Why Taxation Is Not Theft

Just as all political debates inevitably end with someone making a Hitler comparison, all debates with libertarians sooner or later involve the claim that taxation is theft. It doesn’t matter whether you are discussing the welfare state, universal healthcare or a TV licence, at some point a libertarian will accuse the government of acting like the mafia and stealing people’s money (just the last day a commenter asked me to “stop promoting the use of force against me or my family“, by which he meant don’t regulate bitcoin). Of course we all know this argument is melodramatic hyperbole, but it would be useful to spell out why.

Let me use an analogy that I think will best get the point across. Think of taxes as like paying rent. The state owns the land and if you want to live on the land you must pay rent. The state is like a shopping centre (or shopping mall for my American readers). If you want to enter it you must agree to abide by its rules. If you refuse, you will be punished by the security guards. If you don’t like this shopping centre go to a different one instead. A libertarian may complain that this is unfair because no matter where they will go they will have to live in a state and therefore be subject to someone’s rules. But if you refuse to go to one shopping centre you still have to go to one somewhere. Likewise if we abolished the state, then no matter where you went you would still be one someone else’s private property and therefore subject to their rules.

It is not theft if you receive something in return. If someone steals my car, that is theft. If I have to sell my car in order to pay my rent, that is not theft. Libertarians sometimes act as though taxes disappear into a black hole and are never seen again. In reality, we receive from the government protection and a commitment to justice. We also receive education, healthcare, transportation, safe food, employment protection and enforcement of contracts. There is also redistribution and welfare in the event of sickness, poverty and old age. So libertarians make the bizarre argument that the government is a thief who gives more than he steals (due to economic inequality most people receive more than they pay in taxes).

Furthermore, what sort of thief lets you decide how your money is spent or how much he takes? If I told a car thief that myself and the neighbours had decided that he shouldn’t take my car, would he listen? Yet the government is subject to the will of the people. We choose whether we want our taxes to be higher or lower when we vote. Based on the failure of libertarians to win elections, most people seem quite content with taxation. There’s nothing stopping a libertarian party from being set up and winning an election. If taxation really was theft, then such a party would easily win a landslide and could promptly end the theft. A key element of the definition of theft is that the victim does not consent to it. But if people do not vote for parties that promise to reduce taxes, but instead for parties that keep taxes at the current level, then must not consider themselves the victims of theft. They must consent to taxes.

But a libertarian would argue that they never agreed to this. Even if they receive more than they pay, they never consented to pay anything. But that is an implicit part of citizenship. Being a citizen comes with rights and responsibilities. You have a right to protection and certain services but also a responsibility to pay for these services. You have a right to vote but a responsibility to accept the result even if your party does not win. Sure I never consented to being a citizen of Ireland, but then again I never consented to capitalism either. I never agreed to live in a society with either democracy or private property. I never agreed to elections being held every five years or the current distribution of property. Do we have to have a social revolution every time someone disagrees with the way things are? The fact is that there are lots of things we never agreed to, but have to live with. We have to live under some sort of political and economic system that will be to some extent arbitrary, but it simply isn’t feasible to have everyone make up their own rules.

The problem with most libertarian arguments is that it assumes we have only rights but no responsibilities. It assumes that we have no duties to the poor, the sick, the elderly or even to children. If a man was starving and a libertarian had two loaves of bread, he wouldn’t share it with the man unless he felt like it. That is not a political ideology but a mental problem called sociopathology. We do have responsibilities to others in society and the government exists to enforce them. Our common humanity unites us and means that the suffering of others is our suffering too. We cannot rest easy if the streets outside our house are full of destitute. A libertarian world would be a cold and empty one, where people sit alone counting their money, blind to poverty, hunger and misery.

Libertarians make the mistake of thinking of people as isolated individuals isolated from the rest of the world. They act as though, I and I alone earned my wage and therefore it belongs to no one else. In reality, we are hugely dependent on others and society. Would we earn anywhere near enough money if we did not have public roads, education, health, energy etc? I did not create everything myself, but instead built on the work of previous generations and worked alongside other members of society. No man is an island and there is no such thing as a self-made person, in reality we are standing on the shoulders of giants. We got to where we are today due to in large parts due to the society we live in, so it is only fair that we pay something to support it. If you don’t believe me, compare your life to what it would be if you lived in a Third World country? Isn’t it worth paying to avoid that?

In reality, libertarians do not truly object to coercion or taxes, they only object to the government doing so. If a private landlord compelled people to live by onerous rules about drugs, guns and religion, libertarians would have no problem. Yet when the government does the same thing, libertarians are up in arms crying oppression. If a starving man agreed to work for half the normal wages because otherwise he would die, a libertarian praises the free market. If a man has to pay half his wages in taxes without which he would die, a libertarian is outraged. Every abuse of government power that libertarians rail against would still occur in a libertarian society, the only difference would be that it would be even worse. If the government was replaced by a private landlord, there would just as much coercion and arbitrary rules, without any of the democratic rights we currently have. The very notion of property is dependent on the state, without which we would be reduced the endless strife and the rule of the strongest. Taxes are a payment to support civilisation and avoid a descent into anarchy.

Theft is the taking of assets of from people without their consent and giving nothing in return. Taxes on the other hand are consented to by citizens (as seen by their continual support for taxation parties and their refusal to vote for libertarian parties or move to tax havens) in exchange for services. Citizens choose the level of these taxes and where they go as well as consenting to abide by majority rule if their preferred option is not selected. Taxes are no more theft than rent is extortion, by living in that location we are agreeing to abide by its rules and pay the charges. If we don’t agree we can either change the rules or move.

498 Comments

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498 responses to “Why Taxation Is Not Theft

  1. >>Think of taxes as like paying rent. The state owns the land and if you want to live on the land you must pay rent.

    I quite like this analogy. We could formalize this analogy by stating in law or constitution that land is public property and that private citizens can only hold land through lease from the government. The amount of rent one has to pay for the use of a piece of land should depend on 1) the amount of land one holds an 2) the value of that land as result of public investment in (for instance) infrastructure.

    If properly designed we could shift from an income tax system to a land value tax system.

    • warlock314

      As a libertarian, I have argued for taxes based on land being owned by the government. So I support property taxes (and would prefer calling it leasing) & mineral taxes, oil taxes, infrastructure use fees. What I totally oppose is income taxes, especially since they even tax people who have left the USA.

    • I think of paying income taxes as the equivalent to paying rent. That’s even though there are so many right-wing politicians calling for cuts in income tax.

      • That analogy doesn’t work. You don’t have to pay rent if you move somewhere else, income taxes are to be paid to the USA regardless of which country you live in. The USA considers you to be their slave simply because you were born there.

        • Mike Huben

          Yes, you do have to pay rent, even if you move out, until you end the lease.

          You can end your taxation by the US simply by renouncing your citizenship and departing. Thousands do it every year.

          • A lease that lasts for your whole life even though you never signed it? As for renouncing citizenship, it now cost $2350 and they still reserver the right to tax you for another ten years. Admittedly, every person that I know that has left the USA never bothers to pay taxes or to renounce their citizenship. They just go Galt. It is just the arrogance of the USA in thinking that they own you for being born there that disgusts me.

            • A person can be a British citizen and, although that alone may not be enough to make the person liable to pay local income tax, many people with British passports must pay tax in the UK (at least on income earned in that country). That is because a lot of Britons own property back home, if not also live at least 3 months a year at home. A British national who goes to live in Canada, on a work permit for the 2nd country, and then returns to the UK after the permit expires, must pay tax to the Canadian equivalent of HM Revenue and Customs, if not also to HMRC. If the person must pay tax to HMRC and its Canadian counterpart, there is a double-taxation agreement in place.

            • Theo

              But you have signed it. On the day you went to get your ID/Social security card. Or whatever it is you do in the states when becoming a full adult citizen.
              You didn’t have to do it. Only if you wished to continue living in the States as a citizen. Since you did, on both counts, claiming that you never signed the “rent” contract is a bit silly…

              • James Andrews

                That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Try reading the constitution and ask yourself whose land this is. “Inalienable rights” is pretty straight-forward, and property is one of those rights. The government is supposed to protect our property, and if they don’t, we have the right to protect it with our lives. This topic may be new to you, so maybe you just assumed George Washington was the guy who sailed in from England and bought all this land from its previous owners, then started the IRS to collect the rent from all the peasants who were born here. I can assure you, that is not how it happened. If you buy something, it belongs to you. If you pay rent for existing, you no longer own anything. The government is raping the rights we were born with. Here’s an example the state supreme court that gets it: http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2005/11/texas_supreme_c.html

                • Mike Huben

                  “Inalienable [sic] rights” is not in the Constitution. Unalienable rights are in the Declaration of Independence, which is not the law of the land.

                  Your notions of property are simplistic.
                  “At common law, only the sovereign is said to have an absolute interest in land: ordinary landowners ‘hold of the sovereign.'”
                  Stephen Holmes & Cass Sunstein, “The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes”, p. 63.

                  The case referred to in your link does NOT say property tax is in any way unconstitutional: it says relying primarily on property tax for school funding is unconstitutional because it is unequal, and that the TX legislature must find a way to equalize funding.

        • As a US citizen living abroad, I don’t pay any taxes to the IRS. The rule you are talking about only a applies to a handful of very wealthy people. The government doesn’t believe you are their slave, merely that you have responsibilities towards your fellow Americans.

        • Income taxes are more analogous to a membership in a health club. You’re paying income taxes as a fee for permission to participate in the stable, well-regulated economic system here in the U.S. In exchange you receive many workplace protections, government provided infrastructure and protection (civil and criminal) of your assets.

        • Oh yes, the country came ‘as is’ for your personal enjoyment. The US is your oyster…it just came that way. The Internet, the Parks, the libraries, public education, national security, public health, satellites, etc., etc., are all free and for your own enjoyment.

          Honest to god, libertarians are the biggest freeloaders on the planet.

          The constitution authorizes taxation with representation. End of story.

          • What some so called Libertarians may men is not taxation for the common good such as parks, libraries and those mentioned but a distinction as questionable manufacturing as land mines often less expensive to buy than a cup of coffee and the outcome being used in the third world inflicting life long wounds upon a civilian and compromising the ability of a all ready difficulties of families having no social back up such as no hospitals or no welfare? the manufacturing industry of military items as ammunition having long term pollution of fertile soil as a result of radiation within the shells manufactured by America, and America having a questionable history especially since WW2, of overseas excursions and the lack of working towards world peace as opposed to profiteering?
            Issues such as drugs as cocaine often associated with the backing of the CIA as a agency and the establishment of American bureaucracy having connections with this trade? the high cost of these type of drugs must mean many well paid Americans consume this drug, I am not against these drugs if taxation were to be paid as a legal trade rather than a illicit business increasing the money made by criminals, the criminal element such as Chinese money now laundered throughout the Imperialist domain and the taxation offices making little or no effort in tracking criminal made money often in China are in collusion with money laundering and the taxation being lax with corporations such as Goggle, the amount paid today is not reflected in what they are paying if they pay anything?
            In many Imperialist countries such as the the taxation and aiding and abetting casinos who are laundering money from crime, as such taxation is receiving money from crime, as can be seen the politicians elected are either from the rich such as Trump or they are from money families not on the same level as Trump? Cameron who is all part of the elite same as Turnbull, having contacts within financial institutions as Turnbull having worked and made money within the Goldman Sachs corporation of a dubious pedigree? and as of recent the revelation from Oxfam of the 62 individuals having as much money as the lower half of the population and the rich becoming richer must be all part of a systematic corruption of establishment whom having advertised their call for voters being on their side of the call are all part of the corruption now endemic that those who are all part of lower income group brainwashed enough to empathize with the rich with commentaries such as you are jealous of the wealthy? I can assure the reader having been associated with the rich I have no such ideology, many rich having become or are rich are to my mind sick being victims of their own money and so protected are prisoners to their own wealth.

          • Internet – I pay a private company for this.
            Parks – Land ownership is a faulty idea used to control people. Ask the Native Americans.
            Libraries – Funded by state governments, and they are not at all costly. Could also easily be funded privately.
            Public Education – Indoctrination pens for human livestock that teach helpless kids to never question authority because of course the government is the authority.
            National Security – If by this you mean forcefully occupying half of the world in the name of “defense,” I’d rather not contribute to terrorism with tax money.
            Public Health – How’s that working out in the U.S.?
            Satellites – Again, we pay corporations to use these things, not the government.

            Government is the monopoly of violence. Taxation is theft because if I were to choose to not pay them by following my own conscience (I believe that bombing children in foreign countries and brainwashing kids, especially before they have the ability to critically think is immoral), the government will threaten my life. The founders (flawed as they were) knew this and spoke about it frequently. “GOVERNMENT IS NOT REASON, IT IS NOT ELOQUENCE, IT IS FORCE. LIKE FIRE, IT IS A DANGEROUS SERVANT AND A FEARFUL MASTER.” – George Washington

            • Mike Huben

              I love the way idiotic libertarians think that if they list one negative for something, then they can ignore all the benefits and it is worthless. Or if they can list one private aspect, then all government provision is proven unnecessary. And that’s exactly what we see above.

              Internet: invented and incubated with government funding.
              Parks: if land ownership is so awful, then go after the private landowners first. They have the most valuable land.
              Libraries: funded primarily by all levels of government because private provision only worked for the wealthiest communities.
              Public education: all education is indoctrination, but publicly accountable education protects children from the worst abuses of parents, churches, and governments.
              National security: try doing without it. However, we can agree that the US overdoes it.
              Public health: try living in a country without good public health services. Doesn’t work well unless you are rich. And where is public health the best? In the nations with socialized medicine.
              Satelites: technology fostered by government, and much of which is still run by government (such as GPS.)

              Government is NOT a monopoly of violence: it is a monopoly on determining legitimacy of violence. Big difference. Because in the US and most other nations, private violence is often permitted for defense and protection of property. We must also note that government is not a monolithic monopoly: in the US we have federal, state, county, city, local and private creation and enforcement of laws and regulations.

              If you still think taxation is theft after reading this collection of responses, then you are a fool. Taxation is no more theft than rent is, and is based on the same facts of occupation. If you want to avoid taxation, you can move to Somalia just as you can avoid rent by squatting in an abandoned property. Don’t like that? Then you can voluntarily pay the tax or the rent. The fact is that you do not own the nation or the landlord’s property, and thus don’t get to live there for free.

              And finally, your George Washington quote is considered a spurious quotation. (Most of libertarianism is spurious.) There is no evidence that GW ever said or wrote it, so your silly appeal to the founding fathers fails. Likewise, if you took a moment to think about it, let’s note that we now exploit combustion for vastly more purposes, in vastly greater quantity, and for vastly greater benefit than George Washington would have dreamed of. Likewise modern liberal government.

              • Your assessment of my analysis is full of logical fallacy and even begins with an ad hominem attack. Insulting someone immediately does not make you right and only shows the weakness of your train of thought.

                You have not rebutted the point that everything listed that the government “does” can and is easily is done by private institutions, and far more efficiently because they are not coerced by the violence that is the state. You even admit yourself that you believe violence is a necessary tool to use on citizens of a given government. Voluntarism and a free-marketplace are the only ways to guarantee both individual freedom and sound economic exchanges at all levels. Of course when you add violence (statism) all of this goes out the window.

                All of this is unimportant to the main topic, however, in that THEFT = taking something from someone against their will. If I refuse to pay tax for following my own conscience, then the government steps in with a gun and threatens to throw me in a cage for not complying. They are thus taking from me my freedom. This is the definition of theft. Just because you are forced to fill out some fancy paperwork does not change this basic truth. Your comparison to rent is not valid because rent is paid voluntarily.

                Even if the G.W. quote is false – it does not change the legitimacy of the idea that government is violence. Once again, your personal ad hominem attacks are uncalled for and do nothing but display your own ignorance. Try again.

                • Mike Huben

                  Let’s start off with the fact that you confuse logical fallacy with informal fallacy of argument. That makes YOU illogical. However, informal fallacy does not mean that I am wrong, it only means that I do not meet the stringent demands of logic. Something that you do not attempt either. Grow up and learn about defeasible logic.

                  Of course anything CAN be done by government or the private sector: the problem is how much WILL be done. Basic economics of public and club goods shows that they will be underproduced by the private sector. Really, you should learn the basics of economic argument about libertarianism.

                  “Voluntarism and a free-marketplace” are not non-violent: all property is founded and maintained with violence. This is a simple fact that many ignorant libertarians overlook.

                  If you REALLY want a non-coercive society, then check out the Grab World. I don’t think you will like it.

                  “THEFT = taking something from someone against their will.” My, my, we do like making up our own convenient definitions. One dictionary definition is “the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another”. Taxation is not any more wrongful than any other bill. If the tax is collected by force, that is still not any more wrongful than a bill being collected by the decree of a judge. But most of us pay our taxes willingly. Rent is not paid voluntarily: most of us would much rather inhabit a building for free, and we only pay rent because we would be coerced if we occupied the building and didn’t pay it.

                  Your use of the “G.W. quote” is a simple appeal to authority, if you want to start naming informal fallacies. Your ignorance of the falsity of the source renders even that fallacious use invalid. And it is typical of the ignorance of the issues you (and so many other libertarians) parrot so glibly about.

                  • If you want to have a debate with me or anyone else, you should ease off on the name calling and ad hominem attacks – no one likes to be bullied and you are discrediting your own views by resorting to such low tactics.

                    You accuse me of being illogical and yet you provide no proof. You admit that anything the government can do the private sector can do as well – unfortunately there has never been a time in history without the coercive force of the government (something you also admit is necessary) manipulating the hand of the free market. You claim that voluntarism is not sound economics. Let’s take an example to illustrate why you are incorrect. If I have a dollar and you have a pen, and I want to buy your pen, it is a win-win situation for both of us. I think that the pen is more valuable than the dollar and you believe the pen has more value than the dollar, so we both leave the exchange happily. This is how a true free market system would work. If the government steps in, backed with violent force (again, as you yourself admit), demanding a certain %, we are both losing value. And for what? What has the government done to deserve or earn a portion of our exchange? Nothing. Like the mafia, they simply use the threat of violence to extort money from unwilling people.

                    You question how much would “get done” without the government, inferring that without a whip, slaves would be under-productive. Your loyalty to violence is not only illogical, but disturbing as well. You are essentially saying that without the threat of violence, people won’t act in their own economic self-interest and we will fall back into the dark ages or something. I am arguing that through voluntarism people will always act in economically intelligent ways that benefit both parties.

                    Continuing on, my definition of theft does not include morally disputable words like “wrongful,” which of course means different things to different people. You, for example, believe that the government’s (or judge’s decree – whatever, it doesn’t make a difference) seizing of freedom or property is not wrongful, (because government) whereas I would argue that the government is just a word behind which thieves hide. If you are stealing something from someone against their will, it does not matter if you are a part of the government – you are still stealing. And you’re right, I did make my own definition of theft – but so did the person who wrote yours.

                    As for your rent example, should I knowingly choose to not pay my landlord, I am violating our agreement and as such he reserves the right to kick me out because I have broken the terms of our contract. The difference between this and government taxes is that I have made no such agreement with the government. My relationship with the government is one sided and win-lose in that if I do not agree with how my taxes are used, it doesn’t matter because I am still staring down the barrel of a gun should I choose not to pay.

                • myth buster

                  Arbitration can only work so long as there is a final appeal to force. Otherwise, one can simply refuse to negotiate and ignore the arbiter. Without an arbiter empowered to use force to punish aggression and enforce rulings, people are reduced to conducting private revenge, which leads to feuding and all manner of violence. To avoid this, there are only three options: 1. A government recognized by the people as having a monopoly on the use of force, 2. Authorities of the dominant religion judge all cases and have the power to inflict criminal penalties, or 3. All disputes will be settled by private gangs that answer only to their clients or to themselves.

                  Why is this necessary? Because the assertion that all have equal rights still raises the question of what to do with those who refuse to respect or even acknowledge the rights of others. Indeed, the principle of reciprocity cannot even assert that theft and assault are wrong, but only that I should not do them because I do not want them done to me. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Golden Rule is the basis for general morality, but you can’t get an absolute right and wrong from reciprocity. Sure, the logic behind treating others the way you want to be treated is also the basis of lex talionis, i.e. how you treat others is how you agree to be treated, so if you injure somebody maliciously, you agreed to suffer equal injury at the hands of others. Even so, crippling the assailant who crippled you does not restore your ability to work, nor does blinding the man who blinded you relieve you of the additional expenses you incur as a blind man. Furthermore, how does one make recompense for a damaged reputation? And it would detestable to hand over a man’s wife to be raped because her husband violated another man’s marriage. And if a man finds another man in bed with his wife, is he justified in beating or even killing him? If justice is to be real, there must be a way of ruling who was in the wrong and what recompense is to be made, as well as how to protect others from those who refuse to behave. Furthermore, those charged with such arbitration must have the power to enforce their rulings with arms, if necessary, such that those who refuse to accept the consequences of their wrongdoing can be subdued or put to death for their insolence.

    • Gregg

      I don’t like this argument at all. So that means you don’t owe anything and you’re essentially a serf to your feudal lord (the federal/state government)? You’re given the privilege to live on your lords land as long as you pay them in taxes each year. Talk about B.S. Do we own anything, or are we perpetually the government’s serf?

      Excuse my hyperbole but the point remains. If you’re arguing that taxes are okay because the government owns everything from sea to shining sea, then you will never be free. The government has claimed all the land and enforces their tax collection through the end of a gun barrel. Freedom of choice: prison or having your money taken away.

      • Taxation is all very well if it is not impacting on the individuals health? unfortunately this is not so for the well off but for many the cost of accountants, book keepers and so on are not affordable to many in particular taxation now becoming to technical for many to understand, taxation has become so complex that many become unhealthy attempting to deal with taxation not only a impact on physical health but also mental health. Taxation today is worked out by academics and these people are out of touch with the general population and exist in a bubble of their own making to substantiate their own salary, which many cannot afford.

      • We own ourselves and through the state, collectively own the land in part. For example all the natural resources of Ireland belong to the people of Ireland.

        Would you prefer if we abolished the state and instead we were at the mercy of private landlords and were literal serfs? Libertarianism only sounds good if you are rich enough to own land, it is glorious for the rich and miserable for the poor.

    • Gregg

      Except you don’t pay taxes from living on their land. You pay INCOME taxes, which is the government taking a portion of your productivity. Now explain to me why the government deserves a cut of your labor output? Because you worked on their land?

      • The form the tax takes doesn’t matter. You seem to view the government as some alien outside force that keeps the money for itself. In reality the money goes to our fellow citizens. So the question should be, do we have a responsibility to our fellow citizens and future generations or should everyone be selfish and not give a damn about anyone except themselves?

        • We must be forgiven to think government are a alien force, here in Australia Bronwyn Bishop has just spent $5000.00 on a helicopter trip from Melbourne to Geelong, for a Liberal fund raising mission? paid by Australian taxpayers, she sees no wrong in her extravagance, I am attempting to buy a older car by saving money and have been trying to get enough money for this car for about the same price of her helicopter trip, she being superior to what most think she is self indulged, and deems that she is entitled to this offering no apology for her misuse of taxpayers money yet her party a short time ago said categorically the general public has to understand “The Age of Entitlement is Over” it is this hypocrisy of our leaders whom create the rift of them and us!

        • Dan

          That’s like asking if donating money should be a mandated responsibility, which morally I would say is wrong. You don’t take people’s money even if you intend to give it to someone worse off. But no one, at least not me, is saying that all taxes should be abolished. But certain taxes where the benefit to you is minimal or nonexistent shouldn’t necessarily be required.

      • Dan

        Well in the Unites States, we pay income taxes to the town, sales taxes to the town and state, and income taxes to the federal government and state. That’s right, the money that we work for, which has already been subjected to income tax, gets taxed again whenever we buy something which is subject to sales tax (which happens to be most stuff). And as if that weren’t enough, we pay yearly taxes for “owning” property as well.

        • For what? another fighter jet? the mafia also some pay a sort of tax to be left to alone.

          • Dan

            That’s a good point. In a way the government is kind of like the mafia taxing you in exchange for “leaving you alone” (not steal your stuff, ruin your reputation through a criminal record or lock you up). Because after all, who said you were ok with all the stuff that you are being taxed for?

    • Kyle

      Wrong people own the land . the state is an inanimate object. People pay forbthe property the state has noclaim amd no rigjt to even attempt to make one. That’s as far as I needed to getvto know this would be some unintelligent liberal statist retardation.

    • Daniel

      “We know God exists, because it says so, in the Bible, and we know the Bible is true, because it’s the word of God.”

      “The state’s claim to the land is valid, because of the social contract, and the social contract is valid, because the state owns the land.”

      Derp.

      • Mike Huben

        Daniel, it’s easy to make straw men and knock them down. That’s derp.

        While I use the term social contract to refer to the relationship between the state and individuals, I do not refer to it for justifying the state’s claim to land. That, like all claims to rights, is simply founded in coercion. AS I write in my FAQ: “The US government can demonstrate ownership of such rights through treaty, purchase, bequeathment by the original colonies and some other states, and conquest. The EXACT same sources as all other forms of land ownership in the US.”

        • What makes conquest a valid and just reason for ownership? I assume that if I annex my neighbor’s yard via conquest, it would be just as valid? Why not?

          Regarding the “purchase” claim: With what funds did the US government use to purchase the land? So the US government is able to tax because it owns the land, and it owns the land because it was able to tax in order to fund the purchase of the land?

          • Mike Huben

            Conquest is valid in that it works. That’s what valid means. “Just” is based on moral stories, and reasonable people can disagree when they adopt different moral stories. I prefer pragmatism to stories. Maybe that’s why there is no libertarian nation, never has been, and never will.

            I love when libertarians whine about government behavior that they would never criticize in business. If a real estate mogul uses the rents he collects to buy more real estate to rent, no libertarian would complain. But if government does something like that, magically it is evil!

            • transgenesis

              That’s not what valid means. Conquest is theft. Sure theft works. Doesn’t mean it’s right. A real estate mogul is not obligated in the same manner as a state is to provide and act on behalf of its subjects. Your example isnt valid. Valid, as in logical or reasonable.

    • James Andrews

      Ownership is a right. If existing on one’s own property is a taxable activity and those taxes do not support that right (which it doesn’t), then it is theft of the property, as well as the revenues collected in property taxes. Property tax is an oxymoron, because the whole “rent” analogy is a really good one. If we pay rent, we are inherently no longer owners. Therefore, establishing property taxes is the easiest/sneakiest way to steal everyone’s land and charge them rent. When we buy a house from someone, all we get is limited rights to exist on the property, so long as we pay rent to the “true owners”, who unlike you, have acquired property by means of theft.

      • Mike Huben

        “Ownership is a right.”
        I don’t think you understand rights or property.

        In my What Is Property? article, I write:

        Isn’t there a Natural Right to own property?
        Natural rights are exactly as knowable as invisible pink unicorns: anybody can fantasize them any way they want. During the Enlightenment, when liberalism was invented, liberal natural rights were a propaganda tool used to undermine the equally fictitious natural rights of kings. But even among liberals there was no agreement about whether slaveholding was a natural right or not, because natural rights are really just words. Bentham famously dismissed the idea of natural rights as “nonsense on stilts”. Unfortunately, most libertarians (including Nozick) start with this philosophical abomination rather than more factual alternatives.

        The rest of the article details what property really is.

    • Sodemall

      Then again… All property is theft. The Government are elected representatives of the people and own no land. And, as for saying that we agree to taxation by not moving to tax havens… Have you read the news recently?

  2. Why do so? Income is the closer to the ultimate outcome of the social support function and therefore a better means for determining tax obligation.
    Land taxes had more utility in whipping up productivity than in creating equitable taxation. To further land tax over income tax is inviting the end of conservation and the income-tax-like complication of land taxation.

    • >>Income is the closer to the ultimate outcome of the social support function and therefore a better means for determining tax obligation.

      Under MMT the main function of taxation is to ensure that money has some base value and enjoys broad public acceptance. If the public acceptance of money is ensured, the government is enabled to fund its spending by creating the right amount of money. Of course, this does not mean the government should on to a limitless spending spree.

      Secondly, the wealthier will tend to hold to the more valuable pieces of land, and hence they will contribute more to the treasury.

      >>Land taxes had more utility in whipping up productivity

      Stimulating production is generally considered a good thing.

      >>To further land tax over income tax is inviting the end of conservation

      This is pretty much a baseless claim, as neither income tax does support conservation in any way. As the owner of all land within the state, the government is able to reserve certain parts of land for conservation purposes.

      For the purpose of conservation, it would be better to implement pigouvian taxes or a caps-and-trade system in order to reduce sources of pollution.

  3. Let’s have a parallel system, instead: every time you use a feature of the commons, you pay for it. So every road is a toll road. Every day you kid goes to school, you pay a day charge. Every time the firemen roll a truck, you get a bill. Every time the cops catch a criminal, you get a bill. worse, eery time you get pulled over for a sppeding violation, you would get a bill for the service and then a fine for the violation. This is what the libertarians would rather have. (They don’t say so, but it is a logical consequence.)

    Or … we could eliminate government altogether and allow citizens to enforce the laws as they see fit. And the volunteer fire fighters could fight a fire, if they felt like it, or they could show up at your burning house only to discover you are a libertarian asshole, and so keep rolling right on past.

    Just what kind of world do they want to live in?

    • Steve, I don’t think we should have a parallel system. If we do, people would just choose one where they would pay less: if fees are fixed, then those with higher income would save a lot by paying these fees instead of taxes. But if fees depend on income (I think some Scandinavian country has speeding ticket amounts proportional to income), then it’s just another type of tax system.

  4. This is a really nice elaboration on some of the arguments from my Non-Libertarian FAQ of 20 years ago. Not that I know if they were original with me. 🙂 I’m linking to this at my new Critiques Of Libertarianism site: crtitiques.us

  5. Rolo Tamasi

    Your American readers may point out that they pay US taxes wherever in the world they reside.

    If I steal your car but leave you a roller skate in return that is not theft? OK, where do you park your car?

    I’m no libertarian but taking without consent with an intention to permanently deprive looks like theft to me.

    I’ve never really considered these matters but your post had caused me to recognise tax is theft. Your justification is that the theft from others is for things that you want.

    • “If I steal your car but leave you a roller skate in return that is not theft? OK, where do you park your car?”

      Funny, its almost as though you didn’t read my post or the parts where I answer these questions. Do you want me to repeat the entire post all over again?

      If you want to steal my car, that’s too bad because myself and my neighbors will vote against you. There are also these things called courts. There are of course numerous other objections I could make to your silly analogy but you could just reread my article and save us both some time. By all means if do have some proper criticism I’m willing to listen, I just don’t have much patience for people who don’t do me the courtesy of reading what I have written.

      • Mike Roberts

        You are justifying taking something not because it is right, but because enough other people ganged up on you.

        • Some would consider the will of the people as right. That is not the only response to the silly analogy above, its just the most obvious. To read a full response, please read the post.

          • Dan

            ” the will of the people as right” . Hey you’d get along with the Nazis. They used to say that too….except they used ‘iron will of the people ‘ . Just because they elected doesn’t mean they are right . Hitler was elected

            • Godwin’s law violation! You should stop now, Dan, before you look even stupider.

              • Fucking violent moron statist, please die a painful death along with your wasted words to protect your religion of tyranny.

                • Mike Huben

                  Sorry, Dan, but CT Jaynes has just taken the lead for stupidest. You’ll need a lot more spittle flying to exceed his latest. It seems that true love of your “liberty” requires a lot of hate and epithets: that’s libertarian rationality for you.

              • GC

                Pro Tip 1: “Godwins Law” is not a synonym for “I win”.
                Pro Tip 2: “Godwins Law” is not something that can be “violated”.
                Pro Tip 3: “Godwins Law” does not apply if the analogy is correct, which in this case is at least plausible.

            • Really, I’m a Nazi? Is there any limit to your nonsense accusations?

              • Dan

                Did I say you were a nazi ?.. no .

                • You said I would get along well with the Nazis, which is pretty damn close.

                  • libertyblogger101

                    I don’t think Dan meant his comment literally (ie. I don’t think he actually believes you and Adolf would be buddies.) Rather, I think he’s trying to convey that the logical conclusion of your beliefs would lead one to the belief that Nazism is justified. And I agree with him. I’m sure you’re genuinely repulsed by Adolf. The repulsion is a result of common grace enabling even unregenerate people to understand basic morality to some degree or another. I don’t think actually comparing you to Adolf is fair (despite my genuine nauseation at your post). But I do think Adolf could use similar arguments as you to defend his views.

                    • “Rather, I think he’s trying to convey that the logical conclusion of your beliefs would lead one to the belief that Nazism is justified.”

                      How? How does one go from saying that taxes are not theft (a view held by almost everyone) to the belief that Jews are parasites who should be exterminated? I think you skipped a few steps.

                      If you are suggesting that the Holocaust was passed by democratic vote, therefore democracy is suspect, then you need to read a history book. The Nazis despised democracy and were never democratically elected (in the last free election of the Wiemar Republic they only won 37% of the vote).

                      “But I do think Adolf could use similar arguments as you to defend his views.”

                      What views? That people should pay taxes or that Jews are inferior? This blog has absolutely zero in common with Hitler or anything he said.

              • He’s not saying you actually are a Nazi (ironically, you tell other people to read your stuff but you won’t read theirs), he is saying you are making the same argument the Nazis make. We assume (hopefully correctly) that you aren’t actually consistent enough to take your own arguments to their logical conclusions. But a support for the Nazis, slavery, etc. is the logical conclusion of a “majority rules” moral system. trying to suppress this with “Godwin’s Law” is just stupid.

                • Mike Huben

                  Oh, PLEASE explain this LOGIC to us. We’re dying to LMAOROTFL.

                  Of, and because you’re apparently too lazy to look it up, Godwin’s Law is about COMPARISONS to Nazis, not being Nazis. Making arguments without knowing the terms, as you do here, is stupid.

          • We read your post. We think you are either unintelligent or evil, and certainly an enemy of individual rights.

            Of course, you’re an atheist, so you don’t have an absolute standard.

            You deride libertarians for telling you to stop coercing them, but that’s really what this comes down to. The debate is really just that simple. If an armed robber broke into your house, would you even have a civilized debate with him? This is the exact same reason libertarians won’t have a civilized debate with you. You are literally stating that the government owns what is ours and that you have some type of right to take it just because your gang is bigger. You DESERVE the ridicule and laughter you get.

            Read this (not a blanket endorsement, but I agree with 95% of what he says):

            http://www.christophercantwell.com/2014/04/08/top-10-reasons-libertarians-arent-nice/

            Get it through your head. You and people like you are immoral thieves. Deal with it. Or better yet, repent.

            • Mike Huben

              It would be difficult for you to do a better job of showing how dogmatic and foolish you are.

              All property and rights are obviously based on coercion. Men with guns enforce those laws. Shall anarchists tell libertarians to stop coercing them because they don’t agree with libertarian ideas of property or rights and want their own instead? Grow up, open your eyes, face the facts. Whatever choice is made, coercion will be required to make it happen.

              The basic question is whose ideas of property and rights get enforced. It can be the ideas of a tiny minority (such as the libertarians) or of the vast statist majority. The latter is more likely to be the most peaceful solution simply because the most people agree and will cooperate.

              As for Cantwell’s looney screed, it has all the sophistication of the Hare Krishna “all non-Krishnas are demons”. An emotional rant to affirm his silly beliefs to himself in the face of near-universal ridicule. Just look at his “we’re smarter than you” argument: even if he was, intelligence doesn’t protect you from being wrong or even crazy. I’m sure that some people like you can find affirmation of your delusions there, but it is unconvincing to the rest of the world.

              • In other words, most people agree that stealing is OK. I could reword your argument this way:

                Really, its a matter of whether the minority’s non-racist views or the majority racist views as to the rightful ownership of black people in the United States should be enforced. The minority that is not racist concludes that these people own themselves just as we own ourselves. The majority thinks that white people can rightly enslave black people. Going with the racist majority is likely to be the more peaceful solution.

                Claiming that libertarians oppose all violence is a strawman. It is not true, and this is not a libertarian viewpoint. Libertarians oppose aggression, they do not believe that if you attack them first they have no right to violently defend themselves or their property.

                As for how property rights are determined, I believe that property rights are God-given and that when someone homesteads a property they become the rightful owner. You believe its completely subjective. So, why can’t I steal from you?

                • Mike Huben

                  The simple answer (and I guess I need to keep it simple for you) is that normal people define stealing differently than you do because they define liberties, rights and duties differently than you do.

                  As for slavery, we have much more to fear from Christian capitalists than we do from democratic majorities. The trans-Atlantic slave trade was all run by Christian capitalists and the New World slave owners were all Christian capitalists. When ending slavery was proposed, those Christian capitalists all howled, cited the Bible in their favor, and pulled out the full arsenal of property rights arguments that libertarians use today. Learn some history.

                  • If you think libertarianism has anything to do with justification of slavery, you know nothing about libertarianism.

                    If you think the Bible teaches slavery, you know nothing about the Bible.

                    Most people absolutely thought slavery was OK in the 18th century and part of the 19th century. Denying that is just stupid on your part.

                    Who was running it is irrelevant. Your “majority” supported it.

                    • Mike Huben

                      You’re big on telling me what I might think, but you present no evidence of it. You don’t cite one thing that I actually wrote. You just make shit up. Let me show you what it’s like:

                      If you think it is OK to beat your wife, you know nothing about anything.

                      (Hat tip to Groucho Marx.)

                      A little reading about American History would show you that there never was a US majority that supported slavery, and might not have been a majority even in the slave states because of (a) enfranchisement limited to white, male property owners and (b) larger northern populations. But once again, you are just bullshitting without any facts to back you up.

