November 10th, 2014

Forced Taxation to Fund Schools — For the Good of Society?

I received my annual property tax notice in the mail last week, informing me of the amount of my hard-earned money that the government was demanding I submit, without mercy or exception. The penalty for non-compliance ranges from fines to foreclosure, clarifying to citizens that they do not in fact own the property for which they hold a title; we must pay rent to the government or be evicted.

The tax notice I was provided showed the break down of which government bodies would receive certain divisible amounts, the largest of which is the government school district in which I live—nearly $2,000, and $170 higher than last year’s mandate.

As a homeschooling father, I find this burden to be excessive and unjust. Because this taxation mandate carries with it significant penalties should I fail to pay, it becomes a priority expenditure. As such, the costs of my own children’s education becomes secondary; curriculum, materials, field trips, activities, and other resources needed to help my children learn can only be acquired after I have first financed the education of others’ kids.

“But!” the statist immediately interjects. “Surely this sacrifice is necessary for the good of society—it is the price we pay to live in an educated populace.” This argument is represented fairly well—though in nausea-inducing fashion—by author John Greene, who offered the following comment often paraded around by public school supporters:

We have discovered as a species that it is useful to have an educated population. You do not need to be a student or have a child who is a student to benefit from public education. Every second of every day of your life, you benefit from public education. So let me explain why I like to pay taxes for schools, even though I don’t personally have a kid in school; it’s because I don’t like living in a country with a bunch of stupid people.

This commentary is full of logical fallacies. I definitely benefit from others’ education, which must be contrasted against schooling—the highly regimented, pedagogically watered down, and bureaucratically micromanaged daycare system in which millions of children are now eagerly placed by parents uninterested, unwilling, or unable to shoulder this aspect of their parental stewardship. The result is alarming, suggesting that heavy schooling does not really result in adequate (let alone excellent) education—which, in many cases, happens outside any formal schooling, and often in spite of it. (This definitely was my experience.)

Further, even if schools were a necessary environment to educate a person, it does not therefore follow that everybody who might indirectly benefit from a person’s education must be compelled to finance it. I definitely desire to live in an educated society and benefit from the wisdom and innovation that would follow. But I also desire to live in a religious and moral society—and few people have an appetite for compelling the payment of tithes, requiring attendance at church services, and intrusively ensuring that a person is acting in accordance with the moral standard defined by a panel of politicians whose claim to power is that they won a popularity contest.

The statist will have none of this, side-stepping this rebuttal to assert another illogical argument. “Imagine,” they say, “how oppressive it would be for families with several children to have to finance their own childrens’ education!” At first blush, many might have sympathy with this argument, but it, too, is easily dismantled. The simple truth is that parents have the responsibility of providing for their children, and in deciding how many children to have, must ensure they can adequately provide their offspring with food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and yes, even education. Put simply, I should not be forced to subsidize the family planning decisions of my neighbor.

Education, like any other service provided by one person to another, should be paid for by those who are its direct beneficiaries. Arguing that the societal masses indirectly benefit from my child’s education does not justify coercing others to finance it, any more than does the suggestion that grocery stores should be taxpayer-funded and regulated by the government because society benefits in the aggregate from having a healthy, energetic, and active population. Most initiatives will indirectly affect others, in positive or negative ways, but these corollary consequences are insufficient reason to intervene and impose mandates.

As a father, I hope my children grow to improve others’ lives to find fulfillment in their own. I want them to influence the world around them; a loving person, as Joseph Smith said, “is not content with blessing his family alone but ranges through the world, anxious to bless the whole of the human family.” This aspirational outcome, as it applies to their education, requires it be structured as and considered a blessing every step of the way, by all involved—and coercively taxing others to fund my children’s education divorces the praiseworthy ends from the illegitimate means. It is not an arrangement to which I can in good conscience consent for my own children, and it causes me to protest to being forced into this mandatory funding scheme to benefit other children over whom I am not a steward.

Education is paramount, and society is improved when composed of knowledgeable, hard-working people. This is not in dispute. The statists would have us believe that ends justify means, and that these means are the “price of living in an educated society.” But no price can be legitimately exacted from a person without their consent, and no consent has been granted by parents not using the government school system to shoulder its heavy financial burden in support of substandard educational outcomes for other children in their community. As such, justice demands that they—my family included—should be exempted from being required to pay.

But let’s not kid ourselves—a government that has systematized injustice is unlikely to concern itself with matters of justice such as this.

