Ann Coulter: Anarcho-Capitalist?

|

I just skimmed a BeliefNet interview with La Coulter in which she discusses her newest screed about how the anti-American heathens are something something something. It is, as you might expect, roughly equal parts puerile jokes and total batshit craziness, but I did raise an eyebrow at this bit:

Is it possible to be a good Christian and sincerely believe, as Jim Wallis does, that a bigger welfare state and higher taxes to fund it is the best way in a complex modern society for us to fulfill our Gospel obligation to help the poor?

It's possible, but not likely. Confiscatory taxation enforced by threat of imprisonment is "stealing," a practice strongly frowned upon by our Creator.

Now, libertarians sometimes like to say things like "taxation is theft" as a way of reminding people that proposing that government enact some Good Idea entails extracting resources from people on pain of punishment, and that probably very few things, however nice they might be in principle, ought to actually be funded in this way. But only anarchists can literally mean it categorically: If you think it's legitimate for a state to exist, however limited, you're pretty much committed to the proposition that it can legitimately demand the resources necessary to carry out its authentic functions. All of which raises the question: If the MoDoCon thinks coercive taxation (forgive the pleonasm) is a sin, does that mean she's an anarcho-capitalist deep down?

Addendum: I suppose I should note that strictly speaking, the qualifier "confiscatory," read as "uncompensated," would exclude taxation purporting to finance some reciprocal service to the taxpayer. My ordinary sense of the obligation of interpretive charity is a little attenuated in this case. But if aid programs are going to count as "confiscatory," you've got to exclude loosey-goosey talk of compensation in terms of benefit to "the community" and such, which still leaves you with a damn narrow range of permissible activities. That uncharitable part of me suspects Coulter's views on the scope of the benefit required to render taxation compensated wobble a touch when the benificiary class is, say, affluent fundies (who represent us all, really) as opposed to poor people.

NEXT: Grylliade gathering in the Big Apple: Ocular proof

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Not really,

    You could believe taxation is theft, but be quite content with stealing from others.

    Personally, though, I think she’s just batshit insane. I say this as an anarchist who truly believes that a monopoly on the use of violence that is maintained by aggression is wrong and that thus taxation is theft.

    Even a stopped clock indicates the correct time twice a day. Similarly Ann Coulter says so much that occasionally she’ll randomly say something that happens to be correct even though she is batshit insane.

  2. Why “anarchocapitalist?” Even Ayn Rand, definitely not a Reasonoid-style postmodern “libertarian,” strongly held that all taxes paid to the limited government she favored should be voluntary.

  3. It could be that Coulter feels that taxes are a “necessary evil” — unfortunately necessary in order for government to perform its few legitimate functions, but to be pared down to the minimal possible level, and with their expansion to be actively resisted.

    And certainly not to be used for such purposes as charity, which manifestly does not fall under the heading of “things only the government can do.”

    (This is basically what I thought back when I was a minarchist.)

  4. Occasionally, when a person regurgitates food, they’ll throw up something that had once been, in an entirely different context, food.

    When a person regurgitates propaganda, occasionally they’ll throw up something that might have once been, in an entirely different context, an argument.

  5. But only anarchists can literally mean it categorically: If you think it’s legitimate for a state to exist, however limited, you’re pretty much committed to the proposition that it can legitimately demand the resources necessary to carry out its authentic functions.

    We’re all born with a plethora of obligations–they’re the flip side of our rights. We’re all obligated to respect the rights of others. Can anarchists literally mean it when they say that freeloading is theft?

    …Oh, and, in a way, many sales taxes are paid voluntarily.

  6. One religious argument against the welfare state was that it did undermine individual charity. It was feared that if people could just offload their moral obligations to the state then not only would they lose the personal benefits of charitable sacrifice but they might also become callous towards the poor because they no longer felt any immediate connection. A more modern and practical complaint against the welfare state is that it often hurts the poor more than it helps.

    Of course, once you get anyone to think of the state as an inherently violent enterprise then all kinds of conceptual dominoes begin to fall regardless of whether their beliefs stem from religious or secular sources.

  7. Didn’t even Jesus say “render unto Ceaser what is Ceasar’s”? If he was alright with paying taxes to fund bread, circuses and sex parties, I don’t think he’d mind a few billion out of our GDP for schools and Medicaid. There are probably better arguments against the ‘welfare state’.

