Archive for July, 2007

 Ed and Elaine’s Multi-Ring Circus

If you’re like most Americans, you haven’t been following the story of Ed and Elaine Brown, because it has enjoyed very little coverage by the major news media. But the story has been unfolding for six months now, and unless you’re from New Hampshire (where local newspapers seem to be the only outlets covering this story at all), you’ve probably not even heard of the Browns.

What started out as your typical garden-variety tax protest, that had great potential for change in this country, has degenerated into some kind of anti-establishment, hippie carnival. And if this report is true, it’s actually something just shy of a Klan meeting.

I supported the Browns at first. Their position was clear and well-articulated. They didn’t believe they were obligated to pay the income tax. They didn’t recognize the authority of a federal court to prosecute them for the crime. As a result of their position and the court’s refusal to admit some of their evidence, they boycotted their trial and returned to the relative safety of their home. A home which has invariably been referred to by the media as a “compound.” In fact, CNN showed total disregard for its obligation to remain unbiased when it ran a story on June 21 with the headline “Tax dodgers taunt police from hilltop compound.” A story that has subsequently been removed from their site, but is still in Google’s cache.

As I have continued following the story, almost exclusively through the blogosphere, it has become increasingly difficult for me to continue supporting them in their protest. Their arguments in interviews have evolved from succinct and well-reasoned to something that can only be described as kooky, while their 110-acre estate has become a veritable Lollapalooza for the tinfoil-hat crowd. Various reports describe the Brown’s driveway as a gauntlet of freaks in lawn chairs spewing hatred of everything from the government and taxes to the Freemasons and the Illuminati. What is this, a Dan Brown novel?

We all know this is going to end badly for the Browns. They will most likely be killed in a Waco-style raid (that the government will ultimately cover-up to the point that none of us will ever know the truth), or they will simply be taken into custody, and never heard from again as they waste away in prison for the “crime” of simply wanting to hold on to what rightfully belongs to them. But it is a shame that the Brown’s are either too overwhelmed by their situation, or too crazy, to see how they have mismanaged things.

Their press conference back in June featuring Randy Weaver was a stroke of PR genius. It set the tone for the entire standoff, and put the government on notice that We The People were watching and we had not forgotten the jack-booted thuggery of Ruby Ridge and Waco. There was great potential there to keep expanding public awareness and focusing pressure on the government. Then the whole thing turned into Woodstock.

Alas, things are too far gone now to get back on message. It is too late to use this situation to bring the fundamental problems with the federal income tax to the attention of the American people. It saddens me that the Browns are forgetting the principles that brought them here and instead seem willing to martyr themselves for the sake of a bunch of retarded conspiracy theorists. Rather than standing up to injustice and taking their place in history, they will become nothing more than a punchline.

 Celebrating Dependence Day

While watching the customary fireworks this year, my mother-in-law said someone on the radio had asked why we all call it the Fourth of July instead of Independence Day. It occurred to me that the powers that be might prefer that nomenclature because it prevents We The People from pondering the true meaning of independence. And the fact that we no longer have any. So I am officially renaming this holiday for what it truly is. From now on I will celebrate Dependence Day.

I suspect our Founding Fathers viewed the fireworks on July 4, 1777 with great joy because they truly had something to celebrate. But now, over two hundred and thirty years hence, it is clear that the cause for celebration is gone. For all we’ve managed to do is trade one tyrannical and oppressive government for another. The fact that it is a government of our own design is of little consequence. Moreover, we, as a people, are far more dependent on this new government than we ever were on King George.

In our nation’s earliest history, a man was truly independent. If he wanted to work his land and sell his crops or livestock, he could do so without first seeking permission from the FDA, the EPA, or the Department of Agriculture. If he wanted to start his own business and become wealthy, he could do so without interference from the Department of Labor, or having his income confiscated by the IRS. If he fell on hard times he did not rely on government to support him, but rather on the generosity and charity of his neighbors who were not concerned with how they were going to pay their own taxes or other government-imposed fees.

This culture of dependence will not be easy to excise for it has been growing for many decades and is now well established. So well established, in fact, that most who read this will wonder what I am talking about. The notion of living free, without the government involved in every aspect of one’s life, is completely foreign to many. And frightening to many more. I’m sure there were those who were frightened as well by the talk of revolution by our Founding Fathers. But none of us today look back and fault them for their actions. To the contrary, we celebrate their courage and dedication to the principles of freedom. They were called to revolt by little more than a king who refused to redress their grievances and taxes that amounted to something less than three percent. This was enough to spark revolution.

Today we suffer under a tax burden above thirty percent (for most of us) and a government that has completely forgotten its First Amendment obligation to answer the petitions of its people. Is this not enough to spark yet another revolution? It certainly would be, if We The People were not so dependent on the government we created, that no longer has any moral right to exist.

So Happy Dependence Day! I would encourage you to spend this day thinking about all the ways that you and perhaps your friends and neighbors are dependent upon our government. And then, rather than celebrating that fact, start thinking of ways to change it.