41 Responses to “Forced Taxation to Fund Schools — For the Good of Society?”

  1. Brad Caldwell
    November 10, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Hi Connor! I hope you and your family are well.
    This is one area where you and I are going to need to agree to disagree. There are many things that the government does that I do not participate in. One example is that I don’t drive down your street or use many of the state/city serves that I do pay for them anyway. My street has been torn up several times over the past many years to replace sewer, water etc. It has inconvenienced me, angered my wife a little and but made is so people downstream from me can have better services. I would hope that everyone in the community or state would help me to pay for what was done to my road not to mention years ago its original construction.
    Now, my kids may never use your roads, I may never place a tire on it. I may never use your highways. I do use a bike from time to time but I suspect that I will never travel down your sidewalks. Should I help to pay for those things, absolutely. I should not only pay for them but I should feel lucky to live in a country as blessed as the one I live in that cares enough about all children/citizens to help them out.
    Now, do I hear your plea and understand your frustration over taxation? Absolutely. We are taxed way too much but our public education system is a good thing. We should be spending our energy fighting to eliminate federal mandates on our Utah state Office of Education and our local districts.

  2. Connor
    November 10, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    “There are many things that the government does that I do not participate in.”

    Agreed. I haven’t argued that these things are justified.

    “…our public education system is a good thing.”

    Who is the collective in “our”? It’s not my system. I’m not a part of it, except for coercively being required to help fund it. I still stake no claim to it. I would like to opt out.

  3. David Terry
    November 10, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    I agree with most things you write about. I will have to agree to disagree on this topic.

    While I agree that parents are responsible for providing for their own children, I don’t think that ALL parents are in a position to do so – and not always due to conditions they can control (a husband dies, a mother with cancer incurs debt beyond the family’s ability to pay, divorce, and yes, the size of a family is sometimes larger than the parents can afford).

    I think we need a baseline of education – below which a “poverty of education” would create a non-sustainable society. There are those who can afford to attend private school. There are those who can afford to go on to college. There are those whose parents have the time and talents to afford a proper home schooling. But everyone, regardless of circumstance, needs at least a baseline of education in order for society to survive.

    It’s great that you want better for your children.

    It’s not so great that you would want to take away that baseline for the “children” of the rest of society just so that you can keep your $2000. How arrogant and selfish. (sorry, that’s just how you came across to me)

    Again, I agree with most of your blog posts. This one took me by surprise.

  4. IA Libertarian
    November 10, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    FWIW, Brigham Young’s apparent feelings on tax-funded education (as found in another of Connor’s posts):

    I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking property from one man and giving it to another who knows not how to take care of it… I do not believe in allowing my charities to go through the hands of robbers who pocket nine-tenths themselves and give one tenth to the poor… Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No! (Brigham Young, via Quoty)

    We had to pay our own schoolteachers, raise our own bread and earn our own clothing, or go without; there was no other choice. We did it then, and we are able to do the same to-day. I want to enlist the sympathies of the ladies among the Latter-day Saints, to see what we can do for ourselves with regard to schooling our children. Do not say you cannot school them, for you can… I understand that the other night there was a school meeting in one of the wards of this city, and a part there–a poor miserable apostate–said, “We want a free school, and we want to have the name of establishing the first free school in Utah.” To call a person a poor miserable apostate may seem like a harsh word; but what shall we call a man who talks about free schools and who would have all the people taxed to support them, and yet would take his rifle and threaten to shoot the man who had the collection of the ordinary light taxes levied in this Territory–taxes which are lighter than any levied in any other portion of the country? (Brigham Young, via Quoty)

  5. iimx
    November 10, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    I don’t have children at all, and I don’t want to pay for someone else’s children in any way. If someone can’t afford children they shouldn’t have any. Plan accordingly.

  6. iimx
    November 10, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    “…few people have an appetite for…ensuring that a person is acting in accordance with the moral standard defined by…a popularity contest.”

    The LDS record on this fails….

  7. Hannah
    November 11, 2014 at 12:22 am #

    As the mother of a special needs child, public education and especially the additional services available through special education have been a godsend. My husband and I are both highly educated, but we would be lost and completely overwhelmed without the professional angels who help work with our child every day. And while there are wonderful neighbors and organizations that play a part in supporting people like our child, no one comes close to offering what we receive through the public school system. I gladly pay my taxes so that families like ours get these and other vital services.

    And while you were very clear about not wanting to pay for other people’s choices, you showed virtually no compassion for the least of these among us–the innocent children who are the ones truly paying for the poor choices or misfortunes of their parents. Really, this post was difficult to read, it sounded so selfish.

  8. Terrymac
    November 11, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    What if government education is more bad than good? Placing children in cloisters for 6 hours per day deprives them of valuable chunks of time, which could be put o better use. An obvious example would be the 30% or so who are “ahead of curve.” If, at age 6, you are already reading Harry Potter” or other fifth-grade reading material, it is a waste of valuable time to read about Dick and Jane and Spot running up hills. If you can already multiply and divide accurately and swiftly, why is your time being wasted with single digit addition?

