no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Who Are the Real Free-Riders?

December 28th, 2008

One common argument for taxes is that people should pay for the things that they use. So, when the libertarian or the anarchist says “Taxation is theft!” (it really is!), someone will invariably reply, “If you don’t pay your taxes, what you’re really doing is stealing from people who provide those goods and services” or that by not paying for those goods and services, you are intentionally seeking a free-ride and therefore stealing from the other taxpayers.

What this argument neglects, however, is that there is a substantial proportion of the population (perhaps 50% or more) who don’t really pay taxes to begin with. Maybe they dont’ make enough money and get credits, maybe they are employed by the government and don’t really pay taxes, maybe they are welfare recipients, etc. When I say “Taxation is Theft!“, I don’t want to pay, people are quick to say that I’m the free-rider. I submit, respectfully, that I am no such thing, rather quite the contrary.

A piss-poor application of the Labor theory of value (i.e., it was produced and therefore must be paid for), the argument that non-payment of taxes amounts to theft is laughable as a moral imperative, since it magically ceases to apply to those people who don’t, won’t, or can’t produce value. This is just one paradox of the statist moral code: Only those productive members of society can be “free-riders” worthy of contempt and would be charged as criminals, yet it is perfectly acceptable for a man to pay no taxes if he produces nothing of any value.

Stated differently: It is perfectly acceptable to be a free-rider, unless you are a productive member of society.

Nobody ever chastises the poor, the welfare recipient, the government employees, etc., for not “paying their fair share”, despite the fact that these people don’t pay any share at all. Nobody ever says, “These people who produce nothing of value, yet consume the product of my labor, against my will, are the real thieves.” Instead, those of us who produce things of value, those of us who make the welfare state possible, those of us, upon whose backs society is carried, they call us thieves!

Do not accept that unearned guilt.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics