Yes, Taxation Is Theft: Now What?

taxation is theft jepordy

Anarchists fantasize about a utopia in much the same way that communists do, holding up an ideal that would work wonderfully if it weren't for our pesky human nature. Both anarchism and communism require a population of one mind about the best way to live. That's never going to happen.

Ayn Rand presented a more plausible solution when she advocated for government funded through contribution. But sustaining that would require a majority population that largely understood and greatly valued individual rights, who first reached consensus regarding government's limited role, then agreed to fund it. We're not there yet.

Most people know implicitly that some amount of government is required to secure our rights. The question becomes how best to secure those rights, how to provide the highest degree of liberty utilizing a minimum amount of coercion. Until we achieve a society capable of better, some degree of taxation must be endured to provide for proper government.

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Perhaps a better statement for building memes upon would be "government is force." That at least gives us somewhere to go. Once we establish that government is force, the question becomes under what circumstances may force be morally employed. That's a question with a straightforward answer that has practical applications. Force may be morally used only in response to the initiation of force by others, in self-defense, in retaliation, in an effort to claim restitution for harm. That is government's proper role. Taxes may be theft in the purest sense of the term. But if taxpayer dollars are utilized to protect individual rights, the real-world effect will be a maximum amount of liberty and a minimum level of coercion. That's a worthy goal, and wholly attainable.

We live in an imperfect world populated by imperfect people. There will never be a point at which we fully eliminate suffering, harm, and coercion. We can aim for utopia, but will only get close to it if we accept that we can never actually reach it. Reaching beyond our grasp will invite greater evils than the ones we aim to overcome.