More and more people are becoming aware that government has nothing to give them without first taking it away from somebody else-or from themselves. Increased handouts to selected groups mean merely increased taxes, or increased deficits and increased inflation.

Henry Hazlitt

Political Correction

Over the weekend I had a conversation with a gentleman in a bar about weed and taxes. By weed I mean cannabis.

My conclusion?

It’s frustrating that in our current socialist climate it’s rare that anyone takes the time to think for themselves.

I didn’t know whether it was the beer talking or the influence of the Jason Stapleton program I listen to, but I just wanted to wrap my hands around his neck and squeeze until his eyes bulged. Thankfully, my higher senses overruled my irritation.

But I digress.

I have always been an advocate of the legalization of marijuana, not because I wish to smoke it recreationally, but rather, I don’t see the harm in it, and thus I do not like being told I cannot do something at the whim of a politician. Initially, I thought, why doesn’t the government let people just do what they wish with the plant, and just tax the consumption?

I have changed my mind on this view. Not many people ever question why the government has the right to restrict what individual wishes to consume.

The Voice of Ignorance

This gentleman didn’t want marijuana illegal, he just wasn’t upset when the government took their cut and provided no value in exchange.  He felt that taxes allow the government to build roads and help people. What could be wrong with that?

He even advocated further that it should be mandatory that every high school kid learns how to properly fill out a tax form.

While this may seem like a perfectly reasonable suggestion, I couldn’t help but feel concerned that maybe I didn’t like the idea of teaching my children how to be better tax cows.

The Devil In The Details

Remember the quote at the beginning of the post?

The government provides nothing that it hasn’t first taken from someone else. How is the government going to pay for a road? Through the raising of taxes, which simply means taking a cut from someone and giving it to someone else, a redistribution of wealth.

And I can guarantee that once the project is finished, the government will not reduce or remove the taxes, the temptation is too great, once the revenue has started flooding in.

At least with taxes, the cost is known.   The hidden tax of inflation is a far darker secret. When a government cannot afford to fulfill their promises, and cannot raise taxes, they print more money and expand the money supply. The problem here is that everyone loses. The dollar you have saved today decreases in value in direct relationship to the printing press.

How do you think that “free” healthcare is paid for?

For more understanding on the Federal Reserve read The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin.

Life On The Tax Farm

While the idea that we are tax animals may sound overly dramatic, I scratch my head in wonder how deep and thorough propaganda has worked into the life of the average Canadian.

When I explained the conversation with my wife at home the next day, before I could even tell her what part had made me angry, I found her agreeing verbatim with the whole idea of paying taxes. She believed two things were important: learning to balance a checkbook, as well as preparing a tax form. The first skill has financial value, but the second only provides a free service to the government.

She didn’t have the patience nor the interest to question the whole principle of paying tax. Again I was left in the lurch with unanswered questions flying around my mind. She only asserted that if you didn’t pay, there was going to be consequences.

She is certainly right on that point.

Voluntary vs Non-Voluntary

Taxes are an example of a non-voluntary economic relationship. Since the state has a monopoly on violence, if you don’t pay, men with guns are going to put you in prison.

What makes this right?

Marijuana is a plant that grows naturally all over the planet. I would bet that even if the outdoor conditions were not suitable, there would be some suave indoor gardener that could easily make it work, no matter how difficult the conditions.

It’s a compelling plant.

Because Marijuana has so many commercial applications its cultivation has been very lucrative for the entrepreneur gardener. It is at this point where the free market begins to have conflicts with the state, an entity that wishes to consolidate power and organize economic activity in a centrally planned fashion.

In a nutshell, bureaucrats want a piece of the action, and thus use the state to force the “haves” to hand over cash to the “have nots” at the point of a gun.

Paying taxes is not a voluntary action.

Reefer Madness

The DEA classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug, which it defines as a substance or chemical with no current accepted medical use, and a high potential for abuse. For the record, there is absolutely no evidence to support these claims except a lot of “reefer” madness propaganda.

On the other hand, there is a lot of evidence to support that marijuana has many medical applications, from ointments to pain relief. Look it up it doesn’t take a lot of effort to find proof.

Despite there being a discrepancy between the laws and the truth — the state and its cumbersome bureaucracy haven’t seen fit to correct its error in judgment.

Ethics or Morality?

Why shouldn’t you ingest weed?

The answer is because it’s illegal to do so if you don’t have a permit from the government.

Why should you pay taxes?

Because it is illegal not to unless you have exemptions from the IRS or Canada Revenue. A friend of mine recently reminded me of a section on your tax form that you could voluntarily give the government more of your money if you desired.

That’s called chutzpah.

If you don’t know the definition of chutzpah, it’s like a guy killing his parents, and then pleading for the courts to have mercy on him for being an orphan.

Preferential Treatment

In different political climates across the United States, pot has been legalized for medical use, and it is the same in Canada. Qualified doctors can prescribe as much of it as they see fit to treat many ailments, provided they have been given permission from the state to do so.

Wisdom would say there’s more to paying taxes than building roads.

Before I wrap this up I would like to recommend a book to all high school students BEFORE they learn how to properly fill out their tax returns. This isn’t a recommendation to break the law, only an exclamation point stating that some laws are ethically and morally wrong.

The Lesson

The book I recommend is called Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. Mr. Hazlitt, in plain language and clear thinking, changed my whole understanding of money, economics, and our relationship with the government.

It’s an eloquent introduction to freedom.

Read it, it won’t take more than an afternoon, but the benefits will be staggering. The bottom line is that there’s an enormous price to pay for ignorance.

Cheers!

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