Taxation and theft

Theft according to Webster: 1. The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same.

The question of whether a hypothetical benefit has been conveyed has nothing whatsoever to do with whether a taking of property is theft or not. If I steal your Playstation, sell it, and use the money to buy you a sweater, then you have received a benefit directly due to the theft. But the theft has still occurred. Your Playstation is still gone. You were deprived of it, your new sweater notwithstanding.

But furthermore, the notion suggested by Webster that the taking and removing of personal property is not theft if the government happens to be amenable to the taking is both dangerous and absurd. This assumes that all property is at the disposal of the state – an assumption that I argue is at the root of all modern liberal thought. Otherwise, one must accept the notion that the killing and burying of individuals is not murder if the government happens to be amenable to that. And since there are plenty of socialist governments that have put that very concept into action, it cannot possibly be dismissed as a reductio ad absurdum.