How Libertarianism Trumps The State Without Relying On A Theory Of Property

Numerous critics of libertarianism today claim that it must rely on an unsupportable (or at least controversial) theory of property rights.

Huemer explains why this isn’t so:

“One might think the rejection of property rights leaves the way open for taxation: since taxpayers have no right to ‘their’ wealth, the seizure of some of that wealth will no longer appear as a rights violation. But by the same token, the state will have no right to that wealth either, and thus citizens do no wrong by withholding it. Meanwhile, there are the harms the state coercively imposes on those who fail to pay taxes, and these would seem to be prima facie injustices. In short, the defender of taxation must hold that the state, rather than the taxpayers, is justly entitled to the tax revenues that the state collects.”

Huemer, Michael (2012-10-29). The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey (p. 146). Palgrave Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

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2 thoughts on “How Libertarianism Trumps The State Without Relying On A Theory Of Property

  1. “One might think the rejection of property rights leaves the way open for taxation: since taxpayers have no right to ‘their’ wealth, the seizure of some of that wealth will no longer appear as a rights violation. But by the same token, the state will have no right to that wealth either,”

    States are sovereign and their political power over material wealth and culture is enforced through law. The same law which extends control of the material wealth to you in the form of property rights. It’s the states that determine property rights through their legal systems: thus property itself is only an agency of government. When a government taxes, it doesn’t take anything that is inherently yours: it only re-coordinates resources from one part of the society to another. Basically its equivalent to the government reducing one agency’s budget and adding to another agency’s budget.

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