The Instigator
tommylibertarian1
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
devcoch
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Taxation is theft

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
tommylibertarian1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 594 times Debate No: 99075
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

tommylibertarian1

Pro

R1 Acceptance Only
R2: Argument
R3: Rebuttal
R4: Closing Remarks

I will be arguing that taxation is theft
Definitions :

THEFT:
noun
the action or crime of stealing. "he was convicted of theft"
synonyms: robbery, stealing, thieving, larceny, thievery, shoplifting, burglary, misappropriation, appropriation, embezzlement

TAXATION:
noun/verb
1) A means by which governments finance their expenditure by imposing charges on citizens and corporate entities.

2) Compulsory or coercive money collection by a levying authority, usually a government.
devcoch

Con

I do not believe taxation is theft.

I believe conflating theft and taxation seems to be a common occurrence that is incorrect.

The two definitions you posted are separate and do not show taxation as theft.
Debate Round No. 1
tommylibertarian1

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for accepting this debate. I would agree the definitions themselves don't prove my claim that taxation is theft if that was all that was presented so let me present a case here.

C1: Money earned is the private property of an individual.

Money is a tool used in most societies but especially those that are capitalist or capitalist leaning as a substitute for barter or in kind exchange. Money or currency acquired can be used to obtain real or chattel property or to employ services. Therefore, money is tantamount to private property. It is the same as if you acquired goods or services directly though barter or exchange. Legal systems around the world recognize money at private property. Yes, some do not however that does not change the fact that money can be used to obtain property and thus should be treated as property both legally but also and more importantly morally.

Basically money is earned or acquired through labor or efforts of the individual. The individual owns his or her body and labor. Therefore, the fruits of said labor are his or her property. For the state to take those fruits by force or threat of force means the state has a higher claim on the individual than that individual does so long as that money was obtained in an ethical manner. That would be slavery at a minimum but more fundamentally it is theft as we will see.

C2: Government action requires the initiation of force against individuals

We in society have generally been taught from an early age not to initiation force against others, in other words don't hit people or take their stuff. Government necessarily to survive and maintain its dominance requires initiation of force. If compliance with a state is voluntary then it would cease to be a state as it would have no wait to maintain dominance over a territory. Max Weber recognized this in his definition of the state that the state is a monopoly on force. George Washington is also said to have recognized the state as force along with several others.

Many would argue that government is not force because of social contract theory. That is the idea that inhabitants of a geographical area consent to be governed by democratic or other citizen participation means. This identifies a question of whether or not humans have a natural right to impose force on other humans? How can a person or group delegate rights they never had morally to a state?

Some would argue that we get things in return for taxation. This is analogous to the mob boss giving you protection in exchange for mandatory payments under threat of physical harm. The relationship is not voluntary nor truly mutually beneficial.

I would ask my opponent to demonstrate how taxation or any kind of involuntary non-consensual relationship is ethical or moral.

C3: Argument for compulsory taxation based on the idea of social contract theory means that taxation is theft.

Imagine you moved onto my street and I started cutting your grass every week. At the end of the month, I placed a bill on your door for my grass cutting services. I then show up with a baseball bat to collect on my bill. You explain that you never asked for the services or agreed to pay them, and I explain that you consented to pay for the service simply by being in MY neighborhood. If you don't comply with my billing I will lock you in my closet.

I ask how is that scenario any different from taxation? You may say that one would be free to leave the neighborhood(or country) however, in the case of states you would be forced to be subject to similar force in another state in a practical sense.

If theft morally unacceptable, which is generally accepted then the concept of taking private property from individuals by a state is also morally unacceptable regardless of the purpose.
devcoch

Con

Thank you for opening this debate.

Yes, you earned that money. However, I have to ask how this person got to their job? Did they drive on roads, use public transportation? For the state to ask for a percentage of what a person earned to keep up those things that they use to make their money isn't theft in my opinion. If you want an operational city where there are jobs to make that money, you need to add in.

You say this is analogous to state (it is a fact, not an argument) that taxes go towards many things. That is hyperbolic and I think a disingenuous comparison. It is mutually beneficial. They benefit you in many ways. I have to ask, would you rather not have taxes? Public schools? Roads? Bridges? ect.? Money for defense security, etc.? You even receive money back.

You see that scenario is different because theft implies you get nothing in return. When you pay taxes if benefits you. You have a road to drive on, interstates to get places, police departments to protect you, fire departments to save you, transportation for the public, employment protection, care for the elderly and so, so much more.

"I would ask my opponent to demonstrate how taxation or any kind of involuntary non-consensual relationship is ethical or moral."

I find it ethical and moral to contribute to a society when you benefit from it. I find it unethical and immoral to not want to reciprocate to a society that does, despite the statements otherwise, benefit you. We lose sight of the things our taxes go to and I feel have forgotten what it would be like were taxes removed. You benefit from them, they go to things we take for granted and are privileged to have. I think it is moral and ethical to give back.
Debate Round No. 2
tommylibertarian1

Pro

Con has seemingly put forth not a refutation of the precise notion that taxation is theft but rather a defense of taxation on some form of utilitarian grounds that it benefits society. I will note that con in R2 engaged in rebuttal which was previously reserved for R3. In my argument I did question the ethical nature of taxation based on the fact that I believe it to be theft so in part Con's response in appropriate however, Con did not address the central question.

