Americans Revolt Billions of Times a Day

It seems to be that as the United States federal government and the Presidency in particular have gradually morphed into something more like a European monarchy, our attitude towards its sovereignty has shifted. Certainly no state or province or faction of the ruling class would dare to challenge the military might of the United States in a single act of open revolt.

But as time goes on we challenge it in small acts of secret revolt. Violation, for example, of our draconian system of immigration laws has become quite common. How many appointees to the federal bench or to the office of Attorney General must be caught in nanny-gate scandals involving child care payments to illegal aliens made under the table before we get the fact that our governing class, even that part which is directly pledged to enforce the law, routinely ignore this law?

We have a Treasury secretary who cheated on his taxes. But he is not the only one. There are probably more people who buy goods and services via the internet and catalogues that don’t pay sales taxes than people who do. We’ve been rehabbing our 132-year-old home for several years now, and I can tell you, some subcontractors expect to be paid in cash. We follow speed limits only when we think they are being enforced. Dads let their teenaged kids drink beer. People cross the state line to buy fireworks, or any good, when the sales tax is lower. People on unemployment compensation stretch it out so they can work on their eBay business.

Retirees buy discount drugs from Canada. Families share prescription antibiotics with other family members for whom they have not been prescribed. A man with cancer smokes marijuana even though he doesn’t live in a medical marijuana state. When we are driving at night, and we come to a T in the road with a stop sign, and there is no one else around, we slow down and roll through the stop sign. We eschew seatbelt laws when we take short safe jaunts up the block. We let our kids do a little practice driving in the parking lot before they get their learners permit.

We don’t recycle every time they tell us to. We top off the gas tank even though they tell us not to. If they announce they are going to make light bulbs illegal, we buy more, not less of them to stock up. If we think gasoline will kill the poison ivy better than some biodegradable eco-approved watered-down stuff, we use the gas. Even though certain states had anti-sodomy statutes on the books up until just a few years ago, gay people had sex in their homes all the time, and did not give a thought to the ordinances.

Businesses split in half so as to be qualified for small business exemptions from federal regulation. Farmers look the other way when they hire day laborers who clearly are not citizens. Federal regulators write their regulations, and financiers change their form of organization in unforeseen ways to avoid the regulations, even ones they pushed for.
George Soros delists his hedge fund to avoid rules his beneficiaries wrote. Businesses treat many regulations as cost of business and just pay the fine rather than incur extreme costs. Factories and labs create commonsense workarounds to arbitrary OSHA regulations.

And most people have absolutely no moral compunction about any of these violations, either of the spirit or the letter of the law, because deep down they no longer believe that the law, especially the tax code, represents any compelling moral principle, nor do its dictates seem any longer to be fair. They don’t think their home state has earned taxes on the Amazon purchases or that it deserves any share of the mutually beneficial exchange between you and your dry wall guy.

I bet you can think of a few dozen more examples, and increasingly we’re all in business and in personal life thinking of more and more ways to game a system which we have less and less faith in.

It’s not civil disobedience that I’m talking about. It’s the opposite: Civil disobedience is meant to be noticed. It is a price paid in the hope of creating social change. What I’m talking about is not based on hope; in fact, it has given up much hope on social change. It thinks the government is a colossal amoeba twitching mindlessly in response to tiny pinpricks of pain from an endless army of micro-brained interest groups. The point is not to teach the amoeba nor to guide it, but simply to stay away from the lethal stupidity of its pseudopods.

The amoeba does not get smarter but it does get hungrier and bigger. On the other hand, we get smarter. More and more of our life takes place outside of the amoeba’s reach: in the privacy of our own homes, or in capital accounts in other nations, or in the fastest growing amoeba avoidance zone ever created, cyberspace. We revolt decision by decision, transaction by transaction, because we believe deep down that most of what government tells us to do is at bottom illegitimate.

A slightly longer version of this article appears at

Mr. Bowyer is the author of The Free Market Capitalists Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins, and a columnist for

52 thoughts on “Americans Revolt Billions of Times a Day

  1. Thanks you gave me a lot of great ideas…LOL….But I got a bad feeling big brother’s head’s are mulitplying and we are going to have a whole lot of trouble finding our way out of some of this stuff coming our way if The Kind get’s four more years…

  2. Rules were made for the lazy to hide behind. As our elitist Congress and POTUS create more and more stupid laws that they can’t even be bothered to read, and that unnecessarily subjugate American citizens and invade every aspect of our lives, Americans will increasingly lose respect for the law. If those morons won’t even read the laws, why should we obey them???? Stupid laws were meant to be broken. Immoral laws should be broken. A few laws are necessary and should be obeyed, but most could be eliminated if a bit of common sense were applied. Unfortunately, common sense isn’t so common in this country any more.

