April 15: What Would Jesus Do?
A look at the morality (and law) of compliance

"Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it." 
— Albert Einstein


So here we sit in "the greatest country in the world" on the threshold of Tax Day 2009. I know you've been paying attention to what the government has recently been doing—or not been doing—with transfer of $trillions from the federal treasury (that's us) to the banksters. And everyone with the journalistic awareness of mashed potatoes knows that the previous regime committed—would it be unduly harsh, judgmental, or negative to call them monstrous?—crimes on property and person, as well... globally. [The orange links are sufficient to prove these wanton acts of aggression upon Earth's citizens beyond all reasonable doubt.]

For purposes of the present inquiry, it really doesn't matter if you agree with me specifically about the root cause of these depredations—though I do believe my analysis is reasonably well-constructed—or the cure. (My proposed cure is the Sacred Nonaggression Principle.)

Thus ignoring my own (admittedly sometimes overwrought) opinions, let's step into "the Now" of America and practice nonresistance to the state of affairs in which the federal government performs every sort of moral [again, please forgive the harsh, judgmental term] atrocity—from unprovoked invasions to torture and rendition to drug prohibition to the incarceration and murder of poor immigrants, etc. Nonresistance, which simply means acceptance of what is, provides the seed for remedy: as aware beings, we cannot avoid facts; further, they impel us to act ethically to change them.

What would Jesus do?

I have a young friend from the Free State, and I asked him a couple of years ago whether he was paying his income taxes. He replied, "No, I won't support torture."

Somehow his simple phrasing has stuck with me and become a shorthand for characterizing any refusal to give money to the state based on moral principle. "Torture by policy" is an extreme illustration of what is enabled through taxes—although Bush-Cheney were proud to torture, the Obamanon[1] (reluctantly?) continues US torture by proxy—and a fine reason to stop paying them. So is preemptive war, depleted uranium, or imprisoning people for pharmaceutical choices. But the moral principle for refusing to pay one's taxes has to be that the general aggression exercised by means of these payments is morally unsupportable.

Would Jesus succumb to the compulsion implicit in a tax if he knew that the effect of the tax were to blatantly aggress upon other human beings in horrific ways? I'm not sure we know for certain, but if indeed he allowed himself to be crucified rather than make the right words to the authorities, I would say no. He would have chosen disobedience and prison. What about Gandhi? It's clear: he did say "No"—imaginatively defying the salt tax—and ended British empire in India.

Are we going to let them get away with all that?

Now you say, "Hold on a minute, I'm just a simple family man. I have a wife, a mother-in-law, and three barmaids who depend on me; my children play soccer and hack their way through the local forced-school brain-maze. You may be right that what the government is using my money for is awful, maybe even unconstitutional, but you can't expect me to put my rusty ol' cojones on the line like Jesus and Gandhi. They had followers... groupies even. I'm 'alone and afraid in a world I never made.' If I stiff the feds, geez, those guys are worse than the Mob."

And I say, "You're right, I don't expect it."

Perhaps years ago, even hailing back to the founding of the Republic, a vast number of ordinary guys from any walk of life would have supported political independence and constitutional liberty, keeping an eye as a matter of civic pride on persons they elected, making sure no one exceeded his authority... or ran off with (or handed over to others) the people's common funds.

No longer in Kansas, Dorothy

But we're not back in Revolutionary War times: the state has inflicted more than a century of collectivist/corporatist propaganda thru its forced schooling, wars have been undertaken at the behest and hidden machinations of the money power that runs the state, the broad mass of people have lost any means for critical thinking, and, anyway, most of the information available to our friendly neighborhood pod people is from mind-control sources.[2] Indeed, because of all these facts—not to mention the massive theft and carnage I referred to in the links in my opening paragraph—the United States stands on the precipice of oligarchical dictatorship. Whither or wither the Constitution?!

What is standing in the way of our descent into political Hades?

Well, I can sure go thru a long list of what isn't standing in the way: Everyone plugged into the Matrix, mostly Baby Boomer and older, who actually believes the talking heads on <XYZ> or what they read in their corporatized—rapidly going-out-of-business—"local" daily newspaper or the headlines from their Yahoo/Google Webocracy home page or (for the Scary Medievalists) rantings of their favorite Hinterland hate-radio demagogue.

Still, that does leave quite a few others.

