In Libertarianville, the government is always committing crimes against the public. Most of these crimes are only violations of the Libertarian sense of morality. By the same token, Libertarians are constantly accusing the government of violating the Constitution any time the actual Constitution contradicts the Federalist Papers. Quite often, Libertarians ignore actual crimes and constitutional violations.
Ron Paul’s crusade against the income tax is a good example of this. Paul’s handlers have spent massive amounts of money on a campaign claiming that the 50 states were fooled into ratifying the income tax amendment. They falsely claim that the tax is illegally collected, and they cite the Federalist Papers as their proof.
If Paul cited the actual Constitution, they would have to concede that the income tax is perfectly Constitutional. The Founders were not setting themselves up as prophets. They realized that time marches forward and there needed to be a mechanism for change. Otherwise the Constitution would have collapsed from the weight of supporting a United States with 50 states and billions of citizens. The Founders foresaw that the world would change and were wise enough not to try to predict what these changes were. Being men of vision and not religious lunatics, the Founders did not try to predict the future. They left us the mechanism of the Constitutional amendment so that we, the living, could better manage our affairs without the dead hand of the past holding us back.
This is not to say that the federal income tax is perfect. Far from it. There is a tremendous need to reform the institution and the offices that surround it. Most certainly corporations need to pay their fair share and not place all the burden on the employees. When running for President in 1976, Jerry Brown proposed a straight 2% across the board income tax. No exceptions and no refunds. Not only would that streamline government offices, it would also clear out the parasitic industries that grew up around the income tax.
Libertarians would punish rather than reform. They would eliminate the income tax and fund the federal government through a system that ceased to work over a century ago. Unable to financially maintain itself, the federal government would fall into 50 rival countries. Multinationals would have 50 third world countries they could rape and ruin as they do in the Middle East, Africa and South America. With no federal government providing a minimum of oversight, even our presently poor ecological laws would be repealed. Industrial cities would return to choking in their own wastes. There would be no oversight of interstate commerce, and nothing to keep a c orporation from shipping a load of poor kids from Oakland to work in Los Angeles factories for slave labor. If the state governments were enough to provide oversight, the federal government would not have taken on the job. The Constitution cites that the Federal Government oversees what the State governments cannot.
The crimes that Libertarians obsess over are the crimes of growth and change. The world changes and the Constitution changes with it. The nation changes and our roles of citizens change as well. The United States grew out of small capitalism over a century and a half ago. Federalist Papers based morality will not change that. The clock ticks only one way, and that is forward. It does not matter what Jefferson wrote over 200 years ago. We, the living, must take care of today’s problems with tomorrow’s solutions. Looking to the past will only make us the slaves of the corporations. That is the greatest crime of all.