The Myth of the Rule of Law


MisesInstitute

by

Any state, no matter how powerful, cannot not rule solely through the use of brute force. There are too few rulers and too many of us for coercion alone to be an effective means of control. The political class must rely on ideology to achieve popular compliance, masking the iron fist in a velvet glove. Violence is always behind every state action, but the most efficient form of expropriation occurs when the public believes it is in their interest to be extorted.

Mythology is necessary to blunt the violent nature of state power in order to maximize the plunder of property — and, most importantly, provide an aura of legitimacy. The perception of legitimacy “is the only thing distinguishing a tax collector from an extortionist, a police officer from a vigilante, and a soldier from a mercenary. Legitimacy is an illusion in the mind without which the government does not even exist.”1

State authority, and public obedience to it, is manufactured through smokescreens of ideology and deception. These myths sustain the state and offer an illusion of legitimacy, where orders, no matter how immoral or horrific, are followed because they are seen as emanating from a just authority. The state cannot implement violence against everyone everywhere and overwhelm the host, so the battle is waged against the hearts and minds of the public. Fear is exploited, language is distorted, and propaganda is spread, while narratives and history are tightly controlled. The gulag of state power, first and foremost, always exists in the mind.

If the mythology of state power is smashed, then the state is exposed for what it is: institutionalized violence, expropriator of the peaceful and productive, and entirely illegitimate.

The Myth of the Rule of Law

In order for a society to have peace and order, there needs to be a set of largely uniform and neutral laws in which the vast majority of the public agree are fair and just. Throughout the history of Western law, a decentralized process of trial-and-error, competing courts, and private arbitration achieved these rules. A monopoly power was not necessary, nor desirable. Before the rise of the modern bureaucratic, democratic nation-state, the monarch was the symbol of monopolistic order, and his power consisted mostly in enforcing the private common-law tradition that had already developed over centuries.2

Eventually, the nation-state model we see today grew and absorbed this decentralized tradition into a monolithic, top-down coercive regime imposed by legislatures, state police, and bureaucracies. The “rule of law” became the propaganda term used to justify this radical departure from the Western tradition of common-law and private arbitration. The law was now political in nature, subject to the usual array of corruption and disincentives inherent in any political order. With the monopoly state now in charge of law, the idea that a coercively imposed system of justice — in which everyone is governed by neutral rules that are objectively applied by judges — became a powerful myth for states to exert control over society.

As a myth, however, the concept of the rule of law is both powerful and dangerous. Its power derives from its great emotive appeal. The rule of law suggests an absence of arbitrariness, an absence of the worst abuses of tyranny. The image presented by the slogan “America is a government of laws and not people” is one of fair and impartial rule rather than subjugation to human whim. This is an image that can command both the allegiance and affection of the citizenry. After all, who wouldn’t be in favor of the rule of law if the only alternative were arbitrary rule? But this image is also the source of the myth’s danger. For if citizens really believe that they are being governed by fair and impartial rules and that the only alternative is subjection to personal rule, they will be much more likely to support the state as it progressively curtails their freedom.

The rule of law, imposed by the state, is simply a myth. There is no such thing as “a government of laws and not people.” Legislative edicts are always subject to the biases and agendas of those who interpret them, and will be imposed in this manner by whoever currently wields the power of the monopoly state over society.

For example, despite the US Constitution’s very clear language in most of its passages (there are some dangerously vague sections, of course), the most trained and brilliant legal minds can come to completely opposite conclusions over the exact same clause. Whether it is a particular amendment in the Bill of Rights or the particular language of executive or legislative power, a liberal and conservative judge could use sound reasoning and cite historical precedent to make their case — and they would both be right. “[B]ecause the law consists of contradictory rules and principles,” argues John Hasnas, “sound legal arguments will be available for all legal conclusions, and hence, the normative predispositions of the decision makers, rather than the law itself, determine the outcome of cases.”

The law, then, is not a neutral body of rules to help keep order and govern society; it is merely an opinion with a gun. Whenever the state is in charge of anything, the outcomes, process, and administration are always political in nature. There can never be a system of definite, consistent rules that produce determinate results because these laws, no matter how they are written, will always be subjected to the biases, prejudices, and discrimination of those who interpret and enforce them.

