My name is Larken Rose, and you are most likely here because you have either heard about my research into the federal income tax, or you have heard about my political (or anti-political) rantings and/or books. Because the two issues are really separate, distinct issues, they are dealt with separately. So choose which path below you want. (Or you can go to the store, which has the books and other stuff having to do with both topics.)
[The following is a written adaption of a talk given by Larken Rose
in Philadelphia, in front of Independence Hall, on July 4th, 2009.]
Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, in Philadelphia, a bunch of
guys got together and wrote a letter to their king. The letter was
very eloquent, and well thought out, but it basically boiled down
"Dear King George,
You're not the boss of us!
A Bunch of Troublemakers"
That's essentially what the Declaration of Independence was: a
bunch of radicals declaring that they would no longer recognize the
right of their king to rule them, at all, ever again. They went on
to create a new boss, which turned into a new oppressor, but we'll
get to that in a moment. First, let's consider the essence of that
attitude: "You're not the boss of me!"
This July 4th, like every year, millions of Americans are
celebrating Independence Day with various parades, picnics,
fireworks, and so on. But how many of those people celebrating have
ever actually considered what the Declaration was actually about,
and what the colonists actually did? The colonists did not merely
beg the king to change his ways. In fact, the Declaration explains
how they had tried that, to no avail. Instead, the colonists were
doing something far more drastic.
In short, they committed treason. They broke the law. They
disobeyed their government. They were traitors, criminals and tax
cheats. The Boston Tea Party was not merely a tax protest, but open
lawlessness. Furthermore, truth be told, some of the colonists were
even cop-killers. At Lexington, when King George's "law enforcers"
told the colonists to lay down their guns, the colonists responded
with, "No, you're not the boss of us!" (Well, that was the meaning,
if not the exact verbiage.) And so we had "The Shot Heard 'Round
the World," widely regarded as the beginning of the American
Looking back now, we know the outcome. We know who eventually won,
and we don't mind cheering for the rebels. But make no mistake:
when you cheer for the founders of this country, you are cheering
for law-breakers and traitors. As well you should. But, for all the
flag-waving and celebrating that goes on every July 4th, do
Americans actually believe in what the colonists did? Do they
really believe in the attitude expressed in the Declaration of
Independence? Are they really still capable of supporting a mantra
of "You're not the boss of me!"?
In, short, no. Imagine the equivalent of what the colonists did so
many years ago, being done today. Imagine a group of people writing
a letter to the United States government, sending a letter to
Congress and to the President, saying that they would no longer pay
federal taxes, they would no longer obey federal laws, and that
they would resist--by force, if necessary--any attempt by federal
agents to enforce those laws. How would a group which did such
things be viewed today, by most Americans?
They would be viewed as nut-cases, scofflaws and terrorists,
despicable criminals and malcontents. They would be scorned as the
scum of the earth, despised by just about everyone who today
celebrates Independence Day.
So why the double standard? Why would the American public today
condemn the exact same attitudes and behaviors which they glorify
and praise in the context of the American Revolution? Quite simply,
it's because, for all the proud talk of "land of the free and home
of the brave," the spirit of resistance--the courage to say "You're
not the boss of us!"--has been trained out of the American people.
We have become a nation of wimps.
For years and years, in the churches and schools, on the news, in
the media, and from everywhere around us, we have been taught one
thing above all else: that obedience to authority is the highest
virtue, and that disobedience is the worst sin. As a result, even
most of those who now claim to be zealous advocates for individual
rights and personal liberty will almost always couch their
"demands" with disclaimers that, of course, their efforts for
justice will be done "within the system," and that they would never
advocate anything "illegal." They claim to be devout proponents of
freedom, and yet all they ever do is seek a political solution,
whether through lobbying of politicians, elections, or other
Of course, government never approves of anything which might
actually endanger government power. As the bumper-sticker says, "If
voting made a difference, it would be illegal." And why should
civilized people assume that change must be done "legally" and
"within the system"? That is obviously NOT what the Declaration of
Independence was about. In fact, the Declaration states quite
plainly that when a government ceases to be a protector of
individual liberty, it is not only the right, but the DUTY of the
people to ALTER or ABOLISH that form of government. In other words,
when the government becomes an oppressor, instead of a protector--
as is obviously the case today--the people are morally obligated to
adopt an attitude of, "You're not the boss of us!"
So how many Americans are doing that? Almost none. Instead, even
the most vocal critics of corruption and injustice usually do
little more than banging their heads against a brick wall, begging,
in half a dozen different ways, for the tyrants to please be nicer
to us. (Meanwhile, they go to great lengths to distance themselves
from people like me, for fear of what the general public might
think of them. As a result, I believe the general public, and those
in government, view them pretty much as I view them: as harmless
and irrelevant conformists, destined to forever beg for freedom,
and never achieve it.)
