Is Taxation Theft? (and why the answer matters..)

22 Sep

I have written a lot of short pieces addressing this question (the answer is always no). But this piece for Aeon magazine is the most extensive thing I’ve written so far, and goes into much more detail about the nature of ownership. I’m always amazed at how much this stuff angers people. I’ve been enjoying battling with with terrible arguments on the comment thread (which you have to register for) and the Aeon FB pages…I invite you to join the fun!

I think this is a place where abstract, academic philosophy can really make a practical difference. The way almost everyone (voters and policy makers) think about taxation is demonstrably confused. And (as I say in the article) this matters: this confused sense that my gross income is “my money” is a major stumbling block to economic reform, causes low and middle earners to vote against their economic interests, and renders it practically impossible to correct the economic injustices that pervade the modern world.

Back to writing useless stuff on consciousness…

5 Responses to “Is Taxation Theft? (and why the answer matters..)”

  1. Tavi September 25, 2017 at 6:20 am #

    You seem to be “writing useless stuff” on pretty much anything you write about, not just “consciousness” and then you turn around and claim that “the market is unfair” on how it rewards writers of “useless stuff”, like you, compared to those that make or bring about “useful stuff” like a CEO for example, or a small business owner or a movie producer and so on…

    Therefore, in your opinion, the government needs to go around and take as much as possible from those that earned “too much” by making “useful stuff” and redistribute it towards those like you that make “useless stuff” because that, in your opinion, is fairness.

    You go even further in your stupid argument and bring up examples like the legality of slavery as well as that of confiscation of jew’s property by the Nazis to prove that immorality doesn’t always equal illegality and as long as it’s legal at one point or another, an immoral act it’s justified during its time.

    You sir, are an educated idiot, the most dangerous type of idiot and, by acting as a professor on top of it, you are even more dangerous then the rest of the educated idiots out there.

    • conscienceandconsciousness September 25, 2017 at 6:47 am #

      Thanks for reporting some random reactions to reading my article. It was an interesting insight into your psychology. Do you have any response to my argument that one has no moral claim to one’s pre-tax income?

      • Robert September 28, 2017 at 1:29 am #

        So you want to go into Libertarian homes and steal their paycheck? Good luck with that.

        Plus I notice you don’t engage actual libertarians or the creator of the taxation is theft idea (which is simple lack of research), and your picture in the article shows workers from whom you wish to steal.

        Isn’t Hungary’s far-left trying to do that–nationalize worker savings and steal from the commons? People may see you as an apologist?

        Philosophers can reverse the argument: You have no right to anything to which Libertarians and fans contributed. get off the web.

      • conscienceandconsciousness September 28, 2017 at 7:47 am #

        Thanks for your thoughts Robert! Don’t worry, I don’t want to go into your home and steal your paycheck. That would be against the law. I believe in following the laws the people voted for, including the tax laws. Libertarians are the ones who don’t respect the (tax) laws the people freely vote for. Nozick and Rothbard are real world libertarians and I have offered an argument against their view. Do you have a response to it? I’m curious actually who you have in mind as ‘the person’ whose idea it was that taxation is theft. Your ad hominem comment is irrelevant, but for what it’s worth Hungary has a right wing government who have introduced a flat tax. If you have a response to my argument, let me know!


  1. Is Taxation Theft? – Philosophics - September 22, 2017

    […] via Is Taxation Theft? (and why the answer matters..) — Conscience and Consciousness […]

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