A Libertarian Transhumanist’s Take on the Future of Taxes

Zoltan Istvan
Apr 7, 2018 · 4 min read
My tax receipts at Peet’s Coffee. By Zoltan Istvan

As I sit in front of a thousand receipts at a table in Peet’s Coffee, I’m aghast. I’m trying to contend with a federal audit of my taxes. Unlike a regular well-behaving citizen, I simply can’t accept this task as reasonable or just.

I’m a Libertarian candidate for California Governor, so I believe that taxation, outside of minarchist principles — the night watchman kind — is partially theft. Additionally, the fact that this audit began under Barack Obama’s administration, possibly to sidetrack me from my own semi-prominent 2016 Presidential campaign (which major media cited a wee bit responsible for putting Donald Trump in the White House), is suspicious, at the least.

But let’s get to the core of the issue here. The IRS is saying I owe an extra approximately $7500 in taxes due to business, travel, and car-related expenses — and that I must individually prove these expenses to them if I don’t want to pay up. Now they know from my 33-page tax return what my approximate net worth is, and that my real estate holdings — both across America and abroad — are somewhat complex. They also know that I’m an active journalist, that my libertarian novel The Transhumanist Wager still sells, and that I frequently give paid speeches all over the world. Additionally, they also know I’m married to a physician, have two very young kids, and am trying to remodel my 1907 San Francisco home.

With all this information on my tax return right at their finger tips, one simple fact becomes obvious: Zoltan is probably quite busy.

Zoltan Istvan speaking to media.

Allow me to add some clarity: Like so many others in modern society, I’m totally swamped. I barely have time to sleep five hours at night — let alone open my car log up to jot down the mileage and specific reason for why I drove to the Post Office for one of my various businesses, which I did a hundred times last year (30 times with my 2-year-old screaming in the back seat!).

With all that in mind — and the $7500 they say I owe them — they know I wouldn’t hire an accountant at $150 an hour to deal with the thousand-plus receipts, payments, and supposed car log entries I made last year — since the amount I’d spend on an accountant in the San Francisco Bay Area might easily end up more than $7500. They also surely know I won’t do it myself, since it’s definitely not worth my own time.

They have me in a pickle — even though it’s more than obvious my busy self probably has far more in write-offs than I even bothered to report in the first place. In fact — given how perturbed I feel at the IRS and its 82,000 full-time employees this moment, if it was just economical, I’d re-file to get more of my earnings back. But in the twisted game they created in their 74,000+ page tax code, it’s not worth it.

Their way of operating has made me suspect one of their main algorithms on whether to audit people resembles mafia morality:

The IRS audits when they know it’s not worth the time and money of the tax payer to stand up to them and challenge them back.

Some libertarians consider that a form of blackmail.

Now that I got that all off my chest, what I really wanted to write about is a bit more surprising — and more rewarding to me. I wanted to describe the near future. As a Bay Area futurist, I consider myself a part of the Silicon Valley guard. And like Dr. Suess’ The Lorax who speaks for the trees, I speak for the machines.

The robots and I are coming for all the jobs at the IRS — every last one of them. And in time, we’ll soon abolish US income taxes entirely, too. We won’t need the IRS at all anymore — or to collect taxes ever again. To live, we’ll use the rocks, the rivers, the minerals, the oil fields, the forests — we’ll use America’s untapped $125+ trillion dollars of Federal natural resources and land that officially belong to the people. With this new wealth, we’ll first wipe out the national debt, and with the $100+ trillion dollars left over, we’ll build millions of very smart robots that can build and design millions of other very smart robots — and they’ll be all we’ll ever need to run America and its very, very limited government.

Self-replicating radical technology like robots, software, and artificial intelligence will soon eliminate the need for the IRS, its 74,000+ page tax code, and collection of income taxes.


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Zoltan Istvan

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I'm a transhumanist, speaker, author of The Transhumanist Wager, creator of the Immortality Bus, founder of the Transhumanist Party & a volcano boarder.