Ron Paul is one of those Libertarian enthusiasts who says The Government is stealing when it collects tax payments from citizens under the threat of imprisonment for failure to comply.
They claim that compulsory taxation by The Government is a violation of their “property rights.”
The fundamental flaw in the Libertarian argument can be found in their foundational assumption that an individual’s right to property (or anything else, for that matter) is something he possesses “within himself.”
As a matter of fact, no individual is blessed with “rights” as a natural consequence of existing.
Any right you might ‘have’ is not something that you actually have possession of; it is something that can only be granted to you by others.
To say that an individual or group has a right is actually just another way of saying that everybody else is obligated to behave [or not behave] in a certain way with respect to that individual/group.
Why might ‘everyone’ feel motivated to grant you any kind of right at all [to their obligated behavior]?
Answer: they would do such a thing only if they perceived that they would benefit if they all agreed to behave [or not behave] in the same way.
In other words, they would only agree to grant you a right if they believed it was a moral thing to do.
How can it be determined whether or not an act [or a decision to not act] is moral? There is a simple test we can always apply…
An act [or a decision to not act] is moral if everyone would be better off if everyone were to act [or choose not to act] in the same way.
If everyone would be worse off if everyone acted [or chose not to act] in the same way, then the action [or decision to not act] is immoral, by definition.
If everyone would be neither better off nor worse off if everyone were to act [or not act] in the same way, then the action or failure to act is neither moral nor immoral.
That is as simple as it gets…THE definition of what is moral and what is not.
The ultimate reality you are dealing with, Libertarians, is that you do not have any rights if the majority of the tribe does not want to bestow them upon you (i.e., if the rest of the tribe does not believe that they will be better off as a consequence of granting you the right that you think you should be entitled to.)
One of the reasons why Libertarians are confused re: the topic of rights, is the fact that governments often bestow legal rights upon certain individuals/groups that are not necessarily moral rights.
Example: the property rights that were granted by the U.S. government to slave owners.
In their opposition to government taxation, Libertarians seize upon certain legal rights that governments have established (like the legal right to own property), and then speak of them as if they are ‘natural rights’ which are implicitly assumed to ‘belong’ to wealthy individuals, no matter what the rest of the tribe might think about it.
In that belief, they are profoundly mistaken.
Now, it is true that ‘everyone’ may believe that they are better off if you [and everyone else] are granted the exclusive right to decide the disposition of a certain amount of the property that you/they have been able to accumulate.
But it is also true that they are also likely to believe that they would all be better off if you were required to give up a significant portion of your “excess dollar wealth” to the commonwealth, if your accumulations are substantial, and if it would harm you very little to give them up at a time when many others are in great need.
Are you listening, Ron Paul?
You actually have no right—-granted by everyone else—-to the $$ property that is appropriated from you by government tax collectors.
It is not ‘theft’ when the government takes it from you, because “everyone else” has only granted you rights of ownership/disposition over that portion of your income that is left after you have met your tax obligations to the commonwealth.
You are no more a ‘victim’ than any criminal would be who is forced by the government to give up monies that he obtained through fraud or extortion.
Your ‘right’ to the $$ you owe the government [according to the tax code] is no more legitimate than an embezzler’s ‘right’ to $$ he stole from his employer.
That money just ain’t yours, no matter how much you might enjoy thinking otherwise.