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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Taxation is slavery



John Yoo, the author of the Bush administration legal memos justifying the use of torture, recently compared Rand Paul's epic filibuster to young kids who believe Federal taxation is slavery. Of course, Yoo's tone was meant as dismissive and insulting. The analogy was intended to paint anyone who wants to clarify that a President does not have the right to assassinate Americans via drone technology as extreme as those who believe having the fruits of his labor forcefully confiscated equates to slavery. The funny part is, Mr. Yoo is correct; many of us do believe that taxation, federal or otherwise, is slavery. The question I would ask him is this: how is it not slavery?

If the taxation rate were 100% (even civil war era slaves were allowed to retain some compensation for their labor) would that be slavery? If the answer is yes...then all taxation is slavery and we're simply arguing over what percentage would be most compassionate or efficient. If the answer is no then I would like to here Mr. Yoo's definition of slavery. 

Webster's dictionary defines servitude as "a right by which something (as a piece of land) owned by one person is subject to a specified use or enjoyment by another." Taxation is exactly that. A human being goes to work and earns a paycheck. The paycheck is his but the government believes it is entitled to the use of a portion of that property. There is no way around this. The government believes it has the right to your property and backs that belief with the threat of force. If you pay taxes you submit to the will of your owners and are allowed to live in peace. If not you can be thrown in a cage...and that's just income tax. If you think the government doesn't believe it owns you and your property, try not paying property tax.

The argument statist use in favor of taxation, such as ‘who will build the roads,’ simply doesn’t refute the slavery argument. In the 1850's slaveholders wondered 'but who will pick the cotton.' If the argument is simply that slavery is a necessary evil or even moral, I’m willing to have that argument, but it must begin with the appropriate premise: taxation is slavery.