Arguing the Morality of Taxes

Depending on the circles you hang out in this may be a common scene for you. Last night I witnessed a not uncommon sight in libertarian circles. A group of libertarians were arguing (surprising, I know) about whether income, property, or sales taxes were more moral. The income tax seemed to fall fairly quickly as it was almost universally perceived as a punishment for doing well but the sales and property taxes held on for quite some time.

As I watched this circus unfold I started to think that they were basically arguing about which weapon was more moral for an armed robber to use. Is an armed robbery more moral when the mugger is armed with a gun rather than a knife? Are they more moral if they merely make you think they have a gun by sticking their hand in their pocket in an attempt to make it appear as a gun?

Personally, I can’t think of a weapon that would make an armed robber more moral nor can I think of a tax that would make government expropriation more moral.

3 thoughts on “Arguing the Morality of Taxes”

  1. Of course absent any form of taxation, government can’t exist, which means society must be in anarchy (or autarchy, as would have it). Many libertarians are anarchists, but many are so-called minarchists, who advocate a “night watchman” sort of government. Whether such a government could exist without metastasizing, and to what extent anarchy/autarchy is viable, are not clear to me. What is of course abundantly clear is that reducing the size of our current government by at least 90% would enormously benefit society.

  2. Im a big fan of the government system in the Freehold books by Michael Z Williamson in which it is a court system and a small Military and not much else. Taxes are collected but they are optional with no hard penalties.

    1. The question is whether or not a free market still exists for justice and defensive services. Because if the court system and military are both optional and can be ignored by anybody at any time if they so choose (assuming taxes remain optional) then it’s not really a state.

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