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February 26, 2011

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Well, why not? Enough people play the game of legitimizing confiscation by calling it "taxation", as though using that word changed it's fundamental nature.

For the simple reason that, as russell correctly points out, the usage you are employing reflects neither reality nor what the words actually mean. It is ideological spin, not a factual or even debatable use of terminology.

You might be using "confiscation" in a metaphorical sense to express your displeasure with the idea. That's one thing, and that's your prerogative, though it contributes little value to the debate and only serves to confuse the issue. But that's really not what it sounds like you're doing.

It sounds a lot more like you're asserting that a given tax is literally an illegitimate "confiscation of property" because you don't like the purpose of the tax. And that's simply not a supportable argument.

Context and consent matter. If I steal your wallet or hack into your bank account and take your money, that is theft.

If you embezzle a great deal of money and buy a house with it, and the government takes that house when you are convicted, that is confiscation.

But when your elected representatives vote to enact a tax, that is taxation. Not theft, not confiscation. Taxation. It is a specific word with a specific meaning.

You consent to paying taxes by participating in this society as an American citizen. You elect representatives to make those decisions. And you do not get to say, after they do so, that this tax or the other is illegitimate because you have an ideological disagreement with the purpose of the tax. Not and be taken seriously, at any rate. It's not a menu.

I do not like that my taxes pay for wars in the middle east. I do not like that they pay for mercenaries to fight those wars. When the Bush Administration spent my tax dollars on harmful religious boondoggles like abstinence-only sex "education", it was incredibly offensive to me. And I have always found the free ride that churches and other religious institutions get on their taxes to be an incomprehensible government endorsement of religion at my expense.

But they are within the legitimate scope of government powers, and they were enacted by the representatives I elected to do so. If I don't like it, my recourse is to advocate for their change because they are bad policies, not reject the government's power to levy taxes.

Catsy, I'm afraid your well-presented argument is an exercise in futility, judging from past experience. You probably know this already, since I'm pretty sure you've had this very same exchange numerous times on this very blog. It seems to be a semi-monthly or so occurrence. Nice work, though. Again. Until next time.

Catsy, let me also thank you for insisting that words have specific meanings. I think part of the problem with our political discourse is deliberate misuse and relabeling that obscures rather than illuminates issues.

This is probably a good subject for another thread.

The scale of oppression doesn't go to zero at whatever level of oppression *you* happen to be comfortable with, folks. Yes, the government of Sweden "oppresses" people. Not as much as the government of North Korea, or even, in some ways, the government of the US. But it does oppress.
The scale of oppression doesn't go to zero at whatever level of oppression *you* happen to be comfortable with, folks. Yes, the government of Sweden "oppresses" people. Not as much as the government of North Korea, or even, in some ways, the government of the US. But it does oppress. As a benchmark, Brett, which are the top five least oppressive governments on the planet now? How about historically?

THANKS FOR POSTING THIS! I always enjoy visiting your page!

Steve
Common Cents
http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

ps. We're all over this on Common Cents!!!

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