Business Owners: Stop Withholding!

I was inspired to do this after reading Marc Stevens’ excellent post at There is No State.

Government is out of control and freedoms are being crushed. Have courage. Liberty is not lost and big government can be stopped. Why continue feeding the very system that binds you, your friends, and your family?

It’s time for business owners to take the lead in the Second American Revolution. Many of your employees look up to you. Consider setting a good example and stop witholding taxes from their paychecks. Most of them aren’t aware of how much they are taxed. They will love you for the raise, and then they will have to decide for themselves to pay or not.

Perhaps you’ve always dreamt about having the courage to stop withholding. I hope this pledge will assist you to find the strength you still have.

Isn’t freedom worth fighting for? Join the nonviolent revolution and set your employees free from the oppressive income and social security taxes!

Will you make a stand for Liberty and refuse to withhold? Or will you keep sending in money and filling out paperwork like a “good little citizen”?

Sign the Pledge, then pass on the URL: http://pledgebank.com/stopwithholding

FTL_Ian

55 Comments
  1. If only (ok, “only”), say, 3% of people in the country decided to stop filing taxes, or if 3% of businesses stopped withholding, that would be enough, I think, to start something serious. Those on the left already hate paying for the huge military and wars. If we’re talking about a few million people and some tens of thousands of businesses, there is simply no way that the IRS can handle them all. Unless, of course, they hire people and use local police to “take care of things.”

  2. So, let’s see. Employers should join the ranks of the tax protesters, who have been repudiated without exception in every court of appeals that has deigned to hear their arguments. They should risk felony conviction and jail time to join a movement which has utterly failed to change a single word of the federal income tax code. They should take upon themselves the odium of “tax dodger” and gain the scorn and emnity of the vast majority of American people to register a protest with legislators that, almost without exception, pay no attention whatever to protests.

    And this strategy would advance the cause of liberty and benefit Libertarian candidates… how?

  3. I think a business owner who doesn’t get her business seized for breaking the law is probably in a better position to fight for liberty than one who breaks it to make an ill-advised point.

  4. They can’t put everyone in jail. If business owners take the lead, their employees may find the courage to follow and not pay.

    It’s called civil disobedience. I realize it’s a new term to many libertarians. It requires courage and conviction, unlike running for office.

    It’s okay, I understand that you are scared.

  5. They can’t put everyone in jail.

    While they may not be able to put everybody in jail, they can and will put those people who take your advice in jail. Once they are in jail, others will be discouraged from following in their footsteps.

    Look at how many people are in jail for violating drug laws. We’re just starting to see some support for decriminalization now. Many people would need to go to jail for the change you want to occur.

    If business owners take the lead, their employees may find the courage to follow and not pay.

    You call it courage. Seems to me that the business owner is morally culpable for the consequences that the employee and employee’s family incur from following the owner’s example.

    It’s called civil disobedience. I realize it’s a new term to many libertarians. It requires courage and conviction, unlike running for office.

    It’s okay, I understand that you are scared.

    Ah, straight to accusations of cowardice. Strong argument.

  6. The IRS admitted in ’03 that at least 1500 US companies were refusing to withhold. A Congressional investigation put the number at over 7500. Why don’t we see these businesses being “seized” on a daily basis? We should see over 20 companies per day “seized” if the IRS thought they had the man-power and authority to do so.

    The reality is that individuals and businesses that refuse to withhold or file is increasing while prosecutions are decreasing. The “Service” simply can’t investigate it all, making this a great time to lengthen the list. Or, we can stand around complaining about it and hoping we can somehow legislate away the burden of direct taxation abject theft.

  7. Obviously lots of people and businesses are still paying taxes, but among those that aren’t, thousands of them are government contractors! (PDF)

    Over 3,800 GSA contractors had tax debts totaling about $1.4 billion as of June 30, 2005. This represented approximately 10 percent of the number of GSA contractors during fiscal year 2004 and the first 9 months of fiscal year 2005.

