'Progressive Libertarianism'

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Until
recently, I was dead-set against the idea of a National Sales Tax
(NST or "Fair Tax"), and somewhat aghast at the idea that
some of my fellow libertarians would waste precious time and resources
actually proposing an entirely new federal tax. Couldn't we just
work on proposing ways to reduce taxes, and let the statists work
on proposing new taxes? What were they thinking!? (or, as
one very patient person has taught me to ask of myself and others:
"What, were they thinking?" — a subtle but important
difference).

But now I've
seen the light. I'm pro-fed-sales-tax all the way. After all, the
government needs that money — gosh, even with what they have so
far, they're already in debt! And it would cause great hardship
(beyond the obvious political hardship, that is) and inconvenience
to a lot of folks who depend on that money — we certainly can't
just propose cutting them off all at once. As soon as they see how
much they're paying in sales tax, they will surely take up arms
to lower the tax anyway. Well, except for those people who are net
receivers of the tax, that is — which will be just the same number
of people who are net tax-receivers now. And just think of the secondary
benefits! Sure, we'll still be paying exactly the same amount in
federal taxes, but we'll have gotten rid of the IRS — there's something
to be said for that, surely? And it will be so much simpler and
convenient to have your money taken from you — no messy forms,
no invasion of privacy. And a regular check from the government
for everyone — at least if they register their address with the
feds like good like citizen-droids. I can really get behind that;
it makes the sales tax concept so much more progressive!

In fact, I
like this new u2018progressive libertarian' way of taxing so much, I
think we need to extend this model to other areas where the state
is overbearing and evil. We could have u2018libertarian' wars of aggression
against other countries – maybe replace the Pentagon with a Hexagon
and choose targets of foreign aggression by throwing a dart at a
board – progressive libertarianism in action! Because, of course,
it would be so inconvenient to the warfare part of the welfare-warfare
state to just do away with foreign aggression altogether. And, inconvenience
is so … well, so inconvenient. We wouldn't want to inconvenience
the folks at Haliburton by making them look for respectable and
useful work, would we?

But here's
my contribution to Progressive Libertarianism: The National
Death Penalty. The NDP (or "Fair Murder") would replace
the current unfair and anti-progressive Federal Death Penalty. Because,
of course, we couldn't just end the Federal Death Penalty
— think how many people that would inconvenience! The NDP would
work like this: instead of having a lengthy process of trial and
appeal which consumes so many resources and lets people with superior
resources (sometimes) get away, the NDP would make the federal government's
job of killing people so much more efficient and fair by simply
selecting at random the recipients of the death penalty. Think of
the benefits! No massive federal bureaucracy of death — just
a simple Death Lottery. No invasion of privacy — we can just enroll
everyone getting their u2018prebate' check from the NST into the NDP
program, and pull names at random. Think of the paperwork reduction!
But do I hear an objection from the back of the crowd? Innocents
would be murdered, you say? Well, how would that be different from
the current operation of the Federal Death Penalty? Look, you can't
just expect the state to stop murdering people all at once,
can you? Be realistic! Besides, the more innocent people who are
murdered, the more quickly people will rise up against the state
to stop all state-murder. We hope.

You see what
can be accomplished when we start applying Progressive Libertarian
solutions to the problems caused by government? All it takes is
a willingness to think outside the box and get with the program
— to understand that government isn't going away no matter what
we do, so it's better if we forge our own chains rather than let
someone else do it. Because at least in that case we'll have more
comfortable shackles, and that's what really counts these days.
To some people, anyway.

November
25, 2005

Susan
Hogarth [send her mail]
is a brain-imaging research coordinator in a neurodevelopmental
disorders research group. Visit her
website
.

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