“Is the IRS scandal the worst political scandal in American history?”

May 21st, 2013

Bookworm says yes. So do I.

Why? Because you, the People, became the targets of a comprehensive federal government effort to stifle dissent, one made using the government’s overwhelming and disproportionate policing and taxing powers.

All of the other scandals, going back to Andrew Johnson’s post-Civil War scandals, Warren G. Harding’s 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra, and Clinton’s Oval Office sexcapades have actually been narrowly focused acts of cronyism, garden-variety political chicanery, or personal failings. It’s been insider stuff.

The IRS scandal, by contrast, is a direct attack on the American people. Right now, Progressives throughout America are pretending that this scandal doesn’t matter: “Obama wasn’t involved.” “Tea Partiers had it coming because they’re all corrupt.” “Obama would have won the election anyway.” “It was just a coincidence that the only groups that had their applications scrutinized, sometimes for years, were politically conservative. It means nothing that, when one group changed its name to sound Progressive, its application was approved in only three weeks.” “This is just a bureaucratic snafu.” “It’s a few rogue agents in Ohio.”

Those who offer these excuses are either morally flawed themselves or delusional idiots.

Well, yeah. They’re also fundamentally, irretrievably un-American, with either no fidelity to or understanding of (or both) the most basic of American ideals. But then, we knew that anyway, from their own vociferous, bilious rejection of the Tea Party movement’s call for a return to the ideals of the Founders, and from their hideous, contra-Constitutional Progressivism more generally: as has been said many times, an ideology of individual liberty and limited government is simply not reconcilable with one of unlimited government authority to run its subjects’ lives at the whim of “experts”–self-proclaimed, “elected,” or otherwise. Dale Franks reminds us yet again of the core issue:

Ultimately, though, the problem with the IRS isn’t incompetence or malice. The problem is that we have a system of income taxation in the first place. If you tax income, you inherently give the government the power to inquire into every single aspect of your financial life. Once you’ve done that, then you automatically have a government agency with the power to destroy individuals’ lives.

So…why would you do that? There are plenty of options for governments to raise revenue. There are sales taxes,value-added taxes, excise taxes, tariffs on imports and exports, user fees, and several other methods. So, why would you intentionally create a tax system that gives the government such enormous power over individuals?

To ask the question is to answer it, but not quite in the usual sense; in this case, the question itself IS the answer. Onwards:

Ask yourself a simple question: “If I was creating a new tax system from scratch, would I create one that allows the government to take my house, and maybe send me to jail if I make a mistake?”

If you wouldn’t, then why in the world would you want to keep one that already does?

If it’s possible for a presidential administration to use the IRS to cow his political opponents, why would you want to keep the tax system that allows it, no matter who the president is? That’s serious banana republic stuff. And if that power exists, it seems self-evident that it is inevitable that it will be exercised. Indeed, by all accounts it already has been, and more than once.

We could completely liberate ourselves from individual attention from the IRS simply by switching to a system of consumption taxation, rather than income taxation. No more individual tax returns. No more income tax withholding from paychecks. No more letters from the IRS demanding extra taxes and penalties for some minor mistake three years ago. No more giving out the details of our private financial lives to some government busybody. The government would know nothing about how much money you make or how much money you have. They’d get their money when you spent yours.

T’is a consummation devoutly to be wished…and about as likely to come to pass as I am to fly to France today by flapping my arms.

But for any fool wondering how those enlightened, tolerant Progressivists could ever support such naked fascism from government institutions–the government is US!you don’t know your Progressivists very well, do you?

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance:…it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word. The traditional criterion of clear and present danger seems no longer adequate to a stage where the whole society is in the situation of the theater audience when somebody cries: ‘fire’. It is a situation in which the total catastrophe could be triggered off any moment, not only by a technical error, but also by a rational miscalculation of risks, or by a rash speech of one of the leaders. In past and different circumstances, the speeches of the Fascist and Nazi leaders were the immediate prologue to the massacre. The distance between the propaganda and the action, between the organization and its release on the people had become too short. But the spreading of the word could have been stopped before it was too late: if democratic tolerance had been withdrawn when the future leaders started their campaign, mankind would have had a chance of avoiding Auschwitz and a World War.

The whole post-fascist period is one of clear and present danger. Consequently, true pacification requires the withdrawal of tolerance before the deed, at the stage of communication in word, print, and picture. Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger. I maintain that our society is in such an emergency situation, and that it has become the normal state of affairs.

Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and blocked if they are by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.

Intolerance is tolerance. Ignorance is strength, freedom is slavery, and we have always been at war with Eastasia. Eric says: “If sophistry can be called brilliant, then I guess I would have to concede Marcuse’s sophistry is brilliant.” I would make a distinction between “brilliant” and “clever” there myself, but that’s a mere quibble. Ron Radosh ties the insidious blibbering of the egghead-savant Marcuse in with the present contretemps:

Get that last point? If you criticize Obama Care, by Marcuse’s logic, you are what the Soviets called “an enemy of the people,” and the full power of government should be put into place to stop you. And were he still with us, he would be penning an op-ed praising the IRS for its clever action in denying conservative groups non-profit status.

In sum: this is all a direct result of the ascendancy of Progressivism; tyranny and oppression follow in their victorious wake as surely as night follows day. This is who they are, this is what they do. And if they go on unchecked and unhindered, it will get worse yet. Rely on it.

So yes, you can say that this is the worst political scandal in American history, because it is…so far. It isn’t just about venality, greed, lust, or sundry other personal failings of a single leader, or a cabal of them. It is about the subversion of our very system of governance itself, and the folly of placing any faith whatsoever in institutions driven and perverted by liberal-fascism. It reveals just how far the Iron Curtain of Progressivism has descended over a once-free country. But insofar as it has rendered absolutely undeniable the sorry state of our national affairs, maybe it will yet end up doing some good after all.

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  1. Rob Crawford
    May 21st, 2013 at 09:57 | #1

    Those who offer these excuses are either morally flawed themselves or delusional idiots.

    I object! False dilemma -- they are both delusional idiots AND morally flawed.

  2. May 25th, 2013 at 13:13 | #2
    Excellent piece, Mike. Nailed it.
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