    Furthermore, government provision of goods and services is wasteful and inefficient; there are no economic incentives to keep costs down. James Tooley and Pauline Dixon have done research on independent parent-funded schools in many of the poorest parts of the world. (The Beautiful Tree) it is surprising that such schools exist at all, according to the bureaucrats. Still more surprising are the vast numbers – as much as 80% of the student population, in some provinces. Further, after testing tens of thousands of students, Tooley concluded that these parent-funded schools lead tonhigher-quality outcomes, at lower cost. Government schools do not improve education; they displace resources from better and cheaper alternatives.

  9. IA Libertarian
    November 11, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    That someone “gladly pays their taxes” is really besides the point. You may willingly and eagerly hand your wallet to the armed robber, but that neither obliges your neighbors to be so eager, nor does it change the fact that your neighbors, who may not be so willing, ARE being robbed.

    Frankly, I’m astonished that some feel this post sounds selfish. I, for one, agree with the post. I try hard to share my substance freely, when I am able; am I nevertheless selfish for resenting the burden I bear when I am COMPELLED to “share” my substance without regard to my ability?

  10. LLP
    November 11, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Amazing how many of the commenters did not even consider the arguments put forth in the post. What part of the end (“educated” populace) doesn’t justify the means (theft) do you supporters of “public” education not understand? Who is “selfish” he who advocates private charity willingly given, or he would compel “charity” at gunpoint?

  11. John Fronk
    November 11, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    You never should have mentioned the government controlled grocery store idea. Don’t give them any ideas! I’m not big on property taxes. There has got to be a better way than people having to pay rent on their property in perpetuity. I feel for retired people on fixed incomes having the burden of property tax on a home that they have worked so hard to pay off all their lives; yet they are still paying. I think there is a place for public education. I enjoyed my public education, but education has deteriorated since the ’70s. Before education was taken over by the feds, there was more local flavor and values such as morals and work ethic were incorporated into the curriculum. That is all gone, yet public schools are supervising children more than ever. They eat breakfast and lunch at school; pretty soon they will be sitting around the dinner table at school and we won’t need the government grocery store.

  12. Saxoclese
    November 11, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Allow me to play “devil’s advocate” in this discussion for a moment. Imagine of Colin and his “ilk” were to actually get what they want in Utah. Those who don’t have or no longer have children in public school could be excused from paying the percentage of their property taxes that go to fund building new schools and for school maintenance. That group of people would also be excused from paying any state income tax which goes to fund public and higher education.

    What would happen then to Utah’s schools which presently have the lowest per pupil funding in the United States coupled with the largest class sizes? I believe there would be one of two scenarios:

    1. Either the additional lack of resources would further shackle public schools to the point they fall even farther behind states with similar demographics, demoralized superior teachers would leave the profession or go to neighboring states, OR

    2. Those with children in school would be taxed more heavily on their property and income (by removing exemptions etc.) to try to make up the difference and to keep the status quo.

    My observation to the Libertarians is simply to “be careful what your pray for—you just might get it.” :)

  13. Monika Orton
    November 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Dear Connor, your article is dear to my heart. I have been upset every year about the property taxes especially the part that goes to the schools. I have homeschooled 7 children, paid for their education and paid for others as well. To think that two highly educated people would send their special child to the care of others boggles my mind. It seems that most have bought into the religion of public education. There is at least one “great and spacious building” in every town.

  14. Iimx
    November 11, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    Upon reading some of the comments above, I think some are misunderstanding. ‘Selfishness’ is the whole point of not being taxed. Why should anyone pay for any expense generated by another persons child? If you weren’t taxed, you could have that much more money to pay for your childs education if you felt they really needed it.

    As for the government run grocery store…its already here! Its been here for quite a while.
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/03/the-9-foods-the-us-government-is-paying-you-to-eat.aspx

    The first 3 probably most goes to supporting items 6 &7. Why should these items be any cheaper at taxpayers expense? Again, if you really wanted to buy those items maybe you would have a little bit more if you were not taxed to reduce its price. I resent paying for items that I do not consume, and feel that people would be better off not consuming as much…if it were a little more expensive. But its subsidized to encourage consumption.

  15. Iimx
    November 11, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    I don’t know if I am really ‘selfish’. But I can tell you today that I felt very uncomfortable with two homeless people coming up behind me begging for not just change, but for $2 each. So that they could go back home to ___________.(a particular state). I felt unsafe that I might have been attacked and robbed. Also that they were very unclean and I was afraid they might actually touch me. Also, and more importantly…I didn’t have any money to give. I am sure that they thought I was making that up, but I really honestly did not have any money. After paying for rent, taxes, gas, and food(the unsubsidized kind as I have health issues and need real food that the government isn’t subsidizing) I don’t have any money left over. I have shoes that are falling apart, but haven’t bought any new ones for work.

