If you are against paying taxes, you should take legal action, show civil disobedience, found a movement. It means risking your existence for what you stand for, risking consequences. You may assume that you are arguing in a majority who are also all against taxes, but that is a common misconception.
Those who are really against taxes will do anything to avoid paying them.
But nobody has claimed that not agreeing with an existing concept of a society at the same time this disagreement also leads to a change, so to speak. There weren't and won't be people who did and will not risk anything to bring about a change in concepts and views. All those who risk something can actually lose their lives, their freedom or their reputation. Or "only" their friends.
There is no guarantee that your concern will be successful. There is no guarantee that you will find sufficient support for your endeavor.
If, after these considerations, you still believe that you do not want to pay taxes, you should consequently take a risk. If you are not willing to take such a risk, no one will take you seriously in your opposition to taxes. Then you seem to be a phoney, someone who thinks he is disobedient or who would make a valid argument, even though he is expressing an opinion. In fact, you are in good company of many complaints. It's opinionating but not civil disobedience. An opinion is an opinion. It doesn't create a visible disobedience.
Change means making an effort.
If you look at it that way, you might well say: For an issue like taxes, should I risk all that?
So this is often not a conscious "knowledge" at all, but an unconscious "knowledge", indirectly expressed by the fact that we do not risk something of which we assume otherwise some benefit. Which we are reluctant to admit when we speak unilaterally of "theft".
In this respect, one can call it hypocrisy: the complaint one-sidedly about this or that topic, but unfollowed by consistent action, consistent resistance, and possibly not only without success in doing so, but in remaining tongue-tied in actions.
We have to agree to sometimes disagree and differ and yet support our common enterprise as long as it is legitimate. You use the roads; the police ensure your safety; your home is protected by the fire brigade; you are trained by schools; you are treated by doctors who are paid by society and trained by universities, and so on. All this is expensive and without this infrastructure you could not possibly live. So you have an obligation to society to do your part.
As mentioned before, this obligation is contestable. Thoreau thought that the time had come when his country started an immoral war. Gandhi saw the sheer injustice of the colonial government as the trigger. But neither of them would have withdrawn from this obligation simply because of a disagreement with the ruling politicians. And I think that's right.
So as long as you think that your government as a whole is morally legitimate, you should pay your taxes; if you don't agree, then you refuse to pay your taxes, make it public, and use your protest and accusation against you as a means to advance your cause.
Quote from Philosopher Jay Garfield
Source: translated from German Why should I pay taxes
"... neither of them would have withdrawn from this obligation simply because of a disagreement with the ruling politicians..." I think this specific sentence has some fire in it. Read here something about "service".
So if I were to use a moral scale as a yardstick for my government and had to set my number on a scale of 0-10, what number would I come up with?
In principle, we all have some kind of sensor for this morality. Whether it works objectively, of course, is another matter.
I personally would give my German government a 6-7. This means that I see no reason for civil disobedience that would go so far as to endanger my life and existence. However, I do see many things critically, including the privatisation of hospitals, for example. That gets a low number on my moral scale. But it's still embedded into the whole scaling. Which does not motivate me enough to build up civil disobedience for that matter. Except avoiding hospitals.
Someone who seriously wants to attack religious oppression morally, can he refer to the principles of oppression and say, "I got caught in this unfortunate concept because it kept me captive. Shame on the guilty ones." (?) Those who see that they are oppressed can fight against it and will risk their lives, may neglect their children, may offend their friends and family who may see this issue differently.
The Pious Helene/ Wilhelm Busch
There are a hundred and one reasons for not giving up one's children, for not messing with the social environment and for not putting oneself in danger. However, if you don't want and don't dare to do this, you can't really find guilty people without letting yourself be put off by the fact that you have decided not to risk your skin.
For my country, I see a decline in religious oppression and attribute it to the past times. I have inherited some of the religious morals through my parents but I am free to choose my believes and I am not forced to participate in the church.
There are failed and successful role models in our human history.
But all of them have risked their skin. They have fought for their cause under the most difficult conditions. Whether this is Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Thích Quảng Đức, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Dian Fossey or Julian Assange (of whom it is still unclear what will be attributed to him later). Michael Reynolds, for example, has been struggling with courts for years because he wanted to build his Earthships. It gave him pain over pain. See his story here (The garbage collector).
Recently, such role models have been asked for. The fact that there seem to be few of them has perhaps to do with the question of what one actually wants to accuse governments or other responsible parties of, at a time when material prosperity has taken on a strange dimension.
Susan La Flesche Picotte († 1915), was the first Indian woman in the USA to earn a doctorate (Dr. med.)
In my country, people can eat, live and heat very well.
At around 1300 euros a month, a single person can afford everything he needs to live. One even speaks of poverty at such a sum. But we must not forget that we are surrounded by wealth.
This surrounding wealth is already noticeable when throwing away or putting everyday objects on the street. In the unloading of food at the back exits of supermarkets, at the simple flea market exchanges on- and offline. There are countless opportunities to get by in a rich environment with very little income. It takes effort but is not impossible.
There is the statement that everything that goes beyond the minimum for living has actually no special added value for a person. The unfulfilled rest: It is also called "imagined poverty".
I would like to meet an argument, for example: "But then I can't travel!"
"Traveling" should be synonymous with other wishes of a cultural nature. Someone who really has a desire for the foreign world will be inventive in how he or she will be able to afford a trip to a foreign country despite having little money. He just has to mean it. There is a lot of joy to be found in being inventive. Make something out of nothing.