The idea that the law is not neutral or determinant is not a revolutionary doctrine and should not be entirely shocking. Over a century ago, former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that certainty in law is an illusion; judicial decisions rely more on the language of logic than they do on objective enforcement. Since at least the 1970s, the Critical Legal Studies movement has recognized this, and even they are just reviving the legal realists who made these same insights decades before them. The idea of determinate law is actually an undesirable feature — even if we were to overcome the impossibility of making it so — as the strength of an effective legal system lies in its ability to have certain amounts of flexibility. This is why the decentralized, private law tradition was able to produce several codes of uniform laws — do not murder, steal, assault, or initiate aggression in general — while providing the room to adapt to social change and distinct cultures.

When the law is under the dominion of a top-down, coercive state it is transformed from a system of governance to a body of expropriation. Whether through the use of logic or emotional appeals, whoever wields the state apparatus says what the law is and they will dispense their armed enforcers to make sure their law is fulfilled.

If an objective rule of law is impossible, then why does this myth persist? To ask the question is to answer it. “Like all myths,” notes Hasnas,

it is designed to serve an emotive, rather than cognitive, function. The purpose of a myth is not to persuade one’s reason, but to enlist one’s emotions in support of an idea. And this is precisely the case for the myth of the rule of law; its purpose is to enlist the emotions of the public in support of society’s political power structure.

If the public views the law as a neutral and objective arbiter, then they are more willing to support state power and its violent expropriation and parasitism. We are more willing to accept the comfortable delusion of objectivity and the need for predictable laws than deal with the frightening alternatives of supposedly unpredictable anarchy. “Once they believe that they are being commanded by an impersonal law rather than other human beings,” people “view their obedience to political authority as a public-spirited acceptance of the requirements of social life rather than mere acquiescence to superior power,” notes Hasnas. Tyrants of the past used to claim that their rule was inspired by Divine Right to mask the fact that their rule was an exercise of naked aggression over their subjects. When this doctrine became discredited, a new myth was needed, and the rule of law was born.

No matter how impossible the rule of law may be, the state has a heavy interest in promoting this myth.

Before the rise of legislative law, the private, decentralized, and polycentric common-law system was effective at promoting peace and public order because it lacked the monopoly power of a centralized state. Under both models, laws are never determinate or universally objective. But under a private law system, bad decisions that were not accepted by the public or viewed as overreaches could not be coercively imposed on society. This system of checks and balances allowed laws beneficial to the protection of private property to flourish while weeding out the bad laws.

Under a state system, however, it is much harder, if not impossible, to fix bad laws as there now exists a political incentive to keep the law on the books, while most judges serve lengthy or even life terms. If the judge, legislature, and police are all part of the state apparatus, they will tend to find expansive definitions for state power with limited definitions of individual freedoms.

“The myth of the rule of law does more than render the people submissive to state authority; it also turns them into the state’s accomplices in the exercise of its power,” concludes Hasnas. “For people who would ordinarily consider it a great evil to deprive individuals of their rights or oppress politically powerless minority groups will respond with patriotic fervor when these same actions are described as upholding the rule of law.” While the state does indeed provide some law and order under its jurisdiction, the “rule of law” has been used as a propaganda tool in order to help cement and legitimize state power.

 

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How Government Literally Makes People Go Insane


TheDailyBell

By Joe Jarvis – May 07, 2017

The most effective way to change the world if you have kids is to treat them right. Everything could change in one generation if there were a radical shift in parenting.

Unfortunately, some indicators suggest things are getting worse. For instance, there has been an increase in kids hospitalized for attempted suicide or suicidal indicators.

Now we can just hope that parents are becoming more alert to the warning signs and are therefore properly identifying them early in order to prevent suicide.

But the most concerning thing is that these incidents tend to be concentrated at certain times of the year. One of the most likely times for a kid to need a hospital visit because of suicidal tendencies or attempts is in the fall when school starts back up.

There are two probable reasons for this. One, being ridiculed and bullied by their peers makes kids feel like social outcasts, and transitioning to a new school year could increase that. Evolution has programmed the human mind to want acceptance of the group for survival reasons, so being ostracized can make you literally feel like you are going to die because if this was 10,000 years ago, you probably would.

And then there are the drugs. You know, the legalized forms of cocaine and heroine that we give to kids to make them alert, focused, or calm, and manageable. There are all sorts of side effects to the drugs, and based on the spiking and dropping levels of dopamine and other chemicals in the brain, this can cause erratic behavior.

