Ed and Elaine Brown, middle-aged residents of Plainfield, New Hampshire who have never done any material harm to any living being, are being surrounded by heavily armed berserkers who will almost certainly kill them.
One unmistakable clue about the lethal intentions of the armed gang surrounding the Brown residence – a polyglot gathering of “heavily armed New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts State Police, a N.H. State Police Explosives Disposal Unit, state and regional SWAT teams” -- can be found in the vocabulary used to describe that dwelling.
Press accounts refer to the Brown home, a large but not prepossessing house, as a “fortress,” a “concrete castle,” or by some other expression worthy of the inaccessible secure location where Dick Cheney retires during daylight hours, lest his pallid, undead flesh spontaneously combust from exposure to pitiless daylight.
We can take it as an axiom that any residence targeted for a lethal government raid will be described in that fashion. The party targeted in the raid might live in a lean-to, a wikiup, a tar-paper shack, or a geographically displaced Central Asian yurt, but as soon as it falls under the gun-sights of government goons, that structure -- however flimsy -- is transformed into an “armed compound.”
In this case, the Browns – who have never committed a crime against persons or property, the only offenses over which government has moral jurisdiction – have been targeted for annihilation because they refuse to report for imprisonment. Their purported offense is to refuse to permit the Regime to steal from them the wealth they have earned through their peaceful, productive exertions.
Here is how the local media describes the “criminal” actions of the Browns:
“The Browns were convicted of plotting to hide their income to avoid paying federal income taxes on Elaine Brown's income of $1.9 million between 1996 and 2003. They also were convicted of using $215,890 in postal money orders, cashed in smaller amounts to avoid tax-reporting levels, to pay for their home and her dental office.”
This supposed crime is referred to as “tax evasion.” We learn everything we need to know about our political system from this fact: Helots who refuse to surrender their wealth to government are prosecuted as criminals; criminals in public office who plunder that wealth and spend it illegally cannot be prosecuted as “Constitution evaders.”
In sum and substance, the Browns are guilty of using money they lawfully earned to purchase goods and services honestly rendered. There is no crime here. Yes, there are violations of “laws” enacted by a criminal Regime that even now is engaged in the armed robbery of Iraq, and plotting nuclear aggression against Iran. But the Browns have done nothing to injure anybody – including the federal government, which exnihilates fiat “money” as needed and doesn't require tax revenue to sustain its malignant enterprises.
This is not to say that no crimes have been committed in the confrontation between the Browns and their federal persecutors. On June 7, an armed gang seized Elaine Brown's dental office in Lebanon. Brandishing firearms in the course of theft is aggravated armed robbery, and has been prosecuted as such in New Hampshire. Were it still a state worthy of its motto, New Hampshire would file and prosecute those charges against the knuckle-dragging cretins who invaded Dr. Brown's office, and the effete bureaucratic crooks who sent them there.
But, as noted earlier, the Feds have worse things in mind for the Browns than armed robbery. Were it not for a chance encounter between Danny Riley -- a house guest who was out for a stroll with his dog on June 7 -- and a knot of camouflaged Federal hit-men, the deadly deed would likely have been done already. Riley was shot at and tasered by a "Special Operations Unit" of the U.S. Marshals Service.
“We have no intention of assaulting the house,” lied Stephen Monier, a U.S. Marhsal in New Hampshire, even as his comrades cut off telephone service, Internet access, and electricity to the Borwns' home. This is a form of escalation, a military tactic that worked so well in bringing about the peaceful, bloodless end to the 1993 siege at Waco and last December's stand-off in Maryland that ended with the needless death of troubled veteran Jaime Dean.
For the benefit of Hannitization victims and others deprived of sophisticated mental functions: My last comment was intended to be sarcastic.
Whatever else happens as a result of the escalating ugliness in New Hampshire, the educable public should learn at least one useful lesson from the conspicuous involvement of so many State and local police units in the siege: We no longer have State and local police, but rather State and local affiliates of a unitary, militarized Homeland Security Leviathan.
Remember this: When the ATF, and then the FBI, attacked the Branch Davidian congregation in 1993 (the pretext then, as now, was tax evasion – specifically David Koresh's supposed failure to pay various firearms fees), the local Sheriff, Jack Harwell, attempted (albeit too timidly) to interpose himself in the interests of a peaceful solution. The Feds had other plans, of course.
