By Wiley K. March
The moral implications surrounding theft are often regarded as straightforward, suggesting it to be an unequivocally wrong action deserving of appropriate punishment. However, upon closer examination, the ethics of theft become subject to the context of the situation and the society in which it occurs. In modern-day America, for instance, theft has become a prevalent crime, largely attributed to the inherent greed of the capitalist system. It is important to note, though, that this does not imply an endorsement of communism as an alternative strategy. Statistical data reveals that property crimes, such as burglary and car theft, outweigh violent crimes like rape and murder.
With candidness, we must acknowledge that government functions as a complex and often questionable entity. It bears semblances of organized crime, and it is a widely shared understanding. A glaring example of this is the taxation system, which frequently falls short of fulfilling its intended purpose. Taxes, in essence, can be seen as government-sanctioned mass theft. As a result, citizens who are unable to afford even the basic necessities of life, overshadowed by the superfluous materialism that society values and exalts, resort to stealing from the government. Paradoxically, this perpetuates a cycle in which the government maintains a dominant position, despite being purportedly employed by the people. It is worth noting that the Constitution grants the power to dismantle and reconstruct the system to the citizens themselves.
Given the knowledge and immense power at the disposal of the populace, one might question why a collective initiative has not been undertaken. Resources cannot be cited as a limiting factor, as the scale of such an endeavor does not necessarily demand exorbitant amounts of resources. Moreover, the alignment of millions of like-minded individuals could result in significant resource pooling. Time, too, should not be viewed as a hindrance, for the abundance of time exceeds that of resources and monetary concerns. Considering that the American people technically hold the reins of power in the nation, including the ability to reshape the existing job system, the question persists: What precisely inhibits decisive action?
The answer lies in fear. Fear of change, fear of retribution, fear of venturing into the unknown, and fear of facing deprivation—these fears have been deeply ingrained within our societal fabric by both government and religious institutions. Although dissatisfaction with the current flawed system is widespread, fear effectively paralyzes meaningful action. While our present system may be an undeniable failure, the fear of an uncertain alternative holds many back. In essence, we compromise our potential by succumbing to fear, akin to an abuse victim who hesitates to leave their tormentor simply because familiarity provides a perverse sense of security.