Conspiracy Theorist

Phil Mickelson is not the greedy one

 By Mark Luedtke


Phil Mickelson recently incurred the wrath of progressives when he complained his taxes were too high, with them calling him greedy. Progressives are experts at twisting the meaning of words to suit their violent goals, but Mickelson isn’t the greedy one here. Progressives are the greedy ones, because all taxation is theft. A thought experiment will prove this point. Imagine if you wrote the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and told them you believed that taxes were voluntary, so you weren’t going to pay. We all know how this would end. Eventually, the IRS would send heavily armed and armored enforcers to kick in your door, and if they didn’t shoot you, your family and your dog dead, they would lock you in irons and drag you off to a cage.

Please don’t test this scenario. States are the world’s deadliest gangs. This is armed robbery, but unlike other armed robbers, government’s enforcers have a license to kill. They kill with impunity. They are praised for killing.

Progressives believe what Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” This is absurd. Armed robbery is barbaric, not civilized, whether legislatures have legalized it or not. The double standard of progressives, advocating armed robbery but only by state agents, proves the moral bankruptcy of their ideals.

Stealing people’s money cannot benefit civilization. It hinders the advance of civilization. But it makes sense that Holmes would justify government’s institutionalized theft because as a Supreme Court Justice he made a living off money stolen from others in the form of taxes. There are exactly two ways a person can make a living: he can either produce something and trade it in a system of voluntary exchange, or he can steal the wealth of others or benefit from wealth stolen from others on his behalf. The first method promotes cooperation and advances civilization. The second creates conflict and undermines civilization.

Government as we know it – the state – exists for the purpose of stealing property. The state is a predator. Every person who works for government at any level, including government contractors, makes a living off stolen money. Every person who receives a check from the government is a recipient of stolen money. Government even stole Social Security and Medicare out of the trust funds.

This brings me back to the definition of greed. Progressives claim that greed is wanting to obtain wealth beyond some undefined minimum that they want to determine and enforce through violence. This definition is wrong. Greed is wanting to benefit by stealing the property of others. Greed is wanting to seize property that one has not earned. The American people need to take that definition back. The progressives are the greedy ones. Government employees, plutocrats and welfare recipients are greedy. The people creating the wealth, no matter how much, are not.

Tiger Woods exposed another progressive double standard during this exchange. When asked about Mickelson’s comments, Woods agreed with Mickelson. He moved from California to Florida to escape California’s taxes. Florida has no income tax. California currently has a 13.3 percent income tax on millionaires. Only a fool or a masochist would stay in California if he could earn the same income living in Florida.

But progressives didn’t attack Tiger Woods, though Woods was unapologetic. I wonder what the difference could be. I wish LeBron James had mentioned Ohio’s income tax as one of the reasons he left Cleveland for Miami. It had to be a factor. Progressives would have tied themselves in knots trying to rationalize their double standard.

While Mickelson, Woods and James probably believe they earn their money without benefit from government, they’re wrong. All athletes earn bigger salaries than they could in a free market because of government intervention in the market. For example, the government cartelizes sports leagues and lends its power of coercion to players’ labor unions. Another huge, invisible way government boosts the salaries of athletes and team owners is through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). TV provides most of the revenue for sports leagues. Bruce Springsteen sang, “57 channels and nothin’ on.” Today, it’s 1,500 channels and nothing on. That’s because the FCC, having seized control of the airwaves under threat of violence, allows only six major media companies to compete. In a free market, thousands of companies would produce innovative programming, and no sporting event could command the ratings they enjoy in the FCC’s cartelized, corporatized market.

The same is true with TV shows, movies, music and books. The government uses copyright, which is a threat of violence against artistic innovation, to corporatize and cartelize those industries as well. It uses patents, which are threats of violence against technological innovation, to corporatize and cartelize the technology industry. The Federal Reserve does the same to banks. Same with health care. Same with our food supply. And so on.

Progressives’ greed creates the giant corporations they claim to hate. Their greed enables the transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the ultra-wealthy they also claim to hate. At least progressives haven’t changed the definition of irony.

The views and opinions expressed in Conspiracy Theorist are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.

Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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