Taxation is Theft, But Why?


I have posted my personal notes for Dean-O-Files #30 as a companion to that episode. There are typos and formatting issues because, again, personal notes.


Prerequisites: a belief in Property as legitimate and ownership of that property as an intrinsic human right.

Taxation is: The removal of property under the threat of force

  • But there’s no force!

What happens if you refuse to pay? Further theft and jail. If you refuse to be stolen from or kidnapped and caged? You’ll be beaten or shot. This is force.

  • But taxation is voluntary!

See: above.

  • But you consent!

Consent necessitates an ability to WITHDRAW consent. This is why contracts always contain the ability to exit the contract, even if with terms.

  • You withdraw consent by leaving.

Aside from the fact that there is literally nowhere that doesn’t have taxation, this line of logic necessitates a belief that human rights (in this instance, the ownership of property) are dependent upon geography. Taxation is Theft everywhere, just as Female Genital Mutilation is abhorrent abuse everywhere. Even where it is common and accepted. Ethics do not have geographical boundaries, and logic does not stop at a border.

  • But the social contract!

This line of thinking necessitates that you believe in the notion of the social contract.

The social contract is widely recognized as a Rousseauian construction based on the Hobbesian idea that, in order to live in civilized society, man gives up some of his rights (basically,the rights to kill, steal, and pillage) to a sovereign in order to guarantee their own safety from killers, thieves, and pillagers.

The biggest problem with this idea is the way that theft, murder, rape, and other crimes against fellow man are framed as rights in Hobbesian thought, rather than simple abilities. The notion that a person has a “right” to infringe on the rights of other people is antithetical to the very idea of rights. Thus, the social contract is built on an inherently faulty premise, because these abilities that man gives up to the sovereign are not ethically defensible actions to take in any case, regardless of the condition of the society one finds himself in.

Additionally, the social contract exists in defense of totalitarianism via what Rousseau calls “the general will.” Not democracy, not representative government, not individualism of any kind. Further, we know that the Hobbesian notion of the state of nature, upon which his defense of the sovereign rests, is not accurate with regard to current evolutionary and anthropological convention, calling into question all of Hobbesian thought.

  • But taxes are the price we pay for civilization!

If civilization looks, to you, like an organization with the unfettered ability to kill or cage you if you do not comply with their stripping you of your property, then you and I have wholly irreconcilable notions of what constitutes civilized behavior.

  • But who would build the roads, internet, rockets, fire departments, or the whatever-commodity-or-service-I-consider-to-be-a-social-good?

If a service or commodity is so important to you that you would be willing to hold a gun to your neighbor’s head to pay for it, perhaps you should build, develop, and profit off of that thing yourself.

But let’s say you lack the skills or resources to do that: Do you really think you’re the only person to whom these things are important? Do you really think that roads (or any other commodity or service) are so complicated that a company, cooperative, or loose organization of private parties could not pool resources to contract its development?

The more important point to make here is that those of us who believe taxation is theft DO NOT have to be civil engineers, central planners, or experts in logistics. We are simply calling out a logical ethical and philosophical conclusion from the very definitions of what taxation is. No matter the number of logistical and sociological wrenches you try to throw into the idea, the ethical and philosophical consistency does not change. Whatever attempts to undermine the basic idea that taxation is theft have no effect on the bedrock of the notion, and that is why people always resort to moving goalposts to the logistical after losing the argument on the ethical.