    GAO investigated 25 GSA contractors with abusive and potentially criminal activity. These businesses had not forwarded payroll taxes withheld from their employees and other taxes to IRS. Willful failure to remit payroll taxes is a felony under U.S. law. Furthermore, some company owners diverted payroll taxes for personal gain or to fund their businesses. These contractors worked for a number of federal agencies including the departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.

    The IRS hardly has the resources to go after them; what makes you think they’re going to get down to the level of small businesses?

  8. Michael, that report basically says that the GSA doesn’t go after these contractors to stop them from receiving new contracts. It does not say that the IRS doesn’t go after them for the tax evasion.

  9. Kris, your claim that all tax protesters “have been repudiated without exception in every court of appeals” may or may not be true. However, the only reason to take your case to a court of appeals would be if you had lost in the lower courts, and there are definitely a large number of people that have defeated the IRS’s charges in these lower courts. Whitey Harrell comes to mind. So given an appropriate defense strategy, I would say that your “court of appeals” argument is irrelevent. As far as incurring the scorn of the vast majority of Americans, who the fuck cares? If they knew that they didn’t have to pay taxes, I guarantee they wouldn’t be paying, either. In fact, the more people that knew that the IRS has no legal authority, the harder it would be to stack a jury willing to convict their fellow “tax dodgers.”

    Also,why does this have to be seen in terms of advancing Libertarian candidates? Can’t some things be done just for the sake of liberty and not for some arbitrary party?

  10. However, the only reason to take your case to a court of appeals would be if you had lost in the lower courts, and there are definitely a large number of people that have defeated the IRS’s charges in these lower courts. Whitey Harrell comes to mind.

    For the record, Whitey Harrell was acquitted of criminal penalties, but still had to pay the taxes, along with civil penalties.

    The reason that court of appeals decisions matter is that the lower courts are bound to apply the law as decided by the courts of appeals. If someone has already lost an issue at the appellate level, all subsequent petitioners at the lower court level will lose on the same issue. That’s the essence of stare decisis and the common law.

  11. With stare decisis, how can a bad decision made by, say, the Supreme Court, ever be reversed? And how could you convince the Court to even revisit the issue?

  12. Nicholas,

    You assert that a business owner would be breaking the “law” by not withholding their employee’s taxes. I challenge you to post that law to this message board. Good luck finding it, though. In the past there have been many large cash prizes offered for anyone that could find it, and I’m pretty sure that these offers are still on the table at this time. So if you do find the law, I would suggest sending it in to those organizations offering the prizes as well. You will be a few hundred grand richer for your time.

    I do agree with you that a “business owner is morally culpable for the consequences that the employee and employee’s family incur from following the owner’s example.” To my mind that would include the consequences of supporting a corrupt “government” by being bullied into paying a pizzo, which will only be used to finance the national debt. I find this action much more morally reprehensible than giving the employee the choice to pay or not.

  13. Stare decisis is a principle that states that decisions should stand so as to make the law uniform and predictable, however, the same court or one higher can overrule a previous decision. For example, Plessy v. Ferguson was overruled in Brown v. Board of Education.

    Still, you’d have to convince either the same appellate court or the U.S. Supreme Court to review the issue and that the previous decision was wrong or is wrong now. Applying stare decisis, courts have a strong preference in favor of upholding previous decisions.

  14. Michael, decisions by the Supreme Court are practically reversed all the time. The Supreme Court ruled in 1916 that individuals have no obligation to pay taxes, but lower courts routinely ignore this decision. If a prosecutor can convice a jury that someone is obligated to pay taxes, it doesn’t really matter what the Supreme Court says.

    This goes the other way for jury nullification. During the days of alcohol prohibition, prosecutors found it quite difficult to convince juries that people accused of violating the alcohol “laws” should be punished. This eventually lead to the end of alcohol prohibition. I think one of the best chances we have of ending drug prohibition is to educate the public about the use of jury nullification to end this immoral use of “government” resources.

