[Second in a series by guest author Ed Agro.]
Thinking about the conscription of our money for war led me to recognize that modern America’s wars are waged mostly in behalf of an addiction to well-nigh mindless consumption without concern for true costs, the “externalities” beloved by those economists who labor to convince us that we live in a world of infinite plenty; that is, in heaven.
The earth is small, and what it has to give is limited. The more it’s depleted, the more fiercely nations and corporations compete to be the ones to gouge it.
We don’t have to be the gluttons amongst the 1% in order to take part in the fouling of our nest. All we have to be are ordinary folk, accepting the ordinarily assumed right to take and to have without the burden of considering the consequences to anything beyond our wallets.
Over time these thoughts led me to a life of less stuff, less interest in leaping to buy whatever was offered. There was no struggle or heroism about this clearing of the decks, it just seemed to be a part of sensible living.
Yet diligent downward mobility was accompanied by a continual reduction in my tax liability. I was still a fan of paying for public good while refusing to pay for public evil, and still wanted to savor the contradiction of doing both at once.
Awhile ago it reached the point that the only war tax available to me was the phone tax. It’s gone up and down since it was first imposed, most often going up to meet the financing requirements of this or that war. There’s more than a little justification for calling it a dedicated war tax.
[Note from Kathie Malley-Morrison: Ed has provided us with an example of how one anti-war activist decided to signal and continue signaling his resistance to war. What is your view of his decision? To what extent do you think he can promote public good while refusing to pay for public evil? Have you found other ways to express your distress over war?]