What would you call a thing that survived by taking its sustenance from the necessary life activities of another, if not a parasite? What, then, would you call a thing that survived by sustaining its foul existence by taking from millions, if not a terrifying parasitic monster? Well, in America, we are plagued by exactly such a monster, and we call it “government“.
In this light, it is clear why the Framers were so opposed to not just unrestricted government but also the taxation of the livelihoods of the people that could then be used to fund the very unrestricted government they sought to avoid. In a way modern Americans clearly do not, the Framers recognized that without direct private taxation tyranny was impossible and with direct private taxation tyranny was inevitable.
This is the clearest argument against direct private taxation, and, in America past, when common sense was apparently far more common, the only reason people needed to reject the collar and lash of government taxation. For those of us in the early 21st Century, however, so far removed as we are from even the memory of the revolution against the English despot, we’ve long become accustomed to our self imposed captivity.
What is called the splendour of a throne is no other than the corruption of the state. It is made up of a band of parasites, living in luxurious indolence, out of the public taxes.
– Thomas Paine
For those of us who still believe in the principle of limited government outlined in the Constitution, direct private taxation is utterly incompatible with that belief. None but an ignoramus or a fool can convincingly describe themselves as advocating for limited government who also advocates for the mechanism necessary to attract the very sorts of people to government who would set it upon the people.
Think of the worst things you can think of government doing, then add the phrase “but we can’t afford it“, and you’ll quickly understand why depriving private taxation is such a powerful deterrent to tyrannical government:
- We need to limit people’s access to foreign news… but we can’t afford it.
- We need to build walls to keep people out… but we can’t afford it.
- We need to punish media critical of the administration… but we can’t afford it.
- We need to provide mandatory universal healthcare… but we can’t afford it.
As it turns out, the Framers were right. Not being able to afford tyranny is a phenomenal way to ward off the monstrosity.
If this isn’t enough of a reason to be opposed to direct private taxation, however, here’s more reasons that should be more compelling. First, private taxation necessarily violates the private property rights of the citizen. The first right under natural law is that the individual is solely entitled to his life and health. By extension, his time must also be his and no other’s. Private taxation necessarily steals time from the individual.
There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
– Robert A. Heinlein
Second, it creates resentment among countrymen. The more and more an individual may achieve, the heavier and heavier the burden of the state he necessarily carries, especially in a progressive tax system (and the naming convention is no accidental coincidence) such as ours. As an individual’s tax burden increases, the less and less likely such a burdened individual will see himself as morally equal to those contributing less.
Third, it creates incentives to ignore the law and corruption. Those most heavily burdened by direct private taxation are hard pressed to see why they should be subject to the same standards of jurisprudence as the “commoners“. After all, they are the one’s largely paying for the law, and, if they must pay for the law anyway, why not cut out the tax collector middle man and simply own the politicians directly? Then what is corrupt becomes legal, anyway.
Last, it breaks our society into “haves and have nots” and makes criminals of us all. The application of such a brutal instrument as a tax on the livelihoods is so obviously repugnant that politicians will go to great lengths to spare the poor from what would be clearly evil, taking from people who already have so little. The lines between abject poverty and those barely scraping by are, however, far from distinct.
When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
– Frédéric Bastiat
The codification necessary to not impose taxes on those who are destitute or upon whom the imposition of taxes would necessarily make them destitute at some point in their lives is exquisitely tangled. So tangled, in fact that practically every tax form filled out by a citizen is doubtlessly in violation of the very laws meant to protect Americans from the vampire they have set upon themselves.
It should, at this point, be absolutely clear why direct private taxation is not only theft, it is identical in every respect to tyranny. Precisely like a vampire, when starved of its sustenance, the beast of tyranny is forced to slumber in its grave where the Founding Fathers buried it in 1776 and from where can be a threat to no one.
Liberty is For The Win!