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An Act of Conscience (1997)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary  |  15 April 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 53 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

When a young couple buys the contested home at auction from the U.S. government for $5,400, they become involved in a political and moral battle much larger than what they originally bargained for.


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Credited cast:
Betsy Corner ...
Randy Kehler ...
Narrator (voice)


When a young couple buys the contested home at auction from the U.S. government for $5,400, they become involved in a political and moral battle much larger than what they originally bargained for.

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tax | independent film | See All (2) »





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15 April 1997 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

The Price of Having a Conscience
29 September 2007 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Although many people like myself don't mind paying taxes, we hate the idea that a significant percentage of our tax dollars go to defense contractors and the war effort. It's painful to be working for anti-war efforts knowing that you are also in a sense supporting them financially. Therefore, there are groups of people who refuse to pay their taxes. They figure out how much they owe the government every year, and give that money directly to charities that help with education, health care, housing, the environment etc. I'd like to be one of those people but what stops me personally from doing that is that I am aware of the anarchy of what would happen if everybody just supported what they morally saw as correct. Millions of fundamentalists for example would be supporting Christian schools and housing, leaving people who need secular public schools and housing out of the loop.

Still, I support the intentions of the family depicted in this documentary. The government has auctioned their house away, and a working class family has bought it – for a fraction of what the house is actually worth. What the tax protesters fail to accept though, is that they've lost their house, not their home. They try to talk the new family into understanding their predicament, and at first the new family is sympathetic, but the family also knows that they will never be able to afford a house like this again. There is stubbornness on both sides. The tax protesters attract a lot of support and attention, and those who find the tax protesters 'un-American', side with the new owners of the house. What ensues is a three-ring-circus that is a perfect microcosm of America as it stands today; divided and profusely inflexible. The tax protesters try to bend over backward to help the new family by building them a new house, but the new family refuses to move – which I can't blame them for after the way they have been painted as evil by some of those in the tax protesters' circle. The solution to me would have been to build the house for the family of tax protesters who were kicked out of their house (which is inevitably considered). One has to accept that one must make sacrifices for what they believe in, and to attach oneself to a piece of land and the material things on it is antithetical to the ideals they espouse. This is an interesting documentary, but it spends too much time on the sensationalist battle, instead of covering the wider picture of the tax protester's movement.

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