A correspondent to Beck expresses shame for jumping through government hoops to use his car:
Shame at being forced to think and act like this. Shame at realizing this type of behavior was business as usual in the communist countries. Shame at being compelled to take a short cut that on principle I wouldnâ€™t take with my family or friends in an analogous situation.
The only thing that I have to add right now is something that Tim Starr and Ernest Brown brought to my attention several weeks ago, which is that submission is not the same as compromise.
jtk3isme: you pay taxes billy, so it seems to me you can
Wm J Beck III: What did you say?
jtk3isme: i said you pay taxes
Wm J Beck III: I mean: is that really what you intended to say?
Wm J Beck III: What are you talking about?
jtk3isme: you pay sales tax and other taxes
Wm J Beck III: Johnâ€¦ have you *never* paid attention?
jtk3isme: sure I have
Wm J Beck III: I wouldnâ€™t pay *those*, either, if I could find a way to stop it, and this fact has a serious implication.
jtk3isme: you do pay them, which means you *can*
Wm J Beck III: Iâ€™ll tell you what Iâ€™ll do: I will set up a fucking robot to let you know every Saturday that I havenâ€™t burned myself on the Capitol steps. Will you shut your fucking impertinent mouth then?
jtk3isme: not a bit of it
Wm J Beck III: No, sir: I canâ€™t. Theyâ€™re different things.
jtk3isme: one theft is in principle different from another?
Wm J Beck III: No, they are different in practice. However, let me put it to you this way: by your way of thinking, I just die tomorrow. Will *that* shut you up?
jtk3isme: No, it will shut you up.
Wm J Beck III: Youâ€™re implying a problem of integrity, and I know the solution. Is that what youâ€™re looking for?
Wm J Beck III: That should be at *least* as attractive to everyone involved.
Wm J Beck III: Certainly, the punk Swann might be satisfied.
jtk3isme: Iâ€™m not implying any lack of integrity for paying your taxes
Wm J Beck III: Look, John: donâ€™t try to bullshit me.
jtk3isme: I say itâ€™s fine
Wm J Beck III: Itâ€™s *not*.
jtk3isme: no really it is okay to live in the world, be it good or evil
jtk3isme: they commit a crime but you do not by paying
My original commentary stands:
Weâ€™ve had the same discussion a number of times. Every time we do Beck chooses to construe it as an implicit attack on his integrity, as if I were saying he ought not be paying sales tax and other taxes. On the contrary, Iâ€™m saying that itâ€™s fine for him to pay sales tax and it would be fine for him to pay income tax. Iâ€™m saying his behavior demonstrates that he judges that paying sales tax is better for him than not paying it – else he wouldnâ€™t pay. His behavior demonstrates that he judges he should pay sales tax (which of course is not to say he should have to pay it, he shouldnâ€™t) to get on with pursuing other values.
And he could pay income tax to get on with pursuing his other values.
Clearly Beck submits to vehicle inspection because he judges his life will be better for that submission under the circumstances. And clearly Beck submits to having his required papers inspected every time he catches a commercial flight because he judges his life will be better for that submission under the circumstances.
And that’s perfectly fine. But Beck explains to Richard Nikoley about how the state is killing him:
I don’t know what any of you ever thought was going to happen to me. I had to explain something to Lynette the other night, which ought to be available to a moment’s consideration by anyone in the custom of thinking. I’m forty-nine years old now, Rich. When I come to face the first serious systemic medical crisis of the sort that commonly happens to human beings approaching that part of their lives, there is going to be no way in this world that I will be able to deal with it in the way that every blinking asshole on the street assumes that such things should be taken care of.
All we’ve done is point out to Beck that he doesn’t have to die that way, that he could get plenty of decent medical care the same way he gets his car registered and the same way he gets to fly to a gig: by submitting to some injustice.
For this we get:
Do you understand? I had to point out to her some elementary facts involving the nature of production and the function of money in human life, because those two people — John and Lynette, who really do seem to care about me with a good deal of the emotive force of hysterics — have serious difficulty at bringing themselves face to face with real-live practical implications of a murderous society. Forever, I have been telling people: “This ain’t no disco. Ideas matter.” Their estimation of my personal devotion to an ideal of freedom rises almost to the level of resentment because I am so serious about it. And I appear to be the only one on the scene who is not fooled: I have always known — every step of the way — exactly where this, my life, was going in the present political circumstances, which have only darkened greatly in general since I took my first adult steps.
I’d like to ask Richard: Do you resent the fact that Beck refuses to pay income taxes while you pay that ransom to improve your life under the circumstances? Does it seem plausible to you that Lynette and I resent him for not paying income tax while we do pay taxes? And if it’s not plausible, then who’s exhibiting “the emotive force of hysterics”? And why?
I have an idea why. Principle does not require Beck to do without health care or the bulk of the fortune he could earn any more than it requires him to do without his car or air travel. Beck could still improve his lot in life dramatically by submitting to some injustices the very same way he already submits to others.
But at 50 it would be a very bitter pill to swallow – to concede, even implicitly, that he has foregone decades of production that principle did not require him to refuse.