The Evil of Taxation

14th April 2002

Taxation is like a primitive tribal ritual, in which ministers are the priests, villagers are the sacrificial victims, and columnists are the witches whipping themselves into a frenzy as the blood flows drawing in the victims with their incantations. The only difference is that savages do not come back every day of their own accord to be bled some more.

The modern witches do not promise a free trip to the afterlife, nor do they feel shame at their repeated failure to provide what they do promise i.e. better schools, hospitals, roads, social security, regulation, safety, food etc. So why do people keep sacrificing themselves?

Because the modern witches hold a crucial psychological weapon: guilt. 'You are too strong, too healthy, too rich, too smart, too successful while others suffer. Don't you feel guilty? You must relieve yourself of this feeling, by sacrificing your blood-money to our priests. Then you will be absolved.' That is how they play on people's compassion and selflessness.

The relief of guilt and the pleasure of the witches and priests in eliciting such admissions of guilt, are clearly the sole purposes of the ceremony. For no one really believes or expects any of the other alleged uses of blood-money to succeed. Just for a minute take away the Government departments that try to run the country and ask yourself, 'who would put a penny into the hands of people like Steven Byers, Alan Milburn or John Prescott?' No one. They are not businessmen, we all know that. They are too full of contradictions, short-term plans, ignorance, evasion and lies. They only stay 'in-business' as heads of their vast operations because of the uncompetitive nature of government - in the commercial world, they would be sharpening pencils for the people who really know how to make things work. As it is, tax makes the world operate in reverse: taking resources from the able and giving them to the inept. Ministers are very much like priests. All a priest can do is spill the blood - they have no special power to resurrect human beings with. All a minister can do is let money drip through his fingers - he has no special power to run a business.

Knowing this, people continue queuing up to suffer as if it were inevitable. But it isn't. Taxation, unlike birth and death, is man-made and can be undone. But first one must accept that we are all born free : free of guilt for being able to live, and free of obligation. No one taxes babies. And no one of any age should be made to accept an obligation by force. Each person should be free to choose with whom he or she deals, and each party must accept the terms voluntarily.

This implies the only true rule of social interaction, which the government too must abide by: that no one may initiate force against the life or property of another. Once this principle is instilled in people's minds, the government will have to get out of the sacrifice 'business' and stick to the only thing force is good for: retaliation.

I suggest we make both Budget Days voluntary national holidays in protest at the whole concept of taxation. Let Brown issue his projections and plans: without the consent of the people he can do nothing, and while he mouths the incantations of the witches for saving the world, we will quietly laugh at his vanity.

Henry Afton