I want to talk more about going Galt, which I have previously referred to as refusing to economically support a government with which you disagree by dropping out and generating as little tax revenue as possible. In other words, don’t feed the beast.
Today, I am going to take it further than the government and talk about why upstanding citizens who support the constitution should stop supporting large organizations that have become so tightly intertwined with the liberal wing of the government that they act like socialist apparatchiks.
If you haven’t grasped this yet, I’m talking about Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Instagram, Google, and news organizations like CNN and the New York Times. All of these companies perform services for the government that would be illegal if the government performed them. Some examples follow.
Large social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are well known for blocking and removing what they consider unpopular, incorrect, or unacceptable views and opinions, including those of President Trump. If a government entity was infringing on our First Amendment right to free speech to this extent, it would be illegal. But if these large private institutions do it for them, it’s apparently permissible. (Funny how they can use their status as a public network to escape liability for what people post on their sites yet still act like a private company by banning speech regarding non-criminal speech. Seems like having your cake and eating it too.)
YouTube and its parent Google get in on the action as well by making it difficult to find news articles or videos that have views contrary to what their employees espouse. By promoting other search results first, Google can make it difficult to find news coverage and websites that feature opinions contrary to theirs. Google also prohibits advertising about topics like firearms. YouTube removes videos and kicks off content providers who fail to meet their “community standards,” even though the community where they found those standards must be filled with snowflakes who live in a very liberal corner of the country. Likewise, Amazon, through its AWS unit, deplatformed Parler, for no legitimate reason. (Parlor is now back, so follow us there @PrepperPete.)
Disney recently added itself to this list of companies that practice censorship by firing actress Gina Carano, who played the very popular Cara Dune on the Mandalorian.
While it is not illegal for the government to “spin” information and put the best light on data, this kind of propaganda is what the press is supposed to uncover. The Woodward and Bernsteins of today are no longer investigating corruption and illegality. Instead, they are shielding it from public view by ignoring it, refusing to write about it, or by blindly publishing whatever their favored politicians say. At the same time, they grill anyone with an opposing viewpoint while ignoring opposing facts.
We come back to doublespeak from 1984. If the socialist say 2+2=5, then by gosh and golly, the propaganda mouthpieces will not only agree and promote it, but they will sully the reputation of anyone who says otherwise. Social media will take this further, banning anyone who believes the sum should equal four and sending mobs of protesters to set their house on fire.
Propaganda is also used to spread lies about Christians, gun owners, Trump supporters, pro-lifers, and others who are opposed by socialists and fascist. Since something like 70 percent of millennials get their news from social media, they quickly grow to accept this fascist propaganda as their version of the truth. Gina Carano pointed out the danger of this divisive language. That’s what got her canceled.
Many of these companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, eBay, and PayPal, prohibit the sale of many legal-to-own firearms, parts, and accessories. PayPal goes so far as to deny online retailers like GunBroker, Palmetto State Armory, and Midway USA from using their service. It may be legal for you to buy a shotgun or a pistol, but not on those platforms and not with PayPal.
Most of the big tech companies also prohibit advertising on firearms and related products and prohibit links to websites that sell guns. That means a company that sells guns cannot advertise something like a backpack or binoculars through their platforms. And many a YouTube video has been demonetized because it covered firearms, despite guns being one of the very few constitutionally-protected products in our country.
Some banks and credit card companies get into the act as well, prohibiting companies that sell guns from banking with them and refusing to process credit cards or open account for retailers who sell guns.
These same large companies collect data on you, which they sell to anyone who wants it. So much for your Fourth Amendment right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects. Amazon knows what you buy. Both Amazon and Netflix knows your taste in movies, and they use this data and sell it to others. Google knows what you search for and which web sites you visit. Google, Facebook, your phone carrier, and dozens of apps know where you drive and how long you stay there. They can figure out where you live and based on that determine your name. Combine that with information from your credit card and debit card purchases, and you are being tracked every minute of your life.
Most of these companies sell this data, and sometimes government entities buy it. Others turn data over to law enforcement when asked to do so, even if there is no warrant and no exigent circumstances.
