Arcadi Oliveres on War Tax Resistance in Spain

La Voz de Galicia published an interview with Arcadi Oliveres, president of Justícia i Pau, a Christian peace group in Catalonia. In one excerpt from that interview, he addresses war tax resistance (translation mine):

Q: Each year every Spaniard dedicates, on average, 408 euros to finance the Army. How do you relate this data to the wars in the world?

A: The money dedicated to military spending is not spent in cultivating flowers, it is dedicated to making wars and to the soldiers that make war: also to scientific investigation to “improve” weapons, that at the same time are sold to countries in the third world. We ought to reflect on whether there is any reason why this spending continues. In the world there are 26 million in the military, and the United Nations has asserted that it would need between 400,000 and 500,000 blue-helmets to carry out peacekeeping missions. What are the other 25-and-a-half million for?

Q: Your organization supports war tax resistance; can you explain what this is about?

A: Our organization has been promoting it since . It concerns an act of civil disobedience, but it must be made clear that society would not advance if the people did not disobey unjust rules. We can’t go to the demonstrations saying that we don’t want war and then finance it.

Q: How does one practice tax resistance?

A: It’s very simple. If the State spends 6% of its total budget on military spending, when we fill out our tax returns we take a deduction of that percentage of the total and redirect it to some independent nonprofit charity and enclose a receipt with our return.

In the fifth section of the second book of The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle says that there are three sorts of things “in the soul” (where virtue is found):

things like appetite, anger, fear, and so forth (some other translations call these “emotions” and “feelings”)
the ability to feel the various passions (some other translations call these “capacities”, “capabilities”, and “powers”)
our attitudes and reactions toward the passions (some other translations call these “habits”, “trained faculties”, “states”, and “moral states”)

Virtue, according to Aristotle, is in the third category. I don’t see where he’s going with this, unless it is simply to suggest that things in the third category are more malleable and under our control.

St. George Stock’s interesting paraphrase of the Nicomachean Ethics (Lectures in the Lyceum: or, Aristotle’s Ethics for English Readers, ) goes into this in more detail and relates Aristotle’s categorization of virtue here to his thinking about the “Dialectic” which he gives in another work. Maybe if I knew more about that, this section would make more sense to me.

Illustration showing the categories of things in the soul, from St. George Stock’s paraphrase ()

Index to the Nicomachean Ethics series

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics