Column on Wesley Snipes, Victim

Wesley Snipes, A Victim
Tibor R. Machan
The actor Wesley Snipes, known mostly for so called “action pictures,” was
reportedly sentenced to three years in prison, on tax evasion charges, on
Thursday, April 24th. This was deemed to be victory for prosecutors by
some in the media–so much for objective reporting–because prosecutors
“sought to make an example of the action star by aggressively pursuing the
maximum penalty.”
And there are those who argue that taxation is voluntary! Bah. It’s
extortion and Snipes’ case demonstrates this quite clearly. “If you don’t
pay us some of what you earn, we will destroy you.” That’s how
extortionists announce themselves as does the tax man.
Of course Snipe is guilty of something. That is being naïve and imprudent.
No one who isn’t it dire straits ought to go up against the government
blindly, given how powerful it is (mainly because it can arm itself easily
with all that money it has extorted from us). If you oppose taxes you are
especially misguided to fail to pay up since you are likely to be watched.
(Some of us of course don’t matter since we earn too little. Snipes
obviously isn’t among those.)
The sentence handed down wasn’t anything related to justice, needless to
say. It was a warning by the extortionist to all those who might be
considering resisting the extortion. And this is clear from the
prosecution’s reported intention to “make an example of the action star.”
Justice isn’t about making examples of the guilty but about punishing them
for their crimes. If Snipes were really a criminal–if he were guilty of
having violated the rights of some innocent people–there would be no
concern about making an example of him. Genuine crimes need to be
punished, lesson or no lesson. The role of criminal prosecutors isn’t to
make examples of anyone but to convict people who are bona fide criminals.
That is the end of it. Snipe’s case goes to show how arrogant are these
folks who have the power and legal rationale backing their mendacious
conduct.
My advice to the likes of Mr. Snipes is to keep paying but also start
supporting all efforts to abolish taxation. As I have been pointing out
for a long time, that public policy is akin to serfdom and belongs, with
serfdom, in the age of feudalism where kings, queens, tsars, and other
thugs lay claim to a country and everyone who lived there. Taxes were
collected as payment for the “generous” privilege of living and working in
these regions ruled by the thugs.
What has changed is that now the narrative laid out in support of
governments extorting us is that we are paying it voluntarily, to
ourselves (the government is, you see, us!). Sheer sophistry! In fact
nothing but the form of rule has changed. Now it is “democratic,” meaning
the majority gets to extort from anyone they want to. (If the majority
were only interested in paying its way, there would be no need for
taxation–those in the majority are plenty and could easily pay what they
think they should.)
Every revolution is costly. Abolishing serfdom was, as was abolishing
slavery. These all involved some people confiscating the lives and
earnings of others too weak to defend against the thugs. Abolishing
taxation will also take some sacrifices. And just as the lords of the
serfs and the masters of slaves had to find some other way to get the work
done that their victims were made to perform for them, so all of what
taxes go to fund will need to be funded in proper, peaceful ways, without
resort to extortion. Are there such ways? Well, when serfdom and slavery
got abolished it was quickly discovered that paying people got the job
done. Free labor amounted to paid labor. And productivity improved, too.
Taxation supports some functions of governments that are proper, even
though paid for in criminal ways. Those functions can be funded without
those criminal ways. Fees and such can cover the cost, as I have argued in
several places (see my “No Taxation With or Without Representation,
Completing the Revolutionary Break With Feudalist Practices” in Robert
McGee, ed., Taxation and Public Finance in Transition and Developing
Economies [New York: Springer, 2005]).
If a way to do something important is a moral abomination, a new way
that’s not must be found. Sorry Mr. Snipes that you got caught up with all
this. Most of the rest of us haven’t escaped either.

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One Response to Column on Wesley Snipes, Victim

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