  15. Dauntless,
    The law relating to witholding is found in Title 26 of the federal code. CUA’s general counsel has a relevant summary here:

    Withholding
    26 U.S.C. § 3402
    On or before the date on which an individual commences employment with an employer, the individual shall furnish the employer with a signed withholding exemption certificate relating to his or her marital status and the number of withholding exemptions which he or she claims. See 26 C.F.R. § 31.3402(f)(2)-(1). The employer is required to request a withholding exemption certificate from each employee, but if the employee fails to furnish such certificate, the employer shall consider that employee a single person claiming no withholding. On or before December 1 of each year, every employer should request of each employee a newly completed withholding exemption certificate for the ensuing calendar year. See 26 C.F.R. § 31.3402(f)(2)-1(c)(3).

  16. Michael, decisions by the Supreme Court are practically reversed all the time. The Supreme Court ruled in 1916 that individuals have no obligation to pay taxes, but lower courts routinely ignore this decision. If a prosecutor can convice a jury that someone is obligated to pay taxes, it doesn’t really matter what the Supreme Court says.

    Bullshit. Also, if you’re going to make claims about the Supreme Court, it’s good practice to cite the case.

    I’m guessing that you’re referring to Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 240 U.S. 1 (1916). It doesn’t say that “individuals have no obligation to pay taxes,” and in fact upheld a series of cases holding that wages and income are taxable. See here for a discussion of this false argument.

  17. Good luck finding it, though. In the past there have been many large cash prizes offered for anyone that could find it, and I’m pretty sure that these offers are still on the table at this time. So if you do find the law, I would suggest sending it in to those organizations offering the prizes as well. You will be a few hundred grand richer for your time.

    More bullshit. The cash prizes are a scam, detailed here. All of those offers are unilateral and depend on the offeror admitting that you’ve met the conditions.

  18. Y’know, I always find this argument that the government (not the IRS specifically mind you, there’s other reasons there) doesn’t have the right to tax you somewhat amusing…
    given that as they produce the bills you use as money in one locus, and produce only one *type* of monetary unit (“the dollar”) for the entire nation, the Commerce clause would very easily apply.

    Always makes me wonder; if the Free State project were to become a success of, say, 10,000+ individuals, what would stop them from developing their *own* fiat dollar and use it amongst only each other? (So long as the “Freedom dollar” never had a USD monetary value, it would be non-income in the eyes of the FedGov. If y’all managed to get a few towns incorporated majority Libertarian and ban local property taxes, there’s really nothing they could do.) This would necessitate, of course, a bank that worked with the LP’s funny-money instead of the USD.

    It’ll never happen — but wouldn’t be a great poke in the eye?

  19. Always makes me wonder; if the Free State project were to become a success of, say, 10,000+ individuals, what would stop them from developing their *own* fiat dollar and use it amongst only each other? (So long as the “Freedom dollar” never had a USD monetary value, it would be non-income in the eyes of the FedGov. If y’all managed to get a few towns incorporated majority Libertarian and ban local property taxes, there’s really nothing they could do.) This would necessitate, of course, a bank that worked with the LP’s funny-money instead of the USD.

    It’ll never happen — but wouldn’t be a great poke in the eye?

    It was done in the 60s and 70s when people lived in communes and formed barter networks. The courts have held that barter transactions are taxable at their fair-market value. Of course, if one wanted to evade taxes, it’s a lot harder to prove that you traded goods with someone than that you received money from them. Moreso if the participants were hostile to the IRS.

  20. Y’know, I always find this argument that the government (not the IRS specifically mind you, there’s other reasons there) doesn’t have the right to tax you somewhat amusing…

    I always find the concept that government has any rights at all quite disturbing. Neither governments, states, nor communities have any rights. Only individuals have rights.
    So assuming you meant “the authority to tax you,” the authority to take your money springing from “the authority to regulate commerce…among the several States” is quite a jump, even for FedGov. Although growing marijuana in your closet was somehow applicable.

