Patrick Barron writes in today’s Mises Daily:
In The Law Frédéric Bastiat presents the irrefutable maxim that man’s rights exist prior to the formation of the state and that, therefore, the collective action of the state cannot conflict with man’s prior rights. According to Bastiat, man can delegate to the state only those powers that he himself already possesses, and man does not have the natural right to force another to give to a charity. Since I cannot coerce you to give to the charity of my choice, neither can government force you to give to the charity of its choice. Yet that is exactly what it does. Let us say that you object that government gives money to a charity that you personally abhor. You would not get very far arguing that you have a right to reduce your tax payment by a pro-rata amount. If you persisted in withholding payment, government will confiscate your assets. If you try to protect your assets, government will kill you.