I marvel at the number of people who believe they have a claim on me simply because they want something they do not have. I know that sounds selfish, but you know what? I do not care.
Ask my friends and family, I am a generous guy – almost to the point of personal bankruptcy. I give to those I choose to give to because I want to – not because they expect it – and not because I expect anything in return. So how did it come to this?
I think that everyone can agree that each person has the right to life. However, that has not always been the case. Prior to the Declaration of Independence, a person’s rights have traditionally been in service to a higher authority. Whether it was in service to a warlord or a king, the fact was that until the late 1700s people were subjects – subject to the whims of those who claimed to be worthy by virtue of strength or a “divine right”. Back then, we largely lived by the rule of man as opposed to the rule of law, and it seems we are reverting to that unhappy state of being. We have a government that sells influence to the highest bidder – but that’s a story for another day.
What does the “rule of man” lead to? The simple answer is that the subject life is property of the state, as embodied by the man doing the ruling. Prime examples from the 20th century include the USSR (Stalin’s purges), China (Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution), and, of course, Nazi Germany (Hitler’s Holocaust). While the whole world was shocked and dismayed at the atrocities of Hitler, it seems that the expiration date for “never again” is about 50 years – just look at the desires of the Islamists when it comes to the destruction of Israel. It is a puzzlement that although Hitler was responsible for the deaths of approximately 6 million, Stalin and Mao were responsible for somewhere north of 100 million and are still praised.
If we assume that each person has an inherent right to life, then it follows that he also has an expectation to live that life as he chooses. This means that he can pursue any profession he desires and enjoy the fruits of his labor. Except, the state makes a demand on each person in the form of taxes.
Now, taxes are not necessarily evil – they have evolved into an evil. Let me explain. The theory of the American Experiment is that the state is subservient to the people. There are some legitimate functions of the government which must be paid for; these include common defense, maintenance of order, and coining of a common currency. In fact, property rights were so important to the founders, they were explicitly embodied in the Bill of Rights in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th amendments (more on that in a later post).
From 1789 until the US Civil War, there was no personal income tax in America. All functions of government were covered by import duties. After the Civil War, the income tax was abolished until 1913 with the ratification of the 16th amendment. He beast was born. The entire text of the 16th amendment is:
Nowhere does it state by what right the Congress may appropriate a part of a person’s life. “What”, you say, “does the laying of taxes on incomes have to do with appropriation of one’s life?”
You are given only one life, and it only lasts so long. When you tax the income one earns, you are appropriating a portion of someone’s life, because that person had to spend some of his life to pay his taxes.
The double edge of this abomination is that it only affects the people who work. Those who do not work do not need to pay, or spend part of their life to support the government. When enough people who do not work are given the right to vote, they will invariably vote to keep the productive paying while enjoying the benefits flowing from them via the government.