• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Paranoia strikes deep

Good to see Hoosiers aren't being left out of the fun for a change:

The Indiana Tea Party was among the numerous conservative groups unfairly targeted by the IRS over the past three years, that according to the group’s president.

Ken Johnson said the Indiana Tea Party applied for non-rofit status through the IRS in 2011, but didn’t hear anything for 10 months. When the IRS did finally respond, it requested extensive information, which included copies of everything ever posted to the group's website and distributed at rallies.

In the meantime, The New Republic, a magazine that recently announced it's going back to its "progressive roots," has determined why the Tea Party was unfiarly targeted -- the Tea Party asked for it!

So why would so many Tea Party groups subject themselves to a lengthy and needless application process? Mostly it had to do with anxiety—the fear that they could run afoul of the law once they started raising and spending money. “Our business experience was that we had to pay taxes once there was money coming through here,” says Tom Zawistowski, the recent president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, which tangled with the IRS over its tax status. “We felt we were under a microscope. … We were on pins and needles at all times.” In other words, the groups submitted their applications because they perceived themselves to be persecuted, not because they actually were.

The crime here had nothing to do with “targeting” conservatives. The targeting was effectively done by the conservative groups themselves, when they filed their gratuitous applications. The crime, such as it is, was twofold. First, in the course of legitimately vetting questionable applications, the IRS appears to have been more intrusive than justified, asking for information about donors whose privacy it should have respected. This is unfortunate and intolerable, but not quite a threat to democracy.

Second, the IRS was tone deaf to how its scrutiny would look to the people being scrutinized, given that they all subscribed to the same worldview, and that they were already nursing a healthy persecution complex. 

When a group that seems paranoid is actually subjected to what they were fearful of, most of us take that as proof that their fears were justified. The perverse argument is being made here that persecution is proof of the original paranoia! You've heard that "just because you're paranoid, that doesn't mean they're not out to get you." Guess "just because they're out to get you, that doesn't mean you weren't paranoid" works, too.