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Larken Rose on Taxes, Freedom and Life After Prison
With Anthony Wile - January 29, 2012
The Daily Bell is pleased to present this exclusive interview with Larken Rose
Introduction: Larken Rose is an outspoken, nationally known proponent of individual liberty, self-ownership and a voluntary society. He lives with his wife and daughter in eastern Pennsylvania and is the author of several books, include The Iron Web and How to be a Successful Tyrant, (The Megalomaniac Manifesto). He just completed another book, The Most Dangerous Superstition. Visit his website for more info (Larkenrose.com).
Daily Bell: Thanks for sitting down with us!
Larken Rose: Thanks for having me.
Daily Bell: Give us some background on yourself.
Larken Rose: Well, I was raised in a conservative, Republican, Christian setting, not just home but the whole town I grew up in. I grew up thinking the Constitution was great, America was great, and that we are free, and everyone else isn't. Where I was raised, it was popular and easy to see the flawed thinking in what the leftist statists wanted, and to bash the silly, stupid, collectivist ideas that socialists were advocating. But it wasn't until years later that I began to see that left-wing statism and right-wing statism are two slightly different flavors of the same gigantic lie.
Over the years, by way of reading things and having discussions and arguments about politics, I went from being Constitutionalist to libertarian, and finally to recognizing the belief in government as not just a bad idea but an insane, self-contradictory superstition, start to finish.
My wife and I sort of made the intellectual journey at the same time, talking about stuff, dragging each other further away from statism and toward freedom. Without giving my whole life story here, we got married in 1992, and had a daughter five years later. We took turns being political prisoners in 2006 and 2007 − me for a year, my wife Tessa for a month. Now we're pretty much full-time enemies of the state, raising our daughter to hopefully be a sane, moral human being while we try to recover from what the parasite class did to us, and try to help other people escape the authoritarian cult indoctrination that almost everyone we know was put through.
Daily Bell: You are known for your stand against taxes and tax collection in the US. But let's ask you some other questions first. You define yourself as a libertarian and have focused recently on the Federal Reserve and central banking generally. Tell us about your concerns.
Larken Rose: Well, I'd qualify that a bit, as a lot of people call themselves libertarians who, if you ask me, really aren't. The Libertarian Party, for example, is a complete contradiction. Libertarianism is based on the non-aggression principle, which is utterly incompatible with any "government" or any political movement. But we can get into that later.
To use the scary term, I'm an anarchist. To use the less scary, more precise term, I'm a voluntaryist. I believe that there's no such thing as a legitimate ruling class, even a limited, constitutional one, and that the initiation of violence, even when legal, is bad. That rules out all government. I'm all for cooperation and organization but that's never what government is. These days I write things, and make videos, and do whatever else I can, to try to show people that, even though we might imagine ourselves to be learned and wise, almost everyone still holds completely irrational assumptions and superstitions that they believe and accept only because they've never thought about them.
You mentioned the Federal Reserve, and that's a fine example. Right out in the open, this gang of crooks commits fraud on an almost incomprehensible scale, and is even bold enough to openly describe how it does it. But most people have been taught that it's necessary and good, or at least legal, so they put up with it. A bunch of crooks have spent the last few decades making up trillions of dollars, out of thin air, and lending them to everyone under the sun, including governments and individuals, thereby pretty much enslaving the world. But Congress told them they could so people think it's okay, even think it's a good thing. It's not.
Daily Bell: Are you in agreement with Ron Paul that the Federal Reserve needs to be abolished?
Larken Rose: The Fed is a crime syndicate that needs to be ended. Now, the chance of getting it officially abolished − I mean having the politicians legislate it away − is slim to none. So I think it has to be put out of business without the help of the parasites in Congress. Counterfeiting and fraud is bad, whether it's declared legal or not. Most decent people, even if they couldn't say exactly why, know that if they printed out a million counterfeit dollars, that would be bad. It would be stealing, even if the victim isn't immediately apparent.
Well, the Fed does that with trillions of dollars at a time. The fact that the crooks in Washington gave them permission, in 1913, to do such a thing doesn't make it right or legitimate. It's evil, and frankly, I don't think people should wait around for Congress to do it − which will never happen anyway. If people actually understood currency, I mean a lot of people, just stepping away from the fraud would be pretty easy − don't use their fiat paper, don't borrow their fabricated, fake money. Unfortunately, most people don't understand currency and credit at all, as demonstrated by the fact that they keep playing the game.
Right now, as the economy falls apart, we're starting to see the ultimate results of the fiat currency swindle. The good news, if you can call it that, is that the coming collapse may force more people to learn how the fiat currency scam works and how to avoid it.
Daily Bell: Are you suggesting that we return to a gold standard or a partial gold standard?
Larken Rose: Silver and gold happen to work really well as currency, historically speaking, but I don't much care what people use to trade with, except for two things: Do they know how it works, and are they being coerced to do it someone else's way? In other words, is there force or fraud involved? Both are involved when it comes to the Fed.
