[1849]  Henry David Thoreau,  Civil Disobedience, The Riverside Press, Boston, 1960

-  "If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bill this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, 'But what I shall do?' my answer is, 'If you really wish to do anything, resign your office.' When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned his office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood should flow. Is there not a sort of blood when the conscience is wounded?" (pp. 245-246)

-  "When I meet a government which says to me, 'Your money or your life,' why should I be in haste to give it my money?" (p. 249)


 [1895]  Gustave Le Bon,  Psychologie des foules, Quadrige/Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1998

-  "Si un législateur veut, par exemple, établir un nouvel impôt, devra-t-il choisir le plus juste théoriquement? En aucune façon. Le plus injuste pourra être pratiquement le meilleur pour les foules, s'il est le moins visible, et le moins lourd en apparence. C'est ainsi qu'un impôt indirect, même exorbitant, sera toujours accepté par la foule. Etant journellement prélevé sur des objets de consommation, par fraction de centime, il ne gêne pas ses habitudes et l'impressionne peu. Remplacez-le par un impôt proportionnel sur les salaires ou autre revenus, à payer en un seul versement, fût-il dix fois moins lourd que l'autre, il soulèvera d'unanimes protestations." (p. 5)


[1945]  Bertrand de Jouvenel, On Power : its nature and the history of its growth (Du pouvoir : histoire naturelle de sa croissance), Liberty Press, Indianapolis, 1993

-  "The significant thing that came out of the Hundred Years' War was the institution of the permanent poll-tax (taille) wherewith to maintain the orderly companies, that is to say a standing and paid force of cavalry (1444). In this way the result of the first great conflict of arms in Western society was to strengthen Power." (p. 159)


[1958]  Wilhelm Röpke,  A Humane Economy. The social framework of the free market, Oswald Wolff, London, 1960

-  "It is not unusual today for the government's budget to absorb as much as 30 or 40 per cent of the national income through various kinds of compulsory contributions." (p. 29)


[1965]  E.G.West,  Education and the State. A study in political economy, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded,  Liberty Press, Indianapolis, 1994

-  "When many people today think of taxation, they think of personal income tax which the 'other fellow' pays. Yet how many know that this tax accounts for less than half government revenue and that, for instance, the tax collected in 1962 on tobacco alone (a tax which is more significantly felt by the poorer) was £879 million, that is more than enough to have covered the 1962 current expenditure (£797 million) on education?" (pp. 49-50)


[1980]  Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman,  Free to Choose, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1983

 -  "We refer to ourselves [in the USA] as a free private enterprise society, as a capitalist society. Yet in terms of the ownership of corporate enterprise we are about 46 percent socialist." "The federal government is entitled to 46 per cent of every dollar of profit ... . The federal government owns 46 per cent of every corporation - though not in a form that entitles it to vote directly on corporate affairs." (p. 91)


[1981]  Pierre Rosanvallon,  La crise de l'État-providence, Éditions du Seuil, Paris, 1992

-  "L'État-providence fonctionne dans un certain brouillard. Peu de salariés connaissent le montant réel des charges sociales liées à leur salaire. La TVA, qui représente prés de la moitié des recettes fiscales, est un impôt 'indolore' dont les consommateurs n'apprécient pas le poids; seul l'impôt sur le revenu donne lieu à un prélèvement clairement mesurable par les intéressés. Il n'y a plus aucun moyen pour les individus de voir le rapport entre des prélèvements individuels et leur utilisation collective. Il en résulte une irresponsabilité généralisée." (p. 126)


[1993]  Charles Adams,  For Good and Evil. The impact of taxes on the course of civilization, Madison Books, Lanham, USA

-  "The similarity between tax collector and robbers is ... found in the basic meaning behind the word 'taxation,' which means forced exaction. Taxes are not debts, despite the fact that we carelessly refer to them as such. The principle of fair value received - which is the basis for a legally enforceable debt - has no place in a tax dispute. A tax is owned because a government orders it to be paid. Nothing else is required." (p. 1)

-  "[In ancient Greece] it was not the tax system that extracted the largest amount of wealth from the rich private citizens. This was achieved by the liturgy - the voluntary alternative to progressive taxation. When a city needed a new public improvement such as a bridge, or perhaps an activity such as a play or festival, the leading citizens were called upon to provide what was wanted. It was not a tax or confiscation of any kind. Called a liturgy, this was a voluntary contribution to the city-state." "Many of the extravagant public buildings in the classical world were constructed by rich benefactors competing with one another for honor." "The generosity of the rich Greeks is mentioned in several writings of this period, which indicate that many rich Greeks donated three and four times what was expected of them."
 "The closest thing we have to the practice of liturgies is the making of gifts and sacrifices by religious devotees to their religion. On like manner, the city-state was the first love of every citizen. Even the poor contributed their mite. For those who did not have any surplus wealth, there was the alternative of service and labor for the city." (pp. 61-63)

