This page is about choices: yours and mine.

The next several sections traverse my own thought process in reaching my decision to engage in this protest and risk my well-being in so doing. Considered are the anticipated reactions from the American general public to my protest and appeal, my prioritization of the various alternatives and outcomes that appear open to me, as well as the thorough discussion that I have had with my closest friends and that has led up to this prioritization, and my list of grievances against the status quo that lay at the root my current protest and the abyss before which I stand.

An image of the United States Supreme Court Building

my appeal

There comes a time in everyone’s life that an important decision must be made. Most of us have likely made many such decisions already and have lived to tell about them. This is a decision that only others may live to tell about. For, I have decided to quit the system in sheer protest, rather than simply play along and succumb to its corruption.

As I watched my several tens of thousands of US dollars in Saudi savings disappear with each newly rejected employment application, I asked myself repeatedly what I would do, if no employment were to be found. To my pleasant surprise I found a plausible solution -- one that had been suggested to me by my Saudi students, but also one that I could not figure out a way to implement with any degree of confidence. Then, I discovered John Lee Dumas, and a light on the distant horizon suddenly appeared. Simply I needed time to get from here to there.

It was in Tōkyō in the spring of 2013, while in attendance at the WEAI's 10th Biennial Pacific Rim Conference where I was soon to present a paper on the evils of central banking, that I met with my good friend, Professor Dr. Peter P. Baron. We had not seen each other since my departure from Japan in the late summer of 2000, and we arranged to meet in the early morning in front of the gate at the Marunouchi north exit in Tōkyō Station. We met within five minutes of our scheduled rendez-vous and walked together to a small café not far from my friend's office somewhere between Tōkyō Station and the Imperial Palace. As we had kept in contact over the years he was very aware of my tenuous future and asked me what I would do, if my funds were ever to run out. I told him firmly that I would not go on social welfare as I found the system distasteful, if not criminal. He smiled, but said nothing. Three years later I sent him a copy of my loan application packet that had been rejected by one lending institution after another and asked, if he could not loan me enough money that I might pay my rent and prevent my good credit rating from being soiled. Instead, he sent me a gift and asked that I not ask him for more. I promised that I would not ask again and told him that I would not waste his gift. It was not the first time that I had borrowed money from him, and he knew that I pay back whatever I borrow as soon as I am able. Simply, he was now retired, and my request was already burdensome. For one month I was able to forego my pending eviction and even have my VISA card renewed by Bank of America.

My goal through this protest is to bring attention to a plight already faced by many less fortunate than I and encourage others to realize that the current system is not a solution. My appeal is to raise enough money in true charity — charity given from the heart and not at the point of a gun — to clear my few outstanding debts and pay the cost of my burial. For then, I could, at least, die in peace with a clean slate next to my parents in the burial plot that was set aside for me while I was still very young. Who knows? If enough charity comes my way, I might even be able to survive the ordeal and complete the investment that our current financial system has forbidden me to complete and is preventing me from securing my retirement in good financial standing. In effect, my protest is an action of last resort taken in lieu of other less tragic action that defies the current spoils system and seeks to restore the system of voluntary hard work and charity that our nation was founded upon. This is a gambit like no other, but it is one that I am compelled to make, and that my fighting spirit and sense of alarm with the current state of American government does not otherwise permit! I stand with and for you. And, I can only hope that you will stand with and for me.

This is not a hoax and I will post a live streaming video everyday, as further evidence and indisputable proof of my sincerity.

Please contribute at, or, at a minimum, share this page far and wide. I am not good at asking for charity, and I would not do it at all, if I did not believe in my own ability to make good on what is given.

My heartfelt thanks!

disclaimer: how this protest came about!

Before deciding to initiate this protest I sent an email to my friends and similarly minded acquaintances with an attachment similar to the one presented here. Whereupon I asked each to choose from among several alternative responses that would best describe the general public's likely reaction to my protest. Looking back I probably made their choice too difficult and should have asked them to rank the proposed alternatives from the most to the least likely anticipated response. Indeed, not one of my friends did as I requested; rather, each provided his own response, and two, for whatever reason, did not even respond.

Of those who responded only one thought that I had some chance of survival, and that, if I were serious, he would even help with the development of my idea. Two others applauded my courage, but saw little chance of survival. Two instructed me to find another way and offered suggestions. One, told me simply to do myself in quietly and that I was wasting my effort. One suggested that I might be able to draw media attention, but that he would not support my action.