Silver and gold would be my first choice, just because it would be simple and they're already recognized as valuable by almost everyone. But there are a lot of ways to trade, without fraud or violence, and people should be allowed to try whatever they want. Right now, the parasitic control freaks don't take kindly to that, as you can see by the fascist garbage they did to the Liberty Dollar, robbing and caging people for trying to circumvent the Fed's fraudulent fiat system.
But the scam won't last forever, no matter how tyrannical they get. The only question is, how many people will understand how to keep the world turning when the dollars in their wallets become completely worthless? Not many, I suspect.
Daily Bell: You just completed a book called The Most Dangerous Superstition about authority. Authority is the lie we've all been told down through the years, you write. Can you expand? Tell us more about the book.
Larken Rose: Yeah, The Most Dangerous Superstition is the most important thing I've ever written, and probably ever will, and it's been in the works since before any of my other books came out. The punchline is pretty simple − and the book starts with the punchline, so I'm not spoiling any surprises here. In short, all belief in authority and government is insane and horribly destructive, the most destructive superstition the world has ever known, in fact. Of course, that's the opposite of what we're all taught.
We're all taught that obedience to authority and obeying the law is what makes civilization possible. We were all told that lie, but it's still a lie. The belief that some people have the right to forcibly dominate others, even in a limited way, is the opposite of being civilized. It's an attempt to legitimize theft, murder and other violent aggression, by way of pseudo-religious political rituals − constitutions, elections, legislation, and so on. In short, the belief in authority has led to more death and destruction than anything else in history. This book exposes the nature of the superstition, shows why it's so dangerous and destructive, and shows people how to escape it. And right now, I don't know of any issue in the world that even comes close to this in importance.
Daily Bell: Please talk briefly about each of these areas: First, the disproofs of authority.
Larken Rose: The very concept of government, which hinges on the concept of authority − the idea that some people can acquire the right to forcibly control everyone else − is provably self-contradictory and logically bogus. I don't just mean it's a bad idea on a practical level. I mean it's an insane idea.
This may sound odd, but believing in government makes as much sense as believing in Santa Claus, and that is remarkably easy to prove, and my book does, in several different ways. One example is: Can someone delegate a right he doesn't have? No, of course not. If I don't have the right to steal, I can't give someone else the right to steal. It's so elementary it's ridiculous. The problem is that obvious truth completely rules out all government. If normal people don't have the right to tax, and forcibly interfere in the lives of non-violent people, then they can't possibly have given such a right to those in government − not by any election, or constitution, or any other document or ritual − and that means that just about everything that government does is inherently illegitimate.
To call it government implies that it has authority, that it has the right to rule, that it has rights that us mere mortals don't have. Those in power claim they got these super-human rights from us, from the people, despite the fact that we never had such rights to begin with, and still have no such rights and couldn't possibly have given them to anyone else. That's just one example of how what we're taught as basic civics is absurd, insane and horribly dangerous garbage.
Daily Bell: Now, the effects of the myths on authority, the masters, the enforcers, the targets, the spectators, the advocates.
Larken Rose: The Most Dangerous Superstition goes through how the belief in authority affects the perceptions and actions of various groups of people. For example, politicians come to believe that they have the right to forcibly extort and control the choices of non-violent people. The results of that should be pretty easy to guess. If you thought you had the absolute moral right to violently dominate your neighbor, how do you think you would act?
People are surprised when politicians are nasty, power-happy crooks. What else would they be? When has a slave-master ever acted in the best interest of his slave? And when it comes to the politicians' mercenaries, cops and soldiers, their belief in authority gives them the same mindset as the Nazis: that as long as you're just following orders, just enforcing the law, you're not personally responsible for what you do. I hardly need to elaborate on what that leads to, for anyone who knows anything about history.
But the book also gets into how the belief in authority actually leads even the victims of tyranny not only to put up with it but to inadvertently help it, and to assist in the enslavement of mankind. This happens because most people really believe that when evil is legalized it becomes good, and when self-defense is outlawed it becomes evil. For example, people imagine that the actions of state thieves, so-called tax collectors, are legitimate, and think that any who attempt to avoid being robbed, so-called tax cheats, are bad.
The belief in authority turns people's morality upside-down and inside-out. Even a lot of pro-freedom people are still trapped inside the authoritarian lie, as demonstrated by the fact that they spend huge amounts of time and effort begging the violent parasite to please give us legal permission to be free. It's like a slave begging his master for permission to go free. As long as we think it's someone else's decision whether we can be free, and that's exactly what all political action implies, then we're not even free inside our own heads.
Anyway, the book goes through all of this in a lot more detail, with lots of examples. In short, the belief in authority makes everyone into either an agent of evil, or at best a compliant slave.
Daily Bell: What is your idea of the ideal society?
Larken Rose: To be blunt, I can't fully imagine my ideal society. What I mean by that is, what humanity would achieve, given a setting of true individual freedom, would be a million times more impressive than anything I can personally imagine right now. So I can't paint a complete picture but I can describe the most important aspect of it, which is that people would understand and embrace the concept of self-ownership. Losing the belief in authority would not only end all war, and almost all oppression, but would unleash the real power of humanity.
