The Placation of Taxation
By: Barry Belmont

On the Fourth of July, the UNR Students for Liberty were invited to the Reno Tea Party to participate, mingle, and even give a speech. It was a fun time had with a bunch of interesting people (around 2000!) and we were thankful to be a part of it. As there has been a few requests for it, below is the text of the speech Barry Belmont gave, please do enjoy:

The Placation of Taxation

Now, perhaps more than anything, attempts are made to placate people like us, to pacify us, to mollify the groups with which we freely associate, ‘to appease and to please all our well meanings deeds seem to all go up in smoke.’ Many, including politicians and citizens, seem to think that conciliatory action is always the soundest strategy towards greater liberty, that somehow middle-of-the-road decisions that no one in their heart of hearts actually believes is correct is what should be done, as if one could simply take an average of ideas and declare it to be right.

The placation of “your taxes in action” is used by many people, probably even a few of us in attendance, as an off-hand rationalization both for the ability and inefficacy of government. It is used when pointing at roads and National Parks but also at videos of police brutality and whenever we read a story about a politician engaged in illicit (most likely extra-marital) affairs.

Taken in the name of bettering the situation of everybody and reconciled with the notion that it accomplishes this laudable (if not essentially justified) goal, taxes are when one group of people, we call them the State, decides to take from another set of people in the name of giving both to themselves and to yet another set of people, perhaps even “given back” to the very same people from whom they were taken in the first place, albeit, by definition, at a lower value. It is claimed that a group of people could not come together and build a school or a road and that it takes the concerted effort of the State (a group of people). This, in essence, means that since people were not willing to pay for it on the free and open market, the State will provide it for them, by taking from the free and open market valuable resources, manpower, and time all without any incentive to be efficient nor any indicators on whether their decision is the “right” one.

What this means is that since people are not willing to pay for it on the free and open market and no people are willing to sell for it, that no one really even “wants” one in any meaningful sense, that’s why you don’t see space shuttles, egg beaters that beat only to the preludes of Chopin, or chopsticks that turn into golf clubs on the free market. But this does not appear to be true of anything the State provides. Even without a State I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of us would like schools and roads and thus there would be a market for it.

Therefore, all taxes accomplish is to pay for an apparatus that uses force to take more taxes. This apparatus also builds noble institutions so that many do not actually notice this fact until its too late. But it’s not too late. Not yet.

That is why I can no longer allow the evil of taxes to hide behind the everyday banality we ascribe to them. They are not just a mild inconvenience, they are not just a little off the top to help out the less fortunate, they are not just club dues that help build an awesome clubhouse, and they are not just a small tithing that we pay to the greater glory of the great and glorious State. They are a theft. They are stolen from you and I. Taxes are an invasion of property which is the very cogwheels for the liberty destroying machine of the State and they must be stopped.

Many who are not in attendance with us now may view us as “crazy” or “loons”: it is simply ridiculous to protest taxes, downright silly to do what we’re doing. But no matter how absurd, no matter unlikely it is that it will be this protest that will change anything, no matter how futile the fight may be, no matter how our fellow citizens may view us, we will resume the struggle. Why? Do we really think we can empty this ocean of evil a few cupfuls at a time? Do we really think by swimming against it, we will really be able to turn back the tide of growing government?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be placated anymore. For that reason, I will stand forth in the name of freedom, stand with those willing to fight for it, and stand and rise against all those opposed. And that is why on this day, this day of all days, we must always remember and take up as our own the motto Ludwig von Mises ascribed to himself: Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.

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