It’s time to trigger the voluntarists.
I get it – taxation is theft. I agree with the Rothbardian a priori arguments around taxation. As it is done without consent, it is, therefore, theft.
Let me start with an example. I recently had a bike stolen. It was a great bike – I loved it – I spent a lot of money on it and all the accouterments, and autumn is on its way. I cannot describe to you what Maritime bike trials are like in the fall.
My response could be to spend the next year tracking this fellow down, or I could go back to working on my business. There are more fruitful endeavors than for me to eliminate all forms of theft. My life is better served than fighting against all forms of theft. I take reasonable precautions to avoid being victimized by it, but eventually, I move on with life.
Right now, the government is thieving 50% of my paycheck through direct and indirect taxation. It seems to me to be reasonable that I should advocate for less of this theft. If the government was only involved with taking 5% of my paycheck, I likely wouldn’t bother with politics – I would move on with my life and do more productive and useful things.
I could still vote for a strict voluntarist. If rather than abstractions they gave me concrete plans of how to transfer pension management to a private investment company, or how to transfer disability payments to a private insurance company, I likely would vote for a voluntarist. But I also might not.
The underlying thesis is that freedom isn’t necessarily the highest good, and many libertarians believe otherwise. I would rather live in some sort of Star Trek utopia with governance rather than in a polio-ridden cesspool with freedom. It’s little more than libertarian virtue-signaling, libertarian chest-thumping, to say otherwise.
In an earlier time in life, I worked as a mental health research associate and audited service providers in my province for at-risk youth. Having a finance background, I examined our budget and only 30% of it was going to the causes they claimed the funds were going toward. This is far more inefficient than many charities, but 30% of the budgets were going to help people.
The thrust of that is to say the enormity of the inefficiency is my chief concern. If 5% of my income was thieved for things such as tracking down murderers and rapists, or legitimate national defense, I might not be willing to vote for a strict voluntarist. They would have to prove their case.
I describe myself as a minarchist because, at the low level of taxation, I would need to be convinced that the next step is not only voluntary, which I admit is a good, but also more beneficial to society.
Julie Borowski stopped identifying herself as a libertarian because of an irritating practice among her followers. If they see something they don’t like they declare, “That’s not libertarian!”. As someone who runs a libertarian page, I agree with her frustration. Aside from the fact that I seldom agree with the accusations of a failure of liberty, “That’s not libertarian!” isn’t an argument. If something is a good idea, I support it.
If I could save 7 billion lives by stealing from someone, I would likely do it. Thus, there arises a utility calculus. I happen to not believe that our current government is using stolen funds responsibly or wisely, so I consider myself a libertarian.
The society in which we live is not maximally optimized. I label myself as a libertarian because liberty tends to make us more productive and charitable citizens, making us all better off in the long run.
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