Choose a Master
You Are Not Choosing Liberty
Modern social institutions justify themselves with choice. Yes, you must have a ruler, but you get to choose the ruler. This is true with politics, where legislators, governors, mayors, and judges are chosen. This is also true with economics and society at whole: you can choose to be the subject of one employer, or the subject of another employer. You must have an employer, as you must have a job, which can sustain you. But, you get to pick. You can even pick if you'd want to have a job while being a part-time student. Within your grasp, you have every right to choice; but you must pick, you must choose something.
You have the right to pick, but you don't have the right to not pick. If you do not vote in choosing a legislator, that does not mean you will have no legislator. If you do not choose a boss, you will not be able to eat, and you will be driven either to starvation and death or whatever wages will sustain you. You can choose your master, in terms of work and law; but you can't choose to have no master. The concept of self-rule, or the individual ruling themselves, cannot become a reality in these respects.
Only a very isolated few, like kings and nobles, are outside of these spectrum of choosing masters: the capitalists and the governors are society's current masters. For the vast majority, there can be no self-rule. Since we are in a situation where we can only live by choosing a master, we don't rule ourselves, but are ruled by others.
You certainly have no right to live without law or government. You cannot secede from the state or its enforcement of law. In order to make it look just and fair, you are allowed to choose your ruler. In this respect, the blame can always be traceable back to you, since it was in your decision to choose another ruler. And, when you complain of tyranny, of excessive authority, of being on the losing end of the social system -- they will always respond, "But you could have chosen any one else, so it's your own fault." And, in the neighboring county, where the opposing political party gained the office, they are telling their voters the exact same thing.
More than that, the politician now holds a moral attitude upon election. Their actions include ordering troops to disperse crowds or ordering police to detain minorities in the ghetto. In signing these orders and giving these commands, the politician feels himself to be acting on behalf of the general will of the people. So when people criticize the government for corruption and authoritarian tactics, the politician can always counter, "But I was chosen by the people -- the fulfillment of my will is the fulfillment of their will." While the will of the people does not change significantly, the will of the politician during the election and after the election are explicity different to the point of being opposite.
Similarly, do you have a right to withdraw from Capitalism? Can you stop from participating in this monstrous beast of production and consumption? Can you ever reject having to be employed by a boss, or having to buy from a store? There is no land that you can freely work, no tools that you can freely use to produce. If you want food, you have to pay for it, and if you want to be able to pay for it, you have to work. You cannot work for yourself, because all of the land and productive forces are possessed by a very few.
If you were to find some small industry niche that you could fill, you would still be exploited and oppressed by the great interests of powerful, dominating corporations. The small business-owner, far from being independent, is supplied by wealthy capitalists, depends on wealthy capitalists. They are only slightly less dependent than the wage earner, who must give their time and energies to fill their stomach. Even here, with ownership of your own business, you still must choose an economic master, never being allowed to have no master.
What would happen, if you were to choose no employer? In our present, social system, it is the same as choosing to have no way of acquiring food or housing. Your only alternative to having a business lord over you is starving in the streets. You cannot choose whether or not to be a wage-slave; you can only choose who will be your slaver. Like the politician, this negotiation leaves you with the majority of your freedom in the possession of someone else. You will be expected to behave and act a certain way for the majority of your existence in society. For the time you are under a government or under employment, your actions are not decided by yourself -- rather, you are ordered by an authority above you. There is no self-rule here, just as in politics. You must pick a master, but you cannot pick to have no master.
What is the definition and meaning of "self-rule"? It is a situation where a person designs and orders their life according to what they believe fits their tastes and preferences best. Discipline comes from the conscience and restraint comes from the community's decentralized, self-organization. Unlike the state, an individual can join multiple associations and communities, or they have the option of joining none. And unlike Capitalism, the individual has a right to labor and to receive the product of their labor, never being forced into the position of choosing a master.
Self-rule necessarily cannot have a state, since the laws of a few on the many means that the majority do not control their own lives. And self-rule necessarily cannot have Capitalism, since property is used to govern and control the lives of the mass of workers. Self-rule, essentially, is anti-government and anti-capitalist.
This is not the definition used by news commentators, paper columnists, television hosts, or others who are supposed to deliver the truth to the public. Rather, they describe governments where the people choose their rulers as "self-ruling." They use it to distinguish it between the typical forms of government. First, there is monarchy, where the people must accept one ruler. Second, there is the representative system. In modern, industrialized nations where this prevails, the people must accept one of two rulers. The first is considered "without self-rule," while the second is considered "with self-rule." The term, by this definition, is often misapplied, too, as Britain is considered a nation with self-rule -- though the House of Lords, who make up part of British parliament, is not elected.
"Self-rule," in the view of newspapers and television, means when people choose someone to rule them. It has no relationship to a situation where individuals organize their lives as they wish, limited according to the situation and conditions of community. This is done for the benefit of those who rule the many; similarly, words like "freedom" and "equality" take on drastically different qualities by the mainstream media compared to the senses of the individual.
It is worth noting the distinction made by popular media outlets. Nations that fight for self-rule, for instance, tend to be a nation with a movement for national government and capitalism. For instance, we see this with Poland, which was a part of the larger Soviet Union, and its resistance to the tzar-like Stalin. We also see this in Greece, with its subordination to the Turkish empire almost two centuries ago, and with its subordination to the Persian empire two and a half millenia ago.
Multiple independence movements have struggled for a revolution that creates a national state and national property, from Ireland to India to Ethiopia to Indonesia to Chile to Vietnam to Cuba. Not all of these movements have been supported, since they may have vast economic differences for those broadcasting the message. Revolutions in Vietnam and Cuba threatened the wealth of western capitalists, so they were opposed. Revolutions in Soviet-controlled Poland and Afghanistan, consequently, were called "revolutions for self-rule," because they opened the gate to domination by western investors and capitalists.
Regardless of this contradiction, what is the justification of a revolution for self-rule? It is that the people of a nation are happier and more satisfied when they are ruled by a government of a small territory, than a government of a large territory. This logic is never followed to its final end. It is advertized that the revolution of Spain from the Roman Empire improved "self-rule," and that the revolution of Portugal from Spain, similarly, improved it even better. Why, then, do they not ask for nations to break up into cities, cities to break up into districts, and counties to break up into villages? This would follow to a decentralized order set up by completely free individuals, forming the community.
This self-rule is not advocated, though, because it would mean the complete liberation of the individual from all coercive and unhealthy forms of authority. It is not advocated, because those who own the mainstream media and publishing houses form that authority -- and have no interest in spreading ideas that threaten their power. The individual's power cannot grow, unless it encroaches upon spaces that have already been claimed by forces of domination. Liberty is a zero-sum game, and there can be no authority where people still hold on to their freedoms.
Real "self-rule," then, means mutual cooperation among completely free people, each working together towards a reciprocal and common end. The guard against selfish activity is self-interest, for each person knows that in a free society, they must depend on the good-will of others for their own preservation and safety. And those who act anti-socially, threatening the property or safety of others, are easily excluded by those who have full control over all land and society.
Self-rule can only mean Anarcho-Collectivism, the ideal that truly represents an anti-government and an anti-capitalist ideal. It is the only social organization that guarantees that each person has the full opportunity to develop themselves and benefit from the society of humanity. The individual enters into associations and organizations because it uplifts them, enlightens them, or benefits them in some way. Similarly, the individual finds employment where they are the master of their own tools. No longer must they beg and compromise just to labor and feed themselves; no longer must they sacrifice the fruits of their labor just so that they can have work. This is true self-rule -- this is Anarchism and Collectivism.