Taxation and Theft

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  1. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 5 years ago

    If all taxation is theft, then anarchism is true.  Anarchism is not true.  Therefore, taxation is not theft.

    This isn't directed as libertarians, or anarchists, but if either group has a reply, I'd be interested to hear it.

    Valid argument (based on the premises following from the conclusion), but why am I even bringing this up?   Well, it is to illustrate a point that many conservatives seem to consistently miss.  They complain that the government is stealing from them when they must pay taxes, even while affirming the government has a role to play in providing basic necessities, such a military or police force.  Once the conservative admits the government has a role in SOMETHING, the question is transformed into what that something should and should not be.

    Traditionally, conservatives use "constitutionality" to argue for that role, and love to make claims about various aspects of the constitution, as if it came from the fingers of God himself, and they believe by  simply asserting an action by the government to be unconstitutional that that is enough to provide an argument against the position in question.  An easy counter to this is just to claim that, if the conservative IS right about unconstitutionality (which isn't always clear), then one simply favors an amendment to make the policy in question constitutional.  This is not unprecedented.  Our current constitution has 27 amendments already.  It's begging the question to say "constitutional," and not defend an argument against a position any other way.

    Now, the conservative can no longer make arguments about "constitutionally limited government" unless they are willing to first of all define what constitutional means (without being circular and saying "constitutional is anything in accordance with the constitution"), and argue against the position in question by explaining why the position being unconstitutional is a positive thing.  They also must agree that the question is not whether government has a role to play, but simply the nature of that role.

    The liberal doesn't have the constitutional onus the conservative does, because the liberal would simply be claiming that an action should take place and the constitution is too limited if it restricts that action.  The conservative must first show why the liberal's idea is unconstitutional, and subsequently explain why changing the constitution would be a negative thing.  All of this is tied into the nature of the role of government.

    So debates about welfare, universal health care or college education, mandates and the like cannot be dismissed without argument, if the proponent of the positions provides an argument that must be answered.  The EPA, FDA, and even the Patriot Act (which I am against), must be evaluated on their own merits.

    1. profile image0
      JaxsonRaineposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      That's not a valid argument, nor is it sound.

      Here is an example of a valid(still not sound) argument:
      P1 - If all taxation is theft, then anarchism is true.
      P2 - Anarchism is not true.
      C - Not all taxation is theft.

      It very well could be that some taxation is theft,  but not all is. The premise only demands that all taxation be theft, so to invalidate it only tells you that at least some taxation is not theft.

      As for being sound, you have to prove both premise 1 and 2, as neither is a widely-accepted axiom.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 5 years agoin reply to this

        It is a valid argument my friend.  It's called modus tollens.

        http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~pconrad/cs40/le … llens.html

        The first premise simply takes the claim that IF all taxation is theft, then anarchism is true (since the government would have no money, there could be no government). 

        So you agree when you claim, "
        It very well could be that some taxation is theft,  but not all is."  That's what my conclusion is! 

        But as for the soundness, you're correct that I didn't provide any arguments (until this response when I defended premise 1) for the premises.

        1. profile image0
          JaxsonRaineposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Your conclusion was 'Taxation is not theft'.

          The proper conclusion is 'Not all taxation is theft'.

          They are not the same thing.

          As to your first premise, there could be a volunteer government smile

          1. profile image0
            Sooner28posted 5 years agoin reply to this

            My conclusion was all taxation is not theft, based on the modus tollens.  I just forgot to carry the all into the conclusion when I typed it.   All killing is not wrong is the same as some killing is acceptable.  So, all taxation is not theft is the same as some taxation is not theft, while also being compatible with some taxation being theft.

    2. profile image0
      Sophia Angeliqueposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Excellent post. Well written. Well explained.

  2. profile image0
    JaxsonRaineposted 5 years ago

    I'll also say this... from a moral standpoint it can be argued that any taxation which provides unequal benefit is theft.

    Every citizen paying $200/year to support the defense of the country would be fair. Having one person pay $20,000 while another pays $2, while both people enjoy the same benefit, can be defined as theft.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      This is an entirely different premise to work from, and probably much more defensible than "all taxation is theft."  It does depend though, on how much you think a human life is worth. 

      The only way small government defenders could defend the all taxation is theft premise is to claim that some theft is good, while others are bad (which is defensible in certain circumstances, such as stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving child), but I don't think it can be made into a principle.  I also didn't fully articulate what I was getting it.

      A more thorough rendering would be:

      1.  If all taxation is theft, then the government's entire existence is based upon theft.

      2.  An entity's existence being based upon theft would be immoral.

      3.  Therefore, if all taxation is theft, then the government's entire existence is immoral!

      4.  If an entity's entire existence is immoral, then it should be gotten rid of.

      5.  Therefore, if all taxation is theft, then the government should be gotten rid of.

      6.  All taxation is theft.

      7.  Therefore the government should be gotten rid of.

      8.  Therefore, anarchism is true.

      Obviously I think this argument is COMPLETELY UNSOUND.  To me, anarchism is indefensible, given the way some human beings behave without authority figures.  In any event, I hope this is clearer.  It'also just a defense of the first premise *original post), and a very short defense of the second (original post).

      1. profile image0
        JaxsonRaineposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        How about this?

        1. If all taxation is theft, then our government's existence is based on theft.
        2.  An entity's existence being based upon theft would be immoral.
        3.  Therefore, if all taxation is theft, then our government's current status is immoral!
        4.  If an entity's current status is immoral, then it should be eliminated, or made moral.
        5.  Therefore, if all taxation is theft, then the government should be eliminated, or made moral.
        6.  All taxation is theft.
        7.  Therefore the government should be eliminated, or made moral.
        8.  Therefore, anarchism and restructuring of government are valid ideologies.

        Your set doesn't prove that ALL government is immoral, just government that is based on taxation, and again it focuses only on taxation either being all theft, or all not theft.

        Good discussion though, I'm enjoying it(I admit I can't argue the merits of anarchism... at all)

  3. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 5 years ago

    If taxation is theft, driving on public roads/being helped by a policeman etc is theft of services. Because that only makes sense of civic services are completely unnecessary.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I concur.  It's why I'm not a "limited government" type of guy.

 
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