(All discussion here is in the context of the U.S. government, I understand laws may be different under different governments.)
When I first started middle school there was a courtyard outside of the school that many of my friends and I would go loiter in before classes started.
This routine became one of my favorite activities associated with school.
The classes might not be great and my teachers might be sullen and dead-eyed, but there was life and joy to look forward to in the courtyard.
By this time, I had understood that the school I went to was paid for partially with my parents’ money, but I had always seen this as part of normal societal function.
After all, we weren’t struggling for money, and it’s not like I was the one paying anyways.
However, in my second year at that school, they closed off use of the courtyard before school because they didn’t like having people loitering there. Apparently, it was harming the grass.
At the time I was very upset; I felt like I had something taken away from me.
After a while I passed it off as the government doing what they wanted with their property.
I didn’t consider the fact that we had payed for that courtyard (at least partially) until later, when I was in high school.
Why did the government have the power to regulate something the citizens payed for?
After that epiphany, my whole outlook on government changed. I realized how much power the government has over public property, despite the fact that they used money they had coerced from others to build said property.
I thought that if I can’t control how my money is being used, what happens if I just don’t pay? What I found was, frankly, disturbing.
The chain reaction for not paying taxes escalates quickly to violence.
First, the IRS will compound your interest and impose late fees. If at that point you still don’t “pay up,” the IRS will impose liens on your property.
A lien is essentially a government-imposed seizure of collateral to protect their interests.
If you still don’t pay up after the liens are put in place, the IRS will impose a tax levy. A special IRS enforcement officer will come and forcefully seize your property. These officers are essentially tax collectors with guns. If you try and refuse this seizure, you run the risk of being jailed (or, indirectly, being thrown in prison for debt) or shot by the officer if tensions escalate.
What crime is described as forced seizure of property? Theft!
The government will ultimately kill you to get your tax money, if it comes to it.
Taxation, by this logic, is essentially armed robbery.
Sure, the IRS will give you a lot more time any leeway to pay up than a robber will, but the outcome for disobeying is ultimately the same.
Most people respond to this argument with the fact that you get a return for what you pay in the form of public services, making taxation unlike theft.
The problem with this is that if anybody but the government forced you to buy something, you’d still probably consider it theft. If a contractor came up and asked you if you wanted a new fence, you said ,”no,” and he then pulled out a gun and said, “you’re buying a fence,” that would be considered theft.
Sure, you’re getting a product in return, but you’re still having your money taken by force. What’s worse, not only does the government force you to pay up, but they also spend the money inefficiently and often do far worse a job than any private contractor would.
There may be subtle differences between how a thief and the government makes a living, but ultimately they’re committing the same crime. The only difference is that the government brainwashes us in public schools to think that when they steal it’s okay, that we are just paying “our fair share.”
Last time I checked, nobody asked me if I was okay with being forced into this system of economic oppression, and I’m almost certain the government didn’t get your consent either.
Taxation is the only thing you can consent to from birth.
Featured image: patriotsoftware.com
* Reagan Carriker is a young high school debate student with strong libertarian beliefs.