taxing thoughts

In, em, ‘honor’ of tax season, I offer even more thoughts from Thoreau:

For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. But we love better to talk about it: that we say is our mission . … If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such revolution is possible.

-from “Civil Disobedience,” 1849 (there’s loads more good stuff in the essay, too; this is just a taste)

and a bit of Tolstoy:

If only each King, Emperor, and President understood that his work of directing armies is not an honourable and important duty, as his flatterers persuade him it is, but a bad and shameful act of preparation for murder — and if each private individual understood that the payment of taxes wherewith to hire and equip soldiers, and, above all, army-service itself, are not matters of indifference, but are bad and shameful actions by which he not only permits but participates in murder — then this power of Emperors, Kings, and Presidents, which now arouses our indignation, and which causes them to be murdered, would disappear of itself.

-from “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” 1900

and some potentially helpful and further thought-provoking links:



  1. Reblogged this on My Omer of Manna and commented:
    Thanks for this. We are huge Henry David fans and book readers. It was Civil Disobedience that drew me to read more Thoreau and grow to appreciate him as a ‘prophet’ well before his time, especially before 1861.
    What he would have thought of the War between the States… or even the current string of endless international wars prosecuted in our names…
    Amazing to think how he would view the current nature of our Statist government. Probably would him retreat once again to the woods. Thanks again for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

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