By Frederick Mann
© Copyright 1994, 1997 Build Freedom Holdings ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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SEMANTIC FREEDOM LETTER #3
In 1976 I first read Lysander Spooner's The Constitution of No Authority (see Report #TL07: The Constitution of No Authority). Spooner indicated that the so-called "U.S. Constitution" was never signed in a way that made it a legal or valid contract. Therefore, he argued there has never been such a thing as the so-called "United States of America." Furthermore, all the so-called "Presidents," "Secretaries," "Ambassadors," etc. have been fraudulent imposters. He also indicated that the same applied to all other so-called "countries" in the world.
In other words, all the political systems in the world are fraudulent hoaxes. By the way, the syntax "so-called "U.S. Constitution"" indicates that the very concept of "U.S. Constitution" is being challenged. A more powerful syntax is "falsely-called "U.S. Constitution,"" "falsely-called "President,"" etc.
Some time ago, I attended a Libertarian Party meeting in Phoenix where Mr. Eric Klien gave a presentation on The Atlantis Project - to build a floating-city-free-country. About 60 people attended. I handed out a one-page flyer on Build Freedom to about 50 people. My flyer started with the words, "Build Freedom is a worldwide free country that extends across national borders."
As I listened to the questions from the audience and Mr. Klien's excellent answers, it suddenly dawned on me that the idea of a "worldwide free country that extends across national borders" might seem too bizarre for anyone in the audience to take seriously.
Since 1982 I've been trying with limited success to get freedom-oriented people to see that the entire political system is a hoax and a fraud. I woke one morning with what might turn out to be a breakthrough idea: BOUGHT-INTO-THE SYSTEM.
Ten days ago a friend sent me this fax:
"A Summary of Political Thought at the Dawn of the Third Millennium:
LIBERALS: The Emperor should help the poor!
CONSERVATIVES: The Emperor should help the rich!
LIBERTARIANS: The Emperor has no clothes!
TERRA LIBRANS: Why do you call that naked man Emperor?"
We have represented here degrees to which various people have bought into the system. The "liberals" (modern-day American "liberals" are not very liberal in that they advocate all kinds of fascist and socialist forms of government force) buy into the system to an extreme degree. They see government ("the emperor") as a solution to practically everything.
Conservatives buy into the system to a lesser degree. They think there are certain things government must do, but apart from these things there should be a free market. (Nevertheless, many Libertarians see no essential difference between liberals and conservatives. They talk about "demopublicans" or "republicrats.")
Libertarians buy into the system to a still lesser degree. We need a distinction between political and non-political Libertarians. Political Libertarians seek to bring about freedom via political means to change the political system. They have bought into the system in that they employ political means.
Non-political Libertarians reject political means to bring about freedom. They tend to buy into the system to a lesser degree than political Libertarians, but they still tend to believe they can't be free unless the political system is changed. They may focus on educational activities such as distributing literature and writing letters to newspapers. They've bought into the system to the extent they believe they must obey the system and the system must be changed for them to be free.
Mr. Klien and his supporters have given up on the political means to change the system. They've decided to build a floating-city free country with a very free (though not entirely free) political system.
The freedom philosophy of Build Freedom is based on the recognition that individuals are free and sovereign by nature, as primarily espoused by Rose Wilder Lane (The Discovery of Freedom) and Harry Browne (How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World). By acquiring certain knowledge, methods, and skills (Freedom Technology), we can live free. We also create alternative voluntary institutions. We induce people to shift their economic activities into the Build Freedomn free market. This shift will eventually bring about the collapse of coercive political systems. In the meantime, we enjoy a great deal of freedom, make and keep more money, and even make money from the effort of inducing others to shift their economic activities into the Build Freedomn free market.
Build Freedomn philosophy and strategy are also based on the recognition that the entire political system is a hoax and a fraud. This suggests that rather than trying to change the system, we need to persuade people to stop believing in the system. We need to make a distinction between physical reality and social reality. The North American continent is an aspect of physical reality. The notion that a certain portion of this continent is the so-called "U.S.A." is social reality. The notion is a function of social agreement, rather than physical reality. Similarly, the notion that "Bill Clinton is president of the U.S.A." is a function of social agreement. To the extent that you regard these notions as valid, you buy into the system.
