By Nathan Barton
Ronald Reagan had a number of good quips, including this one: “The taxpayer; that’s someone who works for the federal government, but doesn´t have to take a civil service examination.”
And of course, doesn’t get paid for it.
There is a term of doing work and not getting paid for it – actually there are a few. Some, like “pro bono,” (lawyer and engineer talk), which is (presumably) voluntary on the part of the person doing the work and not getting paid anything for it.
But the second, dirtier term for doing work for no pay is “slavery” – the difference is that doing it is not voluntary. You either do it or you get punished, generally with torture or death. Slavery is what we are talking about.
I would also like to argue that slaves, by definition, do not get wages. If they get money or other “valuable considerations,” it is not because they “earned” them but rather, these things are gifts. Which is precisely how the Congress, the various legislatures, even the county commissions and city and town councils (and the bureaucrats that work with them) view the wages, salaries, dividends, and profits that we are “allowed to keep” after they (often literally) take their taxes off the top. They give us what they do not want. We see this in the legal doctrine and practices surrounding things like foreclosures and bankruptcy – the government is the first creditor, taking their taxes off the top. Only then do legitimate debtors get part of what they are owed. Often, after taxes and fines and penalties are taken, there is little left for anyone else.
Again, that is the relationship of master and slave. In some states, it is made even more clear. In the British Commonwealth, I understand, the mortal remains of a subject belong to the Crown – they usually release the corpse to the family but they don’t have to. Any “reason” is adequate justification for that – criminal investigations, need for body parts, or presumably, to be rendered for grease for their tank treads. In the past, when chattel slavery was legal, limitations on what human and corporate masters could do with and to their slaves were in part justified by the higher priority of state ownership of all persons, “free” or “slave.”
Since slaves are literally owned – at least body and breath – by their masters, the gifts granted by the masters, the owners, include life itself. That works two ways. First, someone who kills another “citizen” or “subject” is, in essence, stealing that dead slave from their master, the state. Second, the state as master can “withdraw” the gift of life of its slave at almost any time and for almost any reason; refusing to obey an overseer (cop or bureaucrat or judge), even such things as trespassing or holding something that might be “mistaken” as a weapon. Any “reasonable excuse” justifies the punishment up to and including death, under the right circumstances.
Just as in the past, a human master might be given the benefit of the doubt if a slave was actually killed while being disciplined or due to work hazards, so governments at virtually all levels are assumed to be in the right until proven wrong. (Although the overseers might sometimes get taken to task for the actual killing – even placed on paid leave while being investigated!)
So the next time someone tries to tell you that taxation isn’t really slavery, explain that, if anything, it is probably worse.