Recently by Charles Adams: Polygamy II: The Good, the Bad, and theDilemma
ANNOUNCER: This is the Lew Rockwell Show.
ROCKWELL: For this terrible day, here’s a classic speech by Charles Adams on Tax Resistance, Then and Now. By the way, Charles is author of many important papers and books but I want to highly recommend his book that we sell as Mises.org, called For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization. A wonderful book. And a wonderful speech, thanks to Charles Adams.
ADAMS: Speaking for the attorneys in the tax business, you know, every time Congress comes up with a horrible new tax law, we have a saying among the profession, we call it “the tax lawyer’s full employment act.”
And really that’s true. Every time that they do things, and we go off and we re-do them, we’re always like 10 or 15 years ahead of them.
But I got interested in history many years ago. In fact, that was sort of my love in college, at university, but I didn’t think I could make a living at it so I ended up — and I think wisely so — I ended up in the tax field and worked in it for many years. And because of my love of history and my experiences in the tax world, I was able to look at the history of the world in a little different light. And to me, because I saw the power that taxes were in the lives of people, I said, and it was pretty obvious, that this has got to be a great power in the direction of civilization. And I think that it proved to be true. I kind of had a theory that behind all the great events of history, there was a tax story. And sure enough, there was a tax story. And one of the greatest sources of tax stories is the Bible. Now, most of you may have been educated in the Bible, and I was, too, but I didn’t realize that the Bible is just chuck full of tax stories.
And one of my favorites — and I think it is as alive today as it ever was. And if I was to think of a motto for Libertarianism, I think I would select a statement from the book of Judges. Now, to let you know where this statement came from is that you remember the children of Israel and how Moses led them out of Egypt and how they settled in what was Palestine? And in the so-called Promised Land, they divided up the territories and so each of the 12 tribes got their own little territory. And for a period of about 400 years, they were ruled by judges. And in the last of the book of Judges, it says, “There were no kings in Israel and every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Think about that. No kings in Israel. There was no big government and every man did that which was right in his own eyes. I think that would be a wonderful logo if I were to think of one for the concept of liberty and freedom.
But what happened there, at the end, how they got out of the judges is that the children of Israel decided that they wanted a king. And the prophet, Samuel, who was also one of the great judges, he enquired of the Lord — so we read in the Old Testament — and he was told that God did not want them to have a king. Well, that wasn’t good enough.
Normally, you would think that would be good enough, you know, if the Lord said it, but that wasn’t good enough.
The children of Israel, they still wanted a king. And I think we would translate that, they wanted big government, because a king was big government.
So that didn’t work. So the prophet, Samuel, saved his best argument to last. You normally do that, whether you’re a lawyer preaching a case or whoever you might be, you save your best argument to last. And his argument was, OK, the Lord doesn’t want you to have a king, but if you have king, you’re going to be taxed. You’re going to be taxed in your vineyards. You’re going to be taxed in your orchards. You’ll be taxed in your fields. And you’ll be taxed in your flocks. Your young men will leave home and go work for the king. Even your daughters will go work for the king. And they still wanted a king, and so the Lord said, oh, let them have it.
And, of course, that started off the kingships of Israel. And the one thing the Bible doesn’t tell us about is that by the time they went down to the third king, which was Solomon, you had ruthless tax collection, ruthless tax collection. And when Solomon died, his son — and, of course, he had a thousand wives. You know, that always fascinated me.
No. What really fascinated me is in the Song of Solomon, which — and in Proverbs, which are somewhat attributed to him, he mentioned that for all these wives he had, he couldn’t find a good one in the whole lot.
Now, if you had a thousand wives, you realize it would take you three years to make the rounds at one night apiece?
How in the world did he say there wasn’t a good one in the lot? He never had enough exposure to know if he had a good one.
Well, he died.
Now, yes, that was probably the reason.
