Seize the White Knob
I had a guest over in my house in Keene, New Hampshire this weekend. He saw an old black doorknob on the basement door and asked me if many of our old doorknobs had been replaced. When I expressed my curiosity, he explained that some older houses had a mix of pitch black and pearly white doorknobs and that slaves were allowed to touch the black ones but not the white ones.
This fascinated me particularly because you can’t truly comprehend the insidiousness of statism until you understand how it really controls us. A favorite talking point of libertarians is to point out how government has all the guns. It’s not meant literally, of course. Many people own guns, but the point is governments proclaim a monopoly on violence and maintain a considerable threat thereof including armies, police, and weapons technology to ensure compliance. To oppose them violently seems hopelessly futile, even suicidal.
However, I’m always quick to point out that the “guns” of government are not nearly as crucial to its power as its illusions. Yes, governments maintain the threat of violence over us but they can’t afford to exert it constantly. That’s expensive and defeats the point of enslaving us in the first place. Imagine if armed guards had to be hired for every small household to keep slaves in line. That’s simply not sustainable. What’s the point of having slaves that work for scraps if you have to pay lots of guards to menacingly hover over them to ensure obedience? A handful of brave and willful slaves who peacefully and persistently just answer “no” when commanded could cause the whole house of cards to come crashing down.
The efficient and effective way to keep the slaves in line was to get in their heads. I imagine it started with rituals designed to create a sacrosanctness around the color white. Then I’m sure there was severe punishment for whomever was caught touching a white doorknob. It would likely be done publicly in front of the other slaves, making an example of the rule-breaker. I imagine that the “tainted” doorknob would simultaneously be ceremonially destroyed and removed from the home. In time, the very nature of a simple inert object has been dramatically enhanced in the minds of the slaves. What is a trivial door-operating widget was effectively imbued with the power to inspire fear and obedience, even without the presence of the oppressor to catch them in the act. The doorknob may as well have been white hot steel with the power to burn the flesh!
Think I’m exaggerating? Does not the voice of a man with a badge still send shivers down your spine? I still have to fight the Pavlovian response to stand in a courtroom when I hear the emphatic “All rise!” as a man in a flowing black robe enters the room, often to be seated on an elevated pedestal. I recently watched a burning towel evoke tears and despair in onlookers. We’re not controlled with guns. We’re controlled with powerful superstitions.
Do you lust for freedom? Start with your mind. Imagine the policeman naked, realize that the judge is playing a childish game, burn a flag, and seize the white knob! It is, after all, just a knob. And governments are just gangs of ordinary people proclaiming the extraordinary right to control others. Exorcise the symbols of power from your mind. They have no more power over you than what you give them. The guns of governments remain a physical threat, but if we can’t even free our minds, what hope can we ever have of freeing our bodies?