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  • Cory Edmund Endrulat

The Abolitionists Who Willingly Went To Jail ~ Real Rebels

An individual who thinks for themself and defies against any present tyranny in the systems that exist in our world may be seen as a rebel, or labeled the term “anarchist.” This is not an uncommon figure throughout history, and in fact, every rebel of an old system becomes responsible for the new norm or present tyranny, the “new” system. Yet, in seeing this cycle observed among studying the Alexander “Tytler Cycle” or “The Study Of History” with Arnold Toynbee, we may see that history is merely repeating itself, and we perhaps shouldn’t be so surprised to see rebels. In fact, when we study famous psychologist Carl Jung and his book “The Undiscovered Self”, he tells us that “slavery and rebellion are inseparable correlates” as a result of what he calls the “doctrine of the state” otherwise known as statism. In other words, so long as there is domination, there is a great yearning against domination, and hence we cannot blame the rebel. Nonetheless, the individual who does merely think for themself is using their own brain, for which echoes in the words of former slave and Abolitionist Frederick Douglas who tells us, “I cannot breathe for you, or you for me; I must breathe for myself, and you for yourself. We are distinct persons, and are each equally provided with faculties necessary to our individual existence.” Furthermore, in describing his rebellious efforts against his slave-master, he said “ I took nothing but what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for obtaining an honest living. Your faculties remained yours, and mine became useful to their rightful owner. I therefore see no wrong in any part of the transaction.” You ought to ask yourself for the rebels of governments, how different their situation is compared to what exact reasoning Douglas uses here as a means to say he owns himself. If for instance, an individual chose not to pay taxes because it is their own money from their own labor with their own body, would it be justified to kidnap this individual and throw them in a cage due to some declaration on a piece of paper written by other people? This is not only a theft of one’s own property, but also then, a theft of one’s own self. Are individuals not morally obligated to rebel against slavery, theft or coercion, no matter what name or fancy piece of paper one claims to have?

While we may see where we may not blame the rebel, we may also see however where they could be blamed. As we may be able to observe how they help form the new system and become the very thing they hate if they too apply “the state doctrine” or statism, since again, slavery and rebellion become inseparable. This is where we see the old into the new and the repeat of history. However, not all rebels want to create new systems, in fact, some just want to take away the old systems. Some just want to perhaps live peacefully, naturally and voluntarily. It is the difference between the rebel of coercion who then employs new forms of coercion and the rebel of coercion who uses moral suasion and embraces voluntaryism. In addition to this, we may observe that the methods of both these rebels can vary, though they may be seemingly justified since they did not “throw the first punch,” their methods can be counter-intuitive, as in the case of not utilizing the nonviolent resistance in rebels like Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi; we explored this concept in detail before. However back to the main point at hand, we may grow curious and ask ourselves if there needs to be a new system to replace the old system, but perhaps the very framework by which we formulate such a system is the problem, regardless of what we use the framework for; in other words, the doctrine of the state may be the very problem regardless of what exact political form or methods are employed by such a system. If we acknowledge that we aren’t to determine a system by which we are to tell everyone how to live their lives by use of violence, then we would not be falling into this doctrine or framework, and thus would be the rebel who embraces voluntaryism, or the idea that relationships between individuals should always be consensual. In this manner, the rebel doesn’t take the place of the tyrant, the common individual remains among the common individual, there is equality and an abidance to “the golden rule” as he allows everyone to live their own life in the way they want to among himself.

We don’t need to look at famous rebellious figures in history, nor former slaves, and especially not the reactive “rebels” who throw fire in the streets to project their own hatred, in order to understand the rebel who is actually themself. We can look no further than the the often unspoken Abolitionists of the 19th century, which not only warned us of chattel slavery, but of the political slavery between man and his god-complex slave-fiction, “the state.” A simple look at history teaches us of inspiring and courageous individuals who merely wanted to live their own lives, like most people ever do but do not go “the full way” on the road to truth as Buddha tells us. Abolitionists such as Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Robert Purvis, John Brown, Samuel Adair, W.W. Brown, John Collins, Charles Remond, and Charles Lane were willing to go to jail for not paying taxes, and many of them did, sometimes even worse things happened. In addition, prominent Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison of The Liberator newspaper would go to jail refusing to pay the state in a court case against his journalism against slavery. One should not be surprised to see lists online of hundreds and thousands of “tax resisters,” especially when we may observe people we may now call “heroes” for the simple act of keeping their own property for the sake of also helping others to keep their own property. The Abolitionists did not stop at opposing slavery, they opposed the roots to such a symptom as noted by individuals like Lysander Spooner, Salmon Chase and Stephan Douglas, and that is the government itself. Many of these individuals built towns for the underground railroad, refused to vote, held anti-slavery meetings, nonviolent protests and surrounded themselves with like-minds to make oppression impossible and self-defeating; all this, whilst also being censored, having the media attack and accuse them of atrocities and not having the internet. For a peaceful rebel, a voluntaryist, this should be the dream, and yet it was a reality many times throughout history even at the toughest of times, because all it takes, is a little courage.


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