                      In 40 years of arguing with libertarians, that’s the general pattern I see. No ability to argue: only ability to spew accusations and make up shit.

                • Mike Huben

                  Oh, and please tell me one time when a majority voted to enslave a minority. Enslavement has always been a capitalist phenomenon, and capitalists are never in the majority.

                • Ironically, slaveholders used libertarian arguments to defend slavery, claiming the state had no right to interfere with their property. It was massive state intervention by a democratically elected government that ended slavery. Kinda contradicts your point.

                  I’m not sure why you keep mentioning slavery in all of your comments as no democratic government ever introduced slavery. Look at the democracies of the world, how many are slave states? Look at the “statist” nations of Europe, where are the slaves? You keep bringing up this hypothetical democracy introducing slavery, but that’s not how the real world works.

                  • Joan Arma

                    Massive state interventionism created and maintained slavery in the US in the first place. Slave holders received large subsidies from the government in the form of federal fugitive slave laws. Slavery would not have existed if the constitution did not initially denied them their rights , as well as the number of slave codes that existed that suppressed the individual rights of black people in particular. Slavery in the US did end in the US because of state interventionism but it came at a very large cost in the form of granting the central government more power and institution anti-freedom laws like the first federally mandated draft in the US/

                    • Wow, you just completely rewrote history to suit yourself. Open a history book and you’ll find that you are wrong. Slavery existed before the constitution and before the Fugitive Act. Slave owners would obviously still have attempted to recapture their slaves without the law. The arguments in favour of slavery were strictly libertarian.

              • Oh, and I’m not really trying to convince people like you. You are already fiercely ideological. You enjoy being a thief. And as an atheist you have no grounding to really declare anything right and wrong. In a rather caricature fashion you make the State into your god, your right and wrong. Only one of two things is possible for you. Either God will open your eyes to the gospel, the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16-17) or you’ll perish in your sins (Revelation 21:8.) The only reason I bother with the political debate is to show any Christians that may be reading how ridiculous your arguments are. I don’t think a Christian can really convince a non-Christian of anything, because their presuppositions are completely different. I do not deny that I have them either.

                • Mike Huben

                  Evidently you are unaware that even Christians are capable of making arguments based on reality, rather than your particular interpretations of the Bible.

                  And even as an atheist I have grounds to declare things right and wrong: but I will be specific and say right and wrong in whose eyes. I can confidently declare that according to the Bible, slavery is right in the eyes of your God. So much so that the Bible prescribes many rules for how to do slavery right. And I can confidently declare that in the eyes of the democratic majority of the world, slavery is wrong. If you want to believe that the majority is wrong and the Bible is right, are you going to ask for slavery to be brought back? Enquiring minds want to know.

                  As for whether I’m ideological, I don’t need ideology to rebut your arguments. Your ideology is YOUR weakness. It provides you with a bountiful supply of ready-made errors to spare you the pain of rubbing your own two brain cells together to come up with an original idea. Your ideology necessarily makes stuff up and ignores the real world where it is inconvenient. I don’t need ideology to spot such lies and omissions.

          • T

            “Some would consider the will of the people as right”

            If the majority of the US population (whites) elected to repeal the Slavery Abolition Act tomorrow, it wouldn’t be right.

            • No but if a dictator reintroduced slavery that also wouldn’t be right. So democracy is the best system compared to all others and the will of the people is the best way of deciding something, holding all else constant.

      • libertyblogger101

        So if you and all of your neighbors vote to steal someone else’s car and leave them roller skates in return, that’s just too bad?

        Do you have any idea how silly this is?

        Majority does not determine right and wrong. This is an immoral system that justified slavery in the 1850’s. Oh, I guess the African slaves were just paying their rent to their masters. Right.

        I don’t understand how anyone could even entertain these ridiculous arguments. The Bible tells me what is right and wrong, not majorities. And the Bible says theft is wrong.

        • Mike Huben

          Do you have any idea how stupid you sound here? First you say that slavery is immoral. Then you say that the Bible tells you what is right and wrong. But you conveniently forget that the Bible does not denounce slavery, but accepts it as a normal fact of life.

          “So if you and all of your neighbors vote to steal someone else’s car and leave them roller skates in return, that’s just too bad?”
          In the real world, the alternative is for you and your neighbors to compete to be the first to steal the car and leave the least for the victim. In the real world, righteousness and Bible-thumping does not stop any theft. Democracy gives more moderate results than autocracy of a competing multitude.

          Only an idiot raised in a protective democracy could think that religious beliefs give better results than majorities. Just look at the Middle East, where all the major religions agree on the same basics of morality, and see how peaceful they are without functioning democracy.

          • I didn’t say “religion.” I said “Christianity.” I did not say “Islam.” I haven’t read the Qu’ran at all, so I can’t comment on what it teaches. But based on Middle Eastern countries, I can use logical deduction to determine one of two possibilities. Either these Middle Eastern leaders do not follow the Qur’an, or the Qu’ran condones evil. That’s really it.

            Your axiomatic presupposition (“majority rules”) is completely unpredictable and subjective, so it is a poor axiom to base anything on. When you add in the fact that you probably draw the line at some point rather than always supporting morality by majority rule (ie. I doubt you think slavery used to be OK just because the majority says so) you add in even more presuppositions that you cannot defend.

            You obviously haven’t read the Bible. The Bible condones kidnapping (which clearly includes slavery) in Exodus 21:16.

            • Mike Huben

              Let me get this straight: you can use a combination of your ignorance of the Koran and “logical deduction” to make a false dichotomy? That’s a new one for me.

              Next, you make up some claim that I have an “axiomatic presupposition”. Quote me, idiot. Don’t put words in my mouth.

              You obviously didn’t read what I said about the Bible. It does not denounce slavery. If you want to make a stronger statement, that it condones slavery, fine: I didn’t want to get into that argument. Oh, and I have read the Bible: a vile pile of rubbish.

              • You say you aren’t making presuppositions? Of course you are. I don’t have to quote you, because its implicit in what you’re saying.

                Let’s see:

                You presuppose that the Islamic morality is “bad”.

                You presuppose that Biblical morality is “bad.”

                You presuppose that silence implies support (it doesn’t.)

                You assume that the bible never casts slavery in a negative light (Read Genesis 37-50, read Philemon, read the Ten Commandments, oh so many possibilities. I could probably find more if I wanted to.)

                You assume that statements requiring obedience imply support for that which is being obeyed.

                You assume majority rules makes for a better society than Biblical morality, based on the assumption that you know what “better” is.

                You assume you have the right to assess my intelligence (I get my assessment of your intelligence from my original presupposition of Biblical authority, see Psalms 14:1)

                And, for that matter, you assume the validity of your own observations.

                That said, I did originally typo in my last post. I said “condones” instead of “condemns”, which is what I meant. Had you actually read the verse you would have known I made a typo. If you actually read the verse (which says that kidnappers should be put to death) as condoning slavery, you are truly an idiot.

                But then, Psalms 14:1 already told me that. The Bible proven right again.

                You are a sinner. Your support for sin proves that much. Only Jesus Christ can save you from sin. Repent and trust in his finished work alone to save you. And stop pretending to know things that you don’t know.

                • Mike Huben

                  OOO, can I play that game too, and make up whatever presuppositions I want to put in your mouth?

                  You presuppose that statism is the work of the Great Satan.
                  You presuppose your own infallibility.
                  You presuppose that the moon is made of green cheese.
                  You presuppose that you have stopped beating your wife.
                  You presuppose that listing made-up presuppositions is a valid argument.

                  As I said before, quote me. Don’t make up stuff off the top of your head. That’s the lazy bullshitter’s way of arguing: show that you can do better.

                  As for your mistake about Exodus 21:16, your correction is bullshit. Exodus 21 is all about how to treat your slaves. It assumes slavery is a normal part of the culture.

                  The Bible does not denounce slavery. Yes, the Jews think they should not themselves be made slaves by others, but there is no denuciation of the institution of slavery: they are only too happy to hold slaves themselves. They are even commanded by god to make slaves of some people. Period. Philemon is so ambiguous that it was used both to support and condemn slavery: it is not explicit.

                  If you can’t even face the facts about your holy text, I certainly don’t expect you to face the facts that conflict with your ideology.

                  • The verses say “servants” not “slaves.” Its talking about people who sell their labor because of debt. It is not talking about kidnapping people and selling them into slavery like was done to African-Americans in the 1850’s (Which your “majority” supported). Kidnapping people in this way is condemned in Exodus 21:16, just like I said.

                    As for slavery being a normal part of the culture, that was likely true back then. But, nowhere does the Bible say it was right, and the Bible implies it was wrong in several places. As for why the Bible was more clear, the reason is that Christianity is primarily about saving souls and not saving society.

                    • Mike Huben

                      This site provides 5 parallel translations of the Bible. All but the King James version use the word slave, and servant is just a euphemism for a biblical slave.

                      Of course the Bible says slavery was right: it gives laws for slavery in Exodus 21.

                      “Christianity is primarily about saving souls and not saving society”
                      Then it certainly doesn’t support libertarianism.

                    • Servant is not just a euphemism for slave in the Bible. There are different Greek words.

                      As for your comment about libertarianism, I don’t think I’ve said I was a libertarian, but I could be depending on how you define that word. If you define “libertarian” as someone who is primarily focused on political activism and who believes that political activism of any kind can save society, I am not a libertarian. if you define a libertarian as someone who believes in the non-aggression principle and that aggression is morally wrong, I would be a libertarian. I don’t think most people will ever accept libertarian ideas precisely because they are selfish and want to use government to impose their will on other people (This goes for many “Christians” as well as many atheists, many rich people as well as poor people, all kinds of people and not just the types who are generally “liberal”). I have no delusions of “saving society” through political activism. There have been a few occasions in history, usually with heavily Christianized cultures, where relative decentralization and freedom were attained, at least compared to their contemporaries (ie. you could rightly condemn early American society for slavery, but it was nonetheless CLOSER to the libertarian ideal than many other countries around it), but that was more a result of the Great Awakening than anything else, and even then, it wasn’t nearly ideal. My primary focus is on preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and him crucified, his accomplished redemption for his people (namely, those who believe), and his resurrection from the dead. I do have a secondary focus on basic morality, which I believe entails opposition to statism in all its forms (note that this does not mean morality is LIMITED to opposition to statism.) But even in this my goal is individual repentance, not saving the country.

          • NYOB

            It takes an idiot to know an idiot.

            • Mike Huben

              What awe-inspiring sagacity! When will you progress to “I know you are but what am I”?

              Look, if you don’t know how to refute an argument, learn to.

  6. Rolo, just as living outside a rental apartment doesn’t excuse you from a rental agreement, so living outside the US with a US citizenship does not excuse you from your tax responsibilities. If you want to stop paying rent, terminate the rental agreement. If you want to stop paying taxes to the US, renounce your citizenship.

    Citizenship is an ongoing voluntary agreement which you can terminate any time you’d like to. it includes consent to laws, including tax laws.

    I’d say you are a libertarian if you can be convinced by such simplistic propaganda as “taxation is theft”.

    • Sean

      Just because a rental agreement is the closest comparison you can find doesn’t make it a good comparison. Where did one sign an agreement? Oh right, the imaginary “social contract”. And I thought fairy tales were something only children believed? There are plenty of people that have tried to renounce their citizenship and have been told “Nahh you need to think on that and come back at such and such date and if we grant you permission you’ll be relinquished of your duties citizen”. A voluntary agreement doesn’t involve threats of violence, simple as that.

      • Where did I sign the agreement consenting to live in a capitalist economy? When did I give my consent to the current property distribution? Never. Does that mean I can ignore private property? After all enforcement of property rights is based on force and as you said a voluntary agreement doesn’t involve threats of violence.

        • GC

          “Where did I sign the agreement consenting to live in a capitalist economy?”

          If people want to engage in voluntary contracts that don’t involve you, why do they need your consent?

          • If I walk into your back garden you would probably tell me to get the hell out of there because its your property. But I never consented to this. If you were to expel me or chase me off your land you would be using force against me without my consent.

            • But you made the conscious choice of wandering into his garden; whether you knew it was his’ or not. But who specifically asked to be born — against one’s consent — on the very landmass where those rules apply?
              Being born into a society which raises mandatory taxes is effectively nothing unlike existence being forced upon and then made to answer for it.

              Yes, this is more existentialism than politics, but as I see it, it is what it is. This is the very root of the concept: what else is tax but a bribe to authorities to keep third parties (e.g. a neighbor) off your property as to not have to do it yourself.

              In my opinion, tax is the less-favorable (because pre-emptive) alternative for (eventual) individual violence between an ‘intruder’ and me. Not the government, not law enforcement, no one else.

              Before anyone says thats inhuman… what even. Humans are still animals after all. Clever animals, perhaps, with tax schemes and insurance systems and mortgage constructions, but animals after all.

              Burn the paper with the lawful scribbles on it, and ‘law’ is but a latent concept.

            • GC

              Seeing as it was my labour that allowed me to lay claim to the property in the first place (i.e. it’s not an arbitrary claim) and the claim isn’t harming you in any way (i.e. I’m not claiming your labour or pushing you into the sea), your consent is irrelevant.

      • If you’re a citizen, your passport is your social contract. You can always renounce your citizenship and move elsewhere. I understand the US government doesn’t make it an easy process, but trust me, it is MUCH, MUCH harder to get US citizenship than renounce it.

        • Sean

          A person can be a US citizen without a passport. And throughout US history passports weren’t even required some of the time i don’t believe. The social contract idea goes way back before passports. True, it’s much easier to renounce than be granted citizenship. Possibly cheaper too. Citizenship just seems like such an antiquated idea. I was born on this plot of land so i am automatically a citizen but if someone else wants to be a citizen they have to have a certain skill or win the visa lottery? Doesn’t make any sense.

          • Being born in that place and not the other is not a very fair criteria to be granted a coveted citizenship, I agree. But it’s the only practical one, considering that countries are defined by their land borders – and as long as countries exist and are not identical, citizenship will not become antiquated.

  7. Paragraph six is a strawman. Libertarianism is a philosophy that refers exclusively to the use of violence in society. If there’s a starving man and you have two loaves, what should you do? Keep both loaves? Give one away? Start a charity? Libertarianism only says “whatever you decide, you cannot initiate the use of force.” Anything beyond that is outside the scope of libertarianism, and up to the individual involved.

    See, you mention that you didn’t consent to living in a capitalist system. The beauty of libertarianism is that if you don’t like it, you don’t have to. Find some like-minded friends and go set up whatever kind of system you want As long as you don’t force other people to participate, you’ll be permitted to continue without interference.

    • Thank you for being the first person to actually reference what I said and not just simply shout slogans. You’d be surprised how rare that is.

      Do you have no objection to letting the man starve? No sense of morality, justice or decency? No duties or responsibilities to other humans?

      “Find some like-minded friends and go set up whatever kind of system you want”

      How? All land is certainly claimed and belonging to someone so if I tried to move there I would be evicted. I would be in no better position than libertarians trying to set up their own country.

      • “Do you have no objection to letting the man starve? No sense of morality, justice or decency? No duties or responsibilities to other humans?”

        I, as an individual, have objections to that, but I also have an objection to using force to impose that opinion on others. Libertarianism covers a specific ground in ethics, but everything outside of it isn’t emptiness, just the concern of other philosophies. It’s kind of like how logic won’t tell you whether a potato is a plant or animal, but it will tell you that it can’t be both plant and not a plant at the same time. That doesn’t mean a logician can’t make judgments regarding the potato’s taxonomy; those judgements are simply informed by botany rather than formal logic. (That’s the best analogy I could think of at the moment)

        “How? All land is certainly claimed and belonging to someone so if I tried to move there I would be evicted. I would be in no better position than libertarians trying to set up their own country.”

        Fair enough. In a sense, you’re going to be subject to the rules of voluntary exchange. In response, I can only offer speculation: I doubt that acquiring land on which to start your community would be as difficult as you think, especially since there are probably going to be a lot of people who would be willing to pitch in.

      • You are asking the wrong question. The question is not whether or not I feel like its OK to just let a man starve (It isn’t) but whether or not I feel its OK to just put a gun to someone’s head and take their money so that the man will not starve. In that case, the answer is no (Exodus 20:15) I do not think that’s OK, and anyone who does is a disgusting utilitarian that should not be considered moral, and frankly, should be shunned. I take someone saying that it is OK as a threat.

        Now, you’ll likely protest that violence is unavoidable and that the libertarian system requires violence to sustain itself. I’m OK with that, because the violence is INITIATED by the aggressors and not the libertarians.

        • Mike Huben

          There is no need for guns if you think it’s not OK to let the man starve. We can peacefully use a portion of your wealth (and everybody else’s) to provide for the man.

          If you do think it is OK for the man to starve, when we come to peacefully use what is needed, you threaten us with guns. That’s the violent coercion right there. At that point, if the government then also draws a gun, it is retaliation for the coercion by libertarian standards.

          • Matthew S

            No, we can simply lock our doors, windows, gates, and put the money in a safe. We’ve initiated force against no one. Then if you want to take the money, you are using force against my property.

            • Mike Huben

              Property is not a person, and does not have rights against “force”.

              Use of property is not “force” either, whether by the owner or by anybody else. If I drill open a safe, that is not using force against a person.

              But of course you then would want that as an excuse to initiate violent force against people.

              • Matthew S

                I never said property had rights. I said it was MY property. I guess you missed that. Since it’s MY property, I have rights about how anyone uses it. And guess what? One of MY rights is to not have MY property destroyed by crazy people who think’s MY property is somehow not MY property. I have the right to stop crazy people using force against MY property. It would hardly be MY property if I didn’t have that right, would it?

                • Mike Huben

                  In other words, you view property as an excuse to initiate force with guns (or other coercive methods.)

                  What you don’t seem to understand is that all rights, including property rights, are based on coercion. Without the coercion, you only have a verbal claim, not a right.

                  And you would initiate that coercion whether people “used force against property” (talk about incoherent) or whether they peacefully used something you claim as property (for example, sleeping on your lawn.)

                  • Matthew S

                    Where do you live then? I’ll come take your car off your hands. I’m sure you have other valuables in your house that you have nothing but a verbal claim to. I’m sure you won’t do anything coercive like use violence to stop me or call the police.

                    • Mike Huben

                      Libertarians are the ones lying about “not initiating force” in the institution of property.

                      Liberals like me are honest about property: it is a human-created institution that uses force to provide limited restrictions of access to various resources for social purposes. It relies on force just like government.

                      But I don’t think you are subtle enough to understand that I suggested an example to show how libertarian “initiation of force” is a misleading idea.

                    • Mike Huben

                      A right is a claim to something backed by coercion. Every right creates a correlate duty, often for all other people.

                      You do not have a right without coercion. Without coercion, you have only a claim and everybody else can make the same claim. The only thing that can make your claim unique is the biggest coercion.

                    • Mike Huben

                      Oh, and by the way, a few libertarians are occasionally honest about what rights are:

                      “All ownership derives from occupation and violence. […] That all rights derive from violence, all ownership from appropriation or robbery, we may freely admit to those who oppose ownership on considerations of natural law.”
                      Ludwig von Mises, “Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis” Ch. 1, section 2.

                • You remind me of a selfish child screaming “MINE, MINE, MINE”. Most children grow up and stop thinking solely of themselves. They realise that while we have rights, we also have responsibilities. Property is not an exclusive right where you can do whatever you want regardless of what everyone else thinks. You are not a dictator on your property where your will is law. Society too has some say.

                  • Matthew S

                    “Property is not an exclusive right where you can do whatever you want regardless of what everyone else thinks. You are not a dictator on your property where your will is law. Society too has some say.”

                    Actually, that’s exactly what private property is. I have exclusive right to do anything I want with my property, as long as it doesn’t infringe on other people’s use of their property. Society gets no say at all. That’s the entire point of private property.

                    • Maybe in your libertarian utopia, but in the real world, the laws of the country still apply to your property. You have no right to pollute, use drugs, steal, launder stolen goods etc on your property. Yes society does have a say (in the real world).

          • GC

            If someone is allowed to take – without my permission – something I spent a week’s worth of my labour working on, then they have effectively enslaved me for a week. And you seem to think this indirect slavery is okay if it’s “needed”. And if I resist this indirect slavery, I’m engaged in “violent coercion”.

            I bet the slave owners of old wished they’d thought of that one.

            “At that point, if the government then also draws a gun, it is retaliation for the coercion by libertarian standards.”

            I’m not convinced you possess the intelligence to understand the non-aggression principle

    • Libertarianism does not shun violence at all. If a starving man starts to peacefully eat one of the loaves, a libertarian can violently attack him screaming “My property! Mine!”

      Invitations to set up systems outside of the libertarian property system are far worse than invitations to set up your own country in some new land and live there. There is no new land, but there are plenty of radically different countries to choose from; including several without taxes. But libertarians want their one property system to be universal and all-encompassing: what isn’t property yet, they want to acquire as property. Go ahead, name one book where libertarians describe things (besides people) that should be exempted from the property system. Libertarianism, like communism, offers only false promises of escape.

      People who would like to read more about the problems of libertarianism with respect to property and taxes can look at my wiki indexes for Taxes and Property.

      • “Libertarianism does not shun violence at all.”

        I never made that claim. I said that “Libertarianism is a philosophy that *refers* exclusively to the use of violence in society.” The conclusion of libertarianism is that violence may be employed in the defense of life, liberty, and property, but not for aggression.

        • You wrote:

          Libertarianism only says “whatever you decide, you cannot initiate the use of force.”

          I meant to write “Libertarianism does not shun INITIATING violence at all.” And that’s what my example of the poor man eating the bread shows.
          Now you change your statement to: “violence may be employed in the defense of life, liberty, and property, but not for aggression.”

          So you ARE allowing initiation of force, making a list of exceptions. The poor man eating the bread has not initiated any violence. Indeed, if he needs to eat the bread to live, he could act in defense of his life against your initial use of force.

          The problem with the “initiation of force” arguments of libertarians is that they boil down to “Uses of force that we like are retaliation; anything we don’t like is initiation of force.” Humpty Dumpty couldn’t have said it better himself when he pays words extra to mean what he wants.

          “Initiation of force” is libertarian newspeak: it means one thing to outsiders, and has a completely different ideological meaning to libertarians.

          • ” ‘Initiation of force’ is libertarian newspeak: it means one thing to outsiders, and has a completely different ideological meaning to libertarians.”

            I’ll agree with that, other than the word newspeak, which implies that its a deliberate deception. Like all philosophies, libertarianism has jargon that sounds different to outsiders, and often we forget that.

            ” ‘Uses of force that we like are retaliation; anything we don’t like is initiation of force.’ ”

            The term “initiation of force” is defined among libertarians as actions that violate the rights of others, and libertarians don’t like such actions, so your statement is true by definition. However, the distinction is not arbitrary as you make it sound. The libertarian tradition with which I most closely identify (I don’t intend to speak for anyone else) starts with the definition of individual rights, and then defines coercion/force according to those rights, not the other way around.

            Yes, libertarianism uses language in a specific and in some ways unconventional manner, but all philosophies do that to some degree, and saying it’s wrong because it’s different than how your philosophy uses language isn’t the same as saying it’s right or wrong.

            • All property and indeed all real rights are based on violence, initiation of force. Libertarians claim there is an invisible right to property which magically exempts property from being intrinsically violent. In other words, they deceptively hide the violence they like as a made-up “right”.

              You also ignore the fact that libertarians also consider fraud to be initiation of force. There is no individual right to be free of fraud: remember “let the buyer beware”? Or do you want to make up that right too?

              Real rights, such as legal property rights, do not attempt to conceal the violence: they have obvious means of enforcement. Philosophical twaddle from Ayn Rand can’t hide this simple fact about real life. Which is why “initiation of force” (her term) is deceptive.

      • Is libertarian philosophy having roots in the early movement of the enlightenment, free thinking movement?

      • GC

        “Libertarianism does not shun violence at all.”

        Correct. The proper use of force, to a libertarian, is in self-defence, or in retaliation against those who initiate its use.

        “If a starving man starts to peacefully eat one of the loaves, ”

        Spare us all the hyperbole, Mike. There is no such thing as peaceably stealing someone’s food any more than there’s peaceably raping someone. And the starvation is irrelevant to the issue – you seem to fully believe that anyone should just be able to just walk in and wander off with the fruits of others’ labour without permission or compensation whether starving or not.

        “People who would like to read more about the problems of libertarianism with respect to property and taxes can look at my wiki”

        No thanks. What I’ve read here is bad enough.

        • The Cad

          < Asks to be spared the hyperbole
          < Immediately makes a ludicrous and emotive comparison to sexual assault

          • James

            It’s not ludicrous or emotive to assert that theft, like sexual assault, isn’t peaceful. A violation of private property is no more peaceful than a violation of bodily autonomy.

            • Mike Huben

              Property is only created by threat of violation of bodily autonomy to all others. If you are looking for peaceful, property is not the route to go. If somebody ignores your threat and uses what you claim to own, that is peaceful. You would be the one initiating violence if you carried out your threats.

              That’s a classic psychological projection: accusing others of your own crimes.

              • James

                No, property is not created by threat of violation of bodily autonomy. Bodily autonomy itself is rooted in property ownership. I exclude others from my body because I claim ownership of it. I claim the right to exclude others.

                “If somebody ignores your threat and uses what you claim to own, that is peaceful.”

                No, it isn’t. See: rape. If someone rapes you in your sleep, they are not doing it peacefully. Same with violation of any other form of property. It’s not projection to say that YOU are the initiator of force if you steal/rape/assault someone else.

                • Mike Huben

                  Property ownership does not necessarily produce bodily autonomy, as anyone who has ever heard of slavery knows. How can you say something so stupid?

                  Bodily autonomy is not rooted in property: it is produced by a series of rights that are not the same as property, and that are in their turn produced and defended by government in modern society. Your body is not something you own: the set of rights involved are different.

                  Thus, your example of rape doesn’t work because you do not own your body. The rights that create your bodily autonomy are also produced by threat of violation of bodily autonomy to all others. That is initial force too.

                  Stealing is not initial force. Creating property is, as I have explained before.

  8. If you don’t consent, you are free to leave the country. Every day you’re still here, you’ve consented to being part of the social contract, including paying taxes. The thing to remember, you don’t have to love every piece of the social contract – you either take a whole package (including the established process of modifying this package) or you don’t.
    I think renting is a good comparison. I don’t like the fact that my apartment’s windows are drafty, the traffic outside, or the way the heating system is set up, but I like the size, the proximity to public transportation, and the reasonable price.

    • So lets go back to the year 1800. If I continued to live in America, I am implicitly consenting to slavery, since if I didn’t like it I’d leave?

      • You wouldn’t have to pay any income taxes in 1800, so I assume you’d be totally ok with the arrangement.
        (I also had to assume you don’t mean being a slave in 1800, because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to leave.)

        • Either you think that my political philosophy is exclusively about income taxes (which is absurd) or you think that income taxes and slavery are a dichotomy (which is also absurd).

          I guess the most absurd part was that I thought I’d get a thoughtful reply. Oh well.

          • I’m not sure why you would expect a thoughtful reply to a trick question. But if you insist on a thoughtful reply, if you live in 1800 in the US, you have 2 legal options if you don’t like living in a country that has slavery: you move to another country (or just out West), or you start or join abolitionist movement – by which you consent to being a part of a country that has slavery but use the constitutional process provided by the same country to abolish slavery. In this 2nd option, you do not support slavery, but you are still picking the whole country package that contains slavery.

            • Wow… It seems you guys are actually consistent.

              Not that I’d expect any different. Without God there is no foundation for freedom of any kind. How repulsive!

              • Mike Huben

                “Without God there is no foundation for freedom of any kind.”
                How can you believe such a stupid thing? Nonsense on stilts.

                • libertyblogger101

                  Alright. Let’s try it. Where does your standard of morality come from? How do you know certain things are moral and other things are immoral?

      • And it would seem wives consented to be beaten and raped by their husbands with impunity, since that’s what the owner of the US permitted.

        • Libertarians simply cannot claim they would have done better in the 19th century: the ideology of modern libertarianism was assembled in the 1950s from bits and pieces of earlier ideologies.

          Libertarians might have no problem with slavery, spouse abuse, etc. in the past simply because their definition of property could include wives, children and slaves as they had for millennia. That was the idea of “natural law” back then. Look at Patrick Henry, Mr. “Give me liberty or give me death”: he was a slave owner, as were many of other founders of the US who howled for their own liberty, but not that of their wives or slaves.

          Even the current LPUSA platform excludes government from declaring or enforcing rights of women and children: “We believe that families and households are private institutions, which should be free from government intrusion and interference.” In other words, private institutions such as patriarchal marriage should trump government-sponsored universal rights.

        • What a completely useless and pointless comment.

  9. Their are some in Britain, who either refuse paying tax or pay less than they are obliged to pay, these people are refusing to pay taxes as a moral stand usually against military expenditure and also military culture, this non payment of tax is to diminish money spent on military assets, the reasons for these conscientious objections , is complex, in part the history of British colonization and its military incursions, although the article suggests that over seas countries were already in a state of violence and the British, inflicting violence in the name of peace is debatable and difficult to quantify, the fact that the theft of resources from overseas is a reasonable outcome to have and establish say a Parliament, as in Australia, whether the Aboriginals would agree to this idea is another matter.
    Certainly on a scale of so called civilization and settlement, and the use of resources by present generations, if the human race is to survive in tact to a reasonable state or condition, is doubtful, Suzuki is not popular with the Western ideology, state’s this idea of sustainability in question?
    Why should we be suspicious of scientists? every week we see the good news of scientific break through’s, a sort of healing balm to the help the now predominately atheistic man, are not able to terminate conflict world wide, and actually contribute to more sophisticated weaponry contributions.
    Rather than extoll the virtues of what exists in and on the planet, is all to do with how much the individual gets out of it, if you are materialistically, well off, you see as a existentially outcome, all is well, if you are not in this club or at least eventually to enter, otherwise it seems fairly bleak as a winter of a constant darkness, it is of little wonder that Robert now wants to divert his attention to having a laugh, on his other blog site?

  10. Cannot have a decent society without them!

  11. John Pennington

    A nice trashing of this foolish belief of libertarians, Robert. At base, it’s a choice between raw domination by the powerful or civilization.

  12. Holden

    I think you hit on a great difference of perception/attitude between American and European culture in this line you wrote:

    “The state owns the land and if you want to live on the land you must pay rent.”

    Europe has long been settled. There was really never a time it wasn’t tamed, so Europeans are more comfortable looking at the land as being “State” owned. Americans on the other hand did tame an open, un-owned land, because literally, the Native Americans were nomadic most times and didn’t have a sense of ownership of the land.

    So in a sense, Americans do feel like when they buy a piece of land, they literally own that land. It is theirs, not the states. In reality, your observation is the true reality, but it doesn’t change the perception of most American’s regarding land ownership.

  13. Pingback: This little link went to market— | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  14. While I do agree with most of what you said RN, I should emphasise again that all of your criticisms refer exclusively to right-wing libertarians, not to libertarians as a whole. The term libertarian not only includes those critical of capitalism, it was first introduced into political parlance by an anarchist socialist all the way back in 1857. Since then it referred to any tendency which was both anti-statist and anti-authoritarian in addition to being anti-capitalist; though especially to anarchism.

    It wasn’t until the 1950s that the term started being used by American turbo-capitalists to refer to their own ideology, with the first probably being the founder of “anarcho”-capitalism Murray Rothbard.

    And there is a third option to the choice you presented in your article between welfare state and anarcho-capitalism. That being the left-libertarian proposal do replacing the state with a free confederation of directly-democratic voluntary associations. With each association being small enough that you feasibly could pick up and leave for another if it’s activities didn’t suit you (as in your shopping centre analogy).

    In practice this would mean replacing representative democracy with a voluntary network of locally-based participatory democracies; organised through open, face-to-face neighbourhood assemblies – which make decisions that affect their local area directly, then appointing spokespersons to carry out administrative duties on the municipal, regional, and national levels.

    Plus replacing private and state ownership of the means of production ( which necessitates wage-labour) with worker self-managed alternatives such as cooperatives, community land trusts, democratic guilds, self-employment, peer production, and affinity groups.

  15. Dan

    No ..Tax is a form of theft . It is not rent .Its extortion. It is a compulsory grant from the taxpayer to the state to fund unsolicited services which often have no direct benefit to the payer. The government uses the taxpayer as a free money supply instead of forming a loan with repayments as they have to if they go to commercial lenders !! If the government wants to build roads and hospitals then ‘get a loan’. If the government has to REPAY the loan from individuals or other lenders it will enforce financial discipline on the government because otherwise if they get free money they are notorious at WASTING it .. and why not ..they don’t to worry about REPAYING it do they ?

    • Dan, you’re twenty years outdated in your ideology. Everybody has been able to rebut such idiotic claims using my Non-Libertarian FAQ. Start at 5.5 Taxation is theft and read through section 5.18. Nice and short.

      It explains why government owns territory, and thus can charge for your occupancy or use of its property.

      Libertarians like to assume they have a right to be in a place without any corresponding responsibility. This is an example.

      • Dan

        AS I recall The Republic of America or latterly the Unitied States ( itwasn’t always ‘united ‘ as you know) was actually founded over a dispute on tax – tea tax . The colonists threw off the yoke of their English masters .The colonists obviously thought that tax was theft so much so they had a little war of independence . The Tea Tax was designed to subvert competition from colonial tea merchants in favour of the English crown who were anxious to balance their books at the expense of colonies . So you could say America was founded on the idea that Tax is Theft

        • Then why didn’t they abolish taxes completely once independent?
          If you believe a particular institution to be equatable with theft, naturally you would seek to get rid of it.
          Seeing as they didn’t, it would seem that the Boston Tea Party was a protest against a tax regime they saw as unjust, not against the concept of taxes itself.

          And even if it was, the fact you don’t even mention slavery indicates that you must believe it to be of secondary importance to having your income taxed. Then again, this is in keeping with right-libertarian privilege-blindness; only ever protesting against problems that affect primarily the affluent.

          • Dan

            Who’s talking about slavery ? I’m talking about tax as theft . Stick to the subject

          • Dan

            Since you are from Ireland you will be familiar with another row over tax . Next month at Clontarf , south of Dublin, will be the 1000 year celebration of the O’Brien clan commerating the Battle of Clontaf. This battle was really about making the encamped Vikings pay tax by the first King of Ireland Brian Boru in 1014 . Alas Boru was killed in the battle but the Vikings were subdued and duly paid up. I don’t think libertarians were ever heard of in 1014 .There have been mnay battles over Tax . For the record I ‘m an O’Brien too but definetly NOT a libertarian .

            • To pretend that the Battle of Clontarf had anything to do with taxes is a gross misreading of history. It had as much to do with taxes as the Battle of Waterloo, absolutely none. It was all about power.

              • Dan

                Irish literature of a thousand years ago is obsessed with the occupation of Ireland by the Norse (also referred to as the Danes), and, if we are to believe the native annalists, a night of misery had really settled down on the country with the coming of the Vikings. On the occasion of a raid, villages were burned and sacked and there was wholesale slaughter and enslavement of men, women and children. A tax was laid upon all the people. In default of paying the tax, “nose-money” (a custom which they brought from their own country), that is, the loss of the nose, was exacted. In the words of one of the old chroniclers, “even though a man had but one cow, he might not milk it for a child one night old, nor for a sick person, but he had to keep it for the tax collector and the foreign soldiers.” hence the saying ..’paying through the nose ‘ — haven’t you got a lot to learn

                • So you’re just throwing some random historical facts together in the hope it damages the government. You ignored answering my question as to what the Battle of Clontarf had to do with taxes (because the answer is nothing) and instead are changing topic. What do the Vikings have to do with this topic? Absolutely nothing, which makes me wonder why you are mentioning it.

      • Dan

        The goverenment DOES NOT own my territory its FREEHOLD. There are covernants controlling my use of the land etc but if they want to drive a highway through my loungeroom they have to pay ‘fair and just ‘ compensation as per the Constitution ( well thats how it is in Oz and most civilised countries ) . And I don’t pay rent to anyone..not even banks

        • Evidently you are ignorant of the Allodial Title that the government holds. That’s what makes the government the ultimate owner, and why it has rights of taxation, expropriation, escheat and eminent domain.

          • Dan

            Allodial Title–a fancy lawyer term to imply some sort of ‘meeting with the gods’ that mere vassals wouldn’t understand. Let me tell you pal its called THEFT . In Australia this bullshit title was called ‘terra nullis ‘ which has since been renounced by the High Court of Australia under the Native Title Act so don’t give me your pseudo intellectual bullshit

            • Dan, these people literally believe that government owns every single thing. The only point in arguing with them is to expose them in front of moderate statists and show them (the moderate statists) the logical implications of their own beliefs (namely, this nonsense.) These people literally view the State as God. Its disgusting.

              • Mike Huben

                No, government creates ownership. Without government enforcement and law, all you have is a holding which you must defend for yourself and which can be taken from you by anybody without any recourse except whatever violence you can mount. This liberal ownership is a recent invention. Learn some history.

              • Lies, all lies. The government does not own everything, ironically without government enforcement of property, no one would own anything and we’d all be at the mercy of the strong. Nor is the state my God, I’m an Atheist, I don’t believe in any Gods.

                You on the other hand believe that anyone who isn’t an Anarchist loves stealing and that only Christians can tell right from wrong. But we’re the extremists? I’d rather live in a democratic Republic than your Anarchist theocracy any day.

                • James

                  False. Ownership doesn’t depend upon government enforcement. That’s quite a bit of religious nonsense for someone who claims to be an atheist.

                  • Mike Huben

                    Ah, another assertion without evidence. One day, James, you might grow up enough to be able to argue something more sophisticated than “no, you’re wrong.”