Americans right now imagine themselves to be free because their masters keep telling them that they're free, and they don't understand how their own happiness and success, and the happiness and success of humanity as a whole, is being hugely hindered by war-mongering, state extortion, legalized counterfeiting and other government fraud and thuggery. They don't know what freedom would mean because they've never seen it and can't really even comprehend it. They think freedom is having a nicer guy on the throne, who robs you and bosses you around a little bit less than the last guy who sat there. It's not.
The good news is, to get as close to utopia as we imperfect human beings ever could, all we need to do is recognize and get rid of one particular superstition, one completely irrational lie, which we were all told to accept on faith: the belief in authority. And what I do, by way of my books and almost everything else I do these days, is to try to help people to do that.
Daily Bell: Where is your book for sale and what are you doing to market it?
Larken Rose: All of my books are available at my web site, LarkenRose.com, and on Amazon.com. Having been robbed blind by the parasite class, I can't really afford a marketing campaign so mostly it happens by word of mouth. A few of my YouTube videos get spread around from person to person, and people who read my books suggest them to other people.
The challenge for me is that I'm trying to share a truth with people that most people, to begin with, don't really want. Twenty years ago, I would have found the ideas uncomfortable and existentially disturbing. It really is a sort of deprogramming process and if people don't think they've been programmed, if they don't think they still have any irrational superstitions in their heads, it's hard to get them to pay attention. It's like asking someone to undergo major surgery when he doesn't even think there's anything wrong with him.
But then, after someone escapes the delusion and gets an "authoritarianismectomy" as it were and sees reality as it is, they want to show it to others. So the cycle starts over. It's often a slow and psychologically uncomfortable process, questioning some fundamental assumptions we've always held, but nobody ever goes back after understanding this.
Daily Bell: We've come to believe in directed history, that the elites create "stories" for people to believe in regarding wars, government and money. What's your take?
Larken Rose: Wasn't it Edmund Burke who said that people never give up their freedom except when they're under some delusion? A tyrant who tells the truth fails miserably. If someone running for office was hones, and said, "I want to be elected so I can swipe your money and boss you around," who would vote for him?
Politics is all about lying, making up things so the people think it's a good thing, or at least a tolerable thing, to let someone else control their lives. All wars are based on lies, from both sets of tyrants. All fiat currencies are lies. And the lie which underlies all of it, all the attempts to subjugate human beings, is the lie that there can be such a thing as a legitimate, useful ruling class, as if mass extortion and violent repression can ever be a good thing for humanity.
Most of history has been people either demanding, or at least tolerating, widespread injustice and aggression, in response to the deceptions and manipulations of megalomaniacs. That will stop only when the big lie, the lie called government, falls apart in the minds of the victimized. If and when people stop believing the lies of those who want to rule the world, then and only then will we see real freedom and peace.
Daily Bell: If a country runs a central bank do they need taxes, too?
Larken Rose: Well, not for revenue. They need taxes to control people and redistribute wealth. That's the reason there is an income tax, and the reason the politicians will never willingly give it up.
Most people have a hard time comprehending the motivation of tyrants. Mere dishonesty and selfishness is not the problem. A common crook just wants to be rich. If those in Congress were common crooks, and just stole a billion dollars each, we'd be infinitely more free than we are now. That's not their goal.
Their goal is dominion, the subjugation and enslavement of everyone else. In short, they really do hate humanity, because the idea of other people being able to run their own lives is, to a politician, the most horrible thing he can imagine. That's why they start unnecessary wars, impose unnecessary taxes, write unnecessary laws and so on. Ironically, in a sense, George Bush was absolutely right. There are people out to destroy us because they hate the idea of us being free. But it's not Arabs in caves in the Middle East. It's the politicians right here.
Daily Bell: Are you an Austrian as well as a libertarian? Do you define yourself that way? Are you a fan of Ludwig von Mises, for instance?
Larken Rose: Well, I sometimes joke about that label, the Austrian School of Economics. I know why it's called that but it makes it sound like only Austrians can grasp cause and effect because that's really what we're talking about. I love how Mises and Hayek explain all the variations and factors in great detail but the foundation is pretty obvious to anyone who dares to think about it.
As I've said before, I think a five-year-old with a lemonade stand understands more about economics than Keynes did. It's nice to have those thorough, precise treatises on the intricacy of economic reality but it's almost sad that it was even necessary since so much of it should be self-evident.
Daily Bell: Is there a power elite that controls central banking? We think there is.
Larken Rose: It's always hilarious to me that anyone still doubts that the banking system is a conspiratorial scam. What do they think, that it just happened this way by accident? Of course, it's a very old, very organized scheme designed to enslave the world. That sounds so dramatic that people don't want to hear it or believe it but the evidence is available for all to see. All the gruesome details can be fascinating but I'm just talking about the uncontested basics. A bunch of crooks fabricate money out of thin air, by the trillions. They then lend that made-up money to governments and others the world over, making it so the whole world is indebted to people who produced nothing of value.
