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Taxation through the Ages

Discussion in 'Historical Events & Figures' started by Truth-Bringer, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. Truth-Bringer

    Truth-Bringer New Member

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    Taxation through the Ages

    By Joseph Sobran

    (Reprinted from SOBRAN’S, December 2003, pages 3–5)

    I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again.

    In the summer of 1965, when I’d just finished my freshman year in college, I was reading a little book called The Law — a long pamphlet, really — by the nineteenth-century French legislator Frédéric Bastiat, when I was riveted by a single sentence: “Look at the law, and see if it does for one man at the expense of another what it would be a crime for the one to do to the other himself.”

    In Bastiat’s view, government, beyond the strictest limits of justice, became “organized plunder,” a device by which “everyone seeks to enrich himself at the expense of everyone else.” In other words, government itself tends to become the very evil it is supposed to prevent: crime. But it confuses people because it enacts criminal acts under the forms of law.

    The simple insight rocked me. It upset my faith in my country and its basic justice. If Bastiat was right, the United States was already profoundly corrupt. It took me years to come to terms with this idea. Today it seems to me almost self-evident. I marvel that anyone with common sense thinks otherwise.

    This means, for openers, that taxation is a gigantic system of fraud, robbery, and extortion. Most taxpayers receive nothing to justify the amounts they are forced to pay. Yet it’s the taxpayer, not the ruler, who is treated as a criminal suspect and required to “confess” his earnings and holdings. The ruler isn’t penalized for anything he does to the taxpayer.

    This fact makes me wildly indignant, and I’m frustrated and baffled that so few Americans share my feelings. We are being robbed and cheated on an astonishing scale.

    Once, during a radio interview (I’ve been known to repeat this story too), I was asked, “Why don’t you ever criticize big business the way you always criticize big government?” I answered, “I’m not forced to do business with General Motors. If I do so voluntarily, I get a car for my money. But I am forced to do business with the government. Every year I’m forced to pay it roughly the price of a new car. And I’ve never seen that car. Someone else gets it.”

    Bastiat, a devout Catholic, reasoned about the state from a natural law philosophy. He concluded that the state violates the most basic principles of natural justice. Once you start thinking that way, you can hardly avoid thinking of politics as a largely criminal activity.

    At some level, most people know this intuitively. I think this accounts for the huge popular appeal of The Godfather. We are all taught that the government is there to protect us from criminals. The Godfather audaciously reverses our civics lessons: it shows us a benign master criminal who will protect us from the corrupt government. This is another sentimental myth, of course — unlike real mafiosi, Don Corleone never extorts “taxes” from shopkeepers in the form of protection money — but it has enough truth to seize our imaginations.

    [Breaker quote: How law becomes criminal]But the state’s myth still prevails, and we submit. Most people see nothing questionable about state taxation, and politicians complacently assume their right to take our wealth.

    Some Oklahoma politicians, for example, are currently in a tax-boosting mood. They want to raise taxes of all sorts — income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, you name it.

    According to the National Taxpayers Union, the average Oklahoman already pays more in taxes — Federal, state, and local — than for food, shelter, clothing, and transportation combined. This amounts to 26.5 per cent of per capita income.

    How much is enough? What is the limit? At what point, short of taking 100 per cent of our earnings, do our rulers feel they are taking too much from us?

    The obvious answer is that they recognize no limit. The subject never comes up. They view the taxpayer as an inexhaustible resource.

    Rest of article at: http://www.sobran.com/articles/taxationages.shtml
     
  2. zerorelations

    zerorelations New Member

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    Wow, those are a lot of tax articles! :p
     
  3. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    Does the word "spam" mean anything to you, Truth-Bringer...?
     
  4. palerider

    palerider Well-Known Member

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    The point that truth bringer obviously misses in all this is that we vote for representatives. We are not taxed by a king, or a prince, or a lord; we are not taxed without representation. The representatives that we put into office to work in our interest in washington have lawfully laid the taxes that we pay. I am sure that wherever she lives (except for DC of course) there are people in washington who represent her interest. Or they represent the interest of the majority of voters in her district. We are not being robbed and we are not being forced to pay tribute, we are paying the taxes that our duely voted in representatives lawfully laid on us in DC.

    I will be the first to admit that I believe I am paying too much in taxes, but I won't fabricate a specious argument founded in nothing more than sarcasm stating that I am being robbed, or that I am being "forced" to pay taxes against my will.
     
  5. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    You're paying too much in taxes? Buddy, I'm from Massachusetts. Don't even get me started.
     
  6. palerider

    palerider Well-Known Member

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    Well, you have me there, but I live in a state that has been controlled by democrats since the civil war so we have our share. I don't have a problem with paying taxes, I have a problem with seeing my tax money wasted and being required to pay ever more to compensate for ever more waste.
     
  7. Truth-Bringer

    Truth-Bringer New Member

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    Does the word "truth" mean anything to you?
     
  8. Truth-Bringer

    Truth-Bringer New Member

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    Irrational. Voting for a new master every certain number of years, does not make one less of a slave. If your argument is voting to empower others gives them the right to do whatever they want in the "governance of society and country" - then again, what would you do if they voted to tax you at 100%? Is that fine with you since the majority would have elected the representatives?
     
  9. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    We'd vote them out.

     
  10. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    We'd vote them out.

    Slaves don't get to pick and choose who their masters are. Weren't you the one saying in the other thread how representational government is the only way to preserve freedom?


    We vote for representatives who are in Washington to uphold our will. Sometimes they don't do that and when they don't they ought to be removed from office. These representatives have a social contract with the people - they are there to govern but they are there to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Like I said, that doesn't always happen exactly the way it ought, but that is the basis for what we're saying here.

    And we get angry at them more when they misspend our tax money, not when they impose taxes at all. The rest of us seem to have accepted taxation as a necessary evil that, while annoying, doesn't deprive us of our livelihoods. Why can't you?
     
  11. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    Yes, the word "truth" means something to me. The reason I made the spam comment was that you were posting a LOT of stuff in different threads and, believe it or not, we'd like to be able to discuss something other than your Libertarianism every now and then. Having nothing but Libertarian articles showing up in the recent threads bar...that feels like spam.
     
  12. palerider

    palerider Well-Known Member

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    Once again, figurative arguments based in nothing more than sarcasm.

    Are you suggesting that if libertarians were in charge, they would do away with voting? Are you saying that any libertarians who get voted for are just another master?

    And if they decided to tax me at 100%, I, not being a slave, would leave.
     
  13. Truth-Bringer

    Truth-Bringer New Member

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    No, you braindead illiterate coot. I'm saying certain rights are not up for a damn vote. Get it? So libertarians would not allow voting to affect your right to keep all you earn, for example.

    You might leave if someone didn't outlaw it, but under the current laws you can't leave due to reasons of taxation, so you would be stripped of everything if the rate was 100%. Did they steal and control your property? Yes. Which is a form of slavery.
     
  14. Koios

    Koios New Member

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    Come on guys, no need for name calling.
     
  15. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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    Coyote died for your sheep
    The problem with pure Libertarianism is the same as that of pure Capitalism, pure Communism. It doesn't work well in real life except maybe in small homogeneious societies.
     
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