Is Taxation Theft?Submitted by Marc Clair on Thu, 03/21/2013 - 15:26
Yesterday we had a lively discussion on our Facebook page that ended up delving into topics such as the privatization of the oceans and the viability of anarcho-capitalist societies, to the point that I almost forgot how the discussion began. The initial topic was whether government taxation should be thought of as “theft”. While some of our readers likened it more to “extortion”, but most seemed to generally agree that taxation is an act of theft.
Of course this was no scientific double-blind study, and I would imagine that people who read this site and might follow us on Facebook are probably more inclined to hold this view than the average fella. I’ve had many discussions with ”big government” friends where they just can’t seem to admit that taxation is theft, and will vehemently deny that it is the same thing. Phrases like “social contract” - I don’t remember signing anything, do you? - will be tossed out in discussions like these, but never a coherent explanation as to just why taxation is any different than theft.
The fine folks at Merriam-Webster define theft as:
a : the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it
b : an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property
Government has done a fine job of negating parts of the definition of theft by codifying under the cover of law its ability to tax the citizenry. Let’s try looking at this definition again after removing the words “felonious” and “unlawful”.