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Everything posted by CrowEpistemologist

  1. Investing in things idiots do is indeed sometimes a good investment. "You'll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator" -- Lisa Simpson
  2. http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/12/investing/buy-gold-market-fear/index.html LOL: These so-called crazy gold provide lots of business for Kitco. He said their influence is most obvious in the market for smaller units of physical gold between one and 32 ounces. "These investors buy the metal and it just disappears. It goes under their mattress. They want to use it when the world ends," Hug told CNNMoney.
  3. So in this scenario you are envisioning the government doesn't directly compel taxes from you, but if you don't pay your taxes they can make it so you can't buy insurance, a car, etc. and generally make your life such a living hell that only a crazy person would try it. Sounds much more draconian than the IRS is today :-). For that matter, in practicality, that's basically the system we currently do have in place. Lots of people live outside the law and don't pay taxes. Lots of people live entirely on cash (on a small scale of course). Since I've come to the conclusion here (depressing as it has been) that Franklin was right about taxes, I guess I'd be fine with what you are talking about since in all practicality its the same as a tax--all you've done is rearrange the penalty for not paying...
  4. I think we've discussed this before: it stands to reason that somebody with more money (assets, etc.) has more to protect, and therefore is using more government services. Ditto for somebody who transacts more and does so at higher dollar volumes. Another idea I've heard talked about here is a poll tax. Maybe that could be the way you finance the Federal government (courts and military and infrastructure). Or maybe a combination of both: one's poll tax is established by your calculated share of the cost to our government, and non-payment means you don't vote. Another interesting idea (I just thought of) is this: allow people to buy your vote. In other words, you have a tax bill, and instead of paying it, you can delegate your vote--and your associated taxes--to a willing buyer. Rich people already buy half the votes in the USA already so this won't be much of a change :-). Except that instead of TV commercials and bribes to congress, the money could go directly to the treasury. Much more efficient.
  5. So in short, yes, my rights must be violated on a daily basis in that I must pay for non-payer's use of government whether I want to or not, insofar as I want any government at all, and insofar as I want my rights to be not violated on a daily basis by non-government actors. Okay. That was actually my point all along. Sorry for the Latin above, I'll clarify: that was reducing the argument [in favor of a volunteer government] to its logical absurdity. I'm glad you agree its absurd. So I'll lay out our options once again: Option 1. The government forcibly extracts taxes from everybody according to their proportional use of government services. This form of government has been in place in one form or another for about 10,000 years. The USA is a recent example that has been relatively successful at it. The right approach to taxation (and the as of yet unknown ideal as it were) is to compel all citizens to pay taxes according to their use of government services. Objectivists ought to advocate for taxes that correspond to objectively derived formulas based on people's use of government services, not based on their ability to pay as much of the system is now. Option 2. We have a volunteer system, which has never been tried in any form at any kind of scale and defies mountains of evidence about what we know about how people tend to act in large numbers, and we allow anybody, through simple non-action, to violate the rights of everybody else in their society by not paying their share of the government they use. In both cases, a citizen who wishes to live free and have their rights and is a moral person protected must pay. In the case of the second, immoral people are rewarded for their immorality by reaping a windfall from not paying their share of services they use, instead foisting this burden onto others. In the case of the first, everybody is forced to be, in this context, moral.
  6. Fair enough. I guess it depends on the context. In the context of politics and law, the only thing that matters is that you obtained your wealth morally and legally. There's nothing immoral about receiving inheritance or any other sort of dumb luck. That is why I wondered why you'd care about the answer to this question. But you are right, people can get careless, epistemologically speaking. People should be equal before the law, no matter how super-cool/uncool we think they are as a person. People with more money (however they legally obtained it) should not be treated any differently than people with less money, in principle (i.e. everybody should pay taxes according to their own use of government services however big/small that may be). I think you are (all) expanding on my shortly-made point as well: that wealth and worth (personal moral worth) is an extremely complicated, context-driven thing. In that sense we're saying exactly the same thing: you can't talk about this point in a quick soundbite, and making blanket statements is bad...
  7. For the thousandth time, WHY? Why must I be forced to pay the "freeloader tax"? Why must I pay for the protection of those whom do not pay for their own protection? Since when do I owe them free... anything? Police provide a preventative service as does the military, etc. Providing this service for more people costs more money no matter what. The difference could be very significant even if you don't engage in my so-called bleak view of human nature (wherein I predicit a lack of compulsion would utterly multiply non-payers). If you protect non-payer's rights, you are violating the rights of payers. Period. So yes, deer. Rabbits. Pheasant. All the fish in the sea. You don't hear them forcing me to pay for their protection them do you? The only way for a voluntary system to actually not violate rights en masse is for it to be fully legal to hunt non-payers down like animals for sport. Quod erat demonstrandum. Reductio ad absurdum. :-)
  8. Got it. So basically we'd add up the costs of all necessary govt. services and people would pay their corresponding usage, with general overhead things like the military baked into the costs of the local services? Fine I guess. Within this contrived example. Which of course is all totally impossible since not having police/court protection is just something we make up for sake of argument, but in actuality could not exist in any sort of real world. Or to put it another way, the penalty freeloaders would pay would be, most likely, all of their belongings and probably also their lives. Okay. Sorta the same as deer pay during deer season.
