2014-06-03 10.03.06

Fallacy: It’s not “the state” that is taxing you and coercing you; in a democracy “the state is us”, so we’re doing it to ourselves.


  • “Since outright slavery has been discredited, “democracy” is the only remaining rationale for state compulsion that most people will accept. Democracy has proved only that the best way to gain power over people is to assure the people that they are ruling themselves. Once they believe that, they make wonderfully submissive slaves.” —Joseph Sobran

    “We must, therefore, emphasize that ‘we’ are not the government; the government is not ‘us.’ The government does not in any accurate sense ‘represent’ the majority of the people. But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority. No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that ‘we are all part of one another,’ must be permitted to obscure this basic fact.” —Murray Rothbard

    “Also, if ‘we’ are the government, then why would it be a sin to stop paying taxes? Am I required to pay myself?” —Gary Wingrove II

A good reductio ad absurdum for the false premise that “the state is us” is that since Hitler was elected, and Jewish people were part of the population that elected him, they weren’t murdered in the concentration camps, but rather committed suicide, since they were the state.

More fundamentally, however, the fallacy rests on the false premise that voting is consent and that infringement of individual rights (to life, liberty, and property) is justified if a majority wills it. But individual rights do not come from states or majorities, but are a property of individual self-ownership (see Introduction to Voluntaryism).


Sourced from A Voluntaryist Wiki.