[ExI] Consent by staying?/was Re: The Circle of Coercion

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Mon May 11 20:54:17 UTC 2009

--- On Sat, 5/9/09, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/5/8 painlord2k at libero.it
> <painlord2k at libero.it>:
[big snip]
> So if I decided at age 18 that I don't want to obey the
> unjust
> taxation laws, for example, I could be expelled (to
> where?), but for
> those who accept citizenship taxation is part of the
> contract they have entered into?

For me, there is one glaring problem with this view: the state has no right to expell people simply because they don't agree to the state's policies.*  This is no different, to me, than any other criminal gang riding into town and then telling everyone, "If you don't agree with our rules, you're free to leave town."  (Granted, such a gang might be marginally more tolerable than one offering the choice of "agree or die.")  Just as with any criminal gang, the state has no right to demand obeisance -- in the particular case you mention, to demand payment of taxes.

This would be entirely different if the state legitimately owned the country.  But, in that case, the state would really not be a state, but an owner.  (Note: in reality, all existing states have been nothing more than stationary bandits.  Yes, they may differ in the ways they interact with their subject populations -- most allow some voice options, just as any other long lasting criminal gang will not rely on the constant exorcise of brute force -- but they remain trespassers.)

Also, as a practical matter, emigrating is usually difficult -- involving uprooting yourself from your family and friends -- and there is, at present, almost no place to immigrate to that is not controlled by some government or other -- a government that will, of course, tax you.

So I believe the consent by staying argument -- if that's what you're offering -- fails.  Notably, it's quite similar to the argument that if people are not openly rebelling than they consent to the government ruling over them.  (Note this argument -- that people who don't rebel consent to their government -- is used by pro-war statists in the US as a reason for bombing foreign civilians.)



"A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years." -- Lysander Spooner

*  Actual states usually allow people to emigrate, but often only with some penalty.  For instance, the US government usually charges people on leaving, so that this is not really a way to escape taxation.


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