    So, please ask the 1 percent about ‘selfishness’. Its not the average person.

  16. TXFatherofSeven
    November 12, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    All taxation is theft. Forcing anyone to pay for goods or services against their will, even if they indirectly benefit from its use, is still theft. As another homeschooling father, I resent the fact that I have to pay double — my own family’s costs out of post-tax dollars and other children’s education or lose my home.

  17. antodav
    November 12, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    Letting these failing public schools go bankrupt and disappear and replacing them private schools that can actually provide children with a decent education would do a lot more for the good of society than robbing homeowners blind to fund teacher’s unions and left-wing, atheistic propaganda machines.

    But of course liberals don’t care about results, just like with health care or anti-poverty measures. It’s just the thought that counts for them. Not that they put much thought into most of what they support.

  18. Saxoclese
    November 12, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Let’s be realistic. Not all parents in Utah have the skills or education to home school their own children, let alone the time if both parents have to work to make ends meet. Nor do all parents have the resources to pay tuition at a private school. Public schools meet the needs of the vast majority of Utah families. Society bears the added cost when uneducated young people turn to crime and to drugs.

    Like it or not “we are all connected” on this planet. We all benefit when a well educated work force attracts businesses to locate in Utah which boosts our economy. We all benefit when the crime rate and rate of incarceration and drug treatment goes down. We all benefit when well educated and well trained young people provide the goods and services that enhance our lives.

    My 3 children are grown and out of school, but I have grand children who attend public schools in Utah. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute my fair share to help educate my children’s children and other people’s children. If it was all about “ME” I would probably resent paying taxes for these purposes, but my attitude is that it is all about “WE”.

    WE are all “connected” and we are all in this life and society together. We are not islands unto ourselves. We all use tax supported roads, water, public utilities, public safety services, public buildings, and yes public education, if not directly, then indirectly to enhance the quality of our lives. Those who choose to home school their children still have complete access to the materials and facilities of their local schools. Their children can participate in areas that the parents aren’t equipped to provide such as chorus, band, orchestra, athletics, industrial arts, etc.

  19. Saxoclese
    November 12, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    My last comment to add in this topic is that all of those who made the choice to home school their children knew upfront that they would still have to pay the same taxes as everyone else, and they still consciously made that choice. It seems a bit disingenuous to me that now after the fact they are now feeling “picked on” and whining and complaining about paying their share of taxes. My view is, you made your choice, now live with it.

  20. IA Libertarian
    November 12, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    I’ll probably regret saying anything. These things seem to go in circles, ad infinitum.

    But, why should those opposed to being robbed through taxation have to “live with it”? What about the flip side? What about those who choose to have kids of which they’re incapable of educating without robbing their neighbor to pay for it? They made their choice; why shouldn’t they have to “live with it”?

    It seems like it boils down to two sides, both crying foul. One side is mad because they’re being robbed at gun point, and the other side is mad because the first group isn’t enjoying the robbery. And, yet, somehow the first group is in the wrong? They’re just selfish?

    “You guys should appreciate that we’re stealing your money. We make sure at least a few pennies on the dollar actually benefit the children. After, of course, we unjustly enrich teachers unions, and other bureaucratic institutions.”

  21. Saxoclese
    November 12, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    This country has a long history of taxing its citizens in order to provide services. It is not “robbery”. Robbery is a crime. Taxation is legal whether one likes it or not. All of this hyperbole calling “taxation” robbery is just silly.

    Governments all over the world tax their citizens. This is not something new. If libertarians don’t like government and taxes they are perfectly free to live elsewhere. There are places in the world where they can keep every penny and there is no government regulation, or ever services for that matter. I hear Columbia is quite nice this time of year.

    I would have no problem if the State of Utah were to limit exemptions to 2 children, so those who choose to have large families would pay closer to their fair share of income taxes to help pay for the burden they have placed on the public schools. However, the LDS folks have a fit every time that is proposed in the Legislature as a means of raising more money to pay for schools. They call it a “head tax”. What they neglect to see that they are enjoying a “head discount” for their proclivity to procreate.

  22. IA Libetarian
    November 12, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Saxoclese, we’re not likely to see eye-to-eye on anything related to law or politics. You apparently hold to the positivist view of the law, an ideology I find repugnant and entirely unacquainted with logic or reason.

    I happen to believe that an immoral act doesn’t somehow become moral when cloaked in the golden robes of popular approval. Theft authorized by popular approval is still theft, though it has been renamed “taxation” and purports to accomplish some social benefit.

    What about slavery, Sax? Were you to have been a Civil War era American, would you have defended slavery by claiming, “Slavery is legal whether one likes it or not . . . . Governments all over the world practice slavery. This is not something new. If abolitionists don’t like human trafficking they are perfectly free to live elsewhere.” ?

