There’s a poll doing the rounds asking how people feel about a tax on properties worth more than £2 million. Not surprisingly, as most people do not own a property worth over £2 million, and are never likely to, the majority of respondents supported the idea in one way or another.
This is where absolute democracy leads – to the abuse of minorities by majorities. It’s why we have traditionally regarded ourselves as a liberal democracy, which is a form of democracy that recognises the danger of majorities behaving like mobs. Liberal democracy asks for restraint. But then we decided to become a social democracy instead, which is a form of democracy that doesn’t really understand the meaning of the word restraint, especially when it comes to taxing people and spending their money.
42% ‘strongly’ support the idea. This figure is depressingly large and suggests our democracy is becoming rather envious and vindictive. But when added to the 30% who ‘tend’ to support the idea, we are left with 72% of the poll sample supporting the arbitrary idea of lumping an envy tax on those lucky enough to own a property worth over £2 million.
Well, why not? These people are obviously rich, so squeeze the Tory scum. They’re going to be Tory as well, aren’t they, being rich? Tax them all – that’ll sort out the £100 billion deficit.
In theory and in practice the rich should pay more in tax. Adam Smith laid down that principle a long time ago, and I have never heard anyone, even the most devout of libertarians, suggest they should not. But this is not what we are talking about here. This proposed tax is often called a Mansion Tax, which tells you all you need to know – it’s an arbitrary, vindictive, nasty tax. We know this because it uses the word mansion pejoratively, to get the hackles rising on the necks of those who rather like living in a capricious country.