          • Dan

            Some realms (such as Australia and Canada) recognize aboriginal title, a form of allodial title that does not originate from a Crown grant.

            • Mike Huben

              Allodial title is not the same as “terra nullis” Allodial title refers to land ownership by occupancy and defense of the land, something common to all nations.

              At common law, only the sovereign is said to have an absolute interest in land: ordinary landowners ‘hold of the sovereign.”

              Aboriginal title is common law concept, and does not exempt from the allodial title of the sovereign. It just says that the sovereign recognizes another form of sub-ownership besides crown grants.

              Your freehold is also “held of the sovereign.”

              • Dan

                ok ok .. I’ll conede that ..At least this time I got a civilised response without personal abuse

                • Mike Huben

                  At least this time we get a concession, rather than mere skipping to another claim. I’m happily surprised: I’ve seen that from few libertarians. Keep it up! We try to be honest too.

                  • Dan

                    Australian government sells Medibank Private ..BUT even the founders call it THEFT …….
                    quote…
                    (Australian) Government would sell Medibank Private, the private health insurer created by the Fraser Government in 1976 as a fig leaf to enable it to pretend it was keeping its promise to maintain the Whitlam government’s universal healthcare scheme, Medibank.
                    To a government facing a difficult budgetary situation, the sale is likely to be a $4 billion windfall.
                    Among those to publicly oppose the sale are two people who were vital to Medibank in its early years in 1975: first general manager, Ray Williams, and co-founder, John Deeble. Williams described the sale as “tantamount to theft” as all the value of Medibank Private has been created from members’ contributions with little investment from government.
                    ..unquote>
                    So there you go the government is selling something they don’t really own because they contributed nothing yet will pocket 4 billion !! All they did was register the name MEDIBANK
                    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-02/duckett-medibank-sale-doomsayers-are-off-the-mark/5360732

                    • Selling Medicare is all part of Tony Abbotts, agenda, before he was elected he stated categorically, no surprises, did he say he was to sell this health organization, No, since being in he has been committed to a series of repressive reforms, never said any of this before elected, a cunning and slippery fish of deceit.

          • macsnafu

            Allodial Title of government is actually an interesting idea. But is there a real argument there, is it just a fancy legal term for governments asserting their legal authority? Do you really think that government’s just acquisition and ownership of the land derives from occupancy and defense? Something like homesteading?

            • Mike Huben

              Allodial title refers to land ownership by occupancy and defense of the land, something common to all nations.

              The problem with the notion of “just” is that there is no universal notion of just: something can only be just in the opinion of somebody.

              Allodial title is a fact that is required for any nation (or anarchist equivalent) to persist in the face of other competitors for the land. Go ahead: suggest an alternative.

              Homesteading is not a realistic claim. See:The Ahistorical Nature of the Lockean Fable.

              Given the prerequisite of Allodial title, which is based on violent coercion and nothing else, our search for “just” has to focus within nations and between nations: that’s the best we can do.

              • macsnafu

                I wasn’t trying to put words in your mouth; I was just trying to understand why you think governments can legitimately rule over people. Apparently, if I’m understanding correctly, you reject any moral justification for government rule. So it’s merely a pragmatic acceptance of reality that some people are going to rule over others, and it’s better to accept the lesser evil of a somewhat democratic system that gives people some small say in that rule, than in a system that doesn’t give one any say?

                • Mike Huben

                  Legitimacy is an opinion. Not a fact. Most moral justifications are BS that is conceived to support previously chosen opinions. All the moral justification in the world plus a dollar will get you a cup of coffee: without the dollar, likely no coffee. Understanding this basic fact about the world will save you a lot of effort and confusion. Ideology (such as libertarianism) is your enemy, because it pretends there are absolutes, when there are just people with opinions.

                  Evil is also an opinion. Some people thought slavery was evil, and some thought it was good. If we share the opinion that we dislike slavery, that doesn’t make slavery evil any more than an opinion that some color is ghastly makes that color evil. It’s just another way of saying we dislike it.

                  That said, we’re much in agreement, except that you likely don’t see the ways that libertarianism implies very harsh and unyielding rule over people through a system of absolute private property.

      • libertyblogger101

        One thing I wanted to point out, you listed John W. Robbins as an opponent to libertarianism because he opposed Ayn Rand. I oppose Ayn Rand too, I despise her and view her as a downright pathetic defender of liberty. Nonetheless, John Robbins was a political minarchist. See here:

        http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=13

        I doubt John Robbins would have used the term “libertarian” to describe himself, but his political philosophy was similar to mine (I’m a little more radical.) So, using him to defend your statist views is dishonest unless you don’t consider minarchists to be libertarian.

  16. Dan

    “Then why didn’t they abolish taxes completely once independent?” Answer –same reason ..politicans looking for free money

  17. Is taxation fundamentally protection money?

    • Dan

      Funny you should say that. Not a bad analogy. So paying taxes for the police and armed forces is protection money but sorta necessary as long as these folk point the guns at the baddies and not the citizens . It is protection money but not a protection racket .There is a theory in human evolution about 15 % of men are ‘warrior types ‘ who either defend or attack other groups so you need to set aside these 15% as full time soldiers to defend the collective . The other 85% pay taxes by, in effect, feeding their protectors.

  18. Dan is engaging in typical libertarian historical revisionism: imagining the past to fit his ideology.

    If I may quote from wikipedia: “Colonists objected to the Tea Act because they believed that it violated their rights as Englishmen to “No taxation without representation,” that is, be taxed only by their own elected representatives and not by a British parliament in which they were not represented.” I doubt that we need to go to more authoritative sources.

    This was not a protest about taxes: it was about loss of representation in government. There was no question of whether government should tax or not.

    Bot libertarians, grasping at any straw that will support their ideology, conveniently forget enough history to make their silly arguments sound plausible. This is a frequent practice: I have an index at my site called Historical Revisionism which lists a number of examples.

  19. Dan

    Amercia has always been about markets and the mighty dollar . If they really believed in ‘no taxation without representation ‘ then they would have demanded a mandatory vote wouldn’t they? but there is no way in hell they would tolerate a mandatory vote.

    • What do you mean by a mandatory vote? Do you mean making it a law to vote? If people choose not to vote why should the government use coercion against them? I thought you were against government force?

      • Dan

        Well here in Australia its always been mandatory to vote. And rigthly so . Afterall if its mandatory to pay TAX then its mandatory to VOTE for those who tax us vassals in a democracy . No taxation without representation remember . The government WILL use coercion if you don’t pay Tax I can assure you . “I thought you were against government force” —when did i ever say that ? My argument to propose that Tax be viewed in a new light and for politicans to stop using us as a free ATM

  20. Dan

    Fact is government do steal from taxpayers . Let me quote a classic example .’privatisation’ of a public asset . Who funded that asset built up over decades through tax ? the taxpayers .Who sold that asset ? The encumbent government . Do they ever return the proceeds of the sale to the taxpayer in any way ? No . So they have sold your car without your permisison and pocketed the proceeds . In the private world thats called FRAUD . Another example ..speed cameras yes speed cameras .. allegedly used to ‘ improve road safety’ — its a LIE. its to improve the treasury coffers as proven by asking where the funds go and guess what? they won’t tell you . In the private world thats called ‘misappropriation of funds ‘ once again a jailable offence . Am I educating you or what ? I got plenty of examples .

    • I am sure the critics are lining up to destroy your translation on taxation, nevertheless, it seems to me you are correct in your perceptions, what many do not like is simplicity of analysis, and usually those who do not like your style are those on the pay role who get a slice of taxpayers money, and you threaten their cash flow.

      • I know you believe every and any conspiracy out there, but the surprising fact is that not everyone who supports the existence of a government is paid by the government. Some of us reach our beliefs after an examination of the evidence. Shocking right?

        • The problem I have with you Robert, is you are either conditioned to think the way you think in part as a result of your education and as we see your glorification shown in your motif of becoming a star within the approval of government circles, as a result also of your age being so young you see what is going on as a simple approximation of reality, you having no knowledge of existential crises, and along with people such as John Howard, Blair and the rest of these elite freaks whom have the innate ideology that you are born by divine proxy, which from my point of view is just all part of your illusion, that you are entrapped within.

          • My problem with you donwreford is that you leave long rambling comments that are irrelevant to what we are talking about. Not to mention your willingness to believe any conspiracy theory and that everyone else is a government shill. Also your lack of punctuation. Seriously that comment is 9 lines long yet you compressed it into one sentence. Use a full stop every now and again.

            “the rest of these elite freaks whom have the innate ideology that you are born by divine proxy, which from my point of view is just all part of your illusion, that you are entrapped within.”

            What the Hell does that even mean?

        • Libertarians do not support the absence of government, but the absence of the State. That is a strawman on your part.

          • Mike Huben

            Evidently you are ignorant of the different sorts of libertarianism. Anarchocapitalists are one of several sorts of libertarians that desire the absence of government.

            • I am not ignorant of anarcho-capitalism, I consider myself to be one if the term is properly defined. Anarcho-capitalists do not want an abolition of all forms of government, but the State in particular.

              Stop assuming I’m ignorant. I don’t know a TON about libertarian theory, but I know more than basically anyone else I know.

    • Sometimes public enterprises raise the money themselves through selling a good or service and that way pay for an asset. Also, the money from privatisation does not disappear into a black hole or into politicians pockets. It is either used to reduce taxes (contrary to your assertion this does occur), offset government spending or reduce the national debt.

      Speed cameras can serve more than one purpose (shock horror!). They can both reduce speeding and raise revenue! You don’t seem to be aware that such a thing is possible. All government budget figures are publicly available which is not always true of private sector firms. I’m not sure why you are outrages over where each and every exact dollar raised from speed cameras goes. Some speed cameras are operated by private businesses, yet they do not reveal where their money goes, but this is not misappropriation of funds and no one goes to jail.

      “Am I educating you or what ? I got plenty of examples .”

      Your examples so far have only made you look like a fool. For your own sake you should probably stop now.

      • Your problem Robert, is shown by your comment within your last sentence, any one that disagrees with you is a fool, I suggest you are intolerant of those who have different views to you, your reply to call some one is a fool, because from your point of view, you being dismissive and intolerant, what this comment of yours shows your immaturity and as I stated in my reply to you previous, is, you are young and just do not get it.
        Here in Australia, a sequence of speed regulations are placed in such a way as distract drivers attention to the road safety, and is dangerous, by a prolific amount of speed signs at intervals that are their for one thing to trap drivers for revenue, I am not defending my road use, as I have no license to drive.
        If it makes you happy lost through drink driving.

      • Dan

        “Some speed cameras are operated by private businesses, yet they do not reveal where their money goes” –private business can do what they like except if they mislead investors as to where the money is going and especially if it is a public listed company — its called misleading the market er JAIL ..don’t you know anything about the law ? You know the first sign of a opponent losing an argument is to start calling his opponent names . So far I have yet to see a quality argument in the affirmative for taxation is not theft

        • “So far I have yet to see a quality argument in the affirmative for taxation is not theft”

          Its right above you. The post (which you have so far ignored) explains my thinking.

          “You know the first sign of a opponent losing an argument is to start calling his opponent names .”

          That’s ironic seeing as you have done little but call names. You are just after calling me a Nazi and done little else except claim the government are thieves.

          • libertyblogger101

            He said “quality argument.” Certainly arguments have been presented. But they are all incredibly lame and presuppositional in nature. “The State owns all the land and we rent it from them.” Says who? Where in the world do you get that from? I don’t accept natural law, but even natural law refutes your claim.

            Of course, I have presuppositions to, but I don’t hide from the fact, and my presuppositions generally don’t entail me having to advocate for somebody being threatened by a gun. Generally. Yes, generally. There are exceptions. So before someone comes out and says “anti-statists sometimes want to use violence to” I am being very up front about the fact that exceptions exist. But, I support a heck of a lot less violence than anyone else here. If a Christian anarcho-pacifist wants to 1-up me here, I’m OK with that.

    • Dan

      And lets not forget the NAMA fiasco where the Irish government reached for the wallets of the taxpayer public to back /underwrite the losses of private pockets in a bank -Anglo Irish . Strangely those private pockets never shared their private profits with the public taxpayer . A case of privatising the profits and socialising the losses . Once again government organised THEFT of the taxpayer .

      • One part of the equation you have not mentioned Dan, is how far are the Rothschilds, orchestrating this sell off? I note Robert has not said much on this banking family, as he is a economist, I expect he should direct us to know more about this family, considering they are all part of IMF and the World Bank, as yet I am unable to find out what tax this corporation pays? if anything,

        • Dan

          Hmm I don’t know about their involvement . If I start venturing down that path I’ll be accused of anti-semitism . I’m just calling the state the rogue on this one

        • This is why most people ignore your comments donwreford. It is full of nonsense conspiracy theories and incoherent gibberish. The Rothschilds had nothing to do with NAMA. Are you so out of touch with reality that you think the Jews secretly control the economy?

      • Would you have preferred if the banks were nationalised? I would have.

        • Dan

          I would have preferred the banks to go broke like any other private company that can’t cut it .

          • Because that would have zero negative effects.

            • Dan

              zero negative effects? how so ?

              • I had the same response on Robert’s comment, I have shown this response to a number of people to see what they made of it, they found it impossible to decipher, here he go’s again, succinct and compressed, clever but unintelligible, may be Robert, should look at algebra and just give us abbreviated signs that only academics can understand, bullshit baffles brains, my advise to you Robert, is speak in terms the lay can understand, rather than impressing your parents with your education.

                • I’m obviously being sarcastic. Letting banks fail would have been disastrous for the financial system. Look at Leheman Brothers, did letting that fail help or harm the wider economy?

                  • Robert, Leheman Brothers? you mean Lehman Brothers? this bank also known as the Bank of Evil, I do not know if you are supporting this bank as honorable? I think they were instrumental in creating subprime mortgages? if so they were responsible for thousands becoming homeless in America, as you know, many substantial houses in America could be purchased for twenty thousand dollars or so, many Australians purchased these properties.
                    It is not hard to find commentaries attributing this bank being conducted on immoral trading and was a corrupt organization.

                    • I wasn’t asking about the morality of the bank or whether it was an evil parasite kicking people onto the street (as you seem to view it). I was asking whether the shockwaves from letting it fail were positive or negative for the financial system and the wider economy. Any analyst will tell you that it had a massive negative effect, but I want to know if you know this.

                    • I did not know the financial system interpreted this banking collapse as a negative effect, may be you can give the reader how it became seen as such? with regard to the financial system being separate from morality? is this situation a reflection on banking that the operators of banking are disconnected from people, in particular precisely because they are all part of system of making money for themselves, meaning not just for the banking system, but more prevalent as individuals?
                      This may well be why the planet is in a state of stress, environmentally.

  21. GM

    Let’s assume that civilisation requires rules for the ownership of property.

    According to some of us, the best rules are those based on first use (homesteading), production, and voluntary exchange.

    According to this view, if you use a resource which nobody else has ever used before, you can rightfully claim that you own it. This applies to geographical frontiers / virgin territory, and some would also apply it to certain forms of intellectual territory.

    Or if you create something from the resources you own, you can claim to own it.

    Or if somebody voluntarily transfers their property to you, either as a form of exchange or as a gift, then you can also claim to own that property.

    “The state owns the land and if you want to live on the land you must pay rent.” – RN

    But no specific reason is given as to why the State owns any piece of land.

    Like any other entity, a State may have a claim of ownership where it has acquired a piece of land through voluntary exchange, or put previously unowned land to use. Without specific evidence to that effect, there is no evidence that any entity owns any particular piece of land.

    “It is not theft if you receive something in return. If someone steals my car, that is theft. If I have to sell my car in order to pay my rent, that is not theft.”

    If your landlord took your car against your will to pay the rent, despite the absence of any such permission existing in your lease, that would be theft. That would also be an analogy which actually worked to describe what you are trying to describe.

    “Furthermore, what sort of thief lets you decide how your money is spent or how much he takes? If I told a car thief that myself and the neighbours had decided that he shouldn’t take my car, would he listen? Yet the government is subject to the will of the people.”

    The government acts in the interests of some people, but it acts against the interests of the others. Consider the possibility that the government steals from some people and gives to others.

    • “According to this view, if you use a resource which nobody else has ever used before, you can rightfully claim that you own it.”

      This only makes sense if the land is empty, which it almost never is. Europe has been settled for thousands of years and no one can remember who was the first person, how do you decide you owns the land then? What are the limits on it? If I am the first person to land in Ireland, can I claim the whole island? If I am the first person to fish in a river, can I claim the whole river? If not, how much can I claim? If I am the first person to find gold on a mountainside, does that give a right to all the gold on the mountain?

      The problem is that we do not begin with a blank slate, but rather a world already full of people with property already existing (usually communally held). So it was never possible to decide who was first, which is hardly a fair way of distributing resources. Instead, the property is divided between all members of the nation-state (for example, all the resources of the island of Ireland theoretically belong to the people of Ireland). So while no one person has claim over the island, the rivers or mountains, we all communally have a claim.

      “If your landlord took your car against your will to pay the rent, despite the absence of any such permission existing in your lease, that would be theft.”

      Well the constitution would be a lease in this analogy and it grants permission for taxation. If I failed to pay my rent then yes, my car could be repossessed.

      “Consider the possibility that the government steals from some people and gives to others.”

      Honestly, when you look at the government of Ireland, do you really see a gang of thieves stealing from half the population to give to the other half? Don’t not realise that your rhetoric does not fit reality?

  22. Mike Huben

    “Let’s assume that civilisation requires rules for the ownership of property.”

    Yes, let’s. The very first rule, that you conveniently left out, is that somebody has to violently protect the property from the uncivilised. That is the basis of governments allodial title. That’s what makes the government the ultimate owner, and why it has rights of taxation, expropriation, escheat and eminent domain.

    “But no specific reason is given as to why the State owns any piece of land.”

    That’s the obvious reason, which you so carefully left out. Libertarian is largely based on lies of omission such as this. Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” illustrated your point of view perfectly: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us? Attendee: Brought peace?”

    • GM

      I’m quite happy to have a disrespectful pissing match with you, as you seem to desire, although I’m not sure I’ll be able to match your level. Let’s begin.

      “Somebody has to violently protect the property from the uncivilised.”

      and from above:

      “All property and indeed all real rights are based on violence, initiation of force.”

      We are off to a bad start already, since the purpose of the investigation for many of us is to understand which types of actions should be interpreted as violent, and which should be interpreted as peaceful. We don’t assume that peace is impossible. We are looking for a framework in which a meaningful disctinction between violent and peaceful actions can be made.

      But if you’re right, and if the protection of property is a violent, aggressive act, then “property” is a meaningless concept. The raison d’être of property is to enable us to understand who is right and who is wrong when there are disputes over control of the earth’s limited economic resources. It must enable us to say “X belongs to Y” or “X belongs to Z” (to the extent that X can be owned). If the best rules that we can come up with dictate that X belongs to Y, but Z insists on controlling it, then we should accept that Z is violent and Y is peaceful, even if Y uses physical force to defend their property from Z.

      Again, let’s return to “Somebody has to violently protect the property from the uncivilised.”

      It certainly appears to be true that most people would like to outsource the protection of their property to a third party.

      It’s also true that protection services are likely to have geographically monopolistic characteristics (similar to sanitation and many other services).

      But it does not follow that such a service provider, even if it is an economic monopoly, must also be a coercive monopoly. It does not follow that physical force should be used against those who do not wish to pay the State for their protection. In the absence of justification for enforcing a monopoly with respect to protection and security services, those protection entities which impose themselves on unwilling customers are better thought of as extortion rackets. In practice, modern states are far more extensive violators of property than simple extortion rackets, and are engaged in mass criminality.

      • Mike Huben

        “But if you’re right, and if the protection of property is a violent, aggressive act, then “property” is a meaningless concept.”

        That is about the plainest non-sequitur I’ve read in a long time.

        “The raison d’être of property is to enable us to understand who is right and who is wrong when there are disputes over control of the earth’s limited economic resources.”

        No. The raison d’être of property is to control the earth’s limited economic resources. Libertarians attempt to make a moral story about it, because “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” (John Kenneth Galbraith) This is why you simply won’t accept that property and rights exist only because they are violently enforced.

        The moral question is what rights we want to create through this violence. Do we want to create rights that primarily benefit the rich and powerful, or that benefit us all more equally?

        As for the last part of your argument, it presumes that property precedes government, which is nonsense. This is a common libertarian fallacy that Nozick and others commit. Benjamin Franklin said it clearly: “All property, indeed, except the savage’s temporary cabin, his bow, his matchcoat and other little Acquisitions absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the creature of public Convention. Hence, the public has the rights of regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the quantity and uses of it. All the property that is necessary to a man is his natural Right, which none may justly deprive him of, but all Property superfluous to such Purposes is the property of the Public who, by their Laws have created it and who may, by other Laws dispose of it.” Likewise Thomas Jefferson: “While it is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from Nature at all … it is considered by those who have seriously considered the subject, that no one has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land … Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society.”

        “In practice, modern states are far more extensive violators of property than simple extortion rackets, and are engaged in mass criminality.”

        Here it is obvious that you’ve got it backwards: modern states create and enforce the property system. Extortion rackets don’t.

        • GM

          Thank you for admitting two things:

          1) That you are driven primarily by egalitarian ideology (which explains why you struggle to understand those who don’t share your motivation, and who therefore approach the question of property without trying to impose their ideology on it).

          2) That you are a state-worshipper in the most fundamental sense: that you cannot conceive of any answer to the question of property which does not first involve the State. Libertarianism fails in your eyes because you aren’t able to even ask the question of whether the State should exist.

          I don’t enjoy making fun of religious people, so I will probably just leave you alone.

          • GM, you can hardly accuse the state of being a massive extortion racket and then pretend to be neutral and biased in the next comment. Also it is a historical fact that private property never existed without the state. That’s not ideology, that’s history.

  23. Let’s just say the state is like a big plantation and we are all owned by the state. In exchange for giving us meaningful work to do, food and shelter, protection from each other (and ourselves), and guidance to live properly, the state has a prior claim on all revenue we generate. The state, being kind and benevolent, lets us keep a portion of what we produce and takes only enough to pay expenses, provide for us, and provide great wealth for those who are more equal than us.

    There is no theft or robbery here. It is all very fair and equitable and there is historic precedent for this model.

    • Mike Huben

      Sorry, Tom, that’s the corporate model of ownership. The state is much more akin to a socialist cooperative, run by the workers.

      I’m not surprised that your fixation with ownership leads you to represent everything as owned and planned from the top.

    • GM

      A plantation is a good analogy. A farm is an even better one: the political class and its clients are the farmers, while everybody else is cattle to be milked and exploited by them.

      This helps us to understand international borders as representing little more than the demarcation lines for the allotments of different political crime groups, as settled through war and historical accident.

      Before the era of mass democracy, there was at least a clear separation between the rulers and the ruled (the exploiters and the exploited). Under democracy, on the other hand, political favouritism is available to any organised interest group. The inevitable outcome is that the political classes grow, and the exploitation of those who do not seek favours from the State becomes more intense.

      State-worshippers attribute the existence of property to the existence of the State. They have to deal with unsettling evidence to the contrary all the time, however: not just the measures which people come up with every day to enable them to settle disputes without using poor-quality State courts, but also modern secession movements and city-states which prove that the nation-state or political union model they favour is in many cases neither popular nor necessary. And, as proponents of the State, they also have to take intellectual responsibility for interstate war.

      • Mike Huben

        Believers in liberty fairy tales are perfectly welcome to visit Somalia to witness righteousness for themselves.

        In ancient Greek democracy, an idiot was a selfish person who didn’t wish to participate in politics. A citizen participated in the politics which were necessary for defense and other public goods that were the foundation of economic life.

        The idea of democracy is that everybody is in the political class, watching that nobody is exploited. If you think it is otherwise today, chances are the fault lies in (a) plutocracy or (b) you view everything as exploitation.

        Leave the farm analogy to George Orwell: he does a vastly better job.

      • GM

        The Somalia meme has no logical content whatsoever.

        And “defense” is just a Statist euphemism for war. In the context of Ancient Greece in particular, it would have been far more accurate to say “A citizen participated in the politics which were necessary for war”. At least you are coming close to taking responsibility for violence.

        “The idea of democracy”, like “the idea of socialism”, is utopian – it is a vision which will never achieve in reality that which it wishes to achieve. I’m sure you blame plutocracy for the failure of democracy to achieve what you want it to – it would be more honest to admit that it will never achieve what you want it to.

        • Mike Huben

          “The Somalia meme has no logical content whatsoever.”

          Wow. If I had known that you accept the magic formula “has no logical content whatsoever” as a valid argument, think of all the words we could have saved by simply saying “Libertarianism has no logical content whatsoever.”

          Of course defense is one type of war. Just like “retaliation” is one type of coercion. But the real idiocy is to pretend that you could have security without defense, by a state or anything else.

          As for utopianism, the idea of a free market is also utopian. I don’t demand perfection from democracy: I just want it to work well enough to reduce exploitation from capitalists and others.

        • GM

          MH – you are the one who said “Go to Somalia”, as if that was an argument! I can also disprove socialism by saying “Go to the Moon”. If the absence of any further pieces of information, they are equally valid arguments.

          “Retaliation is one type of coercion” – demonstrating again your very strange position that *any* property rules are coercive. Again:

          “Somebody has to violently protect the property from the uncivilised.”

          “All property and indeed all real rights are based on violence, initiation of force.”

          “The raison d’être of property is to control the earth’s limited economic resources.”

          You’re not trying to answer the question that libertarians (and some non-libertarians) want to be answered. Again, we want to try to understand which types of actions should be interpreted as violent, and which should be interpreted as peaceful. We think that a property distribution based on homesteading, production and exchange can be interpreted as peaceful, and is superior than the alternatives. Some of us have bad justifications for this belief, and you are right to point that out.

          However, by simply asserting that violence is inevitable, you take a position which libertarians are right to shun and ignore. By taking that position, you’re not relevant to the debate.

          “The moral question is what rights we want to create through this violence. Do we want to create rights that primarily benefit the rich and powerful, or that benefit us all more equally?”

          And this is remarkable – you muddy the waters philosophically by saying that there are no objective answers to the question of how property should be distributed, and then you plead for socialism. It’s cynical and not worth arguing with, in exactly the same way that a religious person who cast aspersions on the scientific method but then lazily continued to plead for their own non-scientific approach would be worth ignoring.

          I hope this has been illuminating for you.

          • Mike Huben

            Well, it seems that when mocked strongly enough, you reveal the idiocy of your positions.

            ‘I can also disprove socialism by saying “Go to the Moon”.’
            How charming that you think the moon is inhabited by socialists! How obtuse that you don’t get that when central governments go away, you get situations like Somalia, a real-life AnCapistan where piracy is just another business.

            “we want to try to understand which types of actions should be interpreted as violent”
            And that is exactly the problem. You don’t want to face reality, you want to INTERPRET it to fit your ideology. You want to be able to shoot a fleeing thief in the back and declare that is not violent, it is retaliation, as if those are exclusive. Where ever your cockeyed notions of justice require violence, you declare that you are not being violent, unlike any other real-world system.

            “However, by simply asserting that violence is inevitable, you take a position which libertarians are right to shun and ignore. By taking that position, you’re not relevant to the debate.”
            Squeezing your eyes shut and shouting “IS NOT” does not make the violence your ideology would commit go away. The debate is not about the violence: everybody else admits it is there. It’s about how delusional you are to talk about your emperor’s fine clothing when his naked violence is apparent to everybody else.

            “you muddy the waters philosophically by saying that there are no objective answers to the question of how property should be distributed”
            Welcome to the basic tenet of several hundred years of liberalism, which libertarians have abandoned in favor of a rigid and simplistic ideology. The idea that whether or not there is an objective answer out there, people can still believe different things and not be able to prove them objectively to each other. Hence, we must build institutions that broadly tolerate differences in belief and value, such as democracy and civil rights.

            I hope this has been illuminating for you. Maybe now you can grow up.

            • GM

              MH: You are irrelevant to the debate. Enjoy your life.

              On a footnote, to reinforce something I said earlier, most libertarians would accept that natural monopolies are inevitable at a local level for certain services, and that’s one major reason why local governments are not very objectionable in comparison to centralised nation-state governments. That’s why libertarians generally support secession and city-states. Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland’s system of cantons, Monaco and the Arab Emirates are modern applications of the principle of decentralisation.

              Furthermore, libertarians support the rule of law – that’s why many of us are libertarians. We see the legislative acts of the nation-state as being contrary to sound legal principles as expressed by natural law (or for some, the Common Law). Cities and smaller regions which escape from the nation-state are likely to improve their governance. If they are subsumed into a larger entity, they are likely to experience the gradual breakdown of law and order as a consequence of the advancement of socialist corruption: e.g. the USSR, the EU, and, sadly and eventually, the USA.

              In the final analysis, the libertarian message is: “let’s not kill or attack each other, or steal from each other, if we can possibly avoid it”. Some primitive people with an agenda, like MH, will say that this is meaningless. Most people with a bit of common sense will understand roughly what it means, which is why so many of them are embracing the message as soon as they are exposed to it. Likewise, most normal people will understand that there are few lessons to be drawn from the consequences of the collapse of central government following a civil war in an African desert (MH would have you believe that things would be so much better if the government hadn’t collapsed – but not with the help of any evidence to that effect).

              As the libertarian message gradually takes hold of the internet and in various parts of the world, it may in the very long-term be the case that Statists eventually find that they are treated with the same level of disgust as the common criminal (in the same way that those who openly profess extreme forms of Statism, such as Communism, are already considered to be psychologically troubled).

              • As a summary, can you simplify what you mean?

              • Mike Huben

                City-states? They have always been a recipe for conquest, since the time of the ancient Greeks, because they cannot defend themselves. Monaco, Hong Kong and Singapore relied on colonial empires for their defense. During WWII they were all taken by the Axis powers. Local governments cannot perform the fundamental task of government: protecting the territory. Switzerland has a history of wars between its Cantons and was conquered by France in 1798. If the Germans hadn’t been mired in a two-front battle, Switzerland wouldn’t have lasted long. Switzerland and the Arab Emirates are an examples of the centralization you deplore, rather than the decentralization you desire

                But this sort of historical ignorance is typical of libertarian wishful thinking.

                As for the “libertarian message” of rule of law and “let’s not kill or attack each other, or steal from each other, if we can possibly avoid it”, it is superficially no different than any democratic nation’s. The difference is due to details of what the law is and what killing is and what property is. When you look at libertarian ideas of law, killing and property, the craziness and idiocy stand out as we’ve seen here.

                “MH would have you believe that things would be so much better if the government [of Somalia] hadn’t collapsed”

                Here, once again, we have a made-up claim without a quotation. Somalia would be much better off if it had a stable government, something it has lacked for roughly a century. The problem libertarians don’t face is how to establish their “law”: they want others to sacrifice and bleed to establish it and hand it to them on a platter. Libertarians are moochers at best.

                • GM

                  Libertarian: “I think it would be better if people weren’t violent to each other. For example, a city should be free to set its own policies independently of other cities, just like an individual should be free to do what they want, independently of what the tribe wants them to do.”

                  MH: “You’re an idiot. An independent city can’t defend itself from other cities and from larger countries.”

                  Libertarian: “That might be true, but what I’m saying is that the general welfare would be improved if people didn’t attack each other in the first place. As a practical matter, if it’s true that a city needs help to defend itself, then I’m comfortable with people entering into insurance contracts and forming voluntary alliances and taking whatever other peaceful measures they feel are desirable to achieve that goal. The need for practical measures to defend property and local and individual sovereignty is not an argument against the protection of property or of local and individual sovereignty.”

                  MH: “You’re an idiot, you’re crazy, you’re naive, you don’t understand history, etc. etc.

                  Also: Somalia. QED.”

                  Libertarian: “What about Somalia?”

                  MH: “Somalia would be better off if it had a stable government.”

                  Libertarian: “It’s certainly true that Somalia would benefit from basic services such as a legal system, an effective police force, etc. Those services are frequently provided by stable governments. Unfortunately, there was a civil war as different groups fought for control of the government there. Lawlessness is common in many parts of Africa, and property rights are often very weak. What’s your point?”

                  (Tumbleweed rolls by…)

                  Libertarian: “Surely the statists have better arguments than this? Surely?”

                  MH: “Oh yeah, I remembered another argument. You’re a moocher. You want your legal system and your physical protection to be provided for free. Don’t you realise that people died to provide you with the government that protects you today?”

                  Libertarian: “I’m happy to pay for any legal and insurance services I consume. And with the monopolistic powers of the government taken away, those who provide legal and insurance services are likely to provide better quality at a much lower price, with huge benefits for society at large.”

                  MH: “You’re an idiot.”

                  • Mike Huben

                    Ah, it is always so easy to pretend to be intelligent when you can write both sides of a dialog. But you’re just fooling yourself.

                    Your “If only everybody could just be nice” argument works just as well for communism. It is wishful thinking along the lines of “I have a solution to all disease: don’t get sick!” Pardon us if we think you are an idiot.

                    There will ALWAYS be contrary people who disagree, will not cooperate and who will pursue their own private interests at a cost to others through holdout, betrayal, dishonesty, violence, etc. This is the basic political problem, and your happy talk glosses over it because you don’t have a workable solution.

                    And yes, you are an idiot in the Classical Greek sense and probably in more modern, colloquial senses as well.

                    • GM

                      Writing both sides is sometimes more productive than the alternative.

                      For the sake of clarity:

                      1) I accept that we aren’t going to have anything close to “perfect liberty” any time soon. That is a given. There are too many statists in too many positions of power (particularly in the educational establishment) for that to happen. But their arguments are being ruined by the competition for ideas on the internet, and people are gradually getting smarter, so we are gradually moving in the right direction in terms of a higher level of widespread understanding.

                      2) I have no desire to promote arguments which promote mild reforms of existing structures and modes of behaviour. My primary objective has been to understand what the truth is in terms of how humans ought to behave towards each other. If the truth is that some big changes would improve things, so be it. I will take accusations of not having a “workable solution” as badges of honour, when they are received from apologists for the status quo.

                      3) Finally, it is true that there will always be selfish people who have no interest in playing by the rules, whatever those rules might be. There will always be violent criminals and fraudsters, and there will always be statists who want violence to be institutionalised. The great thing about libertarianism is that it provides a framework for understanding what types of behaviours are likely to be in the interest of the greater good, and which types are likely to act against it. It’s a logical system which can be applied in a variety of situations. That’s why it’s spreading – because libertarians won’t admit that they are wrong simply because they are in a minority or because somebody uses an emotional argument against them. Somebody actually has to disprove their logic – which it turns out is not very easy. Watch MH explode in the comments here as an example. MH can take consolation from the fact that the statist grip over the educational establishment is likely to keep him in the mainstream for at least one more generation – but perhaps not much longer than that.

                    • Mike Huben

                      “Writing both sides is sometimes more productive than the alternative.”

                      Any propagandist, fundamentalist, huckster or other professional liar will affirm that. What’s your excuse?

                      “But their arguments are being ruined by the competition for ideas on the internet, and people are gradually getting smarter, so we are gradually moving in the right direction in terms of a higher level of widespread understanding.”

                      Ah, fact-free assertions that you’re “winning”. A staple of ideology.

                      “My primary objective has been to understand what the truth is in terms of how humans ought to behave towards each other.”

                      And what are you going to do when we laugh at your ideas about the “truth”? Coerce us?

                      As for your “understanding”, it seems to have degenerated to vague platitudes. Because it is so empty of content, when challenged by real-world problems you just make up fictitious dialogues and other stories.

                      “Finally, it is true that there will always be selfish people who have no interest in playing by the rules, whatever those rules might be.”

                      No, the problem is far worse than that. The problem is that there will be holdouts who do not even want rules. You will never have unanimity for large groups of people, but many important goals (pretty much all public goods such as defense) require broad cooperation whether or not everybody agrees. There is no libertarian solution for these sorts of problems: they are well-known market failures where government is the second-best solution.

                      And finally, you make the laughable assertion that libertarianism is “logical”: that’s one of many Libertarian Self-Delusions.

                    • GM

                      You’re laughing, really? Seems more like your panicking, Mike. Statists generally run a mile when challenged so I will give you points for at least not running away from the thread.

                      To answer your question, I’m not going to coerce you. I’m going to accept that there are many many violent people in the world, including yourself, and make the best of it.

                      The wonderful slice of content you’ve left us with here is “public goods”. Never heard that one before! Defense! Defense from warmongering statists in other countries using the same rubbish arguments on their own populations! Good one, Mike!

                      We don’t have euphemisms on our side of the debate, Mike. Peace is referred to as “peace” and war is referred to as “war”. Thanks for reminding us that we’re on the pro-peace side over here. You won’t find any defenders of war over on this side of the debate. And after more than a decade of lethal and unnecessary US rogue state war, I’m surprised that you can’t find a less embarrassing argument for statism.

                    • Mike Huben

                      Panicking? Project much, newbie? I’ve been arguing against fools like you for decades.

                      Oh, and people “run a mile when challenged” by libertarians the same way they walk away from Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, 9/11 Truthers and other people with uninteresting, looney beliefs.

                      Oh, and you do violently coerce everybody already: that’s what property is all about. Libertarians smugly think they are non-violent and that somehow property just magically, non-violently happens. Sorry, you can’t freeload that way either. Raised in a stable, relatively well governed society, you think you hit a triple when you were simply born on third base.

                      “We don’t have euphemisms on our side of the debate”

                      Oh no? I have a page with 76 libertarian propaganda terms which says otherwise.

                      Like most libertarians, you either repeat propaganda or make up unsupported assertions. The only thing that keep you going is your fervent belief in your ideology.

