Voluntary Holidays

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It’s that time of year where the whole country is rushing around, making plans to spend the holidays in a traditional fashion with their blood relations. Not me. For the past several years, I’ve chosen to break that cycle. Not because I have anything wrong with spending time off with family. It’s because I want the holiday to be voluntary, something people do only if that’s what they really, truly want to do.

Think for a moment about how most people conduct their holidays. There’s an event set in stone from the very beginning of the year. Depending on your level of participation, you have to, at a minimum, show up and be cordial, all the way up to planning, executing, and financing a perfectionist feast while performing the role of chief diplomat at an intimate gathering of mortal enemies. For some very few of us, everything works out perfectly: you all live close by, get along, have the same schedule, food tastes, interests, and genuinely like and get along with each other. The holiday itself doesn’t matter, since you would be doing the exact same thing anyway, even without a festive excuse. [Read more…]

13 Nonpolitical Ways to Fight for Liberty – Practice Voluntary Relationships

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Like wildlife fleeing a forest fire, you’ve done just about everything possible to escape from government in the face of this horrible presidential election year. Use Bitcoin? Check. Encrypt? Check. Support black markets, private charity, and nongovernmental solutions? Check, check, and check. You even practice self-defense and the fine art of the keyboard warrior while holding cops and courts accountable. But despite all that, you’re still victim to one of the most insidious ways government still holds sway over your actions: how you conduct your relationships.

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Trust Is Debt-Based Currency

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One phrase that will make me instantly feel I can’t trust you: “Trust me.”

Trust is believing something or someone in the absence of hard evidence. If someone asks you to trust them (or otherwise tries to gain your trust), they are trying to get you to believe that they will do right by you based solely on their word. Trust is investing in someone’s character based on the abstract feeling that you’ll totally win big from it someday. When you trust someone, you’re effectively paying real money (sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally), and when asked what you got for it, you answer “Oh nothing yet. But I have this really good feeling that I’ll get something eventually.”

Most people spend their lives trying to figure out who they can trust. I think this is totally backwards. Instead, we should be dealing with people who don’t require our trust. We should get off of a trust-based system and demand something real instead. [Read more…]