Why Taxation Is Theft

“Taxation is theft” is one of the most popular libertarian sayings. Honestly, I do not know why it’s taken me so long to write about it.

The “taxation is theft” argument follows this syllogism:

  • Theft is when you take something that belongs to someone else without their consent
  • Taxation is when the state takes something (money) from someone (taxpayers) without their consent
  • Therefore, taxation is theft

Defenders of taxation will usually make three basic arguments as to why taxation is not theft:

  • The taxpayer’s money belongs to the state (they may not argue this outright, but it is the inevitable conclusion of their logic).
  • The social contract argument; taxpayers consent to taxation when they live in the area governed by the state or by some mystic process never fully explained.
  • They rationalize the fact that taxation seizes private property against the consent of the owner through the “ends justifies the means” argument. To put it succinctly, they believe “taxation is the price we pay for civilization.”

However, these assertions suffer from several problems. First, the definition of “consent” applied to the taxpayer is not and would not be accepted under any other circumstances. Try applying their concept of “consent” to dating and sex. Second, arguing that taxpayers’ money belongs to the state simply raises a whole host of questions, chief of which is this: If the fruits of a man’s labor belong to the state, how is he not at a fundamental level a slave?

Third, whether taxation results in social utility has nothing to do with the coercive nature of the system. All that means is that this form of theft produces good. That does mean the taxpayer has a choice in the matter. They may have some influence to the specifics of how they are taxed, but their direct consent is not required. If enough people decide to tax that individual, or the entire community, the person cannot refuse.

It is the same point raised by Michael Maharrey at Godarchy:

Governments coerce the payment of taxes at gunpoint. We have no choice in the matter. Whether we want the services the government provides or not, we must ante up. And most of us would happily do without many, if not most, of the “services” provided by the government. For example, I would happily forgo bombing seven countries across the globe or funding Big Brother’s voyeurism.

In practice, taxation works a lot like a mafia protection racket.

If people want to argue that taxation has social benefits or is necessary, then by all means make the best case you can. But even if it were true, it does not disprove the claim that taxation is a form of theft. All their apologies would do is justify this specific form of theft.

One does not have to be a libertarian to observe that taxation is an involuntary interaction between the state and the taxpayer. If taxpayers given the option not to pay, almost all of them would avoid doing so.

Understanding that taxation is theft, regardless of its nuances or what the collective revenue funds, helps us understand the instinctive outrage people have at their government when it does something they are opposed to; that government action they find repugnant is carried out through the use of funds taken from them against their consent.

It is bad enough to have your money stolen. It’s worse to have that money used for uses you find detestable. However, what is worst is to have the thief and their defenders insist that either you consented to them taking your money or it’s vital that they do so.

It is why regular forms of theft aren’t nearly as offensive. The thief does not pretend to have a legitimate claim to the property seized and does not insult the intelligence of his victims by insisting they consent even as they bitterly protest.

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52 Responses to Why Taxation Is Theft

  1. D says:

    The judge at my custody hearing literally told me that Instead of wanting to focus on being a dad I should be focusing on serving my country (I’m a soldier and already spent 24 months in Iraq). So I literally fund the system which took my children away from me. Not only that but I ‘fight for it’ overseas. His attitude was that I was wasting his time and during the hearing he continuously reminded my attorney that he wanted to be home by 4. So not only do I pay his salary, but my problems are the reason for him having a cushy jobs. Without conflict we don’t need judges, but somehow they treat that very conflict as if it were some inconvenience in their lives, instead of recognizing people like me as the reason they have one of the cushiest jobs on the planet.
    So yeah its not just theft, its an insult. If someone kidnaps my kids you aren’t going to then turn around and tell me its for my own good or that its in my children best interest that you are taking them. But when the state did it they turned around and told me I needed to do more for the state.

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    • The Question says:

      So yeah its not just theft, its an insult. If someone kidnaps my kids you aren’t going to then turn around and tell me its for my own good or that its in my children best interest that you are taking them. But when the state did it they turned around and told me I needed to do more for the state.

      Reading about fathers losing their kids through a judge ruling like this boils my blood in a way few other things do. I’m a bachelor and have no kids, but had a few things turned out differently I might have experienced this myself. I avoided this by fate or providence, not by the wisdom of my own choices.

      No one deserves to go through that kind of torment. If a revolution was fought only to address this particular injustice I’d join in an instant.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gunner Q says:

    “However, what is worst is to have the thief and their defenders insist that either you consented to them taking your money or it’s vital that they do so.”

