It’s tempting to read too much in to this. For one thing, a phrase like
“consent of the governed” is an 18th century
political philosophy term of art and doesn’t necessarily work well for the
snap judgements untutored moderns have to make in phone surveys. Also, that
survey question was surrounded by a handful of others (about legislator
recidivism reelection rates, whether legislators listen to their
constituents, and even if “a group of people selected at random from a phone
book [would] do a better job addressing the nation’s problems than the current
Congress”) that seemed designed to summon up cynicism about government.
However, if the authors of the Constitution had decided to build in
the ability for the people to take a “no confidence” vote to withdraw their
consent from the government, the wording of that survey question is probably
pretty close to the wording they would have chosen.
Steven Short has written a follow-up
based on feedback he got after his KALW
radio show about Northern California War Tax Resistance. Excerpt:
Another option, though, is to opt out of paying taxes. That’s the choice for
members of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. They do
file their taxes, but in place of payment they include a letter of
explanation. Kathy Labriola has been “resisting” since
. That year she says, “I sent my tax forms
with a letter saying, ‘I owe you about $5,000 and here’s why I’m not going to
pay.’ And every year since, I have done the same thing.”
Most of us respond to such a thought the way listener Caroline Shigad did
after hearing our profile of the
“I do not agree with my tax money going toward military spending,” she said,
“but I’m not ready to risk going to jail by not paying taxes.” As reported in
our story, prosecution seems to be a surprisingly small risk. According to the
only 30 group members have ever been taken to court in the nearly 70 years
they’ve been in existence.
A video of Tony Serra’s keynote at the
national gathering last Spring is now on-line:
Another data point for my quest to determine what happened to American Quaker
war tax resistance after the American Civil War — when it seemed to begin to
almost disappear (only to come back to life after World War Ⅱ).
This comes from
The New York Times of
, and shows that at least
that late into the nineteenth century, Quakers (or the Rogerene Quakers around
Mystic River anyway) were still notorious for war tax resistance:
Meeting of the Peacemakers.
The date when the peace-loving and military-tax-hating Quakers of Ledyard
will hold the seventeenth annual meeting of the Connecticut Peace Society has
been fixed for
The services will be under a big tent at Mystic River, near the former home
of James D. Fish. Thespeakers who will attend are Donasturo De Merceteau of
Madrid, Spain; Alfred H. Love, President of the Universal Peace Union; E.H.
Coates, H.S. Chibb, editor of the Peacemaker, and
Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Washburn, all of Philadelphia; President Deys, of the
Dutchess County Peace Society; George T. Angell, of Boston; ex-Senator Thomas
F. Fowler, of Washington,
White, of Pawtucket,
Hamilton Wilcox, of New-York City; L.F. Gardner, of Eastman’s College,
Poughkeepsie, and the Rev.
C.H. Kimball, of Manchester,
N.H. It is
expected that peace advocates from all parts of the world will be present.
Find Out More!
For more information on the topic or topics below (organized as “topic →
sub-subtopic”), click on any of the ♦ symbols to see other pages on this site that cover the topic. Or browse the site’s topic index at the “Outline” page.