War Tax Resister Karl Meyer

The libertarian on-line magazine Liberty For All has a good profile of war tax resister Karl Meyer.

The author spends some time during the course of the profile talking about the different perspectives of “progressive” activists and “libertarian” ones, trying to bridge the gap and wondering what each can learn from the other.

After pooh-poohing the Peace Tax Fund proposals, I got to thinking of what sorts of compromises would satisfy me and buy me off.

If a government representative, let’s call him Clyde, came to me and said “how about this: why don’t you pay us all the tax you owe us, but we’ll make sure to spend your tax money on something nice like a cure for cancer or something” — that wouldn’t fool me.

But what if Clyde said “instead of paying your tax money to the IRS like everybody else, we’re gonna let you pay your tax money directly to Amnesty International instead — just fill out your tax forms like everybody else, but when it comes to writing the check, write it to them, not us.”

Well, I think I’d shake Clyde’s hand and say “it’s a deal!” I don’t really appreciate being forced to give to charity or having the government tell me how much to give, but this would be such an improvement over the current situation that I’d be tempted to declare a truce.

What if Clyde told me that the government was going to set up a brand new cabinet-level Liberty & Peace Department designed to keep the rest of the government in check, fight unconstitutional laws and figure out ways to downsize the military, and that this new department was going to be funded by people who checked off a box on their tax forms redirecting the whole of their tax payments into that department. Sure I’d be cynical about a government bureaucracy designed to curb government excess, but still… could I resist the temptation?