Tag: taxation is theft

Christians Have No Moral Obligation to Pay Taxes

Ryan Lau | @agorisms

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”, says Jesus in Matthew 22:21. For centuries, many Christians have used this famous verse as an argument to dutifully pay taxes. At first glance, it is quite compelling. After all, Jesus is answering the trick question of whether or not the Pharisees and Herodians should pay taxes. If he answers yes, he loses the support of the radical Pharisees, but if he says no, the more moderate Herodians would be wary and he may face arrest.

Luckily, he is able to avoid both of these instances, calling out the Pharisees for their trap before answering. So, it already is clear that the line is much more ambiguous than many people claim. Had it been a simple yes, Jesus would have stated such, rather than blatantly refusing to do so and calling the questioners hypocrites.

What Does It Mean to Be Caesar’s?

Looking more closely at the verse and its context reveals an interesting question; how does one define what it means to be Caesar’s? Of course, anything that Caesar genuinely owned is his, but this is not the case of the Pharisees’ denarii.

Before speaking the famous line, Jesus identifies Caesar’s face on a denarius. Clearly, though, someone’s face on an object does not necessarily denote the owner of that object. A sculptor can create a statue of Martin Luther King to place in Washington, but doing so does not suddenly void ownership of the statue to his living descendants. Similarly, a coinmaker pressing the face of Donald Trump onto a coin does not mean that the coin belongs to him. Ownership rests in the voluntary trade of money for a good or a service, not in an arbitrary face.

In fact, Jesus is entirely correct in stating that everyone should give Caesar what is Caesar’s. The issue comes down to the fact that a subject’s money is not Caesar’s; it is the subject’s. Jesus frequently teaches to hold on loosely to earthly possessions, but this applies to all human beings and does not have a special exception for Caesar or any other figurehead.

Obeying the Governing Authorities

Though the above argument appears not to favor paying taxes, Christians often use Romans 13:1-7 as further evidence. These verses state that all should “be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”. It later states that because of this, those who do good have nothing to fear, and all should pay tributes when they are due. Once more, the argument of whether or not tributes are legitimate calls into question the latter segment. But in particular, the first verse clearly does not apply to all governments.

Throughout history, our world has been the home to some truly oppressive states. Nazi Germany killed over 11 million people in less than a decade during the Holocaust. The regime of Stalin was responsible for even more. Dictators throughout the world have brutally slaughtered a countless number of people; this is an indubitable fact.

What would these Christians say about these repressive regimes? Do they act in the name of God, despite violating one of the Ten Commandments? The obvious answer to this question is a firm, resounding no. One cannot claim to be following the will of God while also following the will of an imperfect man who is making an order entirely contrary to God’s teachings.

Lack of Support for Immoralities

It’s a safe assumption to make that when the government directly tells you to violate one of the Ten Commandments, it is morally sound for a Christian to disobey that order. But just how often do these instances occur? Well, by virtue of what it means to be a government, more often than most may think. Even allegedly liberal democracies such as the United States kill civilians on a regular basis. The fact that these people are foreign, rather than citizens, makes no difference.

Immediately, the government appears to violate three of the commandments. First of all, it kills both soldiers and civilians abroad. The Ten Commandments do not make the distinction of “Thou shall not kill, save in self-defense or war”. Rather, murder is recognized, as it should be, as a wicked act to avoid in all circumstances. Similarly, there is no clause in the commandments that allows the government to steal from you or covet your goods, even for seemingly good purposes.

As a counterpoint, some may argue that Christians not paying taxes contradicts the idea of turning the other cheek. This point carries a great deal of weight but ultimately fails. It is true that Christians should not violently resist a tax collector or any other, as doing so would clearly not be turning the other cheek. However, peaceful disobedience does not fall into the same category; in fact, turning the other cheek itself is a form of this. Rather than being meek, Jesus suggests a tone of defiance when he turns his cheek. Likewise, it makes sense for Christians not to pay taxes to a government that will violate the commandments. Rather, they should turn the other cheek in defiance, neither violently protesting nor passively submitting.

