Taxation is Constitutional

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Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:17 am

The mantra of the Anarcho-Capitalists and some other Libertarians and conservatives that "taxation is theft" is a very compelling argument that we are all subject to government's seizure of our personal property, by force if necessary, to fund the government's wants, needs, or desires. The argument is very effective in its reasoning and the inability by virtually anyone to refute it without long explanations about the role of governments in societies and markets makes it a very powerful weapon in our 140 characters or less culture. Since I am unable to develop a snappy catchphrase to effectively argue against it, this essay is one of those long explanations.

The "taxation is theft" argument has some key assumptions. The first is that participation in the free market is voluntary. There are very few things that governments "force" us to buy such as auto insurance and more recently, health insurance. Whatever justifications the government uses for exceptions such as these notwithstanding, participants in the free market may choose to NOT buy anything they decide they do not want or cannot afford. I happen to think Golden Grahams is the best breakfast cereal and I buy it frequently, but if you prefer Fruit Loops, knock yourself out and buy Fruit Loops instead. No one is going to stop you and nor should they.

Second, is that Government exists in spite of the market. Since the dawn of mankind, humans have bartered, traded, and sold anything they could hunt or gather. Commerce seems to be an instinctive part of our nature. Government is a concept almost as old as people in antiquity have used everything from birthright, to divine providence, to war in an effort to establish and maintain a government. Fortunately for humanity, these types of government are fading thanks to the Greek invention of democracy. And it is democracy and the desire for it that ultimately led to the American experiment we are participating in today.

Another key assumption is that taxation by government is involuntary and done through force. If you or I decide that we do not wish to pay taxes on our income or property, and are unable to fool or bribe our way out of it, the government will seize your property and incarcerate you for your noncompliance. If you resist, you may even be killed. No other situation other than a robbery plays out like this and this is the most powerful part of the Libertarian argument because we all know that it is at the very least conceptually true.

Lets summarize. The market is voluntary, the government exists in spite of the market, and taxation is involuntary because it is done through force. Taxation is theft.

Now that we understand what "taxation is theft" means to Anarcho-Capitalists and Libertarians, I can now tell you why they are wrong and that most Americans instinctively know this.

First, the government does not exist outside of the market. As a matter of fact, the government created it. In Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution, Congress was authorized to create money, levy taxes, and regulate commerce. Any conservative will tell you that the Constitution's fundamental purpose was to establish a government and then limit it in order to protect the inalienable rights of the people , yet the founders still granted the congress enormous power as it pertains to the market and the Constitution was indeed ratified as written. What that means is that the Constitution both established the market and then authorized the congress to regulate it.

Taxation of income came and went throughout American history, typically in times of war. Income taxes were levied during the war of 1812, and again during the Civil War. The sixteenth amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1913 and it authorized the government to tax income which essentially created the ground rules of taxation that we debate today. Now Libertarians will tell you that this, as well as the passage of the Federal Reserve Act in the same year was the beginning of "Big Government". Regardless of modern interpretation by conservatives and Libertarians, and despite several legal challenges, it has remained the law of the land. And the vast majority of the people over the last 103 years have voted to keep it that way.

To summarize, Taxation is Constitutional.

The fact that these laws remain has enabled the libertarian to add the modifier "Legalized theft" to their argument. But the problem with that is that theft by it's very nature is illegal and taxation levied by a democratically elected government is. If we lived in an aristocracy or other system of government where there was taxation without representation, the Libertarian argument that "taxation is theft" would stand. However, our government since it's founding has used democratically elected representatives to create laws that include how taxes are levied, how much they should be, and what to do with the money. Libertarians as American citizens have participated in this process all along. The fact that they have been unable to sway the American people doesn't make them wrong, their fundamental misunderstanding of government and society does. And by judging the results of the 2016 election, it also makes them unpopular.

But Libertarians need not be discouraged. The market is fundamentally still free, voluntary, and popular. The majority of the money collected by government in taxes is spent subsidizing certain members of the population such as the poor, the unemployed, the disabled, and the elderly so that they can continue to participate in the market when they are either temporarily or permanently unable to sell their labor. And those recipients are largely still free to spend that money as they choose, so it's not like the government is just sitting around with a huge pile of money taken from citizens in order to enrich itself at your expense like investment bank.

