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With Millstones Around Our Necks


Filters off. Today I rant.

Humanity has been progressing steadily over millennia. The terrorist empires of the ancient world are gone. Chattel slavery, a filthy curse upon our species since several thousand years BC, was obliterated in Europe a thousand years ago and remains in only a few barbaric corners. Humanity is healthier and better fed than ever in history, and by a huge margin. We have vast knowledge at our fingertips and technology that would have been considered magic not too long ago.

(People fixated on darkness will object to my itemization of humanity’s progress, but everything I’ve written is indisputably true.)

My point is this, and if I could write it in giant, flaming letters, I would:

Humanity is ready to break out and fly.

“No, we’re not!” scream a hundred objections. “War machines, surveillance, stupidity, terror, obedient sheeple, psychopaths in power!”

And yes, I understand. But fixating on evil gets us nowhere. We have to lift up our eyes, see the path before us, take the millstones off our necks, and move. And that means leaving our precious complaints behind.

If you’d prefer to stand in place and complain, that’s your choice. I’ll probably agree with most of your complaints, but I won’t join in your chorus, because complaining doesn’t move me forward. And I want to move forward. I’m sick of watching a big, rigged game in which the debased triumph and the good stand around moaning.

I’m done with it. I give no consent. I offer zero respect. I’ve turned my back to it.

Have you ever considered the attitudes of the first Christians, stuck inside the Roman Empire? “We are not of this world,” they said. “We are strangers and pilgrims on Earth,” they said. They believed all the kingdoms of the world were evil and acted accordingly… and they were not wrong.

The Nexus of Coercion

  • Is coercion the font of righteousness?
  • Is intimidation superior to reason?
  • Is permanent menace the source of health and prosperity?

Think carefully, because if you maintain that the state is good, necessary, or God ordained, you believe precisely these things. Why? Because the state, like it or not, is the nexus of coercion in this world.

I know you were taught that the state protected you from coercion, but that was simply a lie. A big, fat lie… as in “demonstrably false.” (Not that reason has ever been much of a basis for idolizing the state.)

Rudolph Rummel documented 262 million “deaths by government” in the 20th century alone. Nothing else comes remotely close to that toll – not mass murderers, not petty thugs, not drug gangs, not all of them put together.

And where does the coercion in your life come from?

  • Does your neighbor demand that you hand over half your income or he’ll lock you in a cage?
  • Does your electrician force you off the road, demand your documents and issue you fines?
  • Does the grocer forbid you from working without a hugely expensive certificate?

The conclusion here is obvious and simple: The state is the nexus of coercion upon Earth. It’s easy to see that this is true; we’ve just been trained to look away.

And Coercion…

Coercion is a blight upon humanity. The theory of coercion being our savior – as in “we need a monopoly on coercion to save you from coercion” – is simply ludicrous. No mind that hadn’t been preprogrammed to it would accept it.

It might be fair to say that medicine saves us. But did organized coercion create medicine? Did it teach us to grow food or build cars? Did it discover the laws of physics?

Of course not. Coercion takes, by manipulation, fraud, and force.

None of this is complex. Understanding it requires no genius. It’s simple and obvious.

Our Path Forward

The path forward is almost equally obvious: a voluntary society, a society of consent.

And there is no reason not to reorganize ourselves into a society of consent. It would involve the usual human problems, of course, but they exist in coercive society in even greater measure. The real problem is that organized coercion forbids it.

We are violently prevented from experimenting with new ways of life. We are threatened with any number of punishments if we stray from the pattern that is dictated to us.

These monopolies of coercion always promise “freedom,” but their “freedom” applies only if you stay inside their limits. If you want to live differently, you are to be hammered down.

That’s why I call this a millstone. It forbids us from living any other way. It forbids adaptation. It forbids experiment. It forbids progress.

The worst part, however, is this: Organized coercion demands that we warp our minds and bludgeon our judgment, so we can praise it as the true and great savior of mankind.


Our situation is this:

Humanity has been crawling into the future with millstones around their necks. The millstones are useless and debilitating, but they’ve been part of their lives so long that most people can’t conceive of removing them. But if ever they do remove them, they’ll be ready to fly.

Is organized coercion the only problem we face? Of course not. Our primary problems are internal… the kind that stop us from pulling the stones off our necks.

* * * * *

If you’ve enjoyed Free-Man’s Perspective or A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, you’re going to love Paul Rosenberg’s new novel, The Breaking Dawn.

It begins with an attack that crashes the investment markets, brings down economic systems, and divides the world. One part is dominated by mass surveillance and massive data systems: clean cities and empty minds… where everything is assured and everything is ordered. The other part is abandoned, without services, with limited communications, and shoved 50 years behind the times… but where human minds are left to find their own bearings.

You may never look at life the same way again.

Get it now at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

* * * * *


Paul Rosenberg

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