The Blood of Patriots and Tyrants Reflections on John Adams and Tax Day, 2008
And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that the people preserve the spirit of resistance? The remedy is to set them [the rulers] right as to the facts.... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
The full quote from Mr. Jefferson can be found in a number of places on the Web, but be advised as you fire up your browser: Homeland Security will probably be looking over your shoulder. Strange how far we've gone down Tyranny Road without so much as a peep from the general nonlibertarian population—perhaps such lack of resistance is explained by another Jeffersonian passage:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Which, as we all know, is from the Declaration of Independence.
In the Tom Hanks-produced HBO Series, John Adams (and the book by David McCullough on which the series is faithfully based), modern-day patriots will watch the second episode, Independence, with constant chills. Mr. Adams, his cousin Samuel, and the entire New England delegations to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia advocate forcefully that "these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states...." The reason I get chills—indeed, I feel them now and every time I consider the rigors conveyed by Independence—is that these are my people and I'm awestruck by the intelligence and courage of their convictions. And I feel we mustn't betray them.
These were men of principle and action. It was a time when life for most colonists was still relatively "nasty, brutish, and short," when the journey from Boston to Philadelphia required
two weeks, when the population of Philadelphia was merely 30,000 (Boston, half that), when smallpox and other diseases killed many—life expectancy was perhaps 40—and news traveled only as fast as wind and horse. How did the ideas of liberty, much more the rumblings of revolution, take root in so rugged a New World? From the hot stirrings of Sam Adams to the coolly passionate arguings of Thomas Paine (Common Sense) to the agitations of ideologs in Williamsburg, Virginia, the spirit of The Rights of Man was breaking out all over. Adams himself put it best:
The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution. — John Adams
And of course the ideas of the Enlightenment—from lonely often persecuted writers and scholars in Scotland, France, England, etc.—had through several generations given rise to "...the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people" on the verge of independence and constitutional self government. But, as we read in David McCullough's book or see in Tom Hanks' series, American freedom would have been stillborn had not men of conviction—John Adams appears to have been the leader in this regard—stood their ground, worked together, and told King George and his corporate lackeys to stick it where the sun don't shine.
[Signers of the Declaration of Independence were fully aware they could be hanged as traitors should they fail.]
An aggressive military buildup of weapons in space by the US government (to rain down hell on any who resist empire)
Secret programs of the NSS (national security state) producing killers and terror false flags... e.g. 9/11
Massive voter fraud and electronic elections tampering
The above infractions are representative of a much longer list. We have more than enough justification for withdrawing our allegiance and our financial support. Our system of government no longer abides by the founding documents in any substantial way; indeed, with torture and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the continued ordinary liberty—the freedom to go about our affairs without state interference—of any of us no longer exists. The king's agents may this very day, without any pretense of law, swoop down, throw you in jail, torture you, kill you... and not tell anyone. I'm not making this up. Only the thinnest of cultural barriers prevents widespread roundup of "dissidents."
Will they? Who knows. We know they've already sent several people away—mostly on tax, gun, and drug charges—or expropriated their businesses, as with the aggression on the Liberty Dollar offices. [Comes the revolution, my friends, the first order of business is your liberation.] As I speculated in my seminal column for the year, I feel 2008 is a tipping point. For example, such a seemingly small freedom as legal agricultural hemp will probably collapse cartel oil and agribusiness. In another realm, if the truth about federal agency planning and execution of 9/11 breaks out (Jesse Ventura's mantra that "two planes do not bring down three buildings, certainly not in a free-fall disintegration" may be a tipper), a whole lotta federal Lucys will have some serious "'splainin' to do."
Candidly, I feel the days of federal tyranny are numbered. Mainly because we freedom people have only to tip one major issue our way for massive decontrol/decentralization of power to occur. On the other hand, the US corporate state(s) has to contain, what, 20 to 30, serious brushfires of liberation at the same time. It's running out of money, and it's running out of popular support. Could it launch a "10/12" followup attack to 9/11, declare a national emergency, and march the decades-in-the-making-dumbed-down American booboosie full-tilt boogie toward Prison Planet? Yes, it could, but I believe that ship has sailed.
Every patriot faces a personal test on April 15: to yield to the criminal IRS or to declare one's independence.
The various arguments toward Constitutional law are to my mind, taken together, unassailable: a) the necessary number of states did not ratify the 16th (income tax) amendment, b) the legal definition and common understanding of income at the time did not include wages and salaries, c) no Congressional statute establishes a federal income tax for which we are specifically liable, d) the applicability of the income tax only extends to United States citizens of the "federal zone," e) when the government says the income tax is based on voluntary compliance it, in fact, means the income tax is voluntary, and so on. But the simple truth is the courts ignore the law.
My favorite arguments, though, against the income tax are moral. I particularly like the reason offered by a friend of mine in the Free State, let's call him Charlie: "I'm exempt. There's no way I support torture." (I'll be curious how the judge responds to this argument if he goes to court.) But Charlie definitely puts the issue starkly: Let's say you own a business and the Mob assesses you a protection fee; if you don't pay they'll smash your kneecap. You know your payment will in a small way help the Mob to continue wantonly killing and torturing people. In such cases, nobody pretends the Mob is righteous, and most yield to the immediate evil in order to live to fight again. [Indeed, a chief argument for legitimate government is to prevent such criminal intimidation.]
