Liberty vs. Leviathan

Chronicling Liberty's battle against Leviathan

Man (Bastiat) on the Street

From a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Is ‘Friending in Your Future?’ Better Pay Your Taxes First”, we learn that tax authorities are starting to use MySpace, Facebook and other social networks to track down those who have managed to hide some of their income from authorities.  No surprise really.  What caught my attention was in the comments.  Michael Yu seems to think like Vice President Joe “we want to take money” Biden, that paying taxes is some sort of patriotic duty.  Echoing the principles found in Frédéric Bastiat‘s The Law, Brian Drake counters, seeing today’s tax system for what it is – theft:

How is that [paying taxes is] any different than me and a friend mugging you on the street, and then when you protest, we take a vote among the 3 of us to determine by democratic principles whether we can rob you or not?

If it’s wrong for one person to steal from another, then it’s wrong for 2 men to steal. It’s also wrong for 10 men to steal from one. It’s also wrong for 299,999,999 men to steal from one man. Democracy doesn’t change truth. Taxation is theft and theft is wrong.

Here’s a straightforward passage from The Law (L64 – L67):

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law—which may be an isolated case—is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

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