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April 15: Just Another Day?

May I suggest the impossible? Well, I suppose, the improbable. But it could be the inevitable if free people can visualize the concept: April 15 being meaningless...well, virtually meaningless, except as a footnote in history.

That dreaded day. Many people take for granted the horror the day represents: a total tax burden for the average American taxpayer of around 40%, a fear of one mistake on a 1040 confession sheet that can throw one in jail for years, and hours of paperwork trying to decipher bureaucratic code that IRS agents get wrong half the time. Yet Americans comply because they take for granted that taxes are the "price we pay for a civilized society."

But let me ask (what should be) an obvious question: What is civilized about government agents holding that proverbial gun to the heads of American citizens, saying, "Your money or your life"? If you doubt that that is what is going on, try to stop paying those taxes and then to resist when government agents try to take you to jail.

Every time a corporation lobbies for their favor from government, it is holding a gun to your head.

Every time a special interest group lobbies for some "freebie" from government, they are holding a gun to your head.

Every time a neoconservative warmonger lobbies for more intervention throughout the world, he is holding a gun to your head.

Every time a senior citizen lobbies for subsidized drugs, every time a college student lobbies for subsidized college tuition, every time a middle-class American lobbies for transportation subsidies or energy subsidies or education subsidies, every time politicians vote for those local pet projects -- every time, the gun is pointed at your head.

But what goes around comes around, and those bullets are fast.

Americans have been divided and conquered as one group is pitted against another fighting against one another for a piece of the extorted pie, with the force of that gun as the means to the end. As long as this attitude prevails, America will continue to plunge into an ever-lower abyss of debt, poverty, envy, and rampant crime as the law of force overcomes the force of law.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

How would government services be paid for, you ask? Well, a truly civilized society wouldn't force anybody to pay for something not wanted. If a person wants a service, he pays for it. That's the civilized way. We Libertarians call them user fees. User fees would be the price we pay to live in a free, civilized society.

Voluntary exchange instead of compulsion, the rule of moral law instead of immoral forceful rule, choice instead or mandates, prosperity instead of debt -- in essence, freedom instead of slavery. Visualize the possibilities.

Liberty is indivisible. The use of force in extracting compulsory taxes is incompatible with the notion of a free people.

As Thomas Jefferson said, "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

There is a better way. Our founding fathers knew it, but posterity has lost its course.

My dream is that someday Americans will find it once again.

April 14, 2005

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