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Thread: The Tax Collector

  1. #1

    The Tax Collector

    10.: The Tax Collector

    PUBLISHING HISTORY:
    Original title: “Le Percepteur.”
    Place and date of first publication: No date given. First published in book form.
    First French edition as book or pamphlet: Economic Sophisms (Second Series) (1848). First and Second Series were combined in one edition in 1851.
    Location in Paillottet’s edition: OC: Vol. 4. Sophismes économiques. Petits pamphlets I, pp. 198–203.
    Previous translation: 1st American ed., 1848; 1st British ed., 1873; FEE ed., 1964.

    Jacques Bonhomme, Wine Producer
    Mr. Blockhead, Tax Collector

    Blockhead:
    You have harvested twenty barrels of wine?

    Bonhomme:
    Yes, with much trouble and sweat.

    Blockhead:
    Be so good as to deliver six of the best ones.

    Bonhomme:
    Six barrels out of twenty! Good heavens! Do you want to ruin me? To what use are you going to put them, if you please?

    Blockhead:
    The first will be sent to the creditors of the State. When we have debts, the least we can do is to pay them interest.

    Bonhomme:
    And where has the capital gone?

    Blockhead:
    It would take too long to tell you. Part in the past was placed into cartridges that produced the finest smoke in the world. Another part paid the men who were crippled on foreign soil after having ravaged it. Then, when this expenditure had attracted to our country our friends the enemy, they refused to leave without taking money, which had to be borrowed.

    Bonhomme:
    And what is my share today?

    Blockhead:
    The satisfaction of saying: How proud I am of being French when I look at the column!

    Bonhomme:
    And the humiliation of leaving my heirs an estate encumbered by rent in perpetuity. In the end, we have to pay what we owe whatever crazy use has been made of it. I agree to give one barrel, what about the five others?

    Blockhead:
    One must pay for public services, the Civil List, the judges who restore to you the field that your neighbor wants to take possession of, the gendarmes who hunt thieves while you sleep, the road mender who maintains the road that takes you to town, the parish priest who baptizes your children, the teacher who raises them, and my good self, none of whom works for nothing.

    Bonhomme:
    That is fair—a service for a service. I have no objection to that. I would rather sort things out directly with my parish priest and schoolteacher, but I will not insist on this. I agree to give another barrel, but there is a long way to go to six.

    Blockhead:
    Do you think it is asking too much for two barrels as your contribution to the cost of the army and navy?

    Bonhomme:
    Alas, it is not much in comparison with what they are costing me already, for they have already taken from me two sons that I loved dearly.

    Blockhead:
    We have to maintain the balance of power in Europe.

    Bonhomme:
    My God! The balance would be the same if these forces were reduced everywhere by half or three-quarters. We would preserve both our children and our revenue. All we need to do is agree on this.

    Blockhead:
    Yes, but we do not agree.

    Bonhomme:
    That is what astonishes me. For in the end everyone suffers.

    Blockhead:
    You wanted this, Jacques Bonhomme.

    Bonhomme:
    You are joking, Mr. Tax Collector. Do I have a say in the matter?

    Blockhead:
    Who have you voted for as your deputy?

    Bonhomme:
    An upright army general who will shortly become a marshal if God gives him a long enough life.

    Blockhead:
    And on what does this good general live?

    Bonhomme:
    On my barrels, I imagine.

    Blockhead:
    And what would happen if he voted for a reduction in the army and your contribution?

    Bonhomme:
    Instead of becoming a marshal, he would be retired.

    Blockhead:
    Do you now understand that you have yourself . . .

    Bonhomme:
    Let us move on to the fifth barrel, if you please.

    Blockhead:
    That goes to Algeria.

    Bonhomme:
    To Algeria! And we are assured that all Muslims are wine-haters, what barbarians! I have often asked myself whether they know nothing of Médoc because they are infidels or infidels because they know nothing of Médoc. Besides, what services do they do me in return for this ambrosia that has cost me so much work?

    Blockhead:
    None. For the reason that it is not intended for Muslims but for the good Christians who spend their time in Barbary.

    Bonhomme:
    And what are they going to do there that will be useful to me?

    Blockhead:
    Carry out incursions and be subjected to them; kill and be killed; catch dysentery and return for treatment; excavate ports, construct roads, build villages, and people them with Maltese, Italians, Spanish, and Swiss nationals who will live off your barrel and many other barrels which I will come to ask you for later.

