Working on a Topic Outline of The Picket Line

Many of my recent Picket Line entries have been essentially link collections, with some excerpts from the off-site content and maybe a little commentary. At times it seems to me like this blog is kind of like a collection of index cards — little fragments of data perhaps eventually meant to support an argument.

I spent some time going through the back catalog and trying to make more explicit the connections in what has been a somewhat vague cluster of related data. I started this more for me than for you — cleaning house, trying to get organized, nourishing the ambition of trying to come up with something a little more rich and a little less ephemeral than a blog some day. But having done it, I figured there was no harm in putting it out here for folks to take a look at. It’s not too good looking, but you might find it interesting or even useful.

The “♦” symbols in the outline below are hyperlinks to Picket Line entries that touch on a given topic.

Update: I’ve since modified and added to this outline and moved it to its own page, where I keep it updated.

  1. It’s as bad as you think it is — maybe worse
    1. The U.S. government is cruel, despotic, and a threat to world peace
      1. Atrocities
        1. Torture in Gitmo & Abu Ghraib, etc.  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
        2. Civilian casualties & urban bombardment (Najaf, Falluja, etc.) ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      2. Despotism
        1. secrecy, contempt, dishonesty, Commander-in-chief override  ♦ ♦
        2. declining civil liberties, drug war, mass imprisonment  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      3. Threat to world peace
        1. arming, propping up, making excuses for dictators
        2. insisting on the global rule of the unilateral iron fist  ♦ ♦
        3. fueling global arms races  ♦
        4. funding and encouraging Israel's worst policies  ♦ ♦
      4. Robbing the public and spending irresponsibly  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
        1. Huge deficits / debt  ♦ ♦ ♦
        2. Bloated military budget  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
        3. Pork spending ♦ ♦
        4. Social Security & Medicare “reform”
      5. Corrupt legislature  ♦
      6. Losing Vietnam all over again  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    2. U.S. citizens aren’t rising to the challenge
      1. No functioning opposition party  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      2. Public acquiescence / approval / collaboration  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
        1. Ready-made excuses for torture, civilian casualties; glory in cruelty  ♦
        2. Abu Ghraib whistleblower threatened on return home  ♦
        3. Even Hiroshima is not seen as an atrocity  ♦ ♦
        4. Bad faith reasoning is par for the course  ♦ ♦
      3. Independent press oversight is lacking
        1. Jingoist bias; baloney given uncritical hearing  ♦
        2. Unreliable establishment spokespersons get to frame debate  ♦ ♦ ♦
        3. Doublespeak like "anti-Iraqi forces" and "homicide bombers" increasingly accepted without embarrassment  ♦
        4. Blogs bucking this trend somewhat
  2. Given that things are this bad, what is your responsibility?
    1. Not being a “Good German”  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      1. Milgram's experiment and My Lai  ♦ ♦
      2. Does your responsibility end where the law begins?  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      3. Arendt, Eichmann, Nazis creep me out, Jefferson and his Slaves  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    2. Ethics  ♦
      1. How I came to have my ethical beliefs  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      2. Practice makes perfect; virtue ethics  ♦ ♦
      3. C.S. Lewis on becoming a scoundrel  ♦
      4. But what if we don’t have free will?  ♦ ♦
      5. Existentialism and ethical thought experiments  ♦
      6. Are ethics just aesthetics, lifecycle trends, or fashion statements?  ♦ ♦
      7. What does personal development have to do with political change? ♦
    3. Values are things you live, not things you profess  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    4. The danger of “feel-good” protests
      1. They don’t accomplish much
      2. They spawn violent reactions from the impatient that don’t accomplish much either  ♦
      3. Liberals can sure be infuriating sometimes  ♦ ♦ ♦
      4. What about “symbolic” tax protests?  ♦
      5. But tax resistance won’t topple the government either  ♦
    5. Is there any point? Is it hopeless to try to change things?
