Modern Myths, Ancient Evils
"There are two distinct classes of
men...those who pay taxes and those who receive and live upon
taxes." - Thomas Paine
"There are two distinct classes of men...those who pay taxes and those who receive and live upon taxes." - Thomas Paine
Once again, the tribute season is upon us; that delightful time of year when about half of us for whom the nation’s vast army of dedicated and industrious federal public servants allegedly work feel the cold muzzle of a gun tickling the back of our necks, and a well-fed and well-manicured hand in our back pocket or purse extracting the average citizen’s largest annual tax bite: the "income" tax. Most of us feel these things only faintly or not at all, mind you. Hypnotized by lifelong exposure to a campaign of disinformation and doubletalk (think “voluntary compliance”, for instance) we engage in a selective disassociation from reality-- an embrace of demonstrable falsehood-- while simultaneously indulging a deeply-rooted disinclination to look squarely at troublesome challenges to the status quo. We manage these mental and moral gymnastics by becoming avid consumers of comforting exculpatory myths slyly fed to us by a parasitic class that in turn feeds upon us.
This numbing cocktail to which clear thinking surrenders has many ingredients. Among them is the patently absurd but relentlessly promoted delusion that, as regards taxes, a great social contract is in play in which one citizen pays for programs of limited or zero value to themselves, but desired and enjoyed by another-- in order to ensure that that ‘other’ will as cooperatively reciprocate in their turn; and that such a system of give-and-take is fundamental to our form of government and/or basic practical politics and social justice.
The cold, hard truth, however, is that most-- if not all-- of us who pay the freight will never receive a reciprocal benefit from those ‘others’ unless it is in our plans to go on the dole or become a bureaucrat or similar tax parasite, joining the ranks of the net tax beneficiaries. Even if we do one of those things our bills will not then be paid by the trough-snufflers,… we’ll just add another mouth to the burden of our former fellows in the net tax paying herd.
The cold, hard truth is that those of us who pay the taxes are milkcows. We are serfs. We are hosts.
Another delusion in the soporific mix is that our highly qualified and carefully selected leaders and government workers strive diligently and prudently to identify necessary and proper objects upon which to expend the wealth extracted from us for the benefit of the nation as a whole. (Conveniently, once the reciprocity myth has been embraced, the national necessity one is proof against almost any casual assault-- any given program or expenditure may not make sense or seem beneficial to you, but doubtless does to one of those ‘others’-- the nature and interests of whom need never be unambiguously identified).
The cold, hard truth is that the political class and its government employee clients and co-conspirators routinely and deliberately promote narrow-interest programs because each one means another little piece of pie (administrative overhead) with which comfortable jobs for the bureaucrats are secured, along with dedicated political support from the beneficiaries by which very comfortable jobs and celebrity for the politicians are secured.
The cold, hard truth is that those of us who pay the taxes are dupes. We are naifs. We are marks.
Nonetheless, indoctrinated from childhood with such fairy tales, most of us grumble but acquiesce. If we’re really out of touch with reality, we play-act the role of cooperative patients taking unpleasant but necessary medicine… rolling our eyes and shrugging at each other with affected resignation; grimacing good-humoredly at all the jokes and cartoons of harried taxpayers which fill the newspapers at this time of the year; and really appreciating the coffee and donuts that the post offices staying open until midnight on April 15th have thoughtfully taken to providing.
The effectiveness of the myths (all of which are underscored, for the sake of those who just can't get their minds right, with the ever-present background threat of lawless violence) has misled and intimidated many people into accepting without protest a multitude of fictions and corruptions regarding the legal meaning of taxable income and the Constitutional powers of the federal government. Thus, they “voluntarily comply” with the extraction of a greater percentage of their productive wealth than was ripped from medieval serfs. Most citizens, even those who DO have legally taxable income, have allowed themselves to be similarly led down the path of least resistance into acquiescing in the massive government spending that has grown to be the norm as the political class has secured this revenue stream. It is, after all, the nature of humans to rationalize as their own choice an imposition which is, or appears, difficult to oppose or overcome.
Supplementing the sophomoric socialism and good-government nonsense is a constant numbing chant from the upper ranks of the net-tax-beneficiary class asserting both a legal propriety for the tax, and its inescapability; a mantra of “You can’t fight City Hall!” ceaselessly issuing from… City Hall, and its professional courtiers and sycophants. It is important to realize that one of the largest segments of this gang is that of tax attorneys and accountants, whose very comfortable annual revenues are a direct consequence of the "income" tax.
Consider the declaration by Jerry Padway, representing the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, reported March 8, 2002 on National Public Radio, that the IRS should conduct more audits. He alleged that this is necessary in order to support Americans' “faith in the system”. Personally, I can’t see why such faith has any particular interest for members of the AICPA. It is no more their natural concern than is your attitude toward the administration of the municipal water system to the plumber you hire to fix the pipes. (More audits DO result in more business for CPA’s, though; and of course, if you understand the truth about the income tax, the interest of Padway's profession in nurturing a faith-based acceptance of the status-quo becomes clear...)
The ranks of such net-tax-beneficiaries are large and growing. The least significant of them are the explicit recipients of public largesse in the form of welfare payments or other types of aid. (In fact, there is every good reason to believe this specific class of citizens is deliberately maintained in its abject circumstances in order to support the “morality” component of the mythology associated with the tax system.) Of far greater significance are the “professionals” wielding-- and feeding off-- the incomprehensible and arbitrary character of the tax code. Also, of course, there are the government employees who are directly paid with tax dollars. All of these people lend their voices to the hypnotic and distracting chanting, and all of them are reliable votes in support of the institutional meat-grinder by which they feed.
