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Slavery in Today's America

Why the income tax must go.


by James Leroy Wilson
January 16, 2002

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Slavery in Today's America_James Leroy Wilson-Why the income tax must go. Based on the dominant social thinking of the day, I can't help but conclude that our generation condemns our country's history of slavery for two and only two reasons: it was racist; and it was in the private sector. But the racial prejudices of our founders against blacks has not really been renounced; it's just been expanded to include the entire human race. Government today, even "free, democratic" government here in the United States, is not predicated on the mistaken belief that certain minorities are too weak, stupid, and irresponsible to be free, but that nearly everyone is that way, and, like the well-meaning plantation owner, government's responsibility is to take care of them.

Two basic principles behind slavery are with us today. The first is that people can't be trusted with the responsibility of governing themselves. If they are free to own a gun, they might shoot somebody in a rage. If they are free to purchase drugs, they might become helpless addicts. If they own businesses, they might pay unfair wages or discriminate against people. Personal choices, whether economic or social, are regulated to such a degree that our society thinks of itself as "free" when the only freedoms remaining are to express an opinion (and some object to even that) and to engage in adult consensual sex (ditto). Every other "freedom," such as a wide array of consumer choices, exists only at the good grace of the government, who reserves for itself the right to regulate and ban whatever it wants.

The second principle of slavery that our society embraces is that the fruits of labor do not and ought not belong to the laborer, but to someone else. Yes, I'm talking about the income tax, in which the government takes what it wants from you and "lets" you have the rest. There is no limit to the percentage of income the federal government can tax.

Morally, the principle stinks. Government having an absolute right to the income our labor generates is, essentially, a claim on our entire life. If our own work does not really belong to us, what does? The more money the government takes, the less we can do with it, which forces us to rely on the government to supply our needs. That is, we have less freedom.

If government, for example, taxed 95% percent of our income, the government itself would have to be the provider of services such as health care and would provide an expansive welfare system for the simple reason that the people can't afford to live independently because of the high taxes. The more the government taxes, the more reliant on the government the people have to be.

Worse, high taxes force conformity to the government's agenda even when the concerns are not directly part of their Constitutional duties. When the federal government soaks the people, their own state and local governments are forced to keep their taxes relatively low. Most of us can agree that the federal government doesn't have the Constitutional power to impose a legal drinking age on the people. What it does instead is overtax us, and with all that extra revenue that could have gone to state coffers instead, impose conditions on the states to receive federal aid: "Sure, states, we will help you with funding for highways, but first you must raise the legal drinking age to 21." Instead of experiments in liberty and democracy within the states, we see national conformity - the latest being an increase in federal aid to public education with the expectation of "results" the federal government finds satisfactory.

The two principles feed on themselves and trickle down into the American psyche. Smoking? Obesity? We can't have that; the slaves (i.e., the American people) would have more health problems and therefore won't be as productive for us. Education should be centralized because the slaves should be raised to think alike.

It is time for the income tax to go. Replace it with a sales tax in which the taxpayer controls the amount of taxes he wishes to pay, based on the amount of goods he wants to buy. When the psychological oppression lifts, because the people will no longer feel like slaves of the state, the less likely they will desire to treat their fellow-citizens as slaves. Personal responsibility will make a comeback, and the urge to pass laws forcing other people to live the way we'd like them to will wither. Slavery invites more slavery, but liberty invites greater liberty.

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