-  "The Arabs brought peace and gentleness to an overtaxed world. They liberated the old Roman world from decadent, oppressive, and corrupt taxation." (p. 127)
-  "The Moslem used taxation to bring converts into the faith." "Vanquished people were given three choices: death, taxes or conversion to the faith. With these options it was not necessary for conquered people to lose their heads or their religion. The Moslems modified Roman poll taxes by reducing rates and limiting their application to nonbelievers. This new tax policy probably brought more converts to Islam than either the sword or the Koran." (p. 128)
-  "After a few centuries all of this changed, and believer and nonbeliever alike were caught in the tax vice of greedy sultans." "In the end, a 25 per cent crop tax and fairly heavy capitation taxes shackled everyone. As taxes went up and spread to the believer, the expansion of the empire went down. This was hardly a coincidence." (p. 135)

-  "Western revenue authorities look with frustration at Swiss bank secrecy."  "... the Swiss position is based on the tradition of privacy that is so important to the Swiss people, who detest snooping by their own government. How can they possibly tolerate espionage on their people and institutions for an alien power?" "Bank secrecy is an ancient rule of Germanic law. It has been maintained for centuries as a matter of custom and tradition. In the 1930s it was put on the Swiss statute books with harsh criminal penalties to discourage the Nazis from piercing its veil." "Banking privacy in Switzerland is not absolute. It can and will be lifted by the Swiss courts upon a proper showing." "What Swiss banking privacy really means is that the state has no right to go on a fishing expedition and snoop into the financial affairs of its citizens without just cause." (pp. 182-184)

-  "Taxation was at the heart of Spain's decline, but it was bad taxpayers as well as bad taxation that brought about the collapse of this once-mighty power." "The English like to think the defeat of the Spanish Armada was the cause. This view is good for Anglo-Saxon egos but it is not good history. Two thirds of the ships in the Armada managed to sail back to Spain. Furthermore, the Armada was defeated by the 'Protestant Wind' more than English seamanship." (pp.185-186)

-  "Scholars are now beginning to realize that Britain's rise from a mediocre European state in the seventeenth century to a superpower in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries was a triumph of good tax management. Even the sharp decline at mid-twentieth century can be explained as the consequence of her venture into socialism, 95 per cent tax rates, and welfare statism. Capital fled from England to evade confiscation ... and the labor government's take-over of industries compounded the problem. British cars, which were once admired worldwide, ended up being as unreliable and as defective as Soviet washing machines." (pp. 268-269)
-  "When the 10 per cent income tax came at the end of the eighteenth century, it was considered an outrage. Today, such a rate would be like manna from heaven." (p. 285)

-  "One of the most popular myths in American history is that the Civil War was started over slavery and that Lincoln, as the Great Emancipator, drove the nation into a bloody war to break the chains of bondage that shackled over three and a half million black Americans. This popular childhood history is fable."
"During his campaign for the presidency in 1860, Lincoln repeated time and again that he would not interfere with slavery in the South." "Lincoln continued in his inaugural address to assure Southern slave owners that fugitive slaves would be returned." "The Civil War was two years old when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and then only after repeated military defeats, and as a last resort to rally the North behind a worthwhile cause." (pp. 323-324)

-  "What were the causes of the Southern independence movement in 1860?" "Northern commercial and manufacturing interests had forced through Congress taxes that oppressed Southern planters and made Northern manufacturers rich." "... high import taxes forced Southerners to pay either excessive prices for Northern goods or excessive taxes. Competition from Europe was crushed, thereby giving Northerners a monopoly over Southern markets. Federal taxation had the economic effect of shifting wealth from the South to the North." "... the South paid about three-quarters of all federal taxes, most of which were spent in the North. If the South didn't buy foreign goods and pay high taxes, the alternative was to buy Northern manufactured products at excessively high prices." (pp. 325-327)