Make no mistake, begging and whining is not what the Declaration of
Independence was about. It was about breaking the law, when the law
is unjust. It was about committing treason, when the rulers became
oppressive. It was about disobedience--civil disobedience, when
effective, and not-so-civil disobedience when necessary. It was
about open resistance, including violent resistance when called
So where is that attitude today? Where is the candidate advocating
such a thing? Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams--where are
the modern equivalents? For all the whining about extremists, where
are those willing to openly resist injustice? Not only don't most
Americans believe in resisting tyranny, they feel extremely
uncomfortable just hearing others talk about it, even in abstract
terms (like this).
Maybe it's just that we're not quite at the level of oppression to
justify resistance. Is that it? Hardly. If two or three percent
taxation justified rebellion in 1776, why doesn't fifty percent
taxation justify it now? If a few puny excise taxes on tea and
pieces of paper justified it then, why don't the myriad of
unavoidable, crushing taxes at all levels, and the hordes of
callous, vindictive tax collectors justify it now? If the
relatively unusual cases of Redcoats abusing colonists justified it
then, why doesn't it justify it when American police see no problem
with randomly stopping, detaining, interrogating and searching
anyone they want, whenever they want, for any reason or no reason
Does anyone think Thomas Jefferson, if he were alive today, would
quietly allow himself to be strip-searched, and allow his
belongings to be rummaged through, by some brain-dead TSA thug?
Read the Fourth Amendment. They had a revolution over that sort of
thing. Does anyone think that Patrick Henry would take kindly to
being robbed blind to pay for whatever war-mongering the
politicians wanted to engage in this week? Read what the Founders
said about standing armies. They had a revolution over that sort of
thing. Think James Madison would go along with being disarmed, by
the various state and federal control freaks? Read the Second
Amendment. They had a revolution over that sort of thing. Think
George Washington would be happy to have both his earnings and
savings constantly looted by a parasite class, to pay for all
manner of wealth redistribution, political handouts and other
socialist garbage? Think Thomas Paine would gladly be extorted to
give all his money to some giant, failed corporation or some huge
international bank? Think the founders would have quietly gone
along with what this country has become today? Think they would
have done nothing more than vote, or whine?
Well, the founders are dead. And, unfortunately, so is their spirit
of resistance. In short, just about all of the flag-waving and
celebrating that happens every July 4th is nothing but empty
hypocrisy. How many Americans today can say, loudly and proudly,
like they mean it, "Give me liberty or give me death!"? Or, at
least, in the modern vernacular, "You're not the boss of me!"?
Anyone? In this nation that imagines itself to be the land of the
free and the home of the brave, where are those who dare to resist,
or even dare to talk about it? And I don't mean voting, or whining
to your congressman, or begging your masters to not whip you so
hard. I'm talking about resisting, refusing to obey.
America, where is your Independence Day pride now? Exactly what are
you proud of? I have a message for you, from a guy named Sam.
Samuel Adams, that is. Yeah, the beer guy. But he did a little more
for this country than make beer. Here is his message:
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of
servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home
from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and
lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon
you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
When's the last time you heard a modern so-called "statesman" say
something like that?
So what happened? When did Americans lose their ability to say,
"You're not the boss of me," and why? Yes, most people are scared,
and for good reason. With the capacity for violence of the current
police state, and the willingness of the politicians and their
thugs to crush anyone who threatens their power, everyone has to
choose his battles carefully, and decide for himself what he's
willing to risk, what is worth fighting for and what isn't.
That makes sense, but there is more to it than just fear. Because
not only won't most Americans resist, but they will condemn anyone
who does. If you do what the founders did, most people in this
country would call you a tax cheat, a malcontent, a criminal, a
traitor, even a terrorist. Why? Why do Americans now vehemently
condemn those who say and do exactly what the Founders did a couple
hundred years ago? When did our priorities and view of the world
change so drastically, and why?
I'll tell you why. Gradually, and very systematically, we have been
trained to measure our own worth, not by what we produce, not by
how we treat other people, but by how well we obey authority.
Consider the term, "law abiding taxpayer." How many people wear
that label as a badge of honor? "I am a law-abiding taxpayer!" When
they say that, they mean, "I'm a good person." But is that what it
Well, "law-abiding" just means that you do whatever the politicians
tell you to do. We speak with great reverence of this thing called
"the law," as if it is the decree of the gods, which no decent
human being would dare to disobey. But what is it really? It's
whatever the politicians decide to command you to do. Why on earth
would anyone think that obedience to a bunch of liars and crooks is
some profound moral obligation? Is there any reason for us to treat
with reverence such commands and demands? No rational reason, no.
The only reason we do it is because we have been trained to do it.