The guy who works his butt off to pay his mortgage every month, so he can give a thousand or two or three to a banking cartel that just made up the money in the first place − how is that guy not the slave of the banks? They produced nothing, committed fraud and now the guy really and truly thinks that he has a moral obligation, month after month, to surrender his time and effort to the worthless parasites who run the banking system. Multiply that by a hundred million and that's the current U.S. of A.
To think that was not the result of a malicious, intentional conspiracy is ridiculous. Sorry if I'm rambling on but as you can tell, the mass enslavement of mankind sort of bothers me.
Larken Rose: Again, the parasites themselves keep admitting it so I don't know why the term "New World Order" makes people think of some wacky, made-up conspiracy theory. It's just tyrants and crooks getting better organized, cooperating in the enslavement of mankind instead of competing with each other. Frankly, I think that's already been the case for many decades.
I think most, if not all, of the international conflict has been a show, put on to scare the peasantry on both sides. The US tyrants and the Soviet tyrants both got a lot of mileage out of their Cold War propaganda, each saying that they, those in power, needed lots more money and power, so they could protect their people against the other power, the bad guy on the other side of the world. Sadly, it seems that both sets of peasants believed it.
With the exception of an occasional third-world puppet who doesn't do as he is told by his masters, I think a New World Order is what we've already had for many years but the puppet show of competing powers continues to keep the slaves scared and stupid.
Daily Bell: Why is the US involved in so many wars? Does it have something to do with creating global government?
Larken Rose: Tyrants need their subjects to be scared so the tyrants can keep pretending to be protectors. If people weren't scared of anything − economic, military, environmental, whatever − why would anyone need government for anything?
Like every other gang of tyrants, the American control freaks always have to have some enemy, whether real, exaggerated, or made up, to scare the people with. Communism worked well as a boogeyman until the Soviet Union fell over and went splat. Then it was scary Middle Eastern terrorists but that's starting to get old. Who knows what bogus threat the tyrants will try next? Malicious Martians? Somehow, I wouldn't be surprised.
You can't have blind nationalism and loyalty to the state without an external enemy, real or imaginary. That's why, as long as people believe in government war will never, ever, ever end.
Daily Bell: Have these elites purposefully crashed the US and world economy? Do they want to? And why?
Larken Rose: Actually, I think this one is out of their control. I think the Great Depression, which may soon need a new name, was orchestrated and planned, and worked out quite well for the tyrants. And I'm certainly not saying they would hesitate for a moment to cause widespread suffering to serve their own power, but in this case, I see signs that I think indicate that this is not going the way they planned. Maybe they planned for another depression, but this one is not going to go their way.
If a tyrant can crash things pretty badly, but not completely, then he can scare the people into demanding an authoritarian government fix to the problem, as happened after the Great Depression. But if the game crashes completely, the tyrants themselves are in deep doo-doo. This collapse, deliberate or not, is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for people who want freedom to break away from the parasite class forever.
If this was on purpose, the tyrants are going to regret it. In fact, I suspect they already do, if you look at how panicked they are, trying to take a flying leap toward totalitarianism, as millions of proverbial boiled frogs are starting to wake up. With all that's happening, I don't see people demanding a new Stalin; I see them at least demanding Ron Paul, and maybe even demanding real freedom. That is not the response the tyrants were hoping for.
Daily Bell: Are they following the old adage, "out of chaos ... order?"
Larken Rose: They're probably trying to but actually, from this chaos will come more spontaneous, civilized order than authoritarian control. The tricks that worked before just won't work this time. Those poor tyrants. War-mongering just hasn't worked as well since Vietnam, when even a lot of soldiers were forced to see the insanity of it all. The parasites have milked 9-11 for all it was worth, but even that wore off relatively quickly. Will they try even nastier things? Almost certainly. But in the end, I think the evil empire will never rise again.
Daily Bell: Is taxes part of their toolkit? Do they use taxes as a way to take income away from people so they don't have the time or wherewithal to investigate the larger manipulations taking place?
Larken Rose: Certainly. The intelligent tyrant − evil, but intelligent − works his slaves hard enough that they don't have the time or resources to attempt actual freedom but not so hard that they have nothing to lose by running away or attacking the master. But once again, I think the tyrants miscalculated this time. A story just came out about the growing tax gap, the difference between what the tyrants say the human livestock owe and what they're actually handing over. And it will only keep growing as things get worse. The parasites are beginning to lose their grip.
Daily Bell: Why are you standing up for your beliefs this way? And why did you investigate the tax system? Is it something in your background?
Larken Rose: To me, the whole income tax thing was like a puzzle because that's what it is. Completely aside from the whole philosophical issue and the lunacy of thinking that one group can have the right to continually rob another group, the federal income tax laws themselves are one big word puzzle. When I started to look into various unorthodox claims about the income tax, most of which turned out to be bogus, I ended up following a trail of clues. The fact that trillions of dollars were involved made it more interesting, but I think I really kept digging just because I thought, "This is a puzzle, a deception, that someone made hoping that no one would figure it out so I'm going to."
Now, I'm not the only one, or the first one, to find this stuff out but I took it as a personal challenge to decipher the fraud on my own. And I did. Unfortunately, most people don't seem to care that they're being defrauded and can't even entertain the possibility. So even though I have comprehensive proof of the biggest financial fraud in history, I hardly ever talk about it anymore.
