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I’ve been struggling several days to find the right way to say something. Still haven’t gotten there.

It would help to be drunk or stoned, I think. Words flow more freely then; connections connect more connectedly. But I’m as sober as a judge I usually am, which is a handicap.

Partly, it’s that the thing I’m aiming to say is both huge and … nothing. Both burning with enormity and outrage … and a great big ho-hum. It would shock the bejabbers out of Joe Average (if Joe Average were willing to consider it), but most people reading this blog would probably say, “Why are you even bothering to bring that up? Old news. Get over it.”


This thing I don’t have the right words to express is that there is no legitimate U.S. government — merely a clever puppet show of one. There is no federal government to which anyone, anywhere owes the slightest allegiance. The country is run by its “security” apparatus. (Yes, and its federalized banking cartel and its unelected bureaucrats and all the Usual Suspects, but it’s the power of the secret “services” that’s (relatively) new and most alarming.)

You see? My good old fellow free-market anarchists, denizens of intellectual Ancapitstan already know this. You can go on as fervently as I about unanimous consent and Lysander Spooner. It is OLD freakin’ news that Those Who Would Govern Us have no legitimate authority as long as one peaceable individual denies consent.

That is, it’s old news to us out here on the fringe, the readers, the ponderers, the Outlaws, the rebels, the individualists.

Joe and Josie? Obviously, millions of Mr. and Ms. Averages have been edging for years toward the realization that something’s terribly, terribly wrong. But to whatever extent they articulate it, it’s usually in terms of bigness or unaccountability. The federal government is “too big” (which of course it is). Bureaucrats are “unaccountable” (also a no-brainer). Big government is run by and for “big money” (yup). The Averages are even beginning to grasp that their old beliefs that “electing the right people” and “reforming the system” are chimeras.

But what comes after?

What if you could sit Aunt Lyda and Uncle William and all the other members of the Average family down and point out to them that a government that’s ridden with enormous secret agencies operating under secret law interpreted by secret courts is not, cannot be, and will never be, a democracy or a republic or whatever form you’ve been taught all these years to salute?

This government is a foreign thing. And all those people you think you’re electing merely dance at the end of its strings. And it will never be “reformed” or “held accountable” because by its very nature it is totalitarian. It exists to rule you, period. And as long as your money and your belief feed it, rule you it will.


I don’t know if it’s true that John Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA. I don’t know if it’s true that Barack Obama lives in terror of assassination at the hands of U.S. “security” services.

But it makes sense. We know that the CIA never really was an “intelligence” agency. From its inception it was about assassinations and coups; its “intelligence” was usually faulty and always politically motivated. We know that, even before the monstrous growth of secret “security” agencies following WWII, at least one unelected, unaccountable agency held presidents, congressthings, and senators in its thrall.

But of course the FBI and even the CIA are now old hat. Amateur hour. We’ve got “security” agencies we surely don’t even know about. And we’ve got ones whose existence has been reluctantly and gradually revealed doing things whose scope we can’t even guess at. And we know that we are the real target of it all. We, that is, as in We the People. And we know the process of being governed increasingly works against us.


Bigness and unaccountability are bad enough. We should know. We’ve lived with them and our parents and grandparents lived with them clear back to the days of Roosevelt II or Wilson (at least).

But being governed by secret and hyper-secretive “security” agencies is a whole ‘nother thing. A whole different level of tyranny and peril.

And it’s this that Joe and Josie and Aunt Lyda and Uncle William don’t get yet. They’re still happy to believe that the NSA’s omni-scooping and the unnamed activities of yet-undiscovered “security” agencies are all for our protection.

They don’t yet know that they are the targets. They don’t yet know that, when you have this level of secret control, you no longer have even a serious pretense of government “by the people.” You have the forms — empty. You have a substance that’s something altogether else, and altogether terrifying.


Writing about Edward Snowden the other day, Justin Raimondo noted that in in the old Soviet Union, people so despaired of ever learning any actual truth from those in power that they eventually resorted to a form of mental shorthand; they assumed that the truth was simply the opposite of whatever the government claimed.

If the government labeled a man a traitor, a wrecker, a saboteur, then it followed that the man must actually be a hero.

In these ‘Netly days, we can dig deeper and discover more nuanced realities. Most won’t. And I can’t blame them.

I just wonder how far we are from the moment when some critical mass of citizens belatedly realizes that “for your protection” actually means “for the preservation of your masters” and “to preserve freedom” actually means “our sole purpose is to take freedom from you — and take it we will, quietly at first, then as savagely as we wish …

And there will be nothing you can do about it, you blind, dumb, deluded fools.”