    This is why I can’t let myself use public welfare even when my need is legitimate. To participate in the system is to justify their maltreatment of me, if they loot me into poverty and I then tell them to loot the next guy in my name.

    I refuse to participate in the system so that on Judgment Day, I can condemn it. That’s a big part of why Christians must embrace suffering. (NOT masochism.)

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  3. jason says:

    this system needs to die.

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  4. Richard Hunter says:

    Taxation is not theft. Property rights are created and enforced by the government. Therefore the government defines what property belongs to whom. When you pay taxes, in fact you are giving the government the money that it has defined as its property. Likewise, when you evade paying taxes you are stealing from the government.

    Yes, you are subject to the decrees of the government which you must obey, but no, this does not make you a slave, unless you want to broaden the definition of a slave to a ludicrous degree. It is ridiculous to liken the circumstances of a citizen of a modern Western society like the US or the UK to that of a slave in the old south in the 19th century.

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    • The Question says:

      Property rights are created and enforced by the government.

      Says who? The government (and which government?) You? I require more than an ex cathedra pronouncement.

      When you pay taxes, in fact you are giving the government the money that it has defined as its property. Likewise, when you evade paying taxes you are stealing from the government.

      Again, who cares what the government defines as property? Where did this authority come from? And what makes one government more legitimate than another trying to overthrow it and enforce its own definition of property? Are there are restrictions or limitations to their authority to declare rights and/or what is their property?

      For the sake of not violating Godwin’s Law, I’m going to avoid pointing out the obvious, but I think you know where I’m going. If governments decide rights and property within their domain, then no government is a bad government.

      Yes, you are subject to the decrees of the government which you must obey, but no, this does not make you a slave…

      If I coerce you around at gunpoint and threaten violence if you don’t work for me and give me the earnings from your labor, does it matter what I call the relationship? A rose is a rose.

      It is ridiculous to liken the circumstances of a citizen of a modern Western society like the US or the UK to that of a slave in the old south in the 19th century.

      Except that I’m not claiming the life of the average person living in the modern Western world forced to pay taxes to their governments is akin to a southern slave. I’m pointing out that in order for taxation to not be theft, proponents must argue that a person’s property and labor is not theirs and belongs to the state, effectively making them a slave. Fundamentally they are in a similar relationship with the state as a slave master is with their slave, albeit this particular master allows greater “privileges” than others of the past.

      Either that, or you must make the case that taxes are not collected through coercion – which no sane person will try to argue.

      Or, someone could make the case that taxation is a form of enlightened theft or necessary evil that, despite all its imperfections, is the best basis for collecting revenue to fund vital services for maintaining infrastructure and society. Of all the options available, this is the most sensible one, but I find it amusing few people will go with it.

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      • Richard Hunter says:

        When we talk of ‘rights’ we are actually talking about laws. Laws are made by government. We have no rights beyond those encapsulated in laws.

        The legitimate government of any particular territory is a combination of the facts on the ground of who is in control and their degree of recognition from external authorities. If an armed gang manage to seize control of a territory, call themselves the government, and then manage to gain recognition from neighbouring governments and world powers, then they are, to all intents and purposes, the government.

        Citizens of a government are not slaves. (Obviously I talk of governments in developed countries such as the USA). The government does not own them, nor does it force them to work. It does force them, however, to pay taxes. It does not take the entirety of their property – such as a slave owner would do – but only a fraction, and it is entitled to do so since it creates the framework of laws and enforcement that allow property to be owned by anyone in the first place.

        I don’t assert that taxation is enlightened theft because it is not theft. It is theft when you refuse to pay your taxes because then you are taking property from the government that belongs to it.

        I do believe that taxation is necessary for maintaining society. Without taxation there can be no government, and without government there are no taxes. I find it odd that anyone who is not an anarchist would argue that taxation is theft because what they are saying is that it is acceptable for a society with a government to be based on theft. These people, I think, need to resolve this contradiction.

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      • The Question says:

        When we talk of ‘rights’ we are actually talking about laws. Laws are made by government. We have no rights beyond those encapsulated in laws.

        No, when I speak of rights, I refer to that which we have a just claim to, something that does not come from governments. Once more, where does government derive its legitimate authority as you claim? Declarations do not make them facts.

        The legitimate government of any particular territory is a combination of the facts on the ground of who is in control and their degree of recognition from external authorities.

        And how is “degree of recognition” determined, and who determines this?