Daily Bell: Tell us what's been motivating you to protest the way things are.
Larken Rose: I don't like evil. It's not much more complicated than that. I don't like it when some people attack, or assault, or rob, or defraud, or enslave other people. Some people seem to think that if they're relatively comfortable and relatively free, they should just keep quiet and go with the flow. Really? So you're paying for bombs that are blowing up civilians on the other side of the world but you still have a nice house so it's all okay? You're quietly allowing the suppression, oppression, extortion and imprisonment of millions of non-violent human beings but you still have a car and money in the bank so it's okay?
I'm really glad that, throughout human history there have been some people who didn't just mind their own business but decided, when they heard of someone else being victimized, to make it their own business to right the wrong. All of the freedom and prosperity we have today is because of those people, the people who caused trouble, swam against the tide and decided that tyranny-lite just isn't good enough.
Daily Bell: You're a musician, too. Do you intend to make your living that way one day?
Larken Rose: Yeah, if not for the giant leech stuck to the side of the world, if not for the mass extortion and other state violence going on, I'd love to be doing music full-time. There are a lot of things, music being a big one, that I'd rather be doing than fighting against tyranny. Unfortunately, the tyrants of the world don't seem keen on taking a break from oppression to let me do other stuff.
Daily Bell: How is your family and your wife?
Larken Rose: Well, being a full-time enemy of the state has its drawbacks. The federal parasites have done a pretty thorough job of financially destroying us. But other than that, we still have each other and our health and our integrity. Tessa and I are proud that we raised our daughter to be a thinking, responsible human being instead of a subservient subject for the control freaks to program and control. So overall, we're doing pretty well. We're thankful that, so far, we still live in a place where bad-mouthing the megalomaniacs in power doesn't get you killed. Well, most of the time it doesn't.
Daily Bell: How would you characterize the Internet as regards your research? Would you have been able to formulate your theories without it?
Larken Rose: One of the reasons I think the income tax fraud lasted so long is because hardly anyone had the time, or desire, to rummage through law books, and that's if they even knew where to find them. There's no way I would have found what I did without the internet. I wouldn't have known there was anything to look for, and if I did, I wouldn't have known where to look, and if I did, it would have taken many more years to put it all together. Having this much information so easily accessible has made a huge difference.
Even something as simple as a word search allows us to do things that were impossible a few years back. Want to know every section of regulations that mention a certain code section? Twenty years ago, you could have spent literally the rest of your life going through it, a section at a time, trying to find them all. Now you do a five-second text search. So yes, that drastically changed the playing field.
Daily Bell: Are we in a new era because of the Internet? We call what's going on right now the Internet Reformation. We are optimistic about what people are learning as regards their society and the manipulations they've been subject to as well. What's your take?
Larken Rose: It wasn't very long ago that the only ideas that most people were ever exposed to came from the state-worshiping puppets known as the mainstream media. If all you ever hear is collectivist authoritarianism, how would you even know that there could be anything else? How many people would bother to rummage around in the philosophy section of their local library? Who needs it? The talking heads on the TV seem nice and seem educated so let's just believe them, believe that what they tell us must be the truth and believe that their values and priorities must be the right ones.
Well, the internet has broken that particular mind-control mechanism for good. This interview, for example. Would I know who you are, would you know who I am, and would any of those getting this interview have known about either of us, if not for the internet? Yeah, maybe there would be four or five nonconformists secretly holding a meeting in someone's basement every other Thursday, but the ability to spread ideas now has just exploded, far beyond what the parasite class will be able to control, ever again.
Daily Bell: What are you doing now for funds? Is it tough to have a prison record in the US while trying to find employment – entrepreneurially or otherwise?
Larken Rose: Well, so far, having been a political prisoner − having a prison record − hasn't made any difference. Being in a cage for a year and being robbed blind by the IRS and the courts, of course, didn't help our finances any. But at the moment I'd have to admit that we're more restricted by my own stubborn principles. For example, not only don't I accept stolen property so we don't accept any government handouts, but I really don't want to just get some normal job which is going to include feeding the beast. To a certain extent, I'd rather be poor and not funding the war-mongering and collectivist garbage going on than to be rich while helping to fund the destruction of humanity. More specifically, I'm determined to make a living by doing things to demolish the cult of statism. And right now, that's what I'm doing, getting by mainly on book sales and donations from people who support all the talks, articles, videos and so on that I do for free.
Daily Bell: OK. Let's discuss taxes a little more if you don't mind. You went to jail for protesting American taxes, did you not? If that is not an accurate description, then how would you characterize it?
Larken Rose: Well, to get nit-picky, I wasn't protesting taxes at all. I went to prison for loudly pointing out that the federal income tax laws don't say what people assume they say, and that the law itself does not tax the income of the average American. While I totally respect people who object or refuse to pay on moral or philosophical grounds, that's just not at all what my case was about. My case was about what the parasite's own laws actually say. The sort of shorthand name of the issue is the 861 evidence, because it relates to Section 861 of the Internal Revenue Code and the related regulations.
