“Tell me what country I will die in. I will never go there.”
Men do not like to think about their inheritance. That’s because of the word “die.” This is why they delay writing a will. A will is like a road map to the border of the final country. “I will never go there.”
But they will, with or without the map. Everyone knows this, but almost everyone who has not been diagnosed with a fatal disease assumes that he has at least five more years to live. For 4.9 years, this assumption is incorrect.
Some men hire a lawyer to draw up a will for them (cheap or free). The lawyer names himself as the executor (retirement income).
Other men hire a lawyer to draw up a living trust or revocable trust ($2,000 for computerized boilerplate).
One way or another, someone will inherit. The capital will be used by someone else for his purposes.
Most men think that their children will extend their posthumous legacy. Why should they believe this? Because they never ask themselves these questions.
1. Do my children think the way I do?2. Why should they think the way I do?3. Do I think the way my father did?4. Do their spouses think the way I do?5. What is the evidence that they do?6. Are my children good with money?7. What is the evidence that they are?8. Are their spouses good with money?9. What is the evidence that they are?10. Will the money be worth anything?11. What is the evidence that it will be?
The government understands inheritance far better than most parents do. The government has determined that it will impose an inheritance tax.
Rich men hire lawyers to devise ways around the inheritance tax. Less rich men think they will beat the inheritance tax altogether. That is for rich men to worry about, they think. They are wrong. So are the rich men.
THE REAL INHERITANCE TAX
The inheritance tax is to governments what the red cape is to a matador. It focuses the victim’s attention away from the sword.
The inheritance tax begins to be collected early. It is collected by a special team of tax collectors. Like all tax collectors, their salaries are paid for by the taxpayers.
The government has purchased specially designed tax-collection vehicles, comparable to Brinks or Loomis armored cars. We see them on the road nine months a year. They are painted yellow. When their red lights are flashing, don’t pass them. I have written about them here.
Government officials, unlike parents, understand that the secret of inheriting enormous wealth is to persuade the heirs to spend the money your way, not the deceased’s way. The money is merely capital. The crucial factor is the will.
This is why, in every nation, the government requires attendance at schools. It then taxes people to fund these schools. The handful of schools that it does not fund it regulates. The schools that it does not regulate are so few in number that the government ignores them.
This strategy was spelled out in detail by the scholar who is sometimes called the father of American central planning: Lester Frank Ward. His 1883 book, Dynamic Sociology, presented the program. First, destroy all private education. Second, force parents to send their children to tax-funded schools. Third, filter out all objectionable ideas in the textbooks and classrooms.
Ward hated inequality. He hated inequality in intelligence. He wanted to equalize intelligence. He had a plan to do this.
The system of private education, all things considered, is not only a very bad one, but, properly viewed, it is absolutely worse than none, since it tends to increase inequality in the existing intelligence, which is a worse evil than a general state of intelligence would be. (Vol. 2, p. 588)
Society, through the State and through the public schools, must place teachers in charge, and these teachers must be independent of three groups: “parents, guardians, and pupils.” (II, p. 590)
PARENTS SURRENDER CONTROL
At some point, parents surrender control over the content of their children’s education. Some parents hold out longer than others.
Normally this takes place when the child reaches the age of six. Compulsory attendance laws take over. The parent must either send the child to a tax-funded school that his taxes pay for, or send him to a private school, or educate the child at home.
The first decision is easy and uncontroversial. The second is expensive in terms of money. The third is expensive in terms of the mother’s time. If she works outside the home, she must quit in order to stay home and teach her children.
The father bows out at this point. He is only rarely involved in the education of his children. Farmers were the last to surrender this freedom in the late 19th century. Only Old Order Amish fathers still teach their sons today, at least after the sons graduate from the eighth grade. The states allow them to go home at this age. It took a Supreme Court case to give the Old Order Amish this exemption. (“Wisconsin v. Yoder,” 1972).
