Tax-The two perspectives 🔗 1439057909
Not long ago, I got into a debate with someone as to the nature of taxation. I posited, as Anarcho-Capitalists are wont to do, that taxation is theft. Such seemed entirely reasonable to me, as Taxation is taking something from me without the choice of refusing said transfer. It is the very definition of theft.
They advanced "social contract" arguments to imply that somehow I had consented to such takings, which would make taxation no longer theft. This is the same belief the IRS holds when they state that the payment of income tax is voluntary. I advanced the argument that something that requires imprisonment for nonpayment could in no way be voluntary; however such argumentation was no more effective here than against the IRS.
Next, I advanced Spooner's argument that the social contract itself is invalid, as there is no time at which we agree to such a thing. My opponent then stated the classical government axiom that silence is consent, and then equated the fact that when the nature of the system became known to me that I did not leave the country. Notwithstanding the fact that the "leave it" part of "love it or leave it" is commonly not possible, this was the end of the argument for my opponent.
It was also lost on my opponent that being born into a state's "social contract" is a trait shared with chattel slavery. Point of fact, it is worth noting that all the arguments for the state's current existence are identical to those used in defense of slavery; but that is beyond the scope of this discussion.
It is logically inconsistent to state that the absence of consent implies consent; and it is the same manner of fallacious reasoning to believe that correlation implies causation. When one hears this argument put forth, you realize that there is no further purpose belaboring your point, as their axioms are not yours. The axiom that differs here is that I believe that men are born, live and die as free people. The only thing that can make my opponent's argument consistent would be if they believe that we are not free, but slaves.
To be fair, I cannot blame most for taking such a perspective. There are two primary narratives for how civilization came to be, and which you believe has profound effects on which axiom you take to heart and do not. I believe that Franz Oppenheimer's perspective as advanced in The State that it starts and ends as a glorified protection racket. Most are not taught this by the state-run schools (for I should think obvious reasons).
The narrative that the statist defends is the one advanced by Robert Nozick in Anarchy, State, and Utopia. He posits that in ages long past we were all enslaved by the tyrannical despots of the past, but things gradually got better. Through a long fight, we acquired freedom, liberty, and all that; and are currently not ruled by any but ourselves...well if you believe what we were taught in school, anyways. The troubling part to me is the same thing that troubled Nozick...that at no part in his "tale of the slave" did we cease being enslaved. Is our republic nothing but enslavement to a larger number of masters, or rather a master with more heads?
As I have read Spooner and Hoppe, I know the answer is that republicanism and democracy are both still slavery to the state. The natural thing that falls out of such a philosophy is not only the divine right of kings, and "the people"; but it also means consent is irrelevant. The master cares not for the will of the slave.
Perhaps this is why so many of those advancing such arguments are determinists. It certainly would make coping with such a perceived situation that much easier.