Today, rather than seeing themselves as representatives of local communities, even in conflicts of this sort, most (not all, but most) police are indecently eager to treat such stand-offs as public works projects – sources of lucrative overtime and an excuse to swan about in paramilitary drag and play with all the bitchin' toys they've gotten from the Pentagon.
Despite all of this, I hope and pray that the Browns are not killed. But this situation displays all of the symptoms of something that will end very badly indeed.
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Thanks for bringing more attention to this situation. I agree with you, this seems like it is only going to end tragically. It's important for people who are skeptical that all government power rests on the use of force to understand that sometimes principled people do stand their ground and pay the consequences with their lives-- that this isn't some "debating trick" as I am often accused of committing when I try to point this stuff out to people.
I do have one question, and I ask it respectfully-- if you believe the government is acting wrong in this situation, why do you believe it is right for the government to collect any taxes (and therefore to exist)? Are you resting your opinion solely on whether or not the Constitution dictates the legality of the action in question?
I'm sure you're aware of Spooner and other arguments against the rightful authority of the Constitution. I know from your other writings (such as on V for Vendetta) that you believe respect for the law is important, but I should think that that respect should be conditional on the rightness of the law, and that law isn't necessarily a phenomenon of government nor is the forceful violation of peoples' rights a prerequisite for the existence of law.
I appreciate your take on just about everything, but it is topics/posts like this that I feel highlight the hypocrisy and logical indefensibility (is that a word?) of the minarchist libertarian position.
Also, your link to the "1993 siege at Waco" is actually another link to the definition for "Wikiup."
You might want to fix that lest someone get extremely confused with what a small tent-like structure has to do with the Federal wholesale slaughter of innocent, peaceful individuals. :)
(By the way, a friend informed me last night that the Feds were just trying to save the people inside at Waco from killing themselves. That's what happened, right?!)
Taylor -- thanks, first of all, for catching the bad link. That's the sort of error I find creeping in when I'm updating this blog in the wee hours of the morning (my work schedule is erratic on account of our five young children and the constantly shifting population of visiting friends they bring in their train).
I've been re-reading and reconsidering Lysander Spooner; his writings are delicious and his conclusions quite digestible, but I'm going to roll them over on my palate a while before deciding whether to swallow them.
I support the Constitution on what could be called Burkean grounds; that is, given the realities of human nature there must be some restraint -- institutionalized, rooted in culture, and nourished through constant instruction -- against the fatal accumulation of power in the hands of an ambitious elite.
That approach never works for long, and it's clearly failing in our country, but I'm at a loss to identify an approach that would afford even the ephemeral liberties we've enjoyed as Americans.
On the specific matter of taxation, I have to admit candidly that I cannot see a moral basis for it as applied to others. Each of us individually can consent to be taxed, but it's impossible for one to "consent" on the part of another.
I'm of the view that the only function of law is to address mala in se -- crimes that are wrong in and of themselves, meaning offenses against persons and property. As a Christian I believe (along with Blackstone) that the law forbidding offenses of that kind pre-existed any government.
A government limited exclusively to that role would be so small and unobtrusive that it wouldn't NEED to devour the wealth of the citizenry.
My thinking on these matters is always subject to reform and revision -- where policy is concerned, of course; my principles are non-negotiable.
Thanks for your thoughtful answer. I wish you the best of luck in your "palate-rolling" adventures, and I hope that whatever conclusions you reach or revisions you make, you will share them with us, your dear readers.
In the meantime, I should say that from my observation, if you are truly committed to your principles and won't budge on them, then you are already an anarchist, voluntaryist... call it whatever you want, even if you are too ashamed to admit it to yourself just yet. That's fine, it was hard for me to admit it to myself and be comfortable with it at first, also, but one day I just decided, "Damnit, this is what I stand for and this is what is right and whether it will "work" or not or whether people call me a crazy or whatever, I am not going to be ashamed to tell others that I don't think I have a right to lay claim to them or their property and they don't have a right to lay claim to me or mine."
It just hasn't ever made sense to me no matter how I look at it otherwise, because if I am willing to "compromise" on the principle of not using violence against peaceful people for my preferred reason/policy X, I am inviting any and every other arbitrary exercise of that kind of power for any other person or persons' reason/policy Y.
Either right and wrong exist absolutely and it is always wrong to use force against peaceful people who have done you no harm, or right and wrong do not exist and humans are just like any other animal in the jungle whose actions are not scrutable with an eye towards justice but simply ARE. Now I am trying to wrap my head around THAT one at this point, but in the meantime I will argue that right and wrong do exist, and in that case they must be absolute lest they be arbitrary.
