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Brian9

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Brian9 last won the day on October 19 2010

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  1. I've made this point three or four times: How can you claim to have the more reasonable arguments, but also claim you want to force people to do 'your' bidding? If you can't persuade people that it is in their best interests to voluntarily pay for your security provisions, and presumably that would be your preference, why should you then force them to? Could you not give people who paid for your government voluntarily a card, and then charge anyone who couldn't produce that card a bit more? Why do people have to be forced to pay for good government? If your government doesn't exist by voluntary means, shouldn't that be your first clue that it isn't a good government. Why introduce violence into the human relationships at all? You haven't done a bit, I don't think, in order to show why violence is necessary. Grames made the argument it was necessary because we couldn't win a war with a totalitarian force, if we didn't first become one ourselves in order to raise the necessary war chests, as if free people can't be convinced to voluntarily pay for their own security. You were trying to make some point about how pollution requires taxation. I don't think anyone on your side of the argument has made anything like a remotely convincing point about how people free to pay for particular government jobs/employees/services/ are less efficacious than not. Answer this question? What is it about security, local police, armies, or courts, that means they can't be produced willingly. You want security. I want security. Who needs to be forced here? Illustration: Between Switzerland and Denmark or any other civilized nation, who needs to be compelled to abandon their sovereignty? Doesn't what you propose logically lead you to desire a single, solitary government? Why should there be? People are different and have different needs, specifically. Government, in reality, is not some abstract idea. It is a lot of complex concretes. You can't force everyone to pay some one arbitrarily chosen group of people, because that one group of people are not know-it-alls. You have to let people be as free as possible to come up with creative solutions.
  2. I understand the point you're making, Zsorenson. You're saying not everyone agrees about everything. Take government for example. If everyone did think identically, why'd we have to tax each other? Since we do disagree about the law, we have to come to a consensus and the people who hold the minority opinion simply have to pay the taxes, because they can't get away from the rational, objective conclusions of the majority. Since they have to obey the majority's laws anyway, how can one reason that they shouldn't have to pay the taxes to fund the enforcement of said laws? So long as the majority's laws are reasonable. Is that roughly it? You also added that if they aren't reasonable, then of course you should rebel, or emigrate, if you can. But if you can't - if you're stuck with an oppressive majority, then well, you're stuck and what can you do about it. Do I have you, correctly?
  3. Prescient: That's like saying theft is okay if the person being robbed is agreeable. Tax is the word polite society uses when it robs people. We like to say it is agreeable, because it is agreeable to us, but it isn't agreeable to the people being taxed. Those people are being robbed. If everyone were giving willingly, I submit to you that we wouldn't have that use of the word, tax. I mean, there would not be a word that society reserves for government's thievery. We don't even use the word tax when we are talking about punishing criminals, or taking money from someone to right a wrong, at least not to my knowledge. We instead call it a fine or something else. Taxes is just a euphemism for theft. Somehow, if I steal from you, we call it theft. But when millions of people steal from millions of others, or billions from billions, we call it taxes. And we think it is necessary and good, but I argue that we're wrong.
  4. After further consideration, I want to expand, in a minor way, on my argument that the idea behind taxes is based on the view that most people can't be trusted to secure a free nation. That we must force society in general to support a good government, because if we don't, they won't. My expansion is this: I think that the refusal to admit that there is a market in force, i.e. that people have choices to make about where, why, how, and how much they fund government, is a result of the wish that again, they didn't have those choices. You'd like to eliminate personal responsibility for government by taxing everyone. It makes sense to me that you'd argue that there is no personal responsibility for government in the first place. You don't trust people to make decisions about government for themselves, because you are afraid that it would amount to open warfare. You're scared that open warfare is what we will get if people are allowed to exercise free judgment. I've said before I have some sympathy for this view. There is a considerable body of evidence that suggests that you are right. But you are wrong, fortunately. Human beings are capable of senseless evil, and have done, are doing, and will do great evil. But they're also capable of progress, as you no doubt know. Of creating more just laws, and freer nations. James Madison wrote, "The citizens of the U.S. are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society. We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government." The trust was a bit misplaced, was it not? Or was it? The only way to found good government is with this trust, and to be logically consistent, it means no taxes. Once you start totalitarian planning, I don't see a logical reason to stop. Let me put it like this: if individuals aren't allowed to exercise their personal responsibility as it concerns government, then who is left to trust?
