One of the most beautiful words in the English language, indeed in any language, is “freedom.”
Yet the word and the concept it describes often mean different things to different men, and at different times in history. This is because freedom, and the enjoyment thereof, is a culturally hidebound idea and is sometimes confused with “licence.” The freedom exercised by a slaveholder in the discharge of his “right” to exploit his fellow men is not the same kind of freedom extended to his slaves.
Similarly, the freedom of the state to tax the labour of its subjects (“citizens” do not pay taxes) finds no counterweight in the freedom of those subjects to resist such taxation. Individuals in most countries in the world today are, on the absolute face of it, most certainly not free to remove themselves from the shackles and chains imposed upon them by national and cross-border bureaucracies.
Furthermore, the trend toward ever larger government and new supranational regulatory structures bodes ill for all those who yearn for the restitution of their God-given rights to live their lives in peace and prosperity, without harming others, unburdened of unwarranted interference and unnecessary restrictions.
Subjects living in what we euphemistically refer to as “modern democratic societies” such as America, France, Britain, Germany, Canada and Australia are given to believe that they are free, so long as they do not transgress the written and unwritten rules that constitute the corpus of statute known as the “rule of law,” which is often capitalised as the “Rule of Law,” as if to emphasise just how sacrosanct this term is meant to be.
Now this rule of law, developed and refined over many centuries in some western nations, or imposed more directly and much more suddenly in poorer “emerging” nations, is today peculiarly distinguished by its cooption of state power in the enforcement of rules and regulations once ministered at a local level by magistrates or a judiciary more directly accountable to those seeking relief or protection. In other words, the rule of law as it is presently exercised throughout much of the world has become an essential instrument of the state in girding its own nefarious purposes.
More ominously, the rule of law has become identified with “globalisation,” also called “free trade,” which is anything but free for those unable to afford its consequences. When economic or political elites seek to expand their monopolistic, anti-competitive writ, they often explain their actions in terms of “spreading democracy and the rule of law.” This is evident in almost any endeavour toward “globalisation,” whether that be the expansion of the European Union, the amalgamation-by-stealth of Canada, the United States and Mexico, the corporate looting of African and South American countries or the military invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
It is of vital importance to the proponents of big government to ensure that all these terms –-“freedom,” “democracy,” the “rule of law” and “globalisation” –- are embedded seamlessly in the daily waking minds of all subjects, so that when any one of them are mentioned in public discourse, all the rest are brought into instant cognitive recall. It is then much easier for ruling elites to create mnemonic hyperlinks to negative terms such as “taxation.” After all, without taxation, they would argue, you cannot enjoy the substantive good that comes with the government-financed sureties of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and “welfare.”
The thinking that informs this kind of apparent modern consensus — whether it is derived from and sustained by political parties on the Left or the Right, the leisure industry, “religious” institutions, contemporary novelists, the media or a combination of two or more of any of these phenomena –- is in and of itself profoundly socialist in nature. It represents the perceived unassailability of collectivism as an organising principle in the provision of both public and corporate welfare. At the level of public welfare, it is manifest in a plethora of Leftist political sects (such as the British Labour Party and various Marxist groups), and at the corporate level it reveals itself in both pre-nascent and fully-fledged fascism. Whichever tag it is assigned, it essentially remains the same creature: socialism.
Socialism is a cause forever looking for a crisis. It is sometimes born of war, evidenced in the introduction of “temporary” income tax in the UK to finance the 1914-1918 war and the rise of “national socialism” in Germany as a response to the privations of defeat in that war. And it often gravitates toward war itself, as we are now seeing in the United States, where corporate socialism –- the redistribution of wealth from the middle classes to bankrupt corporations — can no longer be sustained at the taxpayers’ expense or by means of profligate government spending and runaway fiscal liquidity, thus necessitating military action in the pursuit of foreign prizes in the form of oil and other strategic resources.
The current British Labour government, comprised of “reformed” communists and Marxists, has committed itself to war four times since its ascension to power in 1997, killing more soldiers, women and children than any other British government since the 1939-1945 war. Indeed, British socialists, always keen to distance themselves from the tar-and-feathers press, thoroughly enjoy proving themselves to be more “patriotic” than conservative bluebloods by seizing on almost any opportunity to spill the guts of British boys in foreign fields. It was a Labour government that enforced the brutal suppression of Irish freedom fighters in the 1970s, and a Labour government that sanctioned the most draconian violence in the persecution and torture of dissidents in Northern Ireland.
Quite clearly, socialism kills. National socialism (Hitler’s creed), UK socialism (British Labour Party) and corporate socialism (George Bush’s Republican Party) are in many respects motivated by an all-consuming statist imperative that, like the pagan god Baal, actively seeks out ritual blood sacrifices to validate itself, as its high priests chant the mantra: “freedom,” “democracy” and the “rule of law.” The internal logic of big socialist government turns on the premise that if it is powerful and omnipotent enough to demand and receive fealty in the shape of punitive income tax tributes, it is powerful and omnipotent enough to assume the role of God in the lives of men and exercise dominion over life and death itself.
The lifeblood of this monster is taxation. This is why the most serious crime in most western nations is neither murder nor rape (that’s for the tabloids), but tax-resistance. Withhold your taxes, deny the monster its fix, and you will invariably find yourself confronted by a vast army of bureaucrats, policemen and state prosecutors -– all of whom would have to find real and profitable work in the private sector should others follow your example. In short, you will be crushed, no matter your protestations that you are a “free citizen” living in the “free world.”
