By Josh Colver
If you have spent any time among libertarians than you have heard the slogan “taxation is theft” before. This slogan, although catchy, is unimportant if there is not a basic understanding of the argument behind it. Which is why I am going to explain it.
As an individual, I am outlawed by the government from taking items and money that is not mine. This is also known as theft or stealing. It doesn’t matter if what I am doing is virtuous. It doesn’t matter if I am going to use the money I stole from my neighbor to give to charity and feed the homeless. The ends do not justify the means. Theft is illegal, theft is immoral, and it is destructive to society. But if we turn the tables on this analogy government is allowed to do all these things. The government can steal from individuals, up to any amount that it so desires. Any resistance will result in the imprisonment of the citizen who refuses to pay his money over to the state.
This also has a lot to do with the monopoly of force that the state holds. The state can use force to coerce its citizens to do whatever it likes, the extremes of this can be seen in numerous examples throughout history. But when an individual tries to use force to coerce another individual into doing something he is imprisoned. In the words of former presidential candidate Austin Petersen, “You are not charitable because you put a gun to someone else’s head and force them to be charitable.” At the end of the day that's exactly what it is, every government measure and law has to be enforced through the barrel of a gun or else there would not be compliance. Does this mean I want to completely abolish the federal government? No, I’m not an anarchist. It means that I want the lowest possible rate of tax that is necessary for our government to function. But it is important to remember that true charity comes from private donations to people and organizations. That’s where true love comes from, voluntarily giving to those in need, not coercion from the state. The government doesn’t love us, but we can show our love to others and reflect our principles and beliefs through charity. When people have more money left over from cutting taxes, they will give more. Religious nonprofits do so much good work in our community, but often government gets in the way of helping by demanding that they comply with all these rules and regulations. The government gets in the way of charity helping people. Even doctors perform medical service for charity. Around the holiday season Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is a registered eye ophthalmologist, performs eye surgery for no charge and has helped countless people regain sight. His father Ron, who’s also a doctor, used to tell people to put away their Medicare and Medicaid cards if they couldn’t afford to pay for it, and he’d do it for free. People are inherently good, and they care for each other. We often forget that we are the most generous nation in the world and that’s not from government that's from a great country full of great Americans.