I received a phone call this afternoon from a concerned Brocker asking if I’d seen the discussion at Isaac Brock about whether it was ok to lie to the bank on the various self-certification forms. Specifically he asked my opinion about the ethics of lying. He said of course that the nuns at his parochial school said one should never lie, not even to save the world! But of course, as a theologian, the story of Rahab the Harlot came to my mind. She lied, and for that both Jews and Christians consider her a great heroine. Here is the main story of her boldfaced lie (Joshua 2.1-6; RSV):
1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went, and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. 2 And it was told the king of Jericho, “Behold, certain men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” 3 Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring forth the men that have come to you, who entered your house; for they have come to search out all the land.” 4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them; and she said, “True, men came to me, but I did not know where they came from; 5 and when the gate was to be closed, at dark, the men went out; where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” 6 But she had brought them up to the roof, and hid them with the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof.
Now the New Testament remembers Rahab in Matt 1.5, as a great-great-great-great etc. granny of King David and Jesus; and as a woman of faith in Hebrews 11:31: “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies.” James 2.25 also says, “And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?”
So it would seem that the Bible, as one the great foundational texts of both law and ethics in the Western world, has no problem with lying under certain circumstances. She lied to save the lives of two men who would soon become her new compatriots. Moreover, she’d seen that God was with the Israelites and Joshua, and she thus knew her city, Jericho, was doomed. So to protect herself and her family she decided to relinquish her Jericho citizenship under INS 349 (a) (7)–and become a daughter of Israel. She exercised her universal human right to change nationalities.
Yes, the King of Jericho would have severely punished her if he had found out her lie. And the homelanders of Jericho would have considered her a liar, traitor and tax cheat. But they didn’t write the history of the battle. Rahab had to do what was best for her family, and for that both Old and New Testaments praise her.
Hard times create unconventional heros.
“I’m thinking of the banks having to hand over all private financial information of ALL Canadians to the CRA for the CRA to then determine what is to be sent on to the IRS.”
Yes I understand the give-it-all-up strategy but once data is gone it’s gone. Data cannot be retrieved. The give-it-all-up strategy would produce Canadian outrage, of course, but the CRA and IRS would both be laughing all the way to their data banks about their newly acquired data cache. It would only be used for evil on both sides of the border. The only way this MIGHT get the right result would be IF it was announced with full media coverage at least a year in advance of implementation to give the outrage a chance to shut it down. However, that’s not something I would want to gamble on because outrage seems to be of little concern to Harper and his majority minions.
I am not an important ADCS member — I am the same as anyone here. Believe me, I have no expertise or credentials for any of this — it is just my heart and my gut that I go by. The reason I am a Director is that my name is out there in the public because I chose that for telling a story of those entrapped into US citizenship by mental incapacity in being interviewed by the media. That and my strong belief that litigation is the only acceptable course of action is why I am a Director.
I appreciate your candor in what you think of ‘my self-righteousness’. It’s always good to know where you stand. To me this is not about pure, unpure; good, bad. It is about my decision and the description of what I think could be the consequences of other decision. You see it differently. So be it. I’ve made my decision and you have made yours. Perhaps others aren’t so fixed in their decisions as both of us and if they didn’t tune out in the course this has taken, they may have learned something to help them made their own decision.
You’re right, EmBee. A big risk but, really, the only way that any of this would NOT be discrimination by national origin which we are supposed to be protected from with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I wouldn’t want that to happen any more than any others — including all those other first-class Canadians I listed — if they were to consider that being done to their information, a wake-up call to the reality of what is happening to their fellow Canadians. Walk a mile in our shoes.
I’d like to think there would be heaps and heaps of outrage but then I think of a relative of mine who has the attitude “I don’t care, I have nothing to hide” and despite my best attempts to point out the dangers, she will not be swayed. Could there possibly be more engrained apathy than potential outrage in Canada? I think Glenn Greenwald addresses that attitude really well in his Ted talk. Victoria has a link here:
Yours was a wonderful comment, truly, but I do not see how it relates to the dialogue we were having. I get the distinct feeling you are obfuscating, but that is OK. This whole line of discussion is futile and needs to end.
I must apologize for saying “your whole comment reeks of self-righteousness”. It doesn’t.
I am just upset that people cannot understand how lies are not always bad. If they are then I am very bad because I lie.
For the record, although I would if I felt I had to, I’ve never lied to my bank or the IRS. In fact, I made a distinct point of sending a link to the ‘All in a day radio’ show I was interviewed for to a couple nice bank ladies at TD whom I’ve dealt with for years..at their TD email addresses. Yeah, I live on the edge. They never got back to me.