  5. I agree with Mrocktor, naturally. Grames, I hear you saying that there is no such thing as a market in force. That such an idea as a market in government goods and services amounts to open warfare. That is painfully wrong, as I've argued. Back on page 7 or 8 I was arguing this point, but you said you were going to ignore me and my argument because it was boring and had been refuted 9,000 times elsewhere. So, why are you contradicting me now? Should I just copy and paste and my arguments that I've been making? Are you ready to address them? Again, you say there is no such thing as a market in force short of open warfare. That's painfully, obviously, wrong. I mean, we must be speaking past each other. What do you call campaigning for election? Is that not marketing for government resources and jobs? What you call competing crime enforcement agencies? CIA, FBI, Federal, State, Local, International. Do they not compete for funding? What you call two cops applying for the same job? What do you call new home security technology? What do you call personal gun ownership? To bring in Zsorenson's thinking on pollution, what do you call it when farmers bring lawsuits against one another, hire lawyers, PR reps., etc. etc. Do we not all spend money to fund the production of government goods and functions? Is not a lot of this left up to totally free individual consumers of those goods? Is not a lot more left up to the voters? Sure, there is a market in force. For heaven's sake, what we arguing about is whether or not we should establish totalitarian planning over the market. Make taxpayers out of free individual consumers. If there were no market, I wouldn't be arguing that you should leave that market be. Laissez fare. Edit: So, as far as the charge that I'm logically advocating open warfare... No, I'm arguing that you be conscious of the fact that there is a market in force. Governments are taking my money by force to fund their projects. That's clearly wrong. It does not matter what they do with the money. They could either feed the poor, line their own pockets, or caught criminals. Whatever they do, it doesn't change the fact that they're robbing me. If I own property in California, for instance, I should be free to donate my money to the government of New York. Just because I own something in "California", doesn't give Californians the right to my profits. Does that mean California and New York are in open warfare? I don't see why. It means I'm free to choose. I'm not free to choose to murder anyone, or send my check to someone who would, say for the sake of argument, rob someone. Because taking money from people against their will, is wrong, correct? We'd prefer people didn't endorse that kind of thing, right? So, how am I, by sticking up for the absolutism of individual rights endorsing open warfare, but you, when you argue that I be taxed even though I've committed no crime, are clean?
  6. Yes. People tax one another to fund specific government projects. They don't do it because the taxpayer has done anything wrong. They do it because they need/want the money to fund their government projects. That is the initiation of force. If I were to do something wrong, and you took from me for justice's sake, we wouldn't call it a tax, would we? Taxes are different. Taxes are, very very simply, the redistribution of wealth as means to fund government projects. It's socialism, pure and simple. We don't need to collectivize the production of any good or service. If I own property on the continent of North America, the government(s) of the U.S.A. or some other will reason that I'm a U.S. citizen. That means I'll be involuntarily co-opted, have to pay tribute, and yes, receive services. The point is that taxes are not based upon consent, but rather how easily the I.R.S. can get at you, so taxes are the initiation of force. It is based in the collectivist premise - that "we" need to provide government or else it won't happen. But that doesn't make sense to me. Why does totalitarian planning and coercive enforcement work for the production of government goods and services, when it fails dismally everywhere else? Freedom should be absolute, unless free people don't function as well as taxed people. That isn't true though, because the mind is the source of value, and the mind needs to be free. If a government did have my consent, again, we wouldn't call it a tax, would we? The I.R.S., or whoever, would simply be collecting a contractual debt just as anyone else would have to. It's been said that force isn't bought and sold in the marketplace or that border people don't have more of a responsibility to secure freedom from external invaders. Why? It is obvious to me that force is bought and sold. That people living nearer to violence, or are more vulnerable don't have more responsibility. It is a fact. It isn't unfair. Facts are not unfair. There are tradeoffs. If a city has a harbor, or access to more trade, then obviously they're more vulnerable for the same reason. They pass whatever costs they have on to the the people living inland. The only question is, do they do it by government force, totalitarian planning, or do they do it by contractual agreement, voluntary free trade.