    Free Staters would certainly use metal as their standard, which would have a US-dollar value. Even if the currency had no dollar value, it would have been purchased with something that did. As FedGov presumes the legal authority to tax prizes won on a quiz show, the delusion would certainly expand to the buying power of FSer’s new currency.

  21. Nicholas,

    If this is the law you claim requires business owners to withhold, I think you should re-read it. This particular law states that business owners are merely required to “request a withholding exemption certificate from each employee.” A business owner could easily fulfill his/her obligation to this law and in the same breath notify the employee that he/she has no obligation to file said certificate (§ 31.3402(f)(1)-1). If the employee then chooses not to file the certificate, the law does not require the business owner to withhold any taxes. I admit that my reading comprehension skills may have somehow deteriorated since high school, but I don’t see how this “law” requires business owners to withhold income from their employees.

    By the way, I could see how people who have tried to cite “laws” such as this would claim that the above mentioned offers are scams.

  22. Nicholas,

    There were actually two Supreme Court cases related to this matter in 1916. The first was the one you mentioned above, and the second was Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co. Anybody with an internet connection can find numerous arguments confirming or denying whichever point of view you choose to support. Obviously, you have already made your decision to obey the scribblings that you perceive as “laws”, as I have made mine to perceive the “laws” as scribblings worth less than the paper they were scribbled on. In response to your to your facination with linking to these out-of-context scribblings, I would like to leave you with a quote from the Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co. decision that might be even more out of context than the one you linked to: “…the 16th Amendment conferred no new power of taxation.” Have fun with those 1040s!

  23. Artus — don’t put words in my mouth.

    I meant what I said. Whether it *should* have it is a different story. And as far as authority goes; authority is something that exists when it is exerted. Good or bad.

    And again… presumptions; I intimated at a non-USD fiat dollar for a very specific reason; so long as it was never equated to a value of us currency (i.e.; not used to exchange appraised goods) then it is non-income.

    Take the thought a little further; this is not a barter system. A barter system isn’t any better precisely because each good can be valuated immediately. The trick is to *not let it be equated a value.* That’s a tough thing to do, but can be done.

    But of course, first you have to get your head out of your ass when it comes to the fiat dollar concept.

  24. Dauntless: “You assert that a business owner would be breaking the ‘law’ by not withholding their employee’s taxes. I challenge you to post that law to this message board. Good luck finding it, though.”

    Let’s say that tomorrow morning the United States Congress and the several states all pass a Constitutional amendment, stating that Congress has the power to impose an individual income tax, and each individual citizen is legally obliged to pay it. If they did this, would you recognize the authority of Congress to take your money from you by force?

    If so, why do you think that the demand is made any less arbitrary just by putting it in writing?

    If not, then why does it matter whether the government is working from written law or not? The “law” would be a naked usurpation without any moral excuse, whether or not it was formally written down.

  25. Law…Shmaw

    A bunch of words on a bunch of paper don’t erase the simple fact:

    Forcing people to reluctantly hand over money is extortion. It’s probably smart to give in to extortion. It’s brave to fight it.

  26. Artus — don’t put words in my mouth.

    I didn’t put words in your mouth, you implied that governments have rights. They do not.

    I meant what I said. Whether it *should* have it is a different story. And as far as authority goes; authority is something that exists when it is exerted. Good or bad.

    Should doesn’t enter into it. Again, you are confusing your terms. Authority implies contract and lawfulness. Someone or some agency may indeed possess the power (guns and bodies) to do something, but lack the authority. The Federal government has the power to forcibly collect taxes, take away one’s medication, etc. but it has neither the right nor the authority to do so.

