Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Yesterday, I alluded
to the complexities of arguing for limited government brought on by
the overwhelming intrusion of improper government into our daily
lives. As an example of this, consider the many difficulties of
arguing for the funding of government without resorting to taxation. In
his book, Individual
Rights and Government Wrongs, Brian Phillips considers this
Many of the objections to the idea that government could exist without taxation arise largely because government has grown far beyond its proper purpose. Most taxpayers are rightly incensed when they hear of the many ways government wastes their money. Taxpayers understandably decry $600 toilet seats, programs that pay farmers to not grow crops, and welfare fraud. They correctly conclude that nobody would voluntarily support such wasteful spending. However, voluntary financing of government would help end irresponsible government spending. (Chapter 16, "Government Without Taxation")The rest of the chapter further elaborates that (1) people routinely pay for their own needs all the time (often, including government and government-like services), (2) historical data suggest that proper government would cost about a tenth of what government currently costs today, and (3) voluntary payment for government would help constrain it to its proper purpose and limit spending within that purpose to more reasonable amounts. I have praised the book here before, but that recommendation bears repeating now. Indeed, I may re-read the whole thing some time in the near future.
P.S. Ending taxation is probably one of the last things that could be accomplished in the process of eventually establishing a fully free society, but similar problems will arise when making the case that other government actions (like regulation) are improper. Furthermore, we have to consider such arguments if we are to uphold that such things are improper on principle, and intend to use such principles to advocate changes in our government.