"In reviewing the history of the English government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes."
– Thomas Paine, Rights of Man
What would happen if someone in your vehicle pulled out a gun and shot someone in an adjacent vehicle? There is a strong likelihood that the police would charge everyone in the vehicle with murder.
In the case of taxation, most people are putting money into the federal tax pot. A sizable portion of that money is being spent to fight a preemptive-strike war in Iraq a nation that neither attacked nor directly threatened the sovereignty of the United States. And although it is common knowledge that thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens have died at the hands of U.S. troops, many American citizens still support and willingly pay taxes to the U.S. government.
According to research from Johns Hopkins University, over 100,000 innocent Iraqi citizens, mostly women and children, have died as a result of the war in Iraq. This study surveyed mortality rates in Iraq 15 months before the war and 18 months after the March 2003 invasion. These researchers actually visited various Iraqi cities and tallied the number of deaths in many war-torn neighborhoods. Other sources have reported lower death totals of 14,000 to 16,000.
Whether the body count is higher or lower, this "collateral damage" means that most U.S. citizens paying federal taxes have blood on their hands. Technically, any taxpayer paying federal taxes can be considered an accessory to murder if they support involuntary taxation.
Again, the war in Iraq is not a defensive war. Iraq did not threaten the United States with military action. Nor did Iraq amass troops near the border of the United States in a planned attack. Iraq had no intercontinental missiles, no nuclear bombs, and no weapons of mass destruction, although the United States government gave them the technology to make WMD from anthrax. This means that the U.S. government is the first-blood aggressor in the Iraq conflict. They are the sole gunmen who fired at an adjacent vehicle, killing some of its occupants. Under criminal law, anyone funding criminal activity or withholding knowledge of the criminal act can be charged as an accessory to the crime, before or after the fact.
To the libertarian, the best way to stop criminal activity is not to support it financially. Without an ample supply of money coerced from citizens, the war of empire-building and its murderous consequences cannot be sustained.
As Supreme Court Justice John Marshall wrote in 1819, "The power to tax is the power to destroy." We must stop this destructive taxing and warring apparatus of the state if we wish to preserve human life and liberty.
Read more by Lawrence Samuels
- Competing Governments: The Collective Violence of War – April 12th, 2013
- Can Only Democrats Engage in Wars of Aggression? – September 23rd, 2011