Atomism

Notions like "taxation is theft" rely on atomistic individualism for whatever plausibility they have. Taxation would be theft if:

1) The natural state of human beings was to exist as isolated individuals, somehow in full possession of a bunch of property despite their isolation; and

2) These atomic individuals then entered into a "social contract" in which they agreed to live in a society with other humans, but only on the condition they get to keep all of the property they had when they lived alone.

Of course, both one and two are complete nonsense: human beings would not even be human beings apart from a human social group. Our natural state is to live in a group with a number of other human beings, and the monads of atomic individualism have only existed in history due to terrible mishaps. And they certainly possessed no property!

Furthermore, the natural state of affairs in these groups was to treat resources as the possession of the group. Private property was an innovation (and a very useful one) granting some individuals greater rights in regards to some resource than anyone else. But being granted to an individual by their social group, it is quite naturally subject to revocation by the group and to whatever other conditions the group puts upon its possession. Such as, for instance, "You may have control over this land, and the proceeds you earn from using it, on the condition that you return 10% of those proceeds to the group."

Tax evasion, not taxation, is theft! And you are "coerced" into paying your taxes only if you try to weasel out of your obligation to pay them, just as you are "coerced" into paying for your groceries.

3 comments:

  1. You mean tax evasion not tax avoidance.

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  2. I don't see why the truthity of either proposition would imply that taxation is theft or is not theft.

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