Politics 2: Property Rights and Taxation
Laws upholding the natural right for an individual to protect their life and property are moral because they represent a natural right. In essence, these laws aren’t even necessary, because they repeat an already self evident truth.
However, we seek to universalize our necessary moral code. Modern politics so lack universality, which causes horrible contradictions which undermine the whole system.
Governments must, by the law of universality, follow the same moral restrictions that individuals do, because they are constructed of individuals. Governments do not have the valid right to do anything an individual can not do, because governments are individuals working in concert.
Often, it is the case that “the state” can perform action impermissible for an individual, sometimes as grim as theft and murder. These actions are overlooked as “needed” by the state to “preserve order.” This is a philosophical atrocity, and a mad delusion that undermines the progression of the human race.
Taxation is one such policy. Politicians often debate whether or not taxation should be raised or lowered. None since the 18th century, however, ask whether or not taxes should the be levied at all, when this question is far more important.
Let us take the case of John Smith, a young bachelor working an entry level job. On Smith’s walk home from his city desk job to his apartment, Smith is approached by a mugger. The mugger produces a pistol, and demands Smith’s money, or his life. Smith, terrified, gives the mugger the contents of his wallet, and flees. Had Smith not produced the money, he would surely have been killed. The mugger has offered no contract, no exchange of goods. He has not sold anything to Smith. He has instead used violent coercion against Smith’s natural right to his own life and property. The mugger has committed what no sane man would deny is a crime.
Take then, the case of the taxes levied on Smith. The government requests Smith send them a portion of his income. Should Smith choose not to relinquish his money, a federal agent will audit Smith. Should Smith continue refusing to part with the money he has earned, he will be arrested. Should Smith resist arrest, he will be shot and killed. Smith has again been asked to part with a portion of his rightfully owned property without a voluntary exchange of goods and services. Smith is being violently coerced against his natural right to life and property. The state is, philosophically, no different than the mugger.
A common argument for the necessity of taxation is the goods and services that the state provides. Let us again return to John Smith.
A week after he is mugged, the mugger returns to Smith’s apartment. He brings with him clothes perfectly suited to Smith, food that Smith needs, and even the promise to defend Smith’s apartment from future attack. It would be a mad fantasy to claim that the mugger was justified in taking Smith’s money in the first place. Here, the mugger is analogous to the Mafia, charging “protection money.”
By this same moral principle, that the return to the victim does not justify the original theft, it does not matter that the government may provide Smith a library, roads, wellfare, social security, a police department, public schooling and a military. The government is still not justified in originally agressing against Smith and taking his property.
Taxation is theft. No state is ever justified in taxing its population.
Politics 1: Property Rights in Politics
Man has a natural necessary right to the use of his body. This right is inalienable, and cannot be infringed upon by any establishment.
Thus, men always and necessarily have the right to voluntarily do what they see fit so long as it does not infringe on the free action of others. Men given the right of protection from the violent coercion by others by their nature as men.
Man’s property, being protected by the same natural right as his body, has this same protection. It cannot be taken by coercive violence or fraud. A man can only willingly release his property to a another through voluntary agreement. We find these voluntary agreements, politically, as contracts between consenting adults.
Politically, this means that men can protect their property and lives from violent invasion using violent force. This is commonly expressed through self-defense laws, where a would be robber or mugger can be physically restrained or even killed to protect the property and well-being of his victims. The law simply emboldens a natural right. Because the law is just an expression of a natural, self-evident right, it is valid, and moral.
Politics 0: The Source of Politics
Politics are only relevant to the relationships between man. The principles that guide the interaction between men is, however, already contained in moral theory.
Politics, then, is the machinery used to universalize a particular set of moral theories. In most cases, this is a government, and politics include the specific policies that these governments should or should not put in place.
It is important to remember that politics are guided by morality. Morality first decides, necessarily, what men should and should not do.
Philosophy 2a: Protection of Property Right
Man has the natural necessary right to his own body and voluntary use of it, and by extension, his property.
This principle also grants man a protection of this right. Upon his birth, the individual man is the only entity capable of voluntary working the man’s body. No other entity is given the right to the use of this man’s body for any reason by nature. Thus, nature denies the invasive use of this man’s body as it grants this man the use of his own body.
Thus, no entity can voluntarily violate the body of any man. To do so is to take away the naturally granted right of self-ownership, and to violate the very nature of man itself.
It is a moral crime to hurt, maim, or kill another human being, and is utterly impermissible.
This principle then grants man the right to protect his own body, because it is granted to him by nature, which no man can take away. Men can act, then, in self defense to the degree that it will protect his physical safety.
We have also shown that, by consequence of self ownership, men have the right to the exclusive use of the products of their own labor.
Because men have the right to protect their naturally given rights, men can also protect their property from violent invasion to the degree that it prevents this theft.
Philosophy 2: Property Rights
We have established that man has the natural right to the use of his own body.
If we extend this ethical theory, man then has responsibility of the results of the use of his body. As the man is the only one with the right to voluntarily control his own body, only he is responsible for this body’s action. Take a simple example. If a man picks up a pebble and moves it one foot away from its starting point, he is responsible for this motion. The pebble would not have been moved had it not been for the man’s voluntary intervention. He is responsible for that voluntary action, the moving of the pebble.
What then, for the things outside of man? Men interact with much more of the outside world than simple pebbles.
The stuff of the world, the soil, plants, air, and animals exist in nature. No natural entity belongs to man by its nature, because it is separate and different than man. If deer or cow or wheat or gravel are not, by their nature, related to man. Man could have developed entirely separate from thee entities. Man could have still developed from ape in a world where there were no bison or grapes. Thus, man cannot be ethically and necessarily related to these things. No one owns these things, they simply exist as an accidental part of this world.
What then, if a man hunts this bison, or ferments these grapes?
Men are responsible for the consequences of their actions. While a winemaker puts much more effort into his craft than a caveman moving pebbles, they are ethically the same. In both cases, a man takes something undisturbed and without ownership in nature and transforms it into something which would never have existed in nature.
Because this thing would have never existed without the efforts of this particular man, be it wine or a pile of rocks, the product of man’s effort belongs to him. His necessary right to his own voluntary action is transmitted, by the use of this inalienable right, to the product of his labor.
Man has then the necessary natural right to the products of his labor, or his property.