The Fifth Box

In regards to the insane number of tyrannical pieces of legislation that have been making their way through the United States legislature as of late Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Pirate Party, wrote and article titled Do We Really Have To Prepare For The Fourth Box. The article refers to the common four boxes of liberty meme as explained in the article:

Soap box: A box you stand on in the street trying to explain your views to the public. Figuratively, building public opinion for your case.

Ballot box: Public, free, democratic elections. If the laws don’t work, and the elected representatives don’t get it, replace them.

Jury box: If no public representatives get it, neither the elected nor those available to elect, the second to last line of defense is the judicial system, which can overturn laws that go against the most fundamental rights.

Ammo box: If the system has been so thoroughly corrupted that the entire establishment is acting as one, and it is not possible to change the laws to safeguard fundamental liberties, then only one option remains.

As you can guess by the title of Falkvinge’s post he is questioning whether or not it’s time to ready the ammo box. Truth be told I was never really a fan of the four boxes of liberty meme because it left out the fifth option, agorism. Agorism, for those who don’t wish to read the entire Wikipedia article, can basically be summed up as a system of counter-economics where the government is entirely cut out of the transactions. The idea is simple, you starve the best by cutting off its life

  • blood
  • of tax money.

    In a sense agorism deals with government displeasure in the same way people deal with business displeasure. When you are unsatisfied with a product or service you receive from a business you stop giving them money (unless the government is compelling you to give them money of course). One can take agorism to absolute extremes or only practice is in a few key areas of their life. Those who work only for cash that goes unreported, own no property, and buy everything via the free market (often incorrectly called the black market by racist economists) you will pay no income tax, no property tax, and no sales tax. Of course such drastic measures are not within the reach of many such as myself but we can still practice agorism in little bits and pieces. Every time you work for cash that goes unreported or buy something from a friend and refuse to pay the accompanying sales tax to the state you’re participating in the philosophy of agorism.

    Practices in large enough amounts agorism can theoretically destroy a state. Without money to feed the police and military governments find themselves without enforcers making all their laws benign. Even if the government controls a country’s money it matters not if all goods and services are paid for using an alternative currency agreed upon by those performing transactions.

    For argument let’s pretend a large majority of the United States populace started practicing agorism. Instead of trading for United States dollars the people started trading with each other using gold, silver, copper, and .22 LR ammunition (since everybody has a stockpile of the last item). Most people are listed as unemployed and therefore have no income to pay taxes on. Without income people have no source of dollars and therefore buy their goods and services on the free market and report nothing to pay sales tax on. Those who did own property abandoned it to avoid paying property taxes. Basically dollars would become useless as people stopped accepting them for trade (this is how the free market chooses money by the way). Police and military personell would start abandoning the state as their dollars become worthless for buying food and the government would find itself unable to buy new military gear since weapons manufacturers would stop accepting dollars as well.

    Obviously the above scenario is far fetched but I presented it simply to explain how agorism can theoretically bring down a state.

    I’m not a fan of the ammo box. It requires the violent overthrow of the government, an act that is likely to only breed more violence down the road. Even if the government is successfully overthrown you will be left with mountains of dead bodies and likely warlords fighting one another for control over various territories. Once in a great while an event like the American Revolution does happen and a more free society is established but such an event requires the right people and I doubt we have those kinds of people today. I won’t go so far as to say violent revolution is never necessary, there are many instances where it is necessary, but I also believe there are other alternatives that should be examined before such a move is made.

    To win a war one must be creative. Even Sun Tzu, the man (or men depending on who you talk to) who wrote The Art of War, said, “Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” The most desirable of victories are those obtained without bloodshed.