Rad Geek reported a while ago that this year’s 1040 from the IRS contained an interesting introduction:
A Message from the Commissioner
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. notably said “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” We should be proud that the vast majority of American citizens pay their taxes honestly and of their own free will. In an ever more complex and global world, we cannot take for granted this cornerstone principle of our democracy.
For the IRS’s part, we owe it to all taxpayers to make the process of paying taxes as easy as possible. IRS employees are dedicated to helping taxpayers to quickly get their questions answered, complete their forms, pay their taxes, and get back to their lives. From the telephone representative who answers tax law questions, to the walk-in site employees who help low-income taxpayers, to the technicians that design and build our website — http://www.irs.gov — we are committed to providing top quality service.
Unfortunately, there will always be some that cheat their fellow citizens by avoiding the payment of their fair share of taxes. The IRS owes it to the millions of you who promptly pay your taxes in full to pursue these people through strong enforcement programs. I believe this is a basic matter of fairness.
If you need more information about taxes, I hope you’ll visit us online at http://www.irs.gov, or call us toll free at 1-800-829-1040. Your government works for you, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you need help.
Douglas H. Shulman
Shulman got one thing right: taxes are the cornerstone of democracy. I suppose I can’t fault him for uttering a truth he doesn’t understand. But I am rather amused that “if they won’t join, beat ’em up” is now a principle of “fairness.” It’s only fair for those of you who are subject to our coercion, abuses and unfairness to coerce the rest of society into joining your despair.