Column by Paul Hein.
Exclusive to STR
You encounter an ominous character on the street who stops you, points his finger at you and declares that he wants your money—all of it---and he wants it now, and you’d better give it to him, or face the consequences.
You reach into your pocket, but instead of pulling forth your wallet, pull forth your .38 caliber automatic and point it at his forehead. You ask him to reconsider his request. He withdraws, muttering imprecations.
A few days later, you receive a letter from the mugger (never mind how he got your address) in which he explains that you have violated rule 201.681-4(a) of the Muggers Code, stipulating that anyone accosted by a licensed and certified mugger, and who refuses his demands, is subject to immediate expropriation of all of his property and should remit the demanded amount, plus interest, within ten days to avoid said expropriation.
Naturally you sit down at once and write out a check to the mugger for the amount required to satisfy him, breathing a sigh of relief that you could so easily escape his wrath.
Well, maybe not. If the person you mistook as a mugger was, in fact, an agent of some group calling themselves, not a gang, but a government; and if his demand was pursuant to some whim they had written down in the most solemn fashion (i.e., a “law”), then you may find that your resistance constituted a crime--because they said it did. After conviction in their court, and serving time in their prison, you will pay what they wanted, with interest and penalties.
The difference, of course, is that a mugger, or common thief, operates outside the law. The “authorities,” however, operate within the law, because, after all, they wrote the law, and it says right there in Sec. XXX that they can take your property, by virtue of their right to do so, which they quite properly and formally gave themselves. The mugger, however, can make whatever claims he wants, but if he is not a member of their fraternity, his claims are worthless, while theirs are binding--because, again, they said so. (Besides, their gang outnumbers his thousands to one.) It’s quite simple and clear.
Except: it isn’t! Quite by accident, I came across this section of the Missouri Revised Statutes. It is Sec. 570.030.1, headed “Stealing--penalties.” It reads: “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.” Without a doubt, that describes the actions of the mugger, but it also describes quite accurately those who collect for the government gang. Usually, statutes describing crimes committed by the rulers bear a phrase such as “except when pursuant to law,” or some such. Perhaps the legislators felt it unnecessary to exempt themselves, being, after all, above their own laws, just as a father is “above” the curfew he assigns to his teenage son. Or maybe they just didn’t realize what they were saying.
In any event, it is clear that those who claim “jurisdiction” over us consider themselves entitled to do whatever they want, and, in my experience, resent being asked for any justification, probably because there can be no justification save that which they give themselves.
As I never tire of repeating: power corrupts!