Everyone who pay taxes should read this book.
Beoordeeld in de Verenigde Staten op 10 juni 2016
This is one of those books that are so important that every student in the world should read it. Instead, "Capital" by K. Marx, among others, is the number one, two and three. Why? I don't know. People love the idea that the State is the solution to the problem of living. Perhaps, to a certain point, but not THE solution. The State is very expensive and inefficient. People often say, yes, but there's no alternative. In my country, this is the problem that fills the newspapers, the TV news, the radio news, the internet forums. And there's an incredible consensus: we need more taxes.
Here enters Charles Adams.
Our government in Chile decided to modify the tax structure of the country making it more heavy to us, the taxpayers. But not only that, it did it more complex, more hard to grasp and convoluted. This reformation in Chile is so big and twisted --and absurd--, that is more like a nonsense, a bad joke. And every single step of the discussion and the debate, every sympton of this social evil (when it is out of control), appears in "For Good and Evil." As long as we read the book we realize (we Chileans) that we haven't left any single sin untouched. With this reformarion, we, as a society, are guilty of every tax crime we have perpetrated.
I mean, against ourselves.
Charles Adams has written not only a highly informative book, full of insight and discussion, but also a beautiful one. He's a good writer, a very good one indeed. That's why the four hundred and eigty pages are not noticed. Sumer, Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, the Middle Ages, the Russians, up to the present, go before us telling the story of the world from the tax perspective. And believe it or not, it works.
Which means: What the author tells us is happening today as it did yesterday and it will continue as long as we live on Earth.
Troughout the ages, taxes have had several branches: the collection, the collector or taxman, the tax payer, and the control system. Our Internal Revenue Service today, which is an extension ot the oldest control systems dating back to the time of the pharaohs, is more a police system than a service. It knows everything about us. It is today as it was in Ancient Egypt or Russia. What they do to us it's happening just in front of our very eyes, and we don't notice it. We breath it without knowing that is not fresh air at all, without taking into account that it isn't based on a very solid floor: that of the morality. Yes, virtue is one thing. Discution and fixation of taxes quite another.
To make this book works as an explanation of the rise and fall of almost every empire or democracy, or their crisis and periodic hard times, Adams found in taxes the bridge that links the power of the State with the individual. Taxes are the synapses between power and individual: too much or too little of a given neurotransmitter, we feel the effects. That is the reason why taxes should be under control, that's why we need to separate the power of spent from the power of tax, that's why not to control the intrusion (as it should be) of the State in our affairs is so serious.
We made it work this way, now we have to fix it.
I don't know what will happen in the U.S., but in my country the tax system is getting bigger and bigger, from the collection of taxes up to the very control of our lives. Nobody sees, I mean, the common guy like me, that this curious monster is not going to change. Take this into account: our IRS in Chile is the most modern and advanced public "service" we have had ever. Nothing compares. It crosses and observes everything.
Adams has given us this book as a concession to the good criteria and to the moderation that Montaigne told us about in his Essays, and that have to govern our acts. He tells the history and the story, but not only that. He gives us the solutions and the alternatives we have at hand. So this book is not only about the problem, is about the way to solve it. And the way to do it passes just through our dignity as citizens. It's not a choice we have, is a mandate: we have to do something --as history teaches that people did when their rights were overruled-- when taxes give way to robbery.
My underlines are hundreds. Here is my favorite and with it I put an end to my review: "Freedom from oppresive taxation caused the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and revolts and rebellions throughout history too numerous to mention. The War of the Rebellion, as it was officially called, has at its core what has been at the core of most rebellions from our earliest historical records, taxes."
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