Who is Best Qualified to Decide how How Your Wealth Should be Used?

I have noted before that my fellow citizens and I are the best wealth redistributors one can find. We know quite well, with only rare exceptions, where the wealth we obtained should go – how we should spend or invest or save our earnings, etc.

But vast numbers of political thinkers and players disagree.  They hold that our resources must be taken from us and they, not we, should be the ones who decide what to do with them.  Why?  Who are these folks to butt in and remove us from the driver’s seat and place themselves and their chosen few in there instead?

 

spoonerSpooner had the right idea. As Joseph Schumpeter remarks in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy: “… the state has been living on a revenue which was being produced in the private sphere for private purposes and had to be deflected from these purposes by political force. The theory which construes taxes on the analogy of club dues or of the purchase of the services of, say, a doctor only proves how far removed this part of the social sciences is from scientific habits of mind.”

 

Consider how insulting it is! Why is the president of the country better qualified than we are to determine where our resources will do the most good?  Why are members of Congress or local politicians? Who on earth do these folks think they are?

In the past it used to be thought that certain folks in society had special qualifications to allocate the wealth that has been produced as well as to make most of the important decisions in need of being made.  Kings, lords, barons, and such knew better than the paeans – you and I – as to what our labors ought to fund.  Ergo, taxation and other takings!

 

government-imposed-compassionGovernment – enforced compassion

 

Don’t you see how nasty this is, how it impugns our capabilities to be prudent, careful, sensible, wise and so forth?

Advocates of government wealth redistribution blatantly insult the rest of us by denying us the good sense it takes to spend our wealth.  Wealth redistribution means exactly that.  Somehow we need to be coerced – or nudged or intimidated – into doing what these bullies have decided needs to be supported with our wealth.

Why?  Who are these people?

In the past there was an excuse – by sheer birth certain folks, coming from certain families or classes or whatever – had the qualification to manage our wealth and indeed us as well.

 

Tax-quote-from-BastiatThat has certainly happened – from the moment the State has come into being (i.e., shortly after the violent conquest phase).

 

But that is sheer prejudice!  They really have no more clue than you or I about where to spend the funds we have come by!  Indeed, as the tragedy of the commons demonstrates, the more folks are involved in spreading the wealth, the less well the wealth is likely to be spent. Most will be wasted instead of well spent, even when the intention is to do the right thing with it.

We ought to regard wealth redistribution and it’s source, taxation, not only forced taking but a serious insult toward the citizenry and reject it wherever possible.

 

tax-cartoonA well-worn ritual…

Addendum: Bernie Sanders Has Already Won

Senator Bernie Sanders is aiming to become the democratic party’s nominee for the presidency of the United States of America.  He considers himself a democratic socialist.  But his mission is actually superfluous.
In fact, Senator Sanders has already succeeded.  America has for a long time been governed according to the principles of democratic socialism, as have many other Western countries.

This became clear to me as I was attempting to “go solar”. In order to install solar power at my home in Silverado, CA, I needed to submit the plan to the county planning commission.  Their approval was necessary to go forward with the plan.

 

Business_Process_for_Solar-1-201408201025Solar permit application process for businesses – click to enlarge.

 

Any other substantial alteration of one’s property — the addition of a garage or new section — must be approved by such commissions. Indeed, throughout the country to undertake an installation such as I was contemplating, proprietors must obtain permission from various commissions, all of which are supposed to have been established by democratic means!

As I see it, this means that the country is being governed by the principles of democratic socialism.

 

solar-permitting-study-USThere are now even “studies on the solar permitting process”, as absurd as this seems.

 

Dr. Tibor R. Machan has recently been appointed senior fellow at the Heartland Institute (Arlington Heights, IL) and has worked as a Hoover Institution research fellow, is Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Auburn University, Alabama, and has held the R. C. Hoiles Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman University from 1997 to 2014. Smuggled out of Hungary in 1953, Machan spent three years in Munich and then came to USA and became an academic philosopher after four years in US Air Force. His memoir, The Man Without a Hobby (2006) tells it all.

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “Taxation as a Severe Insult”

  • Mark Humphrey:

    Thanks to professor Machan for his evisceration of the hallowed institution of legal plunder, that is taxation. It’s wonderful when plain talk incites moral outrage among a few readers.

    “Government is not an entity unto itself, it did not spring into existence of its own accord, WE created government and WE are responsible for its conduct.”

    Although it’s true that taxing and commandeering “authority” did not entirely spring on us from its own accord, the fact that most people sanction it reflects their confusion (and corruption, in quite a few cases.) Therefore, public acquiescence and passivity is not an argument for retaining legalized plunder; but it’s a good argument for ending acquiescence for theft.