  1. Samuel Adams
    Samuel Adams July 14, 2013 8:39 pm

    Well, on that cheerful note, Happy Bastille Day. And Happy Whisky Rebellion Day.

    Make of it what you will.

  2. Bear
    Bear July 14, 2013 11:34 pm

    Dear Aunt Lydia,
    Please dig through your card file and send me that recipe for pickle cream pigs feet pie you got from Great Aunt Heloise last year.
    What? You can’t find it; it’s somewhere in that pile of recipes you’ve been collecting?
    Now go through the several hundreds of millions of phone records the NSA collected last year for the call Sheik Ur Buti made to Omar Gudnis. Sorry- don’t know when he made the call. Or from where. Or to and from what numbers. Just find it.
    See? When you’re collecting all that, you can’t find the stuff you’re supposedly looking for. So why do you suppose those bright folks at the NSA are bothering to collect all of it — all of your calls — if they only want the evil sheik’s stuff?
    And why do you suppose the secret court won’t tell you why? And when did you approve star chambers? And why?
    Not-So-Paranoid Pete
    CC: NSA

  3. Benjamin
    Benjamin July 15, 2013 12:47 am

    Your last line reminds me of Solovyov: “Imagine a group of people who are all blind, deaf and slightly demented and suddenly someone in the crowd asks, “What are we to do?”… The only possible answer is “Look for a cure”. Until you are cured, there is nothing you can do. And since you don’t believe you are sick, there can be no cure.”

  4. Pat
    Pat July 15, 2013 1:11 am

    The truth is – it’s been past “time” for years, and we don’t know what to do about it. (It was “time” when you first made your famous statement, Claire.) To reverse the political-power trend will indeed take a revolution.

    When it does come sometime down the road, the U.S. will up for grabs because it no longer has any goal beyond power itself – and the powerful are never secure, least of all when fighting principles they, themselves, have abandoned. There are many who wish to be on top and in charge when the dust settles; they will be fighting each other.

    But there is hope for freedom-lovers because the written word (in print and online) is out there, and many people have gotten the message. They know another option besides control is available to them. Freedom will be waiting to take its place after the fall.

    (We, however, can have no hope for peace, for we have come too early to the fight to see freedom unfold.)

  5. Bill St. Clair
    Bill St. Clair July 15, 2013 3:22 am

    Wow, Claire. Masterfully said!

    Revolution would be great if we knew which bastards to shoot. It ain’t the elected puppets. There’s an almost infinite supply of blue collar enforcement goons. Until the belief in imposed authority is gone, shooting will accomplish nothing. Once that belief is gone, self defense against the goons will quickly convince them to find other work, and their masters will become powerless.

  6. Bill St. Clair
    Bill St. Clair July 15, 2013 3:24 am

    Let’s call the state’s enforcement goons “black collar workers.”

  7. Pre-press veteran
    Pre-press veteran July 15, 2013 4:34 am

    “black collar workers” or just the “men in black”?

    Thought-provoking, Claire. I don’t have anything to add – except I’m hearing the same train of thought in other places (some of them unexpected) these days.

  8. Water Lily
    Water Lily July 15, 2013 5:01 am

    You expressed some things I’ve been thinking lately. My thoughts/feelings go from outrage to apathy and back again most days.

  9. Joel
    Joel July 15, 2013 5:45 am

    Paint “To serve and protect” on the side of a police car, put it out there where the flock can see it, and a quorum of the flock members will assume it means the police are there to serve and protect them. In spite of the fact that nobody ever said so, and in the teeth of convincing evidence to the contrary, they will choose to believe this. Because that’s what they want, and maybe need, to believe. Maybe because the truth is too terrible to contemplate, I don’t know. They don’t like to think, they don’t want to know, all the things that aren’t out there where they can see them.

    Multiply by a factor of umpty bazillion, and you have the feds.

  10. Matt, another
    Matt, another July 15, 2013 7:01 am

    You are correct.

    I believe, although a very small minority, that more and more people are waking up and moving out of denial about the government. They are now in the milling about, wondering what to do stage.

  11. Laird
    Laird July 15, 2013 8:24 am

    The best line in this terrific essay is “a government that’s ridden with enormous secret agencies operating under secret law interpreted by secret courts is not, cannot be, and will never be, a democracy or a republic or whatever form you’ve been taught all these years to salute.” You might have added that they also operate under secret budgets. There are 16 separate agencies in the US whose very budgets are classified! (See S. 1458, “Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012”,

    This concept needs to be broadcast far and wide and without cease.

