The Quest For Liberty Starts With The IRS
By Craig Arps
Government overreach is a subject about which there has been a lot of debate and controversy lately. The arming and intrusiveness of beauracracies has alarmed many Americans. In particular, prying into the private matters of everyday citizens by intelligence agencies like the NSA has captured our attention.
While I certainly don’t want to diminish the significance of those issues, it strikes me as odd that it should suddenly be so controversial. To me, this illustrates the power of conditioning. Under the guise of taxation, the IRS collects mounds of data on Americans every year. Everything from medical records, employment, income, family, and many of our spending decisions are an open book to the government. Yet somehow new revelations about the NSA have shattered our illusion of privacy, and so we protest. But lets not kid ourselves, we Americans haven’t had privacy in many of the most important parts of our lives for quite some time.
One of the most important things we need to have in our quest for liberty is consistency. While it may be natural for us to rant and rave against new forms of potential tyranny, we should also be questioning the old forms. Income taxation is clearly one of the forms of taxation least conducive to liberty. We should not simply accept its necessity because it’s the way we’ve done things for so many decades. How does that old saying go? The definition of insanity…hmm.
Many times we hear of tax reform proposals in terms of numbers and logistics. In this way they appear dead and stale and do not excite the attentions of the public. But if we step back and take a look from the perspective of liberty, we see a very real cost that can’t be quantified on a balance sheet. Liberty is a subtle thing but extremely valuable. Ideas like the FairTax have the potential to do more then simply change the way we pay the nations bills. They have the potential to increase personal responsibility and liberty, give us our privacy back, and boost the economy. They also give us something to be for, instead of simply being seen as angrily opposing at all times. If we can begin to communicate these ideas in ways that have relevance to the average citizen, they have the potential to become just as important to our collective political discourse, and that is how liberty wins.