Is tax theft?

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2ndRateMind
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Is tax theft?

Post #1

Post by 2ndRateMind »

So, this tends to come up from time to time, when arguing social issues. So I thought we might discuss it some, and see if we can't arrive at an understanding.

To kick off, in democratic nation states, the people vote for the government flavour, and therefore tax regime, they want. They have a say in the matter, unlike having your wallet stolen by a thug with a knife in a street-mugging. I think we need be clear on the difference between the two. If you don't like the tax regime, you can peacefully advocate a different one, or vote for it, or campaign and demonstrate, or stand for office, depending on how committed to the cause you are.

My contention, therefore, is that tax is not theft, merely a civil duty, and one that allows an advanced society to function, from which we all benefit. However irksome that duty may sometimes seem.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #2

Post by bluethread »

[Replying to post 1 by 2ndRateMind]

So, if I start a thread asking if your tokens should be taken away and divided up among the rest of us, and a majority of the votes agree, then that is not theft?

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #3

Post by 2ndRateMind »

[Replying to post 2 by bluethread]

Hmmm. If I thought my tokens would house the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and treat the sick, and that everyone else was also contributing according to their means, then I would have no problems with that redistribution whatsoever. What Christian could?

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #4

Post by Bust Nak »

[Replying to post 2 by bluethread]

Can I presume the redistribution has the backing of the relevant authorities?

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #5

Post by bjs »

2ndRateMind wrote: [Replying to post 2 by bluethread]

Hmmm. If I thought my tokens would house the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and treat the sick, and that everyone else was also contributing according to their means, then I would have no problems with that redistribution whatsoever. What Christian could?

Best wishes, 2RM.
From a Christian perspective I find no virtue in this. To have someone else forcibly take a Christian’s money to feed the hungry and such is not the Christian doing anything good. On the other side, for a Christian to take other people’s money to feed the poor, instead of letting them choose to freely give that money, is also not a virtue.

However, I agree that taxes are not theft. They are simply a part of the social contract. To paraphrase my Lord, “Give to Washington what is Washington’s.�* As long as we keep using Washington’s money, we are going to have to pay Washington’s tax.


*Or to the Queen what is the Queen’s, or whatever works in your society.
Understand that you might believe. Believe that you might understand. –Augustine of Hippo

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #6

Post by 2ndRateMind »

bjs wrote:
2ndRateMind wrote: [Replying to post 2 by bluethread]

Hmmm. If I thought my tokens would house the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and treat the sick, and that everyone else was also contributing according to their means, then I would have no problems with that redistribution whatsoever. What Christian could?

Best wishes, 2RM.
From a Christian perspective I find no virtue in this.
The virtue is in the acquiescence to the settled democratic will of the people, because the people are determined that the poor shall not go without succour.
bjs wrote:To have someone else forcibly take a Christian’s money to feed the hungry and such is not the Christian doing anything good.


But surely, if we all contribute according to our means, the burden for any one of us is the lighter. And if one of us should be so selfish as to decide not to contribute, then in fairness to the rest of us, the state needs must enforce that contribution. If it didn't, then few would pay any tax at all, and the whole edifice of democracy would collapse. Or, perhaps you think that would be a good thing?

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #7

Post by micatala »

2ndRateMind wrote: So, this tends to come up from time to time, when arguing social issues. So I thought we might discuss it some, and see if we can't arrive at an understanding.

To kick off, in democratic nation states, the people vote for the government flavour, and therefore tax regime, they want. They have a say in the matter, unlike having your wallet stolen by a thug with a knife in a street-mugging. I think we need be clear on the difference between the two. If you don't like the tax regime, you can peacefully advocate a different one, or vote for it, or campaign and demonstrate, or stand for office, depending on how committed to the cause you are.

My contention, therefore, is that tax is not theft, merely a civil duty, and one that allows an advanced society to function, from which we all benefit. However irksome that duty may sometimes seem.

Best wishes, 2RM.
I would agree. Taxation is not theft under ordinary circumstances in a nation with adequate democratic processes.

Under a totalitarian regime, taxation might be considered theft, but even there, if the taxation regime is somewhat fair (applied equitably, not resulting in impoverishment, etc.) and the money did actually go in large part for legitimate expenses benefitting the population, then it probably should not be characterized as theft.
" . . . the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart . . . ." Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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Post #8

Post by 2ndRateMind »

Interestingly, the libertarian and American political philosopher Robert Nozick* (1974) thinks that tax is not just theft, but (part time) slavery. He arrives at this surprising conclusion by a simple calculation. If I earn $X0,000 per year, work 5 days a week, and pay 20% tax, then on (say) Mondays, I am not working for myself and my own benefit, but being forced to work for the government. Being forced to work for someone else, he contends, is how slavery is defined.

I wonder what you all make of this thinking?

Best wishes, 2RM.

*Nozick, R. (1999) Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Oxford, Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #9

Post by bluethread »

bjs wrote:
However, I agree that taxes are not theft. They are simply a part of the social contract. To paraphrase my Lord, “Give to Washington what is Washington’s.�* As long as we keep using Washington’s money, we are going to have to pay Washington’s tax.


*Or to the Queen what is the Queen’s, or whatever works in your society.

That is why I pay my taxes. However, even when one is not using Washington's currency, Washington requires payment. If I work for someone and they pay me in commodities, I can be jailed for not reporting a dollar value for those commodities to them. If I do report to that dollar value, then I will be compelled to sell some of those commodites to acquire Washington currency to send to Washington, to be given to others who may have done no work at all.

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #10

Post by bluethread »

Bust Nak wrote: [Replying to post 2 by bluethread]

Can I presume the redistribution has the backing of the relevant authorities?
Who would be the relevant authorities? Sure otseng could decide tomorrow to redistribute all tokens. However, to do so would undermine the economy of this website, just as redistributive taxation undermines the economy of these United States. That said, as with the federal government, if one truly believes in redistributive economics, one is free to donate any or all of one's tokens for redistribution at any time.

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