  12. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein July 15, 2013 8:32 am

    Nicely done, Claire. Obviously secrecy is necessary lest J & J realize they’re the target. Even better for the a**holes is if J & J think they’re the ones doing the targeting. This is the situation that obtains now—everyone figures someone else is the target, and hurries to the polls to keep it that way. Were it all a game, the con would be downright impressive.

    Apropos to precisely this topic, I trust you saw the quote at WRSA, which itself was from G.K. Chesterton—“A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.”

    Not only cute…also true and highly relevant.

  13. Jim B.
    Jim B. July 15, 2013 9:18 am

    Unfortunately I believe the only thing we can do, beyond Prepping, is for them to pile on so much crap they’ll choke on it. And wait for the storm to come. And it will come.

  14. Mike
    Mike July 15, 2013 12:19 pm

    Bear/Pete – Trust me when I say that that information is ABSOLUTELY recoverable, and it’s do-able in a timeframe that would make your head spin.

    Google: “big data” and do some reading. Then, look at


    Facebook, email, Twitter, phone data, and machine-to-machine communications is ~ 312PB/month (1PB=1000TB, 1TB=1000GB). A grid to capture this for a year would be ~168M Euros, and the personnel to run it would cost ~4M Euros.

    Analysis run at the same time as collection and de-duplication would guarantee that anything encrypted can be held for analysis at a later time, and that there’s sufficient space for new incoming.

    The comparatively small price tag of $187M/y practically guarantees that this is going on.

    My personal experience also practically guarantees it, but I’m not going to go into details in an open forum.

  15. jesse bogan
    jesse bogan July 15, 2013 12:34 pm

    Wow, nicely put. I passed this on to some folks that needed to read it. I have been telling friens and relatives this for YEARS, but I am neither so succinct or eloquent.I think the only good news is, it is becoming harder for J andJ to ignore what is unfolding in front of their very eyes. Thanks for summing up so clearly.

  16. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit July 15, 2013 2:45 pm

    Let’s sneak up on the question sideways, shall we?

    It’s not a question of “legitimate” or “illegitimate.” That removes focus from the problem. The issue is whether Joe and Josie and Aunt Lyda and Uncle William *consent* to the government, which, clearly, they do – otherwise they’d be working to overthrow it. The vast majority are still of the belief that they can obtain better governance while working through The System, and those who have had The System rigged for … oh, let’s call it at least a century, though argument can be made for over two centuries … like having it that way.

    And for all the historical illiterates who say, “Well, if you oppose it, why aren’t you out shooting at tax collectors?” I would simply point out that a guerilla does not win by fighting toe-to-toe with the opposition (ask the Viet Cong how well the Battle of Hue worked out for them). He wins by his mere existence, doing what damage he can, as he can, where he can. But until a sufficient mass of the population says, “Enough is ENOUGH!” and withdraws its consent, the guerilla does what he can by spreading the word, soliciting discontent, and monkeywrenching the works.

    Not terribly satisfying, compared to the fantasy of raising an army and going to war, but much of warfare, guerilla or otherwise, *isn’t* terribly satisfying, except to those who don’t have to engage in it or those few psychopaths who’ve found an outlet for their trade.

  17. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 15, 2013 7:59 pm

    Claire, you might be surprised how many people think the federal government is illegitimate.

    Go to your general-purpose forum. Every forum has polls. Start a poll asking if the federal government is legitimate.

    I tried it on Oleg Volk’s forum (“gunrightsmedia”), a gun forum with a common mix of mostly conservatives, some libertarians, and a few liberals (whatever those terms mean). I can’t remember the exact number, but a strong majority thought the federal government was not legitimate.

    This of course includes constitutionalists. I didn’t ask if there can be a legitimate government at all. Another poll…

    Also I don’t think the fact many of them still go through the “civic” motions are good indicators they believe the government religion. It could be inertia, or “defensive voting”, or who knows what. There are a lot of nonbelievers attending that church.

    [But being governed by secret and hyper-secretive “security” agencies is a whole ‘nother thing. A whole different level of tyranny and peril.]

    Is it, really? Why, exactly?

    Just as I am not particularly concerned about the fact secret police are recording stuff about me, their coming to prominence in government does not bother me much either. Government is always violence no matter what agency signs the paycheck of the minion in question. I keep looking at this on a very personal level. I do what I want, more or less, and avoid what problems I can; but if anyone finally (and seriously) comes after me I will be at war and I don’t care what agency he works for. My aim at that point will be taking as many bastards as I can with me when I go.

    […and take it we will, quietly at first, then as savagely as we wish…And there will be nothing you can do about it, you blind, dumb, deluded fools.”]

    I seriously doubt it will play out that way. We are far from helpless.

