Auberon HerbertAuberon Herbert, (1838-1906) English writer, theorist, philosopher, 19th century individualist, member of the Parliament of the U.K.

Auberon Herbert Quote

“... every tax or rate, forcibly taken from an unwilling person, is immoral and oppressive.”

Auberon HerbertAuberon Herbert
~ Auberon Herbert

"The Principles of Voluntaryism" [1897], reproduced in The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, and Other Essays by Auberon Herbert (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1978), p. 393

Ratings and Comments

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

I can see it now, folks who think it is ok for the state to kill will also agree that taxes are "immoral"... little wonder we are living in a declining society.

helorat, Milton

Very good quote. Progressive taxes are immoral, property taxes are immoral and involuntary taxes are immoral. Not all taxes. Perhaps A, Reston would care to enlighten us as to which of his Marxist utopian states did not kill; or any other state for that matter. When a state becomes unwilling to charge a criminal his life for taking a life it has failed its basic purpose of stopping people from doing violence to each other and demands vigilantism from its citizens.

Dick, Fort Worth

How did capital punishment get into Milton's analysis? I really like his rationalizing the starting of wars because other nations do. Isn't it the credo of this country that we are the most democratic and humanitarian of all?

Joe, Rochester, MI

If 10% is enough for God ... it should be enough for the IRS. Government would run without income taxes of the People. I'm tired of half my money going toward taxes. I earned it, I should be able to keep it, but government keeps inventing reasons to take more. Reston, do you think it is okay for the state to kill (FBI, BATFE, CIA, etc.)? I don't. They should never show up at your home WITHOUT a warrant.

Ken, Allyn, WA

I suppose this is why the IRS calls the income tax a "voluntary tax". The IRS certainly wouldn't want to be immoral or oppressive.

Joe, Rochester, MI

...income tax is "voluntary" but is mandatory. The government has a backwards definition of voluntary.

E Archer, NYC

... and leads eventually to totalitarianism.

cal, lewisville, tx

The government claims that the "federal reserve notes we earn are government property. We should be so grateful they leave us just a little bit to spend for ourselves.

Anonymous, Reston, VA, US

and if the rate was a "flat 10%" then there would be those who oppose that... a slippery slope to anarchy...

Mike, Norwalk

Wow, A from Reston, I've not often seen you comment twice in the same day. We hold this truth to be self evident.

Waffler, Smith

Taxes are not immoral, and have never been immoral. Jesus higher a tax collector and he said pay what is due. Taxes are the boon of society, they are what give us streets, lighting, parks, security etcetera and national defense. Taxes are voluntary in the same way that a person who has been arrested can volunteer to come along with the arresting officer or be force, his choice. Name a society any society that existed on voluntary taxation. If it never existed why do folk keep discussing and insisting that such a regimen of stupidity can exist. Does insisting on such stupidity make the insistor a stupid person!

Mike, Norwalk
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Mike, Norwalk Waffler, Smith 12/19/22

Waffler, please cite chapter and verse where Jesus did and said that.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Jesus never said, "Pay your taxes." He showed a coin with Caesar's head stamped on it and said, "Render unto Caesar's what is Caesar's." The coin, however, belongs to whoever earned it. Just because Caesar's head defaces a perfectly good coin doesn't mean it belongs to him anymore than your car would belong to me if I painted my name on it. The only tax that is truly moral is one in which you voluntarily participate and are not punished for not participating, e.g. a tax on sales. Everyone knows the price up front including the tax and can decide for themselves to buy or not. No one is punished for deciding not to buy (at least for now).

Waffler, Smith

Yes you can decide not to buy, in the same vain income tax is voluntary if you decide not to earn. No one or very few can live a life without interpersonal interactions including buying and selling. In the same vain few can live without earning one way or the other, earning either in currency or barter, it is still earning and the tax is not voluntary neither is sales tax. Name a society Kenny in which taxes were voluntary, please! Since I don't believe that you can is not the discussion or argument just a silly mute point?

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RBESRQ    10/29/09

Stupid statement

s petersen, springfield, mo

There is a big difference in sales tax verses income tax. Sales tax allows me to see up front what I am going to pay and I do not have my privacy invaded to pay it. It is fair and straight forward and we vote on locally. Although income tax is considered constitutional because it was put in as an amendment it violates the principles established by the Founders. We need to get the federal government out of our daily lives. Let them do what the constitution says they should do and nothing else. We are very capable of handling our issues on a state and local level.

Elisabeth, Astoria, NY

Taxes are indeed a necessary evil, but in some states, where they are so high, they become a destructive evil: they destroy individual's pursue of happiness (they feel encouraged to get it for very little or no work at all), they force the middle class give their money to programs that they have nothing to do with, they curtail business initiatives (everything is going to cost so much!), they cripple progress, they trigger unemployment, finally they are a bubble, just like many we have seen... The three stars are because taxes are necessary to a reasonable extent. And very high sales taxes are also disgusting. How many times have we bought something only to be surprised at how much more we pay at the end of the day, if we forget to ask. I am learning to remember to ask, and I am buying much less.

