September 22, 2007 Leave a comment
The problem with this definition is that “protection” implies that the tax was used to fund military defense, but in fact the more appropriate term would be not “protection” but “protection racket,” i.e., money paid to thugs to dissuade them from immediate thuggery.
Rudyard Kipling wrote,
… once you have paid him the Danegeld,
You never get rid of the Dane.
Danegeld is simply money coerced from landowners to pay the Vikings to go away.
Wikipedia notes, “The term has come to be used as a warning and a criticism of paying any coercive payment whether in money or kind,” but no criteria are offered to distinguish Danegeld from any other kind of taxation.
I’ve updated my dictionary.