        If an armed gang manage to seize control of a territory, call themselves the government, and then manage to gain recognition from neighbouring governments and world powers, then they are, to all intents and purposes, the government.

        But what of recognition from the people they ruled?

        Your argument for why a government is legitimate and can determine rights boils down to “might makes right.” If you can effectively use violence to enforce your will on others, then it’s legitimate.

        I don’t assert that taxation is enlightened theft because it is not theft. It is theft when you refuse to pay your taxes because then you are taking property from the government that belongs to it.

        So the fruits of my labor belong to the state? How is this not the same relationship as a slave master with his owner?

        You’re making two contradictory arguments; that taxation isn’t theft, and that people aren’t slaves under their government, yet the relationship between people and their government that you describe is precisely that of a slave, who owns nothing and has no rights beyond that which their master gives them.

        This is precisely the argument I made in the OP, which you and others cannot evade. Taxation is not theft only if government owns our property; if that is the case, then we are its slaves and they own us. There is no way around this.

        I do believe that taxation is necessary for maintaining society. Without taxation there can be no government, and without government there are no taxes.

        Government is not society. And if no taxes means no state, so what? All those services can be provided by others through voluntary means, in a legitimate manner.

        I find it odd that anyone who is not an anarchist would argue that taxation is theft because what they are saying is that it is acceptable for a society with a government to be based on theft.

        Again, you’re equating society with government. Societies don’t need governments; government needs societies. Societies don’t need taxes to function.

        If the British government were to disappear tomorrow, are you honestly arguing that British society would vanish, as well? Governments come and go all the time around the world, yet the nations they once ruled continue despite those changes.

        Additionally, you only reaffirm one of my many points about your arguments: According to your logic, governments cannot commit atrocities. No pogroms, no massacres, no holocausts, no holodomirs. Ethnic cleansing is perfectly acceptable if carried out by the state, since they own everything and determine the rights of their citizens.

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    • Richard Hunter, the claim that taxation is not theft, which is only true if you taxed consumption rather than labor, is dishonest otherwise. Most pro-taxation arguments are laughable. Particularly those that advocate progressive taxation on income.

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  5. Richard Hunter says:

    My argument as to what makes a government legitimate does boil down to ‘might makes right’. Political power ultimately means physical power. You are free to try and deny that.

    Of course the government may be run by a crazed dictator and be a hell hole. North Korea being a contemporary example. Or it can be a secular democracy such as the US where power resides with the people and is regulated by a constitution. It is an obvious fallacy to say that because there are some bad governments that all governments are bad.

    Perhaps the most important thing that a government does is up the system of laws which allow people to live peaceful lives, to own property, and to trade with each other. Without such a system, any kind of property ownership would be impossible. Indeed property has no meaning without such a system.

    When anarchists attack taxation, it implies that they imagine that taxation is something besides government. It is not. Taxation is a necessary component of government. Government cannot exist without taxation and taxation does not exist without a government. A more coherent position for anarchists would be to attack government as a whole rather than concern themselves with taxation at all.

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    • Jim Beam says:

      “A more coherent position for anarchists would be to attack government as a whole rather than concern themselves with taxation at all.”
      When one can prove that taxation is theft, the next logical premise is that, therefore the government is a thief. This bolsters the ‘attack government as a whole’ strategy with additional ammunition. Honestly, the more I think about how our current system works the more I am at a complete loss to find one thing that government does that cannot be done better through a voluntary system of trade for goods and services.

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    • joelsoft says:

      “A more coherent position for anarchists would be to attack government as a whole rather than concern themselves with taxation at all.”
      When one can prove that taxation is theft, the next logical premise is that, therefore the government is a thief. This bolsters the ‘attack government as a whole’ strategy with additional ammunition. Honestly, the more I think about how our current system works the more I am at a complete loss to find one thing that government does that cannot be done better through a voluntary system of trade for goods and services.

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      • Richard Hunter says:

        If you can prove that government is illegitimate it follows that it is a thief when it taxes. Similarly, if government is legitimate then taxation is not theft. What makes a government legitimate? Simply that it exists: If the people didn’t like it they would rise up in revolt. If foreign entities didn’t like it they would depose it, if they were able to. When neither occur, you have implicit approval. I can’t think of any other way of determining the legitimacy or otherwise of a government.

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      • The Question says:

        What makes a government legitimate? Simply that it exists: If the people didn’t like it they would rise up in revolt.