But either way, the school system seems to be the root of the problem, whether it is exposing kids to negative people they don’t need in their lives, drugs to help them function “normally” in an abnormal school environment, or just the unnatural environment itself where one is trapped, caged, and coerced in order to prepare them for an equally coercive society afterwards.

Coercion is Ruining Society

It turns out coercion is a serious problem that can lead to mental health issues. Coercion might even cause most of the ills we see in society today. The same thing that makes a teenager lash out and act erratically in opposition to strict rules is what makes people do crazy things in a society dominated by arbitrary and oppressive government edicts.

According to Bruce Levin, PhD, in his article, Societies With Little Coercion Have Little Mental Illness:

Coercion—the use of physical, legal, chemical, psychological, financial, and other forces to gain compliance—is intrinsic to our society’s employment, schooling, and parenting. However, coercion results in fear and resentment, which are fuels for miserable marriages, unhappy families, and what we today call mental illness.

It Starts With Your Kids

Most parents have their kids’ best interests at heart when parenting, yes some still treat their child like a wild animal that must be broken. So many people in our society would have no idea what to do with freedom because all they have ever known is oppression. It starts in childhood, and evidence suggests that a more free child leads to a happier adult.

Levin points out that some cultures see very little mental illness, and he suggests it is because of the way the children are reared.

For many indigenous peoples, even the majority rule that most Americans call democracy is problematically coercive, as it results in the minority feeling resentful. Roland Chrisjohn, member of the Oneida Nation of the Confederacy of the Haudenausaunee (Iroquois) and author of The Circle Game, points out that for his people, it is deemed valuable to spend whatever time necessary to achieve consensus so as to prevent such resentment. By the standards of Western civilization, this is highly inefficient. “Achieving consensus could take forever!” exclaimed an attendee of a talk that I heard given by Chrisjohn, who responded, “What else is there more important to do?”

Among indigenous societies, there are many accounts of a lack of mental illness, a minimum of coercion, and wisdom that coercion creates resentment which fractures relationships.

How could we expect coercion to yield results as positive as agreement? All interaction should be voluntary; you cannot have positive ends if you do not use positive means to achieve those ends. I am not a parent, and I don’t expect perfection from anyone, but parents should at least try to solve issues with their kids without being so forceful and coercive.

Let kids be who they want to be, with the steady hand of your guidance, not an iron fist. Clearly, a child cannot always get what they want, and I am not advocating giving in to any random whim. Just realize how important freedom is for children in order to grow and learn.

This is why the public school system is horribly damaging to a large percentage of children. That is not the only nor best way to learn, and in fact really just teaches obedience to authority. Public schooling sets children up to be mindless drones in the work world, where they will be used to the coercion, but not happy about it.

[Jared] Diamond, in The World Until Yesterday (2012), reports how laissez-faire parenting is “not unusual by the standards of the world’s hunter-gatherer societies, many of which consider young children to be autonomous individuals whose desires should not be thwarted.” Diamond concludes that by our society’s attempt to control children for what we believe is their own good, we discourage those traits we admire:

“Other Westerners and I are struck by the emotional security, self-­confidence, curiosity, and autonomy of members of small-scale societies, not only as adults but already as children. We see that people in small-scale societies spend far more time talking to each other than we do, and they spend no time at all on passive entertainment supplied by outsiders, such as television, videogames, and books. We are struck by the precocious development of social skills in their children. These are qualities that most of us admire, and would like to see in our own children, but we discourage development of those qualities by ranking and grading our children and constantly ­telling them what to do.”

Bravo to home-schoolers and free range parenting. They are ahead of the curve by going back to the basics.

Then It’s Your Job…

I don’t believe the reason so many hate going to work is not the work itself, but the fact that we cannot act like ourselves when at work. We feel coerced in one way or another into not being who we want to be. This is a mild form of coercion, one that often doesn’t go beyond venting over a beer after work, or every once in a while both middle fingers and: “I quit!” screamed at the boss.

But is the quiet desperation of a 9-5 you hate–saving for retirement, but probably drinking yourself to death before you get to enjoy it–really the way to live? What if we couldn’t afford cable, couldn’t afford a new car, or a perfect house–but were happy?

Critics of schooling—from Henry David Thoreau, to Paul Goodman, to John Holt, to John Taylor Gatto—have understood that coercive and unengaging schooling is necessary to ensure that young people more readily accept coercive and unengaging employment. And as I also reported in that same article, a June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have checked out of them.

