The notion that the individual owns himself or herself is the essential, axiomatic, necessary, defining condition of a civilized society. It’s axiomatic in the sense that it is a priori, self-evident, categorical, certain and beyond dispute. It’s apodictic — a necessary truth, an absolute certainty not requiring proof. It’s an assumption the truth of which if not assumed can never be established.
It’s necessary because without self-ownership, there can be no freedom. Civilization and freedom are inseparable concepts. The essence of civilization is the freedom of the individual.
The moral and ethical opposite of freedom of the individual is slavery.
The essence of slavery is that the individual is owned by another or a group of others. Logically it follows that if a person is a slave, then the products of the slave’s labor are also owned by the master(s).
Slavery has been a universal feature of human society across the ages. Outright slavery is now nearly universally condemned but disguised forms of slavery exist even in the most advanced “civilized” societies. It’s called taxes. It’s a nice euphemism, a very thin veneer that rubs off at the slightest examination to reveal the ugly truth that lies beneath.
Outright slavery means, first, that the slave is not free to choose (he is either mandated to do or prohibited from doing things), and second, his income is taxed at 100% (whatever he produces is taken by the master.)
Modern day slavery though not as crude or outright as in the past is nevertheless very real. The modern slave masters are called “the government” or “the state.” The government dictates through laws, rules and regulations what the individual is permitted to do and what is prohibited. Licenses and permits abound.
Modern day slavery involves the taking of less than 100% of the individual’s income or property by the government. Some governments take only half of an individual’s income, and therefore the individual is only 50% slave, and 50% free.
Curiously, modern day slavery survives for the same reason that full-blown slavery survived for nearly all of human existence: it was accepted and considered the norm. People saw nothing wrong about full-blown slavery then; now people see nothing wrong about partial slavery.
The common objection to equating taxes with slavery is that taxes are essential and it’s the price we pay to live in civilization. That’s absurdly absurd.
“What about the roads?” Without taxes there’d be no roads, the objection goes. The list is quite varied: what about education, what about law and order, what about social justice, what about equality, what about national defense, … The whataboutery is endless — as endless as what the government feels justified in doing.
The basic point is that nearly all of what the government does with taxes is unnecessary, and much of it is a pointless, costly waste of blood and treasure. Modern-day governments are the most powerful slave owners humanity has ever encountered. The irony is that people are willing slaves. It’s time that this ended. But I’m afraid that given the slave mentality of the people, it won’t be any time soon.