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mrocktor

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About mrocktor

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  1. Great post, this point is fundamental. Being against religion is ultimately pointless, you have to be for something.
  2. Is taxation moral?

    If you cannot see the difference between forcing an action ("give me money or else") and demanding restraint of actions that violate rights ("don't hit people in the face or else") you should not be in this discussion. You should be back studying the basic principle of individual rights. I suggest "Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand", it is a great book.
  3. On the other hand, compared to the significance of spreading the proper understanding of Objectivism and the legacy of Ayn Rand $1 million is... less than infinitesimal. Thus the question, I believe.
  4. Is taxation moral?

    No, a "mass" cannot consent. Only an individual can consent. What do you do to the individual who disagrees? Force him to pay? Then your government is criminal. Exactly. This is why a legitimate government is funded by donation - those who consent to fund the government pay for it, those who do not, don't. Yes, people receive protection without paying for it (which seems unjust at first), but when you realize that it is in everyone's interest (including, and most importantly, to the rational government funding citizen) to protect everyone's rights, it makes perfect sense. It is not in my interest to allow my neighbor (who is a leech and does not fund the government) to live with his rights unprotected. Shun him I will. Leave him as free prey for a real criminal I will not.
  5. Should we seek immortality?

    There is no down side to curing aging. You can kill yourself at any time, after all.
  6. Is taxation moral?

    It would only be consistent with the principle of individual rights if these non-paying pariahs were allowed to defend themselves. You see, the only claim a government has on the legitimate monopoly on the use of retaliatory force (and personally I consider it a tenuous claim in the first place) is that you choose not to use retaliatory force yourself, though you have a right to, because the government will use it on your behalf. If you make rights protection conditional at all this premise is out the window and it is morally mandatory to accept the individual's right to use force to defend himself - including in retaliation to extract compensation for a crime suffered. Otherwise you are actually denying that individual's rights. This is what Grames cut directly to: Conditional rights protection is a surrender of the monopoly on the use of retaliatory force.
  7. To write that email and not be embarassed enough to retract it or provide the context in which it is not a simple and transparent strong arm tactic to avoid rational debate (if that context can even exist - I confess I fail to imagine it) is quite enough for me to form judgment. I struggled to imagine a scenario where that email to the board is not simple bullying. And failed. PS: Of course Brook is going to minimize the whole issue, that was the whole point of the resignation - to allow the board to pretend it is not being bullied.
  8. Is taxation moral?

    You are adding non essentials to the definition of the concept. A donation is a voluntary unilateral transfer of property. Period. The reason why selective enforcement of rights, as you propose, is incompatible with legitimate government is that it effectively makes rights conditional to payment. In effect, you have no rights unless you pay up - therefore rights are bought from the government. Imagine that for a moment - you don't pay your "protection fee", you get mugged. You can't chase down the robber, beat him up and take your stuff back (presumably the government won't let you extract compensation yourself) and the government won't protect you either. Now you can't argue here "you should have paid your protection money". The victim of robbery here may have been a free rider - but his property was his none the less. He has a right to it. Your system denies him the means to have that right protected (unless your government covers pre-existing "conditions"?). Also, you cannot count on after the fact fees ("Hello sir, retrieving your wallet and jailing the mugger will be $500, would you like to purchase that?") because crimes, by their very nature, are a net destruction of value - frequently the value destroyed is far beyond the means of either criminal or victim to compensate (i.e. after an arsonist burns down my house and car, I won't exactly have excess money to "buy" an investigation nor is he likely to have money to compensate me if he is caught). So government does have to defend everyone's rights regardless of payment - or the very idea that rights are natural and not granted or bought goes out the window. That does not mean, however, that we have to be dumb about it. My own preferred system, which I have mentioned in a similar thread, is to use the format of the sales tax but make it voluntary. The country would have a federal rate, each state its own state rate, each local government its local rate. When you buy something the clerk may ask you "and would you like to add the government funding to that?" and you can answer "yes", "no" or "only federal please", "only local please" or whatever combination you prefer (as you agree/disagree with what each sphere of government is doing, for instance). Establishments are not forced to offer funds collection. You can refuse to deal with them if they don't (or if they do - if you are an anarchist). Establishments can refuse to deal with you if you don't want to fund the government, if their owners choose so. No one is forced to pay anything. The effect of this arrangement is that if you choose not to support the government people will know. You see, you have a fundamental right to keep every cent you make but you do not have a right to keep your free riding secret. No rights are violated, funds are voluntarily collected at a somewhat controlled and somewhat adjustable rate, free riding is checked by peer pressure and the most powerful natural check on government that can be imagined is put in place: people only pay for what they think is worth it.
  9. Is taxation moral?

