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An Objectivist IP Argument for Taxation

Objectivists say they are against taxation; they say that you can fund a state by some kind of contract fee or lottery system. Obviously, you can’t, not without the state compelling membership or outlawing competitors, which permits them to charge monopoly prices which amounts to a tax.

But Objectivists are strongly pro-intellectual property (see Why Objectivists Hate Anarchy; IP: The Objectivists Strike Back!). They believe you deserve to be rewarded for creative, innovative, inventive action. But note that they also are extremely fond of the American Constitution and Founders; they believe the Constitution is a great achievement of the intellect–this corresponds with their belief that a proper state, such as the original American state, is a great value to man. Well, put two and two together: the Founders gave us a great creation: the Constitution, and our system of government. We all benefit from it. It’s only fair that the Founders charge us a royalty for our use of their creation–and naturally, the state itself is the agency as the natural successor to its parent-creators, the Framers and Founders, to inherit and manage this royalty-collecting right. Don’t call it a tax–call it a royalty.


{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Brad Spangler July 22, 2010, 12:58 pm


  • Steven Handel July 22, 2010, 1:00 pm

    Wow, that was clever.

  • Juan Fernando Carpio July 22, 2010, 1:04 pm

    Excellent. For once I have nothing but praise for a fellow libertarian’s post.

  • Stephan Kinsella October 18, 2010, 5:41 pm

    Wow. One of them actually admits it. See this thread, where one “Onar Åm” writes: “I tend to agree that the founders of a proper state are morally entitled to something akin to royalties for a certain period. Just like with ordinary IP this will of course be time-limited in order to prevent a feudal society with taxes. This would give an excellent incentive for private entrepreneurs to buy up land (or to homestead uninabiheted land) and create a proper state there. When the initial period of setting up the state is complete the entrepreneur will benefit for instance from the increase in land value when he sells it at a much higher price to citizens of the new state.”


  • Anna O Morgenstern October 18, 2010, 8:52 pm

    Wow indeed. If you can justify that, by very similar arguments you can justify farm bills, bank bailouts or any other oligopolistic strategy the state wants to come up with, as long as only the “right people” benefit from it.
    Objectivists are right. They’re not libertarians.

  • me August 12, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Nothing clever about this argument. I *don’t* want to use this invention, therefore why should I pay to use something I don’t want to use. Also Intellectual Property is theft, so there. I congratulation your ingenuity however and this post put a smile on my face because of its cleverness, but it is philosophically and logically wrong.

    • Gdw March 30, 2013, 5:01 pm

      I think you may have missed the point then.

  • Eric Hennigan March 31, 2013, 12:27 am

    Following further with the logic of your argument, we’d then have to apply the “patent and copyright” clause of the constitution to itself. Would the government then have been expired once the time limit expired, or would they have to continuously grant an extension? How does the extension inspire the advancement of useful knowledge and discoveries in the field of government?

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