        The problem with this argument is that it assumes the only reason people don’t revolt against a government is because they consent to it. As the Gauls who fought Julius Caesar would tell you, revolting against a government ruling you can result in an even worse outcome. Imagine someone kidnapped you and held you up in a house under threat of murder if you tried to escape. When the police eventually arrest the kidnapper and have him tried in court, it is a valid defense for him to say that “if the victim didn’t like it they should have risen up and fought back”?

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  6. Pingback: Why Can’t I Just Take Your Stuff? Let’s Be Consistent About This and UNITE! – ADAM-SPEAKS

  7. Taxation is theft. Any person with any semblance of common sense would understand that.

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  8. As a follow up, here are 2 videos for people who believe that we are required to pay income taxes 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yeCdfqQZ7w 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6ayb02bwp0 Watch them both very carefully. There is no law in the IRS code that makes an average individual liable to pay income taxes.

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    • The Question says:

      Whether there’s anything in the IRS tax code that forces you to pay the tax is less relevant than the fact that the IRS will still seize your assets and jail you if you don’t pay them, as they did Peter Schiff’s father. He died still chained to his prison cell bed.

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    • Richard Hunter says:

      1st video has a gun pointing right at me. 2nd video is over 2 hours long. Can’t you just explain your argument in a couple of sentences?

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  9. Richard Hunter, the gun is not pointed directly at you. If income was defined as profit or gain, businesses and corporations would be liable for the tax. Labor and wages are owned by the individuals. Here are 2 more links: 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_protester_constitutional_arguments/ and 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_protester_statutory_arguments People can claim that these arguments will not hold up in court, however, no people seem to be brave enough to address them.

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    • Richard Hunter says:

      If you have to pretend to point a gun at someone when making your argument, then your argument maybe isn’t that strong to begin with. If you have a short video with someone sane I’ll watch it. But you’d be better just explaining the argument in your own words, otherwise I’ll suspect that you don’t understand it yourself.

      You link to Wikipedia, and that’s a good link, however, I note that it contains refutals of all the arguments discussed.

      My argument, which you have not addressed, is that ‘ownership’ has no meaning besides that defined by a society. You have no absolute ownership of anything that transcends the laws of the state in which you are a citizen of. The government of that society therefore has every right to tax you since they can simply define your taxes as their property.

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  10. Richard Hunter, you say ownership has no meaning besides that as defined by a society. Who own your labor-you or the government?

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    • Richard Hunter says:

      I own my labour, and when I sell it to somebody else the government takes a portion of the transaction as tax. That’s how the system works in the country that I live in (and yours too probably).

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  11. Richard Hunter, what country do you live in?

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  12. Richard Hunter, does your tax structure operate the same way as that of our tax structure here in the United States of America? Do you use a Value Added Tax?

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  13. Richard Hunter, to answer your question: Yes.

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  14. I would argue that if income was defined as profit or gain, not labor and wages, an average citizen is not technically liable to pay income tax in that scenario. People use various quotes of our Founding Fathers to claim that they advocated progressive taxation, however, it seems that they are taken out of context. There is a difference between wealthy people who say that they do not get taxed enough and people who are not considered wealthy that say the wealthy are not taxed enough. What is the difference? The people who call for taxes on the wealthy that are not wealthy are entitlement addicts. People who are wealthy and say that government does not tax them enough are a different matter. Another point I am going to argue is that since the U.S.A. is a Constitutional Republic, not a Marxist based government, a Marxist originated concept should not have any grounds for existence.

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  15. Morgan says:

    After you eat at a restaurant, and receive a bill from your waiter at the end for the food consumed, can you claim that the bill is theft and refuse to pay? You can claim that you do not give consent for paying, and taking money from you without your consent is theft.

    I don’t believe consent is relevant here. When you order food from the restaurant, you implicitly agree to pay the fee charged, in exchange for the goods and services provided. You don’t get to enjoy the goods and services and claims theft when you are asked to uphold your end of the bargain.

    Now, instead of food, think of services provided by a government, e.g., protection (military, emergency services), infrastructure (roads, sewage, clean water), etc. When you enjoy these services, you implicitly consent to paying the fee. The fee is defined in the tax code, which is public disclosed. You cannot claim ignorance and revoke the consent after enjoying the service.

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    • The Question says:

      After you eat at a restaurant, and receive a bill from your waiter at the end for the food consumed, can you claim that the bill is theft and refuse to pay?

      Did I choose to visit the restaurant, or was the food served to me against my will?

      I don’t believe consent is relevant here.

      Imagine saying this during a trial over an alleged rape. Consent is everything.

