The Nature of Man, Government, the Genius of our Founders, and the IRS

Friday, May 17, 2013

As the IRS scandal bubbled to the top today with hearings on Capitol Hill, I saw some comments on Facebook along the lines of "if people weren't doing evil, we wouldn't have to do anything about it." What? If people weren't doing evil?

One of the few things I disagreed with Ronald Reagan on was his belief in the "basic goodness of man". Sorry, Mr. Reagan, but that's not the way it works. Man is inherently evil, and deep down inside we all know this. That's why we're wary of other people and their motives. What man does want is not to be acted upon by the evil of others, so he makes rules for others to follow. Note that he doesn't necessarily want to follow those rules himself, but he sure wants everyone else to follow them! Congress has, of course, taken this to its logical destination by exempting themselves from most of the rules they make for us to follow. It was not designed that way.

When the Founders were faced with forming a new governmental system, they were faced with this question: Can man rule himself? Unfortunately, their answer was "no"! So why bother? What they realized was this: The rules men set up for others eventually apply, at least in some fashion, to themselves. In other words, if I say you cannot read my mail, then you probably say the same thing. At some point we agree that nobody should read anyone else's mail, and we set up a set of disincentives to prevent this. Thus, I know that if I do read your mail I will receive a punishment that causes me to stay away from your mail. In other words, we are all accountable to each other.

Into this mix, throw a government. Governments are made up of inherently evil people, except now they have power. This scared the daylights out of the men who had just fought off an oppressive government. Were they really going to turn around a create another? They hoped not. So, they sought ways to make the government accountable to the people and, more importantly, to itself. This was a radical change from all governments that had come before. They created a system where no one branch of government could act unilaterally but had to have at least one other branch in agreement, and that all branches were accountable to the citizens they served, not ruled! It wasn't perfect, but it worked - at least for a while. The problem still remains, though: Humans will be evil.

We were warned. "for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" - Romans 3:23. "This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead". - Ecclesiastes 9:3. It was this understanding that made the Founders wary of government, and though they realized some government was necessary, they were very afraid of what it might turn into.

Flash forward to the 20th century. The 16th Amendment to the Constitution was passed allow the government to directly tax individuals in a way that had been prohibited by the original Founders. In order to keep up with these taxes, they created an new agency, innocuously named the "Internal Revenue Service". Over the years, in order for "the Service to do its job", court rulings, legal authority, rules and regulations, and enforcement authority was eventually granted to the IRS that made it into the behemoth it is today. The IRS has powers that no other government agency has. At the IRS, you are guilty until proven innocent. You are required to sign, annually, a document that carries with it the threat of perjury - jail, that is - and you don't have any choice. Try not filing your taxes some time and see how that works out for you. In no other endeavour in America are you forced to sign something that might contain false information, and if that information is accidental, you are assumed to have done it on purpose, and you must prove otherwise. It is exactly the situation the Founders feared, and we are now the ones witnessing the logical end of creating such a powerful entity.

Now that the IRS scandal is here, we have a golden opportunity to set at least this perversion of our Constitution right. The 16th Amendment was a colossal mistake. It should be repealed and the IRS disbanded. So, if that happens, how does the government obtain the funds it needs to operate? It's called the Fair Tax. Rather than explain it here, take a look a this link at fairtax.org that explains it better than I could.

One more thing. I am still not convinced that the IRS scandal, the AP wiretaps, and a couple of other minor "scandals" are nothing more than diversions to get the press off of the Benghazi disaster. What they all do, though, is point out how inept, and worse criminal, this Administration is. America, this is the hope and change you voted for. You'll get a chance next year to try again. How 'bout we get it right this time. In the meantime, let's "not let this crisis go to waste" as Rahm Emmanual would say. Let's get rid of the 16th Amendment, dismantle the IRS, and pass the Fair Tax. Call your Senators and Representatives today!

Karl