“My Taxes” by Karl Hess

On April 15, I sent the following letter, accompanying my filled-out 1040 Form, to the Tax Collector:

The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America establishes a bill of particulars in regard to intolerable infringements, abuses, and denials of political power which belongs to the people.

The Federal government of the United States of America today is guilty of exactly every sort of infringement, abuse, and denial stated as intolerable by the Declaration of Independence.

I cannot, in conscience, sanction that government by the payment of taxes.

Further, the Federal government of the United States of America has established as a principle, and ruthlessly by the power of its officials enforces as a practice, that it can demand the primary loyalty of the people, that it can exercise all political power on their behalf, that it can wage war without their approval, and that it can and should establish the standards of their behavior and the goals of their lives.

I could not in conscience sanction such a government by the payment of taxes.

Finally, the Declaration of Independence, in the clearest possible language, tells Americans that when a government becomes destructive of the ends of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that it is the right and the duty of the people to abolish such government, to “throw off such government.”

It is in the spirit of that Declaration, and in comradeship with men everywhere who seek freedom and to throw off such governments, that i now refuse to pay the taxes demanded by the government in the attached form.

Originally published in The Libertarian (Forum) Vol. I, No. III May 1, 1969

  • Graham

    and…? what happened?

    • admin

      Karl never paid a dime in taxes until the day he died. He continued to file returns but refused to pay anything. As a result he pretty much had to deal in barter and cash the rest of his life. He goes in to it a bit in this essay: http://left-liberty.net/?p=138 and also talks about it in the film “Anarchism in America”, there’s a clip of it here: http://youtu.be/SKyX0hCDw6M

  • http://thedesertlynx.blogspot.com Joel Valenzuela

    Great one. I wish you all the success in the world with your heroic stand.