Corrupting leaders always rationalize intentional violations of the law
The following dialog was taken and modified from the movie “A Few Good Men”. Though the exchange is a fictional dramatization of events, IRS employees’ reasoning follows Col. Jessep’s rationalization. The original dialog is here. Col. Jessep’s original statements are in square brackets.
Judge: *Consider yourself in Contempt!*
Taxpayer Attorney: Ms. Lerner, did you order IRS employees to break the law? [*Colonel Jessep, did you order the Code Red?*]
Judge: You *don’t* have to answer that question!
IRS Officer Lois Lerner: I’ll answer the question! [to the taxpayer attorney]
Lois Lerner: You want answers?
Taxpayer Attorney: I think I’m entitled to.
Lois Lerner: *You want answers?*
Taxpayer Attorney: *I want the truth!*
Lois Lerner: *You can’t handle the truth!*
Lois Lerner: Son, we live in a world that has entitlements [walls], and those entitlements [walls] have to be funded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? [You, Lt. Weinburg] I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep because of confiscated assets or lost rights [for Santiago], and you curse the IRS [Marines]. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. An asset confiscation or violation of your rights [Santiago’s death], while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me breaking laws to collect taxes, you need me breaking laws to collect taxes [on that wall]. We use words like audits, liens, levies [honor, code, loyalty]. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the entitlements that I provide [freedom I provide], and then questions the manner in which I provide them [it]. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and force your neighbors to pay unlawful taxes [, and stand a post]. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
Taxpayer Attorney: Did you order your employees to break the law? [the code red?]
Lois Lerner: I did the job I…
Taxpayer Attorney: *Did you order your employees to break the law?* [the code red?*]
Lois Lerner: *You’re G–damn right I did!*
IRS laws enable this behavior. This is how: