Do not become the slaves of men.
— First Corinthians 7:23
By David Tulis
Aletheia Kilgore has just emerged from the womb, and is as much a free woman as she will ever likely to be.
The daughter of Channing and Katie Kilgore of Whitwell, Tenn., went home without a birth certificate from the state department of vital records and her young parents declined invitations to sign her up as a dependent with the social security administration.
If she sheds constitutional rights and becomes a typical American with a legally distinct avatar, it’ll be her own doing.
At the hospital, Mr. and Mrs. Kilgore were proffered forms “to fill out on ourselves, fill out on our daugther, what we want to call her, how we want her name to be spelled, and did we want to sign her up for a social security number, get her a birth certificate.”
The answer, tentatively, is no.
“We have a hesitancy to sign her on right now to the whole social security system. We’re not really sure what is entailed legally” in applying for a number. Mr. Kilgore, a Baptist minister in Whitwell, is concerned with the idea that getting a number makes her “a legal fiction or a corporate person versus a naturally born free person in the sense that she has her natural rights rather than privileges, her rights turned to privileges by the federal government by having her signed over to federal authority.”
A father’s duty
Mr. Kilgore says God’s obligation upon him is that he and Katie are first in rearing and protecting Aletheia. The couple does not want her to be a “ward of the state. That’s what we’re wrestling through right now. *** We know that God has given her to us as a stewardship and we’re to care for her in the best way possible, even if that means protecting her, at least initially from saying Caesar is lord rather than Jesus is Lord.”
Mr. Kilgore is merely tracing the steps of first century Christians of whom it was demanded on penalty of death that Caesar be declared lord over all. He doesn’t want Caesar to “have unbiblical jurisdiction over [Aletheia] by signing her over to some aspect of the state we’re really not sure about.”
The U.S. can’t claim authority over everything “by fiat,” Mr. Kilgore says, and “first things” have to go to God. “She’s God’s property,” he says of his daughter. “She belongs to the Lord, just as we do. *** We just want to honor the Lord’s lordship over her, and that would mean in some senses protecting her from Caesar’s unrightful claim.”
Mr. Kilgore’s view of the modern corporate state is much in the Christian tradition. Government tries to win by favors, he said, getting people to comply by reward, “a little kickback.” People are induced to sign into the system, become “worker bees” and human resources and contribute to the national debt now passing F$18 trillion. Is a reward worth a lifetime of servitude? He thinks it might be worth paying a penalty. Not so much an incentive, a carrot, but a stick. A double penalty here is like that leveled against families who pay for state schools by taxes but also their own private education.
The dilemma for the Kilgore family comes in the context of federal taxes. If he self-assess for federal taxes, he faces line 6 on the tax form 1040 where exemptions are stated. Exemptions create tax deductions. A family of four “earns” F$12,400 in deductions. A child without a social security number cannot be claimed as a deduction, that expense of family life for which a taxpayer should not be obligated to pay a tax under a pro-family government.
If an official dependent reduces income by F$3,000, then each person with an SSN reduces the tax by about F$600. A family of 10 children would pay F$6,000 a year in higher taxes if the dependents do not have an SSN.
Such coercion, Mr. Kilgore says, is a “violation of human conscience and liberty.” He compares the penalty to an act of taking a part of a person’s life and extinguishing it.
I call this legal persona created by birth certificates and SSNs one’s avatar. It is a legal device created by credit and a relationship with civil government that controls the flesh and blood person. Without an avatar, the Kilgore girl is largely invisible to state and corporation. The avatar is created by application and is best understood to inhabit the jurisdiction of administrative law rather than law and liberty under a state or the federal constitution.
It has been said within the past year by people in the homeschool movement that people with damaged or invisible IDs might not be able to get a driver license, a free public education, get on an airplane, obtain a credit card and take part in modern life.
The Kilgores are skeptical about the value of these connections and benefits.
Would you enter into a contract with Mr. Kilgore for remodeling a bathroom? he asks. Not until you knew its terms and knew Mr. Kilgore. However, in any arrangement with the Washington government, no stipulations or provisions are readily available. No property right is guaranteed in any arrangement with the national government.
“I don’t have enough information from the other side to say I’m OK with this,” Mr. Kilgore says.
The strengthening claims of Christianity and its fruit, local economy, make it more valuable to develop an interest in these questions.
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