What makes taxation NOT theft?

What exactly makes taxation NOT theft? I mean doesn’t it violate the right to private property since the government uses coercion?

Like how does the government derive its legitimacy to do this (that would differenciate it from, say, a group of bandits)?

And if your answer to that is God, then how can we recognize governments that God deems legitimate?

Thanks.

The only reason “private property” exists is because governments designate and defend certain things as private or public property.

“Private property” didn’t exist in the stone age apart from whoever had the strength to keep what they wanted. A nobleman technically owns private property, which belongs to him as a result of his warlord ancestors, but if there wasn’t a government defending his claim then somebody else with sufficient strength could come and take it any time and then it would be somebody else’s property.

People gradually started coming together and made additional rules to society. Generally speaking, God endorses mankind’s imperfect attempts to create rules and order since they can help better society and make it more Christlike. That means things like taxation. But if you don’t want to be taxed then you’ll also have to accept keeping what is yours through your own strength.

3 Likes

It’s part of the social contract. No man can survive without cooperating with others. Do you like roads, schools, and peace? Then pay up.

14 Likes

This sounds good, but it still doesn’t differentiate taxation from theft. Taxation is still the confiscation of property from one person, by another person or group of persons using some form of coercion.

It’s still theft even if it’s meant to serve a greater good.

2 Likes

No, it’s a social contract. You agree to it by living in a given society and by using the jointly held things purchased with joint money: roads, schools, police and fire protection, etc.

If you don’t want to abide by the contract, you leave and find a society more to your liking.

7 Likes

You can take that view if you want.

When your neighbors get together and decide that you had a lucky upbringing and that you have too much stuff, they can come into your house and take your furniture and maybe just throw you out. Maybe they’ll hold you or a loved one hostage and tell you to write a large check.

Governments can’t tax anybody so:

A) You can’t call the police
B) You can’t make a legal defense. You can’t make any claim to it being “your property” in the first place.
C) You can’t receive any compensation or reparation.

So I hope you have a loyal group of heavily armed people and that none of these people betray you from the inside.

1 Like

Whoa, I never signed this contract. And why should I leave because you presume that your contrived social contract gives you authority over everyone else?

Well, if you’re not a citizen, why would you stay? Accepting citizenship means you are party to the contract, which is universally recognized by every society—so hardly “contrived.”

4 Likes

Either way it’s still might makes right. And it’s still the theft of property by one person, by another person or group of persons.

So I gather you don’t vote?

3 Likes

Biblical tradition doesn’t agree with that. Nations come together and enact rules to have society run smoothly. God endorses these rules or at the very least he doesn’t condemn them unless there is something intrinsically evil about them.

2 Likes

Never have…never will. In my opinion the lowest form of human life is a politician.

1 Like

You are free, of course, to believe all that you have said above, but why would you make such a statement?

Don’t need mandatory tax to cooperate with others. You can have a voluntary tax to cover those things which would not be theft. This how Church collection basket works.

1 Like

I’m not sure if you’re Catholic but it’s a big part of Catholic morals that we recognize the existence of property rights.

I mean the 10 commandments aluded to it with the 7th and 10th commandments.

It is also a teaching of the Church and a teaching of Thomas Aquinas that property rights are legitimate.

2 Likes

Theft is a crime because there are laws against it. Those laws were enacted by a government. The same government has enacted laws entitling it to collect taxes.

If there were no government, there would be no laws. If there were no laws, there would be no such thing as “theft”. You would be free to take whatever you want, any time you want, from anybody, without paying for it.

2 Likes

The problem with the social contract theory is that governments aren’t really just based on consent. I mean, if I leave this “social contract” then I’ll be evicted out of my own home. How in any way is that a form of “consent” if they’re going to take my property away from me?

3 Likes

This is interesting.

I was merely curious to find out what made you say it. Do you not believe that good, moral politicians can be of benefit to makind?

I personally fall somewhere between a Libertarian and a Republican, as far as economics, size of government and personal freedoms. On some issues, I probably even fall within the Democrats area (very few and not today’democrat party though). I don’t belong to or endorse any political parties though. So I guess I am a constitutional conservative.

That out of the way, OP, I agree taxation can be a form of theft, but I don’t believe all taxation is. You need a certain amount to fund police, fire, military and etc. However I do think we are overtaxed. I have always been a proponent of the fair tax system. No federal income tax but a small national sales tax. I believe the government would raise more funds to pay for necessities and be less of a burden on individuals

2 Likes

I see.You are just trolling. You have come to CAF for the express purpose of wasting people’s time.

7 Likes
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.