Ron Paul and Libertarians are Right: Taxation is Immoral

Taxes are immoral and unnecessary, and should be abolished on the grounds that they are a violation of basic individual rights.

The foundational belief for anyone who supports individual freedom (and opposes slavery) is that individuals have the rights to life, liberty, and property. This is based on the fact that we own and are in control of our own bodies, our choices, and what we choose to produce through our labor. An act committed by another which infringes upon any of these basic rights is immoral, including assault, enslavement, and theft. The rights of the passive actor are to be respected, and the acts of an aggressor are to be halted. If a rapist seeks to infringe upon a person’s bodily autonomy, that rapist is to blame for the violent act, and not the victim. If someone is a victim of mugging, the blame is not to be placed on the mug-ee, but rather the mugger.

Taxation is one such form of mugging. The taxpayer is a passive actor, since the tax collector came to him, and not the other way around. The taxpayer, the productive member of society, has precedence over how his money is spent or saved, since he was the one who earned it. So any argument that, should someone who dislikes paying taxes wish to stop, that they “can always leave” goes directly out the window, since it is the collector who initiated this act, and not the earner who sought nothing more than to maintain his autonomy over his own body, his choices, and the products of his labor.

Conversely, the state is a dependent entity, and requires the taxpayer’s wages in order to function. So to acquire his wages, the state initiates an act of theft, backed up by the threat of violence. And it is undeniable that taxation is a violent act. Consider what happens when one refuses to pay the tax collector. Initially, one will receive a fine. If one does not pay that, a warrant will be put out for one’s arrest. If one refuses to get in the back of the police cruiser, one will be dragged there. And if one refuses to be dragged, and uses a weapon in self-defense, one will be shot and killed.

Finally, even when the state supposedly produces things with its stolen funds, it is immoral. Statists often cite things like public roads, suggesting that without the taxation-funded avenues, private businesses would be unable to do their business, and are therefore indebted to the state to continue paying more taxes. This argument fails on two fronts.

First, those roads were not built so that Business Owner A could use it. It was built using his money (and the stolen wealth of many others), but he only gets to use it incidentally. In fact, he will never even drive on 99% of the roads he has paid for, since money is fungible, and his exact dollar cannot be pinned to any specific project.

Secondly, goods for which there is a demand, people willing and able to pay for it, will be supplied. All goods and services, including education, roads, and even police are better provided by the private sphere. But the practical arguments against taxes are meant for another debate.

Taxes are an immoral and violent affront to human dignity. There is no justification for one man to steal from another, nor threaten the innocent with violence should they refuse to comply. Taxes must be abolished.