Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Tax Man, Liberty and Democracy

It's worth reading this whole post about tax havens at Samizdata but a couple of points bear emphasizing because they speak to the way our constitutional republic is not the same thing as a true democracy. The latter is nearly pure mob rule. While we elect our representatives democratically, our Constitution is designed to protect individual liberty against the tyranny of straight majority rule.
"....a lot of people make the assumption that wealth is collectively owned if enough voters wish it so and that therefore no-one has the right to flee from the looting intentions of such voters."
And this:
"......democracy and liberty are not the same thing, a point that has been remarked at this blog many times before. For sure, democracy may - may - be the least-worst way to kick out a government and replace it with a hopefully better one, but the idea that freedom comes from letting 51% of the electorate steal from 49% of the electorate has precious little to do with liberty. The right to own property and enjoy its fruits unmolested is as important as freedom of speech or the right to self defence."

This is exactly what deTocqueville was warning about when he said (and I paraphrase) that democracy would only last "as long as it took for the populace to figure out that it could vote itself largess from the public treasury." Perhaps if we take away the keys to the kitty from our elected representatives by enacting the FairTax, we could at least delay this process for a while longer by slowing down their give-aways to favored constituencies.
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