Wake Up, Maggie Given we have a president whose "revolution" exists only in the press releases and who can't even shovel more money to his favorite special interest than his wimp predecessor was planning to, it is perhaps a little unfair for me to note the Thatcher administration hasn't really done much. Still, that is the case—Madsen Pirie's claims of astonishing progress notwithstanding ("Buying Out of Socialism," Jan.).
The 873,000 public houses sold, at a gain of $5 billion (plus about a $500-million-per-year reduction in net expenses) must be compared to the nearly 5 million council houses still owned by the state (with an avoidable operating loss of about $4 billion a year—so much for the "better deal" the Thatcher administration struck: so far, not taking the radical course of just giving away all those houses has cost a net of nearly $20 billion). At current rates of sale, it will take over 40 years to get rid of all the public houses, assuming no administration builds or buys more and that no hostile administration just halts sales.
The 400,000 jobs moved to the private sector are to be measured against the 1,100,000-plus still in state-owned firms. And 400,000 is an overcount since some of the privatized firms were only partly sold. A firm 49-percent-owned by the government is 100-percent managed by the government. It will take well over a decade to sell the rest off, with the near certainty of a hostile administration halting, and maybe reversing, the trend first.
The 600 QUANGOS (semi-regulatory agencies) eliminated were mostly the small, unimportant ones of the over 3,000 to be removed. The example of sunset legislation suggests that even their removal has merely stimulated greater activity among the 2,400 survivors.
And these are the star cases. Pirie mentions nothing about things like increased military spending (especially in the Falkland Islands, where the Thatcher administration could have completely avoided that costly war by just approving the sale of British interests). Overall, Thatcher's record is better than nothing, but there is so much more better that could have been, and can be, done.
David Carl Argali
La Puente, CA
Gun Control and Racism: Not Black and White Regarding William Tonso's article "Gun Control: White Man's Law" (Dec.): The charge of racism, when it is well supported, can be a very telling argument against a group or a policy. People will fall all over themselves in their haste to denounce it, even at the price of supporting other, less fashionable but equally odious, "isms" in the process. Still, when the case made for racism is too tenuous, the charge loses its power to persuade and recoils against the author, impairing his credibility and alienating the reader. I am afraid I found Mr. Tonso's claim that gun control legislation was racially motivated to be just such an unsupported argument.
As any social scientist should know, and distressingly few seem to, correlation is not causality and thus correlation with race neither constitutes, nor implies, racism. That most supporters of gun control are upper-class, mostly urban or suburban, whites and that those affected by the laws are lower-class, partly rural, and mostly black are statistically demonstrable statements. But to substantiate a charge of racism you must also show that prejudice based on race was an important motivation for the formulation of the laws. It is almost certainly true that historical gun control laws were racially motivated. That current support for gun control in this country is motivated by racism is almost certainly untrue.
Trying to retreat behind the argument that gun control laws are "racist and classist in effect" if not in intent helps very little, since racism is precisely a perversion of intention, an irrational and unfair motivation. Unintentional racism is not racism at all. It is arrogant paternalism and should be called such. Trying to call it racism gives the paternalist/elitist gun-control advocate an out. "Racism?" he thinks. "What a relief! For a minute I thought he was talking about us."
Allen L. Haslup
The True Colors of Gun Control Advocates Every month when I receive your magazine, it impinges drastically upon my work, because alas, I have great difficulty putting it down. I particularly enjoyed the fresh insights of William Tonso's "Gun Control: White Man's Law" (Dec.). Living in New York State, I'm more oppressed by gun control than many of your readers. I had always felt offense at the requirement for permits for handguns and have never wished to prostrate myself to the empowered authorities to get the permit. Since I am a professional born of WASP stock, I can probably obtain the permit with minimal roadblocks, yet I find it distasteful and threatening. It never occurred to my naive mind that this was another form of race control, and I can only try to imagine what it would be like if I were black and poor.
