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I have a question: If I vote in a Congressman or President who says he will raise my taxes, and he does so, does that still count as force from the govt against me?

That is, specifically regarding the people who voted for the politician who raised their taxes, is it still an initiation of force against those specific people as well?

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4 hours ago, Anirudh Silai said:

I have a question: If I vote in a Congressman or President who says he will raise my taxes, and he does so, does that still count as force from the govt against me?

That is, specifically regarding the people who voted for the politician who raised their taxes, is it still an initiation of force against those specific people as well?

Yes. If you and the others wish to fund the government voluntarily, likely, no one would try to stop you. That situation would not be the initiation of force. No one forced you. Once you have legally authorized officials to forcibly collect your wealth, they are applying force to collect your wealth. Is it the initiation of force? Who, other than the government officials, is applying the force? Authorizing someone to use force merely puts the choice of using that force on that other party, be they an official representative or a thief. You have voluntarily given them the right to steal; they make the choice to do so or not.

 

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I'd say maybe. Suppose it's a person who wants to pay anyway and agrees that taxation is proper. They already decided voluntarily to offer their money, the decision is not made under duress, and any tax collection is just transferring the money. It isn't even ignoring a person's rights, since trading is what rights are about anyway. It wouldn't be force against them. It's not like the weird reasoning some people use to rationalize a moral defense of literally selling your children, or protecting contracts where one party agrees to be a slave. Imagine it like this.

"Hey, I'm your friendly local tax man!"

"Cool, I'm so eager to send the government some money for its wonderful policies. Here you go."

"Thanks, see you next year!"

It's only an initiation of force if you said no, but the tax man then arrested you, even if you say you would rather do your own thing without government services. But the thing about taxation is that it -still- initiates force against some people. 

On the other hand, if it's a person who sees taxation is improper, but votes for a person who taxes, I'd say it's force. Voting is sometimes done out of a necessity to alter the political reality.

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8 hours ago, Anirudh Silai said:

I have a question: If I vote in a Congressman or President who says he will raise my taxes, and he does so, does that still count as force from the govt against me?

That is, specifically regarding the people who voted for the politician who raised their taxes, is it still an initiation of force against those specific people as well?

That's a good question. I think I agree with Eiuol here to this extent - if they vote for it, that does seem like a sanction, doesn't it? It seems like if you're voting on principle, you could not vote for anyone who supports involuntary taxation, or any other kind of initiation of force against the citizens. I mean the whole essence of political philosophy is the absolutism of individual rights / the non-aggression principle. There might be candidates who have a lot of non-rights-violating wacky ideas one way or the other that make them better or worse, but can you really sanction someone who breaks the fundamental political principle of individual rights?

I think what's most clear is that if you did not vote for them, but rather opposed them on the grounds that they support theft, and then they pass a bill to steal from you, then you are a victim of an injustice that they are committing.
 

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

On the other hand, if it's a person who sees taxation is improper, but votes for a person who taxes, I'd say it's force. Voting is sometimes done out of a necessity to alter the political reality.

But you supported them for president. You sanctioned them. You were a part of the causal chain which led to them being president, and besides, a vote is an endorsement. You did have a choice. If everyone refused to vote, or instead voted for a write-in candidate who didn't support rights-violations, then they wouldn't have been elected. But instead you supported them, you were a part of causing them to be elected, you sanctioned them to hold the office. And while generally you're not morally responsible for other people's actions, if they've outlined their platform, and you supported them, and they carried out their platform, then there's no way to see this as not being consented to. They told you what they wanted to do, and you didn't say "no", you said "yes". That's consent. And if you consent to the violation of other people's rights - you're guilty of that injustice.

 

3 hours ago, Anirudh Silai said:

Thanks. Applying it more specifically, what about today in America? Do you guys think that, for most Americans, taxation is indeed force? Is there a gray area here?

Certainly it is, if you don't pay your taxes, they will come after you, take your property, etc. And yes I think most Americans would say their taxes are too high, and are being spent on things they shouldn't be, etc... it's to a large degree non-consensual.

That being said, I do support the idea of working within a flawed system. You don't have to support or sanction the things in a system that are wrong in order to work within the system. You can support the things that are right and oppose the things that are wrong. You don't have to "go Galt" to avoid sanctioning evil.

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16 hours ago, Eiuol said:

On the other hand, if it's a person who sees taxation is improper, but votes for a person who taxes, I'd say it's force. Voting is sometimes done out of a necessity to alter the political reality.