The Libertarian (particularly the non-political) says, "The President has no clothes!" Thus the Libertarian buys into the system by accepting the notion that "Bill Clinton is president of the U.S.A." More fundamentally, the Libertarian buys into the system by accepting the concept of "president" (in the political sense) as valid. The Build Freedomn says, "Why do you call that naked man President?" Thus the Build Freedomn rejects the notion that "Bill Clinton is president of the U.S.A." If you believe there's such a thing as the supposed "U.S.A." with Bill Clinton as its so-called "President," you've bought into the system. The Build Freedomn who accepts as valid the concept of "president" (in the political sense), is still buying into the system.
When we interact with people we need to judge the degree to which they've bought into the system. The policeman acts as if the political/legal system is physical reality and he carries a gun to prove it. You don't argue freedom philosophy with him and his gun.
In general, political Libertarians are not the best prospects for Build Freedom. The concept, philosophy, and strategy of Build Freedom are all based on having jumped out of the system. To the political Libertarian everything about Build Freedom might seem absurd. However, some political Libertarians are disillusioned with the lack of results achieved so far through political actions. They may be prospects for Build Freedom.
There's a huge divide between the political Libertarian and the Build Freedomn. The former believes freedom comes from changing things outside yourself. The latter changes self to expand personal power and freedom. The former believes in fighting and making sacrifices for the cause of freedom. The latter expands personal freedom and power and profits from creating expanded options in life generally. The shift from political Libertarian to Build Freedomn is a much bigger shift than that from "average person" to political Libertarian.
The advanced Build Freedomn eventually realizes that the most fundamental basis of the coercive political system is a system of concepts. To jump out of this system, it's necessary to develop the thinking ability to analyze and question concepts. Let's take the concept of "king" as an example. Suppose I were to visit a naive society that doesn't have concepts like "king" and "subject." Suppose that I could get the people of this society to believe that I'm a special person with superior powers, therefore I'm to be called "king." Because of my superiority I have a higher status; they are therefore my inferior "subjects." If I can persuade the people of this society to accept the concepts of "king" and "subject" I will gain great advantages over them. Because I'm "king" and they're "subjects," they must obey me, feed me, kiss my feet, provide me with women for my pleasure, protect me against enemies, etc.
To the extent that the people of this society accept concepts like "king" and "subject," they've bought into the system and they pay the price. They have, in fact, enslaved themselves by accepting the concepts of another and making them their own.
The semantically free Build Freedomn says, "Why do you regard the concept of "Emperor" (so-called) as valid?" If you use the concepts of the enemy as if valid, you've bought into the system at the most basic and most powerful level.
Some years ago I stayed with an Anarchist Libertarian friend in New York. One evening he and several friends were discussing World War II. My friend was much too young to have participated in the war, but when talking about the successes of the American army he repeatedly said, "We did so-and-so." Similarly, I've heard Libertarians talk about "our government," "our president," and "doing my taxes." They've bought into the system at the most basic and most powerful level.
We've established a hierarchy of levels of bought-into-the-system. Generally, you have to talk to people at their level or slightly above. You can't talk to most political Libertarians about Build Freedom and expect to get anywhere.
It's relatively easy for Mr. Klien to sell his project to political Libertarians because it's pitched at a level only slightly above theirs. Instead of changing the system, we build our own country on the sea with our own political system. Mr. Klien also operates in a mode familiar to political Libertarians: asking people for contributions for the cause.
I must emphasize that there's nothing wrong or inappropriate with political Libertarianism or Mr. Klien's project. Freedom expands as the cumulative result of many different strategies and tactics. Different audiences are ready for messages at levels appropriate to each. In attempting to communicate freedom, we need to be very aware of the level of our audience.
Buying into a system is an investment. In a way, jumping out of a system involves writing off the investment. All along the levels, people invest in the systems they buy into. The political Libertarian invests in the form of paying taxes and feeling bitter about it, contributing to the cause, and working without pay.
Psychologically, presenting Build Freedom to political Libertarians is telling them that their investment was a mistake and they must write it off. It's much easier to sell Build Freedom to non-political Libertarians because they've already become disillusioned with political action and written off their investment in that domain.
The psychological, intellectual, and emotional investment in concepts is enormous. Asking someone to question the validity of concepts like "king," "subject," "state," "country," "government," "nation," "president," "law," etc. is for most people too much. Many Build Freedomns will have trouble questioning these statist concepts. In a way, questioning a basic concept challenges your entire knowledge structure. To question a basic concept, you have to be willing to consider writing off the investment in at least part of your knowledge structure.
