The War Resisters League Pie Chart… How Well Does It Work?

Over at War Tax Talk, Ed Hedemann takes a second look at the annual War Resisters League federal discretionary spending pie chart — asking whether it provokes people into taking action or whether instead it gives them a reason to avoid taking action. Excerpt:

I’ve recently come to realize that all too often the pie chart… has been used as a means to avoid taking action or, at least, direct action. Having these obscene specific dollar figures and percentages readily displayed can be seductive (even mesmerizing): billions of dollars going to this or that imperialist war or horrible weapons system. Though this can spur people to lobby Congress or the President, generate letters to the editor, and even provide ammo, so to speak, for protest signs (“No More Money for War!”), all too many people seem consumed by the mechanics of the budget process to such an extent that it paralyzes them from moving beyond protest.…

…It’s almost as if protesting military spending — they (the government) did to us so they have to fix it — is safer and less threatening than contemplating taking matters into our own hands by declaring “The U.S. war and military spending is a crime against humanity. I refuse to wait for the politicians to correct these injustices, so I will refuse to be complicit and, from this day forward, will resist payment of war taxes to the IRS!”

From The Salem [New York] Press of :

South Hartford Pastor Refuses to Pay All of Her Income Tax Due

Miss Marion C. Frenyear, pastor of the South Hartford Congregational church, has paid only 25 per cent of her income tax to the collector of internal revenue, saying that she can not support the training of young men to be killers.

In her letter to the collector, Miss Frenyear said, “I am paying only 25 per cent of my tax because I cannot conscientiously support our government’s participation in and preparation for war. I believe that war is wrong, contrary to God’s commandments and directly opposed to Christ’s spirit and teaching. I also believe that modern war is obsolete and futile. We can not destroy communism or any other false idea by killing those who hold it.”