Anyway, his son was taking over and so while they were divided up into these 12 territories, they kind of had a central Washington, D.C., but it wasn’t quite like ours. And the elders of Israel would meet there and deal with common problems. And so they invited his son to come, who was going to become the new king, and they wanted to know what his tax policy was going to be. And they counseled him to be gentle. You know, sort of like George Bush, wise and gentle. And he said —
You remember, he said something about the government is going to be nice to you in my next term.
But anyway, they counseled Solomon’s son, you know, to take it easy, that the old man had been kind of tough on everybody. So he said he’d think about it for three days. And so in three days, they assembled back and, OK, what’s the answer? And he said, well, he said, you know, my father used to collect taxes with whips. And this is the first indication we have of what life was under Solomon’s tax system. He said, but I’m going to collect taxes with scorpions. Now a scorpion is a whip that has a metal barb on the end that rips your flesh. You know, and you thought the IRS was bad.
Anyway, he then went backed off and he brought out Solomon’s chief tax collector and he said, talk to these guys. Well, they stoned him to death right on the spot.
I don’t know if he got much out at the time. So the Bible then tells us that he got in his chariot and he fled to the house or the temple his father had built, and the elders of Israel said that no son of David will ever rule over us. And that became the separation in the Old Testament of the division of the kingdom, the kingdom of Judah, which was very small, ruled by the sons of David, and the other 11 tribes that had the king of Israel.
So we read these wonderful stories in the Bible and sometimes we don’t realize that they’re tax stories. And there’s tax stories everywhere. In fact, there’s hardly anything that doesn’t have a tax basis to it.
And I think that most of us are angry about taxes. I noticed that I was. Maybe that’s why I ended up in the profession. But if you think you were angry about taxes, you ought to see how your ancestors were. I mean, you guys are a bunch of softies. You have no idea how tough your ancestors were. And I don’t care whether if you’re French — now, let’s take the French Revolution for example. We all know they chopped off the head of Louis XVI and they chopped off the head of his queen. She said, “Let them eat cake,” you know, the various stories that you hear. What most people don’t know is that the revolutionaries were so angry, they took the whole tax bureau and they hauled them down to the guillotine and they cut all their heads off.
And they did such a thorough job that when Napoleon became emperor, he didn’t have anybody to run the tax system.
And that’s the reason why he lost the war!
In fact, I remember there was one very great scientist of this period — it’s a long complicated French name — but he still is recognized as in every encyclopedia. And he didn’t have a lot of money and so he moonlighted as a tax collector. Of course, his name was on the list as a tax collector, but it was only part time. They hauled him before the revolutionary tribunal and he explained to them that he was a great scientist and all the things he had done and all the things he could do for the republic. The verdict was simple: The republic has no need for geniuses.
And they cut his head off.
Now, that was the French Revolution. The American Revolution, we all know it was a great tax revolt. It was a remarkable tax revolt. And I think that you have to get the feeling of how these people felt about taxes. And the man who was often considered the great voice of the revolution — I want to read a little statement that Thomas Paine said. He defined taxes. Now, Thomas Paine wrote these little pamphlets. And George Washington thought they were so good that he had them printed and distributed at winter quarters. And one of them was called Common Sense. And Common Sense says that, “Government at best is a necessary evil; at worst, it’s an intolerable one.” And this is what George Washington and this is what our founders were fighting for.
Now, here’s the way that Thomas Paine defined taxes. He called them, “The greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry.” That’s taxes.
So if you think you feel angry about taxes, this was the philosophy upon which this country was founded. It was an anti-tax. There was an anti-tax aspect of the American character that lived on for well over 100 years. And you know, I suspect that that anti-tax aspect of our character is reemerging now?
I really think it is. I think it’s reemerging now.
But 100 years later — let me read you a little quote from Brooks Adams. Now Brooks Adams was the son of Charles Francis Adams who was the son of John Quincy Adams who was the son of John Adams. So this was the great Massachusetts political family. And if you look up in most any encyclopedia, you’ll find Brooks Adams. He was a very, very brilliant historian, so he was very respected.
In the Atlantic magazine, which we still have with us today, in 1878, Brooks Adams said, “All taxation is an evil, but heavy taxation is the greatest curse that can inflict a people.”
