True Freedom Explained For The Layman

True Freedom Explained For The Layman

You may not be aware of it, but there is an alternative to government.
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Note: The following is the first installment of what will be a relatively long series. This is just a brief overview and the subjects below will be covered more in-depth in the subsequent weeks. Also note that the use of “the State” is used synonymously here with “government.”

There are endless misconceptions about anarchism, which is largely due to a simple misunderstanding of this ideology. When someone brings up anarchy, the response is typically emotional, due to the fact that most people are largely invested in the current system and can’t envision anything to be this drastically different. More simply put, they are comfortable, and imagining an anarchist society is extremely uncomfortable for them.

Similarly, voluntaryism is a growling and popular anarchic school of thought, due to its appealing focus on property rights, which will be explained below.

For the remainder of this article, I will define and lay out the ideas behind these two philosophies.


What is anarchy?

Anarchy, etymologically, simply means “without rulers.” This is similar to the term “atheist,” whereby the “a” is simply a negation of theism (that is, the belief in deities/gods).

More broadly, anarchists wish to see all governments abolished and the fallacious idea of “authority” banished from the minds of men. That is real equality, because rulers seek to impose coercive hierarchies upon the people, which taints the relationships between not only individuals, but also between men and women, blacks and whites, straights and gays, etc.

There are essentially two categories of anarchists: propertarians (those who believe in private property) and anti-propertarians (those who don’t). The former participate in freedom festivals and use Bitcoin, while the latter participate in bashing store windows and setting cars on fire, utilizing the Black Bloc technique.

Speaking for myself, anarchism means absolute freedom, as long as my actions don’t infringe on anyone else’s person or property. That would place me in the category of a propertarian anarchist, because I think that the State infringes on property rights as a due matter of course.


What is voluntaryism?

Voluntaryism, previously (and still sometimes) known as anarcho-capitalism, is just one of the many anarchic schools of thought. It is anarchism, but it comes with a bill of wares. More specifically, the non-aggression principle (NAP), which deems all initiatory force (that is, coercion) to be immoral, and the axiom of self-ownership, which states that each individual is the exclusive controller of his person and property.

Voluntaryist.com provides the most eloquent definition I have been able to come across:

“Voluntaryists are advocates of non-political, non-violent strategies to achieve a free society. We reject electoral politics, in theory and in practice, as incompatible with libertarian principles. Governments must cloak their actions in an aura of moral legitimacy in order to sustain their power, and political methods invariably strengthen that legitimacy. Voluntaryists seek instead to delegitimize the State through education, and we advocate withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends.”

More simply put, adherents to this ideology believe that all interactions should be voluntary, which is a striking contrast to the State, whose modus operandi is to subjugate its populace through the use of force and coercion, such as through their monopoly on law, which gives them permission to engage in legal plunder of private property; similarly, is the deceptive notion of “democracy” and “voting,” whereby citizens are presented with the façade of getting to choose their masters is likewise coercive, mainly because voters are offsetting the risks of enforcement onto the government instead of honestly forcing their edicts upon their neighbors themselves.


Is it realistic?

Now that anarchy and voluntaryism have been explained and the misconceptions corrected, you may be thinking, “This sounds much better, but it will never happen.”

Granted, we may not see the abolition of the State in our lifetime, but anarchy already surrounds us.

Every day, we all experience it, the spontaneity within our lives. Whether that is a random walk around campus, a snap decision to buy a fifth of Jameson or reaching out to an old friend, it doesn’t matter. There is no central planner; we are left to our own devices—our mind, our impulses, our needs and our desires.

No coercion exists there, no justice is to be served and there are no moral judgments to be made, insofar as no other individual’s person or property is damaged; in other words, vices are not crimes. Whether you are dancing in a mosh pit or dating someone romantically, everything involved in those activities is voluntary.

99% of individuals practice voluntaryism every single day, albeit unknowingly. The problem is that government is held to a different standard of morals and ethics. To put it nicely, government itself is immoral and unethical because it initiates force and coerces its subjects into obedience.

Here’s the challenge I have for you: for one whole day, be conscious of the decisions you choose to make and who they impact. I would hedge my bets that you try to avoid conflict as much as possible and solve any problems that may arise, peacefully, and without the threat of and/or use of coercion.

Now, compare that to the daily operating procedures of government and how detrimental they are to each individual’s life, liberty and property. There will surely be more innocents murdered in the Middle East, peaceful people extorted by gunpoint at the side of the road, personal belongings stolen without due process and surely some other violations of self-ownership, such as taxation.

Government is not a “necessary evil,” it is a completely unnecessary evil. People always claim to be for peace and freedom, and the only way for those two things to exist is to get rid of the most dangerous mass murderer in the history of the world: the State.

Cover Image Credit: Deviant Art

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Clocking In: The 9 To 5 Feminist

Jane Fonda, #MeToo and Fashion
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She puts the finishing touches on her makeup, so they say she is in dress code. She buttons to the top of her blouse, so they don’t stare. She smiles and asks politely, so they won’t call her uptight. She doesn’t smile too much though, so they don’t think she’s flirting. She doesn’t question her salary, so they don’t report her. She doesn’t tell anyone what her creep of a boss did, so they don’t fire her. Just another day at the office.

She is not alone. The modern woman is forced to deal with workplace discrimination and sexual harassment in silence. Even her dress code, from the makeup on her face to the heels on her feet, is designed with a restrictive double standard.

Despite past efforts to combat such inequality, this has largely remained the status quo. However, 2017 marked a turning point in the fight for a workplace equality with the viral social media campaigns #MeToo and #TimesUp, which are aimed at combating sexual harassment and sexist double standards.

