Column by Paul Hein.
Exclusive to STR
Income tax day usually falls around Easter, but while many people do not celebrate Easter, nearly all venerate the Internal Revenue Code on April 15. It is a cause for wonderment, since the income tax, being robbery (or theft) ought to rouse massive civil disobedience, rather than slavish adherence.
Of course, in saying that, I run the risk of being placed in the category of the lunatic fringe who question the right of The Rulers to rob us. Very well. But Judge Andrew Napolitano is certainly not of the aforementioned fringe, and he published an essay on LewRockwell.com on April 18, 2013 under the title “Taxation Is Theft.” The esteemed Murray Rothbard, in an article he wrote for The Libertarian magazine on April 15, 1969, declared “Taxation Is Robbery.”
How about evidence from the horse’s mouth, so to speak? Chapter 570 of Missouri Revised Statutes is headed “Stealing and Related Offenses.” At 570.030 we read, “A person commits the crime of stealing if he or she appropriates property or services of another with the purpose to deprive him or her thereof, either without his or her consent or by means of deceit or coercion.”
And, finally, there is simple common sense. If someone uses force, or the threat of it, to compel you to turn over to him your property, you will say, “I’ve been robbed,” not “I’ve been taxed.” Yet on April 15, the reverse is true: As you yield your property, you will say, “I’ve been taxed,” not “I’ve been robbed.”
If you are a man, and not the proverbial mouse, do you allow yourself to be robbed without so much as a word of dissent? And especially, if head of a household, do you not feel obligated to protect your family from thieves?
There have been many, over the years, who fought against the injustice. They did not fare well. Earliest protests took the form of a claim of Fifth Amendment immunity from providing potentially self-incriminating evidence. That didn’t work. Far more sophisticated arguments arose from careful examination of the Internal Revenue Code itself (which, interestingly, does not define “income,” while claiming the right to tax it) and discovering little support for the claim that it imposes a tax upon most of us, or that the “income” which is taxed is what most of us derive from our domestic labors or investments. Some of the most prominent supporters of these arguments found themselves in prison, after trials before what could only be called a kangaroo court.
The problem with making legal arguments is that the parties making the laws also administer, enforce, and adjudicate them, so that the defendant finds himself with two strikes against him before he picks up his bat, and the umpire is the pitcher’s brother.
Experience teaches. A new strategy is not to make legal arguments—or arguments of any kind at all. This is a policy advocated by Marc Stevens, who uses the Socratic method of arriving at the truth by asking questions. The fundamental question being: “What evidence can you produce proving that your code applies to me?” This question bemuses, confuses, and frequently enrages the functionaries to whom it is directed. They may try to dismiss it as a frivolous argument, but it is obviously not an argument at all. They may insist they have no need of evidence, but certainly, if they are prepared to accuse you of a crime (failure to file, failure to pay, evasion, etc.), they must have evidence to support the charge. If there is evidence, produce it. If not, drop any charges or claims.
If you have ever received a letter from the IRS, the salutation was probably “Dear Taxpayer.” Did you just gloss over that word “taxpayer”? According to the IRS’s own code, that term means anyone “subject to any internal revenue tax” (26 USC 7701-14). Thus, to be subject to the code means being subject to those administering, enforcing, adjudicating, it. The phrase “subject to,” according to a law dictionary, means “subordinate, subservient, inferior, obedient to.” The IRS refers to you as a “taxpayer,” or someone subservient, inferior, and obedient–to them. So Mr. Stevens’ question is utterly pertinent and reasonable. How does one become subservient, inferior, and obedient to the IRS? What evidence proves you have that status? I once had an opportunity to question a tax authority about that word “taxpayer.” If I am a taxpayer simply because you refer to me as such, I asked, could you not refer to me as “your majesty” and make me a king? He declined to answer, and seemed to resent my asking.
A common response to Marc’s question is, “The law applies to you because you are in our jurisdiction.” In simpler terms: You must obey us because we say so. If the matter has progressed to the point of litigation, you will find yourself designated “defendant” or “respondent,” while the tax authorities will refer to themselves as the “plaintiff.” Very confusing. Why? Because if you are subject to the state of XX because you live in that state, then you are living within the plaintiff, which has an absurd and/or unpleasant connotation. But if the plaintiff is simply a geographic area, how can it make any demands? Can you be subordinate to an area of earth, vegetation, etc.? Why isn’t the plaintiff, if a geographic area, not in court? But if the plaintiff is actually a group of people, why aren’t they identified? How can you confront your accusers if they are anonymous? How can you be living in them?
There is, in the final analysis, one all-important fact. The Rulers want your money. If they want it badly enough, they will get it. They own the courts, the weapons, and the soldiers/police. By all means, ask for any evidence that you have become, somehow, subject to them. They may judge you not worth any more of their time and trouble, and put you on a back burner, to simmer more or less forever. But if they seem determined to put their hand in your pocket, give them what they want. Remember: you are dealing with a den of thieves, a gang of robbers. Reason, justice, and morality carry little weight with them!
No, It is not wise to allow that behavior to continue.
If I am in your house, as a guest, does that mean you have the right to override my right to leave, speak my mind, etc..?
No, it does not. Being a guest on the property of another, does not mean I have to conform to all requests or preferences of the property owner.