Last week, Irwin Schiff died at the age of 87 for not paying his taxes (or in words free of euphemisms, “he was put in a cage by thugs with legal immunity for not giving them his money). While Irwin Schiff was one of the victims of the state for not giving them a portion of his income, Irwin Schiff is far from the only victim. Two such other victims are Ed and Elaine Brown.
Ed and Elaine Brown are a married couple who decided not to pay their taxes. The reasons for this do not matter. They had no contract with the state, never agreed to pay a portion of their income to the state, and never used other people’s property without permission. No one has any moral obligation to give anyone anything, unless you contract with them or engage in exchange. If one goes to a restaurant and decides to not foot the bill one is engaging in theft. By not paying for your meal, you are eating someone else’s food without permission. The restaurant is not your friend. They are a business and believe in two-way-street (or win-win) relationships, where they will let you eat their food on condition that you pay them for it. The restaurant owns the food they supply their customers. The restaurant did not steal the food or claim a certain area as theirs and anyone who lives within the vicinity of the area they artificially designate, people have to give them a percentage of their yearly income. If the restaurant did so, they would be a thief and thug, just like the state.
Before talking about Ed and Elaine Brown, first let me mention some differences between paying taxes and paying for other services: 1) When you pay for services from a private business you owe them a certain amount of money, not a percentage of your income. The amount you have to pay is based on what you order, not how much you make. To use the restaurant example, if the restaurant charges $20 for a steak, this applies to everyone. The price of food is not dependent on how much you make, but how much the product (the food) is itself. It is not the more you make the more you have to pay, rather everyone is charged the same price, 2) There is agreement among both parties (the consumer and the supplier) that such an exchange will occur. No one has to pay money because they live in “someone’s neighborhood” but have to pay for using a service. A person is faced with a choice: If you want the good or service you must pay for it, but if you don’t want the good or service you don’t have to pay for it. If you want the good, you must forego a certain amount of money to get it, if you won’t forego this amount of money, you will not be able to get the good or service, and 3) The thing you are buying the person selling it to you is the rightful owner. The owner ended up owning it by creating the good himself, inheriting the good, getting the good as a gift, hiring someone else to create the good, or finding the good. He did not get to own the good by stealing it. And if it can be proven he did steal the good, then the rightful owner can repossess his stolen property.
Now that you see some differences between the state and private enterprise, let us talk about the Browns.
The Browns were arrested in 2007 for not paying taxes. They engaged in an armed standoff with police before being taken into custody. They did nothing wrong here. It was the police who came to their property. It was the police who pulled out their guns first, and it was the police who ended up taking them to jail. The Browns were just defending their property. If someone comes at you with a knife and you shoot the guy, you are no more in the wrong than the Browns. All the Browns did was treat the police with the same moral standards as it is considered justified to treat anyone else. If you are going to come onto my property uninvited (trespass), threaten to take my money (theft), and put me into jail if I don’t comply (kidnapping), then don’t be surprised that I am willing to defend myself. The state is like a bully who says, “My playground. If you want to play on the playground you better give me your lunch money or I will beat the shit out of you.” If someone gives the bully a fat lip they are a hero for standing up, not just for themselves, but all the future people the bully was going to harass. By defending yourself against a bully and giving him a fat lip you discourage bullying from him in the future since the bully knows that if he continues bullying he runs the risk of getting beat up.
Unfortunately, in this case the bully won. The bully is the government who in 2009, the Browns were convicted and jailed for not paying their taxes. Ed Brown is scheduled for release on July 26, 2045, when he would be about 103 years old. Elaine Brown is scheduled for release in November 2042; she would also be about 102 years old if released at that time. If you think this action is okay and they deserve to rot you are a bully just like the police. If enough people stopped paying taxes and enough people stopped condoning the state’s violent activity, victims like the Browns and the late Irwin Schiff would be no more. It’s the tyranny apologists who allow this violence against peaceful people to continue. It’s your average person next door who may smile at you when you walk down the street, may ask you to borrow a cup of sugar, but if the police should come and beat the shit out of you for engaging in a victimless crime, your neighbor has four choices: 1) Come to your defense and possibly urge others to do so, 2) Speak out against what the police are doing, 3) Turn the other way, put your face in the sand like an ostrich or turtle and do nothing while your neighbor gets abused, or 4) Cheer the police on and come to their defense. What kind of neighbor are you?
Written by Daniel Rothschild.