Un­der­stand­ing Lib­erty

Mod­ern Day Amer­i­can Slav­ery

Serve Daily - - NEWS - By Casey Beres This col­umn orig­i­nally ap­peared in the De­cem­ber is­sue last year.

The Thir­teenth Amend­ment to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion states: “[n]ei­ther slav­ery nor in­vol­un­tary servi­tude, ex­cept as a pun­ish­ment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly con­victed, shall ex­ist within the United States.” This amend­ment, adopted in 1865, ended slav­ery, or in­vol­un­tary servi­tude in Amer­ica, the “land of the free” un­til 1913. In 1913, the Six­teenth Amend­ment was adopted and in ef­fect nul­li­fied the Thir­teenth Amend­ment by al­low­ing Congress to “have power to lay and col­lect taxes on in­comes, from what­ever source de­rived.” In­vol­un­tary servi­tude was once again brought back to Amer­ica, and over time it was ex­tended to more and more peo­ple as the tax was levied on more of the pop­u­la­tion’s in­come. No more could in­vol­un­tary servi­tude only be en­forced on some­one as pun­ish­ment for a crime one is duly con­victed of. Now, Congress could force Americans to work in­vol­un­tar­ily for the United States for how­ever long it wanted, sim­ply by levy­ing an in­come tax on them.

The reader might won­der how the in­come tax and slav­ery equate. Po­lit­i­cal philoso­pher Robert Noz­ick said it best: “[t]ax­a­tion of earn­ings from la­bor is on a par with forced la­bor. Seiz­ing the re­sults of some­one’s la­bor is equiv­a­lent to seiz­ing hours from him and di­rect­ing him to carry on var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties.” All in Amer­ica who pay an in­come tax are forced la­bor­ers, or slaves. This is be­cause we can­not live in this world with­out an in­come. Work­ing to earn an in­come to pay for our hous­ing, food, cloth­ing, and other ne­ces­si­ties of life is not only a nat­u­ral right of ours as hu­man be­ings, it’s also a ne­ces­sity of life. We must, in or­der to live, work and earn an in­come, giv­ing our la­bor in ex­change for mon­e­tary com­pen­sa­tion. We are forced by our hu­man­ity and ex­is­tence as hu­man be­ings to la­bor and earn an in­come so that we may pro­vide for our­selves. If we were de­nied the abil­ity to earn an in­come, we would cer­tainly die, or in the very least live a mis­er­able ex­is­tence liv­ing off of oth­ers. Luck­ily, we are not de­nied earn­ing an in­come, although reg­u­la­tory and li­cen­sure laws greatly hin­der do­ing so. But, gov­ern­ment does take part of our in­come, and thus we are in essence be­ing forced to work for that gov­ern­ment. An in­come tax is equiv­a­lent to work­ing a cer­tain per­cent­age of our time a year, vir­tu­ally for free for the gov­ern­ment. And this in­come tax is co­erced upon us by the threat of fines and/or jail time-by the bar­rel of a gun. We are in bondage to our neigh­bors who support the in­come tax and to the gov­ern­ment. Yes, mild slave masters they may be, for they al­low us to choose our tasks by let­ting us choose, for the most part, our type of em­ploy­ment and how much we wish to earn. But slave masters they still be, for they force us to la­bor for them, or for the na­tion, for a cer­tain por­tion of the year. And the way our fed­eral rev­enue is spent, we are also forced to la­bor for other na­tions to whom our coun­try is in debt. This is how we are en­slaved in mod­ern Amer­ica, and have been since 1913.

The Six­teenth Amend­ment doesn’t spec­ify a max­i­mum rate of tax­a­tion Congress can­not go above. This makes this amend­ment quite terrifying, for the le­gal po­ten­tial and frame­work for to­tal en­slave­ment is there and we are at the mercy of our masters in Congress on just how much of our in­come they will seize and force us to la­bor for the na­tion in­vol­un­tar­ily. It is a won­der this amend­ment passed at all!

What can be done? Fed­er­ally, prob­a­bly not much, at least not any time soon. How­ever, some­thing could be done in Utah; we could lessen Utah cit­i­zens’ part-time en­slave­ment to the state by abol­ish­ing Utah’s in­come tax. The Utah Con­sti­tu­tion, in Ar­ti­cle I, Sec­tion 7, says that “[n]o per­son shall be de­prived of life, lib­erty or prop­erty, with­out due process of law.” Ar­ti­cle I, Sec­tion 21 states that “[n]ei­ther slav­ery nor in­vol­un­tary servi­tude, ex­cept as a pun­ish­ment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly con­victed, shall ex­ist within this State.” If no court cases chal­leng­ing the Utah in­come tax based upon th­ese two pro­vi­sions in the Utah Con­sti­tu­tion ex­ist, then a per­haps such a case could be brought be­fore the state courts. But, if the Utah courts have al­ready de­clared the state in­come tax “con­sti­tu­tional,” then we would need an amend­ment to the Utah Con­sti­tu­tion out­law­ing for­ever the in­come tax, declar­ing it to be in­vol­un­tary servi­tude. To do this, one would have to con­tact his/ her rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the state leg­is­la­ture and en­cour­age them to in­tro­duce such an amend­ment. Also, as per Ar­ti­cle VI, Sec­tion 1, any Utah voter may ini­ti­ate leg­is­la­tion in the leg­is­la­ture call­ing for the abo­li­tion of the in­come tax. Both the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion and amend­ment would re­quire enough support from the peo­ple so that they could put pres­sure on their state legislators to pro­pose and support leg­is­la­tion and an amend­ment out­law­ing the in­come tax in ac­cor­dance with the Ar­ti­cle 1, Sec­tion 21 anti-slav­ery clause.

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