The Law of God

It is also worth mentioning that Romans 13:1-7 does not paint the whole picture of the law. Immediately after, Romans 13:8 reads: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law”. Clearly, this suggests that anyone who loves other people will fulfill the law.

This stands in striking contradiction to the actions of most governments today. Though it is conceptually possible for one to operate entirely on the principles of love, this has never been the case and very well may never be. Currently, the United States is militarily involved in a number of other countries, imprisons hundreds of thousands of nonviolent people, and extorts the rest of the citizens to pay for these things. It appears that this is a clear violation of the law of God to love one another, and thus, any legitimacy to follow the government as an extension of God vanishes.

A Contradiction of Free Will

An additional section of the Romans verse suggests that God instituted all of the governing authorities. From a moral standpoint, this already appears shaky, but it also denies the very existence of free will.

Why does evil in the world exist, when God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent? The problem of evil has tormented theologists and philosophers alike for centuries, but Thomas Aquinas, among others, believed to have found a solution to this dilemma: free will. As the point goes, though God is perfect, he also instills free will in each person. The Bible also contains evidence to support this claim; Deuteronomy 30:19 teaches to “choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live”. Therefore, there is no way to guarantee that people will choose to act with goodness.

Christians Have No Obligation to Pay Taxes

Let’s now apply this to the concept of the state. How can people with free will always choose the right person that will follow the will of God? And, in a nondemocratic society, what is to prevent an evil ruler from forcibly taking power? Simply put, there is no guarantee here due to the idea of free will. Thus, it appears that a government may or may not follow God’s teachings.

Without a doubt, Christians do not have a moral obligation to pay taxes to a state that defies their religion. Though a couple of Bible verses weakly attempt to suggest this, they either fail to present the whole story or rely on faulty assumptions. Ultimately, no government that defies what Jesus teaches is worthy of the respect or obedience of Christians, and in the course of history, not a single one has managed to do so.


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.

Featured Image Source

Advertisements

The Least Immoral and Most Effective Tax

Jack Shields | United States

Ben Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Indeed, since civilization formed, they have been a part of life. Today, taxes are everywhere: we have income, sales, and estate taxes, tariffs, and many more.

Despite most people thinking they pay enough or more than their share, many are quite happy to raise taxes on others in the name of ‘paying their fair share.’ And now, with the Democrats in control of the House Representatives, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already proposing a top rate of 70% to fund her radical agenda.

Which Form of Taxation is Best?

It is important to note that after the Trump tax cuts, the Feds collected a record amount of revenue. Moreover, the 1% who supposedly don’t pay their fair share already contribute 43% of the collected revenue. Meanwhile, the top 20% contribute 87% of the total income tax revenue. Rightfully, some conservatives and most libertarians despise the current state of high taxes. Because of this, Republican administrations and red states have slashed them when they had the opportunity. But in their noble goal, they have neglected the fairest one of them all. 

When examining which taxation method is best, the valid questions of whether there should there be taxation or should the government be spending this much are irrelevant. As of right now, there is spending and there is taxation. I will give neither justification nor disapproval for either. Rather, I will present the best possible situation in the status quo by examining all possible taxes. Obviously, we may need some other forms of taxation to fund all our spending, but we should still strive towards the most moral system possible.

Property Tax: Immoral and Harmful

Perhaps the most popular alternative method for red states without an income tax, such as Texas, is the Real Property Tax, a tax on real estate. In principle, a property tax may be on any good someone owns, not necessarily just land. This is immoral in principle and detrimental in practice. One of the most important rights an individual can have is the right to property and the fruit of one’s labor.

Placing a tax unrelated to the actual acquiring of such property effectively makes it not your property. Rather, the government owns it and you may rent it as long as you can pay for it. As soon you are unable to, you must give it back up to those who really own it.

