"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." ~ Frederic Bastiat
Taxation of Virtual Assets Is Theft!
Exclusive to STR
December 22, 2006
The announcement of the intention to tax online video games, the preferred leisure activity of many children, is like a sublime thunderbolt of stupidity. The insatiable desire of the state to plunder all within reach is certainly bad for liberty; but the long term effects of making children loath taxation, and the people responsible for it, may have unintended consequences for the state.
But before I return to the potential silver lining in our continued exploitation, I want to highlight three of the most loathsome statements in that piece, and another related article, which give a clear indication of what our future holds.
1) 'He approached the question by examining whether estate taxes would accrue on the transfer to an heir of a sizable collection of valuable virtual assets. LaPiana said that there is little question that the transfer of such assets could be taxable, since it is property.'
2) 'Despite what the designers of some virtual worlds might like to imply, the group agreed, such environments are not autonomous countries and are therefore subject to real-world national laws.'
3) "The ultimate governance of virtual worlds is the state," Lastowka said. "The law doesn't treat virtual worlds as any different. The state is not going to accept" virtual worlds being treated as autonomous regions.
So in order to legally place ones and zeroes on a hard drive in your free time, you will be required to offer tribute to the state. I see no reason this won't eventually be applied to other online activities, and it will begin as soon as the cretins who rule us figure out what the Internet is. Now for that silver lining I mentioned earlier. You'll have kids faced with the 'Your money or your life!' choice that the state used to reserve for the lucky adults. And since children aren't getting anything in return, except for a temporary reprieve from prison, they're quite likely to equate taxation with theft.
Given that they're too young to directly benefit from the redistributionist shell game (licensed bandits taking your money now, and returning a small portion of it at a later date), there aren't as many arguments that can be used to mollify them. What are some of the common excuses they're likely to hear?
Without this tax, there wouldn't be any roads! There were roads before this tax, and most children are forbidden to use them anyway.
Without this tax, there wouldn't be any schools! There were schools before this tax, and not all children enjoy being forced to attend those juvenile detention centers.
Without this tax, there wouldn't be any of these games you like! They (or their parents) already paid for the game; they pay the monthly fee to play online, the monthly fee for the internet connection, and the cost of the computer. Most of these transactions are presumably taxed as well, and all these things would surely exist without taxes.
Once they've gotten that far, it won't take long to realize that all the necessities of life exist in spite of their government, not because of it.
So despite the inevitable loss of even more of our independence, this is a good chance to educate a new generation of serfs about the malevolent nature of the state. They may even be more receptive than many anesthetized adults, since they haven't completed their mandatory period of brainwashing in the state-run school system. And a generation that has learned to hate taxation before they even reach puberty is a generation that is going to love liberty.