Mark Perry points us to a sober argument that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ promotes drug abuse. (I wish to emphasize – and I don’t here speak for Mark, although he likely agrees with me – that even if the ‘war on drugs’ was completely successful at stopping drug use, and without any negative unintended consequences, I would still oppose this ‘war.’ The reason is that it is no one’s business but my own and those with whom I expressly choose to share my life what substances I choose to ingest. And what is true for me is true for every other adult human being on earth.)
People who talk about tax evasion as if there were something wrong with it are hilarious. No one talks about, say, Walmart evasion as if there were something wrong with it. They sensibly suppose that people who don’t want what Walmart offers for sale don’t hand over their money to Walmart. Why not assume equally sensibly that people who don’t want what the government offers don’t hand over their money to it?
Yeah, yeah, there’s that stuff about public goods and free riding. But so what? People give lots of money for various sorts of public goods, rather than free riding on the donations or purchases of others. Happens all the time. If people really valued what government supplies, they could give money to the government in the same way that they give vast amounts of money to churches, synagogues, colleges, and charities of countless kinds.
But government is a band of violent criminals extorting money from people and doing a great deal of evil with the proceeds. Of course perfectly decent people will evade handing over their money to such disreputable and often evil individuals. It is scarcely a bad thing to keep one’s money out of such malevolent hands. Prudence may dictate paying off the government to stay out of prison, but no one should conclude that people have a moral obligation to submit to extortion exactly as the extorter dictates.