Within bureaucracy, a malicious normalcy bias can easily develop. This systematic conditioning eventually leads to a frustrating ether of cognitive dissonance when confronted with questions of facts and evidence. This cognitive dissonance is heard in the form of non-responsive replies to some very simple and straightforward questions. It is of the utmost importance that you are proficient in countering non-responsiveness during litigation to most successfully exercise effective damage control. Lets track the various non-responsive replies to questions of evidence put to an agent at the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA):
- To start the call off, Marc explains that when he initially asked a lower agent at the CRA about whether there was any evidence that the laws and Acts applied to his client and that there was jurisdiction, she non-responsively replies with “Why wouldn’t the acts apply?”
- After explaining that there is “no empirical proof” that the code applies, Marc restates that there is “no empirical proof and no witnesses with personal firsthand knowledge that the code applies” to which she non-responsively replies with “in our administration of the law, Mr. ___ is required to file a tax return.”
- After pointing out that her statement is the “prevailing opinion” that we’ve heard so many times before, Marc adds “but we don’t believe there is any evidence to back that up,” to which she again non-responsively relies with “I would just ask why he wouldn’t have to file a return?”
- After pointing out that’s the wrong question, Marc brings her back with “What evidence do you have that the Acts apply and that there’s jurisdiction and that he’s required to file anything?” She, non-responsively, goes right back to her question of “Why would he NOT have to?”
- At this point Marc finds it useful to remind her that the burden of proof is on the one making the accusation(s) and re-asks “Is there any empirical proof that the Acts actually apply to him” and that her “agency has jurisdiction over him?” She goes right back to the non-responsive circular logic that “Canadians are required to file tax returns,” again referring to the law [<-legal opinion, not fact] to demonstrate factual applicability of the law.
- Marc comes back with “Beyond your say-so, I am asking for empirical proof of that. We don’t see there is any actual evidence to back that [legal opinion] up.” Instead of just clearing the fog and answering the question she non-responsively replies with “That’s for the courts to decide.”
- Coming back to the matter at hand, instead of falling into her trap of putting the question off for court, Marc asks “Can you confirm there is empirical proof right now?” And without pausing for thought, she non-responsively fires back with “Under the Income Tax Act [legal opinion], under section 150, there is a requirement to file an income tax return.”
- Right after she cites law [legal opinion] in response to a question of existence of evidence, Marc goes right back to “Okay, but can you confirm, at this point in time, there is actually evidence to support that [legal opinion]? and he ups the ante by explaining “If you cannot confirm there is evidence at this particular point in time, and you continue going after my client, when it does get to court, we will raise the issue of misconduct and gross dishonesty because you are knowingly bringing an issue against my client knowing that there is no evidence [and witnesses with personal firsthand knowledge the code applies].” She again non-responsively replies “Your client is required to file a return. If we do go to court, certainly that is something you can bring up and it will be interpreted at that time.”
- After explaining “its not a matter of interpretation,” Marc goes right back to square-one; “What we want to know right now can you confirm right now, yes or no, that there is empirical proof that the Acts apply and that there is jurisdiction?” Again she goes back to the code when she non-responsively replies with “We are going by our policy and what we are required to administer” and goes back to the “interpretation of the Act.”
- After pointing out that he never asked her about the “interpretation of the Act,” Marc restates “I am asking for empirical proof it [the code] applies to Mr. ___ in the first place” and requests she “stops conflating application with interpretation” and he re-asks “Do you have any evidence, any empirical proof whatsoever, that the Acts actually apply to Mr. ___?” After her first thoughtful pause of the call, she finally responds with the admission to answer his question of existence of facts and evidence, she’ll “have to look into the case further.”
- Acknowledging her reasonable response, Marc tells her “If you want to get back to me, that’s certainly reasonable and I am glad to hear…” until she interrupts with the backdoor-line “I can look into it, but I am not in the position to make that determination at this point in time.”
- Marc seeks clarification by asking her “Are you able to look into whether there is empirical proof that the Acts apply and that there’s jurisdiction? Certainly you’re not going to proceed against Mr. ___ without evidence of jurisdiction, right?” To which she non-responsively replies with “Is he a resident of Canada?”
- After reminding the agent that her question is not an answer to his question of existence of evidence and in the middle of asking if they plan to proceed with their legal attack against Mr. ___ absent evidence of applicability, she interrupts and non-responsively complains “Why aren’t my questions being answered?”
