Tell Your Facebook Friends About Your War Tax Resistance
Maybe one day you stopped paying for war, and that was an important event in
your life. Let your Facebook friends know about it — and maybe inspire them to
make such an event part of their lives — by following the
instructions on this page to add
that event to your Facebook timeline.
Un día dejaste de pagar por las guerras, y ése fue un acontecimiento
importante de tu vida. Avísase sus amigos de Facebook — y tal vez estimúlase
ell@s hacerlo un parte de sus vidas — por siguiendo las instrucciones
en este página web para
añadir ese acontecimiento a tu línea de tiempo de Facebook.
This comes from The British Friend, dated ,
and is prefixed with the note “Dear Friends, — The following is the copy of a
paper I am about to post for the Friend. As the
subject is interesting to Friends generally, will you insert it in your
periodical, and thus oblige your Friend, B.”:
An inquiry from A. appearing in
The Friend, for this month, as to whether those
called Church Rates may be considered as taxes on property or not, I confess
that, however interesting the question may be, as one of curious legal
research, I do not see how its decision could reconcile Friends to such
payments. What we object to is surely this, the interference of man
in the things of God. If so, it matters little whether one is
called on to pay “church rates” to repair a building connected with state
religion, or to pay “property tax” for the very same purpose.
Willingness to be led by Christ’s Spirit we believe to be the essence of
Christian worship, but in all state churches “law is substituted for
love,” and force for voluntary homage.
“B.” goes on to denounce
establishmentarianism, and concludes:
We utterly deny the man-made ministry of national “churches,” and as
steadfastly affirm that none ought to be compelled to
repair the places in which such teachers officiate.
In the Herald of Peace, some years ago, mention was
made of a Friend in Wales who suffered distraint for the property tax,
then existing, because that tax had been granted expressly
as a war tax. This is a case in point. When a tax or rate
is levied and set apart for a definite object, there can be no mistake,
because it is not mixed up with the general mass of rates or taxes.
The letter immediately following this one told of a shoemaker, John Gardner of
Garstang, whose goods were seized to pay 1 shilling, 1½ pence of church rates,
plus £1, 8 shillings of various fees associated with the auction (in other
words, the total amount seized was more than 25 times the amount of the
Copperhead Refuses To Help Pay Harry’s Traveling Expenses
I have a letter from a typical Copperhead, in the late Roosevelt’s meaning of
the term, who reveals a determination quite un-American, according to the
same lexicon, not to pay her just share of President Truman’s $50,000,
tax-free increase in pay disguised as an expense account, nor her fair
portion of the cost of his recent nonpolitical visit to the far-flung haunts
of the Faceless Man. I trust that the treasury and department of justice will
send her to prison that the majesty of law and justice shall not be mocked.
“Faceless Man” was a favorite Peglerism, though it’s not always clear to me
what he meant by it. It may have just meant how an individual person looks
faceless when seen merely as a unit in a mass — a member of a demographic, or
a voting bloc, or “the workers,” or some such. In the context of taxation, it
may have been something similar to
“The Forgotten Man” of William Graham Sumner.
Pegler goes on to quote from the letter, in which the writer complains of
how her husband was treated. Her husband worked for the telephone company for
30 years, dying in after a long and
expensive battle with cancer. She received one year of his salary from his
company as a death benefit, and was outraged when the commissioner of internal
revenue later decreed this benefit to be taxable income. By this time, the
money had been spent on medical and funeral bills, and she was living on (and
supporting her elderly mother on) her husband’s life insurance.
Asked of her reaction to the commissioner’s ruling, she writes: “I said: ‘You
can tell them I will never pay. I will take the whole matter to Mr. Pegler.’”
Pegler’s sarcastic response:
Let me hasten to wash my hands of this sordid cause. I do not know this
Fascist-minded evangel of greed and civic anarchy. I do not endorce her
reluctance to contribute to Mr. Truman’s $50,000 tax-free raise and the cost
of his barnstorming trip in the interests of the Democratic party. I don’t
want no trouble with no tax collectors.
“On , I filed the income tax form.
I will never pay the tax. I will go to jail before I will pay.”
I shall try to learn the outcome of this rash defiance of our laws and report
this offender’s progress toward prison.
Pegler brought up this new $50,000 travel allowance for the president many
times in his breathlessly outraged columns, though today this outrage sounds
quaint. For example, a single trip that President Bush took “to mix with
ordinary folk, sample traditional fish and chips, and enjoy a kitchen-table
chat at the constituency home of his friend and ally, Tony Blair” cost $2.3
million — or, in 1950 dollars, over six times Truman’s extravagant new annual
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