Several lengthy and not so lengthy discussions resulted. My plan of action has been carefully considered among those who know me best and others who share my personal conviction. In effect, this is not a whim.

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the alternatives

Before making your decision please consider the following alternatives and outcomes that were open to me:

Survive and Live to Tell the Tale: The opportunity for me to become still another strong voice against the imperial leviathan that our national government has become and against the havoc that it is creating domestically within our own society and in other societies abroad. An opportunity for you to help yourself by helping me in our mutual desire to bring about effective and lasting change.
Martyrdom: Whether anyone contributes money or not, at least there is a chance that I will have succeeded to heighten awareness about a grave problem that American society faces today and that will seriously impact its future unless action is taken soon. As a nation, we have been following the wrong path for far too long. Alas, I die a hero of my own story!.
Survive and Succumb: Apply for SSI and food stamps, live in state-funded housing, and volunteer what remains of my spent life in charitable activities in my local community helping those less fortunate than myself. Chill. Get a life. Buy a dog. Forget my devasted credit rating. And, leave everyone else in peace. I am not the One, and obviously it is the will of the majority that I do as just described, else their would be no social welfare program in the first place. Who knows? Maybe, even, another door or window will open up. Best of luck!
Suicide: End my life in the quiet of my own dwelling and leave it for the government and my supportive building manager to clean up. More of your tax dollars would be spent on still another fallen victim with nothing to show for it. What a complete waste of a rich source of human capital! I can do better. We can do better.

using the system to defeat the system

I am sure that there are those among you, who would insist that I allow the state to steal on my behalf. For, indeed, you would argue, the pittance, that the state would take, and that I would receive in due course, would be nothing compared to what I could give in return to those from whom the state has taken. Accordingly, you would further insist that I set aside my principles, be more pragmatic, if not realistic, and use the system against itself. As this very thought has also come from one of my closest friends -- someone who has spent much of his life as an employee of the very system that he is now encouraging me to exploit --, I have given it careful consideration. I do not like it, when someone tells me that I am unable to listen to reason!

In fact, I performed a brief calculation that compared what I could receive in welfare with what it would take to further develop my business and maintain my current standard of well-being. At the end of one year I calculated that I would be in debt another USD 4,111. Further, any lowering of my already frugal expenditures would not be able to compensate for the legal costs of my pending eviction, the eventual replacement of my nearly obsolete computer equipment, my devasted credit rating, my newly found impoverished surroundings, and the additional wear and tear on my personal psyche that would result from the transition.

Now, I have managed to survive some very difficult and harrowing moments during the past decade, but none of them have sacrificed what I hold dear to my heart -- my own hard-won philosophical backbone. And, upon consideration of all of the above and other less important adjustments necessary to endure the just described transition, I simply cannot imagine how I could possibly recover my current status and rise above it. I simply do not see the way.

Oh yes, in time I could surely establish still another online student-base, but this would unlikely be enough to eliminate my dependence on the state and would leave me with little time to develop further my online-business project. What would surely result is another annual report humorously lamenting my newly found poverty and still another biting tract posted on a webpage by me, an unknown entity, largely ignored in favor of pornographic videos and other forms of consumptive entertainment by those who think it grand to be able to elect their next emperor and new debt-master. Indeed, my further effort would be, but a mere exercise in survival with zero satisfaction: I would have rescued myself with the force of another's gun from still another failed moment in my long tumultuous, but thus far uncompromising and very fulfilling career. I am a late bloomer, but have no desire to survive on tainted water.

Human beings differ from other animals in that they have the ability to look into the future based on their well-rehearsed past. If mere survival is all that to which I can aspire based on my very good understanding of my own past and what our national future portends, then is it not better to end my humble, but proud, flexible, but stubborn, principled, but practical existence while my head is still high, my spirit is still strong, and I have the opportunity, however small, to make a difference worthy of my own, perhaps undeserved ambition?

With the exception of one friend no one has told me to accept the stolen gift that represents the spoils of government. Of course, none of my other friends regularly dole out the spoils of corrupt government to people far less capable and knowledgeable than myself. Alas, my friend has told that I am abandoning the car when all I really need is more gas. Well, excuse me, but what is a car with gas and no spare tire that must cross a societal wasteland that depends on the theft of the state to satisfy its own charitable neglect?