I know a fellow who went to a store that was in the same shopping center as an adult book store. When he got back to his place of work, the boss called him into the office and yelled at him for going to an adult bookstore on company time in a company vehicle. Once he explained he was at a fastener company a few doors down buying supplies to finish the job, the boss relaxed. But the idea that they were tracking his company vehicle in real time was frightening. While your boss may arguably do so when you are on their clock and driving their vehicle, there is no reason your cell phone carrier or app supplier should have access to this data.
Technology Reigns Supreme
Technology and big tech companies are becoming the fourth branch of government, and the sad fact is that they are as or more powerful than any of the other three. Twitter shut down Donald Trump’s account, limiting the duly elected president’s ability to talk to his constituents. Neither Congress nor the judiciary could do that, but Twitter did.
Radio once expanded our horizons and let people hear what President Roosevelt said in his fireside chats. The Network newscasts were more objective and reported the news; talking heads expressing opinion were rare, and when they appeared it was clearly labeled an opinion piece. Today, the networks are anything but objective, and the ability to broadcast into the homes of the voters is controlled by the whims of unelected officials in Silicon Valley who have an axe to grind.
You Can Fight Back
The good news is that there are many things you can do to fight back and slow this encroachment on our First, Second and Fourth Amendment rights. Like going Galt, you can refuse to take part in their schemes. You can drop out. Don’t give Big Tech more data to sell. Stop giving your money or your eyeballs to companies who undermine your beliefs. Don’t send your kids to public school.
You would not go to a church that preached a doctrine you did not believe in, so why are you worshipping at the altar of companies that oppose your beliefs?
Step One: Shop Local
One of the best things you can do is to shop locally as much as possible. Buy from small family-owned stores. Support local business and restaurants. I will pay a bit more to shop at my local hardware store or small chain grocer rather than buy from Home Depot or Walmart. And since the beginning of the year, I have tried like all get out to avoid shopping at Amazon. I will often go to Amazon and do research: look at reviews, find brands and companies I like, and then visit their website and buy directly from them. That’s 15 percent or more that went into the pocket of some hard-working small or medium-sized business rather than Jeff Bezos.
This goes for food as well. Try to support locally grown foods so that the farmers and ranchers in your area will still be there when the balloon goes up. Factory farms have been replacing family farms for years (in part because of inheritance tax issues). Support the localvore movement, join a CSA, shop at the farmer’s market, or support merchants and restaurants who sell or use locally sourced and grown products. As an added benefit, this food is far healthier for you than packaged food or products that have sat on trucks for days.
While I did not mention China and their communist party in my above list of companies, they’ve got it in for us. The Chinese government would like to see the U.S. collapse due to internal strife. Look for and buy U.S.-made products whenever possible.
If people who are vegans can go out of their way to avoid wearing leather due to their beliefs, shouldn’t we have as much of a commitment to supporting our values? For example, I could have ordered cheap fencing online, but I picked Red Brand, made in America, in person.
Don’t Buy from Billionaires
I would not buy a Tesla. I try not to buy from Amazon.com, and I don’t pay Microsoft licensing fees. It’s another reason to avoid Facebook and Google. The founders of these companies don’t need our money. They are worth billions of dollars already, and government policies are increasing their wealth at a far faster rate than yours and mine. Let’s fight that trend and spread the wealth too hard working start-ups and small businesses that need the revenue.
There are almost always alternatives out there, you just have to look for them. But small, smart companies that do their customer service in America with people who really care about their product and their customers will give you far better service than conglomerates.
Examine Where Your Money Goes
Pull out your credit card or bank statement and look at where your money goes. Then investigate the names that pop up month after month.
For example, Chipotle, Chilli’s, and Panera Bread don’t want you to carry a gun in their restaurant. So stop going there. Take your dollars to a local sandwich shop or Mexican restaurant where they don’t care what’s in your holster. Starbucks is also antigun, but there are plenty of other places that sell coffee. Target is antigun (no guns allowed in stores) and while Walmart is not a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, they are less antigun although they do prohibit open carry.
Likewise, if you are in a union, see what candidates they endorse. Maybe you can influence them.
Minor changes like where you fill your car with gas, where you buy your groceries, or whether you use UPS or Fedex to send a package can all have a small impact on how your money supports causes you don’t endorse.
I also pay with cash whenever I can. The last time I went shopping locally, I spent about $55 in one store and about $35 in another, all in what we used to call “folding money.” I also pay cash for my firewood, my haircuts, and other services.