The jump from "Why do you call that naked man Emperor?" to "Why do you regard the concept of "Emperor" as valid?" may be a much bigger jump than that from Libertarian to Build Freedomn. The ratio could be as follows:
(1) From "average person" to Libertarian - a 10 foot jump;
(2) From Libertarian to Build Freedomn - a 100 foot jump;
(3) From Build Freedomn to Semantic Freedom - a 1,000 foot jump.
Freespeak and Slavespeak
Chapter 8 of Robert J. Ringer's book Restoring the American Dream is titled "Keeping It All in Place." Ringer's theme is that coercive political systems are held in place by words. He indicates how Hitler gained power through his skill as a "word spreader." He enumerates the "arsenal of words" used to maintain coercive political systems. He lists "government" as one of these words.
Central to coercive political systems is mind control. The most basic unit of mind control is the word or concept. Earlier I indicated what happens if I were to visit a naive society, and persuade them that I was "king" (falsely-called) and they were "subjects" (falsely-called). Suppose I were to further persuade them that my words have a special power, must be obeyed, and are "the law." If they accept the concept of "law" (falsely-called) as valid, they put themselves at a disadvantage to me. By accepting the concept, they enslave themselves. They have bought into my system to control and dominate them.
Similarly, I can persuade them to accept the concept of "tax" (falsely-called). "Theft" is more appropriate. By persuading my victims to buy into my system, I gain the power to live off their labor like a parasite (or cannibal).
Slavespeak consists of coercive political control words: "king," "queen," "president," "state," "government," "law," "tax," etc. To the extent that you use these words as if valid, you speak Slavespeak.
To the extent that you speak in a manner that demonstrates your rejection of the validity of these words - and you also induce others to question these words - to that extent you speak Freespeak.
There's a trap here. You have to be very careful with Freespeak. Very few people are ready for Freespeak. If you try Freespeak on people who are not ready for it, you'll only antagonize them. Advanced thinking skills are required to question words like "state," "government," "law," etc. In general, to communicate, you have to speak Slavespeak - or lose your audience!
Fortunately, you can use a "transition technique." You can use words and phrases like "territorial gangster," "territorial criminal," "terrocrat," "department against agriculture," etc. - when you think it's appropriate.
Jumping out of the System
To jump out of coercive political systems at least the following steps are necessary:
1. Recognize that you are a free and sovereign individual - see Reports #TL04: How to Find Out Who You Are and #TL05: How to Discover Your Freedom.
2. Recognize that all coercive political systems are fraudulent hoaxes - see Report #TL07: The Constitution of No Authority.
3. Recognize that words are different from the things words supposedly represent. We have some words, which upon critical analysis, turn out to represent nothing - or an illusion. For example, the word "king" represents the illusion of "magical superiority."
4. Develop the ability to critically analyze words/concepts to determine if the acceptance of these words/concepts as valid provides you with advantages or disadvantages.
5. Become aware of "holdcepts" and "jumpcepts." A holdcept is a word or concept that keeps you stuck in a system. Slavespeak words like "state," "government," "law," etc. are designed to keep you stuck in coercive political systems. Words like "territorial gangster," "territorial criminal," "terrocrat," etc. are designed to help you jump out of coercive political systems.
6. Read Chapter 8 of Robert J. Ringer's book Restoring the American Dream, titled "Keeping It All in Place." Consider each word or phrase he classifies as part of the politician's arsenal. Think about how the acceptance as valid of each of these words/phrases keeps people stuck in the coercive political system. Realize that each of these words or phrases is a holdcept. For each, invent a jumpcept. For example: "welfare" becomes "badfare"; "Department of Justice" becomes "Department of Injustice"; "government" becomes "gang of liars, imposters, thieves, robbers, and murderers"; "constitution" becomes "constifusion"; etc.
7. Use words consciously - particularly Slavespeak words like "state," "government," "law," etc. - in the attempt to produce specific results. Become very aware of your audience and how they react or respond to words. By consciously I mean that you need to choose your words, keeping in mind the level of understanding of your audience. When you use Slavespeak words, the only reason for doing so should be to gain sufficient psychological and emotional acceptance from your audience so your message will be heard. In doing so be careful to not fall into the trap of being suckered into the thinking patterns of Slavespeak.