      • “This helps us to understand international borders as representing little more than the demarcation lines for the allotments of different political crime groups,”

        So nationalism doesn’t exist? Irish people (for example) have no shared, culture, history or identity? One of the problems with libertarianism is that it only cares about money and strips away all the social aspects of life as if they don’t exist.

        “The inevitable outcome is that the political classes grow, and the exploitation of those who do not seek favours from the State becomes more intense.”

        How do you explain the fact that the size of the state peaked in the 1970s and declined in many countries?

        “State-worshippers attribute the existence of property to the existence of the State. They have to deal with unsettling evidence to the contrary all the time,”

        I would love to see this evidence.

        “as proponents of the State, they also have to take intellectual responsibility for interstate war.”

        That makes as much sense as claiming libertarians must take responsibility for all non-state violence. Though it should be said that I have no problem with the Irish state which has never gone to war since independence. Libertarians often forget that America is not the only state.

    • I find it strange that you and the other libertarians who comment here, view property and freedom as all or nothing binary options. In your view, we are either 100% or 0% free. You can either do everything or nothing with your property. In your worldview, there is no middle ground.

  24. NYOB

    Robert,
    I don’t necessarily agree with everything you said in this article, but I do agree with one thing. Taxation is not theft. I understand that some people hate the government. I, however, believe that government is a good ordinance in some ways. Back to taxation…the entire purpose of taxation is to supply the government with money. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that is all the government uses taxes for…that’s what taxation is for…getting revenue for our governments.
    Now, from reading your bio, I understand that you a left winged Social Democrat, which is fine. I don’t really care what side you are on. I do however care that you think it’s perfectly fine if the government wants to give people free stuff. I’m not sure how it is in Ireland, but in America, that’s not okay. We live in a capitalistic economy…a free market economy. Under the American constitution, there is no hope for socialism because it strips the American people of all her freedoms. It just bothers me what people rely on the government when they can be doing something so much better, making a profit for them and their families.
    Is it right that the government has control over every aspect of my life? I don’t think so…but for all those who are against taxation….it’s the government. What are you going to do about it? Fight back? No, vote! Vote for the right people who have you in mind not just themselves. They say, I want change, and they vote for some lunatic whose just like the rest of the politicians. Like, come on! Get a head, people!

    • Mike Huben

      “We live in a capitalistic economy…a free market economy.”
      If you think that, you are not being realistic. We live in a mixed economy, with both capitalist and socialist elements. Nor can there be a “free market economy”: see here.

      “Under the American constitution, there is no hope for socialism because it strips the American people of all her freedoms.”
      That’s silly hyperbolic word salad. “No hope”? “All freedoms”? But let’s start with the most obvious thing: our government’s Constitution is socialist in that it requires involuntary financing and produces good for all. The most obvious Constitutional example is our socialist defense system. And what part of our Constitution is capitalist? No part. No more than the Constitution is a Christian religious document.

      As for “give people free stuff”: you mean like defense, roads, police, courts and education? None of these are actually free stuff: they are all (technically) “club goods” and “public goods”. We all pay for them in a large social contract. Or are you talking about welfare, unemployment insurance, social security, medicare, etc? Those too are part of the social contract, the social insurance part. It is only by closing your eyes to shout libertarian rhetoric that you can pretend we are giving away free stuff. It is as if you were talking about retirement plans and insurance company payouts as “free stuff”. You have to ignore the institutions and myopically focus on individuals to think it is free.

      But I’m glad we agree that taxation is not theft.

    • NYOB,

      I’m curious, if you don’t believe taxation is theft, yet (I assume, based on your comments) you don’t believe the government rightly owns all the land in the United States, what logical basis do you have for declaring taxation not to be theft?

      I think any pro-tax argument logically leads to the evil conclusions of the OP. And I don’t think anti-tax arguments logically lead to “Somalia.”

      BTW: the comments by different people of “rigid ideology” are really no more than a “We don’t want to be moral so we’ll mock the people who are” and should be ignored. Please don’t fall back on that. Explain why taxation is OK.

      Thanks.

    • I’m glad we agree but you use far too many bland cliches in your comment. You complain about the government giving people “free stuff”. Do you mean education, healthcare and security?

      You then jump to criticising socialism as if there are only two types of government, as if the only choice is between the USA and the USSR. I am not in favour of either socialism or the government controlling every part of your life, so I’m not sure why you brought it up.

  25. Doug

    Gosh, I have been convince to change my evil ways. How could I be so stupid and misguided? So if one person wants to steal my car, then I and others in my community will vote to stop it. But if a majority of the people in my community want to steal my car, then that’s perfectly okay (as long as they vote on an emissary of the State to do it on their behalf, of course).

    What an idiot.

    • Mike Huben

      You sort of missed the point that “your” car is leased, and the required rental payments are what you contracted for. Property owned in the US comes with strings attached such as taxes, and has for centuries. For you to pretend otherwise is childish.

  26. “Theft is the taking of assets of from people without their consent and giving nothing in return.”

    And what else wouldn’t you think is theft?

    I know. Probably slavery, cause who owns himself, right? They certainly got something in return for their slavery, and the fact that they did not run to the neighboring slave master demonstrates their “consent” to the actions of their own master.

    Thankfully anyone who thinks can see through your anti-propertarian, violent bs. Statists gonna state; and all that EVER means is an endless vomit of excuses to justify initiating violence against peaceful people.

    Brah, we know you’ve got tons of excuses; it’s in the nature of the morally disgusting. Unfortunately, none of them are actually good reasons to initiate violence against peaceful people.

    • The individual is the enemy of the state, they are fair game for increasing taxation, they are kept in the dark as what politicians are up to until its just put out what is going to happen, to them, instructions to police as revenue raising, council rate increases, pension cutting, the fact is the general public are all outsiders to what the politicians scheme, they in turn are instructed by institutes such as the IMF, as to how to create the rules and handle the public, all you need to know its not in your interest.

  27. SHIVANK MEHRA

    //The state owns the land// Unfounded claim. If property depends upon who can use force to back his claim, then why have laws at all? The ultimate origin of property is life itself. Property comes into being when you mix your labor with unclaimed resources to transform them for your use. Since the created product is a product of your labor and of your life, aggression against that product is aggression against your life. This is how property comes into being: by production and exchange, not by brute force.

    • Mike Huben

      Ah. The The Lockean Fable of Initial Acquisition. Expend some effort and some mystical process has magically converted something into “property”.

      And then there’s the sympathetic magic of “aggression against that product is aggression against your life”. You made a voodoo doll of yourself, and when Joe steals it and sticks pins in it you are supposed to be hurt? Give us a break.

      Property comes into being by brute force: it is easily observable and well recorded throughout history. It is only by shutting your eyes and wailing “does not!” that you can pretend otherwise.

  28. “Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face, there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy.”

    -John Derbyshire
    This quote about sums up this article.

  29. Mike Huben

    As opposed to your preferred “Gun shooting a human face, with a white, male, racist libertarian explaining that economic freedoms are not being violated”?

    It is easy for third-rate hack John Derbyshire to pervert an Orwellian metaphor to any purpose he wants, as long as we conveniently forget about the fact that Orwell was a democratic socialist writing against fascism.

  30. You almost defined theft properly when you said “Theft is the taking of assets of from people without their consent and giving nothing in return.”

    You should amend that to say “Theft is the taking of assets of from people without their consent.”

    It doesn’t matter what you give me in return. It doesn’t matter that YOU value what you’re giving me more than what you’re taking. It’s not for you to decide. I didn’t tell you you could take it. That makes it theft.

    As far as consent being given by “us” collectively…I mean, the oldest argument in the libertarian book explains exactly why that is nonsense. Two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner does not mean the sheep consents to being eaten. As Rothbard (I know, I know) put it:

    “The government does not in any accurate sense ‘represent’ the majority of the people. But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority. No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that ‘we are all part of one another,’ must be permitted to obscure this basic fact.”

    • Mike Huben

      Property owned in the US comes with strings attached such as taxes, and has for centuries. For you to pretend otherwise is childish. Theft doesn’t come into it.

      Your redefinition “Theft is the taking of assets of from people without their consent” fails the real-world tests of foreclosure and reposession, which are not theft. In those cases, as with taxes, you may HOLD assets, but you might not OWN them completely. In most nations of the world, you do not own your earnings completely: the government has a legal tax claim on them. If you don’t want to consent to that tax claim, renounce your citizenship and move to one of the nations without income tax. You don’t own the US, and don’t just get whatever law you want.

      I deal with the wolves/sheep strawman in my Non-Libertarian FAQ.

      Rothbard is an idiot. The government does represent the majority in most things, though it is often checked by strong minority interests. And he doesn’t seem to realize that our US government DID slaughter the indigenous minority, or he won’t admit it because it would necessitate return of lands and reparations to their descendants. And the reason that could occur is not because they were a minority, but because they were disenfranchised from democratic representation in our government.

      • With reference to Hubens, comment on Rothbard, I have to say I join these group of idiots, in principal I am sympathetic to his view on banking and also military, the problem with leaving say America, for avoidance of income tax is not practical for most people, as the costs outside income tax payment is too great, unless you have millions of dollars, as it happens corporations that have multi millions are able to avoid most taxes.
        If the individual is against state policies as a conscientious objector to the state, as in military objectives and has beliefs such as their mind being owned by the state and such like, as some people believe. The state is a organization run principally by what is considered the legal authority? of a few, this authority is backed by the ability to enforce the rules of the rules, a police state and military organization, beyond this condition the state has no moral nor spiritual validation of any agreed status.

  31. Amir

    “The state owns the land and if you want to live on the land you must pay rent.”

    The state owns nothing. The state is—supposedly, and in theory—a representation of the people. Whatever is “owned by the government” is actually collectively owned by the people. So if I’m paying rent for land to someone and they don’t actually own the land then that’s fraud.

    “It is not theft if you receive something in return.”

    No, a voluntary transaction is one defined where both parties agrees to what exchange should take place. If I take all your money and buy you a nice house for that money it’s still theft, regardless whether you enjoy your new house or not.

    “Libertarians sometimes act as though taxes disappear into a black hole and are never seen again. In reality, we receive from the government protection and a commitment to justice.”

    What happens with the money is completely irrelevant so they might as well have disappeared into a black hole. We certainly do not receive a commitment to justice—at least not a sincere one.

    “We also receive education, healthcare, transportation, safe food, employment protection and enforcement of contracts. There is also redistribution and welfare in the event of sickness, poverty and old age. So libertarians make the bizarre argument that the government is a thief who gives more than he steals (due to economic inequality most people receive more than they pay in taxes).”

    All these things people can do without governments and you most certainly cannot prove that this isn’t so. You certainly can’t extrapolate by saying that it’s never been tried and therefore it doesn’t work—any system was untested at some point. The difference here is that libertarians are not interested in using violence to implement their fundamental ideas. And no, governments take more than they give—that’s why the debt is enormous in the US. Basic economics: I take item A of value X, item B of value Y and produce item C with value Z. If Z > X + Y then I’ve generated wealth. If Z < X + Y then I’ve destroyed wealth. How is trillions of dollars in debt giving more than taking?

    “Furthermore, what sort of thief lets you decide how your money is spent or how much he takes?”

    Completely irrelevant. The act of theft is to take the property of someone else without their explicit consent. Once again, what happens afterwards is irrelevant.

    “Yet the government is subject to the will of the people. We choose whether we want our taxes to be higher or lower when we vote.”

    We don’t choose. We vote. And then about half the population don’t get their choice and so are subject to the will of others and get more money taken from them than they would consent to. Again, theft.

    “Based on the failure of libertarians to win elections, most people seem quite content with taxation. There’s nothing stopping a libertarian party from being set up and winning an election.”

    Libertarianism is an ethical philosophy more than a political one. I suggest you read, preferably as objectively as you can, a bit more about libertarianism as ethics. The politics follow relatively simply from there.

    “A key element of the definition of theft is that the victim does not consent to it. But if people do not vote for parties that promise to reduce taxes, but instead for parties that keep taxes at the current level, then must not consider themselves the victims of theft. They must consent to taxes.”

    It seems that you are assuming here that everyone votes. I don’t think you actually believe this, though, but I could be wrong. Certainly, if I vote for a party that wants to keep taxes at 15% and that party gets selected then it’s not really theft, I consented to it. If I vote for a party that taxes only 12% but the 15% party wins then those 3% I did not consent to. If I did not vote at all—because voting legitimizes state violence which many libertarians fundamentally oppose—then any percentage is theft.

    “But a libertarian would argue that they never agreed to this. Even if they receive more than they pay, they never consented to pay anything. But that is an implicit part of citizenship. Being a citizen comes with rights and responsibilities.”

    The entire problem lies specifically with the whole “citizen” thing. Being a citizen is something that must be recognized by the state whereas (some) libertarians claim that the state does not have any particular authority—beyond its monopoly on “legitimate” use of force—to decide whether or not I’m a “citizen”. There are rights, yes. My responsibility is to respect other people’s rights. What those rights are is the key difference between libertarians/anarcho-capitalists and statists.

    “You have a right to protection and certain services but also a responsibility to pay for these services.”

    This is one of those rights that libertarians and statists disagree on. It seems more and more that you may not have fully understood why rights were implemented in the first place and how they work and the underlying logic behind ethics and principles, the core things that any civilization rests on. A right to protection means a right to force someone to protect me and a right to force someone to pay so that protection may exist in society. You’re using aggression to provide a service meant to prevent aggression, and that’s where your logic falls. Especially when that institution itself commits acts of illegitimate aggression all the time.

    “You have a right to vote but a responsibility to accept the result even if your party does not win.”

    Same as above: it boils down to a right to initiate force against others to get what I want or be subject to the aggressions of others.

    “Sure I never consented to being a citizen of Ireland, but then again I never consented to capitalism either. I never agreed to live in a society with either democracy or private property. I never agreed to elections being held every five years or the current distribution of property.”

    You not consenting to capitalism is moot because you have no authority over other people’s lives. Capitalism is essentially individual/private property rights and that system is in place because of the scarcity of resources that exist in the world. If we had a limitless supply of anything we wanted then capitalism—private property rights—would be almost pointless from an economic point of view—but even then emotional bonds to certain services or goods may give them a higher value than other, almost identical things. For example, if there are three plates that are identical and my mother gives me one while two other strangers give me the other two I might consider the plate my mother gave me to be more valuable to me than the rest. So I would want to keep it. Can communism, for example, respect this wish if someone else wants the plate?

    “Do we have to have a social revolution every time someone disagrees with the way things are? The fact is that there are lots of things we never agreed to, but have to live with. We have to live under some sort of political and economic system that will be to some extent arbitrary, but it simply isn’t feasible to have everyone make up their own rules.”

    Not everyone is going to make up their own rules and the level of arbitrariness can be significantly lowered. Libertarianism is a very minimal one in that sense wheras democracy is pretty up there.

    But let’s take a step back. Why do we have to live under some sort of political and economic system? Certainly lions, whales or foxes do not have to. We don’t either. It’s just beneficial to cooperate. Cooperation can be very much facilitated by a promise that people won’t be randomly assaulting or killing each other. If Adam wants to kill Ben and Ben wants to be left alone, technically their wills have equal value—that is, none. The fact that Ben’s will is considered to be prevalent is rather arbitrary but based on the fact that people in general prefer to not be killed over killing and that cooperation is usually better for both than fighting each other. It’s based on emotions and limited experience but a bit arbitrary nonetheless.

    So no, we don’t actually need any system of any kind, it’s just very beneficial to have one. Then there are good systems and bad systems, and what constitutes good and bad is also, well… a matter of opinion. The important thing of course is that the opinion of statists involves initiating force against others whereas libertarians reject such use of force.

    “The problem with most libertarian arguments is that it assumes we have only rights but no responsibilities. It assumes that we have no duties to the poor, the sick, the elderly or even to children. If a man was starving and a libertarian had two loaves of bread, he wouldn’t share it with the man unless he felt like it.”

    Please tell me where this responsibility comes from. Explain to me who gets to decide what responsibilities individuals have. We do not have duties to them. This is another statist way of thinking that is remarkably close to religious ways of thinking. If I have two loaves of bread and some adult on the street is starving and you forcefully take one of my loaves to help the starving person, you may think you’ve done good but to me you’re just putting yourself above me by aggressing against me in order to decide the outcome you wish to have. Your actions are based on your emotions and without respect to my feelings or rights. This makes you a person who cannot be trusted because any system with rights relies on people respecting those rights. It is also a bit conceited to think that you have some moral right to aggress against me for doing something you think is good. What if I was planning on giving half a loaf of bread each to four starving children, and now two children starve to death because you stole that loaf from me? Do you still feel like your actions are justified?

    “That is not a political ideology but a mental problem called sociopathology.”

    You are right in that it is not a political ideology. It is certainly not a mental problem. A mental problem is believing that a system involving governments who have killed hundreds of millions of people, constantly committed fraud and systematic imprisonment and torture of millions of people is necessary for civilization. That mental problem is called “no reason”.

    “We do have responsibilities to others in society and the government exists to enforce them. Our common humanity unites us and means that the suffering of others is our suffering too.”

    No responsibility. You invented this responsibility because it makes you feel good and you simply cannot stand people who don’t feel the same way you do. You don’t get to decide what unites who and whose suffering is another person’s suffering, etc. You’re clearly extrapolating from a subset of the people and applying to the whole set.

    “We cannot rest easy if the streets outside our house are full of destitute. A libertarian world would be a cold and empty one, where people sit alone counting their money, blind to poverty, hunger and misery.”

    How do you know this would happen? How do you know what a libertarian world would look like? This is grand delusional because no one has nearly enough facts and data to even begin attempt a simulation of what a libertarian society would be like and how it would end up. Have the humility to accept that you don’t know.

    “Libertarians make the mistake of thinking of people as isolated individuals isolated from the rest of the world.”

    Wrong. There is tons of stuff out there that speaks about people cooperating in a libertarian society, where things happen peacefully and voluntarily. You probably just missed it.

    “They act as though, I and I alone earned my wage and therefore it belongs to no one else. In reality, we are hugely dependent on others and society.”

    Do you understand economics? Do you know what money is? Let me give you a very brief breakdown: Money is credit, a quantitative way to measure the value of something I produced, be it an item or a service. Therefore, my wage is exactly the value I receive from offering something of value to me to someone else. Of course, we are dependant on others—but not society. Society is not something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Society is just what sort of naturally arises from people cooperating. This is yet another problem with statists: they view states and societies as entities of their own that are somehow larger and more valuable than the value of the things that make them up. It is value placed completely arbitrarily at the whim of emotions and without respect to those who disagree with your values—and the kye is that the statists are the aggressors, not the libertarians.

    “Would we earn anywhere near enough money if we did not have public roads, education, health, energy etc?”

    I don’t know and neither do you. Claiming otherwise is a lie. As for your roads, read this: http://libertarianmoney.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/the-definitive-guide-to-who-will-build-the-roads/. Then apply the same concept to education, health care, energy, infrastructure, security—what have you. If you don’t believe humans are good enough or capable of doing these things voluntarily then why are you letting the same people have so much power in the form of a government? How do you ensure that only the “good” people get power? You can’t, and history has clearly shown that even democracy is horribly poor at making sure the good people get to the top. There is nothing stable about waging world wars that cost more money than available gold (why do you think fiat currencies were invented?) and there is certainly nothing stable about warmongers who sit on nuclear weapons.

    “I did not create everything myself, but instead built on the work of previous generations and worked alongside other members of society. No man is an island and there is no such thing as a self-made person, in reality we are standing on the shoulders of giants. We got to where we are today due to in large parts due to the society we live in, so it is only fair that we pay something to support it. If you don’t believe me, compare your life to what it would be if you lived in a Third World country? Isn’t it worth paying to avoid that?”

    Our society in itself is built on systems that were far less civilized. We wouldn’t have gotten where we are today without them. By your logic, we should pay something to support them as well, or in some way make sure that they are also fairly compensated. No, it is not “fair” that we pay something to support it. “Society” is not an entity, something you seem to believe. Fairness is a social construct that only applies between individuals. And this system is also doing a lot of harm and it is conceited to believe that anyone or any group of people has the moral right to rule over others and decide what is fair or what level of harm is acceptable for something so arbitrarily and imaginary as “the greater good”.

    “In reality, libertarians do not truly object to coercion or taxes, they only object to the government doing so.”

    Wrong. Please read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-aggression_principle

    “If a private landlord compelled people to live by onerous rules about drugs, guns and religion, libertarians would have no problem.”

    It’s their private property so anyone who decides to rent (part of) that property will certainly have a written contract where all involved parties agree on the terms of the deal. As I mentioned before, the state does not own the land because the state is a representation of the people. If the state legitimately owned the land then I would like to see a written contract that spells out when the population relinquished ownership of the land to the government. By the way, that land was stolen from natives. It is not legitimately owned by the state.

    “If a starving man agreed to work for half the normal wages because otherwise he would die, a libertarian praises the free market.”

    If an individual decides that working for a poor wage is better than starving to death then this should be acceptable. Why do you meddle with this person’s individual choice? If you feel it’s not right to give someone such a low salary, find someone who will employ that person and pay them more. Solve the problem peacefully. Statists love the easy way out, and that usually involves violence.

    “If a man has to pay half his wages in taxes without which he would die, a libertarian is outraged.”

    Not true.

    “Every abuse of government power that libertarians rail against would still occur in a libertarian society, the only difference would be that it would be even worse.”

    I suggest you ponder your beliefs more carefully before subscribing to them. Examples of abuse of government power that cannot occur in a libertarian society: massive concentration camps, huge prisons, massive privacy intrusion, police abuse (there is no police to police the police). And you certainly do not know that these things would be worse. This is completely arbitrary.

    “The very notion of property is dependent on the state, without which we would be reduced the endless strife and the rule of the strongest.”

    Is it now? Because I’m pretty sure that property is essentially property rights and rights can ultimately only be defended with violence. Who said only the state may use violence? If I have a gun in my home I can defend my property myself, I don’t need the state to protect it for me. I could hire a security firm if I wanted to take that off my mind. I’m sure the market demand for security is enormous. Why a monopoly on that? What if the state isn’t handling it well, and this goes on and on? At what point do we decide that it just isn’t working anymore and that they’re not handling the monopoly on violence the way they should and that this power should be taken from them? It boils down to this: Not everyone feels they have some moral obligation to humanity as a whole and you forcing them to live under your system is nothing but oppression based on your arbitrarily chosen belief. If you can prove to me that this obligation exists naturally I will reconsider my position.

    “Taxes are a payment to support civilisation and avoid a descent into anarchy."

    Anarchy is a beautiful thing. Anarchy means no rule; it does not mean no rules. You want to use force to prevent force. You employ uncivilized methods to have a civil society. It’s a contradiction.

    “Theft is the taking of assets of from people without their consent and giving nothing in return. Taxes on the other hand are consented to by citizens (as seen by their continual support for taxation parties and their refusal to vote for libertarian parties or move to tax havens) in exchange for services.”

    I’ve already answered this. Those who disagree with the (level of) tax you employ have a full moral right to claim that the difference is theft.

    “Citizens choose the level of these taxes and where they go as well as consenting to abide by majority rule if their preferred option is not selected.”

    Some citizens make the choice and then men with guns force others to obey.

    “Taxes are no more theft than rent is extortion, by living in that location we are agreeing to abide by its rules and pay the charges. If we don’t agree we can either change the rules or move.”

    http://libertarianmoney.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/7-reasons-youre-not-free-to-leave/

    • Mike Huben

      Now that’s a long rant for a reply. I’m going to reply to just your first claim:

      “The state owns nothing. The state is—supposedly, and in theory—a representation of the people. Whatever is “owned by the government” is actually collectively owned by the people. So if I’m paying rent for land to someone and they don’t actually own the land then that’s fraud.”

      You could make the same exact argument about a corporation representing its stockholders. So are all payments to corporations then fraud in your book? Your argument doesn’t pass the sniff test.

      For all your ranting, your basic problem is that you do not own the government, US territory, national resources or rudimentary intelligence. If you presumed that these were privately owned, then almost everything the government does that you complain about would be fine with you.

      • “Now that’s a long rant for a reply. I’m going to reply to just your first claim:

        ‘The state owns nothing. The state is—supposedly, and in theory—a representation of the people. Whatever is “owned by the government” is actually collectively owned by the people. So if I’m paying rent for land to someone and they don’t actually own the land then that’s fraud.’

        You could make the same exact argument about a corporation representing its stockholders. So are all payments to corporations then fraud in your book? Your argument doesn’t pass the sniff test.”

        WHAT? Are you retarded? It wouldnt be fraud if a corporation asked their shareholders to pay them a fee, then backed it up with threats. It’d be extortion, a form of up-front theft. When someone doesn’t hide their theft to the victim, and employs threats to facilitate the theft, that’s extortion.

        And you really shouldn’t have been so lazy in your reply. The guy totally blew away the whole article piece by piece, and you’re like “imma say something about your first claim out of 25, and be wrong about it too.” You come off like a 12 year old.

        • Reference to theft and corporations, here in Australia, Coles, the supermarket, require money from their suppliers, they have threatened suppliers that they may be dumped if they do not respond with cash, if they do not pay up, I would think this is extortion, the outcome is unknown to me on this issue.

      • Amir

        First, the shareholders of that company volunteered to buy those stocks. Second, upon purchasing these stocks you come to a certain agreement, voluntarily, with that company about what it means for you to own a certain amount of shares in that company. Owning stocks means owning a part of that company. I can sell my share of the stock and no longer be tied to the company. I cannot do the same with the state. My argument holds. Your counter-argument does not.

        My “rant” is the use of logic to counter your arguments and you have yet to even begin to counter mine.

        “…your basic problem is that you do not own the government, US territory, national resources or rudimentary intelligence. If you presumed that these were privately owned, then almost everything the government does that you complain about would be fine with you.”

        It is quite simple: It does not matter who the aggressor is—government, terrorists, nazis, liberals, christians, hockey players or soccer moms. It’s wrong. The problem is with aggression and the government exists only because they were, by a subset of the people of a geographical area, given a monopoly on legitimate use of aggression. If these were privately owned and they aggressed then I would be exactly equally against them.

        Let me reiterate this point: I am not concerned over whether something is “publically” owned or “privately” owned. I am concerned with illegitimate use of aggression.

        Now, I have made about thirty or so other arguments I would love to have countered.

  32. Thross

    So if I choose to live in a neighborhood where every day I walk out of my house and a guy comes and takes money from me at gunpoint, I’m not being stolen from because I chose to live in that neighborhood and because he spends the money on things that are supposedly good for me (but I have no idea if they actually are because I haven’t had an opportunity to experience the world that manifests where I get to keep my resources and spend them 100% how I want) and because the majority of the people who live in that neighborhood voted for that guy to have the right to mug everyone?

    I must respectfully disagree.

    • The point of this post was that even if the state was abolished a man would still take money from you (implicitly at gunpoint), the only difference is that he would be called a landlord rather than the government. Also unlike with a robbery we get to decide how much we are robbed and what it is spent on.

      Sure you have never experienced a world without the state, but you have also never experienced a world without capitalism either. How do you know that a system of private ownership of the means of production is better than one of communal ownership when you have never experienced it?

  33. There are many many many (!) errors and fallacies in this post.

    “It is not theft if you receive something in return.”

    So you’d be okay with me stealing $100 from you, and returning $80 worth of food to you? I met your simple criteria. I returned something.

    There’s nothing stopping libertarian candidates from winning elections….except the public school system which discourages kids to think critically (especially of government), plus all the tens of millions of entrenched police officers, bankers, bureaucrats, politicians, lobbyists, and corporations that depend on the state existing for a living. You expect them to vote against their own paycheck?

    There’s just so much wrong I can’t even cover it all.

    Yes, I drove on a govenrment road to get to work today. What other choice did I have? The government won’t let anyone build private roads to compete with them. Plus we pay through the nose via gas taxes. If we didn’t have that burden, we could have more money to put towards private roads.

    Government is not like a landlord at all. There is no mutual consent.

    You say “by living somewhere you consent to abide by the rules” which means in your dumb analogy you are born in a house and in that house a gun, or threat of one, is pointed at your parents, and they are given the choice to either pay 25%+ of their income or go to jail, unless they leave not only the house but the entire street. Once you start working, you pay too And every other street has the same rules.

    Government policies hurt the poor more than any other group. So you’re wrong about that too. Ending the state would raise the poor’s quality of life exponentially.

    Basically you’re wrong about everything

    • “except the public school system which discourages kids to think critically (especially of government)”

      So we’d all be libertarians if it wasn’t for public school brainwashing?

      “plus all the tens of millions of entrenched police officers, bankers, bureaucrats, politicians, lobbyists, and corporations that depend on the state existing for a living.”

      Your numbers are off by a few orders of magnitude, plus there are plenty of conservative public servants.

      “in your dumb analogy you are born in a house and in that house a gun, or threat of one, is pointed at your parents, and they are given the choice to either pay 25%+ of their income or go to jail, unless they leave not only the house but the entire street.”

      Is there a gun pointing at me right now forcing me to pay rent to my landlord? Its hardly a free agreement as I have to rent from someone.

      “Government policies hurt the poor more than any other group. So you’re wrong about that too. Ending the state would raise the poor’s quality of life exponentially.”

      [Citation needed].

      So I suppose the fact that receiving moire in welfare and paying less in tax hurts the poor more than any other group even the rich? And I’m the one who is is supposedly wrong about everything?

  34. >Government policies hurt the poor more than any other group. So you’re wrong about that too. Ending the state would raise the poor’s quality of life exponentially.<

    Do you have evidence to support these assertions? Because currently, millions of poor people depend on government assistance to help supplement their incomes each month. That assistance is literally the difference between having food on the table and keeping a roof over peoples' heads. Take that assistance away, and where are people going to magically acquire the money needed to make basic ends meet? It certainly won't be charity, bc charities cannot meet the needs of the poor.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/30/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20140330

    “The truth is that private, communal and religious giving simply can’t meet the needs that government programs handle. Let’s examine why.

    To begin with, charitable organizations typically fall prey to the same economic pressures as the rest of society. “Giving falls when it’s needed the most,” observes Christopher Wimer, an expert on poverty and the social safety net at Columbia University.

    In economic terminology, charitable giving is pro-cyclical, not counter-cyclical, unlike programs such as unemployment insurance and food stamps, which expand to meet rising needs.

    The trend from the Great Recession is evident in data from Giving USA, a clearinghouse for information on philanthropy. U.S. philanthropic giving fell from $344.5 billion in 2007 to $293.7 billion in 2009; then rose back to $316.2 billion in 2012 (the figures are adjusted for inflation).

    But the total still hasn’t returned to inflation-adjusted levels seen in 2004. Reductions were seen in all categories of donors — corporations, foundations, bequests and individuals — and also fell as percentages of personal income and gross domestic product.

    Nor was that a new phenomenon. Part of the mythology of the Great Depression is that charitable giving rose during those hard times, but the truth is exactly the opposite. Overall giving fell by more than a fifth from 1929 through 1933, adjusted for inflation, before starting to recover. Among the wealthy, it fell an inflation-adjusted 70% in 1931-35 — about the magnitude of the stock market drop that had devastated wealth in the capital-owning class.

    As the Depression took hold in the 1930s, the cost of caring for the unemployed and elderly quickly wiped out the resources of community and church groups, and then of state relief programs that had stepped in to fill the gap. The federal government responded with a series of relief programs, the most far-reaching of which, of course, was Social Security, which provided for not only old-age pensions but federalized unemployment insurance to relieve the states’ burden.

    Another issue is that philanthropic giving is not synonymous — at all — with helping the needy. Quite the contrary.

    As charitable giving is structured in the United States today, it too often plays out not as the rich helping out the poor, but as the rich increasing the gap between themselves and the poor.

    A 2007 study by Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy found that only 30% of individual giving in the benchmark year of 2005 was aimed at the needs of the poor — including contributions for basic needs, donations to healthcare institutions, for scholarships and allocations from religious groups. (The study was commissioned by Google.)”

  35. Mariana

    You can’t “own” a country, this is ridiculous. Just because it is written in some paper that the state owns a huge land doesn’t mean it is actually theirs. If some bureaucrat signed a paper that gave him the entire universe it woudn’t mean he is the king of the universe and that he every alien should pay him rent.

    • Mike Huben

      I recommend that you look above at my postings with the word “allodial” in them. They explain the meaning of the word, and why government owns a country.

      By the way, there are plenty of examples of people privately owning countries. We often called them kings, in case you’ve forgotten.

    • You can make that argument against all private property. Just because it is written on a piece of paper that [insert company or individual] owns a huge land soesn’t mean it is actually theirs. If some private individual had a piece of paper claiming they had the property right to the whole universe . . .

  36. Fred Uniborn

    You cannot implicitly sign contracts. Contracts exist for this very reason.
    Furthermore, we’re talking about newborns implicitly signing contracts by the act of being born in a certain geographical point. Ludicrous.

    • Mike Huben

      For more than 20 years, my Non-Libertarian FAQ has shown how stupid that argument is. If I may cite myself:

      The constitution and the laws are our written contracts with the government.
      There are several explicit means by which people make the social contract with government. The commonest is when your parents choose your residency and/or citizenship after your birth. In that case, your parents or guardians are contracting for you, exercising their power of custody. No further explicit action is required on your part to continue the agreement, and you may end it at any time by departing and renouncing your citizenship.
      Immigrants, residents, and visitors contract through the oath of citizenship (swearing to uphold the laws and constitution), residency permits, and visas. Citizens reaffirm it in whole or part when they take political office, join the armed forces, etc. This contract has a fairly common form: once entered into, it is implicitly continued until explicitly revoked. Many other contracts have this form: some leases, most utility services (such as phone and electricity), etc.
      Some libertarians make a big deal about needing to actually sign a contract. Take them to a restaurant and see if they think it ethical to walk out without paying because they didn’t sign anything. Even if it is a restaurant with a minimum charge and they haven’t ordered anything. The restaurant gets to set the price and the method of contract so that even your presence creates a debt. What is a libertarian going to do about that? Create a regulation?

      There’s more at the FAQ, probably refuting most followup arguments you’d make. Enjoy it!

    • This is ludicrous only if you regard the social contract as a legal agreement. However the term “social contract” was ever a notional agreement or virtual contract in the sense of being an agreement in essence or effect though not FORMALLY recognized or admitted.

  37. russ

    OHHH So it’s not theft, It’s extortion. Thanks for clearing it up!

  38. The thing is the government should NOT own all the land. The government is merely a public servant that enforces basic rules. They can keep the roads, forests, parks and other areas public, but that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t have the right to, say, live on them because they can’t afford a shelter. As you pointed out, they have to live somewhere. If you make money then you should be taxed, but not for merely existing.

    The problem with taxes is that people don’t WANT certain services from the government that rely on taxes. The roads and military are essential and automatically benefit everyone, so are police and other emergency services, but stuff like Foreign Aid, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Insurance, and yes, Welfare, is purely situational and unsolicited in many cases.

    Social Security is basically a forced investment and gamble. It’s supposedly your money, right? So why can’t you choose to opt out of Social Security and keep your money NOW instead of waiting to see if you live until 65 and older? Not everyone wants to spend money on Medicare and Insurance. Some people would prefer to take the risks and pay out of pocket, or simply not go to a hospital. It’s your life, right? Hospitals should either send a collection agency after people who go and don’t pay their bills, seek money from a charity organization, or simply refuse service.

    As for Welfare and Medicaid, they’re specifically designed to take your money and give it to someone else. The problem here is many people don’t believe that they should be obligated to help others, yet are forced to do so and feel as if Democrats are forcing their own beliefs onto them. People are in poverty and die all the time. Like it or not, your life is about you, not others. You only do things to help others because it benefits you in some way. Whether it makes your life easier or happier, or you are forced to do so. Merely existing doesn’t mean that you have to help your own race, just that you can’t be a nuisance without suffering the consequences.

    • Mike Huben

      I recommend that you look above at my postings with the word “allodial” in them. They explain the meaning of the word, and why government owns a country.

      If you think government should enforce basic rules, by what libertarian-approved right can it do so? Well, if it owned territory (the current situation), that would work. You might suggest contract: but contracts presuppose the basic rules you want, and so you would be begging the question or making a circular argument.

      You are not taxed for “merely existing”. You are taxed for residing in a location owned by a government, a choice you made or continue to make. You can leave. Just as you can be billed rent if you reside on property of a landlord. You can leave. No landlord would be stupid enough to forgive you the rent you owe because you are “merely existing” on his property: do you really think governments should be stupid that way?

      • Devilofanger

        No, the government in the United States isn’t supposed to be some tyranny that controls everything. The role of the government, as is stated in the constitution, is to serve the people. It even states that if the people aren’t satisfied with the government then they are allowed to overthrow it. The basic rules I’m referring to is to protect our borders, and country if we are invaded. That is part of the duty to the people. Forcing citizens to give welfare to other citizens and criminalizing them if they don’t, however, is not. It violates the rights and will of the people who are forced to give money for an invalid reason. You can’t “serve the people” by taking too much away from them. That’s why I said, only the bare essentials should be taxed. Yes we live in a “society”, but who said you can’t mind your own business?

        Legally leaving the country requires a passport, and sometimes you could even be stopped because of “epidemics”. So you don’t even have the absolute right of leaving. Where would you even go? You can’t live in the ocean, and going to another country is going to have these same “taxation” problems as the Unites States, if not worse. The bottom line is, you can pay hundreds of thousands or more to travel and own property, sales tax included, yet even though you’ve payed your sales tax the government feels entitled to the land you just bought and continues to tax it for as long as you “own” it. Furthermore the money you use to pay those property taxes has already been taxed from your paycheck, at a higher percentage if you make more money. Somewhere along the line taxes have gone too far.

