T Nation

Survivalism 101: Taxation is Theft


Modern Survivalism Tenet Number Four
Taxation is theft, the best way to combat it is to understand every legal deduction you can take or create

by Jack Spirko

"Let me be clear about two very important things before I continue in this article.

  1. This is not going to be anything about how personal income tax is unconstitutional. While I actually believe it is, right now if you don't pay it you get in a lot of trouble, you must pay all your legal tax obligations.

  2. I am not a tax expert or a financial adviser. This article is more about exactly how to think about taxes then the specifics of how to reduce them.

Cutting to the chase on this let me say when it comes to income taxes you should either learn the system or hire a damn good accountant to work the system for you.

The bigger issue is, why exactly is minimizing all taxation a "survivalist topic"? I know it doesn't sound like typical survivalism, but it is a fundamental part of my 10-part modern survival philosophy for a very good reason. Survivalists are not the people living in bunkers that the media makes them out to be. Above all their primary goals revolve around self-sufficiency. When you pay taxes there are two factors at play that reduce your self-sufficiency and in fact increase dependency upon government.

The first one is really easy to understand. While you are working on developing a self-sufficient lifestyle in today's world you need money. Unless you plan on living on the street there is just no way around this. Hence you probably work for a living, be it as an employee or an entrepreneur matters not, you do work and in return you get money. Each dollar earned can then be leveraged to improve your self-sufficiency, get rid of or avoid debt, purchase long-term assets, etc. Hence, every dollar you must then pay as tax is no longer available to you. Again this factor is very easy to understand and most people snap right to it.

The second method of increased dependency is far more insidious and many fail to grasp it at least at first. When a government (federal, state, local) taxes you in any way, shape or form it isn't just money you don't have any more. No, at this point it becomes money that is actually used against you in the form of all those wonderful "government programs." Your income tax is going to fund federal subsidies and your property tax to fund schools with 50% failure rates.

Of course that is only the beginning; governments seem to weave never-ending webs of tax traps once the first nickel goes into the system. Taxes paid to your state are used to build roads. Of course you then have to pay a toll to drive on the roads you already paid for. Those tolls then further empower government and fund more "safety programs" like installing red light cameras which provide more money for more programs. No matter what form taxation takes it always has this double-pronged attack behind it and creates even more taxes and fees.

This is why you should be looking to avoid any form of taxation by any legal means you can find. Hence, I am not only talking about good accounting practices with your income tax. I am going so far as to suggest you avoid things like "sin taxes." For example, if you drink beer or if you smoke you are paying a lot of sin taxes every time you pop a top or light up. Many survivalists are making their own beers, wines and even growing tobacco. My thoughts on this are, why not, in fact I am a home brewer myself. These practices are perfectly legal and funnel money back to you rather than into the tax system. This approach addresses both sides of the problem all while directly increasing your self-sufficiency.

Another often overlooked method of perfectly legal tax avoidance is purchasing items online or used. This practice will quite often avoid state sales tax. In my home state of Texas sales tax is generally about 8% once the local and city portions are added in. This means when I go spend 300 dollars to buy an item locally I am not just spending an extra 27-dollars. I am also providing 27-dollars in funding for programs I really don't want. Hence even if I paid the same 27-dollars for shipping and purchased the item online, I reduce my contribution to my overlords down at the state capital. Better yet I can buy the item secondhand, save money, keep the funds in my local community and still avoid funding Rick Perry's upgrades to the Texas Governor's Mansion.

Long term believe it or not many survivalists actually will voluntarily reduce their incomes. Some directly while others will use a more creative means, like setting up a nonprofit to dispose of their incomes via causes they actually want to support. In other words they will support a local group that provides useful training with their surplus income rather then provide tax gifts to people on welfare.

This is one of the more difficult nuts to crack from the modern survival philosophy. The key is just starting to actually think about how many times every single day you personally empower government. Fill up your car, flip a light switch, have a cold one, buy flowers for your wife, super size a #3 at McDonald's or make a phone call and money flows directly into the coffers of our government masters. Really think about that and you begin to understand how taxes and debt have transformed America from what was the most free nation in the world into a group of fairly well cared for slaves. Why do you think President Bush said to be patriotic and "go shopping" right after 9-11?

I for one have had enough! Every time I think about spending a dollar I ask simply, is there a way to do this without contributing to the pension funds of our lofty government masters. Many times there isn't, but when there is I take the opportunity to avoid empowering the very systems I oppose. Further when I do have to contribute out of necessity I make sure the purchase is part of my long-term plan for total self-sufficiency. My advice, ask yourself the same questions and I promise you creativity and self-sufficiency will be the result."


I actually agree with something you have posted.


You are an atheist and an anarchist - this week - taxation cannot categorically be theft, because you can't substantiate a universal right to property or ownership.

For taxation to be theft, there would have to be a natural right to the property. Your philosophy doesn't allow for that - so if I want your property, and I can take it, it is as good as mine.


One's religious beliefs aside, in an anarchist or a voluntary society the free market still exists. So yes, it does allow for private ownership of property.