Ron Paul, et al

Who was that guy in the 2008 election that stood for sound money, for the Constitution, for peace, and decidedly against the income tax? Oh yeah, Ron Paul, Republican-primary candidate for President. He managed to stir the libertarian pot quite successfully, raising the most money on line first than any other candidate in the race. Millions of dollars and millions of votes, the most for any pro-freedom candidate in history (unless you count Barry Goldwater's 27 million (votes) back in 1964). Well, Dr. Paul and his Campaign for Liberty live on.

And we have the Free State (New Hampshire)[3] going strong, continuing to put a stop order out on any acts of central-government excess. The state sovereignty idea is in full swing there, as elsewhere: Legislatures from Oklahoma to Montana are passing "sovereignty resolutions" insisting that the 10th Amendment to the Constitution be observed by federal officials. Any attempt by the Obamanon to violate the 2d Amendment or to initiate force in other ways is being "clarified" at the level of the several defiant states. It appears that federal Real ID is now a dead letter, a 'cider house rule' that no one pays any attention to. We have the Liberty Dollar and Fed-alternative money systems. Legal medical marijuana is breaking out all over, recently in the Free State, legal hemp will be sure to follow. With the Mexican drug war killing thousands, the bandwagon is full of calls by "responsible journalists" for ending drug prohibition... now!

Well, I didn't mean to launch the longest paragraph in the world. But clearly the freedom movement is alive and well, and stands directly in front of the seemingly invincible juggernaut of central-state power, a self-righteous giant Baby Huey, bearing down upon all humankind. Something's gotta give, and we must keep in mind that every act of conscience, every refusal to acquiesce, pulls another pin from the track of the juggernaut's tank tread.

All right, then, "Shall we do the moral thing?"

As Ayn Rand used to state so succinctly and evocatively: "Morality ends where a gun begins." Taxes tend to be defined as compulsory. If you don't pay, someone may forcibly remove your money or your freedom of movement... or at least threaten to. I'm the last man to judge whether that threat of force should outweigh your act of conscience. But I shall state that in today's regime, with the federales in particular, the horrors inflicted upon others through the use of your money are several orders of magnitude greater than what you may stand to suffer for being a refusenik... particularly focusing on the war and torture applications.

Here's what Thoreau said (and he never even dealt with the phantasmagoric horrors of a federal "income" tax):

If the machinery of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. 
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, 1849

In other words, "Nuts."[4] I really appreciate ol' Henry David's directness. While we can say with some confidence Jesus would somberly stiff the IRS[5] and that Gandhi would do so with a gleam in his eye, Thoreau takes it up a notch, wading into the statists like Grant taking Vicksburg.

If we can get them actually to obey the law...

Back to my Free State friend, I mentioned that some very good legal arguments have been developed that show the federal "income" tax has feet of clay. [And I'll refer to one of the most exciting current arguments in a moment.] He came back that, from his perspective, taking one of the various practical, legal approaches he's heard of doesn't give the nontaxpayer as much sympathy and moral force as taking a stand on principle. It's always seemed to him that the feds come down a lot harder on the Irwin Schiffs of the world because they can make those sorts of nontaxpayers look like cheating opportunists in the controlled media.

Paraphrasing my friend: "If they ever come for me, I'll get my day in court. I'll tell the judge and jury that it doesn't matter what the law is, I'm not going to comply with a system that supports war and aggression. If that means I go to jail, then I go to jail... for a good and proper cause. I'll be a prisoner of conscience, not someone looking to take 'the easy way out.'" [6]

Keep in mind my own interest in the federal tax system is purely journalistic: When I ask what Jesus or Gandhi or the Buddha or my friend would do, it's to convey the reality of the modern movement toward directly ending a significant chunk of government aggression in American lives. My own deal is the Sacred Nonaggression Principle, and my interest lies in advancing toward that universal condition in society as quickly and adroitly as possible. I prefer the indirect approach. But if I did adopt the direct method I would base any "act of conscience" on the SNaP.

Standing up for America: the legal approach

Cracking the CodeEven if one takes the direct moral approach toward becoming a nontaxpayer, I believe it worthwhile to give some study to the legal and constitutional foundations of the federal "income" tax. One of the most interesting, concise, and compelling legal-political arguments I've seen comes from a 2003 book written by Mr. Peter Hendrickson: Cracking the Code: The fascinating truth about taxation in America. I only recently did read the book, and I highly recommend it for anyone who truly wants to understand the proper way to comply with the federal "income" tax statutes and code... consistent with the Rule of Law.

