We’ve all seen the hashtag. Maybe you’ve seen a bumper sticker. Certainly a meme. The phrase has become ubiquitous. It’s also fun to say. But is it true? Is taxation really theft? It’s a question that libertarians need to ask themselves. Are we right to resent every penny of taxes we are forced to pay? Or would it be more intellectually honest to only resent the wasteful portion? I know, the vast majority of the money we surrender to the government is wasted. But still…
I am a Libertarian, to be sure. I believe in maximum freedom and the bare minimum of government. I believe we should have a strong defense, and that we can most effectively defend our country by not being engaged in endless war and occupying the world. I believe in educating young people. I just don’t think the more than $5 trillion we have spent on the department of miseducation is the right way to do it. We may never have the teeny tiny government most of us would want, but I know we are overdue for a reduction in the size and scope of government at all levels.
I want to be safe in my home, and I believe this can be achieved without the militarization of my local police. I believe a city the size of the one I live in can collect the garbage without needing to contract with 26 different trash-hauling companies (true story). I believe the taxes I pay mean I shouldn’t have to give up two lanes of an interstate I use because the local powers figured out they can charge an additional toll for the use of those two lanes.
See, I don’t mind paying taxes. They are necessary. I do, however resent paying for sexual harassment settlements. I resent financing mistresses. I don’t see why I must pay for people to travel first class to New York City to tell people there that we have beaches in Florida. I don’t want to pay for NPR. I don’t want to pay for someone to urinate on a statue of Jesus and call it art. If it’s art, let there be patrons. Picasso got by without the National Endowment for the Arts. You’ll manage!
Is taxation theft? Not necessarily. Waste and abuse are most definitely theft. I believe most reasonable people are willing to shoulder a reasonable portion of the burden. I believe it’s unreasonable to expect them to watch politicians recklessly waste what they generously share and then demand more, calling them greedy when they want to keep what’s rightfully theirs.
I believe Americans have become battered housewives. Government is the abusive husband. He goes out boozing and whoring and doesn’t really care if there’s money enough for rent and milk. Then, he gets angry and beats us until we give up the little bit we’d saved up for Christmas gifts. Our friends and our conscience say we should leave him, but we’ve convinced ourselves that he’s a good man going through a rough patch. He’ll change. Just give him time. Listen to his promises. He means it this time.
It’s time we traded in the housedress for high heels and did something about it. We can continue to demur and allow the drunken bastard to mistreat us, or we can replace him with a younger, better-looking new guy who will appreciate us. Divorce day is coming in November. Get your lipstick!
by Adolfo Jiménez – Membership Committeeman, Libertarian Party of Broward County