I had an argument a few months ago with a very close person who I respect greatly, and in this argument I said that extreme taxation was a type of slavery, albeit a gentle one. He blew his top and started shouting "Do you feel like a slave? Do you HONESTLY think you're a slave? What bullshit!"
Actually, when I pay my taxes, I really do. To quote Thomas Jefferson, "To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." I agree with virtually none of the things my tax dollars go to. So yeah, for whatever portion of my time is dedicated to making the money to pay for the things I oppose, I feel like a slave.
Jonah Goldberg wrote an excellent column titled Taxes and Tyranny. A couple of great lines from it:
If you had to work 365 days a year to pay your taxes, that would be a kind of slavery or indentured servitude, because all of your productive labor would be going to the government. You would have no resources of your own to provide for the life you wanted. Instead the government would provide you not with what you want, but what the government decides you need.
That sounds like a kind of tyranny to me.
And, I think if we had to work 364 days a year it would still be a kind of serfdom (after all, serfs were allowed a little plot of their own). Ditto 363 days, 362 days, 361 days etc. Now, at some point the difference of degree becomes a difference in kind; working one day a year to pay for the government doesn't sound oppressive to me. But it seems to me that it's hardly absurd to think that 103 days a year is too much, or to believe that if that number goes even higher, we're losing something important.
Another great one:
I find it sort of amazing that when groups like ANSWER, a Mos Eisley cantina of America-hating nut cases, take to the streets it's a full-flowering of democracy in action. When ACORN pays their ragamuffins to protest, or when Rainbow/PUSH shakes down businesses through racial extortion, it's the sort of direct democratic action Thomas Paine dreamed of. And when labor unions pay people to protest, it's populist. But when a bunch of independent Americans, talk-show hosts, and email campaigners organize hundreds of protests around the country, it's astroturfing.
And my personal favorite:
How do I say this so people will understand? Fascism isn't a libertarian doctrine! It just isn't, never will be, and it can't be cast as one. Anarchism, secessionism, extreme localism, or rampant individualism may be bad, evil, wrong, stupid, selfish, and all sorts of other things (though not by my lights). But they have nothing to do with a totalitarian vision of the state where individuals and institutions alike must march in step and take orders from the government.
And no, I'm still not a Republican. Just in case you're thinking I'm only hating on the Democrats because I'm such an elephant lover.