J Carlton, Calgary

And Waffler perpetuates the big lie...Taxes do NOT give us anything. They are simply profits given to foreign bankers for lending the government money right out of thin air. Abolish the Fed. and return to real money. Then maybe your tax dollar will go to sustain infrastructure.
Then maybe our government will once again be "our government" and not a bunch of bought and paid for talking heads working for one world government ideology.

jim k, Austin, Tx

5 Stars for s petersen and J Carlton.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, WOW, you even mis quote Jesus to support your immoral choices. To say all taxes are immoral is incorrect. Those taxes that are a capitation, direct, or otherwise attach directly to the individual are immoral. Concerning taxes, prior to 1913, the U.S.A. was the most free, prosperous (percentages above a poverty line), strong, charitable and moral.

Matthew, People's Republic of California

Taking x% of someone's effort or property against their will is by definition immoral (theft = bad). Now to get another 2% of the population to understand that not opposing systematic theft is condemning their children to slavery...

E Archer, NYC

The twisted legalisms used to get us to this place of perpetual debt and taxation of our labors and property are based on the limits placed on government by the Constitution. To get around the prohibitions on taxing private citizens directly, we have all been turned into government beneficiaries and thus subject to governmental statutes. One thing the government can do is tax its own employees, contractors, beneficiaries, etc.. If you are receiving any government benefit, you have signed up for it, and your signature says that you understand the fine print (even though most do not).

One of the lynch pins is the use of commercial paper for transferring equitable interest. When the US government essentially declared bankruptcy in 1934, the terms for continuing to honor government promises-to-pay was the seizure of all the money (gold) from all the people on the USA, and exchange it for interest-bearing IOUs called Federal Reserve Notes. Thus, these notes are commercial paper, and then places all transactions of this type into the interstate commerce clause jurisdiction -- meaning that we are not actually discharging any debts, we are merely transferring the equitable interest of the debt.

In essence then the government can make any rules they want governing the use of these notes and even whether one can even play the game or not with reams and reams of regulations and fees. We cannot even use gold or silver to make purchases at the store -- this screws up the whole system because when real money is used to buy real things, the commercial jurisdiction does not apply. When we buy stuff with IOU's we do not own the stuff until the IOU is paid off -- but if we pay the IOU with another IOU the property is still liened against. Land paid for with gold/silver is not taxable -- it never was. 'Income' of gold/silver is not taxable. Only excise taxes were authorized by the Constitution, and if you learn about your IRS master file, you will see that your income tax is defined as an amalgam of excise taxes on the use of the Federal Reserve currency. Income taxes have always been temporary and accompanied the issuance of fiat currency -- i.e. promissory notes from the government used as currency. When the debt was paid, the income tax was ended. You will notice that the issuance of Federal Reserve Notes in 1913 came with an income tax, and all taxes are paid directly to the Federal Reserve Bank, a private bank, not federal. The thing is, there is no plan to return to gold/silver money because our economic system does not allow the use of real money and forces us by law to accept IOUs in lieu of cash.

Let cash registers accept gold and silver again. Let banks hold gold and silver again. Let sellers and buyers decide what form of currency to use for any given transaction. IOUs carry risk, and it should be our option to decide to take that risk or not.

Start there, then we can let Washington DC fall, and we can start again. The US government is bankrupt, and the Congress, President and Courts know it, but as long as the citizenry does nothing about it, they will continue to dictate terms to us as the subjects that we have become. It is better that Washington DC crash and get it over with than drag the rest of the nation down with it. We can definitely survive and thrive without the yokes on our backs and the needles in our arms.

E Archer, NYC
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E Archer, NYC E Archer, NYC 12/23/22

Countries that use fiat currencies tax their citizens in order to pay interest on the currency issued.  The tax is taken from their paychecks before ever going into circulation.  It is a needle in the arms of the People for life.  This regulates the power of the people, steals the lion's share of our life's blood.

Poverty is regulated, more poverty, more debt.  If all bank loans were paid back today, there would be no money, and we would still owe more.  It is servitude.

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

The schemer often gives you more or less, in an attempt to unbalance the situation to win a  deadly contest that they, the mentally ill schemer, has fabricated. This game has put the United States of America in a 31 trillion dollar jam that the the mentally ill schemer, who run the resources, won't address. The game idea has made the tabulations component practically impossible to compute with out some kind of deliberations which the mentally ill won't and to some extent can't do. So the scientist must let the feature of unrealialty continue. Trying to address reality with a creature who won't allow it is the feature of the equation the scientific man  has to let become more unbalanced until other variables are installed.

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown
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Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown 12/19/22

In addition :Going around saying you're all crazy help much.

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

Correction: in addition: Going around saying you're all crazy don't help much. Sorry, I've got some pretty female diversions around me.

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Abby    12/22/22

Offenses: taxing me to pay for an abortion, supporting those who cross the border illegally and then taxing the public to support them, taxing me to support a war between 2 nations that mean nothing to me is fact it feels like extortion...I have nothing to say about it...but if the tax bill is ignored, my house will be taken from is that a good thing for America?


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