A Controlling Concept

by Iloilo Marguerite Jones

There is one controlling concept of all that I do, write, say, and promote, in so far as I am able, limited human that I am. I strive to act from this controlling concept:

Each human, as a part of his or her identity, holds personal sovereignty and unalienable rights, not capable of being separated from that individual, and inherent to his or her very existence. These rights are an aspect of human nature as fundamental and inseparable as all other aspects that define our human nature and our identity as humans.

I begin each day working as best I can to clarify my application of this fundamental concept - of the absolute sovereignty and inviolate nature of each human being on Earth - in all that I write and do. For all my writing and words, I ask only that if you agree that this concept is the controlling fundamental fact of human interaction and social behavior, that you attempt, as though your life and liberty depended on it, to do the same.

If we each do this to the best of our ability, we will advance the freedom not only of our own lives, but also of all humans on Earth. In this time of philosophical revolution in action, we have no choice but to act - and encourage others to act - on this concept. All that dilutes or delays the acceptance and application of this fundamental, a priori concept, is in fact in support of the continuance of slavery and ultimately, death.

I believe it is time to stop arguing the issues of degrees of enslavement and usurpation, and begin putting liberty concepts into application through words and deeds. We've looked at history. We've looked at the existing systems. We know where we are headed if we do not commit our lives and resources to changing the course of tyranny that stalks the Earth. We must admit the futility of going back and visiting the earlier abuses against so many people, and earlier attempts to correct those abuses.

I am less concerned about the orderly replacement of present systems than with applying conceptually driven private actions that can begin to realize, though the evolutionary progression of these actions, the concept that drives the vision of liberty. It's easy to put this concept into action and fact through any of a series of activities.

How? Well, right now, I'm working on educating an entire little town about jury power and individual sovereignty, with the assistance of the local paper and many citizens. It was this action that began my thinking on a few issues, and it's earlier thinking on these issues and their underlying concepts that drives the entire process. (Here, I offer my usual open-handed gesture of gratitude toward my mentor and friend, Doug Buchanan, www.think.ws.)

The Declaration of Independence was written to free humans from oppressive government. Unfortunately, it only took a few years for many of those same authors to decide to put into place a replacement government, organized and created with enough flaws to allow the present conditions to prevail. What happened to the unalienable rights elucidated in the Declaration?

If there is one point we need to remember, it is this: if a conflict arises between individual and public good, then public good, existing as it does only as a fictional collection of the good of separate individuals, must be abandoned for the good of the individual.

If individuals do not perceive a collective good as worthy of their voluntary participation and support, then that good does not serve them. No one may force a personal or majoritarian perception of public good on any other individual. Such a strict application of the concept of public good does much to limit the power of any collective organization, be it government, throne, court, or tribal leader.

Government, as we all know, is for maiming and hamstringing productive people very, very slowly, and keeping us alive and functioning just enough to continue to produce a bit of "marginal utility" for the state. Then we wonder why so many people need Prozac and other opiates! Being a slave and not being allowed to identify one's true state of existence, nor to feel angry about it; being forced to "share" and being told one is guilty if one does not - well, if I didn't think beyond the collective government cant, I'd be doing drugs, too!

The ideological ground I want to stake out, and the fundamental concept I wish to clarify, once again, is the issue of individual human rights to life, liberty, and property, and those usurpations of rights that are taken for granted in the name of "public good", "common welfare", "general defense", "public convenience", "common good" and other such rationalizing statements.

The misconceptions of "common good" and "public good" begin with the assumption that we are not individual, thinking, autonomous human beings, all holding more or less the same moral ground and ability to consider and arrive at decisions, as well to recognize and contribute to our own good. This misconception begins with the view that individuals are a collection of resources and assets to be controlled, allocated and directed by some other power-hungry and power-damaged humans who have elbowed their way into some political office or bureaucratic desk. The emperor of government and "public good" has no clothes, no chest hair, and a very scrawny and ugly body, besides.