    Not likely. That statement would be absurd—and full of logical fallacies—and yet here we are, having this conversation.

  23. Iimx
    November 12, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    Just to add more fuel to the fire…what about taxing for a military budget? Look at this graph on a dollar bill.
    http://www.heritage.org/multimedia/infographic/2013/08/federalspendingbynumbers2013/page-2-chart-2

    One percent goes to eduation, 19% to national defense. Another 19% to veterans benefits. (this is combined with income security so who knows how much is purely veteran benefits)That is 38% combined for military related expenses.

    I some will say the amount doesn’t matter, but wouldn’t taxes for military ALSO be robbery if taxes for education are robbery? Its also at least 19 times larger. What other sections of spending should be eliminated because you are paying for something you are not using individually?

  24. IA Libertarian
    November 12, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    @Iimx: Do I misunderstand, or are you trying to turn my argument on its head by applying it to US military expenditures?

    Yes, I do think taxation to support military spending is theft—particularly in the case of the US military. I don’t know, maybe there’s a libertarian argument in favor of taxes for military expenses, but I’m not familiar with one. Anyhow, certainly in the context of modern American foreign policy, yes, I think taxation to fund a standing army—and quasi global police force—is theft.

  25. Becky S.
    November 13, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    I totally agree with the post! Well said and I don’t think it was selfish to state the truth that so many are blind to. Go back and read Bastiat, The law! I think we have really missed the boat if you really think that I should pay for you or your kids to get an education. If you asked me nicely I might consider it but demanding it through taxes under penalties of all kinds is just wrong.

  26. Saxoclese
    November 13, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Taxation is legal whether one agrees with it or not or considers it immoral or unjust. Therefore calling taxation “robbery” which is against the law and a crime is incorrect.

    When his inquisitors asked Jesus whether or not it is right for Jews to pay the taxes demanded by Caesar he first called them “hypocrites”. Then he responded, “”Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”.

    Citizens have the right to petition their governments to change laws with which they disagree, but constantly whining about taxation which has been a part of our country for centuries serves no purpose other than to make the whiners appear selfish and self centered to the rest of us.

    The only thing making taxes such an onerous burden in Libertarian’s lives is their attitudes. Those of us who willingly and voluntarily pay our fair share of taxes to support our community, state, and country don’t have to go through such angst. The whiners and naysayers may want to try our way sometime. You are going to have to pay your taxes anyway one way or the other.

  27. Gary Hunt
    November 13, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Saxoclese,

    You state the following…

    “Taxation is legal whether one agrees with it or not or considers it immoral or unjust. Therefore calling taxation “robbery” which is against the law and a crime is incorrect.”

    This is a common point of disagreement between statists and libertarians. What you are claiming is that in order for the act of taking property from a person against their will to be “robbery”, I has to be “against the law” (government law). It is a fact that people existed and had property prior to the formation of governments. If what you claim is true then, prior to the time governments and government laws existed, if person “A” uses violence or the threat of violence to take the property of person “B”, it would not be “robbery” as you define it? This is absurd. If one uses the same “logic” you employ, then it could be argued that Hitler did not murder 5-6 million Jews because he did not go against the law – he did it legally. In other words it wasn’t a crime. This of course is also absurd.

    After following your comments over the last few months I have to admit you are a pretty good propagandist for the statist position. It is well know that propaganda is based upon sophistry and the extensive use of logical fallacies and not good logic and reasoning. I hope in the future you will at least try to come up with good arguments for your beliefs and not fall back to your default position of propaganda.

  28. Iimx
    November 13, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Libertarian,
    Thank you for being consistent with the thought of taxes being theft. I have seen others support military spending as being good and justified and education being bad because its not in the constitution.

  29. Iimx
    November 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    What is interesting is that there is a disbeliever tax in Muslim countries. The LDS church requires a 10% tax of its members based on income. I just payed a Hindu guru to conduct a ceremony for me. I am not aware of a flat tax on hindus, but I only paid for a service a priest did specifically for me and no more. I used their services once before and I am hoping I will see benefit.

  30. jpv
    November 13, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    Gary, didn’t you know they Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals committed suicide under the Third Reich? After all if it’s law in a democracy, they chose it themselves! No such thing as murder or theft if the state does it, innit Sax?

  31. Saxoclese
    November 14, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    @Gary Hunt. You label me a “statist”. I would counted that I am both a realist and a pragmatist. We live in today, not in the past prior to the formation of governments. In our current society it is legal for local, state, and federal governments to levy taxes in order to provide services. This is a fact. Robbery is defined as an aggravated act of larceny and is punished as a felony. The government(s) are not committing a felony when they levy taxes. This a fact.

