Before you read the title and wonder to yourself if I recently had an epiphany, this is actually the first submission on the blog ever. It is an article submitted by Michael Harris. Here is a little bit about him:
“Hi, my name is Michael Harris and I am a senior at duPont Manual High School in Kentucky. My hobbies include politics, economics, history and chess. I am a two-time state junior chess champion and a part of seven-time state team chess championship winning team. Also, as you will soon find out, I am a Voluntarist. I ditched the term “Anarcho-capitalist” for a few reasons.”
I talked with Michael a bit on taxation and anarchist societies, and he definitely knows what he’s talking about. Even if I disagree with his ideas, I can’t say they’re not fleshed out. Without further ado, here is Michael’s article.
Taxation is commonplace in most, if not all government across the globe. Taxation is used to fund federal programs that supposedly benefit citizens, whether it be public education or welfare. Despite its stronghold in government, most people rarely question taxation fundamentally. Everyone presumes that for a society to function, we need taxation.Whether that is the case or not, taxation is systematic theft.
A question posed by Murray Rothbard, an influential theorist of anarcho-capitalism, in his book For a New Liberty was, “How can you define taxation differently from theft?” This question is quite challenging as I nor anyone I have discussed taxation with can come up with an answer. Fundamentally, Rothbard points out that taxation involves an involuntary transaction between the government and the citizens. I dare anyone who disagrees to stop paying their taxes, as they will be swiftly hunted down by the IRS, resulting in jail time. Such an involuntary transaction under the veil of “taxation” is no different than the involuntary transaction of theft.
Many people argue that taxation is not theft due to it benefiting the payer in the form of federal programs. There are a couple of flaws with this reasoning, however. Firstly, not all federal programs benefit the given taxpayer. That seems to prominently be the case for the upper class, which receive relatively little government aid despite paying income tax rates revolving around 50%. Secondly, and most importantly, the motivation behind theft is irrelevant, because someone still took something from someone by force. If a criminal steals my money to feed his/her family, that is still theft. Stealing from others is never virtuous. A question we should be asking is why the government, a gang of individuals, is above the moral code? Why can a common citizen not steal from others while the government can do so systematically? Are the people who compose government supreme beings, wielding their power for “the greater good”? I think not.
Perhaps many people will take the stance that taxation is a necessary evil that provides civilians with the benefits of public services; however, the private sector can do what the public sector does as well if not better. Government institutions are inherently inefficient as the incentives for such efficiency are eliminated due to the lack of competition (essentially an enforced monopoly). The private sector, on the other hand, must be efficient to suffice in a competitive market. If a business provides a lackluster product, consumers are not going to buy it, and thus resulting in the collapse of the business. There is an incentive to provide a quality product at a competitive price unlike the public sector. Taxation only perpetuates what is inefficient and what is immoral.
A well-written article that I just happen to have fundamental disagreements with. I don’t think you can find logical fault in anything Michael says, and he knows what he wants to say. Great job Michael!
If you have any questions, you can contact Michael at his email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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