Unfortunately for those who have a vested interest in administering the federal tax statutes and code (deceptively, maliciously, and unlawfully) —these beneficiaries of countless billions, even trillions, of dollars of wrongfully confiscated American wealth—I think the answer you will take away from reading Cracking the Code is not at all what the vested interests want you to gather. Indeed, these people are so afraid of the truth about the law getting out, they've tried to ban the book's publication!!!!

In any case you should make a trip over to and see what's shakin'. Learn what the feds don't want you to know. When they start telling you what you can and cannot read, and you abide by it, let's just say there's not much point in that sort of country. I will be reviewing Cracking the Code formally in the next week, before April 15. Until then, let me give you the following summary as a logic-flow diagram:

Yes, that's the way I see it. It's really a simple argument. Where I think Pete avoids the mistakes of others is in seeing the obvious intent of the legislation and the resulting revenue code. He does not argue that the income tax is unconstitutional, rather, that the 16th Amendment and the income tax statutes and code are completely consistent with the Constitution... and, most important, they state exactly what they mean and mean exactly what they state.

Which is, by Article 1 Section 9, there shall no federal direct tax—meaning a tax directly on a sovereign-individual citizen's rightfully owned and acquired material wherewithal—without apportionment. The federal income tax of 1862, and as modified subsequently, is an indirect tax, which is to say an excise tax (tax on the exercise of privilege). The applicability of the income tax is spelled out precisely in the terms of the statutes. To quote a focal paragraph:

Consequently [after a thorough walkthrough of statute], the only lawful objects of the "income" tax are activities for which one is paid by the federal government or a federal agency or instrumentality; activities effectively connected with the performance of the functions of a public office; activities as a federal, federal-instrumentality, or federally chartered "State" worker; or activities as a paid officer of a federal corporation [several of which are listed]. — Page 88

Works for me. If you can find a hole in Pete's argument, you're a better Philadelphia lawyer than I am. And so it goes. The implications, of course, are staggering. Many CtC "Warriors" have initiated paperwork to acquire refunds, and the Treasury has issued thousands of checks totaling—according to the site—nearly $10 million. This introduction to Cracking the Code gives you most of the essentials, but I do recommend reading the book... then, if you're convinced, you may wish to join one of the state groups working to recover as much of their wrongfully taken property as possible.

I know what you're thinking...

First, let me state emphatically, again, that I am not advocating any particular course of action vis a vis what we know as the federal income tax. But I do have to state truthfully that Cracking the Code has me convinced, by the Rule of Law and natural rights, that the vast majority of Americans have no liability for the tax. Needless to say, if this conviction of nonliability were to "go viral"—and it's hard for me to see a scenario (short of an ironfisted dictatorship) in which that won't happen—the nuts will be flying totally off the buggy in some possibly very scary ways.

As a practical matter, freedom people who advocate (or publicize) the truths of Cracking the Code need to be prepared for a hostile reaction from the ruling class and its police-state functionaries. I'll discuss these possibilities in future writings. And although I have every confidence the Rule of Law and Constitutional liberty will prevail in the end, every one who publicly and decisively insists that the feds obey the law should be prepared for arbitrary and unlawful aggression by the government.

Actually, the IRS accomplishes most of its objectives by fear and deception. Aside for some limited government attacks on the Hendricksons themselves, the government has abided by the law as it reads... and people have been receiving refunds without hassle.

Several other issues present themselves in connection with the general decision of what to do about the morality and practicality of the tax question, but I only have time now to discuss a couple.

The spiritual-enlightenment factor

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." — Jesus

If you comply with the edicts or threats of a government agency and perform an act that you know to be unconstitutional, unlawful, or immoral, then you are only encouraging unlawful, immoral behavior. As Americans, it's time to stop that sort of thing, don't you think?

"I've smelled the sweet scent of freedom for years." — My FS friend

In the grand scheme of the cosmos, I'm pretty sure the human species is destined for the Singularity within a couple of decades: this is a point where human and machine merge into a form of grand intelligence with unimagined potentiality. An intelligence both individualized into the biological form it wants, yet availed of the vast technology of "the network." But it is hard to see this potential from our current perspective of ubiquitous madness. The immense insanity of wanton government aggression shows us that the best of human consciousness—or true human consciousness itself—has yet to come into widespread being.

