One more thing…
When you apply the “or else I’ll kill you” standard below to many of the things that the government does on a daily basis, it is really horrifying how petty the list of things over which we’d gladly kill our neighbor becomes:
National Endowment for the Arts? “Pay for this crucifix in a jar of piss, or else I’ll kill you!”
NPR? “Pay for this radio broadcast espousing political views with which you disagree, or I’ll kill you!”
PBS? “Pay for this TV Station, or I’ll kill you!”
http://www.factcheck.org/2011/03/reids-cowboy-poetry-puffery/ “Pay for this poetry festival or I’ll kill you!”
It also gets pretty horrifying when certain controversial programs are considered, since there would be just reason for a citizen to choose to abstain from funding those:
“Pay for Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition, and torture, or I’ll kill you!”
“Pay for faith-based initiatives and abstinence-only sex ed, or I’ll kill you!”
“Pay for this young woman’s abortion, or I’ll kill you!”
As I said, this should be taken into account whenever we discuss what should and should not be law. If a person has a moral and just reason to abstain from paying for something from which they draw no personal benefit, perhaps it shouldn’t be law. If something is so trivial that the threat of killing them if they don’t pay for it seems absolutely absurd, then perhaps it shouldn’t be law.
In my opinion, this is another reason that I think that a citizen should be able to cherry pick whether he chooses to pay for certain programs in his taxes, or not, and that the total number of programs for which we’ll kill people if they don’t pay for them becomes much smaller and much more essential than it currently is. Don’t want to pay for PBS? Here’s a deduction. Want to contribute to NEA? Don’t take this deduction. This would help the public vote with more than just the ballot box, too, since programs that didn’t receive sufficient funding would dry up and go away, instead of becoming entrenched, professional lobbyists to ensure their continued survival past their expiration date.