At the end of last week's tax debate, my opponent and I received about 45 minutes of questions from audience members. Most of these attacked pro-liberty ideals, which also happen to be American ideals. As I was born in New Zealand and moved to the United States in adulthood, this placed me in a bizarre scenario: advocating liberty to Americans.
Here are seven of the questions that perhaps best represent the total. Almost all were directed at me, but my opponent, John Scott of the University of North Carolina, made a few remarks as well.
1. "Legitimate" taxation, and what about government education? (three minutes)
I didn't actually use the phrase "taxation is alright for a legitimate cause," but the question remains, and it is by no means an easy one. Many people—staunch libertarians or anarchists—say all taxation is theft and unacceptable. The minarchist or minimal-government libertarian position is that taxation is only warranted for defensive activities, the protection of life, liberty, and property. That equates to police, national defense, and a judicial system.
Activities such as these better fit the characterization of "protectorate," rather than "government." In other words, they are only in place to protect individual rights, rather than to redistribute wealth, provide entitlements, or manage individuals, as collectivists so desire. They are, however, the roles originally prescribed by the Declaration or Independence, the United States Constitution, and the North Carolina Constitution.
Article 1, Section 1 of the North Carolina State Constitution:
We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.