THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 876, June 12, 2016
There is no such thing as a "fair" tax.
Is there a "fair" form of theft?
Is there a "fair" form of slavery?
The Real Libertarian Platform—Abolition
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
I got a message yesterday from an individual named Charles McGlawn, whom I wish to thank for taking the time and effort to write to me. I suspect that your letter, Chuck, is in response to my most recent article in L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise, in which I questioned the candidacy of ex-Governors Gary Johnson and William Weld. However, a couple of the things you say lead me to believe that you have me confused with somebody else, perhaps libertarian science fiction author and movie-maker J. Neil Schulman. For example, I have never seriously asked "What Would Gary Johnson Do?" about anything. I know all too well what a statist—or, if you insist, a mini-statist—like him would do when it comes to rights of individuals subject to his rule.
In answer to your implied question, "Mr. Smith" makes me feel old—but then, what the hell, I am old. Actually, I greatly prefer "Neil", or, as my regular readers sometimes call me "El Neil". Also, sadly; I have never once attended or addressed a Libertarian Supper Club; I haven't set foot in the People's Republic of California since 1987.
Chuck, please understand that there is no such thing as a "fair" tax. Is there a "fair" form of theft? Is there a "fair" form of slavery? If you take something from someone who wants to keep it, and insist that he labor for months to pay what you demand, you're a thief and a slaver, no matter how you dress it up. Forcing merchants to collect your protection-money for you is simply another form of slavery. There's nothing "fair" about it. And calling me a "purest" (you spelled it wrong—look it up) is not an argument that anybody decent makes. I think and act as consistently as I can with what I reason to be right.
So the real question here isn't what would I do, or what would you do, or what would anybody else do. The real question is, do we believe in libertarian principles, and do we stick by them, or not? If you say "not", then you're no libertarian, no matter what you claim. Principles, Chuck, are for when it's hard to follow them, not for when it's easy.
Look: this isn't brain science, it isn't rocket surgery. Real libertarianism is based on two, and only two, very simple ideas. The first is absolute ownership of your life and all the products of your life. The second is that nobody has a right to get something from you through the use of physical force or the threat of physical force. In the case of Gary Johnson's "fair" tax, the physical force is directed at those who make or sell us things. That's just as wrong, and harmful, as if the King's Men ransacked our houses for loot.
If libertarian principle is to mean anything at all, it must be observed absolutely consistently. It is not the obligation of a libertarian candidate to think up and promote newer and slicker ways of stealing from people. The great Milton Friedman invented tax- witholding, and regretted it the rest of his life. Taxes have been collected at gunpoint, or sword-point, or spear-point for something like ten thousand years. Don't you think it's long past time to find a better, more ethical basis on which to run civilization? Don't you think it's long past time for an organization with the Libertarian Party's pretensions to peace, freedom, progress, and prosperity to call for an end to this barbarism?
The first anti-slavery society (stick with me here, I'm not changing the subject) was created by Queen Isabella of Spain, when she was sickened at the horrible sight of the poor, bedraggled, disease-ridden Indians that Christopher Columbus dragged home from the New World. She couldn't have known that it would take 373 long years to bring the vile, brutalitarian practice of chattel slavery to an end. Nor can we know how long it will take to end taxation, or how many idiots and thugs will laugh at us along the way. Those are not legitimate reasons to give up the struggle. It's just simply something that we must endure in order to advance humanity to the next stage of civilization and enlightenment. We must shout now, for everybody to hear, "Izzy, we're coming to join you!"
Chuck, I reject each and every one of your proposed candidates; I don't give a hacker's damn how many votes you think they might get. Adolf Hitler won the election that gave him power over Germany. Roosevelt won every one of the elections that gave him power over our grandparents, I ask you, are your guys ready to end taxation, once and for all, along with the myriad other government excesses we struggle under? If not, to hell with them. Do you think I care what statist offices they held before this? I assure you, these are not qualifications, as far as I'm concerned. To repeat, taxation is theft; taxation is slavery; and, too, taxation is the fuel of war. Libertarians must promise the voting public to put an end to taxation in every one of its forms, or they must give up using the label "libertarian".
And resign themselves, in the wise words of the late, greatly-missed philosopher and educator Robert LeFevre, just to being some kind of funny-looking conservatives.
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