Tax Resister Rose Wilder Lane

I’ve mentioned the interesting story of Rose Wilder Lane a few times hereabouts.

These excerpts from the edition of Libertarian Review give a little more information about her tax resistance and her motivation:

She writes Mr. [Jasper] Crane in no uncertain terms that he is mistaken in believing that one owes the government something in return for services rendered; and she is equally eloquent against Robert LeFevre’s “no action” attitude toward government:

“Mr. LeFevre and I have engaged in heated, though amiable, controversy, about his attitude to Government. When the students in his Basic course (the one I attended) asked him, what should we do? his reply was negative. He said: Do not depend on Government; do not ask Government for favors and subsidies and support. I think that a negative is not enough; I say that if they do not know the right action they are too apt to take a wrong one; I think that the thing to do is to resist any further extensions and encroachments and usurpations by the Federal Government, by every peaceful legal means while such means exist.”

“I do not think that any honesty is involved in paying taxes. Taxation is plain armed robbery; tax-collectors are armed robbers. I will save my property from them in any way that I think I can get away with. If you wake in the night with a flashlight shining in your face and a masked man with a gun ordering you to tell him where your money is, do you feel that you’re morally obliged to tell him the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? I think you might. I don’t. I will try to get out of that predicament with as little loss as possible. In regard to taxes, this means taking advantage of every legality that any attorney can find in the tax ‘laws’ so called, and regulations. I have no scruples about this whatever, anything that I want to do with my money, and that I can in any way slip under any legality so that the robbers won’t find it and rob me of some of it, I do. They make the legalities, trying to be smart about who gets how much of my property; and to keep as much as possible of my own, I’ll outsmart them if I can.”

“I am ‘law-abiding’ purely for expediency, for self-defense, in the main against my conscientious principles, so at bottom I am ashamed of not being a conscientious objector practicing Gandhi’s or Thoreau’s civil disobedience. I did refuse to be rationed; I do absolutely refuse to be Social-Secured; but I should refuse to pay taxes and be in jail, only what would become of my little Maltese puppies? and my own little area of freedom? and my books and my friends and correspondents? I shall be reluctantly a martyr, only when backed into the last corner of the last resort. No heroine, alas.”