The Instigator
Con (against)
6 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

The system of taxation is fair to all

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 904 times Debate No: 11577
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




I will let Pro go first, although I will provide definitions and burdens that are to be preferred.

Burden of the affirmative (pro):

To win the affirmative must prove that the system of taxation is a fair system to all involved (the people who are taxed, and those who receive the money from taxes (poor etc))

I will be giving definitions, and I politely ask that my opponent does not drag me into any stupid semantic debates.

I also ask that any claims made by either side be backed up by evidence from a credible source.

a payment exacted by legislative authority

is not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforced contribution, exacted pursuant to legislative authority

equitable: fair to all parties as dictated by reason and conscience


I would like to thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate this.

Before we begin we must determine what "system of taxation" we are talking about. Are we debating the system of taxation found in the U.S.? Or perhaps Canada? Britain? Which system would you like to debate?

Or are we debating whether the general idea of a tax is fair. Is it fair to take from the individual in order to fund social programs, defense, and government?

Now is a tax "fair"? That depends on what criteria you use. I can say that it is unfair for me when the government takes my money away from me to fund programs that I will never use. I can also say that it is unfair to the people born in poverty (who rely on tax funded social programs to live, survive, and improve their situation) that we are not taxing the wealthy more to help the poor.

In a general sense, and using my opponents definition, a tax is very fair. Each one of us lives in a shared, collective society, where we depend on the achievements of others every day of our lives. Each of us benefits from the protection of a tax-funded defense budget, from the education provided by a tax-funded school system, and some of us benefit from a tax-funded social net that provides medical help when necessary instead of letting us die due to lack of funds.

Before I construct a more detailed argument I must know what system of taxation we are debating. I would also like to know why my opponent feels this system is unfair, and I would like to know what group of people this system is unfair to.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.


"Or are we debating whether the general idea of a tax is fair. Is it fair to take from the individual in order to fund social programs, defense, and government"


"I would also like to know why my opponent feels this system is unfair"

I personally do not think it is unfair, but I will simply be playing the devil's advocate per se. I will mainly be constructing my arguments based on Ayn Rand's philosophy of objectivism.

"what group of people this system is unfair to"

Mostly the people being taxed.


1: Tax is coercion

Let's take a look at what my definition of a tax includes:

"a payment exacted by legislative authority"

"not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforced contribution, exacted pursuant to legislative authority"

IMPORTANT: "exacted by authority" "not voluntary"

Now let's take a look at the definition of coercion:

"the act of compelling by force of authority"

It is clear that taxes are a system of coercion.

2: Coercion is bad

2A: Coercion is the anti-thesis of liberty

Premise 1) Liberty is an essential human right

The right to liberty without coercion is one of our most basic human rights. John Locke said the most basic human rights are:

"Life, liberty, and property"

John Stuart Mill held liberty as the most important natural right. Most all modern, non-authoritarian civilizations list liberty as one of their natural rights, including the United States:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Premise 2) Coercion is in direct opposition to liberty

This is by definition. Again, coercion: "the act of compelling by force of authority", liberty: "autonomy: immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority". Clearly, they are direct opposites. Bruce Porter explains:

"Liberty can only endure when certain conditions are met. First, there must be an absence of coercive actions intended to impede the free exercise of will or to rob individuals of their labors and investments."

Impact 1) The system of taxation is reminiscent of slavery

The system of income tax (tax on money you make) essentially takes part of your work compensation away from you. This is similar to the slave system, where people's work compensation were taken away from them (not given at all). Murray Rothbard elaborates:

"In a sense, the entire system of taxation is a form of involuntary servitude. Take, in particular, the income tax. The high levels of income tax mean that all of us work a large part of the year—several months— for nothing for Uncle Sam before being allowed to enjoy our incomes on the market. Part of the essence of slavery, after all, is forced work for someone at little or no pay. But the income tax means that we sweat and earn income, only to see the government extract a large chunk of it by coercion for its own purposes. What is this but forced labor at no pay?"

