Choosing Simple Living

Recently redmoonsong, who lives in North Carolina and is a committed war tax resister among her many other activities, sent the list below to NWTRCC with this note:

Here’s the page I mentioned to you on the phone.
One of the things I love about it is that each one begins with action (I really like action).
Although I’ve been reading this list for 15 years, I am still inspired by the intelligence, directness and succinctness of Lissner’s writing.

Ten Reasons for Choosing A Simpler Lifestyle1504-live-simply-so
by Jorgen Lissner

  1. As an act of faith performed for the sake of personal integrity and as an expression of a personal commitment to a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources.
  1. As an act of self-defense against the mind- and body- polluting effects of over-consumption.
  1. As an act of withdrawal from the achievement neurosis of our high-pressure, materialist societies.
  1. As an act of solidarity with the majority of humankind, which has no choice about lifestyle.
  1. As an act of sharing with others what has been given to us, or of returning what was usurped by us through unjust social and economic structures.
  1. As an act of celebration of the riches found in creativity, spirituality, and community with others, rather than in mindless materialism.
  1. As an act of provocation (ostentatious under-consumption) to arouse curiosity leading to dialog with others about affluence, alienation, poverty, and social injustice.
  1. As an act of anticipation of the era when the self-confidence and assertiveness of the underprivileged forces new power relationships and new patterns of resource allocation upon us.
  1. As an act of advocacy of legislative changes in present patterns of production and consumption, in the direction of a new international economic order.
  1. As an exercise of purchasing power to redirect production away from the satisfaction of artificially created wants, toward the supplying of goods and services that meet genuine social needs.

redmoonsong, right, with Cindy Sheehan at a war tax gathering in Asheville in 2013.

To save me from typing it, I glanced to see if the list was online, and found it on the website Simple Living Works!, which seems to be packed with writings, podcasts, and resources for people interested in this topic.

This list does not specifically mention simple living as a way of minimizing any contribution to the U.S. war machine, but there are plenty of people in our war tax resistance network, like redmoonsong, who chose simple living for just this reason. Among others, the name Charles Gray comes to mind even though I don’t think I ever met him. He lived in Oregon, and our friend Peg Morton always spoke highly of Charles, who died about 10 years ago. Inspired by Gandhi, he became a pacifist at the young age of 16, which among other things, led him to war tax resistance. There’s a nice tribute to him in the Eugene Weekly newspaper with a great subtitle, “The simply rich life of Charles Gray,” and a website about him that includes some of his writings too.

And, NWTRCC has a booklet on this topic with lots of stories and ideas and a whole bunch of other resources. War tax resisters can learn a lot from the wider simple living network, and the simple living network can learn from us too!

— Post by Ruth Benn





2 thoughts on “Choosing Simple Living”

  1. Erica says:

    Peg gave me her copy of Charles Gray’s book “Toward a Nonviolent Economics” when I visited her a couple of years ago. What an interesting guy, with the same sort of intense devotion to living out his conscience that I appreciate among war tax resisters in general!

  2. Ruth says:

    Daniel Woodham shared a link on Facebook, which I think you can watch without logging in. A good plug on this topic from the former President of Uruguay and ‘World’s Poorest President’

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