The Message Karl Hess Sent with His 1040 Form Instead of a Check

You may remember these words:

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

They’re usually attributed to Barry Goldwater, from his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention. But they were written for Goldwater by Karl Hess.

Here’s what Hess wrote on to accompany his 1040 form:

The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America establishes a bill of particulars in regard to intolerable infringements, abuses, and denials of political power which belongs to the people.

The Federal government of the United States of America today is guilty of exactly every sort of infringement, abuse, and denial stated as intolerable by the Declaration of Independence.

I cannot, in conscience, sanction that government by the payment of taxes.

Further, the Federal government of the United States of America has established as a principle, and ruthlessly by the power of its officials enforces as a practice, that it can demand the primary loyalty of the people, that it can exercise all political power on their behalf, that it can wage war without their approval, and that it can and should establish the standards of their behavior and the goals of their lives.

I could not in conscience sanction such a government by the payment of taxes.

Finally, the Declaration of Independence, in the clearest possible language, tells Americans that when a government becomes destructive of the ends of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that it is the right and the duty of the people to abolish such government, to “throw off such government.”

It is in the spirit of that Declaration, and in comradeship with men everywhere who seek freedom and to throw off such governments, that I now refuse to pay the taxes demanded by the government in the attached form.