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An experiment

by Greg Minton

One argument that anarchists — myself included — make is that taxation is violent.  People get very upset and angry when they hear us make this claim. If you do not want to accept that truth, then that is fine — however, there is a scientific way that you can determine whether or not the government is by its very nature a violent institution.

Tax day is coming up in America. It is on April 15th here in the U.S. (The same principles apply if you are not based in America, just with a different collection date.) If you are going to keep saying that taxes are not violent, taxes are voluntary, and that no one will shoot you if you don’t pay taxes, then prove it.

Don’t pay your taxes.

Completely stop filing your income tax returns for a year, two years, five years, ten years — and let me know how that goes. You’ll probably get a letter. Ignore it. You’ll get another letter. Ignore that one, too. The IRS will send you a court summons. Toss it in the garbage. The police will come knocking on your door. You don’t have to answer.

If at any point in this process you decide, “Oh, ok. I’ll pay up,” then that’s fine — but figure out why you decide to pay. Is it out of genuine generosity? Is it a voluntary transaction? Or are you scared of being sent to jail or even shot if you resist?

If you try out this experiment, you will (quickly) find that there is a gun involved. If you don’t try this experiment, then please — stop saying that taxes are not violent.

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