The government actively and deliberately works to promote and protect the market in accordance with the wishes of the people. That is what the founders intended. It is only those who bribe our government officials to undermine that effort that prevents us from having a better government and a better market. After we focus our efforts as the voting public to stop this corruption, we can get back to debating the size and scope of the government. Thanks to the Constitution, the only remaining argument here is to what extent does the government promote and protect the market. And that is a very valid discussion to have so long as we can all agree that "All" and "Nothing" are two unacceptable answers and that any other answer is going to require some level of taxation. The choice of anarchy or tyranny is a false dilemma.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Zarniwoop » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:51 am

Article I, Section 8 of the consitution itself says the federal government can collect taxes.

So who is this directed at? 99.9% of conservatives and libertarians would absolutely say the federal govt has the consitutional right to collect taxes.

So are you trying to convince the whackos who live out in the woods in their pathetic little militia compounds?
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:13 pm

Zarniwoop wrote:Article I, Section 8 of the consitution itself says the federal government can collect taxes.

So who is this directed at? 99.9% of conservatives and libertarians would absolutely say the federal govt has the consitutional right to collect taxes.

So are you trying to convince the whackos who live out in the woods in their pathetic little militia compounds?

99.9% of Libertarians don't think taxation is theft?

My bad. I withdraw.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Zarniwoop » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:16 pm

Mountaineer Buc wrote:
Zarniwoop wrote:Article I, Section 8 of the consitution itself says the federal government can collect taxes.

So who is this directed at? 99.9% of conservatives and libertarians would absolutely say the federal govt has the consitutional right to collect taxes.

So are you trying to convince the whackos who live out in the woods in their pathetic little militia compounds?

99.9% of Libertarians don't think taxation is theft?

My bad. I withdraw.


Thats correct, nearly all libertarians realize the constitution gives the federal government the power to tax its citizens in order to execute its enumerated powers.

Can you show me any significant libertarian or conservative that believes the federal tax rate should be 0%?

Because i dont know of a single one. And certainly no one who has ran a legitimate political campaign on such premise.

Im guessing if a vast majority of conservatives or libertarians thought that ALL taxation is theft, by now they would have elected someone to represent that idea.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:22 pm

Oh, so SOME taxation is theft.

They really need to be more specific. Would have saved me an hour arguing against a mantra that nobody believes in, yet gets sprayed all over the Internet.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Zarniwoop » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:26 pm

Mountaineer Buc wrote:Oh, so SOME taxation is theft.

They really need to be more specific. Would have saved me an hour arguing against a mantra that nobody believes in, yet gets sprayed all over the Internet.




Yes, its not hard.

When government oversteps their bounds and takes money they dont have a right to take, it is theft.

Even your boy Sanders would say that government doesnt have a right to take 100% of an individuals income. So there is a point at which even to a self proclaimed socialist as himself, the government no longer has a right to an individuals income. For him the % is much higher than to a Libertarian, but the point is he has a limit too.


Like just about everything in life, its not an all or none propsal.


If the government takes my money to establish an army (an enumerated power), that is a perfectly legitimate cause and use of taxation.


If the government takes my money so politicians can go on wprldwide cruises and buy 30 karrat diamonds, then its theft as they dont have the constitutional authority to do it.
Last edited by Zarniwoop on Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:31 pm

Statist.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Jonny » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:54 pm

Zarni, you are partly incorrect and MB is partly right on this one. 99% of libertarians, most principled conservatives and the founding fathers think/thought taxation is either evil or a necessary evil. Those that argue taxation is evil and unnecessary are the same ones that say taxation is theft; taxation presumes government has the first claim on our property and fruits of our labor. Then there are those that believe while taxation is evil, it is necessary for defense and protection of private property.

But at the same time it is constitutional for the simple fact that it is written in the constitution.

So MB, you could have all along simply pointed towards the constitution to justify the title of the thread. Not sure why you had to type all that stuff out.

Now here is my effortless beatdown of your critique of free market philosophy:

"First, the government does not exist outside of the market. As a matter of fact, the government created it."

Wrong. The government can be a mediator and a currency regulator in a market, but the existence of government for a market is not mandatory. Barter system has existed for entire human existence. Looks like you have made a huge assumption there and ran with it. Your insinuation that the constitution allowed congress to create market suggests that there was no market before the constitution was drafted. I guess no trade deals happened between Native Americans and European settlers, because they did not have the dollar bill.

Also just because a law has remained in the books for over 100 years, it does not necessarily make it moral or reasonable from a libertarian perspective. There are many laws that were unjust, that remained unchallenged for a long time. Eg: Slavery.

