I have been a staunch advocate of alternative tax systems since shortly after graduating HS in 1971. A family friend and business associate of my Dad had been feeding me books since I was 12 or 13. There were several racy novels by Harold Robbins, “The Adventurers,” “A Stone for Danny Fisher“, “79 Park Avenue”, “The Dream Merchants”, “Stiletto”, “The Carpetbaggers”, and “The Inheritors.”
Our friend, David Parr, was not merely feeding a pubescent teenager with novels full of lurid fantasies and adventures. Somehow, this childless divorcee, by 1971 a confirmed bachelor in his late forties, saw something in me he wanted to cultivate. A process I was to learn more of in later years referred to as the “Johnny Appleseed Plan.”
He would review each book with me, either in person or by letters sent from the road as he traveled America as a salesman of everything from hearing aids and life insurance, to Sears aluminum siding. He would reveal the characters for who they really were in the real world, and point me to biographies and autobiographies to learn more about them, and how portions of the novels depicted actions of the characters not better known to the public.
From “The Adventurers”, the main character was named “Dax Xenos”, a Central American boy orphaned in a bloody coup d’état, grown to be an international playboy, who in real life was the notorious philanderer, Porfirio Rubirosa, a diplomat of the Dominican Republic & sycophant of the ruthless dictator Rafael Trujillo. Among his spouses were two of the richest women in the world, Doris Duke and Barbara Hutton.
Other characters in Robbins’ novels were in fact Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.; JFK; IKE; Jean Paul Getty; John Pierpont Morgan; Barbara Hutton, heiress to the retail tycoon Frank Winfield Woolworth, and Liliane Henriette Charlotte Schueller, heiress to Eugène Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal.
I learned a lot about the “Captains of Industry,” a term I learned from Robbins’ novel “The Carpetbaggers.” These included; the Rockefellers’ and Standard Oil; the Warburg banking dynasty of Europe, from which came Paul Warburg, the architect of “The Federal Reserve System”; Cecil Rhodes and the De Beers diamond cartel; the Hughes Tool Company and the myriad companies that sprang from it; Friedrich Krupp AG, the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, producing steel, ammunition and armaments.
To whet my appetite for more information about the people who had shaped the past and those shaping today and tomorrow, he pointed me to obscure titles in the library by Cicero, John Locke, Adam Smith, and of course, The Federalist Papers.
To round out my reading experience he also offered W. Clement Stone “Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude”, Napoleon Hill “Think and Grow Rich”, and of course, Dale Carnegie “How To Win Friends and Influence People”.
He had me read “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” again. Only this time, read it with an awareness of the socio-economic and racial context of that period, in contrast to when the Civil Rights Act became law.
This truly mind-expanding experience opened my eyes to the fact that “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This book not only revealed facts that supported suspicions I had about our government in general, but also named many responsible for acts that are treason as defined by the Constitution.
As I delved deeper into the formation of the United States of America and began to understand how our government is supposed to operate, in contrast to how it DID operate, really got my dander up.
Reading about World & American history from books by authors the Clark County, Nevada School District would have not approved of, captured my attention in ways my teachers could only have dreamed. Learning about the origins and history of money, banking, and what “fractional reserve banking” meant were fascinating. Discovering what, why and how “laissez-faire”, or “free market” economics mean in relationship to the liberties, freedoms and right to possess personal property intended by the Founders, amazed me that these ideas were rooted in ideas written about years before the Declaration of Independence.
For an excellent, but very short read about the history of money, see Prof. Murray Rothbards’ “The Case Against the FED.” Professor Rothbard was a Senior Fellow at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. Further reading about our Founders views on debt, taxes, currency, and central bank systems, led me understand just how corrupt our government had become and the degree to which the American people had become enslaved by it.
At one point I bought AND read my own annotated & indexed copy of the 1986 Tax Code (it makes a nice booster seat for 2-yr. olds, BTW) purchased from and autographed by Irwin Schiff, a prominent figure in the tax protester movement.
Until the late 90’s my resentment, angst and frustration resulting from futile attempts to enlighten those around me and spur them to at least look, read, and pay attention, if not actually DO something, kept me angry almost constantly.
For my own health and sanity, as well as my wife and kids, I finally stopped what felt like a one-man crusade to teach CIVICS to 200 million Americans over the age of 21.
However, I did NOT stop trying to change the system. I have always written letters to sympathetic ears in D.C., and scathing letters to the scoundrels. I have bought many a copy of books like Neal Boortz and others to share with folks with what promised to be fertile minds.
The proliferation of talk radio was a great help with disseminating the message of fiscal responsibility, sound currency, and prudent governance. What a boon the expansion of the WWW has been to further that effort.
With the overwhelming number and quality of information sources, one would think the task a piece of cake. Sadly, the possibility of success seems to be even less likely today, than when I had my first serious argument about this with my Dad, when I was 17 and he was 39. Nixon was about to succeed at removing gold from backing the dollar.
Today, we both clearly understand what my argument was, and what it wasn’t. It was not an “anti-dis-establishmentarianism,” anarchist hippie, juvenile rant.
However, that is what HE heard, and he felt I was disrespecting, if not Nixon who he supported, then the office of the Presidency itself, God, country, the Flag, Betsy Ross and Paul Revere!
I have been a tech geek all my life, ran my own BBS in the 80’s, got a CompuServe account as soon as they became available, and have used that media to great effect. I refuse to engage in character assassination or ad hominem attacks when countering opposing viewpoints. I know my arguments are sound, logical, reasonable, and supported by 100’s of years of scholarly writings, and our first 124 years of EXCEPTIONAL success.
I have learned my Kentuckian Uncle Clayton knew what he was talking about when he told me this, “David, next time you have the urge to school somebody, try this instead. Get two of those little American flags on a 10” stick, take them in the bathroom and sit down, and just wave the daylights out of them until your arms get tired. Then, just go on about your day. Because that is about as much impact as you’re having now. It wears you out and frustrates you, and the person you tried to influence is annoyed, not one bit more inclined to see your point, and goes away even more convinced he knows more than you.