The IRS Crimes: a Gift from Providence to Libertarians

Anyone who has libertarian sentiments, in the Libertarian Party or outside of it, in the Republican Party, or elsewhere; anyone who sees himself as supporting the non-existent, imaginary “Tea Party,” is familiar with the difficulty of explaining even basic libertarian principles. There are three problems:

First, most people are lazy, especially when it comes to re-examining the creeds they absorbed in childhood or youth.

Second, libertarianism is paradoxically too familiar to draw interest. It’s more or less what you learned in high school about the work of the Founding Fathers. (Digression: It’s more interesting for immigrants like me than for the US-born precisely because we had no superficial exposure to it at the time we had acute testosterone poisoning.)

Third, libertarianism is not sexy. It does not enjoy the emotional ease of access that big words procure: “Revolution,” “Justice,” “Fairness,” “the Future.” In other words, it’s not a cartoon; it ‘s not a reality show; it’s not a vampire movie. It’s an intellectual stance for adults only. Tough call!

Sometimes, though Providence throws us a lifeline. Now is such a time. A libertarian Hollywood scriptwriter, if there were one, could hardly come up with a better script than the current controversy regarding the IRS role in singling out conservative organizations, in persecuting them, in forcing them illegally and immorally to disgorge private information about opponents to the Obama administration. Or about imagined opponents.

The IRS storm happens at the same time as other Obama administration discrediting events:

It is trying to convince America that it did not deny protection to the assassinated Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and that it did not subsequently lie about what happened;

It is imposing on all American universities restrictions on free speech unheard for centuries in the Anglo-American legal tradition. (See Greg Lukianoff in the Wall Street Journal of 5/17/13);

It is attempting to justify spying on journalists on the basis of an unknown national security risk. (It might be justified. There are tried ways to convince the nation that the spying was justified. President Obama shows no intention of using them as I write.)

As far as the IRS persecution of Obama opponents, in my mind, it’s not a question of who is getting fired or of “who is going to jail.” Punishment of the more or less guilty would be low on my agenda. There is a more fundamental problem that is being pushed aside in televised congressional testimonies and in most of the printed press (I think. I welcome corrections.)

Given that the IRS exists as a very powerful, autonomous, large government organization of ordinary but overpaid people, with a proven capacity to hurt large numbers of citizens, it was bound to happen.

That the IRS is a government organization matters a great deal because , in practice, such organizations enjoy immunity from lawsuits. They exist beyond the reach of the arm of the law. But the rule of law is what largely defines civilized societies, of course. Such organizations as the IRS thus tend to pull us back toward a lesser state of civilization. That’s true irrespective of who is president and, to an extent, independent of which party is in power. If you have a famished and crazy dog chained in the backyard, you should not reassure yourself that everything is under control because it’s your house, not that irresponsible, other guy’s house.

It’s true that the IRS crimes now being discussed were somewhat more likely to take place under a Democrat administration. First, the Fascist current runs deep in the middle of the Democratic Party river. It’s the party of Roosevelt, who classically, used war to place as much of the American production apparatus under federal government control as he could reach (even artists). Second, the Democratic Party was the Party of Birmingham’s Bull Connor, of his attack dogs and of his water hoses aimed at peaceful black demonstrators. The Democratic Party is also most closely associated with labor unions, some of which (not all) have a history of thuggery extending a century or more.

The Republican Party, on the other hand, is not sinless but it carries in its veins an instinctive mistrust of government power which serves as some protection though as minimal protection. The rank-and-file Republican is much less likely than his Democrat counterpart to assume that anything is correct just because the government is doing it. Nevertheless, frankly, is there anyone who would assert with a straight face that the currently revealed IRS misdeeds would never happen under a Republican administration?

The truth now staring us in the face is that a free society simply cannot have in its midst a monster such as the IRS (described above). It should not be allowed to arise. If its exists, it should not be allowed to grow (as with the Obama administration giving it big additional responsibilities within Obamacare). Such a government bureaucracy should be given practically no discretion, no power to pass judgment without at least close judiciary monitoring.

How about collecting taxes for freeways, some will say? Supposing it has to be the federal government’s task to build freeways (just supposing) and to perform other necessary functions, it should be done with a simple flat tax allowing no deductions. It should be a low tax of 15% of gross income or less. (I live within my means; so can the government learn to do.) Federal tax collection would look like this.