Daily Bell: Tell us more about Section 861 of the Internal Revenue Code and how you discovered it.
Larken Rose: Again, I was not the first to discover the 861 evidence. Years ago, I had started hearing about all sorts of claims about the income tax and had looked into a lot of them, always ending up concluding that people were missing things, misreading things, taking things out of context and sometimes just making stuff up. When I first heard of the 861 evidence, I expected a similar outcome. I thought it would be another case of wishful thinking and bad reading comprehension.
But this time, digging into it, thinking I would end up proving it wrong, I found more and more evidence supporting the claim that the income tax, to over-simplify a bit, was actually a tax on international trade, not a tax on all Americans. And yes, I know how silly that sounds, and it sounded that silly to me many years ago. But as it turned out, almost a hundred years of tax statutes and regulations not only prove that silly-sounding claim to be completely true but also show a prolonged, deliberate attempt to cover up the very limited nature of the tax.
Now, I don't expect anyone to take my word for it. If anyone did just believe it because I said so, I would have serious doubts about their intelligence. But my findings can all be found for free in my "Taxable Income" report and other places. Getting into a big technical explanation is a great way to ruin any interview so for now I'll just leave it at that. For those who want the whole story, go to LarkenRose.com, go to the Media section, and download my free "Taxable Income" report.
Daily Bell: You were confident going into your trial that you would make a convincing argument. What happened?
Larken Rose: I did make a convincing argument. Any rational person who observed the trial − and many did − knew that I won, hands down. The trouble is none of the sheep in the jury box seemed to notice. I'm not kidding. The whole case was about whether I believed my income to be taxable. The judge correctly instructed the jury that if I believed I didn't owe the tax I couldn't be guilty of any willful tax crime even if my conclusions happened to be incorrect. And during the trial, the prosecutors, the judge, the exhibits they presented and the witnesses they called all agreed that I believe that my income is not subject to the federal income tax.
Now, the second prosecutor, the one pretending to be a judge, cheated his butt off to limit what I could present. In short, he declared that I had to demonstrate what I believed without showing the jury anything I had ever said or written about the issue before. No, I'm not kidding. My web sites, my written report, all the zillions of letters to the IRS, the audio recordings of my meetings with the IRS, my "Theft By Deception" video, the judge declared that I couldn't show the jury any of it because it was hearsay. Think of the fundamental lunacy of that. It's like me saying to you, "Prove to me what you believe about religion but you have to prove what you believe without showing me anything you've ever said or written on the subject." It's completely insane, and that's what the judge did.
Nonetheless, I still managed to show various sections of the law, showing why I believe what I believe, until the judge interrupted and interfered with that, too, because it was making too much sense. Now, make no mistake. I never expected the government or their puppet on the bench to give me a fair trial. My only hope was that a supposedly randomly selected jury of common folk would have enough brains to see what was going on. Apparently they didn't.
Daily Bell: Can anyone with your kind of views expect a fair hearing in US tax court?
Larken Rose: Not a prayer. If you bring up a subject they don't want to discuss, even if it's completely based on what their own law books say, they'll say "frivolous," tell you to shut up and then rob you extra for having dared to question conventional wisdom. If anyone thinks that's an exaggeration, try it. If nothing else, my case pretty thoroughly documented that all the rhetoric about due process, having your day in court, rule of law, that all of that is a lie, a show they put on for the masses, so the people can imagine the government to be something other than a gang of thugs and thieves. Try annoying those in power and you'll see just how quickly silly things like truth, justice and even the government's own laws get thrown out the window.
Daily Bell: If you had it to do over again, how would you handle what you considered your discovery about 861?
Larken Rose: Hard to say. I might just publicize my findings while still paying off the government protection racket. Or I might have done what I did again. Keep in mind, if one person on my jury had had a brain they would have said "Not guilty," which would have been devastating to the federal extortion racket. And others have managed to get juries with a brain or two on them, Joe Banister, Tommy Cryer, Vernice Kuglin, to name a few. It's pretty much the luck of the draw.
And what I said all along was that, win or lose, I was going to show the federal thieves for what they are. I would be open and honest, following their laws and procedures and they would lie, cheat and steal. I did, and they did. Soon I hope to have an e-book version of my book Kicking the Dragon available, which tells the whole ridiculous story, up to and including my mock trial. I challenge anyone to read that and end up seeing the IRS and the courts as anything other than a giant federal Mafia − to use Irwin Schiff's term.
Daily Bell: Do you have any comment on Irwin Schiff, who is in jail for not paying taxes and for claiming that the federal government tax levies are unconstitutional?
Larken Rose: I think what the feds have done to Mr. Schiff is just plain evil, almost amounting to murder, not to mention blatant censorship. Now, I think some of Mr. Schiff's legal conclusions are flawed but unlike the feds, I'm not about to rob or cage someone for having a belief I disagree with. I've never seen any indication that Mr. Schiff doesn't believe what he says, and to ban books and cage people for saying what they believe, that's just evil. And that's what those in power consider a debate. We say words and present evidence, and they threaten, rob and cage us. Sounds fair, huh? I think the fascists who did what they did to Mr. Schiff should go play in traffic, with blindfolds on.