Now, if the Atlantic magazine wrote that today, they’d get a call from the White House. They’d get a call from the Commission of Internal Revenue. And they’d get a call from a dozen congressmen. How can you say, being a very respectable magazine, a periodical, that all taxation is an evil? But that is the way the American people believed 100 years ago. And they genuinely believed it. Today? Today, I think that rebellious character is reemerging.
About 50 years ago, the chief counsel for the Internal Revenue Service was a fellow by the name of Robert Jackson. And Robert Jackson became a Supreme Court justice, and he wrote about the honesty of the American people in paying their income taxes. He said that the number of people that actually didn’t pay the full amount was very infinitesimal, that we should be so proud of this character of obedience to our tax laws. And you know, he may have been right. And about 10 or 15 years later, the commissioner, who was Sheldon Cohen, he said the same thing: Americans are such wonderful, obedient, honorable, honest taxpayers, a credit to our character.
Well, let’s consider what some other people have said recently. Richard Neely, who is the chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court, he wrote an article a few years ago in which he said, “Cheating on the income tax is all pervasive in all classes in American society, except —
— except among the compulsively honest.” You know, the neurotics.
“Cheating occurs in direct proportion to the opportunity.”
Now, you know, that’s true. We have changed. Not, we’ve become bad; we’ve become rebellious. Not that we become evil; we become mad.
And I just bought this little book that David Brinkley just came out with. You maybe have seen the one that — Everyone Is Entitled to My Opinion. Here’s what David Brinkley said, “The American people as taxpayers have begun in wholesale numbers to cheat out of resentment of a tax system that they think is unfair, too complicated and wasteful of their money. The so-called underground economy is growing rapidly. People working for cash only; reporting nothing, paying nothing.”
Now what is the answer to this? Cracking down. The IRS cracks down. The IRS. Nobody’s ever thought that maybe the answer to that is to get rid of the lousy tax system. Maybe the reason that people aren’t paying their taxes is because, as their ancestors rebelled and went to war and fought battles and died, because they didn’t like the lousy tax system, and yet our government seems to think that the solution is to bring in a state that is reminiscent of the worst dictatorial states that we’ve had in this century.
Now, let’s go back to how we got this lousy tax system, the dirty, rotten income tax. We should have said dirty, rotten income tax. We know it came by a constitutional amendment and the amendment was adopted in 1913. And immediately, there was a tax law introduced. I like to think of the generation of Americans who gave us the income tax as a generation of idiots.
During that 10 year period that the income tax came, look at all the other stupid things that our leaders did. They gave us the Federal Reserve System the next year. They got us in World War I two years after that. And according to Wilson, we got in that war to make the world safe for democracy. Now, if you believe that, you’ll believe the moon’s a piece of green cheese. We didn’t get in it to make the world safe for democracy. We were a bunch of damn fools to get in that war. We upset the balance of power in Europe, as you knew. We created a wasteland in which some guy like Hitler could come to power. And the thing we did worst of all, we exacted tribute from Germany, the same as the Romans did and the Babylonians did and the Assyrians and the Egyptians did. And we destroyed certainly this budding democracy that was in Germany. And that set the stage for World War II. That was what we did.
But the worst — well, I can’t say — the tax was the worst. The last thing we did, the fourth dumb thing of this blundering generation was that we were going to make the world — after we had done all of these wonderful, stupid things, we were going to make the world free from sin.
Now, everybody knew that sin was caused by John Barley Corn, and all we had to do was prohibit the introduction into your body of John Barley Corn and all of the world’s and all of America’s problems would disappear. The Millennium would come. So we had Prohibition. That was the final act of folly of this generation of idiots. And we know what Prohibition was. My dad tells me he had a flask on the back of his hip and everybody had a flask and there were speakeasies and my grandfather was making bathtub gin and — (laughing) — all the stories. Maybe yours were, too, if you check.
ROCKWELL: Let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back.