-  "Lincoln was supported in his bid for the presidency by the rich industrialists of the North. He was their man and he had long been their lawyer. At the hearth of his platform was a return to high import taxes, reminiscent of the 'tariff of abomination' of 1832. No sooner had Congress assembled in 1861 than the high tariff was passed into law and signed by Lincoln. The Morrill Tariff, as it was called, was the highest tariff in U.S. history. It doubled the rates of the 1857 tariff to about 47 percent of the value of the imported products. This was Lincoln's big victory." (p. 330)
-  "The point here is that the North did not go to war to free the slaves, and the South did not secede because of a trigger-happy antislavery crusader in the White House. For all Southerners in all walks of life, Lincoln's tariff in 1861 meant higher prices, a higher cost of living, fat profits for the Yankees up North, and Southern money in the national coffers for Lincoln to spend for the Republican Party and its supporters. Secession offered a release from Republican bondage. In addition, it opened up opportunities for the South to replace the North in New World Trade." (p. 334)

-  "Our [USA] original 7 per cent income tax in 1916 ran to over 90 percent within the next thirty years." (p. 365)
-  "The first income tax law [in the USA] had a 7 percent maximum, which was changed to 15 percent in 1916. In 1917 it jumped to 67 percent, then 77 percent." (p. 380)

-  "Taxes were administered through a massive system of surveillance." (p. 387)
-  "In 1975, when surveillance was much less than in the 1990s, an IRS [Internal Revenue Service of the USA] agent wrote a best-seller, The April Game, containing a chapter entitled "An American Gestapo": 'Of all the information-gathering agencies in all the world's governments past or present, the very cleverest must surely be the United States Internal Revenue System. That monster organization gathers more information about more people, does it more quietly and raises less public outcry in the process than any other government outfit I know anything about. It may be that the Soviet Union and Red China can boast of agencies that beat IRS on all these counts. I strongly doubt it ... The Gestapo? Not a contender either'." (pp. 388-389)

-  "People living in exchange control countries usually have governments that grossly mismanaged their currency; otherwise they wouldn't need exchange controls. These controls are designed to prevent people from taking steps to protect themselves from their government's misfeasance. All local residents can do is watch their money decline in value, month after month." (p. 414)

-  "Arthur Laffer, an economist at the University of Southern California, observed that there are always two rates of tax that produce the same amount of revenue, a high rate (the negative) and a low rate (the positive). The U.S. Treasury learned this early when progressive income tax rates escalated from 1916 to 1921. The surtax (progressive rate for income), which increased from 7 percent in 1916 to 77 percent in 1921, produced almost the same amount of revenue." (p. 431)


[1997]  Ernest Gellner,  Nationalism, Phoenix, London, 1997

-  "In north Africa, the local name for the state is or was Makhzen, a word with the same root as store, magazine. The term is highly suggestive: government is by control of the store; government is the control of the store.
In this situation, the correct strategy for any individual or group within society is to be intensely concerned with its own position or rank, within the social order, and not with the enhancement of output. It is your social standing, your station and its entitlements, which will determine your fate. Extra output is only likely to attract pillage or taxation." (p. 18)


[1999]  Martin van Creveld,  The Rise and Decline of the State, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

-  "Under Napoleon the yield from property taxes alone increased from 80 million to 200 million livres; but he also added a whole series of new taxes to the existing ones. Among them were ... a levy on salt, a state tobacco monopoly, and a system of external tariffs that was destined to remain in place for the rest of the nineteenth century. Even more important, taxation became truly national." (p. 151)

-  "Between 1760 and 1820 alone, the nominal value of taxes collected by the treasury increased fourfold in Austria, fourfold in France, and more than sixfold in Britain." (p. 155)

-  "With the advent of the Civil War ... the United States government gave an ... impressive demonstration of what a modern state could do with the financial power in its hands. At the beginning of the conflict, the US Army numbered just 28,000 men all told; by the time it ended the Federals alone numbered around 1 million." (p. 231)

-  "Not surprisingly, the Civil War also marked a turning point in taxation. The first income tax in US history was imposed on 5 August 1861. Next, the Internal Revenue Act of 1862 led to a whole series of new taxes including stamp taxes, excise taxes, luxury taxes, gross receipt taxes, an inheritance tax, and a value-added tax on manufactured goods." (p. 232)

-  "In 1996, following a decade of fiscal retrenchment, the French government was once again taking away a record 45.7 percent of GDP in taxes."
"Between 1980 and 1990, the share of taxes in the Italian GDP increased from 30 to 42 percent."
"... the evidence is that, whether overtly and brazenly, or covertly and on the sly, the majority of modern states are demanding more and more while offering less and less." (p. 410)