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epistemologue

Taxation is not theft

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The normal, dictionary definition of "taxation" is "the practice of a government collecting money from its citizens to pay for public services." "compulsory" is not in the definition. There's absolutely no necessity for it to be compulsory, in fact it should not be, as that contradicts the entire concept of a government based on the consent of the governed. Taxation is, properly, a contractual payment due. A proper government should have an explicit contract with its citizens, and allow them to leave the contract at any time.

In the case of a rights-respecting government, the payment that is "demanded" by the government is demanded contractually. The contract between citizens and government is special for a lot of reasons, that's why we have a special word for the collecting of funds. The term only applies to the funds collected by the government from its citizens, and can only take a certain form. Donations or lotteries are not a tax, and it's not just a generic "fee" of any kind. Taxation is legally defined policy of government funding that you agree to pay on an ongoing basis. Of course a voluntary contract can be revoked at any time, when the citizen terminates their agreement with the government that's called renouncing one's citizenship, and no further taxes are due.

"citizenship" is a term indicating the special relationship between the citizen and the government, which properly should be a voluntary one, based on contract. It is not an arbitrary designation. In the US you are opted-in automatically by birth, and there are fees and restrictions associated with renouncing one's citizenship. I disagree with these policies, I think they are improper, and to some extent definitely unjust. Citizenship should be a written contract that every individual has to qualify for and agree to in writing, and someone should be able to leave at any time without onerous fees or restrictions. But that doesn't change the fact that the US is essentially a government based on the consent of the governed, despite its flaws. One can condemn the individual instances of injustice and work to resolve any ongoing issues within the system without having to "surmise that America is currently in a state of anarchy", or "dedicate one's life to abolishing our wicked 'government' and to exposing those Satanic politicians".

In summary, compulsion is not essential to the definition of taxation; there can be such a thing as a government based on the consent of the governed, where citizens are citizens of the government by voluntary, contractual agreement, and the taxes that the government levies (and the penalties applied for not paying them), are agreed to in advance by the citizen, who can terminate the contract at any time.

Taxation is not theft, it is consensual. If Netflix is charging your credit card every month and you want them to stop, you can't just declare "I don't consent!", you have to actually go in and unsubscribe. Netflix will stop charging your credit card, and you will no longer be a member who has access to their services. The same principle applies here. If you don't want to pay taxes then renounce your citizenship, and you will no longer be protected by the government. Nobody is forcing you to be a citizen.

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Edited by epistemologue

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The implication of ceasing to be a citizen is that one should be able to choose a different government. That's the true Netflix analogy. Are you for multiple competing governments?

if not, ceasing to be a citizen is a meaningless phrase.

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1 hour ago, softwareNerd said:

The implication of ceasing to be a citizen is that one should be able to choose a different government. That's the true Netflix analogy. Are you for multiple competing governments?

if not, ceasing to be a citizen is a meaningless phrase.

Someone who renounces their citizenship in the US can become a citizen of Canada, or a country in Europe, or join any other government, or become stateless. How is there an implication of competing governments?

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45 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

Someone who renounces their citizenship in the US can become a citizen of Canada, or a country in Europe, or join any other government, or become stateless. How is there an implication of competing governments?

The crux of your argument is that citizenship can be renounced. It is unclear whether you mean in the way one can do so today or something different. For instance, today, a Canadian citizen in the U.S. is protected by U.S. law and subject to U.S. tax. 

Given that you argue being born in the U.S. somehow enters a person into a contract which he never gets to see, read...and in fact does not exist, I assume you will argue -- analogously -- that a Canadian coming to the U.S. is subject to whatever taxes the U.S. imposes. If so, you should make it clear in your argument that you're saying that anyone born in the U.S. who does not want to pay tax, should actually leave.

Is that what you mean? Also, taxes are just one part of the law -- not even the most important part -- so, I presume you think this applies to all laws? The implication would be that if a majority of U.S. citizens want to bring back slavery, this is moral and legitimate? If this mis-states your position, then how?

Edited by softwareNerd

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17 hours ago, epistemologue said:

The normal, dictionary definition of "taxation" is "the practice of a government collecting money from its citizens to pay for public services." "compulsory" is not in the definition. There's absolutely no necessity for it to be compulsory, in fact it should not be, as that contradicts the entire concept of a government based on the consent of the governed. Taxation is, properly, a contractual payment due. A proper government should have an explicit contract with its citizens, and allow them to leave the contract at any time.