 

12 hours ago, epistemologue said:

But you supported them for president. You sanctioned them. You were a part of the causal chain which led to them being president, and besides, a vote is an endorsement. You did have a choice. If everyone refused to vote, or instead voted for a write-in candidate who didn't support rights-violations, then they wouldn't have been elected. But instead you supported them, you were a part of causing them to be elected, you sanctioned them to hold the office. And while generally you're not morally responsible for other people's actions, if they've outlined their platform, and you supported them, and they carried out their platform, then there's no way to see this as not being consented to. They told you what they wanted to do, and you didn't say "no", you said "yes". That's consent. And if you consent to the violation of other people's rights - you're guilty of that injustice.

You can't force enough people to vote for somebody good though. You can't change enough of their minds over night either. Right now, a truly good person just cannot win any major election. That's just a plain old fact. It's why Objectivists are currently focusing on educating people and not trying to win elections already. Take the following conditions: 1) only bad people stand a chance at winning and you know that it's only a question of type and quantity of force being initiated rather than initiation of force v. no initiation of force 2) one or more of the realistic options is looking decidedly worse than the other(s) for initiating force against you and your values 3) it looks like the lesser bad one(s) is/are not easily in the lead to win over the worse one(s). In this case, I think the same logic applies as in the following scenario: Somebody kidnapped you, tied you up, and then told you to pick between being punched or disemboweled. If you don't pick, and fast, they're going to just flip a coin. They won't be talked out of it and you can't move to just escape. Picking being punched wouldn't be a sanction of force. It's just defending yourself as best as you can at the time. It's patently against your self interest to just allow greater force to be initiated against you, especially if it's likely to be large and long term.

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Seems like I misread the question slightly, so my second part of my answer isn't right, not exactly. The voting is not initiation of force by proxy, I'm saying that taxation is still force used against the person who voted. It's not like consenting in my first example, as -that- person agrees that taxation is proper AND voted for the candidate. Voting is not necessarily consent, it depends on motives or reasons for picking that candidate. Just because consequences match doesn't mean the same standards were used.

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

The voting is not initiation of force by proxy . . .

Clarification. Supposing the case of somebody who voted for a pro-force initiation candidate because the other realistically likely candidate(s) was/were even MORE pro-force initiation, then I agree with that. That's trying to reduce force initiation when you don't yet have the power to stop it. However, if somebody votes for a candidate BECAUSE that candidate says they will do some kind of force initiation, then I think it is basically initiation of force by proxy. The candidate has free will to do or not do stuff still, yeah, as does everybody responsible for enforcing laws all the way down the line. However, that vote is still partial responsibility then for the same reason you're not innocent when you hire a hit man just because the hit man has free will.

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Here are two scenarios:

01) John Smith decides to run for office on a tax-spend-heavy platform and Billy and Bob vote for him. John Smith wins and puts his agenda into place.

02) Billy and Bob start a "Draft Smith movement" to persuade John Smith to run, and he ends up agreeing to it. John Smith wins and puts his agenda into place.

Am I correct in saying that:

In scenario 1, John Smith is the initiator of force, whereas Billy and Bob are willing consenters?

While, in scenario 2, Billy and Bob are the initiators of force while John Smith is a willing consenter?

Edited by Anirudh Silai
clarification

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On August 6, 2016 at 3:26 PM, Anirudh Silai said:

I have a question: If I vote in a Congressman or President who says he will raise my taxes, and he does so, does that still count as force from the govt against me?

That is, specifically regarding the people who voted for the politician who raised their taxes, is it still an initiation of force against those specific people as well?

1
 

I would have to say yes it still counts as force.  Governments are institutions of force.  Force is their only means of action.  Whether a government acts in accordance with its proper function or not, does not change the fact that it functions solely by the use of force.  For example, in a properly functioning government, the use of self-defence (excluding an immediate threat) is delegated to the government.  This is to help ensure a proper, objective, judicial process.  But, even though the role of defender has been handed to the government, and it has (presumably) been done willingly, the government still holds you to this delegation by force.  Therefore you cannot enact your own justice, even if it is done as objectively as the courts, without retribution from the government.  And the same goes for voting.  If you condone something by vote, you are still held to it by force.

As far as it being an initiation of force, I would also say yes.  Being that a government's only means of action is the use of force, you are only left with two main choices.  One being the initiation of force and the other being a defensive or retaliatory force.  The question then would be, is the government defending itself from the initiation of force? Or, in other words, are you forcing it to tax you? And that answer is obviously no.

 

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