A Few Thoughts on Freedom 
     (I'm going to be doing a little yelling here, so every time you see something in CAPS that means I'm blasting bad breath and specks of spittle onto your face from about two inches distance, okay?)  
     Yeah, you take freedom for fucking granted don't you? And because you do, most of you pay zero attention to keeping it. You think it's always going to be there, like air and dirt and 7-11 convenience stores. I have bad news for you. It's under nearly continuous assault and most of you lame fucks aren't paying that fact any mind. 
     Every time legislatures pass any laws to protect you, they take away some of your freedom of action. And make you pay them for the privilege! The primary trick is protection. You thought the mafia was the only ones in the protection racket? Here's how it's done: with the coorperation of the major media they come up with some "problem" that they claim has to be solved. The solution to this "problem" usually involves two things: funding of programs, and restriction of your freedom of action. The funding part takes your liberty by taking your money. The less money you have, the less you are able to do as you please. (Try being broke and driving to the beach in a car you don't have.) So taking your money is indirectly taking your freedom. The direct part of the attack on freedom is that laws are passed to curtail the activities of a few people, but the laws apply to everyone. A classic example is the drunk driving laws. A few drivers are irresponsible, and drive dead drunk. In response to this no one is allowed to have an opened bottle of anything alcoholic in their car here in California. Let's look at that reasonably, okay? Let's say you and I are in a car together. I'm driving. You're sitting next to me drinking a beer. What does it matter if you're drinking? You're not driving the car, I am! How then is that a threat to anyone? It's not and every sane person knows it. But according to the thinking of the twats who wrote the law, it might be too much of a temptation for me and I might want a sip, too? But that's not their real reason is it? It was probably written that way so that they can be sure to make a bust on "drinking while driving", so that a drinking driver can't get away with just handing his beer to the person next to him, or tossing it into the back seat. Gotta make that bust, huh? Can't have frustrated police officers, they might go berserk or suffer nervous breakdowns.  
     While we're on that subject, let's tackle that "drinking while driving" bit. If you drive down the street with a beer in your hand, that doesn't mean you're so drunk you can't safely operate your car. In fact, you may be no more dangerous than a person who drives down the street with a cup of coffee in one hand -- probably less dangerous because it's a damn sight easier to quickly cram your beer bottle between your legs so's to use both hands on the wheel than it is to quickly get rid of a cup of hot coffee! Try the same thing and you scald your balls. And forget that jackass toolin' down the road yakking into a cell phone, that motherfucker isn't paying one whit of attention to anything so mundane as the road! He's far more dangerous than a guy with a beer. So let's you and I kick the bullshit to one side and get fucking real here: the only danger a drinking driver poses to others is if he's too drunk to safely drive the car. All other considerations are cheapshot excuses to throw people in jail for no goddam good reason. So what should the law read? It should read something like this: "No person shall operate a motorized vehicle while they are in such condition that they are unable to safely control it. Examples of this shall include but not be limited to being under the influence of drugs, sleepiness, quarreling with passengers, emotional turmoil or the operation of other equipment such as cell phones or stereos. Unsafe shall be determined by observed effects on operation of vehicle, such as swerving; not by mere suspicion by officers." 
     The mandatory insurance laws are even more ridiculous. Drive without insurance and you get in trouble, eventually they take your license, and then they steal your car! But whom did you harm? No one. Whom did you even remotely threaten to harm? No one! What? What? So you might not be financially responsible in case of an accident? This is a valid excuse to take you down? To quote Mike Muir: "I'm not crazy, YOU'RE THE ONE THAT'S CRAZY!" 
     It very much bothers me that laws are passed to stop a few people from being irresponsible or dangerous, yet the laws are restricting the actions of everyone, not just the few. Let's take firearms for example... (Most of you reading this are probably urbanites, what we call "city folks", and are almost automatically allergic to guns because your only perceived use for them is to drive down the street shooting your neighbors. Or if you're not allergic then you are probably in favor of shooting your neighbors. Same diff. Try to keep in mind that I'm a country boy who comes from a background where a gun is just another tool, like a shovel or chainsaw.) ... back to firearms. Just because some antisocial fuckhead shoots up a McDonalds, that doesn't mean that I'm going to shoot up a McDonalds. What have I done (plaintively) to deserve having my 30 round box magazines taken away from me? Nuthin'! Where's my M-16 that I should be able to legally own as per the 2nd amendment? Where's my blooper (40 mm grenade launcher/shotgun)? And I have to tell you, that sure does cramp my jackrabbit shooting! Ha ha. Every last one of you weenies who winced at the last few sentences please go away. You are bleeding-heart wannabe slaves of the State, who wish that everyone would be "nice"; and who think that all of the world's violence will go away if only all the guns were melted down into syringes to be given away free to addicts. Problem is, the world doesn't work that way. The real world is like this: aggressive people work themselves into positions of control and responsibility, they gather power enforced by guys with guns, and the only way to make them even so much as slightly cautious about how they use their power is to have power yourself that they fear. Power for ordinary people consists in owning telephones, computers and camcorders with which to communicate to the media; and in last resort, in owning the means to resist. American history is peppered with examples of people resisting power (of both government police and industry goons, read the history of unions and railroads), usually getting themselves killed in the process, but creating such a commotion in doing so that the power is crippled or curtailed because of publicity. A good example of this is Ruby Ridge. Sure, the FBI won, and in doing so they lost because they murdered several innocent people, including a woman who was just standing there holding her infant. Conservative political groups have crucified the FBI for it ever since at every opportunity in the press, on legislative floors and in courtrooms. The other main reason for owning a gun is to defend yourself against the violent criminal. This morning I heard that two banditos tried a home invasion robbery in Anaheim. The husband killed one of them and wounded the other one. His family wasn't harmed.  
