At The Liberty Papers, Brad Warbiany tries to make the case for the legitimacy of this government:
Whether or not a government is legitimate rests on one very simple basis: whether the overwhelming majority of people living under that government recognizes its legitimacy.
Brad goes on to say that this government is legitimate since most people seem to be in favor of it. But is that really true? If people had a free choice, would they support this government?
Consider this: let’s suppose that out of the goodness of their hearts and the confidence they have in their own popularity, this government decided to make taxes voluntary. No estimated payments, no withholding, no penalties. On April 15th, send them ten grand or ten dollars or send them a big fat middle finger – your choice, no questions asked.
How much money do you think this government would get via voluntary contributions?
The answer of course is that they’d get next to nothing, because it’d be a sucker deal for anyone to volunteer to fund this government. Given the choice, Brad’s “overwhelming majority” would opt out of taxation overnight, thus opting out of this government that he’s so sure they support.
The perception of legitimacy that Warbiany sees is really a combination of massive intimidation by the government and a lifetime of exposure to that same intimidation on the part of the populance. Warbiany’s legitimacy comes out of the barrel of a gun.