It seems we need to keep reminding people of this.
I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.
Did Holmes say that?
The quote was all over the internet in early October 2008 (and later), after New York Times op-ed writer Tom Friedman noted it in his column criticizing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for her assertion that paying taxes is not patriotic.
I found reference to the quote in a book about eminent economists, through Google Scholar:
Eminent Economists: Their Life Philosophies
By Michael Szenberg
Published by Cambridge University Press, 1993
On page 201, Szenberg refers Holmes’s view of “taxation as the price of liberty.” In a footnote, he points to Justice Frankfurter’s book. The quote is dolled up a little. According to Szenberg’s footnote:
More precisely, he rebuked a secretary’s query of “Don’t you hate to pay taxes?” with “No, young fellow, I like paying taxes, with them I buy civilization.”
Frankfurter is a reliable source. It’s likely Holmes said something very close to the words Friedman used.
Urge others to give a dime and give a damn for civilization:
- Rhode Island’s Needed Pension Cuts Pass the Legal Test – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Tax Humor (californiataxattorneyblog.com)
- We all built it, together with our taxes (dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com)
- Just what are you trying to say? (forbes.com)