I don't think there's ever been a problem within Objectivism (generally speaking; individuals will vary) against non-compulsory "taxation." Objectivists support government which necessarily entails supporting some method of financing; so long as that financing does not entail the initiation of the use of force, there are no grounds for calling foul.

But it is a mistake to conflate this with any present system, or to pretend that one may sidestep modern issues of compulsory taxation (and other forms of compulsion) by "renouncing citizenship," as though one may somehow live freely today if only he decides to do so.

Whatever a proper government should do has nothing to do with what today's governments actually do; we do not owe current, rights-violating governments some sort of moral fealty because there exists, hypothetically, some proper government in some distant future. We must deal with what exists, accordingly.

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Taxation is not theft, because you can choose a different thief. *

*as long as you are willing to relinquish your property (or pay a 40% exit tax on all your assets), for the privilege of being allowed to leave.

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3 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I don't think there's ever been a problem within Objectivism (generally speaking; individuals will vary) against non-compulsory "taxation."

The core issue here is not taxation as such, but the concept "voluntary". For example, some have argued that taxation is necessary and that if they're only spent on legitimate roles of government and are fair, they are moral even if one must pay them under penalty of force.

However, Epistemologue's argument is far broader than that. He says that one must pay them because they are voluntary... based on his concept of a voluntary contract that is implicit in being born in a particular place. This is broader, because it essentially says that laws are moral, just because they exist. Presumably, he limits himself to democracies making laws, but even this is not clear.

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1 hour ago, softwareNerd said:

The core issue here is not taxation as such, but the concept "voluntary".

"Voluntary" is a fairly simple, straight forward concept. Is an issue that boils down to something that obvious really an issue worth discussing at length?

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If taxation was voluntary, hardly anyone would pay any taxes!

People might think they should be able to not contribute to healthcare if they use private healthcare, or education if they have no children. But everyone needs the Police, the armed forces, and the infrastructure of roads, bridges etc. To try to administer selective opt-outs would need another army of government employees. And the PC brigade would want to opt out of their taxes being used for the nuclear deterrent.

It would be much simpler to for the media to keep debating about how taxes should be spent, rather than about whether we should have any.

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5 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

The core issue here is not taxation as such, but the concept "voluntary". For example, some have argued that taxation is necessary and that if they're only spent on legitimate roles of government and are fair, they are moral even if one must pay them under penalty of force.

Yes, I understand, but I mean to address both errors simultaneously (plus actually a third, described below) -- I think there's no position consistent with Objectivism other than wholly non-compulsory financing of government, which naturally opposes those who argue that compulsory taxation such as you describe is moral.

Morality ends where a gun begins and whatnot, and that doesn't change because someone thinks some form of taxation is "necessary." I do advise, however, that anyone who considers such taxation necessary should pay whatever he thinks he owes. (He may pay my share, too, if his conscience demands it.)

5 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

However, Epistemologue's argument is far broader than that. He says that one must pay them because they are voluntary... based on his concept of a voluntary contract that is implicit in being born in a particular place.

Right, redefining "voluntary." Three men live on a street, Joe, Bob and Gary. Bob and Gary "vote" and decide that anyone living on that street must donate $1000 to the neighborhood fund, or all paint their houses the same color, or all send their sons to war.

Even if Joe disagrees with the decision (disagrees, in fact, that Bob and Gary should have any power to vote on such things in the first place), if he remains living on the street, this is accounted some kind of implicit agreement to submit himself to Bob and Gary's decisions. "Mob rule."

This has been the primary justification for statism for a long, long time; a "social contract" whereby we've all been born into an agreement to either fall in line or move away. Move where? The moon, perhaps, until the statists go there, too.

5 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

This is broader, because it essentially says that laws are moral, just because they exist. Presumably, he limits himself to democracies making laws, but even this is not clear.

Yeah, we've recently seen epistemologue floating the "all laws are moral" balloon elsewhere, too. But he's a man of very interesting positions...

What I find more interesting (in part because I think it's widespread among Objectivists) is the idea, also implicit in epistemologue's OP, that "government in theory can be moral," and "we have a government," therefore "our government is moral."