ADAMS: I would say, if I was to personify history, and maybe add to her, add to him — well, let’s say history — we’ll picture him as an old guy with some beard but very wise. And his right-hand aide is a woman and she’s the Goddess of Liberty. And I think that if they had been on the scene in 1913, they would have said to the Americans, “No, no, you damn fools, don’t you know what history teaches about an income tax? How can you be so dumb as to put this in place and put it on your children and your grandchildren? How could you do this”?
And you know what this reminds me of? The children of Israel under Samuel. You know, we want an income tax. You know, we want a big government. And even God had probably said — if God had appeared in 1913 and told the American people not to have an income tax, I think they would have had it anyway.
Now, why would they have it? Because the income tax was to be class legislation against the rich. Only the rich were going to pay the income tax, the top 2 percent. Now, do you remember the top 2 percent a few years ago? You remember when Clinton said he was going to — in this new tax, only the top 2 percent were going to pay. Exactly 100 years before, that was the argument.
Well, as it turned out — (laughing) — as you know, it brought to truth a Russian proverb, a parable that — my wife’s a Russian. She’s always quoting these things. And one of their proverbs is that, “Do not dig a ditch for your neighbor to fall into, lest you fall in yourself.” And that’s exactly what happened with the income tax. We ignored the founders. We ignored 3,000, 4,000 years of history. And we dug the ditch for the rich. And they were going to pick up the whole tab and they were going to pay for the federal government, and the farmers and the workers and the middle class would get a free ride on the rich. So, why not? Why not repudiate the Constitution? Why not give the Congress the power to tax at will because it isn’t going to be on us? We’re not going to have to pay it.
And that reminds me of a recorded speech in the United States House of Representatives during the Civil War period. And they were debating taxes. And one of the congressmen said, well, the tax is like a boil that a man had on the end of his nose. And he kept complaining about the boil on the end of his nose. And one of his friends, his buddy, he got tired of hearing about it. He said, well, where else would you rather have it?
And you know what the answer was? I’d rather have it on some other guy’s back.
And that is 5,000 years of tax history in one little, funny story. Because that is the way taxes were assessed and developed and abused throughout 5,000 years of history.
And Madison saw this and he wrote about in what we call the Federalist Number 10. And these are a group of bits of propaganda to try and get the Constitution adopted. I use the word “propaganda,” but they’re wonderfully written. They’re beautiful. It really demonstrates the intellectual capacity of the American people that he could publish these things and they could read them and they could understand them and they could vote for them. And he said that the greatest defect in the democracy is that the inferior number will be taxed by the superior number, and that every shilling that they put off on the other guy is a shilling saved in their own pocket. And there’s a story. When you tax, you always want to put the burden on somebody else. And that’s 5,000 years of human history.
But then he goes on and he says, I think, the most profound comment made by any of the founders, at least my favorite. He said, “You may argue that wise men will adjust all these conflicting interests.” In other words, they’ll make the Internal Revenue Code. He says, “Wise men will not always be at the helm.” That’s been our problem: Wise men have not always been at the helm. As a matter of fact, we have hardly ever had any wise men.
Well, and to kind of reinforce that, let me tell you about Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens, you know, he’ll be alive with Shakespeare. He’s is one — you go to the book store, you’ll see a shelf this long of his books today. And you know, he was such a marvelous writer. But he came to America and he traveled and he saw the country and he saw slavery and he went to Richmond and then he went home. And then he wrote an article about America. And this is dead serious. He said, “There’s a fatal flaw in the American federal system of government, and that flaw is the way in which they elect and perpetuate the president.” He said, they get stuck with some guy for four years who is a real third-stringer and they can’t do anything about it, and he brings in his cronies and they milk the federal treasury and you’re stuck with them. He said, under the British system, we get somebody like that, we get rid of them. And he says, and what has happened — and he’s writing now in 1861. He said, what’s happened is that the great leaders that should lead America are not there anymore. He said there are no more Jeffersons. There’s no more Monroes. You know, there’s no more Madisons or Adams or Washingtons. You’ve got Polks and Tylers and Buchanans, and these were flunkies. And you know, if you look at the presidents after that period, it’s like nothing but flunkies. And he said, “The system, for some reason, does not choose great men but brings to the top unknowns who have little really going for them and little really quality of greatness.” Now, this is what Charles Dickens wrote in 1861. And I think it’s consistent with what Madison said, that wise men will not always be at the helm.
