Posted in diary, philosophy | 18 Comments »
More than one person has advised me that I should not renounce my American citizenship as I plan to do. The reasons vary: the inconvenience of losing so much visa-free travel, the loss of ability to do good work for the libertarian/anarchist cause in America, the loss of voting “rights”, the potential for getting caught out as a stateless undesirable and interned in a refugee camp or prison, etc.
Let’s picture the citizen/state relationship, for the sake of discussion, as a marriage. You fell in love when you were young and impressionable and decided to get hitched. For the sake of linguistic convenience, let’s have you be the wife, the citizen, and the state the husband.
After your honeymoon and as time goes by in your marriage, you notice some things are decidedly wrong about your husband. For one thing, his history is really quite different from how he described it before you got married. The more you learn about what your husband did in the past, the more doubt you have in the notion that he is really a good person. How could the one you love have done such awful things? How could he wrap his past crimes up in fancy language and present them as virtues? You try to ask your husband about these things, and if you are not met with stony silence or cold dismissal all you get is a repeat of the same slide show and heavily edited home movies you’ve seen before, to the strains of triumphant music and accompanied by words that seek either to bury that terrible history or to change the meanings of the very words themselves. Sometimes you get slapped hard across the face. You have real doubts.
One day your husband comes home after a late night out with blood on his clothes. “What happened!” you cry. “Oh, I was handing out candy to the children in the neighborhood. Then I killed a man.” Why? Because the other man believed the wrong things, spoke out of line, failed to obey, resisted your husband’s commands and was trying to fight off your husband. “What was the fight about?” you ask. Turns out that your husband was trying to rob that other man, or force him into slavery, and he wasn’t too happy about it. It’s all okay for the moment — surely your husband wouldn’t do such things to you or your family now, would he? But still, the doubt grows: do I really want to be married to a robber and a murderer?
One day you realize that your husband in fact comes home every day fresh from killing and/or robbing someone. There always seem to be good reasons for the torture and the killings — or so dear hubby says — but there’s this nagging voice inside you that asks: how is he different from any other psychopathic mass murderer? Am I next?
You look back more deeply into your husband’s history and find and entire lifetime drenched in blood and clouded by lies. The horror runs so deep and is so pervasive! Sure, your husband may have performed a million good or neutral acts in his past, but there are thousands of incidents of such unrestrained barbarity that there never possibly could have been good intent behind them. You see a pattern.
And you wake up one morning — alone in your bed, as your restless husband never sleeps — and you realize you’ve been tricked. You recall, all at once, the times your husband has beat you, has tormented you about your own nature, has slandered you to the neighbors and has treated you as worthless. You note that he does no work himself, but regularly steals half of your paycheck before you have a chance to enjoy any of it. You see his bloody, murderous present in the context of his bloody, murderous history, and you wonder just what sort of monster you married. No matter: he is certainly not the man you imagined, nor the man he claims to be.
You try to reform your husband, but he is recalcitrant; in fact, the beatings become even more severe when you do so. You try to enlist the help of neighbors and friends, but they all rebuff you, saying that your husband can’t possibly be an evil psychopath — after all, look at the millions of good things he’s done! You find few if any people that can see through the deception. You realize that your husband is the very embodiment of evil, and that you have been duped into believing him virtuous, duped into the marriage and lied to every day and through every one of his acts. You realize that your love was misplaced, as it was based on lies.
Clearly, it’s time for a divorce.
It is a sad fact of human existence that there are tendencies in our psychology where people who are victimized become bonded to and emotionally dependent on those who prey upon them. Battered person syndrome is one such, and Stockholm syndrome is another. I have known many people, largely women, who have gotten trapped in abusive relationships with the most despicable creatures. Worse than seeing their bruises or wounds, worse than crying with them, worse than knowing the agony of their pain is hearing them justify why they really ought to stay with the person closest to them and who causes them the greatest harm — for the children, for the house, for the money, to avoid looking like a failure in marriage, because what will the neighbors think, because a marriage is a gift from “God”, because they think themselves worthless, because maybe “this time” it will all work out for the best, etc. Trying to talk these poor souls out of such situations, especially when you care for them personally, is most often an exercise in bitter disappointment as you watch them again and again return for more and more abuse.
The one thing they really must do in order to save themselves is to sever the abusive relationship immediately: pack your things, leave the house, start a new life, get a divorce, never look back.
I’ve done the first few of those things, now it’s time for the next step. It is my intent to divorce the criminal enterprise which calls itself “The United States of America”. I will not remain bonded to evil voluntarily through the exercise of citizenship.