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It Was A Rational Decision

Sean Paul noted the Local Plane Crash in Austin and linked to a Joe Weisenthal post at Business Insider: The Insane Manifesto Of Austin Texas Crash Pilot Joseph Andrew Stack.

The problem, beyond the death of innocent people in this incident, is that there is no “Insane Manifesto”, there is a reasoned and accurate portrayal of what life is like for small business people in technology, and what dealing with the IRS is like.

The only error is the target of Mr. Stack’s final act – the IRS is enforcing the rules imposed on it by a Congress that is controlled by corporate interests. Congress and the government’s willingness to do whatever their corporate funders want, is what has created the Byzantine mess that is the current tax code.

Having tried everything else, and doing what he thought he was supposed to do, i.e. education and hard-work, he just couldn’t get ahead, or even stay in the same place.

His final act was to lash out at the most convenient target – the Federal offices in Austin. It wasn’t insane, but it will be portrayed that way, so the ruling elite won’t have to bother themselves over it.


1 Badtux { 02.18.10 at 8:26 pm }

The Soviet Union failed because, in the end, the people who were the apparatus implementing State policy on behalf of a criminal regime walked away, leaving Gorbachev to rattle around in an empty Kremlin issuing orders to ghost employees who no longer existed, orders that were never implemented. At some point in time he realized he was wasting his time and officially declared the Soviet Union dissolved. But it was not his act which dissolved the Soviet Union. It was when people decided, “I shall no longer be associated with a criminal enterprise” and walked away, that the Soviet Union fell.

I get into this argument on a regular basis when I am told I should not be cruel to telemarketers who invade my privacy and violate Federal law by calling my cell phone number. I am told that they’re just ordinary slobs trying to make a living, and my ire should be reserved for the big guys who “force” them to commit such illegal acts. To which my answer is: Nonsense. They knowingly participate in a criminal enterprise. They are no more innocent than any other participant in a criminal enterprise. If they refused to work for a criminal enterprise, then the criminal enterprise would fold or would have to reform into a non-criminal enterprise. They choose to participate in evil, and thus choose the consequences of participating in evil.

I suppose what I am saying is that if you voluntarily choose to work for an evil enterprise, you give up your innocence. You are enabling evil, even if you yourself did not originate the evil policies that your organization enforces, even if the worst evil that you yourself have ever personally committed was the evil of wearing Crocs in public. Because if nobody worked for this organization, if everybody walked away when this organization tried to recruit workers, then it would no longer exist. When you choose to work for evil, you give up all pretense of innocence, even if you tell yourself that you love puppies and small children and white Persian cats so of course you can’t yourself be evil.I suppose some of the guards at Auschwitz who did not personally commit acts of brutality said the same thing to themselves. But it doesn’t matter whether you personally committed an atrocity… merely enabling it is enough to make you a participant in atrocity, and thus guilty.

In conclusion: IF the tax code is an act of evil, and IF the IRS is committing acts of evil on behalf of leaders in Washington in order to enforce evil policies, THEN there is no such thing as an innocent IRS employee. But do note the IF’s. Joe Stack followed that logic chain to its logical conclusion. That’s a path that I’d hesitate to venture upon myself. And the question of what to do *after* you get to its logical conclusion… well. Let us just say that disagree with Mr. Stack in this regard, because there is more than one way to deal with evil, and crashing a plane into a building is probably the least effective way, although apparently the only one that Mr. Stack could envision.

2 Bryan { 02.18.10 at 10:27 pm }

As with most buildings outside of DC, there were a mixture of tenants, and no way to be sure that some weren’t non-governmental.

I agree that if you can’t accept the laws you are enforcing, you should resign, like Cyrus Vance did after the ill-fated Iran rescue attempt in the Carter administration. He didn’t agree with the policy, so he left. There aren’t that many people left with that kind of integrity.

I wouldn’t have done what he did, but there was nothing wrong with the logic that lead him to making the decision. I know exactly what he was talking about, and have seen it first hand, working in SoCal at nearly the same time. I know all about the tax advantages that corporations have over small businesses, and the complications that change in the tax law brought about for IT people.

This is a logical result of the “social engineering” that has taken place in the tax code, and the targeted changes for preferred groups.

He was under a lot of pressure with no obvious path out and he snapped. It won’t be the last time it happens.

3 Kryten42 { 02.18.10 at 11:59 pm }

Yeah… I can really understand the poor bastards anger and frustration. I’ve felt that was a *few* times the past decade or so. If I had a plane, i might quite possibly have filled it with C4 (or something) and taken it to Parliament House. And since I helped with the security there… 🙂 I know how to do it, I just don’t easily have the *means* right now. 🙂

Anyway… yeah, he wasn’t a *crazy*. He was just someone who was left with no way out. and there will be more… You can count on that. Eventually, someone will have the resources to do it *properly*, and make a BIG statement! maybe then, fools will wake up.

4 LadyMin { 02.19.10 at 12:22 am }

I just read the entire “Manifesto” and it doesn’t seem insane to me. Although that is how it will be portrayed by the media. He seemed angry and frustrated. I had no idea how the tax code treated independent contractors until I read this.

The website has now been taken down. According to the host it was at the request of the FBI. Guess they were afraid someone might read it and understand what the guy was upset about.

5 Bryan { 02.19.10 at 12:27 am }

Every time Congress talks about “simplifying the tax code” it gets bigger and worse. The IRS acknowledges that something like two out of three callers gets bad advice from the IRS when they call. The last time I had to deal with them, it was for a client, and after my third call, I turned the problem over to the local Congresscritter, whose staff finally pried loose a reasonable explanation of what was expected.

The IRS wanted my client to submit records in an electronic format, but the format they requested was only created on obsolete computer equipment [an 8-inch hard-sectored diskette] that was totally unsupported at the time of the request. Apparently no one told the IRS that Burroughs wasn’t exactly a common computer system in the 1980s.

There are direct contradictions within the code because it has been decades since the last major overhaul. It’s just a mess, so I’m not surprised that it created this level of frustration. Unlike corporations, people can and do go to jail over mistakes they make. Corporations pay a fine at most, and the fine is usually negotiated down to relative nothing, from the corporation’s point of view.

As the hard times and unemployment continue, incidents like this will continue. People are losing faith in the system, for the very good reason that the system has failed them.

6 Bryan { 02.19.10 at 12:37 am }

As an independent contractor I know exactly what he is talking about, Lady Min, and the large corporations got the change passed to “enslave” contractors. Small businesses really are abused by the current system, and Congress keeps making it worse to appease their corporate masters. The so-called “small business” trade groups work hand-in-glove with corporations backing actions that really harm their members, because the changes are supposedly “business friendly”.

There will probably be copy-cat attacks, and that is what the FBI is concerned about, although the take-on on a suicide note is fairly normal as evidence in a crime under investigation.