    Your “fallback” position when you have no counter argument to facts presented is to:

    1. Create a straw man argument. You have labeled my statements as propaganda and then attacked propaganda in general.

    2. Dredge up one of your “fallacy categories” as a convenient way of avoiding having to respond point by point to what was said.

    The analogy to the heinous acts of the Nazi regime is patently absurd. It should also be pointed out that many of those Nazi’s were tried, convicteted, and punished for their “criminal” acts.

    W.C. fields said, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bullsh*t”.

  32. Gary Hunt
    November 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Wikipedia defines “Statism” as follows…”In political science, statism is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree.” It is obvious by your statements you fit in this category. When a person labels themselves a “realist and a pragmatist” they do so based upon their own subjective opinions of what they believe is realistic or pragmatic.

    You base your definition of what theft or robbery is by the governments legal meaning of the terms. Of course the government’s definition of robbery or theft will not include their plundering of the taxpayers. They label taxation as fees charged for services. Libertarians base the definition of theft or robbery upon basic moral principles (in other words what it actually means) which some call natural law. Some use the ten commandments where it says “thou shalt not steal” etc…. Just because a government passes a law, such as the “billionaire bailout” program, it doesn’t change the morality of what is justified under that law. By the way you never did respond to all the documentation I provided for you regarding government spending and taxation levels as well as the documentation of the amount of money involved in the federal government bailouts.

    The Seven Devises of Propaganda:

    1. The Name Calling Devise.
    2. The Glittering Generalities Devise.
    3. The Transfer Devise.
    4. The Testimonial Devise.
    5. The Plain Folks Devise.
    6 The Card Stacking Devise.
    7. The Bandwagon Devise.

    I have gone back over your comments in this article and the past article where we exchanged comments and found that you use most of these devises. These devises rely upon logical fallacies and are intended to deceive others so as to win an argument or sway opinion in their favor. The truth is irrelevant.

    The Nazi example is not absurd. Hitler’s regime taxed the German people (German Jews included) to raise the money to provide those services of taking care of what was termed “the Jewish problem”. What was done was legal according to German law. Yes, the world tried and convicted many members of Hitler’s regime. One thing you fail to mention is that the U.S. government brought many German scientists (who should have been tried and executed for war crimes) over here to work for them under a program called Operation Paperclip.

    Your solution to our problems is for libertarians to shut up and stop “whining, pay the taxes and have an attitude adjustment. “Ignore the man behind the screen!” Love your masters! Stop being so selfish by wanting to keep a little more of the money you earned. Be unselfish and hand your money over to the government so that they can help these poor innocent little billionaires friends of ours!

    Your W.C. Fields quote is a good one. However I think in this situation it is more applicable to you.

    Here’s a few quotes for you.

    “The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

    H. L. Mencken

    “If . . . taxation is compulsory, and is therefore indistinguishable from theft it follows that the State, which subsists on taxation, is a vast criminal organization far more formidable and successful than any ‘private’ Mafia in history.”

    –Murray Rothbard, “The Nature of the State”

    “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”

    –H. L. Mencken

  33. Saxoclese
    November 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    1. We are not having past arguments. We are having this one.

    2. I am a “realist” which means I live in reality, not some imagined more perfect world inside my head. As such, I am not in constant “angst” about what my government is or is not doing each and every day.

    3. In present day reality, the government does control economic and social policy to some degree. Some good examples are taxation, social security, medicare, student loans, and unemployment insurance. When I have areas of disagreement with my government, I vote for candidates who represent my views.

    4. As do the vast majority of citizens in the United States, I use the commonly accepted definitions of words as found in dictionaries, legal dictionaries, and encyclopedias. It is pointless to argue or discuss the meanings of words with those who belong to a select group who have created their own definitions to match their ideology.

    5. I have confined my comments to facts and the topic of discussion, and haven’t tried to obfuscate by introduction a myriad of other topics.

    6. I believe that folks who are true intellectuals do not go out of their way to try to make others believe they are intelligent by cutting and pasting information from Wikipedia and other sources.

    7. Categorizing and labeling every comment others make in a discussion as a type logical fallacy or a device of propaganda rather than responding point by point is the mark of an intellectual phony.

    Remember: One can’t be baffled by bull sh*t when they can see right through it.

  34. Gary Hunt
    November 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Saxoclese,

    I have gone through all your comments regarding this article only. My comments will be in response to your comments specifically as to date and time.

    Saxoclese: November 11, 2014 at 11:05 am

    While playing the “devil’s advocate” you start off with an ad hominem attack. Specifically, “Imagine of Colin and his “ilk” were to actually get what they want in Utah.” I have two questions. First, who is Colin? Second, what does your insult have to do with the discussion at hand? The fact is it doesn’t. That is why it is a logical fallacy. If you would have left out the fallacy you would have had the beginnings of a legitimate argument.