If you work your entire life to pay for something, it ought to be yours entirely. When the transaction is complete, the government should not be involved, save cases of illegal misuse and other abnormal instances. No government should allow itself to take property that you worked hard to attain.

Tariffs and the Sales Tax

Among the protectionists of the Republican party such as President Trump, tariffs have been supported. Tariffs, however, act essentially as just another tax against the American people. They make better products cost more and lose us thousands of jobs.

Economically, they are a complete disaster. Free trade, which requires no tariffs, is the best way to improve the lives of Americans. Any economic system which places protecting the worker over pleasing the consumer is doomed to fail, and tariffs are a means by which protectionists hope to achieve their flawed economic system, and they should receive support.

The sales tax is also a popular idea among conservatives and libertarians as a way to get rid of the income tax. On the surface, this is a very appealing option. No income tax. No IRS. Seems quite nice. However, the problem is this is regressive and unfairly impacts the poor.

Take two individuals that live in a city with a 5% sales tax. Person A makes $20,000 a year and Person B makes $100,000. Person A has to spend all of their $20,000, essentially giving them an income tax of 5%. But Person B spends $80,000 of their $100,000, saving the rest. This effectively gives them a rate of 4%, as they pay nothing on what they saved. We should strive for the fairest rate and the regressive sales tax is not the best choice.

Taxes that Unfairly Harm the Rich

Just as we shouldn’t have a system that unfairly harms the poor, we should not have a system that harms the rich. But unfortunately, this idea is quite popular in two very immoral ways. The first of these is the estate tax, perhaps the most immoral one out there. The idea that when someone dies, the government gets to go in and take some of their stuff, is truly horrifying. It is one thing to tax someone as they earn income or are in the middle of a transaction. The idea, though, that a death initiates a need to take from the family is just wrong.

One of the biggest incentives for earning is to care for your family. One of the marks of a truly successful life, at least from an economic perspective, is having your family be financially prosperous because of you, even when you are long gone. The fact that this only targets the richest of the rich is irrelevant when looking at it from a moral perspective. When someone dies, there is no moral reason to go in and take their stuff. 

The Progressive Income Tax

The next favorite policy against the rich is the progressive income tax. The idea, of course, is that as you make more money, you can afford to lose more of your income. There are already a plethora of economic reasons why this is a terrible idea, and Thomas Sowell writes particularly well on the issue. The economic side has already seen lengthy discussion.

However, just as with the estate tax, the immorality of the system has seen little public examination. If an individual obeys the law and earns a sizable income, what right do you have to use the government to steal the money and use it for your own ideas? The idea that these rich people are evil and have no idea how to help people with their money is just wrong. Practically, do you really think Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi are smarter with money than Bill Gates, who is using his billions to cure AIDS, or LeBron James, who is using his millions to send underprivileged kids to college? Of course not.

Morally, if your neighbor disapproved of the way you spent your money so he took 70% of it and spent it how he wished, we’d call it stealing (rightfully so). When the government does it, it is still stealing and still wrong. The point of taxation is to give the government a stream of revenue to properly execute its powers. If at any point taxation deviates from this goal in the name of any other, it is immoral. Surely, this is the poster child for this immoral practice.

Its Cousin: Sin Taxes

Special taxes against things which present a supposed moral problem such as alcohol or marijuana (sin tax) are essentially the cousin of the progressive income tax and are just as immoral. Taxing something, whether it be a whiskey tax or carbon tax, is just another way to legislate morality. Just like the progressive tax, this deviates from the goal of bringing in revenue.

The Flat Tax: The Most Moral System

With prevalent practical and moral issues with all the taxation methods listed above, the flat income tax stands alone as the most moral tax system. Of course, it is not perfect; any type of taxation is a necessary evil, after all. By definition, necessary evil is still evil. Nevertheless, it solves the moral and practical issues of the other systems.