  9. Why not? Again why must I be forced to pay for freeloaders? Why is the increase in the cost of the products I buy in order to make up for those who don't pay any different than a tax on me?
  10. Yeah, and I won't pretend there's a solution when there isn't one. You have your hopes and prayers and I have my reason and reality.
  11. There's thousands of years of precedent for forced participation working. Take the last 230 here in the USA...
  12. There was nothing "seeming" about Ayn Rand's opposition to anarchism. She was pretty clear about it. Personally I have to praise her patience with the subject since for me responding to validity of anarchism is like responding to the highly controversial existence of Santa Claus.... But to reiterate, I have absolutely nothing to discuss with somebody who sincerely believes in anarchism, which, like Santa Claus, really opens to the door to believe in anything that pops into one's head...
  13. Anything you purchase is the first option above: if you pay for government then you get government. If you don't, you don't. Just like paying for insurance.
  14. I do. I think we understand each other well. I won't argue with anarchists, so say whatever you want.
  15. From the linked article: "In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance." This statement is consistent with the first option I've talked about here: that non-payers should be excluded from all government protection (which in practicality means even geographic protection from the military). The alternative to this structure is plain old taxes. There is no "third option" (we've beaten that to death here). So in other words, if you don't pay your share of the military's costs, you either: 1) have bits of your property confiscated to pay for it; or you are deported. Our current system in the USA does the former. The latter, in all practicality, would amount to the same thing.
  16. 1. I'm not sure those points are "opposing" as I agree with both, roughly speaking. 2. I wouldn't call a freeloader a "scoundrel" even if they are not exactly a hero.
  17. I'm just trying to figure out what you wrote. I don't understand your question.
  18. Anarchism is st00000pido! (Not a very serious response, but anarchy is not a very serious train of thought...).
  19. I don't know. Who owned the land first? Are the Objectivists here the elected leaders of said government? Did the anarchists previously enjoy services provided by (others) without paying? What taxation are you talking about? Does it correspond to government services used? Or to put it another way, your example here needs a ton more context in order to make it answerable. I suspect once you provide that context, and then abstract it, you'll be left with two fundamental approaches: 1. Withhold government services from non-payers (which can mean lack of police protection; lack of recourse to courts; lack of voting rights; expulsion from the country; etc.). 2. Force non-payers to pay (e.g. taxes). But that's only my guess...
  20. 1. Right. That was my point. You pay for insurance or your don't get protection. I'm not sure why I need to keep repeating this, or why we are talking about insurance. 2. We have volition, and a variety of "tendencies", but no, I certainly wouldn't agree with that statement.
  21. Finite? Sure. But we can raise taxes drastically in the USA and not have that problem though. We had a vastly higher federal tax rate in the 1960s for instance. We have taxes that are among the lowest in the developed world. I guess you can claim that every government program is "insolvent" and then hope to God that people stop noticing (as they do now) that said program has been going for 60 years, still perfectly "solvent". You can hope they believe you when you tell them that all of those SS checks are sure to bounce tomorrow or a year from now--and then forget about then when the day comes and hope that they only remember your new, revised date as to when the program will become insolvent and those checks will bounce. You can hope they don't write you off as just another right-wing crackpot with conspiracy theories. And we can all hope to God they don't associated Ayn Rand with any of this crackpottery... (too late!)
  22. Part of what you are seeing here is a backlash against junk science, moronic populism, and unreason. Sure, its defending a socialist program, but it's defending reason which is more important. For years the common attack on SS has been, "the math doesn't add up". Not that it's fundamentally wrong to make people pay for other people's retirement. Not that punishing somebody for being careful and diligent all their lives by making them pay for others. No, they said, it's that the "math doesn't add up". Well, using logic and reason, the math does add up. SS will not "collapse", it will simply charge higher taxes when there is a different mix of people on it. Yes, that sucks a lot more to those of us who think that paying what we're paying already sucks, but its simply false to say the system will "collapse". The chicken's homecoming on this bit of logic culminated with a rather brilliant politician by the name of Ronald Regan. People who secretly wanted to kill SS began floating the "math doesn't add up" argument and made a lot of people think that. Regan knew the political pressures around SS well, and knew that a lot of people seemed to like it a lot, so he took these statements at face value and declared that he was going to "Save Social Security". HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Anyhow, as for this book, whatever political party claims it as its own (e.g. the Demos), gets to claim the epistemological high-ground. Detractors get to join the dumb-dumb populist politician "have your cake and eat it too" party.
  23. Interesting that you have just written down what you think the relevance to the discussion is, and have brought up an issue that is interesting to you and probably other rational readers. I also suspect you don't need me to write down here how insurance works, nor are you even interested in that discussion. Now with that, I actually don't see how insurance has any connection to that point. I get my insurance bill every quarter. There's nothing "voluntary" about it. If I don't pay, they don't cover me.
  24. I'd rather live in the highest crime area of the USA verses, say, anywhere in Somalia... I find the difference fundamental, yes. So does any business, or any endeavor that involves forward planning. There's a fundamental different between a system that is imperfect, and fails to protect rights perfectly and one expressly setup for the systemic violation of rights.
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