But say instead of the Mob dunning you, it's the federal taxman with the words "lawful, moral government"
stamped on his forehead. When you refuse to pay pointing out that your fee would support crimes of awful magnitude, you in effect undermine the moral legitimacy of the System. This is how Gandhi defeated the British Empire in India. If a few refuseniks like Free State Charlie were to go to court nationwide (and it were publicized), we would see the imminent end of Big Government. Few in any legitimate government tolerate seeing themselves as morally evil.
Bleed the Tyrants
There's a classic scene in the movie Mr. Majestyk, when the Charles Bronson (Majestyk) character meets a notorious Mafia enforcer in a coffee shop. Majestyk has caused the enforcer some grief by recently turning him in to the authorities; he asks if the goon is still upset about that. The goon replies in a rage that Majestyk will wish he never lived, that his ass is grass, and starts to describe in gory detail what's going to happen. Majestyk stands up and with one punch knocks out the enforcer, saying, "I guess there's no sense getting on your good side."
That scene comes to mind every year I have my accountant prepare my tax returns. I imagine the IRS as the arrogant enforcer bragging about how it will bury me for the slightest sign of disobedience; and I realize with that kind of arbitrary power, these guys can get me whether I comply or not. "No sense getting on their good side." Then I imagine myself making a stand for morality and the Constitution, throwing that knockout punch, and walking away with the hot, cause-oriented babe on my arm. What have I got to lose?
Well, I'm chickening out
again ... at least in terms of throwing the big punch. It feels so increasingly wrong to go along to get along, to contribute in any way to this hideous Neocon American-fascist world of torture and murder. But I just don't have the guts to fork the bone to the IRS—plus I'm getting older and "have my ex-wife, my mom, and three barmaids who depend on me." [At least, this year.]
But, since there really isn't any sense in getting on the Feds' good side, I will do my part to promote the idea of a general tax strike. I broached this notion in my book on the Free State, New Pilgrim Chronicles, in connection with the peace movement. It occurred to me that if Congress was not going to stop the treasonous war in the Middle East by cutting off funds, then we owners of those funds might just as well withhold them from our Washington servants. And I was curious why no one on the Left with money and a following (say, Arianna Huffington or Bill Maher) came forward to make a tax strike pledge. Lack o' guts?
It does appear one result of the Ron Paul Revolution has been to broach the idea of a tax strike with a march on Washington. Indeed, some are gathering in DC to march against the IRS and the Federal Reserve System as we speak. Unfortunately, the media blackout has descended in full force upon the Ron Paul and Constitutional-liberty minions to the extent I'm probably one of three people who knows about the April 15 march. No matter. By April 15, 2009, certainly if there are no signs of change from the Kleptocracy, I'd say the country will be primed for such a multimillion-person march and strike. And this summer of 2008, who knows? The Ron Paul campaign lives on and the Libertarians are making a move.
On another front, the ultimate civic organization We the People, under Bob Schulz and other extraordinarily brave patriots, is worth checking out in regard to furthering the general discussion of a strike. Because of its efforts to seek a redress of grievances and the government's apparent stubborness in failure to respond to these grievances, the proper legal course of action as citizens under the Constitution is to withdraw both tax support and allegiance until redress is achieved.
Note, the government increasingly doesn't like anyone suggesting he/she is not bound to submit tribute—any more than the king of England wanted to hear he lacked sovereignty. And, in clear violation of the 1st Amendment, the government has even attempted to enjoin our right to talk about such taxing matters publicly.
It's dangerous these days to be a patriot, but not so dangerous as it was in 1776. Each of you, and I mean you reading this page, if you're an American it's time to "freedom up" and join some branch of the Nonviolent Libertarian Resistance (NLR). I don't mean necessarily you should stiff the federales any given year. But unless we do something relatively soon to take back our country, we're all toast for a considerable period. Support your local libertarian, your local tax resister, your local Constitutional Ranger; fall in with the Bob Schulzes of the country, carry on the Ron Paul Constitutional Liberty movement. Do your part to (nonviolently) overthrow this illegal bunch of thieves who say it's your privilege to belong to them and to follow their orders. At the very least, withdraw your moral sanction—your blood without which they die.
 I'm fond of pointing out, according to Thom Hartmann's book on illegitimate corporate power Unequal Protection, a significant incentive toward revolutionary independence was the Crown's insistence on according the chartered East India Company—of which the king was a stockholder—special privileges over American businesses.
 There's a well-known document many of us have seen that claims the Declaration's signers were
almost universally scourged by the Brits. Even though, the signers bore risks and some suffered, that document appears to be dubious as shown in this article on Urban Legends.
This has disturbed me deeply, the fact that FEMA has built more than 800 detention centers for purposes that are unclear. It's something to ponder, but I tend to feel the National Guard is largely deployed in quagmires overseas and not enough military and police resources would cooperate.
I'm increasingly going to this term, Kleptocracy, to mean what I have heretofore referred to as the Cartel Pathocracy. The Kleptocons are the ultimate creative-energy stealers, and they have tended to prevail; their time is coming to an end.