Friday, April 13, 2007

Reaching the Die-Hards

As you know from yesterday's entry, tomorrow I'll be doing a radio "debate" on the topic of whether the law actually requires Americans to pay income tax. I have no great qualms that I'll be able to "win" this debate among the listeners who are, shall we say, even remotely rational. But let's imagine that I really want to reach out to the die-hard tax protestor crowd -- the kind of people who send me e-mails like these. These people believe that the IRS is engaged in a massive conspiracy to deceive the American public into believing they have to pay income taxes when really, legally, they don't. Which arguments, if any, might have a chance of reaching these people? Here are some possibilities:

1. My opponent just got out of prison, where he was serving time for not paying his income taxes. If there's no law that requires people to pay income taxes, what was he doing in prison?

2. I understand that people don't trust the government, including the IRS. And that's good -- some distrust of government is healthy in a democratic society. But you have to understand that we have a system of checks and balances. There are other groups that check the IRS and make sure it's telling the truth. These groups include judges, law professors, and private lawyers. And they all agree! It's not just the IRS that says you have to pay taxes. It's all the judges, all the law professors, and just about all the private lawyers. Each of these groups would have a big incentive to expose the IRS if it were lying about this. So when you see that they all agree, you can trust in that.

3. My opponent makes money peddling his anti-tax arguments over the Internet [I think this is true -- tomorrow's my opportunity to find out for sure]. Shouldn't you direct some of your distrust toward people who have a financial interest in the outcome?

Those are my best ideas for now. Of course, another important point is just showing people the law that requires them to pay income taxes. But that's too long for the radio and the die-hards seem curiously resistant to that anyway.

Any other ideas? Comments welcome.

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