Now, let’s look back to our analogy of this wise old historian, who is telling the people about the income tax, “No, no, you dummies; don’t do it.” Look back into history. You can go all the way back to the Greeks. And the Greeks were the first people that achieved civilization without despotism. They were the first people that understood how you could have a civilized and free society without having an abusive government. And they saw Babylon and they say Syria and they saw Egypt, and these all were totalitarian states. And what was the reason that civilization couldn’t be achieved with freedom? The reason was the tax system. All of these despotic governments had direct forms of taxes. And the Greeks did not have direct taxes. And so the direct taxes produce tyranny. And that was a great thesis.
So if I was a historian talking to the American people in 1913, I’d say, this is a direct tax and your founders were well aware of it and they put in the Constitution some restrictions on direct tax. Taxes had to be apportioned among the states by population. And that was a terrific control to prevent direct taxes from being destructive of society.
And Montesquieu, who was the great sage of the Enlightenment, he said, “Direct taxes produce slavery.” And the founders knew this. And I read all the debates in all of the states on the ratification of the Constitution. I’ve read Madison’s notes. There isn’t one word ever in favor of direct taxation, except in the event of national emergency when there was nothing else to do to save the country. And that was Cicero. Cicero, the great Roman, said that, “I times past,” he said, “our ancestors, our fathers had direct taxes because of wars.” But then Cicero said, “But we should never let that happen to us. And if any people — ” It didn’t just include the Romans. “If any people find it necessary to have direct taxation, they should only do so if there’s no alternative other than complete national collapse.” Now, that was the Romans.
But the Roman tax story is probably the greatest source of wisdom we have about taxes. Because a couple hundred years later, the Romans had direct taxes, and like most people, the Romans weren’t paying. And so the Emperor Diocletian called in his great rage, and he said, you know, we’ve got a tremendous problem of tax evasion out here — you know, sort of like David Brinkley — and what are we going to do about it? And he said, well, the people get on the tax rolls and then they disappear and then we can’t find them. Well, Diocletian said, that’s easy, we will simply order that every Roman stay where he is, stay in the city he’s in, stay in the job he’s in. If he’s a cobbler that makes shoes, he will make shoes; his sons will make shoes and his sons will marry shoemaker’s daughters. And they enslaved the Roman world to collect taxes. And they set the stage for the destruction of Rome and the collapse of Rome. But it took 175 years before Rome finally fell apart. And one great historian said that, “Diocletian saved Rome but he never asked, was it worth saving to make a vast prison for scores of millions of men.”
So here’s Rome that once believed in liberty and freedom. They said that freedom is valued above all things, that liberty is something upon which no price can be put. And to show how much they believed in liberty, they created the Goddess of Liberty. And you see her all the time. You see her in New York Harbor, the Statute of Liberty, given to us by the French, but an idea and a concept from the Romans, and it was based on the taxes. And Diocletian destroyed that. And the Roman temples disappeared that had the goddess in them.
Now, when you look at your coins, did you ever wonder whatever became of the Goddess of Liberty? Did you know that she was on all your coins 40 years ago? She was on your gold coins; she was on your dollar; she was on your 50 cents; she was on your quarters; she was on your dimes. You know, you’ve gotten rid of her. Now you’ve got presidents. Some of them are really loonies, too.
But — see a Looney happens to be the name of a Canadian dollar.
Is that significant that we have gotten rid of the Goddess of Liberty? I think it is. I think it’s just as significant as when the Romans got rid of the Goddess of Liberty. Now, we’re worshipping presidents. Shouldn’t we really put her back on our coins?
I don’t think we should. You know why? Because those coins were silver and gold. Our coins are junk metal. I wouldn't want to insult the Goddess of Liberty by having her on one of our coins today. So that, I think, is the lesson we learned from the Romans.