You would receive a short postcard saying:

“1. Your income last year was___.

2. Send 15% (or less ) of that amount.

Thank you.”

Tax cheaters would have to deal with the local sheriff who would be paid a flat fee for each recovery.

Unrealistic? How about our existing system, is it realistic?

About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
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7 Responses to The IRS Crimes: a Gift from Providence to Libertarians

  1. Terry Amburgey says:

    “First, the Fascist current runs deep in the middle of the Democratic Party river.”

    Arguably the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on this blog by anyone. Not worthy of a response but certainly noteworthy.

    “Second, the Democratic Party was the Party of Birmingham’s Bull Connor, of his attack dogs and of his water hoses aimed at peaceful black demonstrators.”

    The key word here is “was”…indicating the past. Let me bring you up to date; I recognize that the last third of the 20th century is current events to someone whose thinking is stuck in 1783. It’s called the southern strategy…

    “In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to the Republican Party’s strategy of gaining political support or winning elections in the Southern section of the country by appealing to racism against African Americans.[1][2][3][4][5]

    Though the “Solid South” had been a longtime Democratic Party stronghold due to the Democratic Party’s defense of slavery before the American Civil War and segregation for a century thereafter, many white Southern Democrats stopped supporting the party following the civil rights plank of the Democratic campaign in 1948 (triggering the Dixiecrats), the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, and desegregation.

    The strategy was first adopted under future Republican President Richard Nixon and Republican Senator Barry Goldwater[6][7] in the late 1960s.[8] The strategy was successful in many regards. It contributed to the electoral realignment of Southern states to the Republican Party, but at the expense of losing more than 90 percent of black voters to the Democratic Party. As the twentieth century came to a close, the Republican Party began trying to appeal again to black voters, though with little success.[8]”

  2. This is the dumbest guy on this blog talking.

    I agree that the Democratic Party is now rarely launching attack dogs against peaceful black demonstrators. Instead, it destroys the lives of many African-Americans by ruining the cities it runs where they live. Detroit is a case in point; New York is a happy exception. It’s the same cold, de-humanizing contempt for people as individuals.

    You can’t have it both ways, it seems: Treating people as members of categories (often bureaucratically defined categories*) with rights adhering to categories, on the one hand, and treating them as deserving of individual attention, on the other. You do the first, even badly, you don’t do the second well.

    * One federal definition treats “Spaniards,” these most accomplished and persistent of colonizers and oppressors as a protected category, like blacks are a federally protected category

    The Democrat rule in such cities as Detroit is classical fascism with a classical fascist result.

    Reminder: “Nazi” is a contraction of “National-Socialist.”

    You should read Delacroix on fascism more carefully. (On this blog:. Just use the key word “fascis” and “fascist.”)

  3. Pingback: The IRS Crimes: a Gift from Providence to Libertarians | Notes On Liberty

  4. Bruce says:

    Your flat tax plan is workable! We have been conditioned to think that if a solution is simple it must be a dumb idea. That’s part of the reason the federal bureaucracy has evolved into our fourth branch of government. Look at the mess the best and brightest have produced! Our existing system is a disaster. I think simple solutions like this could be used across government and would quickly return control and accountability to local communities.

  5. Terry Amburgey says:

    I might argue over the 15% rate but I’m definitely in favor of a flat tax. More than anything else, because it’s fair. I know many progressives argue that the rich should pay more and by more they mean a higher %. I disagree. I think the rich should pay more and they will because they make more money. For all questions of equity & fairness convert the problem to something for a 7 year old to decide…they have a finely honed sense of what’s fair and what isn’t.

    It also has the advantage of saving a bucket-load of money to administer. There are some progressives who don’t want to give up tax policy as a tool for social engineering. To those progressives I would respond that there are other better tools [conservatives don’t need a response, they’re fine with dumping tools for social engineering].

    • First, I congratulate you on finally catching up with the truth about yours and seven-year old’s judgment.

      The 15 % does not come from my head alone. I read somewhere , from sources I assessed as trustworthy at the time that there was broad transnational agreement among tax payers about that number.

      You will be cats out over the flat tax. They will make you sit at the table next to the toilettes (“W.C.” in French) at the faculty club.

      I suspect that progressives who want the rich to pay more simply don’t understand percentages.

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