8. Experiment with jumpcepts, for example, the syntax, "Clinton, the falsely-called "president."" Compare politics and religion. The falsely-called "pope" is supposed to enjoy "papal infallibility" (so-called), meaning it's impossible for him to make a mistake! Falsely-called "papal infallibility" is an illusion. Does accepting such concepts as valid provide you with advantages or disadvantages?
9. Developing your thinking skills. In Chapter 8 of Robert J. Ringer's book Restoring the American Dream, titled "Keeping It All in Place," he quotes Bertrand Russell:
"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth - more than ruin, more even than death. Thought ... is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is ... indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid."
10. Here is a partial list from the words Mr. Ringer includes in his "arsenal" used by the "governing elite" to seduce their victims: "the people," "the public," "society," "government," "country," "taxation," "conscription," "patriotic," "public good," "public property," "public interest." Conspicuously absent from Mr. Ringer's list is the word "law." Think about these Slavespeak words and phrases and how they keep people locked in Slavethink.
Ideally you would wish to communicate without using Slavespeak at all. However, if you tried to eliminate all Slavespeak, very few people would understand what you're talking about. So focus on: What is the specific result I wish to obtain on this occasion with this audience? Through such focus you develop your thinking skills.
Levels of Statism
Statism occurs at three levels:
1. Overt behavior - salute the Emperor - arrest the lawbreaker;
2. Beliefs - the Emperor must be obeyed - the law must be obeyed/repealed;
3. Concepts/words - Emperor - law.
Filing and paying "your taxes" (falsely-called) is engaging in overt statist behavior. (Irrespective of the extent of your freedom-development, your situation may be such that it's appropriate for you to file and pay.)
The belief that taxes are necessary is statism at the level of belief. Libertarians or Build Freedomns who believe that they have to pay taxes or go to jail, are practicing statism at the level of belief.
You can be a statist at the level of behavior, belief, or concept. If you regard concepts like "Emperor," "government," and "law" as valid, you practice statism at the level of concept. This is the most fundamental and most powerful level of statism.
To regard the noises and scribbles that emanate from the mouths and pens of territorial gangsters as "the law" is quite absurd. The notion of the "law" (so-called) is an "hallawcinotion!" It sounds even better in French: "La notion de la loi (soi-disant) est une halloicinotion!"
IDENTIFYING WITH THE ENEMY
by Mark Lindsay
If you want to increase your personal freedom and power, you need to continuously develop your thinking skills. Even if you are already a genius, you can still benefit from intelligence-boosting information. The information I am providing in this article can increase your personal power enormously by alerting you to certain psychological processes which may be keeping you shackled to self-limiting thinking modes.
Individualist Vs. Collectivist Thinking
The words we use have a direct effect on the way we think. There is an intimate relation between our words and our thoughts. And if we are not careful, the words we use can limit our thoughts and our ability to produce the results we want. Ayn Rand once said, "No mind is better than the precision of its concepts."
Many freedom-lovers continue to use words which limit their ability to use their freedom productively, especially when promoting it. I'm referring to statist fraud-words such as "country," "president," "law," "government," etc. Using these words keeps you locked in a collectivist mode of thinking. Many Libertarians are stuck in this position. Instead of simply leaping out of the collectivist way of thinking they waste their time, money and energy playing useless games with the statists. You can see the irony in this: trying to talk about individual freedom using collectivist terminology. No wonder they can't get their point across. It's a guaranteed no-win situation. Just by using these words - without qualifying them - you blind yourself to your own inborn freedom.
In order to avoid this trap you need to shift to an individualistic mode of thinking, which includes using words in a way which reflects this orientation. In an individualistic framework, you think in terms of individual terrocrats rather than a gigantic, overwhelming "government." You think of freedom as emanating from the individual as opposed to being granted by (so-called) "government." You think in terms of freeing yourself instead of asking for "permission" from the (so-called) "government."
But if individualistic thinking is so much more productive, why do so many freedom advocates continue to operate within the collectivist framework of thinking? The rest of this article is an attempt to shed some light on this problem.
Questioning Your Assumptions
Part of the problem is that many people do not bother to question their basic assumptions or premises. They operate from the same assumptions that everyone else is operating from. Expanding your skill in this area will help you.
The problem multiplies when, faced with new and different information which challenges the old assumptions, a person automatically, without consideration, rejects the new information. Many people even react emotionally and/or violently when confronted with information which challenges their beliefs. They react as if they had been physically attacked.
