The morality lurking behind the taxes that fund government spending

Yesterday I wrote a long post about the fact that the abortion debate, at least on the pro-choice side, ignores social and medical advances that should make it a very different debate from the one that led to Roe v. Wade.  I think this is an important conversation, because of the fact that ObamaCare would have us pay for other people’s abortions.  Despite the fact that taxes triggered my post, they don’t figure into it.  The Anchoress, however, took the argument to the next logical point, and does discuss the nexus between taxes and abortion.

Another question I would like to see brought into the public square -and bear with me, for a moment, as I play Devil’s Advocate: if pro-life advocates (like me) object to their tax dollars being used to fund abortions under Obamacare (and I do), and if they want their objections to be seriously considered, then why shouldn’t those who are anti-war object to their tax dollars being used to fund the effort in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the multi-fronted war on terror?

Now, the argument will be made that a strong national defense is necessary to the survival of a nation, while legal abortions are not, strictly speaking, “necessary,” (except, for some, to the survival of a mother). But if the pro-lifers manage to keep their tax monies out of the reach of the abortion industry, they can expect to see a similar effort made about funding the “military-industrial complex.”

Although it will be very interesting to see under what sort of president, and what sort of congress, such arguments are made.

I urge you to read the rest of the Anchoress’ post, which is every bit as thoughtful and thought-provoking as the part I just quoted.

I would add to the Anchoress’ suggested rationale for funding war, but not abortion, the fact that, traditionally, America has distinguished individual freedoms (and, currently, abortion is one of them) from specific powers that have always been reserved for the state (such as the power to wage war against an enemy to the nation).  Just as we have never before used federal power to force people to buy a product from a third party vendor (which is what ObamaCare does), so too have we never before forced Americans to fund a neighbor who is exercising an individual freedom that we find morally objectionable.

Incidentally, Thoreau wrote his treatise on Civil Disobedience when he went to jail for refusing to pay taxes to support the 1848 war against Mexico.  The effort went nowhere, although his treatise entered history, because rich friends simply went ahead and paid the taxes for him.  I suspect that, ultimately, Thoreau’s is the correct answer.  If the government is truly spending your money in an intolerable way, one that makes you complicit in a crime that destroys your own moral standards, than you have to become disobedient, and stop paying your taxes.

So far, interestingly, none of us law abiding citizens have done that as a political statement.  Having the weight of the federal government bear down upon you and your family, stripping you of every material thing and threatening your individual freedom, is a very big price to pay to make a stand.  We keep thinking that, through the ballot box and the blog, we can make the change — and maybe we just can’t.