Pity the poor collectivists. Trying to engage them is like showing up in your modern combat gear for field maneuvers, only to find across the field from you the entire confused-looking army of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick … eight guys in steel breastplates, carrying medieval crossbows.
“I was going to ask if vinnie plans to write a column about people disagreeing with him or showing how he is completely wrong, but i learned long ago not to talk to brick walls and if anybody is a brick wall intellectually it’s free market vin,” commented one of these mighty rhetorical warriors, whose “shift” key seems to be malfunctioning recently. “I wonder how he gets to work each day without using government-built streets and roads.”
I suppose it’s too much to expect for them to drum up any new arguments. However, if someone would be willing to read to this fellow from my modest oeuvre, they’d find I have often commented that — while any mandatory taxation is of course immoral, compounding simple theft with the false cloak of respectability — the indirect excises on tires and gasoline which almost entirely fund our government road and highway budgets are among the least objectionable.
This is because, first, this method of finance does a fairly good job — if not quite as good a job as tolls — of charging those who actually use the roads (as opposed to most government “programs,” which hand the bill precisely to those who neither need nor want the “services” in question), and secondly precisely because excises are “indirect.”
True, the notion that one must bend a knee and ask government for a special “privilege” to sell tires or gasoline is absurd. But at least I’m under no obligation to file any “tax” return with the government, under penalty of perjury, to fund the highways. If the “privileged” dealer fails to remit the taxes he’s agreed to pay, it’s no concern of mine.
Since everything government touches turns to crap, tax-funded roads will eventually be exposed as an overpriced boondoggle that doesn’t work. All that’s necessary is for Congress to start shifting these excise funds to other uses — which they’ve already started, with their thoroughly unconstitutional “Urban Mass Transit” boondoggles. (See the 10th Amendment.)
Private tolls roads — with private safety police, and privately enforced insurance mandates (this was all covered pretty well in my friend L. Neil Smith’s “The Probability Broach,” now even available as a quite good comic book, for those who find it easier when there are pictures) — will eventually re-assert themselves as the only economically viable alternative in the long run, and I’ll be glad when it happens.
In the meantime, though, I write today to ask: Why is this only a one-way street? (Sorry.)
If I am supposedly barred from promoting the advantages of economic freedom due to my “hypocrisy” in driving on streets funded by the compulsory taxes I dutifully pay (since I’m left no real choice), why isn’t our foot-stomping challenger barred from promoting the wondrous benefits or economic slavery, collectivism and coercion, due to the simple fact he buys his food at a free-market grocery store?