Trump’s Right, Paying Taxes is for Chumps


By ilana mercer

Almost every penny left in the grubby hands of federal officials is squandered, wasted, misused or misallocated. Every penny kept from the federal behemoth is private property conserved and saved.

One of Donald Trump’s virtues is that he appears smart enough to instinctively know what I just said. It benefits business and everyone else if as much private property remains in private hands, so that it’s put to the best use possible.

I’m talking Trump taxes.

It’s alleged that over two decades, Trump had the good sense to pay almost no taxes by declaring close on a billion dollars in losses, before 1995. This, at least, is my understanding of this particular trumped-up case against the candidate.

At the risk of offending the crass utilitarians who make up the cattle that is the commentariat, I’ll talk natural rights.

It has become anathema to float the outrageous idea that a man owns the proceeds from his labor, completely, and that whatever government takes from him or her amounts to private property stolen.

It’s considered an equal outrage to so much as suggest that your prime real estate is your body. And that what you do to sustain your corporeal self—the money you make—is an extension of your body and 100 percent yours.

Certainly from the fact that the state skims 30 percent or 45 percent, or some random sum, from your pay—it does not follow that this law is preordained by a higher power.

Neither does it follow that, by virtue of being decided by 535-odd clowns in the Lower and Upper Houses, property confiscated by force—taxation—is sanctioned by the same higher power.

You may also wish to consider that the US government no longer pays for its obligations, but continues to borrow against the future earnings of its people. What is not borrowed by government or counterfeited by the Federal Reserve is confiscated from individual Americans via taxation.

So preventing a thief and counterfeiter from seizing funds that’ll be further misused and misspent is a laudable thing. Moreover, what the state takes from you is fungible—in other words, the government can put your money to use as it sees fit, not as you see fit. It can meddle all over the world, sponsor the importation of refugees who may kill Americans and consume resources you’d rather see spent on America’s own displaced and destitute.

While I’m making mischief, in the context of self-ownership, consider the following:

Liberals insist a woman owns her body. That’s what undergirds their insistence that she may eliminate fetal tissue from within her body.

So be it.

But if ownership of their bodies is the ethical basis upon which women can choose to abort their babies; why can’t a man or a woman, for that matter—both of whom presumably own their bodies—keep private property accrued through the use of that same body’s labor and smarts?

I mean, is your body—your mind, soul and corporeal self—yours only when it suits liberals? Is your body your own only for the purpose of killing what’s in it, but never for the purpose of keeping what it creates?

Trump is accused of not parting with enough of his private property, taxes, which he was supposed to hand over to a shakedown agency; to what is essentially an engorged, voracious organ called government.

But put it this way: Whatever Trump did with his funds is better than what the government would have done with them.

Private property in the hands of its rightful owner is always better utilized than in the possession of centrally-managed, politically-driven systems. The perennial misallocation of funds in such centrally-managed systems is inescapable, because there is no private property in a government system.

“Oh, we’ll reform government,” conservative and liberal politicians keep promising. They lie. If they claim to be able to run the state apparatus as they would their own privately owned businesses, they lie.

Why? In a government system the concept of scarcity doesn’t exist. Why do scarcity and conservation not exist in government-run departments and systems? Not because the people are necessarily bad, but because the incentives motivating them are inverted and perverse.

Again: The imperatives associated with private property are not in operation in government.

Government misuses your taxes, or Trump’s taxes, because once in the government’s coffers, that money belongs to nobody. It’s held collectively, not privately. Government will forever end up misusing, misallocating, squandering or wasting resources, because this is money held communally, not privately.

Money that is not yours, and comes easily, by simply pointing a gun at someone and saying, “Your Money or Your Life,” a la the IRS; money you’ve not worked to earn—this money will never be put toward its most productive use, but will generally go towards shaping production and society in politically pleasing ways.

You can’t reform government no matter how hard you try. You can only minimize it, or cut it so that it “can be drowned in the bathtub,” to paraphrase Grover Norquist.

The accepted piety is that it’s patriotic to pay taxes. Quite the opposite. Be glad that Donald Trump withheld taxes, because that’s money not spent killing people (ours and others) in faraway lands, overpaying them here at home, affirmatively hiring dead wood, and generally growing the oink sector.

ILANA Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer based in the U.S. Her acclaimed, weekly column, begun in Canadian newspapers, has been going strong since 1999. (See Articles Archive.) ILANA is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa  (2011). Follow her on Twitter & on Facebook. Subscribe to ilana’s new YouTube channel. This shy, retiring writer/thinker promises to get better at it.