This brings us to another multi-faceted vein of mythology being worked
to keep the cattle quiet: that if we really were
being victimized by a fraudulent system for the benefit of
others, we would be stripped to our underwear and left penniless--
lucky to escape with our lives. Since this is not so, what is done
must be legitimate, however incomprehensible or counter-intuitive it
may be. This clever, sub-textual argument is reliant upon a
widespread ignorance of history (providing one of many
self-interested reasons government schools de-emphasize history so
purposefully) and is nurtured by an ever-more-juvenile news and
This brings us to another multi-faceted vein of mythology being worked to keep the cattle quiet: that if we really were being victimized by a fraudulent system for the benefit of others, we would be stripped to our underwear and left penniless-- lucky to escape with our lives. Since this is not so, what is done must be legitimate, however incomprehensible or counter-intuitive it may be. This clever, sub-textual argument is reliant upon a widespread ignorance of history (providing one of many self-interested reasons government schools de-emphasize history so purposefully) and is nurtured by an ever-more-juvenile news and entertainment industry.
The fact is, the conquest and subjugation of people from within a democratic framework by parasites doesn't work the same as an assault by overt predators. Parasites do not kill their hosts, they just make an easy living off them. Read this paragraph from a U.S. Postal Service workers website, Postalvoice.com:
(The emphasis in the above complaint-- yes, it’s a complaint-- is in the
These statistics-- which are for the year 2000, by the way-- refer to the circumstances of your letter carrier and the IRS agent who audits your tax return, among others. Several million others.
On the other hand, the 2000 median earnings for all ages in the United States overall, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Sept., 2001 report “Money Income In The United States: 2000” was $42,148, less than the grumbled-at retirement pay of your letter-carrier. Think about that. The people who extract your earnings from you-- for the common good, of course-- pay themselves twice as much of that money as you start out with. I guess that's why such people claim with a straight face that the "income" tax isn't anything to make a fuss about-- even after the bite they're still living pretty large.
face it. Someone getting paid $90,000 in tax money
extracted by force or fraud for a level of effort and talent that would
get $42,000 in the free market is no less a villain because they
don’t, or can’t, escalate their predations to even higher levels.
Someone making an easy living cadging high fees from anxious,
traumatized, or self-preservation-minded victims of an illegal and
incomprehensible tax fraud is no less a villain for charging no more for
such predations than is asked for work of real value. Someone living at the expense of their neighbor is no less a
villain for letting a co-conspirator bureaucracy do the stealing.
Let's face it. Someone getting paid $90,000 in tax money extracted by force or fraud for a level of effort and talent that would get $42,000 in the free market is no less a villain because they don’t, or can’t, escalate their predations to even higher levels. Someone making an easy living cadging high fees from anxious, traumatized, or self-preservation-minded victims of an illegal and incomprehensible tax fraud is no less a villain for charging no more for such predations than is asked for work of real value. Someone living at the expense of their neighbor is no less a villain for letting a co-conspirator bureaucracy do the stealing.
In an earlier part of our history, the institutional villains of the time deployed the mythology of “the divine right of kings” (along with state-sponsored terrorism against resistors) to keep their victims passive or confused and disorganized. Such myths supplemented and gradually replaced the massive violence of the original conquest by arms, initiated for the same object: the collection from the subject population of tribute (the original word for “taxes”). This transformational process was a consequence of the conquerors and the subject population's blending together, with the outright master-slave relationship being softened somewhat by the development of traditions, ritual, etc. Now we have the situation in reverse, in which a tribute-claiming class is forming and detaching itself from the larger population, with barely a peep from citizens who wouldn’t hesitate to throw a fit if the grocer tried to overcharge them by a nickel.
It is commonly understood that you get what you pay for. As a little clear, hard thinking and the effort of standing up on our hind legs seems to be more of a price than we’re willing to spend to preserve (or reclaim) our freedom, we’re ending up with less and less of it every day. What we’re getting lots of is the government that we deserve, but as we’re spending a fortune for it, I guess that’s as it should be.
So start teaching your children how to curtsey and bow; in due course, they’ll need such skills. As for you, when you hand the clerk your tax return at the post office this year, show some respect. After all, he’s one of the people you work for.
Peter E. Hendrickson
P.S. Our progress into subservience and disgrace is not inevitable. It has been said that, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing", and the reverse is also true: All that is necessary for evil to be defeated is for good men to do something. Stop passively acquiescing in this assault and raise your voice. Stop "voluntarily complying" with the erosion of the Rule of Law. Eagerly accept jury assignments and always vote in favor of freedom, there and on election day.
Go to court. Challenges to the status quo will change the perspective of judges, who (often being just as misled or lazy as the next person in this regard) like to dodge legal challenges to the 'income' tax by arguing that the pervasive legal confusion which the dedicated disinformation campaign has produced in many people's minds over four generations has rendered the subject a political issue rather than a judicial one. A steady stream of challenges will either stimulate some self-education and renewed respect for the rule of law on the part of the judiciary, or force the legislature to address the issue.
Teach your children to love truth and liberty more than comforting lies and the kind of peace that comes at the price of honor.