peace. Peace is the way.
When my fellow humans harm me or other peaceful people, I forgive them and am sad they do not understand who they really are (god) and that they are only hurting themselves.
Were I to be angry at them and yell insults, the state-believers would never listen. They are awash in symbolism, idol-worship, and power. When I stand up for liberty peacefully, I serve as a living contradiction to the violent, immoral ideas they hold, like the ideas of authority and war. I am an iconoclast with my actions and words. As an iconoclast, I seek to destroy ideas – bad, old ideas like that of, “the state”.
“The state”, of course, is the idea that certain men and women get to tell others how to live and how not to live and how much of their earnings they should give up to “the state” in tribute, or else punishments will be issued. They are really nothing more than the most successful criminal gang, but the state people have brilliantly cloaked their violence in pomp and circumstance like elections, courts, and fancy uniforms. Plus, the state people run nearly all the schools and the youth are forced to attend and be propagandized. The state believers certainly wouldn’t want to have independent, critical thinkers around to question them, so the curriculum is designed to crank out worker drones.
It is useful to see the state for what it is – an evil religion, where power, violence, and idols are revered and worshipped. State-believers pledge allegiance to an inanimate object, the flag. They believe in war and the police that can do no wrong, and if they do, it’s only a “few bad apples”. Yet year after year, the police destroy millions of lives in the war on drugs alone. Add in to that all the other aggression the police engage in like traffic ticketing, and arresting people for engaging in other consensual activities like gambling and sex. Whatever happened to “peace officers” – did they ever exist?
Not only can you see the evidence for my claims regularly in the news, especially now thanks to the internet, but you’ve probably experienced it in your own life if you have read this far. Being targeted by “the state” is unfortunately one of the ways a lot of people “wake up” to what’s really going on. Of course what’s really going on is you’ve been being obedient to and paying strangers who claim to own you.
Those who wish to control you will make reference to some vague “social contract”. While on one hand their politicians promise to protect you from various boogeymen like drug dealers and terrorists, on the other hand the robed men and women referring to themselves in the third person as “the court” rule over and over again that there is no obligation for “the state” to protect you.
Hang on, what? The state people have no obligation to protect you? But the definition of “citizen” at Dictionary.com says it’s:
a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection
You’ve been told your whole life you are a “citizen”, but the countless “supreme court” decisions over the years prove otherwise. They have no obligation to protect you, therefore you owe them no allegiance. (Not like you ever did. I don’t know about you, but I never agreed to a “social contract”.)
You can’t fight city hall, and certainly not “the state”, right?
It’s true, you can’t fight them, but that doesn’t mean giving up. See, fighting won’t get you where you want to be. The state-believers aren’t your enemy. They are just like you’ve been – mistaken. They are people who in their personal lives are probably good folks and who love their family and friends. They’re just doing the wrong thing by participating in a belief system based in aggressive violence and threats.
Stop fighting for liberty and just live free. Yes, doing so is scary. Yes, the state-believers could lash out at you. Cognitive dissonance requires they protect their belief system, else they’d have to admit they have been wrong. No one wants to do that.
You can try to vote your way free and do it the legislative way, and I don’t oppose those methods. I just know it’s going to take more than that. Courage and risk are required for liberty to advance. No slaves escaped the plantation by begging.
I’ve spent time working in the system both in politics and the courts and I will continue. I think things are better in-the-system here in NH than elsewhere thanks to the Free State Project and the awesome NH native liberty-lovers. We have seen some important early wins like securing the right to jury nullification, however, I can no longer continue to pay into this inhumane system while waiting for more electoral and legislative success.
I object, morally, to continuing to be a part of funding aggression against peaceful people. I do this every time I have cut a check for the ridiculous property taxes here. 60% goes to day prisons (schools) who indoctrinate young people with the state religion. Some other portion goes to fund various statute enforcement agencies and the prisons to lock up people who were just trying to drive to work or enjoy some cannabis or a recreational chemical. Some of these victims of the state I know, most I don’t. Sometimes the victim is me. I have been paying for my own caging as well as the locking away of many of my friends, including Rich Paul, who is currently sitting in a cage for selling cannabis. This is insane.
I have seen many lives the state belief system has ruined and I can no longer in good conscience be a part of it. No moral person should. I understand it is scary to stop paying and obeying, but if you don’t, how can you ever expect anyone else to? By continuing, what sort of world are you creating for the next generation? I can’t wait around until others are willing to join me before taking this leap. I want no more blood on my hands. I haven’t paid the federal gang in nearly a decade and now the local state and city gangs will only get a voluntary contribution from me based on my assessment of the value they are providing me and the community.
Fact is, the state-believers are right now the only people who handle certain useful services like roads and fire protection. I value those things, so I will pay for them and whatever else the “state” and “city” people provide that I think are of value. Eventually when agorists hopefully provide independent road services and other services to rival the state people, I’ll shift my support to whoever is best.
I have donated my home to the Shire Free Church and am no longer a homeowner in Keene. I highly suggest others who own their own homes do the same. Will the people calling themselves the “City of Keene” attack my church family and I and steal our property from us? I guess we’ll find out. At least I’ll have a clean conscience and they will again show the world their violence and hypocrisy. Maybe they’ll even bring out the BEARCAT! Whatever happens, we’ll have our cameras, peace, and love on our side.
