TOS Blog: Daily Commentary from an Objectivist Perspective

Peter Schiff: The Ability to Steal Doesn’t Make Theft Right

Peter Schiff discusses in this video why the mob doesn’t have a right to steal his money, and he warns Americans about the continuing assault on the wealthy.

I have no doubt that the mob has the means to steal my money, the government has given them the means, we have destroyed the protections that were afforded [to] me by the constitution, and yes the mob does have the means to steal from me, but that doesn’t make it right. They do not have a . . . moral claim to my money.

Although Schiff is spot on in most respects here, he does erroneously say the government “has a right to tax” to fund the army and to support the government. To see how the legitimate functions of government can be financed non-coercively, read Craig Biddle’s “How Would Government Be Funded in a Free Society?”.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Taxation

Comments are welcome so long as they are civil.
  • Christopher Budden

    The Peter Schiff video seems like it was doctored–it does not sync with his speech. And while I’m not a fan of Rush philosophically, it seems like the supposed argument between these two is a non-issue. Rush seemed to be making one of his satyrical points that he loves so much and Schiff’s response seems to generate from a misinterpretation? Maybe I’m incorrect. Don’t know–just an observation on my part.

  • Brianna Aubin

    Well I can’t vouch for the video, but those are certainly Schiff’s opinions on the subject. And I have to say, even I’m a little skeptical of voluntary taxation. I think that even if we don’t agitate for completely voluntary taxation, it’s a legitimate division to distinguish between government taxing for defense, and government taxing for welfare.

  • Dale Netherton

    All other transactions are conducted voluntarily except the government. Millions are raised voluntarily for campaigns yet politicians and others claim no one would adequately fund the government without the ability to confiscate. This is the same method the mafia uses to offer protection for store owners. How long it will take for people to understand this scam is unknown but if governments are not challenged to trade as all others do for their services the world will face economic crises unending.

  • Stephanie Bond

    Brianna, there is no middle ground. ALL coercion must be banned. Why be “skeptical” of the efficacy of self-interest? Voluntary transactions rely on mutual benefit. Those in government need to discover the truth about self-interest – it is easier than everyone has been led to believe to find a way to appeal to self-interest and to raise the funds for legitimate government services.

    Were there no “safety net” supplied by coercive methods, each individual would have to devise his own to the extent he deems appropriate. Seeking to protect oneself from harm is the key value to which honest government can appeal and such self-interest will more than adequately fund proper government.

    At first, the big companies will be the primary funders simply because they do so much on a big scale with contracts of so many kinds. When the law is not coercing people to do some one thing or other, and people have to work out for themselves what kind of security they need and want, all that they really need is objective proof of lawful ownership. Such proof is available – for a small fee – by registering the documentation to establish such ownership. Whether it’s a house or a job or a piece of land or a factory or an agreement to buy or to sell – contract registration may seem mundane but it is capable of generating goodly sums. As individual begin to realize this, and to look for ways to invest their own funds in themselves and developing small businesses, the knowledge that their claim to their property relies on them having registered such claim.

    The job of government is much more passive than everyone is used to. Its job is not to tell people how to live, but to simply enforce a very simple law – nobody has the right to initiate the use of force.

    Finding more and better ways to voluntarily fund proper government will result in more money for those purposes, all while abridging no-one’s rights.

    There can be no coercion permitted by law. The rule of law itself requires it and the proper protection of individual rights cannot happen without it.