There are a couple of things that are disturbing about this clip, taken at one of the nation's many Tea (= "taxed enough already") Party protests today (Wednesday).
As a political philosopher, I suppose my reaction might seem eccentric. -- What disturbs me is: "liberty ... what does that have to do with taxes?"
Okay, here's the thing. Paying taxes is not the same thing as giving gifts. Nor are taxes membership fees. I cannot resign from the USA, as I can from a club. A tax is an coerced payment, extracted via the threat of a prison sentence and, unlike a membership fee, it is unconditional. There is no good or service that I get if I pay my tax but otherwise not. My government will not withhold from me protection against invasion by the Canadians or the Mexicans if I don't pay my tax, as a club would withhold the privileges of membership were I to fail to pay my dues. No, I am forced to pay, whether I want to or not, and whether the benefits are worth the expense or not.
The only way I can avoid a tax is to leave family, friends, and home to travel to a land where ... I will also have to pay taxes.
If you think that freedom is abridged when I am coerced ("negative freedom"), then every increase of taxes is a reduction of freedom.
Of course, you may think of freedom as the capacity to choose between options ("positive freedom"), but in that case the same result follows. Before my money is taken from me by the government, I have the power to choose how it is spent. After it is taken, the government makes that choice. Now, some of the things it chooses to spend my money on are in my interests, so I don't perceive these choices of theirs as a reduction of my positive freedom: things like punishing violent criminals, building roads, or maintaining the air traffic control system. These are things that I would choose to spend my money on if I could. But, as far as I can tell, by far most of the things the government throws my money at are not like this at all. They include:
- Maintaining a national "defense" establishment larger than those of the entire rest of the world combined.
- Maintaining a government schooling gulag that my wife and I tried to escape from by sending our son to private schools that better suit our educational philosophy, while being forced through taxes to pay for the government system at the same time. After three years and a second mortgage on our house, we ran out of money.
- Keeping over half a million people in prison (mainly for possession of marijuana) to make sure that I don't take any drugs the government doesn't like.