Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Rebranding the Odious?

tax, taxes, charity, IRS, I.R.S., Alain de Botton, branding, rebranding, illustration, folly, Common Sense

Being a clever person is hard work. Many of the truly clever things about everyday life have already been said. New and innovative cleverness? A rare thing indeed.

But if you are in the business of being clever, that puts you in a pickle, if “being relevant” and “worth our attention” is part of your cachet.

Take Alain de Botton, a very clever man who has written at least one brilliant book . . . and several not-so-brilliant ones. He has tackled Proust, Epicureanism, and is now deeply into religion.

Well, maybe not so deeply.

He wants politicians to follow the lead of religious leaders, who, he asserts, are masters of rebranding. (I had thought that was for marketing specialists.)

Recognizing that the word “tax” is an odious one — few people really like paying their taxes — de Botton says that politicians should follow what “religions do” and “rebrand ‘tax’ as ‘charity.’”

Charity, he notes, is a “much more appealing word.”

Well, yeah. That’s because charity is a word for love. It is all about deep concern, sympathy, etc., and “acts of charity” are expressions of love and concern.

And the only way that acts of charity can be determined to be expressions of concern is that they are voluntary. Taxes, on the other hand, are not voluntary. They are taken by force (try not paying them — force will find you).

Forcing people to “be charitable” will automatically scuttle that very purpose.

Trying to rescue politics from the stench of compulsion should not be done with rebranding, but by limiting government.

The less government, the less force.

And more scope for charity.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Printable PDF

tax, taxes, charity, IRS, I.R.S., Alain de Botton, branding, rebranding, illustration, folly, Common Sense


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  1. Carl Fisher says:

    I guess the man is not as clever as his present brand…

  2. 2WarAbnVet says:

    I thought that we were “investing” in government schemes with our tax money.

    • Pat says:

      I guess too many people have caught on to the fraud that government spending is ‘investment’. After all, we’ve invested so much in our schools that children can no longer grasp simple algebra. Now the new scam is ‘charity’.

  3. Lynn Atherton Bloxham says:

    Definitely yes, tricky language always fails in the end.

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