Unlike the property tax, this only occurs right as you acquire money, and then you’re done. You don’t have to keep paying it every year. Unlike tariffs, it in no way interferes with free trade. Unlike the sales and progressive income taxes, it does not disproportionately affect the rich or poor. It is an equal percentage across the board, making it fair by mathematical law. Unlike the estate tax, it will not immorally take money from a family dealing with the loss of a loved one. And unlike the progressive income or sin taxes, the flat tax does not legislate morality.

If you raise the rate on one group, you have to raise it on all, making rate increases much more difficult and unpopular. This will help to ensure that taxation only funds the government’s enumerated powers. Thus, it will be moral (assuming, of course, that the enumerated powers are moral).

Because it is both moral and practically capable of raising a reasonable amount of revenue; the flat tax is clearly the system conservatives and libertarians should advocate for in their quest to end limitless taxation and government spending. 


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.

Featured Image Source

Private Healthcare is a Moral and Pragmatic Necessity

Teagan Fair | United States

The debate about healthcare in America is huge, and both sides have many compelling arguments. However, privatizing as many services as possible appears to be the morally correct choice.

The Moral Argument

The government should not be the ones to provide healthcare for the Amerian people. To understand my ethical side of the argument, we must look at just how this would occur.

The answer to this question is obvious. The government would fund these services using taxpayer money. Of course, taxation in itself is unethical and no more than organized theft. If I were to take your money at gunpoint but use it productively, I still would be a thief. That is the definition of theft: taking somebody’s belongings without their consent.

This makes government, in itself, the biggest and most successful thief in history. They are doing the exact same thing as the previous scenario explains. If you do not give them the money that you rightfully earned, then they will take it by force. Ultimately, they will resort to sending men with guns to collect it or collect you, if you do not comply. Of course, many citizens do not even question this or think twice because society raises us to believe things like ‘taxation is the price you pay to live in a civilized society.’

This is invalid for multiple reasons. First off, the citizens do not consent to money being taken, nor did they sign any ‘social contract’. Sure, the Constitution does mention taxation, but men 250 years ago agreeing upon it does not justify an act of aggression today. Agreement of the founders is not consent.

Second off, government services through taxation might be moral if it was only paid for by those who voluntarily used those services, or personally agreed to pay. However, this is not the case. We are all required to pay these taxes, regardless of whether or not we choose to use them and/or agreed to pay.

Even if I were to take your money and give you something valuable that you may or may not need or want, like medicine, for example, I would still be a thief. This should be no different with government. If the government takes the money of its citizens through coercion and gives them healthcare that they may not even want in exchange, it is still a mass theft. It may be theft that benefits a certain group of people, but this is regardless. Using violence against peaceful people in order to improve the lives of a certain group is wrong. The same moral argument exists for any government service.

The Practical Argument

Now that we have concluded the fact that healthcare through government is unethical, we must ask ourselves whether or not the government’s absence in this field would work as well as its presence. Without a doubt, the absence of the government in healthcare is practically correct and more efficient.

First of all, the private sector provides a greater incentive to work. Government employees tend to receive the same salary regardless of their work input. Those working in the private sector, however, often receive monetary compensation for working harder and more efficiently. When companies directly tie in one’s quality of work with their pay, it gives them an incentive to work harder, helping everyone by accomplishing more.

This general rule holds true for almost all services: the private sector gets the job done better. We see this in many places, including – like our failing public school system or our high number of roads and bridges in poor condition. In many areas, people can widely accept that the private sector ends up being higher quality. The same will apply to healthcare.

Private healthcare also grants patients the luxury of choice. It gives patients the option to choose the doctor they want treating them or the hospital they want to go to. They can choose these things based on the quality of the service provided. The more companies exist, the more options will follow. If one particular company is flawed in some way, perhaps in prices or quality, then they will go out of business. The only options for that company, thus, are changing their ways or closing up. If they fail to change, then perhaps they will lose money or even the building. In its place will come a better company that is more capable to suit the needs of the customers.

