When a friend offered to lend me his copy of Claire Wolfe’s book The Freedom Outlaw’s Handbook, I eagerly accepted. I had long read her articles in Backwoods Home magazine and on World Net Daily and I enjoyed her no-holds-barred approach to remaining free in an increasingly unfree world.
Wolfe is likely best known for making the eyebrow raising observation that, “America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”
Her sentiment is a bit strong for some folks, but it carries a definite ring of truth to those who are determined to maintain their freedom in the face of ever expanding governmental efforts to rein it in.
Wolfe openly admits that the ideas portrayed in her book are not for everyone, even among the freedom movement.
But she provides some powerful food for thought regarding the erosion of freedom and simple effective steps that we as individuals can undertake to shore up our personal liberties.
Two of her better suggestions are:
- Don’t give in to the fear.
- Don’t assume an expert is an expert.
For the first one Wolfe writes that,
“Fear is the most potent of the power-mongers. They spook us with some threat—which may be real or illusory. Then they promise to save us from it—as long as we give up just a few more billion dollars, a few rights, a little of our privacy, a lot of our independence, and ultimately all of our freedom.”
An occasional fast from the fear-hyping media works wonders in recalibrating our senses to the world around us. After just a few days without our poisonous dread supplement, the world starts to look pretty normal.
On the second suggestion, Wolfe addresses a leading source of confusion in our society today; the reflexive deference to anyone cloaked in supposed “authority”. She cautions against the conditioned response that most of us have been programmed to give since we were schoolchildren.
Wolfe wisely counsels:
“Never presume anyone is right—or has more rights than you do—just because he or she is standing in front of a classroom, wearing a uniform, talking legalese, shouting from a pulpit, appearing in the media, or carrying a government badge.”
This is a tough habit to shake, but a person who is truly determined to live freely will never blindly defer to someone merely because of the position they hold. Far too many experts are simply functionaries of the bureaucracies they serve and their allegiance is not to the public at large, but to the system they represent.
When those “experts” are defending the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, seatbelt checkpoints, gun control, warrant-less wiretaps or anything else that diminishes our freedoms and expands the power of the state over us, it’s in their interest that we offer our silent obeisance.
Thinking people, on the other hand, know better than to hand over their cherished freedoms without so much as asking why.
Henry David Thoreau, who literally wrote the book On Civil Disobedience, puts it this way:
“The state is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe air after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”
Tyranny thrives on cooperation and many of us have unwittingly cooperated our way into what may well become a full-fledged police state. Claire Wolfe’s Freedom Outlaw’s Handbook offers down-to-earth, practical and often humorous suggestions for those freedom lovers who see the wisdom in maintaining one’s privacy, self-reliance and freedom.
Being part of the pro-freedom conspiracy has never been an easy endeavor. If it were, far more people would be willing to actively seek their own freedom instead of simply following the herd. Freedom appears to be on the ropes worldwide thanks to the seemingly untiring efforts of power-hungry bureaucrats and politically correct kommissars seeking to control the public’s thoughts and actions.
Even the prospect of abandoning society’s population centers to seek a more peaceful life with simple values is no guarantee of achieving a measure of political freedom.
Those pro-freedom conspirators who are feeling the weight of the challenge before them would do well to read a timely pep talk from Claire Wolfe titled “Finding your own freedom” published in Backwoods Home Magazine some years ago. In her essay Wolfe makes a powerful case that the personal freedom we seek will not arrive like an ambulance to save us nor will it be delivered by a UPS truck or found by renting a moving van.
Personal freedom, like self-sufficiency, is a do-it-yourself proposition that requires the same kind of daily tireless effort exhibited by those trying to separate us from our freedom.
She points out that a person who is incapable of acting and thinking like a free person will be unable to find freedom no matter where they live. Wolfe notes that someone who thinks and acts like a free person can still find a degree of personal empowerment, even in a jail cell– a concept explored by concentration camp survivor Dr. Victor Frankel in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”.
Personal freedom requires those who seek it to figure out what we want most in life and then actively pursue it. It requires a willingness to expect obstacles and to either find away around them or to change course if necessary instead of waiting for a bailout. Freedom-seekers must also be cautious not to stubbornly sacrifice the good for the perfect when it seems that our goal is always just out of reach.
Being truly grateful for the freedoms we have is not always an easy thing to do but as Wolfe puts it, “If you must have total freedom or nothing…you’ll end up with nothing.”
In charting a course toward greater personal freedom, Wolfe recommends that we start by first establishing what we really want and then set realistic goals and deadlines within the limits of our time, money, skills and outside restrictions for accomplishing our dream. This is followed by researching and making adjustments as necessary since we are 100% guaranteed to encounter challenges along the way.
One of my favorite freedom-minded writers by the name of Boston T. Party once opined that to be free one must value liberty more than comfort since, “liberty and comfort are somewhat mutually exclusive.” However, he does go on to note that “liberty possesses a comfort all its own.”
There’s never been a better time to seek greater personal freedom by becoming part of the pro-freedom conspiracy.
Bryan Hyde is a husband, father, disciple, teacher, guardian, reader, writer, truth seeker, stirrer of pots, radio talk show host, and PITA to those who seek dominion over others. He’s also a proud member of the Pro-Freedom Conspiracy.
He does professional voice work through his company One Clear Voice. He is also a frequent and popular contributor to St. George News.
Bryan and his wife Becky are raising their six children in Cedar City, Utah.
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