Sheldon Richman: As Long as Government Exists, Our Freedom Is In Jeopardy

The only way for it to truly respect our liberty would be to dismantle itself.

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Thomas Hawk/Flickr

There's a debate between those who would limit government and those who would abolish it. Some suggest that a government that abstained from taxing and regulating people—without renouncing the authority to do so—would be respecting people's freedom. But a government that truly renounced the authority to tax and regulate would cease to be a government at all, writes Sheldon Richman. The power to tax is a defining characteristic of the state.

If a purported government lacks the power to tax— or generally, to use force against non-aggressors—why call that group of people a government as opposed to other groups that provide similar services? Thus as long as government exists, no matter how "limited" by a constitution, our liberty will be in jeopardy and our freedom insecure, argues Richman. A monopoly legislation-maker and legislation-enforcer is an intrinsic rights violator. Even if it lowered the tax rate to zero, our freedom would be insecure because it might raise tax rates next week. The only way for it to truly respect our liberty would be to dismantle itself.

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