“That no government, so called, can reasonably be trusted, or reasonably be supposed to have honest purposes in view, any longer than it depends wholly upon voluntary support.”
This essay is an incendiary device. My muse is Wilberforce and the subject is the abolition of the last existing institution of slavery in America – taxation. Like Wilberforce, we may be generations from satisfaction of the dream of the end of the coercive state but if the seed is not planted, the goal will never be realized.
I despise the income tax. I loathe the property, excise, gasoline, sin, estate, capital gains and every other tax. I think the colonists got it backwards, I want representation without taxation. These are often derided as utopian but I would suggest they are dystopian notions. I see no possibility of perfection in this mortal coil but risk and possible failure are the engines of progress and capitalism invigorates the most powerful economic engine of all –self-interest to serve others. Mises claims “[t]he member of a contractual society is free because he serves others only in serving himself. What restrains him is only the inevitable natural phenomenon of scarcity.”
I think it is loathsome for one man to own another and the involuntary tribute demanded by government is simply another form of owning another man’s wealth and labor. Taxation is the way collectivists practice their compassion by taking their neighbor’s money at gunpoint. It also violates the zero-aggression principle shared by many libertarians. Taxation and slavery have some very close confluences in definition. According to www.investorwords.com, a tax is:
A fee charged (“levied”) by a government on a product, income, or activity. If tax is levied directly on personal or corporate income, then it is a direct tax. If tax is levied on the price of a good or service, then it is called an indirect tax. The purpose of taxation is to finance government expenditure. One of the most important uses of taxes is to finance public goods and services, such as street lighting and street cleaning. Since public goods and services do not allow a non-payer to be excluded, or allow exclusion by a consumer, there cannot be a market in the good or service, and so they need to be provided by the government or a quasi-government agency, which tend to finance themselves largely through taxes.
These words are illustrative but couched in polite terms. Taxes are monies forcibly taken from individuals and whatever other entity they can be drained from by governments or organizations (tax farmers) chartered by governments to extract whatever wealth they can through force and threat of violence. Taxation is theft. James Bovard writes:
“The U.S. Treasury Department defines a tax as ‘a compulsory payment for which no specific benefit it received in return.’ No matter how many taxes a person pays, or what politicians promise, the taxpayer is not irrevocably entitled to a single benefit from the government. The level of taxation is thus a stark measure of government’s financial power over the individual – a precise gauge of the subjugation of the citizen to the financial demands of the state.”
The government has monopolized this enterprise because if you or I go to our neighbor and steal his funds or mug him at gunpoint, we go to jail. If you doubt the power of compulsion, notify the IRS personally that you will no longer pay any more of your income taxes…for life.