David Hume on Consent

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David Hume is entirely correct. Of course, I never argued that not refusing to pay taxes implied one consented to them. What I said was we do not know who consents and who doesn’t until there is an option to pay or not pay. I also said that it’s conceivable that some people will consent to a political arrangement that involves paying levies backed up by force.

I think that the slogan “taxation is theft” attempts to make taxation into a moral issue, but I think that attempt fails in general because logically there is a degree of consent to government. I think a far stronger and defensible ground for a moral issue is to argue that making non-consenting people pay taxes is immoral. Who can disagree with that except the people committed to using force on others? Backed into a corner, they will start making arguments about externalities, one society, territory, or the impossibility of several governments or sets of laws in one territory. Or else they will argue for the benefits of imposing force, some human beings on other human beings.

8:32 am on June 8, 2013