The second decision — putting the child into a private school — is rarely resorted to. The parents assume that the school system is trustworthy, at the prevailing price. The parents at this point surrender to the New York City-based textbook publishing companies.
This is where New York and Washington take control over the inheritance. The goal is simple: to shape the agenda of the children. If they can do this, they gain the inheritance. The money flows down government-approved channels.
For over a century, they have gained this inheritance. This is by far the longest-term plan that the New York/Washington axis has — the true axis of evil.
In Great Britain, it is one city: London. In France, it is one: Paris. In Germany, it is one: Berlin. In Japan it is one: Tokyo. In Russia, it is one: Moscow.
This system has led to the so-far unbreakable control over the West by bureaucrats. The heirs cannot think apart from a series of slogans. These slogans place limits on the terms of political discourse. These limits channel the forces of politics down approved paths. The debates take place within a framework that does not threaten the Powers That Be. It allows different factions of these powers to gain temporary control.
Let us consider a few of the more widespread slogans. These are inculcated in the textbooks, the state-accredited classrooms, and the media.
1. FDR saved capitalism from itself.2. It is better to have a little inflation than a depression.3. Deficits don’t matter.4. We owe it to ourselves.5. Society’s great complexity requires government planning.6. If the government did not take action, poor people would starve.7. Society needs a government-supplied safety net.8. The U.S. Supreme Court has the final say.9. The solution is more education.10. Everybody deserves. . . .11. Everyone should pay his fair share.12. Criminals should pay their debt to society.13. There oughta be a law.
Not one of these is true. All are either actively promoted by the public or at least grudgingly accepted.
The conservatives love this one. “Criminals should pay their debt to society.” This is the first judicial step toward tyranny. It denies justice to the victim. It substitutes the State for the victim. The injured party is not the victim; rather, it is the State. The State therefore must tax the injured party to incarcerate the criminal.
Think “disinheritance of the victim.”
What did Moses say?
If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. If a thief be found breaking up [in], and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double (Exodus 22:1—4).
This was a system of restitution. The thief owed his victim. If he could not pay, then he was to be sold into slavery and the sale price given to the victim.
This is exactly what the U.S. Constitution authorizes.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction (13th Amendment).
Were you taught this in high school? For that matter, were you taught that the United States are plural Constitutionally? The text says “any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court has the final say.” True or false? With respect to “Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls” — consuls? — true. However, “In all the other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make” (Article III).
Were you taught this in high school? Or was this information filtered?
These judicial matters are not hidden. They are in plain sight. The Constitution is short and highly specific. These matters are right in front of our collective noses. But our collective noses no longer can conduct the famous smell test.
When you walk into a stranger’s house, you can smell it. When you walk into your own, you can’t.
The bureaucrats have employed a kind of ideological incense to keep the heirs from smelling confiscation in the air. Over time, even the parents no longer smell something fishy.
This is part of the most brilliant inheritance tax scheme of all time. It is working all over the world.
There is a model for it. We find it in the Bible.
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king (Daniel 1:3—5).
When was the last time you heard a sermon on this passage, where the pastor identified the contemporary Babylonians and the contemporary Hebrews? As I like to say, “the one will be the first.” The larger the congregation, the less likely the sermon.
The Apostle Paul spoke to the king in whose court he was accused. “For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).
The State’s inheritance program is not openly revealed, but the institutional foundation of it has not been hidden in a corner. It is open. The victims defend it, for if they did not defend it, they would be faced with the personal cost of escaping from it.
R. J. Rushdoony had little patience with conservatives who complained about high taxes. “They have tithed their children to the State, and then they complain against how much the government is costing them.” He thought all such tax protests would come to nothing. Well, not nothing, exactly. Mass inflation.
We live in a world where the tax collector is a matador. “Keep your eye on the red cape.” Conservatives think they are making progress when they say, “No, no; keep your eye on the red ink.”
Keep your eye on the yellow buses.
August 22, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Gary North