    Next you proceed to create your straw-man argument and your appeal to fear. You describe the nightmarish conditions which would exist if libertarians where to “get what they want in Utah.” The problem with the scenarios you create is that for society to evolve from its present form to a totally new form, such as libertarian, it would take a significant amount of time and effort to convince people that there are better ways to provide the goods and services required by a society. Most members of society have been conditioned into believing that the only way to provide some of these services (especially for the poor) is through the coercive force of the state. These people are ignorant to the fact that there are other ways which do not employ the coercive force of the state.

    Please forgive me for bringing up a suggestion I gave to you in the comments section of a previous article. I suggested (as another commenter did in this post) that you read the book “The Beautiful Tree”, by James Tooley (BTW he is not a libertarian). It is available in PDF format online. Another way is home schooling. It is interesting to note that one of the largest growth areas in home schooling is among the poorest members of our society, who live in the poorest neighborhoods. The reason they do it is that they do not want to send their children to the well-funded, drug, crime and gang infested inner city schools. Even single mothers on welfare are home schooling.

    I also suggested that you read another book which deals with how other social services used to be provided in the U.S. before the welfare state took over. Obviously you have chosen to not read these books and thus remain willfully ignorant to the fact that there are other ways which are, and have been proven to be, more effective (proven by test scores) and less expensive (does the term “poverty pimps” ring a bell?). Studies I have read in the past indicate that public schooling is not much more efficient. These other methods are voluntary and do not require the coercive force of the state.

    For the record, Utah is not in last place anymore when it comes to per student spending. Arizona is. Also Utah doesn’t have the largest classrooms. We’ve fallen to number two. I looked up the figures on the NEA’s web site. If you factor in such realistic situation such as the cost of living (Utah vs. other areas) and schools spending in relation to percentage of per capita income in Utah, we aren’t doing too shabby.

    cont’d…

  35. Gary Hunt
    November 17, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Here’s my response to your comments on the date and at the time listed below.

    Saxoclese November 12, 2014 at 10:25 am and 10:36AM

    I know of very few parents who are not qualified to teach their children. They would have to have physically or mental which would preclude them from homeschooling. I know of several situations where an illiterate parent has homeschooled their child and in the process not only the child but the parent became literate and well educated. It was beautiful to watch. The big problem with parents teaching and or having the time to home school is either cultural or having different priorities. Culturally they have been conditioned to think they can’t do it. Priority wise the parents think their careers and lifestyles are more important and that’s why they pay taxes is so that they don’t have to do it.

    Your remaining comments sound, quite frankly, like typical collectivist propaganda and clichés. I fully expected to hear political campaign music. You know the type. I am well aware of the dynamics of different types of societies. I know people need people. However, it is the actions of individuals which create and provides the richness of life. This is especially true when individuals voluntarily cooperate with other individuals and pool their resources together, such as described in the books “The Beautiful Tree” and “From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State”. It is voluntary cooperation which helps lift ourselves and each other lift others out of poverty and ignorance which makes life better for everyone. In other words freedom, not compulsion or coercion, is the mainspring of human progress.

    Saxoclese November 12, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Here are the primary definitions for the following words from Oxfords English Dictionary:

    rob, v. 1. trans. To plunder or pillage (a place, house, etc.); to steal from.

    steal, v. 1. a. The act, or an act, of stealing; a theft; the thing stolen or purloined.
    b. N. Amer. A piece of dishonesty or fraud on a large scale; a corrupt or fraudulent transaction in politics.

    Secondary definitions use these words in relation to legality, crime etc…, however the primary does not require an act to be illegal to be considered robbery or stealing. In fact I do not make up definitions in my head to fit my argument. I personally prefer the term legalized plunder.

    In this comment you say…” If libertarians don’t like government and taxes they are perfectly free to live elsewhere.” The old “love it or leave it” argument which is called the false dilemma. Again, you use another logical fallacy.

    Saxoclese November 13, 2014 at 9:26 am

    You really missed the point of the “render to Caesar” scripture. I’m not going to waste any time trying to explain this scripture to you.

    This comment is particularly offensive. “The only thing making taxes such an onerous burden in Libertarian’s lives is their attitudes.” We just need an attitude adjustment. Spoken like a true government employee or should I say tax feeder. You made your living off the taxpayer for 32 years and I am sure you have a retirement via the taxpayers also. Obviously you have not run a private business and been a witness to the “onerous burden” coercively placed upon the taxpayers and businesses. Obviously you didn’t take seriously the documentation I provided for you regarding the levels of government taxation and spending.

    These are my last comments to you. I will leave it up to those who read our comments to judge for themselves regarding their validity. To me it is obvious that you are the one who is intellectually lazy, intellectually dishonest and an intellectual phony. In fact I think we should start calling you Saxophony. How that for an ad hominem?

  36. Saxoclese
    November 18, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    1. Sorry, I meant to write “Connor” instead of Collin.

    2. “Ilk” means the same as. In this context it was used to denote Connor and those whose beliefs are the same as his. As such it is not an ad homonym attack.

    3. The central point of Connor’s article is that those who do not DIRECTLY benefit from public schools IN UTAH should not be forced to pay those taxes that fund public schools IN UTAH.

    4. My on point response was that if Connor and those who have the same beliefs ie. “his ilk” got their way, then Utah’s already poorly funded schools would have even fewer resources to work with.

    5. The fact that Arizona has cut funding of public schools to the point that their funding has dropped below Utah’s funding is irrelevant. Moving from last place to next to last place does not negate the fact that Utah’s schools are poorly funded. Besides, this “niggling” about who is last and who is next to last is besides the point of my argument.

    6. The logical conclusions to draw from the scenario that Connor and his “ilk” wish for that those who do not have children in public schools be exempt from those taxes that go to public education are:

    a. Fewer dollars would mean fewer teachers, more crowded classrooms, fewer resources, lower test scores, etc. causing Utah’s schools to fall further behind states with similar demographics.

    b. Attempts by the state to just maintain the status quo in education funding would mean higher taxes for everyone else. In this scenario actually increasing funding for public education would be a herculean task—especially in a state run by Republicans.

    6. If Connor were to get his way, I personally would have thousands of dollars more each year and yet I am still adamantly opposed to that idea because I know the value of public schools and I am happy to contribute my fair share. It will never be “robbery” in my mind to pay taxes which I do willingly because I understand the benefits to myself and others that tax money provides. This definition has to do with my attitude.

  37. Sean Borzea
    November 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    Connor, I usually agree with your posts, but this is another area you and I agree going to have to agree to agree on (please read that carefully). Like you, I’m educating our four kids in a home-based free-market educational process. If other folks can’t or won’t educate their children, I can’t see the free market sitting there wondering when someone will step up low-cost (private) options. Sometimes government ran programs simply crowd out other options and we stand there wondering how we’d ever get along without the government. It also crowds out other paradigms/ ways of thinking. Let’s get really basic- Adam and Eve, for those who still believe the Bible, were busy folks, in abject poverty compared to us, probably with more than a dozen kids. How did they ever manage to educate all their children (ok, they had a few less subjects- social sciences, (worldly) governments, and of course history)? “We’ll, things are more complicated today.” Sure, but principles remain unchanged. Your post is spot on.

  38. Saxoclese
    November 22, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    I’d like to ask you a question Sean, if I may. Do you plan to “educate” your four children through 12th grade? If so, do you plan to give them a college prep curriculum which would include advanced mathematics, advanced sciences, and advanced humanities? If so, how can you be as qualified to teach these specialized subject areas as the public school teachers who hold degrees and advanced degrees in these subjects and disciplines?

  39. Michael Allen
    November 24, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    Saxoclese, I find your arguments very sad and very disturbing, and unfortunately all too common among Americans who have been conditioned to hold such beliefs. We call ourselves “A Land of Liberty” but this is no longer really so. “The Law”, which you so clealy venerate is in reality just the opinions of a group of people who I never consented to govern me and who have decided to provide me services I did not ask for and to force me to pay for them at the barrel of a gun. And this is robbery no matter how many times you want to say it isn’t. Some of us just want to be free, and yes, be free to serve our fellow man in a manner we choose, not as dictated to us by those who judge themselves to be righteous by compelling others to give of their resourses against their will. This philosophy is not some anachronism as you suggest. It is natural and eternal law, and whether we accept it will have eternal consequences for us.

  40. Greg
    November 29, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    You said, ” The penalty for non-compliance ranges from fines to foreclosure, . . . .”

    You didn’t take this far enough. The penalties also include assault, kidnap, being thrown in a cage or even being murdered. It all depends on how much you resist having your property stolen by the gang known as government. In fact the state will kill you over something as trivial as a traffic violation if you don’t submit to them robbing you over it first.

  41. doug
    November 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    In this country we have a Constitution which is a contract not between the people and government but among the people them selves. The basis for that contract is the Declaration of Independence. It says the we each are the the ones with the rights and we have the right to form our own government and the sole rights of that government are the rights of the people. Therefore, any right the individual does not have, the collective of the government does not have. Any right the collective of the government exercises beyond those of a single individual is tyranny. Taxation, beyond paying for the direct costs of government, is tyranny. I have not the right to make anyone pay for any schooling. Government doing it is nothing short of tyranny, it may be legal, as defined by a tyrannical government, BUT IT IS NOT LAWFUL.

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