During Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign, I decided that the best way to help his cause was to buy t-shirts. This way, the campaign got both cash and advertising. I’ve since kept up with the t-shirts, compiling a small wardrobe of shirts relaying a variety of libertarian messages.
Today I wore my “taxation is theft” shirt. As should be clear, I oppose taxation because it is theft; any instance where a person is compelled to unwillingly contribute money constitutes theft. Since I oppose theft in all instances, I certainly oppose it in this instance.
Of course, advocates of taxation will assert that I receive something in return for my “contribution.” By this argument, anyone can take my money by force if they provide something in return. The typical response to this is to point out some democratic activity to identify the few people permitted to forcibly take from me. However, neither collective will nor democratic action removes from taxation the threat of violence for non-compliance.
There are those who claim to willingly pay their taxes. To them I say, “have at it.” However, willing contributors are typically engaged in charity or subsidy, neither of which requires theft or the force of law. I applaud any voluntary contributions even if they are to the government. As soon as they aren’t voluntary, they constitute theft and should be opposed in every case.
I’m again on vacation, this time traveling across New England with my son. I was today treated by a sales person in Norwood, Massachusetts with a recount of something political that occurred during my absence. The person, responding to my shirt upon which is expressed a quote from Ayn Rand regarding individual rights, attempted to tie this quote to the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and their subsequent fallout. During this person’s description, he asked if I knew what “he” said today.
I knew who “he” was, and listened politely to this person’s outrage over the events and the subsequent response from “himself.” After my salesperson finished intimating that he thought “Himself’s” response was inadequate and misguided, I explained that I found anyone seeking command of the “free world” as immediately suspect and worthy of contempt. Needless to say, this salesperson had no idea how to respond to such an assertion.
The sad fact is that Himself has done little more, to date, than his predecessor. While Obama bombed at least seven nations, Himself has bombed a subset of that. While Obama oversaw an economy kept barely afloat by central bank “easing,” Himself has done little else. During Obama’s term, civil liberties were abandoned as a matter of course. Himself appears poised to do the same. In the end, anyone seeking office, be it on the grand stage or otherwise, ultimately has personal gain in mind. We lose in the end.
I recently revealed my support of complete drug legalization to a mixed group of people, some of which I knew and some I didn’t. One person responded immediately with “so you want to put poison in little kids veins.” While I can appreciate his defense of the vulnerable, I assured him that I had no interest in poisoning anyone, young or otherwise. I don’t support the use of drugs but I do support the right of mature individuals to ingest any material they wish, regardless the risks.
While this straw man is often paraded out by leftists insisting that opposition to socialized medicine means supporting the death of the underprivileged, conservatives will often take a similar tack by conflating freedom of action with wanton destruction. Drug prohibition is just as ineffective at stopping drug use as was alcohol prohibition at stopping drinking. The government can’t even keep drugs out of prisons.
The result of drug prohibition is a swelled prison population, drug cartels terrorizing the innocent while growing wealthy off of the illicit trade, police departments arming for war, and little impact on drug use. Even if the war on drugs was effective, it represents yet another avenue through which state officials, elected or otherwise, can further curtail individual freedom.