What is slavery?
Libertarians tend to include taxation – involuntary taxation – as a form of slavery. That is, taxes forced out of people (whether the force is actual or implied/threatened) for which nothing of worth is actually exchanged. It is also theft or stealing, but because taxation (particularly of income or sales and use taxes) demands that a person work and turn part of what they earn or profit they gain by their work: it is certainly a form of theft. Equally, since government (or others who levy taxes) are stealing a part of our lives – time earning money that could be used for our own purposes, good or bad), this is a form of slavery.
We are constantly told that government provides all those wonderful things for us using the money taken from us in taxes. So too, the slaveowner provides the essentials of life (at least the most fundamental: food, water, shelter). With the plantation or estate or factory slave, the services provided to the slave has no real relationship to the services expected of the slave. Is it not the same with tax slavery?
In the Tanakh (the Old Testament) we read that God, the Creator, only required 10% of the profit – the net income – of the Hebrews be given to sustain the temple and the priesthood. Yet government routinely – especially in the 21st century – demands far more than that. Indeed, in many jurisdictions, the government collects 10% just in sales and use taxes: in addition to income taxes, and excise taxes, and many other taxes. Although the New Covenant (of Christ Jesus) does not specify such an amount, His followers are encouraged to give generously to others – including those who preach and teach the Bible. And these, we see in the various books of the Bible, like the Jews before them, are considered servants (slaves!) of God. But He does not even require a specific amount: rather, they are to give as they “are prospered.”
So even if low levels of taxation might not be slavery, we certainly can argue that anything more than 10% is definitely slavery, can we not?
We can further discuss the price paid for slavery – beyond the mere money cost. The costs to society are and have been enormous: both to the societies from which men and women and children were stolen and to the societies which used (exploited) the slaves. Costs in productivity and prosperity. Costs in peace. Costs in trust and fear. While these are hard to quantify, we nevertheless can see these costs in history, time and time again.
In just one type of example, consider the cost of slaves revolting against their condition. The American South (or even the Americas in general) are far from the only location where slaves have revolted with bloody consequences, whether those revolts were put down (Spartacus in Italy comes to mind) or successful (the revolt of the Jews under the Maccabees against the Syrian Empire or the Haitian revolt against France).
Today, it is easy to try and equate the price of slavery strictly being one of money. That is clearly not accurate. So the demands for reparations (monetary reparations) fits that misunderstanding.