No one would put it in such stark, non-sequitur terms, of course, but you find the essence of that argument plenty of places, including here, where epistemologue decides that because "compulsion is not essential to the definition of taxation," that therefore actual extant taxation "is not theft." It ignores the reality of 2017, which is that all taxation is compulsory. So should we treat the taxation we currently find according to this theoretical non-compulsory model that may one day exist -- or according to what we actually experience, here and now? (I.e. do we recognize it as immoral, as theft, and act accordingly?)

It's similar to debates you and I have had before sN, over the role of the police. The police in theory can be a fully moral unit; but are they today? And if they are not today, should we respect them as such today? I'm not fit yet to write a full essay on the subject, but perhaps someday...

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On 2/11/2017 at 7:06 PM, epistemologue said:

The normal, dictionary definition of "taxation" is "the practice of a government collecting money from its citizens to pay for public services." "compulsory" is not in the definition.

Evidence please.

Most people mean forced payment regardless of any contract. If you want a "normal" definition, this isn't it. Look at this dictionary definition" A compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions". I looked around, also on Wikipedia; taxation is treated as a compulsory thing. Historically, the Romans would heavily tax new territories in order to subjugate those people, or else face enslavement or worse. There's no precedent I know of to use the word to refer to non-compulsory payment to the government.

But I don't want to nitpick just the word. If you propose a taxation that is non-compulsory and really is based on consent, great, I just would prefer a new word.

I agree here:
"A proper government should have an explicit contract with its citizens, and allow them to leave the contract at any time."

No argument. Any -citizen- should willingly pay and/or make every effort to pay. It means they at least grasp that the government matters, and gives a damn. Those who don't give a damn should be left alone - as long as they don't expect their life and property to be actively protected by that government. In other words, they're left to fend for themselves any brutes that attack them.

As for an implementation, I don't think birth should grant citizenship. At best, they should be granted a temporary citizenship that lasts until adulthood, at which point they would register, pass tests, and anything else  required of citizenship. This way, all people will really be consenting.  

Edited by Eiuol

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6 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

However, Epistemologue's argument is far broader than that. He says that one must pay them because they are voluntary... based on his concept of a voluntary contract that is implicit in being born in a particular place.

My reply here is quite different than my last one, so I split my responses.

I read it this way at first, but it became clearer that his point was that there should be some contractual agreement bound with one's citizenship to pay the government. He did not argue that today's taxation in the US is voluntary. His answer to those who no longer want a part of the government is losing citizenship and/or fees associated with the contract.

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

My reply here is quite different than my last one, so I split my responses.

I read it this way at first, but it became clearer that his point was that there should be some contractual agreement bound with one's citizenship to pay the government. He did not argue that today's taxation in the US is voluntary. His answer to those who no longer want a part of the government is losing citizenship and/or fees associated with the contract.

I agree I don't think Epistem is speaking of the current situation as such or that taxation is voluntary today. The topic of taxation is completely secondary in my perspective when his primary notion of the morality of laws is so flawed. 

 

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1 hour ago, softwareNerd said:

I agree I don't think Epistem is speaking of the current situation as such or that taxation is voluntary today.

Isn't he? I thought that was the point. Netflix isn't compulsory because you can stop payments by cancelling your subscription; taxation isn't compulsory because you can renounce your citizenship (and possibly move elsewhere).

epistemologue speaks directly to the present US situation, criticizing it like this:

On 2/11/2017 at 4:06 PM, epistemologue said:

In the US you are opted-in automatically by birth, and there are fees and restrictions associated with renouncing one's citizenship. I disagree with these policies, I think they are improper, and to some extent definitely unjust.

But then he goes on to say:

On 2/11/2017 at 4:06 PM, epistemologue said:

But that doesn't change the fact that the US is essentially a government based on the consent of the governed, despite its flaws.

And then, in summary, epistemologue says:

On 2/11/2017 at 4:06 PM, epistemologue said:

Taxation is not theft, it is consensual.

[...]

Nobody is forcing you to be a citizen.

These sounds like present-tense declarative statements to me -- statements about the way things are right now, and not suppositions about what is possible in some future. But I suppose epistemologue can clarify his intentions for himself, if he chooses to...