What is the explanation for this behavior? Part of the answer lies in a process called "identification."
Identification is basically the process of including certain aspects of experience within your self-concept, your sense of who you are. People can identify with almost anything - ideas, feelings, their body, other people, their house, their car, their job, their "country," and on and on. We all know someone who is overly sensitive or "touchy" when we try to borrow a book or a tool or anything else which belongs to them. They act as if we are trying to take a part of their own being away from them. Another good example is the teenage boy who sees his first car as an extension of himself (his ego). People identify (or perhaps we could coin a new word: "identificate") by attaching what psychologist Charles Tart calls the "this-is-me" quality to something. Information which has the "this-is-me" quality attached to it is treated differently than other information.
One consequence of identification is that information stamped with the "this-is-me" quality now possesses a kind of "emotional charge." For example, watch how you feel after reading each of the following statements. "Mr. Williamson is a hideous looking fool." "You [the reader] are a hideous looking fool." The first sentence is just a piece of information, in the same way that the statement, "The sky is blue," is just a piece of information. The second sentence, however, has an emotional element to it. This is because you identify with your body. People often react to a verbal attack as if they were being physically attacked. This is because the power of the emotional component of the information is further increased through a connection with basic survival emotions.
This not only happens with verbal attacks - such as name-calling - but with any challenge to information stamped with the "this-is-me" quality. The crucial point to understand is that when someone reacts emotionally or dismisses out of hand any information which conflicts with their "me-information," they are not defending the validity of the ideas, but rather they are defending their self-esteem. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of this debilitating psychological phenomenon - identification mostly occurs involuntarily and unconsciously. The ability to detach yourself from information and look at it objectively greatly enhances both your thinking skills and your personal power.
Almost all of us were conditioned or even coerced into identifying with statist fraud-concepts. For the most part this took place when we were children. Recall how you were forced to pledge allegiance to "the flag." What did the teachers do if you refused? You were conditioned to identify with things which were contrary to your nature.
The way to minimize the negative effects of identification is to practice self-observation and become more conscious of your own mental processes. When you are in control, you choose whether or not to identify with something. Be aware: when you give your sense of identity to something outside of you, you give away some of your personal power. Many times it's beneficial for you to do this to one degree or another. The key point is that any "identification" (as described here) is done voluntarily and consciously.
Additions by Frederick Mann
The Build Freedom core personnel identify emotionally and passionately with Build Freedom. A lot of the time we "eat, drink, and sleep" Build Freedom. This is beneficial identification - it results in dedicated work to provide better customer service and to help Build Freedom succeed and expand. It inspires new ideas to improve Build Freedom.
But if someone sends us a letter criticizing Build Freedom, we don't get upset. The identification with Build Freedom is conscious. Even though we identify with Build Freedom, we evaluate the criticism consciously. We ask: "Is the person really criticizing Build Freedom, or is he just venting his negative emotions or writing about his own prejudices, biases, and misconceptions?" If the criticism is valid, we take a good look at what we need to improve.
Conscious identification also means that Build Freedom never becomes an idol to us. It's a game we play.
Identification and idolatry are closely related. An idol is something you worship - or hate; something you identify with positively or negatively. Most modern idols are abstract concepts - often collective concepts like "our nation," "the state," "the government," or "the IRS." Clinging to these concepts - positively or negatively - is both identification and idolatry.
Idols like "the flag," "one nation under god," "the law," etc. are inculcated through cultural brainwashing.
The urge to identify with something outside yourself is an aspect of the bicameral stages of consciousness - see Report #TL10: How to Achieve and Increase Personal Power. So we find a Scientologist identifying with founder L. Ron Hubbard and saying: "What you say can't be true, because if it were true, Ron would have said it." And we find Dr. Frank Wallace writing "The Neo-Tech Bible" and Neo-Tech followers adopting Dr. Wallace's "I-ness" and "honesty-that-is-the-same-for-everyone" as idols.
Because such idols have a "this-is-me" quality, when they're questioned or challenged, the idolator tends to regard it as a personal attack and may become emotional or even vicious.
One of the most self-empowering things you can do is to smash your own idols. I highly recommend the books: The Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche and The Ego and Its Own by Max Stirner. The ability or thinking skill to be developed is QUESTION EVERYTHING.