Impact 2) Liberty solves poverty

Liberty is the reason people are much better off now than they were in the dark ages. Kenneth McDonald expands on this concept:
"As Leonard Read pointed out in Accent on the Right: "The unprecedented practice of freedom in our country has, one might say, catapulted many millions of 'the masses'- including you and me-into a state of affluence previously unknown to history. . . . The alleviation of poverty is a by-product-a life-saving benefit -along man's way toward the higher ideal of liberty. . . . Restore and preserve the practice of free market, private ownership, limited government principles; and one of the by-products will be as much removal of poverty as possible."

Impact 3) Liberty is necessary for society to progress

Coercion severely limits societies ability to progress, give to charities, and make new discoveries. Esler Heller elaborates:

"It permits those who can fulfill their own responsibilities and still have human or material resources left for philanthropy, those who would be teachers, helpers, defenders, leaders, to make a myriad of voluntary arrangements with their fellows for mutual betterment and satisfaction. Compulsion can only teach compulsion, but voluntary good works are an encouraging and uplifting example. Absence of compulsion is essential to civilized progress, and is the essence of the free market, true charity, and liberty."

2B: Coercion makes life not worth living

A life that is coerced by some outside force, it not even a life worth living. Joseph Raz lays out a good example:

"Think of a person who is entirely passive and is continuously led, cleaned, and pumped full with hash, so that he is perpetually content, and wants nothing but to stay in the same condition. It's a familiar imaginary horror. How do we rank the success of such a life ... It is simply not a life at all ... We can isolate this feature by imagining that the human being concerned is mentally and physically effected in a way which rules out the possibility of a life with any kind of meaningful pursuit in it. Now it is just not really a life at all ... clearly not being alive can be better than that life"

3: Slippery slope of coercion

While the "simple" coercive system of taxation may not seem like a big deal now, if we let it continue it will only get worse. If we do not demand liberty always be held above coercion all the time, it will get worse and worse until every country is a authoritarian regime. Thomas DiLorenzo recounts an important example:

"But the Nazi program also was voluntary when it began, and, as mentioned above, there already are many powerful political supporters of mandatory national service in the United States. For these reasons, national service could pose one of the greatest threats to freedom in the coming decade."

Harry Browne also mentions how this slippery slope is already affecting the United States:

"... now the politicians decide for themselves when they will respect the Constitution and when they will ignore it. To get to where we are now, the politicians needed to violate the Constitutional limits only once. Once they did that, even if it was for a good program, it was just a matter of time until they could pass any program they wanted good or bad. Once the government enacts even one program beyond the constitutional limits, sooner or later you'll have a $1.8 trillion government and a $5 trillion debt. And that's where we are today, with no Constitutional protection against big government."

4: Holding coercion above liberty never works

Many governmental systems that rely on coercion (see: communism) have been tried in the past, and always fail. Liberty must be held above coercion at all costs. Ridgway Foley states:

"The basic proposition to be proved: freedom works better than restraint in a significantly greater number of cases. Proof of this postulate will manifest a substantial reason to opt for liberty and avoid coercion, independent of any other argument."

So, in conclusion, the system of taxation is a system of coercion. Coercion is bad as it is the opposite of liberty, and it makes life not worth living. In addition, the system of taxation will only lead to greater coercive systems, and it will eventually collapse upon itself.


scriptcoder forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has forfeited the round. Extend all my points.

Don't let him post any new arguments in the next speech, it's simply unfair as I cannot respond to them.

Seeing as my opponent has not responded to my points, or really brought up any of his own, vote CON


scriptcoder forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by scriptcoder 6 years ago
Unfortunately I don't gave time to create and submit an argument. I will have to forfeit. Sorry.
Posted by cactusbin 6 years ago
I meant for my next speech
Posted by scriptcoder 6 years ago
Since this is a debate you must post arguments but you (as the instigator) should also post clarifications.
Posted by cactusbin 6 years ago
Do you want me to post clarifications and arguments, or just clarifications?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by cactusbin 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:60