My Public Speaking Final got some likes on Facebook and a rousing applause in the classroom, so I figured I’d republish it here. It had to be under five minutes delivered verbally, so it doesn’t go into as much detail as I would’ve liked, but it’s also not inadequate. So here you all are!

Death and taxes; two things the old adage states we can’t live without. It seems that the two are inextricably linked to any modern society, and that there’s no way to get around them. I’m glad you’re all here, because I brought a map! Hi, I’m Jeremiah Harding, and I’m here to convert all of you to Anarchism. When we were all growing up, we were fed lines about the “social contract”, and other such fantasies, in order to get us to acquiesce to such a system. I mean to make the case, in a short time, that not only is there a better system, but that this one is not only unethical, but linked exclusively to death itself.

First, in order to address the question of voluntary funding in a society that lives without the oppression of taxation, I’ll show you all Ayn Rand’s “eyeball lottery,” which appears in her flagship nonfiction book, “The Virtue of Selfishness” and how it applies.

“It is medically possible to take the corneas of a man’s eyes immediately after his death and transplant them to the eyes of a living man who is blind, thus restoring his sight (in certain types of blindness). Now, according to collectivized ethics, this poses a social problem. Should we wait until a man’s death to cut out his eyes, when other men need them?

Should we regard everybody’s eyes as public property and devise a “fair method of distribution”? Would you advocate cutting out a living man’s eye and giving it to a blind man, so as to “equalize” them? No? Then don’t struggle any further with questions about “public projects” in a free society. You know the answer. The principle is the same.”

This applies directly to taxation, since the questions of taxation analogically presuppose that, without the redistribution by force, these men would not get their vision back, and that, if they can then see because of this force, it is somehow preferable to blindness persisting, and the force not having been applied. In “George Ought To Help” by YouTube user bitbutter, this is directly challenged. The fact that Oliver is in need of assistance does not then make it ethical to force the unwilling George to contribute to his struggle. Adding societal agreement to assist in this force doesn’t create an ethical situation where there wasn’t one before, when using the same actions for the same ends. In fact, it just means that more people are involved in an unethical action, and their hands are dirtied, as well, in just the same way as their hands would be unethically bloodied by the surgery of an unwilling cornea transplant donor. As Gandhi might’ve said, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. At least if the whole world is blind, it’s fair, though. Right?

Since the state exists apart from nature, as a means of controlling would-be rogue aspects of the world, it is not the task of the state protester to provide contextual evidence that the general status of the world would improve without a state, but rather, the Statist’s task to prove that the status quo is superior to alternatives. In this case, however, I’ll provide examples of some possible improvements wrought by an abolishing of the current tax system, and a move to one based on voluntary precepts, and how it would be preferable to the current.

For one, in a society where most don’t feel that their vioce is heard as a component of societal functioning, the voluntary tax would allow the people to vote with their dollar, the best apparent solution being the victor in policy-making decisions since, that which citizens did not want to pay for would simply go unfunded, and that which citizens did want would be available as a result. Second, it would incentivize the very wealthy in society to contribute more of their income to public projects, as those that did this would appear the most favorably to their potential customers and employees, without whom, they would have no income. Third, morale would be improved, overall, as citizens would no longer have to worry about violence from the IRS. This would create a better workforce, lower crime rates, and a generally improved societal demeanor, as citizens would have an active role in societal function, rather than forced participation across the board.

And then we come to death. It’s coming someday, and we all know it. We look both ways when we cross the street, lock our belongings away from intruders, and travel in groups to feel more comfortable. We’ll also be likely to defend these things, by being there for our groups we travel with, and physically defending from aggressive attacks on our property we locked away from intruders. If, however, the collective will of society demands by way of taxation that you surrender your property, you will not be able to defend yourself sufficiently, at all, since the whole force of the state, the law enforcement there to back the IRS, would fight you defending your property, until you were dead, should you have chosen to defend your position to the ends and logical conclusions of their status, meeting physical force with physical force, so that your property remains in your possession, would lead to mounting force from the state until climax of battle. It’s because of this that taxation is equal to death, since every tax code comes implicitly with this threat of ultimate enforcement.

So, not convinced? Head to Google, and look up the terms I’ve been using, so you can decide for yourself if you’re okay with being ruled in this way. I’ve provided evidence that compulsory taxation is unethical, and that voluntary taxation contributes to a better society, by reappropriating the controls of society to the most vulnerable minority, and helping them avoid the inevitable component of compulsory taxation, death. If this concept seems uncomfortable to you, consider the question. How would you defend yourself — or your own personal example of what could be called minority qua public decision — from the state? As Ayn Rand states in “The Virtue of Selfishness”:

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”

Thank you all. I wish you all a peaceful existence!

Works Cited

Rand, Ayn, and Nathaniel Branden. The Virtue of Selfishness. New York: New American Library, 1965. Print.

Bitbutter. “George Ought to Help.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 15 July 2014.