    1. Doris, your thoughts reminded me of 1st Timothy 8:8-9 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; (9) knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of mothers, for manslayers. — I know that Pauls letter to Timothy was speaking of God’s laws, not mans, but I think verse 8 could, and does apply to our present laws.

  3. used to be, from the beginning, that a “crime” involved harm to another person.. either directly against his person or indirectly against his goods or reputation. The remedy, in the biblical economy of things, was always restitution. In today’s perverted world, if I were to come round to your house at two AM, smash down the door, enter, steal your gold, then break your arm when you accost me in the act, my “crime” is not against you, it is against “the state:, as YOU will not be the one dragging me before the local magistrate seeking restitution for my harms. No, it will be The State of Wherever vs, Nasty Ol Me. The State (read: the people) bears the entire cost of prosecution, restoration is almost never in view, and when I am sent to prison for my misdeeds, it is, once more, at public expense. You, my victom, never receives a dime. Your insurance company, or you out of your own pocket, bear the harm I perpetrated.
    And so with the myriad “rules and regulations”. Now, if I am observed using my mobil phone whilst driving, I have “harmed” the “State” and will have some fee extracted from my wealth at gunpoint. Whom have I harmed? No one. NOW, suppose I am doing the same, and, due to the level of distraction, negligently harm another of the public, THEN I have in fact harmed someone, and the State is obligated to step in and “bear the sword”. But, what happens? Once again, it is the State of Wherever vs Negligent Ol’ Me. More of my wealth is extracted to feed the system. Again, some insurance company (yours, mine, or both) will bear the harm. Meanwhile, five million OTHER motorists drive down the road, using their mobil phones, in total safety.

    When we return to a system of JUSTICE, where one causing harm is bound to restore the damage done TO THE ONE DAMAGED, then my acts of carelessness will carry suitable consequences, and thus I will better regulate them. Instead of regulating my phone usage whilst driving so as not to be observed by the State, I will regulate such use based on the likelihood of my causing harm… which I already do, being a moral person and not wishing to harm another. When I am already talking on the phone and traffic conditions change to the point I need boht hands and all my brain, I will terminate that call to resume it when safer. What we have allowed to be created is a system of petty tyrants dedicated to enlarging the girth of the Fat State at my expense, and a people who are not held directly responnsible for the consequences of our actions.

    When OSHA comes round for a visit, the shop owner can be fined ten thousand dollars for an electrical cord running across the floor of the shop. Everyone working there is aware of it, it has been there for weeks, no one has tripped over it, no one ever will. No HARM has been done to anyone, yet the business is robbed for ten thouand dollars at gunpoint. It is precisely THIS sort of thing makes me so eager to establish a business sufficiently prosperous to require a substantial facility and a number of employees. Business used to depend more on the intelligence, vision, wisdom, of the founders than anything else. Now it is more like a Monopoly Game, where the frequent roll of the dice can make or break the establishment.

    And people wonder what is wrong with “the economy”. Government micromanagement will NEVER generate a fraction of the wealth one man with vision and wisdom will when said government steps back and allows him to USE the good judgement God has given him. When the man in a government issued cosutme, bearing a badge.nametag and a gun, comes to “inspect”, he is really only after expanding the wealth of HIS team, never that of the business he is “inspecting”. And, in large part BECAUSE “the goverment” have taken on the role of “assuring our safety”, people have abdicated their taking care for safety to said government. Injury accidents are more frequent because of the false sense of “safety” engendered by the “rules” and watchdog agencies.

    This is all part of a true “free market” system. The central tenet of this article stands: people have become habituatied to only “obeying” the rules and regulations when it seems likely their misbehaviour will be observed by said Government Goon, attired in his government issued costume and bearing the government issued trinkets and, of course, the ever present Glock. And said government bemoans the reality that, increasingly, production is being moved away from the confines of this zoo and into places where management is truly free to MANAGE and thus prosper. It becomes less dear to build it there, ship it, pay the import duties, then distribute it here than it is to build it here with one hand tied behind my back and the government with both hands in my money tote.

