The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Taxation is theft

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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 889 times Debate No: 97827
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (25)
Votes (1)




Taxation is theft.
Dictionary definitions :
1. a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.
2. a burdensome charge, obligation, duty, or demand.
1. the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it
1. to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force
1. in accordance with what is good, proper, or just:
right conduct.
2. in conformity with fact, reason, truth, or some standard or principle; correct:
1. of, relating to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical:

According to these definitions taxation is theft because it is a sum of money demanded by a government and it removes private property from its rightful owner through the act of stealing. No person can delegate a right to other people that they themselves don't have. If the citizen is not allowed to do an action then the government or its officials have no right to do the same action. If an action is considered morally wrong then it is universally wrong, regardless of what a person or group calls themselves. A moral principle can only exist if it applies universally across the board. One of the alleged functions of government is to protect the private property rights of its citizens, taxation violates private property and thus the government acts in a manner that it deems immoral for any citizen to act, which is by definition hypocrital.

Debate format:
Round 1 - state your arguement(s)
Round 2 - rebuttal of opponents arguments
Round 3 - summation/closing statements


This is a pretty interesting topic. I'm glad to be debating this.
Well, without further ado, I shall introduce some basic terms from

Theft: the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.

Tax: a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.

Taxes are a heavy burder for every American, and I will not deny that. But to call it outright theft is exaggeration to say the least. These taxdollars are not used to give greedy politicians money to pay for their third pet shark. These taxes are being invested on services used for the benefit of the majority of Americans.

Below is a chart from the website, "The Society Pages," (
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I understand that our yearly taxes are a very heavy burden, but every American must do his or her own part so that necessary government services and areas in society such as education and the military are well funded so that this society can work properly and thrive.
Debate Round No. 1


If I come to your house and steal money and/or valuable property and give it to starving children in Africa, does that make It any less of a theft? Just because the government alledges to use the money for your benefit doesn't make it any more moral to take your private property against your will. The government provides nothing for the citizens directly, they steal money from some people and give it to others. Take for example roads, the government steals money and calls it taxation and then in turn hires a private contractor to actually construct the roads. This can be done in a voluntary free market exchange just like any other good or service. If you want a road you're fine with having money stolen from you to build the road, but you wouldn't freely give up some of your money for the convenience of having the use of a road? You give up money for the convenience of having a smart phone or computer, so how is it any different? The government doesn't have to steal money from you in order for you to get all the other goods and services you recieve, so it is not automatically necessary for them to "tax" you in order for you to obtain any other good or service they purport to provide. The fact that the government takes money against a citizens will, by definition, makes it theft. Just because a thief uses money for good purposes doesn't negate the fact that it is theft. If theft is wrong for any individual or group then it is morally wrong for governments as well. The government punishes individuals or groups for taking money or private property against the owners will, so they instead give it a magical name called tax and it somehow makes the very same action right and moral and just? For example a while back a hacker hacked an FBI agents bank account and drained all the money out and donated it to the Red Cross and a handful of other charities. So since the hacker thief didn't keep the money and instead gave it to charity you're saying his actions are not by definition theft?

I'll end the round with this..... Mafia Joe shows up at your home or business and offers to provide protection and other services to you for 30 percent of your yearly earnings. You don't get to choose how or when he decides to protect you or what services he will provide for you. He finishes by telling you that you have no choice in accepting or rejecting his services, because if you do refuse and resist he will send some of his colleagues over to your home to forcibly extract you and relocate you to a cage, and if you resist his efforts he will authorize his colleagues to shoot and or kill you if necessary.

Now that sounds obviously immoral and wrong for mafia joe to do. Now replace the phrase mafia joe and replace it with the term government official. This very same action now becomes legitimate and moral and not theft and extortion just because the name of the perpetrator changed? The name/title is just a word. So you're telling me that if I call myself a government official and I come steal your private property, it isn't theft so long as I only keep a little bit of the money and give the rest away to other people?


You seem driven more by outrage than reasoning with this debate.

I understand your points, though I do feel they're a wee bit overly exaggerated, but you have to take it into context: most of these programs that our taxes are being invested in such as education, healthcare and the environment, are used to help Americans such as yourself. Without taxes, our society would not be able to sustain itself properly. Our education systems would barely be able to function without state funding. Healthcare plans such as Obamacare would cease to exist. The military would be nothing more than a band of undisciplined adults running on a battlefield waving Lego guns in the air and shouting "Bang! Bang!" The national debt would go through the roof.