Without a doubt, private healthcare is a morally correct idea and also seems to be more efficient This way, we can further attempt to get the government out of the lives of the people while maintaining fairness and quality medical care.


71 Republic prides itself on distinctly independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon. We appreciate your support.

Featured Image Source

You Can Pay Taxes with Bitcoin in Ohio

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Bitcoin has had a rough couple of weeks, but the state of Ohio may have some good news for the cryptocurrency community. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, taxes in Ohio can now be paid using Bitcoin.

Currently, this option only applies to businesses within the state, but the state government has expressed plans to open the option to individual taxpayers soon. Ohio-based businesses will be able to pay the taxes through the Bitcoin payment service BitPay.

If this isn’t enough to get cryptocurrency enthusiasts excited, statements by the state treasurer may. The Treasurer, Josh Mandel, expressed that he would like to “plant a flag” when it comes to the recognition of cryptocurrencies as a viable currency. He hopes that this will be the first step when it comes to national recognition of cryptocurrency. He stated:

“I do see [bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency.”

He has decided to circumvent the state legislature, making clear that his office will accept digital currency until his term ends in January. He is also “confident that this cryptocurrency initiative will continue” as his lame duck session nears its end.

Other states have attempted similar action. In May, Arizona sought to pass legislation that would allow citizens to pay taxes with Bitcoin. The passage has been delayed because of amendments.

Georgia’s state house introduced a similar piece of legislation, but it met a far more grim demise. Its status reads: “25% progression, died in committee.”


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

Envy is Evil, not the Desire for Wealth

Thomas Calabro | United States

The desire for money is often viewed with disdain by those who believe in a more altruistic approach. They believe themselves to be noble in their morals, and while that may be so, they usually believe in using more government controls to enforce their altruism. They intend to enforce desired actions to reach certain end goals, either with tighter controls of small fines, regulations on how something is made, or with the complete seizure of the means of production. These end goals usually look to end or reduce inequality of income and distribution of resources, and their morals are seen as enough reason for action.

When talking about capitalism, one must see how greediness for money energizes most of the system in an efficient way. The greedy strive for profits push businesses to create and distribute products where it is demanded by their customers. While there are some organizations whose main goals are to give back rather than making money, the desire for wealth ultimately allows scarce resources to be allocated appropriately with very little to no waste. This approach, while rooted in individual self-interest proves far better at not only distributing the resources where necessary but helps create jobs, raise wages and increase the standard of living.

But why is such a system of economic freedom and prosperity, as well as it’s drive to make profits seen as horrific to one group, but not the other? Perhaps it is that many libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, and objectivists do not see the desire for money as the issue. Rather they see the desire for someone else’s earnings as the true face of evil: envy.

Before we begin talking about envy, we must first define what envy is, as well as any misconceptions that may create confusion. Envy can be defined as the “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage. However, many in the libertarian camp see this approach as an issue when the government is used as a force to obtain the fruits of other’s labor.

One could make the argument that envy is what drives entrepreneurs to maximize profits in a free market system, those who use voluntary exchange are not only supplying market demand but also working hard to create wealth.

While we may consider ourselves in a free market where hard work can create profits, we have many controls in our government that stifle economic growth for many people. The most prevalent of which is the war on drugs, which perpetuates a cycle of poverty towards the victims of those policies of mass incarceration. Any government controls that prevent profitable innovations should be removed.

A paper from the Cato Institute’s Brink Lindsey recognizes 4 areas of interest: copyright and patents, occupational licensing, land use restrictions, and restrictions on immigration, as being subjected to “regressive regulations” and government controls that hinder income equality, as well as the free market. These deregulations can help the US to continue to be a melting pot of ideas and innovations that create jobs, raise wages, increase the standard of living, but also reduce inequality and combat the envious urges to take from hard-working Americans.


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source