The fact that these laws remain has enabled the libertarian to add the modifier "Legalized theft" to their argument. But the problem with that is that theft by it's very nature is illegal and taxation levied by a democratically elected government is.


Horrible argument. Your argument makes the following assumption: Any act of coercion by a democratically elected government cannot be violence or theft if it is in the form of a legislation.

What you just did was make a circular reasoning that religious people do to justify their beliefs. God exists because bible says so; bible is true because god wrote it. If the government has monopoly on legislation, any act by government is of course legal.

The holocaust and forced sterilizations were legal in Germany and it was done by a democratically elected government.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:17 pm

Thank you, Jonny for taking on the premise of my essay. I relish the thought of a substantive discussion after this empty headed election.

Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to defend my position due to a family emergency. Feel free to craft an argument of your own here on the topic and I might be able to engage perhaps during the holiday weekend.

I'd only be able to give 3 sentence rebuttals right now. If we postpone, maybe we can do better.

Thanks
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Jonny » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:27 pm

Mountaineer Buc wrote:Thank you, Jonny for taking on the premise of my essay. I relish the thought of a substantive discussion after this empty headed election.

Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to defend my position due to a family emergency. Feel free to craft an argument of your own here on the topic and I might be able to engage perhaps during the holiday weekend.

I'd only be able to give 3 sentence rebuttals right now. If we postpone, maybe we can do better.

Thanks


Dude, I login once every month these days. No matter where this thread it, I will bump it up from the abyss the next time I check back. And good luck with what ever family emergency you are facing with.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Pirate Life » Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:42 pm

Zarniwoop wrote:Article I, Section 8 of the consitution itself says the federal government can collect taxes.

So who is this directed at? 99.9% of conservatives and libertarians would absolutely say the federal govt has the consitutional right to collect taxes.

So are you trying to convince the whackos who live out in the woods in their pathetic little militia compounds?


I live a good stone's throw away from Washington DC in the midst of one of the wealthiest and most educated areas of the country. I own a bookkeeping firm that prepares taxes also. I absolutely get folks coming into the office on a semi-regular basis asking me to show them where in the Constitution it says the gov't can collect taxes and/or tax their income, it's been that way for the 20+ years we have been in business. It's a lot more than .1% and they definitely aren't living out in the woods or militia compounds around here.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby MJW » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:42 am

I don't actually remember signing the Constitution. Or the social contract, for that matter. Is that relevant, or should I simply submit to those who have claimed a monopolization on legitimate violence?
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Ken Carson » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:42 pm

Umm wut
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:06 pm

MJW wrote:I don't actually remember signing the Constitution. Or the social contract, for that matter. Is that relevant, or should I simply submit to those who have claimed a monopolization on legitimate violence?

This perspective angers me as it is morally reprehensible.

It claims the rights protected by our Constitution, yet shirks any responsibility to uphold the society created by it. It wishes to prosper under the protection our national founding protected, yet do nothing for the man beside them.

It is a perspective I hold lower than a welfare Queen.

Perhaps I am biased having sworn an oath to defend a document that I didn't sign, but in my fervor, I felt as though I was a part of something bigger than myself. Part of a nation that declared that there was no divine right. No aristocracy.

Perhaps I bought off on the notion that this land was my land, and this land was your land. I bought off on pledging allegiance to the republic for which it stands.

People can debate forever the amount required to preserve our way of life. People can debate the VALUE received from their government for their taxes.

But I will not abide those who declare themselves above and beyond our society and greedily declare themselves above the rest of us and selfishly refuse to contribute to our societies effort to provide a better life for the people in it.

Those who do should remove the flag from their homes as the only allegiance they have is to themselves.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby HamBone » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:53 pm

Mountaineer Buc wrote:
MJW wrote:I don't actually remember signing the Constitution. Or the social contract, for that matter. Is that relevant, or should I simply submit to those who have claimed a monopolization on legitimate violence?

This perspective angers me as it is morally reprehensible.

It claims the rights protected by our Constitution, yet shirks any responsibility to uphold the society created by it. It wishes to prosper under the protection our national founding protected, yet do nothing for the man beside them.

It is a perspective I hold lower than a welfare Queen.

Perhaps I am biased having sworn an oath to defend a document that I didn't sign, but in my fervor, I felt as though I was a part of something bigger than myself. Part of a nation that declared that there was no divine right. No aristocracy.