  27. And again… presumptions; I intimated at a non-USD fiat dollar for a very specific reason; so long as it was never equated to a value of us currency (i.e.; not used to exchange appraised goods) then it is non-income.

    No presumptions here. What this “new dollar” will buy will immediately equate it to a Federal Reserve dollar value, was all I was saying. You can’t just declare that it is dollar-valueless. Whether one unit of this currency can be exchanged for a gallon of gas, a gram of gold or 5 lbs. of potatoes, it will have a corresponding US dollar value. Just as private entities set odds on sporting events, they will set an exchange rate for this currency to the US dollar.

  28. Artus — again, you’re not following here. *YOU* believe governments do not/cannot have rights. But, then, you also seem to believe that governments simply are wrong no matter what.

    And yes, it has the right and authority to collect taxes, etc. These are things that need to be addressed, as they are being executed in an entirely *wrong* fashion.

    As to the concept of the “freedom dollar” or suchnot, if there is never an exchange of valuated goods then it could effectively be accomplished. The trick here is to ensure that this fiat money is used for exchanges of service, etc., as it is nigh-unto-impossible to give a service a dollar value as a third party to the exchange.

    “A gallon of gas, a gram of gold, or 5 lbs of potatoes” — that sounds awfully much like you’re trying to insist that it have a backing of some sort. Then again, you still have yet to get your head out of your ass on the concept of the fiat dollar in general.

    So… conversation’s over. Babble away.

  29. F/u to previous — I apologize for the contentiousness, to all others. Artus, if for some reason you wish to make this a more personal conversation, please feel free to address any further comments you have to me personally at [email protected]

    Not saying I’ll answer. Just that I’m certain my last post was baited and I don’t like not putting my money where my mouth is.

    We as a society need to be infighting less and getting things done more. I am as guilty of this as the rest of us.

    I could — and want to — say more, vindicating my own position, but that doesn’t belong here.

  30. The ability to execute a declaration or extort money from a group of people lies solely in the power to commit or threaten violence. This is power, not authority, and certainly not a right. Rights are solid and unwavering; inalienable and absolute. They are not legislated, changed, or altered. How can such a thing be possessed by government? How can the amount of power enjoyed by government be altered or abolished if the state has a right to it? And if it can, how can we claim any rights government doesn’t grant us?

    When you elevate the state to the dignified position of the individual and cede that it has rights, you have taken a collectivist position and excused government excess as existing under the banner of a right. Even in the rare moments when our government’s actions are within the confines of the Constitution, it isn’t exercising a right, but rather doing something that it is authorized to do.

  31. A gallon of gas, a gram of gold, or 5 lbs of potatoes” — that sounds awfully much like you’re trying to insist that it have a backing of some sort. Then again, you still have yet to get your head out of your ass on the concept of the fiat dollar in general.

    FR dollars can currently be exchanged for gas, gold and potatoes and have no backing. I was referring to purchasing power, not a standard.

    I suppose I just don’t understand what the currency would be realistically used for if it is not tangible goods. Are you suggesting the “freedom dollar” be used solely for services? “If there is never an exchange of valuated goods,” I suppose that would be all that is left. In your concept, FR notes would still be used for tangible, valuated goods while the “freedom dollar” would be exchanged for things like computer programming and carpet cleaning?

  32. I feel this conversation is worth having here so others may join and comment. If you’d rather have it directly via email, that’s fine, too.

    Despite your multiple claims that my head needs to be removed from my ass, I want to have a civil discussion on these topics. We may be at an impass regarding individual vs government rights, but I am honestly curious about your curency idea and would like to understand it.

    You can feel free to further vindicate your own position and, if you like, continue to insult me at [email protected].

  33. Artus Register: Even in the rare moments when our government’s actions are within the confines of the Constitution, it isn’t exercising a right, but rather doing something that it is authorized to do.

    Authorized by whom?