  8. dc: Jesus did say that, but he’s being rebranded. NewJesus sports a blond crew cut, totally ripped abs, and really, really digs fights.He totally hates the gay, and this time he means business.

  9. Remember, if you like anarchy, you’re free to move to Iraq.

  10. Wow,
    So by her own admission, Coulter is saying that she’s not a Christian, or at least a good Christian. Does she not support a very aggressive war on terror, which necessarily takes gazillions of dollars of tax money? She supports ‘stealing’ then for a cause she thinks is important.

  11. Her hands are huge and that’s the total extension of worthy discussion regarding Adamsapple McBighands.

  12. NewJesus sports a blond crew cut, totally ripped abs, and really, really digs fights.

    Ooo, he sounds hot.

    He totally hates the gay

    Oh. Damn.

    and this time he means business.

    For a second I was thinking “Brad Pitt”.

  13. Remember, if you like anarchy, you’re free to move to Iraq.

    Amigo, you and your balls need to learn the difference between anarchy and the chaos that results when people contend for the control of a state.

  14. Ann Coulter scares the bejeezuz out of me.

  15. It’s possible, but not likely. Confiscatory taxation enforced by threat of imprisonment is “stealing,” a practice strongly frowned upon by our Creator.

    Holy Shiite batman this could almost covert me back to jesus…to bad bat shit crazxy coulter is nearly as ugly as the libertarian trio recently pictured otherwise it would be a slam dunk.

  16. Didn’t even Jesus say “render unto Ceaser what is Ceasar’s”?

    Citing this as an endorsement of taxation requires a second premise: that what Caesar demands is legitimately his.

  17. Fascinating interview for its revelations of the Ann. She’s got a sharp wit, I’ll give her that. It’s funny though, while she mentions ‘mercy’ she seems to practice so little of it. It’s funny also that’s she has opportunistically and selectively selected the wrathful ‘chasing the money changers out of the temple’ Jesus, to support her vicious attacks on all her opponents, neglecting to notice or mention that he was the same one who said, ‘he who is without sin cast the first stone’ or ‘turn the other cheek’. To be fair, liberals do this too, to support their own causes.

    I copied this exchange below as it reminded me so much of Rand, who also compared her writing, Atlas Shrugged, anyway, to the Bible.

    Interviewer: I found your book enormously entertaining. But when I finished, I asked myself: What was the point of this book? What would you say the point of “Godless” is?

    AC: It is a clarion call, a flashing neon sign warning people that liberalism is the opposition party to God. (And by the way, I had the same reaction the first time I read the Bible: Sure, it’s fascinating and wise and full of important information, but what was the point of it exactly?)

  18. whenever ann coulter speaks in public, i get this vision of the end of scarface, except she’s freaking out in front of a pile of drano. she must be blasting rails of something normally used to clean rusty pipes.

  19. I hope the woman that did whatever it was she did to corning comes back and apologizes some day, for all our sakes.

  20. Ken,
    He’s got the same initials as that other guy. Maybe he’s his evil cousin…and not only that he’s got a razor sharp wit – “Holy Shiite, batman” – and is a spelling bee champ to boot (‘too’ not ‘to’). I’ll take that drink now.

  21. So by her own admission, Coulter is saying that she’s not a Christian, or at least a good Christian.

    Next you’ll be telling me she’s not a virgin.

  22. “Amigo, you and your balls need to learn the difference between anarchy and the chaos that results when people contend for the control of a state.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s what happens as soon as anarchy is achieved.

  23. what other guy???

    there is only one me and no cousins as far as I know post here…

    and thinly veiled critisisms of the unabashed cat calls going on in the other post hardly qualifies me as a woman hater…

    someone actaully said “You are good looking and you should know it” Jesus H fucking chirst man…i am going to be making fun of that for at least a month.

    speaking of long threads that never seem to die…where can i get a black reason T-shirt?

  24. My guess is, “La Coulter,” as a tall blond, was generally fawned over in high school, and since she could actually string together complete sentences, everything she said was treated as though it were brilliant (even the stuff that contradicted the other stuff). She took it to heart, and continued for the rest of her life to spout whatever came into her head, since it was clear to her that she must be a genius.

    FWIW, I’ve read the bible many times, and her description of it is the way I still feel: Sure, it’s fascinating and wise and full of important information, but what was the point of it exactly?

  25. “taxation” equals “stealing” is equivalent to “taxation for military purposes” is no different from “protection money for the mob.”
    And neither one seem particularly like Judeo-Christian or libertarian principles.

