SLAVERY IS STILL SLAVERY

As to the flat income tax, I am an ardent supporter, as long as it is zero percent. Perhaps I have a simplistic, moralistic view, but I have always thought that slavery was wrong. I know it is unfashionable to think in terms of absolute morality, but human slavery is just plain *wrong*, and it cannot be justified by any so-called common good that comes of it. It was tried in Mississippi in the 1850's, and we will not have it again. Or will we?

What is slavery, in simple economic terms, if not a 100% tax on income? You work, but someone else gets 100% of the benefits. Oh, they may give you a shed to live in, and give you some food! But you are still a slave, because you had no choice as to the arrangement!

Since I consider myself to be a free person, I can see no justification for any taxes on my income, as it constitutes a form of partial enslavement.

My body, my choice--my income, my choice.

And since I consider everyone ELSE (who is not convicted of a violent crime) to be FREE PEOPLE, I cannot justify taxing their incomes any more than I can justifying taxing mine.

Where have I gone wrong? Is 100% slavery absolutely wrong, but 50% or 25% or 17% slavery OK? Where and how do we draw the line?

Who can say that 17% slavery is acceptable, but that 19% is not?

Once it is established that partial slavery is legally and morally acceptable, politics becomes a battle over how much your group gets to enslave your neighbor, and how much her group gets to enslave you. (In the flat-tax debate, this translates directly into a discussion of which kinds of income will actually be counted as income, and which kinds won't.)

In THAT political environment, taking personal responsibility becomes more and more difficult, and less and less likely. In THAT environment, the only "logical" choice is to play the politics of envy, which leads to class division, which leads to hatred, which leads to the destruction of civility.

As partial slaves, we must CATEGORICALLY REJECT the idea that our only political choice is to gang up and try to enslave others. The only real choice available to a slave is to escape the clutches of the master, and to help other slaves escape the clutches of their masters. Harriet Tubman was right.

We must choose between slavery, envy and dissension--on the one hand--and freedom, choice, and voluntary association on the other.

Ah, but how do we support minimal govt, and keep it minimal? How do we guarantee justice and human rights, defense of the nation, and a system of law, WITHOUT this corrupting institution of partial slavery known as the INCOME TAX?

I will leave the answer to a future posting, wheren I will re-introduce the economic thinking of Henry George, a man who influenced Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, and millions of people, a century ago.


--Al Date

Back to the Provocative Essays page