I’d be willing to bet that the majority of Americans wouldn’t pay a dime in income taxes if they were told that they would not go to jail, or have their assets seized if they didn’t. I believe it was Ben Franklin who once said, “Only two things in life are certain; death and taxes.” People simply accept that taxes are an inevitable part of living, and the best they can hope for is for the government to lower the tax rate so that they can keep more of their money; yet very few of them know that much about the various kinds of taxes, or what the Constitution says about how taxes should be levied.
First off, I frequently hear people say that they paid this much, or that much in taxes; typically around April as the deadline for filing your 1040 approaches. However, saying that you paid your taxes is an inaccurate statement; unless after calculating your taxes you still owed and had to send the IRS a check to make up the difference. The truth is you don’t pay your taxes, they are taken from you, and the only control you have over it is by the number of dependants you claim on your W-2.
Typically your employer withholds a certain amount of your salary for the payment of your taxes, and you have no control over it. I’ve always felt that we could shut government down – forever – if employers across the country would all unite in refusing to withhold a single penny of their employees pay for the payment of income taxes.
Taxes are the lifeblood of this system of government, and if that revenue stream were to suddenly dry up, the government would come to a screeching halt. That is even more true today than it was in the earliest years of this country, as the taxes they confiscate from us are nowhere near enough to fund the day to day operations of government, plus all its unfunded liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare. So government has to borrow just to keep their doors open for business and to fund their agenda of a constant state of war.
If we, as people, want to take out a loan to purchase something, we have to prove to the lender that we earn a large enough income to be able to repay the amount that we intend to borrow. If we don’t have a job, good luck getting a penny from any lender; except possibly a loan shark; and you may as well sell your soul if that’s the route you take. The same is true for government, if it could not prove that it had a steady flow of revenue to, at least, pay the interest on what it owed, those who lend to government would cease lending, and government would come to a standstill.
You have been taught that the Civil War was fought to end slavery; unfortunately slavery was not why the war was fought. Yes, slavery may have been one of the issues which led to the secession of the Southern States, but it was not the only reason they seceded, and it WAS NOT the cause of the war. I can’t stress the significance of that statement enough. Slavery, or the end of slavery where it already existed, was NOT why we had the Civil War. Lincoln may have wanted to keep slavery contained to the South where it already existed, but that was only so that the whites who were settling out west would not have to compete with a slave labor force when seeking work.
In his Inaugural Address Abraham Lincoln made it clear that he had no intention of interfering with slavery where it existed, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
Once the Civil War started his position changed little, with slavery being but a wartime tool he could use to force a speedy end to the conflict between the North and South. He made THAT point very clear in a letter he wrote to Horace Greeley in 1862. First off Lincoln begins by explaining his policy in conducting the war, “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority [and I’ll get in to what he meant by that in a moment] can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.”
Lincoln then goes on to address the issue of slavery and his policy towards it, “If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.”
These are historical facts, public record; they are not things I pulled out of thin air to prove my point. You can choose to reject these facts if you wish, but that only shows me that you are an intellectual coward whose beliefs and opinions are based more upon emotion than they are the truth.
So, according to the facts Lincoln was not waging his war to end slavery, he was waging it to save the Union. But why? Was it a matter of pride for him; the fact that he didn’t want to go down in the history books as the president who let the Union be torn apart? To answer this question accurately one must look at the position Lincoln had on what government should do.
Lincoln could be said to have been a follower of the Hamiltonian philosophy of a loose construction of the powers delegated to the government by the Constitution; powers which should be used to build a thriving economy and improve the internal infrastructure of his supporters. One of Lincoln’s idols was Henry Clay, who could be said to be the Father of the modern day Republican Party.
Lincoln cast his first vote as a young man for Henry Clay, he campaigned for him vigorously in Illinois, he delivered a stirring eulogy for him at his funeral, and he frequently quoted him in his speeches. To say that Lincoln admired Henry Clay is probably the understatement of the century.
Both Clay and Lincoln held political ideologies that ran counter to what Founder Patrick Henry believed was the purpose of government. Henry fervently held, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.”
Lincoln and Clay, on the other hand, sought to do just the opposite, use the power of government to build a might American Empire with a strong economy. Lincoln’s policy, which was largely a carbon copy of Henry Clay’s was one which imposed high tariffs upon imported goods, a stable financial system, federal investment in internal improvements, and the sale of public land to raise revenue for the government.