    Besides, said government further demands the half of my wealth when I die, preferring its own aggrandisement to my obeying the biblical mandate to leave an inheritance for my children. One more reason to break some rules……. “its for the children, you know…..”

  4. Is it revolting to revolt? I’m certain it’s revolting under the Obamama regime. So maybe we are in a revolution. Spinning to the brink of calamity by his henchmen and societies to replace American ideals and ideas into a third-world country. We must draw the line in the sand this November and take the fight to these evil people.

  5. There was once a joke that went something like this:

    In Germany, everything’s forbidden, except that which is permitted.

    In USmerica, everything’s permitted except that which is forbidden.

    In France, everything’s permitted, especially that which is forbidden.

    In Russia (USSR) everything’s forbidden, especially that which is permitted.

    While stationed in Italy, I noted that people broke the law, and did so in front of the police. A ten-year-old boy was selling black market cigarettes (stolen from the US Navy’s Exchange or Commissary) not ten meters from a uniformed “Fisc” officer (their IRS). They had no respect for the law at all. “U” turns in places right under a No U Turn sign were common even if a traffic cop was in the intersection. I told my Jacquie that it was because there were so many laws, that everything was, in essence, forbidden, that people actually could not live their lives without breaking the law, so the law had become a laughingstock.

    We notice that there are hundreds, thousands, of new laws that take effect on January 1 each year. News stations make note of it, but do not say what they are. (It would take too long.)

    One of our friends, a police officer, told me that he could pull anyone
    over, anytime of day or night, for some violation. Instinctively, we
    know this to be true. That’s why we cringe whenever a police car pulls
    up behind us. We’re guilty, we just don’t know of what. Politicians and bureaucrats know that an honest man cannot be controlled. So, to make it easier to control all of us, they make everything illegal, they make criminals out of everyone.

    We seem to be coming to a juncture where everything in USmerica is forbidden, especially that which is permitted.


  7. Buying pharma drugs from Canada makle a lot of sense. Its legal for individuas to buy drugs from Canada, especially if they are 50% cheaper for the same drugs you buy in the US. Most of these drugs are made in India or other countries anyway. I saved $2500.00 last year by buying from Canada Drug in Winnepeg. The shame of it is that Medicare has to pay full price to drug Companies, not even a quantity discount of 40% like the Vet’s hospitals get. This was the deal Bush put inot law for the American people, so the big Pharma pays back the Republican party and a few bucks to DEms. during elections. Anytime I can stick it for big Pharma I will.

  8. The “acts of revolt” described in this article are petty, self-serving and go unnoticed. With it becoming more apparent, that before the end of this year, the military might of the United States could be directed towards us, our” acts of revolt ” would have to take on a whole new meaning and level of action.

    1. I think what the ayatollah barack hussein is trying to say to the mob is “follow my example = lie and steal and I will bless you even more with the money I have stolen from the middle class Americans”…WAKE UP AMERICA

  9. Happily guilty on all counts, except even considering hiring an illegal. Most law enacted over the past 100 years have been for the sole purpose of increasing government revenues and, more recently, benefiting unions. Nearly all laws regarding automobiles fall under that.
    Most of the remainder are feel-good laws that help reelect some Congressman or Senator. The remainder must have been passed on casual Fridays when the booze was flowing and someone suggested, “Let’s see if we can get away with this one!”

