How Does Theft Work?

From Nolo’s Plain English Legal Dictionary

“The generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker’s use (including potential sale).”

Let’s Parse that a little

a person intentionally takes personal property of another”  Someone took something that was yours and now it is not. That seems pretty straightforward but to make it more complete and actionable, it needs to be more precise.

The qualifiers that make it something less nefarious instead of theft.

  1. “without permission or consent.” Does permission need to be specific or can it be implied?
  2. “with the intent to convert it to the taker’s use” What if the purpose was not for their own use?

As you can imagine it gets challenging to be sure when a theft has occurred if the circumstances are fuzzy

The fuzziest of all. Are taxes theft?

In law, taxes are not theft. Certainly the government has taken property that once belonged to the citizens, but that is the only part that is clear. They would argue you pay taxes and it is a non-issue at all. Chris Rock differs. “You don’t pay taxes — they take taxes.” I think we could agree the Chris Rock idea is more precise. The qualifiers are the point

The qualifiers matter, too.

I think it is clear that in forming a government we have implicitly given them both permission and consent. It is unreasonable that we should enjoy the benefits of government without providing them with a way to pay for those.

No doubt they would further make the argument that the money taken was not, at least in part, for their own use. In that a meaningful share of all tax collected remains within the government structure to pay people, buy equipment, and to provide facilities and other benefits, that is not so clear. I doubt it would be possible to allocate that fixed overhead to the programs other than by formulae, so a little fuzzy.

It is certainly possible the politicians would argue that they serve, for a modest salary, and derive no benefit from the money the government takes from the people. That of course would be disingenuous. Their power derives from the ability to spend money and to impose regulations that affect their friends and supporters, and perhaps incidentally, the people..

So let us rule they have not taken the money by theft, because the exemptions save them.

Is legal the only way to decide?

It is a given that being legal is an incomplete definition of what is right. As a former chief judge in Ontario told me, “People don’t go to court for justice. They go to court to have the rules applied.”  Justice, whatever that may be, is something beyond the rules.

A question you might reasonably ask, is would all government programs taken one by one enjoy “permission and consent” of the people? Let’s say more than 50% of the people would choose to spend the money some given way. If we add informed consent subject to an honest and evidence based cost/benefit study, then how many? We cannot even guess that number because there is no example of such a condition ever having existed.

We end up with an elite, often unelected group, making decisions that cause money to be extracted from the people for spurious purposes. Former Democratic candidate for President of the United States, Tulsi Gabbard, sums it up.

She’s wrong of course because of implied consent and permission to take the money.

We should think about how to limit the spending that does not benefit the people. Perhaps that is changeable.

The takeaway

You can withdraw the implied consent by electing people who will spend money for social effects other than their personal aggrandizement.

You can elect people who will minimize the reach and power of the unelected bureaucrats.

You can specifically and persistently complain to the current officials about wasteful spending — programs or implementation.

You can share your views with others.

You must have sound reasons for your complaints. It is not all about you. We are a society and culture that looks after each other so each can contribute where they can.

Business regulation falls into three categories. 1) Regulation that serves society both effectively and efficiently, 2) regulation that serves society, but we the producer, are already providing the good in another way, and. 3) Regulation that is too costly for the good achieved. Minimize waste. Results not method.

You will have little success because power is a fine thing to have and many of the people in government are there for the thrill. If not at the beginning, it grows on them. You will not be able to ask for luxuries while complaining about their frugality.  We have authored much of the problem ourselves by misunderstanding what governments are for. We could stop that.

It isn’t all by taxation that they take. Inflation is a certain theft, but it doesn’t look like one. The money remains, it just isn’t worth as much as it was before. Inflation favours debtors and the government is the biggest of those. If something is to their benefit and the taking not well understood by the people affected, it will certainly happen. Inflation has not been obvious in the past thirty years or so. Many people don’t understand how it harms them. Learn.

Many people in government like to provide rules for people “for their own good.” Those people should never be elected. Tyranny is not far behind power and control.

Politicians abdicate responsibility. They turn over regulatory power to the bureaucracy by not specifying a method. to achieve their legislated purpose. Open-ended methods invariably are expensive methods.

Canadian evolutionary psychology professor Gad Saad talks about it. It’s time to activate our inner honey badger.   


I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email

One Comment on “How Does Theft Work?

  1. Tulsi Gabbard recently said,Tulsi: “Taxation is theft when our taxes are being used toward things that do not serve our interests.Y’all work hard every day. When you pay those taxes, you should have faith and trust that they will be used for things like making sure you’ve got safe roads to drive on. To make sure that your kids are getting a good education in these public schools. To make sure that your firefighters have what they need in order to make sure your house doesn’t burn down if something happens. There are basic needs that we have in this country, and our taxes are meant to serve those needs.Not to fund needless layers and layers and layers of bureaucracy. Certainly not to fund these wasteful wars and nuclear weapons that are making us in the world less safe. This gets to the heart of what I’m talking about here.It is about fiscal responsibility. And it is about accountability.And making sure that our hard-earned taxpayer dollars are redirected away from this kind of waste and abuse and used to serve the interests of our people.”Makes me wonder what she is doing in the Democrat Party.Sent from my Galaxy

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