Today: some things from hither and yon that have caught my eye, but that I haven’t managed to weave into a Picket Line post yet:
- Thanks to Amazon’s on-line reader, you can read excerpts from Gregory Vistica’s Fall From Glory: The Men Who Sank the U.S. Navy concerning the anti-WMD activism of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, and the FBI / Naval Investigative Service / Knights of Malta campaign to discredit him. Hunthausen at one point resisted a portion of his federal taxes to protest against the United States government’s policy of threatening to attack its enemies with nuclear weapons.
- Here’s an old article from The Libertarian Forum about a property tax strike in Chicago in that bears a lot of resemblance to the organized Chicago property tax strikes of the 1930s. I wonder if we’ll see more of this during the current economic troubles.
- Here’s an undated report about Australian war tax resister Robert Burrowes. “Robert has been refusing to pay part of his taxes in ‘legal tender’ (as stipulated by Regulation 58 made pursuant to the Tax Act ) because he does not want to contribute to military expenditure. Instead he has attempted to pay ‘in kind’ with such constructive and symbolic items as shovels, trees and Aboriginal land… and by donating the balance of the claimed money to various peace and development organisations.” There’s other stuff on-line about Burrowes’s case but I haven’t had time to look into it yet.
- Glenn D. McMurry wrote up some memories of his time at Bethel College in the 1930s, including his recollections of Benny Bargen.
I had the opportunity of living in the Bargen home for an entire summer session. That experience further confirmed my knowledge of Bennie’s character. He was a dedicated Christian and a staunch pacifist, believing and practicing all forms of non-violence. In conversations with Bennie one could almost be persuaded that all wars in which our country had participated could have been prevented by pacifist methods.
Non-violence for Bennie didn’t end with his war philosophy. He didn’t want any of his money to be used for violence of any type. Therefore, in order not to pay federal tax on his income, he would accept only a very low salary. The Bethel administration wanted to raise his salary. They tried every loophole in the book to help Bennie, and still conform to his desire to pay no income tax. He remained content to live on his meager salary in order to be true to his moral beliefs.
To live out such a life style, Bennie had to make decisions that made life difficult for his family. Near poverty became the family’s lot! The administration gave the most meager housing. Usually it meant an upstairs apartment requiring his climbing to the top with great difficulty [Bargen’s legs were paralyzed from polio]. It didn’t bother him, but it bothered Esther, his very dedicated wife. She had high aspirations for herself and her two children, and she found it difficult to attain them because of Bennie’s demands. Even his eating habits were affected. He would figure his calories and eat only the minimum amount of food he felt he needed to keep alive.
- In excerpts from his book Experiments in Moral Sovereignty, taxpatriate Jeff Knaebel investigates the link between war and taxes, as exemplified in Thomas Paine’s observation that “In reviewing the history of the English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but wars were raised to carry on taxes.”