Taxation is Necessarily Theft. It Can Be Nothing Else.
The following post is by guest-author Doug Voluntaryist.
The most prominent argument for taxation I hear thrown around is that the government charges us for services, and it is legitimate because there is the social contract. Everyone implicitly agrees to this social contract just by living in a certain geographic area.
Let’s discuss what a contract actually is, then we can see if the above explanation holds water. A contract, whether implicit or explicit, is a voluntary agreement between two parties that has the following elements present:
- Meeting of the Minds
The Offer is when one party offers a good or service to the other. Meeting of the Minds is an understanding between both parties as to the terms and conditions of the contract. This spells out the duties of each party. Acceptance is the voluntary assent between both parties. In a formal contract, this includes signatures from both parties plus that of a witness. Consideration is what both parties will bring to the table (for example, the fee for good or service), and many legal scholars maintain that there is no duty to perform until consideration is exchanged.
So let’s examine this social “contract,” shall we?
- There is no offer. For example, I never went to the government and asked for public roads, schools, parks, military, overseas aggression, the CIA, etc. Nor did they approach me and make me an offer.
- There is no meeting of the minds. I pay taxes in exchange for…what? Protection? The government has declared there is no duty to protect. In fact, it has no duty to provide any service that most people think it should. Don’t believe me? Try suing the government. Good luck with that. And since this is not spelled out, it’s anyone’s guess as to what I’m agreeing to.
- There is no acceptance. This is because coercion is present. Notice that the tax laws do not say, “as per the social contract, you have agreed to pay taxes.” No. They just say, “pay taxes or go to jail.” That, my friends, is coercion, whether you want to admit it or not. If a contract is entered into via coercion, it’s not a contract. So if you force someone to sign a contract, say by putting a gun to his head, it is not a valid contract. We don’t even need to look for the other elements to know there is no contract.
- There is no consideration. Since the government has no duty to provide anything in exchange, there can be no consideration at all.
There are two ways people interact with each other: 1) voluntarily or 2) via coercion. The Law of Excluded Middle tells us that there is no middle ground, no third option. It is either a voluntary agreement, or it is being done via coercion.
So, this fits the act of armed robbery, extortion, and any other aggressive act that deprives people of their rightfully earned property.
There is no contract, social or otherwise. Taxation can only be theft.
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