Monday, May 20, 2013

I'm Easy

In last Friday's post by Arthur Silber, he talks about using the widespread anger over the current IRS "scandal" to achieve some meaningful protest against the national government's evil practices.  He specifically talks about two things: people refusing to file income-tax returns in numbers too large for the government to handle; and truly large numbers of people occupying places like Washington, DC and shutting them down for indefinite amounts of time.  He writes, in part,
Start with a series of ads that are seen and mentioned everywhere: on television, on millions of blogs, Tumblr posts, and tweets. The call to arms can be very simple and direct: NO MORE TAXES -- UNTIL YOU CHANGE! Perhaps it is structured around the no-more-taxes pledge -- and perhaps the day of arrival in Washington, D.C. (and other cities) is Tuesday, April 15, 2014. We have lots of lead time. It could be the story of the century -- and for once, that empty phrase might actually be true.

As a strategic matter, and to encourage as broad a coalition as possible, maybe the call to arms should remain that open-ended: UNTIL YOU CHANGE. I wouldn't presume to suggest a list of demands at any time, either now or months from now. And perhaps such a list isn't needed or advisable; that is how coalitions are splintered. That kind of open-endedness might also be a good idea with regard to the bastards running the government. If millions of people descended on Washington and other cities and actually shut them down indefinitely, if millions of people refused to file tax returns -- well, who knows what the bastards might offer. It might be more than anyone now thinks. In effect, the protesters would be demanding: STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW -- where "what you're doing" refers to the oppressive, abusive, murderous policies of this government. (As I'm writing this, I think one demand that I would hope everyone could agree on would be that the government unequivocally renounce its claim of a "right" to murder anyone and everyone it chooses. But even that demand might be inadvisable.)
 For myself, I'm inclined to think Mr. Silber has greatly overestimated both the extent and degree of public anger over the IRS business.  But his post did -- as usual -- provoke some thoughts.  When he suggests that it would be a mistake to make a specific list of demands, I suppose he's thinking in terms of the standard left-right paradigm, in which a "liberal" might demand an end to the wars and an expansion of government-provided medicine, while a "conservative" would demand an end to regulation and entitlements, but a continuation and expansion of wars and police-type activity.  That's one of the nice things about having, loosely, an anarchist's political philosophy: I can't think of any government activity or "service," the elimination of which would be any kind of dealbreaker for me.  In the enormous catalog that stretches from the post office and the weather service to torture prisons and CIA murder-drone operations, of course I find some items much more objectionable than others.  But there's nothing so innocuous that I'd part company with another protestor over its elimination.

It may be that there's enough people out there who would be willing to refuse to file income taxes that such refusal would become a relatively safe thing to do.  But even if there are, I don't see how any large fraction of those people are going to trust that the others are there and will act enough to act themselves.  No one wants to be that one guy in Tianenmen Square, facing a column of tanks by himself.  And I don't know what the solution to that problem is.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

Agreed. I don't believe for a minute that the tiniest fraction of the populace would ever, in a million years, defy the government in even the mildest way, let alone refuse to pay federal taxes. In my circles--such as they are--there seem to be two main reactions to any national event or political subject: the conservative one, supported by those who hate and despise Obama and think everybody on welfare is milking the system and the other one, who excuses their guy for anything and everything, insisting he's helpless in the face of evil republican machinations. These are both inconsequential compared to those who simply have no reaction--don't know and don' care.