I don’t want to go into too much detail regarding all of that, but one would do well to do some research into the fraud and corruption of the selling of public lands to the railroads; who just happen to have been strong supporters of Lincoln’s bid for the presidency. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, I think that when you use government to benefit certain special interests you invite corruption and fraud.
But the important aspect of Lincoln’s policy was the maintenance of tariffs; both to protect Northern industrialists, and to raise revenue for the operation of the government – in other words – taxes. You see, those tariffs had to be imposed, or at least paid, by someone; and in the years leading up to the Civil War the brunt of those tariffs were shouldered by the South.
Thirty years before the Civil War, Senator Thomas Hart Benton gave a speech to the U.S. Senate in which he said, “I feel for the sad changes, which have taken place in the South, during the last fifty years. Before the Revolution, it was the seat of wealth, as well as hospitality. Money, and all it commanded, abounded there. But how is it now? All this is reversed. Wealth has fled from the South, and settled in regions north of the Potomac; and this in the face of the fact, that the South, in four staples alone, has exported produce, since the Revolution, to the value of eight hundred millions, of dollars; and the North has exported comparatively nothing….Under Federal legislation, the exports of the South have been the basis of the Federal revenue….Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, may be said to defray three-fourths, of the annual expense of supporting the Federal Government.”
Think about that, the South had been paying 3/4 of the taxes that funded the operation of the federal government for nearly 50 years. And where was this money being spent? Why, on those internal improvements; which just happened to be centered in the Northern States and benefitted Lincoln’s political supporters – business and industry.
So when the Southern States seceded, that money stopped; leaving Lincoln in between a rock and a hard place. He was stuck with the choice of letting the South go and watching his government go bankrupt, or he would risk war by using force against them to compel them to remain in the Union.
In the early stages of the secession crisis a peace commission travelled to Washington D.C. to meet with Lincoln in the hopes of forestalling war. During their discussion with the President, Colonel John Baldwin told Lincoln that the best way to get the South to rejoin the Union was through conciliatory measures, that any use of force would be taken as casus belli; meaning justification for war.
When Lincoln asked what he was to do with ‘those men at Montgomery’, meaning the Alabama State Legislature that was at the moment discussing seceding from the Union, Lincoln was told by Col. Baldwin to let them go until they could be peacefully brought back into the Union.
But then Lincoln revealed his true concern when he asked if he should just simply, “…open Charleston, etc., as ports of entry with their ten percent tariff? What then would become of my tariff?” What Lincoln was saying was that if he let the South go, and they opened their ports of entry, (free of federal tax collectors), and imposed a significantly lower tariff than the government had been imposing, the shippers would use Southern ports and the tariffs being collected by the government would vanish overnight; leaving it penniless.
The Northern press was adamant that the South NOT be allowed to secede, that Lincoln must do all that was within his power to keep them in the Union; and they clearly explained why – and it had nothing to do with slavery.
In December of 1860 the Chicago Daily Times ran an editorial which said, “In one single blow our foreign commerce may be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruin. Let the South adopt the free trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue, and these results would likely follow.”
The following February the Union Democrat Manchester published an editorial which said, “The Southern Confederacy will not employ our ships or buy our goods. What is our shipping without it? Literally nothing… it is very clear that the South gains by this process and we lose. No…we must not let the South go.”
Then the following month the New York Evening Post ran an article that said, “… either the (federal) revenue from duties (protective tariff) must be collected in the ports of the rebel states or the ports be closed to importations from abroad… If neither of these things be done, our revenue laws are substantially repealed; the sources which supply our treasury will be dried up; we shall have no money to carry on the government; the nation will become bankrupt before the next crop of corn is ripe… Allow railroad iron to be entered at Savannah with the low duty of ten percent, which is all that the Southern Confederacy think of laying on imported goods, and not an ounce more would be imported at New York; the railways would be supplied from the southern ports. What, then is left for our government?”
In justifying their own secession, the New Orleans Daily Crescent published an article that said, “They (the South) know that it is their import trade that draws from the peoples pockets sixty or seventy millions of dollars per annum, in the shape of duties, to be expended mainly in the North, and in the protection and encouragement of Northern interest. These are the reasons why these people do not wish the South to secede from the union.”
Again, everything I’ve just said is taken from public record, it is a matter of historical fact; and that fact is that the North was scared shitless that if the South were to be allowed to peacefully withdraw from the Union, the North would suffer horribly; as the money being pillaged from the South by oppressive tariffs would dry up.
Lincoln, if he wanted to keep the North solvent, and his government doing the things he was elected to do by his supporters, had no choice, he had to invade the South and use force against them to make them return to the fold, so to speak.
