Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Do it youself rules for the 21st Century

In July 1846, poet Henry David Thoreau spent a single night in a jail after refusing to pay poll taxes, which he had not paid for the previous 6 years.  After spending this single night in jail Thoreau wrote his famous essay, Resistance to Civil Government, also called Civil Disobedience, which is about his argument for individual non-violent civil resistance against an un-just government.  In the essay, Thoreau states that “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 radical statement of defiance was not unheard of in Thoreau’s time and has been heard from the mouth of humans since nearly the dawn of civilization.  The problem is, though while many people sympathize with the sentiment spoken by Thoreau, few have the foolhardiness or the guts to act upon it.  Very few people refuse to pay their taxes; mostly out of fear, whether it is out of fear of jail, loss of property or of public ridicule.  I say, however, that it only takes a single fool to change the world; it only takes a single fool to end war, or end poverty or to end the conservation of ignorance.  The “majority of one” can change; through the use of tax resistance, voting to abstain and Gandhigiri protests, the government can be changed for the better and can and will finally allow people to decide for themselves and be truly free.

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