For the moment, I remain critical and my tongue remains sharp, but I am not bitter. Furthermore, I have no intention to die embittered. In fact, I want to help, and I have the ability to help, but not from the vantage point of theft and destitution where all I can hope for is sympathy, condolence, and the same void public discourse that fills our national news, social media, pubs, and coffee shops of our nation's urban centers.

I taught myself how to springboard dive at the age of 56 in Hong Kong, and how to dive from a three-meter platform in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the age of 63. Last week I was performing pull-ups in pike position at 24-Hour Fitness in Seattle. I have prepared myself well for the long run, but a long run with hope and aspiration -- not self-denegration and socialist inspired welfare. No, the pittance that I would take would be petty theft, and I would be no better than the same that steals from a local merchant. How could I then stand before a crowd of people and tell them taking from the divisive government trough is wrong and does not contribute to the general welfare of our nation? I would be a hypocrite like no other, and there is already more hypocrisy in our nation's political discourse than I am able to address in these few lines. No, I will not survive and succumb!

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my line in the sand

OK. I failed. I lost a battle. Does it mean that I surrender?

It was not the first time that I had sought to achieve the impossible thinking that it was, in the worst case, improbable. But, we can never know until we try. The human condition is in the end one of bounded knowledge with a seemingly infinite horizon. We have only to go to the border of what we know and cross it into the unknown, and we move one step closer toward a better understanding of who we truly are. This is the adventurous spirit that I was raised with, and it is this adventurous spirit that I have carried with me throughout my intellectual and professional career.

Certainly, I have tried to break away and reform a system of education that I find repugnant. Certainly, I have made every effort (Viewpoint, Twitter, 2015, and countless other locations) to educate an American public mired in rising debt, domestic strife, and massive destruction in Southwest and Central Asia. Indeed, I have a unique perspective about my motherland that has been acquired overseas in Japan (nine-years), Hong Kong (seven years), Korea (one year), and Thailand (one year) at great personal sacrifice to myself and my now deceased parents. It was my work in Saudi Arabia (four years) that reawakened in me the desire for the material well-being that I had denied myself for so long in my ambition to impact the world in a notable way and finally achieve what I had once foresaken. And now, I am faced with very real, personal, financial disaster whose only visible, but dim path to recovery is here and now.

I have listened to the counsel of my good friend and his wife who are both employed in Washington State's Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). I have listened to the counsel of my good friend in Berkeley, California who had awakened me to the falsehood of September 11, 2001 and who has encouraged me to go quietly and not bother myself in the belief that it is even possible to salvage America's lost heritage. I have listened to the counsel of my good friend who has, over the years, consistently implored me to pray to a God whose existence I do not deny, but whose creation I strongly believe to be our own. I have also listened to the relative silence of another good friend, as well as his praise, but sincere assessment of the likely outcome of my planned adventure at the horizon of my own existence. Finally, I have found someone who applauds both my courage and effort and has assisted me in developing the strategy that lies before you. What brought this latter friend and me together was not the long-standing friendships that I have shared for so long with the others, but our shared philosophical outlook of what it means to be a true American and what America once offered to the world, but has long since abandoned.

In the end, this is not some crazy act of desperation, but a carefully thought out plan to make effective use of what is left of my life and even satisfy my relentless ambition. Maybe it will fail, maybe it will succeed, but at least I will have tried to awaken, just a little bit more, a nation that has, for so long, taken its great heritage for granted, but is no longer able to look itself in the mirror with the perspicacity necessary to solve its own problems. No, I do not pretend that my sacrifice will bring about any great change, but it may just inspire others to work a little harder to do what is necessary to insure a prosperous and enduring future for our nation and humanity as a whole. And, when all is said and done, I will, at a minimum, perish a hero unto myself -- a tale well told, courage in the face of an ugly reality, as only each of us can truly see it -- from his own perspective. Yes, I believe in the well-being of the collective, else I would not be making this protest, but in the absence of personal accountability, who are we but lost, commiserating sheep in search of a shepherd?

Our forefathers belonged to a generation of people with a long heritage of self-governance that their French revolutionary counterparts did not share. What both shared in common was a devout loyalty to their respective kings and the spirit of unbounded intellectual and scientific discovery. Today, the spirit of scientific discovery remains, but the courage to look at ourselves in the mirror as anything but the subjects of scientific experiments that others manipulate and control goes far beyond anything that our forefathers desired or could likely even have imagined -- the legacy of our so-called late 19th- and early 20th century progressive era. Truly, I do not know to whose voice most Americans are listening today. Nor, do I really care. For it is neither the voice of their not yet born children and grandchildren, nor is it the voice of those who gave birth to our nation.

