Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Did The Austin Pilot Have a Valid Tax Beef About 1706?

I say no over at TaxProf Blog. I was the first to post a comment and while a flame war hasn't exactly broken out, the subsequent commenters are certainly zealous about their points of view. Fair enough. But rather than take up Professor Caron's valuable time and energy rooting through possible responses to my response, I'll post mine here. I welcome the commenters to post their responses here, too, and let's have at it.

The point of my response was that anyone who resorts to property destruction and murder loses whatever legitimacy they may have possessed in their conflict with someone, or some other institution, especially when other, peaceful means exist to resolve that conflict. Joseph Stack III, the Austin Pilot, could have easily taken his battle with the IRS to tax or district court. The IRS often loses there but should Stack have failed there, he could have taken his cause to the Supreme Court. Continued failure? There's the legislative process, which is the very source of his alleged misery, not the IRS. I likened Stack to Timothy McVeigh and I stated that I doubted anyone would claim that McVeigh had a legitimate beef with how the government handled the Branch Davidian affair, his motivation for the Oklahoma City Murrah Building bombing. I should have been more clear with that statement and should have instead said that I doubt that anyone, after witnessing the destruction and murder McVeigh rained down on innocent men, women, and children, would claim McVeigh had a legitimate beef. Something things are so horrendous that trivial motivation goes out the window. It's like saying Charles Manson had a few good ideas, and so did Hitler and Stalin and Bin Laden and whoever else you'd like to bring in to the argument. But from the enthusiasm of the subsequent commenters, I doubt my clarified sentence would have made much difference. Some will cling to their anti-government views no matter the cost. To Mr. Chaney and others, I invite them to visit the Murrah bombing site; a tour of the museum will be my treat. Let them hold those views after witnessing first hand the results of McVeigh's "legitimate beef."

Mr. Betts was worried about my soul. He'll be glad to know mine is still intact and that I hope his is as well but his concern should be with some of his other fellow commenters.

Mr. Guy uses an obvious alias so his comments aren't worth responding to. The courage of his convictions is breathtaking.

Mr. Pelto has some fun with my cautious words about Stack's status as an illegal tax protester but I was being careful because neither Mr. Pelto nor I know everything about Mr. Stack's case with the IRS. My experience tells me Mr. Stack was an illegal tax protester, someone who uses frivolous schemes not to reduce his taxes but to avoid paying any taxes; Mr. Pelto believes, even after witnessing the smoldering wreckage and, I'll presume, knowing of the innocent life Mr. Stack took, after reading Mr. Stack's ravings, that Mr. Stack has a point. In light of Mr. Pelto's, and others', statements, my caution was mis-placed. Let me state plainly then: Mr. Stack was an illegal tax protester. He was not interested in reducing his taxes legitimately and paying his fair share; he wasn't interested in paying any taxes at all. I doubt Mr. Stack would have been any more of a fan of Mr. Pelto's favored flat tax system that he was of the current system.

Jonathan mis-reads my statement. I didn't say the Branch Davidian affair was handled correctly; I said that McVeigh's actions made whatever beef he may have had about it illegitimate. If Jonathan believes McVeigh had a point, I invite him to the tour the Murrah bombing site as mentioned above.

IRS Sux, I refer you to Mr. Betts about the status of your soul.

Mr. Rogers' Latin is intact; my last name does indeed translate as New Earth. (Or New Land, whichever you prefer.) But Mr. Stack's behavior has everything to do with his complaint. And there's no failure to engage the rational mind; Mr. Stack's behavior proves his mind wasn't rational at all.

Joe, Big D, Shannon Love (despite some errors, which he admirably corrects later) Jim Maule, da Hawk, and Jim Wilson all make some good points and even defend 1706. For the record, I think everyone who can meet the criteria of a contract employee ought to be able to work as a contract employee but 1706 says otherwise. Sounds like a change needs to be made; contact your local congressman.

Chris zings me for poor sentence structure. Good on ya', Mr. Chris. I'll be more careful next time.

I apologize for leaving some commenters out but I'm beginning to repeat myself. Mr. Stack was nothing but a terrorist, intent on circumventing the law. When he couldn't have his way, he resorted to violence rather than other peaceful remedies. His actions negate whatever problems he claims to have had with 1706 but the size, and good condition, of his home before be burned it, and the fact he owned an airplane tells me he had little trouble overcoming whatever restrictions 1706 put on his ability to earn.

1 comment:

  1. Pete, you've got it right.

    I don't like paying taxes, but I do so rather than causing violence against people or property.

    I hold the (perhaps naive)opinion that I should follow the rules and pay the taxes. Work the rules in my favor when possible, of course, but not stupidly.

    I have the choice of living where I live and paying the required taxes, or moving somewhere else where I believe there is a better tax climate. It's my choice.

    Stack was a mass murder and should be regarded as such, and no more.