Who doesn’t long for world peace?

To me, it all seems so simple. If each of us declined to use force in the conduct of our human affairs, peace would reign, ipso facto. Peace by this means may have been the main point of Jesus Sermon on the Mount. The problem is we didn’t get it, at least not yet.

We are forceful, violent people, and we don’t seem inclined to do anything about it. One way we routinely and obliviously use force to get what we want is by taxing others. Taxation requires the initiation of force to facilitate collection. A tax that wasn’t subject to enforcement by the unholy authority of the State to initiate overwhelming force, including violent arrest and forcible property expropriation as necessary, would not be a tax. In the realm of taxation, the first use of force or threatened use (coercion) is by the State. Our victims almost always succumb to the might of the school-yard bully when we take their lunch money by means of taxation.

Because taxes have become ubiquitous in America and throughout the world, tax collection must constitute the most common occasion of violence being used or threatened in the lives of people in the conduct of their affairs.

Today we turn to taxation and its violence as casually as we scratch an itch. Although it is sometimes true we tax ourselves when we tax others, that fact doesn’t mitigate our use of force against others, at least not if Jesus meant what he said and knew what he was talking about in his Sermon on the Mount. (See the Gospel of Matthew, Chapters 5. 6 and 7.)

If the individuals assigned the task of collecting taxes refused to use force and adhered to the wisdom of Jesus, taxation would cease. The penultimate culprits in any taxation scheme are the tax collectors. Perhaps that is why Jesus frequently pointed to tax collectors as exemplars of sinfulness. (See Matthew, Chapters 5, 9, 18, and 21)

In America, however, tax collectors are merely agents of the people, who are the principals. They hold the sovereign authority of the nation in their hands. Thus, the ultimate culprits in the persistent, ubiquitous violent taxation in America are the people. As the cartoon character Pogo said, parodying Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

It is incontrovertible that force and violence tend to beget more force and violence. When one person shoves another it is altogether likely the other person will shove back. (Unless the person shoved is a disciple of Jesus, who told his followers to turn the other cheek to forces or violence.) There is also a dynamic nexus between taxes and wars, which is palpable. Wars are always funded by taxes, including the taxes of those who find war morally reprehensible.

On this crucial issue of taxation’s endemic violence and its consequent immorality, those Americans who are dependent on benefits obtained by taxing others endeavor to ignore the moral implications, and even try to wrest the moral high ground from the victims of taxation. By means of intellectually bankrupt sophistry, they stand the law of God (“Thou shalt not steal.”), and the teachings of Jesus (“Do to others as you would have them do to you.“) on their respective heads. They–including Pope Francis–say or imply that it is immoral not to succor the poor among us by means of violent taxation. Of course they studiously ignore the unavoidable violence required for the successful collection of taxes.

As immoral as it is to take other people’s property by means of force, violence or coercion, it is nevertheless legal in accordance with man-made laws. On these grounds alone, the rule of law should be jettisoned.

Because of this contrived legality, tax collectors and tax beneficiaries are wont to denigrate and demonize those who would resist being taxed. Thus, by means of human laws, the victims of taxation who dare to resist, however peacefully and nonviolently, are made criminals; the wisdom of Jesus is made nugatory.

For those who are baptized Christians, let us renew our baptismal vow to renounce Satan and all his work, including force and violence. We need not look to others to do so first, or at the same time, rather let us sing, “Let There be Peace on Rarth, and Let It Begin with Me. “

Pax!