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10 comments

  • The US quaintly describes the failure to pay taxes due as a ‘crime of moral turpitude’. I know this, because such an offense would have disbarred me from obtaining a ‘green card’.

  • Absolutely right Ilana.

    In fact, taxation is far worse than just taking away your right to the product of the labo(u)r of your body. Every time a penny is taken from you in taxation, that destroys the part of your life, which you used to earn that penny.

    Taxation is murder by a trillion cuts.

  • I want to apologise to Ilana Mercer.

    I slagged her support for Trump some time ago.

    I was wrong.

    Trump may not be a good President as I doubt that there is any such thing. But even if he is King Log he will be 1000x better than the Clinton Bitch.

    The damage he has done to the cultural Marxist elites makes the whole thing worthwhile already.

    I hope and pray that he wins and the people of the US can see through the MSM bullshit.

    My apologies Ilana Mercer.

  • It’s also worth noting that this media fiasco is about a pretty normal practice of carrying forward losses to my understanding, which is hardly some exotic form of ‘avoidance’, although I endorse the latter, too. As usual, the MSM is silent on Clinton’s far greater scandals or the shady dealings of the Clinton foundation. They prefer to obsess over Trump’s harmless banter.

  • Can government intervention enhance liberty? I think this is possible in highly contingent circumstances such as we have at present in the West, where we have mixed populations consisting of differing groups that are vastly unequal in capability. In those circumstances, certain interventions could have the effect of privatising social costs and thus removing or mitigating the need for broader state interventions.

    Examples would include the type of social-democratic policies that Trump advocates: including the federal minimum wage, paid maternity leave (which Trump says he will introduce), tenured housing, and so on.

    Do any libertarians here have any thoughts on this?

    • Well Tom, my answer is no. No political intervention can ever enhance liberty. Even those interventions, that are (supposedly) intended to ameliorate the bad effects of earlier interventions, usually end up making things worse in the long run.

      Put simply, the only legitimate functions of a government are to deliver peace and objective justice to all its subscribers. And that’s it.

      • Neil,

        Statists have a basic choice between regulating and providing. If interventions such as wage controls and tenured housing result in lower taxation and less overall state involvement in the economy and society, then why shouldn’t libertarians pragmatically support this under really existing conditions?

        What I am suggesting is that, where very different groups with vastly different capabilities live within the same nation-state, governments have to intervene to ensure basic needs are provided for and to also tackle “discrimination” (i.e. the majority group naturally favouring their own kind). Unless the state distorts the market correctively, it has to assume the responsibility as provider. Hence, whether or not the intention is to do so, some corrective interventions could be regarded as enhancing liberty (or, if you prefer, minimising the reduction of liberty) by imposing social costs (e.g. homelessness) on specific people (e.g. landlords) rather than on broader society through the tax system.

        The alternative to, say, tenured housing, would be a situation where the government funds or subsidises mass housing to ensure that people who are not capable of housing themselves can be housed, which in turn reduces choice and harms liberty. By regulating tenure instead, the need for public housing is lessened.

        In a nutshell – by privatising social costs through regulation, the state avoids loading those costs on the taxpayer. However, I accept that this does not address the problem that the state has become a morally-privileged (sovereign) institution in which statists assume more and more unearned power for themselves.

        As for the rest of what you say, taking it on its own merits and putting to one side the point above, first, I think you are going to have to define some of the terminology you use – what is “peace” and what is “objective justice”? To me, these words are socially-constructed and their meaning depends on time and place.

        Peace could mean a society without conflict or a society without war, or both, or it could mean a society with lots of war and conflict but in which populations live under the domination and protection of one or more ruling elites. I suspect what you mean by “peace” is a society not necessarily without violent conflict, but in which such means are not used to settle disputes. All well and good, but is that the default human setting? Has there been a time in recorded human history when we weren’t fighting each other or didn’t live in societies built on violence and the threat of force?

        As for “objective justice”, you would need to explain the basis of this, since I do not see how justice can exist independently of human beings. I know the Sun and the Moon are objective. They will continue to exist after I am gone, after all of us are gone, indeed after humanity itself is gone. But justice is man-made and therefore inherently subjective (i.e. based on and influenced by prevailing opinions) and relative (i.e. it relates to our experiences and surroundings).

