Thompson on Taxation

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I was pleased to learn that C. Bradley Thompson, whose seminal "The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism" I frequently cite here, appears in the newsletter of Glenn Beck, a popular conservative commentator.

His editorial is titled, "Individual Rights, Taxation and the Proper Role of Government". Here is an excerpt:

How one thinks about taxes depends more fundamentally on how one thinks about the nature and purpose of government which in turn depends on how one thinks about the rights of individuals. Taxation is a social barometer measuring the degree to which a society is prosperous or poor, free or enslaved, good or evil.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Americans had a very different conception of government than we do today. At the time of the American Revolution, the American people believed that the sole purpose of government was the protection of individual rights - the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Various attempts by the British Parliament during the 1760s and '70s to tax the colonists without their consent provoked the Americans to revolt, to declare their independence from Great Britain, and to develop a radically new conception of government founded on the moral principle of man's rights. [bold added]
I have noted before that I am great admirer of Thompson's ability to apply his pro-reason, pro-individual rights perspective to American history and I hope that Beck features more of his work in the future.

The newsletter is free and I subscribed this morning. So far, my subscription has been confirmed, but I have yet to see whether subscribing today will get you the issue with that editorial.

I'm just back from Boston and swamped. If anyone subscribes today and gets that editorial (or knows how to access any archives), do please leave a comment.

-- CAV


: Added hyperlink.
6-24-08: Bill Brown has found an Internet posting of the whole article. Thanks, Bill!


bbrown said...

I subscribed too but never got the article. I've kept up the hunt and finally found it: "Individual Rights, Taxation and the Proper Role of Government"

Gus Van Horn said...

Nice! Thanks for passing on the link!