Volunteer--Or Else!


Column by Paul Hein.

Exclusive to STR

The waiter informs you that there is a special, off-menu item available. “Today we have a special: blackened snapper with a mango chutney, served on a bed of wild rice.” It sounds good, but you have your heart set on a meat entree. So you tell him, “Sounds good all right, but I think I’ll have the one-inch thick pork chops, with green beans and a house salad.” The waiter stiffens; his smile disappears. “You’ll have WHAT?” he exclaims. “Didn’t I just tell you about the special?” “Well, yes, you did, but I’m just not in a mood for fish.” “Your MOOD? You think I care about your MOOD?” He signals to his fellow-waiters, who join him in discreetly removing you to the parking lot and beating you to within an inch--Oh! Sorry! Wrong story. That’s not what happened at all. When you ordered the chops the waiter smiled and said, “Very good, sir,” and headed for the kitchen.

The car salesman suggests that you might like Accessory Group B for your new car. It includes ostrich-skin upholstery, gold trim on the door handles, LEDs surrounding every window, and a three-tone horn. It’s only available, however, if you also order Accessory Group A, consisting of navigation, 18 inch wheels, and gold-fleck paint. And, of course, eight cylinders. Sadly, like so many people, you break out in a rash if you contact ostrich-skin, so you regretfully decline Accessory Group B. The salesman looks stunned. “You mean you’re going to pass up Accessory Group B, despite all the goodies it offers?” “Yes, that’s what I mean. No Accessory Group B for me.” The salesman shakes his head in disbelief. “Did I just hear you say NO to Accessory Group B?” You assure him that’s what you said. He gestures to his fellow salesmen, and they discreetly remove you to the parking lot and proceed to beat you to within an inch--Oh! Sorry! Wrong story again. In actuality, when you declined Accessory Group B, the salesman just smiled and said, “Ok. No problem.”

You are contacted by a group of people who have some wonderful enterprises for you to consider. They are thinking of tunneling to the center of the Earth, or perhaps establishing a permanent base on the sea floor off the coast of Florida, or maybe sending up some colonists to Mars. Something like that: really BIG. While they’re at it, they’d plan to eradicate poverty and crime, and eliminate once and for all the agony of acne. “And,” they tell you, “we’d like you to assist in the financing of these wonderful things.” It doesn’t seem to you to be a very practical or beneficial investment, so you tell them you’re going to decline their invitation to participate. They repeat their offer, emphasizing how much they’d like your participation. You again decline, emphasizing your disinterest in their projects. They rise up, surround you, and drag you to your back yard, where they proceed to beat you to within an--Oh, sorry! Wrong story. They drag you into court, instead of your yard, where one of them puts on a black robe and decrees your punishment. You deserve it, after all. You were given a wonderful opportunity, and you declined it. Shame on you!

Of course, the people with the grandiose projects that they’d like you to finance don’t work for a restaurant, or automobile dealership. Their outfit is called “government,” and it doesn’t produce any useful products, although it offers a plethora of “services” which you probably don’t want.

Here’s the really strange thing: Nowhere in the archives, official records, articles of incorporation, or what have you, of the auto dealership or the restaurant do you encounter the words “voluntary,” or “consent.” It’s thought so obvious that your use of their services or products is upon a voluntary basis, with your consent, that to mention it was unnecessary. On the other hand, the workers for government cannot deny that their institution was founded upon the “consent of the governed,” and their demands recognize that your compliance is “voluntary.” And indeed, throughout your trial and imprisonment, you are free to proclaim that your compliance is voluntary, and their legitimacy is based upon your consent. Makes no difference.

Remarkable, isn’t it? The only organization that takes pains to point out that your compliance is voluntary, and its legitimacy is based upon your consent, will, at least figuratively--and sometimes, perhaps, actually--drag you outside and beat you to within an inch--Oh, wait! No, wait some more. I’m not wrong this time! Your compliance may be voluntary, but should you decline to volunteer, look out!

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Paul Hein's picture
Columns on STR: 150


Thunderbolt's picture

Nice one, Dr. Hein. While in prison for failure to voluntarily contribute financially to the Iraqi and Afghani wars, I reached a similar conclusion. It is, I think, the central issue for nearly all the evil of government. Every person who pays income tax is complicit in the crimes of war by Bush and most of the other rulers. Jim Davies correctly points out that not paying income tax is not sufficient to bring down government, but it is a good start. It is easy to see why they prefer a cashless society. Perhaps Bitcoin will gain sufficient traction to make a difference. I am currently enamored of the concept of structuring all one's affairs as loans, which are not taxable. I can sell a product or provide a service in exchange for a loan. It is worth a thought or two, since it is not legally reportable or taxable, and it is legal, as far as I can tell. It would be glorious to die at age 100 heavily in debt(but off the books), and never having paid money to the mafia.

Glen Allport's picture

Terrific column, Paul. Excellent job of making clear the coecion underlying every State, briefly and entertainingly. Short enough to make a good hand-out, detailed enough to get under people's skin, I think.

KenK's picture

Tax is "voluntary" in the sense that the gov doesn't send a tax collector and a squadron of armed dragoons to our homes and doorsteps to collect the money, that's all. In the stilted lanuage of 18th century English and American politicos and their scribes, that the gov "trusts" you to just come in and pay it, or mail a check, etc., constituted voluntarily payment to their mind. Throughout  most of modern European and English history the King came to you to get paid, His tax clerks accompanied by armed men to emphasis the point that there was no discretion about the matter. By 18th century standards that was mighty nice of the gov to let you pay at your convenience But "voluntary" it ain't, everybody knows it, and I'm always surprised that professional resisters take that bound-to-lose tack.

Samarami's picture

All psychopaths grouped under the mantle of "government" depend totally upon 1) belief, and 2) voluntary compliance.

Were it not for the superstition that is "rulership", the tabernacle that is government would soon tumble down. It is all kept in place by what can be described as religious belief -- superstition. How do you imagine the recent political holiday called "Memorial Day" came into being? Or why it is placed where it is on the Gregorian calendar? If veterans (or families of slaughtered veterans) ever came to comprehend the egregiousness of their actions in carrying out what they call "serving", it would soon spell doom for those claiming "jurisdiction".

Thus political holidays: "Memorial", "Independence", "Labor", "Veterans" -- even "Chr-stmas" fits neatly into the science of rulership and control of the docile masses.

Bread and circuses.

Cease, my friends. Sam