        Here’s what I propose:
        -Everyone pays no more than ~15% tax from their paycheck.
        -Property tax is limited. Such as you can only be charged school taxes if you have kids in the public school system. Cut teacher and other public worker benefits (no more pensions or health care) and school equipment.
        -Sales tax cannot be excessive, such as more than 8%.

        The Federal government has several ways cut their spending. No more foreign aid, medicare, medicaid, welfare, social security, or several regulatory agencies for starters. No more bailing out or funding industries, and no more treasury notes until they pay off their debt and set a reasonable debt ceiling relevant to their income and inflation.

        • Mike Huben

          What a cute little rant!

          No, the Constitution does not say that the people have a right to overthrow the government.

          You have all these foolish presumptions of “basic rules”, rights, and what can and cannot be done that merely reflect your personal desires, not anything realistic or legal.

          Take for example your “Sales tax cannot be excessive, such as more than 8%.” Much higher tariffs than that were common before and after the founding of the USA: indeed, the federal government was largely funded by tariffs for around a century.

          Government is supposed to represent the interests of the entire populace. Not just your stupid, short-sighted, selfish interests. For example, here in MA, my teacher’s retirement is entirely paid by ME through deductions that go to an independent retirement board. And if we had proper socialized health care (instead of insurance), everybody would have good, middle-class health services the way teachers and most middle-class private employees do.

          So good luck persuading people to your viewpoint: but you’ll only succeed with the ones who are as foolish as you are.

          • Devilofanger

            Declaration of Independence says it, close enough. That’s one of the ideas that our nation was founded upon:
            “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed,
            — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

            My “personal desires” aren’t any more personal than the democrats/socialists (and yours assuming you are one). They want:

            -Everyone to pay for public schools, even if they don’t have kids in public schools, instead of donating or paying money themselves.
            -Everyone to pay for public servant’s pensions when they are retired, which basically means making more money than several types of jobs by doing absolutely nothing.
            -Everyone to pay for welfare, medicare, medicaid and food stamps, instead of donating money themselves.
            -Everyone to buy Health Insurance even if they don’t want to or never go to the Hospital.
            -Everyone to be forced to invest their money in Social Security, instead of doing so themselves.

            Now to me, that does not sound like the interest of the entire populace. If given the chance, most people would probably choose to not pay at least one of those things. So I ask you, how in the world is being able to opt out of certain taxes more selfish than the democrats/socialists forcing their beliefs onto everyone?

        • “Legally leaving the country requires a passport, and sometimes you could even be stopped because of “epidemics”. So you don’t even have the absolute right of leaving.”

          Yes you have a right to leave, its just that no other country has an obligation to accept you.

          “Where would you even go? You can’t live in the ocean, and going to another country is going to have these same “taxation” problems as the Unites States, if not worse.”

          If we had no state and only private property, no matter where you went, you would still be living on someone else’s land and therefore subject to their arbitrary rules. I’d hardly call that an improvement.

          • Dan

            But If all land is either uninhabitable or owned by a country or territory, and they are all within their right to refuse you entry, then effectively you don’t have the right to go anywhere or leave. So you wouldn’t really be able to avoid taxation if every territory has taxes in one way or another now could you? That’s like saying you have the right to choose what to buy (an agreement), but also that you must buy one that exists even if you don’t like any of them, rather than create your own or not get one at all. So saying you “agree” to all taxation by not moving out of the country is ridiculous and ignores the hardship of doing so.

    • How is military essential? would the planet no longer exist if military did not exist? in essence military is for killing people, do we kill people because they are not up to standard? or is it to control world population? especially if they are not like us? I mean decent?

    • “The thing is the government should NOT own all the land. The government is merely a public servant that enforces basic rules.”

      But it doesn’t directly own the land. For example, the island of Ireland belongs to the people of Ireland. These people group together in the form of a state which acts on their behalf.

      “If you make money then you should be taxed, but not for merely existing.”

      I don’t know of any tax for merely existing. All the taxes I’m aware of are either on transactions or wealth.

      “The problem with taxes is that people don’t WANT certain services from the government that rely on taxes.”

      If they don’t want it, then vote against it. Simple.

      “Social Security is basically a forced investment and gamble. It’s supposedly your money, right? So why can’t you choose to opt out of Social Security and keep your money NOW instead of waiting to see if you live until 65 and older?”

      Social Security isn’t just an investment, its also aid to the elderly. You see we have rights but also responsibilities. We have responsibilities to the sick, the old, the poor and that’s why we have to help them, even if some people would rather be greedy and keep the money to themselves.

      “People are in poverty and die all the time. Like it or not, your life is about you, not others. You only do things to help others because it benefits you in some way.”

      This sums up everything that is wrong with the Libertarian view of the world.

  39. Fair warning: holistic existentialism ahead, and I consider myself an anarchist.

    Okay. So this all is well, but fails with the notion that I can’t remember me ever having consented to my birth, and neither an inquiry about eventual circumstances; life, in the random spot I was spit out, was forced upon me. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t ask for it to be here; yet I have to put up with it.
    Seeing as I was born in a country which taxes for ridiculous shit (I guess you have to take my word for it on that one), I have looked into migration, but alas! One needs funds for that, and minus sustenance, taxes practically make me a slave, working to build some income but losing it at the same time. I’m in a catch 22 and my only mistake was that I was born.

    So, should I press charges against my parents? Nah, they had no ill intent, raised me with love, fed me and prepared me to get on my own feet (and with that, redeemed themselves many times over if they were at fault in the first place).
    Myself, then, for not having solved the problem already (suicide as a permanent problem for as-it-is a non-temporary problem)? Firstly, no because apparently, the law is convinced this body is not my property, it seems. Plus, blaming the victim (victim being a somewhat problematic term here, but it illustrates the point properly).
    Or instead the ties and suits who pluck me not unlike fowl as a consequence of me making the mistake of merely existing?

    My opinion is that the only difference between masked intruders and suited politicians is naught but that the latter engineered a construct (‘law’) to hypocritically except them from the former. They steal and they (opine they) may because it’d be a crime if I’d hindered them in that.
    Leeches, mosquito’s and ticks stop draining when they have enough.
    Know thy parasites.

    (Fun fact: I have yet to experience major healthcare exposure due to being gifted with one heck of a illness-resistant body, though I still have to cough up mayor bucks every month; one has to wonder if I’d fall sick the second I stop paying.)

    I greatly welcome people to point out if I’m mistaken or incorrect at any point I may be.

    • If your Father ejaculated some seven thousand times in his life time and had approximately one hundred thousand sperm in each ejaculation, and your Mother had 100 eggs, the odds of you being here is remote, you may not know you made a choice on a microbiological level as the mind and memory of choice is beyond your ability to comprehend, considering the remote chance of the sperm that made you, must have had a virulent ability to desire that you exist, the fact that you are not aware of this choice is not part of the picture on the level of small particle physics, in the nano system of the Universe, your memory is working only on a level of what you think is, often survival or what is significant to you in comprehending existence, the possibility is the atomic structure of your body was created in the first moments of this Universe, so you are not made to know this data, to say that you are in some way not responsible is bad faith, on the other hand in terms of your existence you also may not be responsible for your existence, I refer to quantum physics, that is where a particle can be outside time and simultaneous in time, I am to some extent resorting to mysticism as this analysis is out side say legal or normal considerations of existence,
      With regard to taxation, I suggest much of taxation is unfair, to the individual who believes military and allied cost are fundamentally wrong, if you are above the national average of intelligence to think military is now redundant as a solution to mankind’s existence of being on this planet, I am not going in to the problems of violence as a legitimate process of why we should not go down this path as this opens up history, psychology, culture and technology and elite groups who are all involved and make this paper to complex to answer this problem.

      • Jesus Christ donwreford, even by your standards this comment is nonsensical.

        • I realize Robert my comment is nonsensical, I think it is valid to make a non reasonable idea with the attribute that individuals who are making sense contributes to sensible statements becoming more sensible, I note your comment on my statement starts with Jesus Christ, surely Jesus being conceived by the angel is not making sense in what we think as sensible? or normal? the fact that the constant application of doing the same thing with the expectation of a different outcome is madness? the possibility of the beginnings of life, here I am saying the state of one cell encapsulating the other did not take place for a vast time, this endosymbiosis, the fact that some expected result is not the same as what has been before is not necessarily what a possibility of the becoming of the inevitable.

    • “So this all is well, but fails with the notion that I can’t remember me ever having consented to my birth, and neither an inquiry about eventual circumstances; life, in the random spot I was spit out, was forced upon me.”

      Imagine I was born into a feudal system and without property of my own or any unoccupied free space lying around. Why should I have to pay rent to the landlord when I never consented to his owning of the land? I never consented to private property (what if I believe that you can no more own land than you can own air?) or the concept of rent, why should I have to pay it just because I was born in this particular spot?

      Is the landlord a thief or parasite robbing me blind?

      • A thief, a parasite? Both. Being forced to complete one side of a contract (rent, social security, taxes for basic needs) I never (could possibly) agree upon makes it something elitist, meaning that those who can’t, don’t have a place in this world, anywhere. In other words, crawl in a hole and die there.
        (But! Funerals and a grave are currently equally expensive, plus the majority opines suicide is dishonorable and should not be committed. Even the right to death is denied. Not allowed to live, and not allowed to die.)

  40. Bob

    “Think of taxes as like paying rent. The state owns the land and if you want to live on the land you must pay rent.”

    So, the state owns the land? Really, so they must own your property and my property, too. If you build a tent on an island, and you live there for some time, and then, all of a sudden, I come up to you and say, “You have to give me 30% of the fruits of your labor, and if you don’t, I will take the tent from you by force.” You don’t pay, so I take the tent. Does that make me the rightful owner? Obviously, not. I would be stealing the property you rightfully owned.

    “If a man was starving and a libertarian had two loaves of bread, he wouldn’t share it with the man unless he felt like it. That is not a political ideology but a mental problem called sociopathology.”

    Ahh, so that makes it right to threaten people with force if they don’t want to give up their money? And it makes it right to murder them or lock them up in a cage if they don’t want to fund you or if they disagree with you? Oh, and it’s the libertarian who’s selfish not the statist who wants to forcefully take other people’s money and property? Let me ask you this: how much more money would people give to charities if they weren’t being taxed to death?

    “It is not theft if you receive something in return.”

    Okay, if it’s not theft, then I oblige you to go rob a bank, give some of the money to charity, and then argue in court that it wasn’t stealing because you gave some of it to charity so that they could provide services to other people.

    Let me ask you this, which I probably doubt I will get a reply for: If statism is so great, then why do you have to force people to pay taxes to support it?

    • How would the State acquire the land? and what date would be the time or date of acquisition be?

    • “So, the state owns the land? Really, so they must own your property and my property, too.”

      You have too narrow a view of property. Property is not something that you have complete and unlimited control of, it is comes with rights and responsibilities (to the wider community). It is not a binary choice whether either you or the state have complete control, rather you own it without having unlimited control.

      “If you build a tent on an island, and you live there for some time, and then, all of a sudden, I come up to you and say, “You have to give me 30% of the fruits of your labor, and if you don’t, I will take the tent from you by force.””

      You (and many other commenters in this thread) seem to view the state as an alien imposition almost like some foreign colonial power. In fact we the people are the state. There has always been some form of government since before written records began. What right does the person on the island have to the land? It is simply a case of finders-keepers? The first person there gets to claim it as their property?

      A better analogy would be that there is a group of people living in tents on an island and decide to pool 30% of their resources together to build a school. There is the essentials of a state but it is not some foreign oppressor stealing money.

      “And it makes it right to murder them or lock them up in a cage if they don’t want to fund you or if they disagree with you?”

      What the hell are you talking about?

      “Okay, if it’s not theft, then I oblige you to go rob a bank, give some of the money to charity, and then argue in court that it wasn’t stealing because you gave some of it to charity so that they could provide services to other people.”

      You probably think that’s a really clever gotcha point that demolished my argument, but in reality, you’re just making a fool of yourself.

      “Let me ask you this, which I probably doubt I will get a reply for: If statism is so great, then why do you have to force people to pay taxes to support it?”

      Public goods and free riding. Its impossible to divide the costs of military and the police on an individual basis the same as a loaf of bread and no one will pay unless everyone else does.

      • Matthew S

        “You (and many other commenters in this thread) seem to view the state as an alien imposition almost like some foreign colonial power. In fact we the people are the state. ”

        Oh, I’m the state am I? Ok, I’ve decided taxes are no longer required. I’m going to stop paying them now. Oh, what’s this? Some people in blue uniforms claiming to work for the state have to come to kidnap me. I tell them I’m the state, it’s unnecessary because taxes are no longer mandatory, but they’re not listening. Shit, I guess I’m not the state afterall. I’ll have plenty of time to contemplate just how much I’m not the state, while in the prison I supposedly own, since I’m supposedly the state. Funny how I can’t release myself from a prison that’s supposedly mine eh!

        • “Oh, I’m the state am I? Ok, I’ve decided taxes are no longer required. I’m going to stop paying them now.”

          Now you’re just being childish. We are all part of the state. As should be very obvious, you are not the only member of the state, but one of many.

          • Matthew S

            “Now you’re just being childish. We are all part of the state. As should be very obvious, you are not the only member of the state, but one of many.”

            Well now you’re changing your story. I’m no longer the state, I’m only PART of the state, a MEMBER of the state. Rather different to what you said before. I’ll point out I never choose to become a member, I was forcefully enlisted by society. *Insert your favourite argument against the social contract here*

            • If you reread my comment again, you’ll see that what I said was “we the people are the state.” I never said that you alone are the state (you don’t look like King Louis XIV to me). You did not directly consent to being part of the state but neither did you consent to private property or its existing distribution. Does that mean you have a right to walk into someone’s home and claim they have no right to use coercion to remove you as you never consented to giving them such power?

              • Matthew S

                “You did not directly consent to being part of the state but neither did you consent to private property or its existing distribution. ”

                Actually, if someone asked me “do you consent to the current distribution of private property?” I would say yes. I think private property is great. It makes society better (for both moral and consequentialist reasons). Which is exactly why I hate the state, because the state is the biggest violator of private property, and thus harms society in it’s actions.

                • “Actually, if someone asked me “do you consent to the current distribution of private property?” I would say yes.”

                  You may consent, but you do not speak on behalf of everyone. I consent to the existence of the state (for moral and consequentialist reasons as well) but I doubt you find my consent convincing for you.

                  • Matthew S

                    “Maybe in your libertarian utopia, but in the real world, the laws of the country still apply to your property. You have no right to pollute, use drugs, steal, launder stolen goods etc on your property. Yes society does have a say (in the real world).”

                    Yes, I’m well aware of the group called government that is the biggest violator of private property in the world. Government isn’t society.

                    • You do realise that private property cannot exist without the state? Without the state, no one would enforce private property rights.

                    • Matthew S

                      “You do realise that private property cannot exist without the state? Without the state, no one would enforce private property rights.”

                      Sure they would. I would pay people to enforce private property rights (and possibly enforce them myself if the situation arises). I think most of society would agree with me.

                    • But that would be no different than the rule of the strong. If we were in a stateless world, I could steal what I want and then pay people to protect it. The only it could be removed would be if some stronger gang could forcibly remove it from. If they did so I would have no recompense other than forcibly take it back. It is not possible to have a peaceful property system without a state.

                    • Matthew S

                      “But that would be no different than the rule of the strong. If we were in a stateless world, I could steal what I want and then pay people to protect it. The only it could be removed would be if some stronger gang could forcibly remove it from.”
                      Except that’s exactly what happens with a state. The difference being that the state is the biggest gang around. Like every gang, it violates the property rights it claims to protect.

                      Stealing what you want works until people figure out you’re the one stealing, and then refuse to do business with you (and refuse to do business with anyone that does business with you). Ostracism is very effective.

                      “If they did so I would have no recompense other than forcibly take it back.”
                      If you want it back, there’s no option ever except to convince them to give it back, either forcefully or with other consequences. One of those other consequences, and one that would be employed in a stateless society, is ostracism. It’s not employed legally today, because there’s no market for it, due to the monopoly called government.

                      “It is not possible to have a peaceful property system without a state.”
                      It’s not possible to have a peaceful society with a state. Unless you consider our current government ruled societies peaceful, in which case yes, it’s definitely possible to have a peaceful property system in a stateless society.

                    • So that’s your plan? We stop violence by just not doing business with gangs and killers? Has that ever been successful? How many drug gangs or other violent thugs have stopped stealing or returned the stolen goods just because of ostracism? You’d have to be delusion to believe that is a viable system. Believe, I’ve been involved in boycotts before, they’re extremely difficult and rarely successful.

      • If the land belongs to the first who make a claim of the land, how does this work with Israel?

    • Dan

      “Maybe in your libertarian utopia, but in the real world, the laws of the country still apply to your property. You have no right to pollute, use drugs, steal, launder stolen goods etc on your property. Yes society does have a say (in the real world).”
      Most of those laws violate other people’s rights. Unless you have a way to confine your pollution, it would expand off of your property. Same with things that smell or are loud. You can’t steal obviously because possessions still belong to their respective owners. Drugs, however, should be allowed on your property as long as it doesn’t affect people who aren’t on your property.

      The view of Libertarianism is that you should be allowed to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t affect other people. Forcing you to pay for something that you personally don’t agree with, like certain social programs or government spending, is a violation of your rights. It doesn’t matter if a majority of people think that everyone should be putting money toward something, or that you have the right to hit someone when they’re insulting you for expressing their opinion. It’s still a violation of that person’s rights.

  41. wilsonsteve

    Taxation is most definitely theft, here is a very simple example of how it is theft, TAXATION is the claim that a group of people who call themselves “government” have been given the “right” to confiscate an arbitrary-chosen percentage of the product of another individuals labor (a form of Property), whether or not the others agree to share that product voluntarily. Taxation is enforced by the threat of violence (behaviour resulting in bodily harm) or imprisonment (the taking away of physical) if those from whom the product is being seized attempt to resist the confiscation. This practice is always “justified” (“made into a right”) by those who claim that such a practice is necessary and required to “uphold the common good.” If we define Slavery as involuntary confiscation of 100% of the product of the labor of another human being, we can clearly see that there is no magical percentage to which we could lower this number(other than 0%) that would no longer constitute Slavery. If we are being honest with ourselves, Taxation is merely a euphemism for Theft, Violence and Slavery, the practices upon which it is actually based. Since no individual anywhere on Earth has the “right” to claim ownership of the product of another’s labor, such behaviour can never be “delegated” to a group, and called a “right.”

    • Did you even read the post? Did you even listen to my argument? You seem to have completely ignored it and gone off on a rant. Rather than repeat myself yet again, let me try a different argument.

      No one has sole claim to their wealth. We all got to where we are today in large part by building on the work of others. If you don’t believe me, imagine if you were born in Africa with all the skills you currently posses. You would not have a fraction of your current wealth. Even if you were Bill Gates, you would most likely still be desperately poor. This is because we all greatly benefit from the work of others in building schools, infrastructure etc. We are productive because we use tools others created, technologies and ideas that others devised. If you look at any company, you will see that almost all jobs are dependent on others and could not function in isolation.

      So the idea that each individual has sole claim over their wealth because they and only they created it, is complete nonsense. No one is an island, we owe much of our success to the rest of society, so it is only fair that we return a share of wealth to society in the form of taxes.

      https://robertnielsen21.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/the-myth-of-the-self-made-millionaire/

      “If we define Slavery as involuntary confiscation of 100% of the product of the labor of another human being, we can clearly see that there is no magical percentage to which we could lower this number(other than 0%) that would no longer constitute Slavery.”

      Apart from the nonsense idea that even if you only pay 5% taxes you are still a slave, your argument is bogus. After all, I am not paid the full value of my labour as my employer takes a proportion as profit. Does that make me a slave?

      • macsnafu

        “After all, I am not paid the full value of my labour as my employer takes a proportion as profit.”

        You’re not going to say that you believe in the Labor Theory of Value, are you? What constitutes “value”, and how do you know that you’re not paid the “full value” of your labor? Because you’re employer makes a profit? The value of your labor and the amount of profit your employer makes are not proportional; they’re related to each other only indirectly.

        • Mike Huben

          You really are stupid. This use of the words labor and value has nothing to do with the Marxist theory.

          The rest of your word salad would apply just as well to taxation as to the profit your employer makes from your labor.

          • macsnafu

            You didn’t answer my questions. Maybe you should let Nielsen answer, since you apparently don’t know.

            • Mike Huben

              You didn’t understand my answer. Not surprising, since even your questions are incoherent.

              • macsnafu

                Do you have something constructive to contribute, or are you just determined to harass and intimidate people? Nielsen said that he is not paid the full value of his labour as his employer takes a proportion as profit. He should surely be able to explain how he determined that, even if you are unable or unwilling to.

                • Mike Huben

                  Tell you what. Let’s use simple libertarian economic logic about capitalism. Why would an employer want an employee if he couldn’t take profit from the employees labor? He’s not going to hire an employee at a loss, or even for break-even.

                  I do not have to find the value of the employees labor: the employer can when he calculates his profit. If the employee is profitable, the employer keeps part of the value of the employees labor, the profit. If not profitable, the employer fires the employee (or doesn’t hire in the first place.)

                  • macsnafu

                    Yeah, you’ve got something mixed up in there. An exchange occurs when both parties value what is offered more than what they have. An employee-employer relationship is essentially an exchange. The employee values the money the employer is paying him more than the labor or service he is providing to the employer, and the employer values the labor provided by the employee more than the money he’s paying him.

                    At that point, the employee is already paid for his labor. There’s no additional “value” to steal from the employee, regardless of how much or how little profit the business makes. There is no direct relationship between the profits the business makes and the value of the employee. Labor, after all, is only one expense the business has to cover.

                    Yes, things will change over time, and both the employee and employer may re-evaluate the relationship to see if they’re both still gaining from the exchange. An employee might prove more valuable to the employer if he shows dependability or improves his skills, and demand more money or else he’ll find another job. Or the business might suffer a loss of business from competition or merely from being a poorly-run business. So the employer-employee relationship is just a contractual agreement that continues so long as both place more value on continuing the exchange than on ending it.

                    • Mike Huben

                      Ah: I see where you are coming from. You claim it is differing subjective values. Sorry, that doesn’t really answer the question according to free market theory. A single trade ignores the context of the market in which it occurs.

                      For example, lets say you dig up a pretty stone. You sell it to someone for $10 (who has recognized it as a diamond) who resells it for $1000. He has kept 99% of the value of your labor as his profit in what is essentially a swindle. This happens due to information asymmetry, which is a classic mode of market failure. The same exploitation would occur if you were hired to dig in his mine for two simple reasons: (1) private property doesn’t allow you to dig there for yourself and (2) the large labor supply will drive down your price towards subsistence. It might also happen because you (as an employee) don’t know the expense and sales numbers for the products, and so cannot bargain with equal knowledge.

                      As markets approach free market theory conditions, profits on labor are driven closer to zero. When markets diverge greatly from free market theory conditions (as with information asymmetry and innumerable other common market failures), then there is much greater opportunity for profit on labor (where capitalists capture much of the value of the workers’ production.)

                    • macsnafu

                      There was no reply link for your last answer, so I’m replying to myself.
                      “For example, lets say you dig up a pretty stone. You sell it to someone for $10 (who has recognized it as a diamond) who resells it for $1000. He has kept 99% of the value of your labor as his profit in what is essentially a swindle. This happens due to information asymmetry, which is a classic mode of market failure.”

                      Information asymmetry is an inevitable feature of the real world, not a market failure. We would have to ask how any system deals with information asymmetry, not just capitalist markets. If I got the price I asked for on the “pretty stone”, then it doesn’t matter how much it was resold for – value wasn’t “stolen”. Simply asserting that it is a swindle or exploitation doesn’t make it so. But you can bet if I find out how much it was resold for, I’d be asking for more than $10 for the next diamond.

                      The market process is also a discovery process. Only by making goods and services available for sale can people really discover how much other people value those goods and services. Prices provide information to buyers and sellers, and with multiple transactions over a period of time, information asymmetry is reduced. Thus, the market is a way of dealing with asymmetrical information.

                      Alternatively, even if there were no capitalist market, there would still be asymmetrical information. So if any alternative or hybrid system is suggested, we must also ask how and how well that system deals with asymmetrical information.

  42. wilsonsteve

    I don’t think you know what a logical fallacy is, https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

  43. wilsonsteve

    There are several ways to demonstrate that the mythology the public is taught about “government” is self-contradictory and irrational One of the simplest ways is to ask the question: How does someone acquire the right to rule another? The old superstitions asserted that certain people were specifically ordained by a god, or a group of gods, to rule over others. Various legends tell of supernatural events (the Lady of the Lake, the Sword in the Stone, etc.) that determined who would have the Right to rule over others. Thankfully, humanity has, for the most part, outgrown those silly superstitions. Unfortunately, they have replaced by new superstitions that are even less rational. At least the old myths attributed to some mysterious “higher power” the task of appointing certain individuals as rulers over others – something a deity could at least theoretically do. The new justifications for “authority,” however, claim to accomplish the same amazing feat, but without supernatural assistance. In short, despite all of the complex rituals and convoluted rationalizations, all modern belief in “government” rests on the notion that mere mortals can, through certain political procedures, bestow upon some people various rights which none of the people possessed to begin with. The inherent lunacy of such a notion should be obvious. There is no ritual or document through which any group of people can delegate to someone else a right which no one in
    the group possesses, And that self-evident truth, all by itself, demolishes any possibility of legitimate “government.” The average person believes that “government” has the right to do numerous things that the average individual does not have the right to do on his own. The obvious question then is, How, and from whom, did those in “government” acquire such rights? How, for example – whether you call it “theft” or “taxation”– would those in “government” acquire the right to forcibly take property from those who have earned it? No voter has such a right. So how could voters possibly have given such a right to politicians? All modern statism is based entirely on the assumption that people can delegate rights they don’t have. Even the U.S. Constitution pretended to grant to “Congress” the right to “tax” and “regulate” certain things, though the authors of the Constitution had no such right themselves and therefore could not possibly have given such a right to anyone else. Because each person has the right to “rule” himself (as schizophrenic as that idea may be), he can, at least in theory, authorize someone else to rule himself. But a right he does not possess, and therefore cannot delegate to anyone else, is the right to rule someone else. And if “government” ruled only those individuals who had each willingly delegated their right to rule themselves, it would not be government.

    • “In short, despite all of the complex rituals and convoluted rationalizations, all modern belief in “government” rests on the notion that mere mortals can, through certain political procedures, bestow upon some people various rights which none of the people possessed to begin with. The inherent lunacy of such a notion should be obvious.”

      That argument can be used against any organisation. Are companies illegitimate because what right does a CEO have to rule over anyone else? Is the corporate structure crazy because it involves mere mortals ruling others?

      Look, you have things backwards. You are starting with the idea that in the beginning only individuals existed and they were all completely isolated and independent from each other. However, historically, the opposite was true. In the beginning of ancient history, there were not individuals, but tribes and societies. For most of history rights were not viewed on an individual basis but on a communal one. The fact is that people don’t just have rights they have responsibilities. We have a duty to the rest of society which is where the state comes from. If you are unsure where the power of the state it is from the pooling of everyone’ rights.

  44. Emil

    First sentence, second paragraph is the first place you went wrong. The state does not own the land, therefore all that follows is a fallacy.

    • In the first sentence of the second paragraph, I say that I am making an analogy.

    • If Britain’s national debt is $160,000 for every person in Britain owes, having had a recent conversation on British arms manufacturing commented that this is the only way the British can feed itself, either the government having made bad decisions on creating this outcome, I suggest had Britain created infrastructure in the third world as debt being repaid to Britain would be a alternative to the British elite exporting arms and military as a solution.

  45. Leo Rundstrom

    > The state owns the land and if you want to live on the land you must pay rent. 

    No, the state does not, and should not, own the land we live on. You’re essentially saying that it’s okay for a group of people to form a government and then decide that they have rightful ownership over everyone’s private property. This is nonsense. If a person purchases a piece of land with their own private funds, they own that land, not the government.

    A second point that can be made here is that if the government owns all the land there would be no need for the distinction between private and public property. We do make a distinction between the two, however. There are certain laws that only apply on public property, and vice versa. So, even under the current system the government acknowledges that they don’t own all the land.

    Further, one can use the argument “the state owns the land, therefore they can force people to follow their rules” to justify any variety of atrocious laws. The state can decide to execute people for being homosexual, imprison people for going outside after a certain hour, or even take away their children for disobeying a policy that forbids a couple from having more than a specific number of offspring. Stating that the government owns the land, therefore they can take away your money, your property, and force you to follow their rules, opens up the door for tyranny and oppression.

    > But if you refuse to go to one shopping centre you still have to go to one somewhere.

    No, because you can always choose not to go to a shopping center, you can make your own products or purchase them from someone who sells them directly to their customers, or there’s even the possibility of starting your own shopping center.

    > Likewise if we abolished the state, then no matter where you went you would still be one someone else’s private property and therefore subject to their rules.

    First, you’re ignoring the option of owning your own private property. Second, living on another person’s private property would be much preferable to living on property that’s owned by the state. The state is a centralized power with a well-equipped army, a police force, and prisons. It’s also much easier to influence a private owner than it is to influence a centralized national government. On top of this, the state either financially or physically penalizes you if you try to go outside their borders without their permission, which is something that isn’t likely to happen when you live on someone’s private property.

    > It is not theft if you receive something in return. If someone steals my car, that is theft. If I have to sell my car in order to pay my rent, that is not theft.

    If a person sells their car, they’re doing it voluntarily. This isn’t a good analogy.

    > Libertarians sometimes act as though taxes disappear into a black hole and are never seen again. In reality, we receive from the government protection and a commitment to justice. We also receive education, healthcare, transportation, safe food, employment protection and enforcement of contracts.

    The problem is that the government makes it mandatory to pay into these programs. Even if people receive services in return for their taxes, that doesn’t justify stealing a portion of their income. If someone steals your wallet and then uses the money to buy food and useful household items, which they later drop off at your house, that wouldn’t absolve them from that act of theft. With the government it’s actually worse, because what they do is they steal your money, and then they use it to fund a program that is accessible by everyone, and if you earn above a certain salary you have to pay a higher percentage into the program than everyone else. On top of all of this you have to pay the people who are put in charge of this operation, and this creates another issue since government programs tend to be very costly and inefficient due to there being no viable competitors or any real incentives to lower costs.

    > Furthermore, what sort of thief lets you decide how your money is spent or how much he takes? If I told a car thief that myself and the neighbours had decided that he shouldn’t take my car, would he listen? Yet the government is subject to the will of the people. We choose whether we want our taxes to be higher or lower when we vote.

    Taxation isn’t a case of one person stealing from another, it’s a case of the majority stealing from the minority, with the government managing the whole process. Also, deciding that the majority can dictate how everyone else is allowed to spend their money is no different than allowing the majority to decide which liberties everyone is or isn’t allowed to have. For example, the majority would be allowed to decide that they don’t want to award people the right to marry a person of a different race.

    It should also be mentioned that your argument doesn’t have a basis in reality since world governments have funded several undertakings without the consent of their citizens. As soon as you decide that the government owns all the land and thus is allowed to force everyone to follow its rules it becomes rather difficult to limit corruption and abuse.

    > Based on the failure of libertarians to win elections, most people seem quite content with taxation. There’s nothing stopping a libertarian party from being set up and winning an election. If taxation really was theft, then such a party would easily win a landslide and could promptly end the theft.

    Except when the government indoctrinates children from the time they begin grade school into believing that paying taxes is their civic duty and that opposing the state is reprehensible and deserving of punishment.

    Also, you’re ignoring that not everyone is content with paying taxes. If they were taxes wouldn’t have to be mandatory.

    >  But that is an implicit part of citizenship. Being a citizen comes with rights and responsibilities. 

    Not everyone chooses to be a citizen. They’re born into citizenship and then forced to go through a series of legal processes if they choose to revoke it.

    > but then again I never consented to capitalism either.

    Because capitalism is the lack of rules and government oversight in an economic system. There is nothing to consent to. Capitalism occurs on its own when there is no government to dictate the rules of trade and industry.

    > The problem with most libertarian arguments is that it assumes we have only rights but no responsibilities. It assumes that we have no duties to the poor, the sick, the elderly or even to children.

    Exactly, we shouldn’t have responsibilities that are mandated by the state. Also, a person doesn’t have a right to another person’s money or services. There’s nothing stopping private organizations from providing for society’s vulnerable.

    > That is not a political ideology but a mental problem called sociopathology.

    There is a significant difference between moral responsibilities and responsibilities that are mandated by the government.

    > A libertarian world would be a cold and empty one, where people sit alone counting their money, blind to poverty, hunger and misery.

    That is absolute nonsense, and you’re dismissing the countless private organizations that have been set up to help those in need. Libertarians and anarcho-capitalists can be some of the most charitable people you will ever meet, however, they simply believe charity should be left to private citizens who donate their time and money voluntarily; that is to say, it shouldn’t be mandated by the government.

    > Would we earn anywhere near enough money if we did not have public roads, education, health, energy etc?

    All of these can and will exist in the free-market, with the exception of them being public.

    > Every abuse of government power that libertarians rail against would still occur in a libertarian society, the only difference would be that it would be even worse.

    That is utter bullshit. During the 20th century world governments killed approximately 262 million people via democide. Currently millions of people are living in unimaginable conditions because their governments have made it difficult for them to provide for themselves.

    Government is the problem, not the solution.

    • “No, the state does not, and should not, own the land we live on. You’re essentially saying that it’s okay for a group of people to form a government and then decide that they have rightful ownership over everyone’s private property. This is nonsense. If a person purchases a piece of land with their own private funds, they own that land, not the government.”

      First of all, its an analogy. Its not a literal description, just a story I told to help explain the issue.

      You say that if someone buys property, then they own it, but how did the first person acquire the property? There is no libertarian explanation of this fundamental problem, the best attempt is to claim that the first person to use the land keeps it. Seeing as Ireland (for example) has been continuously inhated for 10,000 years, its not possible to know who the first person was. So instead, the Irish state has said that all the land and resources of Ireland belong to the people of Ireland, representated by the government of Ireland.

      “A second point that can be made here is that if the government owns all the land there would be no need for the distinction between private and public property.”

      In common with many libertarians, you hold a binary view of property. Either the property is completely private where you can do whatever you want without regard to the state, or it is completely owned by the state. In reality, there is a middle ground, where the property is private but society has some say.

      “Further, one can use the argument “the state owns the land, therefore they can force people to follow their rules” to justify any variety of atrocious laws. The state can decide to execute people for being homosexual, imprison people for going outside after a certain hour, or even take away their children for disobeying a policy that forbids a couple from having more than a specific number of offspring. Stating that the government owns the land, therefore they can take away your money, your property, and force you to follow their rules, opens up the door for tyranny and oppression.”

      Again, you seem to have an extremist view. Apparantly, you believe that if the state can impose a 1% tax, then it can also impose a 100% tax and steal all your money. If it can make minor laws, then it can become an oppressive dictatorship murdering people for no reason. Listen, there’s this thing called the middle ground, you should have a look at it sometime. In the real world, most states do not arbitrarily murder people and citizens have rights that protect them.

      “First, you’re ignoring the option of owning your own private property.”

      Not everyone is as middle class as your are. This may surprise you, but not everyone in the world can afford to own their own house.

      “It’s also much easier to influence a private owner than it is to influence a centralized national government. On top of this, the state either financially or physically penalizes you if you try to go outside their borders without their permission, which is something that isn’t likely to happen when you live on someone’s private property.”

      Sure at the moment, state regulations limit the activities of private property owners, but if libertarians had their way we would return to a form of feudalism where landlords would have enormous power. Also I have left Ireland numerous times without the slightest problem, entering another country sometimes is difficult, but all libertarians defend the right of property owners to decide who enters their land right? In actual fact if I travel to another EU country, I don’t even need to fill in any paperwork. What country do you live in that you can’t leave?

      “Taxation isn’t a case of one person stealing from another, it’s a case of the majority stealing from the minority, with the government managing the whole process.”

      If this is the case, then why are right wing parties more successful than left wing ones? Most European countries have right wing governments at the moment and Ireland has never had a left wing government. If democracy is just a scam to steal money, then why is little stolen?

      “For example, the majority would be allowed to decide that they don’t want to award people the right to marry a person of a different race.”

      Again, what’s with the extremism? Just because something is wrong in one extreme case, doesn’t mean it is wrong in every case. If someone drank 15 beers, they would vomit and blackout, that doesn’t mean beer should never be drank, it just means you should do so in moderation. Just because majority rule could (in theory) be taken to extreme doesn’t mean that it always will. For example, no democracy has laws forbidding interracial marriage.

      “Except when the government indoctrinates children from the time they begin grade school into believing that paying taxes is their civic duty and that opposing the state is reprehensible and deserving of punishment.”

      So that’s why there aren’t more libertarians? We’ve all been brainwashed?

      “Because capitalism is the lack of rules and government oversight in an economic system. There is nothing to consent to. Capitalism occurs on its own when there is no government to dictate the rules of trade and industry.”

      Wrong. there are many rules in capitalism that require government support. For example, there would be a lot less innovation without government enforcement of patents and copyright. The state also enforces contracts and providing a peaceful and secure environment for trade. How could private property exist without the state? Where did I sign a contract consenting to other people’s ownership of land? What right does someone have to claim they “own” land that they did not create? Is this not theft from the rest of the world?

      “That is utter bullshit. During the 20th century world governments killed approximately 262 million people via democide.”

      So in a Anarchist world there would be no war or violence? The Nazis would have peacefully lived with the Jews without harming a hair on their head? All religious, ethnic and racial conflict would disappear? Grow up and leave your fantasy world behind.

