US Government Attacks Its Own Citizens Again

Ed and Elaine BrownThe United States of America seems to have more than its fair share of lunatics, or maybe it’s just that our media pays more attention to Western madmen than it does to Eastern and Southern crazies, but I don’t see anything particularly insane about challenging a tax law. Unwise perhaps, maybe even extremist, but I think it’s unfair to depict those who believe the USA’s federal income tax is unconstitutional as mentally ill.

Ed and Elaine Brown are two US citizens who live in New Hampshire. They have declared that they believe federal income tax is unconstitutional and therefore refuse to pay it. As a result, they have been sentenced to five years in prison and are required to pay over $200,000 in fines. They have said they will die before they go to prison and have holed themselves up in their house with, apparently, plenty of food, water, guns and ammunition. Predictably, the US government has taken a dim view of this behaviour and has sent in the US Marshals to sort them out. One of the Browns’ supporters has already been fired at by marshals when he was out walking the Browns’ dog for them. The marshals missed their target but later incapacitated him with high-powered tazers and arrested him. They have arrested another supporter who went out to buy the Browns some groceries. The marshals have laid siege to the Browns’ house and state troopers have set up roadblocks for some miles around. They have cut off their power, water and internet connection.

The Browns are being described as extremists in a fortified compound. It seems a bit much to describe two people in their own home as hiding in a “fortified compound” when the marshals have surrounded them with armoured personnel carriers and snipers. However, I suppose, they have to make them out to be crazy extremists in order to justify killing them later. It’s all depressingly reminiscent of Waco: at least there are only two victims in this case, neither of whom are children.

Danny Riley, the man who was attacked while walking the Browns’ dog, has posted an account of his ordeal on a blog. Assuming he is telling the truth, I’m amazed the US Marshals can get away with firing at an unarmed man’s back. It’s an interesting video to watch.

I really don’t know if the Browns are right or wrong. Common sense suggests that federal income tax would not have survived for as long as it has done if it really were unconstitutional but then common sense also suggests that government agents would not shoot to kill people for walking a dog. However, surely this could be resolved by arguing the point with them? If they are genuinely in the wrong, why can’t the US authorities prove it? Why do they instead resort to lethal force against the Browns and anyone who dares to support them?

Oh well, it makes for interesting news anyway. Read more at Infowars, Make The Stand and various other unconventional political blogs.

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Published in: on June 20, 2007 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

The Role of Tradition

Bad Escape PlanI have read many critiques of the modern world and I find that in almost every case I agree with the diagnosis but not the prescription. It is not hard to find fault with the modern West, it is much harder to produce a coherent plan for its improvement. I strongly suspect that the reason for this is that all such plans are in fact symptoms of the underlying problem. It is typical of modernity to try to fix a social problem by analysing its component parts then proposing new ways of rearranging them. As my friend said to the beggar, “Change comes from within.”

Anyway, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, gave what I consider to be a particularly good critique of the modern Western state in the 2002 Richard Dimbleby Lecture.

Published in: on June 17, 2007 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)