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Let me restate my point this way: Epistem is praising/advocating tax on a certain premise. He supports that premise. That premise can be used -- with very similar arguments -- to support any populist law that violates individual rights.

Espistem is rejecting  the fundamental building block of Objectivist political theory, but he is going much further too. He is rejecting the entire "natural rights" concept that predates Objectivism and informs the flawed, but better-than-most, US constitution.

Not the first time he's rejected natural rights and individual rights in favor of a fuzzy notion of "voluntary agreement"... Which always boils down to populist democracy in practice. 

Of course he would reject this characterization since he hasn't yet sorted out the contradiction for himself, He seems to ignore it and move on to the next thread, to restate it like it'll become true by repetition! 

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12 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Let me restate my point this way: Epistem is praising/advocating tax on a certain premise. He supports that premise. That premise can be used -- with very similar arguments -- to support any populist law that violates individual rights.

Espistem is rejecting  the fundamental building block of Objectivist political theory, but he is going much further too. He is rejecting the entire "natural rights" concept that predates Objectivism and informs the flawed, but better-than-most, US constitution.

Not the first time he's rejected natural rights and individual rights in favor of a fuzzy notion of "voluntary agreement"... Which always boils down to populist democracy in practice. 

Of course he would reject this characterization since he hasn't yet sorted out the contradiction for himself, He seems to ignore it and move on to the next thread, to restate it like it'll become true by repetition! 

I don't disagree with anything you've said here, but I wanted to be more comprehensive in my response because while epistemologue is a one-of-a-kind Objectivist, flitting from thread to thread as you say, there are plenty of Objectivists for whom "taxation" is a subject wherein initiation of the use of force seems suddenly to become okay.

Personally, for me, the underlying issue is cut-and-dried (even where the surface details become complex): once we've introduced the initiation of the use of force, or "coercion," we're in the wrong for it. That remains true if we're dealing with individuals, or "governments," or taxation, or a "better-than-most" constitution.

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Isn't the easiest way to address the issue of involuntary taxation is to readily acknowledge that it is wrong, BUT that the way to address the problem is through education and legislative reform -- via various think-tanks such as the Mises Institute, Cato Institute, Heartland, CEI, ARI, etc.?

That is, by proposing concrete workable free market legislative solutions reforming how various levels of government currently work (City, County, State, Federal) we can demonstrate the efficacy and morality of the free market.

Rand only really gave Capitalism an objective ethical foundation some 65 years ago.  It shouldn't surprise anyone that we aren't living in a laissez-faire society yet.

Regarding the OP's suggestion of a social contract, I don't think this is viable.  Because it presupposes that there is an entity that exists that an individual can enter into a contract with.

Edit:  Our current form of government is not horrible.  It can be improved, but it's not all bad.  I think Rand had a great deal of respect for how our Founding Fathers were able to actually give concrete (i.e. constitutional) form to abstract ideas.

Edited by New Buddha

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2 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Isn't the easiest way to address the issue of involuntary taxation is to readily acknowledge that it is wrong, BUT that the way to address the problem is through education and legislative reform -- via various think-tanks such as the Mises Institute, Cato Institute, Heartland, CEI, ARI, etc.?

On the topic of activism and advocacy, I think this is an issue that our grandkids can address. If we can make some headway toward a much lesser end -- reduce government to some core functions -- it would be huge. The rest is gravy anyway.

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3 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Personally, for me, the underlying issue is cut-and-dried (even where the surface details become complex): once we've introduced the initiation of the use of force, or "coercion," we're in the wrong for it. That remains true if we're dealing with individuals, or "governments," or taxation, or a "better-than-most" constitution.

Epist unequivocally condemned force and coercion, and didn't all saying that it is okay for taxation to be involuntary. The topic is about an ideal, not how it is run today. A side point is that Epist claims it doesn't follow that therefore the US is so corrupt that we ought to ignore taxation laws despite the law being immoral. This is how I understand it. I disagree that Epist' s ideal government funding should be called taxation, but I agree with the rest he said.

We don't need to argue all about the word. What's more interesting to me is if a government is justified in requiring payments for citizenship. If funding were done by lottery... I think it undermines the legal authority of government. It becomes like a piecemeal payment, or people end up seeing government as merely a service.

