Principled stances on taxation:

  • “Taking property is theft!” (Anarcho-Capitalism)
  • “Claiming you own property is theft” (Anarcho-Communism)
  • “Taking property is theft, but acceptable for the Greater Good” (Various consequentialists)

Unprincipled stances on taxation:

  • “You CAN own property but taking it isn’t theft because of a Social Contract that you never agreed to.” (Unprincipled capitalists, e.g. most modern ideologies)
  • “Claiming you own property is theft, but if you use the car that Comrade Iosef drives, the police will get you even though it isn’t Comrade Iosef’s car” (Unprincipled communists, i.e: “communists.”)

Surely you can’t define theft without a concept of property, thus you can’t define property in terms of or in opposition to theft.

If you accept a consequentialist position on taxation then the debate is over:

“People would prefer to hang on to things, but there are reasons why we have to take things away from them, for the greater good”.

In practice most of the social contract viewpoint comes back to this anyway, as people wouldn’t defend a social contract if they thought it gave bad outcomes.

“The claim that I am not allowed to drive this car due to metaphysical constraints is a claim that belongs to the category of claims that I will punish according to a legal code that is written beneath the char[5] ‘theft’ “

Incidentally, initializing a fixed-buffer non-w charstring is treason.

(Also there is a real difference between “I am taking this from you because somebody else needs it” and “I am taking this from you, as you have agreed to, so don’t welsh on that agreement.” In tumblr parlance, one of these is gaslighting.)

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