    6. Calls to action!  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    7. How does tax resistance fit the bill?
      1. Does this mean taxpayers are immoral monsters?  ♦
  3. How can you resist funding the government?
    1. How does the government get its money?  ♦ ♦ ♦
    2. Legal tax resistance can be pretty easy  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    3. How you can legally reduce or eliminate your federal income tax bill  ♦
      1. IRAs  ♦ ♦
      2. Health Savings Accounts  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      3. Keep a close eye on your budget  ♦ ♦
      4. Charitable giving  ♦ ♦
    4. Some other strategies for stopping payment
      1. Barter, underground economy, alternative currencies, “time dollars”  ♦ ♦ ♦
      2. DIY, freeganism, frugality, slugging, car-free living, sharing  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      3. Homebrew ♦
      4. Phone tax resistance  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      5. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      6. Tax evasion  ♦ ♦
      7. Home-based business  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      8. Flee the country  ♦
      9. Turn yourself in as a Nuremberg Principles violator  ♦ ♦
      10. Harass the IRS  ♦
    5. There are incidental advantages to my strategy  ♦
    6. Some examples of organized tax resistance
      1. Gandhi’s salt march & homespun campaigns  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      2. Beit Sahour  ♦
    7. Recaps of own tax resistance  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    8. What about the payroll tax?  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    9. Arguments against my tax resistance method  ♦
      1. A.J. Muste's dissent  ♦
  4. What other forms can our opposition take?
    1. Refuseniks, deserters, resisters, fragging (dissent in the ranks)  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    2. Satyagraha  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    3. Electoral politics, legislator lobbying, playing the game  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    4. Peace movement: marches, protests, and so forth  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    5. Vandalism, obstruction, blockades, and so forth  ♦
    6. Subversion from within  ♦
    7. Nonviolent action; Gene Sharp's catalog techniques  ♦ ♦
    8. Economic secession ♦ ♦
    9. Temporary Autonomous Zones and the like  ♦ ♦
  5. Trends in U.S. tax law and enforcement
    1. General
      1. IRS is unfunded, full of bluster, using out-of-date technology  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      2. How does the IRS deal with tax resisters? ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      3. How is tax law changing?  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
      4. Is Dubya “starving the beast” by lowering taxes?  ♦ ♦ ♦
      5. What about radical tax reform, like the “Fair Tax”?  ♦ ♦ ♦
    2. What happens if the IRS knocks on my door?  ♦
      1. Or their new independent bounty hunters?  ♦ ♦
    3. What's wrong with constitutionalist tax resistance?  ♦ ♦ ♦
      1. Or the “black tax credit?”  ♦ ♦
  6. Miscellaneous other items of interest
    1. The “Peace Tax Fund” and legally-authorized conscientious objection to military taxation  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    2. The War Tax Resistance movement — tactics & strategy ♦ ♦ ♦
      1. Conferences, theater, music, rallies  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    3. Is some government worth preserving, or is it all bad?  ♦
      1. What’s right with the free market, what's wrong with capitalism?  ♦ ♦
      2. Can libertarians, peaceniks, anarchists and lefties get along?  ♦ ♦
        1. “Green Scissors”  ♦
    4. Anarchism
      1. Government vs. organized crime (Pirates & Emperors)  ♦
      2. Mexican governor abolishes traffic cops  ♦
    5. Tales of tax resisters
      1. John Kefalas, Julia “Butterfly” Hill, etc.  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    6. History of tax resistance
      1. Mennonites, Rose Wilder Lane, Thoreau, the Nelsons, Edmund Wilson, etc.  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
    7. Consumerism, personal debt  ♦ ♦
    8. Religion
      1. Mennonites, Quakers, etc.  ♦ ♦
      2. What Would Jesus Do? (give to Cæsar?) ♦
      3. The Catholic church of England & Wales says taxedness is next to godliness  ♦
    9. Corporate / municipal / wealthy tax dodgers  ♦
      1. Lease-In / Lease-Out, etc.  ♦
    10. The Picket Line
    11. Health insurance
      1. A moral necessity?  ♦ ♦
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