Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In praise of tax havens.

Another issue, of course, is this: democracy and liberty are not the same thing, a point that has been remarked at this blog many times before. For sure, democracy may - may - be the least-worst way to kick out a government and replace it with a hopefully better one, but the idea that freedom comes from letting 51% of the electorate steal from 49% of the electorate has precious little to do with liberty.

The right to own property and enjoy its fruits unmolested is as important as freedom of speech or the right to self defence. Tax havens rile communitarians precisely because they are a standing reproach to the looters who use democratic mandates to justify their depredations. They act as a brake on the power of governments with a temporary majority in a democratic assembly every bit as powerful as other checks and balances such as independent courts and upper chambers. And as traditional checks and balances are eroded - as they have been in Britain recently - we need all the constraints on national and supranational power we can get.

We should therefore see the efforts by EU and other nations to create a global tax cartel as being every bit as dangerous as the alleged cartel deals forged by the 19th Century "robber barons", except of course that this latter group were usually unfairly maligned. Compared to the tax-cartel zealots, Rockefeller and Co. were strict amateurs.

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