    Bonhomme:
    Mercy on us! This is too much and I refuse outright to give you a barrel. A wine producer who indulged in such folly would be sent to Bicêtre. Driving roads through the Atlas! Good heavens! And to think I cannot leave my own home! Excavating ports in Barbary when the Garonne is silting up more every day! Taking the children I love from me in order to torment the Kabyls! Having me pay for the houses, seed, and horses that are delivered to Greeks and Maltese when there are so many poor people around us!

    Blockhead:
    Poor people, that is the point! The country is being relieved of this surplus population.

    Bonhomme:
    Thank you very much! By keeping them alive in Algeria on capital that would enable them to live here.

    Blockhead:
    And then you are establishing the bases for a great empire; you are bringing civilization to Africa and bedecking your country in immortal glory.

    Bonhomme:
    You are a poet, Mr. Tax Collector, but I am a wine producer and I refuse.

    Blockhead:
    Just think that in a few thousand years, you will be repaid your advances a hundredfold. This is what those in charge of the enterprise tell us.

    Bonhomme:
    And in the meantime, they used only at first to ask for one cask of wine to meet the costs, then it was two, then three, and here I am being taxed a whole barrel. I continue to refuse.

    Blockhead:
    You no longer have any time to do this. Your political delegate has stipulated a toll for you of one barrel or four full casks.

    Bonhomme:
    That is only too true. Cursed be my weakness! I also thought that by giving him my mandate I was being rash, for what is there in common between an army general and a poor wine producer?

    Blockhead:
    You can see clearly that there is something in common between you, if only the wine that you produce and that he votes for himself in your name.

    Bonhomme:
    Make fun of me, I deserve it, Mr. Tax Collector. But be reasonable with it; leave me at least the sixth barrel. The interest on the debts has been paid, the Civil List provided for, public services assured, and the war in Africa perpetuated. What more do you want?

    Blockhead:
    You cannot bargain with me. You should have made your intentions clear to the general. Now he has disposed of your harvest.

    Bonhomme:
    Damned Bonapartist Guardsman! But in the end, what are you going to do with this poor barrel, the flower of my cellars? Here, taste this wine. See how smooth, strong, full-bodied, velvety, and what a fine color . . .

    Blockhead:
    Excellent! Delicious! Just the job for M. D . . . the cloth manufacturer.

    Bonhomme:
    M. D . . . the cloth manufacturer! What do you mean?

    Blockhead:
    That he will get a good share of it.

    Bonhomme:
    How? What is all this? I am blowed if I understand you!

    Blockhead:
    Do you not know that M. D . . . has set up an enterprise that is very useful to the country, and which, in the end, makes a considerable loss each year?

    Bonhomme:
    I pity him wholeheartedly. But what can I do?

    Blockhead:
    The Chamber has understood that if this continued M. D . . . would face the choice of either having to operate his factory better or closing it.

    Bonhomme:
    But what is the connection between faulty business dealings on M. D’s part . . . and my barrel?

    Blockhead:
    The Chamber considers that if it delivered to M. D . . . some of the wine from your cellar, a few hectoliters of wheat from your neighbors, and a few sous subtracted from the earnings of the workers, his losses would be transformed into profits.

    Bonhomme:
    The recipe is as infallible as it is ingenious. But, heavens above, it is terribly iniquitous! What! M. D . . . is to cover his debts by taking my wine from me?

    Blockhead:
    No, not exactly your wine but its cost. This is what we call incentive subsidies. But you are totally speechless! Do you not see what a great service you are rendering to the country?

    Bonhomme:
    You mean to M. D . . . ?

    Blockhead:
    To the country. M. D . . . ensures that his industry prospers, thanks to this arrangement, and in this way, he says, the country gets richer. This is what he told the Chamber of which he is a member, in the last few days.

    Bonhomme:
    This is rank dishonesty! What! An ignoramus sets up an idiotic enterprise and loses his money, and if he extorts enough wine or wheat to cover his losses and even achieve some profit this will be seen as a gain for the entire country!

    Blockhead:
    As your authorized representative has judged this to be so, you have no option but to hand over to me your six barrels of wine and sell as best you can the fourteen barrels I am leaving you.

    Bonhomme:
    That is my business.

    Blockhead:
    You see, it would be very unfortunate if you did not get a high price for them.

    Bonhomme:
    I will see to it.

    Blockhead:
    For there are a lot of things that this price has to cover.

    Bonhomme:
    I know, Sir, I know.

