Taxation is NOT theft!

The faces of power
Taxes are symptoms

2016-03-20 taxation.jpg

What will it take to get it through the thick skulls of libertarians that taxation is NOT theft?
Do they even understand what the word means? Theft implies stealth. A thief will try to get your property without you noticing the fact that he took it. Without you being able to identify him. Theft does not imply violence. Neither does fraud, when property is taken from you under false pretenses.

The man in the picture above is NOT a thief. He is a robber. He is using the very direct threat of violence to take your property.
The state has many ways to take your property. It can rob you, steal from you and defraud you. If we ever want to be a credible political alternative, we should understand and be very clear about the differences.

Taxation is robbery. Inflation is theft. Regulations are fraud. We can also associate them with Fiscal policy, monetary policy and regulatory policies.


We tend to focus on taxation because it is the most visible, most obvious, most blatant expression of the state’s power to take our property. It is the thing that we are most ready to associate with the state.
Saying that “Taxation is theft!” is the easiest of all slogans. A conveniently easy moral stand, a libertarian trump card.


Calling inflation ‘theft’ is a much better analogy. Inflation is an insidious, stealthy way to dispossess us. Monetary policy causes far more harm than taxation as it affects not only our personal lives, but the whole economy.
(Costs of InflationWhy Not Print More MoneyWhy can’t we just print money to pay off debt


Regulations are the worst enemies of individual freedom, economic well-being and a free market economy. It can be argued that it costs us more than direct taxation.
Report- Cost of Federal Regulation Reached $1.88 Trillion in 2014
Regulation costs Canadian businesses $37.1 billion a year

I know. Neither translates well into a three-word slogan.

We could get into an extended discussion about the relative importance of the three.
We could point out, that the primary problem is not how the state gets its money, but how it spends it.

I happen to think that taxation is the least important of the three above. It is also the most difficult to tackle. Reducing the state must start with reducing the scope of its services.
The enemy is spending, not taxing and borrowing. The later two are just the unavoidable consequences of the first.

As I said, each of these problems could be subjects of long discussions.
For now, can we at least get the language right?

Taxation is NOT theft. It is an obnoxious, arrogant, into our face expression of the power of the state. It can be called robbery, it can be called extortion, but

it cannot be called theft.

This post is part of a set:
Taxation is NOT theft (this post)
Taxes are NOT the problem
Taxation IS a problem

9 replies on “Taxation is NOT theft!”

  1. Jonathan says:
    Property tax is EXTORTION. The local sheriff is also the ad-afficiando tax collector.In short terms – One day you get a certified letter notice in the mail that says nothing except SHERIFF on it. So you have to leave work early just to pick it up before the post office closes. You cant get it till the next day .so now you are scratching your head wondering what law you broke?
    If the sheriff tax clerk does not process your check , they can say they did not recieve it ,(possibly go to really cash it out at some place that does cash advances where there is no credit check ? ) The only way to tell is by calling your bank to verify the check has cleared. So you call the sheriff and tell them certain check # 00000 was written and sent . You have proof because it is in your checkbook stub section. The sheriff calls you the liar and physically threaten you with force of arms , physical danger ,arrest as well as confiscation of your physical address to be sold at public auction which YOU are the ONLY PERSON restricted from attending the ayction. . Regardless- if your checkbook has the carbon copy of the sent check made out specifically to them.
    Then the sheriff charges you twice the amount in processing fees in addition to the tax. All this is done without a court order , no phone call, no due process.
    So now you have paid 3 times the amount of the tax because of extortion,lies, malfeasance of office. Yet, you go make make the same threat to another non governmental person and you would be arrested with prejudice ,possibly killed by police if you resist arrest.
    Please tell me that tax is not theft.
    • zorkthehun says:
      I find nothing in this, Jonathan, that would contradict what I am trying to say in the post.
      What I am arguing for is a more shaded approach when criticizing the bad things governments do.
      I did not even get to corruption and abuse of power, just the three biggies:
      Taxation – inflation – regulations.
      Taxation is the most visible, but the other ones are even worse. Libertarians, if they want to be taken seriously, must show that they understand this.
      As I pointed out in the post:
      “The enemy is spending, not taxing and borrowing.”
  2. fred Flintstone says:
    Well I understand your point, but I am confused by how you express a desire to be terminologically accurate – yet seem to ignore common dictionary definitions (where the definition of theft doesn’t commonly depend on elements of stealth).
  3. The Mars Project says:
    So an armed robber is not stealing? Theft is defined as the action or crime of stealing. To steal is to take (another person’s property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.

    Do you have the legal right to take my money? Then how can you give that right to the state? You cannot delegate a power you do not have thus you cannot delegate the legal right to take my money therefore the state cannot have the legal right to take my money without my consent simply because you say it’s okay.

    Maybe you should stop spouting your personal beliefs and biases as fact. You can’t even get the facts right about what theft is so I somehow doubt you have your facts straight about taxes.

    Here’s a play by play of how a fellow tax lover’s breakdown of taxes aren’t theft was shredded:

    You want to give your money to the state? Fine. But by no means or right do you or anyone have any power to determine that those who do not consent still have to pay for your drone strikes and wars.

    • zorkthehun says:
      See my reply below to Fred Flintstone.
      A robber robs – A thief steals.
      Robbery implies violence; theft implies stealth.
      Taxation involves the threat of violence, there is nothing stealthy about it.
      Inflation involves the stealing the value of of your money by stealth (through increasing the money supply)
      Hence: taxation is robbery; inflation is theft.
      I don’t understand what makes this so difficult to understand.
      • The Mars Project says:
        You can talk about ‘implies stealth’ all day. The literal definition is taking another’s property without permission. NOTHING in there implies stealth. That you attribute such to it is your own bias.
        Stealing is theft. Robbery is stealing. Extortion is stealing. Are you getting it yet?
        Theft is the base root of all these other words. What you are doing is playing semantics. And not well, I might add.

        Simple fact, theft is taking what isn’t yours without permission. You don’t have to be a ninja to be a thief. You don’t have to hide in shadows and wait until no one is looking to be a thief.
        We only ascribe these other terms to the act of stealing(theft) in order to denote the circumstances surrounding the theft.
        When you rob at gunpoint, you are an armed thief who has threatened people in order to steal what is theres.
        Now, there is a term that implies stealth. Burglarly. Entering a property without permission and with the intent to steal. That is also theft.

        Buy a dictionary. And a thesaurus. And stop licking the state’s boots and calling those of us that won’t get on our knees liars or idiots. You’re just jealous because you’re too much of a coward and too prideful to admit you’ve been duped and are a vicitm.

      • The Mars Project says:
        Also, you realize you just said the state is a robber, right?

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