An Ancient Short Tale: Country

One day I took off from my father’s farm, went over the hills and found a small valley I liked. Next trip I brought with me some cows, a bull, some seed and my young wife. We built a house, planted seed, raised vegetables, had children and were happy in our little valley.

After a few years, one day a policeman rode up and said, “You’ve got to pay taxes on your land. Yesterday the government of Hell put up an imaginary fence around all the valleys around here. You are now living in the country called Hell. If you don’t pay your taxes you will be considered as trespassing on government property.”

I said, Right now you are trespassing in my property. It is not a country; it is something greater than a country. It is private property. It is mine by moral right of having made it mine through effort and use.”

The policeman shouted, You don’t own this! The government owns it! The government owns everything!”

I said, “Arbitrary assertions mean nothing. You are speaking gibberish. Years ago men made a big mistake: they formed countries and surrendered most of their individual rights for safety and protection. This was understandable since no one had identified what individual rights were. if they had know they would have formed Individual Rights protection societies and never have made countries. However, the power of arbitrary assertion, coming from religion, was strong in them. Plus, the ignorant barbarians understood the power of countries—power over others by sheer numbers—and they clung to the idea of a country. ‘Country’ is a barbaric concept, fit only for barbarians.”

The policeman said, “You’re crazy, you’re nuts! And you don’t own this land. The government owns it by right of might and Hell’s authority. What authority have you got?”

I answered, “Authority means nothing, and you have ten seconds to get off my land.”
He shouted, “I;ll be back with fifty men to drive you out!”

“No you won’t,” I said, and my slingshot whirled.

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