      Now, instead of food, think of services provided by a government, e.g., protection (military, emergency services), infrastructure (roads, sewage, clean water), etc. When you enjoy these services, you implicitly consent to paying the fee

      Come on, man. This isn’t hard. If I don’t like my plumber or doctor or car mechanic, I can get another one and pay for their services. I don’t get to choose the government ruling over me and my property, no matter how bad their services are. The government is there whether I consent to it or not, and it claims a monopoly on those services. It also collects the same amount of money regardless of how I feel about their service. My consent isn’t required at any point, just my compliance.

      Imagine a man claiming a woman implicitly consented to sex with him because he bought her dinner and she didn’t insist on going Dutch (splitting the bill) as a defense during a rape trial. Would you buy it?

      And before anyone says “if you don’t like those government services, you can leave.”

      And let’s just argue for a second that you’re right. Let’s assume I cease using all government services entirely and owed them nothing. I still have to pay them. In fact, U.S. citizens have to pay the income tax even after they leave the country, one of only two nations in the world to do so. That rule is based on your citizenship, something you didn’t consent to.

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      • D says:

        Wow, if you don’t know the answer to that question what the hell are you doing on an anarchist blog? That’s really basic stuff!

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  16. One thing I don’t get is why if you put a gun to someone’s head on the street and demands money from the person, the person who did is gets thrown in jail, however, you also get thrown in jail if you don’t pay your taxes. Either scenario entails theft, which is immoral. Of course, with Progressives, their views on morality are twisted.

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    • Richard Hunter says:

      Because in both cases you are breaking the law. Do you not believe in law?

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      • D says:

        Do you not understand anarchy? Its an anarchy blog. Its called ‘anarchist notebook’??

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      • Richard Hunter says:

        That’s my point: Anarchy contains as part of its definition the elimination of taxation. But the people on this thread appear to be claiming that taxation is morally wrong within the context of a non-anarchist society. This makes no sense as such a society could not exist without taxation.

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      • The Question says:

        But the people on this thread appear to be claiming that taxation is morally wrong within the context of a non-anarchist society. This makes no sense as such a society could not exist without taxation.

        That doesn’t change the fact that it is coercive in nature and therefore theft. If I take money from you without your consent, it’s theft. when the entity called “government” takes money from people without their consent via taxation, it’s theft.

        What you’re saying is that our political/social order is dependent on a form of theft to function. Perhaps the problem is with the social order, not with people who correctly point out that it is theft.

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      • Richard Hunter says:

        Theft is when you take someone else’s property. But taxes are the government’s property. It’s not your money, it’s the government’s money. It’s the government’s system and money only has value within that system. If you don’t believe in the system, why would you even care that you have to hand over tokens that you don’t believe in back to them? Objecting to paying taxes is like, when you are playing Monopoly, objecting to having to pay $200 dollars to the bank when you land on the Supertax square.

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      • The Question says:

        Theft is when you take someone else’s property. But taxes are the government’s property. It’s not your money, it’s the government’s money. It’s the government’s system and money only has value within that system.

        Says who. The government? Who are they to say that? Who are you to say that? Merely insisting it is the case doesn’t make it so.

        If you don’t believe in the system, why would you even care that you have to hand over tokens that you don’t believe in back to them?

        Because they have made it the only way to pay workers and aside from cryptocurrencies to practically purchase items. Employers aren’t allowed to pay us by any other method.

        You either ignorantly or disingenuously carry on like we actively seek out their fiat currency with the full knowledge that they can to demand however much they want back at any time; it is the exact opposite. Government imposes its use on us. If given the choice, nobody would store their wealth or demand payment in a currency whose use is based on nothing but coercion and has lost over 90 percent of its purchasing power since 1913.

        You might as well be asking a prisoner if they don’t like the meals why are they in a prison.

        Additionally, the fact that we use their currency doesn’t make it their money anymore than me using someone’s brand product makes it their property in perpetuity. I buy a Nike hat, Nike doesn’t get to take it from me.

        Further, taxation is not about someone recovering property that is theirs held by others. It’s about taking a portion of people’s wealth or income in whatever form it may be. If someone has no money, they’re still taxed and jailed if they don’t pay it.

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      • Richard Hunter, are you talking about God’s law or Earthly law?

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      • Richard Hunter, I do believe in law. The problem is that there are laws in the U.S.A. that politicians want to disregard, such as those that prohibit the use of hard drugs, however, they want to punish us if we did the exact same thing.

