The all-knowing Noam Chomsky once said that, “The general population doesn’t know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.” With this in mind, please read the list below for inside information on the outside world around you.
#1: The American national debt will probably never be paid.
William Cobbett argued that, “Nothing is so well calculated to produce a death-like torpor in the country as an extended system of taxation and a great national debt,” and former Governor of the Federal Reserve Marriner Eccles believed that, “If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn’t be any money.” Indeed, money is generated from debt, the national debt is $20 trillion, and there is no chance that 234 million Americans will make yearly payments of $62,000 each to put a significant dent into it. Numerous experts claim it is mathematically impossible for the country to pay this off in the near or distant future.
#2: The FBI only recently went primarily digital due to technical issues.
It wasn’t until 2012 that the FBI successfully went fully digital, which is a little alarming considering they should have the best technology out there. A $425 million electronic system was planned for 2009, but it seems that FBI coders simply weren’t up to the task. When the transformation finally occurred, it cost $26 million more than was expected, to boot.
#3: Money is highly illusionary.
The U.S. Treasury states that, “Federal Reserve notes are not redeemable in gold, silver or any other commodity, and receive no backing by anything. The notes have no value for themselves.” This means that the value of money is highly subjective, and highly unreliable when it is needed the most. Back in the day, money was backed by a gold standard: the government possessed $100 of gold for every $100 bill that was issued. However, now bills are basically just I.O.U. notes which are legally laundered by the Fed.
#4: Fingerprints are routinely routed to Clarksburg, West Virginia regardless of where they are taken.
The FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) is a database of over 100 million fingerprints located approximately 250 miles west of FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. It only takes about 12 minutes to find a match when a matching fingerprint has been uploaded to any municipal, state, or federal system.
#5: Almost all human beings have the ability to live off the grid.
Societies and nations are sometimes dependent on the status quo and traditional habits of consumption in order to operate as citizens have come to expect. Yet, with human-induced climate change threatening the very existence of humanity, all human beings really should be as self-sufficient and as energy-efficient as possible. What’s more, you’ll save more money and you’ll be better prepared for natural or global disasters.
#6: It’s possible to turn of all social media notifications.
It’s entirely possible to avoid being alerted about every shallow comment on Facebook or about every reply or reaction to something you’ve clicked (intentionally or otherwise). Take the time to update your settings periodically, because social media programs want you to know about everything related to their platforms. Put forth the time and energy to turn notifications off on a regular basis and you will be happier and more at peace throughout your lifetime.
#7: The world—and most of the people within it—want you to consume, consume, consume.
The distinguished Aldous Huxley once said that, “Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence—those are the three pillars of Western prosperity.” Planned obsolescence is how companies endlessly make profits by enticing as many citizens as possible to consume as much “stuff” as possible. Again: only buy what you need to buy and you will be better prepared to face both minor and major adversity in the present and in the future.
#8: America’s most wanted criminals are often chosen due to physical appearance.
Edgar Hoover made the FBI’s Most Wanted list in 1950, and the usual suspects are kidnappers, murderers, and thieves. Yet, as per New York Timesreporter Michael S. Schmidt, “the bureau [attempts] to select dangerous fugitives who . . . could be recognized by the public because they have distinctive physical features” like scars, tattoos, and distinct facial features.
#9: Civil asset forfeiture.
Ludwig Von Mises once argued that, “The State is nothing more nor less than a bandit gang writ large.” It is true that police brutality, extortion, and overreach of power corrupts both federal and state civil asset forfeiture laws: these people can seize, keep, or sell any property they deem to be related to criminal activity. This has led to police departments utilizing forfeiture to meet budget and quota requirements, and even John Oliver has called this corruption out for what it is.
#10: FBI files are available on the Internet.
The Vault is an FBI reading room comprised of over 6,700 documents on people like Marilyn Monroe, Dick Clark, Joe Paterno, Steve Jobs, and numerous Joe Shmoes. The Freedom of Information Act enables citizens to request FBI files on themselves and other people—here.
#11: America imprisons more citizens than any other country.
The wise (and funny) Stephen Colbert has said that, “Some may say that jailing people over their debts makes poverty into a crime. Well if that’s true, maybe we should just cut out the middle man and put all poor people in jail. Of course, this will require new prison facilities, which we can build using people who can’t pay their prison fees. Not as workers, as the bricks.” The U.S. prison system has grown by 500% over the past three decades: the nation has less than 5% of the planet’s population, but 20% percent of its prison population. Furthermore, big corporations end up making fortunes off of what often amounts to modern slavery.
#12: Forced taxation is B.S.
The insightful Edward Abbey said that, “Since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.” It seems flat-out wrong that if a human being does not pay taxes they are threatened with punishment or jailtime. This smacks of extortion and authoritarianism. Americans aren’t even told precisely what their tax money is used to pay for!
#13: Statelessness exists.
It is difficult to impossible to be sovereign and stateless in the modern world. Like living off the grid, living without a state would cause nations to lose too much control over individual human beings. Mike Gogulski argues that humans are social creatures that should not be forced or conditioned into becoming and remaining statists. Or, as Nietzsche said, “State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: ‘I, the state, am the people.’”
#14: Police aren’t always required to help citizens.
There are many rules that enable police officers to choose not to help, protect, or serve individuals. One only needs to type “Police shooting” into YouTube or Google in order to see firsthand proof.
#15: The United States is like an oligarchic plutocracy.
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis argued that, “We may have democracy or we may have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Money is power that very few human beings on Earth possess, and this leads to the continued existence of masters, rulers, and hegemony that results in inequality and injustice.
Main image: Istock / Raghu Ramaswamy