A guarantee for the success of a firmly established intention is nowhere fixed. It can also go wrong. You can lose. Or die.
Two examples of two brave young men come to mind: One took a bicycle trip from German to Asia - Saving Papua New Guinea by not cycling there - with thhe intention of reaching Papua New Guinea. Not only did he risk his skin, but he also experienced many wonderful things. The other traveled across several continents without any money at all. One has to leave behind a lot: security, comfort, friends, family.
Other examples, such as women giving birth in the forest or elsewhere, without any help at all. You can say all sorts of things about them, but you can also leave it alone and applaud them.
Of course there is stupidity. But that is not what I am talking about here.
I quote from one of my texts, which deals with the narration of family history in the context of history, mainly during the Second World War.
Working in the labor camp Trud-Armee was hard for everyone. When my eldest brother asked my grandfather about his experiences in the camp, he told him that he had almost been shot once by one of the Russians who was in charge of the camp. The Russian ordered my grandfather to leave. Grandpa knew if he left, they'd shoot him in the back. So he said to the warden: "No, I am not going. You shoot me, you might as well do it right now and here. At least then I'll know who did it." Whereupon the warden had chased him away angrily and let him go back to the barrack.
Now ... let's just take this in. ... Think about my grand dad. And especially take a look on that Russian guy. What had happened? It's not just something one needs to read over. It was the intention there to shoot my grandfather. That was no joke. There was a conflict beforehand and the humans involved had made up their minds. My grandfather was about to be shot. He had said something to the wards which had upset them. It was a challenge "my will against the ideology". Not: My ideology against your ideology.
My grandfather had to straighten something out.
If you are commanded and ordered all day against your will and you have eventually enough of all, what are you supposed to do? When there is the urge to say "no" once in a while. How are you going to survive that "No saying"? How will you make it happen that those wards leave you alone at times you need it? That you are not always the ideologies victim? The only chance to establish your dignity and their human respect is to risk your skin. It must be believable. No fake. It must be real. My grandfather took a real moment. He gave in. He "won" by accepting to "lose". Not against the ward. Against the ideology. That is what the guard may have glimpsed.
Sitting Bull. Is this a face that is dignified?
A young woman, whom I mentioned once before, fled Afghanistan at the age of 15
because she did not want to be married to a man. She didn't sound at all like she had escaped from a hell, modernity has long since reached all countries. She didn't want to lead a life like her mother and father. She didn't hate anyone, but instead she had a huge desire for freedom. For this she accepted the risk of freezing to death, being raped, drowning and ending up in a completely foreign country of which she did not know the language. In only three years, however, she mastered the German language in such a way that she could apply for a training position without hesitation, with the firm intention of becoming a doctor.
A milder form of disobedience may be refusing to perform certain tasks at work ...
... that are assigned to you by your supervisor. You can negotiate, you can present your arguments, you can demand other tasks. No one will shoot you if you refuse a task. The employer may refer to an employment contract, which says that as an employee you are subject to receive instructions, but of course you can still say something against it or resist. Of course, this can lead to dismissal and to a salary freeze. But here too, it is never a game without risk. But what good experience, when you succeeded!
One day my ex-boss came by my desk, where I was just packing my things and was about to leave.
He clicked his tongue and said, "You never work overtime, do you?" I said, "Is there something you want to complain about? Like my work? I won't work overtime unless you can prove that I'm doing a bad job. Since you can't do it, I can't see that I'm working overtime just to please you." I think he left muttering to himself. Later, however, it turned out that he respected me, even though he had repeatedly tried to give me orders that went beyond my work ethic, which I refused. He even gave me a severance pay at the end, which I demanded from him for reasons of fairness, although I was the one who had resigned and moved to another town.
I would not be quite so rebellious today, but no one makes such absurd demands on me any more, which I think I want to reject outright. Lastly, there was a bit of a squabble with a colleague whom I did somewhat injustice to, as she got on my nerves too much with a piece of work that I had already decided inwardly to write off. A short time later I submitted the end of my participation in the proect. My latest, noww retired boss said to me that I would always "lean out of the window very far". This did not cause her to give me notice or treat me badly.
Life on the edge
... is actually one of the things we like to see in films and from where we get inspiration. Life on the risk side of existence is basically a beautiful life. You lose a lot in the course of time, but on the other side you often win something unexpected.
Some things don't change that you think should change. Those who risk their lives in the present may never experience change. But they can assume that there will be one in which they will be reminded later. Maybe not in person, but in the spirit of a movement that, if it tells enough good stories, will gain strength.
I am a story seeker.
I have already collected so many and experienced some things myself. The deepest valleys that I walked through have been the strongest sources of strength for me afterwards. Often I did not see that in that moment of uncertainty and suffering.
Share with me your episode or someone else's story that you think has power.
Don Quichotte: Von Honoré Daumier - Eigenes Werk Yelkrokoyade, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44152850
Die Fromme Helene: Von Deutsche Bundespost - scanned by NobbiP, Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11239327
Susan La Flesche Picotte: This image was found at The National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_253.html, Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=328776
Sitting Bull: D. F. Barry - Dieses Bild ist unter der digitalen ID cph.3a06022 in der Abteilung für Drucke und Fotografien der US-amerikanischen Library of Congress abrufbar. Diese Markierung zeigt nicht den Urheberrechtsstatus des zugehörigen Werks an. Es ist in jedem Falle zusätzlich eine normale Lizenzvorlage erforderlich. Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=569602