"Evading", "Armed compound", "Resisting", "Fortress", whoa!... The verbal propaganda war is in full force. Look who is firing the first shots!
And if they didn't intend to "use" their automatic weapons then why show up with them? Hmm? Clearly, like so many times before, actions speak louder than words.
They say you can tell when a politician is telling a lie because his lips are moving... ditto with any governmental droid.
Oh, and another thing, take away their little steenkeen "badges" and you might as well have Blackwater mercenaries on patrol. Come to think of it... who says they aren't!
Will, if all I read was your blog and didn't have to worry about anyone but myself I'd probably go help that man in New Hampshire. Then again, their is a tension in our actions toward the government and our Christianity. I have a real problem with unjust powers and stupid laws, and sheeple. But Christians are not supposed to be rebels except in the most extreme of circumstances, I think. In the Bible, living free is infinitely less important than living a righteous and holy life. The tyrants, sadly will get whats coming to them. All the same, if our society fears God and respects man, freedom is the only way to go. So, keep up the good work. You and other liberty minded people make a difference.
I live in Plainfield NH, approximately one mile from the Brown's house. Although I don't know Ed and Elaine personally, I am familiar with the fact that he has been outspoken on this subject for many years and has also been the leader , for the past decade,of a well known local militia. Needless to say his outspoken attitude has made him a target for the feds for probably many years prior. Ed's ideas are interesting to say the least. I agree with many of the premises of his arguments, and I sort of admire his spirit. However, unfortunately, in interviews he can come across half baked and at times extremely contentious. The people( not all but quite a number) that gravitate towards his cause and house, unfortunately, are not all that stable. However all of this aside, I believe this entire situation has been a botch job from the very beginning. During the court proceedings, Ed, sans a lawyer wasn't allowed to present his case before the judge. Granted his arguments are novel yet this is still the USA and, consider me naive, I thought one was still allowed to present their case before a jury without the judge denying them that right. But alas I guess I was mistaken. So Ed skips court and he was tried and found guilty in abstentia. So in come the US Marshalls to get him. Unfortunately this too has been become a major !*&^%! up. They show up in our town at nine in the morning, without notifying any of our town's police or fire department personnel. Suddenly our town goes from peace to virtual lockdown. Residents within a quarter mile of the Brown's house are forced to leave their homes! State Police that I have never seen in our town before, driving dark weird looking cars, stop every one traveling on every road in town and armed with M16s proceed to question where you are going etc... It was very disturbing and absolutely uncalled for. Then just as quickly as they showed up they left, claiming all long it was just a recon mission and that they will one day be back. Needless to say the residents of this town are not really happy. Myself personally had not much sympathy for Ed Brown, yet after seeing the way the Feds aand the State Police conducted this swaggering botch job, I am more inclined to think that they should just leave the guy alone I have watched every interview with that Monier guy and I dont believe that guy is capable of telling the truth. In the beginning I actually believed he really did want this to end peaceably, yet in a recent interview, he unequivocally stated that the US Marshall service will not be defied. Hardly the words of someone who wants to see this end in peace. As a Christian I have recently been praying that this entire situation ends with no deaths involved. In an ideal world the federal government would just walk away. But all too often this never is the outcome.
"State Police that I have never seen in our town before, driving dark weird looking cars, stop every one traveling on every road in town and armed with M16s proceed to question where you are going etc... It was very disturbing and absolutely uncalled for."
That's most likely an embedded unit of Homeland Security doing an information sweep. 'Building a database," so to speak, of those specifically in support of the Browns. Remember how under Clinton, the Justice Dept. declared patriot/milita units to be the No. 1 terrorist threat facing the US government? Nothing has changed, other than the fact that most of the 90s patriot movement were compromised by moles. In fact, what are now called terrorist groups by the government's media (such as i'l Kidya) are nothing but COINTELPRO operatives. But the patriots are still the primary enemies of the System. And still the No. 1 target. That's what we're seeing in the reaction to the Browns.
Will, the problem is demonstrated by the meat in some of the previous comments. That is, that folk are to a large degree apathetic, not just in terms of politics, but just about everything in the society and culture. As long as a tentacle of Leviathan ain't thrashing ME over anything, I ain't too worried about it.
I think we're all apathetic to various degrees; I know I am to a certain degree. Nevertheless, I've already stated previously in your blog that an 8 x 10 cell (or death by unnatural means, perhaps) is probably in my future. IOW, why play with the IRS, when there'll be plenty of action reserved for those of us who will attempt to continue to practice Christianity, as it becomes increasingly illegitimate in a myriad of insiduous ways, in the current culture.