      • Leo Rundstrom

        > First of all, its an analogy. Its not a literal description, just a story I told to help explain the issue.

        If it was just an analogy, then they don’t own the land, and they shouldn’t be able to tax citizens and impose laws.

        > You say that if someone buys property, then they own it, but how did the first person acquire the property?

        That’s irrelevant. A person can own a collection of antique items without knowing who the first owners were or how they acquired the items. Land can be passed down from generation to generation or exchanged for currency just like antiques or anything else that can be bought or sold. What matters is who owns it now, not who owned it first.

        > In reality, there is a middle ground, where the property is private but society has some say.

        Society shouldn’t have any say, and the state shouldn’t have any claim to the land you purchased with your own money.

        > Again, you seem to have an extremist view. Apparantly, you believe that if the state can impose a 1% tax, then it can also impose a 100% tax and steal all your money. If it can make minor laws, then it can become an oppressive dictatorship murdering people for no reason.

        Why not? If the state has the power to dictate our behavior, they can impose any laws they so choose. If we don’t agree we can either change the rules or move, right?

        Also, it doesn’t matter if a criminal steals $1 or $1000, they’re still guilty of theft.

        > Not everyone is as middle class as your are. This may surprise you, but not everyone in the world can afford to own their own house.

        It would still be easier to find a house to rent where you agree with the landlord’s rules than it would be to move to an entirely different country. It would also be much better to have thousands or millions of private property owners, each competing with each other to offer better rules and living conditions to their tenants, than to have one centralized government with one set of rules that everyone in the country must follow.

        There are also other reasons why your comparison of private owners to governments is nonsense. For example, most private land owners wouldn’t give a shit about imposing pointless laws for their tenants to follow. They don’t care about your skin color, sexuality, religion, etc., and if they do, finding another person to rent land/housing from would still be much easier than moving to another country. Another example is that most private land owners would only require you to pay rent. They wouldn’t care for requiring the people living on their land to pay into welfare programs or an education system or anything else that a government requires citizens to pay for. So, even if the government does own the land we live on, we should only have to pay for ‘rent’, that’s all. However, even paying rent is unnecessary, because the only reason a landlord is paid rent is because renting out property is a business for them. They depend on charging rent to pay their salary. A government isn’t a business, and it doesn’t even need to exist.

        > Sure at the moment, state regulations limit the activities of private property owners, but if libertarians had their way we would return to a form of feudalism where landlords would have enormous power.
        Feudalism was heavily supported and organized by the governments of medieval Europe. The land given to feudal lords was granted by the monarchy itself. Those who tried to leave the Kingdom were considered vagabonds and brigands and were killed on site. The serfs weren’t even allowed to own their own land. Feudalism definitely would not exist in a libertarian society.

        > Also I have left Ireland numerous times without the slightest problem, entering another country sometimes is difficult, but all libertarians defend the right of property owners to decide who enters their land right? In actual fact if I travel to another EU country, I don’t even need to fill in any paperwork.

        That’s because the European union functions as a sort of quasi-federal government. All of the countries involved have agreed to make it easy to travel and move between the countries of the union. Therefore, moving from Ireland to France is much different than moving from Ireland to Singapore.

        > What country do you live in that you can’t leave?

        I live in the U.S. I never said that it’s impossible to move out of the country and revoke your citizenship. I said it requires going through a lengthy legal process.

        > If this is the case, then why are right wing parties more successful than left wing ones? Most European countries have right wing governments at the moment and Ireland has never had a left wing government. If democracy is just a scam to steal money, then why is little stolen?

        In many European countries it’s not uncommon for taxes to be above 40% of the GDP. Given that almost half of the total value of production is taxed by government, it’s absurd to pretend as if the governments there are hardly taking any money away from the citizens.

        Also, I never claimed that governments exist for the sole purpose of stealing money. They exist because politicians think they have the authority to rule over others, and they convince the people into giving them this authority. However, this authority is rarely minimized. Government mostly tend to grow in size and power; it’s rare for a government to drastically cut spending or relinquish control over its people.

        > Again, what’s with the extremism? Just because something is wrong in one extreme case, doesn’t mean it is wrong in every case.

        If we acknowledge that the government has authority over us, and that the majority is allowed to impose laws on everyone without their consent, then there are hardly any ways to prevent them from abusing this power if they choose to do so. Government imposing oppressive laws isn’t a rare occurrence.

        > So that’s why there aren’t more libertarians? We’ve all been brainwashed?

        I used the word ‘indoctrinated’. And it’s absolutely true, students are indoctrinated from the time they begin formal education.

        > Wrong. there are many rules in capitalism that require government support.

        There can be rules in a capitalist system, but there doesn’t have to be. The type of capitalism that ancaps support is free-market “laissez faire” capitalism.

        > For example, there would be a lot less innovation without government enforcement of patents and copyright.

        These laws aren’t necessary, and there would be a lot more innovation without them.

        > How could private property exist without the state? Where did I sign a contract consenting to other people’s ownership of land? What right does someone have to claim they “own” land that they did not create? Is this not theft from the rest of the world?

        First, it should be mentioned that not all libertarians support abolishing the state entirely. Libertarians in America believe that the state should exist to protect civil rights and raise a capable army for national defense, but that’s all. However, for ancaps and others who want the state to be completely abolished, the issue of private property rights doesn’t pose a problem.

        People own things, this is a fact. Ownership is merely possession and control.

        Also, there’s nothing stopping a private police force, military, etc. from existing in an ancap society. The only difference is that the funding for these organizations would be voluntary.

        > So in a Anarchist world there would be no war or violence? The Nazis would have peacefully lived with the Jews without harming a hair on their head? All religious, ethnic and racial conflict would disappear? Grow up and leave your fantasy world behind.

        First, that ‘262 million’ figure doesn’t include deaths from war. These were only the people killed by their own governments via democide.

        Second, governments are responsible for far more death and destruction than private citizens. There were only 8.5 million homicides in the 20th century, compared to the 262 million people killed by their own government, which I already mentioned. Having a centralized power with unrelenting control over a group of people can be incredibly dangerous. It’s even worse when the populace has been indoctrinated into believing that they should give their absolute obedience to this power without question.

        • myth buster

          Except acts of genocide are committed by governments with the approval of the people. Remember, the Nazis were elected. There is no difference between a government act of democide and a majority group taking it upon themselves to exterminate a minority.

  46. How about both taxes AND rent are theft?

    • True. The way I see it, taxes, rent, paying for groceries in order to maintain life in one’s own organism, seem to me to be nothing more basically financial hostage. ‘They’ want you not to die, but you have to slit your monetary wrist for it.

      • myth buster

        Thus saith the Lord, “By the sweat of your brow shall you earn bread from the earth.” Work is the price of survival, which means that either you or your goods must work to obtain what you need for survival, unless you receive it by the generosity of others.

  47. Leo Rundstrom

    You should watch this video.

  48. xissburg

    In this case you are assuming the government is not corrupt and incompetent, which is often not the case.

  49. Salfie

    Your arguments are so comical! Bad, yes, terrible even. But I thoroughly enjoyed the satire.

    Thanks for that!

  50. Of course taxation is theft. Robbery would be event a better explanation. Make a definition of robbery and you’ll see, that taxation fulfills every single aspect of it.

    • Well, except a burglar wears a domino mask, and taxers a tie. And that burglary is against the laws (punishable), and taxes enforced by the same laws (and avoidance of it equally punishable).

      Other than that… yeah. Pretty much the same.

  51. Ben

    This is an old blog post but I thought that I would add a little point in case others come here.

    What is ironic is that “Taxation is theft” is totally irrelevant when proposed by a libertarian. If taxation is theft then we should have NO government and NO taxes like the anarchists propose. But libertarians still want some government, especially for protection (army). So the libertarians essentially say that they don’t mind being robbed if the money is used for specific things. That in itself is contradictory and very problematic because it then opens the door to choosing what the government should provide and then it becomes opinions.

    So whether taxation is theft or not is meaningless for libertarians because they don’t mind being “robbed”. It’s just a provocative way of saying “I want less government spendings on certain programs”.

    • Dan

      It’s considered theft by some people when it’s used for unsolicited things like social programs that they don’t want, or otherwise giving out money like foreign aid or to aid companies. However most people would agree that we need an army and probably some other things like police and road maintenance. Most people use the roads in one way or another and everyone benefits from army/police protection. However when it’s our army that’s the one invading other countries and blowing money on advertising to boot then that’s a fair concern.

      • With regard to Dan’s comment on benefits of police and military so called protection?many would see the fallacy of this proposition? regarding police look up the undercover police officer who infiltrated a protest group in Britain who were in no way threatening the security of Britain, and impregnating a women who did not know he was a undercover agent? the male concerned disappeared soon after this incident, when authority such as this having blatant disregard for moral concern for their action and protected by police protocol this becomes a problem for any concerned for individual rights, a greater concern is the police are for the protection of the rich? and have little or no concern for morality, nor justice or what the truth is? they are a political arm of the government and the government are working also for the rich.
        With reference to militarism as a result of colonization the Western alliance having created the stock exchange and this institution now exploits the resources of third world, this works by capital invested from the first world and as such largely extracts these resources with little of nothing given to the country of exploitation often the installation of puppet governments and military rule such as oil exploited devastating the ecological environment of the country and Western fisheries on mass exploitation of fishing grounds devastating local fishing, the local no longer able to make a living nor sustain food resources often having to resort to criminal acts such as illegal migrant activity.
        The destruction now through military action from aerial bombing not only possible kills so called terrorists but also civilian casualties and the disruption of any ability of a workable economy is no longer viable? such as wars as in Syria and many other countries? the Western Alliance is all part of a collaboration by Western power barons committed to supplies of arms and military equipment escalating destruction.
        The Western Alliance are guilty of not so much committed to defensive action but involved with militarism abroad, the outcome of this is profiteering from militaristic production of war equipment by private organizations, and the cost being born by taxpayers, furthermore the dislocation of mass immigration such as can be seen by the mass movement of people from the Middle East to Europe creating not only a problem for people to be absorbed by the countries of Europe but also destabilization of security of Europe such as the recent activity in Paris.
        I believe no serious work is being done by the Western Alliance for the termination of war on the planet, I suggest the opposite is so, the elite who control propaganda here I am meaning the media, and financial corporations, rather a globe of connecting people? the Western Alliance is either actively overtly destroying the infrastructure of our planet or covertly committed to its destruction?
        We are looking at the hard wiring of the brain by those who are in power now all part of a internalized history having inherited that has been a resolution to problems being military now this is no longer a option as a result of diminishing resources the environment and also the increased problem of explosive material having been developed as a result of technology.

  52. Will

    Some might big assumptions in this blog. I take issue with the assumption that libertarians would just hoard their money and not share their wealth. Some might do, others might not. Plenty of wealthy people give a lot to charity. I give quite a bit to charity (and I’m not that wealthy) and do my fair share of volunteering. If I weren’t taxed so much, I would be inclined to donate even more to charity.

    Just because a libertarian argues that there is no duty to care for others, does not mean that they individually lack compassion. Many are indeed compassionate. Being compassionate is a personal choice, and one that many libertarians make. Lacking in compassion is not the sole preserve of the libertarian.

    What I resent is my money being taken from me by coercion, with the threat of force. I would give the money freely, and more on top, to charitable causes that I agree with and are dear to me. Giving money because of the threat of force is not compassion. People don’t pay taxes because of their moral responsibility to society. They pay them because they are forced to.

    Instead of this, the money is taken, and spent on (some) things I do not want it spent on. Oh yes I can vote, but a single voice counts for nothing, even with the best democratic system. In my eyes many governments, even western ones, commit or are complicite in horrific crimes. My money helps fund this. This makes me an accomplice.

    Morally I should refuse to pay the taxes. But unfortunately I am not prepared to take the massive personal consequences (confiscation of assets, jail, limitation of access to employment/credit etc.).

    The system we have does work. Taxation does support civilisation. It pays for lots of “good” things like education, healthcare, roads, security etc. (most of which could be provided privately, on a per cost per usage basis). And without taxation I dare say everything would just fall apart. But that doesn’t mean it’s right. It is a necessary evil. We should aim to have as little as possible of taxation, and encourage people to give more of their time and money freely. Perhaps a government could play a leading role in coordinating this?

  53. Pingback: Holding out to the very last « Khannea Suntzu

  54. macsnafu

    I already talked about the problems with the government-as-landlord analogy at this other post: https://whistlinginthewind.org/2014/06/14/a-thought-about-property-without-the-state/

    This article raises other broad issues but it may take more time to deal with them, and there’s already a ton of comments on this one. But let me tackle at least one point raised right now:

    “If a man was starving and a libertarian had two loaves of bread, he wouldn’t share it with the man unless he felt like it.”

    While this is true, it completely ignores the reasons a libertarian might share the bread. Believe it or not, libertarians are human, too, and can feel empathy for other people. A libertarian may well “feel like sharing” with a starving person *because* he’s a starving person, and the libertarian does have extra bread.

    More to the point, not just libertarians, but frankly ANYONE will only share if they “feel” like it, regardless of what reasons cause them to feel like it. Alternatively, if someone is coercively compelled to give some of what they have to someone else, then it’s not actually sharing. The term “sharing” implies a voluntary action, and compulsion denies the voluntary nature of sharing.

    You could say similar things about taxation. It doesn’t matter if someone would willingly pay taxes, if they aren’t really given a choice in the matter. But that leads to a longer comment, so I’ll save it for later.

    • macsnafu

      There’s no way to edit these comments, are there? As I said above, nobody willingly does anything unless “they feel like it.” They may have religious reasons or moral reasons or personal reasons that make them feel like doing something willingly. I don’t think you meant it that way, but you’ve basically implied that ALL voluntary actions are sociopathic, and that compelling people to do things involuntarily is not sociopathic. A Christian might feel compelled by his religion to help the unfortunate, but it’s still a voluntary action, because it’s his choice to decide if he is going to act like a Christian or not, and if not, to suffer the consequences of being hypocritical or being a bad Christian. But no real coercion is used on him, only the noncoercive consequences of reputation, ostracism, peer pressure, and the like. Thus, it’s not a compulsion like governments usually use.

      • My point is that we have responsibilities as well as rights. While a libertarian may be indifferent about helping a starving person, anyone else would be feel obliged to help them out of a sense of duty. The difference between us is that I believe we have duties and obligations and you believe we have none.

        • macsnafu

          It seems that you’re determined to mis-characterize libertarians. Libertarians are no more indifferent to helping the less fortunate than anyone else, regardless of what you claim. If you feel that people should be forced to give “charity”, say so, but then it’s not charity. Any obligations one thinks one has that are not coercively forced are simply the reasons why anyone, including you, feel like helping the less fortunate. Claiming it’s a duty or obligation doesn’t really change the voluntary nature of your decision, only how you feel about your decision.

          • macsnafu

            Or, to put it another way, if the only reason a person is willing to help the less fortunate is because they feel obligated or duty-bound to do so, then that seems to be a rather sad commentary on that person’s character. Maybe putting it that way will make more sense to you.

        • macsnafu

          It seems your understanding of libertarianism isn’t very deep, in spite of how many blog posts you seem to have written about libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism. Besides making shallow misrepresentations of libertarian views, you fail to appreciate subtle but important distinctions.

          For example, you seem to think that because I hold libertarian views, I’m a selfish greedy bastard who has no concern for other people, and feels no duty or obligations for others. This in itself shows not only your shallowness in understanding libertarianism, but your failure to understand how markets work. I am deeply concerned with my friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and other people that I am involved with. I know libertarians who are very generous and giving and helpful. I also know some libertarians who are stingy and penny-pinching. But producing a libertarian who is one or the other doesn’t prove or disprove the validity of the libertarian view. That would merely be an ad hominem fallacy, addressing the person, not the philosophy.

          You say that people have duties and obligations to other people. If you can persuade people that this is so, guess what? This would not violate libertarian principles, because you used persuasion, not coercion, to convince people of this. If, on the other hand, you want the government to pass laws, and fine or jail people for not doing their duty as you see it, then you would be proposing the initiation of force against other people, not persuasion, and that would be non-libertarian. At this point, I’m not sure you can see the distinction between the two.

          Furthermore, I know you can have no idea what I hold as my own duties and obligations to other people, because I haven’t really stated my personal views on that. I merely state that having such views is not, in itself, a violation of libertarian principles. I’ve tried in one post or another to point out the limits of libertarianism as a political philosophy, and how there are many things in life that are really non-political and that libertarianism has little or nothing to say about. I wonder if you can understand that distinction. I had hoped you might provide stronger, more robust arguments to my responses, but at this point, it seems unlikely, as you seem to have not understood my comments in the first place.

          • Mike Huben

            Wow. What a lot of word salad to avoid actually answering the accusation.

            First, it is common for libertarians to claim others don’t understand libertarianism because there is no one libertarian view. In my What is Libertarianism article, I provide 23 definitions. People like you pretend there is one “true” libertarianism, but when it is convenient for an argument you bring up variants.

            Neilson said you do not believe in responsibilities such as duties and obligations. Your entire response pretends to contradict that, but actually sneers at the ideas and claims that if libertarians want to pretend they exist, it is at their “voluntary” whim. Sorry, responsibility, duties and obligations are not voluntary. For example, most libertarians would say that we have a non-voluntary responsibility to respect property, and would enforce that with violence. That’s the basic hypocrisy of voluntaristic ideas of libertarianism: everything is supposed to be voluntary and non-coercive BUT the basic principles of your ideology such as property are obviously not.

            And having views of responsibilities to other people (other than property) is roundly derided by most libertarians. You might be able to find a few exceptions, but the clearest and best known example is Ayn Rand, whose writings clearly sneer at the idea.

            • macsnafu

              I was wondering if you were going to jump in. Apparently, you don’t understand my comments any better than Nielsen does. The point you can’t see is that while libertarianism doesn’t demand any obligation more than basic respect of other people’s rights, that is, to not initiate force against others, libertarians might and do think there are duties and obligations beyond politics. Religion, peer pressure, social mores, and other social and cultural constructs and institutions all ask people to respect certain obligations without initiating force. It’s when alleged obligations and duties are demanded by force that libertarians object.

              As an example, why do people leave tips when they go to restaurants? There is no law that demands that they do so, and nobody gets fined or jailed if they do not leave a tip. Yet it is clearly an expectation of society, and thus an obvious obligation or duty. I leave tips when I go to restaurants. So when Nielsen says that I do not believe in responsibilities such as duties and obligations, he’s wrong. What he means is that the libertarian philosophy doesn’t have obligations and duties, but even here he’s wrong. There is a minimum obligation or duty to respect rights and not initiate force. Beyond that, libertarianism doesn’t require any duties or obligations, but it also does not prevent or restrict additional duties and obligations as long as they’re not coercively enforced. You people keep making the mistake of assuming that libertarianism is supposed to be a complete and comprehensive philosophy of life, when it’s really just a political philosophy. There’s much more to life than just politics, for libertarians as well as for everyone else.

              You and Nielsen also keep talking about “violence” used to enforce property rights and libertarian views. But libertarianism isn’t a non-violent or pacifist philosophy. The non-aggression principle says it is immoral to *initiate* force, but defensive force and properly-justified retaliatory force is not considered immoral. Therefore, it’s important to consider the circumstances under which violence or force is used; otherwise no rational understanding and judgement can be decided about its use.

              And as an anarchist, you may hold the traditional anarchist view that property is theft. But Nielsen is no anarchist – he believes government determines and enforces property rights. So you might want to spend some time arguing with him, or he with you, in spite of your common antipathy to libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism.

              As for Ayn Rand, she did say this about charity: “My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.”

              I’m not going to argue extensively for her view. Her political view was indeed libertarian, but she also created and supported Objectivism as a more comprehensive philosophy of life, not just a political philosophy, and I don’t consider myself an Objectivist or hold to all Objectivist views. Her view on charity is clearly an Objectivist view, and not a libertarian view, per se.

              The way you and Nielsen talk, it seems like it’s a crime or a psychopathic tendency if someone merely wants to help someone else even IF they don’t feel an obligation or duty to do so. The implication is that coercion is good and voluntary action is evil, although I have trouble believing that you and Nielsen really mean that.

              So sneer away, Mike, but you’ll have to do better than this. And I really don’t feel like wading through your Anarchist FAQ one more time. I had enough of it years ago.

  55. locke_wiggin

    False premise. By what right does the government own the land?

  56. Your argument was solid till you went into getting something in return and all the other nonsense.

  57. nixfu

    I reject your entire premise that the state apparatus has any more moral authority than the individual in society. If it is immoral and unjust for an individual to do it, then it is unjust and immoral for the state to do it. A mob voting and hiring a goon with a gun to do it dos not make it moral or just.

    • Will

      I completely agree. I’ll add another point. Most people misunderstand the libertarian position. They think we want to “freeload” and contribute nothing. That could not be further from the truth. We’re happy to pay for all of the services we use and products we consume. But we don’t want to be forced to pay for services we run services and the complete lack of accountability and choice.
      If we pay for services which we will not use, then we would prefer to do this out of choice and not out of coercion. This would be true generosity, rather than a forced donation. And again, we would not donate to a monopolistic wasteful state. Instead we would donate to private charities who would compete with each other for our donations.

      • Mike Huben

        nixfu:
        What is authority, moral or otherwise, than an opinion of society? What is considered just for an individual to do is a societal limitation of individual freedom: society has the greater freedom, starting with the freedom to enforce its judgement of what is just or not. If you cannot face this basic fact about moral authority, you can’t think straight about the subject.

        Will:
        There is no “monopolistic state”. I covered that more than 20 years ago in my Non-Libertarian FAQ:
        “There are roughly 200 nations to which you could emigrate. They are the product of an anarcho-capitalist free market: there is no over-government dictating to those sovereign nations. Indeed, the only difference between the anarchy of nations and libertopia is that anarcho-capitalists are wishing for a smaller granularity. These nations have found that it is most cost-efficient to defend themselves territorially.
        If any other market provided 200 choices, libertarians would declare that the sacred workings of the market blessed whatever choices were offered. The point is that choices do exist: it’s up to libertarians to show that there is something wrong with the market of nations in a way they would accept being applied to markets within nations.
        Libertaria is a combination of values that just doesn’t exist: the government equivalent of a really posh residence for very little money. You can find nations which have much lower taxes, etc.: just don’t expect them to be first class.
        And the reason these combinations don’t exist is probably simple: the free market of government services essentially guarantees that there is no such thing as the free lunch libertarians want. It’s not competitive.”

        • nixfu

          Oh the “You can leave” argument and denial that taxation is dependent on unjust violence.

          • Mike Huben

            All property (including territorial property of states) is based on violence. That’s why libertarian positions such as yours are incoherent. You want property, which is created only by violent threat, state or non-state.

            But in fact you can leave. I have left the US, and now live in Ecuador. Pretty much all the ancestors of people (excluding Amerinds, descendents of slaves and convicts) in the USA left their former nations.

            But you didn’t even respond to my debunking of your claim of “moral authority”. Typical.

            And it is kind of sad that you cannot even paraphrase for us the arguments of those ridiculous animations. I won’t waste my time.

  58. The state owns the land? I would like to meet the living and breathing person named “The state” I’ll wait…

  59. Mike

    “It is not theft if you receive something in return. If someone steals my car, that is theft. If I have to sell my car in order to pay my rent, that is not theft. Libertarians sometimes act as though taxes disappear into a black hole and are never seen again.”

    This is absurd. Imagine you have a plot of land and you always planned on planting a garden there. One day you go to work. When you return you find that your neighbor has built you a new driveway. This driveway is exactly where you wanted to plant your garden. Your neighbor has deducted the material and labor costs from your bank account to pay for the driveway.

    Would you not call this theft?

    • If taxation is so obviously theft, then why does almost no one view it as theft? In your example it is obviously theft, so why do the vast majority of taxpayers, not consider it theft? Are they too dumb to realise they are being robbed?

      In an opinion poll, most Irish voters said they were willing to pay higher taxes for more government services. If they are being robbed, why would they want more? If they are being robbed why don’t they vote for parties that will lower their taxes?

      • macsnafu

        “If taxation is so obviously theft, then why does almost no one view it as theft?”
        That’s a good question. I admit that while I’ve come up with a few answers for that, none of them are entirely satisfactory. Indoctrination, the impression that government is beneficial, even Stockholm Syndrome. But that’s what I was originally hoping that you could answer, but you haven’t yet. Not really.

        But if it *isn’t* theft, then why are people not given the choice of opting out? It’s true that it’s not theft if you get something in return for your tax money. It’s extortion, especially if it’s a “service” you don’t want. If Wal-Mart forced me to give them so much money per month, and I could take my “share” of their goods and services, most people would not say that it was just, or that it was necessarily beneficial to me. Why is government considered different? Why are people forcibly prevented from competing with governments in some areas? Sure, government provides some services for your tax money, but the justification for such government services seems pretty weak, while the results of government services often leaves much to be desired. If you put your child into private school instead of public school, you don’t get a rebate on the portion of your taxes that go to education.

        In fact, you say that we get to decide how how tax money is spent or even how much we are taxed. You know that’s not really true. Democracy and the electoral process is a vague way of making my wishes known, and I certainly don’t get to decide how my portion of my tax money is spent. I think it would be very interesting if they did give citizens a form to fill out so that we could clearly say how we wanted our tax money to be spent. I’d be willing to bet that the result of that would be considerably different from how the money is actually spent.

        Of course, I could always “opt out” by leaving my country and move somewhere else. But that assumes that the government’s monopoly control over a territory is just. You think that it’s just. You compared government to a landlord. I argued elsewhere that landlords have limits on what they can do to their renters, and that governments don’t really act like landlords; they have more power over people. But I don’t recall you ever actually justifying government’s monopoly control over their territory. So I’m still waiting for a response to that question.

        • Mike Huben

          “But I don’t recall you ever actually justifying government’s monopoly control over their territory.”

          Search these comments for “allodial title”.

      • James

        “If taxation is so obviously theft, then why does almost no one view it as theft?”

        This is an appeal to popularity. You may personally want to pay money for [insert government service], but to the extent that I don’t want to buy a thing, it is theft to take my money, even if an item is given after the taking of the money.

        • Mike Huben

          James, why is it that macsnafu understood this was a question and you confuse it with an argument?

          The simple answer that eludes you is that you are telling a moral story about “ought” that few people agree with. Others much more appreciate the facts of the real world.

          And if you don’t want to buy this government’s services, go elsewhere so that you don’t have to. If you are in a restaurant and you don’t want to buy the food offered there, go elsewhere. This too is answered in my FAQ:

          5.13 Why should we be coerced to accept the social contract? Why can’t we be left alone?

          I suggest you read my FAQ through, and then start asking more intelligent questions.

          • James

            Appeal to popularity. It was an argument, not a simple question. The question was rhetorical. Also what “is” isn’t the same as what “ought” to be. You’re implying that it is.

            Begging the question by suggesting that I have to move in order to reject government services. This is once again circular logic.

            Your moronic FAQ doesn’t have a single logical argument in it. It’s full of logical fallacies, just like this article. Your refusal to acknowledge and correct these fallacies doesn’t make you right, it just goes to show how little you actually understand the concept of reason. It’s quite clear that you and your FAQ have no more ability to use reason than a pigeon playing chess, and that’s why I’m not going to continue this conversation. I don’t associate with people who refuse to employ reasoned arguments. Have a good day!

            • Mike Huben

              Asking people to justify their position because so many disagree with it is a reasonable request, not an argument. But I don’t expect you to understand that because you don’t seem able to do more than assert positions without justification.

              Understanding what “is” is basic to understanding how to get to your “ought”. Not much hope for you, since you have no clue about what “is” and refuse to face it.

              You do need to move to reject government services without going to jail. Just as much as you’d need to move to reject your landlord’s services. That’s an “is”.

              “Your moronic FAQ doesn’t have a single logical argument in it.”

              Blah, blah, word salad. You haven’t any argument, just parroted positions and baseless accusations. Good riddance to you, except I doubt you have the honesty to stay away.

  60. dylanclark1122

    Except the government does not own our land at all. First of all, how does someone own something which they don’t pay for to maintain, don’t utilize, etc.

    If I purchase a few acres of unused land from a farmer, clear the land of brush and trees, build a house from the ground up, how am I not the owner of that property? I purchased the area, I created it, and then continue to maintain it.

    Your entire argument resides on the government having a claim to all of the land within the US, which is completely false.

    Taxation is theft because it is a contract that you never signed, that is enforced with violence. Don’t pay taxes, you get fined. Continue not to pay and eventually there is a warrant for your arrest. Try to resist arrest and they will use force. Resist excessively and you will be killed.

    Not paying taxes results in death or being locked in a cage. Taxes are extortion. There is no argument against that.

    Comparing taxes to rent is foolish because you agreed to it upon signing the lease. Nobody signed or agreed to anything by being born in this country.

  61. David Cortes

    Taxes will stop being theft when people can stop paying without facing retaliation. The fact liberals can’t see this is more proof they should have no say. But for now I am OK with the destruction and suffering liberals are causing. It will make it far easier for we anarchists to finally get out from under the boot of this oppressive government.

    • Mike Huben

      Cortes:
      Property will stop being theft when people can stop paying to use it without facing retaliation.

      Plainly your criterion for theft doesn’t take into account pre-existing ownership, whether private or governmental.

      Carl:
      That is a good fundamental question. The simple answer is that there are two kinds of rights to ownership. Real rights to ownership are established by force, and nothing else. That is where all government and private ownership originates. Imaginary rights to ownership are moral stories told to the gullible which make it easier for the enforcement of the real rights. Locke’s “mixing of labor” is one of these moral stories.

  62. Carl

    Really, what gives the state the right to own anything? What gives a person the right to own anything except there body and mind? Fundamental question, how did anyone gain the rights to own anything???

  63. M. Sage

    “It’s not theft if you get something in return.”

    Slaves got food, shelter, and medical care, does that mean slavery was not immoral?

  64. Russell Evans

    Send me a bill. I’ll pay for those services i want, anything else is slavery.

    • That’s a disgusting analogy. It’s not slavery. Maybe you need to crack a history book. You could make a case that it’s extortion, but that’s how the State funds its operations. It’s how it’s been for thousands of years. In order to have a State that has the power to protect property rights, it has to, by necessity, pay for itself. Your duplistic argument that you don’t want to participate in this coerced exchange (except when it benefits you, I suspect), doesn’t concern the State in the least, and it has the power at its disposal to ensure that you are forced to help support it. All you can do is work to ensure that the operations of the State are in line with your personal values. Welcome to the real world.

  65. James

    “The state owns the land”

    False. The state took land by force. This is conflating an is with an ought.

    “It is not theft if you receive something in return.”

    False. Theft doesn’t cease to be theft if you give something in return. If I steal your car and leave you a note, that doesn’t make it something other than theft. It doesn’t magically become a legitimate exchange just because I leave you something. This isn’t even a slightly reasoned position.

    “Furthermore, what sort of thief lets you decide how your money is spent or how much he takes?”

    Doesn’t matter, he’s still a thief. This is just more special pleading.

    “If taxation really was theft, then such a party would easily win a landslide and could promptly end the theft.”

    This also conflates an is with an ought. Non-sequitur.

    “But that is an implicit part of citizenship.”

    Begging the question.

    “Libertarians make the mistake of thinking of people as isolated individuals isolated from the rest of the world.”

    Straw man. No libertarian has asserted that he/she lives in isolation. Further, the fact that we depend upon one another for things like trade doesn’t imply that we’re obligated to join a collective like the state. This is also non-sequitur.

    “Every abuse of government power that libertarians rail against would still occur in a libertarian society, the only difference would be that it would be even worse.”

    Claimed without any proof. This is religious nonsense.

    “by living in that location we are agreeing to abide by its rules and pay the charges. If we don’t agree we can either change the rules or move.”

    Not unless the mafia is acting legitimately. Until then, this kind of circular logic doesn’t hold up.

    • Mike Huben

      James wrote:
      ‘“The state owns the land” False. The state took land by force. This is conflating an is with an ought.”

      Actually, no matter how the state obtained the land, the state does own the land, and will defend its ownership. That is an “is”. You apparently believe in an “ought”: that the state ought not to own the land, perhaps because it was taken by force. I love when libertarians accuse others of their own fallacies.

      “Theft doesn’t cease to be theft if you give something in return.”

      If you read the context, that was not Robert Neilson’s point. At worst, he wrote clumsily.

      The rest of your arguments diverge farther and farther from the points actually made in the article.

      • James

        Actually no, ownership is an “ought” and not an “is” in the first place. If a person beats you up and takes your house by force, that doesn’t legitimately transfer ownership. The “is” in this case would be possession but not legitimate ownership.

        Actually it was OP’s point, and like the rest of the article, it wasn’t backed up by reasoned positions. The entire notion of a state is special pleading. It’s the notion that some people have rights that no one else has. It’s actually a religion if you really examine it.

        • Mike Huben

          Maybe you have a moral story about ownership that is an “ought”, but ownership in the real world (such as the USA) is an “is”.

          And in innumerable cultures, beating you up and taking your stuff DOES constitute ownership: that was the essence of feudalism. It is only courtesy of social institutions such as government that you can pretend that such ownership is natural.

          Lots of libertarians admit this. Here are a couple you may have heard of:

          All ownership derives from occupation and violence. […] That all rights derive from violence, all ownership from appropriation or robbery, we may freely admit to those who oppose ownership on considerations of natural law.
          Ludwig von Mises, “Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis” Ch. 1, section 2.

          If the State may be said to properly own its territory, then it is proper for it to make rules for anyone who presumes to live in that area. It can legitimately seize or control private property because there is no private property in its area, because it really owns the entire land surface. So long as the State permits its subjects to leave its territory, then, it can be said to act as does any other owner who sets down rules for people living on his property.
          Murray Rothbard, “The Ethics of Liberty” p. 172.

          • James

            “Maybe you have a moral story about ownership that is an “ought”, but ownership in the real world (such as the USA) is an “is”.”

            No, it isn’t. If you beat someone up and take their keys, your claim on their house will be promptly rejected. It defies the notion of ownership entirely, which is based upon the ability to exclude.

            “And in innumerable cultures, beating you up and taking your stuff DOES constitute ownership: that was the essence of feudalism.”

            Irrelevant. Some cultures throughout history thought that people had a claim of ownership over other people. That didn’t make it morally legitimate.

            With respect to the section from Mises, yes, that’s correct. Ownership does require violence in the defensive sense, just like self-ownership requires violence in the defensive sense. If someone tries to rape me, I have to use violence to defend my claim upon my body. Likewise, if someone tries to rob me, I have to use violence to defend my claim upon my property.

            With respect to Rothbard, that’s also correct. However, the state doesn’t have a legitimate right to property because it wasn’t obtained legitimately. If I were to extort money from you, it would not be legitimately mine. Likewise, the state cannot legitimately extort money from the rest of us.

            • Mike Huben

              Once again, you confuse “is” with “ought” by telling moral stories and thinking they are reality.

              You admit that ownership is based on “the ability to exclude”: isn’t that what happens when “you beat someone up and take their keys”? Then you say “your claim on their house will be promptly rejected”: but by whom? Are you going to beg big, bad government to defend your claim? If not, and the new owner is more popular or influential than you are, good luck!

              As to slavery, that is an “is” (or was): moral stories do not change the fact that people owned other people.

              You admit “Ownership does require violence”, but then you tell a moral story about it claiming that the violence is “defensive” and presuming that the ownership itself is just. But then you tell a moral story about the state, claiming “illegitimacy” of state ownership of property. That’s an oxymoron, since the state determines what is legitimate according to law.

              Now, you may have your own “ought” moral story about what constitutes legitimate property ownership, but the “is” fact is that property is rooted in allodial title, and nothing else.

              • James

                Your notion of allodial title is no less a story than any other moral “ought.”

                When you beat someone up and take their keys, they will likely respond with a greater force in order to take back what is RIGHTFULLY theirs. No, that doesn’t require government. But of course you’ve never actually tried to think about this, so I wouldn’t expect you to know about DROs or REAs.

                Of course the moral (ought) doesn’t change the reality (is). The point is that slavery was never legitimate in the moral sense, regardless of legality or popularity.

                Legitimacy isn’t determined by the state. Then again I wouldn’t expect much more from a person from your religion. After all, you’ve declared that legitimacy is determined by law, so that must mean that your moral compass is dictated by the whims of politicians. There is no reasoning with such a religion, so I’m out.

                • Mike Huben

                  Allodial title is not a story: it is a description of observable behavior that is dominant worldwide. Every nation is an observable example of allodial title. Moral stories are generally not confirmable by observation: you will find innumerable counterexamples and exceptions and people who disagree because they have alternative moral stories.

                  Your story about “respond with a greater force” is wishful thinking without government: few will be able to do so because predators will select those who are weaker.

                  “But of course you’ve never actually tried to think about this…”
                  Oh, now you’re one of those famous libertarian mind-readers who knows everything. Bullshit.

                  The moral legitimacy of slavery is a perfect example of why moral stories do not establish legitimacy. For milennia, the vast majority of the world had moral stories justifying slavery: just look to the Bible for example. Many wars were fought over which moral story was correct. There are even modern libertarians who justify slavery. See my Slavery page on the wiki.

  66. Jason Miller

    Your “taxes are like rent” basically proves the point that we are not free people because we are born on the plantation.

    We arn’t free, we are free range.

  67. Dan

    So lf I don’t own my house or the land that is around it why did I just pay 225k for it?

    • Mike Huben

      There’s a section of my FAQ that addresses your question.

      5.18 Of course it’s my property. I paid money and hold the deed.

      “What do you hold the deed to? Property as recognized by a government. As such, you can address infringement of your rights through the legal system. However your property as recognized by the legal system is limited.”

