This article was originally published at americanchronicle.com on October 6th, 2007
It is my opinion that taxes are nothing more than extortion. The income tax is especially heinous. I see no difference between the government demanding money from me and telling me if I don’t pay a band of armed men will come into my house, kidnap me and throw me in a cell (or perhaps kill me if I resist), or a group of armed thugs representing a mobster organization coming into my business or home and telling me if I don’t pay X amount for protection than something “terrible” might happen. The similarities between these to situations is obvious, the differences are subtle. Force in used in both cases, but with the mobsters it is more blatant than with the government. One would say that with the mobsters the money taken is used solely to enrich themselves and that with the government the money goes to the “greater good.” But do you truly believe that politicians don’t use tax money to enrich themselves? If nothing else, what do you think pays their salaries? And do you mean to say that if the mobsters were to build a playground or a park nearby, or put up streetlamps, or fix the roads in front of the businesses they just ripped off, or provide a place for some homeless folk to stay, are you suggesting that these things would somehow make their extortionist activities ok?
Some would say that we voted the politicians into office, so that they have the “right” to steal from us. Are these people suggesting that if we voted for which mobster we wanted to shake us down that this would legitimize their crimes? On top of that, only individuals have rights. Governments do not have rights over and above the individual. Groups of people do not have rights over and above the individual. Interactions between people should be voluntary, not forced, but that is a discussion for another essay.
Some might point to the court system and say that fairness and justice can be found there and that we should trust in their judgment. What good is a court system that is owned by the mobsters? Taxes pay the judges’ salaries. Do you think a judge who is making a living off the extortionist’s money is going to tell the extortionist to stop? Do you believe he will be fair and impartial when his livelihood is threatened? Judges have families to feed, too. They have mortgages to pay and children to send to college. I’m certain there are a few who are principled enough to be fair and impartial and listen to all arguments from both sides, but I’d bet the majority of them are biased toward the hand that feeds them.
I’ve probably missed a couple of points, but I think you get the idea. Most people are pretty smart and understand what’s going on, they just don’t have the courage to do anything about it. I’m one of those people. I pay my taxes simply because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of our government. I’m frightened to death of those men with guns who will come arrest me if I don’t pay my extortion money, I mean taxes. I don’t want to be thrown into a prison and made to depend on people I don’t know for my survival. These are powerful humans we’re talking about here, with lots of guns and they’re willing to use them. They even feel justified in doing so. I’m just one man and I feel impotent against the system, so I continue to pay the extortionists for the right to be able to work in this country, I continue to pay my income taxes.
Ed and Elaine Brown were different. They refused to knuckle under to the bullies. They refused to give the fruits of their labor to the extortionists. They tried to work through their system and were stonewalled. Now they are sitting in jail. The government made good on their threats, kidnapped them from their home and imprisoned them. The government was apparently able to infiltrate the circle of trust the Brown’s had built. This just goes to show how treacherous our government is. People who did no harm to anyone are now removed from society. Now we, the taxpayers, both the willing and the unwilling, are forced to pay for the food, clothes, housing, and security of two people who were otherwise contributing in a positive way to society. Is this truly what we want for our citizens? Is this what it means to be free? Are we to be ruled by the force of the mob and devolve into group mentality, or are we to reclaim our legacy for our posterity and once again come to recognize that the rights of the individual are paramount if we are to be a truly free society?
I was on a radio program with Ed and Elaine the day before they were arrested. Elaine was a kind and gracious host. She thanked me for my efforts in support of a freer society. I thanked her for showing us the way, for I am not brave like the Browns are. I could not stand up to the Goliath as they did. They are like the little kid on the playground who finally has enough and stands up to the bully. I am just a kid who helps form a circle around the combatants. I only served to cheer them on. Unfortunately for the Browns, this time the bully won the fight. He is still king of the playground. The rest of us little kids can do nothing but shake are heads and walk away as the Browns lie bloody on the cold concrete. Ed said that he knew of only one way to defend his property, that words and paper weren’t enough, and perhaps he’s right. Unfortunately, words and paper are all I have, and they seem woefully inadequate. Unless all the kids on the playground decide they’ve had enough, unless they all decide the time has come to stop giving the bully their lunch money and to defend each other, I’m afraid the bully will remain king of the playground. Ed and Elaine Brown really have shown us the way, the question is, are we brave enough to follow?