By Bradley Harrington
“In a fully free society, taxation — or, to be exact, payment for governmental services — would be VOLUNTARY. Since the proper services of a government — the police, the armed forces, the law courts — are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance.” — Ayn Rand, “Government Financing in a Free Society,” 1964 —
If the CEO of your local supermarket were to tell you that you were being billed for items you never purchased — and that, should you refuse to pay, you’d have your assets seized and be thrown in jail — would you consider that an affront to your liberties?
What if that CEO were to say that you were going to be restricted, by law, from purchasing the goods you do buy from him at any other grocery store — and that you must deal with him and him only, whether you like it or not?
And, if that CEO decides that the amount of money he heists from you, and what it gets spent on, was to be determined by a majority vote of the people that live in your neighborhood — would you regard such schemes as destructive to your own desires to spend your dollars as you please?
And — if you voice your opinion that all these actions constitute legalized theft — that CEO then replies that your only option is to “run for office” in order to “peacefully change the system,” would you ever make the mistake of thinking you were free?
All of us, I suspect, would rebel at the very thought of such thuggery being employed against us by our grocery store — but, when it comes to our government, such awareness flies right out the window.
And yet, ethically, the principle is exactly the same: The initiation of the use of force against legally disarmed victims.
The secret to the American form of government, however, as emphasized in our “Declaration of Independence,” is that government is our servant and not our master. But who has any interest in employing a “servant” who spends his time, on your dime, plundering all the available property within reach?
But, we’ve been taught, government has to fund itself — and, as the “duly constituted” rule in our society, taxes are the price we pay for our freedoms.
Really? Since I, as an individual, do not possess the “right” to pilfer the property of my neighbors, how on Earth can anybody ever conclude that I can “delegate” that “right” to others?
And more: Even if we should choose to accept the bankrupt notion that we must be coerced into compliance, supposedly for “our own good” — what freedoms would we have left that would merit “protection” afterwards? The “freedom” to go to jail if we don’t submit?
No matter how you slice it, taxation is theft — and the Constitution’s authorization of such follies has succeeded in destroying the liberties our Founders fought and died for. Say goodbye to “The Rights of Man” and say hello to “I got a gun and you ain’t.”
Another method for government financing, therefore, seems appropriate, does it not? As Ayn Rand once remarked, “Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins.”
And, speaking of Rand — of all the ideas for the non-coercive funding of government operations I’ve studied over the years, I like her idea the best (from the same essay as the quote at the top of this commentary):
“One of the most vitally needed services, which only a government can render, is the protection of contractual agreements among citizens. Suppose that the government were to protect — i.e., to recognize as legally valid and enforceable — only those contracts which had been insured by the payment, to the government, of a premium in the amount of a legally fixed percentage of the sums involved in the contractual transaction.
“Such an insurance would not be compulsory; there would be no legal penalty imposed on those who did not choose to take it — they would be free to make verbal agreements or to sign uninsured contracts, if they so wished. The only consequence would be that such agreements or contracts would not be legally enforceable; if they were broken, the injured party would not be able to seek redress in a court of law…
“When one considers the magnitude of the wealth involved in credit transactions, one can see that the percentage required to pay for such governmental insurance would be infinitesimal — much smaller than that paid for other types of insurance — yet it would be sufficient to finance all the other functions of a proper government.”
And that, Dear Reader, is just one idea among many. The possibilities are endless and the sky’s the limit — once we discard the outmoded, Old-World idea that our freedoms somehow require their own extinction.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the “Wyoming Tribune Eagle” on February 19, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.