argument top image

Is taxation theft?
Back to question

The government has no right to tax

The government does not possess rights that the citizenry does not possess itself, yet it acts upon them without punishable consequences.

The Argument

In the Second Treatise of Government, John Locke presents the proposition that the power of governmental authority is derived from the consent of the governed. Extending the basic premise of this theory, L.K Samuels constructs the Ruler’s Paradox in In Defense of Chaos. Since the people are the possessors of all the rights, they behold the electoral power to vote upon their desired leaders and bequeath to them the consent to be governed by them. This consent entails some of the rights which they possess; to elucidate: no governmental rights can exist which the citizenry do not enjoy. Taxation is not a voluntary action. Failure to file for your taxes promises financial and potential legal repercussions that affect an individual’s reputation and comfort in society. L.K Samuels thus argues that taxation must be voluntary or else it breaches the consent of the social contract democracy. The governmental authority is derived from the rights that they share with citizens, and hence the crux of the argument appears when the people do not have the right to forcibly take someone’s money without consent.

Counter arguments



[P1] The government derives its rights from the rights that the people possess. [P2] Citizens do not have the right to take money from someone without punishable consequences. [P3] The government takes money from people and does not face punishable consequences.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 26 May 2020 at 08:35 UTC

Explore related arguments