The Answer to “Statism”: Rick Stevens from ‘Tail of the Dragon’


The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.

–The Ayn Rand Lexicon

I know my son-in-law cringes when he comes to my house and sees my political signs for president Mitt Romney, Ohio Supreme Court Sharon Kennedy, State Representative Margie Condit, and Senator Josh Mandel in preparation for the upcoming election. Since he has become a citizen of The United States he has moved politically toward libertarians in a quest for the kind of American freedom he always dreamed about. He cringes because to him the entire American complex of statism is a failure and is destined to be replaced with elements of anarchy or fall into an out-right empire one step away from collapse. In fact, he wrote a wonderful article on statism complete with 5 very important videos that can be seen at this link:

My son-in-law and I have had many hours of conversations about these issues and I know where he’s coming from. On the other hand, out of those four signs in my yard, I know two of those politicians personally, and they along with many of the media I also know in Cincinnati, business owners, and other politicians, are wondering if I have moved too far to the right and have become an extremist since most of my conversation these days are anti-communist history lessons, progressive bashing, and a determined desire to defund government at every level with severe tax decreases. Over the last three years they have watched me make very valid arguments that once uncovered have made me very angry. And being the kind of person who fixes things—which I have done my entire life from dishwashers to businesses, the evidence cannot be escaped—America is being crushed by statism and pretending that it isn’t a problem won’t make the problem go away.

Many of the people who know me best wonder how I went from a levy fighter of great respect to a radical right-winged extremist (in their view) to the author of the new novel Tail of the Dragon. The answer is that my new novel is my answer to the statism problem I discovered in those previous endeavors without going to the extreme example shown on my son-in-laws displayed videos by Stefan Basil Molyneux. I understand what Molyneux is proposing and why. But I also understand that his view is radically different from what mainstream Americans view as reality that they will simply reject the ideas as dangerous to protect themselves from responsibility of action. But Stefan is right about state run schools advocating terrorism, Stefan is right about taxation being the weapon of larger government for an end only onto itself. He’s also right about the free-range slavery. I know he’s right because I have seen the process up close and personal and can verify the truth.

My answer was to write the novel Tail of the Dragon using the character of Rick Stevens to serve as the vehicle to showing how statism crushes individuality. By having Stevens be the type of character who had grown into manhood without ever being emotionally, or physically broken at any point in his life, to show what the idea kind of man could or should be not only in America, but in the world, I needed a character and a story to hold the image valiantly. Stevens in the Tail of the Dragon is as close to a perfect man as I can imagine making it into his middle years after having children, maintaining a career, maintaining a marriage, paying a mortgage yet never giving up on his pursuit of individual freedom. For Stevens, he had a car which sat in his garage that served as a symbol of freedom from his youth, before taking on the obligations of all the above which are normal for most people. Rick Stevens knows that he is a member of society being deliberately farmed as a serf but he has maintained his resistance in as healthy a fashion as possible, so not go insane—or lose himself along the way.

The plot of Tail of the Dragon almost follows point for point without intending to the issues described in Stefan Molyneux’s videos, even to the point of Stevens being arrested for not joyfully participating in an elaborate tax scheme perpetuated through police traffic citations and being thrown in jail for it. While in jail he is abused in the way that Molyneux suggested, except that Rick fights back and gets himself into all sorts of trouble because he simply refuses to submit. This is what leads Rick Stevens to provoke and flee the law into what becomes the greatest car chase in story telling history

People are often shocked to learn that most of what Rick Stevens went through in the book I have seen firsthand, and is not the work of over-the-top fiction. The plot of Tail of the Dragon is not a commentary on anarchy even though Rick Stevens and his wife Renee openly, and quit audaciously break every law known to the legal system. But it is an attempt to show the reader through a likeable character in Rick Stevens what the world could look like if a person could break free of those chains of serfdom that Molyneux speaks about in his presentations. Rick Stevens is not happy to live as a free-range servant to statism and he seeks to do something about it“.

Additionally, what is different about Tail of the Dragon that sets it apart from other car chase epics in films like Smokey and the Bandit, The Dukes of Hazzard, or even Speed is that the hero has fans working behind the scenes in politics who want what he wants, they don’t wish to be a part of statism, even though they are the people who have helped build such a condition. Often, just like in real life, they find they are servants to a system that grew beyond their control and they do desire to do something about it. Most of the people I know in politics, and the media, are these kinds of people and fancy themselves as free thinkers even though in public they show something else completely. Even people I know in labor unions and on the opposite side of me in political issues are good people when spoken to one on one. Even my most diabolical rival, the superintendent at Lakota Karen Mantia and I had a nice discussion once about motorcycle riding and the island of Key West on more civil shores of political discourse. But what makes these people bad, or evil are the institutions they serve, the steps toward statism that they help build—most of the time without knowing it.

Tail of the Dragon is my answer to three years of needing to put into an artistic format these very difficult problems in a summary that fits contemporary life. If my desire is to fix the problem, I have realized that such a thing cannot be done conventionally, through political office, serving as yet other state lobbyists for specific causes, or even picking a political side and sticking with it indefinitely. The character of Rick Stevens in Tail of the Dragon does not turn his back on his country, as is the temptation regarding his anger over statism. Instead he takes the $20 million dollars he acquires and restores his old car, the symbol of his own private independence into a war machine against the state—against America—but he paints on the roof of his car the old Spirit of 76 flag from the American Revolution to make it clear that he is not giving up on the ideas that founded the freest nation on earth, but rather the mechanism that drove it toward an imperial tyrant headed for its own destruction through statism. His fight for freedom is the fight of every man, woman, and child in the world and it is through him that the reader touches the face of life without the chains imposed by statism upon their minds and bodies.

For me personally, even though I am a bit of a recluse these days not socializing much around town, lashing out at latté sipping prostitutes with real anger, my signs in my front yard are my own personal Spirit of 76 flags declaring that I am still willing to fight for the kind of ideas that built America, even if the system is flawed. I will support those politicians who favor the lowest possible taxes, since it is low taxes that directly fight statism. The minute those candidates support any taxes, they will become my mortal enemy, because in real life I want to see an end to statism and would prefer to bring it about legally even if the extraordinary fantasy shown in Tail of the Dragon attacked statism directly, and gallantly with a fanfare that is dynamic. It is no secret that the ambition in that novel comes from the heart of the author in a frustration observed with real eyes that watched more than one election produce results edging American more toward the abyss of cataclysm than ever produced success. But there is a romantic in me that keep hoping for success, and is manifest in the actions of Rick Stevens in the action packed novel, Tail of the Dragon. In real life, I will vote for people who I think will buy into my anxiety against statism today, or who I think might listen and become converted tomorrow.

The thinking that is required is not one fashioned from team sports, public education, or any other collective organization—because they all point toward a social disposition of statism. As radical as such a concept might appear, only a philosophy against statism will preserve America and serve as the beacon of light the world expects. That is why it is no longer important who thinks what, who belongs to what group, or what political affiliation anybody is. What matters is whether or not individuals are dedicated to freedom for the real sake of it, and not the contrived definition sold as modern serfdom. All that matters is that people get their minds around the necessity to think differently and it is my hope that Rick Stevens will help the pill go down a little bit easier so that the journey toward understanding can begin.

Rich Hoffman

The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination. . . . To write well and worthily of American things one need even more than elsewhere to be a master.

–Henry James

I appreciate the support my readers here provide me with by clicking on the pictures below to enter the doors to even more adventure.  The support expands life in ways that will ultimately create the means to boundless imagination.  For a sample of such projects, click here and witness one of my ever reaching projects.