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  17. Richard Hunter says:

    The government owns taxes because they are the ones who maintain the system that allows property to be owned in the first place.

    You can ask where does the government get it’s authority from. It gets it from the right of conquest. That is how property is established in a state of nature, (not homesteading or any other such fantasy). It is not a question of whether it is right or wrong for the strong to dominate the weak: it is simply what happens naturally.

    It is often said that states have a monopoly on violence, and it is true that modern civilised societies create a framework of law which prevents people gaining property from other citizens through sheer brute force; but this is not a bad thing. The rights that governments grant us are what allow us to live peaceful and potentially prosperous lives free from the threat of deprivation.

    The freedom that you imagine you will from the dissolution of government is an illusion. You will still be subject to people more powerful than you attempting to control you and deprive you of your possessions. You are no more free in that situation than you are now. You could now, if you wanted to, start an armed insurrection against the government. True, you would probably be crushed, but you have exactly the same freedom to do so as you would be to resist the local warlords who would undoubtedly reign supreme in a society shorn of government.

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    • D says:

      You are missing the point. What we want is a system in which competition exists, not monopoly, in order to get better services. Nobody is saying we want to live in a world without hierarchy; read Hoppe for Gods sake. We don’t want our rights ‘granted’ to us by government. You are essentially claiming that only with government can we live peacefully, and that is simply not true. Go study Medieval Iceland, for example. They had a competitive system on a very poor island and maintained it for hundreds of years. They were more free.
      By your logic though, if I could win an insurrection against a government and institute an ancap society then that would be fine by you because might makes right, correct?

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      • The Question says:

        By your logic though, if I could win an insurrection against a government and institute an ancap society then that would be fine by you because might makes right, correct?

        His argument could be boiled down to this: Taxation isn’t theft, until I don’t like it.

        This is how most people today develop their opinion on a political issue.

        Either that, or he is trolling.

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      • Richard Hunter says:

        If you could overthrow your government and replace it with your own, you would then be able to make the laws that govern your country. That’s how governments are formed. More important is the nature of that government: Is it authoritarian or democratic ? Is it oppressive or liberal? These are what matter.

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    • The Question says:

      Your argument boils down to this: Might makes right. If you can do something, if you can subject others to your authority, then it is your right to do so. This means anything your neighbor can do to do you and get away with, is his right.

      The rights that governments grant us are what allow us to live peaceful and potentially prosperous lives free from the threat of deprivation.

      Government is responsible for much of the friction, tension, and conflict today. Explain World War 1-2, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the modern Middle Eastern Wars. Forcing people to live under the same form of government subject to the decrees of people form other regions creates unnecessary tension.

      Further, your argument is two-fold – you claim the right of conquest, but then you cite the utilitarian benefits as justification.

      Which is it? If the Mafia controls a neighborhood and does a better job of governing than the local police, and they can extract blackmail successfully from the locals, are they the legitimate government now? Or, if a government is able to force people to submit to its decrees but lacks utilitarian benefits, is it now coercion for them to extract taxes? And who gets to decide whether or not there are benefits?

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  18. Richard Hunter says:

    ‘This means anything your neighbor can do to do you and get away with, is his right.’

    If he is able to get away with it, what use is it to me if he didn’t have the right to act as he did?
    The problem with natural rights is that they are entirely useless because there is no one who enforces them (unless you believe in a higher power).

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    • D says:

      “More important is the nature of that government: Is it authoritarian or democratic ? Is it
      oppressive or liberal? These are what matter.”

      Which is it, does might make right or is the nature of government more important? You have to pick one because they are contradictory.

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  19. Richard Hunter says:

    They are not contradictory. The strongest will always be the ones who have the most power. One hopes that the strongest will form a government that is democratic, liberal, and grants and enforces rights which allow people to prosper and live happily.

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    • D says:

      No, YOU hope that, I hope for something different. Regardless, your arguments are not consistent. If might makes right then the guy who takes your money on the street is only wrong if he is caught.
      We can HOPE he is caught, I guess, but I’m not sure how hope has any effect of on the might makes right argument. In your mind might makes right but only if you have a democracy? That’s what I pulled from your response. You need to flesh that one out a bit….

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  20. Richard Hunter says:

    What is the difference between being able to do something because of superior physical power and the right granted by some authority to do the same thing? I don’t see any material difference.
    If someone can get away with robbing people, I don’t see what difference it makes whether his actions are moral or not.
    This is why I think that natural rights are useless.

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