Publisher’s Note:  Russell is one of my favorite freedom voices in the blogosphere.  His perspective is well-informed and incisive.  He and I have unknowingly been charting parallel courses in advocacy of secession as the only means to achieve true freedom.  He was gracious enough to provide the following interview. Be sure to visit his always scintillating blog at DumpDC.  Enjoy. -BB

  Russell, tell us about the journey.  Are you a native-born libertarian or is there a road you took to get there?  How far did you go?  Have you arrived at the logical conclusion of ethical anarchism?

I grew up in a Christian Republican home in West Michigan, son of a building contractor. Being Republican was like being Christian…I didn’t know anything else. But by late teen years (’69-’71) I was questioning everything. That didn’t endear me to my father. But despite the doubts, I stayed Republican until about 1996, and Christian until about 2009. I am now a Deist Anarchist Secessionist. I moved from West Michigan to the Atlanta area in 1992. We luckily landed in Cobb County, the most Republican county in the state. Soon thereafter, I began attending the every-other-Saturday Cobb County Republican breakfasts. Every statewide or national candidate for anything had to pay obeisance to the Cobb group. I got to meet lots of interesting people. But then, in 1994, my 6th District Congressman, Newt Gingrich, leapt from back-bencher to the Speaker of the House. We were all giddy. In the months after that, I got to see first-hand that all it was about was who got to hold the Federal checkbook. During this time, I was reading voraciously.  Bastiat, Mises, Tom Payne,  Rothbard, Hazlitt, Lysander Spooner…and the list goes on. The more I read, the more disillusioned I became with politics. But the hungrier I became for real liberty.  I left the Republican Party. I found the Libertarian Party.  They said all the right things, wrote the right things…but didn’t DO all the right things. It was like herding cats. The Libertarians didn’t seem capable of agreeing on anything. And the more I became familiar with the National Libertarian leadership, the more I felt like they simply looked at politics as the answer, not liberty. I left the Libertarians too. In the ensuing years, I read more and more. In May of 2009, I started a blog simply to vent my own spleen about my thoughts about liberty. I had come to the irrevocable conclusion that the only way to solve the problems in the United States of America was secession. But I was not resigned to secession as merely one tool among many. I was convinced that it was…and is…the ONLY possible solution to restore individual liberty and property rights on North American soil.

You and I have both written on secession and I am so grateful for the voice you give to it.  Tell us why secession is the only virtuous form of voting.

You’re welcome, Bill. First let’s define secession. It is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity.  The very act of secession demonstrates individual liberty, since it is a physical manifestation of the Unalienable Rights of Free Speech, Ownership of one’s Labor, Property Rights, Right to Contract and Free Association.  If a person or group of persons cannot freely secede, then they are slaves. There is no middle ground. We must acknowledge that there will be consequences from the withdrawal. But the act of secession is sacrosanct. It refuses to keep participating in the membership of the entity from which it seeks to withdraw. So its virtue is found in its act of withdrawal…the final vote, so to speak. And the post-secession liberty is instant. Whatever burdens, whatever court decisions, whatever taxation, whatever regulation that exists in the old organization no longer hold sway or jurisdiction over the secessor. You. Are. FREE.

What is your response to those who claim that a fractured united states will quickly become a satrap or wholly owned subsidiary of larger foreign powers.

How often do you get to use the word “satrap” in a sentence? Good show! My opinion is that it’s entirely possible that some states or regions could align with a seemingly benevolent master…theoretically. Those who would do so would likely be of the socialist world view, so for them, the politics wouldn’t change much, only the flag on the podium of their church. (Did I say that?)

I've written before on the meaning of Romans 13, that chapter of the Bible which includes the admonition to "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." That chapter does not mean that Christians are to be ultimately beholden to their governments. In context, it is an indictment against violence, and a statement about the duties of government. But today's church ignores this. Today's church is often a cheerleading platform for the state and the military as much as for God and for charity. The clearest examples of this are the flags which often stand behind the pulpit: the stars and stripes of the united states, and the Christian flag developed in the late 19th century. This represents a dangerous conflict of interest: are we to regard our allegiance to God as equal with our allegiance to the government? The traditional separation of the church from the state in this country serves not only to keep religious law from interfering with the laws of the land, but also to protect religions from the state. Remember, the early Puritans, the 'Pilgrims' of the Thanksgiving story, fled England to escape the British crown's oppression of their faith. While kings and governments are ordained and permitted by God, our universal submission to them is not; witness the children of Israel, resisting Pharaoh, and King Herod's fear and persecution of Jesus. When we stand the battle flag of our country in a church, we endorse an unholy union between the church and the state. No longer can we say...

