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WTF Stephen King?


May 2, 2012
Santiago, Chile

Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King) is fired up. Angry. Furious. Why? Because he doesn’t get to pay enough income tax.

It’s not enough that King could simply write a check, voluntarily, to the government. He wants to make sure that -everyone- is forcibly coerced under threat of imprisonment to pay their ‘fair share’… as defined in the government’s sole discretion.

In a profanity-laden tirade that was recently published in the Daily Beast, King blusters away about the duty and responsibility of ‘the rich’ to pay more to the tax man.

King’s rant is like the philosophical reflections of a drunken sailor, vacillating between amusing babble and outright gibberish.

He starts off by railing against NJ governor Chris Christie’s waistline, then blasts the billionaire Koch brothers for being too charitable to a cause that King doesn’t care for, and then closes his piece by comparing the fate of rich people to that of Marie Antoinette.

It’s a meandering diatribe from an otherwise gifted and creative mind. And as entertaining as it may be, King is just plain wrong… and there’s one simple reason: his appeal that people should be paying higher taxes as a measure of patriotism is a logical fallacy.

Many people who sound the bombastic call of patriotism presuppose that we’re all born with a certain obligation to society… to a piece of dirt that was here long before human beings walked the earth, and will be here long after we’ve vanquished ourselves from the planet.

This is total bunk. Human beings are born free. No one comes into this world owing anybody anything, especially by some complete accident of birth.

But even if you assume to be true that we’re all born with a burden to pay, King is still missing the point.

There’s a certain amount of aggregate wealth in the economy that can be applied towards any number of activities. Wealth can be invested, consumed, saved, etc. King argues that a much greater percentage of that wealth should fill the government coffers.

Bear in mind, though, that for every dollar, euro, pound, or yen that goes to the government, it’s one fewer that’s available to buy his latest book; to renovate a bathroom; to make a crowd-sourced startup investment; to pay for the kids’ tennis lessons; to donate to an organization of your own choosing; etc.

The higher tax argument implies that politicians know how to spend money better than we do; that they have some kind of moral authority to determine which causes are worthy, and which are not, and that their determinations supersede our own.

King (and most other notable tax proponents like Warren Buffett) are terribly confused in that they think giving more money to the government to make these decisions is somehow giving more money to the ‘country’. It’s not.

Again, even if you presuppose that we all have an obligation to a piece of dirt, paying more taxes is merely giving more money to politicians. You and I aren’t getting any of King’s money. The ‘environment’ isn’t getting any of King’s money. It goes to the politicians.

And if there is one category of individuals that has shown throughout history, repeatedly, that it is completely and utterly incompetent at spending other people’s money and determining which are the most ‘just’ causes, it is politicians.

More bombs, more wars, more political favors, more debt, more bailouts, more child molesting TSA thugs, more porno-watching SEC regulators, more legislation to take over the Internet and confiscate passports, more gun-happy government agencies with civil asset forfeiture and police authority… this is what politicians do with our money.

Continuing to nurse their largess, corruption, and pitiful decision-making is not the mark of patriotism– it is the mark of insanity, a la Albert Einstein (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result).

By paying higher taxes, you’re feeding the beast. By arguing for higher taxes, King is the animal handler.

If you truly feel an obligation to society and to a piece of dirt, then starve the beast. Let the politicians run it all into the ground, watch the system collapse, and then come back in to create value in the exciting aftermath.

Ranting and raving about society’s duty to continue supporting the most obtusely corrupt system in modern history only delays the inevitable…and hence delays the recovery. It takes a lot of courage, but a real Patriot would walk away.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Justen Robertson

    Oh Simon, don’t let the statists troll you. If they knew what they were talking about, they wouldn’t be statists. :)

  • Richardus

    Stephen King doesn’t get it. Govt debt/deficit dont matter, income tax dont matter. Gov can and have created  “money” out of thin air by means of a computer entry  at the Treasury or Central Bank. That’s what Govts do to pay their bills. Just invented digits on a computer screen. If you still dont get it,..well just take the red pill!

  • Chettt

    “Bring out your dead.”  I guess Simon can afford to be a social darwinist.  Must be nice.

  • Ty Brown

    Great article.  The only thing that concerns me is what happens when the government has been starved.  What does collapse look like?  I’m just worried about the dangers involved in that. 

    Any hope that the government will ever be able to shrink down without a collapse?

  • Leland

    Albert Einstein also said: “Never expect the people who caused a problem to solve it.”