Perhaps I bought off on the notion that this land was my land, and this land was your land. I bought off on pledging allegiance to the republic for which it stands.

People can debate forever the amount required to preserve our way of life. People can debate the VALUE received from their government for their taxes.

But I will not abide those who declare themselves above and beyond our society and greedily declare themselves above the rest of us and selfishly refuse to contribute to our societies effort to provide a better life for the people in it.

Those who do should remove the flag from their homes as the only allegiance they have is to themselves.


****ing drama queen...
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:46 am

****ing welfare Queen
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby The Outsider » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:19 am

HamBone wrote:
Mountaineer Buc wrote:This perspective angers me as it is morally reprehensible.

It claims the rights protected by our Constitution, yet shirks any responsibility to uphold the society created by it. It wishes to prosper under the protection our national founding protected, yet do nothing for the man beside them.

It is a perspective I hold lower than a welfare Queen.

Perhaps I am biased having sworn an oath to defend a document that I didn't sign, but in my fervor, I felt as though I was a part of something bigger than myself. Part of a nation that declared that there was no divine right. No aristocracy.

Perhaps I bought off on the notion that this land was my land, and this land was your land. I bought off on pledging allegiance to the republic for which it stands.

People can debate forever the amount required to preserve our way of life. People can debate the VALUE received from their government for their taxes.

But I will not abide those who declare themselves above and beyond our society and greedily declare themselves above the rest of us and selfishly refuse to contribute to our societies effort to provide a better life for the people in it.

Those who do should remove the flag from their homes as the only allegiance they have is to themselves.


****ing drama queen...



Only in our intellectually defunct society, one which celebrates morons and derides the learned would we get someone viewing eloquent, passionate, and verbose writing as mere "drama".

Would this be easier for you if MB made you some flash cards?
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby HamBone » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:55 am

The Outsider wrote:
HamBone wrote:
****ing drama queen...



Only in our intellectually defunct society, one which celebrates morons and derides the learned would we get someone viewing eloquent, passionate, and verbose writing as mere "drama".

Would this be easier for you if MB made you some flash cards?


You think the faux intellectual bullshit MB vomits on this board is learned and eloquent?

He tries way too hard...but, hey if you enjoy it...carry on
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:17 pm

Need a safe space, snowflake?
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby HamBone » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:33 pm

Mountaineer Buc wrote:Need a safe space, snowflake?


Love Trumps hate...
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby deltbucs » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:40 pm

MJW wrote:I don't actually remember signing the Constitution. Or the social contract, for that matter. Is that relevant, or should I simply submit to those who have claimed a monopolization on legitimate violence?

lolwut?! We really need to bring IOTW back.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby deltbucs » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:41 pm

HamBone wrote:
Mountaineer Buc wrote:Need a safe space, snowflake?


Love Trumps hate...

Awww....Maybe you and Trump can have your safe space. Were the theater kids mean to you, too? LOL!!
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby HamBone » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:11 pm

deltbucs wrote:
HamBone wrote:
Love Trumps hate...

Awww....Maybe you and Trump can have your safe space. Were the theater kids mean to you, too? LOL!!


Theater kids? Is that anything like the Cabbage Patch Kids?
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby deltbucs » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:35 pm

HamBone wrote:
deltbucs wrote:Awww....Maybe you and Trump can have your safe space. Were the theater kids mean to you, too? LOL!!


Theater kids? Is that anything like the Cabbage Patch Kids?

It was in reference to the Hamilton cast and SNL saying stuff that Trump thought was mean, so he threw a hissy fit....because he's not a ***** and has presidential temperament. LOL!!!
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby The Outsider » Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:28 pm

Grab Em By The *****
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:56 pm

Sorry for the delay, but here you go.
Jonny wrote:Now here is my effortless beatdown of your critique of free market philosophy:

"First, the government does not exist outside of the market. As a matter of fact, the government created it."

Wrong. The government can be a mediator and a currency regulator in a market, but the existence of government for a market is not mandatory. Barter system has existed for entire human existence. Looks like you have made a huge assumption there and ran with it. Your insinuation that the constitution allowed congress to create market suggests that there was no market before the constitution was drafted. I guess no trade deals happened between Native Americans and European settlers, because they did not have the dollar bill.

Also just because a law has remained in the books for over 100 years, it does not necessarily make it moral or reasonable from a libertarian perspective. There are many laws that were unjust, that remained unchallenged for a long time. Eg: Slavery.

