Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

June 24, 2013

LETTER: The IRS, government and tyranny

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It was recently discovered that personnel within an Ohio office of the IRS arbitrarily decided it had the authority to erect hurdles targeting certain association seeking non-profit status that did not conform to the same ideas of governance of those IRS personnel. This is a direct attack on the American right to freely associate regardless of whether in a religious or civil context. If this isn’t tyranny, I do not know what is.

In the book by Richard C. Cornuelle, Reclaiming the American Dream published in 1965, Mr. Cornuelle pointed out that the greatest engine of American ingenuity for solving the issues of life common to most citizens was that of the right of free association. He explains that it is independent of both the profit sector and most importantly, the government sector. He had come to believe, from his reading while dealing with the debilitating disease of polio, that “government was a permanent threat to freedom (and) that big government historically had caused more human misery than it had cured.” He came to believe that “independent action” was more effective than government action. The ironic part of his story is the fact that he had started life with the intention of spending his life as a medical doctor promoting the socialization of medicine.

T the contrary, he had discovered the monumental work of Alex de Tocqueville: Democracy in America, written in 1835. Tocqueville recognized the American impulse to act independently on the public business was our most remarkable trait. It wasn’t democracy. It wasn’t our Republican form of government. Although those were certainly important in and of themselves but what was most profound was that it opened the floodgates to the free association of individuals to act independently. And it was that free and independent action that Tocqueville recognized as the American penchant for getting things done. Those things being schools, hospitals, prisons, fire departments, etc. Tocqueville admired what he saw as the key to the American social system. How far off track we have become.

We now have what was considered to be the crux of American society, to assemble in free association, under attack by the very government created to protect it. And, it is now this same government that wants control of our health care? If this isn’t tyranny, I don’t know what is.

Stephen Walsh Lockport

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