If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible.
- Henry David Thoreau
The Chen family in the
It's cold outside, and inside as well.
When the Snake was taking Dragon's place, I was writing a long letter to the Tax Collecting Department at the Ward Office of the Yokohama municipality to explain, for the hundredth time,
1) I have no reason to pay "Citizen Taxes" when my constitutional rights are in jeopardy, and
2) I have no money to pay them.
A couple of months ago, a friend of mine - it's actually the wife of my friend, to be more precise - said, "You say your right to 'maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living' is being infringed by the Ward Office. But it seems to me they needn't have forced you to catch up so mercilessly if you had paid these taxes on time since 2006 in the first place."
I appreciated her frankness, but just like the tax collectors, she viewed the causal relationship upside down. At least I wanted her to understand that as former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul wrote in 2008, "economic freedom and personal liberty are not divisible."
It still remained a paper bullet, but I felt now I was exhausting every possible measure to peacefully convince the robbers that the Constitution is a reciprocal agreement between the state and its citizenry.
I added the Yokohama Bureau of the Asahi Shimbun daily to the list of the recipients of CCs, only to show the tax collectors that I was damn serious about my refusal to pay "Citizen Taxes." Actually I knew I couldn't expect any support from the Fourth Estate which has collusive relations with the three branches of the government through the news cartel called Kisha Kurabu.
During this stressful period, some of my friends gave me a helping hand, either directly or indirectly. Especially heartening was the New Year's greeting card from Lara, Chen Tien-shi (the toddler in the above photo.) In the postscript, she wrote to the effect that she does not really agree to the way the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) defines the stateless and classifies them into two categories, de jure and de facto.
The brilliant ethnologist certainly knows any definition of anything which all dates back to 1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (NOTE below) was adopted can't serve the purposes of the 21st century. In the last 64 years, the Chinese Communist Party took over power from the Kuomintang, Deng Xiaoping opened up the People's Republic of China, the Cold War came to an end with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the PRC became the world's second largest economy. Nothing has remained unchanged.
NOTE: Its Article 15 vaguely says, "(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality."
As I wrote in the previous post, most people in and around the UNHCR have already lost touch with the reality. The Geneva-based international body was founded in 1950 on a principle which is the worst possible combination of the busybody's ideology of America and other victors of WWII and the crybaby's mindset widespread in the rest of the world. It's no wonder the UNHCR still has great difficulty reaching a consensus on how to define statelessness while incorporating all the complexity and subtlety involved in it. As a result, nobody can tell exactly who should be protected exactly from whom. And yet, people there still claim to be exploring effective ways to "ameliorate the situations facing an estimated 12 million stateless people."
In short, the ideology-ridden UNHCR has politicized what should not be politicized at all.
Actually I have owed Lara more than I can repay. Among other things I have learned a lot from her intriguing autobiography just titled Stateless, which is the manifestation of her positive attitude toward life. It's this trait coupled with an unparalleled intellect that made her acquire Japanese nationality after the years of deliberation. According to the author, she wanted to find out what it would give and cost her to voluntarily enter into a contract with this nation-state which inflicted a lot of suffering on the home country of her parents in the 1930s through the first half of the '40s.
Like many of you, I have never been stateless de jure myself. But now I think I know how to deal with the fundamental question about my relationship with the country where I was born and have lived for 77 years.
Now in the face of the existential crisis, in which both my survival and principle of life are at stake, I'm urging the City Hall to immediately stop robbing me of 30% of my pension annuities on the pretext I had refused to pay Citizen Taxes from 2006 through 2011.
The constitutional/extralegal war I'm at can be unwinnable. But I still hope I don't succumb before the municipality does. I don't need any institutionalized support from the likes of the UNHCR because it always remains self-contradictory and empty words. All I need to that end is a moral support from such people like Lara (NOTE below) and other like-minded individuals, and monetary support from my selfless friends such as "DK" and the dentist. These people always remind me I am not a beggar as yet.
NOTE: Don't take me wrong, however. I have no intention to implicate her in my battle against the municipality in any way. Actually she hasn't approved, or disapproved my way of dealing with the municipality, either explicitly or implicitly.
Without their support, I would have been suffocated to death by what I call the Oxygen Taxes a long time ago. I call them that way because the Citizen Taxes are basically levied on your mere existence. You can't tell the difference between the local and central governments and criminal syndicates because yakuza gangsters, more often than not, demand "protection monies" from the residents who are living on their "turf" no matter whether the small shop owners are prospering.
I think taxation on your business transactions and properties is a different issue because, as the last resort, you can always avert them by refraining from selling or buying goods and services, owning properties, or using the infrastructure.
They always say, "Love it or leave it." I used to be saying this rhetoric was totally unacceptable because if all those who are unhappy with the way it is in their country leave it, nothing will change for the better in the future. But now I've realized I was wrong. If you don't love it, there is no reason you have to worry about the future of you country. They are right, after all: it's not them but you that must go away - from the system, that is. I am not talking about people to whom you are personally committed.
I don't love it. But I didn't leave it on my own either because I thought there was no reason I had to leave. Then, the City Hall stepped in to virtually declare me stateless de facto. That's how it all happened here.
POSTSCRIPT January 9: In the first version of this post, I touched on the pathological behaviors of the American people today because I thought it would be nice if I could have additional moral support from overseas, or they could learn something from my case. But now I have deleted these paragraphs altogether because on second thought it's none of my business.