His testimony is also remarkable for how he links tax resistance with
conscientious objection to compulsory military service, also a subject near
and dear to him. Here is an excerpt (liberally translated) from an answer he
gives to a skeptical interrogator who asks the usual “but what about all the
good things our taxes pay for” question:
Okay. I will give you my point of view. My stance is that everybody has the
right to their body and property, and that everybody may do what they want,
so long as they do not violate the rights of others. This is a fundamental
human right: the right of self-determination.
The state violates this right in multiple ways — including compulsory military
service, which has still not been abolished — and also imposing taxes. I have
earned my living by advising people who were drafted into compulsory military
service, helping them to avoid it, because I saw it as a great injustice: a
form of forced labor imposed on innocent people.
When that was suspended, I turned my attention to tax evasion, because,
according to the same principles, I think taxes constitute a violation of
property rights: the right to own the fruits of your labor.
For thousands of years, the state used this money to enrich the nobility and
the king. After that, they began to use part of that money to give it to the
people: they distributed gifts among the people in order to legitimize taxes.
But this does not legitimize them.
The term “robbery” applies when property is taken from you by the threat of
violence (when you have not caused damages that you refuse to compensate, nor
are you in breach of an agreement that you voluntarily entered into). And this
is exactly what the state does. If you have to pay taxes, according to the
state’s rules, and you do not, then people will come to plunder your home. And
if you resist, you will be treated as a criminal. If you don’t file your
taxes, you will be locked up for up to four years for refusing to file.
This is how the state gets money: by threatening to lock people into cages.
And I have no problem if you do this with murderers, rapists, robbers, or
scammers. But if you do it to innocent people, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, like
draftees or taxpayers, then it is a great injustice. And I fight against that
And that is why I have not only devoted much of my life to spreading these
ideas — politically as leader of the Libertarian Party, but also in my
professional career, protecting people from the injustice that the state tries
to commit against them. And the fact that some of that money is not used by
the political elite to fill their pockets, but is distributed as gifts (which
we have not asked for) does not legitimize the theft.