"The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel." ~ H.L. Mencken
A friend of mine walked up to me one morning looking very upset. He was looking like he needed to get something off of his mind. I asked him what was wrong, and he said in a half joking, half serious tone, "well apparently I'm not a citizen of this country!" Before I continue with the story I have to tell you the amazing tale of this man's father. He was a soldier in WWII, and he fought at the battle of the bulge. In a German artillery bombardment, he had one of his legs blown off. As he lay there severely wounded, German soldiers approached him. Seeing this man was still alive, they raked him with automatic machine gun fire at point blank range. I'm not too sure how this man got out of there alive, his son told me that he didn't remember much after he was shot up by the Germans, only that he remembered waking up in an American field hospital and thankful to be alive. He served with the 101st Airborne Division. Years later he was a foreign correspondent for the Voice of America. While covering the Vietnam conflict, his son, my friend, was born in Thailand. After he came back from Vietnam, he went to work for a newspaper out of Colorado. My friend came into work one morning to find that a confidential letter had been slipped into his toolbox. It was a letter from the records department informing him that his social security card copy they had on file for him was illegible. This department was in the middle of an internal audit, and they needed him to provide a copy of his social security card that was readable. Returning home that night he retrieved his card and found that his copy had become worn over the years, and concluded it needed to be replaced. He ventured down to the local social security office to see about getting his battered card replaced, and that's when the fun began. It seems the local bureaucratic tyrant takes his job a bit too seriously. My friend instructed the socialist security bureaucrat that he needed to replace his card. He explained that the card that was on file for him at his employer was illegible, and his current card was unable to be recopied. He said the bureaucrat became very upset about this and he said, "you tell your employer that they are breaking the law by copying social security cards, you tell them I said so! You tell them the Federal Government says so!" After the bureaucrat was done ranting and needlessly flexing his petty power, he asked for my friends name and social security number. After he punched in his name and socialist tracking number, he looked up at my friend with a shocked look on his face. At this time the bureaucrat motioned to another bureaucrat to come over and observe his computer screen. They both looked at each other and then they went back to looking at the screen. The bureaucrat that was "serving" my friend looked up at him and asked him if he was born in this country, and he responded with a no. The bureaucrat then preceded to tell him he is not a "legal citizen", and that in fact he is an "illegal alien". My friend explained that he was born in a military hospital, and that his father was a government employee when he was born. The bureaucrat said he didn't care about any of that, and he would not help him anymore until he produced a specific piece of paper that was given to his parents in Thailand over forty years ago. He explained to me that he has no idea where this paper is, and he has no idea what to do.
