I respect Chelsea Manning, I really do. I was defending her back when she was Bradley, for trying to bring transparency to what he viewed as immoral actions by our government. There’s a lot of article to go into whether or not he went about it exactly the right way, or how much value the average US voter got from his revelations, but at the end of the day, I believed the motivations and the will to act on personal morality when it conflicted with law were admirable. (This pronoun thing is a bit difficult–I don’t know at what point he went to she, and I’m dealing with tense.)
However, I respect Gary Johnson, and I disagree with him on certain private property issues, abortion, and choosing Bill Weld. I respect both Massie and Amash, but they’ve been on the opposite sides of some pretty big bills lately. I respect Rand Paul, but his vote to confirm Sessions still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Hell, there’s even a couple of issues I disagree with his father on. All of this is OK, because I don’t want to only respect clones who have swallowed my brand of dogma, and no political actor is me, outside of myself. Besides, I tend to actually get along better with those I disagree with, long as it’s respectful.
Point being, I’m not naturally inclined to dislike Manning. But I call bullshit where I see bullshit. Recently, she posted the following on Twitter…
Given how many distortions, false claims, and logical fallacies are packed into Twitter’s character limit, I think it’s time for a numbered list just to keep track.
1. Taxation isn’t a sharing of responsibility, it’s an abdication of it. The extent you believe taxation is necessary is correlated to the amount of faith you have in the ability of individuals to meet their responsibilities, whether it be basic self sufficiency, helping others, defending communities, providing education, or anything else that could be done by individuals. It is through a belief that individuals are incapable or unwilling to provide these things for themselves or others that is used to justify the theft in the first place.
2. It’s not at all true that only the wealthy believe taxation is theft. When I was poor, I believed it was theft, or at very least coercion. Nearly everyone I ever hear use the phrase “taxation is theft” are not wealthy by any means, and stereotypicaly live in their parent’s basements rather than penthouses.
3. They (the rich) don’t pay taxes? Literally the opposite is true. The top 1% pay nearly half of all income taxes. The top 20% pay about 85% of income taxes. Nearly half the population pays 0%, and that’s roughly the poorest half. Obviously, there are taxes that aren’t income taxes, but when discussing which earners pay taxes, it’s the most relevant metric given that it’s based on income.
4. You cannot consistently believe both 1. that we should “make” them pay taxes, and 2. that taxation in such a system is not theft, given that making them implies both that they don’t consent to pay and that force should be applied to make them.
5. Chelsea at one point believed that at least some taxes went to immoral causes rather than fulfillment of responsibility, or she wouldn’t have leaked the tapes and war logs to Wikileaks in the first place.
6. The amount of mistakes in one simple tweet seems like the kinds of things somebody suffering from too much solitary confinement might think.