Libertarians claim taxation to be theft. How true is this statement?
My dictionary defines theft as:
the dishonest taking of property belonging to another person with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of its possession,(Collins English Dictionary)
So for taxation to be theft the taking of property must be dishonest.
My dictionary defines dishonest as
not honest or fair; deceiving or fraudulent (Collins English Dictionary)
and honest as:
not given to lying, cheating, stealing etc
and stealing as:
to take something from someone etc without permission or unlawfully, especially in a secret manner
So to equate taxation with theft it is necessary to show that taxation requires
- Lying or cheating, or
It is easy to see that taxation does not depend on lying or cheating. Each year Parliament passes legislation that specifies which taxes HMRC must collect and from whom. This is a transparent procedure and so, by definition, is not deceptive or fraudulent.
The second strand of dishonesty, stealing, describes the taking of someone’s property without permission or unlawfully, as in a street robbery. As described above, Parliament gives permission to HMRC every year. This permission is granted lawfully.
So a basic tenet of Libertarian philosophy, that taxation is theft, is not accurate. So taxation is not theft.
Hardly a sound basis for a political philosophy, is it? Yet Libertarianism appears to be gaining popularity despite the inaccurate premise upon which it is built.