  34. Artus — you were far more civil than, honestly, I had expected. That expectation was grantedly artificial. I appreciate that, and owe you an apology for my reactions. (Frayed nerves and the usual jargon of excuses. That they’re true is irrelevant.)

    I’ll start by saying that perhaps we have semantics getting in the way of our statements about government. I *will* however say that perhaps you might want to find a term or idea other than Mz. Rand’s when speaking with me at least (I tend to disregard the acceptance of the philosophical key-words of others as a sign of lack of original thought. It’s a ‘fault’ of mine.)

    (cont’d)

  35. The problem with rejecting fiat currency is that it is at this point almost purely recidivistic in nature, and recidivism for the sake of recidivism never succeeds. With the advent of the “information age” it became nigh-unto facetious to expect a material backing for fiscal currency to be an effective methodology.

    Enough loquaciousness, however: The concept behind the “Freedom Dollar” is to utilize — abuse, really — one specific factor for any fiat currency; it has absolutely no intrinsic value.

    So — if the local appraiser’s office values your house at 0.00 USD, then when you sell that house, you make 0.00 dollars. Even if you’re selling it for 300,000.00 “FD” but bought it for 100,000.00 “FD”. The trick is to ensure that all transactions have a *GOVERNMENTALLY RECOGNIZED* valuation of 0.00 dollars. To be completely honest, to make this successful would require a population of somewhere around 1,000,000 (personal guess).

    (cont’d)

  36. The one great area of difficulty, of course, would be interaction with the outside world. Legal excuses aside, the instant the FD becomes attached to an equatable value of other fiscal currencies, the exercise becomes meaningless because the FedGov could attempt to tax you for your income of FD’s. The main means of preventing this from occuring would have to be the use of “not-for profit” charity organizations, and the assistance of others (outside the exercise) through these charities, whom would then have whatever goods or materials they acquire valuated at 0.00 dollars by the local appraiser (whom of course would be part of the exercise, as we’ve already stipulated that the government would be purely Libertarian in nature; the appraiser basically would exist to “rubber-stamp” all valuations at 0.00 dollars.)

    This is a thin veneer. If the federal government got too much of a snit about it, they could of course make de facto rulings equating the FD a valuation in USD. (cont’d)

  37. With that in mind, there are really only two options available to this sort of thinking;

    One — that the society in question be exclusionary and xenophobic to the point that they maintain as little in the way of contact with the outside world as possible; absolute control of the local government and a lack of travel would succeed at this.

    Two — it be used as a staging point or political measure to effectively prove some ideological cause. Given the scale necessary, it would have to be an immense cause. None currently exist.

    There is a third option; but it doesn’t lend itself well to description within 1000 characters (or 10,000 for that matter.)

    Essentially, as a mental exercise, it’s a valid topic; can the United States Government rule over transactions occuring entirely within a limited area that has no connection to the outside world… and utilizes no currency from it?

  38. Needless to say, this sort of undeclared secession wouldn’t be a wealthy organization. But the point is, the way things are currently structured, if attempted with, say, 10,000 individuals (in earnest) there’s really very little the FedGov could do short of violating the Posse Commitatus, to correct it.

    Think about the headline: “Federal Agents Imprison Entire Town!” … followed of course by the inevitable college-aged idealistic political activists shouting (on campus of course), “Free Freedomtown!” *laughing*

    There is another possiblity of this as an exercise… (cont’d)

  39. Which of course is to avoid the concept of incorporating an entire town, but rather use the supposed “FD” for transactions within an exclusive organization (say, the LP) for interpersonal transactions without material exchange.

    Writing books/websites, maintaining lawns, providing room & board even. The point to *this* line of thinking is that it would therefore become possible — by the honest and uncorrupted cooperation of a large number of individuals — for a few individuals to drop off the radar so to speak, and cease to exist purely in terms of governmental/taxation records.

    Mostly this is simply a thought-experiment on the viability of demonstrating the abuse of the fiat currency concept’s weaknesses, and perhaps a way to poke an eye at the FedGov by limiting its ability to draw income without leading to absolute destitution.

