The Pros and the Con


Column by Paul Hein.

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You are notified by a group of strangers that you must send them a large amount (by ounce? gram?) of money. The request is reasonably polite, although there is, in small print, or hushed, mumbled tones, a promise of unpleasantness should you decline the request.

Or perhaps you learn, by TV or newspaper, that henceforth you will be required to do something which you had not previously been required to do: carry certain papers on your person at all times, perhaps. Maybe you are told of something that henceforth you must NOT do: use language which someone might find offensive.

So you pay, or obey. And the professional order-givers who have communicated their desires to you smile with pleasure. How easy it was! You are truly a good citizen.

Occasionally--not too often--the pros come across a not-so-good citizen who risks their displeasure by asking them why he should pay, or obey. The answer is promptly forthcoming--the pros are ready. “It’s the law” is the response, and that almost always settles it. The sacred words are pronounced with great gravity and solemnity, perhaps with a slight reverent bow of the head. “IT’S THE LAW!”

Well, that’s that. Asked and answered. The querulous citizen is satisfied, if not pleased. After all, the law is the law.

The pros smile once again, rejoicing at the simplicity of it all. They have but to write down what they want, with appropriate ceremony, and it’s THE LAW! They can organize vastly complex programs, knowing that they will be financed by others--by the good citizens, who will comply--if they even think about compliance--because it’s the law. What a con!

The pros are seriously displeased when someone--not a good citizen at all!--asks them how they obtained power and authority over them simply by writing down their wishes—the “law,”--and expecting everyone to take it seriously. The answer to that is less clear, and thus is usually given with emphasis: Because we are the GOVERNMENT! It may be necessary to pound the table while giving this answer, because the questioner already knows that the pros are the “government,” and is not impressed.

“You mean you are my public servants?” he says, or “Doesn’t that mean that any political power you have is derived from people like me, who don’t have that power?” The pros are outraged at this insolence, and resort to that often-successful illogicality, the ad hominem attack. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “Just who do you think you are?” or “Everyone else obeys the law (meaning us, but they don’t say that!) why should you be an exception?”

They may ask what they think is a rhetorical question: “Where would you be if there were no government?” The answer, of course, is “free!” but should they hear that, they would only increase the vehemence of their attack.

As increasing numbers of people begin to question the value of “citizenship,” the pros find themselves giving the answers to the questions put to them, if only indirectly and unintentionally. Why should a person obey the pros’ laws? Because his life will be made a living hell if he disobeys. The “law,” you see, is a giant con, designed to give their depredations a certain legitimacy--so long as you swallow it. It’s like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain pulling all the levers. The pros, calling themselves “government,” or “the state” want other people’s money. The purpose of government, as they unwittingly make clear, is to line their pockets, while they promise pie in the sky, and deliver enough of it (with other people’s money, of course) to make their election possible. Up until now, almost everyone has been taken in by this con, but the man behind the curtain is growing uneasy, as more and more of his victims are beginning to realize that his own “wizardry” is stealing under cover of the “law,” which, after all, is his own creation.

Perhaps, to those pros who place such reverence in the law, or pretend to, it might be interesting to quote one of their own laws to them. It is Missouri Revised Statute 570.030.1: Stealing--penalties. “A person commits the crime of stealing if he or she appropriates property or services of another with the purpose to deprive him or her thereof, either without his or her consent, or by means of deceit or coercion.”

But, of course, their reply would be, “That doesn’t apply to us. You’ve quoted inappropriately. You should hire a lawyer.”

The con man never falls for his own con. It’s aimed at you, not him!

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Paul Hein's picture
Columns on STR: 150


Paul's picture

"Why should a person obey the pros’ laws? Because his life will be made a living hell if he disobeys."

I believe this is the main point that our insolent questions should lead to. If everyone understood this fact of life, legitimacy would crumble and people would start ignoring the bastards.

But definitely, question everything. Question authority, like the old bumpersticker said.