Justice and Taxes
I know this isn’t exactly earth-shattering, but I don’t like paying taxes. When I tell people this, responses tend to fall into one of three categories: “you should be okay with it because taxes are what keep things running”, “yeah no kidding”, or “well taxation is basically the government stealing from you at gunpoint”.
And wow are my reactions overcomplicated as always:
- You shouldn’t complain about paying high taxes because they benefit the country that allowed you to gather that wealth in the first place. This is a half-truth. Most of my tax dollars don’t seem to be funding the sustenance of this country (as if I have a boundless debt to the rest of my countrymen, determined not by my own state and actions but by theirs), but rather waste, corruption, and inessential luxuries for others. I’m overtaxed.
- Taxes suck. This is a whole truth — of course they suck, they’re a necessary evil! And necessary (not in an ultimate sense) things that are evil always suck. What do I mean when I say that they’re a necessary evil? Well, I accept the proposition that government is itself a necessary evil, made necessary by the general sinfulness of mankind. If there’s going to be some shadow of justice on this earth, it’s going to come through a government (civil or otherwise). So to the extent that the government is necessary, since I’m just as responsible for making it necessary as anybody else, I absolutely believe it is my duty to fund it. And that sucks.
- Taxation is basically the government stealing from you at gunpoint. This is another half-truth. To the extent that government is necessary, I have a duty to fund it and so they’re justified in taking the money (or are they only justified in requesting it, but then free to boot me out if I refuse?). But beyond that? Dirty thieves, the lot of them! I’m serious about this — people who act (vote, petition, etc) to encourage the government to take more of my money are working in support of stealing from me, and, to the extent that they understand this, I cannot pretend they have not wronged me.
I’m fine with paying taxes because I owe it to my fellow men. I’m not fine with paying excessive taxes because I’m entitled to the fruits of my hard work and good fortune. When the government extends beyond its justifiable functions, beyond its necessary role, I have no obligation to it, and I surrender my money only out of fear. After all, “all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”