Monday, February 10, 2014

Idea Laundering

Consider this idea: the government forces you to pay taxes at the end of a gun. 

It may seem ludicrous to you. The IRS does not use guns. Nobody has ever stuck a gun to you and told you to pay taxes. But most people also never refuse to pay them. We accept them as a requirement, so we don't really contemplate what would happen if we didn't pay. I challenge you to try to do just that though. 

If you don't pay your taxes, you may get a letter telling you to do so. If you ignore the letter, they'll send more. Future letters may also include increased fines. Ignoring them will lead to debt collectors harassing you to pay. Ignoring the debt collectors will eventually lead to some authority being called. By not paying your taxes, the police will eventually take you to jail, and if you refuse that, a gun will be drawn and targeted at you. And finally, you are forced to pay taxes at the end of a gun. 

Look how incredibly long it takes though. There are so many layers and so many months or years involved. The average person simply cannot see through all of these layers. 

This process works very similarly to money laundering. If you take an amount of money and use it to buy and sell and trade over and over again, eventually you will create so many layers that people just can't care enough to see it all. 

I think of this as idea laundering. It is a particularly effective means of obfuscating the truth, and one that rhetoricians should be well aware of. 

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