I had just finished throwing a pitchfork full of hay in the goat’s manger when I heard the helicopter. My family and I live in such a sparsely populated area that this isn’t a common occurrence. Most worrisome was the fact that it was towing something that looked like a giant torpedo. I caught myself thinking: well they’ve finally come for me. My reaction got me thinking about how a person such as me could end up thinking about the possibility of being murdered by someone in a helicopter.
Less than ten years ago I was a typical American. I was a partner in a small business, was in debt up to my ears, had our children enrolled in public school, happily paid my taxes and voted every four years. Then things started changing. The elementary school my daughter attended told my wife and me that we would have to force our daughter take speed. They called it Ritalin but on the street this same drug is sold as speed. We agreed, but just a few months later my daughter asked me if she could stop. She was crying and said it made her “not feel right”. I did what would any other parent would have done. I called the school and told them I wasn’t going to continue forcing her to take the drug. They told me if I didn’t she couldn’t attend anymore. The only solution we could afford was to home-school her.
I had read Atlas Shrugged about a year before we started homeschooling and was so moved by Ayn Rand’s book I declared myself a Libertarian. I would eventually become our county’s Libertarian Party Contact, and would wage many battles against the local government. During this time I started looking into aspects of our Constitution that weren’t covered in my High School civics class. I had several of my Letters to the Editor published in the local paper. In these letters I argued against the constitutionality of the proposed county Growth Policy, and other legislative acts. Because of our efforts we were able to get the growth plan severely scaled back. We fell short of a complete victory because it was still instigated in its less egregious form.
Our business was still fairly young but it did provide us with full time employment even if the pay was less than spectacular. Then the business won a bid to provide services to a global company. This company expected sixty hours per week of work in a neighboring state. I was the only employee available for this work. For several months I worked those sixty hours. My weeks were averaging more than eighty hours with the commute. I was thrilled about this much work. The hourly billing rate was the highest I had ever billed out and I knew I was soon going to be living the American Dream. This dream came crashing down upon my shoulders the day our CPA explained the IRS needed all the money we had saved in the business account and it still wasn’t enough to cover what we owed. We had to take out a sizable loan to cover the rest.
The one-two punch of losing most of our property rights to the Growth Policy and losing most of the fruits of my labors to the IRS inspired me to go ahead with a plan I considered after finishing Atlas Shrugged. We Shrugged. Now days what we did is called “Going Galt” however this same thing has been happening ever since Rand wrote the book and was historically called “Shrugging” or “Gulching”. The phrase Shrugging comes from an analogy to the mythical Atlas realizing that he is shouldering the weight of the world and rejecting this burden. Like Atlas more of my labor was stolen via taxes just because I was more capable. The difference in my earnings between working eighty hour weeks barely exceeded what I earned working forty hour weeks. I was converted from an entrepreneur who believed in the American dream to a slave with the IRS as my master. Like all slaves I decided I wouldn’t work any harder than I was force to.
My wife and I gave up our interests in the business. We sold our home at the peak of the real estate market and took those profits with us as we hit the road seeking a new way of life. After several months of traveling the Rockies in our vintage Airstream we found a small mountain town in Montana. The town had the feel of freedom. There wasn’t a single stop light or parking meter. The bars provided people “to go” cups. A woman in town had a pet cow. There were no city cops or even a dog catcher. We purchased two mining claims above this little town. I built an off-grid log home. We planted a garden and purchased livestock.
We now live comfortably near the poverty line because we are debt free and mostly self-sufficient. We hope the government shrinks back to a reasonable level or disappears all together but even if it doesn’t we’ve made our own freedom. We no longer support an entity whose only purpose has morphed into nothing more than a vehicle to enslave citizens. Because of this I fear the government has classified me as a terrorist. I guess from their point of view I might just be; I do hope my actions inspire others to follow my example and I can see how losing tax revenues from the most productive section of the population could terrify them. However, even if I home school my children, can quote the constitution and avoid paying taxes I’m not a terrorist. A few weeks after seeing the helicopter I discovered that it was just a magnetic survey of all the mining claims around ours but I still worry about what the slave masters might someday do because I refuse to live as an indentured servant.