Towards the end of the conflict between the North and South Confederate General Patrick Cleburne warned, “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision.”
That explains why people know so little truth about this conflict. In reality it was a second American Revolution, and it was fought for many of the same reasons as the first one was; with oppressive taxation being chief among those reasons.
If it truly were treason, as some claim, why were none of the leaders of the Confederacy tried for it? After all the Constitution does say, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them…” So if the South was in the wrong, they were guilty of treason. But if they were right, that means that the Lincoln Administration was guilty of invading and attacking another sovereign nation.
The reason none of the leadership of the Confederacy were ever brought to trial is because they could not take the risk that THAT question be answered in a court of law. In July 1867, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase said, “If you bring these [Confederate] leaders to trial it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution secession is not rebellion. Lincoln wanted Davis to escape, and he was right. His capture was a mistake. His trial will be a greater one.”
So all that was left after the North won, was to ensure that the history of that great conflict be written by Northern Historians, a fact attested to decades later by a little known scholar by the name of Woodrow Wilson, “It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery…and the world, it might be hoped, would see it as a moral war, not a political; and the sympathy of nations would begin to run for the North, not for the South.”
Once the conflict was over, the South, after being forced to submit to all manner of humiliation and laws they had no say in enacting, re-entered the Union. But, was it the same Union that they had seceded from just a few years prior? Not likely, it had fundamentally changed in that it was no longer a Union by consent of the participating parties, it was a Union based on the ever present threat of force and violence should anyone question the almighty power of the federal government.
Radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens, of Pennsylvania, said the following about any Union that might exist after the end of the war, “The talk of restoring the Union like it was, and the Constitution as it is, is one of the absurdities which I have heard repeated until I have become sick of it. There are many things which make such an event impossible. This Union never shall, with my consent, be restored under the constitution as it is … The Union as it was and the Constitution as it is–God forbid it. We must conquer the Southern states and hold them as conquered provinces.”
It was Stevens who led the charges of impeachment against Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson because he felt Johnson was going too easy on the South. Stevens, and the other radical Republicans who, according to your history books fought so valiantly to free the slaves, made slaves of us all with their imposition of the 14th Amendment upon the South; forced upon them under duress as a condition of their being allowed to re-enter the Union as per the Reconstruction Acts.
Our transformation from free men to slaves was sealed nearly 50 years later when two things occurred. First the Federal Government passed the Federal Reserve Act; handing itself an unlimited line of credit that they could raise at their discretion; regardless of whether the people supported it or not. The second thing that occurred was the Ratification of the 16th Amendment, which did away with the Constitutional requirement that all direct taxes be apportioned, [divided equally], and giving them access to our income.
We are all debt slaves living on a free range debt farm. They don’t care which party you elect to hold office, as both of them spend beyond their means and continue to engage in unjustified and unconstitutional wars that amass a huge amount of debt.
You don’t have rights on this debt farm, you have privileges; things they allow you to do at their discretion. Your rights have been taken away from you, and if you don’t believe me try doing almost anything without having to pay a fee, or obtain a permit.
As long as you keep paying your taxes, they don’t care what you do; unless of course you come too close to that thing called liberty; then they come after you with the full force of law. But I seem to recall a little known guy named Thomas Jefferson who once said that law is but the tyrants will, especially when it violates the rights of the individual.
The sad thing is, the beloved, albeit ignored Constitution is what allowed this to happen. It alone established the system of government that sought to prevent its creators from seceding in 1861, and the same system of government that binds and restricts our freedom today. This wonderful document is so bereft of restraining power on the government it establishes that it has given that government free rein to expand its powers, while at the same time diminish our liberty.
It does not provide any means by which we, as the source of all political authority, can punish our servants; those we elect. But it does give them the means to punish us should we dare question the laws they pass for our good – or at least that’s what they tell you they’re for. I don’t know about you, but that certainly doesn’t sound like any definition of freedom that I’ve ever heard.
America used to be free, a long, long time ago. None of us have seen freedom in our lifetimes, and the net that encircles and restrains our freedom is growing ever tighter. One day it will become so tight that even the most brain dead among us will be unable to see it, and only then will the American people ask, “Why did this happen? Why didn’t someone try to tell me?”
I only hope that I’ve long since passed away when that day comes, for if I’m still alive and I hear someone ask those questions, I’m going to punch them right in the fucking throat and say, “I did warn you, but all you cared about was football, American Idol, The Voice, Facebook and beer.”