We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Is using perfectly legal methods of minimising tax right? The answer is no.

Andrew Pendleton, a senior campaigner at Christian Aid

25 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Niall

    As a quite serious Christian (and classical liberal) I would like to suggest to the good Mr Pendleton that this is BS of the highest order on both theological and economic grounds. And I would like to reassure Samizadatas that not all Christians are muddle-minded reflexive statists with an incipient victim mentality. Hell, some of us even laugh at South Park.

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    Does he specify just what criteria should be used then? We are obliged to pay more tax than we are obliged to pay.

    ???

  • Also speaking as a Christian (Southern Baptist), this is absurd. I pay the taxes I am required to pay. By definition, I am not required to pay any more. Period.

  • And I would like to reassure Samizadatas that not all Christians are muddle-minded reflexive statists

    Indeed. Some of the Samizdatistas are Christians too.

  • Nick M

    What a bizarre thing to say. Wouldn ‘t he rather people paid less tax so they could give more to his charity?

    Note also “perfectly legal” – he’s not even talking about certain “grey area” dodges and wheezes.

  • Hank Scorpio

    The selfishness displayed on this board disgusts me.

    Although I’m not a Christian, I do find that tithing an additional 10-15% of my income beyond what I pay in taxes is quite satisfying. Just the thought that my money can ensure that a bureaucrat with better benefits than I have will continue to have a make-work job fills me with a warm, healthy glow. I just consider it doing my bit.

    You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

  • Julian Taylor

    Wouldn ‘t he rather people paid less tax so they could give more to his charity?

    No, he would rather you pay far more. As with everything you see or hear, from that charity in particular, you have to evaluate their motive for such statements and in this case it is worth bearing in mind how income tax increases would benefit them, thus:

    Gift Aid is a system where an individual or a business can give a one-off donation to charity, and the charity can reclaim basic rate tax on the donations. The minimum donation is currently £250 (no maximum). At the higher tax bracket (40%) the charity receives 23% tax relief and the donor receives the other 17%. [HMR&C]

    Therefore presumably the higher the tax rate, the more Christian Aid receives.

  • nicholas gray

    Hank, I’m thoroughly ashamed of myself! All this time I have not been giving ALL my money to the Government! How can I expect Big Bother to carry out all his plans, if I’m holding back? No wonder we haven’t recreated Paradise here on Earth, with that sort of unworthy attitude.
    AND I’ve been misreading the Bible again! Instead of earning money which I could then spend as I liked, re the parable of the man hiring labourers, I should have realised that the State is God. I’m sure that’s in the Bible, somewhere!
    And I used to support Charities! The Government will look after them, just like the Communists did so well in Russia and other places!
    Thanks for leading me to the (b)light, Hank!

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    2 Corinthians 9.7: “Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

  • Pa Annoyed

    Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.

    Whosoever resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

    For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise o the same:

    For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

    Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

    For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually on this very thing.

    Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    Romans 13:1-7.

    >;-)

  • veryretired

    I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that there is a long-standing and mutually supportive relationship between religion and the state in most of the world, and certainly in the west between the various Christian sects and the political entities with which they have interacted for millenia.

    Of course, there are exceptions, and the fall off of religious interest in most of Europe over the last century has been widely documented and discussed, but major religious figures are still influential in public affairs.

    Most people still respond to the overall moral and ethical codes long endorsed by churches as a part of their mission to serve the poor and helpless, a mission all too often honored in the breach rather than the observance, but still preached relentlessly around the world by most religious entities regardless of denomination.

    What this person is saying is not at all outrageous if one accepts two major assertions of the religiously supported welfare state:

    1) that each person, as a member of society, has a duty to contribute as much as possible from his or her earnings to assist the poor and maintain the structures that provide for the less fortunate;

    and 2) that the approved mechanism for this good work is the benevolent state, which acts in the best interests of the community as a whole.

    This partnership is centuries old, and these tenets of the moral justification for the relationship are as fundamental and rock solid today as the notion of the divine right was for centuries before it finally fell from favor, and had to be replaced with another justification for the continued right of those in positions of political power to control the wealth and, thereby, the lives of, the great majority of the citizenry.

    In the US, the 1st amendment is often invoked to decry the supposed interference by christian fundamentalists in the operations of the government.

    But, regardless of the validity of that complaint, it never seems to extend to any complaint regarding the clear and massive intrusion of the religious collectivists into the theory and operations of the state here, and around the world.

    One of the most outrageous claims of Rand’s writings when they first appeared, and still to this day for many people, was the attempt to refute the belief that altruistic behaviours could be enforced by staute as a civic and moral duty which trumped any and all rights to life and property.

    So successfully has the catechism of enforced compassion been inculcated into the minds and hearts of the vast majority of people that they literally cannot envision any other method for the delivery of aid to the poor and needy of society.

    In the few words of this sentence, the speaker encapsulates an entire philosophy of need driven morality which lies beneath and supports much of the action taken by the modern welfare state.

