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
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
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
They’ve reproduced my “22 ways to work together to help tax resisters” bit on
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
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.
A recent TIGTA
report had a useful appendix:
Synopsis of Selected Legal Provisions for Conducting Seizures.
It is a rundown of the laws that regulate how the
can seize property to satisfy tax liabilities.