      There’s more: take a look.

      • James

        “What do you hold the deed to? Property as recognized by a government. As such, you can address infringement of your rights through the legal system. However your property as recognized by the legal system is limited.”

        Actually a legal property deed isn’t dependent upon having a government. The state does not have a legitimate agreement in place here. A simple thought illustration will help clear this up: replace the word government for mafia and you’ll notice that the transaction isn’t legitimate. Now I know what you’re thinking….”but government is legitimate!” Okay, so without employing circular logic here, explain how it’s different when the government does it from when the mafia does it. Why should you be required to use government legal systems but not mafia systems of justice? Both employ the use of violence and force you into their systems, so why is one legitimate and the other isn’t?

        • Mike Huben

          The mafia question is also answered in my FAQ: you need to do some reading. The answer is that governments hold “allodial title”, and mafias don’t.

          While it might be possible to have “legal property deeds” without government, that doesn’t say anything about YOUR property under OUR government which is based on a deed recognized by the government legal system.

          As for legitimacy, I suggest that you check a dictionary. Definition number one is usually “according to law, lawful”. Yes, government legitimates itself: there is no other source of legitimacy. No matter what source of legitimacy you appeal to, it is possible to ask why that source is legitimate. The pragmatic answer is that the only working legitimacy is based on force: all else can be ignored. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to claim legitimacy for government or anarchy: it has to be based on force. The only difference might be the granularity of the force.

          • James

            “The answer is that governments hold “allodial title”, and mafias don’t.”

            Oh, so governments made up this thing called “allodial title” and they gave themselves that right. Makes total sense now! /s Uh, no, that makes no more sense than saying I’m allowed to rob you, and it’s not theft because I declared it “not theft.”

            My property isn’t dependent upon THIS government either, no. Just like self-ownership isn’t subject to paying off a slave master.

            That’s circular logic and appeal to force. It’s not a reasoned argument.

            • Mike Huben

              James, why don’t you read the wikipedia article on allodial title and cure yourself of some of your ignorance.

              Allodial title predates modern governments, and possibly the feudal era.

              “Allodial title is related to the concept of land held “in allodium”, or land ownership by occupancy and defense of the land… In the modern developed world, true allodial title is only possible for nation state governments.”

              As for self-ownership, it is a moral story and has no actual force in the real world. People do not own theirselves in the real world: what you mistake for self-ownership varies from nation to nation and is never as strong as property except in the case of slavery (a fine counterexample.)

              • James

                I’m not ignorant of the notion of allodial title, but none of that proves what you think it proves. Notably:

                “In the modern developed world, true allodial title is only possible for nation state governments.”

                Like I said, it’s not a reasoned argument. It’s just special pleading.

                • Mike Huben

                  James, you’re grasping at straws. That is a descriptive definition, not an argument, and so it is not special pleading.

                  You, on the other hand, are simply making stupid assertions without any argument or evidence. Where is your example of modern non-governmental allodial title?

                  I love when libertarians think themselves “logical” and then proceed to their stupid blunders.

                  • James

                    Yes, it was an attempt at an argument on your part. If I say that you don’t have a legitimate claim and you say that you have [insert meaningless term here], you’re attempting to provide moral justification for your claim. That’s not a description of an “is” but an attempt at an “ought.”

                    You’re the only one here with stupid blunders. Go back to your “divine right.” It’s no less an appeal to force.

                    • Mike Huben

                      Your only support for the claim government is illegitimate is a moral story, an “ought”. I, on the other hand, point out that force creates legitimacy in the real world. That is not a moral story: it is an observation about reality, an “is”.

                      And it would be nice if you learned to argue better than “not me, you!” I identified your blunders, and you just keep making more.

      • Daniel Fisher

        So how DID the government buy the land that I live on? How much did they pay for it? Why did I not have to sign a document stating that I would leave as soon as they want my property back?

        • Mike Huben

          Once again, my FAQ answers your questions.

          5.16 There’s no such thing as rights to govern territory! “The US government can demonstrate ownership of such rights through treaty, purchase, bequeathment by the original colonies and some other states, and conquest. The EXACT same sources as all other forms of land ownership in the US.”

          5.7 Social Contract? I never signed no steenking social contract.

          Every set of newbie libertarians recites the same stupid talking points. That’s why I wrote my FAQ 25 years ago to help keep them from embarrassing themselves.

          • James

            And once again your FAQ isn’t based in reason/logic. The notion that the US government can demonstrate legitimate ownership is based upon circular logic and an appeal to force. You are begging the question by saying that ownership is legitimate by taxation and that taxation is legitimate by ownership.

            Also no party has a legitimate right to unilaterally bind others in contracts. Your FAQ is yet again showing a lack of reasoning. This is also special pleading. I realize that you think this is an actual argument, but it’s not. It’s a pathetic attempt at rationalizing government. No party has the ability to bind a person in contract without their consent. Using your line of logic, you have an obligation to the guy that tries to clean your windshield at an intersection. He “consented for you.”

            • Mike Huben

              More stupid and unsupported assertions, James.

              There is no circularity: US government ownership is based on allodial title, which is based on ability to defend your claims of title. The same as ANY OTHER RIGHTS: without force, they are merely moral stories. If you want to do away with force, you will have to do away with rights. That’s a simple fact of the real world, which most libertarians have a great deal of trouble facing.

              “Also no party has a legitimate right to unilaterally bind others in contracts.”
              But of course that is not what is happening: you are living in territory owned by the US government, and thus MUST obey the rules set by the owner or face penalties. The same as if you walked into a bar with a cover charge. You would have to pay, and you would have to follow the owner’s rules. Now, you may whine that you were born here and had no choice, but you do have a choice now to continue or to terminate residency and citizenship. So the social contract with the US is not any more unilateral than any other exercise of property rights.

              • James

                Nope, none of my assertions were unsupported or lacking in terms of reasoning. Yours are.

                Allodial title is a made-up concept. It’s like “social contract” and “divine right.” You’ve literally provided no other distinction from the mafia other than saying “they have allodial title.” That’s not even an argument but a pathetic rationalization.

                With respect to force, you’re attacking a straw man.

                Said ownership hasn’t been established as legitimate. You claiming that it is doesn’t make it so. The initiation of force upon others also doesn’t make it so. Try again.

                • Mike Huben

                  “Nope, none of my assertions were unsupported or lacking in terms of reasoning. Yours are.”

                  Wow. How can you type that with a straight face? That is an assertion that is unsupported and has no reasoning. And then you degenerate to “No, you are”, a kindergarten level of argument.

                  “Allodial title is a made-up concept.”

                  All concepts are “made-up”. But allodial title is DESCRIPTIVE of the real world. It is not a moral story: it is amoral in the sense of not making moral claims, but merely describing what is observed. Legitimacy is either a legal judgement or (in your case) a moral story.

                  • Dan

                    Whether it’s descriptive of the real world or not doesn’t make it legitimate. Consider this: A policeman doesn’t own everyone’s property, yet he is still able to enforce laws. The police’s purpose is to serve and protect, and same with the government. Another example is one country invading another because it doesn’t like what the other country is doing. Not to seize that country’s land, but to simply stop them from what it was doing. All that is necessary is the authority or power to do so, not ownership of the land. Whether the authority or power translates to legitimate ownership or not depends on what ownership is defined as, which isn’t necessarily exclusive to a government’s definition of ownership.

                    But government entities in the US governments don’t just get all their power through violence or their own laws; it’s people are elected by citizens of the United States. If enough people wanted to change a law or lower taxes, that would probably happen eventually. The thing is, there are many people that are still happy with all the services they’re getting for what they’re paying (although the poorer you are, the less you have to pay).

                    • Mike Huben

                      Dan: There is no source of legitimacy that is not a moral story (without force) or a law (with force.)

                      All property, including allodial title, is backed with force. Usually, legal force (law), which is one positive type of legitimacy. Moral stories are not positive: they cannot be observed to be real or imaginary, and conflicting stories can bear just as much weight.

  68. Pingback: Inside McFloogle's Mind / Taxation is not theft?

  69. Lim

    “It is not theft if you receive something in return.”

    How is this logically defensible at all? Most of these point you make aren’t.

    Serious question, when you come up with these points, do you challenge them logically in your mind before putting them to text?

    “It is not theft if you receive something in return.”

    If I steal your car, and while doing so, I leave you that XBox you’ve wanted for the last year. Then by your logic then it is not theft. Do you agree?

  70. M Austin

    “t is not theft if you receive something in return.” Really? So if you’re car jacked by a man who hands you a $10 Amazon gift card, everyone is square? No harm done?
    Taxes are theft for many reasons, one being that taxes force people to be financially supportive of things they are morally opposed to. Is it okay to force a Muslim immigrant to pay for the bombing of his cousin’s wedding?

    • Mike Huben

      Lim and Austin:

      If you read in context, the preceding paragraph establishes the analogy of a voluntary relationship with a mall owner. To forestall the complaint that you might pay and get nothing in return and thus are robbed, he provides the argument you ridicule. In context, it is sensible, but I suppose the short attention span of libertarians means that every sentence must stand alone: they cannot be expected to remember two whole paragraphs!

  71. Pingback: Is Taxation "Theft"? | Rolling Alpha

    • Mike Huben

      If you read through the close to 400 responses to this post, you’d see that pretty much all of your points have been answered, some multiple times. So why are you wasting our time?

      • So what is this, Mike? An argument from obfuscation? I started reading the first comment in the slew of comments and it went something like: “oh mygosh what a GREAT analogy” and the third one was saying “I know, dude, I argued for this too even though I call myself a libertarian” whilst Sicarius’ article is pretty much coming from a very opposite point of view. Your entire article is assertion without arguments, the least you can do is try to copy/paste whatever “response” you feel was warranted or at least point to it.

        • Dan

          Come to think of it, Mike is the last one who should be complaining about his time getting wasted, because he’s voluntarily been involved in most of the arguments in the comments since this article was written. That was over 2 years ago and he isn’t even the author.

          • My bad, I didn’t realize he wasn’t the author, but since he did put so much time in defending it, I still think some copy/pasting would have been justified rather than pointing back in the general direction of something as large as the bible.

            • Mike Huben

              Valentin:
              “Your entire article is assertion without arguments…” If that’s what you think about the original article, you wouldn’t know an argument if it bit you.

              I grow impatient periodically with the endless flood of “individual thinkers” who all parrot, spout and regurgitate the same fallacious arguments that I’ve seen for roughly 40 years. That’s why I wrote my FAQ, which addresses the most persistent ones. These fools have either have no clue that refutations of those arguments are easily available or reject the refutations for foolish, emotional reasons. If you look at any of the dozen or so “answers” to my FAQ, you can easily see that.

              At some point, I will make a separate “taxation is not theft” FAQ, using this as one of the sources of libertarian claims.

              And if you find this conversation too long, I suggest you use the search feature of your browser to find what you want. I have better uses of my time than to spoon-feed lazy libertarians.

              • Two weak and poorly constructed analogies do not an argument make. And most of Sicarius’ comment addresses that exact fact. Also calling people lazy and fools do not make for good debate and aren’t arguments either. Just pointing out the inconsistency in your reasoning: if you needed to defend this article in the first place, then you either stick with it or you admit defeat.
                Your tactic, however, is encouraging disengagement. The argument for that is you keep saying my FAQ, my FAQ instead of just copy/pasting your damned FAQ where it applies below. This tactic you apply moves the onus of also carrying out your part of the conversation back on me which is why I said “argument from obfuscation” in the first place.

                • Mike Huben

                  “Two weak and poorly constructed analogies do not an argument make.”
                  Ah, now you are the lord and judge of argument? I could easily counter that lame assertion with “mere denial does not an argument make”.

                  Calling people like you lazy and fools is also accurate: if you had had the wits to search these comments for “FAQ”, you would have found links to my FAQ and a number of places where I quote from it. “Argument from obfuscation” to you means that I don’t spoon-feed you the basics. To everybody else it means vague or confusing terminology. Suck it up.

                  As for “inconsistent reasoning”, you have shown no such thing: you would need to cite me twice and make an argument to show it.

                  You egotistical “special snowflakes” think that your certainty and bluster is all the argument you need. Sorry, the rest of the world laughs at your idiocy. Do your research on both sides of the argument.

                  Oh, and if you want a larger, book length argument, read: The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice. Then you might know something.

                  • Dan

                    Well telling someone to go read a document or book is not how an argument works. You ARE supposed to directly say or at least copy/paste the part that is relevant. It’s up to whoever is making the point to prove it, not the other way around. For example you can’t just reference the Bill of
                    Rights to argue that you have a certain right; you have to point out the text of a certain amendment that gives you that right.

                    If you’re too lazy to do that then you’re basically saying that the argument is not worth your time and may as well move on. 40 years of hearing the same arguments from many people you say? In that time have you ever stopped to think that maybe those many people have some fair points instead of trying to come up with a government-made reason to disregard and insult them?

                    • Mike Huben

                      “Well telling someone to go read a document or book is not how an argument works.”

                      Ah, another dictator of the methods of argument. Who put you in charge?

                      Please address your stupid notions to Sicarius Savidicus, who did exactly what you are complaining about. I merely replied in kind. It was all he deserved in my book.

                      There are no “fair points” in libertarianism: it is a system of propaganda built by the wealthy to make it easier for them to prey on the rest of us. Read some history.

                    • Dan

                      I could use the same logic against you. Who put you in charge to say that you can expect to argue without providing or quoting the relevant text that you seem to be referencing so much? Argue how you want but don’t expect anyone to take that method seriously. I don’t need to be in charge to point out that that’s how making a claim works not only in the courts, but through science, journalism and facts in general. You do not simply link or reference a book or document without providing relevant text or quotes in order to prove something. Whether other people attempt to do so is irrelevant.

                      Your view on libertarianism is very pessimistic. It’s no secret that the wealthy thrive more when there’s less market controls and taxation, but is that a bad thing so long as competition still exists? That’s also just one effect that’s not even exclusive to libertarianism (Republicans say hi). Liberatrians also put more emphasize on civil rights rather than just free market.

                    • Mike Huben

                      Dan: I don’t need to be schooled in argument by a newbie who doesn’t even realize that I haven’t attempted to dictate anything and who doesn’t even read when I point out that I was responding in kind.

                      Most people think that libertarianism is crud. I’ve written quite a bit detailing why. If you’re too fucking lazy to do the basic reading to argue specifics, then you are just a concern troll.

                    • Mike, I don’t have to quote you to prove you’re inconsistent when your behaviour is providing enough evidence of that. You’re “defending” this article (an active engagement) and making disparaging remarks about the characters of anyone (so far 3 people) who try to refute the points in the article (ad hominem, to say the least a disengaging tactic) all the while refusing to engage in discussion and handing out homework down from your very own mountain top (a disengaging tactic). You are actively engaging with people to have them disengage you. That is inconsistent.
                      I don’t have to be any sort of authority in debating to state that the definition of an argument is “a reason given in proof or rebuttal” and analogies are literally NOT proof of anything.
                      Ever think that maybe Sicarius liked to an outside post because wordpress comments don’t allow for complex (yet basic) formatting such as bold and italic typefont, bullet lists, and other such?

                • Dan

                  So out of curiosity I did look at his FAQ, and really some of it is no better than the way Sicarius Savidicus argued. For example:

                  “There is no reason short of worship of the founders to presume that the Supreme Court is less capable than the founders.” Why not? The Supreme Court (and other courts for that matter) aren’t perfect, and some decisions have even been reversed through appeals or other cases. Here are some examples In regards to the 1st, 2nd and even 4th amendment where the courts could be wrong:

                  The founding fathers knew the difference from absolute and reasonable as reflected in the Bill of Rights. They literally said “Congress shall make no law” at the start of the first amendment. That wording is absolute; no exceptions. Yet the courts have “allowed” laws restricting the freedom of speech; most oddly “fighting words” and “obscenity”.

                  Same with the 2nd amendment. it ends with “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That is absolute; no exceptions. Yet the courts have “allowed” infringement on guns such as having to obtain a permit and go through background checks, to banning certain types of guns and modifications.

                  However as for the 4th amendment, it is does not give citizens an absolute right to privacy. It specifically says “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” However, it does give protection against unreasonable ones. Based on this text, a search or seizure is unreasonable if it is not warranted (i.e. no probable cause). However, the Courts have allowed certain searches and seizures without probable cause such as DUI checkpoints, where the driver is forced to stop (the seizure) and be compelled or at least heavily pressured to show license and registration (the search), all without any probable cause.

                  • Mike Huben

                    (1) You’re off topic.
                    (2) “Why not? The Supreme Court (and other courts for that matter) aren’t perfect, and some decisions have even been reversed through appeals or other cases.” Nobody thinks the founders were perfect, and they are well documented to have often changed their minds. Read some history. Fallible founders, fallible supreme court. My sentence is valid.
                    (3) While you have cited a sentence, you have not said why it is “no better”.

                    • Dan

                      I knew you’d be back.
                      (1) No I am not off topic because you referenced your FAQ without specifying certain parts, as well as addressed Libertarianism being a joke as a whole so I am justified in nit-picking to argue about certain anti-libertarian points in your FAQ.

                      (2) Unless you are saying the Bill of Rights was a mistake, there isn’t a reason to assume we don’t have those rights as listed in text. Whether the founding fathers weren’t always perfect is irrelevant here. The court, however, has seemingly failed to uphold some of those rights, and just because they aren’t perfect does not mean they aren’t at fault.

                      (3) For this particular argument, if we can’t trust the courts like blind sheep all the time, then Libertarians have already pointed out a legitimate complaint, which your FAQ hasn’t successfully rebutted.

                    • Mike Huben

                      I am addressing arguments, not responding to sealioning.

                      (1) You are off topic because those arguments are not about the cridiculous claim “taxation is theft.”
                      (2) The question is what the text means and what to do when it conflicts with other powers/rights.
                      (3) That complaint applies just as well to the founders who made the bill of rights: you can’t blindly trust them all the time either. The libertarian argument pitting the founders against the supreme court is stupid. That’s what I point out.

                    • Dan

                      (1) Look at you trying to dictate that I’m sealioning and not arguing, and that I’m off-topic. That is quite a dictator of the methods is it not? I’ll also point out that while you claim to be arguing about taxation being theft and not responding to what you call sealioning, you have been in fact arguing “off-topic” with me about things other than taxation being theft, with the last several of your replies. If you want to stop arguing about such things then that’s fine, but if you keep replying to me about it then you clearly still want to argue about it.

                      (2 and 3) The examples I pointed out were pretty clear on certain things being pretty absolute, and the founding fathers knew the difference because the 4th amendment protects from only unreasonable search and seizure, not all. I say pretty absolute, because if they interfere with another people’s rights then may be justified in being narrowly limited (i.e. for free speech, slander and crime solicitation). However, many limitations exist on things that don’t directly harm others other than the the person getting their rights infringed. Such as the mere buying and possession of guns, obscenity, fighting words, traffic stops when there is no probable cause of a crime or traffic violation being committed etc.

                      The bill of rights has repeatedly been pitted against the courts in hopes of the courts declaring such infringements of rights unconstitutional. It is important so that the people can defend these rights. Now an important thing I haven’t yet mentioned which brings this all together is the 5th and 9th amendments. Specially the part of the 5th amendment that says ” nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” and the 9th amendment which reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Meaning in addition to life, liberty and property, the 9th amendment guarantees other human rights that aren’t specifically mentioned in the constitution, if for some reason they wouldn’t already be classified as “life”, “liberty” or “property”. Such rights would obviously include the right to breathe and probably the pursuit of happiness (if no one else’s right are being violated). Logically this should also include the right to commit “victimless crimes”, such as the right to grow and hunt for food to feed one’s family or friends, the right to buy, grow, possess and use drugs on one’s own property (or even in public if such drugs can be used responsibly), the right to pay or offer favors for sex in private, and possibly the right of being naked since clothes aren’t natural. Another one should be the right to avoid taxes that depend on if you buy something or not (like health insurance). Effectively that makes it so the government can heavily pressure you into buying something. But a blanket health tax that applies to every human who works should be constitutional, even if widely loathed.

                    • Mike Huben

                      Off topic. You don’t know the meaning of dictate, apparently. Blah blah blah.

                    • Dan

                      If it’s so off topic then why are you still replying to it?

                      Dictate: lay down authoritatively; prescribe.

                      You are dictating that I am off topic, but that is a matter of opinion. Discussion, arguments (whatever you want to call them) can go many ways through natural flow. What you consider off topic you’ve actually been talking about with me (and a few others).

                      For example these “unalienable rights”. Just because the Bill of Rights doesn’t specifically use that wording, does not mean that the rights it grants are any less true. The Declaration of Independence may not be law, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t hold evidence of the founding father’s intent; not to mention the reasons for breaking away from England in the first place.

                    • Mike Huben

                      More sealioning.

                      As for the founders, I cover that in my FAQ:
                      The Declaration Of Independence says…
                      The Declaration Of Independence is a rhetorical document, without legal standing in the USA. That status was a deliberate decision of the founders, not an accident. If it is purported to reflect the intent of the founders, then we can only conclude that they changed their minds when writing the Articles of Confederation and then the Constitution.

                      If you weren’t so lazy and had half a brain, you’d read my FAQ before bringing up your stupid arguments.

  72. First of all, strictly speaking taxation is not theft, it is armed robbery:
    https://zorkthehun.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/taxation-is-not-theft/
    Second, it is not the problem, it is the symptom:
    https://zorkthehun.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/taxes-are-symptoms/
    Third, as with most things, the devil is in the detail:
    https://zorkthehun.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/taxes-are-worse-than-theft/

    This article is just the flip side of the point it is arguing against. Just as simplistic, just as primitive, just as moralizing.
    The intelligent libertarian argument is that voluntary arrangements not only represent a higher morality but they also produce much better results.
    The reason I, as a libertarian, have problems with the “taxation is theft” argument is that it opens the door wide open to even more stupid left-winger counter arguments such as the ones in this blog post.

    • Mike Huben

      I could make just as stupid an argument as you do, zorkthehun. “Defending property is armed assault.” There. Both arguments are stupid because there are pre-existing norms about sovereignty and ownership. The norms are that sovereign nations get to enforce the rules (such as taxes) and owners get to enforce their property claims (which can include rules such as rental fees.) Enforcement is coercive in both cases.

      I’ll make you a deal. Wouldn’t it be fair for me to give up government when libertarians give up ownership? Both criminal enterprises at once. 🙂

      • Dan

        Except you did try to dictate something, by opposing me on how an argument works. It’d be pointless to accuse me of dictating how something should work if you didn’t disagree with me in what you did. As for paying attention, clearly you are the one that doesn’t since you seemed to completely miss when I said that it doesn’t matter how other people attempt to argue such as Sicarius Savidicus. I am not him and neither are you. If you want to respond in kind like him then what makes you so much better than such people? Because you wrote a FAQ in an attempt to quickly shut out libertarianism? Big deal.

        The rest of what you said is mainly personal attacks like lazy. newb and troll, which has nothing to do with the argument at hand and is nothing more than a further attempt to dodge or disregard it. You accuse me of being lazy and a troll yet you are too lazy to go beyond linking to a document or book. You’ve also been involved in many “arguments” in these comments over 2 years, but apparently you think that quoting text or speaking those points here is a “stupid notion”. If anyone here is a troll then it’s you.

        • Mike Huben

          “Except you did try to dictate something, by opposing me on how an argument works.”
          Cite me, you troll. Rejecting a stupid claim is not dictating anything.

          Or are you saying that I am a dictator because I don’t recognize your special snowflake status?

          Let me know when you want to actually talk about the idiocy of libertarianism instead of your sealioning.

          • Dan

            “Ah, another dictator of the methods of argument. Who put you in charge?” Since you asked me to cite you.

            So refusing to properly back your argument with quoted text or recited evidence and calling doing so “stupid” is not dictating how an argument should go? Guess we’ll have to disagree on that.

            Calling a request for actual evidence a fancy internet term doesn’t invalidate its importance in arguments. I didn’t think I had to spell it out for you; we’ve been waiting for you to properly do so in regards to this “idiocy of libertarianism” as you put it.

      • property is a concept, which arises out of facts of reality. first of all, human beings are responsible for their actions. second is that matter and energy are limited, and human beings are prone to disagreements about how to allocate matter and energy. thirdly, many/most of the things we want to do as human beings, are long-term endeavors, and require that other people aren’t going to interfere with those endeavors. some examples are agriculture, construction, and craftsmanship. these practices are not possible without a social guarantee that a person’s work is respected by other people in the community. so property historically grew out of these aspects of reality. unfortunately, they have not been equally and consistently applied to all people within a society. this is the redefinition of morality that libertarians argue for🙂

        • Mike Huben

          Your first so-called “fact” of reality fails on a basic philosophical point: “responsible” is a horribly vague term. Do you mean “cause” their own actions? If so, you are wrong because there are many causes for how and why humans make actions. Or do you mean responsible in the “bearing responsiblility” sense/? If so, they you have not said who they are responsible to, and there are many possible choices from themselves, to their community, to mankind, to earth, to god. And you would have to justify that. And then you woul dhave an opinion, not a “fact”.

          Property is only one way of coordinating utilization or resources. And it’s a fairly good one with some notable flaws. But there are numerous variations in property systems, and the presumption that libertarianism will create the ideal property system is foolish. Other coordination systems (such as democratic republican government) can put checks and balances on property’s abuses.

  73. it’s quite easy to refute your three main points.

    first of all, it is interesting to hear a statist concede that governments own all the land. do they not have any problem with a local monoply on land ownership? here’s the problem: in common law there are generally accepted homesteading principles with regards to ownership of land – specifically, you have to enclose land, and develop it, OR have it transferred from someone else who owns it. the government doesn’t adhere to these principles, it just draws lines on maps and says MINE. Oftentimes, no one from the government has even set foot on the land in question when they seize it. So, if this is a legitimate form of owning land, the government should allow it for you or me. I should be able to draw a circle on a map in the forest in Montana, plant a flag in it, and start taxing everyone who lives within those lines…what do you think the government would do?

    his second point is “it’s not theft if you receive something in return”. That’s fascinating. Again, if it is just for them to do, it should be just for all of us. Try washing your neighbors car, and stealing $20 from his house. How would the government respond? Plus, if it is such a great deal, why can’t it be voluntary?

    The third point about how we get to choose how the money is spent, is hugely problematic. let’s say we accept that: it only makes any kind of sense in a Republic, when only those who pay into the system have a vote, and the government cannot perpetually run deficits. but if we accept his premise, the fact that nearly half of voters take more out of the system than they pay into it, AND that future generations are forced to pay for the debt which was borrowed to spend money they never voted on, still makes the system entirely illegitimate and unjust.

    nice try though.

    • Mike Huben

      “it is interesting to hear a statist concede that governments own all the land.”

      My, but you are ignorant of the law.

      “At common law, only the sovereign is said to have an absolute interest in land: ordinary landowners ‘hold of the sovereign.'”
      Stephen Holmes & Cass Sunstein, “The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes”, p. 63.

      “his second point is “it’s not theft if you receive something in return”.”

      If you read the context, that was not Robert Neilson’s point. At worst, he wrote clumsily. If you read what he wrote later, it is clear: “Theft is the taking of assets of from people without their consent and giving nothing in return. Taxes on the other hand are consented to by citizens (as seen by their continual support for taxation parties and their refusal to vote for libertarian parties or move to tax havens) in exchange for services.”

      “still makes the system entirely illegitimate and unjust”

      Apparently you do not understand the word illegitimate. Unjust is an opinion that is open to argument: only some people will agree with you.

  74. These arguments are poor at best.

    1) Funny, I have a deed that says I own the land I live on. Why am I also paying “rent” for it? Is income tax another form of rent? What am I renting, my job? The taxes that my employer pays for employing me, is he renting me from the government?
    2) “It is not theft if you receive something in return.” I guess the author will have no problem with me taking his car, if I give him a sandwich in return. Or maybe I’ll take a vote. Okay, I asked 9 of my friends and the author, by 9:1 vote, we decided that it was okay to take his car, if we give him a sandwich. Nope, totally not theft. #Democracy
    3) “You have a right to protection and certain services” — no, I don’t — “but also a responsibility to pay for these services.” Wait, I thought it was a right? I have to pay for my rights now? Huh?

    I’m starting to think this article was written by Hitler.

    *see what I did there?*

    • Mike Huben

      1) Your notions of property are simplistic.
      “At common law, only the sovereign is said to have an absolute interest in land: ordinary landowners ‘hold of the sovereign.’”
      Stephen Holmes & Cass Sunstein, “The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes”, p. 63.
      Income tax is part of your agreement with government, where in exchange for living in the government’s territory and enjoying the benefits, you divide your income with the government. You probably don’t appreciate just how valuable the services you receive are: there are innumerable people around the world who would pay large amounts of money to make the same agreement as citizens.

      2) As I wrote elsewhere, that statement is taken outside of the context.

      3) Only fools who believe in natural rights would think they are free. See Holms and Sunstein about what rights really are and what they cost.

      • Dan

        I’m the one with half a brain? You call everyone who disagrees with you stupid because you arrogantly believe so highly in your FAQ. I told you I read your FAQ, and when I called you out on what you said about the supreme court you tried to shove it off by calling it “off topic”. Now you are hiding behind your FAQ again. News flash: one cannot simply disregard all arguments by writing a FAQ and then arrogantly referencing a point that only attempts to address a general complaint.

        Since you seem to forget so easily, I’m talking about the Bill of Rights which the intent of the fathers (and the Declaration of Independence) had a heavy influence on. It doesn’t matter if the Declaration of Independence has “no legal standing”. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t say anything about the intent and principles that the nation was founded upon. Why should we conclude that they “changed their minds”? Because it wasn’t copied word for word? And what exactly did they change their minds on? That the people have no rights? Regarding what you said to Lew: To say we have no natural rights is to call the Bill of Rights a lie, especially the 9th amendment. Besides, the Bill of Rights doesn’t merely “give” people rights, it mentions rights that the people already have. To list every single right would have been tedious and near impossible, which is why the 9th amendment exists.

  75. Vishal

    You mention that taxes aren’t a “black hole”, well it depends on who’s taxing you. In USA we pay city, county, state, and federal tax. Chances are the federal taxes are benefitting us least, since the city and state provide schools, firefighting, policing, and law enforcement, while the federal government rarely directly interacts with people.

  76. limitedgovernmentplease

    So first time poster…
    My understanding of this all is that without government, we’re born into a world where everything is a free for all. A society which does not have some basic set of rules would be extremely ineffective and inefficient as people would have to worry about protecting themselves and their possessions at all times. Government is put in place to enforce common rules and protect the three unalienable rights that are defined in the Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Following these basic rights, we also have the Constitution which defines additional rights of every American citizen. This allows society to function much more efficiently as not everyone is looking over their shoulders worrying about being murdered. So now we have a government in place that supposedly enforces these rules…okay…so how are these rules enforced? Well we have a publicly funded police force nowadays along with the national guard. I see no problems up to this point (not in the world today but in the circumstances stated). At this point, we are born into a country with basic rights. When we are born, we are NOT entitled to anything except for our natural rights which are defined in the Declaration of Independence. (We aren’t entitled to healthcare, we aren’t entitled to our parents money, we aren’t entitled to education, we aren’t entitled to anything). Well wait a second…couldn’t this lead to a tyrannical government since they have the most powerful force available? Well yes, but that’s why we have the second amendment right? Anyways, how are these services funded? With taxes. Alright cool, so we all pay equal taxes for basic protection from the government, great. We also pay taxes for other services such as road servicing, public parks, etc…That’s totally fine. My problem does not lie with taxes but with the notion that I’m somehow responsible for the well being of another human being. Why is that true in any way? Every human being is born with the same unalienable rights: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Everyone isn’t entitled to equal opportunity, we are randomly born into this world and some of us are luckier than others. In some cases, our parents worked harder earn more money in order to provide us with a better education in other cases, a child is born into a family that is not as financially well off. It is up to each individual to make something of his or her life. Nobody is entitled to success and a happy life…simply the pursuit of it. I’m essentially writing this reply to this whole comment sections which I’ve read most of and I’m just throwing my thoughts into the mix as I’m curious to see what some of y’all say. One thing I remembered reading was about a man with two loafs of bread and a starving man that did not have anything. Why didn’t this starving man have anything? Why did he not have anything to trade or why didn’t he have money to purchase some bread? That’s his own damn fault…not anyone else’s.. I am not responsible for anybody else’s well-being but my own. That’s not to say I don’t have morals as I personally would have given the bread to the man. Anyways, I apologize for the disorganized nature of this comment. I will mostly likely be more organized in my following responses, simply trying to throw out random thoughts at the moment to warrant some responses.

    • Dan

      Well said.The government was put in place to enforce basic rules that are necessary for a functioning society, and to protect the rights in the constitution that every human being should have. Not to redistribute the wealth or to infringe on those rights.

      FYI, some people may try to tell you that the Declaration of Independence has no legal standing and is therefore meaningless, but life, liberty/pursuit of happiness and one’s property are protected by the 5th and presumably 9th amendments.

    • Mike Huben

      Natural rights are merely claims. Real rights are socially enforced. You are not born with rights except for the rights government enforces for you. And government (representing us) gets to choose what rights it creates and enforces, including rights to education and healthcare. There is nothing in the Constitution that insists on minimal government. And if you want to invoke the 9th amendment, then the Constitution cannot be construed to deny or disparage rights to education and healthcare.

      As for your responsibility to other people, it is the trade you make for the social responsibility that enforces your rights. Do you think you should be able to freeload on that? Just paying taxes for defense of your rights does not fully compensate for the cooperation of the populace that keeps enforcement affordable and less oppressive.

      • limitedgovernmentplease

        Ha-ha. Good one Mike. What trade is required to enforce those rights? The rights are enforced by an unspoken contract to allow a more efficient society to develop..they’re also enforced by my guns. Government can protect those rights on a international level with the military but instead, they’re actively taking them away. Natural rights (as eloquenctly enumerated by TJ in the Declaration of Independence) are God-given, and supersede any society or governmental construct, so a given government is good if it protects those rights (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness) and tyrannical if it denies them.

        ” And if you want to invoke the 9th amendment, then the Constitution cannot be construed to deny or disparage rights to education and healthcare.”

        You simply took that amendment completely out of context. The Constitution needs to be analyzed in context and the intention of the Constitution clearly did not imply that. Not to mention the universal healthcare in itself disparages individual rights in themselves by forcing individuals to give up the fruits of their labor in exchange for virtually nothing. Government simply consolidates many public goods (really not that many are actually needed and barely any benefit all individuals.) It would be marginally cheaper to privatize most government functions that benefit all.

        The hypocrisy in your mention of “freeloading” is simply hilarious considering that’s really all universal healthcare and “responsibility to others” is. We each have equal responsibility to enforce these rights but it clearly isn’t that way, especially when you look at progressive tax rates that tax the harder working more. Healthcare seems like a good idea in theory but the reality is that it’s a stupid plan. The entire liberal party seems to ignore the fact that there are limited resources in this world. Limited resources is what makes supply and demand function. Basic economics: less quantity of resource = higher cost. More quantity = lower cost. This applies to jobs and work too. Different jobs require more education and are more difficult so they pay more. That’s why doctors are in such high demand. How can you satisfy a virtually unlimited demand for healthcare when there are such limited resources such as doctors? Not to mention the whole point of healthcare is that an individual invests in themselves in case a disaster happens in which case the insurance company will pay for the person’s medical needs.I mean, that’s the point…it’s insurance…just like car insurance. But that’s pretty off topic. It’s like liberals think that all of this redistribution of wealth is going to make everybody equal which will simply never happen. That would require each individual to be born into the same exact situation no matter what. I had no choice in joining this world so why would I even owe it anything in the first place? And now, I want to try to make something of myself and the system wants to stifle my efforts and take my wealth and give it to someone else? Seems a bit ridiculous to me. Have you not read Orwell’s novel by the way? Pretty self explanatory in stating that socialism doesn’t work…

        None of these “rights” that society want are free…just because society WANTS something does not mean that they can have it. Sometimes things just don’t work that way. And this case they seriously don’t especially considering the current state of the US. You speak of freeloading but isn’t asking for something for free such as universal health care…freeloading? That logic really doesn’t make any sense. What are those individuals contributing to society?

        Regarding rights, the people can have it if they can convince other people to willingly provide it, but having it confiscated by thugs (the state) is just theft by proxy.

        • Mike Huben

          “The rights are enforced by an unspoken contract to allow a more efficient society to develop..they’re also enforced by my guns.”

          Unspoken contract = bullshit.
          Enforced by my guns = an invitation for a sniper to take you out without consequence.

          How’s that working for Somalia? Lots of liberty there, I understand.

          “You simply took that amendment completely out of context. ”

          In other words, I don’t use yourdumbass assumptions about constitutional interpretation.

          “Natural rights (as eloquenctly enumerated by TJ in the Declaration of Independence) are God-given…”

          It’s a shame that you can’t be one of TJ’s slaves: slavery was entirely within his ideas of natural rights (property) and the majority of the founders of the US.

          Nobody agrees about what the natural rights are any more than they agree on which gods to believe in. Because they are just made-up claims. Real rights require enforcement by society: we put our money where our mouths are.

          The you go on to a huge paragraph of word salad that attempts to misuse economics 101 to disqualify enforced rights, as if your argument didn’t equally apply to your idea of enforcing your “natural rights” with your own guns.

          “…just because society WANTS something does not mean that they can have it.”

          But we obvious DO have it: that’s why you complain, you dunce.

          “having it confiscated by thugs (the state) is just theft by proxy”

          You obviously haven’t understood anything in the original post or responses. I recommend that you learn to read and comprehend before you bloviate.

