Cindy Sheehan: War Tax Resistance Makes Me a More Credible Peaceworker
Cindy Sheehan points out
that one advantage of practicing war tax resistance is that it makes you more
credible in your work encouraging soldiers to refuse to deploy or to resist
in other ways:
Even if you do go to prison for taking a principled stand, wouldn’t that be
better than killing a baby in one of those countries, or killing your own
You may also say: “Cindy it’s easy for you to say, you are not risking prison
yourself.” But I do, I risk it everyday because I am a conscientious tax
objector. I refuse to pay my income taxes. Personally, I find it morally
repugnant to be a combat “enabler.”
Please don’t bloody your hands for the Empire.
Peace is only possible if we do the morally upright thing, because our
governments will not.
One thing I’ve been meaning to investigate but haven’t yet had the time for
is evidence of Thoreau’s political philosophy as found in surviving letters
Here’s an example, from a letter from Thoreau to Harrison Blake, on this date
[Daniel Ricketson] says that he sympathizes with much in my books, but much
in them is naught to him, — “namby-pamby,” — “stuff,” — “mystical.” Why will
not I, having common sense, write in plain English always; teach men
in detail how to live a simpler life,
etc.; not go off
into ——? But I say that I have no scheme about it, — no designs on men at
all; and, if I had, my mode would be to tempt them with the fruit, and not
with the manure. To what end do I lead a simple life at all, pray? That I may
teach others to simplify their lives? — and so all our lives be
simplified merely, like an algebraic formula? Or not, rather, that I
may make use of the ground I have cleared, to live more worthily and
profitably? I would fain lay the most stress forever on that which is the
most important, — imports the most to me, — though it were only (what it is
likely to be) a vibration in the air. As a preacher, I should be prompted to
tell men, not so much how to get their wheat bread cheaper, as of the bread
of life compared with which that is bran. Let a man only taste these
loaves, and he becomes a skillful economist at once. He’ll not waste much
time in earning those. Don’t spend your time in drilling soldiers, who may
turn out hirelings after all, but give to undrilled peasantry a
country to fight for. The schools begin with what they call the
elements, and where do they end?
I was glad to hear the other day that Higginson and —— were gone to
Ktaadn; it must be
so much better to go to than a Woman’s Rights or Abolition Convention; better
still, to the delectable primitive mounts within you, which you have dreamed
of from your youth up, and seen, perhaps, in the horizon, but never climbed.
“Some” say that the only things we can really wish for are actually good
things, “others” say that ends are purely subjective and that there is no
Actually Good standard to compare them to. Aristotle, characteristically,
aims for some position in the middle, acknowledging that there is an objective
good, but insisting that we’re perfectly capable of being mistaken or unwise
in our wishes, and that the goals we wish for are subjective ends that may or
may not coincide with the objective good. Usually, he says, when you wish for
something objectively bad, you’re being misled by pleasure.
To me this seems an odd debate. Different people wish for different things,
often incompatible things, certainly opposing things, so they can’t all be
objectively good, so we must be able to wish for things that are merely
subjective goods, right? There must have been some debate that used a more
specialized definition of words like “wish” or “good” that I’m not aware of.
“The cost [to the IRS] of processing a single paper-filed tax return is $2.87, compared to $0.35 for an e-filed return.”
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