There is an anecdote in Augustine’s great work ‘City of God’ of a conversation between Alexander the Great and a famous pirate named Diomedes. It was written 700 years after the events were supposed to have taken place, by a man living in North Africa under the Roman Empire just before the lights of civilisation went out permanently there.
In the exchange, Alexander asks Diomedes why he plagues the seas. The pirate contemptuously responds, ‘The same reason as you do the world, but while I operate with one boat, I am called a robber; but since you have a great fleet, you are called emperor.’
This exchange goes to the heart of what makes governments legitimate. Upon what authority do our rulers reign? (If you don’t think you’re ruled in twenty-first century Australia, then I can’t help you. Stick to normie news). This question has been the key issue of Western political history. In the East, it was pretty much settled that governments were ordained by the mandate of heaven or by celestial destiny. In the West, we’re more sceptical. This has made our politics more interesting and more evolved, and probably more bloody.
During the Middle Ages, the widespread belief in Christianity made it seem normal to people that a monarch ruled a hierarchically-ordered society, with local lords taking responsibility for their domains and the common people largely left to their devices. Most medieval peasants went their whole lives without encountering the state, except for the relatively light tax burden they endured in return for protection. At least when the king taxed you, he pledged to keep the hostile foreigners out.
This model of political organisation fell apart with the advent of the Enlightenment. Once God went out the window, the king went not long after. Modern governments are the result of this deist, and later atheist, worldview; the Will of the People has replaced the will of God as the basis of political legitimacy in the modern world.
Even communist and fascist dictators defend their rule by claiming legitimacy through the Will of the People. We in the free world have scoffed at such assertions, knowing as we do that only voting can provide a voice for the people’s will to be heard. Much of our political stability hangs on this ritual of voting, as we have seen with Brexit, Trump and the recent French election. What if we lose faith in it?
There is a crack in this model of majoritarian rule which I believe will turn into the chasm which rips apart our Western systems of government. When these modern forms of government were first formed during the 18th and 19th centuries, tax burdens were very low. There was no income tax until a century ago, and even then it was (of course) initially tiny and only applied to the rich. No GST, no fuel excises, payroll taxes, stamp duties and no other hidden taxes buried in the cost of goods as they are today.
Historically, tax rates have hovered around 5%. During the Roman Empire, they were 1-3%. Today, the average Western tax mule is required to hand over 50% or more. No medieval peasant would have stood for that.
The reason I think this issue will become a catalyst of the next wave of political revolutions in the West is that the tax burden is not at all distributed equally. There are some demographic groups who pay through the nose, while there are other demographic groups who parasite upon them. The first group, the virtuous, productive and hardworking, are finding it increasingly difficult to replicate themselves. The second group, the vicious, unproductive or unable, are having children in ever-greater numbers as a means to access the stolen fruits of socialist redistribution. The mechanism by which these takers predate upon the ever-shrinking number of givers is the power of the state, through voting.
To bring us back to our pirate story, what possible justification can there be for a ruling class who steal from the productive to bribe the unproductive? What validity is there in this notion of the Will of the People if it is only the will of the 51% of parasites to steal from the 49% who get up early, pay their own bills, feed their own kids and delay present gratification for future rewards?
If the Will of the People is to pillage, how can it still be legitimate? We become then a nation of nothing more than pirates.
The long-term consequences of such onerous tax regimes are only now being felt in the West. The reason we are not having enough children is partly to do with feminism, partly moral collapse and partly the other cultural and social reasons we at the XYZ (rightly) focus on. The biggest factor though for the demographic collapse of our people is the crushing tax load our governments have put us under as the politicians have competed with each other in bribing their pet constituencies. They knew they couldn’t fund it from the tax base at the time, so they ran up public debt and unfunded liabilities out the wazzoo. The future has now arrived, and the nation is soon to sit down to our banquet of consequences. The housing affordability debate is only a presage of what’s coming. Wait ‘til we’re debating the age pension versus funding schools, or healthcare versus daycare. Then the proverbial will really hit the fan.
It’s clear that we need another basis for political legitimacy in Australia. The nation cannot survive universal suffrage and a welfare state. It is a dysgenic dynamic which is driving us down to Third World status and making us extinct in the long run.
A preferable basis for the legitimacy of sovereign power would be that only those who are contributing to the common weal via taxation have a say in the direction of the nation: No representation without taxation. If you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get to vote. If we could abolish all taxes save a land tax or other simpler, and more traditional, approach to taxation this would also be a welcome step in breaking the chains that are breaking our people before we disappear completely into the red soil and sandy beaches of this once-vibrant young nation.
Such a proposal will appear radical and untenable to Australians today. The ship of state still seems to sail on still waters, although many can see the storm clouds ahead. What’s coming will make the radical seem passé and the untenable worth a shot. It will be an epoch-changing series of events.
Australia was founded by adventurous, tough men and women who boarded rickety ships to travel across the planet and found a New Albion on the southern seas. Such hardy folk would not have stood by while they were taxed to death. They knew how to deal with pirates.
Moses is the author of ‘Civilizationism: Why the West is Collapsing & How We Can Save It’. His writing also appears on The Daily Caller and Zero Hedge. He blogs at http://mosesapostaticus.com/.