“Happy Veterans Day and thank you for your service” or “thanks for protecting our freedom.” What!  I hear this familiar refrain again and again every November.  I am appalled whenever this unthinking salutation is proffered. I am a retired career Army officer and like USMC General Smedley Butler before me, I find these sentiments to be hogwash. The only service rendered was to the American political power structure in the dishonorable hands of the Democrats or Republicans; the former, despite their protestations to peace, have gotten America involved in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Starting with the shameful expropriation of the Mexican territory from 1846-48 to the War of Northern Aggression from 1860-65; the United States went into hyper-colonial overdrive in 1893 in the Hawaiian Islands and has not stopped since. The entire history of American arms on Earth has been a shameful and expansionist enterprise culminating in the first ever post-WWII (the Japanese attack on American territories in the Aleutians during the War to Save Josef Stalin and the minor coastal skirmishes in Oregon) attack on American state soil in 2001 .  I am frankly astonished at the length of time it took for a substantive attack of any kind to be initiated on American soil with the breadth, ferocity and long sordid history of American mischief and mayhem abroad. The sheer number of military expeditions the US has embarked on over time is breathtaking.  One worthy notes there have been 234 military expeditions from 1798-1993.  Another posits 159 instances of the use of United States armed forces abroad from October 1945 through December 2006. “This list does not include covert actions and numerous instances of US forces stationed abroad since World War II, in occupation forces, or for participation in mutual security organizations, base agreements, and routine military assistance or training operations.” Good God, if I were a Martian who landed on Earth ten years ago and found myself attending government schools, to include college, and watching television for any additional cultural education,  I would not be aware of any of this.  The constant drumbeat emanating from the State is the Orwellian chorus about America making the world safe for freedom and liberty and never using force abroad except in self-defense.  The history proves otherwise. America, next to Rome in the Western world, ranks as one of the world’s most aggressive nation states when one examines the evidence.  A country sheltered from the tempestuous and constant warring on the European continent by one ocean and the turbulence in Asia by another ocean yet it simply cannot mind its own business nor resist the temptation to maim and murder abroad for expansion of political power and control whether for mercantilist or colonial aspirations. One can even see that the brutality practiced by American soldiers abroad is not recent but a long-standing tradition. Afghanistan, now:
All told, five soldiers were charged with killing civilians in three separate episodes early last year. Soldiers repeatedly described Sergeant Gibbs as devising “scenarios” in which the unit would fake combat situations by detonating grenades or planting weapons near their victims. They said he even supplied “drop weapons” and grenades to make the victims appear armed. Some soldiers took pictures posing with the dead and took body parts as trophies. Sergeant Gibbs is accused of snipping fingers from victims and later using them to intimidate another soldier. He also pulled a tooth from one man, saying in court that he had “disassociated” the bodies from being human, that taking the fingers and tooth was like removing antlers from a deer. Sergeant Gibbs said he that was ashamed of taking the body parts, that he was “trying to be hard, a hard individual.” But he insisted that the people he took them from had posed genuine threats to him and his unit.”
Philippines, then:
“Like many of their officers, American troops also showed incredible callousness toward the Philippine civilian population.  A man named Clarence Clowe described the situation as follows in a letter he wrote to Senator Hoar.  The methods employed by American troops against civilians in an effort to find insurgent "arms and ammunition" include torture, beating, and outright killing.