Michael E. North
Show Me Attorney Warren Salomon conveys the impression that he knows that the federal income tax for individuals is required by law (Taxes, Jan.). I challenge him to specify the exact section of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) that specifically requires an individual to file a federal personal income tax return. I also challenge the attorney to specify the exact code section that conveys liability to individuals for a personal income tax. Furthermore, can he specify the section of the code that defines income within the scope of the Sixteenth Amendment?
Remember, I want specific sections of the code, not opinions on what will happen if individuals do not go along with the fraud and corruption perpetrated by the IRS, "judges," and attorneys. I want to see the actual laws requiring these things.
I am aware of the system used to intimidate the individual today. Courts "rule" on tax cases as if the Bill of Rights and the Constitution did not exist. Fear of imprisonment should not be the legal basis for collection of taxes. The courts in this country differ from the courts of Soviet Russia only in degree of abuse of citizens' rights. In that respect we are not far behind them.
The federal income tax, as enforced today, is illegal on any reading of the IRC. The income tax amendment is constitutional simply because it is an excise tax. It is enforced as if it were a direct tax. This is exactly what the IRS wants you to believe.
Mr. Salomon's article continues to reinforce the myth of a nonvoluntary tax system. If the tax system were required by law and individuals had no choice, by law, then in cases of tax evasion the return would be inadmissible as evidence, because it would compel testimony in violation of the Fifth Amendment. To continue the myth of required returns is to do a disservice to the honest American citizens who labor under the load of federal abuse.
Mr. Salomon replies: Mr. Mullendore's heart is ih the right place, but alas, he's just flat-out misinformed. The laws that he's been told don't exist really do exist. I don't like the situation any more than he does (and believe it or not, even tax lawyers would be better off if there were no income tax), but the income tax is real. It's obviously contrary to the Revolution, but it's in the Constitution, so it's constitutional—by definition.
Now for Mr. Mullendore's challenge: Income is defined in section 61. The exact sections that require the filing of returns (by individuals, Mr. Mullendore) are 6011 and 6012.
Here's even more bad news: Section 6001 requires records to be kept. Failure to file returns is a misdemeanor (section 7203). Failure to pay is a felony (section 7202). The willful attempt to evade or defeat the income tax is a felony (section 7201). False statements on returns, failure to furnish required information, giving fraudulent withholding certificates to employers, and aiding or assisting in any of the foregoing are punishable under sections 7204, 7205, 7206, and 207. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the weapons in the arsenal of the IRS, but it should give you the general idea.
Who Put the Pressure on Disneyland? It was, according to your December Trends column ("Righting the Wrong Way to Achieve Civil Rights," p. 18), customer pressure rather than civil-rights bureaucrats which caused the administrators of Disneyland to reverse their long-standing prohibition against members of the same sex dancing together. In this particular instance, however, neither the customers nor the bureaucrats had as much to say about same-sex dancing at Disneyland as did Judge James Ross of the Orange County Court. In the summer of 1984 the good judge ruled that Andrew Exler and Shawn Elliot should not have been thrown out of the place for dancing together and that Disneyland must henceforth allow them to "dance with anyone they choose, including each other."
A system of free and voluntary economic exchanges is indeed the most effective mechanism for securing the rights of the individual, but for the time being it is going to require something more than market pressure—even in California—to make the Disney organization abandon its carefully cultivated reputation for wholesomeness and family-oriented entertainment.
Charles D. Poe
The editors reply: Although our Trends item should have noted the ruling that Exler and Elliot be allowed to dance together, our analysis stands. When Disneyland changed its policy in August 1985, the firm explicitly rejected the court's action as a motivating factor. It maintains that the ruling applies only to Exler and Elliot, continued to enforce the policy against same-sex dancing until the recent change, and is still appealing the court ruling. "We try to be responsive to feedback we get from our guests," said a Disneyland spokesman in announcing the new policy. Teenage girls often come to Disneyland together and were asking to dance with each other. "We have always said no, but we changed our minds."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Letters".