Daily Bell: You once said, according to Slate, "The (US tax code) regulations say that only income from specific types of commerce, all of which have some kind of connection to international commerce or federal possessions, are taxable." Why would this be so?
Larken Rose: The short answer is that, under the Constitution, the federal government doesn't have jurisdiction over commerce happening within one of the 50 states but they do have jurisdiction over commerce with foreign nations. And they can't expand their jurisdiction in order to control things not otherwise under their power just by calling it a tax. That's oversimplifying a bit, but anyone who wants the whole explanation can find it in my complete "Taxable Income" report, free at LarkenRose.com.
I would add that discussing what Congress can tax is less important than looking at what they did tax. The official federal income tax regulations, since before my parents were born, have always shown that income from certain international trade is subject to the tax, but the income of an American working in one of the 50 states is not. Again, I won't waste time here getting into the details of the issue. Anyone can go read my report, and get all the details you want. The point is, I'm not saying the tax is unconstitutional. It's not. Because of the limits on federal power described in the Constitution, Congress had to, and did, enact an income tax that is very restricted in its actual application.
Daily Bell: Slate called you a "folk lawyer" in a 2003 article and said your interpretations of tax law "bubbled up without any encouragement from the legal professions." Comment?
Larken Rose: I wouldn't really complain about that description. People have come to think of the law as some magical, mystical thing which can only be understood by lawyers and judges, so not only do they automatically poo-poo conclusions from people like me, people who don't have lots of impressive initials after their names, but they won't even believe their own eyes when you put the law itself right in front of them. To be blunt, I've found that neither CPAs nor tax attorneys know much of anything about tax law, except maybe how certain deductions or expenses are treated or how to use some procedural rule to make your bottom line a little bit less unpleasant. When it comes to understanding the big picture, they know nothing.
Let me give one example. For many, many years the federal income tax regulations said, plain as day, that in addition to the types of income which the tax code itself specifically excludes from taxation, there are other types of income which are exempt − which are not taxable, you're not supposed to report them on a return, you're not supposed to pay taxes on them − because such income is, "under the Constitution, not taxable by the federal government."
Ask any tax professional, any IRS agent, any federal judge and they will confidently declare that all income is subject to the tax unless a particular section of the tax code says it isn't. And they are all absolutely dead wrong, as demonstrated by almost a hundred years of the government's own official tax regulations. But when I show the regulations to people they just can't process it. They can't imagine that the highly paid tax lawyers wouldn't know about it if it were true. Literally, most people don't believe their own eyes when self-described experts disagree. Literally, I have never met an attorney or CPA who knew the regulations ever said that, except for a few who already reached the same conclusion I did. And this is one example of dozens I could give.
So you have a bunch of so-called experts who are ignorant of even the basics, and a couple hundred million common folk who cough up their hard-earned cash, year after year, based on the false assertions and baseless rumors of the ignoramuses who pretend to be experts on tax law.
Daily Bell: You apparently don't believe in theories that place people in a special category following a 1930's US bankruptcy. The idea that people's name are placed in upper case letters in official documents has no credibility for you. Can you elaborate?
Larken Rose: There are a zillion theories out there about the federal income tax and many of them I looked into before I ever heard about the 861 evidence. A lot of theories sound interesting but when you ask for what it's based on, there's a great big nothing. For example, people make an issue about whether someone's name is printed in all capital letters, claiming that that's not a reference to the actual person, but a reference to a legal fiction, made up by the government, trying to trick you into thinking they mean you when really they're doing a tricky bait-and-switch to make you agree to pay something you don't owe and agree to be under their jurisdiction. My response to that is the same as my response to a lot of claims: Sounds interesting, but what is it based on? Where in the law is there any hint that writing something in all capitals makes any difference? Mostly the responses I get are big, long, elaborate assertions about how the deception works but nothing at all from the law. It's a little like someone saying, "When you wear shoes when you walk into their courtroom, you're agreeing to be in their jurisdiction. If you just walk in wearing socks, they have no power over you!" Really? Who says? When someone can show me something in the law books supporting such claims, I'll pay attention. So far, all I've seen are assertions followed by more elaborate assertions.
Daily Bell: Where does the alternative tax movement stand now? There seems to be less publicity about it. Is that because the economy is so lousy? Or are we wrong?
Larken Rose: I think maybe those pushing alternatives to the income tax, as if we need an alternative method for mass robbery, are starting to realize that it will never happen. Politicians like to talk about doing away with the IRS if they think it will trick you into voting for them. Never in a billion years will they do it. The tax code is there to give the politicians the power of control over a zillion different decisions people make, and to give an excuse for their mercenaries to stick their noses in everyone's finances. A national sales tax wouldn't give them that, nor would a flat tax. Hell will freeze over before Congress repeals the income tax. However, when the people wise up, they'll realize they don't need Congress to repeal it. If all the slaves stop serving the master, it doesn't much matter what the master's rule book says.
Daily Bell: Any other points you want to make?
