*(First a disclaimer: I’m not a republican. I’m also not a Democrat. I don’t particularly like political parties, and I really don’t like those two. That said when I’m voting I’m a lot more likely to vote democrat, but I have voted for republicans and will likely again in the future when I think the individual in question is the better candidate. I’m not voting for either McCain or Obama, as I don;t think either is qualified for the position. I’ll either vote 3rd party or leave that one blank.

I’m also not christian. I don’t particularly like organized religion any more than political parties. Maybe less. I’m also not an atheist. I have my own private spiritual beliefs and I assume nobody else really cares what they are.

Actually what I am foremost of all is a physical scientist. I like numbers. I like data. I like evidence. I hate false assumptions and misrepresentations that lead analysis astray. That’s more my religion than anything.

Now if any f that convinces you not to listen to anything I say, feel free to move along and do something you find more rewarding.)*

While I highly doubt anyone here will agree with this diary, hopefully it will be a little bit of a break from the 24-7 focus on the upcoming election.

Their is an argument that taxes are a form of theft. Why is it theft? “Because the government is taking your money!”

Really, is it? Is it your money at all?

What can we say are the defining attributes of ownership? Possession of course. That is the capacity to keep the thing with you or vice versa. One possesses a wallet by virtue of being legally able to remove the wallet from anyone else’s vicinity. One possesses a house by being allowed to exclude others from it’s vicinity. Control is the next attribute of ownership. That is the ability to alter or determine what actions are taken with the object. One can paint a house one owns without permission. One can choose to open or close a wallet and to add or remove articles from it only as long as they own the wallet or have the owner’s permission. The last criteria is Disposal. The wallet’s owner may choose to throw the wallet away, throw it into a fire, or bury it in swampy ground. A house’s owner may choose to tear down the structure entirely or simply destroy elements of it (such as given walls).

What, then, of money?

In general you have a right of Possession. You can certainly carry your money with you as you like. This right however is limited when and where the state chooses. One example:

U.S. persons aged 18 or older may send to members of the remitter’s immediate family in Cuba or to a Cuban national in a third country “family” cash remittances of up to $300 per household in any consecutive three-month period, provided that no member of the household is a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba or a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party.

from here.

Similarly with the issue of Control, the government allows us in general to use our cash as we see fit but they also preclude the use in ways they deem unacceptable. Gambling bans are a simple example of an activity that is not illegal except when it involves the transfer of money.

Finally Disposal:

Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

US treasury law

Of course one could argue that all of these are merely examples of government infringement on what we “own.” But this argument is false. The reason government can make these infringements is that they create the cash in the first place. We voluntarily accept the explicit contract involved when we accept US government bills (i.e. dollars) as a form of remuneration.

So we cannot really say that we own the money in our pocket, or the money in our bank account. Rather we are renting it in a peculiar way. It is and always was the government’s property to do with as they will. They have loaned it to us to use because it makes sense for them to. It binds us to them. But when and as they like they are perfectly within their rights to take it back.

Don’t like it? Then use a barter system.