    Speaking of; if you ever plan to go without USD income altogether, never go to PA. They tax you for existing there. Something like $5.00/year.

  40. Artus, authorization is something that people give or refuse to give; a dead scrap of paper “authorizes” a policy only in the analogical sense that it can serve as a medium to convey authorization from the people who issue it. So, to return to the question, who authorizes the government to do what it does when it acts within the powers enumerated by the Constitution (by, say, using force to take money in the form of tariffs or excise taxes, as enumerated in Article I Section 8)? Is it you? Ian? Gouverneur Morris? Somebody else?

  41. Rad Geek — “We, the People, in order to form a more perfect union…”

    Sucks balls, but there it is. After all; if *enough* people in this country wanted it changed then we could forcibly have it changed.

    Individual dissenters must recognize the requirement for regulations of interpersonal behaviors. Where I draw the line is when the laws begin to regulate individual behaviors.

    Our state is well past that. But then, this is why I am Libertarian.

  42. Ian, if you’re claiming that “We the People,” through the medium of the Constitution, authorize the government to act under the powers enumerated in the Constitution, and that the “We” in question is supposed to be each of us, and not just the royal “We” being pushed by some smaller group of people, then I offer myself as empirical evidence that your claim is false. I was never asked whether or not I consent to the terms of the Constitution, or authorize the United States government to act on my behalf under the powers enumerated in it. If I were asked, I would refuse to authorize it. The Constitution does not place effective limits on state power, and explicitly provides for moral crimes that I would not authorize anyone to commit on my behalf (e.g. at least some powers of taxation). So would-be governors aren’t authorized to exercise the powers enumerated in the Constitution by everyone subject to it. I (as well as many others) refuse to give my consent.

  43. You could still claim that even if I refuse to give would-be governors my authorization, it’s still true that most people subject to the Constitution do authorize would-be governors to exercise Constitutional powers, either tacitly or explicitly. This seems to be what you suggest when you mention that not enough people disagree with it enough to sustain a popular revolution as a response to my question.

    But that line of argument has two problems. The first is internal: it actually undermines strict Constitutionalism rather than justifying it. After all, most American subjects also tacitly and explicitly authorize the gov’t to exercise all kinds of unenumerated, extra-Constitutional powers. If your argument actually demonstrates the legitimacy of enforcing the written Constitution, then it leaves you with no defense against parallel arguments for enforcing any unwritten prerogative (for welfare, warfare, education, regulation, …) that can claim majoritarian backing.

  44. The second problem has to do with the position of “individual dissenters” (in this case, me). It may be true that you can authorize the government to take authority over you, and in so doing you’ve agreed to the demands it places on you within a limited set of powers (e.g. that it has the rightful authority to take excise taxes from you if you authorize it to act under the terms of the Constitution). But it’s quite another thing to claim that you (or anybody else) can authorize the U.S. government to take authority over me, or to enforce its demands on me. I didn’t authorize it to do that, and your “authorization” means less than nothing when the authority in question is over other people: that’s not yours to give.

  45. Ian C: “Individual dissenters must recognize the requirement for regulations of interpersonal behaviors. Where I draw the line is when the laws begin to regulate individual behaviors.”

    I agree that’s where to draw the line; I deny that it has anything in particular to do with the Constitution. The Constitution explicitly enumerates powers that invade the individual behaviors of innocent people (e.g. forcibly extracting taxes on peaceful commerce). And even if the Constitution did strictly limit itself to recognizing people’s rights, and to authorizing the defense of those rights against the invasions of others, it still wouldn’t establish any new obligation of obedience or any special authority for its officers. The obligation to act according to justice already existed without the Constitution, and men in government uniforms have no unique power or authority to defend people’s rights that distinguishes them in prerogatives, status, or authority from us ordinary civilians.

