He does apparently refuse to pay his income taxes and my hat is off to him. I don’t know how he’s pulled it off for so long without getting caught. Karl Hess had to become a hermit or something.
Well, what happened is that Hess was classified as a tax resister in the course of an already-existing audit in the mid-1960s. He had been targeted for a retaliatory audit by Lyndon Johnson for his time as a Goldwater speechwriter, and ended up getting pissed off enough with the process that he sent the IRS a “fuck you” letter along with a copy of the Declaration of Independence. At that point they reclassified his case as a “tax protest” case (not surprising, since they were already ill-disposed to him and he declared in the letter that he’d never pay taxes again), then seized nearly all his property and imposed a 100% lien against future earnings.
The back-to-the-land and community technology stuff was mostly a matter of ideological preference and personal taste, which he started getting into later on, during the early 1970s. The most that harassment and persecution from the IRS contributed directly to that lifestyle was that he learned a craft (welding) and used barter to avoid generating taxable income. He said that the experience of learning a craft is part of what led him to think about community technology, and using barter to make a living probably made him more sympathetically inclined towards survivalist ideas and non-monetary forms of exchange than he otherwise might have been.
I don’t see how the rest of you are that different from me in your actions though, but maybe there’s something you’re doing (or not doing) I’m unaware of.
I could be mistaken, but my impression is that most of the bloggers here don’t disagree very much with Billy Beck about the attitude that you should take on matters of principle. What they disagree with him on is the specific content of the principles that he sticks on, especially the notion that individualists should feel obliged to confront the State over tax resistance.