Taxation is Theft

Lysander Spooner (1808 – 1887) the wiki informs us was “an American individualist anarchist. He was also an abolitionist, entrepreneur, essayist, legal theorist, pamphletist, political philosopher, Unitarian, writer …” My favorite bit of his writings is “No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority.”

The essay begins simply with the following:

The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago. And it can be supposed to have been a contract then only between persons who had already come to years of discretion, so as to be competent to make reasonable and obligatory contracts. Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years. And the Constitution, so far as it was their contract, died with them. They had no natural power or right to make it obligatory upon their children. It is not only plainly impossible, in the nature of things, that they could bind their posterity, but they did not even attempt to bind them.

I couldn’t agree more with Spooner. Go read it all. Click here or on the image above to read or download Spooner’s essay.

Spooner’s writings influenced the anarcho-capitalist Austrian economist Murray Rothbard (1926 – 1995). Here’s a bit from Rothbard.

“Many writers denounce tax exemptions and levy their fire at the tax-exempt, particularly those instrumental in obtaining the exemptions for themselves. These writers include those advocates of the free market who treat a tax exemption as a special privilege and attack it as equivalent to a subsidy and therefore inconsistent with the free market. Yet an exemption from taxation or any other burden is not equivalent to a subsidy. There is a key difference. In the latter case a man is receiving a special grant of privilege wrested from his fellowmen; in the former he is escaping a burden imposed on other men. Whereas the one is done at the expense of his fellowmen, the other is not. For in the former case, the grantee is participating in the acquisition of loot; in the latter, he escapes payment of tribute to the looters. To blame him for escaping is equivalent to blaming the slave for fleeing his master. It is clear that if a certain burden is unjust, blame should be levied, not on the man who escapes the burden, but on the man or men who impose it in the first place. If a tax is in fact unjust, and some are exempt from it, the hue and cry should not be to extend the tax to everyone, but on the contrary to extend the exemption to everyone.”

I don’t quite understand why people don’t revolt against taxation. The explanation must be that most people — perhaps 99.99 percent — feel that taxation is an unalterable fact of nature like the seasons or the revolution of the planets around the sun.

If more people were exposed to the idea that taxation is theft — indeed robbery — they’d certainly oppose it. But then the government controls the schools and there people get indoctrinated into believing nonsense.

C’est la vie.

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