  • dearieme

    “No man in this country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or to his property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel into his stores.”
    Lord Clyde in Ayrshire Pullman Motor Services v. the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, back when Scotland was still a Christian country.

  • Gabriel

    In all fairness to Christianity, I think that most people in Christian Aid would, if confronted with a quote from Galations, assume you were talking about a sci-fi programme or something. The fact that they actually bother to call themselves Christian Aid only denotes that for some people in this country the word Christian still carries positive connotations.

  • On some level, his underlying principles have to be admired. He is quite convinced that there is a difference between what is legal and what is right. That is a healthy attitude to have.

    Now, he just needs to take “Do not steal” seriously.

    – Josh

  • Andrew Pendleton, unsurprisingly, is ex-BBC and has at least half-a-dozen job titles for the ‘charity’.

    Quiz time: Christian Aid’s “most pressing campaign issue” is:

    A. Genocide in Darfur
    B. HIV/AIDS
    C. Malnutrition in Africa
    D. Climate change

    Do I need to provide the ever so obvious answer?! (stumped statists can check out the url)

    Some other tidbits about Christian Aid:

    17.3% of funds come from government grants.
    Only 1% of charitable giving is within the UK.
    Christian Aid have a defined benefit pension scheme.
    Christian Aid support giving money to Hamas.

  • Michiganny

    I would as soon take tax advice from a relgious group as receive spiritual advice from George Bush. Or the Bishop of Rome.

  • Ahem, I am no theologian, but isn’t the term tax collector used with somewhat unflattering connotations in the new testament? Do the Christian aiders know this?

    While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
    On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
    Matthew 9:10-12

    If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
    Matthew 18:17

    etc.

  • nick g.

    Chris Harper, and Pa Annoyed
    Christians should not be compelled to give, but should do so because their conscience tells them to. Notice that neither letter tells us to compel our non-Christian neighbours to give to causes that we find or think of as worthy. Notice also that obedience to the powers that be is conditional- if they had been told to worship Caesar, or statues of Caesar, that would have been anti-christian. The highest obedience should be to your own conscience, which is a pro-libertarian viewpoint.

  • Speak for yourselves, folks! I am perfectly happy for the income tax which I currently pay to be increased by any multiple you wish. I will personally donate the difference to Christian Aid, and will pledge to donate exactly this sum – no more, no less – for the rest of my life. :)

  • nick g.

    Are you, by any chance, unemployed? Or living off a Trust Fund? Or too young to yet have a job? Or too old to work? There seems to be a smirk in your comments somewhere.
    If you were to multiply your income tax by seven, and give all this to the Nick (Niceguy) Gray Fund, how much would Nick (Niceguy) Gray get?

  • Phil A

    “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21)

    Now if ‘Ceasar’ AKA Gordon Brown has defined a complicated description of exactly what is his, under what circumstances, then surely we should render what he has asked for – but no more according to Matthew reporting the words of the Man himself.

    I wonder if Mr Pendleton has been doing his Christian duty sitting down to dinner with sinners and Tax collectors and got confused by the after dinner conversation.

  • Phil A, what is Caesar’s is not what Caesar asks for or thinks is his, but what is his due. A strong implication exists here that conscience, thought and view is not to be rendered unto Caesar. New Labour wants to own our thoughts and to do that they intend to create and manage them.

    Charity is entirely by consent. To not be means it changes its name to taxation (or extortion/blackmail).

    Taxation should be by (grudging) consent of the taxpayers. To not do so means evasion, unrest, inefficiency.

  • Are you, by any chance, unemployed? Or living off a Trust Fund? Or too young to yet have a job? Or too old to work? There seems to be a smirk in your comments somewhere.

    You’ve missed the obvious one: I’m an emigrant, a tax exile. Lived 3 years in Kuwait and Dubai, where there is no income tax; then moved to Russia under a contract whereby the company picks up my (13% flat) tax bill. So I personally pay nothing, and haven’t done since May 2003.

    A lot of the oil and gas jobs come with a salary net of tax. Problem is, you have to live in somewhere like Sakhalin Island to get them. Still, it beats having to stomach paying for the stuff which tax money gets used for in the UK.

  • nick g.

    When I read again the quote from Romans, I realized that he is talking about Church matters! This ‘Minister of God’ is a fellow Christian who has an official position. This Letter is NOT referring to State Officials at all! Read it again, or in the Bible, and you’ll see that Paul was talking about the Churches!

  • nick g.

    I have just looked up my Greek-English Bible, and the word for ‘minister’, and for ‘servant’, comes from one greek word- ‘Daikonos’, the source of our word, deacon. In the New Testament, Paul uses Daikonos to refer to himself and other authorities WITHIN THE CHURCH. Thus I deduce that Romans 13 is mainly about Church leaders, and the governing authorities, these ministers of God, are presumably priests. It does not automatically refer to State authorities- Christians should be guided by their consciences there.
    Hope this clarifies things for good-guys and nonbelievers alike.