Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do

Part V: WHAT TO DO?

WE MUST ALL HANG TOGETHER


When bad men combine,
the good must associate;
else they fall, one by one,
an unpitied sacrifice
in a contemptible struggle.
EDMUND BURKE
SIGNING THE DECLARATION of Independence was a dangerous act. To call the king of England a tyrant—especially in such a public and eloquent way—was high treason, punishable by death. Although the signers of the Declaration of Independence had different reasons for doing so, were very different individuals, and had radically different political points of view, the executioner's rope could be equally effective for one and all. John Hancock was bold. He signed his name first and large. "There," he said; "King George should be able to read that without his spectacles." When Benjamin Franklin signed, he was expected to say something witty, pithy, and to the point; he was, after all, the greatest aphorist of his day. Franklin did not disappoint. "We must all hang together," he said, "or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
The most popular American flag (prior to Betsy Ross's getting her hands on it) showed a snake divided in parts representing the thirteen colonies. The slogan was: UNITE OR DIE. All of us consensual criminals find ourselves in a similar situation today: we must unite or continue to have our rights denied by our own government. Another popular early flag showed the snake united, with the warning:

DON'T TREAD ON ME.

Another way of stressing the need for unity came from Martin Niemoeller:

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.


He that would make
his own liberty secure
must guard even his enemy
from oppression.
THOMAS PAINE
1795
The people who oppose recreational drug use for health reasons must realize that the same people who outlaw recreational drugs now are working on outlawing certain vitamins, too. Prostitutes, gays, adulterers, sodomites, and heterosexuals who have sex outside of marriage all violate the same sexual taboo. (If you live in a state where sex outside of marriage, adultery, oral intercourse, or homosexual acts are legal, be assured that there are forces of the religious right who are working diligently right now to correct that legal and moral oversight.) The law that makes adults wear seat belts springs from the same paternalism—and political compromise—that would if it could (and apparently it can) regulate every other aspect of your life; for your own good, of course.
We are all chickens in the same farmer's yard. What would happen if the chickens all got mad at the farmer instead of pecking each other? Remember Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds? There is a reason falcons, lions, and tigers are not raised for their eggs, milk, and meat: chickens, cows, and sheep are far more docile; they don't complain when their eggs are taken, readily cooperate when being milked, and are easily led to slaughter.
There is, of course, the rare animal that does act up. It's branded a renegade, and quickly eliminated. If, however, the entire group of animals—that is, the entire species—is known for acting up when trod upon, these animals are, for the most part, left alone. If consensual criminals stood up not only for their own rights, but the rights of each other, we would have the power to keep the government from treading upon us.

To preserve the freedom
of the human mind then
and freedom of the press,
every spirit should be ready
to devote itself to martyrdom.
THOMAS JEFFERSON
June 18, 1799

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