Ending the insanity of the federal tax system as it's currently applied has to take top priority. To those who say, "We can't unplug from the system because the system will fail," I say, "Is there any sequence of events from this point forward in America that avoids a 'system' failure?" The links from the first paragraph showing the takeover by Wall Street of our government and the absolute criminality of the Bush administration point us to the need for a pure and freshly scented Jeffersonian revolution:

Whenever any government becomes destructive of [liberty], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Just as 1776 was not a time for compromise with tyranny, now is not a time for dillydallying with the forms of modern despotism. We need a clean break from the <centralized controlling entity>, extending full constitutional freedom throughout the land to communities, neighborhoods, and individuals. It will take some time to adjust to life without the dominators, but I'm convinced we can have a high-popsicle-index system, worldwide, inside of a couple of years.

I like to point out the work of Eckhart Tolle as a guideline, at least for me, as individuals to realize what we are each meant to be: we achieve freedom on the outside when we realize Being on the inside. I do feel that my Sacred Nonaggression Principle is important and timely in the noble, outside cause of political freedom. In particular, I believe the SNaP is consistent with whatever spiritual tack one takes in one's own life situation relative to the tax man, for example:

First, if your tax does not apply to me as written, then, respectfully, go away and don't bother me. Second, if you insist on applying the tax, then as an opponent of aggression (and in light of your extreme aggression), I withdraw my voluntary payment to you on moral principle. You have no rightful authority over me, nor shall I help you in your acts of aggression.

Or words/actions to that effect.

A final note on freedom as a spiritual practice

As individuals who have been in the freedom community and participated in the freedom movement, many of us have felt like angry, sometimes bitter, embattled outcasts—feeling that we must constantly harangue the masses, else lose them to the forces of evil. Believe me, I have fallen—and continue to fall, though, thankfully, with less frequency—into that trap.

As Tolle, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other spiritual teachers make clear, we must not attempt to fight unconsciousness with similar forms of unconsciousness—violence with violence, anger and hatred with anger and hatred. Those practices are losers. Unconsciousness is only overcome by the calm, benevolent light of awareness and peace: when you shine the light of consciousness, the darkness yields naturally and inexorably.

Regarding the tax-morality movement, my friend from the Free State is a devout peace-loving Catholic, I believe Hendrickson is a Protestant Christian, many others in the Free State are Deists or Daoists or 'seekers' of various kinds. I'm sort of a Tolleian-Randian humanist myself (if there is such a thing). My point is virtually all of the people deeply engaged in the freedom movement come to it from a spiritual foundation: we see liberty as the practical down-to-earth fulfillment of the human spirit.

So as we continue to share our libertarian knowledge, let's contribute to true enlightenment by constantly reminding ourselves to teach not to rail, to emulate the gentle, forgiving ways of Jesus and Gandhi, not the fiery judgmentalism of Rush Limbaugh or Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In the end, the way of peace and love will prevail. (Note: because I myself have so often strayed from this effective spiritual practice that I'm recommending, I would welcome someone forming a support group, say, Ranters Anonymous. :) Suggestions welcome.)


[1] Obamanon = the Obama "phenomenon," which I have come to regard as perhaps one of the most insidious, perhaps wholly sinister, triumphs of pomp over circumstance (and principle) in history. Obama makes FDR look like Sergeant Stadanko. Be vewy vewy afwaid.

[2] Reference many works on the subject, e.g. The Creature from Jekyll Island, The Secret behind Secret Societies, Crossing the Rubicon, Overcoming Psychological Resistance to 9/11 Truth, to name a few I've read. Keep in mind, Operation Mockingbird, which was a secret CIA project to infiltrate the corporate media has been a resounding success. Per the reference, "The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that six million people had died by 1987 as a result of CIA covert operations, called an 'American Holocaust' by former State Department official William Blum." (How can conscientious citizens continue to consciously support such operations!?)

[3] Ref. my book about the early Free State experience, New Pilgrim Chronicles.

[4] General Anthony McAuliffe, under siege at Bastogne, Belgium, in WW2 replied to a German surrender request with this single word.

[5] The story behind Jesus' purported directive "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's," is that Jesus thought Caesar didn't deserve one damned shekel... certainly nothing in terms of the spirit, and, to the extent practical, nothing material either.

[6] Here's a flyer my friend referred me to: "Why Isn't Everyone Who's for Peace a War Tax Resister? Answers to common questions." Based on this material and his own experience, it appears that the risk of any significant IRS hostilities being visited upon one for opting out of the system is minimal.

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