Taxation is theft. We’ve all heard the phrase, and I’m sure we’ve all repeated it – whether as a joke amongst other Liberty-minded individuals or as a serious idea. But the phrase is more than just a catchy combination of words we can stick on a snapback and sell; it’s one of the greatest arguments against government institutions.
Government, as I’m sure we’re all aware, is funded primarily through taxation. All public “services” receive funding from government at a local, state or federal level. Whether you personally use these “services” or not, you help pay for them via taxes on your income, property and nearly every item you purchase. These taxes are involuntarily taken, not freely given.
“Actually, Tyler”, you might say, “by choosing to live in this country, you’re agreeing to pay any taxes the government decides to enforce”. To that I say, what gives government the right? After all, what is government, but a group of individuals who claim to have power and authority over others? What legitimizes that claim? In the case of the United States, elections are held periodically, in which citizens (and sometimes the deceased) cast votes for candidates to represent them. In truth, there is nothing wrong with this system, as long as those who are to be governed give their consent. But what about those who would rather opt out?
For example, what happens to those who choose not to pay their taxes? What happens if I decide I would rather govern myself and take control of my own life, rather than allow elected representatives to govern me?
Well, the government doesn’t like that idea very much. They’ll garnish my wages and take possession of my property.
What if I find an employer who agrees to pay me under the table? Surely I can avoid the government then.
But no. Should they find out, they will send armed men to my home and kidnap me, locking me away in a cage. If I try to defend myself from these men, they have the legal right to kill me.
And for what? Simply trying to keep what I myself earn? For trying to live my life outside of government control? For trying to be free?
How, then, can anyone argue that taxation is not theft? How is taxation not robbery at gunpoint? A forced payment for mob protection? And how is government anything more than a well-organized band of thieves?
It is not. Government cannot exist without violence against the governed. Taxation is, without doubt or exception, theft. And if government cannot exist without stealing from and killing the governed, then it is illegitimate and immoral.
Anarchism is true freedom. Freedom from government. Freedom from oppression. This is why I choose Anarchism over Minarchism.