“Their conduct has no place in a civil society.” So said acting U.S. District Attorney Michael Gunnison of Ed and Elaine Brown, a couple from Plainfield, New Hampshire, who after being convicted in absentia – they refused to attend the court proceedings — in early 2007 for refusal to file or pay federal income tax, barricaded themselves in their home and vowed to defend themselves to the death if necessary, against any attempts by government agents to arrest them. They were subsequently arrested in October, 2007, by U.S. marshals posing as supporters. Gunnison made the above comment after the Browns were recently convicted on a wide range of further charges, ranging from possession of illegal explosives and firearms, to plotting the murders of federal agents. Before making that statement however, Gunnison said this: “By rejecting the rule of the law and substituting a personal code involving weapons, explosives, and threats, the defendants committed increasingly serious crimes.”
The basis of the Browns’ resistance all along was that they were committing no crimes. Their contention was that there exists no government law that makes Americans liable for income taxes. While there is an impressive preponderance of evidence to suggest that this in fact so, ultimately it is irrelevant – except perhaps top demonstrate the utterly corrupt and brutal nature of government itself.
A government law is merely the opinion of a group of politicians. It certainly is not an innate property of the universe, such as gravity, say. These opinions are then backed by whatever level of force is necessary to make everyone within a certain arbitrary geographical boundary comply. So “rejecting the rule of the law” – which the Browns maintained they did not do by refusing to pay income tax in any case – is merely rejecting the opinions of those who arrogate dominion over the lives, liberty, and property of others without having first gained express consent to do so. In other words, to reject a government law is to merely reject thievery, extortion, and blackmail. It’s hard to see anything ignoble about such rejection.
Further, the Browns’ initial actions violated no one’s life, liberty, or property. Their refusal to pay taxes – for whatever reason – was a mere peaceful withdrawal of support for government. Their subsequent acquisition of weapons to defend their lives, liberty, and property from further government aggression was only a natural and fundamental human response to the escalation of violence initiated against them by the government agents. After all, if government is so good and necessary, and if income taxation is so vital to the financing of it, why must government use force and violence to coerce people into paying? Why not simply ask people to voluntarily give part of their earnings to government for all of the wonderful things it allegedly provides? In fact, the IRS themselves claim that the income tax system is based on “voluntary compliance.” If this is so, why were U.S. marshals, BATFE agents, FBI, New Hampshire State Police SWAT teams, county sheriff’s deputies, local police, and even New Hampshire national guardsmen dispatched to either arrest or kill Ed and Elaine Brown?
I think the message is rather clear when it’s thought through using rationalism and logic: “Their conduct has no place in a civil society.” Michael Gunnison had no business saying this about the Browns. It was a statement that more aptly applies to himself, and anyone and everyone else in government.