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MichaelM

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  1. Welcome mOzart, you came to the right place. I am hard pressed to find anything you have said to be untrue, but I think the post as a whole is imprecise enough on the topic to be somewhat misleading. I don't think you can correctly say what I know you want to say without doing so with both pertinent meanings of the word "right" on the table. The first meaning I refer to is the most obvious, which is the political right to life that is here and commonly regarded as inalienable. But that is true only in a narrow context. Far less common is consideration of the fact that it is possible for
  2. [correction for the record: government performs three functions: police, military, and the courts.] In the 60's when Objectivism first blossomed, the quoted question was usually overshadowed by an almost identical but different and more immediate one. That question was, "how would a government that could not impose obligations on its citizens ever defend itself without a draft?" Rand's answer went something like this: "You don't think men who have experienced complete and unadulterated freedom would ever allow their own nation to be overrun, do you?" I considered that answer sufficient,
  3. Exactly. In fact, the possibility of unanimity among all about everything is as close to zero as you can get. As I have said before, "consent of the governed" means no more than agreement among the dominant group that forms the government and writes the constitution. BUT: Those who do not agree to the constitution, but own property in its jurisdiction are nonetheless humans due equal rights. That is the failpoint for any application of your other scheme to a non-unanimous society. You cannot force the dissenters to pay for anything (whether they benefit from it or not) without violating the
  4. The contractual arrangement you describe is not a government in the Objectivist sense. It would have to be classified as a deed restriction or a condominium agreement (and would be valid as such). The difference is that a government may not mandate positive actions, such as the payment of those fees. It may only prohibit the initiation of force. Also, the context is specious. You have chosen to couch this claim in the least plausible of all possible contexts in which establishment of a government would be a valid human pursuit. What good is it to actual, non-unanimous societies?
  5. Trey, Go to each of your question marks, hit the spacebar, and type a "No." You are trying to understand what a government of a free society should be and do from the wrong end of the task. Go back to the primary principles and apply them -- relentlessly! If the government is to hold a monopoly on force in order to remove all force from the value exchanges among men ( all men ) within the borders it can sustain, then there will be neither citizenship fees nor immigration laws. While it is entertaining to muse over just how free men would finance their government, it is not an impo
  6. I'm going to have to stick with a no on this one, unless someone can do a better job of justifying it. Anyone except the government may propose standards is how that should read. And CF, I understood GC's position exactly as you described it. My problem with yours, his, and Trey's comments is that they are all dragging around the status quo. You have not tried to start from no government at all and to then trace the steps through the formation process until you arrive at a point where your positions become required for the defense of rights. The point being that it is dangerous enough to
  7. In only one single legal context of all possible legal contexts, it is -- it simplifies the task of managing the use of force by or against us. And, per Peikoff (OPAR p.366-7) on the state and its laws: "It has no standards to uphold and no benefits to confer..." Rand only establishes two standards laws must meet: 1) they must be objective, and 2) they must serve to protect rights (from force). She qualifies rights (and by extension, laws) as being necessarily, and exclusively, negative mandates. This would exclude all laws that prescribe what one may or should do, such as your templa
  8. Instead of answering the questions I posed, you have merely repeated the original assertion. I still don't know how you got from a government with the sole task of force management to "it is proper for the government to aid them..." It is not the government's job to aid us or to simplify our life, is it?
  9. Gabriel, I think you are trying to use the word "relevance" in two different ways at the same time. The relevance of your knowledge of the philosophies you mention lies in the understanding it provides you of the nature of the evils you face and their manifestations in the actions of those who would make your life miserable. The relevance of the Objectivist ethics lies in the guidelines it provides for choosing your actions under those circumstances. Those guidelines are equally efficacious and more necessary in precisely the irrational world you dwell in than they are in our slightl
  10. That standard marriage contract devised to spare the cost of lawyers looks more like one of those special benefits the government should not provide than a function it should provide. What act of initiated force would this service shield us from? Of the infinite possible combinations of vows and agreements between two or among more than two humans pertaining to their mutual responsibilities in a shared life, what standard would the government use to favor one combination over all others? And since it most certainly may not forbid all of the others, why bother to anoint one to be standard or
  11. Quoting myself [Nov 9 post to "Can Objectivists Pay Taxes?] on Rand's position, as I learned it long, long ago: The only ones who have a right to benefit from taxation are those who oppose it in principle. Anyone who advocates taxation and acts (votes) to enforce it is an accessory to a violation of human rights. Implicit in any such violation of human rights is that rights have no validity. The thief that acts as if the victim's rights are invalid cannot claim those same rights for himself. That is why no thief (or accessory to theft) has any right to the booty. And thus, no taxer has any
  12. A Capitalist government does not provide solutions to problems. Under Capitalism, free men solve problems by producing and exchanging goods and services per contracts. The government only guarantees that in all parts of the process, participation shall be voluntary. Since a tax is, by definition coercive, taxation of any size for any purpose may not be practiced by a Capitalist government. Consequently, taxes, as a solution to a problem, are not an appropriate component of any discussion about Capitalism. There is no reason why air should not be owned in the same way that minerals in th
  13. 1) Capitalism is not practiced today. There are no corporations operating today in an economic environment that equals or even simulates one in which there is: no taxation, no regulation, no public property, and in which "market controls" are exerted not only by those who do or do not buy products, but also by those who boycott or ostracize those who buy products of which they disapprove. That is a market that demands the responsibility of thinking from every customer. Therefore, it is premature for you to assert that there is some distinction between the theory of capitalism and its practi
  14. ernie, you should try reading a few of the posts before you ask all these questions. 4 minutes before you asked here if it is OK to accept government grants, you added a reply to the taxes thread directly adjacent to point 2. of my post in which I related Ayn Rand's answer to this very question.
  15. You can morally judge any act. But when you morally judge the act of making payments demanded by the government at the point of a gun, be sure you have your contexts in order. My understanding of this thread is that it deals with paying taxes by citizens of this country (or some other mixed economy government). In that context it is immoral to *not* pay taxes, because that would be self-sacrificial. It would preserve X dollars while placing your grip on life, liberty, and the pursuit of hapiness in grave danger. There is no value to X that is greater than the latter. The immorality of colle
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