  26. Taxation for a service, such as defense, is not an issue of stealing, though certain services start to blur the line.
    Taxation to simply redistribute wealth to those who haven’t earned it, that is stealing. At least the thug who points a gun in your face on the street is up front about it, and doesn’t call it your duty to help him.

  27. Hammer,
    Where are you getting your definitions from? If someone takes money from you without your consent, that is stealing, whether it’s for ‘a service’ (military service or any other service) or for any other reason. That’s a different category from the point about the utility of redistribution vs. the utility of military services.

  28. J.C.
    Sounding a little nerdy in the spirit of social charitability is no vice. Mean-spirited insults about other people’s physical appearance is no virtue. Go ahead and make fun of them all you want, but maybe think about getting that shift key and spell checker fixed. Oh, and btw, I heard Reason is also handing out enhanced human intelligence packets along with their t-shirts. While you’re at it, why not fill out your whole closet.

  29. does that mean she’s an anarcho-capitalist deep down?

    No it just means she’s a whackaloon through and through.

  30. Hammer,

    In my experience, those with lots of money are about equally likely to have “earned” it as those who don’t have much money. ‘Course, to some extent that depends on what you think the word “earned” means.

    I’m against most (though not all) redistributionist programs because I think they’re ineffective and wasteful, but I don’t for one second think that the CEO of my company is more worthy of his $30 million paycheck than the woman who empties the trash under my desk at night would be.

    1. Pseudo-Libertarian. The market determines what CEOs get paid not you, and in economics price controls almost never work.

  31. Brian – additionally I am calling shenanigans on your idea of thinking some “average” CEO takes home 30 million while the plebes labor in the dirt. The average CEO salary according to aflcio.org (not exactly the most unbiased or reputable source, it should favor you, actually) was 11.75 million. Maybe it’s time you ran along to your gender-studies course or some other undoubtedly ivory-tower crapfest where you don’t deal in the real world.

  32. Taxes built a road. X paid 80% more in taxes than Y (Y did pay taxes). Is Y driving on a welfare (redistribution) road?

  33. Look, this is interesting and all, but can we get back to the more important issue?

    Is Ann Coulter sleeping with Tammy Bruce?

  34. “I would doubt you even have experience with people who actually have a lot of money.”

    i’ve met more than a few of the megarich due to my job (nonprof development) and uh, there are plenty of clueless retards flush with family cash.

    i don’t particularly care for taxes and taxation, but the subtle equation of money with moral status (or lack thereof) is mostly fucked and completely stupid.

    1. It doesn’t matter, someone’s ancestor worked hard so stop bitching.

  35. There is no argument, Income tax is theft. A consumption tax for goods and services above an arbitrary poverty level would voluntary.

  36. Anarcho-capatilist? Who knows? But she is a deadhead.

  37. When I saw the headline for this post I thought it was tying into my comment yesterday about gay men and anarchocapitalism.

  38. Conservatives & Liberals want the same thing:

    To prevent people from procuring money who do not “deserve” it.

    Liberals see those as the mega-rich: CEOs, “trust-fund babies”, Paris Hilton (I tend to agree with them regarding her), Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, J.K. Rowling, A-Rod. You know, those who got wealthy “off the backs of the poor:.

    Conservatives see those who do not “deserve” it as welfare freeloaders, moochers, sloths, the lazy, criminals, the unproductive, those who live off others.

    Who do we come in contact with more often? And who gets a share of our paychecks?

  39. Now, now. Let’s not talk ill of Paris Hilton. Watching her publically squander her life away in an orgiastic display of idiotic self-destruction is easily worth the millions of dollars she stands to inherit in entertainment value alone.

    I mean, sure, she makes coked-out groupsex look easy, but I’m quite convinced that it’s actually very hard work.

  40. “Amigo, you and your balls need to learn the difference between anarchy and the chaos that results when people contend for the control of a state.”

    “I’m pretty sure that’s what happens as soon as anarchy is achieved.”

    Au contraire, it’s what happens when anarchy is rejected.

  41. The market is amoral–it doesn’t care if you deserve the money or not.

    Are you arguing then that the preference for performance and excellence is amoral? You may point to the odd-pop culture phenomena, but that’s a matter of taste. Unless you’re arguing that it’s all subjective.

    Seeing as how the market is made of individuals and their preferences, it’s hard to ascribe moral qualities (or lack thereof) to “the market”. It’s the same as saying “The public good”…no such thing, sir.