Con asserts that people use public(government) services like roads, public transportation, schools and so on however, I must ask: If a Slave accepts a meal from his master, is he not still a slave? The fact that at a minimum one is forced to accept some government services does not mean that someone consents to them or the forceful taking of their money or property. If you captive by a criminal and take a glass of water from them, you are not consenting to being held. Con lacks the depth of thought in this argument to see that there might be ways of funding things society needs without the theft involved with taxation. Again though, nothing in Con's argument disproves that taxation is theft but rather makes an argument about how taxation can be perceived to be beneficial.

Con says "You see that scenario is different because theft implies you get nothing in return" I would ask Con to demonstrate how the definition of theft implies that you get nothing in return. Remember the definition of theft is "the action or crime of stealing" To steal means take another person's property without permission and without intending to return it. If I take your money and part of it pays for a road or school, then I did not return the property in its original form to you. In fact I confiscated it without intent to return the property. Rather, what has been done is the state has stolen that money and converted it to another use that has been accepted as legitimate when in fact if isn't necessarily legitimate due to the social contract having no validity. This is akin to money laundering. This argument is the only thing proposed by Con that attempts to refute the idea that taxation is theft however the argument fails for the reasons I stated.

In the end Con goes back to a utilitarian argument for taxation as well as a attempt to justify its morality. Here Con argues that it is ethical and moral to contribute to a society when you benefit from it. Surely it can be argued that you have a duty to contribute to society. I hold this proposed duty might not really exist but that's a topic for another time. Assuming that this duty does exist, Con here fails to see any other method by which that duty can be fulfilled other than the violation of one's property rights by forcible taking of a person's money or property.

Con says "We lose sight of the things our taxes go to and I feel have forgotten what it would be like were taxes removed." The problem with this is things that we need can be provided by voluntary interactions between people in the marketplace. We don't need theft to fund or take care of things society needs.

Essentially, Con is asking "If we abolish slavery, who will pick the cotton?" The goal is to pick the cotton so society found a way to do it ethically. The broad question really should be: How do we organize society without violence?
devcoch

Con

Pro did ask the question, so can not fault Con for answering since that is what Pro wanted. Perhaps Pro should not question until they want them answered. The central question of is taxation theft and I did state my opinion on it. Just because you don't like the response does not mean it was not addressed.

Pro lacks the insight to see that taxes are not theft and even posted definitions initially showing they are not theft and admitted, "I would agree the definitions themselves don't prove my claim that taxation is theft". Definitions matter. This libertarian argument that Pro is attempting to make has been shown historically to not work and shows lack of thought on Pro's side when considering history...

"As centuries of history show, the natural state of an unregulated economy is not free competition, but stifled and constrained competition. Large, established powers, if given the chance, will do everything they can to suppress competition " whether through means fair or foul. From medieval guilds to industrial robber barons, the tactics are always the same: seizing the distribution channels, the infrastructure, the intellectual property, or the sources of raw material. Governments want to control vital resources in the name of national security; industry groups may take a hand in designing regulations that make it all but impossible for new players to enter the field. Outright intimidation, fraud and violence are often used against those who refuse to play along. Even the staunchly libertarian Cato Institute admits this:
It is no surprise, then, that throughout U.S. history corporations have been overwhelmingly hostile to the free market.
To maintain the preferable state of a free market, we need structure and regulation from the government. Taxation provides, among other things, the resources that are necessary to keep the free market running." (http://www.patheos.com...)

Pro seems to like to link this to slavery when it is anything but and a really terrible comparison.

" I would ask Con to demonstrate how the definition of theft implies that you get nothing in return." I will. When you steal from someone, that person doesn't say "Oh, you took some money from me? Let me build this bridge for you or repair this road to make your life easier" When I stated the theif gets nothing in return I was using your line of thinking that the government is stealing. If that were the case, we would not see our taxes go to use, would we?

"Con here fails to see any other method by which that duty can be fulfilled other than the violation of one's property rights by forcible taking of a person's money or property."
Your property rights aren't being violated and you really need to stop assuming what I think or see. There could be other methods, I do not put on blinders to that as you clearly do when viewing taxes. I must ask Pro what he thinks other methods are that can fufill what taxes do, that can supplement and replace them?

Pro: Do not put words in my mouth. "Essentially, Con is asking "If we abolish slavery, who will pick the cotton?" Pro seems to like to be hyperbolic and ignores history and facts we know.

