Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quakers, Oats, the Amish and taxes

We just finished watching the PBS show on The Amish, it was interesting and got me to thinking about change and the difference between Quakers and Amish. One of the things I have always liked about Quakers is that I feel there is a balance between the individual and the group. This seems to be a difference from the Amish who emphasis the leading or discernment of the group over the individual. In terms of war tax resistance our monthly meeting and yearly meeting passed minute saying they support individuals who are lead to not pay taxes that go to war. The group as a whole does not need to believe this is correct but they can support an individual who is spiritually lead in this direction. I suspect another obvious difference is the importance of the equality of women among Quakers, from the beginning there was support for women as ministers and even those who were lead to travel in the ministry.

In terms of oats, dad talks about harvesting oats and the combine instead of the threshing events that they use to have. It is interesting to note that this is in 1944 that they are making this shift on the farm. Thinking about how the Amish live and how their lives were not that different from other rural farmers until the last half of the 20th century makes me more aware of the changes in our society within my life time and within my fathers also.

Last the good news, the UNM law school will be taking our case. They will argue it not in terms of my position on war taxes or the IRS regulations but in terms of 'case law' and in relation to how the penalty was applied. I'll know more as time goes by. I was surprised at how much I was relieved at this news. I was a bit disappointed that they suspect it will take more than one semester. I fantasized that it was like a western movie scene when the cavalry would come riding in to the rescue, the IRS would look up from their desks and drop everything and run shouting 'look look it's New Mexico law students!', 'we give up'.   Evidently, this is not the case, we are not at the end, just beginning a new chapter.

July 21, 1944


Dear folks,

            Another week and another letter. We almost had a break in our weather. They did get a nice rain north of us around Eugene a couple of days ago. Here it has been cooler and foggy or cloudy for a while in the mornings and not quite so hot in the afternoons. I guess it has been a little hotter than usual for this month in Oregon.

            Thanks a lot for the fiver. I was getting a little low too. I had bought a few items, shirts and socks. I got a pair of swimming trunks from another guy which would have taken nearly all of my cash. But your letter came in the nick of time. I don’t mind being broke if there isn’t anything I want. I think that I had bought about all the clothes I need. Maybe I’ll learn how to swim a little more this summer. A lot of the guys swim in the river on Sundays and sometimes in the evenings.

            Evelyn sure got a bad bruse, I didn’t know the extent of her injuries before. At the rate she was doing she is probably still in bed. It is good for her to loaf around a little I suspect. That is as long as she is cheerful about it. I certainly hope it clears up soon. It is a shame she didn’t get to Myrt’s wedding. I was counting on a detailed report.

            I get the impression that your eye is better Mom. Good. When Evelyn gets back on her feet youns will be pretty physically fit. Unless something else happens.

            Guess I’ll comment on crops a little. That piece of oats didn’t make a very high yield did they. But good quality is something. You had a very lousy season too. I didn’t hear anything about you guys liking the combine just fine for oats. I know Harry is crazy about it but how about the rest of you. I imagine Mom likes not having to get a big threshing dinner too. I bet I’d sure mis the good old time threshing. I guess them days is gon fer ever.

            Some of the fellows were listening to the Democratic convention yesterday. Then they heard Roosevelt shoot the bull last night. We jokeingly call Roosevelt the ‘Great White Father’ around here. We are doing a little talking about who we will vote for. We are all against Roosevelt but differ on who we will vote for of the others. Some say they won’t throw their vote away on Thomas and others feel that they must vote for him. I don’t know what I think. I’d reckon that Dewy is as bad as Roosevelt but a change would be awfully good. I certainly hope we get some kind of change. Three terms is too many and four is terrible. I guess he has had three now hasn’t he? I sure don’t know much about what goes on do I. I’m getting a little more interested tho.
                                                So long

P.S. (over)

P.S. On my way home I bought a cheep pair of sisors which I must have left upstairs. Well, they don’t do me much good there. Would you mail them to me. I tried to get another pair but there don’t seem to be any in Eugene. Also I’m about out of the “Via Air Mail” stickers if you have gobs of them stick a few in your next letter. I prefer the standard air mail envelope but they havn’t gotten any out yet I guess any(?) they don’t seem to get any here. I’ll probably send you a couple of books soon. I just finished reading one and have the other about done.

                                                                        B. A.

-EDSEC Newsletter, July 17, 1944, Vol. 1, No. 14
-Project News, July 17, 1944, No. 11