At the Daily Reckoning, Byron King has offered a three article history of the Whiskey Rebellion:
The Whiskey Rebellion
The Whiskey Rebellion, Part II: Enforcing the Wealth Tax
The Whiskey Rebellion, Part III: Ending the Rebellion
After the Revolutionary War, the United States suffered chronic problems of debt and lack of revenue. Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, created a tax imposed upon whiskey at its source. This greatly upset the distillers of Western Pennsylvania who began to abuse the tax collectors. As a result of this, President Washington mustered the army, which was in disarray, and so he supplemented it with the Virginia and New Jersey militias. The Western Pennsylvania militia, on their way to attack Pittsburgh was met by a delegation of Pittsburgh men with wagons full of beer, beef and other food. The Western Pennsylvania militia feasted and disbanded before Washington arrived with the US forces. Washington proclaimed amnesty and the Whiskey Rebellion became a footnote of history.
The United States established itself as a taxing entity that would use all violent force necessary to maintain its fiscal existence. It had a problem with some local forms of resistance from people who felt that they had replaced a King George with a President George who was worse. The United States avoided a massacre only because of the quick thinking Abigails of Pittsburgh.
George Washington himself once said:
Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
Governments enforce taxation normally at the point of gun. It is not a voluntary association whereby members offer dues with love and respect, but as a result of threats of imprisonment, fines and liens. Fail to pay your taxes, and you risk being arrested in most countries. Resist arrest and you are likely to face deadly force. Or why else would the IRS be buying guns and ammo?
A commenter here said:
There is no history of genocide ever being committed under the guise of a flawed tax process, even under Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Milosevic, or Idi Amin. Using the Holocaust or slavery as a parallel I believe is beyond the pale.
However, history is replete with examples of the use of violent force to exact taxes and tribute. I offered the Jewish War against the Romans for succession as an example of actual genocide against rebellious subjects who refused to pay taxes. The Arch of Titus stands to this day in Rome commemorating the Flavians’ defeat of the Jews, which resulted in the death of millions and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
As far as I can see, those who have suggested that the Isaac Brock Society (me especially) has been guilty of extremism or hyperbole would have trouble showing where any of us has recommended anything but peaceful solutions to the Tax Jihad that the United States is waging against expats. No one has recommended violence or bloodshed (I would take it down–we may not break Canadian law). No one has even suggested using tar and feathers against US federal officials, a favorite response of the Western Pennsylvanians!
I am however worried that the attempt to exact extra-territorial taxation against alleged US persons abroad will result in unlawful detention of some at the border. But above all, I am upset that the US government has threatened expats with 383% FBAR fines that would reduce us to utter poverty; this is so that they can illegally obtain information about the wealth that we have in our private financial accounts–information to which the United States government has no right (Or does the Fourth Amendment mean anything?) If anyone is guilty of extremist measures or hyperbole, it’s been the United States government. But then, the United States has always used extreme violence and the threat thereof to collect taxes and it continues to do so today. If push comes to shove, we should expect nothing less in our cases.
Benjamin Franklin said, “We must hang together, gentlemen, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Why? Because tax protestors founded the United States, and the British government decided to wage war against them rather than to let them continue to oppose King George’s reasonable forms of taxation. There is nothing new under the sun. A few short years after defeating the oppressor, the United States had became the oppressor, threatening the Whiskey Rebellion with deadly force.
yep, taxes are just part of life. It’s just that I don’t want to pay DOUBLE!
It is ironic that Chief Justice John Marshall was actually defending the Federal government’s constitutional power when he uttered the words, “an unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy” (McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 US 316 (1819)). When looking at the Treasury’s “right” to tax expats, the implications are ominous. Taxation is always enforced at the point of a gun.
What’s to stop them at some future time from not only denying us passports, but also publishing Interpol notices to have tax delinquints arrested and extradited back to the US? Although this option might be too expensive for the US, it would certainly greatly restrict our freedom of travel and would make our lives generally miserable. Just look at all the Swiss bank employees who are enjoying their “balconia” holidays this summer.
Many people (especially homelanders when discussing citizenship-based taxation) generally seem to think that taxation is just some harmless excercise that only “involves money.” They completely disregard facts and even history, rallying to the flag as if this is some patriotic issue and not a human rights one.
Bravo Petros, very well written. I agree with every word.
But don’t you have to recognize that it is this idea that freedom means freedom from outrageous taxes that drives so many Canadian readers to the sandbox?
Here is a good piece by Eric Peters on a similar vein to this post:
This kind of thing has to be cultural, [ and yet another one of the reasons that I have no desire to step foot back in the US again.] There are really easy ways to get people to pay (maybe not so much so during the Whisky Rebellion), but you don’t need violence to get tax money. Why don’t they look into a national sales tax?
The people in the US always want a big reaction to make a point — shock and awe, right? Remember Elian Gonzalez? I can’t help but think that the people there are bound to repeat the same “over reaction” over and over again like a broken record. They just can’t see what they are doing is absurd.
@ConfederateH, I have no hope of changing the minds of Canadians; I barely try. My intention is to try to show that taxation is coercion not benevolence. The sooner we learn that fact, the sooner we can begin to reclaim the narrative. We expats are portrayed as awful tax evaders and traitors to America. We are not. We are innocent victims.
In Canada I can vote and my vote can make a difference since my little area of Vaughan has representation in legislatures of both Ontario and Canada. I must abide by the will of the majority. No choice, but even as a libertarian, I must admit that even with confiscatory tax levels, we have enough left over to live well and to give to charity. But we are not as strong as we could be as a result of taxation, and we are limited in the number of jobs we are able to provide. I would prefer to have three full time workers instead of one, but our taxes prevent that from happening. Thus, the Canadian economy is not as self-reliant nor even close to as robust as it could be because the Canadian governments at all levels tax us so much.
What is intolerable, however, is the long reach of the IRS taxman–a foreign power reaching into my country, Canada, and trying to weaken and to destroy us. Against him I am ready to give my life.
*Your last paragraph was powerful. The taxman is destroying our wealth, our freedom and weakening the sovereignty of Canada and other countries. It worries me that Canada is way too cozy with the U.S.A. Just recently, U.S. military vehicles were on Canada’s 401 highway headed for Petawawa for “joint military exercises” with Canada’s armed forces. How long before their law enforcement and military are allowed up here to come and get us?
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Often it is not possible to choose where one lives. My youngest child left home last year and we have been blessed/confronted with the choice of where to live. Luckily in Switzerland there is lots of tax competition between cantons. We are moving to a low tax canton. But what is even more important than the low taxes is living among people who believe in low taxes.
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