As I have written before, this makes it harder for Big Brother and the credit card companies to track my purchases. It also gives the owners of those companies the option of whether or not to report that income on their taxes. (I don’t suggest that they do or don’t; the topic is never even brought up. I just like knowing that someone else who wants to Go Galt can make the choice if they so desire.)
Let’s imagine, for example, that my barber pockets $40 a day in cash payments and it is not reported on his taxes as income. Maybe he uses this money to take his family out to dinner and tip the waitress. Maybe she pockets $40 of her tips and doesn’t report it. Later, she spends $80 to get a massage to soothe her aching feet and back and pays her massage therapist in cash. The massage therapist uses some of that money to pay the older woman who watches her child when she goes to give a message. The woman, who is on a fixed income, uses the extra cash to buy groceries. This is how the gray market works, and it will increase as taxes rise and people have a harder and harder time getting by.
Who is getting hurt by this system? The Federal Government is probably losing 12 to 20 percent, the state and local government is likely loosing 5 to 10 percent. But while we pay income taxes, Amazon and many other members of the Fortune 500 do not. In my opinion, the government is wasting far more than this small amount of leakage on stupid stuff that isn’t required under the constitution, like high-speed rail no one will ever ride, paying teachers to teach subjects I don’t agree with, and hiring inspectors to regulate things they should not regulate, like whether my barber is certified by the state to cut hair. Let’s also remember, income tax is not in the Constitution. It’s been shoehorned into law by court cases, and we take it all for granted.
Stay Off Social Media
I had a face book account around 2010. It was nice to catch up with everyone I went to high school with, but it quickly grew boring. I lived for more than 20 years without knowing what the girl who had her locker next to me ate for breakfast or who my date to the junior prom married. By 2013, I was off Facebook.
I still have a Twitter account, which I used to generate readership for the blog, but I haven’t posted anything for a couple months and my readership hasn’t sunk. I admit that Twitter can be useful in an emergency. For example, if protests come to your city, the info on Twitter is more timely than what the local news will tell you. Police departments and emergency management can also use it to broadcast warnings about local emergencies. But you can read those posts without reading the bull crap.
I think social media can be useful if you have a hobby or a job and you limit its use to those subjects. For example, if I knitted, I am sure the Twitterverse could tell me where to get a special yarn I want. If I had an autistic child or a rare disease and the only community I could find was online, then I am fine with using social media on that limited basis. But it is a giant waste of time and you can be more productive without it.
Ask yourself when cat videos, stupid follow trains, funny comments from someone cleverer than you, rants from people you already agree with (or will never agree with), and the possibility of seeing an attractive body part from a poster of the opposite sex become more important to you than going out and doing something face-to-face with a friend, a significant other, or a child. Put your damn phone down and work on the important relationships rather than friending strangers.
If you cannot live without social media, look into alternatives to these big, oppressive tech companies, like Gab and Parler.
Protect Yourself Online
Take steps to protect yourself online, both when browsing and shopping. This article covers basics like using a VPN, selecting a secure browser, erasing your cookies, and using ad-blocking and no-tracking extensions, so I won’t reiterate it here.
Don’t feed the Beast
There are many things you can do to fight this shift towards a technocratic society and the power Big Technology has over our information and our lives. They want our money, so deprive them of it. They want our eyeballs so they can sell ads. Change the channel, install an ad blocker, or avoid them altogether.
Technology is convenient, and that is their secret weapon. They are counting on our laziness. But we don’t have to be lazy. We can choose not to participate in their technology.
The world has changed in the past two or three decades, and most of us have happily changed with it. But we don’t have to embrace those changes. We can pick the “benefits” of technology we want and throw out the others.
I refer to it as Going Galt, but if you prefer, you can think of treating modern technology a little like the Amish do. They follow the “old ways” to protect themselves and their family from the evils of the modern world. For us, the old ways of the old days are more like 20 or 30 years ago instead of a century or more. You know, back when social media meant reading the newspaper on a park bench or subway car next to someone else reading a newspaper. Ask yourself, what is more inconvenient: Having to hop in the car and go buy a product or losing your freedoms, liberties, private property, and ability to say and do what you want.
Because the beast is coming for all that you hold dear (just look at the great reset). Maybe you aren’t ready to stand up and fight openly, but at the very least you can avoid feeding the beast and helping it grow.