Yes, Renegades need rules. Renegadery doesn't mean anarchy.
If you're going to try to gain some sanity as a consumer, you need to focus — focus on what's real and what's illusionary, focus on what's really in your best interest and what's not, and most of all focus on the goal of freeing yourself from the conditioning, brainwashing and control of the sea of advertising and marketing in which you swim. (And congratulations on swimming in it: most are just floundering... or drowning.)
Sinking or swimming, though, you can't escape it. So, herewith, some basic rules for living the successful Renegade Consumer life.
Rule 1: Don't Buy It.
You'll find the battle cry, "Don't Buy It!" throughout this site and the philosophy espoused here. It means several things, mostly an injunction against believing the nonsense forced on us through advertising and consumerism-drenched media.
Here, though, it's quite straightforward. Don't buy it, in the most literal sense. Do not put your cash in the man's hand for whatever he's selling. Be very rigid in this rule until you've developed your renegade perception to a considerable degree. You very likely don't need whatever it is, and you're very likely being driven by lingering brainwashing rather than any real desire or need. Ask yourself, “Why would my life be less if I did not buy or own this thing? What would I gain if I just walked away and left this on the shelf?”
Rule 2: Look Closer.
In the world of advertising and the consumerism-driven society, very little that you see is what it purports to be on first look... or even second look, if you don't look the right way. So always look closer at everything, even what seems to be the most prosaic and straightforward claim or presentation. Assume there are hidden aspects you're not seeing... because 999 times out of 1,000, there are.*
Rule 3: Don't Believe Them.
They're lying. It's that simple. All advertising and promotion is lying on some level, so accept nothing at face value; find the truth beneath it. This requires disbelieving what they are telling you. Every ad and marketing pitch contains at least one bald-faced lie. Find it and all its kittens. If every word in an ad seems to ring true, step back and ask if the very notion underlying the pitch is true.
Rule 4: Avoid Advertising.
This is hands-down the most difficult rule to follow, so pay attention. If you don't take the poison into your system, you won't have to neutralize it later. The best way to avoid the poison of advertising is to avoid advertising. Make a conscious effort to “not see” ads in any medium. Look elsewhere. Think about something else. Change the channel (or turn the damn idiot box off!) Turn the page.
If all else fails, actively deconstruct the ad, preferably out loud for your companions - or even just yourself. Like the famous Schick avoidance training, if you condition yourself to instantly take apart and negate ads as you view them, you will have armored yourself in one of the strongest possible ways against advertising's influence. And found a ready way to amuse yourself.
Rule 5: Fight Back.
Being a Renegade means more than just learning to steer around the obstacles and deflect the consumerist horde. Hit back. Screw up advertising campaigns. Derail marketing efforts. Preach the Renegade word whenever you can. Openly smirk at people who “go shopping” and show off their latest worthless crap. Dissuade people from buying things they don't really need, especially if they're doing it on credit or at the expense of their financial health.
Those are the small tactics that anyone can do. The bigger ones are to find ways to get sellers to clean up their act - and their advertising. To get whole industries to quit manipulating us into wanting things that few of us need (or would even want, without the manipulation.) To get a sense of honesty and ethics back into the marketplace economy. That's going to take a lot of Renegades, ones well armed with the tools the sellers and the advertisers fear.
No, we can't do much individually. But we can make a difference as a pack. Even more as an army. And everything as a nation of Renegades.
Rule 6: Have Fun.
Rule 7: Enjoy Life.
These are rules no one should have to tell you, but it's a good bet that you've been brainwashed out of understanding them. Life is for the living of it — so live it. Live it big, live it small, but live it and enjoy it. You might even have to buy some crap to enjoy life more. The trick — and the underlying rule here — is not to let buying crap, and having crap, define “fun” and “enjoyment” and ultimately “happiness”... because buying crap is fun only if you've been brainwashed into believing so, and having crap does not add to your happiness.
The end result of being a successful Renegade is that you get to determine what makes you happy and pursue it to the ends of the earth. You no longer have to live someone else's definition... a definition that arose only to sell you the crap you "need" to be happy under it.
− J.K. Greyfriars
* Full credit to Alan Ball for the formulation of this one.
Apologies to Saul Alinsky for co-opting his most famous book title as well.