For those of you still clinging to the state icons, allow me to point out what the New Hampshire state’s constitution says in the first article of their Bill of Rights:
All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.
The years of blog posts over at FreeKeene.com have proven that government, aka “the state” does not exist for good. We have proven over and over again that it is corrupt, hypocritical, dishonest, and exists for the benefit of one group (the state people) over another (the rest of us). They constantly violate their own rules yet expect you to obey their rules! They do not operate by consent, and never have. By their own definition, they are not a government of good. I’m not sure such a creature has ever existed. The state is control, not freedom. The state is stagnancy, not change. They protect and serve themselves, not you and I.
Need some examples of the above? How about the city council ignoring the supermajority of Keene opposing the BEARCAT “tank” and going ahead with accepting the armored killing machine? It couldn’t have been more obvious that they don’t care what “the people” think. How about the police chief that pretends people like me don’t exist? KPD’s Ken Meola has sworn an oath to the NH constitution that says in article 8 that bureaucrats like him should be “open, accessible, accountable and responsive”, yet whenever he walks by and I say hello, he completely ignores me. What a joke! Judge Burke, among many outrageous and illegal episodes, arrested Ademo Freeman for felony “improper influence” for asking him questions on video while Burke was coming in to the city building. The charge was dropped eventually, but nothing was ever done to Burke for his illegal arrest. How about the activists who were banned “forever” from the “superior” courthouse property? It took over a year and the talents of a pro-bono attorney to overturn that no trespass order as unconstitutional. Could the sheriff who issued it be held liable for making such an illegal order? Nope. In addition, I’m still banned from all state liquor stores and Keene school district property for engaging in supposed freedom of speech.
Want more? How about the countless cameramen who have been threatened and arrested by state agents? In nearly every case, no consequence for “the state”. Of course, if there ever is any liability, as there was recently when the gang known as the town of Palmer, MA settled my camera arrest case for $5,000 – it wasn’t their money at stake – it’s taxpayers’! The system is so insane, it drove one local man, Tom Ball, to self-immolate in front of the “superior” court. That didn’t stop them for a moment. They are still rolling onward with destroying peaceful peoples’ lives. Don’t forget the current ridiculousness where the people calling themselves the “City of Keene” are suing the heroic Robin Hooders for saving thousands of motorists from receiving parking tickets. It’s impossible to sum up the extent of the malfeasance and corruption we’ve revealed on Free Keene over the years. As of this writing the site has over 3,500 posts and serves as a chronicle of our experiences thus far on this journey toward liberty.
You can end the state now, first in your mind and then by your actions. Stop paying taxes and instead start giving voluntary contributions to “the state” if you value any of their services. Take the money you save and send it to groups in the community that are actually doing the good work that you appreciate. Send it to a private school or support homeschoolers or unschoolers. Send it to Hundred Nights (or your local private homeless shelter) or the local food bank or Food Not Bombs or United Way or your favorite groups. Or, start your own charity.
We can stand together and disobey – or not. It’s up to you. I understand if you’re frightened. You have reasons to be. However, nothing worth doing is easy, and numbers make a difference. The more who stand up, the easier it will be for us all.
Say no to taxes for brainwashing and aggression. Say no to obedience. Remain at peace and love the aggressor. Let them know they are wrong, but do it with care. The state-believers are our confused brothers and sisters. Forgive them.
I hope my story of how I got where I am has been of use to you. I appreciate that you spent your time reading this far. What is your next step?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Learn liberty. You can read some great books here, free.
- Move to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project and get active.
- Join the Shire Society and declare your independence.
- Withhold a portion of your taxes and help convert “the state” into a consensually funded organization.
Also, consider joining the Shire Free Church as I have done. We are an interfaith, diverse group of people who may not share identical theological beliefs. As a member in or minister of the Shire Free Church, you are a sovereign individual and may be the faith of your choice whether it be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Daoist, Jewish, Quaker, etc, or following your inner light. Monotheists, polytheists, pantheists & panentheists, and atheists are all welcome, as long as you are peaceful. The Shire Free Church was organized in Keene in the year 2013 and serves all of the Shire.
What unifies the Shire Free Church and its diverse members is peace, love, and liberty. There are many paths to god – one for every individual. The Shire Free Church does not define a specific path beyond those parameters that must be your foundation: peace as your way, love as your guide, and liberty as your light. Learn more at http://church.shiresociety.com
I am grateful for your consideration of these ideas and all your efforts for liberty. Don’t be afraid. Change is coming, and the state people are the ones who are afraid. As NH “state representative” Cynthia Chase said earleir this year, “Free Staters are the single biggest threat the state is facing today.”
We are a threat because we remain peaceful and show the people what “the state” truly is by displaying their own violent actions for all to see who are willing to pay attention. Along with continuing education of the people, we need to deprive “the state” of further money and obedience. Their power structure will crumble forever and eventually people won’t believe in them or feel they need them anymore.
Someday future generations will wonder why we ever had a state, in the same way we look back at chattel slavery today.
Be the change you wish to see.
Host, “Free Talk Live”
Minister, Shire Free Church