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms willfully delivered firearms into the waiting hands of the Mexican drug cartels. You may speculate as to their reasons for doing so, but these activities were certainly illegal and immoral. Knowledge of this operation, called "Fast and Furious," reaches at least as high as the United States Attorney General's office, and therefore the current Attorney General, Eric Holder, should be made to answer for his wrongdoing. Holder is a Democrat, as could be expected in a Democrat's administration. This leads some Republicans to blame "the Democrats" for BATFE's wrongdoing. Arizona's SB1070 is perhaps the most racist piece of legislation authored so far in the 21st century. This bill allows unreasonable search and seizure without basis at the discretion of police officers. Arizona State Senate President Russel Pearce, recently removed from office in a recall election, was a lead sponsor of this bill. Pearce is a Republican, as might be expected in a state full of Republican voters. This leads some Democrats to blame "the Republicans" for Pearce's wrongdoing. George W. Bush was president during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the first part of the latest market downturn, so these things are his fault, and by extension the fault of the Republican party. Barack Obama was president during the implementation of the latest bailouts, the NATO invasion of Libya, and the economically ridiculous "Cash for Clunkers" program, and so of course everyone who carries a (D) ought to be burned at the stake for those...

I just got finished reading two books on the emergence of American empire in the Pacific.  The War Lovers by Evan Thomas and The Imperial Cruise by James Brady both treat the influence of Theodore Roosevelt as the sin qua non of America’s imperial ambitions come to fruition at the end of the nineteenth century.  In 1898, we defeated the Spanish in their colonies in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines after the imaginary pretenses for the war were arranged.  We occupied and colonized these island nations and the barbarity visited on the Philippine peoples during these long conflicts was brutal and horrifying. Here are some letter excerpts from 1899 and the war only got worse over time. Private Fred B. Hinchman, Company A. United States Engineers, writes from Manila, February 22d: “At 1:30 o’clock the general gave me a memorandum with regard to sending out a Tennessee battalion to the line. He tersely put it that “they were looking for a fight.” At the Puente Colgante [suspension bridge] I met one of our company, who told me that the Fourteenth and Washingtons were driving all before them, and taking no prisoners. This is now our rule of procedure for cause. After delivering my message I had not walked a block when I heard shots down the street. Hurrying forward, I found a group of our men taking pot-shots across the river, into a bamboo thicket, at about 1,200 yards. I longed to join them, but had my reply to take back, and that, of course, was the first thing to attend to I reached the office at 3 P.M., just in time to see a platoon of the Washingtons, with about fifty prisoners, who had been taken before they learned how not to take them.” Fred D. Sweet, of the Utah Light Battery: “The scene reminded me of the shooting of jack-rabbits in Utah, only the rabbits sometimes got away, but the insurgents did not.” Ellis G. Davis, Company A, 20th Kansas: “They will never surrender until their whole race is exterminated. They are fighting for a good cause, and the Americans should be the last of all nations to transgress upon such rights. Their independence is dearer to them than life, as ours was in years gone by, and is today. They should have their independence, and would have had it if those who make the laws in America had not been so slow in deciding the Philippine question Of course, we have to fight now to protect the honor of our country but there is not a man who enlisted to fight these people, and should the United States annex these islands, none but the most bloodthirsty will claim himself a hero. This is not a lack of patriotism, but my honest belief.” Burr Ellis, of Frazier Valley, California: “They did not commence fighting over here (Cavite) for several days after the war commenced. Dewey gave them till nine o’clock one day to surrender, and that night they all left but a few out to their trenches, and those that they left burned up the town, and when the town commenced burning the troops were ordered in as far as possible and said, Kill all we could find. I ran off from the hospital and went ahead with the scouts. And bet, I did not cross the ocean for the fun there was in it, so the first one I found, he was in a house, down on his knees fanning a fire, trying to burn the house, and I pulled my old Long Tom to my shoulder and left him to burn with the fire, which he did. I got his knife, and another jumped out of the window and ran, and I brought him to the ground like a jack-rabbit. I killed seven that I know of, and one more I am almost sure of: I shot ten shots at him running and knocked him down, and that evening the boys out in front of our trenches now found one with his arm shot off at shoulder and dead as h___ ; I had lots of fun that morning. There were five jumped out of the brush and cut one of the Iowa band boys, and we killed every one of them, and I was sent back to quarters in the hurry. Came very near getting a court-martial, but the colonel said he had heard that I had done excellent work and he laughed and said: “There’s good stuff in that man,” and told me not to leave any more without orders. Well, John, there will always be trouble here with the natives unless they annihilate all of them as fast as they come to them.”

Publisher’s Note:  I spent my entire adult life until 2003 in the military.  The last half of my career was saturated by doubt and philosophical dissonance mixed with the moral cowardice of failing to simply resign.  Soldiering was what I knew.  The incomparable Fred Reed writes in a few words what many feel but cannot articulate.  Much like cops are the enabling arm of the state, the military is the muse through which politicians can mouth platitudes while having murderous works conducted in their name.  When folks discover I am a veteran, they rarely hesitate to thank me for their freedom to which I have to laugh and heap scorn on their misdirected goodwill.  You would be hard-pressed to find any conflict America has participated in that did not make the world safer for bigger government…anywhere or anytime. -BB I read frequently among the lesserly neuronal of the supposed honor of soldiers, of the military virtues of courage, loyalty, and uprightness--that in an age of moral decomposition only the military adhere to principles, and that our troops in places like Afghanistan nobly make sacrifices to preserve our freedoms and democracy. Is not all of this nonsense? Honor? A soldier is just a nationally certified hit-man, perfectly amoral. When he joins the military he agrees to kill anyone he is told to kill, regardless of whether he has previously heard of the country in which he will kill them or whether the residents pose any threat to him or his. How is this...