Thank you. I wish you understood that others DO understand that lies are not always bad — but the consequences may be. None of us should be put in the position of HAVING TO LIE for our and our families’ very economic and emotional survival. That in itself is evil — or at least that is my view.
re: “I wish you understood that others DO understand that lies are not always bad ”
Now, I feel like I am being placated, like a dumb child. They do not understand, Calgary. Several Brockers have expressed VERY CLEARLY, that LIES ARE BAD – FULL STOP.
Jesus…I need a FATCA break!
@Calgary, just to clarify, not ALL of the Brockers express the view that lying is bad. In fact MOST do not see it this way…just a select, vocal minority who have been posting and ‘debating’ here all day. Have we been reading the same comments?
Thanks for the link. I was not up-to-date on Victoria’s latest blog posts. I always learn a lot from her. It is hard for any of us reading here to understand, and the reason we stay at Isaac Brock and donate to the litigation, the “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear from surveillance” mindset. Oh, for some Canadian outrage from those who do understand the importance of our right to privacy.
Yes we have!
Ok, so apparently I have misconstrued this whole thread of commentary. Everyone who has responded to Petros post feels that lying is sometimes OK. Awesome!
@Calgary, The ” “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear from surveillance” mindset, isn’t much different from the “all lies are bad” mindset, which fortunately, none of us Brockers have.
Correction, the above comment was directed at Embee, not Calgary.
And to be clear THAT is NOT my mindset. And thank goodness Brockers get it — privacy GOOD — panopticon BAD. Also, for most honest people, lies are difficult but not impossible. There might be a contradiction in there but I’m okay with that.
@Embee, Yes, us Brockers know how to tell a ‘good’ untruth, and can back it up with moral justifications too! I bet the banks and IRS can’t do that…liars.
… Canadians who were Canadian citizens at the time any tax liability was incurred are protected from IRS collections by the tax treaty …
This is a cute little mantra, beloved by many — especially by those who revel in perceiving reassurances from whatever state and cling to the presumed promises with utter adoration.
(1) Any “rule” can change. Brock exists because “rules” changed. QED (2) Maybe the construct commonly designated as “Canada” does not enforce. Maybe the FFI that has arm-twisted “Canada” on FATCA does choose to enforce at the behest of its US master. Maybe “Canada” stands back, since banks have already been shown to be the real government of “Canada.” Maybe there will be no ultimate possibility of financial freedom for any US-tainted person who lodges fungible assets with any FFI.
… many of the decisions … are ones that we each have to make as individuals …
You da man — preach it bro — short version = sauve qui peut
Ladies, ladies, ladies.. Be cool.
Ladies. We’re all on the same side here.
@Duke, its all good now…just a miscommunication. You know sometimes words have two meanings.
“Sauve qui peut” is appropriate on the question of individual decisions on the embarrassing IGA FATCA that Stephen Harper has implemented–instead of coming with an appropriate response in keeping with the rule of law, he has passed an illegal law in violation of many hard earned rights and freedoms for which our ancestors, like Isaac Brock, fought and died. Harper had no right to do that.
The collective response is ADSC. The more successful the litigation, the more real choices people living in Canada will have.
In the meantime, saying that someone should relinquish is not adequate. Yes, I tell everyone that they must apply for Canadian citizenship if they are eligible, but the Federal government now gives itself 2 years to process their paperwork.
USXCanada, true, rules change. The FATCA IGA is a good example–it should never have passed since it violates Canadian law, international law, or even the US Canada tax convention. Harper chose to give away Canadian sovereignty so that the CDN banks can continue to play their sovereign risk game in the US for a few more months or years. That’s gonna bite them in the ass as the rules continue to change for the worse.
@Petros, “In the meantime, saying that someone should relinquish is not adequate.”
When you have a mad hatter Uncle (Sam), then relinquishing is a sign of great wisdom.
Relinquishing, its free, you can document or non-document.
To not relinquish means that you think your Uncle can be rehabilitated…..lower the laughter on that one.
On the other hand saying someone should just renounce, well thats a little more tricky….
But from my neck of the woods, I have seen a great interest in accidentals trying to find ANY government part time employment that will be accepted for their holiday period from their main job and then they will quit having done the relinquishing act.
Relinquishing will not be free for long, in my view. The arrogant state department will try to put a stopper in that hole too. The following was shared by someone on facebook:
The US is going to charge for all CLNs at some point. It is just a question of how much. They are implying that they will charge $2350 for the documentation of ALL expatriates through this wording. But see, http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2014/09/24/how-much-should-renunciation-of-united-states-citizenship-cost-not-us-2350-but-550000/