05-23-2016, 02:06 PM
Is tax protesting a cult?Tax protesting certainly seems to have many of the characteristics of a religious cult.
For example, a religious cult usually has at least some of the following characteristics:
Cults claim a monopoly on truth (or salvation). So, for example, members of a cult will believe that only their members are saved, or will go to heaven, and that everyone on earth is damned. Similarly, tax protesters believe that only they know the truth about the federal income tax, and often believe that everyone who disagrees with them is not only ignorant, but a “slave,” “communist,” “statist” (meaing someone who worships government like a religion), or “sheeple” (meaning a sheep-like person).
Cult members are typically isolated from the rest of society, either at the urging of the cult leader (who want to control the thinking of the cult members) or because the cult members themselves feel hostile or alienated from society. Similarly, promoters of tax protester schemes typically tell their followers not to talk to lawyers and accountants, and tax protesters themselves often withdraw from family and friends as they become obsessed with their tax battles.
Cult members may suffer from “cognitive dissonance” as they find their beliefs leading them further and further from reality. So, for example, a group that believes that the world will end (or space aliens will come to rescue them from earth) on a particular day will not change their beliefs when the expected event does not occur, but will create new beliefs (and new expectations), consist with the old beliefs, in order to explain the dissonance between what they believe should have happened and what actually happened. Similarly, tax protester who believe that they are correct will not change their beliefs when they lose in court and are convicted, sanctioned, and enjoined, but will simply make up a new theory about why the courts are wrong or corrupt.