    Blockhead:
    First of all, if you purchase iron to replace your shovels and ploughs, a law has decided that you will pay twice as much as it is worth to the ironmaster.

    Bonhomme:
    Is that so? We must be in the Black Forest!

    Blockhead:
    Then, if you need oil, meat, canvas, coal, wool, or sugar, each of these, according to the law, will cost you double their worth.

    Bonhomme:
    But this is terrible, frightful, and abominable!

    Blockhead:
    What is the use of complaining? You yourself, through your authorized representative, . . .

    Bonhomme:
    Leave my mandate alone! I have given it in an odd way, it is true. But I will no longer be hoodwinked and will have myself represented by a good, upright member of the peasantry.

    Blockhead:
    Nonsense! You will reelect the good general.

    Bonhomme:
    I! I will reelect the general to distribute my wine to Africans and manufacturers?

    Blockhead:
    You will reelect him, I tell you.

    Bonhomme:
    That is going a bit far. I will not reelect him if I do not wish to do so.

    Blockhead:
    But you will want to and you will reelect him.

    Bonhomme:
    Just let him come here looking for trouble. He will see with whom he has to deal.

    Blockhead:
    We will see. Good-bye. I will take your six barrels and divide them up in accordance with the general’s decision.
    //
    “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” --George Orwell

    Quote Originally Posted by AuH20 View Post
    In terms of a full spectrum candidate, Rand is leaps and bounds above Trump. I'm not disputing that.
    Who else in public life has called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea?--Donald Trump



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  3. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by kcchiefs6465 View Post
    //
    These are some gems you've been sharing from that book. Who's the author?

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    These are some gems you've been sharing from that book. Who's the author?
    Frederic Bastiat

    It's in the collection, Economic Sophisms.

    The whole collection reads the same way. Truly a treat to read.

    Here's the book online for free.

    https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/b...nomic-sophisms
    “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” --George Orwell

    Quote Originally Posted by AuH20 View Post
    In terms of a full spectrum candidate, Rand is leaps and bounds above Trump. I'm not disputing that.
    Who else in public life has called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea?--Donald Trump

  5. #4
    Thanks for sharing
    “The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.”

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by kcchiefs6465 View Post
    Frederic Bastiat

    It's in the collection, Economic Sophisms.

    The whole collection reads the same way. Truly a treat to read.

    Here's the book online for free.

    https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/b...nomic-sophisms
    "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to kcchiefs6465 again."

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by kcchiefs6465 View Post
    Frederic Bastiat

    It's in the collection, Economic Sophisms.

    The whole collection reads the same way. Truly a treat to read.

    Here's the book online for free.

    https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/b...nomic-sophisms
    +rep
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  8. #7
    + rep, but I am kind of partial to SwordSmythe's collectivist thread.
    "The Patriarch"

    Quote Originally Posted by spudea View Post
    As is regularly pointed out on this forum, Trump is an idiot, a liar, and regularly uses bloated exaggeration so why would anyone put much stock into what he says? I think it's easy to figure Trump out. Sorry you are still confused.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    That is a lie.
    @Brian4Liberty, devil keeps spreading this lie.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    I will report violations of the forum rules to the forum staff when they are egregious enough.

    You should remember that.

  9. #8
    Steal Taxes from the productive, Grow the Swamp, Spread the Wealth

    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    You only show up to attack Trump when he is wrong
    DACA S**thole Dreamers - Make America Great Again?



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  11. #9
    6/20 barrels of wine? what a bargain. Today it'd be 11 barrels
    A savage barbaric tribal society where thugs parade the streets and illegally assault and murder innocent civilians, yeah that is the alternative to having police. Oh wait, that is the police

    We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
    - Edward R. Murrow

    ...I think we have moral obligations to disobey unjust laws, because non-cooperation with evil is as much as a moral obligation as cooperation with good. - MLK Jr.

    How to trigger a liberal: "I didn't get vaccinated."

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RonZeplin View Post
    Steal Taxes from the productive, Grow the Swamp, Spread the Wealth

    This is just annoying to me because the д character sounds like the English letter "D" in all slavic languages expressed in Cyrillic fonts. My brain keeps reading it as "socidlism". #kurwa
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  13. #11
    Bump.
    “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” --George Orwell

    Quote Originally Posted by AuH20 View Post
    In terms of a full spectrum candidate, Rand is leaps and bounds above Trump. I'm not disputing that.
    Who else in public life has called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea?--Donald Trump



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