  • Mike Spears

    It was like, “Oh My God…”  I was sitting in my staff lounge and we got on the subject of travel and the evil TSA.  A co-worker agreed with me about how evil they were.  Well after reading your article, “Two Words: Screw Them.” I email her the article because of the TSA example.  She must have read it, then sent me the very same article that King wrote for the Daily Beast.  I read it and thought the same thing, WTF…  Then today I check your site and bout have a heart attack when I saw “WTF Stephen King? as the title.  So you know I just had to email her the link to this article as well.  I must say, you explain the WTF better than I could and I hope it is a mind opener for her.  Thanks again for this article.

  • steve ward

    Simon I total agree with the whole post except for one point.

    (Bear in mind, though, that for every dollar, euro, pound, or yen that goes to the government, it’s one fewer that’s available to buy his latest book; to renovate a bathroom; to make a crowd-sourced startup investment; to pay for the kids’ tennis lessons; to donate to an organization of your own choosing; etc.)

    Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but money dont vanish, since you make more money by inventing, building, creating things that people buy.

    My guess you are referring to at that point in time?

  • Travis Teel

    “Here, here” and “hear, hear”.

  • imagicman

    stephen king, warren buffet and all those others who want the government to steal my money can kiss my ass. the second to last paragraphis the best solution and one friends and i are waitung for. which is why we may not vote for obamney come november.

  • J K

    Having enjoy much of the content here, I must challenge parts of the argument above. It should be a general consensus here that each individual should be afforded some birthright autonomy save for the conditions of which one is raised (ie: family circumstance), and it is supposed that we should all be afforded the opportunity to exercise our grievances against the conditions and debts that are pressed against us (as individuals among a collective).

    I do, however, contest that autonomy en mass is a realistic possibility. Each one of us are afforded material and knowledge at extreme variables (ie: location of birth in geography and socioeconomically)… could a child born in Sudan so easily successfully attend West Point and proceed to be a sovereign man? Could ALL children in Sudan do the same so easily as a child born in the US? 

    Further more, aren’t the successes enjoyed by many of us from the both our own hard work and the hard work of those around us? The automobiles that aid our prosperity and increase our access are no doubt fruits for those who can afford the use via the entrepreneurial pursuit that was funded at risk by someone (or a collective) and put into production (no doubt employing many) to result in a user of the transport on a road. Does anyone suppose we would have more roads (or better ones) if there was no public funds to construct them? Throughout history all the best roads have been implemented by governing bodies.

    No one likes paying taxes, period. But the very lifestyle you enjoy from your input hard work and savvy is undoubtedly augmented and improved by public money. 

    I am all for autonomy, but we must reflect the realities on a global scale. Our personal triumphs are always on the backs of others.  

    • Joanb38

       JK  I believe that we as residents of the US can use the tax dollars a lot more effectively than the Government. We can help the people of Sudan or  anywhere else through donations to organizations that will do the work and know HOW to do it.  We do have to fund our military through our taxes.

      I am a senior citizen who gets $600. in SS and still work so I can live.  I have no retirement either.  I do not take any money from the Governemnt.  The SS I paid for myself from years of working.

    • Voice of Reason

      Why is that all augmented by public money? The only reason it has to be is because of the government’s favorite concept: learned helplessness.
      People always try to argue that we couldn’t have those nice things without the government around to help us, but why is that? Before we had government those things still got done. Churches and private charities effectively ran welfare for the poor without the gigantic overhead cost of the government. Private establishments run much more cost-effective and learning-effective schools than our horrid public school system. Even public works like art, commonly touted as something left behind by the private sector, get nothing from the government. The NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) has an annual budget of around $150 million. Private donations to art yearly add up to around $2 billion. The private sector has provided much more affordable housing, clothing, and food than the government could ever hope to accomplish. Before the government started regulating healthcare into the ground, patients enjoyed cheap service and doctors even felt morally obligated to give out free services to those who couldn’t afford it. They did it because they knew no one else would. When you have to send over 30% of your paycheck to the federal government to “take care of the general welfare” you start to believe that’s all you need to do. You no longer feel the responsibility to help the less fortunate, to finance public works, or take care of the environment because Big Brother will do it for you. Ineffectively of course.

      Look back to before all of this at what Tocqueville saw when he came to America. Where other companies had government he found an association for everything in America. A group of people who voluntarily came together to protect things for the common interest, not some arbitrary power in Washington trying to direct every neighborhood in America.