Whether we like it or not, we need taxes to provide for the necessary services from our government.
Debate Round No. 2


I'm not sure where you are detecting outrage? Attack the debater instead of attacking the argument is usually the last bastion of a man (or woman) with no argument. There definitely exists a high level of disdain for immoral actions in my view. But you still haven't addressed the topic. You say taxes are justified because of what they pay for. That is a semi reasonable position assuming the funds are spent appropriately etc. However you have not made a single argument against the action of coercive taxation being theft. You can say my claims are eggagerated as much as you want. But you have provided no logical basis against my arguments. Clearly you think the actions of the government regarding their methods of securing revenue as justified. But again you have provided no logic or reason to counter the claim that coercive taxation is any different than theft. You just keep saying it's necessary. You know when people started clamoring for slavery to be illegal in this country, the nay sayers responded by saying "but then who will pick the cotton". Turns out with Eli whitneys invention of the cotton gin that's how it got done, by a free enterprising entrepreneur. This is essentially no different. I say we should not allow anyone to take the property of another against their will, and you respond by sayin. "But who will pay for x, y, and z". We can delve into the minutia of what the government spends money on and how the free market can provide those same things more efficiently in another debate, but this topic is about whether the action of obtaining someone else's private property against their will and through the threat and action of violence is what the government does when they "tax" people. I think it was Confucious who said "the beginning of wisdom is calling things by their proper name". Re packaging a particular action using a different word doesn't change the action. If I call a rape victim "an unwilling sexual participant" that doesn't change the fact the person was a victim of rape, I just gave it a more benign sounding name. In this country the "defense" department used to be called the war department. They still take offensive military action all over the world, but by changing the name to defense rather than war, it gives it a nicer feeling and makes one think that whatever they do is automatically defensive. Sending some of our best and bravest young men and women to invade Iraq because of the actions of a handful of people from Saudi Arabia and Syria and Jordan, makes absolutely no sense and is by no means defense. But I'm trying not to get pulled off the topic. I'd love to have a more comprehensive discussion with you about all the facets of government. But again I reiterate the topic at hand is essentially what is the definition of theft, what action is required in order for it to be seen as theft. If one person or group deprives another person or group of their private property by the use of violence, coercion, stealth, etc....that is theft. One can give all sorts of propaganda terms to the action and group to soften the blow or portray it in a positive light. But theft is always wrong, regardless of the group who does it or what they do with the stolen property. I have no issues helping others, I volunteer time at habitat for humanity and donate to the local food bank once a month, and I make just under 30k a year. So it's not about helping others or how I may potentially benefit. So again I ask you, if I steal your money and use it to buy you a my little pony DVD, then according to you it isn't theft because you gained something from it? I guess I'm not sure how else to get you to see that most basic of principles, that theft is always and forever wrong no matter how the stolen funds are used. If you would prefer we could debate about how the government uses money in a subsequent debate. Billions wasted in redundancy, administrative waste, millions of dollars in vacations for presidents, subsidizing big business, etc. But the topic at hand is taxation theft and I ask that you address that topic. The only response I feel that I've received from you so far is that it is an eggagerated claim and the theft is justified, neither of which you have provided any logical basis for. We can sit here and make claims back and forth all day but unless we can use logic and reason to support our claims then we are pissing into the wind. So again I ask you to come back to the topic and explain to me how it is not theft if one person or group deprives another person or group of their private property using violence, threats, etc?? It's been fun, I always enjoy a good debate. Unlike most people I prefer to have discussions with people that oppose my views. For the simple fact that I may be provided with evidence or logical reasoning that makes me see that my original position was flawed. Because to me it's all about getting to the truth and if that requires me to admit that I was wrong then so be it. But most people are so deathly afraid of admitting they were wrong that they can't bring themselves to do it let alone even consider the possibility. So I'm completely open to being convinced that any of my positions are not correct, provided that someone can use logic and reason and evidence to show me that, not appealing to emotion or using misleading terms and definitions. That isn't a slight against you just saying in general. Well if nothing else I hope this debate at least allowed you to consider a question you may never have even thought of. Take care and I hope to debate with you again. Feel free to pick a topic and send me a challenge.


No thanks, bud. Saying things like "But most people are so deathly afraid of admitting they were wrong that they can't bring themselves to do it," don't make me seem eager to ask you to debate with me, especially with your lack of an argument and not using any sort of evidence whatsoever.

Good debate, though, and may the odds be in your favor
Debate Round No. 3
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

"In other words, a democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it."

Alexis de Tocqueville
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

"When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law."

"The politician attempts to remedy the evil by increasing the very thing that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder."

"Legal plunder has two roots: One of them, as I have said before, is in human greed; the other is in false philanthropy."

"Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve" But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn"t belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay - No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic."

"As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose--that it may violate property instead of protecting it--then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder."

