I spent with friends and family in my old home town. Some of the time was spent talking about my experiment, which was something a lot of people were curious about and had been mulling over. The main sticking points that were keeping people from wanting to join me were three:
- Most felt that a gesture like mine wasn’t likely to have much of an effect, and so wasn’t worth the fuss. Alas, this argument can be applied to just about any form of activism — in a nation of millions, even a very motivated and effective person can only have so much of an effect. That is a good excuse for doing nothing, but not a good argument for doing nothing. Besides, my argument is that by being a taxpayer, you aren’t doing nothing, but are in fact contributing a great deal to the active work of the state.
- Some felt that I was assuming too much responsibility — that I shouldn’t feel guilt for how my taxes are spent because I effectively have no say in this. This is another example of what I consider to be a good excuse but a bad argument. It takes a nation of millions to threaten the world with a vast nuclear arsenal (for instance). A handful of evil-minded people can’t do it themselves. We all have to pull together to make it possible. The government has made it easy for us to grab the oars and pull, but we still have to decide whether or not to do it.
- Finally, there was the general impression that what I am doing is a great sacrifice, and that they would want to see some extraordinary reasons in favor of taking such a radical and difficult step before they would consider doing it. I’m hoping to prove them wrong by my example. I think that the life I live after reducing my income and eliminating my federal income tax burden will rival or surpass in its largeness and vibrance the life I lived as an well-employed taxpayer. Time will tell.