Statist claim: Using State services implies consent.


"If you don't want to pay taxes, stop using services (such as roads and logistics), stop eating commercially grown food, don't accept disaster relief, and consider yourself on your own in case of burglary, fire, or medical emergencies." (Chris Read)


This is a variation on the Public Property fallacy, but such a frequently-raised one that it deserves its own page. Where to begin here? Well, the previous page covers much of it: the state owns nothing because legitimate ownership does not come through buying property with stolen money or by confiscating it at gunpoint.

The fact remains that people that would be free are still taxed: part of their productivity is taken by the state. Like any victim of theft, they have a right to get their money back. If they do this by receiving state services, this is neither wrong nor hypocritical. For example, it is often stated that Ayn Rand received social security, as if this is some great moral point or objection to her theories (this is an example of a legitimate objection). But it is likely she had far more taken from her than she ever got back, which still puts her on the positive side of the ledger.

Thus, a voluntaryist may use services provided by the state without hypocrisy or wrongdoing. It is just a case of an extortion victim managing to get back a few dollars of their own money.

Some will even defend receiving more than paid in as still moral, because taking resources from an enemy ("Our Enemy, the State") is legitimate. I'm not so sure about that, as the funds come from fellow victims—the state has no money of its own—but it's not likely the state was going to return the funds, either.

None of the items listed require a state (Who Will Build the Roads?), and most aren't even done by the state (so we don't know why the person listed them); but the state monopolizes provision of many services such as fire and police services (its "protection" services are rather more 99% harassment of peaceful people, to boot). The state does this by forcefully excluding competition: you cannot start a private police agency and sign up subscribers that can choose to pay for your service instead of the state's; people can't opt out of local school taxes as they should be able to; and if you start a protection agency, they will be threatened and violently attacked by the state if they do most of the things the state's police get away with: breaking into houses, accosting pedestrians, caging people for unapproved peaceful behavior.

In a free society, all services would be open to competition. (It is likely that for goodwill they would offer lower rates to the less able to pay, or charities would fill the gaps. Even if not, there is of course still no right to extort and coerce people!) If monopolies were to exist, they would exist because a company provided consistently superior service, and not because it had the largest gang of thugs around violently stopping competition. Compare how numerous grocery stores are, the great selection, and the friendliness of staff to the DMV or other state agencies without competition. (DBR)

Counter: (Equally silly, but meant to be educational by pointing out the foolishness of the original fallacy.)

If people love government so much, they should never drink water bottled at a profit, eat food grown on for-profit farms, breathe air filtered by private-sector filters, etc. (Cam Nedland)


A wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy.  One cartload of the enemy's provisions is equivalent to twenty of one's own, and likewise a single picul of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one's own store.” - Sun Tzu