Our time is coming soon enough. It has to, otherwise we're just another subset of fearful, compliant, and thereby incognito cows in the herd. I don't want to be singled out myself unnecessarily, but I likewise cannot stand the thought of being nothing other than just another compliant cow in the societal herd following the new-era shepherd (government) to its collective slaughter.
Both ways lead to slaughter, just that the hardcore Christian's turn will no doubt occur first in this world. Things haven't really changed all that drastically since the 1st century. IOW, as Christianity is expunged from civilization barbarism takes its place.
Modern folk have this tendency to look upon antiquity and say something akin to, "We've come a long way. We are more 'civilized' and knowledgeable today than those ancients and are more 'enlightened.' Barbarism is a relic of the distant past."
Pure nonsense, of course. The increase in various forms of slavery (especially sex slavery these days) in post-Christian Europe and the Americas defy that argument. It clearly demonstrates a devolution of respect for women (and children for that matter). Then there's the young people who are products of the current culture in America who join LE and the military these days aptly demonstrate little to no compunction in killing others as if playin' a video game. And on and on...
After all, perhaps unlike you, Will, I believe that we've gone irrevocably beyond rolling back the social and cultural reconstruction that was germinating for decades but sprouted erstwhile wings in the '60s with the hippies and so-called "counter" culture movement. What was considered "radical" and strictly "counter" culture behavior and philosophies back then is now mainstream and contemporary culture or soon will be.
Unfortunately "America the Beautiful" is rapidly becoming "Amerika the Ugly," the "Home of the Greedy," "Land of the Celebrity-obsessed."
I might also add our town ( Plainfield,NH )is blessed to have a police chief who is very easy going and has a good understanding of what it means to be a "public servant". Quite honestly he and his corporal are the last people I could ever imagine playing dress up in SWAT gear. In light of this I guess it doesn't surprise me the Feds haven't shown much respect to our police department during this ordeal. Quite honestly it would be a great day if our chief would just kick these jerks right out of town. However, his personality isn't the type. All of this stands in stark contrast with the city of Lebanon,NH ,where the Brown's commercial property was expropriated. That police department is managed by a rabid anti- gunner. The police force is much like those who have received too many federal grants - edgy, belligerent and always presuming one guilty. When the show of federal force was unleashed in Lebanon, The Lebanon Police Department was front and center. Not surprising considering I could imagine any of their officers salivating at the chance to play Halloween in Darth Vader gear.
I'm very grateful for the anonymous comments from the resident near the Browns.
I've been giving much thought and prayer these days to what reasonable men might do even without a serious patriot streak, if they knew how deeply things were fixed against us all. In my Blogger post from yesterday, I note two issues from which one might reasonably conclude he can't possibly win unless he does become belligerent with the State agents. Ed Brown's case is just another reflection of this.
While the Browns may well be on the leading edge of resistance, thus an early lightening rod for oppression, even those of us who are waiting for a more personal attack should, as DixieDog describes, must make up their minds in advance their end will not be peaceful. That has already been decided by the collective will of the powers that be -- not us.
The sad part is, as another anonymous post suggests, whom do we trust? Preventive organization is downright dangerous, which is also in accord with the plans of our rulers. Without some unity, on a purely human level, we know we don't stand a chance. I'm praying for grace to discern a path through the various choices.
I'll deny Our Lord requires us to capitulate to this evil, at least in principle, but I'm not sure what level of resistance is appropriate. I have a partial picture for some contingencies, but don't yet have a full vision how I would lead. Yet I know, inevitably, I am called to do just that.
It was good to read an update on Will's views of the world. I find it wonderful his statement about taxes being, ah, morally debased! It's from that kind of thinking that people like Murray Rothbard began to advocate complete market anarchy.
I consider myself a market anarchist, though I'd be just as happy with an old-right style of government promoted by folks like Ron Paul. I think maybe it's impossible to have the ideal situation, but if you work toward that, you'll get something pretty good - like the Constitution, or a similar Confederacy.
Just wanted to let you know about a post I finished writing just now about the situation with Ed and Elaine Brown, inspired by some of the comments I read following a CNN.com/AP article about the situation.
More of a voluntaryist-type perspective on things.
Love to see your thoughts here or there:
Ed and Elaine Brown: A Freedom Case Study
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