Three Direct Action Essays from Tolstoy

Here are three more additions to the Tolstoy essays hosted at The Picket Line:

“Thou Shalt Not Kill” (excerpt):
“If only every king, emperor, and president understood that his duty of managing the army is neither honourable nor important, as he is made to believe by his flatterers, but a bad and disgraceful work of preparing for murder; and if every private person understood that the payment of taxes, with which soldiers are hired and armed, and much more enlistment in the army, are not indifferent acts, but bad, disgraceful acts, not only an abetment of, but even a participation in murder, — then the provoking power of the emperors, presidents, and kings, for which they are now killed, would die of its own accord.”
The Only Means (excerpt):
“But that their participation in murder, that is, in military service or in the taxes which are intended for the support of the army, is not only a morally bad act, but also very pernicious for their brothers and for themselves, — the same which forms the foundation of their slavery, — does not enter the heads of any of them, and all either gladly pay their taxes for the army, or themselves enter the army, considering such an act to be quite natural. Could such people have led to the formation of a different society from that which now exists?”
Letter to Eugen Heinrich Schmitt (excerpt):
“As far back as fifty years ago a little-known, but very remarkable American author, Thoreau, not only clearly enunciated this incompatibility in his beautiful article on the duty of a man not to obey the government, but also in practice showed an example of this disobedience. He refused to pay the taxes demanded of him, as he did not wish to be an abettor and accomplice of a state that legalized slavery, and was put in prison for it.”