The Name Game

Column by Paul Hein.

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An interesting phenomenon: You receive a letter, signed by a group of people unknown to you, asking you to send them a large check, and implying that if you don’t, there could be unpleasant consequences. You laugh, and throw it away. Perhaps, if you’re sufficiently annoyed, you could send a copy to the authorities, asking that they put a halt to such a scam.

Now suppose you receive an identical letter, but the letterhead is City of XXX, or Revenue Department, State of XXX, or, God forbid, Internal Revenue Service. You don’t laugh! You don’t throw it away! And you most certainly don’t ask the authorities to admonish the senders, because they ARE the senders! More likely, you get your checkbook and comply with the demand. Why? What’s the difference?

Only in recent years, I regret to say, have I come to realize that impressive terms such as State of XXX, or United States, or Department of Taxation, or Justice, or whatever, are simply the pseudonyms used by very ordinary people seeking to control you, and seize your property. By themselves, they are nothing; you’d pay no attention to them if you encountered them in your day-to-day activities. But they have somehow gotten themselves elected to positions of “public service,” and Lo!! They have thereby acquired the power to control your person and property. It is an amazing, and sadly unappreciated, phenomenon. “Public servants,” it seems, are those privileged people who are to be served by the public.

If you were to ask one of these officious strangers why you should send him and his colleagues your money, the answer would almost certainly be: because it’s the law (all genuflect)!! And he would be right: It IS a law, duly passed by the legislature. Ah, another one of those words: legislature. How much nicer that word sounds than “a bunch of acquisitive, bossy strangers,” or even “gang.”

If, when you had received the demand I mentioned initially, you asked one of the signers why you should give him anything, and he replied, “Because we said so,” you’d have doubled over laughing. However, when the strangers operate under the aegis of “government,” or “the state,” they expect to be taken very seriously, and, tragically, they are. And it’s all because, instead of saying “We said so,” they most solemnly proclaim, “It’s been passed by the legislature and is LAW!” Instead of being what a group of strangers want, it’s now the “written will of the legislature”--as the law dictionary defines a statute. What a difference a word makes! The word “robbery” no longer applies; it’s now sanitized and perfumed and called “taxation.”

Do those strangers demanding your obedience, and your money, ever offer any other excuse for their demands? Never, to my knowledge. Suggest that the true basis of their operation is not a bunch of words on paper, but the use of force to obtain what they want, up to and including lethal force if necessary, and they will deny it with indignation. The justification is invariably that it is the “written will of the legislature: the LAW.” If you point out that your person and property are, of right and nature, yours, and that your written will is that they go away and let you alone, they will not be amused; and they will not go away.

The difference, you see, is that you, and others like you, are just people, but THEY are The State, The Government, The Board of Alderman, etc. That changes everything, doesn’t it? Well, doesn’t it?

And interestingly, they claim that their power is derived from the people, or delegated to them by the people, according to the state and federal constitutions to which they have sworn allegiance. A miracle! Or, more likely, a scam.

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Paul Hein's picture
Columns on STR: 96

Comments

Thunderbolt's picture

The power of words, Dr. Hein! The barrel of that gun is showing beneath all the perfumed verbiage of the IRS.
You must sign the "voluntary" form that says you understand and agree with over 72,000 pages of tax law, at gunpoint, of course.
Your signature or your brains on the contract, saith Don Corleone. Same thing. Bitcoins are soon to be used in the marketplace with Bitwasp. Think of the Invisible Man.

Samarami's picture

Last sentence, first paragraph:

    Perhaps, if you’re sufficiently annoyed, you could send a copy to the authorities, asking that they put a halt to such a scam.

I submit, Paul, that your essay would have been worthy of a "10" instead of an "8" by simply enclosing "the authorities" in quotation marks.

There is only so much I can do about various levels of gangsters grouped into officious-sounding "revenue departments" in every area of the known world. In fact, the link I embedded in the last sentence equally outlines the problem: the writer(s) not only misspelled "Unempathic" in the title (excusable, even as a retired English teacher I often misspell third grade words without "spell-check") -- but also, and far worse, they used the term "...Our Rulers..." also in the title (not excusable).

Which makes my point.

    But they have somehow gotten themselves elected to positions of “public service,” and Lo!! They have thereby acquired the power to control your person and property. It is an amazing, and sadly unappreciated, phenomenon. “Public servants,” it seems, are those privileged people who are to be served by the public.

As I said, there is only so much I can do about this. I can abstain from beans, and gently encourage you and all my family, neighbors and friends to also abstain. And I can gingerly sidestep serving the "public servants", except when to do so is impossible or impractical.

I have been an "illegal tax protestor" since 1978, but don't necessarily recommend you follow that path. There is a price to be paid flailing at the status-quo, and one needs to be prepared for that expenditure. But if s/he steadfastly stands his ground (and maintains a very low profile) they eventually give up to seek more vulnerable meat to chew. Their resources are limited -- and becoming more so as their economy collapses.

I maintain you can be free. Right here, right now.

I am a sovereign state. That does not mean that I am bulletproof. It simply means I am sui juris -- fully responsible for managing my own affairs. In the way I walk, in the way I talk, in the way I think. My President maintains the rotation of the earth on its axis. "Our rulers" are not "my rulers".

I refrain from involvement in "movements" -- I see that as a fool's game (thanks, Per).

I try to share my liberty and my freedom with family and friends -- when they ask.

The example I set is far more effective than any group undertaking. Groups end up with leaders who themselves often become tyrannical, full of ego and vanity.

I can be free in an unfree world. Sam

Paul's picture

"Why? What’s the difference?"

The difference, as others have noted, is that they can beat you up and get away with it. The reason they get away with it, is that their victims usually submit.

But it seems lately, people are backed up against the wall and are starting to question automatic submission. Many have given up on it. The house of cards is about to fall. It should get pretty exciting...