Unengaging employment and schooling require all kinds of coercions for participation, and human beings pay a psychological price for this. In nearly three decades of clinical practice, I have found that coercion is often the source of suffering…

In all societies, there are coercions to behave in culturally agreed-upon ways. For example, in many indigenous cultures, there is peer pressure to be courageous and honest. However, in modernity, we have institutional coercions that compel us to behave in ways that we do not respect or value. Parents, afraid their children will lack credentials necessary for employment, routinely coerce their children to comply with coercive schooling that was unpleasant for these parents as children. And though 70% of us hate or are disengaged from our jobs, we are coerced by the fear of poverty and homelessness to seek and maintain employment.

In our society, we are taught that accepting institutional coercion is required for survival. We discover a variety of ways—including drugs and alcohol—to deny resentment.

And the government is perfectly happy with the arrangement because it is easier to control–and tax–“normal” people who just go to work every day.

Government Enforces and Exacerbates the Problem

We cannot even live on a piece of land without being coerced by government to earn some money in order to pay the property taxes. But we have to earn more than the amount owed in property taxes because we are taxed on our earnings as well. We are taxed on the vehicle and gas that gets us to work, which require more work to pay off–earnings, again, that must go above and beyond what we need because it will be taxed.

Could this be the overlooked factor that makes America more violent than some other developed nations? Has the American government piled so many laws, regulations, and statutes on top of each other that American citizens can’t just go through life without being told perfectly normal, non-violent behavior is wrong?

I think this highlights the problem with mass shootings that many have been pointing out. Whoever the shooters feel they are being oppressed by, they are correctly identifying that they are being coerced. Of course, their response is insane, and probably related to the drugs they take (some of which we also give kids), but there would never be a need for drugs if a coercive society had not reared them.

The hopelessness felt when being forced to spend money, behave a certain way, or notdo something you want to do, is one of those gut wrenching deep feelings of despair that grow inside some people until they burst.

But now imagine that the government has taken everything from you. Imagine if they took your car as a civil asset forfeiture? What if your tax burden is 50%? What if you give up on that business you want to start because of the pile of paperwork and extra costs required by the government?

What if they take your kids because they are home schooled, or shoot your dog for no reason whatsoever? All these things happen, unfortunately relatively regularly, in America.

Many of us are baffled by why someone would become a terrorist, especially a suicide bomber. Again, this is the coercion the Middle East is smothered in by the USA. Imagine losing your childhood because you could not go outside because of the American drones. Imagine family members having been murdered by laughing soldiers. Imagine all your hopes and dreams bombed away in the blink of an eye. Again, this is the unfortunate reality for many people today.

In the 1970s, prior to the domination of the biopsychiatry-Big Pharma partnership, many mental health professionals took seriously the impact of coercion and resentful relationships on mental health. And in a cultural climate more favorable than our current one for critical reflection of society, authors such as Erich Fromm, who addressed the relationship between society and mental health, were taken seriously even within popular culture. But then psychiatry went to bed with Big Pharma and its Big Money, and their partnership has helped bury the commonsense reality that an extremely coercive society creates enormous fear and resentment, which results in miserable marriages, unhappy families, and severe emotional and behavioral problems.

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The Hunt for Taxes is Global


ArmstrongEconomics

Taxes are the root of all evil for this is the confrontation against the people that historically leads to civil unrest and then revolution. The American and French Revolutions were over taxes. Historically, even the Roman Empire was forced from time to time to grant tax amnesty as was the case in 119AD. You even have Roman Emperors such as Trajan (98-117AD) engaging in social legislation known as the Alimenta, which was a welfare program that helped orphans and poor children throughout Italy. The Alimenta provided general funds, food and subsidized education for children. The funding came from the Dacian War booty initially. When that ran out, it was funded by a combination of estate taxes and philanthropy.The state provided loans like Fannie Mae providing mortgages on Italian farms (fundi). The registered landowners in Italy received a lump sum from the imperial treasury. In return, the borrower was expected to pay yearly a given proportion of the loan to the maintenance of an Alimentary Fund – a kickback so to speak. Taxes and social programs have been around a very long time.

Today, debts are never reduced. Consequently, governments only raise taxes continually. We see this in some of the richest countries in the world. Now Singapore is passing three amendments expanding the power of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) under the Property Tax Act. This new legislation is one that will hand the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) more enforcement and investigative powers. Singapore government is using the law to force people to pay more in taxes. There will be no privacy. Under this legislation, the tax authorities will be able to summon people to appear personally before them and to provide all information. They will be interrogated orally for investigation be it their own taxes, or another person’s property/properties.