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Epist unequivocally condemned force and coercion, and didn't all saying that it is okay for taxation to be involuntary. The topic is about an ideal, not how it is run today. A side point is that Epist claims it doesn't follow that therefore the US is so corrupt that we ought to ignore taxation laws despite the law being immoral.

I don't really understand the drive of others to clarify what epistemologue meant when epistemologue could, in theory, clarify it himself. Presumably he did not recently lose all of his typing fingers in a tragic houseboat accident. (And if he has, he may use his nose.) But in the absence of such clarification, and given the disagreement we already have over what he meant, I continue to disagree. He is speaking about how things are run today; or at least, that's what his words amount to, if not his intentions.

For example, when softwareNerd challenged him, epistemologue responded:

On 2/12/2017 at 7:39 AM, epistemologue said:

Someone who renounces their citizenship in the US can become a citizen of Canada, or a country in Europe, or join any other government, or become stateless. How is there an implication of competing governments?

That's a description of how things are right now. If it were a description of some theoretical ideal future, the proper verb tense would be "could" as in "Someone who renounces their citizenship...could become a citizen of Canada," not "can."

But even if I were wrong about epistemologue's intentions -- even if it were a discussion about the "ideal," and if the text backed that interpretation up (which it does not, at present) -- his arguments would still be wrong. And yes, "comply with taxation policy or move to Canada" is coercive. I'll retract that charge if epistemologue's idea of "becoming stateless" involves being utterly left alone, where I am, and free to continue to conduct my personal business as I see fit. But then why the need to become a citizen of Canada or a country in Europe in the first place?

Everything else could be cut through quite simply, after all, if epistemologue were arguing for a proper policy: if you don't want to pay (voluntary in fact) taxes, don't pay them: no penalty. If "citizenship" entailed voting rights, some measure of services, and etc., then sure, we could discuss what a failure to pay taxes might mean with respect to "citizenship" as a matter of political science, but there need be no question of moving to Canada, or, as Nicky put it, "choosing a different thief."

I choose to subjugate myself to no thieves -- and that should be my right.

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

This is how I understand it. I disagree that Epist' s ideal government funding should be called taxation, but I agree with the rest he said.

If you agree with what you believe him to have said, then allow me to take issue with the idea that we have some moral obligation to pay taxes "despite the law being immoral." We have no moral obligation to follow immoral law. This is not a matter of the US being "so corrupt," but that no government (no individual and no group) has any right to violate the rights of any other man.

Of course in any individual situation there's the important question of risking penalty, but that would be equally true in some nightmare dystopia. Apart from that, can you explain why someone ought not ignore immoral taxation law (and insofar as it is compulsory, it is immoral, regardless of the object of those taxes) -- if he can safely ignore them?

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

It becomes like a piecemeal payment, or people end up seeing government as merely a service.

You mean like Netflix?

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I'm not clarifying his words per se. I think his argument has been straw-manned, so I'd rather focus on the topic: should the government demand money from its citizens?

" if epistemologue's idea of "becoming stateless" involves being utterly left alone, where I am, and free to continue to conduct my personal business as I see fit. But then why the need to become a citizen of Canada or a country in Europe in the first place? "

Choosing a different thief doesn't apply to this context. There are some reasons to go to other countries even if both do not have forced taxation. There are sometimes policy differences or perhaps different forms of governance. Nothing deeper than that.

I'm not sure I'd say there's a moral obligation to obey unjust laws. There is an obligation to obey the rule of law if you think the rule of law is important. You do not have the wisdom or authority or infallibility to pick and choose which laws to follow. At the same time, some laws are so egregious that obeying the law is a huge and fundamental denial of your own happiness and life.

Take this line by MLK:

"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

I like the quote, and it's a good sentiment. I'd agree with him as far as laws about slavery, the Vietnam War draft, Japanese internment, prohibition. I'd disagree as far as taxation, decency laws for network TV, labeling rules from the FDA. Obeying taxation laws acknowledges at least the need to fund a government - the US is largely good, and I respect the law here in general.

And yes, service like Netflix. 

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On 2/12/2017 at 11:23 AM, softwareNerd said:

The crux of your argument is that citizenship can be renounced. It is unclear whether you mean in the way one can do so today or something different. For instance, today, a Canadian citizen in the U.S. is protected by U.S. law and subject to U.S. tax. 

