THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Beware the Ides of March
The end approaches?

Tell me again how governments differ from gangsters?

The Cyprus bail-out: Unfair, short-sighted and self-defeating | The Economist.

When I compare government to organised crime, people seem to think I am being extreme. But the parallels are exact. They extort protection money (tax) some of which is deployed to punishing lesser criminals, but never very effectively or consistently. Far more is spent on payments to the members of the gang and its "soldiers". They have heavies to enforce their rule. They pretend to be there to preserve order and protect us, but in fact they are parasites upon us. They accept no boundaries to their right to interfere in our lives and do not hesitate to use force to do so. Every so often, they take over our businesses to use them for their own nefarious purposes.

A friend of mine has had money seized from his (perfectly legitimate) Cyprus bank account this morning. It represented some of his (earned and taxed) life savings. Yes, some of the victims of this "one off" tax will be Russian oligarchs and other undesirables, but many will be like my friend and many more will simply be people who chose to retire to Cyprus. For that matter, if oligarch money has been stolen from the Russian people or state, how does that give EU governments the right to steal it in turn?

My friend has instructed his investment advisor to get all of his assets out of "this ****ing continent." He reasons that if the EU can force Cyprus to steal from depositors, they can force other member states and perhaps even countries under EU influence like Monaco and Switzerland to do so. Indeed, if this raid on innocents is tolerated, other governments will probably want to emulate it. Another ethical boundary has been crossed. I wonder how many other investors instructed their advisors to get them out of Europe this morning? 

When I heard his news, I checked my RSS feed of bloggers and other thinkers. Everyone was writing about something else. A "respectable" Western government was behaving like wicked King John in seizing citizens' wealth. No-one thought it important.

Those who are prudent and have savings are despised in Europe. Even "Conservatives" seem to think they are just there to be milked of the proceeds of their life's work in order to cover political arses, prop up failed institutions and protect feckless, reckless individuals from the consequences of their own stupidity. The average European's idea of where wealth comes from is about as accurate as believing that storks deliver babies.

Don't think this is confined to a few high net worth individuals with offshore bank accounts. They said income tax was for the very rich, but now you all pay it. They said inheritance tax would only affect the wealthiest aristocratic estates, but now your children will probably pay it when you die. In demanding ever greater benefits from government at the expense of everyone but themselves, the West's voters have unleashed a beast that will devour them too.