Fire-eating republicans must be blessed with a heightened moral sense, reaching cosmic altitudes inaccessible to most people.
This conclusion is hard to escape looking at the people who are most vociferous in castigating the Queen’s investment strategy. Apparently, Her Majesty “minimised her tax exposure”, to use City jargon, by putting some of her money into offshore shelters.
In some quarters, this practice is called tax avoidance, which is legal, as opposed to tax evasion, which isn’t.
Now not even the Queen’s fiercest critics think that Her Majesty personally makes her financial decisions, or issues to her advisers instructions along the lines of “One wishes to screw one’s government out of every penny one can.”
Nor do they suggest that tax avoidance is illegal. However, they insist that there exists a higher morality than that codified in statutes.
As a Christian, I welcome this sentiment on general principle. In case of conflict, heavenly morality laid down in Exodus and Matthew does trump human laws any day of the week and twice on Sundays. (Yes, I know it’s a tired cliché, but it seems appropriate in this context.)
The trouble is that Her Majesty’s detractors are guided by a higher morality of a different sort from that laid down in Exodus and Matthew and widely reaffirmed on Sundays. Their God isn’t that of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They worship at the altar of another deity: the state.
Their main, one is tempted to say only, article of faith was tersely formulated by that great socialist Benito Mussolini: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”
Comrade Corbyn, who’s particularly aghast at the Queen’s sharp practices, hasn’t to my knowledge professed admiration for Mussolini. His sympathies gravitate more towards Lenin and Trotsky, which is understandable.
Mussolini is seen in Corbyn’s circles as a heretic who betrayed true socialism. As proof of his treachery, he only managed 1,624 political convictions in the 20 years he was in power.
What kind of socialism is that? Where’s the red on tooth and claw? Comrade Corbyn’s idols murdered tens of millions – now that’s really keeping with Marx’s prescriptions.
Yet, acknowledged or not, Mussolini’s adage is the leitmotif of all types of socialism, be it communist, democratic, fascist or Nazi. Whatever their differences (and these shouldn’t be downplayed even in the heat of debate), they all converge on state worship. Guided by this creed, they logically regard as either illegal or at least immoral anything that diminishes the power of the state over the individual.
Obviously, the more money the state extorts from an individual, the less independent from the state will the individual become. Hence socialists are doctrinally compelled to define taxation not so much in fiscal as in moral terms.
Taxation for them has above all a punitive purpose: it punishes individual pursuit of financial independence, just as socialised medicine and education punish individual pursuit of health and learning.
If socialists are pressed on the issue of, say, the NHS, they’ll spin a fine yarn about equality, fairness and whatnot. But at the heart of their animadversions lies fanatical adoration of state power.
The type of state doesn’t really matter. Charles Lindbergh, for example, used to add 10 per cent to his tax bill because he was “proud to be an American”. He must have been equally proud of being an ardent fan of that great statist Adolf Hitler.
Logically, socialists see no difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. Legality be damned – it’s their perverse notion of morality that they use as the yardstick. They may even agree that a chap can spend his money better than the state can spend it for him. That point doesn’t become any more relevant for being true.
One has to emphasise here that, unlike Lindbergh, our socialists feel that way about other people’s money, not their own. When it comes to their personal finance, wealthy socialists look for tax shelters as intently as do Her Majesty’s advisers. Hypocritical?
Not really. That’s like saying a priest who lusts after women (or even men) has no right to celebrate Mass. When he’s at the altar, he’s no longer an individual but a conduit of higher truth. Except that, unlike socialism, his higher truth is indeed both high and true.
Intelligent socialists, which may be an oxymoron, have to be republicans. They correctly see monarchy, blessed by the Church even if it may not be ordained by God, as a denial of the modern political state – or at least a natural check on its excesses.
Because they hate our monarchy, socialists jump at any chance to besmirch our monarch. That Corbyn, whose hatred of traditional institutions is nothing short of maniacal, should lead the charge stands to reason.
He isn’t even smart enough to conceal his animus. For example, the other day Comrade Corbyn took some time from the celebration of the Bolshevik centenary to express his admiration for Mary Wollstonecraft (d. 1797).
Miss Wollstonecraft rated Corbyn’s love for two reasons: she was a precursor of feminism and “was excited by the radical opportunities the French Revolution could bring.”
The Revolution actually realised one of the radical opportunities so exciting to Wollstonecraft and Corbyn: the beheading of the king and queen. Corbyn doubtless casts a wistful retrospective eye at that event and sees our own sovereign laying her head on the block.
The republican, monarchy hater and state worshipper come together within Corbyn’s breast, and it’s this convergence that animates his harangues about Her Majesty’s investments.
I’d suggest a different take on the morality of taxation. It’s the moral duty of any intelligent conservative, which may be a tautology, to shield every possible penny from the state’s grubby fingers.
The same logic followed by Corbyn here applies in reverse. By exhausting every legal means of avoiding taxes, we assert the power of the individual over the state. When it comes to politics, I know of no higher morality.