Governments are moving ever more closer to totalitarian states eliminating privacy and human rights. This is a global trend that will come to a head because governments will never reduce their costs and will always demand more and more taxes from the people until the bubble bursts.

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…of bank$ter$, government$, fine$ and the mulberry bush.


Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush…

The bank$ loan money to governments so that the governments can govern.

If the governments default they’d be bankrupt.

The bank$ play dirty game$ and get caught with their finger$ in the jar.

The mother bank$, or the governments will punish and fine the naughty bank$

When the bank$ got into trouble the governments bail them out with the money the bank$ loaned them so that the bank$ could remain giving them loan$.

Can somebody tell me who created the mulberry bush??


ST

US Fed fines Deutsche Bank US$156.6m for forex violations

Deutsche Bank US


CNBC

7 years on from crisis, $150 billion in bank fines and penalties

cnbc

…and the list goes on round the mulberry bush.

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The most destructive and murderous actions in history were carried out by governments.


FEE

It Takes a Government to Do an Auschwitz

The title of this post is a sentence from Matt Ridley’s recent speech at the Association for Private Enterprise Education in Maui, Hawaii. His speech was excellent, by the way.

The statement is a good reminder that the most destructive and murderous actions in history were carried out by governments.

I wrote something along the same lines in my book The Joy of Freedom: An Economist’s Odyssey. In Chapter 7, “Free Markets versus Discrimination,” I wrote:

Government use of force against ethnic groups is far more effective than private use of force against these same groups. I remember that when I first heard about Hitler at about age eight, and asked my mother who he was, I was told that 15 years earlier he had used tanks and other weapons to try to take over the world. I pictured a nut with some tanks he had bought coming down our highway and invading our small town in rural Canada. I didn’t understand at the time why Hitler was such a threat; I had been raised to believe that the police would protect us. Imagine the shock and sudden surge of overwhelming fear I had when, years later, I learned that Hitler employed the police and, indeed, ran a whole government. That was scary. Even as a child I knew that the government, any government, had more power than anyone who was not in the government, and that when the government passed and enforced a law, you couldn’t legally fight back. That’s when the true terror of Hitler dawned on me.

Addendum: here’s a review of Ridley’s The Rational Optimist that I wrote in 2010.

Republished from the Library of Economics and Liberty.

 

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The Income Tax Implies that Government Owns You


“…what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one more thing, fellow citizens a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” – Thomas Jefferson (1801)


FEE

Jeffrey A. Tucker

The income tax is enshrined into law but it is an idea that stands in total contradiction to the driving force behind the American Revolution and the idea of freedom itself. We desperately need a serious national movement to get rid of it – not reform it, not replace it, not flatten it or refocus its sting from this group to that. It just needs to go.

The great essayist Frank Chodorov once described the income tax as the root of all evil. His target was not the tax itself, but the principle behind it. Since its implementation in 1913, he wrote, “The government says to the citizen: ‘Your earnings are not exclusively your own; we have a claim on them, and our claim precedes yours; we will allow you to keep some of it, because we recognize your need, not your right; but whatever we grant you for yourself is for us to decide.”

He really does have a point. That’s evil. When Congress ratified the 16th Amendment on Feb. 3, 1913, there was a sense in which all private income in the U.S. was nationalized. What was not taxed from then on was a favor granted unto us, and continues to be so.

This is implied in the text of the amendment itself: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

No Limits

Where are the limits? There weren’t any. There was some discussion about putting a limit on the tax, but it seemed unnecessary. Only 1% of the income earners would end up paying about 1% to the government. Everyone else was initially untouched. Who really cares that the rich have to pay a bit more, right? They can afford it.

This perspective totally misunderstands the true nature of government, which always wants more money and more power and will stop at nothing to get both. The 16th Amendment was more than a modern additive to an antique document. It was a new philosophy of the fiscal life of the entire country.

Today, the ruling elite no longer bothers with things like amendments. But back in the day, it was different. The amendment was made necessary because of previous court decisions that stated what was once considered a bottom-line presumption of the free society: Government cannot tax personal property. What you make is your own. You get to keep the product of your labors. Government can tax sales, perhaps, or raise money through tariffs on goods coming in and out of the country. But your bank account is off-limits.

