There is an article by Mark Easton on the BBC site which is a classic example of ‘conflation’.
So if buying a dodgy laptop or some smuggled cigarettes were to be regarded as socially beyond the pale, then the black market would crumble.
If offered an implausibly cheap laptop by someone, should you buy it even though you know that odds are it is almost certainly stolen?
- No, because the theft of private property is morally indefensible.
If offered implausibly cheap cartons of cigarettes by someone, should you buy them even though you know it is almost certainly smuggled in from a country that taxes them at a much lower rate than the UK?
- Yes, because the theft of private property is morally indefensible, and that includes when governments do it. Odds are they were legally purchased in France.
So here we have an example of meta-context at work again… perhaps.
Mark Easton, writing on the website of the tax funded state broadcaster, conflates the theft of private property (selling a stolen laptop) with avoiding the taxation by the state (which is to say the state taking your money). Hell, chances are the cigarettes have been taxed (in France), just at a less rapacious rate. So all that is really happening is some enterprising soul is doing a bit of arbitrage.
There is nothing moral about obediently paying whatever your political masters demand of you, but it is most certainly immoral to knowingly purchase stolen property. But these are not the same things.
It is possible that such a notion that these are quite different (which is to say he is making a category error) never even crossed Mark Easton’s mind, given that within a statist meta-context, it is an unspoken and unexamined ‘given’ that moral relationships between the state and an individual are inverted.
But then as he writes for that tax funded bastion of intrusive regulatory statism, the BBC, who knows? For all I know this may be a conscious tactic, just another example of the “But think of the children…” method.
Think of it this way…
If acquiescing to rapacious taxation and pervasive regulation of our lives were to be regarded as socially beyond the pale, then the black market would not be necessary in the first place.
Stick that in yer meta-context an’ smoke it, Mister Easton.