Larken Rose: So many people are out there, righteously pointing fingers at some other party, some other candidate, some other ideology, and a lot of times they're right to do so. But I would encourage everyone, between screaming about how the other guy is advocating things that will ruin the world, to take a while to carefully and objectively examine what your own belief system is based upon. The problem is that most people, even most people who consider themselves zealous advocates of liberty, continue to echo and promote assumptions and beliefs that are the exact opposite of freedom and justice.
That's what The Most Dangerous Superstition is all about. Almost everyone − left, right, whatever − is unwittingly cheering for the subjugation and enslavement of their fellow man, by way of political action. I did it for years, without knowing it, when I was a conservative Republican. There is plenty of ridiculous stuff going on in the world that is worth being against and complaining about but I think few people are really clear on what exactly they're pushing for. And that really does matter. Most tyrants have come to power as a result of people's righteous indignation against some other injustice. And all the while, almost no one advocates actual liberty or true justice.
All of politics is about trying to get your beliefs and values forced on everyone else via government. And how well has that worked so far? Voting and politics does not lead to peace, freedom or justice. Ever. So I dare people to reconsider some of their most basic assumptions and beliefs because the fact of the matter is most good, honorable people still advocate widespread evil and oppression, without even noticing.
Daily Bell: Any books or reading material you want to point to?
Larken Rose: Well, to be somewhat self-serving, I think anyone who cares about justice and freedom really should read The Most Dangerous Superstition for the reason I was just talking about. The reader may find that for all of his good intentions, noble motives and righteous virtues, he's still accidentally assisting in the subjugation of mankind. Most of the evil that has occurred throughout history was the result of basically good, well-intentioned people who had been tricked into believing in the myth of authority. That is still true today, and will keep being true until people dare to re-examine their entire view of reality.
Of course, there are a zillion things worth reading out there, but these days I'm literally begging people to read The Most Dangerous Superstition, in particular because − not to be melodramatic − but I think the future of mankind pretty much depends upon people understanding, and then giving up, the superstition of authority.
Daily Bell: Anything you regret? Anything you are especially proud of?
Larken Rose: Well, I'm not thrilled about what my family has had to go through as a result of my wife and I telling the truth. Standing up for what's right is almost always hazardous. I just wish I had found a way to do things without my family having to suffer so much for it, though I'm not sure how I would have done that. As for what I'm proud of, my favorite thing in the world is to hear someone tell me that I helped them escape the cult of statism. And I've been hearing that a lot recently. Whenever I can lend a hand to help someone reclaim ownership of themselves and break the mental chains that were put on all of us, then I feel like it's worth doing what I do.
Daily Bell: Thanks for the update. Good luck.
The Daily Bell
Larken Rose has already gone to jail over not paying US income taxes. He is now making his living as much as he can by preaching his beliefs about a free society and how to create one. In this interview, Rose points out that obtaining much of his information about the income tax was facilitated by research on the Internet. And much of his current activities are facilitated by the Internet.
This is obviously one reason why the powers-that-be have begun attacking the Internet so aggressively of late. First there were US legislative efforts SOPA and PIPA that would have used copyright claims to make it possible to shut down myriad websites without due process.
Now, apparently, there is a treaty known as ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) that according to Forbes, InfoWars and the American Dream website could be even worse when it comes to controlling the Internet. Here's an excerpt from an American Dream article on the subject:
ACTA was quietly signed by Barack Obama back on October 1st, 2011 and most Americans have never even heard of it. But it could mean the end of the Internet as we know it. This new treaty gives foreign governments and copyright owners incredibly broad powers.
If you are alleged to have violated a copyright, your website can be shut down without a trial and police may even show up at your door to take you to prison. It doesn’t even have to be someone in the United States that is accusing you. It could just be a foreign government or a copyright owner halfway across the world that alleges that you have violated a copyright.
It doesn’t matter. So far, the U.S., the EU and seven other nations have signed on to ACTA, and the number of participants is expected to continue to grow. The “powers that be” are obsessed with getting Internet censorship one way or another. The open and free Internet that you and I have been enjoying for all these years is about to change, and not for the better.
So how come the U.S. Senate never voted on ACTA? Doesn’t the U.S. Constitution mandate that all treaties must be approved by a two-thirds vote in the Senate? Of course it does. But Barack Obama has gotten around this by calling ACTA an “executive agreement”, which is a load of crap.
Some, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), have questioned the decision’s constitutionality. “It may be possible for the U.S. to implement ACTA or any other trade agreement, once validly entered, without legislation if the agreement requires no change in U.S. law,” wrote Wyden in October of last year. “But regardless of whether the agreement requires changes in U.S. law, the executive branch lacks constitutional authority to enter a binding international agreement covering issues delegated by the Constitution to Congress’ authority, absent congressional approval.”
We are sure that Larken Rose will raise his voice to make people aware of ACTA and the unconstitutional manner in which Barack Obama has involved the United States in its support. It doesn't sound as if Obama's signing document is legal, but one thing we've learned is that the elite pressure and legal activities seem inversely related. The more pressure the elites come under under, the more elastic the "law" seems to get. Hopefully, in this case, a "snap-back" will occur.