      • Bungaroosh

        I was talking recently with a few friends in a restaurant, one of whom used to work as a diplomat. Somehow the topic of “the state” came up and I pointed out how violent, destructive and grotesque the state is, and how the state has the monopoly on force. The ex-diplomat claimed to be offended at what I’d said and also made the claim that the streets would be overflowing with filth  if it weren’t for the state. I thought this was a pretty poor retort even for him.

        Even here in bloated-state Britain, last time I looked it was a private company that’s even floated on the stock exchange whom I pay to deal with water provision, sewers and sewerage, and not the government. So the idea that without a government we’d be wading knee high in shit is a pretty surreal suggestion.

        Interesting, also, I find, is how the real meaning of the word “anarchy” has been supplanted in the public mind with the notion of chaos and violent disorder.

  • Todd

    Well, Simon, the problem with your point of view is that every society has to have the infrastructure for any business to operate and no individual business is going to foot the bill for an infrastructure that benefits its competition unless that competition shares equally in the cost, which the competition cannot be depended on to do voluntarily and thus, the need for taxes and government spending.

    Contrary to everything those of your ilk say, without taxes (on the rich) and government spending, there never would have been an internet or international satellite communications or efficient world travel and so on and on — and you would not have the “sovereign man” opportunity you espouse, nor the ability to spread such silly, stupid and dangerous nonsense as in your post above.

    As to whether anyone “owes” anything to their society or their nation, another way of stating it (that a tiny little brain like yours may understand) is that without the underpinning of everything government provides, there is no business environment in which to profit.

    So I say good for Stephen King!

  • RJ

    Couldn’t have said it better !!!

  • hkguy

    Do Americans really think they can spend $750 billion a year on their military and pay ’50s level taxes, as they do now? Your problem is spending, not taxation.

  • geomark

    Given the atrocities the government does with your tax money (half a million children killed in the war on terror and counting, for example) it is highly immoral to support taxation. I consider King and Buffet highly immoral people.

  • Heyadryan

    Mr. King should walk his talk and lead by example. From now on, he should now pay half of his income to taxes.

  • Joolee13

    Well, due to the wonderful job the gub-mint has done so far, my family won’t be paying income tax after this year.  We are all unemployed.  STARVE THE BEAST – DON’T PAY INCOME TAXES.  Easy to do if you have no income…

  • DoesNotMatter

    No point arguing against people such as stephen King. The best thing that can happen to all concerned is that the government charges him with tax evasion, throws him in jail, seizes all his property for tax evasion and distributes his money to the poor. Then, we and Mr. king and the poor will all be happy. It is win-win. Now in case you are wondering how this can happen, I offer my services to the government as a tax investigator. I will personally investigate Mr. King’s tax records over the last several years. I bet I will find enough to put him away for years. The tax code is made precisely so that you can put away anyone for tax evasion. Now Mr King, the government, the poor as well as I can be happy. It’s double win-win. Let’s do this Yo!

  • Richard Penney

    Stephen King knows how to create scary stories.  If we do what he suggests, he will have helped create another one. 

  • Aunt Kathy

    The accident a few years back must have skewed his ability to properly rationalize important ideas and thoughts.  Awhile ago he challenged people in Maine to donate to the Energy Assistance program there which helps low-income household with their home fuel costs.  He set a certain dollar amount to be raised and then said he would match if it was met.  That is a far better idea than this liberal-minded gibberish………

  • UzhasKakoi!

    “King (and most other notable tax proponents like Warren Buffett) are terribly confused …”

    This your argument presupposes something too. And that’s that both King and Buffett as well as some others just, in the words of Lenin, useful idiots. But
     among many,   there is another possibility, that both are paying back for either some kind of a favor or crime/transgression that’s being left unpunished. 

  • DG

    Unbelievable– it is amazing that a supposedly intelligent man can be so STUPID– if everyone would just read Pres. Reagan’s Grace commission report– A report to a sitting President- they would find out that…

    “… 100 percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal debt and by Federal Government contributions to transfer payments. In other words, all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services which taxpayers expect from their Government.”

    AND –that “Income” is NOT what you earn from working– the SCOTUS-’supreme Court’ states that “Income” is profit and gain Derived FROM Labor, From Capital, or From both combined–I do not see that working for 8 hours and getting paid for 8hours generates any ‘profit’ –Do you???  

  • L.S.

    Steven King is my neighbor half of the year and I think he has formed his opinion based on some of the problems where we live the state of Florida, which has an abysmal school system, police state behavior of local police, etc. etc.

    His assumption that more money going to the govt. would make it better is the mistake in logic. it’s his opinion. thank goodness we are, for the moment, still allowed ours.

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