  10. Just because some collective of expensively clad, low-browed, dishonest, self-seeking politicians (or the regulators the government hires) make a rule, there’s no reason for us to consider it a legitimate law. The Supreme Court too is thoroughly political as we’ve seen — and therefore when you know that 40% of its justices agree with your own position (and that Kagen, Sotomajor, and Ginsberg – employing supernatural sophistry …have made a decisive impact on what will be called law) you can’t take laws of any kind very seriously. It’s been a case of accumulating error. The margin of injustice and illegitimate regulation put upon the citizenry is intolerable. We are being bled dry. This is, on a more minor scale, the same thing George Washington and Tom Jefferson and Ben Franklin and John Adams were facing back when. Of course, as I say, the situation they faced wasn’t as extreme. No one was forcing their children to attend schools that filled their heads with outright lies. No one was saying that ALL their wealth was subject to the whims of the central government. No one was telling them that they would no longer be able to see the physician of their choice or choose the therapeutic approach they believed most beneficial to themselves or their families. No one was forcing them to line up and take their shoes off and be abused by a bunch of wanna-be prison guards. No one was shipping their friends off to prison for possessing “controlled substances.” There were NO controlled substances. No one was telling them they couldn’t possess firearms to defend themselves. No one was suggesting that a congress of foreign powers, some of them worshipping Marx or self or Allah and waiting for 12th Imam to return, would be writing rules for them to live by, while they, Washington and company, would of course be expected to pay for the handsome quarters their oppressors (exempt from our “law”) would be occupying on the banks of the East River. No one had told them that God’s law was a fiction and that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and Pelosi, and Reid, and Obama, not Moses or Jesus — would be making the rules from now own. They might have found that a bitter pill to swallow (oh, well… that’s another thing, isn’t it — the new powers of the federal government which include their authority to tell you which pill to swallow.) The situation is so out of hand, so adulterated, so far from just or right or legal — that it’s time to hit reset. I’m sure that even the terrible attitude that I manifest toward the “lawmakers” is illegal. It’s illegal to know or speak or even feel the truth. A new truth has been legally sanctioned – the truth that says everything and everyone is the same, the truth that says equality is more important than liberty, that recognizes the “lawmakers” as the arbiters of equality. In short — the truth that says these rulers of ours are gods, exempt from the rules they make. They’re kings, queens, princes, knights — and we’re workers or folks or…. peasants. These voracious locusts eat out our substance and steal our lives, minute by minute, blunted hope by blunted hope. They presume to review our communications in the name of security when they and their rule is the source of the insecurity to our liberties. They have turned the world upside down. The unlovely is beautiful, the common is noble, the low is high, and they are the kings and queens whose wisdom is the mark of their aristocracy. It is for us to obey them and defer to their millions and millions of regulations. Yes, we must respect their laws, even those that contradict one another. In those cases you should simply stop and wait until an official comes to adjudicate how you take your next breath. After all, that breath you breathe is supplied by them. Forward.

  11. I can’t remember where I read it but by 10AM EVERY CALIFORNIA CITIZEN HAS BROKEN AT LEAST 1 LAW. This is meant as revenue generation. It has nothing to do with safety.

        1. Yeah. Whatever happened to the government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people?’

          Now, its a government against the people…

    1. It’s the same everywhere: laws exist, for the most part, to make us all criminals. Criminals are easy to control (except the professionals — they understand the law, so break it carefully.

      While we all recognize that revenue is one reason for such laws, the real reason is control — power. We are all guilty of something, so we fear the police, and rightly so: they have more guns, bigger guns, and better guns than any of us could ever hope to have. And, in the end, even a library fine, resisted long enough and strenuously enough, will result in your death. Government is, by definition, the monopoly on lethal force in a given area.

  12. almost any one you talk to will tell you the have no respect for our government, And they are right, for the most part our elected representatives have no concern for the folks who put them in office, they are after the money and perks, and all that comes from our pockets, Look at this for a second, Joe Biden cost us a million bucks a tear in fuel for flying to all the great coursestome he sure not worth it ,Nancy piglosi cost over 22 thousand to fly her and feed her on her birthday flight., To me,hell with them walk swim or crawl i have no desire to spend money on these fools.

  13. Our revolution will be at the poles with our votes. Their counter volley will probably be with placing the country under martial law due to mounting riots when this “person” loses.

      1. I was kidding. In Austria, they speak German. There aren’t any kangaroos in Austria. I hope she didn’t let the door hit her in the arse on the way out. :)

  14. I will put it this way…. a law is only as good as the people who are willing to follow it, obey it, and support it. Make a bad law or policy, the people will show you in a hurry what they believe. The question is…. when the h… are the deaf and dumb arrogant idiots in Congress and about every branch of government going to listen???? What do we need to do… take a sledge hammer to their heads????

  15. Newt Gingrich long ago observed that Americans see laws as benchmarks of opportunity.

    All that’s changed is laws have proliferated, meaning benchmarks of opportunity have as well.

    Not that I approve of licentiousness, but if it’s a choice between that and slavery, licentiousness it is.

