Is Taxation a Crime?

Taxation is an integral ingredient of every commercial, corporate and personal transaction. Every facet of our capitalist-fuelled lives involves tax in some respect or form. It is the indispensable element of revenue for the government and it further paves the way for societal development as it results in the development of public goods such as roads and hospitals. However, the identification of taxation as being a form of theft has been the focal point of much deliberation in recent years with autarkists and anarcho-capitalists holding the belief that taxation is a violation of the non-aggression principle by the government. It has further been the subject of multiple political-philosophies stemming from Murray Rothbard’s ‘The Ethics of Liberty,’ in which he argued for the legitimacy of tax resistance and evasion.

Supports of the notion of taxation however, assert that no such violation takes place as they put forward the thesis that the matter of social contracts justifies the government’s actions is reaping tax. The funding of societal provisions which stimulate economic growth such as the development of schools and public institutions are wholly dependent on taxation and thus, impeding the collection of tax will have significant ramifications on society. Without taxation, law and order will further be deterred with the government having no means to reinforce justice which will inevitably place the future of the country in the hands of the Bourgeoisie, sending society down the Marxist spiral.

Contrary to this, the classical liberalist John Locke, synthesises with the notion that taxation is a crime, and cites his theory that, ‘all forms of government authority stems from the consent of those being governed,’ as the basis for his case. Thus, married with LK Samuels’ perception that ‘the citizenry is the holder of all rights,’ they put forward the view that governmental authority must obtain their ‘alleged’ rights from that of the citizenry, hence dismissing the concept of taxation. The Lockean natural doctrine further highlights the flaws with taxation in that since the governments mere existence is to merit the rights of the people, policies which undermine this are thus, contra its telos.

Overall, the precept of ‘How many men,’ can be explored to illustrate the validity of the claim that taxation is a crime. The experiment challenges an individual to determine how large of a group is required before the taking of property becomes the right of a democratic majority. Nonetheless, in the capitalist induced society which we thrive in today, the element of taxation is integral in fuelling the growth of our society, as without the funds to improve public goods, civilisation will again be helpless to an autocratic, monolithic regime.


Contributed by Parampal Singh Sappal



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *