Saturday, September 12, 2009

Is Taxation Theft?


Point of discussion for today- is taxation theft?

You see the signs at the tea party rallies, and now and then, even t-shirts or bumper stickers that say it: "Taxation is Theft!" But not all libertarians feel that way.

For some libertarians, taxation is a necessary evil, for others a positive good when exercised correctly, and for others a completely unjustified act of aggression that has no place at all in a civil society.

Where do you stand on the issue and why? Is taxation theft?

10 comments:

Rachel said...

I'm part of the "theft" camp... albeit, legalized theft. I earned the money, I don't want to give it away but the gov't uses force to make me.

There is most certainly a gun to my head. The government is willing to kill you if you don't pay taxes. The gentleman in NH with the dentist wife who was wanted on tax evasion comes to mind (Brown?). They would have killed him, I'm certain.

If I try to keep my earned money armed, they will shoot to kill in order to take my money.

I would be a lot less ardent over taxation if our dollars weren't going to fund *so* much garbage and pure nonsense. I would love to see our tax dollars only go to self-defense and preserving our rights.

inspecie said...

I have said it before and I'll say it again, TAX is actually an acronym. It stands for 'Theft And eXtortion'. Nuff said.

W. E. Messamore said...

Interesting! So, Rachel and inspecie- do we fund government by means of some voluntary form of taxation? Do we even have government?

Or do we have an anarcho-capitalist model where "competing governments" get paid voluntarily for rendering the service of defense?

Rachel said...

In a perfect world, anarcho-capitalism is where it's at! But for today, I would love to see a user-fee-based society, especially on the local level where it's entirely possible to implement now.

On the Federal level, I really think taxes are the way to go to fund, literally, less than 10 things. Like, self-defense, the supreme court... hm... having difficulty coming up with 8 more things. Maybe the electricity and water bills for the White House. Oh, and maybe an Accountabilty Czar a la John Stossel.

Daryl said...

In a constitutional/covenant society, if taxation is included in within that covenant, taxation is not theft (though still undesirable).

This is because taxation is voluntary based on the covenant agreement. However, in our own society, taxation goes well beyond the constitutional limits contracted in the Constitution. This overstepping is illegal, immoral, and theft.

So anyone desiring US Citizenship as well as US constitutional "privileges and immunities" has agree to a certain degree of taxation. However, our current system is in violation of that agreement and is,therefore, guilty of theft.

Those refusing all taxation can not be part of our citizenry or part of those who benefit from our system. That is fine. I believe in individual sovereignty.

I personally have agreed to be part of the covenant of the US and am not yet prepared to renounce my citizenship. So though I hate taxes, I will pay them. Though, all taxes going beyond what is allowed in Article 1 Sec 8 of the Constitution is theft.

A question like this depends heavily on whether or not we are talking about our actual system or a theoretical society.

It would be like asking if the government should build postal roads in a free society. In a theoretical free society? NO. In our own society? Yes. Why the difference? In a free society all rights resides with the individual (including the right to deny funding of postal roads). In our own society, we have given up some rights in order to form our government by constitutional contract. Since the American Constitution permits government postal roads, those who seek to be Americans must pay for postal roads.

Sorry for the long and rambling answer.

In liberty,
Daryl
indefenseoftheconstitution.blogspot.com

Dominic said...

I believe that that state has no justification for taxation, or anything else for that matter. But supposing a contract between the state and its citizens actually does justify those in power, does each citizen need to explicity agree to such a contract. Even if the constitution may be justified back when it was signed, would each new individual need to actively consent to the constitution?

For my contemporary political philosophy class, I was able to read an excerpt from Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State, and Utopia" (I've been wanting to read that for a while now). In it he seemed to suggest that sacrificing an innocent individual for any "greater social good" is, not only wrong, but impossible (because there is no such thing as a greater social good, only individuals). His view stemmed from Kantian ethics and his idea of the individual and autonomy. So if the taxes that this country implements would harm one innocent person, can that tax be justified? Just food for thought.

Another great read would be "In Defense of Anarchism" by Robert Paul Wolff. I thought his argument was very compelling.

W. E. Messamore said...

Daryl- any thoughts on Dominic's considerations? Dominic- you really might be fascinated by the work my colleague and fellow contributor to this blog, Ben Bryan is doing with respect to Nozick, anarchy, taxation, and the state.

Anonymous said...

I'm ancap, I'm sure you all know my answer. :P

Matthew said...

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-moral-crimes-of-taxation-and-their-punishments

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Many libertarians regard taxes, or any kind of involuntary sharing, as a moral abomination. This would be an appropriate sentiment, if you happened to have moral sentiments and be a chimpanzee.

Every human society is built on some type of involuntary sharing. This is especially true of the always egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies, but it's more general. There is lots of evidence that these kinds of societies were the most distinctive contributors to human nature, moral sentiments, and humans as a separate species.

Even libertarians invent elaborate dodges to enforce forms of involuntary sharing, mainly by awarding rents to priviledged owners of resources needed by all.

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