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01/01/2006 Archived Entry: "Satellite surveillance for tax purposes"
As a privacy zealot, I am often accused of paranoia due to my reluctance to let people nose around at random in my business. What do I have to hide? Why do I suspect the worst of people who want a legal right to access my property, computer info and personal data? I generally respond...what I have to hide (if anything) is my business, not yours; and just why do you need a legal right -- the equivalent to pointing a gun at me -- to trespass all over my life unless or until I have done something harmful to you or others? And, no, my mere wish to be left alone is not an act of harm.
Generally speaking, critics know so little about the art of valid argumentation that they simply repeat the ad hominem of "paranoia" and, then, proceed to advocate laws that violate my personal and property. Sometimes their blithe but vicious assault on the rights of others is accompanied with bumper-sticker explanations like "security requires a trade-off in liberty." Which is fine. If they wish to trade their liberty for greater security, then I say "go for it!" But what they really mean is that they wish to trade my liberty for their security, and that they have no right to do.
Do I doubt the motives of those who point a gun at me?...you betcha! If that is what the APA wants to call paranoia, then I'm a raving example. I hold the neighbors who applaud the government enforcement thugs as responsible as the thugs themselves.
What led to my first rant of '06? An article in the UK newspaper, the Independent. It opens,
"John Prescott has told tax inspectors to use satellites to snoop on householders' attempts to improve their homes.
Images of new conservatories and garages taken from space will be used to hike up council taxes and other property levies, official guidance obtained by The Independent on Sunday reveals.
Mr Prescott's department is overseeing the creation of a database containing the details of every house in Britain to help tax inspectors to assess new charges."
As a buff of Irish history, I particularly hate the taxing of improvements to land...taxes which are collected in the wake of every step of the improvement itself being taxed BTW. The income money you use to build an extra garage has already been taxed several ways; each good you buy to facilitate the improvement is taxed -- in the UK and Canada through value-added taxes; in the States through more subtle ones like tariffs etc.; every laborer who works on the improvement pays taxes or risks penalties; when you sell the improvements, with the house, you will be taxed again; your children who inherited the money from the house sale when you die are usually taxed on that inheritance. Now the all-grasping State wishes to skim a fifth, sixth or twentieth tax off anyone who has enough initiative to build an extra bedroom for a child or a garage to shelter a car.
I mentioned Irish history before digressing...rants are like that. One of the main reasons there was a rent revolt movement in 19th century Ireland was because the authorities taxed all improvements on land so that farmers and the average Sean or Seamus couldn't improve themselves without paying more in taxes than the improvement was worth. In short, land improvement taxes held everyone down to a subsistence level because any attempt to rise above that level merely activated tax men and enriched the political class.
Rant over. Resentment intact.