And on the flip side the Government cannot substantiate a universal right to own,take or help themselves to YOUR property either. It's a 2 sided coin.

Be smart, hire an accountant ( Preferably Jewish ) and use the tax laws to your advantage. The tax code in the USA is actually quite good if you know how to use it. You may get away with filing 0's on all lines.

Most Americans don't pay taxes, their taxes are taken first, then they can fight for a deduction and a refund. It's a backward system designed to instill complacency.

Think about it, if every American had to cut an actual check every month for their taxes, it wouldn't be long before riots broke out in pockets. But since it's seamless people get used to it.


I never said a "free market" wouldn't exist - free people could trade as freely as they want.

Something has to be elevated to the status of a right because, inevitably, someone will not recognize your ownership of property. A right means everyone else has to respect your ownership of it.

Again, there is no articulated basis for a right - what is its source in a godless, rule-less world? - only a preference that you hope no one bothers to challenge you on.


Your argument is defeated and pointless. You conveniently ignore what i pointed out to you.


I hope Gregus and lifty start fighting...


pissing in the wind. DISCUSS



Governments do not give rights. At best they can only protect them (and not very well).

We have rights only because we are willing to assert them and then defend them -- iether collectively or independently.

But for rights to have any coherence they must be consistent; for example, I cannot assert a right to my life and property and at the same time assert that someone else does not have the same right. The word would lose all meaning in such case.


Correct me if I'm wrong but that sounds pretty much along the lines of what was argued in "The Jewish Question". The part about rights/gov,t/ enumerating rights does not equal protecting all rights.


You are making this difficult. Anarchism does not equate to rule-less. State power is not there pointing a gun at you, but laws and rights still exist. Laws are determined from the bottom up, by the community. People don't need state power to tell them it's bad to murder, rape, and steal.

You can come and try to take my property or my neighbors, but I would have the right to defend it.

Anarchism has nothing to do with unkept hippies throwing molotov-cocktails into post office windows. It also has nothing to do with lawlessness.

The source of rights stems from the same social contract that has existed for thousands of years. Do you need to be told by the state not to rape or murder?

Your cheap shot aside, you can challenge me on it if you want. In discussions about this subject, I'm usually asked these silly "what-if" scenarios.


The problematic part is what is referred to as "enumerated rights" (those numbered in the constitution's bill of rights). As someone who holds to the notion of natural rights I can only really defend one right -- the right to my life and by extension everything connected to me by it.

I have a very hard time defending the notion of government protecting rights when from the outset government can only take power by ignoring those very rights. It is paradoxical.


what did you think about that piece by Marx?


I think people are failing to grasp that governments inherently operate in cycles - just like the climate and the economy. Different political ideologies have their own role in the cyclical nature of government. Anarchy is not a form of government - rather it is a state of a government in transition. This is simple really since anarchy at it's very core implies no government. A government in a state of anarchy does not stay in anarchy for very long. Human nature does not work well with no rules. People usually seek some form of protection or identifiable power, and at that point a new government arises. Colonial America (imperially controlled by a monarchy) -> American Revolution (anarchy) -> United States of America (democratic republic)

I urge anyone who hasn't to read Thomas More's Utopia.


so would you say governments emerge out of fear and a need for protection?


Governments emerge out of fear of no government. It's kind of a paradox. Government is established to protect the "rights" of it's peoples. Yet as that government grows, it slowly begins to do the opposite, and eventually a state of anarchy ensues in an attempt to regain those rights. Historically speaking, most major empires of the world collapsed from within (Rome is the archetypical comparison to our situation).


So the very first government to emerge was a result of fear of not having something that they did not understand the possibility of in the first place? Paradoxical.

No, more likely, the very first government was formed by the sacred order and power elite. It was a cooperative effort between those who could instill fear and those who could "control it". Fear of "not having a government" had nothing to do with how government came to be. It has always been about controlling people and the struggle for the "right" to control people.


Oh, but it flows effortlessly when it lives by principles.

When we live by principles we don't need to follow rules.

You lead by example. ( The principled man/woman )
You don't follow through submission - of your own authority, i.e one's conscience guided by principles to another ( The lost subject/citizen of a Kingdom/Government )

Sloth caused a need for government. It is easier to pass the buck than to sharpen one's own conscience and stand up and fight for what is right every day and in every way.

As it has been said by dhickey; "We are too lazy for Anarchy"

It takes strength and honor also to admit when we are wrong or have wronged someone. By voting and electing we can blame the puppets we surrender our power and wisdom to.


I had started to dig into Marx, just out of curiosity. I have to say that I am very dissapointed so far. I wanted to read a bit about him before picking up Das Kapital. I just got done with a book that I thought would be a fluff piece on him, Marx's Das Kapital by some dude that is supposed to be one of his beter biographers.

The guy was essentially a bum that didn't work very often. He owed money all over town, took 20 years to write a book that he didn't even finish, and lied continually about its progress.

The fact that most of Das Kapital was put together from his archaic notes by a friend of his after he died, does not have me anxious to read it any longer.

His economics and philosophy are extremly shallow. I really was expecting more, but now I am left wondering what all the fuss was about.