    Taxation is removing an innocent's property against his will. It is immoral. End of discussion, really - how can anyone with a working understanding of individual rights debate the point? One might (out of distrust in the prevasiveness of reason among the populace) argue that it is a "necessary evil". One might ask how to fund a legitimate government. But seriously, argue the morality of theft? Violating someone's property rights is a crime, why you do it or what you do with the goods is immaterial. Legitimate governments are funded voluntarily - by donations made by people who understand the alternative and wish to avoid it. They are not funded by taxation (give me money or I take it by force) and they are not funded by a protection racket (give me money or I will not protect you from criminals/fraudsters).
  10. Feel free to post an actual argument some time.
  11. Nothing wrong, it is implicit (because it is logically necessary). If you have a problem with forfeiture of rights, lets hear it.
  12. What you think is irrelevant. The fact that someone who violates property is not an innocent person is relevant. An innocent victim of AIDS is not a criminal. How do you justify retaliation against such a person if he/she steals a dose of AZT? Or do you consider such theft not to be a crime? Actions are what they are. Place yourself on another person's property against their will and you are a trespasser. Not necessarily instantly and not necessarily irrevocably. That is why I qualified the example to state that the person refuses to comply when ordered off the property - reason is exhausted. Wandering inadvertently into private property is trespass, but does not mean that the owner can simply shoot you in the head. On the other hand putting a fence around the property with adequate signage might be considered to be sufficient to assure that anyone trespassing is doing so with intent, and thus might be considered to justify immediate force without prior warning. The discussion of to what extent rights are forfeit when a crime is committed is an interesting topic worthy of discussion (this has not been clearly settled in Objectivist literature, to my knowledge). Forfeiture of rights is a necessary corolary to the notion of retaliatory force. If forfeiture of rights were not a valid premise any defensive force would itself be a violation of rights as well. Definitely.
  13. Let us entertain this line of thinking. Are we going to discuss whether it is OK to Taser him or if that is too painful for mere trespass? Is chloroform OK to subdue him or are the health risks to him unacceptable? Does the victim have an obligation to expose himself to physical harm by trying to manhandle the rights violator? Ultimately the question is: is the victims obligation to accomodate someone who is in the process of violating his rights? The answer is no, and the reason is that in violating rights one steps outside the realm of reason and leaves to others no means but force. If someone is on your property and cannot be reasoned with, you have a right to remove him by force. Your right is not limited in type or intensity of force. Reason would indicate the use of the minimum force necessary to remove the violator without risk to yourself or risk of further damage to your property, but this is not a limitation on the amount of force you have a right to use. We apply this limitation to government, to whom we delegate the use of force in these situations under normal circumstances. That does not mean our original right is so limited. It means we are constraining the government to reason - though our original right is not so constrained. Oh, if you listed them then that settles it. Thanks Jake. Clearly you don't consider the right to property to be a right. Of course the islander is over reacting and being irrational, that does not mean that his act is outside his rights. Criminals forfeit their rights in committing their crimes. That is not just fancy wording - it actually means criminals forfeit their rights in committing their crimes. Are you arguing that swimming onto a privately owned island is not trespass if you are shipwrecked? That would be the same "logic" behind the idea that taking stuff you don't own against the owner's consent is not stealing if you really need it (food, medicine, whatever). If you wish to advance that argument, let's see it spelled out.
  14. the Laffer Curve?

    Out of three paragraphs, two of which are arguments or statements of principle, you singled out exactly the one that is not to engage as if it were intended as one. This shows that you have a ways to go still in learning to argue in principle. Hint: the quote you selected is an example, not an argument.
  15. Quite the contrary, it is the right of a property owner to remove a violator from his property by force. If your stroller is warned that he is on private property, ordered to leave and refuses to do so, it is within the owner's right to shoot him (reason has been exhausted as a means to deal with the rights offender). In a governed society this right is delegated to the government, except in circumstances where immediate threat to life of limb is present. But the fact that you can call the police to remove a stroller who refuses to get off your lawn is evidence that you have the right to remove him by force. The government has no rights other than those delegated by the governed. On a desert island this point is moot.
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