The libertarian argues that the state is based completely on violence. From its starting point, it is a violent institution and has violated the rights of individuals in a coercive manner. When the state taxes, it is stealing, and there are no exceptions to this.
One must merely think about what taxes are and the consequences of not paying them to reach this simple conclusion. Regardless of the type of tax, when one does not pay, they face consequences. These penalties ultimately involve the threat and initiation of force. If one does not pay the tax, regardless of if it is property, income, or any other, the state will forcibly place the individual in a government prison.
If you have any doubts as to if this is actually the case, I urge you to not pay taxes. You are welcome to conduct the experiment on your own, but you will not win in the end.
Most do not contest the logic up until this point. They recognize that the state takes taxes coercively (by the threat of force). They also acknowledge that if any non-governmental individual were to do this, they would be a thief and should face punishment accordingly. If I were to steal money from another individual, I should have to give it back. It does not matter if I stole the money and then decided to fix their driveway or buy their healthcare. I took the money by the threat of force in the first place, and thus, it is unjust.
When the state decides to engage in the plunder of the masses, though, there is a societal acceptance. People give it all kinds of justifications. They dress it up religiously, saying that priests or God ordain the throne. Or, the court intellectuals disseminate information that indicates we are better off when the state steals from us. It is quite a clever ploy from their perspective. They give special privileges to the churches, which then say that the state has “God’s blessing.” For essentially this reason, we have the First Amendment separating the church and state.
Many believe that Jesus’s statement that we must “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” as a Christian endorsement of taxation (Matthew 22:21). But when one reads the Bible, they must read it in the context of the other Biblical commandments. One must realize that the Bible says “thou shalt not steal.” Jesus did not respond “yes” to the question “should we pay taxes.” Seeing as that all that belongs to Caesar (the state) has at once been stolen, it can clearly be understood that nothing is justly Caesar’s (the state’s).
However, the government does not stop at religion when seeking further ways to attempt to justify its own plunder. The state has insulated itself with court intellectuals. The government has gotten in bed with academia. Numerous subsidies and a system of tenure have allowed academia to have free range. In return, the intellectuals repeatedly endorse the state and its actions. With them, it is never a matter of whether or not we should have a specific state program, but rather, it is a matter of which version of a state program should we have.
The favorite intellectual pet of advocates of the state is the idea of the “social contract.” This idea that we have implicitly agreed to be governed falsely exists throughout our governmental system and goes back to Plato’s Crito. The U.S. Constitution even discusses the “consent of the governed.” Many political philosophers (notoriously Rousseau) have advocated such an idea. Ultimately, though, it is a bankrupt concept.
Engage in a brief intellectual exercise for a moment and entertain the idea of what such a contract would actually look like. If the social contract were a legitimate “sign here” contract, it would be laughable. No individual would sign such a contract, because what it would entail would be absurd. It would say that the institution providing services (the state) could change the price of its services at any time. The costs of the signing consumer would fluctuate and they would have no say in the matter. As Hans Hermann Hoppe said,
Yet, who in his right mind would agree to a contract that allowed one’s protector to determine unilaterally—and irrevocably—the sum that the protected must pay for his protection; and the fact is, no one ever has!
People who signed such a contract would be ultimately subject to the grim reaper of social Darwinism. It would be a fool’s contract.
It is such a terrible contract that nobody would ever sign it if someone was not forcing them to. There is no consent from anyone for such a terrible agreement, but yet, we are all subject to it.
I never consented to such a deal, and I still refuse. Yet they take my earnings by the threat of violence and waste it on things that have nothing to do with me. The theory of the social contract is foolish, and the masses should not hold it as a legitimately binding agreement.
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