Seize the White Knob

Old White DoorknobI 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?

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Discussion (16)¬

  1. Ron Helwig says:

    Most excellent, and spot on again!

    This one should be spread far and wide. You should be syndicating on and writing for other sites.

  2. Azrael says:

    Are you going to have this on your youtube channel? Mind if I read this on mine?

  3. Mike says:

    Fantastic essay! I agree with Ron: you should submit some of your work to more sites. Your writing and thinking are great!

  4. Hunter says:

    Excellent job Dale.
    The ‘illusion’ that came to my mind was the illusion of marriage and all of the mind control that we’ve been conditioned with about it.

  5. dandechino says:

    Awesome article. I will be hanging on to this one. Thanks for everything you are doing.

  6. penfold says:

    Okay, so there is a system, and that system regulates our behaviour. Your subtext seems to be that somehow our rituals of behaviour impinge upon freedom. So you sit at a computer and write (language - the most ossified of all our ritual behaviour) tilting towards some unknown greater ‘freedom’. But aren’t rituals are the reason we love instead of rape, we talk instead of hit, we enjoy instead of merely survive. Perhaps rituals are important? We stand when a judge enters a room not to honour her, but to remind her of the weight of judging and of the importance that society (at large - I’m sure many reading this will disagree) places upon justice being done. We stand that she might sit under our watchful gaze, we stand so that justice is not only seen to be done, but is done. My question is this, can humanity exist without ritual context? And given that ritual underpins some of the most essential characteristics (the ability to talk, the ability rise above the animalistic ’slaves-to-our-bellies’ situation) should we want to move beyond it?

    Great post, really got me thinking.

  7. Adam says:

    Loved the ending paragraphs.

    “And governments are just gangs of ordinary people proclaiming the extraordinary right to control others.”

  8. penfold says:

    control orders are truly insidious, thier use in the UK is truly fucked up. I wrote a post on the use of closed evidence in control order hearings if anyone is interested:

  9. [...] but if we can ’t even free our minds, what hope can we ever have of freeing our bodies?”read more | digg [...]

  10. [...] but if we can ’t even free our minds, what hope can we ever have of freeing our bodies?”read more | digg [...]

  11. Friday says:

    Wow, good article! Well done.

  12. Agape says:

    I don’t think you really understand the situation. The article is pointing out how a system of control without the masters needing to be present was worked out. If the master was there, telling them what doors they could go through, there would be no “need”. The white/black doorknobs were like slave traffic lights or signs. Most people abide by speed limits (even if you’re saying “oh, 5-10 miles over is pretty safe” you’re adjusting your behavior based on the limit), traffic signs and lights, even when the traffic cop isn’t there. That’s the ultimate control, the ultimate leash. When you wear it without the gun physically pointed to your head. The ultimate slavery is when the whip doesn’t even need to be threatened to get the behavior from you. You just automatically do it as if it was a natural thing.

    The regulations we abide by do not prevent rape, assault, or subsistence-level existence. The regulations, and the monopoly enforcement agency endorsed by them, effectively encourages rape and assaults because of the lack of effectiveness in defense. Other regulations limit your ability to own and carry a firearm, so they further increase the incentive. And the taxes and other distortions to the marketplace caused by government make it more likely that you’ll end up with a subsistence-level income and existence by rendering you into poverty. The fact of being governed, being a slave to the power structure, ensures that you are at that bottom rung. You are owned. You are chattel. You are at the mercy of the rulership, and the rulership really has no mercy. Hell, in many places still it’s actually illegal to have the means of self defense on you. And even if someone is bigger or more physically imposing, if they threaten you with harm many self defense laws say as long as they don’t introduce a weapon you’re not allowed to. It’s even worse in England, where you are only allowed to engage in *very* strict proportional self defense. You can’t add a knife if a knife isn’t present, you can’t add a baseball bat if it’s not present. In fact, you can’t do much of anything. A best-case for being able to defend yourself there would be to have one of every type of weapon that’s legal to carry, and then pull out a similar weapon when someone accosts you. Assuming the weapon they’re using is also legal. Which is becoming less likely as time passes.

    And the rule of standing when a judge enters involves the rituals related to the heirarchy. You aren’t reminding them of the weight of their decision, you’re offering a tribute while also not being at leisure while they are not. It’s a gesture used towards generally appointed rulers. The minor difference is standing in “salute” to a monarch, the monarch need not stand because they’re who and what is being honored rather than the office they reside in. You’re acknowledging them as your superior, your judge, with power and status above you the lowly commoner. The fact that it is a major insult punishable with fines and even jailtime if you don’t offer the tribute should show it’s not a gesture for the audience’s benefit. If all you were doing was a ritual to “remind the judge of the weight of their duty”, you could dispense with it as foofaraw without generating more foofaraw.

  13. Michelle says:

    “You are owned. You are chattel. You are at the mercy of the rulership, and the rulership really has no mercy.”. Actually, the Bible says “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Cor. 6:20) and “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” (I Cor. 7:23) and “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16) Ultimately we each of us serve something - it’s our choice what & who we serve. Every day we choose what to obey and what to ignore and those choices are made based on our beliefs about life in general and our specific beliefs about spiritual matters. Want to know what someone REALLY believes? Watch their behaviour. And pick your battles. Just be aware that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Most of our biggest losses of freedoms came from good intentions. The Patriot Act comes to mind. And most gun laws. And my favorite beef, Social Security. So “choose ye this day whom ye will serve”, and tomorrow, if there is one, you get to choose all over again.

  14. eddie says:

    The hole world is slowly evolving twards a truer democracy and the US is being left behind. How can they make us act, think and dream in such orderly fashion? The hole system works on making a profit. The more you dirty the less you want to clean. The more you have the more you want. And we want to promise this freedom to all those countries that have abundant natural recourses.
    Someday we will wake up, even if we are the last.