The amendment changed that idea. In the beginning, it applied to very few people. This was one reason it passed. It was pitched as a replacement tax, not a new money raiser. After all the havoc caused by the divisive tariffs of the 19th century, this sounded like a great deal to many people, particularly Southerners and Westerners fed up with paying such high prices for manufactured goods while seeing their trading relations with foreign consumers disrupted.

People who supported it – and they were not so much the left but the right-wing populists of the time – imagined that the tax would hit the robber baron class of industrialists in the North. And that it did. Their fortunes began to dwindle, and their confidence in their ability to amass and retain intergenerational fortunes began to wane.

Limit to Accumulation

We all know the stories of how the grandchildren of the Gilded Age tycoons squandered their family heritage in the 1920s and failed to carry on the tradition. Well, it is hardly surprising. The government put a timetable and limit on accumulation. Private families and individuals would no longer be permitted to exist except in subjugation to the taxing state. The kids left their private estates to live in the cities, put off marriage, stopped bothering with all that hearth and home stuff. Time horizons shortened, and the Jazz Age began.

Class warfare was part of the deal from the beginning. The income tax turned the social fabric of the country into a giant lifetime boat, with everyone arguing about who had to be thrown overboard so that others might live.

The demon in the beginning was the rich. That remained true until the 1930s, when FDR changed the deal. Suddenly, the income would be collected, but taxed in a different way. It would be taken from everyone, but a portion would be given back late in life as a permanent income stream. Thus was the payroll tax born. This tax today is far more significant than the income tax.

The class warfare unleashed all those years ago continues today. One side wants to tax the rich. The other side finds it appalling that the percentage of people who pay no income tax has risen from 30% to nearly 50%. Now we see the appalling spectacle of Republicans regarding this as a disgrace that must change. They have joined the political classes that seek advancement by hurting people.

The Payroll Tax

It’s extremely strange that the payroll tax is rarely considered in this debate. The poor, the middle class and the rich are all being hammered by payroll taxes that fund failed programs that provide no security and few benefits at all.

It’s impossible to take seriously the claims that the income tax doesn’t harm wealth creation. When Congress wants to discourage something – smoking, imports, selling stocks or whatever – they know what to do: Tax it. Tax income, and on the margin, you discourage people from earning it.

Tax debates are always about “reform” – which always means a slight shift in who pays what, with an eye to raising ever more money for the government. A far better solution would be to forget the whole thing and return to the original idea of a free society: You get to keep what you earn or inherit. That means nothing short of abolishing the great mistake of 1913.

Forget the flat tax. The only just solution is no tax on incomes ever.

But let’s say that one day we actually become safe from the income tax collectors and something like blessed peace arrives. There is still another problem that emerged in 1913. Congress created the Federal Reserve, which eventually developed the power to create all the money that government would ever need, even without taxing.

For the practical running of the affairs of the state, the Fed is far worse than the income tax. It creates the more-insidious tax because it is so sneaky. In a strange way, it has made all the debates about taxation superfluous. Denying the government revenue does nothing to curb its appetites for our liberties and property. The Fed has managed to make it impossible to starve the beast.

Chodorov was correct about the evil of the income tax. Its passage signaled the beginning of a century of despotism. Our property is no longer safe. Our income is not our own. We are legally obligated to turn over whatever our masters say we owe them. You can fudge this point: None of this is compatible with the old liberal idea of freedom.

You doubt it? Listen to Thomas Jefferson from his inaugural address of 1801. What he said then remains true today:”…what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one more thing, fellow citizens a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”

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A robbery by any other name


How Governments Justify Theft is a Fallacy: Wealth Was Created before Taxation

TheDailyBell

Do we owe society taxes?

Tax day is tomorrow. Some people get excited because they will get money back which the government withheld–a clever trick that makes people feel less oppressed and plundered by filing taxes.

Something the regressive left likes to say is that taxes are justified because of the infrastructure of society, provided by the government, makes all earning possible. It is, therefore, only fair to share some of that wealth to continue funding the common property. They say the rich would never have gotten rich without government provided services, and that is why they owe the government.

An up and comer on the left who we will unfortunately not stop hearing from anytime soon has weighed in on why we owe taxes to society. This is an old but relevant quote since progressive champion Elizabeth Warren will probably be a White House contender soon enough. While running for Senate she said:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody! You built a factory out there, good for you, but I want to be clear, you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that mauraduing bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did… But part of the underlying social contract is that you take a hunk of that, and pay forward for the next kid that comes along.