  18. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein July 16, 2013 5:45 am

    I think your analysis misses an important distinction, Paul. There’s a difference between not wanting something and believing it to be illegitimate. The simplest analogy would be a child—he doesn’t want to go to bed when he’s told, but he fully accepts the legitimacy of the command.

    The educational system having been so successful at turning brains into mush, that’s the way it is on this topic IMO. It’s always been the case that people don’t like taxes or external rules or whatever, but nonetheless they still view it all as legitimate authority. Duh, that’s what brought us here.

    Sure, genuine freedomistas take the two as equivalent. After all, they derive their opinions as thinking adults based on well thought-out principles. Hence they’re able to understand that there’s good reason not to prefer the authority. But the vast majority of people simply don’t work like that…they’re too busy living their own lives, and of course “experts” have already figured out all the moral principles for them. And since the experts have always been on the public dole–unable to produce a drop of value on their own–it’s little wonder what moral principles they espouse.

    Personally I think Claire’s got it nailed. This is the price Joe and Josie pay for choosing not to think.

  19. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 16, 2013 8:00 am

    But I just explained that they largely DO think the federal government is illegitimate, if you bother to ask them. Ask ’em yourself, don’t take my word for it. And your analogy of a child works for me, not you. What is government to us, if not pain? Most people are motivated by pain-avoidance i this area, not belief.

    Even this is not an accurate way of looking at it because it paints it as a binary thing: “people” believe in government, or they don’t. It’s not binary, it’s not digital; it’s analog. Joe Blow believes in government a little bit, but not completely. Jill Blow believes in it a little more perhaps, but still not completely, and for different things.

    Yes, people are busy with their own lives. What’s wrong with that? I truly doubt most people base their principles on what Obama et. al. say. What you see as belief or legitimacy, I see as inertia, pain-avoidance and lack of any apparent alternatives. I was more on your side of the fence not so long ago, before I bothered to ask. We have all made assumptions on what motivates people that are backed up more by state propaganda than by evidence. For example, do people accept TSA? Sure they do, because every interview I’ve seen on TV supports that “fact”, right? But who chooses which interviews get broadcast?

  20. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember July 16, 2013 10:00 am

    I was reminded of the beginning of The Moon is Down when I read this bit of how some people see legitimacy:

    “Port Angeles is very patriotic town. We support our military,” she said. “This incident we felt was inappropriate.”

    She was assured no further military exercises are planned in Port Angeles in the near future, “for which I am very grateful,” Kidd said.

  21. Bustednuckles
    Bustednuckles July 16, 2013 11:41 am

    My bad, that was a ping back. I linked to this.

  22. Claire
    Claire July 16, 2013 11:54 am

    Busted — Your bad? What bad? That was in fact very nice, thank you.

  23. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit July 16, 2013 12:56 pm

    @Paul – but it doesn’t matter what people think (or say they think). It’s what they do. And until consent is withdrawn, peacefully or otherwise, and the tyrants are stuck with it, the system will continue on as it is.

  24. just waiting
    just waiting July 16, 2013 2:29 pm

    I always consent should work like one of those trial offers I always get ads for.

    “Try consent to be governed free for 30 days. If all the laws and rules and regs don’t work for you, you can cancel your consent at any time (Call 1 800 free-me!).

    If you don’t cancel your consent, we will bill you a small, hardly noticeable fee of one natural right per month. Offer void in Montana, Wyoming, ND, and SD”

  25. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein July 16, 2013 3:05 pm

    Paul, I was only trying to distinguish between wanting something (or being in favor of it) and thinking it’s legitimate…and this, irrespective of how anyone words it. “Are you in favor of paying fifteen bucks for a movie?” 99% no, 1% yes. “Is it legitimate?” 99% yes, 1% no.

    As to the absence of binary-ness, that was rather my point…and that it’s specifically legitimacy that most people think Govco has, even as they disagree with how it manifests currently. I’m not sure how you think this madness could’ve happened, were it not for that.

    There’s nothing to argue here. Change your poll question to, “Do you believe in Rule of Law,” or “Are you in favor of a Constitutional Republic,” and we can analyze the results then.

  26. Lt Greyman
    Lt Greyman July 16, 2013 9:17 pm

    If you can’t identify your enemy, please allow me to give you a safe list of people to shoot:

    1. Illegal Aliens with facial tattoos that say “MS-13” or most anything in Spanish. They are foreign foot solders, infiltrators and saboteurs.

    2. Any blacks in a “gang”. They operate outside common law and will cut you and yours down in a heartbeat if the lights go out for 3 or 4 days.

