Redirection: Our “Constructive Program” — Bill Ramsey compares redirection (the common practice in war tax resistance circles of giving your due taxes to charity rather than to the government) to the “constructive program” part of Gandhi’s campaigns.
Like us! — Erica Weiland points out the various facets of NWTRCC’s social media presence.
Counseling Notes — how credit rating worries and student debt may discourage war tax resisters; suspicions of an uptick in the underground economy; lots of bad news for the IRS; and war tax resistance counselor training notes
“One of my ancestors,” said he, “lived in a time and in a country in which
one of the taxes was for the support of the established church. He was a
maker of crooked scythe snaths, of which he was the inventor, scythe handles
having been made straight before his day. Periodically the tax officers would
come around to collect the amount levied upon him for church support. As
often as they came he would refuse to pay the money.
“ ‘You will have to go to jail, then,’ the officers said.
“ ‘If you want me, take me,’ was his reply.
“Then the officers would load my ancestor’s crooked sticks, wooden horse and
edged tools and himself into a wagon and take him through the principal
streets to the jail, where he would be kept until he had worked out his tax.
That is the kind of Baptists which existed in those days, and there are
plenty of Baptists of the present who would go to jail rather than pay a tax
for the support of any church.”
When I read this, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was talking about
Father Lamson, an
eccentric whom I first heard about when I was reading accounts of him
attending abolitionist meetings. He has been credited with inventing a curved
So I did a little googling around. There’s a lot more on-line about Lamson
than there was last time I went hunting — including
which features a color portrait and the confirmation: “Silas did not approve
of government oversight and as such he was routinely placed in jail for
failing to pay his tithes, and finally, due to his constant preaching, was
condemned to the Worchester and Brattleboro asylums ‘to be treated for
insanity and uncustomary methods of dispensing his sentiments’ for a period of
Finally, when the supporters of church and state orthodoxy made their last
effort to return him to the asylum, liberal thinking men headed by Ralph
Waldo Emerson, made up a purse for his defense. The resulting lawsuit ended
in a court decision that proclaimed his incarceration as a lunatic was
A commenter on that page notes “that his portrait hangs at Fruitlands, the
place where Bronson Alcott had his experimental commune and lived for a couple
of summers. They evidently knew each other.” This would put Lamson in the tax
resistance lineage of Thoreau as well.