We’re tied in knots about a lot of big government tyrannies like nationalization of the health care industry and student loans, nationalizing banking and automobile manufacturing, attempts to regulate CO2 emissions, obesity nannyism, socialist education programs, and massive new taxes. But like the weather, there’s little we can do directly and immediately to resist these big things.
But as government at all levels attempts to control more of our lives they do so by building bureaucracies. By their very nature these bureaucracies generate annoying little irritations and petty regulations. For example, when you go to the dentist or the doctor’s office you’re presented with a sheaf of small print paper having to do with your “medical privacy rights.” Now why I have to sign a form certifying that I have read about my privacy rights (when the doctor’s office maintains the information) — that’s a mystery to me. So I ask the receptionist what dire consequences will fall upon me if I refuse to sign? She says, I’ll just put down “refuses to sign” and attach the papers to your file. I have now struck a small blow against the jack boots of government tyranny.
The same goes for the census form. They can hound you to supply information you don’t consider a constitutional requirement, but short of water-boarding they can’t really force you to talk or fill in the form. There are penalties for supplying false information, but if you simply refuse to lift a pencil or talk, then what?
Martha Stuart and others learned a painful lesson. They were jailed for “lieing to the government.” The principle here is: Don’t ever, ever say anything to any government official. They can’t force you to say anything. They can and will use anything you do say to screw you, so shut your mouth. Omerta is the key.
The income tax code has become the main mechanism for government enforcement and thuggery. With health care mandates we will be expected to perform ever more involuntary servitude filling out government forms and being file clerks in our own lives. Save every receipt and tickie — that’s the way to avoid fines and possibly jail. As for me, I’ve simplified my life. I save nothing and still comply with the tax code by taking a standard deduction. When audited I simply conceded and paid but said nothing. It was far cheaper overall than spending my life as an unpaid government flunkie clerk. It may not work for everyone, but it will for many of us.
As a business owner during the heyday of the “energy crisis” and a related mania over “pollution controls” I was frequently pestered by demands that I fill out questionnaires about toxic runoff from my office parking lot (I didn’t have one) or fuel consumption by my fleet of vehicles (I didn’t have any) or workplace hazards from toxic chemicals I used to produce computer software. My policy was to completely ignore these pests. The questionnaires and demands went directly to the garbage can. I know that no government agency would take any more initiative than to send another request (which also was canned), and that the forms if returned would just end up in files somewhere, never to be seen again.
The moral of this story is that we can and should cease being intimidated into complying with petty, bureaucratic annoyances. If enough of us did this, it would send a true message to government that we’re not going to put up with the crap they dish out.
Even if non-compliance probably won’t slow down the bureaucracy’s dead-headed dishing out of annoyances, it does make one feel better.