This great thought from our friend and noted humanitarian Larken Rose:
Every once in a while someone brings up the idea that certain “excise” taxes, such as taxes applied only to certain activities or products, count as being voluntary because they are fairly easy to avoid (don’t engage in that activity, and you won’t owe that tax), and that taxation, in that case, is therefore not theft.
But this is not the case. If I told you that I was going to rob you, but only if you rode a motorcycle, or wore boots on a Thursday, or bought cupcakes, that would still be me threatening violence and theft, even if you could avoid the robbery by changing your behavior. In fact, almost all taxes are “avoidable” if you try hard enough (other than “per capita” taxes, which can only be avoided by literally not having a head). If you don’t want to pay property taxes, don’t own property. If you don’t want to pay sales taxes, don’t buy anything. If you don’t want to pay income taxes, have little or no income.
Obviously living your life without distilling whiskey (thus avoiding whiskey distilling taxes) is a lot easier than living your life without buying anything (to avoid sales taxes). But regardless of how easy or difficult it is to avoid incurring a certain tax liability, taxation is always immoral theft. To pretend that it is “voluntary” because it is avoidable is like saying that walking through a dangerous neighborhood at night (which you could choose not to do) counts as “agreeing” to be beat up and robbed.
If you gain as much from Larken’s insights as we do here at Openly Voluntary, please consider making a donation to him through Freedom’s Phoenix.