The Evil Fed(s)

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You’re walking down the street minding your own business when a scruffy looking guy with an iron pipe comes running up to you. He raises the pipe over your head and says, “Give me all your money or I’ll bash your brains in!” Realizing the peril of your situation, you fish out your wallet and quickly hand it over. The mugger then takes the $50 you had in the wallet and runs off – $50 you were going to use to buy groceries for your family or gas for your car so you could get to work. Money that you needed was stolen from you. You think to yourself, that man is evil.

Now, let’s go through that scenario again but with a twist. Once more you are walking down the street when a scruffy man approaches you. He’s not carrying an iron pipe because he has a scarier weapon with him … an IRS agent. You are well aware that the IRS is everywhere, is relentless, and it will hound you to death to get what it wants. When the IRS agent tells you he wants $10 you don’t even question it, you take the money out of your wallet and give it to this representative of your government. The IRS agent then puts $8 in his pocket and gives $2 to the scruffy man explaining, “He needs it to feed his kids.” You explain to the agent that you do too, but he doesn’t care. He coldly turns his back and walks away.

Then it dawns on you – the IRS agent, the man who represents your government, has just stolen $10 from you. And you get a queasy feeling in your stomach.

But unlike the mugger, whom you never see again, the government won’t leave you alone. The next time you encounter the IRS agent he has a rich retiree with him. Once more he makes you hand over some money and he gives part to the retiree explaining, “He needs this social security payment so he can pay his country club fees.” Several days later you run into him again and he has Lebron James with him! Once more the agent demands some money but you know what is going to happen and you object, “Why should I give you my money just so you can give some to Lebron James?” The agent responds, “Because it’s the law and Mr. James needs your money to cover part of the flood insurance on his $9 million home in Miami.” Incredulous, you meekly hand over the money.

The next time you encounter the agent it’s more than you can take. This time he has billionaire Ted Turner with him. Before the agent can even say anything you exclaim, “No way! I am not handing over any of my hard earned cash to Ted Turner, he has more money than God!” So the agent asks you to wait there for a moment while he steps around the corner. Within a minute he is back and walking with him is a policeman who pulls out his gun and points it at your head. Then the IRS agent tells you how this is going to go down, “OK, you either hand over the money or Officer Iwasonlyfollowingorders will arrest you and throw you in jail. If you resist then this brave defender of freedom has been authorized to kill you.” Instantly you whip out your wallet and hand everything to the agent. He then turns to Ted and gives him a few bucks while telling you, “This is the agricultural subsidy you owe Mr. Turner for his buffalo ranch.”

Before you are allowed to leave the IRS agent grabs your arm and threatens, “Since you refused to pay the tax that was required, the government has decided to fine you and add interest. You now owe us an extra $50. If you do not get it to us by next week then Officer Iwasonlyfollowingorders will find you, kidnap you, and throw you in prison.”

You soon discover that the government doesn’t limit itself to just extortion. You try to open a small business only to be told by the state that you must first take classes about that business from a school that contributes money to politicians. Then you must pay the state for the “privilege” of being in business. And you must also follow hundreds of detailed rules about what you can and cannot do if you are in that business. If you screw any of this up the government will kidnap you and put you in a cell.

You then find out that because you are not dead you MUST have health insurance. What happens if you don’t? The government will fine you. And what happens if you don’t pay the fine? I think you know by now.

And don’t you dare try to sit at home, not bothering anyone, and smoke some weed. Or plays cards with friends for money. Or pay a young lady (or gentleman) for her sexual favors. These are some of the worst things you could possibly do. How dare you mind your own business or engage in mutually consensual activity if the government doesn’t want you to. How can the government control you if you keep blatantly flaunting your freedom? This can’t be allowed and in America it isn’t. The US has the highest prison population in the world and half the people rotting in jail are there for the “crime” of not bothering anybody.

The government spies on you. Through eminent domain and asset forfeiture it will take your stuff even if you haven’t broken any of its myriad rules. It will stop people who are in love from getting married. It has thrown people into concentration camps simply because of their ethnicity. And if the draft is reinstated then millions of young men will be enslaved (being forced into the military is a form of enslavement).

The only legitimate function of the government is to stop people from hurting each other. Behind everything the government does is the veiled, and sometimes explicit, threat of force. The government tells you what to do and if you don’t do it then it will come after you. If you do not comply, it will try to take away your liberty. If that doesn’t work then it will kill you. If this is done to protect people from an aggressor then it is a legitimate use of force. But when it is done for a victimless crime it is evil.

Government has gone far beyond its legitimate purpose. The primary function of government has become controlling its citizens and it does this through the use of overwhelming force. The government has become the aggressor,

And that makes it evil.

Wayne Middlesteadt is the author of Five Ways to Beat the Market and The Golden Age of Distance Running.

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Wayne Middlesteadt is a 1986 graduate of Georgia Tech and has an MBA from Georgia State University. Currently working as a financial writer and track and field historian, his latest book is Five Ways To Beat The Market.