The Coastal Post - August, 1997

Who Owns These Hands?


Lift your hands up in front of your face and look at them carefully. If there was ever something that might qualify as private property, those hands in front of your face should fit the bill. They are yours; they belong to you and to no one else. Can we agree on this basic fact? I hope so, even if you happen to be a socialist.

If someone comes up to you and says, "Give me your hand," you might think he wanted to shake hands with you. But what if he really meant for you to give it to him? He actually wants you to cut your hand off and give it to him! How do you answer that person? Can we assume that you would firmly declare that he can't have your hand? Would you be selfish if you loudly said, "It is mine. You cannot have it."? I doubt that even socialists (who love to rail against "selfishness") would consider this a selfish act. In fact, to chop off one's hand and give it to someone under such circumstances could properly be called insane.

Let's take this a step further. We can logically acknowledge that the muscular energy that moves your hands is also your private property. That energy is exclusive to your hands, and therefore to you. You own the actions of your hands because you own your hands. Suppose someone comes up to you and says, "Take your hands and carry this sack of concrete for me." It is a blunt command, not an offer of employment. Are you selfish if you tell the guy to get stuffed? I don't think so. And the law agrees. Slavery is the theft of someone else's labor. Slavery-involuntary servitude-is illegal in America.

The next step is the realization that there are two basic types of able-bodied, adult people in the world: producers and thieves. At first this may seem simplistic. But if you examine this declaration carefully, you will see that it is a precise, accurate observation.

An honest government should protect the producers (owners) from the thieves (non-owners). A dishonest government empowers the thieves at the expense of the producers. Which form of government do you think we live under today? The next question is: How far are we going to let this go? To answer that question we must examine how far it has already gone.

Now, in that previous theoretical situation, you boldly told off the obnoxious guy commanding you to carry a sack of concrete. But when you are taxed by a SWAT team-armed government at an effective rate of 50 percent, it is the same as though you carried five sacks of concrete for yourself (for some form of compensation that you have previously agreed upon), and you were then forced to carry five sacks as a slave.

The key to this trickery is the subtly seductive nature of theft by proxy. If you are the beneficiary of any sort of government program, are you not guilty of receiving stolen goods? After all, the money or benefits you are receiving were literally stolen via armed threat. In case you didn't know, the government enforces tax laws at gunpoint.

This is not a comfortable realization to accept. For instance, your children are able to attend free "public" schools because other people have had their money stolen by the government. You may have been taxed as well, but if the education of your child costs a single dollar more than your "fair share" of taxes that are directed towards your local public school, are you not effectively in receipt of stolen goods? And, therefore, are you not, in a subtle, morally significant way, a thief?

On the flip side, if the amount of money from your taxes directed towards public schools is greater than the cost of your child's education, are you not a victim of theft?

I can hear the indignant liberal socialists sniveling now. After all, every child has a "right" to a free education! Oh yeah? Who the hell made that one up? Seriously, folks, where did that idea come from? And where does the concept end? Does every child have the "right" to free food, free medical care, free tricycles, free Nintendos, free Nikes? You expect your kid to get a free education, so why don't you send him down to the shoe store and tell him to pick up his free pair of shoes?

The obvious fact that we are ignoring here is that nothing is free unless it is freely given. If I steal a car and give it to someone, and get caught doing so, I will be punished for theft and the recipient of the "free" car will, at the least, have to return the stolen property to its rightful owner.

Can't you see how socialism, also known as "democracy" or "mob rule," allows the enshrining of dishonesty (theft) as something virtuous? It is morality by consensus. If the majority one day declares that something intrinsically evil (theft) is in effect good, is it then okay to steal?

The sustaining energy behind government-sponsored theft is most often plain envy. I look at you and I covet the wealth you have earned. I want some of it for myself. The easiest way for me to get it is to steal it. So I hire professional thieves known as politicians to plunder you so I don't have to stick my own neck out. Now I don't like to think of myself as a thief, so I have to demonize you, my victim, and characterize you as "greedy," or "corrupt," or "exploitive," or "filthy rich." Now you very well may be all those things, but what if you are not? What if you are just a hard-working, bright, ambitious, inventive, honestly wealthy person? Well, that's just too bad, isn't it? Because those positive traits don't get anybody a tax exemption, do they?

Intrinsic to the deception of this theft called socialism is the phrase that "we vote to tax ourselves." This is a huge lie. If a tax scheme is approved by 60 percent of the voters, there is a minority of 40 percent that will be plundered against their will. Has anybody ever wondered if it might be possible to tax only those who vote for the scheme and let the others off the hook? (Of course, it is only right that the nay-saying minority would then be denied the "benefits" said tax scheme would allegedly deliver.) I hear it all the time: "I'm willing to pay for public schools!" Well, good for you! Go for it! Dump you money into those government-run brainwashing centers, those idiot factories, those institutions of inculcated collectivist passivity. But why, fellow citizen, must you coerce others to bear the financial burden?

Whose hands are those in front of your face? Are you looking at the hands of a producer or the hands of a thief?