Poverty, Persecution, Prevarication, or Paperwork?

I gave a phone interview to a journalist working on a short piece about tax resisters for a local newsweekly. She said she was taken by my light-hearted short-hand description of the four dimensions of tax resistance: poverty, persecution, prevarication, and paperwork. “So you’re doing the ‘poverty’ method, right?”

I’m glad I could set the record straight. If this is poverty, poverty is very underrated. I’m living much more frugally relative to my fat lifestyle before I started resisting taxes, it’s true, but I’m far from impoverished. In fact, in terms of the ratio between my wants and my ability to fulfill those wants, I don’t think I’ve ever been richer. My salary dropped but my life rose to surpass it, and I hope it never relinquishes the lead.

Claire Wolfe takes a look at the other side of this see-saw, and sees a nation of people who are prosperous on paper and in the cost of their possessions, but impoverished in their lives, having sold their hopes of genuine prosperity in exchange for mass-produced trinkets and baubles.

I’ve said before that I’m the richest poor person I know. But the truth of that didn’t really strike me until I found myself flooring the gas pedal in my eagerness to escape whichever McMansionland, AutoMall, Theme-Park Shopping hell I was passing through that day. To trade the glorious view from my own hand-built Cabin-Sweet-Cabin for what passes for life in such a place … It would be unthinkable. Inconceivable.…

Someday people are going to wake up in their McMansionized cities with their views of grand but homogenized AutoMalls and PlaylandMalls. And — I hope — they’re going to feel revulsion at how cheaply their spirits were bought — how they mistook plain old money for real prosperity — and how very, very poor they allowed themselves and their communities to become because they bought into the world’s biggest lie.

“Dropping out and refusing to fund the growing police state is the most moral individual choice.” ―Claire Wolfe