The Moral Case For Taking Federal Matching Funds
by Michael Emerling
As a "matter of principle", Libertarian Presidential candidates have
refused to seek federal matching campaign funds. Taxation is theft and
accepting tax funds makes us party to the crime. By taking the loot, by
welcoming stolen goods, the Libertarian Party betrays the
non-aggression principle. We surrender our morality, integrity and
So we've been told.
This position is not merely wrong. It is the exact opposite of the
As Frank Chodorov observed, "Taxation is robbery." Government is funded
by legalized looting. Government has no right to the proceeds of
plunder. Nor does it have the right to "assign" or "transfer" the booty
Who has the right to this loot? The rightful owners. The victims of the
tax crime: those who earned and owned it. The tax payers.
Let's look at Libertarian taxpayers. How many Libertarians are there in
America today? No one knows. Libertarians don't like being counted or
registered by the State.
Individuals who believe that they have a right to their life, liberty,
and property; Individuals who know that their life is their own and
intend to run it by their own judgement; Individuals who value
voluntary relations and oppose force and fraud; these individuals mind
their own business and live their lives as they see fit. Their privacy
is their protection, so they jealously guard it. They live by the code
of liberty. They are libertarians, whether they know it or not. But
their way of life makes them invisible, uncounted and forgotten.
A few Libertarians organized to reclaim their rights to life, liberty
and property. They did so as a matter of self-defense. They called
their organization the Libertarian Party.
Today there are 9000 dues paying National Libertarian Party members in
America. And perhaps another 6000 local Libertarian Party members.
There are over 50,000 voters registered as Libertarians, even though
many states do not allow us to register Libertarian.
For the sake of discussion, assume that there are only 10,000
Libertarians in America. Assume that the average Libertarian earns
$30,000 a year. (Probably a low figure, with all the professionals and
computer programmers in the Libertarian Party.) A person earning
$30,000 a year is paying a minimum of $3,000 a year in federal income
taxes. Using these deliberately low figures, we can see that
Libertarians are paying a minimum of $30,000,000 each year in income
taxes. That's $2,500,000 each month.
Libertarians have a right to recover this money. Or authorize another
to recover it.
In light of this, let's reframe the matching funds issue:
1. "Do taxpaying libertarians have the right to authorize the
Libertarian Presidential Candidate to use the matching funds process to
recover taxes taken from them?"
2. "Do they have the right to authorize their candidate to use the
recovered taxes to fight the looters?"
An example from history might highlight the issue. During the
Revolutionary War, Francis Marion ("the Swamp Fox") organized a
guerilla army in South Carolina. Marion staged midnight raids, hit and
run attacks and sabotage. This frustrated the British officers and tied
up troops that might have been used to defeat Washington or Lee.
Marion and his men ran out of ammunition. So they raided British
armories, taking all the weapons and ammunition they could carry. They
did return the bullets to the British ... one at a time.
These British weapons were paid for by past taxation and the source of
Did the Swamp Fox have the right to seize and use the weapons against
the British? Or should Francis Marion have left them in the hands of
***Libertarians not only have the right to recover their taxes through
matching funds, they have the moral obligation to do so.*** The taxes
we do not recover will fund the State... or be turned over to
Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates who will seek to make
Big Government bigger. Your taxes either fund the State or Statist
Campaigns. Every tax dollar we do not reclaim will be used to sustain
or expand the State. As State Power grows, individual liberty and
Can you afford to have the money you've earned used against you? You've
been disarmed and your own weapons have been turned against you. Take
After all, whose money is it? Yours.
Do you live off the State or does the State live off you? Are you a tax
producer or a tax consumer? Are you a tax victim or a tax beneficiary?
When you fill out your 1040, if you have a refund due from the IRS, do
you take back your money? Why? Because it's yours. It's not welfare.
It's recovering a part of what is rightfully yours.
Matching funds are tax refunds. By contributing to the Marrou
Libertarian Presidential Campaign, you are allowing us to recover money
looted from you through federal income taxes and use it to fight the
government for liberty.
This text appeared in a brochure distributed by the Marrou for President
campaign in November 1990.