Re: Property and the Law, and is it a priority?

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Mon Jul 30 2001 - 21:06:52 MDT

On Monday, July 30, 2001 8:04 AM Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > > Taxation, in my mind, is only NOT theft when the individual is free to
> > > choose what government services they wish to pay for and which not to
> > > pay for.
> >
> > If by this, you mean, individuals would also be able to choose not to
> > any government services at all, then why even call if "taxation"? It's
> > taxation if it's chosen. E.g., I'm not taxing my employer when I get
> > for my work. To define it otherwise would seem to me to be changing the
> > term beyond any useful meaning.
> Not really. You pay a gas tax when you buy gas. If you don't buy gas,
> you pay no gas tax. This applies to all sales taxes. Tolls paid at
> highway toll booths are similar: they are use based taxes, and you can
> choose to not use that which the tax is levied on. The registration fees
> for your cars, boats, etc are also use based taxes.

I don't disagree that these taxes exist now, but that they are not
voluntary. Surely, I can choose not to buy a boat. I can also choose not
to own a house to avoid direct real estate taxes, not to work to avoid
income taxes, not to buy or sell to avoid transaction taxes, not to invest
to avoid... You get the picture?

A libertarian take on this is it's still initiating force. I can't choose
to buy tax free gas. I can't choose to own real estate tax free. Etc. At
least, I can't avoid these things in any nontrivial sense. (Yeah, I can
avoid doing these things or I can do them and risk police action.)

> A libertarian government properly focuses its revinue gathering on use
> based taxation, while fascist governments focus on confiscatory
> taxation.

A libertarian government would not be able to tax period. It might be able
to charge user fees, but these would be for services the government actually
delivers. A government doesn't deliver a service by forcing people to pay a
tax. This would include registration fees. What if I don't want to
register? (A libertarian government might disavow protecting, say, my car
against theft or vandalism if I don't register it, but it would not be able
to use force to make me register.)

In this light, all taxation is confiscation. It doesn't matter if it's a
tax labeled a fee or not. The deciding factor between a tax and an actual
price (the market word for what people pay for something) is whether the
initiation of force is involved.

That said, your semilibertarian -- and it is that: only partly
libertarian -- government might be better than what we have now in any place
on Earth, but it falls short of the principles you claim to be upholding.
It mgiht be a good interim setup, between today's welfare state and
tomorrow's libertarian society, but it should not be the goal.


Daniel Ust
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