These campaigns amplify the forceful rallying cries of working women and shines light on the unspoken reality of their experiences in the workplace at the hands of men. These protests echo the feminist movement of the 1970s which was in part influenced by its representation in film, an iconic example of which is Jane Fonda’s trailblazing production of “9 to 5.”

Taking inspiration from her friend’s Boston organization of female workers “Nine to Five,” Fonda sought to bring to light the untold stories women in the office often experienced in a way that was palpable to the public: comedy. The 1980 office satire “9 to 5,” starring Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Fonda herself, addresses the wage gap, sexual harassment and blatant sexism through the lens of three women fed up with their villainous, misogynistic male boss.

In “9 to 5,” the boss subjects the feminist trio to different aspects of the same sexist narrative. He calls the new girl stupid and incapable. He demands his secretary to turn around and bend over for his viewing pleasure. He takes the credit of the only female office manager to further his standing with the company. The sexist dynamic between him and the trio is reflected in their attire and connects the events of the movie to the feminist movement as a whole.

Stereotyped as the weaker sex, the female employees of “9 to 5” adhere to a strict dress code characteristic of 1970s workplace apparel of below the knee skirts, silk ties, blouses adorned with bows, heels and a full face of makeup. The physical restrictiveness and beauty standards imposed on women by their male superiors shows the subtlety of sexist workplace culture.

Outside the office, women of the 1970s were embracing comfort and function in their casual fashion. Denim jeans, loose-fitting shirts and flat Oxford shoes reflected the growing movement of women to make their own choices and live as they please, free from the limitations of the patriarchy. Within the walls of the office, however, it was still very much a man’s world.

The requirement that women maintain feminine standards of beauty in the office ensures that the standard of acceptable clothing for working women is decided by the men. As a consequence, men use this double standard to solidify ideas that women are incapable of a man’s job and are not to be taken seriously. Sexist ideas like these supported the wage gap and kept women from advancing, despite having the qualifications to do so.

By the film’s end, however, “9 to 5” rejects this pervasive narrative that women’s capabilities are limited by their clothing. Following a series of bumbling mishaps, the trio find themselves in charge of the company and replace the sexist status quo with a progressive and equal workplace, fulfilling the goal of the feminist movement.

In showing the efficiency and progressiveness of a female-run workplace, the film shows that women are equally capable of a man’s job (and that they can do it better). “9 to 5” redefined working women as competent and equal to men, shedding the stereotypes of how they should dress and behave to appease the sexist status quo.

Considering the current political climate of social regression, despite changes in clothing and office technology, the dynamic between men and women in the office hasn’t changed much. Women still earn less than men. Men hold most positions of power. The goals of the current #MeToo and #TimesUp movements mirror the fanciful aspirations of “9 to 5.”

But what’s changed? What has made the contemporary feminist movements so much more powerful and influential than any before them? Deemed radical for its time, the progressive themes of equality and a workplace free of harassment are now contemporary feminist staples. The era of inclusion is fast approaching. Thanks to the current feminist revolt and the trailblazing of the past, men in positions of power are no longer able to use their influence as a shield to silence women or hide behind the public eye.

In a symbolic exchange of the unending struggle of the feminist movement at the 2017 Emmy Awards, Fonda reminds us that “back in 1980, in that movie, (Parton, Tomlin and I) refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.” Tomlin reminds us of the challenges that lie ahead in the final push for equality. “And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”

Cover Image Credit: Rob Young

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To The Students Walking Out On April 20th

Build the change. Push the change. Be the change.
Cali C.
Cali C.
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Dear students participating in the national walkout on April 20th,

On March 14th, you walked out of your schools for 17 minutes to remember the 17 innocent lives that were brutally taken at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On March 24th, you marched in one of the 800+ marches around the world to demand long-overdue change and you stood up for those who cannot anymore due to gun violence.

You may have been ridiculed for what you did. You may have received ill-mannered remarks from your peers, and surprisingly (but not really, if we’re being honest here), adults. Some of your schools’ administrations even punished you for protesting peacefully. Some people said that what you were doing "won't change anything." The list of negative expressions towards the walkout and the march could go on and on, unfortunately.

However, all if not almost every historical national movement also faced criticism. But they kept going. And their voices were heard. And change happened.

On April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, you will walk out again to remember the victims of that day (it’s daunting how many events correlate to that statement) and to tell the world that silence is no longer an option.

You will no longer go to school, a concert, the movies, the mall, church, anywhere and have the fear that you may not make it home that day. You will no longer live under laws that remain unchanged after far too many lives have been taken by something that should have been taken care of a long time ago.

You will no longer tolerate the cycle of “shooting...thoughts and prayers...debate...no change in anything...life goes back to normal.”

You’ve probably heard this everywhere these past two months, but do not stop after that day. Because this is so much more than just a walkout. This is so much more than just a march. This is so much more than the hashtag and the videos and photos you’re seeing on social media.

Educate yourself on issues that matter. Go to your town hall meetings. Get involved in your school, city, and state organizations. And most important of them all - register to vote. If you are too young to vote, that does not mean that your voice does not matter. Volunteer at the polls. Discuss current events in your community. Practice civic engagement. Whatever you do, do not stop contributing to this turning point in history.

You are the future. You are the leaders we need.

It's about damn time something is done to end gun violence, and it starts with you.

The world is going to be a better place because of you, and don’t you dare let anyone convince you otherwise.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram
Cali C.
Cali C.

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