  46. Rad Geek — I’m sorry, but you seem to have totally missed my point.

    I’ll explain it a little less esoterically for you.

    1) My statement had nothing to do with the Constitution itself as a document, but rather the source of authorization and its historical basis.

    2) For this authorization to be effective requires only *majority* vote. Hence; democracy is the tyranny of the majority.

    3) Simply because you dislike the government under which you are subject is NOT authorization to disregard it in its entirety.

    The reasoning for this is simple; say you were an “old-school Satanist.” Part of your beliefs include the weekly sacrificial murder of an innoncent, Christian, child.

    Now, you could obviously make the argument that “I didn’t authorize the government to execute me for practicing my religious rights! I *must* kill unbaptized babies! I MUST! FREE RELIGION!!!” … or whatever you like.

    (cont’d)

  47. (cont’d)

    The sole problem with such arguments is that, unless you are propositioning the elimination of something like 99% of the human species and leaving the remnants of the human race so dispersed that each man effectively becomes an island, society MUST exist. And society MUST regulate itself somehow.

    It simply must. Every exercise at Utopia ever attempted ended abysmally, and they all always will. Society will regulate itself somehow, and that INTRINSICALLY means punishing, somehow, those who disrupt society somehow.

    The key to libertarianism is to reform society so that any individual acting on their own impetus — without causing harm to another — is in fact in no means a disruption to society.

    If this cannot be done internally, then without sufficient ‘backing’ from the common populace, it will not happen at all.

    IF that backing exists, it can be done internally. If it does not, it cannot be done externally.

    Yes, the US Constitution is just a piece of paper. (cont’d)

  48. (cont’d)

    And in that thinking, it is absolutely correct. That piece of paper is meant to be the restriction on how our society regulates itself.

    The “ideal” balance is for “society” as a whole to be on equal footing with the individual.

    Right now, our ‘society’ has precedence. Anarchism is the individual over the society — which is functional suicide.

    Without balance, we will continue to see the problems as rampant as they are today.

    So no, RadGeek, none of my arguments are either specious, erronneous, nor do they fall apart.

    They simply weren’t the arguments you were reading — as you had imposed your own paradigmatic restrictions (naturally) upon my statements.

    While entirely understandable, even necessary, it is also unfortunate.

    Hopefully this (previously)continued diatribe will enlighten you as to my own position a little further.

  49. Ian: “For this authorization to be effective requires only *majority* vote. Hence; democracy is the tyranny of the majority.”

    So, again, what you’re saying is indeed that other people (when enough of them get together) “authorize” the government to coerce me.

    The majority of people “authorize” the government to do all kinds of things not enumerated in the Constitution. An overwhelming majority of people approve, for example, of the Social Security, Medicaid, the Drug War, etc. So how is it, on your theory, that the government has the authority to enforce the terms of the Constitution but not to enforce anything else that 50%+1 of the population happens to favor? If that’s good enough to ordain and establish the Constitution, it’s good enough to ordain and establish any extra-Constitutional program you like. If majority vote legitimately authorizes the Constitution, it can also legitimately overturn absolutely any limits the Constitution tries to impose.

  50. People, Just remember one thing when reading the IRS regulations. It’s in legalese. Meaning that every term used is a legal term not a common every day term. For example “employee”. This term when used in the IRC refers to a Federal employee, not a private sector employee (worker). Stop the arguing and read the regulations in this mindset and they will make more sense to you.
    Title 26 CFR 31.3402(a) even says so.
    It states the “legal relationship between employee and employer”.

  51. I’d like to give a little follow-up on Whitey Harrell. I know him personally, for I was on the jury that acquitted him. His case was meant to be a test case. He deliberately pushed it until it went to trial for the purpose of exposing the IRS. Thankfully, his cause is receiving broad exposure now through Aaron Russo’s new film, “America: From Freedom to Fascism.” I am also in that film.

    Whitey did not fail.

    Marcy