      • Dan

        “You are not born with rights except for the rights government enforces for you. And government (representing us) gets to choose what rights it creates and enforces, including rights to education and healthcare.”

        Well that’s a statement made with no morals or concern for tyranny. If government got to choose every right that it enforces or creates for its citizens, then we could potentially be living in tyranny where the government could do whatever they want to its citizens. The main (if not only) way that would be legally possible is if the courts started (falsely) declaring everything to be constitutional. Government officials are elected by representation, but once elected they don’t have to stay true to that same representation. Thus certain rights were made that the government wasn’t supposed to touch for the most part.

        While there is nothing in the constitution that explicitly forbids healthcare and education through taxation, they are not fundamental rights protected by it either. Any obligation they have to keep providing those privileges is made by other laws; laws that could be nullified. So from a technical standpoint, healthcare and education are not fundamental rights that the government has to provide, and it certainly doesn’t have to tax people who would rather not pay for such benefits if it still wished to provide such a privilege to others, so long as not getting the benefits would be feasibly possible (which for healthcare and education, it is).

        “Just paying taxes for defense of your rights does not fully compensate for the cooperation of the populace that keeps enforcement affordable and less oppressive.”
        Actually in the context of most democratic programs it does. Like with welfare, social security, medicare/healthcare and foodstamps. There’d just be more people subject to suffering if they were poor, didn’t save their money or chose not to get insurance. With freedom comes consequences as well, but their fundamental rights still wouldn’t be violated.

        • “Well that’s a statement made with no morals or concern for tyranny.”

          Facts seldom have morals or concern. But you wouldn’t know that, since you seem to be unacquainted with facts. That’s why you keep yammering about “fundamental rights” as if they had any existence. There is always a potential for tyranny, and your imaginary “fundamental rights” do nothing to prevent it.

          There are rights that we think are important, and so use government to create and enforce. Including healthcare and education. These are our defense against tyranny: they are not imaginary like your “fundamental rights”.

          I recommend that you read What Are Rights? We can see then how invincible your stupidity is.

          • Dan

            and you follow up by calling that a fact. First of all, fundamental rights do exist. It’s called the Bill of Rights, so stop pretending that it doesn’t exist.

            “We” would not be using government more than the government would be using itself if it was free to strip away any right from its citizens that it wanted, which is what you claimed to be the case by saying the government chooses what rights to create and defend. The government does not simply enforce the Bill of Rights because it chooses to, but because it is legally compelled to.

            I see you linked to that site that shares your beliefs on anti-libertarianism again, and see that you tried to (yet again) use the fallacy of ad hominen to make your opponent look bad. Try that all you want, it’s not going to help your points at all. In the past I’ve even debated certain parts of that site and you claimed it was off topic. Aside from that, a biased site who’s purpose is to destroy libertarianism is no proof of anything. That does not mean that if doesn’t have any valid points, but that not all of them may be true.

            • The Bill of Rights is a government creation, and is not the kind of natural rights you blather about. And why, may I ask, is it your “fundamental rights” if it didn’t apply to women or slaves for so long, or even seem to be known before liberalism was invented?

              And you seem to be too ignorant to understand that any legal compulsion occurs between the coequal branches of government: there is no external compulsion. And too ignorant to understand that the executive and judicial branches have wide latitude for how and whether they enforce and particular right, and how they interpret it.

              You also seem to be too ignorant to realize that the Critiques site doesn’t share my beliefs: it is my web site. Twit.

              Oh, and I don’t need ad-hominem to make you look bad: you obviously are bad. Ignorant, pretentious, deluded, and aggressive about it. I don’t need the ad-hominem: I debunk your claims just fine. I add it because it reinforces the message.

              • Dan

                I said fundamental, not natural. Although, one that believes people don’t have any natural rights that should be protected by the government doesn’t sound like a moral person that should be in said government.

                As for why I call them fundamental, it serves as a limitation on the government’s powers that was imposed by the states to ratify the constitution in the first place. Of course, it can be misinterpreted or misapplied (like not to applying it to women or people who weren’t already born free), but I did bring that up as a Libertarian complaint in one of my past comments. But those two problems have since been corrected, as have many others through the court system. The latitude or compulsion that the government may demonstrate in not enforcing such a right does not change if something is constitutional or not. Rights are constantly battled for in court.

                So that’s your site? Excuse me for not trying to look too hard for the author of some random, anti-Libertarian site. But you know what that means? That it’s subject to even more bias since it’s purely what just you think. I find it even funnier that you site it now, as if it’s any further proof of anything.

                If you don’t need ad hominen, then you don’t need it to reinforce the message. If you keep using it, I have no reason to believe you, and even that you’re just salty or trolling.

                • Ah: limitedgovernmentplease used natural, and you used fundamental. My mistake: one stupid ideologue sounds much like another.

                  The Bill of Rights includes fundamentals such as that you may be deprived of life, liberty, or property, with due process of law. Hence government can do as it wishes simply by enacting the right laws and following process. How non-libertarian these fundamentals are! Or have you made yet another mistake?

                  The real answer is that you have no reliable way of assessing what a “fundamental” right is other than your say-so: plenty of others would claim other rights to be fundamental. And you use waffle-words such as “misinterpreted or misapplied” when your idiocy is questioned.

                  The rest of your post is sealioning (again), and not worthy of answer.

                  • Dan

                    Part of due process is fair treatment through the Judicial System. Now “fair” may be a subjective word, but the 6th amendment does protect the right to an impartial jury, speedy and public trial. With an impartial jury comes not only an equal distribution method for a jury of peers, but also means they have the power to say “not guilty” even if they think a defendant violated a law, if they think the law is unjust (Jury Nullification). At least, that’s the current interpretation of the amendment that seems unlikely to change. This is another defense against government encroachment. As for interpretation, the court must interpret the constitution as to what they think it means, not what it (or any other part of the government) wants to mean. So for example, to go back and “determine” that the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply to Women would be unacceptable. I will admit some of the founding fathers may not have considered women or slaves to have the same rights as white men, but that does mean they didn’t have intent to give white men some “fundamental” rights (which now applies to women and would-be slaves).

                    As for fundamental, it can depend on what you mean by those words (and same goes for natural). Most people would probably agree that the Bill of Rights are “fundamental” rights in the United States (aside from some liberals who really hate the 2nd amendment, although you can’t deny the historical significance behind it). After all, they were part of what our nation was founded upon (in regards to the States ratifying the Constitution) and have existed since then. A typical law could be much more easily nullified by the government and is therefore, at the very least, not as fundamental.

                    Even aside from the Bill of Rights, most people would say that the right to life (as in, one may not kill another) is a natural one that is mostly only even considered to be disregarded when a person is causing or clearly going to cause extreme physical harm to another. A person (or government) that kills for most any other reason is typically regarded as evil. But because government (and people like you) may still not consider such things to be human rights, that’s where protective laws come in, and the Bill of Rights has more than average legal standing.

                    • Dan

                      Now if you want to go back to the “Taxation is not Theft” principle, I want to resurface the Mafia comparison. So, a difference between the Mafia and the Government is that the Government does not legally permit the Mafia to forcefully take money, while the Government legally permits itself to do so if necessary to “collect tax”. But consider that terms like “legal” and “law” can be relative to the entity that made them, and the final appeal to force in order to enforce such laws. If the Mafia was powerful enough to prevent people from appealing to the government for enforcement, or to resist or overpower the government, then guess who is effectively the government now thanks to its better force? The Mafia. Government force only works if it’s actually a stronger force. Otherwise its laws can be disregarded by the stronger force. So in this sense, the “Mafia” or entity with the better force would prevail and effectively become the new government. So, it could be argued that the government is like the strongest Mafia in an particular territory. Like a government, the mafia could “legalize” certain things to no longer make them crimes. As far as stealing or theft goes, you could call it legalized theft.

                    • Dan

                      I realize that another difference between the Mafia and Government is that the people have no representation in the Mafia, while they do in Government. But while representation is more fair than nothing, it doesn’t actually give citizens any legal power to make or nullify a law (not including Jury nullification), because representation by definition is not direct. Representatives can also act against the will of the majority of the people. This is why some people might still say the government seems like a mafia.

                    • Ah, a classical libertarian debate strategy which I mock in my Libertarianism in One Lesson. “The best multi-party democratic republics should be equated to the worst dictatorships and mafias for the purposes of denouncing statism. It’s only a matter of degree.”

                      It would be fun to draw a Venn Diagram of government, mafia, and capitalism. Because there would be substantial overlaps.

                      And yes, there is a historical continuum between mafias/warlords and governments. But that doesn’t mean the two ends of the continuum are the same.

                      There are a number of large differences between mafias and good, modern governments, but the biggest and most important one is that mafias are about PRIVATE benefit and good modern governments are about PUBLIC benefit. Mafias are libertarian privatized, capitalist, profit-making governments. Read the Federalist Papers, and you will see that the primary concerns of the authors were to make a government that was not privately owned and was publicly controlled for the public benefit.

                      “The evolution of government from its medieval, Mafia-like character to that embodying modern legal institutions and instruments is a major part of the history of freedom. It is a part that tends to be obscured or ignored because of the myopic vision of many economists, who persist in modeling government as nothing more than a gigantic form of theft and income redistribution.”
                      Douglass North

                    • Dan

                      So you don’t like debates. Makes sense since you didn’t want to debate with that other guy and would rather write FAQs.

                      “It would be fun to draw a Venn Diagram of government, mafia, and capitalism. Because there would be substantial overlaps.

                      And yes, there is a historical continuum between mafias/warlords and governments. But that doesn’t mean the two ends of the continuum are the same.”

                      I never said that the current government and the Mafia were exactly the same, I even acknowledged the difference of representation of the people, but as you said there are substantial overlaps. The Mafia is not Libertarian. They are for private profit (Capitalism), but at the expense of harming others to do so (killing you and/or your family if you don’t meet their monetary demands). It goes against the “live and let live” principle, and quite literally at that.

                      Now the government, while intended to serve the people, can still go against the will of many people, or even the majority. You pretty much have to “accept” new laws or tax raises or be subject to fines, imprisonment and a criminal record (and deadly force if you try to resist). This also goes against the “live and let live” principle. You could try to leave the country, but another country doesn’t have to accept you, and even if they did you’d still be subject to their laws and taxes. Besides, having to leave the country to hopefully avoid certain laws or taxes isn’t exactly in the spirit of the “live and let live” principle either.

                    • Ah, the ‘the “live and let live” principle’. How convenient that you just pull that one out of your ass. Please point me to libertarian sources for that.

                      I’ve yet to meet a libertarian who feels that way when his imagined property rights are violated. Usually, we hear him slavering for the blood of the violator, with no explanations of limitations to his “retaliatory force”.

                      Oh, and I *HAVE* left the USA. People are much more easily mobile than you think. Just because you may not have what it takes, don’t project your anxieties on us.

                    • Dan

                      So you’ve heard of that principle then, but you still criticize me for sealioning or pulling stuff out of nowhere and yet you do the same thing. But unlike you I’ll try to provide some evidence from something that wasn’t my own word, and quote the relevant text.

                      https://www.lp.org/introduction/what-is-the-libertarian-party

                      Under Tolerant:
                      “The Libertarian Party is for all who don’t want to push other people around and don’t want to be pushed around themselves. Live and let live is the Libertarian way.”

                      Literally spelled out at the end word for word right there from a Libertarian website. But maybe you didn’t know that Libertarians can believe in that principle since you aren’t exactly a Libertarian now are you? The principle is also implied under Free and Independent:

                      “Libertarians believe that being free and independent is a great way to live. We want a system which encourages all people to choose what they want from life; that lets them live, love, work, play, and dream their own way.”

                      Of course if you do not simply let someone live in peace, such as an unjustified initiation of force, that is when Libertarians warrant appropriate counter actions, like defending one’s life or property. Do you have some problem with that?

                      As for leaving the country, first of all you said “have left”, not that you’re still gone (if you are, then clarify). But even if you did. or what other people did is irrelevant here. If you leave a country for good because you don’t like the government, then you are basically saying the government has failed you, whether in protecting your rights or otherwise. That’s a much bigger problem than saying a landlord, who is still subject to government law, has failed you. Leaving the country does not mean you’ll find a government that you like (and if you manage to live outside of a country then you’ll be living in anarchy). However, merely leaving a landlord does not mean you necessarily have to find another landlord or live in anarchy. In the US it is possible to be your own landlord by owning a house (or sharing one). Otherwise, finding a more flexible landlord in the same country is much less troublesome and doesn’t involve a change in government.

                      Funny you ask me not to project anxieties on you, because that’s what disagreeing parties, debates and reasoning often involves. For example you clearly project anxiety at the idea of Libertarianism, and also at people who try to defend it, so much in fact that you insult them and have spent “45 years” (your claim) fighting the concept of it. Laws wouldn’t even be formed if it wasn’t for anxieties being projected.

                    • You are right that the LP says “live and let live”: but it is bullshit.

                      Nobody (including libertarians) really thinks live and let live: they all add “except when our values are violated and then we will retaliate”. By that low standard, everybody (including governments) practices live and let live no matter what they do. Much of libertarian popular “philosophy” is based on such unspoken, value-laden assumptions. Only fools buy into such glittering generalities of propaganda.

                      I’ve moved to Ecuador to be with my love. Not because the US has failed me in any particular way. But your speculative bloviating and word salad is just an excuse to rehearse more libertarian talking points. You’re not fooling anybody.

                    • Dan

                      Ok, so you left the US to be with someone you love. But that still doesn’t change anything I said.

                      “Nobody (including libertarians) really thinks live and let live: they all add “except when our values are violated and then we will retaliate”. By that low standard, everybody (including governments) practices live and let live no matter what they do. Much of libertarian popular “philosophy” is based on such unspoken, value-laden assumptions. Only fools buy into such glittering generalities of propaganda.”

                      In the context of Libertarianism, it also means being in more control of what you are obligated by the government to pay for, such as socialist programs. Generally it is also against “victimless crimes” where merely doing a certain action will not harm someone else, such as possessing/using drugs on oneself and prostitution.

                      Oh and you not agreeing with what I say does not mean I’m attempting to “fool” anyone, or that others wont agree with it.

                    • “In the context of Libertarianism, it also means being in more control of what you are obligated by the government to pay for, such as socialist programs.”

                      Once again, you depart the subject, of whether taxation is theft or not. And once again, you simply change to another argument to spout more libertarian propaganda. And once again you fail to admit your previous argument was worthless.

                    • Dan

                      Once again you cry off topic when when I was just replying to what you last said. Since you claimed that “live and let live” was bullshit and meaningless propaganda that all parties followed to an extent, I got more specific on what it meant in regards to Libertarianism. If you don’t have anything to say about what I clarified it as, then that’s fine, but claiming it’s off topic doesn’t change anything.

                      I have started talking about this article and taxation in regards to theft in our other chain of comments farther down. This particular chain is just another discussion we’ve been having has went on more of a tangent (and yes, you’ve been involved in it so that’s partly your fault too). However, as you seemed to haven’t put it together yet, “live and let live” can tie into the concept of taxation being theft since it can make people pay money towards something that they are not ok with. The difference is you may not consider that to be theft, but that doesn’t mean other people don’t.

                    • “Live and let live” applies just as well to landlords as government. Both have property rights to something they control, and it is within their rights to demand that you follow their wishes, including paying taxes and rent. Libertarianism isn’t a solution to that: you would need to abolish those property rights for governments and landlords.

                    • Dan

                      ““Live and let live” applies just as well to landlords as government. Both have property rights to something they control, and it is within their rights to demand that you follow their wishes, including paying taxes and rent. Libertarianism isn’t a solution to that: you would need to abolish those property rights for governments and landlords.”

                      For both it applies in the sense that they don’t violate certain rights without your consent. But your definition of consent is just “being in the country” and possibly being able to leave. Libertarians don’t necessarily view that as consent for everything. Instead they view the government’s job as protecting certain rights within the country, possibly including some that land lords may otherwise take away, at least without proper notification/consent. Much different than the goals of some profit-seeking company.

                    • First, you are once again being very lazy and ignoring the discussions of “consent” that have occurred earlier. Search for that word.

                      Second, because landlords and governments own their property, a libertarian should say they get to make whatever rules they want as to what is considered consent on their property. Ever walk into a place with a cover charge? Are you going to yell “I don’t consent to be here” and expect to get away with it? And how is a libertarian going to stop landlords and governments from making their own rules? Make a law? Initiate coercion?

                      It’s very simple. You don’t own the USA. If you want to be there and won’t leave, you need to abide by the owner’s rules, and that includes taxation.

                      That’s all for now: you are tiresome and I’m going travelling.

                    • Dan

                      “Second, because landlords and governments own their property, a libertarian should say they get to make whatever rules they want as to what is considered consent on their property. Ever walk into a place with a cover charge? Are you going to yell “I don’t consent to be here” and expect to get away with it? And how is a libertarian going to stop landlords and governments from making their own rules? Make a law? Initiate coercion?”

                      If you weren’t notified of a cover charge ahead of time, one could argue you never consented to it. Of course, at that point you’d have to leave but most Libertarians find that reasonable (much different than leaving the country). The only thing I said about stopping land lords from making their own rules is if they make a rule that infringes on a person’s rights if they never consented to it. If the land lord insists, the government (or people currently there) could attempt to use coercion to protect such rights. As for the government, I didn’t really say anything about preventing them from making certain laws, but since you asked, if enough people were that unhappy with the government, they could attempt to convince the government to pass or nullify certain laws, vote different people into office, or cause a rebellion/revolution (Libertarians are not against all violence). But just because a political ideology is not supported by the majority or force does not mean that it doesn’t have any points.

  77. There are too many falacies in every paragraph for me to make any sort of rebuttal under 1000 words. I challenge the author to a live debate on my fb page “taxation is theft guy”.

    Win or lose, I will donate $100 to the charity of the author’s choice.

    Dm me on the page to accept the challenge, unless you a bitch.

    • Wow! Somebody whose online identity is based on a propaganda slogan designed for idiots to repeat! Oh, yes, we obviously want to spend our time debating with somebody with followers of such ignorance.

      And we all KNOW that live debate is the road to TRUTH! Off the cuff or memorized short answers are so much better than that boring facts and research stuff.

      That’s why I don’t waste my time with twits like you.

      • Dan

        That’s quite a funny statement, considering that you’ve wasted over 2 years replying to “twits like him” and you aren’t even the author of this article. I assume you have no reason to stop any time soon?

        • This article is a magnet for bad libertarian arguments on this subject. At some point in the near future, I will compose a FAQ on this particular subject and reuse many of my relies.

          And I haven’s “wasted over 2 years”: this takes relatively little time because libertarians like you make such pathetically poor arguments like “wasted over 2 years”.

          Indeed, I’ve argued with libertarians for roughly 45 years and run my web site for more than 20 years. That’s a sizable investment in time: call it a hobby.

          “It is a true slight that a man who occupies himself dissecting ten thousand mites gets the same pleasure of libertarians.”

          William J. Westmiller

          • Dan

            You know what I meant. Regardless, you still spent a significant amount of time constantly coming back to this page and replying to people despite all their viewpoints and replies that you disagree with. Calling it a hobby just further shows that you aren’t in any position to be complaining about people wasting your time. Go ahead and compose another FAQ. That just shows that even you think you haven’t sufficiently rebutted all of Libertarianism yet. Don’t expect that people will change their mind just because you wrote another FAQ though.

            • More sealioning.

              But I hardly expect to change anybody’s mind: I instead provide answers to help people from being trapped by ideological bullshit. I write for the spectators, not my opponents.

              • Dan

                Interesting, because I never even heard of your site until I found this article. Judging by the comments, most people who come here are opponents, so if you want to write for spectators, you may want to consider more advertising or something.

  78. John Smith

    “The best government is the one who does nothing but defend our natural
    rights. Protection is the only concept that can be universally agreed to that the government do. Any
    other attempt of government is taking the property of one person and giving to the other, which is
    called stealing. This is usually done in the name of the common good or called altruism. But we can
    not justify stealing in any case, and their attempts at altruism surely do not meet the conditions of
    altruism. Since the property of one is being taken involuntarily in the name of altruism, what this
    amounts to is forced altruism, which is an oxymoron. By definition altruism can not be forced since
    the reason behind an altruistic action has nothing to do with the benefit of the actor. The concept of
    forced altruism and common good lead to a dangerous idea known as utilitarianism. A good
    government can not base its principles on utilitarianism because it inevitably leads to violations of the
    natural rights which protection of is government’s highest good. Consider for instance our
    government, which has sadly become altruistic. Our government steals property from individuals in
    the name of the common good (welfare, business and farm subsidies, military operations that do not
    pertain to our protection). Compare this with Aristotle’s ideas of government where he had a very
    high view of the state. He thought that the purpose of government was to strive for the highest good
    of the human being. Aristotle believed that the state was prior to and more important than the
    individual and the family . I believe that the individual comes first, then the family, and
    then the state. Even with Aristotle’s high regard for the state, he rejected communism .
    Plato said that no government could be good unless based on the study of man and that the
    government should be powerful , which suggest that he would be more on the side of
    utilitarianism. Finally, the worst purpose that a government can deteriorate to is ruling in the interest
    of one person or group. Plato’s best forms of government would eventually deteriorate into these
    kinds of governments.”

    John Locke

  79. charles

    “It is not theft if you receive something in return”. So if I took your car without your consent and left you a plastic bottle is wouldn’t be theft because I gave you something in return?

    The government takes other people’s property without their consent and as such they are committing theft. There really isn’t any way around that.

  80. Haha wow, this is stupid, paying rent? To the government because somehow they own the land, how does that makes sense..who did they get it from GOD? Or did they pay for it, I think they stole it however moving on with the taxes, the elites basically tagged every piece of land and then charge people who tries to live in that land because suddenly this is their territory now? Does that ring any bells? Like you know.. a gang.. mugging and making rules as they go? You bunch of sheeps, it’s people like that makes this country ignorant, I can’t belive this an article…

    • Almost all property, not just that of the government, can be historically traced to theft. It’s heroic non-“sheeps” like you that foolishly convince themselves that your own property is not originally stolen. Please, point me to the libertarian solution to this problem, you braying ninny.

      Reduction of continuing theft as a means of transfer of property is one of the major benefits of government. See “The Cost of Rights” for the basics.

  81. Dan

    “Every abuse of government power that libertarians rail against would still occur in a libertarian society, the only difference would be that it would be even worse. If the government was replaced by a private landlord, there would just as much coercion and arbitrary rules, without any of the democratic rights we currently have.”

    I don’t think most Libertarians want there to be no government. That would be an anarchist. They just want the government to enforce certain rights that they believe people should have, and would (probably) be ok with some taxtion.to do so. Landlords or employers could treat their subjects poorly, but they have no power in other places of the US that they don’t own and therefore can’t force the whole country to follow their rules. The US Government on the other hand “owns” the whole country. So when they make a law it could affect the whole country, which is why Libertarians judge the government more harshly in terms of abuse of power.

  82. Public power that government gives up would be quickly assumed privately by unaccountable owners.

    FYI, there are a substantial number of anarcho-capitalist libertarians who do want to replace government with private institutions.

    The minarchists, who would retain government to enforce their preferred policies, would still need to tax, and have no good answer to the charge that “taxation is theft”. That’s the point of this whole discussion, remember? Nor do minarchists care that laws affect the whole country: they care about having their own choices for laws enforced. Your speculative handwaving is silly.

    • Dan

      “Public power that government gives up would be quickly assumed privately by unaccountable owners.”

      It depends on what is given up. Government doesn’t have to give up enforcing people’s current claims of property. It can also still have zoning laws to prevent companies or land lords from convincing people to sell their houses, and turning them into commercial areas, apartments etc. As such it would prevent private power from taking away people’s option to own and live on their own property (subject to government laws necessary to protect certain rights, of course).

      Are there people who believe in complete anarchy out there? Sure, but that doesn’t mean that Libertarians have to want that. But this article doesn’t necessarily care about making a differentiation about any of these things. It just claims that “taxation is not theft”, as if that is an absolute statement in all cases. Taxes may be theft in the eyes of someone that doesn’t approve of it, and it’s not theft in the eyes of someone that does. Government laws are no different than such a view, other than being backed by force. Your’s and the author’s views may be the same regarding taxation not being theft, but that does not automatically make it the “best” or “right” view, even if a government also shares it. You’ll probably agree that words like theft, best and right are all subjective and differ among different opinions. You may claim I’m silly, but that is a subjective word and just an opinion that no one has to agree with. And what is this article? Just another view.

      • Ah, the refuge of extreme relativism: some people think taxation is theft.

        This article is about the ARGUMENT that taxation is theft, and why it is wrong. Not that some people believe it is theft, and that all points of view are right.

        Also the refuge of extreme subjectivism: the people making the argument were attempting not to be subjective because they wanted to be convincing. Extreme subjectivism is a sledgehammer that claims no argument is possible or valid.

        It’s obvious you’re grasping at straws now.

        • Dan

          As long as you have a viewpoint, you can make an argument for it. Doesn’t mean other’s have to think that it’s a good argument, much less agree with it.

          You complain about supreme subjectivism, but when it comes to morality that’s pretty much what you’ve used to “dismiss” it in arguments against yours. This article has used morality in order to defend its viewpoints, such as having responsibilities towards the poor or weak due to that being morally right, claiming that it’s not theft if you receive something in return etc. Most people probably wouldn’t agree with something that has no morals, but like with many things in life, morality is also subjective. If people believed in the exact same morals, Heck if everyone had the exact same morals there’d be much less conflict.

          • You seem to think that spouting word salad will convince people. But you still have not made one reasonable argument defending the idea that taxation is theft or assaulting the idea that taxation is not theft.

            Really, you are a windbag with nothing to say.

            • Dan

              I’ll spell it out for you then.

              “The problem with most libertarian arguments is that it assumes we have only rights but no responsibilities. It assumes that we have no duties to the poor, the sick, the elderly or even to children. If a man was starving and a libertarian had two loaves of bread, he wouldn’t share it with the man unless he felt like it. That is not a political ideology but a mental problem called sociopathology. ”

              The article suggests that we have a responsibility to help the weak and poor, and that assuming we don’t is not a political ideology but rather a mental problem. So, why exactly is this a responsibility? Because the author thinks it is morally right? Why can’t not having that responsibility be a political ideology? Because the author thinks it is morally wrong? Also, the article suggests that it’s not theft as long as you receive something in return, which is a statement that several people here have problems with because it can still involve a forced “transaction”.

              I already pointed out some big difference between land lords and the government (the government having much more sweeping power than land lords, and even forcing land lords to submit in some regards). Also that changing (or ridding yourself of) a land lord does not necessarily require going to another country or changing citizenship, which is not necessarily a reliable way to find a country you like anyway, much less a Libertarian one.

              One could say that it is morally wrong to force people to redistribute wealth to pay for food, shelter and healthcare for poor or weak people, because it is still stealing, just stealing that the government authorizes (legalized theft). Now, you may not consider any of this to be a reasonable argument, but neither does anyone have to consider you or the author to have a reasonable argument. I addressed most of the authors points for why Libertarians might disagree with taxation not being theft.

  83. “So, why exactly is this a responsibility? ”

    If you actually read the article, you would see that he answered that.

    “Being a citizen comes with rights and responsibilities.”

    It would be nice if you paid attention well enough not to go in circles. Likewise, the “it’s not theft as long as you receive something in return” has been explained several times. Pay attention.

    Government having power doesn’t make taxes theft any more than landlords having lesser power makes rents theft. That’s a simple non sequiter. Likewise differences in difficulty of leaving do not make rent or taxes theft. Really, you have no clue how to make a coherent argument. All that you’ve been saying is that you dislike one more than another, and that doesn’t make either theft.

    Neither taxes nor rents are theft by libertarian logic because they are based on ownership.

    • Dan

      If you’re referring to this: “Theft is the taking of assets of from people without their consent and giving nothing in return.” That is again a statement that people will disagree with because for one, theft can still involve giving something in return, and two, people can disagree on what qualifies as consent, which brings me to this: “Taxes on the other hand are consented to by citizens (as seen by their continual support for taxation parties and their refusal to vote for libertarian parties or move to tax havens) in exchange for services.” and this: “Neither taxes nor rents are theft by libertarian logic because they are based on ownership.”

      So if the government told you you no longer were allowed to leave the country, would you still view that as ok since they “own the land”? There would be no higher power to protect your “right to leave”. You might still say no, because they wouldn’t be giving you a choice. So what if they gave you a choice, but it was one that many people would view as unreasonable (you can leave, but only after severely mutilating yourself). In fact, the government does not let some people leave, such as criminals serving sentences or people being put to death. Do you consider it a choice as long as you can somehow leave? What would you view as reasonable (if that actually matters to you)? That’s where people’s opinions are going to differ. Plus, no other country has to accept you, so where does that technically leave you with your right to leave or to choose another government?

      Libertarian logic still involves the government protecting certain rights, despite their “ownership” of the land, like not being obligated to spread wealth to the poor and weak, regardless of if other people (like those who votes for other parties) think they should. Landlords on the other hand, are not necessarily held to the same standard by Libertarians. Unlike the Government, a Land Lord’s job is to make profit, not to defend rights (aside from not violating any applicable government laws necessary to defend such rights) and their rules do not affect the whole US and therefore don’t serve as some blanket requirement or ban on something. But that’s not to say that some Libertarians don’t want land lords to defend certain rights anyway.

      Rent is owed when you are living on a land lord’s land who demands it, and does not require or ban certain actions for the whole country. To Libertarians that is usually reasonable. Taxes are owed pretty much whenever you receive or take money in the US, and even as a subscription rate for some things such as property. Plus, government laws often affect the whole country (and that’s not just the case for the US), and most other countries are probably going to have a tax that a Libertarian might disagree with. To a Libertarian, some of those taxes may not seem reasonable, argue that they never consented to it and have no reasonable way to avoid it, and therefore theft.

      “Being a citizen comes with rights and responsibilities”
      So again that is subject to opinion, especially when it comes to what specific responsibilities. That the government happens to agree with a certain set of responsibilities doesn’t change that.

      • “giving nothing in return”: you clearly have not done your homework and looked at the discussions of this. Lazy asshole.

        If government did not let you leave, then taxation might be called theft on the basis of its being involuntary. If you are in jail, they are not taxing you. But you are not in such a state, so no matter what your feelings, taxation is not theft: your situation is voluntary. You can leave.

        “Unlike the Government, a Land Lord’s job is to make profit, not to defend rights…”

        Ah: you want to dictate who does what. What freedom, how libertarian. You want to ignore what other people want and make them all suffer your ideological demands. If they want government to do anything else, tough cookies, eh? So much for freedom.

        Being a citizen comes with rights and responsibilities, just as being a tenant comes with rights and responsibilities. Those are what you are consenting to as a citizen or a tenant. The owner, either government or landlord, gets to specify those rights and responsibilities. You whine about them, but you are still obligated until you terminate the relationship by vacating.

        That’s all for now: you are tiresome and I’m going travelling.

        • Dan

          If you’re trying to say that I said that taxes “Give nothing in return”, you either completely took that out of context or missed what I was saying entirely. That was part of a quote made by the author in regards to what he considers to be theft (the entire quote is still in my previous comment, if you need to read it again). You even quoted that particular phrase in an earlier comment.

          The point about being in jail (or put to death) is that it’s not voluntary because you can’t leave until you’ve served your sentence. You were implying that taxation is (enough of) a choice because one could leave the country, but in jail you are stripped of other liberties and you have no choice to leave, but you are still being subject to the government’s laws. So if being able to leave the country is what you and the author are claiming to be consent for things (not just taxation), then the government violates that principle while you are in jail. Apparently according to the government, you don’t always have the right to leave, which means that it doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on whether you consented to a law or not.

          You also didn’t address the hypothetical of being permitted to leave only through methods that are more unreasonable such as self mutilation. The reason I brought these things up is to show that reasonable consent is subjective, and to a Libertarian, being forced to leave the country (in hopes of finding a country that they agree with and are allowed to enter) may not seem like enough of a choice and is therefore unreasonable to them.

          As for who does what, a Land Lord does make profits (unless their business is failing or it’s just some kind of hobby to sink money into), a government does defend certain rights while generally being classified as non profit (but their employees get paid of course). Most people would agree with that no? They’d also agree that the government’s purpose is to serve the people and not the other way around. But it is what rights and responsibilities that the government should be defending is what people disagree with.

          I’m tiring? I thought you said it didn’t take much time to reply to simplistic arguments. Should I take that as a compliment then? Go ahead and travel if you want though, since you know what they say: live and let live.

          • Dan

            Thought I’d add a little more. Here is another person’s view on consent.

            “I don’t understand how someone can be a party to a contract “by default.” If I am born in the physical area claimed by a government as its domain, live here all my life, and then, when I turn 18, (or whatever age), I do not immediately renounce my citizenship, pack up, and move to another country, then this is a lack of action on my part, not a positive action. I don’t understand how a failure to take an action like this can count as consent.
            It is not merely the great difficulty of taking such an action that bothers me. (That’s a part of it, but not all of it.) It is simply that I don’t believe people can consent through failure to take some action defined by another as required for them to dissent. I would need to take some sort of positive action, such as signing a literal contract laying out all the specific obligations I had agreed to accept. (A positive action would be necessary, but I am not sure it would be sufficient. For example, it would have to be an action taken freely on my part, not under duress, and without being deceived as to the nature of the relationship.)”

            He also adds this in regards to leaving:

            “Not everyone has the means to leave the area. If a heavy snowstorm kept me from driving off my friend’s property or leaving his property without freezing to death, then I would no longer consider my presence on his property to imply consent to do anything I had not already agreed to do prior to the snowstorm. If he announced to his snowed in guests that we all had to play truth or dare or spin the bottle, to use a relatively mild example, and that anyone who didn’t want to participate had to leave, and by staying we agreed to play, then I would not think of my staying as consent to play, since I had no practical ability to leave, at least not without risking great harm.
            For people with the means to move away, this won’t apply. But for people with an income or wealth level under the point required for them to switch citizenship to a different country and move away, it would make it quite impossible for them to consent merely through presence, at least so it seems to me.”

            Now the US is surrounded by ocean waters, Canada and Mexico. Canada and Mexico are other countries that don’t have to grant you passage (and you’d still be subject to their laws anyway). It wouldn’t be very practical to try swimming through the water (that is, if the government even lets you),You could use a plane or boat, but that usually involves terms that you’d have to consent to, such as forking over money and following a certain conduct.

            As for comparing land lords and other property owners, he says this:

            “I was not born on my friend’s property, and did not grow up there and live there all my life until adulthood. Nor was I born and raised in the restaurant. I entered these places, with an ability to refrain from entering them without fear of harm, and with an understanding that the owners of these places would think of themselves as in a position to demand certain things of me. I took a positive action, entering the area, in the face of a practical alternative, not entering the area. I had an ability to refrain from entering the area without suffering for it in any non-negligible degree. The difference here is the one I drew in my opening post, the difference between a positive action in the face of an alternative, where without taking the positive action in question I would not have the related obligations or be thought to have consented to anything, and a failure to act, in the case of being born somewhere, growing up there, and, if it is possible for me to do so at all, being required to endure great cost to renounce my citizenship and leave the area in order to opt out, only to end up subject to some other government instead, unless I am rich enough to live on the ocean I guess.”

            Not to mention, the land lord comparison is silly in the first place because land lords in the US can’t simply make any rule they want and consider someone on their land to consent to those rules in any way they want. A land lord isn’t “voted into office” by its tenants either. Not only is there no literal contract, but this “social contract” you speak of is subject to change, and somehow you transition the failure to leave the country to consent to everything in this dynamic social contract, simply because the government owns the land through force (in the US territory’s case, that partly involves land that was seized from Native Americans, England and Mexico).

  84. Chris Cannizzo

    This article: a summary

    Fuck consent and deal with it because I’m right

  85. Taxation is theft

    You can try to justify theft with mental gymnastics all you want. Just because a poor service is offered with the taking of someone else’s money doesn’t mean it’s not theft. If a person owns their self that means they own the fruits of their labor if not then there is a word for that slavery. Taxation is theft. Period.

  86. Big Tuck Chiz

    This sounded intelligible until the whole “we have a duty to the sick and no man is an island” but trying to appeal to emotions. I, as a Christian, American, and Anarchist, believe I have a duty to the sick and poor, but I do not have the right to elect a government official to steal from you to help the poor. Taking from you and giving to another does not equal generosity. It must come from within, as Jesus would’ve intended. And of course no man is an island, but I would rather interact with the other people I want to interact with, Freedom of Association/Assembly, and I want to enter into contracts that I agree with, Capitalism. Government is a conduit for people that want me to do stuff forcing me to do that stuff. If I am the 49% minority in a democracy I am a slave to the rule of the majority, whom I may not even wish to associate with. You suffer from existence bias, the belief that things we have always and must exist. Countries have been formed in revolt many times, nations of people have sought communities they associate with better than the empires that control them. As libertarians, I seek this same thing but not with people of my ethnic tribe or such, but people that provide value to my life. If government does not provide value to my life, I should be allowed to opt out. If I could opt out of taxation, it would be a voluntary transaction, but I can’t. Even if I send my kids to private school and walk through the woods instead of driving, I am held at gunpoint to pay taxes, that coercive aspect makes it theft, regardless of the use. If a thief steals my car it is theft. If all my neighbors agree that they should steal my car, it is still theft. If the whole city agrees to it, it is somehow a necessary function of democracy? No, it’s still theft, they have no right to decide the fate of property that isn’t theirs. The end.

  87. Here’s a Jack Handey quote that I imagine statists saying. “Basically, this is the way the economy works: I do a service for you, and you pay me, even if you claim you didn’t want the service and that I ‘ruined’ something of yours.”

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