  7. Remind me again, why is it okay to initiate force against me? The idea I guess is that government is a public good. It doesn't exist in free markets. Of course, it does. It is obvious that people do in fact have choices about where to spend their money on security. We vote on defense bills, we decide where and how to go to war, we pay for private security, hire policemen, and appoint or elect every government official. All of that because we, the people, find it necessary to form a government of, for, and by the people. Not in a collective sense, but in a common good sense. Because everyone needs freedom, we can work together on it. But it is a jump from, we can work together on it because we have common interests, to we must force each other to work for us, because we judge that we aren't capable of doing it any other way. The idea I guess is that if you spend your money to secure your freedom in a way that is different in any dimension, then that means that you're violating my right to be free. So, if you want to support a different police station, or a different judge, or spend less, or spend more, than you're not being equal in the eyes of the law. You're being different, and that is upsetting things. I don't think this is coherent, so that is the best I can do at explaining it.
  8. The alternative to taxing everyone is to let everyone make up their own mind. The rule that out because they think most, or just enough (how many?), are not smart enough to come to a result that compares with what they could supposedly accomplish with taxes. I can't remember much evidence that has been give in support of that claim. It has mostly been a lot of trying to word the argument in such a way as to conceal the fact that we're talking about initiating force against anyone who doesn't "voluntarily" give us however much money we need. The only coherent challenge I can recall at the moment is the question of how a completely free society would fend off a completely unfree society. The argument is made that a completely unfree society could have a lot more resources for war because they're willing to sacrifice irrationally, while the free society has gone all swords to plowshares or can't find anyone willing to defend freedom. I also remember the claim that any government freely paid for would be corrupt. Because we all know that money in politics is bad. I don't think this argument is coherent. It reminds me of how Kant supposedly thought that everything people do willingly is at best amoral, but everything that is their duty is righteous. edit: Yes, just how many people need to be forced to pay the tax, and how many would pay it "voluntarily"? That is a really interesting question. We have some idea, don't we? Something like 70 percent of our imagined ideal country would give the money up voluntarily, but the other 30 percent would have to be taxed? Do you suppose we could make a study of what distinguished the 30 percent from... OH, yeah, I remember. Grames already told me that I belong in the 30% because I argue from first principles while not examining the way the world works. How silly of me.
  9. The cause of our debate at the moment is we don't agree on the meaning of objective and subjective. Re the farmer: You're implying that because we don't always know whether or not a new method of fertilization results in an unintended, harmful, polluting, effect, that we have a problem which consensus helps solve. How? So, Farmer A claims Farmer B's methods are causing him damages. What does taking a poll do? To be sure, we aren't interested in how many people believe in one thing or another. We're interested in the facts. Can farmer A prove his case? And what has this got to do with taxes? You're saying that someone can claim the chemicals a farmer puts into the ground are doing him harm, that the majority of people haven't the expertise to know one way or the other, therefore it is important that governments find consensus and tax me to support certain government institutions? It isn't just that I don't believe that claims about pollution require government polls, it is also that I don't follow that counting people's opinions about some chemical means that we should count them about my right to my own life and to not have it infringed upon less someone can prove that I am causing damages to them. Furthermore, no, "subjectivity on knowledge disparity" isn't so wrong. Not if you mean, as you seem to, one person knowing something another person doesn't. I don't think I agree that even if we thought that it was, we would want government to completely run our lives, or that that could even somehow mean that people would then all have the same knowledge. If on the other hand, by "subjectivity of knowledge disparity", you mean people 'knowing' contradicting things, yes, that is wrong. Of course, it means one person is wrong and not one of us likes to be wrong. How do we resolve this difference? The person that is wrong will eventually learn why. We don't count opinions and decide that the majority of people are right, right? Edit: I also think you're wrong when you say government is an entity. Government is too abstract. It is like saying World Peace is an entity. Government people, government buildings are entities. Individuals exercising their right to self defense are government entities. But there government is being used as an adjective. "government" is like saying " the economy". They are things, but not entities. I'm okay with organizations.