A Canadian citizen in the US is only protected by US law and subject to US tax because the Canadian government and the US government have a legal agreement to that effect.

 

On 2/12/2017 at 11:23 AM, softwareNerd said:

Also, taxes are just one part of the law -- not even the most important part -- so, I presume you think this applies to all laws? The implication would be that if a majority of U.S. citizens want to bring back slavery, this is moral and legitimate? If this mis-states your position, then how?

Yes, this applies to all laws. If you agree to be a citizen, you are agreeing to follow the constitution and the legal system it establishes.

It could in some theoretical sense be possible that the majority of the citizens wanted to bring back slavery, and they somehow found a way to legally enact that into law. In the US that would require amending the constitution. Of course that does not make the law "legitimate", rights-respecting, or moral. 

 

Edited by epistemologue

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On 2/12/2017 at 1:21 PM, softwareNerd said:

However, Epistemologue's argument is far broader than that. He says that one must pay them because they are voluntary... based on his concept of a voluntary contract that is implicit in being born in a particular place. This is broader, because it essentially says that laws are moral, just because they exist. Presumably, he limits himself to democracies making laws, but even this is not clear.

This was not my argument at all.

First of all, citizenship in a proper, rights-respecting government is a voluntary contract, that can be terminated by the citizen at any time. So any taxes that government levies are done so consensually. You must pay them because you have a contractual agreement to do so.

Secondly, see my statement on the current system in the US in the OP:

Quote

In the US you are opted-in automatically by birth, and there are fees and restrictions associated with renouncing one's citizenship. I disagree with these policies, I think they are improper, and to some extent definitely unjust. Citizenship should be a written contract that every individual has to qualify for and agree to in writing, and someone should be able to leave at any time without onerous fees or restrictions. But that doesn't change the fact that the US is essentially a government based on the consent of the governed, despite its flaws. One can condemn the individual instances of injustice and work to resolve any ongoing issues within the system without having to "surmise that America is currently in a state of anarchy", or "dedicate one's life to abolishing our wicked 'government' and to exposing those Satanic politicians".

Lastly, nowhere am I saying that "laws are moral because they exist", or making any comment on democracy as a form of government.

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On 2/12/2017 at 6:56 PM, Adrian Roberts said:

If taxation was voluntary, hardly anyone would pay any taxes!

People might think they should be able to not contribute to healthcare if they use private healthcare, or education if they have no children. But everyone needs the Police, the armed forces, and the infrastructure of roads, bridges etc. To try to administer selective opt-outs would need another army of government employees. And the PC brigade would want to opt out of their taxes being used for the nuclear deterrent.

It would be much simpler to for the media to keep debating about how taxes should be spent, rather than about whether we should have any.

Adrian, I mostly agree.

To clarify, there is a distinction here between two different senses of "voluntary":

1) Whether taxes are "voluntary" in the sense of being consensual, they are not forced on you without your consent.

2) Whether taxes are "voluntary" in the sense of being *contractually* obligatory.

In other words, given that one's citizenship in a limited government is properly *contractual*, that is, you can voluntarily join and voluntarily leave, then taxes are not involuntary or non-consensual in the first sense.

Given that context of a limited government where citizenship is based on a contract, that contract may then specify there are mandatory payments due, much like a monthly credit card payment is mandatory if you want to be a member of Netflix. I agree that taxes probably ought to be mandatory in this second sense, since government is a service that you are paying for, and everyone needs to be invested in citizenship, and the government in order to provide a consistent justice system ought to have consistent funding. But that's not necessarily required, a limited government could theoretically fund itself without any mandatory payments from citizens, in the form of lotteries and whatnot, and still get by just fine.

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On 2/12/2017 at 8:20 PM, Eiuol said:

Look at this dictionary definition "A compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions"

Another:

"a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc." http://www.dictionary.com/browse/tax

Whether the "compulsory" or "demanded" aspect is *legally* compulsory, i.e. *contractually* demanded, or whether it's imposed through an initiation of force, is inessential. A government *properly defined* is consensual, it's taxes ought to be voluntary, and thus the compulsion and demand ought to be legal and contractual. So I argue that the proper definition of taxation is the dictionary definition, where the "compulsion" or "demand" is understood to properly be essentially consensual.

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