Main menu

Proof vs. Punishment

(originally launched into cyberspace on 11/16/2008)

It never ceases to amaze me how bad Americans are at thinking.
Unfortunately, that applies to many in the freedom movement as well
as the general public. I'm not just talking about me not liking
their conclusions; I'm talking about the complete absence of logic
in the way they think.

If you were to suggest that the platypus is warm-blooded, and I
slugged you in the nose for suggesting that, does that prove you
wrong? No. Does it prove you right? No. Does it prove anything
about what you said? Obviously not. Whether you're right or not
depends upon what the EVIDENCE shows (e.g., whether the internal
temperature of a platypus fluctuates significantly). And it depends
upon nothing else.

Yes, that example is a bit silly, but not any more silly than what
many people, including both government propagandists and some pro-
freedom folk, argue. "You went to jail, so why should I listen to
your theories?" If I had claimed to have some risk-free way to not
give the IRS any money (which I never have claimed), then me
getting into trouble would be relevant. If, however, I said, "Hey,
look what the law books say!" and got put in a cage for it, that's
not proof of anything. And if instead the feds had left me alone,
that also wouldn't prove anything. Whether my legal conclusions are
correct--whether anyone's conclusions about anything are correct--
depends completely and entirely upon whether EVIDENCE and LOGIC
supports those conclusions.

For quite a while now, some people have been touting Pete
Hendrickson's book, "Cracking the Code" (at least the second book
by that name) as the Holy Grail which would save everyone from the
IRS. And some people couldn't imagine why I wasn't joining in the
chorus, based on the claims of people using his "method" with some
success. Even with a legal position I believe to be correct, I have
long cautioned people that being RIGHT doesn't mean you're SAFE.
Often it's the opposite: it's dangerous to be right when the
government is wrong, as Voltaire said. When people were citing
several large refunds that the IRS had issued to people who had
relied on the 861 evidence, and when the IRS wasn't doing much to
the people who brought up that issue, I repeatedly warned people
NOT to cite that as proof of anything. The fact that you DIDN'T get
punched in the nose (or prosecuted) is no more proof of what is
true than the fact that someone DID get punched in the nose. "I got
a refund!" is not proof that your claim was legally correct, nor
would failure to get a refund be proof that your legal position is
NOT correct. That's as true of the theories in "Cracking the Code"
as it is of the 861 evidence.

(For those of you who like to use, "Look at all these refunds," as
proof of something, do an online search and find out how make
refunds have been issued based on the completely baseless "slavery
reparations" scam. The number dwarfs anything the "tax honesty
movement" has ever accomplished. And it proves nothing.)

Unfortunately, it seems like many people don't really CARE what is
true and what isn't. They care what, as they put it, "works." In
other words, they want an easy solution, and they don't want to be
bothered with having to find out what is TRUE and what is not in
the meantime. And if the truth can't magically save them, they
don't seem to even care what is true. In short, they have no real
love of the truth; they just want to keep more of their money.
Wanting to keep what is rightfully yours is perfectly justified,
but some of us also value truth for truth's sake, no matter who it
saves or who it gets into trouble.

To get to the point, I just heard that Pete Hendrickson, author of
"Cracking the Code," has been indicted. However, while I think that
several of Mr. Hendrickson's legal conclusions are dead wrong, you
will NEVER hear me claiming that him being indicted is proof that
he was wrong, any more than I'd say that someone NOT getting
indicted is proof that he was right. But a LOT of people in the
movement were spouting that logical fallacy for a long time, as
they have done so for countless theories in the past.

Please, back up and grasp reality. The federal income tax provides
some people with a LOT of power, not just because of the money, but
because of the control it gives over the economic decisions of tens
of millions of people. Whether those in government get that power
through legitimate taxation, or through fraud and deception (and
you know which I believe it is), why would anyone expect them to
willingly give up that power? If someone says, "We don't owe this
tax," the people whose power is at stake will of COURSE try to shut
that person up, whether he's telling the truth or not. Yeah,
sometimes they are slow about it, but in the long run they're never
going to condone less power for themselves, or tolerate people who
try to achieve that. When someone gets indicted, or convicted, or
gets an injunction against them--whether it's me, or Mr.
Hendrickson, or anyone else--it proves one thing: PEOPLE IN
GOVERNMENT LIKE POWER. (And who still needed any further proof of
that?) And that's all it proves.

I hope Mr. Hendrickson beats the tar out of the feds. But whether
he does or not will have no bearing whatsoever on whether his
conclusions are correct or not. (I expect the feds to do their
usual tap-dance and obfuscation tactics when it comes to the issue
of "willfulness." I believe Mr. Hendrickson's conclusions to be
flawed, but I've never seen any indication that HE doesn't believe
them, and that means he committed no crime.) I'll include a link to
the DOJ fear-mongering piece (which they call a "press release"),
in case anyone thinks I'm making this up--since some people seemed
to think that Mr. Hendrickson had found some magical way to make
the feds be nice to everyone. The "press release" is, of course,
mostly the feds' usual insult, demonize and threaten message, so
don't take my including this link to mean I agree with anything the
feds say in it.

But notice how the feds exploit peoples' inability to think, by
sending out the implied message, "Look what we're doing to this
guy, and that proves he's wrong!" Unfortunately, such stupid
reasoning coincides perfectly with what I've seen a LOT of people
in the freedom movement claim: that NOT getting into trouble (at
least for a while) proves that someone is RIGHT. It doesn't.
Evidence and logic proves what is true, and who is right. Nothing
else does. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of people don't have the
time or desire to study things for themselves. So they will do what
they have always done: jump from one claim to another, never
knowing what is true and what is false.

Larken Rose