Until now, always I have been able to find my way out, always I have been able to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Perhaps, it is my disappointment in my own countrymen and -women that clouds my vision and hides the light. Perhaps, it is my frustration working to reach my final star with so few means. Perhaps, I am just disgusted with being ignored and watching as my human assets are repeatedly thrown into a gutter by small minds lacking the imagination to reach beyond anything but their own personal comfort. Perhaps, it is my resistance to believe in something that would contradict everything that I have come to know about myself and who we are. In the end, I do not pretend that you will not reject both my protest and appeal, but what is my alternative? Do we not, in the end, share the same goal?

Am I to move forward with less than I came and with stolen property taken from you by our own government? Am I to move forward with a damaged credit rating and an invisible age barrier whose non-existence is everywhere to be seen? And, what about the missing credential that I neither want, nor need to enhance my work performance, and am now no longer able to afford with a pending, damaged, credit rating? Rather, that I perish while still strong in mind, body, and spirit and with improbably impact, than to continue forward with more certain impoverishment picking up the pieces of a broken system that plods blindly ahead with elected leaders who offer little more than palliatives to a deep-rooted disease with a known cure.

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list of grievances

It is the Seattle's Seafair Weekend, and the screeching of US Navy fighter jets flying at low altitude over the city are a reminder of imperial security and war -- no longer the symbols of a free and sovereign people. For, when we must

• Rely on rules, laws, and regulations promulgated in distant capitols that only listen to our voices to know how better to control and manipulate our thoughts;
• Deny our own citizens the right to bear arms to defend themselves against all enemies both foreign and domestic;
• Close are borders to distant and proximate enemies whom we ourselves create;
• Issue counterfeit money that saps the very essence of our long run economic growth by funneling our prosperity into the hands of corrupt bankers with each reoccurring rise and fall of the business cycle;
• Cower from the truth about 9/11, as if the truth no longer mattered, so that our empire can better prevail;
• Turn to the state, rather than each other, each and every time that something goes wrong;
• Incarcerate fellow citizens who have caused no injury to anyone, but perhaps themselves, and likely not even this;
• Parade our sexual life for all to see, as if what goes on in our bedroom were the business of anyone, but ourself and our sexual partner(s);
• Fail to teach our children even the most fundamental tenets of our nation's foundation and thus preserve our national heritage over time;
• Criticize the customs and habits of others, as if only we knew what it meant to be human and could determine the difference between right and wrong;
• Reward those who would break the convenants of our Constitution while punishing those who would expose their transgressions;
• Pretend that everyone is equal in any way, but under the law;
• Steal from the one to give to the other, call it charity, and pretend that it contributes to our general welfare while it tears us apart and destroys our social fabric;

we can no longer speak of a free nation. What is left is a nation based on the notion of might over right, a nation that views competition, not as a means to grow the economic pie for everyone, but as a means for its own citizens to obtain for each a bigger share of what others have produced.

And, how, my fellow Americans, can we expect money to be anything, but dirty when it is counterfeit to begin with? And, what good can we expect of any giving, but divisive bickering when we allow the giver to engage in theft -- no matter the righteous or pretended cause?

I only ask at this point that you look carefully at yourself, before you judge me, because I have seen our nation from the eyes of many others.

• We are respected by those who have never known political freedom, and by those who would manipulate our armies and our wealth to their own ends.
• We are despised by those who see little more in us than just another empire that struts and frets its military might and debt-ridden currency on the world stage and is heard no more.
• And finally, we are revered and admired for our wealth and personal life-style, not because we offer much of anything that cannot be found elsewhere in the industrially developed world, but because we are the elephant in the global viewing room and few cannot help, but see the elephant first.

My line in the sand is drawn, and it is red.

Stand with me, if you agree. Or, reject me at your own peril. Certainly, I have done my best to encourage you to dig just a little deeper. Ask yourself, how we got to where we are. And, ask again, where we will surely end up, if we do not change our hopeless current course and direction. I implore you to ask and find the answer. For, it is there. And, then act! Likely not as I, but in your own way. Words, pictures, music, and videos are simply not enough!

making the proper choice

Now it is your decision. I have made mine. Please select from among the available alternatives unless, of course, you can think of another.

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That Charity Be Given Freely, or Not at All!

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and the Courage to Act,
Roddy A. Stegemann
August 4, Seattle, Washington

I take full responsibility for all content.