The fact that these laws remain has enabled the libertarian to add the modifier "Legalized theft" to their argument. But the problem with that is that theft by it's very nature is illegal and taxation levied by a democratically elected government is.


Horrible argument. Your argument makes the following assumption: Any act of coercion by a democratically elected government cannot be violence or theft if it is in the form of a legislation.

What you just did was make a circular reasoning that religious people do to justify their beliefs. God exists because bible says so; bible is true because god wrote it. If the government has monopoly on legislation, any act by government is of course legal.

The holocaust and forced sterilizations were legal in Germany and it was done by a democratically elected government.


I really wish you would have taken the time to read the OP and debate it rather than argue with your strawman.

I already said that it is a seemingly instinctive thing for humans to engage in commerce. On that, we seem to agree. Unfortunately, you fail to recognize that the market that exists in this country was established and justly regulated by the government. The market is where this commerce takes place. The alternative is referred to as the "Black market". I'm guessing you aren't employed there.

Now lets talk about this "coercion" nonsense. You are not coerced to pay taxes. You are obliged to pay them. The government has and will continue to exist to protect our individual liberties from everything from an abusive parent, to a drunk driver, to an exploitative corporation, to aggression by a foreign power. These things cost money and the government must collect taxes to do these things. And the constitution authorizes the government to do so and then is nice enough to allow you a say in who shall serve in it and what it should do. Almost seems like a transaction to me. Failure to pay after the receipt of services sounds a lot like theft.


Finally, you delve into some of the horrors of things performed by governments. I assume as evidence that Government power unchecked leads to tyranny, and that tyranny by government can be prevented when government is limited. I agree.

Now let me ask you this, If unregulated government leads to tyranny, wouldn't an unregulated market do the same? Plutocracy anyone?
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Swashy » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:23 pm

After glancing through this I gotta agree with MB here. Being a productive member of society means little if you cannot contribute financially to the society. Otherwise "productive member of society" takes on a whole different meaning.
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Re: Taxation is Constitutional

Postby Jonny » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:54 am

Mountaineer Buc wrote:

I really wish you would have taken the time to read the OP and debate it rather than argue with your strawman.

I already said that it is a seemingly instinctive thing for humans to engage in commerce. On that, we seem to agree. Unfortunately, you fail to recognize that the market that exists in this country was established and justly regulated by the government. The market is where this commerce takes place. The alternative is referred to as the "Black market". I'm guessing you aren't employed there.

Now lets talk about this "coercion" nonsense. You are not coerced to pay taxes. You are obliged to pay them. The government has and will continue to exist to protect our individual liberties from everything from an abusive parent, to a drunk driver, to an exploitative corporation, to aggression by a foreign power. These things cost money and the government must collect taxes to do these things. And the constitution authorizes the government to do so and then is nice enough to allow you a say in who shall serve in it and what it should do. Almost seems like a transaction to me. Failure to pay after the receipt of services sounds a lot like theft.


Finally, you delve into some of the horrors of things performed by governments. I assume as evidence that Government power unchecked leads to tyranny, and that tyranny by government can be prevented when government is limited. I agree.

Now let me ask you this, If unregulated government leads to tyranny, wouldn't an unregulated market do the same? Plutocracy anyone?


You say on one hand that humans have always engaged in commerce and yet again you typed that the market in this country was established by the Government. That is the point I have criticized you on before and will do again. Prove it. Prove it that in the absence of Government, market does not exist. Prove it that before there was an established American government, no commerce took place within the settlers and with the Indians. Also bringing up black market as a counter-example is silly. The issue with black market isn't that it is not established by the Government, it is that illegal activities such as sale of smuggled/stolen goods that makes it a problem for the government. If it is simply trading your Samsung for an IPhone with a guy on the street, it is not illegal and the Government sure as hell did not create that market of trading things.

On the second point. Yes we are coerced to pay taxes. If we weren't, there would never be any penalty for not paying them. And I have criticized your line of thought on this topic already in my previous post. Any law that a government comes up with, you are obligated to follow it if we go by your logic. You simply are displaying a silly double standard "there are some laws I do not like that we must all question, but these ones that I like should remain unchallenged". You are not unique in this, this is politics after all. I am just saying that between the two of us, I can at least empathize with someone like MJW for example who argues that being born into a country should not automatically enslave you to its constitution and legislation.
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