Smash the Fourth

Image by Wiebke Meyer-Lüters.

If there is just one thing left that quite literally everyone in this country can agree on this Independence Day, it is the indisputable fact that there is something profoundly wrong with America and it’s not hard to see why.

America is a country where the economy can be a booming success while the middle class evaporates and the rest of us starve in the streets. America is a country with a colossal dystopian police state that continues to expand with the full support of both parties even while their own federal agents admit that crime is on the decline. America is a country that maintains a phalanx of nuclear armed bases on nearly every continent on earth while playing the role of the victim to second string despots like Vladimir Putin and the Ayatollah. And America is a country eagerly fueling increasingly gruesome proxy wars on those lesser bullies’ doorsteps in places like Ukraine and Gaza just so a few oligarchs can sling missiles to duplicitous baby butchers like Benjamin Netanyahu and Volodymyr Zelensky.

But perhaps what’s most disturbing of all is that America is also a country with a population who seems to be very well aware that their government is becoming dangerously dysfunctional and despotic but has resigned itself to the role of hapless observers, watching the fire crawl closer and closer to the city limits from their smart phones while resting their dwindling hopes on whichever presidential candidate seems less likely to rape their children this week.

Yes indeed, dearest motherfuckers, there is certainly something quite profoundly wrong with America. I and the various radicals who I collude with have been saying this for some time now and while we all seem to agree that this nation needs something a bit stronger than anything our demented electoral duopoly has to offer, we all seem to have very divergent theories on how to save this country.

Most of my fellow libertarians seem to be convinced that if we simply return to the vision that this nation’s Founding Fathers painted in the Constitution, we could arrest the despotic powers of the federal government and return to a state defined by natural law. Meanwhile, my former comrades on the far left rest their hopes largely on turning America into a multicultural workers’ paradise by transforming that same federal government into a bludgeon to be wielded by the proletariat against the rich.

While I personally find both of these theories to be rather charming in their own ways, I can’t help but to feel like both of them miss the most fundamental problem at the heart of our downright apocalyptic age even though it’s standing dressed in dripping blood and a goddamn hockey mask right in front of them.

There is absolutely something profoundly wrong with America and that something is the basic existential fact that America itself is profoundly wrong and it always has been. There were no glory days of bread and roses for this country. There is no chapter where it all went wrong. The men who founded this country were despicable fiends and they found this country for the express purpose of doing despicably fiendish things. America is not an institution designed for liberty or social justice. Quite the contrary, it is a merciless murder machine designed for subjugation and annihilation.

Over 4 million Indians were slaughtered during the first two centuries of this nation’s existence and they weren’t systematically annihilated to build a playground for free markets or organized labor. This vast nation was hollowed out to make room for the greatest slave cartel in human history. More than 15 million men, women, and children were the direct victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade with as many as 60 million dying as a result of its putrid existence in both Africa and the New World.

Two massive dueling holocausts define this nation’s very existence and nearly every one of our precious Founding Fathers was complicit in one or both of these tragedies with the revolution that gave America its independence playing a major role in the conspiracy.

For all its own atrocities, the British Empire made a couple of desperate attempts in the late 18th century to reign in an increasingly rogue American colony that they feared might destabilize their international dominance. In 1763 they made a proclamation that colonists could push no further westward into Indian Territory and in 1772 the Empire declared slavery to be incompatible with English common law which resulted in the freedom of some 15,000 slaves living in England.

Both of these decisions threatened to cripple the ill-gotten wealth of fatted colonial oligarchs like Alexander Hamilton and George Washington, so they threw in their sordid lot with the Minutemen while corralling them beneath a single constitution that fettered their Declaration of Independence and explicitly guaranteed America’s future as a land of rape and honey.

And it was all a downhill sprint to the ninth circle of Ozymandias from there. America’s grotesque police state which continues to define its leadership at home is a direct descendant of the law and order of chattel slavery while the gore fueled war machine that defines its reign of terror on the world stage is the direct progeny of Manifest Destiny. In other words, these aren’t the aberrations of an otherwise benevolent republic. These founding sins are what defines this nation’s very existence and they continue to inform that beast’s slouching crawl toward inevitable imperial collapse.

So, how then do we save this perilous nation? Here’s a truly radical notion, how about we don’t. Let’s stop wasting our time on bullshit elections and historical revisionism and just pull the plug on a machine that has never represented anything resembling moral decency and never will. We can achieve this goal by quite simply dropping out of the American nightmare. The left libertarian radical, Samuel Edward Konkin III, had the right idea with Agorism. American radicals of every stripe should build a grey market counter economy that can simultaneously starve this evil government of tax revenue while denying its corporate masters of their profits with a diverse network of homestead agriculture and bootleg swag.

As the American juggernaut grows weaker, we can take this strategy a step further by embracing a policy of pan-secession in which every conceivable polity can essentially become its own nation provided that any group of its citizens is free to follow their lead. In other words, the People’s Republic of Pennsylvania is free to leave the Union so long as the Amish Dutchy of Lancaster is free to leave the People’s Republic of Pennsylvania and so on and so on…

And the greatest thing about this solution is that it doesn’t require a massive and diverse population of radicals to adhere to any one radical ideology. My fellow libertarians are free to write a constitution that actually reflects the values of natural law for any population who consents to be governed by it and my former comrades on the far left can build a totally voluntary worker’s paradise right next door, while I’m free to tell them both to politely fuck off so I can build my own Queer little pirate utopia that embraces the best of both worlds in doublewide republic on their border.

If America has any legacy left worth preserving, it’s that of a vast and ungovernable land where outlaws fled long before the white man to start over and try something weird in the wilderness. This dream has defined every wild tribe of fantastic savages from the Seminole Nation to the Mormon Deseret. My radical theory is that they were all right because no single ideology can possibly govern a truly free people. No single constitution can ever represent every generation. So, let’s stop trying to preserve the unsustainably counterrevolutionary and embrace something that’s both brand new and far older. Let’s smash the state and make America tribal again.

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.