- Frederic Bastiat - The Law
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago
But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman (thief), says to a man: Your money, or your life. And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.
The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the road side, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.
The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a "protector," and that he takes men"s money against their will, merely to enable him to "protect" those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords you. He does not keep "protecting" you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.
-Lysander Spoone
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago
Not to mention private organizations essentially have to answer to customers. If a private company spirals out of control in any way consumers have the choice to stop interacting with them, which reduces their revenue and can force them out of business and a new company can crop up to fill the niche more efficiently and if they don't the cycle repeats.. With government there is no choice, just because you fell out of your mother on a particular piece of dirt they automatically have jurisdication and claim over any property you acquire and you have no say in the matter. Sure you can supposedly elect a "representative" but nothing requires that representative to actually support policies their constituents agree with. And even if you say you can vote them out, in the meantime laws are passed that take virtual acts of God to reverse.
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago
Just because you say it's necessary is proof of nothing. I countered that with saying free market voluntary interactions have the same capacity to provide things the government does now. Private companies always produce things way more efficiently than government.
Government always is bogged down in expensive overhead and administrative waste and redundancy. Just go to the GAO website and check it out hundreds of examples. Or the recent pentagon report that they buried and the washing post reported on showing billions in administrative waste and the pentagon tried to hide it essentially.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 2 years ago
Anon, your only argument was you ranting about how the government is basically an organization of criminals that steals money from Americans. At least i said that taxes are important for society, and are necessary to ensure the protection and support of Americans, and presented a graph to show where our tax dollars are being spent to show how important taxes are.
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago

I understand and respect your analysis but I don't totally agree with it. However I would ask of you to explain why you think I should lose "badly" for not proving the premise, but con should win when he literally wrote one sentence on the actual topic and that sentence was my claim is eggagerated. Perhaps burden of proof is on the claimant was your logic? Which essentially gives any con in any debate the automatic advantage in that they don't have to do virtually anything, as was nearly the case in this debate. Seems to me your analysis is summaraized as I made claim that tax is theft but didn't prove it sufficiently, con made statement that my claim is eggagerated and didn't so much as attempt to prove that statement or disprove the premise, and that should result in con as the winner? Correct me where I'm wrong in my analysis here....
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago

Joe would deserve to potentially win the debate over you, because he actually addressed the topic....
I think Jonbonbon nailed it on the head, a voter should vote based on the argument and rebuttals presented, not whether one agrees or disagrees with either premise as he did. Although I disagree with Joes analysis, one wonders why he would declare you're arguments to be the winner, quite literally you didn't make any argument regarding the topic other than it is an eggagerated claim. I would be curious as to hear you're rationale that voting you as the winner of the debate is the right decision since you virtually didn't say anything about the actual topic and instead engaged in an apologetic defense of taxation....people only apologize for things they think are theft ;).
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago
You are partially correct. Words have nuances and can be used to mean slightly different things. Just because the law adopts a term doesn't give them monopoly on its use for their purposes alone. Refer to 2 below. And if you want to claim that 2 below is a subsequent meaning, then look at the definition of theft I provided, the primary meaning was the act of stealing and the secondary meaning was the bit about felonious.

Law. pertaining to, of the nature of, or involving a felony :
felonious homicide; felonious intent.
wicked; base; villainous.

Debate aside, my point is that what a thief does and what a government does is essentially the same activity, they just use fancy terms and form definitions to exempt themselves from being called as thieves. Perhaps I didn't prove my point, but con didn't even address the topic in any way shape or form besides saying it's an eggagerated claim and then continuing to talk about what taxes are spent on which was completely irrelevant to the topic. I provided the definitions of right and moral because I had a strong feeling the con would take his arguement where he did. To try to justify how the money is spent is irrelevant to the topic, but in my experience discussing this issue with people 9/10 times this is the argument people take is that the theft is essentially justified. But thanks for your opinion.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 2 years ago
Now, I'm not saying this simply because Joe is advocating me, but Joe has the right to express how he feels about the debate.
Good job, Joe, with the awesome commentary, and for supporting the right side ;^)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jonbonbon 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct was pretty even. S&G goes to con because of the errors throughout pro's arguments and especially the walls of text Pro put up. Advice to pro: it's almost impossible to read that wall of text without taking a coffee break halfway through. Paragraphs that are too small are preferable to paragraphs that are too long. Arguments go to pro. I'd typically agree with con, but con only addressed where the money goes, and pro correctly addressed that the issue is who the money belongs to. For example, if Mafia Joe was funding a school with all his stolen money, that wouldn't make it right to steal the money. So the real issue is whether or not the government has a right to it, and I never saw con address that. Neither side really used more reliable sources, and sources were never really attacked inside the debate, and even if con's chart failed for being irrelevant to the topic, pro never cited any sources.