     In a very broad sense freedom means being unrestricted in your actions by others. Responsible freedom means doing as you please so long as you don't harm others, except in self defense. And that's the sort of freedom we are supposed to have, and are slowly losing. Certain groups want to take our guns, and when those are gone, freedom of the press will be next on the hit list. It will be done by-the-numbers by "concerned citizens" in favor of "responsible journalism" in order to "rectify abuses" and promote "appropriate applications of journalism" or some such bullshit doublespeak for taking control of the news media and muzzling it. 
     One of the scams that's been pulled on you by some of these Bad People for generations is the "civil rights" one. 'Scuse me all to fucking hell, but what the fuck are "civil" rights? Are they the opposite of incivil rights? If so, I want my rights because I intend to be as incivil as possible! Seriously, civil rights are bullshit. You have rights, basic rights supposedly guaranteeing "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", but no civil rights are named in the Constitution anywhere. And don't pull an liberal knee jerk on me and say that they must exist because the Supreme Court says they do. Read them to me out of that document or shut up. Can't huh? They aren't there. So where are they? A bunch of slick-ass lawyers thought them up. No civil rights, nyah! But don't panic, all the underpinnings of your rights haven't been removed by that fact. In fact, let's just restore your rights to their proper and actual form, shall we? 
     Civil rights are an arbitrary construction invented by lawyers with too much time on their hands and not enough honest work to keep them occupied. At some point some jackass said that rights could be divided into two types: civil and property. Civil rights would pertain to your behavior and freedom of action, while property rights would apply only to your chattels (moveable property) and real estate. Clever. Just one problem with it all: there's only one sort of rights and those are property rights! 
     You own things. Many things. You own your stereo. You own your TV. You own your computer. You own a car, maybe. Perhaps you're lucky/hardworking and own your home (Not nearly enough people own their homes). You own your clothes. You own the money in your wallet (Uh, you didn't steal it, right?) Those are all things that are commonly thought of as property. Part of your property rights is the right to do what you want with your property, again, so long as you do not harm others with that property. As above, you have the right to own a gun, but you do not possess the right to shoot up McDonalds with it. MickeyD's belongs to someone else, not you. So don't put holes in it. 
     But there are other properties that aren't usually thought of that way by most people. What about your labor? If you do work for someone with whom you have an employment relationship, then your labor is a property with a value that exists, and for which you will justly expect monetary compensation. Also there is "intellectual property." Bands: who owns your music? Unless you're stupid and have signed away the rights to your compositions to some label or publishing weenies, then you do. Authors: who owns your writings? If it isn't you, I hope you got paid! And if someone wants to use your property (your song, your book) then they are supposed to pay you for it. Same with ideas, inventions, etc.  
     And now we come to the most crucial piece of property, and the one which is thought of as property least: yourself. Yeah, puke... who owns you? If you are currently in prison somewhere, then the government owns your ass for the duration of your vile durance. If you have voluntarily joined the Army, Navy/Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard then the government owns you for a specified period of time, sort of an indentured servant like we had when this country was starting out. And if you don't believe me when I say that the government owns you when you are in the Service, then try injuring your body deliberately. You will be charged with some form of destroying government property. What the fuck do you think "G.I." stands for? It means "government issue!" 
     You own your body. You have the right to do what you like with it, so long as you do no harm to others. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", remember? You should be free to do anything that pleases you so long as you aren't harming anyone. That includes driving down the freeway naked at 100 mph with a cold beer between your sweaty thighs... if you haven't had twenty beers in the past two hours, if you haven't got thick traffic in front of you to run into at that speed. You do those things and the friends and relatives of anyone you harm have the right to your hide, nailed to the wall of their house. With or without you still inside it. Because at that point you will have harmed someone else's property -- maybe totalled their car, maybe killed their most prized possession, their body. 
     Fuck civil rights. The only real rights are property rights. 

A shorter version of this article appeared in Flipside Fanzine.