Some might point out that obeying the laws against theft and murder
is a good thing to do. Well, yes and no. It is good to refrain from
committing theft and murder, but it is NOT because "the law" says
so. It is because theft and murder are inherently wrong, as they
infringe upon the rights of others. And that was true before any
politician passed a "law" about it, and will be true even if they
"legalize" theft and murder (as every government has done, in the
name of "taxation" and "war"). What is right and wrong does not at
all depend upon what is "legal" or "illegal." And if you need
POLITICIANS to tell you what is right and what is wrong, you need
your head examined. Instead, you should judge the validity of so-
called "laws" by whether they match what is inherently right and
wrong. Thomas Jefferson put it this way:
"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will
within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do
not add 'within the limits of the law,' because the law is often
but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of
So why should anyone be proud of being "law-abiding," when all it
means is blindly obeying whatever arbitrary commands the parasite
class spews out this week? And pride in being a "taxpayer" is no
better, since all that phrase means is that you give the
politicians lots of money. When, exactly, did obeying politicians
and giving them money become the measure of whether you're a good
Consider Nazi Germany. Were the law-abiding taxpayers in Nazi
Germany the good guys? No. By obeying the so-called "laws" of that
time, the majority allowed, or even assisted in, a nearly
incomprehensible level of evil. And by being "taxpayers," they
provided the funding for it. No, the good people in Germany were
the criminals and tax cheats, who refused to assist, even
passively, in the oppressions done in the name of "government."
The same is true under the regimes of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot,
Castro--you can go right down the list (and it's a very long list).
Under every nasty regime in history, the obedient subjects, who
quietly did as they were told, the law-abiding taxpayers, were not
the good guys. The law-breakers and rebels, the so-called traitors
and terrorists, those were the good guys. How about in this
country, when slavery was legal? The cowards were the ones obeying
the law, while the good guys broke it.
How about here, today? Is it good to fund what the government is
doing? Do you have some moral obligation to give your "fair share"
of however many thousands of dollars, so Obama can give it to his
banker buddies? Is it noble to fund whatever war the politicians
decide to engage in this week? Do you like paying for the detention
and torture of people who haven't been convicted, or even charged
with any crime? (By the way, instead of doing away with that, Obama
just gave it a new name: preventative detention.) Is it some great
virtue to have helped to finance the police state growing up all
around you, on both the federal and state levels? In short, is
being a "law-abiding taxpayer" really something you should be proud
of, or is it something you should be ashamed of?
Over time we have forgotten a very important secret--a secret the
control freaks don't want you to know; a secret some of the
Founders hinted at, though even most of them didn't seem to fully
grasp it. Ready for it?
You own yourself.
You are not the property of the politicians, or anyone else. I own
me, and you own you. Each of you owns himself. Sounds simple
enough, right? And most people respond with, "Well duh, of course.
That's no secret. We knew that." But in reality most people don't
If you own yourself, would anyone have the right to take, without
your consent, the fruits of your labor? What you earn, with your
time and effort, does anyone have the right to take that from you
by force? Of course not, most will answer. Really? And what if they
call it "taxation"? "Oh, well, that's different." No, it isn't.
If you own yourself, would anyone have the right to force you to
pay rent for a house you already paid for, under threat of taking
your house away? Of course not. What if they call it "property
taxes"? Oh, that's different. No, it isn't. And you can go right
down the list: if you truly own yourself, the vast majority of so-
called "laws," at all levels, are absolutely illegitimate. As
Jefferson put it, ANY so-called "law" that infringes upon
individual liberty--which is dang near all of them--is inherently
But let's take it one step further. If you own yourself--your life,
liberty and property--doesn't that imply that you have the right to
defend those things from any and all aggressors? Yes. What if the
aggressors call themselves "government" and call their attacks and
robberies "law" and "taxes"? You still have the right. Changing the
name of an act cannot make something bad into something good. And
if you have the right to defend your life, liberty and property
from all aggressors, it stands to reason that you have the right to
equip yourself to do so. In other words, you have the right to be
armed--the right to possess the equipment to exert whatever force
is necessary to repel any attempts to infringe upon your rights to
life, liberty and property.
I know it makes people uncomfortable (especially people who work
for the government) when I say the following: I want every sane,
adult American to have the ability to use force, including deadly
force, against government agents. I don't want people randomly
gunning down cops, but I do want the people to retain the ability
to forcibly resist their own government. The very concept bothers a
lot of people, but what is the alternative? The alternative is
something a lot scarier: that the people should NOT have the means
to resist their own government.
But, once again, even most people who claim to be vehemently pro-
freedom, don't like to talk about what that really means. Many "gun
rights" organizations, for example, go to great lengths to beg the
politicians to LET them remain armed. Why? At Lexington, when the
British troops told the colonists to lay down their weapons, what
was the response? Did the colonists say, "Awe, can't we keep them,
pretty please?"? No, they had a very different attitude, something
alone the lines of, "You're not the boss of us!"
If you own yourself--and this is a big one--it is not only your
right, but your most profound obligation as a human being, to judge
for yourself what is right and wrong, and to act accordingly. But
what if people claiming to be "authority" want to force you to do
something contrary to what you deem to be right? Do you have an
obligation to obey them, and ignore your own conscience? No. What
if their threats are called "legislation"? It makes no difference.
You are always, at all times, in every situation, obligated to do
what you deem right, no matter what so-called "government" and
"authority" and "law" have to say about it. And when the tyrants
and control freaks, authoritarian thugs and megalomaniacs, try to
tell you that are an evil, nasty, despicable criminal and traitor
for daring to think for yourself, you have a right and duty to
stand firm, and say, with confidence, "You are not the boss of me!"