    See Josie and Joe missed the fact that La Raza is planning to carve off a chunk of the FUSA, that some State parks are so full of Drug growers that the parks are closed for good this year and their sweet little piece of heaven is in the “Transition Zone”. No Whites allowed.

    Josie and Joe also missed that our extremely hateful Eric Holder is whipping up racial hatred and using poor blacks as cannon fodder. Anyone who resists their predations, especially if they take down a few blacks in self defense, will be introduced to the Federal Court system with the full backing of the US Justice Dept., self-defense or not, right Zimmerman?

    You want a Real Answer? Northwest Front dot Org.

  27. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 17, 2013 7:27 am

    [And until consent is withdrawn, peacefully or otherwise, and the tyrants are stuck with it, the system will continue on as it is.]

    The consent is already withdrawn; what’s left is inertia. Someone, I don’t recall who, said something to the effect that something that is impossible will eventually come to an end. The system will continue until it doesn’t. My bets are on the death of the dollar being what ends it.

    Jim, I didn’t ask if people were in favor of the government, I asked them if the current government was legitimate. 60% or thereabouts said no. Perhaps I just don’t get your point.

    [I’m not sure how you think this madness could’ve happened, were it not for that.]

    Lots of reasons, disconnected with either what people think is legitimate or what they want. Like Pournelle’s Iron Rule of Bureacracy. Like the urge of the ruling class to “improve” people. Like the comment by Dickinson:
    “Indeed nations, in general, are not apt to think until they feel; and therefore nations in general have lost their liberty: For as violations of the rights of the governed, are commonly…but small at the beginning, they spread over the multitude in such a manner, as to touch individuals but slightly. Thus they are disregarded…They regularly increase the first injuries, till at length the inattentive people are compelled to perceive the heaviness of their burdens. They begin to complain and inquire – but too late. They find their oppressors so strengthened by success, and themselves so entangled in examples of express authority on the part of their rulers, and of tacit recognition on their own part, that they are quite confounded.”

    [Change your poll question to, “Do you believe in Rule of Law,” or “Are you in favor of a Constitutional Republic,”]

    Why should I care if there are minarchists in the world? If they want a smaller, better government, that is their business. It only becomes my business when their government oppresses me. I need only tolerance from other people, not for them to believe what I believe.

  28. mike
    mike July 17, 2013 7:40 am

    All power that the fedgov has comes from 2 sources;

    1. Their Constitutional power is derived from our consent; and,
    2. Their executive power comes thru force…i.e, the military.

    This gov is outside of the Constitutional limitations and outside of our systems checks and balances and is therefore illegitimate.

    2 things need to happen;

    1. We- as a people- need to remove our consent (how do we do this?); and,
    2. The US Military needs to cease being an enforcement arm domestically (how does this happen?)

    I think we all acknowledge that the fedgov is illegitimate so it would be more fruitful to move beyond that and to somehow come up with some type of consensus, ideas or plan to remove the illegitimate and return to legitimacy. How can we do this?

  29. Sean Walker
    Sean Walker July 17, 2013 9:38 am

    We have a chance. We know the cure, the RX. We have the road map already. It was prepared for us by men of great wisdom and foresight. The real question is DO WE HAVE THE WILL?? Has enough .gov been added to the scale to tip it in the direction of revolt? Obviously not. YET Someone once said “kill all the lawyers” perhaps it’s time for us to realize that the Media are nothing more than propaganda agents for the .gov and lump them in with the lawyers. The power elites fear a new revolution and although they don’t believe in God I suggest they pray that when the revolt begins it isn’t a french style revolution.

  30. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit July 17, 2013 11:23 am

    So if the system continues because of consent, forced consent, fear, or “inertia” …. how does that make any difference to me?

    The system continues.

    As I describe defendants – I don’t care if they are sincere or they’re just faking sincerity. It’s irrelevant what’s in their hearts, so long as their ACTIONS stay legal. “I’m only doing this because the system will kill me if I don’t” is nice, a fun thing to tell oneself, but the “this” is still getting done.

    Until the “this” stops getting done (for whatever value of “this” you want to have), then the system’s still going.

  31. William A. Shields
    William A. Shields July 18, 2013 1:52 pm

    Ms. Wolfe’s writing is superb! Especially liked:

    This government is a foreign thing. And all those people you think you’re electing merely dance at the end of its strings. And it will never be “reformed” or “held accountable” because by its very nature it is totalitarian. It exists to rule you, period. And as long as your money and your belief feed it, rule you it will.

    It’s my new email signature, (with attribution) What happens when a libertarian air traffic controller goes up against the FAA?…..

  32. Elias Alias
    Elias Alias July 20, 2013 11:18 am

    Write on, Sistah!

    Elias Alias

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