I think she slipped up there. Do you see it? Warren says that if the government didn’t provide security for the factory, the business owners would have to “hire someone to protect against” marauding bands. And she is correct in that.

What she leaves out is that their money is already stolen to pay for the police. So why on earth would they say no thanks to a service for which they were forced to pay? (Well, I guess because the police do a terrible job. Most factories do in fact hire their own security in addition to the police that “the rest of us” paid for.)

And this is the whole issue: Which came first, the government or wealth?

Clearly, a business first has to have money in order to be taxed. And it makes sense to think that since the infrastructure already exists, it helps people to earn money. And it does, but it was all paid for first by privately produced wealth.

Think about it, the very first tax payers were farmers that were conquered by herders and forced to pay a share of their yield to the nomadic invaders. The herders realized they could make this a regular thing if they didn’t murder all the farmers, and thus government was born.

Not murdering the people was the first service which government ever provided. Boy, are we lucky to have them!

Ironic that Warren says taxes are paid to basically prevent from happening the very thing which began the existence of government. It was extortion from the very beginning. The farmers paid protection money to their government.

Who was the main threat? The government. The mafia does the same thing.

But looking at the first taxpayers shows that they necessarily had to have earned something and created wealth before they were taxed on it.

And this means we are building on a stolen foundation. It means we didn’t need the government to make wealth creation possible in the very first place. Based on the very function of government, which only came into existence after the first farmers had created wealth, this proves that it is possible to create wealth without that magnificent infrastructure for which “the rest of us” paid.

Warren said it herself when she admitted the factories could simply purchase their own protection. But what they are really paying for, is protection from the people they are paying, the government.

So is taxation the price we pay for the society government has built around us? Without a doubt, certain things taxes pay for are used by everyone living in society and thus contribute to business, like roads for shipping.

And even though the government is used to providing these things, the question remains are taxes what we owe to society for the opportunity to do business? Or did wealth have to be created first before taxes could be paid?

Justifying the Upward Redistribution of Wealth

Everything government does is done with tax dollars, therefore first something of value had to be created before they could tax anything.

So then why do people argue that we owe the government taxes because they have made everything we earn possible?

We wanted to add a Bernie Sanders quote since he was vocally against the wealthy. He is one of the most powerful U.S. Senators at this point, with his unspent war chest of individual campaign donations, and an army of useful idiots.

But it turns out the man said remarkably little for how much he talked. It was all catch phrases and the same repeated lines about how immoral it is to be wealthy. The rich need to pay their “fair share” he says, but that doesn’t actually answer the question of why anybody should have to pay taxes. We all need to be robbed equally?

There are certain ways to become wealthy which are immoral, such as securing government contracts, government bailouts, government grants, government loans, and government subsidies. But Bernie’s support for higher taxes would only exacerbate that upward transfer of wealth.

Sanders actually never tried to justify why the rich owe taxes, his only criticism seemed to be that they were wealthy. He repeated over and over that they basically stole this wealth from the middle class, but offered no real examples other than the Wall Street bailouts (which yes, were theft on their part, but again that was a government transfer of wealth, which giving the government more power would only increase).

Turns out what Bernie was doing has been done since the beginning of government. Jared Diamond explains the origins of Chiefdoms in his book Guns, Germs, and Steel:

These noble and selfish functions are inextricably linked, although some governments emphasize much more of one function than of the other. The difference between a kleptocrat and a wise statesman, between a robber baron and public benefactor, is merely one of degree: a matter of just how large a percentage of the tribute extracted from producers is retained by the elite, and how much the commoners like the public uses to which the redistributed tribute is put…

Make the masses happy by redistributing much of the tribute received, in popular ways. This principle was as valid for Hawaiian chiefs as it is for American politicians today.

Clearly, Bernie is a big fan of the redistribution method; his free college proposals sound pretty good to his young target demographic.

So basically, these “progressive” stars are actually regressing to the oldest forms of government which always looted and tricked the masses into supporting their power grabs and wealth confiscation.

The government didn’t create the wealth in society, and they didn’t even make that wealth creation possible. They simply stole the wealth that others created and redistributed it in obvious and popular ways. They monopolized mechanisms like roads and security in order to make it seem like the government is the only method of laying the infrastructure to create wealth.

But clearly wealth came before taxation, otherwise, there would have been nothing to tax! The premise of their justification for theft is a fallacy.

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