April 17, 2012

158 Jahre Benjamin Tucker

A seed planted.

Time: Thursday, May 17, 7.30 P.M.
Place: Residence of the editor of Liberty, 10 Garfield Ave., Crescent Beach, Revere (a town in the suburbs of Boston).
Dramatis Personæ: Charles F. Fenno, so-called tax-collector of Revere, and the editor of Liberty.
In answer to a knock the editor of Liberty opens his front door, and is accosted by a man whom he never met before, but who proves to be Fenno.
Fenno.“Does Mr. Tucker live here?”
Editor of Liberty.“That’s my name, sir.”
F.“I came about a poll-tax.”
Editor of Liberty.“Well?”
F.“Well, I came to collect it.”
E. of L.“Do I owe you anything?”
F.“Well, no; but you were living here on the first of May last year, and the town taxed you one dollar.”
E. of L.“Oh! it isn’t a matter of agreement, then?”
F.“No, it’s a matter of compulsion.”
E. of L.“But isn’t that rather a mild word for it? I call it robbery.”
F.“Oh, well, you know the law; it says that all persons twenty years of age and upwards who are living in a town on the first day of May—”
E. of L.“Yes, I know what the law says, but the law is the greatest of all robbers.”
F.“That may be. Anyhow, I want the money.”
E. of L. (taking a dollar from his pocket and handing it to Fenno)—“Very well. I know you are stronger than I am, because you have a lot of other robbers at your back, and that you will be able to take this dollar from me if I refuse to hand it to you. If I did not know that you are stronger than I am, I should throw you down the steps. But because I know that you are stronger, I hand you the dollar just as I would hand it to any other highwayman. You have no more right to take it, however, than to enter the house and take everything else you can lay your hands on, and I don’t see why you don’t do so.”
F.“Have you your tax-bill with you?”
E. of L.“I never take a receipt for money that is stolen from me.”
F.“Oh, that’s it?”
E. of L.“Yes, that’s it.”
And the door closed in Fenno’s face.
He seemd a harmless and inoffensive individual, entirely ignorant of the outrageous nature of his conduct, and he is wondering yet, I presume, if not consulting with his fellow-citizens, upon what manner of crank it is that lives at No. 10 Garfield Ave., and whether it would not be the part of wisdom to lodge him straightway in a lunatic asylum.

(aus Liberty vom 26. Mai 1888; hier nach Instead Of A Book, By A Man Too Busy To Write One, 1897, 2. Auflage, S.139.)

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