(originally launched into cyberspace on 08/02/2008)
In the little town where I grew up, I expect that most people by
now have heard of my "adventures" with the IRS, at least to some
degree. I know there has been plenty of gossip, no doubt based 99%
upon false assumptions and baseless assertions (just like
everywhere else). Yet even there, almost no one has shown any
interesting in reading what actually happened, as laid out in
detail in my new book, "Kicking the Dragon."
Why is that? Well, if they just didn't care at all, that would be
one thing, but since I KNOW that people have been talking about it,
that can't be it. Why jabber and gossip about something, and then
avoid finding out what you're talking about? Simple: Because most
people don't want to endanger their preconceived notions by seeing
what the FACTS actually are.
"Oh, he's that guy who wouldn't pay his taxes, and went to jail for
tax evasion, right?" No, and no, but that's a very comfortable
belief to hold. It's a lot more comfortable than finding out what
really DID happen. And my own little adventure isn't at all unique
in that way. Whether it was Waco, or 9/11, or the (misnamed) Civil
War, or how the U.S. government treated the American Indians, or
your everyday example of police abuse, or a zillion other things,
people WANT there to be some pleasant, simple explanation which
doesn't upset their world view, and they are willing to shut their
eyes to all sorts of contrary evidence in order to maintain their
My case is pretty puny and insignificant on the grand scale of
things, but it makes an outstanding example of "conventional wisdom
versus evidence," because it is so thoroughly documented. I
challenge anyone who reads the book to afterwards say, "Yeah, I
don't see anything suspicious about any of that." No one honestly
could. In fact, I'm happy to report that a lot of people who knew
little or nothing about the issue or my own little story, have
since told me, after reading the book, how they were truly stunned
to learn how our government actually behaves.
But most people avoid being stunned, shocked and offended by using
the time-honored method of intentionally remaining uninformed.
People don't WANT opposing views, and if they inadvertently get
exposed to some, they want a quick and easy excuse to dismiss them
out of hand, without actually thinking about it, or even looking at
the evidence. And that right there is the main problem that pro-
freedom folk face: getting the common man to even LOOK at things
that don't already match his beliefs and assumptions.
And believe me, that's no small task. One person who knows just a
little about my case declared, to my face, after looking at the
outside of the book and handing it back to me, "I already know all
I..."--I had to finish the sentence: "all you WANT to know about
it?" The person walked away. Wow. They know me personally, are
friendly with me, know I spent a year in prison for doing something
I believed in, and yet went out of their way to NOT FIND OUT what
actually happened. Why do you suppose that is?
The ignoramuses of the world have a weapon that no amount of
evidence, logic, words and images can overcome: "willful
blindness." It took me a long time to come to grips with the
gruesome truth of the matter: these people aren't clueless by
accident; they are clueless by CHOICE. You can lead a horse to
water, but you can't make it drink. And it's clear that most
Americans would rather die of intellectual thirst than have to
question what they've always believed.
So the good news is, "Kicking the Dragon" seems to make a real
impact on the people who actually read it, even if they knew little
or nothing about me or the issue beforehand. The bad news is, most
people aren't going to read it, unless they are bribed and/or
tortured into doing so. I'm not sure what to do about that. Any
former federal thugs out there who could contribute some of their
water-boarding skills to the effort?