Is It Theft? by Dr. Walter Williams: “Suppose I knew an elderly lady who needed prescription drugs but didn’t have enough money to buy them. So I walk up to one of you viewers and threaten, “Give me $100 or I’m going to do some kind of harm to you!” Having relieved you of your $100, I purchase that lady’s prescriptions. Would you see me as a compassionate individual or just a plain common thief, regardless of what I did with your money? But don’t answer yet.
Suppose before I relieved you of your money, I got a majority yea vote among me and ten other people that I should do so, would that help you decide whether I was committing an act of compassion or an act of theft? Suppose it was 100 people who agreed, a thousand, or 100 million people who agreed that I should take your money for the benefit of some other American, would that change anything? In other words, does a consensus or even legality determine whether a given act is right or wrong?
I know what you’re thinking: If Congress doesn’t take people’s money, how in the world is that lady in need of prescriptions going to be helped? I say reaching into your own pocket to help another is compassionate and praiseworthy. Reaching into somebody else’s pocket is theft and there’s no two ways about it.“