Pro continues to use the worn out argument that taxes are akin to slavery and this is just not true. It is hyperbolic speech and in no way true. It is actually laughable to compare it to slavery as if you are forced to go work in a field. Pro is aware this is not the case, but continues to assert it. Taxation is not theft, theft is the action of stealing. Taxation is the act of levying a tax, fee, or fine. Pro is welcome to miscontrue and claim it is theft just because they don't agree with it, but definitions matter and taxation is not theft.
Debate Round No. 3
tommylibertarian1

Pro

Again, Con seems to be making arguments supporting the idea of taxation rather than refuting whether or not it is theft. The question does not center around whether or not the free market is the alternative to taxation as but rather whether or not it is theft. One could conceive of a sharing economy, a free market economy, voluntary contributions rather than compulsory taxation or any number of other alternatives.

The question is not about if previous attempts and voluntary or libertarian societies have or have not worked it is simply the the question of is taxation theft? I hold that it is theft and that society allowing such theft to occur for utilitarian purposes in another debate to be had.

Yes, definitions don't prove a case. One must as I did connect how the claim is true.

Con has attacked my arguments about property rights without posing a counter of how money is not private property.

Con states "It is no surprise, then, that throughout U.S. history corporations have been overwhelmingly hostile to the free market. To maintain the preferable state of a free market, we need structure and regulation from the government." The problem with this notion is that corporations don't exist without a government. A corporation is a government made legal protection mechanism that would not exist in a capitalist society. Corporations as they exist now are hostile to a true free market because the concept of the legal corporation is built to give large businesses monopolies and influence the state for favor.

None of that is relevant however because it does nothing to prove that taxation is or is not theft.

Here I have shown that taxation is theft regardless of the perceived benefit or lack of benefit of it. Therefore, I encourage a vote for Pro.
devcoch

Con

Actually, I am making arguments for taxation and how it is not theft. I have stated how history shows this type of thinking, that taxation is theft is incorrect and disingenuous.

Interesting cherry picking, as the quote actually says much more and points out the disparities of either no taxing or those claiming it is theft (who normally tend to not want any) so I AM arguing that taxation is not theft (literally by definition, even though Pro chooses to ignore this and pretend the meanings of things don't matter). I have shown how you did not connect the claim, taxation and theft are not the same.

If you would like to say it is unfair, you disagree, etc. then go ahead. But the assertion that it is theft is untrue. Pro asserts I did not show how theft and taxes were different and how taxation is not theft, but that is untrue as well. I gave examples of how taxation is not theft. I showed how they are different and are not synonymous nor an applicable statement to make. Again, say they are unfair, you don't like them, or whatever else you'd like, but trying to claim it is theft is not understanding definitions or how taxes work. The statement is disingenuous by stating it is theft which is why I think you should vote in favor of Con.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by John_C_1812 1 year ago
John_C_1812
Taxation has one legal purpose. It is to supports the impartial and non-bias separation process of the United States Constitution. The political problem is this type of separation can incriminates a voter as well as the criminal, thus sharing all burdens of responsibility equally. Separation by job, job training, or job description is not a non-bias separation process.
Posted by John_C_1812 1 year ago
John_C_1812
Taxation is theft."

Only when it is illegally take, by people, from the United State Constitutional process. Taxation is in itself not theft it, is just proved as a type theft.

The actual burglary must first be proved to takes place, only when money is taken out of the governing cycle which supported the equal access to impartial, non-bias judicial separation, can this opportunity be proved. The common defense in an open Court which provides liberty as a civil non-bias method of separation.

Meaning there is less justification for antagonizing as the form of public civil order. As a process is in place which removes first person accessible for all people. The past experiences have shown that taxation becomes theft when a lack of representation has been proved and/or shown to have taken place in some way in the Order of Law. This does not limit the action to a Court alone. It includes the legislative level as well.

Present signs of non-representation.

The educational Instructional institutions have no publicly describing protocol for a non-bias separation process, that co-insides with the competitive process. Only levels of self-diagnostic test to promote a bias separation.

The lack of Miranda common defense representation in Civil Court.

A growing pattern formation of double standard in legal legislation.

Lack of "State of the Union" between Basic Separation and Legal precedent in State and Federal legislation.

The act or lack of Presidential representation in acts of War has been excluded as it complicates the matter even more. It is still a sign.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by xxmanguyxx 1 year ago
xxmanguyxx
tommylibertarian1devcochTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro stated: Government action requires the initiation of force against individuals. This is true, and he goes on to explain in detail how so. Cons counter defined how taxation can be beneficial to a society, but fails to clear the allegation of theft, which is the topic of the debate. Pro makes a good point, that if you have not asked for access to a service, yet are charged for it anyway, this is theft regardless of rather you benefited or not. He showed this with the lawn mowing example, this is a true statement, and cannot be debated. Con states that Pro ignores history and facts as we know, yet the debate is not about history, factual or not, it is about rather or not taking money without permission is stealing. Pro showed that taking without permission, it is indeed, without permission, and therefore guilty. The debate was not concerning societal benefits or harm of taxation, rather, if it was theft, which he proved to be true with logic.
Vote Placed by jo154676 1 year ago
jo154676
tommylibertarian1devcochTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: con used r2 for rebuttal rather than arguments as structured in the first post so conduct point to pro