"Now something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun"
-Zack de la Rocha
The picture above is probably the most powerful picture I have seen in a long time. As my mind dissected this picture, I had a thousand thoughts, and not one word. I had read the caption under the picture so I knew this young man's name was Scott Olsen. I know he is a 24 year old Marine Veteran, and he had served two tours in Iraq. This man is laying bleeding from his head in the arms of people he has probably never met. He has part of his military uniform on, perhaps a uniform he was issued. It looks like he has some kind of military pack on. The pack is splattered with blood, and his hair is matted into the blood on his forehead. This Marine is badly in need of medical attention. As this young man lay horizontally in the arms of strangers, his unbuttoned camouflage blouse had draped to either side of him. Under that blouse was a black undershirt with a white dove pictured on it. I stopped and focused on that dove for a minute. The photographer had managed to place it almost directly in the middle of the picture. My eyes were stuck on that dove as I wondered what events had taken place in his life that drove him to be an advocate for peace. Words can not accurately describe the power of this picture, so I won't even try. If it was up to me, one of these pictures would be handed out to every returning soldier with these two words, "welcome home." All of these thoughts quickly disappeared when I thought to myself, why is this man not on a stretcher? Why is this man being cared for in this manner? Why is he being carried around like this?
 Then I watched the video....
That is a War Zone.
Editor's note: Chris has a sense of serendipity, and has supplied another insightful essay while Bill and I are occupied at Libertopia. If you'd like to contribute an essay, please email them to We may edit your essay for mechanics, but never for content. -KL
"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck." ~Frederick Douglass
This essay is a follow-up to my last essay that was posted here at ZeroGov. I don't think I properly got my point across, and I do not want to appear as a man who does not take freedom seriously enough to take the time to explain how it would work. Please allow me this opportunity to explain myself a little further. I have read many books, essays, and such explaining how the people will have to be shown concrete alternatives to the state apparatus before they have the courage to abandon it. They will have to be shown how they would travel, and not just traveling by automobile, an explanation has to be given for air travel and air traffic control also. They need to be explained how they would receive justice in a free society, or shown examples of how justice has been handled in the past and present absent the state. Certainly the problem of pollution cannot be left up in the air when trying to explain why a free society would be better. These are only a few problems that exist now, and will undoubtedly exist in a voluntary society. Somehow we will have to show working alternatives to every one of these problems before the people throw off the shackles they have placed upon themselves. And this is the reason why we will fail at this monumental task of trying to explain freedom, although our minds are free, our bodies are not. We can build in our heads, but we lack the right to build with our hands. The abolitionists of the past did not know of companies like, John Deere, Kubota, or International Harvester. They would never witness the invention of the tractor and all of the wonderful implements that can be attached to them that make life on a farm so much easier. They would never witness the fabulous invention known as the internal combustion engine, or the introduction of hydraulic systems that make all of this technology possible. They were not concerned with any of this, they did not care about what would replace the slave; they only fought to end the horrible institution of chattel slavery. This is the root I was trying to strike with my last essay. I only wish to abolish slavery. I see something as wrong, I should not have to devise a working model as an alternative to this wretched practice. Is it not enough to expose the slavery in the system to get my fellow humans to throw off their shackles? Do I have to tempt them with new systems? Chattel slavery, although practiced for many, many centuries, is now seen as a horribly immoral institution. Slave owners of the past were not presented with cost benefit analysis, or return on investment sheets. The moral argument was presented, and it was supported with the fact that man is a self-owner, no matter the color of his skin. When comparing slavery and the state, some may think it's a bit over the top, or is meant to invoke emotion. I assure you that the comparison is accurate and correct. To be a self-owner, one needs to believe in self-ownership. If one believes in ownership, then one also believes in possession. Let me give you an example: let's say you find someone's keys in a parking lot, and you pick them up. At this time, you are in possession of the keys, but they are not yours. The owner comes along and makes a claim on his property; he can stake an ownership claim. You being the good and helpful person you are gladly hand this man his keys, because he is the true and rightful owner. Let's turn the tables, you have lost your keys, and you find a man in possession of them in a parking lot. As you approach this man you give him your gratitude for finding the lost set of keys, but instead the man runs away. He runs because he understands that you are the rightful owner, and he is merely in possession of the keys. It is not his property and he knows it. He is the wrongful owner.

Yet, clever people fall for far more dangerous ideas of the exact same form. In Philadelphia, a group of remarkably intelligent men came together to form a government. These men had seen full-grown governments before, had in fact just freed themselves from one. Yet here they were, feeding and nourishing a small baby government, playing with it, considering it so cute and adorable that they just had to have one. -Joshua Katz, "Don't Buy a Tiger" My previous piece was an attempt at a polite hatchet job on the OWS movement. That was hypocritical and wrong. I apologize, more to my friends who read it and agreed than to the OWS types who (like the rest of the world) remain largely unaware of the existence of ZeroGov. I stand by my criticism of the unfocused nature of the protests. I agree with the sentiment of frequent ZeroGov commenter mot, who wrote: "“They ask evil to protect them from evil….” That’s the old Biblical example of trying to cast out Beelzebub in the name of Beelzebub. It simply doesn’t happen." And I still oppose the sentiment of this young man and those like him who, rather than being upset that the fruits of their labor has been wrongly appropriated by those in power, instead demand a share of the spoils. But these protests are, so far, spontaneous order without coercion or force (although there are some disturbing omens that the will of the many might soon be imposed on the few). Until force is used, until laws are imposed...