  16. When Frank Zappa said this was where the U.S. was headed, thirty or forty years ago, he seemed like a crank. Now he seems like a sage.

  17. I see this as an enormously hopeful sign. The sheer weight of statutes violates one of the elementary principles of Common Law jurisprudence: that a man should have a high degree of certainty as to whether his actions are lawful or not. The law is now no longer merely hard to understand, but literally unknowable, since so much of exists as vague catch-all provisions, waiting for a capricious official to launch a prosecution. And far too much law (the bulk of it, now we’ve got the big ones like murder and theft out the way) is malum prohibitum and not malum in se. Faced with this torrent of unparseable, otiose legislation, we are simply refusing to play the game. It’s not an ideal situation by any means. Far better a simple, concise, consistent canon of law. But absent a revolution accompanied by a Henry IV part 2 culling of the legal profession, this is not going to happen. In the meantime they can pretend to pass laws, and we can pretend to obey them.

  18. We have thousands of laws so it’s hard not to break one now and then. Congress meets daily to pass more laws which reminds me of a quote, “No mans’ life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

  19. I just read elsewhere where many MORE teens are sending nude photos to each other. If caught by Big Brother they’ll spend the rest of their lives on a Sex Offender list … If a teenage girl takes a nude photo of herself, emails to her boyfriend … Who is the victim? Who has been harm’d and by whom? Yet the STATE will prosecute. There was a time when parents would handle their wayward kids dumbness.

  20. This is pretty much BS. It’s a NEW thing that people drive above the speed limit and run stop signs? Buy things across state lines to avoid taxes, have sex in ways that may be illegal, do illegal drugs, share prescription ones? Some of the things mentioned in the article aren’t even illegal.

    Reminds me of an interview I once read with a prison warden many years ago, saying that a large percentage of the inmates consider themselves revolutionaries rather than muggers, burglars, rapists and murderers.

    If Bowyer want to feel that people who have always done what they do when nobody’s looking to get theirs are actually making a silent political statement, one that conveniently happens to be one he wants to hear, he’s kind of delusional.

  21. Need to tighten up the definition of revolt. The classic understanding is the overthrow of the current regime by citizens/residents of the regime. Under that guise many of your examples fall flat.

    * An illegal alien crossing the border is not a revolt. Its an invasion of one.
    * Contractors being paid in cash is not in and of itself an admission of revolt for your don’t know if the contractor refused to pay his tax on the income or not.
    * Many states treat traffic violations as misdemeanours. That certainly does not reach the level of revolution.
    * Nor is reducing your tax burden to its lowest possible value a crime as Justice Brandeis has admonished.

    You’re playing footsie with the definiton of the word Sir.

  22. This reminded me of a passage in William Manchester’s wonderful ‘The Glory and The Dream,’ about the decline of the American Arcadia. Something like,”No one knows how it started. Perhaps someone just thought,’Screw it,’ and ran a red light.” At any rate, for him, the fall began early.
    Also interesting to consider this piece in light of Harvey Silvergate’s ‘Three Felonies A Day.’

  23. As others have observed here, Ayn Rand had the right of it some time ago:

    “Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr.
    Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not
    a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it…
    There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the
    power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one
    makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible
    for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding
    citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that
    can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you
    create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the
    system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be
    much easier to deal with.”
    –Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged 1957)

    We stand at the edge of an abyss from which there is likely no return. The American people need to wake up and smell the killing fields that inhabit the imaginations of the current occupants of the White House and those who control them.

  24. Good article. Basically we now have so many unecessary taxes and laws that nobody really beleives in them, or understands them anymore, and just ignore them. There is a caution here though. This practice of routinely evading stupid taxes and laws has become so common in Italy and Greece, since they have so many stupid laws and taxes, that it is one of the major causes of their bankruptcies and collapse. The people there have gotten so used to evading foolish taxes and laws that they dont even obey the sensible ones anymore. We must pare back taxes, so only absolutly necessary taxes remain, and can be really enforced. And we must pare back laws to only sanction crimes with real victims, and crimes that everybody can understand are wrong, since in those cases you can rely on the victim to help with the enforcement, and if a law is clear and universally recognized as sensible, most Americans will follow it. As with most things today, the choice is between the Greek/Italian way, represented by Obama, and the American way of limited government and freedom.

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