I say this entire misconception is a horrid rationalization, and is not only false, but a subtle front for the worst sort of muggery and mayhem - not to mention murder - ever practiced on Earth.

We can all cite instances of abuse, terror, usurpations and violations of the fundamental unalienable rights of humans - in this country and around the globe. To look away rather than at home, in my own back yard, does not in any way excuse me (you can develop your own rational or moral standards, just don't try to impose them on me!), from facing the reality of human envy and thirst for power. Having faced the reality, I now must, insofar as I am able, set about deflecting these abuses from my own small, localized position using my one mind and body. For, while I cannot change history, I do plan to continue to do all that I am able to do to change the future.

I am against any tax. In my eyes, there is no acceptable level of taxation, being as it is the institutionalized use of force to steal production. We may each give all we want to give to those things we find worthy of a contribution of a part of our productivity: I support many private schools, a volunteer fire department and security force, many private parks and nature preserves and land areas, as well as other efforts. If it were in my best personal interest, I would support and join a volunteer militia too.

I'm for pointing out how invasive, pernicious, overwhelming and well- rationalized government interference and tyranny has become. Someone mentioned government-sponsored parades. Does anyone actually think it is a justifiable function, if any justifiable functions exist, of government to sponsor parades? And yet, we must recognize that on many levels, government has always sponsored parades, haven't they - parades and cakes and circuses, too?

To look at the past, other than with respect for the facts and lessons of history, is to further confuse the present situation, and thus gallop off into a useless discussion that allows us to avoid the responsibility to seek and find present answers. I say this as a great believer in the examination and constant study of history. We must learn from our history as humans, for if we do not do so, we will of course repeat it.

Learning from William Wallace, I now struggle to state the truth as I see it, to trust few if any, and to wage war with words as long as possible while polishing brass in the evenings. I try to avoid those verbal detours and distractions that lead away rather than toward the new concepts that we must be creating, inventing, and applying in this day.

We must be willing to chart a new course even as we attempt to understand where we have been. The future of humankind - and our liberty - lies in uncharted directions, not in the mistakes of the past. As Albert Einstein said, "The solutions to the problems we face today cannot be solved on the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

We need a clear vision of our future, and we need a clear statement of the fundamental precepts by which we chart our course toward that future. If we have no closely reasoned means of evaluating the results of our actions, how will we know when we are achieving even the most minor of successes, much less know when we have affected a major leap forward toward our goals?

Someone needs to articulate that fundamental concept and vision, and to set up a standard, a reasoned means of measurement, to let us know when we are succeeding in our efforts toward that vision, and when we are applying our concepts to our actions. I appointed me as one of those who will do so, largely for my own instruction and occasional amusement.

Once, in a several-hour discussion, I was asked why I insisted on taking the philosophical extreme as my conceptual position. My reply is that if no one takes the extreme (Utopian) position, and uses it as the practical benchmark, how will anyone know or hold a vision of that toward which we struggle - any more than we can know when we are working toward the perfect building of a house if we lack a plan or blueprints. I'm happy to work on articulating the perfect plan. Moreover, I daily carry water and chop wood, using my own set of skills and my own trade to do what I can.

I'm not for armed revolution - yet. Although I can think of a few efficient ways to do away with tax collectors and bureaucrats, I am, for the present, for continuing to point out the moral implications of mugging productive people.

I'm for putting every liberty-directed concept that we can conceive into practical and immediate application. I'm for searching for that new level of thinking that will help to solve the problems created in this time. I'm for living and acting, insofar as I am able, by the controlling concept of individual sovereignty, applying it first to me and my actions.

For Liberty and Justice for All,
Iloilo Marguerite Jones
Executive Director
American Jury Institute/Fully Informed Jury Association
Post Office Box 5570
Helena, Montana 59604
406-442-9332 FAX

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