What Libertarians don’t understand

There’s lots of things our government does that I disagree with. So I try to elect people who will pass laws that I agree with. Sometimes I lose and a bunch of laws are passed I don’t like.

I don’t claim then that those laws are “forced” against me and that my rights are being violated.all-cats-are-libertarians-mary-fanning

And that’s the reason why many of us just can’t debate some libertarians, because they have this double standard: If they like the law personally, it’s fine but if they don’t like it, they are being forced to obey it and that’s just evil!

I don’t think laws I don’t like are evil. They were passed through our democratic process and I can try to get that changed. I don’t always get my way. That’s what democracy is all about. Sometimes your side loses.

If libertarians said, “Well, we lost, but we’ll try to win next time” then we can discuss the merits of libertarian philosophy. But instead we often get “You people who won are taking away my right to not obey the laws I don’t feel like obeying!”

Well, suck it up. We all have laws we don’t like that we have to obey. That’s what being in a democratic society is all about.

The main problem I have with libertarian philosophy is that they see programs where we ask everyone to pitch in a little to help everyone a lot as “theft” and then complain that they are “forced at gunpoint” to pay taxes to support this stuff.

That’s where they lose me. Every society in the history of this planet has asked its members to support it in some way. Even the most basic society made you pick berries for the good of the tribe.

We can disagree on how much we should do — that’s a legitimate debate. We can discuss how to make taxation fairer.

But when libertarians say any program is a violation of their rights and all taxation is theft, then instead of looking principled, they just look, well, selfish.

Pick some berries, guys.

“Taxation is thievery” nonsense

Nobody likes paying taxes.  Some libertarians take that to the extreme and claim that taxation is thievery.  They paint a picture of the evil government pointing guns at the helpless citizen (usually naked and wearing a barrel for some reason) implying that it is absolutely wrong for any government to demand that citizens contribute to society.

They long for a world where the government expects nothing from its citizens — you know, like no society that has ever existed in the history of the world.

Humans are social creatures, and unless you live in a shack in the woods away from everyone, you are expected to contribute to the society that provides benefits to you.  Even primitive societies demand that you take your turn gathering berries or weaving.

To demand otherwise is just selfish.

This does not mean that we can’t complain about the unfairness of our tax system.  I do that all the time.  We have a hugely unbalanced system where the average person foots the bills so the rich and the corporations don’t have to.  We could close loopholes and adjust our tax system to be fairer while reducing (if not eliminating) income tax on the majority of Americans — and we’d still be able to balance a budget.

And we can also complain about what the money is spent on.  I also do plenty of that.  We spend too much on things we don’t need, and not enough on things we do need.

There is a lot to criticize about our tax system and where the money goes.

But to turn that into “all taxation is thievery” — well, that’s just selfish nonsense.