        Liberty is a relative term too. There is no absolute liberty, because there are natural limits to it, and in practice, social limits as well. We cannot simply do as we please. We have “political intervention” because people are flawed and unequal. I see the matter as a question of practicality, and I regard libertarianism, in so far as it is valid at all, as just a belief in the maximum amount of liberty in any given circumstances. The more unequal and the more flawed people living together are, the more political intervention will be required. Appeals to liberty will not cure this and are akin to shouting into the ether. You cannot change human nature – though I accept that human nature is difficult to define and it can be lazy to interpose ‘human nature’ in any discussion. It’s a catch-all answer to the unexplainable. Why do women lie six times before breakfast? It’s their nature. Why are people violent for little or no reason? We’re animals, it’s our nature. Why do people believe obvious lies en mass, indeed why are people in general so stupid in political terms? It’s human nature, the hive mind. And so on.

        A society with nil or minimal political intervention (i.e. without a morally-privileged state, or with a minarchist state only) is possible, but I think we are in broad agreement that such a society would need to have some kind of shared value system. You have referred to Nozick’s utopia of utopias.

        This is where we come to one of the polite disputes between us. In my view, each ‘utopia’ would have to be made up of people of broadly similar capabilities who have a shared culture. I would assert that racial and ethnic distinctions have arisen organically, through thousands of years of selective assortment, as a natural way of resolving this problem. In other words, we already have (or had) our ‘utopia of utopias’ in the form of different civilisations and different nation-states, albeit that it was a ‘work in progress’.

        What do I mean by work in progress? I refer you back to my perspective above on libertarianism. I would assert that libertarianism is more of a philosophy than a strict doctrine or ideology. In a different thread, Dr. Gabb has asserted that tradition and markets is the ‘most that’s on offer’, but there can be no end point to history. For instance, we can conceive of a society in which markets are abolished, in the name of liberty. The nation-state is not an end point either. Britain’s population before the 1950s was just such a society – something like 98% white European, of which the vast majority were of north-western European descent. During the 18th. and 19th. centuries, there were workhouses in Britain for people the Victorian commissioners called ‘paupers’ (not the poor as such, but the idle and wretched). Thus, even in a society made up of very similar types of people, there were still the evils you speak of – but that can be put down to the state. Or is it just human nature for one group to exploit another?

        • Tom, this is Ilana’s thread and I don’t want to hi-jack it.

          Suffice it to say that I’m working on the issues you bring up here.

        • Actually Tom, I already addressed quite a few of these things in this essay from a few months ago:

          https://thelibertarianalliance.com/2016/06/14/equality-justice-and-the-social-contract/

          • Neil, I don’t think that essay addresses my points on equality.

            To clarify, I am in favour of equality. I think it is a necessary condition in advanced human societies that there is a broad matching of capability, prestige and achievement among the population. Equality is a feature of Western societies. Inequality is more a feature of Third World societies. As we become more like the Third World, inequality in our society deepens – partly because we are allowing in groups of people who have evolved differently and do not share our broad capabilities.

            When I think of equality, what I have in mind is Aristotlean (or Hegelian) equality – i.e. “Equality consists in the same treatment of similar persons…” I believe that is the only form of equality that can work in practice. The way I apply Aristotle’s equality is to reject equality and justice as merely abstract propositions or free-floating concepts, and instead treat them as situational concepts.

            For you, the approach seems to be quite positivist (which I suppose befits a Cambridge mathematician). You start with the value or concept and then apply it using impeccable logic, rather like one would program a computer.

            I adopt a messier, less logical approach. For me, it’s the other way round – I begin by acknowledging the way people really are: unequal, incapable, dishonest, lazy, greedy, avaricious, etc. – and work from there in building a realistic social model that reflects human nature. I believe that qualities and attributed such as honesty, generosity, kindness and other decencies, exist only because they confer some evolutionary benefit. They are not desirable things in and of themselves. Rather they are the result of social relations and material conditions.

            I believe we have evolved to rely on collectivist identities (as well as having individual identities). Orwell’s much-misunderstood essay on ‘nationalism’ tackles this awkward feature of human nature. Orwell concluded with a grudging acknowledgement that we are tribal. This tribalism serves evolutionary ‘purposes’ – it’s a shortcut to identifying the genetically fittest in a particular environment. A great deal follows from this, including (as I see it) a number of difficulties with your ideas.

            That said, I did enjoy reading your essay. Your work is very impressive.

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