Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The instinct for survival is coded into the DNA of every living creature, and the Internal Revenue Service is made up of thousands of human beings with that instinct. As a single department of the government leviathan, the IRS is a good example, too, of the collective survival instinct of the federal government.
While congressional committees, journalists and private litigations seek to determine the facts about the unconstitutional IRS harassment of private citizens, the investigations focus on the source of the direction to target liberty-minded organizations. The IRS’ original position that the targeting was the brainchild of “rogue agents in Cincinnati” has evaporated, and now the quest is on to figure out how high the political conspiracy goes.
While the investigations are important, they beg the bigger question: How could such a thing happen? The better question, though, being aware of the inherent survival instinct in each of us, is how could such a thing not happen? The majority of the groups targeted have as part of their missions, if not explicitly, at least implicitly, the goal of shrinking the government. Necessarily, this means the elimination of departments, agencies and, yes, jobs. The individuals employed by these vast federal bureaucracies no doubt wish to keep those jobs.
It doesn’t take an explicit direction from on high to let IRS employees and other bureaucrats know that it would be in their best interests, and probably supported by their supervisors, if they made it difficult for those whose stated purpose is to take away their jobs. The natural instinct for self-preservation and the environment created by the nation’s leadership make explicit direction in this regard superfluous.
President Obama has joked about “auditing” his enemies. He has attacked the Supreme Court for its decision in Citizens United and made it clear that he believes the federal government should be deeply involved in limiting political speech. How great is the leap from that sort of thought leadership to the behavior we have seen in the IRS?
Those involved in the IRS profiling and targeting of conservative groups received bonuses and promotions during the period from 2009-2012. In other words, whether or not their performance reviews explicitly stated that they were being rewarded for their abuse of conservative groups, the inherent message was “good job … keep doing exactly what you’re doing.”
When government grows too large and too powerful as ours has, the inherent conflict between the beast and the people who must support the beast with their labor is inevitable. Those who suggest the beast must be tamed, cut down to size and put back in the box called the Constitution will no doubt come under attack from the beast.
This is not a surprise but simply nature taking its course.
Mark Meckler is the President of Citizens for Self-Governance.
Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports. Comments about this content should be directed to the author or syndicate.
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