By Samuel Stoljar (auth.)
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Another situation may cause somewhat greater difficulty. 6 While this fully tallies with the benefit-theory, Lyons thinks the following variation does not. The rules of income tax impose a legal duty on everyone to pay tax; if we assume this to be an instance of a joint enterprise with mutual restrictions, one has a moral duty to conform to such a rule just as others have a right to expect that these Rights, Benefits and Interests 31 rules will be observed, that is, that all taxes will be paid.
The real reason why one taxpayer has no rights against a defaulting one simply is that the benefit is not personal enough; the defaulter is no doubt guilty of a grave violation of duty, his default may even be grossly unfair to the community at large. The fact remains that the default does not directly affect a particular personal interest; the benefit-theory cannot therefore apply, there being no personal claim against the faulty taxpayer. A law-abiding citizen may of course criticise the defaulter, or denounce him to the authorities, but he does not become the defaulter's personal creditor simply because the tax is not owed to him but to the whole community.
Suppose A is publicly holding forth against his country being at war when he is attacked by some private citizens with more bellicose views. Now, it is thought, A's right to speak has less straightforward correlatives. The duty of other citizens not to interfere is not quite the same as the previous debtor's duty to pay. The debtor must be an identified person, the other citizens can be anyone. Furthermore, A's right to speak derives from his right of free speech, which a legislature (assuming it is bound by relevant constitutional guarantees) can do nothing to abrogate: A's right, it is said, becomes an 'immunity' while the legislature is under a 'disability' to intervene.