I always cringe when I hear someone make the claim that ‘taxes are the price we pay for civilization’, when in fact, taxes are simply the price we pay for failures of imagination and character. It’s definitely a contender for the dumbest arguments in politics.
Taxation is the McDonald’s of politics. You don’t go to McDonald’s because it’s your best option. You go because it’s convenient, and it’s a habit, and you’re too lazy and unimaginative and undisciplined to make a better choice.
Those are exactly the reasons for financing government through taxes: it’s convenient, it’s a habit, and we’re too lazy and unimaginative and undisciplined to make a better choice — for example, financing government through user fees, so people pay for what they use, and use what they pay for.
Taxation, at its heart, is based on the idea that some people should be able to take money and property from other people, without their consent, simply because they can get away with it by threatening overwhelming violence.
Does that sound like civilization?