Friday, December 19, 2014

Taxes must be mandatory

It's so easy to focus my blog entries on that foolishness of my intellectual opponents while ignoring absurdities from my comrades. It's a bad habit, in fact, so hopefully writing about something stupid I hear from a vocal minority of libertarians will help me make amends.

Some people argue that all taxes are a theft on the public by the government. Those people are wrong.

I'd like to dismiss this is a tiny fringe view, but sadly it's not. Ayn Rand expressed a related view, that all taxes should be voluntary. I find that equally absurd.

A civilized society needs a government to exist, and in turn that government needs resources to exist. In primitive times people paid the government in in-kind payments like chickens and turnips, but now we have money and that makes for a much better way to pay for our government.

Max Weber said the state is a monopoly on force for legitimate purposes. I don't buy it that in a free society people would pay taxes voluntarily, myself included. That's a classic free rider problem and claiming it would magically go away out of patriotism or some other form of loyalty to pie-in-the-sky silly optimism.

Enforcing tax collection is a legitimate action of the state, and I don't often say this, but if someone doesn't want to pay taxes than they should leave. Our nation can't function without them.

1 comment:

  1. What about a system where taxes remained mandatory, but the payer had more direct control of where the money went. For instance, the total bill is determined as it always has been, but one could choose to allocate a significant portion of their money to any given department. Say, 70% of mine was at my discretion. I would probably earmark most of it for scientific research, keeping it out of welfare/war programs as much as possible. I think this would be a GREAT system! Any thoughts?