This all started with ignoring snow and ridiculing bureaucrats. Pondering Code Enforcement Officers with handcuffs and authority to arrest lit a fuse. Getting hassled about shoveling snow is not about snow. It’s about getting hassled. Americans shouldn’t accept shit. We are collectively failing in our duty to be difficult to boss around.
Americans who stand up are too rare. Americans are rarely difficult to manage ON PURPOSE. Americans who don’t like being told what to do AND ACT UPON IT are uncommon. Americans who are a pain in the ass to bureaucrats BECAUSE THEY CHOOSE TO are unusual. Make a decision that you’ll never easily eat shit and you’re already freer than the average person and a model American citizen.
The snow shovel Nazis are petty tyrants. Petty tyrants are just bullies. Bullies hassle the weak. Don’t be weak.
Don’t volunteer for bullying. I have proof that it is voluntary. A fine for shoveling snow “wrong” won’t happen to me. It happened in Boston. It might be happening in Chicago, or Detroit, or Portland, or elsewhere. But not to me. I’m rural, hunkered down, and hard to force. There are benefits to being “difficult”. Enjoy them!
Seeking greater freedom doesn’t have to be flashy. Significant freedom is earned by small efforts and minor decisions. We all know what to do. Step one is to stand up.
Forget dark mutterings about revolution. It’s mostly hollow posturing. Boston, home of the sixteen snow shovel Nazis, has fire breathing talk show hosts, Tea Party voters, and libertarian bloggers just like everywhere else. The population is not entirely Kool-aid drinkers. Some Bostonians must hate the snow shovel Nazis. Do they endure them because there is a gun to their head? No, but seeking alternatives or fighting back requires effort they won’t expend.
There’s no sign the snow shovel Nazis are resisted. The neighborhoods they terrorize aren’t depopulated. Property values don’t go down where snow shovel Nazis prowl. Cities with bloated overreaching bureaucracies may be bankrupt (everywhere!) but they’re not deserted. About 589,141 people live in Boston. None are held there by force. If 589,141 people don’t choose to stand up to the small hassle of a $50 shoveling fine…don’t expect them to suddenly cry freedom like Braveheart. You’re on your own.
Seek freedom in your own heart. You know a mass movement isn’t right around the corner because society hasn’t yet ostracized petty tyrants. A snow shovel Nazi might have a family; which means women are actually willing to marry such creatures. Maybe they attend church. Maybe they feel pious after a week of giving $50 tickets to weeping innocents who shovel snow “wrong”. Folks might think a snow shovel Nazis is an OK guy when he’s not badgering people. Maybe he is? Don’t expect society to give a tyrant the boot and don’t expect tyrants to change until it happens. Until a petty tyrant is an unemployed pariah who never gets laid he’ll continue hassling people.
Depressing? Not really. Who wants be part of a herd? Stand alone if that’s what it takes to be free.
You’ll get your chance soon. Within the next few weeks we’ll all have the first of 2011’s many encounters with petty tyrants. Some pinhead will hassle you about shoveling snow, or having a BBQ, or your vehicle, or letting the kids play in the yard, or…well everything. That’s your chance! React like the free man that you are. When they want to hassle you, make ’em work for it!
Free men make life hard for petty tyrants. Will you play that role? Will you make a ruckus (shout “don’t touch my junk” perhaps?). Will you grudgingly comply to the very barest minimum while making darn sure it’s unpleasant for your assailant? Will you evade with stealth, planning, or adaptation? You don’t have to go out in a blaze of glory. Just make it hard to hassle you. Make them wish they were leaving you alone. Make a scene. Be a pain in the butt. Show up at a meeting with a petition, fifty friends, a rabid lawyer, and an attitude. Lose the form, contest everything, don’t sign what you don’t want to sign, don’t say “thank you” for a ticket, don’t pay for a service you didn’t get, don’t accept a “service” you don’t want, chew out a supervisor… vote. Holding freedom in your heart begins with making things awkward for aggressors.
Avoid the natural habitat of a petty tyrant. I’ve been in situations where they thrive. (You probably have too.) I left. They stayed. The countryside has a few petty tyrants, cities have hordes. I got outta’ Dodge. Evasion isn’t as uplifting as victory but it’s better than submission. Other life choices matter too; the incursion of debt, where you choose to live, your relationship to your job, how you spend money. For each decision, consider how things would play out if a petty tyrant insinuated himself in the situation. Being prepared for a tyrant encourages them to bother someone else.
Resolve right now, in the first month of 2011, to be “difficult to hassle”. Sling it right back at ’em. Don’t feel bad about it. Bullies choose their role. Choose yours. It’s a free Citizen’s right and duty to harangue, defeat, hassle, slow, evade, and outright wear down petty tyrants whenever we encounter them. Bullies need incentives to seek another line of work. Provide the incentives.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’re “free on the inside”. Freedom is not a place and it is not a gift. Freedom is a way of being. You must seek it yourself. People who boss you around consume your freedom. The weight of their burden is more than you think. Set it down and you’ll have a spring in your step you didn’t know you’d lost.
Fighting city hall is a bitch. Everyone will pressure you to “go along”. Don’t. It is never the duty of an American to make life easy for a petty tyrant. Choosing to stand up is one of many choices that makes you free. It’s worth it.