    One footnote: Government always establishes itself of its own accord, as players position themselves to gain at the expense of the passive and acquiescing “ordinary folks”. The political conspiracy that junked the Articles of Confederation and set up the Constitution, thereby enriching speculators among the founders in confederation war debts, is one example. The political conspiracy among bankers and financiers to impose the Federal Reserve System, thereby providing a safety net for commercial and investment bankers is another.

    A spontaneous welling up of support for the state hegemony of plunder and etc. “for the formation and sustenance of society” is a myth. It never happens spontaneously, but with careful planning and execution.

  • “A slave is one who waits for someone else to free him” ~ Rosellen Brown

    “The blanket statement that “WE” are responsible for government’s conduct is illogical” ~ Wiley

    The notion that we’re just hapless victims of a government entity is nothing more than the mewlings of a willing slave.

    The taxing structure and government did not suddenly appear in full form, as is, overnight, they evolved over time. What was their impetus? What principles first formed their incorporation into the formation of a society?

    May I suggest J.S. Mill’s “On Liberty” http://www.econlib.org/library/Mill/mlLbty1.html

    If “WE” don’t take responsibility for the actions of government, who will? And, will you be able to live with the outcome of what those who do take that responsibility installs in its stead?

  • Bogwood:

    Very sympathetic to the intent of the post, but worry about the portion of wealth from rent-seeking broadly defined. I suspect this has been the majority of profits for the last two decades, myself included. Being in the medical field over half of “profits” were government related. Finance:90%,Military:100% Security: 80%. So give up any government related income including subsidies for your solar system, before you move into anarchy. Then I am behind you all the way.

    • Crysangle:

      In this world everything is owned. Everywhere I stand is claimed , even public property is titled . You offer me no choice , as wherever I place myself I am charged with obligations . If I wish to walk anywhere , I must use the roads that have been built by government , if I cross a field I may be prosecuted for trespassing under government law . If I stand still someone will ask me for a government authorized identification , if I do not provide it I will be forcefully escorted and possibly jailed under government law . If I move a long way from where there are people and build a world of my own , people will come , and eventually state authority will come if I have achieved anything of interest or value , and will demand of me . You offer me no choice .

      Government does not subsidize , it is an intermediary that forcefully claims and redistributes , often to itself . The subsidy you witness is no more than a forceful distortion being paid for by all in the name of all , for better or for worse . If you openly confront it you will likely be jailed or killed . A person must live , a person wishes to live , and the influence obtained by state by menacing that most basic will is tremendous , it tramples reason and self worth . As there is no true recompense to this circumstance , I suppose we should smile to ourselves at its own frustrated and limited existence , our time being worth more than doing anything else but tagging a menace for what it is so that it remains forever rejected.

  • A false premise is an incorrect proposition that forms the basis of an argument or syllogism. Since the premise (proposition, or assumption) is not correct, the conclusion drawn may be in error. However, the logical validity of an argument is a function of its internal consistency, not the truth value of its premises.

    In this case, the argument is based upon inflammatory rhetoric and emotionalism, devoid of any contextual reference, it is not a logical argument. It’s just blame shifting. Government is not an entity unto itself, it did not spring into existence of its own accord, WE created government and WE are responsible for its conduct.

    • Wiley:

      The basis of the article and its context is that taxation is forced taking. This is not a false premise but a fact, nor is the argument illogical or simply inflammatory rhetoric and emotionalism.

      Webster’s dictionary defines “tax” as “a compulsory payment of a percentage of income, property value, sales price, etc. for the support of government.” Being compulsory, the payment is forced or coerced through threat of aggressive violence. The money government demands represents our labor, and in demanding our money/labor under threat of violence, government forces us into servitude and slavery. The dictionary also defines “extort” as “to draw from by force or compulsion”, so by definition, taxation is extortion. Our legal system recognizes forced servitude, slavery and extortion as crimes . . . except when government employs them. This isn’t emotionalism but fact.

      A further premise of the article is that individuals allocate their personal resources far more efficiently than a bureaucracy does, and the wealth of factual data validating that premise is so easily obtainable that there’s no need to cite it in the article.

      The blanket statement that “WE” are responsible for government’s conduct is illogical. Those who willingly support it and act on its behalf are responsible, but the rest of us have little or no control over what government does. If we refuse to comply with government’s demands it can and will bring far more violence to bear against us than we are capable of resisting, and we have no legal recourse against it when it grants itself exemption from the laws it applies to individuals, such as laws prohibiting forced servitude and extortion. Whether government is truly an entity unto itself is irrelevant; it ACTS as an entity, and those who constructed it and now populate it are responsible for their own actions in support of that entity. I cannot and will not accept responsibility for the conduct of the individuals who constructed government and who now do its bidding.

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