Well of course I don’t ‘love’ tax, but even I must concede it is a necessary (and imperfect) evil in a money world.
Many of you will be familiar with the ‘taxation is theft’ memes that have been doing the rounds for the last few years. The suggestion that the system is unfair is perfectly fine with me, but I find this particular approach quite misleading and unhelpful to change movements as a whole.
You see, the theory of taxation is actually quite sound. In a monetary society, where money is the de facto way to get things done, tax makes sense to create and maintain essential infrastructure and deliver services to the community.
The problem with tax (again, within a monetary context) is how those tax dollars are spent. In the case of the US for example, a large slice goes towards maintaining their insane war efforts across the world. And, in all countries, a lot of tax is frittered away in pointless bureaucratic waste – usually in the form of endless reports, swollen parliamentary expenses, political tribunals and inquiries, and other legal blind alleys that have little or no bearing on the actual running of society.
One could then readily argue that waste of tax money is tantamount to theft, but of course ‘waste’ is a subjective noun. What we might consider a waste of money might not be considered waste to invested parties or beneficiaries of that spend. To many people, it’s perfectly reasonable to produce heavy tomes of judicial or consultancy reports. Such is just the nature of business in government. It can also be argued that a government that did not conduct due diligence and made decisions with little or no professional investigation could be considered a menace to society.
So, why do I care anyway? I’m here to see about abolishing the antiquities of money, rule and trade altogether. For me, the monetary system is obsolete anyway, so why would I defend the government’s right to tax people?
Well, that’s not my point of concern. My concern is that activists attempting to ‘flip the switch’ in people’s brains by alerting them that the government may be robbing them defies a general common sense that any civilised society relies on input from its people to succeed – and this is an idea I do very much support. An Open Access Economy is, after all, a society based on community effort.
I think the ‘taxation is theft’ motto has perhaps the opposite desired effect. Its defiance of common social sense automatically instils a sceptical response, and may have the knock-on effect of engendering animosity towards change movements generally and perhaps reinforcing adherence to the established system.
Also, the inflammatory use of the word ‘theft’ suggests criminality more than it suggests injustice or inefficiency – which are far more accurate descriptors for the problems of the current tax system.
There are, in my opinion, far better ways to flip people’s switches and help them see an alternative possible reality than merely tarring current actors as criminals. Negativity begets negativity in my view.
Let’s promote positive alternative systems and actors instead. Let’s try and open people’s minds by showing them the fledgling better systems already underway like Freeworlder, OpenSourceEcology, Envienta, Simbi, HelpfulPeeps, FoodSharing, The Venus Project, The Zeitgeist Movement, Ubuntu, New Earth Nation and far beyond the small-mindedness of tax and punishment altogether.