- Marc answers her complaint stating “Because I am asking you a question [of evidence] and you just want to evade the answer to that question and deflect the attention away.” She uses the same reason as Marc for asking questions by claiming she is “just seeking clarification.” Remember: you are not there to submit testimony, you are only there to question the evidence.
- Marc attempts to paint the picture a little clearer for the CRA agent and states “We have a letter that went to Mr. ___ and *someone* down there has already made these determinations. I want to know if its arbitrary or if its based on facts. I am not going to fill in the gaps for you, I am not going to sit here on the phone and make a case against someone I am assisting. Do you, or do you not, have empirical proof that the Acts apply to Mr. ___?” She again non-responsively stonewalls and says “Well, I’m not going to discuss those sort of things with you either sir.” [“Either?” There has only been one issue/question pursued by Marc and his client, what other things is she imagining Marc to be asking? More evidence that statism resides in an ether of cognitive dissonance.]
- Keeping in mind this is a phone call to determine whether there is evidence to warrant the case to be escalated to the courts, Marc restates her latest admission that she is not going to discuss “whether they have evidence or not” and promptly reminds her that “withholding material evidence” is considered “perverting the course of justice.” She attempts to dodge accountability by claiming that is only applicable in a court of law” and that Marc “can argue what he wants.”
- After suggesting that “perverting the course of justice” is not limited exclusively to appearances before the court and that asking questions to determine whether there is any evidence to support the charges is not making an argument, Marc begins to get into her admission that she “is not in a position to determine applicability/jurisdiction” when she interrupts with “I am not sure I can determine that at this point in time” and “if you are asking for a determination that is legal, I can’t give you that.”
- In response, Marc has to reiterate that asking for “empirical proof the Acts apply has nothing to do with interpretation, and if you’re not a lawyer and not able to make these determinations then you’re really in no position to determine that my client is required to file a return.” The CRA agent non-responsively and evasively continues the non-responsiveness by claiming that “if we go ahead then that would be something that would be argued in front of the court.”
- In accordance with standard procedure for discovery, Marc replies “Before going to court, I want a yes or no answer, and not an evasion, because if you can’t confirm there’s evidence or not, then we’ve got a serious issue of bad faith where you’re proceeding against Mr. ___ without evidence of jurisdiction.” She callously, and non-responsively replies with “Well, as I said; then Mr. ___ would have an option in that point in time to appeal it.” As if that is a valid replacement for an incomplete discovery. :-/
- Marc takes his que to ask “Why should he have to do that [get railroaded and file for an appeal] when at this particular time neither you or anyone else at the CRA can confirm there is evidence of jurisdiction? Why not just drop it if you can’t confirm if there’s evidence of jurisdiction?” A bit of quasi-rationality returns when she says “That would have to be something we have to look into and see, and that would be something your client would have to potentially fight at the end if we feel we have that [jurisdiction], then that’s how it would go.”
- Marc closes with “If you feel you have evidence, then I would imagine you can get beyond your feelings and you can actually demonstrate and present what that empirical proof is. And if you are not able to present empirical proof, then regardless of your feeling, I would hope that you would back off at least until such a time you can prove jurisdiction.” She responds with the non-responsive, vague statement “I will have to look into it and see, that’s all I can tell you sir.”
That’s a lot of non-responsiveness for a 9 minute inquiry. Do you see the pattern of non-responsiveness and cognitive dissonance with simple questions of proof of facts and evidence? Imagine attempting to have this nature of conversation within other domains of your life… with friends, family, co-workers; how productive and coherent would that conversation be? These folks staffing the Tax/Revenue agencies have no value for productiveness, coherency, and most importantly; consistency, yet they are ready and willing to destroy their neighbor’s lives to feel like they are doing a good job blindly conforming to assumed authority. That level of destruction has social cost for services that can, and should, be provided voluntarily.
This unnecessary infection of cognitive dissonance is avoidable outside the fictitious paradigm of statism (or “assumed roles,” to use the language of the Stanford Prison experiment), and why we produce a weekly radio show; to contribute to the case for a voluntary society in objection to the violent society uniformly forced upon us today, a society where we don’t have to rely on a underlying ether of ignorance as a matter of sanctioned social policy.