If we come up to the 19th century, our wise old historian now is going to sit there and talk to the American people. He’s going to say, well, who invented the income tax? Well, the British invented the modern income tax. And they invented it as the tax to beat Napoleon. And they beat Napoleon. And when the war was over, the House of Commons assembled. And the legislation was that the tax would end when the war was ended. So the crown made a motion to extend the tax. And the British Parliament rejected it; voted it out overwhelmingly. The speaker that was against the tax said this would become a herald of an all-embracing tyranny. And they voted the tax down. And according to the historical record, there was the loudest, most tumultuous roar in the House of Commons that had ever been heard in 500 years. I wonder, if we abolish the income tax, if our Congress would have such a tumultuous roar.
And then the motion was made to destroy the records, and that passed. And they ordered the Chancellor of the Exchequer to burn all the income tax records. And so these big, huge bonfires; and they brought in the records; and he even stoked the fire. And that would be like the finish of Internal Revenue. And did you know he had the arrogance to have a duplicated copy of all those records buried away in the basement of the Exchequer Court, which were discovered years and years later? And yet, Parliament had ordered the total destruction because they didn’t want the tax ever reintroduced. And you know the old saying, “Dead men tell no tales”? Well, burned tax records tell no tales either.
Now, that’s not advice. It’s —
Many years ago, I had a client; he said he managed to have a fire every few years.
That’s not good tax planning.
But the whole generation of Britain under that income tax had to die away before it could be reintroduced. And then it was reintroduced by Sir Robert Peel. And instead of it being the tax — you know, the progressive tax at some stages and then sometimes a flat 10 percent. Sir Robert Peel says, well, you know, we’ve got a few problems. This is 1843. Well, we want to have a tiny, itty-bitty income tax and this little itty-bitty income tax will be 3 percent and it’ll be for three years. And you know they still have it? Three years later, they extended it. Three years later, they extended it. Gladstone came in and he extended it for seven years. But Gladstone said it’s a terrible tax; it’s inequitable; it produces frauds; and it produces terrible inquisitions on the people; but we’ll extend it for seven years, and we’ll get three, two, one and out. Never went three, two one and out — (laughing). It went three, three, three and forever. And of course, the rates went up.
So you had the British experience. But another experience that you have, and the one that’s always fascinated me, is the German experience. The Germans introduced an income tax in the latter part of the 19th century. And the maximum rate was 8 percent. And that particular tax kind of shocked the world because of the audit. And when the debates came for the income tax in America in 1911, a famous professor, named Edmund Sullivan (?), wrote a book called The Income Tax. And it’s a brilliant book. It’s a marvelous study. The only thing that exceeds its brilliance is its stupidity in predictions, because it predicted that what happened in Germany would never happen in America; that the German people are frightened by the government and by their tax ministry, and the tax ministry gets away with its audit. But it will never happen in America. America would never stand for it.
You know, one of the German legislators said the country is covered with a perfect system of espionage. And you know, we have a perfect system of — in fact, a double perfect system of espionage.
And when the French adopted the income tax, which, surely by the time we did, the French prime minister, he said to the National Assembly, don’t worry, what happened in Germany will never happen in France. We wouldn’t tolerate what happened in Germany to happen in France. And it was simply an audit. All you do is the taxpayers were summoned to come in with their books and records and go over it with the tax bureau. That was this horrible system that was in Germany that would never happen in America and would never happen in France.
But history, you see, should have taught that to the American people, in 1913, that you could have what happened in Britain; you could have what happened in France; you could have what happened in the ancient world. Every single rational thing was screaming at America, no, no, you damn fool, don’t adopt an income tax.
And so we’ve adopted it. And we’ve got it. And now we try to enforce it. And we try to reinforce it. We try to enforce it with information returns. You can hardly go to the bathroom without somebody sending you an information return. President Clinton couldn’t get a lady as attorney general because she had kids, because she had babysitters and she didn’t file a return. So what did you get? An old maid with no kids. That’s the easy way out.
Well, suppose you’re a little lazy and the high school sophomore comes down, mows your lawn on Saturday afternoon; got to file six forms for him. So what do you do? You buy one of these fancy motor jobs and you do it yourself. It isn’t worth the trouble to file all the tax returns. We photograph everything that goes through your bank account. No nation in the world does that.
The only hope we have is something that Ulysses Grant said, the president. He said, “The best way to get rid of a bad law is to strictly enforce it.” Well, we’re strictly enforcing it and we’re getting a tremendous amount of evasion. And maybe we will get rid of it.
You know, Chairman Bill Archer, he invited me to speak to the House Ways and Means Committee about getting rid of the income tax. And I had a wonderful time. And I told the story about the British House of Commons yelling and screaming, and he said, “Boy, that was really interesting.”
You know, he said, “I’ve got to read that guy’s book.” Well, I hope he did.
But whether or not we’ll get rid of it, I don’t know. I’m inclined to not be as optimistic as some people are.
I’ll tell you a little story about — a personal story in the family, and kind of leave you with this. My wife was a Russian. She was a little girl and was trapped in the German zone. And during the war, she was shipped into a labor camp when she was 12 and was in that labor camp in Germany. And she was lucky she was freed in the American zone. It’s a fascinating story. She got on the train to go back to Russia because the Russians came in with the trains to gather up all of the Russians that had been shipped to Germany. And an old Russian lady, what we call a babushka, she said, young lady, she said, you get off this train. She said, you don’t want to go back. They’ll say you were a trader for working for the Germans, even though you’re only 12. And that’s true. That’s what they did. And so she got off the train and she hid. In fact, there were a bunch of G.I.s there and she ran over and got in the middle of the G.I.s, and they sheltered her and the Russians couldn’t get to her, so she eventually went to a D.P. camp. You know, that was ridiculous. And so she eventually ended up over here. And I was lucky enough to have married her.
She never saw her mother again. Her mother died. And I took her back in 1970 to see her father who she hadn’t seen since 1941. Because she was separated from her mother and father in the summer of 1941 when Hitler invaded, so she got trapped there, so she was all by herself, 12 years old. So she had quite a life.
But he was a smart old guy. And he’d been an engineer. And he made a wisecrack about Stalin and he ended up three years in a prison for saying something derogatory about Stalin. And he got out. He said he’d say it again if he had to.
He was a tough old bird. But he told me something in 1971 and I totally dismissed it. He said Communism will not last in Russia; it won’t last until the end of the century. He said, “I won’t live to see it end but you will.” “It won’t last, it won’t last,” he kept saying. Well, I figured, from my experience of going into Russia, it’d be there for a thousand years. You know, Hitler was going to be thousands, so these guys could at least make it. And then when the Soviet Union fell apart, my wife reminded me of what he said: It won’t last to the end of the century.
And there are some interesting scholarly articles written, why didn’t we know? Where’s all our Ph.D.s and our Sovietologists in the Department of State and in the CIA? How come nobody knew it was going to collapse? Well, the Russian people knew it was going to collapse, because I don’t think he was expressing an odd idea. The Russians were just waiting for the old guard to die out. They were just waiting for the opportunity to break out of Communism.
And maybe I think that’s the way it’s going to be with us. Maybe the liberals are going to have to die. You know, maybe we’re going to have to get rid of all these Socialist-thinking ideas and these totalitarian-thinking ideas. And when that happens, then the income tax will die at the same time. Anyway, that’s our hope of the future.
ANNOUNCER: You’ve been listening to the Lew Rockwell Show, produced by LewRockwell.com, the best-read Libertarian website in the world. Thanks for listening.
ROCKWELL: Well, thanks so much for listening to the Lew Rockwell Show today. Take a look at all the podcasts. There have been hundreds of them. There’s a link on the upper right-hand corner of the LRC front page. Thank you.
Attorney Charles Adams (send him mail) is the author of When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession, and Those Dirty Rotten Taxes: The Tax Revolts That Built America.