And here’s the rub. Any man or woman forced to surrender the fruits of his or her own labour to an anonymous bureaucracy is not free, but a mere slave.
Before starting a new job, it is understood that you and your prospective employer will assess each other in light of the benefits attached to your working together. You will be sent a contract for your perusal, and if the conditions meet with your satisfaction, you will put your signature on the dotted line. There is, however, a third party involved in this transaction that, notwithstanding your self-esteem in matters of business and negotiation, you may have completely overlooked: the state.
Assuming you work in the European Union as an average income earner, this third party has the right to take almost 40 percent of your income directly without ever requiring your permission to do so! Worse still, that third party won’t be happy until he takes an additional 30 percent by means of indirect taxation levied on goods and property in the form of local and “value-added” taxes. That means you will spend 70 percent of your time working for the government, and only 30 percent working for yourself and your family.
Where’s the contract?
For 218 days of the year, you are condemned to break rocks to feed the unrestrained fiscal appetites of bureaucrats in Brussels, London, Berlin and Paris — and it completely escapes your attention?
Let’s hear it again: Where’s the contract?
You signed the contract just by being born. Within hours of God giving you life, the state gave you slavery in the form of a birth certificate and a social security number. Even before you draw your first breath, you are owned by the state and, needless to say, you are in no position to argue. Yet as we grow older, is it not proper to question those things that were forced upon us at birth?
Such as: Is taxation in the European Union legal?
Yes, but only according to statutes written by men, some of whom are now dead.
Is FORCED taxation in the European Union legal?
No, it’s not. In all member countries of the European Union, it is constitutionally illegal “to demand monies with menaces,” illegal to threaten someone with specified or unspecified punishment should he fail to relinquish cash or goods in favour of those issuing the threats. This is primarily a general defence against blackmail, extortion and the forced payment of protection money to secure “personal safety.”
Yet, if you are self-employed and withhold taxes, this is what will happen:
1. The tax authorities (State Mafia) will send you a “polite reminder” informing you that you have failed to submit a tax declaration (Stay Out Of Prison Application) and will set a deadline for the submission thereof. This is more properly called a “begging letter.” Under European law, it is illegal to send strangers begging letters. You are entitled to inform the police.
2. A month later, you will receive another of these “reminders” and will learn that you have lost the premium on your “Protection Policy” and must now pay a surcharge. Again, this constitutes not only a begging letter, but also extortion and threats with menaces. It is illegal under European law, and you are therefore entitled to inform the police.
3. A month later, you may expect a visit from someone who will attempt to present himself as a “tax officer” or some other employee of the State Mafia. He will smile a lot and invite himself into your apartment/home for the purpose of a “friendly” interview. He wants to get to know you, be a pal. After all, he’s only there to “help” you with your little “problem”: “The Boss is a very patient man and he knows how hard things are at the moment. We’re all family and we don’t want any unnecessary friction, do we? But the Boss has problems too: schools to run, kids on welfare, grandma’s pension, new hospitals, prisons. Yeah, prison. Not a fun place to be. Get the picture? Come on son, pay up, and we’ll call it a day.”
It’s at this point that most people break down and come to “some sort of an arrangement” with the State Mafia, despite the fact that the extraction of protection money under duress is a punishable crime under European law. But this is exactly where socialism comes into its own, because socialism pays the police and prison officers to enforce its illegal code of practice; and because these hired agents of state enforcement also have to eat, they comply without any regard as to the morality of their actions.
Most sane individuals know instinctively and intuitively that taxation is theft by another name. We know that it is immoral and even illegal, yet we continue to pay up for fear of punishment. It is only our collective and individual acquiescence in this crime that provides the perpetrators with the succour to continue in their thieving ways, enabling them in the same way friends and relatives enable an alcoholic to go on drinking nary of the consequences, always finding a ready explanation to excuse their complicity.
Reformers, so-called, make the grave mistake of believing they can curb the excesses of socialism by trimming the state and cutting taxes by a handful of percentage points. The effect can be compared to that of a compulsive dieter who reduces her intake of calories in the belief that she can attain the perfect figure. Eventually, her voracious appetite will find all manner of devious ways to tempt her into consuming “something naughty” as a special treat. Having enjoyed the experience, the dieter will then chastise herself and resolve to be extra vigilant in her choice of foods and may even take a more drastic approach to weight loss, perhaps tilting toward anorexic behaviour. It is almost inevitable that her appetite will return tenfold and set her on a binge, resulting in her regaining all the weight she had lost.
It is impossible to deal effectively with the freedom-destroying menace of socialism by curbing its appetite for taxation. Only the complete abolition of personal income tax and the abolition of taxation on freely traded goods and products is sufficient to the very urgent task of setting individuals free to enjoy their lives as they wish, without causing harm to others. God gave to each one of us the gift of life, tax-free. Therefore, those who derive unearned interest or levy charges on the proceeds of that gift stand condemned not only in this world, but also the next.
I believe the time has come for the peoples of the United States and the European Union to settle whatever differences they have and confront the common enemy of Big Government socialism, slaying for once and all time the global tax-hungry monster that is eating out our substance and making slaves of us and our families.
Michael James is a British freelance journalist and translator, resident in Germany for almost 11 years.