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by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist

Theft is defined as the illegal taking of another person’s property without that person’s freely given consent. The pertinent word in the context of whether taxation is theft is the word “illegal”.

If I take your watch, car, money without your permission it is pretty clearly theft. It is “illegal”. It is also immoral.

So if the government takes money from a citizen, or many citizens, without their permission, is it theft, or has it somehow been made “legal” (and moral)? Does an Act of Parliament that “legalises by legislation” what would otherwise be clearly illegal, make it properly legal? And does this apply to any taking of property without a person’s freely given consent? Can the Parliament thus make legal that which was previously illegal merely by enacting a piece of legislation?

Now there are some Constitutional constraints on what a government in power can do, but these seem to be pretty ineffective when it comes to the government taking what it wants to take, without the permission of the person whose property is thus stolen. If the Constitution clearly stated that “The Parliament shall enact no law that violates the property of a person or group of people”, then it would seem pretty clear that taxation is theft.

So we are left with a Constitution that allows theft, and other violations of person and property, simply by the passing of a piece of legislation that “legalises” it. Acts that would be illegal and immoral under any concept of natural law are made “legal” by the stroke of a parliamentary pen.

And so it is with “slavery”. It is clearly illegal and immoral for one person or group to enslave another and force them to do what they would otherwise not want to do; but if the government wants to get people to do what they might otherwise not do (like go to war and kill people), then all they have to do is enact a piece of legislation that allows, and makes compulsory often, conscription in an army, whence the conscriptee becomes, by any definition, a slave, perhaps also a murderer. Thus government by the stroke of a parliamentary pen legalises slavery.

We live in a Democracy, a Constitutional Democracy, whereby the people vote to elect the government (and in Australia voting is compulsory, so is this not another example of “legalised” slavery?), and so it is held that such theft and such slavery is legal because a majority have elected a government that enacts the laws that make it so.

But what about the people who did not vote for this party and government? Are they, too, bound to be slaves and victims of theft? Does the very act of voting legitimise the government to rule over even those who did not vote for it?

Can something that is clearly illegal, unethical and immoral (theft and slavery) be legitimised and legalised by legislation? And can it too be thus made “moral and ethical”?

The government clearly tries to legitimise and make moral and ethical its Tax Laws by calling people “tax cheats” who don’t pay what they decree to be “the right amount of tax”. People who, through wanting to keep what they feel is rightfully theirs, or through ignorance of the ever-changing tax rules, can be labelled tax cheats, tax evaders and be forced to pay their “Fair Share”.

Those in the government, politicians and bureaucrats, don’t pay tax. They think they do because they are subject in this respect to the same tax rules as everyone else, but what they are really doing is “paying back” some of what is taken from real tax-payers, the tax producers. Those in government are tax consumers. Should these tax-takers be the ones who are labelled “tax cheats”?

(in order of appearance on
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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