Should We Just Cave to Government Demands?


Jay4Liberty, an online acquaintance, said the other day that he happily forked over his tax payments knowing it would keep him out of jail and couldn’t give a damn about the consequences. Upon questioning, he confirmed that he did not care one iota about the death and destruction reigned down on innocents courtesy of his financial support for the little dictators that do business as The Government.

No Regrets about Paying Taxes is an Extreme Position

I found Jay’s cavalier attitude offensive to the maximum. Whether to submit to taxation or not is a difficult question and I don’t fault people who are too scared to try it. But even if you cave to the state’s implicit threats, why would you take such a devil-may-care attitude? What would you claim no regrets? Why would anyone be content with their decision to give in to a beast that regularly sows disorder, theft and murder worldwide? I can’t conceive of it and politely sparred with Jay – until he deleted his Twitter account, ending the discussion.

Making Myself Clearer

I was subsequently excoriated by another online acquaintance and led to believe by another that I hadn’t made myself sufficiently clear on this topic, so I will now attempt to do so.

Taxes are Tough

Let me state, first off, that the decision to comply or not with the IRS is, to put it lightly, heart-wrackingly difficult. If you comply, you are a part of the greatest evil ever known. If you resist, you, and possibly your family, may soon be in the sights of the greatest evil ever known. So I don’t have a lot of moral opprobrium for unwilling taxpayers.

Key Word: MAY

And yet, the key word here is “may”. Not complying with taxes does not carry immediate consequences. They may never get you. And herein lies the key: we must resist the robbery until such time as the gun is indeed pointed at our heads. This is the moral choice and this has the added key strategic benefit of revealing to bystanders “the gun in the room”.

A 1040 is Not an Entirely Credible Threat

I say that resisting till the bad guys pull out the gun is the moral choice because a piece of paper with a threat (1040) is not entirely credible. This regime has only achieved their current level of power because we voluntarily send in forms and payments when they ask. If the IRS had to come out and actually put the guns to our heads, the system would collapse. They simply could not afford to do it. We must speed this collapse. The difference I am positing is the one between voluntarily presenting your hands for arrest and walking yourself to and from the police car, and going limp, leaving the police with no choice but to exert the full amount of effort required to subdue and control a resister.

What about Employees?

For self-employed people, resistance is easy. You just don’t contact the IRS or send them any money. But for those with employees or who are employees, evasion is more difficult. How do you get your employer not to withhold? One option is to claim so many deductions that it eliminates your tax burden. I did this in college, but it is highly risky for an adult since it may involve perjury. The short and sweet answer of course is to cease working as an employee. Yes I recognize that this can require significant lifestyle changes. Freedom is not free.


My objection to Jay4Liberty was more about his attitude than about his act of complying with the government’s demands. I do NOT consider anarchists who pay their taxes to be anarchists-in-name-only. I understand their predicament at the same time that I urge them to increment their level of resistance little-by-little as their comfort level dictates. If you can’t commit to all-out resistance, at least raise their costs of enslaving you. I also urge anarchists to cease being employees in favor of self-employment (eased evasion) and self-sufficiency (an avoidance strategy).

Photo credit: wonderlane. Photo license.

4 July 2009
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