I had the pleasure of being a guest on a radio show hosted in part by Elaine Brown. I found her to be intelligent and engaging. This was, of course, a couple of years ago, just before federal agents arrested the Browns for pointing out to all of us the inherent immorality of extorting money from honest folk.., I mean for tax evasion. In addition to being quite a gracious host, she struck me as being extremely intelligent, principled and peaceful. I very much enjoyed speaking with her.
Ms. Brown articulated quite well that she believed herself to be a free person and that she wanted to rid herself of the ties that bind us all to the behemoth known as the federal government. It is well known that she was protesting the way the federal government goes about its business and how their actions demonstrate that those in power have been elevated to the status of masters of the populace. Indeed, if people are not allowed to peacefully withhold their funding and withdraw their consent without fear of retribution, how are they supposed to voice their grievances and concerns in a meaningful way? From election fraud and improprieties, to wars and foreign entanglements, to using the money of the middle classes to bail out the elite and the unwillingness of the Senate to audit the Federal Reserve, time and again the voices of the people have been ignored when they have used the prescribed system set up by the governing bodies and the grievances expressed have not been redressed as supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
In October of 2007 the Browns were kidnapped from their home by federal agents. They then began serving their sentences in federal prisons for crimes they had been convicted of in absentia. These were victimless crimes as no fellow human was physically harmed and nobody’s property was stolen or damaged. Whether or not these so called crimes should even be considered crimes is the subject of much debate, although those in power would like us all to believe that this is not so. The Browns were sentenced to five years in prison because they had the audacity to question the system and attempt to do something about it. But this was not enough for the feds. They had to break the Browns’ spirits and try to squelch the message that the Browns were attempting to send to the masses.
Originally, Ed and Elaine Brown had planned on seeing their trial through. They had planned on using several different arguments in their defense. They had prepared many arguments meant to explain why they were doing what they were doing and why they had the right to take such actions. The judge in the case denied the Browns the ability to use any such defenses in their case. It was at this point that the Browns decided the system was rigged and that they had no other option but to step outside of the system and to withdraw their consent if their message was to be heard. Their crime wasn’t so much that they didn’t pay their taxes and that they didn’t show up to their appointed court date, it was that they dared to disobey, to question authority, and to stand up for their individual rights and to claim their freedom. This type of behavior very much frightens the federal authorities and when it occurs they feel the necessity to crack down exceptionally hard.
Last week the Browns were once again dragged into court and tried on different charges related more to the standoff that happened as a result of the government’s actions than to the original charges the Browns were arrested for. These charges were for such things as weapons violations and threatening or trying to intimidate federal agents. I’m not sure about anyone else, but to me federal agents, especially when gathered in large groups, are far more intimidating than an old retired gentleman holed up in his house. Yet the federal government felt they had to make an example of the Browns. They had to show the people who is in charge. They want you to know without a shadow of a doubt that if you disobey their dictates and refuse to go along with their demands, no matter your reasoning, no matter how much support you’ve garnered, no matter the constitutionality of your argument, you will be harshly punished. They are big, strong and possess the guns and power and you are weak, puny and insignificant. The most heinous of crimes in the eyes of those in power are the crimes of disobedience to the state and questioning their authority.
While it may be true that Ed Brown may have made some statements and accusations that seem a bit outlandish and threatening to some, it seems to me that he was only trying to express his desire to defend himself, his loved ones and his property. He did not actually harm anyone. He did not initiate any violence against any person or group of persons. He did not go out looking for trouble but merely stayed on his property and challenged the feds to come after him. Unfortunately, federal agents don’t take kindly to having their authority challenged and would rather risk their lives, the lives of their men and the lives of innocent people apprehending someone who has merely brought into question their legitimacy rather than just leaving well enough alone and allowing people to live as freemen and keep the fruits of their labor.
This latest trial was nothing but a show trial, an effort to show those who would try to protest taxes and their enslavement to the federal government that those in power mean business. The same kind of thing was happening in the eighteenth century when the British would arrest American colonists for similar victimless crimes and protests. The Browns were assigned lawyers that are beholden to the system, as all lawyers are. They have no money to hire their own because the government took it all. Even if they did, how can anyone expect to get a fair trial challenging the authority of the government when everyone involved with the justice system has a vested interest in making certain the government’s veneer of legitimacy is maintained?
Those involved with prosecuting the Browns have tried to paint them as dangerous. I don’t believe that Elaine Brown was a danger to anyone and the only people who Ed Brown may have been dangerous to are the ones who threatened him in the first place. The federal government’s legitimacy is crumbling. They have stepped far outside their mandates and pried themselves into the business of the people where they don’t belong. They have stepped outside the bounds of their constitutional authority, to the point which some have even started to question the legitimacy of that document in terms of human freedom. The courts may be able to bully individuals like the Browns and silence them, but there are many questions left unanswered and many grievances that have yet to be redressed. Sooner or later, these concerns must be addressed by those who wish to exert control over the masses as the inherent intrusions upon our freedoms created by these issues become more obvious for any thoughtful human to see. Throwing people in prison for tax violations is not a proper reaction to a request for clarification.
The courts in this nation were supposed to be set up to protect the individual from the powerful. It has not worked out that way. It seems to me that the courts have become more interested in supporting the state than defending individuals against it. Cases like this one where the Browns question the legitimacy of the income tax should be seen as an opportunity to forge new frontiers into issues concerning individual freedom. Instead they uphold practices that laud state power over the individual and a system that reflects more a collectivist mindset than that of an individualist, or a voluntary type society envisioned by this nation’s founding fathers. One can only hope that such cases help bring these issues to light regardless of how the state would like to keep us in the dark over such matters.