What will it take to get it through the thick skulls of libertarians that taxation is NOT theft?
Do they even understand what the word means? Theft implies stealth. A thief will try to get your property without you noticing the fact that he took it. Without you being able to identify him. Theft does not imply violence. Neither does fraud, when property is taken from you under false pretenses.
The man in the picture above is NOT a thief. He is a robber. He is using the very direct threat of violence to take your property.
The state has many ways to take your property. It can rob you, steal from you and defraud you. If we ever want to be a credible political alternative, we should understand and be very clear about the differences.
Taxation is robbery. Inflation is theft. Regulations are fraud. We can also associate them with Fiscal policy, monetary policy and regulatory policies.
We tend to focus on taxation because it is the most visible, most obvious, most blatant expression of the state’s power to take our property. It is the thing that we are most ready to associate with the state.
Saying that “Taxation is theft!” is the easiest of all slogans. A conveniently easy moral stand, a libertarian trump card.
Calling inflation ‘theft’ is a much better analogy. Inflation is an insidious, stealthy way to dispossess us. Monetary policy causes far more harm than taxation as it affects not only our personal lives, but the whole economy.
(Costs of Inflation – Why Not Print More Money – Why can’t we just print money to pay off debt
Regulations are the worst enemies of individual freedom, economic well-being and a free market economy. It can be argued that it costs us more than direct taxation.
Report- Cost of Federal Regulation Reached $1.88 Trillion in 2014
Regulation costs Canadian businesses $37.1 billion a year
I know. Neither translates well into a three-word slogan.
We could get into an extended discussion about the relative importance of the three.
We could point out, that the primary problem is not how the state gets its money, but how it spends it.
I happen to think that taxation is the least important of the three above. It is also the most difficult to tackle. Reducing the state must start with reducing the scope of its services.
The enemy is spending, not taxing and borrowing. The later two are just the unavoidable consequences of the first.
As I said, each of these problems could be subjects of long discussions.
For now, can we at least get the language right?
Taxation is NOT theft. It is an obnoxious, arrogant, into our face expression of the power of the state. It can be called robbery, it can be called extortion, but
it cannot be called theft.
This post is part of a set:
Taxation is NOT theft (this post)
Taxes are NOT the problem
Taxation IS a problem