The Personal is Political, Says Sunni Maravillosa

Sunni Maravillosa is engaged in an interesting debate on walking the walk when you’re talking the talk regarding liberty.

The personal is political, as the old slogan goes. Or, as Sunni puts it, “the idea that a pro-freedom revolution will be some discrete, distinct event sometime in the future is a narrow and shortsighted perspective. Each and every act against the state, from small, mostly symbolic rebellions to large-scale, principled acts of civil disobedience, dropping out, and/or education comprise the revolution that has been and is swirling around us every day.”

Joey at The Freedom Symposium isn’t so sure, he’s got his own ideas of how to translate your ideals into your day-to-day life.

There’s something called Wolfekipedia out there on the web. It’s a project of the community that has formed around the thought and work of Claire Wolfe, which is to say that it’s got a libertarian bent, of the I’m off the grid and you can have my guns when you take them from my cold dead hands variety, not the suit-and-tie if only the government would privatize the prisons variety.

They’ve reproduced my “22 ways to work together to help tax resisters” bit on a page there. With any luck, folks will continue to brainstorm and improve some of these ideas. Anyone who signs up at the wiki can edit it. Have at it.

FSK’s Guide to Reality again takes me to task for my “bizarre fetish about Quakers and war tax resistance.” He finds war tax resistance to be incoherent, seeing as the state is an inherently violent and aggressive institution, and so anyone who objects to war enough to resist war taxes ought logically to resist all taxes.

While I tend to agree with him in his conclusions, I think there are some coherent (though precariously-balanced) positions that allow for objecting to war without objecting to all coercive government. For the Quakers, though, there wasn’t much room for staking out nuanced positions in this regard because they were boxed in by scriptural demands to respect the authority of the state — up to certain boundaries. Given that, the only question was where the boundaries should be.

But to address FSK’s criticisms, I would just say this: to the extent that the Quaker position on war taxes was incoherent, I think much of the modern war tax resistance movement and especially its “peace tax fund” contingent is equally or more incoherent. And a large part of the reason for this is that its proponents do not carefully consider their positions and the positions of those who disagree with them.

I’m eager not to make the same mistake, and so I’m taking some care to study a variety of arguments about taxpaying, including those that I think are not particularly wise or good.

And I think the Quaker arguments have serious flaws. But, that said, there remains a lot we can learn from them. And I’m most impressed by the fact that those Quakers who did develop arguments for one form of tax resistance or another actually put those arguments into practice, which cannot be said for a lot of the more ideologically pure intellectually libertarian tax complainers we have about us today.

Speaking of church and state… in the United States, churches and other “non-profit organizations” may apply for a tax-favored status. But if they do this, they have to follow certain rules. Among those are strong restrictions on political activity: they cannot endorse candidates for office, for instance.

Churches have, by and large, been plenty willing to keep their traps shut concerning political races in exchange for the tax break. But now some think they ought not to have to make the trade. They think they should get the tax break without having to put on the muzzle. The Alliance Defense Fund is trying to recruit many churches to defy the ban in an act of coordinated civil disobedience, in the hopes of creating a test case with which they can legally challenge the ban.