Some links to things of note:
- Former Republican congresscritter/presidential candidate and libertarian darling Ron Paul has a new book out.
It’s called Swords Into Plowshares, and, among other things, it seems that it explicitly advocates mass civil disobedience in the form of war tax resistance to prevent empires like his from engaging in militarist adventures.
I’ve still not read the book — the libraries hereabouts don’t seem to go in for libertarian literature — but some excerpts I’ve seen call for “refusal to participate in government crimes through the military and tax system with full realization of the risks of practicing civil disobedience.”
If limiting government power by constitutional restraints doesn’t work, and if trying to influence elections to keep evil people out of office doesn’t work, what is left? Some would argue nothing. But, in reality the people can go on strike and refuse to finance or to fight in wars that have no legitimacy.
If the authoritarians continue to abuse power in spite of constitutional and moral limits, the only recourse left is for the people to go on strike and refuse to sanction the wars and thefts. Deny the dictators your money and your bodies. If enough people do this, the time will come when the dictators’ power will dissipate.
- This month marks the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act Riots that crushed Britain’s attempt to subject American colonists to a variety of taxes, that demonstrated the power of mass noncompliance, and that led the way to the American Revolution.
- James Edward Maule’s Mauled Again blog touches on the tactic of paying your taxes in pennies or other low-denomination coins as a protest.
- Jennifer Carr has penned a paper on how to improve the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act for the University of St. Thomas Law Journal. It is… strange. It puts some effort into tracing the history of conscientious objection to military taxation and the various legal arguments that have been put forward in its support. And then it makes some suggestions for how to make “Peace Tax Fund” legislation more effective, suggesting that this moment of history is especially ripe for such a bill since politicians are sensitive to issues of conscience that showed themselves during and after the drafting of Obamacare. But the paper doesn’t address the most glaring flaws of the current Peace Tax Fund legislation, and its proposals don’t really make the bill any better. Still, there’s some satisfaction in seeing someone try to take all of this seriously and as worthy of some scholarship.
- Civil rights activist Julian Bond died recently. Ruth Benn remembers when Julian Bond explained how he learned about the power of nonviolent civil disobedience from the example of Quaker war tax resisters.