    Sorry, saying that the trash guy “deserves” (what does this mean to you, deserves?) it as much as the CEO sure sounds like a page out of Marx to me.

    1. Agreed, how the fuck would he know what people deserve? Utilitarian.

  42. “La Coulter” may or may not be crazy, but she certainly has a talent for getting people to talk endlessly about her, doesn’t she?

  43. …Oh, and, in a way, many sales taxes are paid voluntarily.

    Cha-ching, and the prize goes to Ken Shultz. In our modern society, Sales Taxes are the closest we borderline Anarcho Capitalists are going to get to the best system.

    Let’s hear it again, for the national sales tax!

  44. <threadjack>

    Paul, out of curiosity, what, if anything should be exempt from a national sales tax? Should real estate be exempt? If not, then a house could easily go from $200,000 to $230,000. Should stocks be exempt? It seems that the cost of stocks would increase quite substantially and put a huge break on the stock market.

    I’m not trying to be contrarian here, I’m just curious. Thanks.

    </threadjack>

  45. Hammer

    I think you hit it dead on. Unfortunately, we don’t have much choice as far as where we live. We can either be citizens of our native coutnry, or work to go somewhere which could very well be worse (in the case of US citizens, a place with less freedom.)

    Furthermore, it would be impossible to selectively distribute a service such as a police force, for example. If one person pays for the police who capture the criminal, everyone benefits, so, in order to be “fair,” everyone is billed in the form of taxes. In this case, the taxpayer is purchasing a product, whether willfully or not, at a different price, and at different levels.

    But in cases of wealth redistribution, person A is not purchasing a product. The government simply taxe A’s money an gives it to B. Person A recieves nothing in return. This is stealing.

    I’m not saying the model is perfect, but I assume this is why Coulter feels that it’s okay to use tax money to wage “war on terror.” However indirectly, and however unwillingly, the taxpayers are being provided with a service.

  46. Kevin
    Your arguments are interesting. But they’re still utilitarian arguments. “Stealing” is defined as money or property taken from you without your consent. To what extent that taking benefits you, or to what extent that taking has benefits to everyone, is irrelevant.

    Even your examples are problematic. Catching a thief would benefit everyone. But the police do other things as well, like fight a war on drugs that mostly is to our detriment. The war on terror is also just as likely, probably more so, to put us all at more risk.

  47. Am I missing something, or does the bible require tithing? You know, giving 10% of your income to help the poor? How is that not a tax?

  48. I should also note that America no longer even tithes to the poor. Sure taxes are more than 10% for most people, but the return to the poor is way less than that – most taxes help the assetholder class primarily.

  49. To equate taxation, for any purpose, with stealing is simplistic. They may share features in common but the sharing of features is not equivalance. Money is being taken from some, not all (another key feature difference), the citizenry without their consent. True. But other features of taxation involve processes and conditions much more complex than a simple taking of something from someone on the street. The processes and assumptions underlying the argument for taxation rest on certain deeper philosophic assumptions, as well as facts, about the state of nature and original property. We didn’t all just arrive in one country at once, with all the conditions present as they are now. Certain agreements about who owns what land, how that was to be decided, who and how that should be enforced, how it is to be developed, along with certain kinds of infrastructure like roads, etc. had to be decided – and for that we needed some form of governing body to set the rules in place and a system of extracting monies to provide a stable structure for that governing body.

    And the fact that the land in America was all owned before by the Native Americans and much of it was stolen from them should give us pause before blithely throwing around the charge of ‘stealing’ when discussing taxation.

    There is a context for taxation, enough different features, as to make it almost categorically distinct from stealing.
    This doesn’t mean that measures to limit taxation or reform how it is extracted (I favor a national sales tax) should go unattended to; just that what is supposed to be the be the libertarian, and in this case Coulterian, moral trump card “don’t steal from me” is a pretty weakly thought out argument.

    1. Incorrect, it is very likely native Americans owned significant amounts of land, but if they lived in villages or quasi-cities, there is a lot of land they didn’t own. I think homesteading is what we need to determine first.

    2. Also you are ignoring other arguments posed here.

      “Even your examples are problematic. Catching a thief would benefit everyone. But the police do other things as well, like fight a war on drugs that mostly is to our detriment. The war on terror is also just as likely, probably more so, to put us all at more risk.”

      So the state is doing a bad job imo, although I do not advocate violence of course.

      I am willing to pay taxes only because I am a pacifist.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.