Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 663, March 25, 2012

"The system isn't broken.
It is working as it was designed to work.
The system is designed to keep the wealthy and
powerful in charge, and rolling in the dough.
The system is designed to keep you in servitude."

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Stop Your Whining, aka You are free, right?
by Madison MacBear

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sovereigns and Sentients!

It has come to my attention at this time of year that many of you (and in former times, me) seem to be all hung up on tax*tion, and whether the Int*rnal R*venue S*rvice can or may legally do what they do. I read arguments like "a direct, unapportioned tax is unconstitutional," or "the sixteenth Amendment was never (or incorrectly) ratified," or other straw-grasping. Well, I have shocking news and shocking-er news. The shocking news is that the "income tax shall not be questioned clause" has been backed up by the Supreme Court. If you're a United States citizen, a taxpayer, or an individual or resident, you are out of luck, I'm afraid.

But now the shocking-er news—chances are, you aren't any of those things. In fact, you cannot legally be assumed to be any of those things unless and until you personally declare yourself to be these things under penalty of perjury. But here's the rub—those things don't mean what you think they mean.

For instance, take the term, "United States citizen." First of all, "United States," as opposed to "united States" (several States acting jointly) or "(the) United States of America" (a country like Britain, France, or the Gambia) means (only) "some or all of Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Swains Island". And "United States citizen" means a "public officer" of a corporation based in the "United States."

This is known as a "term of art." Where you use a word that has the same spelling, and even the same pronunciation as a commonly-used word, but with a definition different to what you'll find in the dictionary for that word. This allows different groups to imitate Humpty Dumpty, who used "glory" as a term of art meaning "a nice, knock-down argument." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."

For instance, take a game based on avoiding war by demonstrating such strategic awesomeness and tactical badass*ry that the opponent doesn't feel a dire need to feed you his cannon fodder right this minute (it even ends in regicide): Chess. If you were unfamiliar with this Indo-Aryan game, you might define "bishop" as a high Church official, "rook" as a bird similar to a crow, and "pawn" as a patsy or fall guy. However, chess uses terms of art identical to these words to mean, respectively, "a (usually) pointy-headed guy who moves only diagonally", "a crenellation-topped guy who moves only forward and back, and slides right or left", and "one of those little guys down in front." Laws work in the same way. Since dictionary words change meaning over time, laws are written to avoid morphology-creep, so as to mean exactly the same thing one hundred thirty-seven or however many years later as the day they are written. And so, to that end, they generally use TERMS like "includes," or "includes but is not limited to," or "excludes" to make the meaning the authors have selected, and thus that particular law's stance on that particular issue, perfectly clear.

This is why laws are not written like, "We'll take some of this, and some of this, and some of that"; they are instead written like "We'll take 34.25 L of this, 12.73 L of this, and 16.76 grams of that." As long as any potential problems fit within four significant figures, the law works fine. Of course, there is some fuzziness starting with the fifth significant figure, but that's at the "quantum level" of laws. Up at the macrocosmic, everyday, "Newtonian" level, there is neither confusion nor grounds for argument. And therefore, unless we fit the definitions of those particular terms of art, they do not apply to us. Most of us are "nonresident aliens", "state (but not State, which is defined as Washington DC) citizens", or "non-citizen nationals." And "income" means "corporate profits from corporations in which the government invested its money"—indeed, the sixteenth amendment came about because certain "employees" (defined as "public officers of "United States" corporations") decided to invest their government-granted funds in commercial real estate, and then claim the "income" from that real estate was non-taxable, as a direct tax on property (without apportionment) was unconstitutional. The government was not amused, and basically said, since you bought the property with our money, it ceases to be un-taxable private property, and becomes taxable public property. The Amendment was put in place to emphasize that "attempts by the government to collect what is due them according to contract will not be questioned." The Supreme Court stated that the sixteenth Amendment granted "no new power of taxation." This means it did not make that which was once unconstitutional constitutional; it merely reinforced the pre-existing tax laws.

So, if you are not a "United States citizen", or "resident"="alien"="individual"="corporation of the 'United States'"=taxable peasant, you don't have to worry about taxes. Oh, and you retain all your civil rights, which you wouldn't if you were a "US citizen," because they are not under the Constitution, but under the Imperial Whim of Congress, since they are public officers of US corporations, and all—they have voluntarily placed themselves under the hegemony of the government, in exchange for those juicy government contracts (like receiving Social Security benefits—yum!). But don't worry, only those who do not contest it when the government (or its proxies, such as the Federal Reserve or the IRS) declare them to be United States citizens can count as United States citizens, and lose their inalienable Constitutional rights, such as the first Ten Amendments or the right to not be taxed. I'm sure that applies to none of you, Ladies and Gentlemen, Sovereigns and Sentients. I'm sure you have all read the fine information to be found at sites like and, and filled out and filed the paperwork with your local county clerks and the people you work for [they aren't "employers", unless the people who work for them are "employees" (public officers) and they themselves are engaged in a "trade or business" (the functions of a public office)], letting them know that if they withhold part of your remuneration ("wages" and "salary" both count as "income") to pay to the government as taxes, then they are guilty of fraud, bribery, and money laundering (that last carries a $500,000 fine). But just in case you might possibly know some poor benighted soul who hasn't yet declared themselves free and filed their manumission papers, then by all means tell them, so they can stop making those stupid arguments about whether this or that constitutional amendment was properly ratified, or is proper even if ratified. We've had enough of such nonsense. Surely that's the most important outcome of such enlightening information.

And after all, why should we worry about which epicycles are relevant, when we are on an entirely different orbit, around an entirely different primary? The epicycles on that disputed orbit will never affect our destiny (except perhaps once in a great while, it might cause a slight perturbation in our orbit, there being no friction in the aether). So why should we bother with the machinations of Congress against its slaves? Especially when those slaves can leave their slavery simply by declaring themselves no longer to be slaves? Let us instead bend our energy toward freeing the slaves of their self-imposed obligations, rather than arguing needlessly over obligations that need never affect us personally.

Future generations will thank you for your silence.

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