Hensley: What is Theft?

In my first article, I articulated a moral objectivist (or moral universalist) law called the natural law which I shall call the Law of Nature. “An individual shall not violate the property of another individual” is that law in ten words. In that piece, I listed the Six Crimes that violate that law as theft, assault, murder, rape, pedophilia, and arson. The last five are pretty simple but theft can encompass many things. Today, we shall define theft.

In an individualist anarchist society, theft is taxation, robbery, perjury, kidnapping, and chattel slavery (wage slavery is abhorrent but is different from chattel slavery and I won’t conflate the two). In some way, each component of theft involves the stealing of an individual’s property (either person or property).

Taxation is theft. It is the stealing of a person’s money. Every individual has the right to the fruits of his labor. However, until the State can be abolished, we must find the least bad tax to fund a government and, hopefully, a shrinking one. The least bad tax is Henry George’s land value tax, a tax endorsed by anarchists, progressives, libertarians, conservatives, socialists, and capitalists. It is enough to fund our government now. We can abolish all others. I do support a second tax, however. That is a carbon tax. It combined with encouraging more Americans to go off-grid would reduce carbon output. In general, I support the taxes advocated by the late great economist Milton Friedman. Although, I feel his NIT-funded guaranteed minimum income could be funded instead by an LVT or carbon tax.

Robbery is theft. It is the stealing of an individual’s money or possessions. Whether that involves robbing a pawn shop or a Food City or breaking into someone’s house, it is theft. No more detail needed.

Perjury is theft. It is the taking of an individual’s person. When someone lies in court, their words will either send an innocent person to prison, force them to pay a large fine, or prevent a victim or their family from seeing justice served. In the first case, it is basically kidnapping. In the second, robbery. In the third, it is aiding the criminal and thus the person is as guilty as the one accused. This applies to lying for a killer, lying to protect a thief, or making a false rape accusation. Each is theft and deserves the punishment as decided by the court which is either prison for murderers or compensation/restitution for the rest.

Kidnapping and chattel slavery are theft. They are the stealing of an individual’s person. I’m not going into that stupid belief in voluntary slavery. Slavery is slavery. If we had voluntary slavery then half the poor would be slaves and that includes a large percentage of black people. It is a ridiculous belief only supported by racist AnCaps. Even Rothbard who’d do whatever he could to appeal to the Racist Right thought it was stupid and an oxymoron.

It is important to determine what theft is and what it encompasses. That way we know what is just and what is not. It is important that we codify the law of an individualist anarchist society and it can be expressed in ten words, “An individual shall not violate the property of another individual.”

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Dakota Hensley an individualist anarchist and Christian anarchist from Southeast Kentucky. Follow him at @DakotaAHensley.

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