Monday, April 04, 2005

Proletariat, Unite!

My recent 'Taxman' post elicited the following comment from a reader:

"Mr Harrison may not like paying taxef yous, (sic) but without taxes their (sic) would be no police, and with no police thier (sic) would no copyright enforcement, and with no copyright enforcement their (sic) would be no royalities (sic). Do you think Mr Harrison was so taxophobic when he was growing up in Liverpool? Taxes are the price rich people pay for keeping what they have, If you do not believe me check out what happens to rich people during revolutions. If it helps, think of taxes as wealth insurance."

I wrote a rather snarky retort in the comments section which, for reasons unknown, never published and displayed where it could be seen. It's probably just as well. The person who wrote the comments probably can't help thinking what he does. He (I suspect the person is male) is likely a university student or graduate who, throughout his extensive schooling, has been indoctrinated with leftist drivel while little attention was given to teaching him to think independently. Another casualty appears to have spelling and being able to make that difficult distinction among the homonyms 'there,' 'their' and 'they're.'

I'd love to spend some time with this person, over beer or coffee, discussing politics, ethics, and most especially the difference between rights and privileges. He reminds me of a very good friend of mine from over thirty years ago who was, if not an outright communist, a bright-red socialist. As you might imagine, we had quite lively discussions. We lost touch after he moved away and I often wonder what happened to him. I suspect that his current political philosophy is closer to mine than vice versa. In a relatively free political/economic environment, full communism cannot take root. However, a more muted socialism thrives where there is enough economic freedom to allow capitalist suckers to think they exercise control over their own financial destinies, all while their socialist masters tax away and redistribute their wealth.

Communists and socialists think that there is a finite economic pie and that if my slice is larger than theirs, it is unfair. The government's function, they think, is therefore to restore fairness by taking from me and giving to them. Capitalists, they think, are crooks and rogues who become successful only by exploiting the working class. I've heard it all before, read about it, cogitated on it and found the theory wanting.

I pay not only my fair share of taxes, but some of yours and yours and that guy's over there too. I don't mind telling you that it pisses me off. It wasn't always that way. When I started out, I didn't pay much tax because for years, as I built my businesses, I had little or no income. I knew I wasn't paying my way and that I was, essentially, a charity case. People who paid more in taxes than I did, paid my way. I also knew that the situation would change, over time, and that for a while after I started paying more than my share of taxes, I wouldn't mind. I was, after all, catching up, from when I wasn't paying my own way. Now that I feel I have caught up, I no longer want to be taxed to death.

The loonies of the left seem to think that paying one's 'fair share' means paying until you bleed, not a more equitable and reasonable system based on, at least loosely, what your benefits as citizen and taxpayer might be. I have discussed the fair share issue before, here.

My son has recently been reading Karl Hess,' "Capitalism for Kids." Yesterday, we discussed some of what he is learning from the book. We spoke about what it takes to become financially successful. One of the things my son asked me was, if I know so much about business and investing, why aren't I more aggressive in applying my knowledge and in becoming really rich.

That was a complicated question to answer but I knew the answer. I told him that, for me at least, there are two very important considerations. I made the mistake of working too hard and too long when I was younger and saw the harm it did to my relationships. I don't want to repeat that mistake. The second consideration is that I hate supporting under-contributing partners. I've had a few of those. Any business relationship in which one or more partners goof off while others do all the work, is doomed to fail because of the lack of fairness and the resentments that arise as a result. Via taxation, the government is an under-performing partner. I hate paying them when I get very little in return for my tax dollars.

It's that simple.

So, my commenting friend, I have no hostile feelings towards you. I encourage you to read Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek to get a wider view on things economic. Read Thomas Sowell to see how economics ties into how we live and interact with each other.

Above all, search out anything and everything 'libertarian' on the internet and discover how free people can live in a free society and prosper in a peaceful and equitable manner.

And if you're ever in London, Ontario, let me buy you a beer.

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