Most of us would swap tax rates with the serfs in a heartbeat. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:
The concept of government is that the people grant to a small group of individuals the ability to establish and maintain controls over them. The inherent flaw in such a concept is that any government will invariably and continually expand upon its controls, resulting in the ever-diminishing freedom of those who granted them the power.
When I was a schoolboy, I was taught that the feudal system of the Middle Ages consisted of serfs tilling small plots of land that belonged to a king or lord. The serfs lived a meagre life of bare subsistence and were subject to the tyranny of the king or lord whose men would ride into their village periodically and take most of the few coins the serfs had earned by their toil.
The lesson I was meant to learn from this was that I should be grateful that, in the modern world, I live in a state of freedom from tyranny, and as an adult, I would pay only that level of tax that could be described as “fair”.
Later in life, I was to learn that, in the actual feudal system, some land was owned by noblemen, some by common men. The commoners typically farmed their own land, whilst the noblemen parcelled out their land to farmers, in trade for a portion of the product of their labours.
As a part of that bargain, the nobleman would pay for an army of professional soldiers to protect both the farms and the farmers. Significantly, unlike today, no farmer was required to defend the land himself, as it was not his.
There was no exact standard as to what the noblemen would charge a farmer under this agreement, but the general standard was “one day’s labour in ten”