Those emasculated young, white, ultra-conservative young men, hating that which they could not understand, they did the only thing they could. The thing that gave them a sense of control, a sense of dominion.
They fought back.
Mathews started his own cultic group. It would be a group like those he saw around him – the people in charge – people like bankers and lawyers and businessmen. They had money. They had power. They had respect. Mathews would have those, too.
The Sons of Liberty. That’s what he called his group. The name was an obvious rip-off from the American Revolution. In effect, then, Mathews had seceded from the society that had taken his manhood from him.
The Sons of Liberty were an anti-communist, extremist militia group. Made up of mostly Mormons and survivalists, they numbered about 30 men. They didn’t really know what to do to regain their manhood. They just knew they were angry. So they decided to revolt against paying taxes, because they felt that would be a good place to start. At least it would make a statement: “they were mad as hell and they weren’t going to take it anymore” – to quote the rabid newscaster in the movie Network.
Mathews set the example. He claimed 10 dependents on his W-4 form. This wretched attempt was his idea of tax resistance. It was more than wretched, it was pathetic. The IRS arrested him for tax fraud. He was tried in a court of law, where, when it was all over, he was found guilty. Even his sentence highlighted his status as a loser: six months probation. He couldn’t even get thrown into prison. At least then he could have felt like a martyr and laid claim to a bad-boy image.