  10. Yeah, the subjectivism of the majority, right? Just to come at this issue from another direction, though I'm not sure it will convince you. The question occurs to me, "What if the majority decided on having no taxes?" Would that mean that one would be wrong in arguing for taxes? No, right? Or yes? Neither answer works because you're thinking about the way the world works, and what people (like myself) believe doesn't necessarily enter into it. There just is not any way to justify an argument by referring to what people believe. It begs the question. What do they know? What do they know - what can they prove? You can prove that the use of force against other people is far less ethical than the use of brain cells. As a means to create goods and services. Government is one example. There is no reason to have taxes other than the belief that a large portion of the governed human population is hostile to free society. If they weren't, why would they need to be treated like convicts that should pay for their own prison? If, say, we knew we would always have a population that required suppression, because at the first chance, they'd throw us into despotism, then tax the hell out of them. Whatever it would take to keep the rest of us free. But that is of course a silly idea. Even if humanity somehow worked that way, you'd never know which people made up the guilty. Then I suppose you'd have to tax everyone, unfortunately. That is what this means. It is a general presumption of evil. It is preposterous for a good many reasons. Edit: As I said before, I have some sympathy for this view. How can one not at least entertain the thought that enough of mankind is basically evil, or at best, like sheep. That they should be kept and forced to support a class of rulers, lest they run wild, and revert back to savages. But eventually you realize that man was a savage, but he is learning to be civilized and free.
  11. Well, thanks again; I appreciate your effort to try to convince me. However, I can't get around the fact that I disagree with most of what you wrote. And I'm not saying this to attack you, but I'm not sure that you addressed anything I wrote. You singled out a line I wrote that was meant to express a shoddy idea in a commonplace way. You agreed that it was shoddy, then said your arguments were better, and proceeded to make them. That's fine, but I have no reaction from you on any of the arguments I was making. Perhaps I just can't read between the lines well enough in this instance. Here's some of what I think about what you wrote: Re drilling for oil: The guy who buys 90% of the land hoping to get at the oil can't reason that he owns 90% or any other portion of the oil. You have to be clear about what you mean when you think he bought 90% of the "land". It is my position that you can't buy something that you don't have yet and that no one has ever had. No one made that oil. It has just been sitting there for a long time. How can anyone claim they own it? At most, they own the property rights to the cattle farm above the oil. But that's it. In the same way, you don't own the stuff in the atmosphere above you. You'd have to make some use of it to "own it" and then what we would mean by owning "it", is owning the thing you made and the natural things that are inseparable from it. Re Pirating music: Yes, it is stealing. Obviously if Tom Cruise makes a movie, turns around and sells it to someone, but asks that they not make copies to sell themselves, because he wants to be the one to sell the movie he made...Well, the artist has earned the right make that a condition under which he sells his good. I understand you're talking about this because you think property rights are unclear and maybe, just maybe, the way to decide who owns what is by taking a poll and looking for a consensus. What most people agree on is probably correct. Perhaps that is a mischaracterization? What am I missing? You'll certainly acknowledge that property rights are objective to at least some extent. Regardless of what people say, I own the rights to my own mind and brain activity, correct? There couldn't be any disagreement about that because it is obviously "my" mind and not the public's. If the public says otherwise, the public is just wrong. I think all rights aren't too hard to define. Sure, it isn't tic-tac-toe. There are some complications, because people don't always understand the consequences of their actions. Take second hand smoke for example. I think it is a myth that second-hand smoke is harmful, but if someone thought differently I wouldn't think them irrational. I just think they've gotten hold on some bad propaganda. So, certainly everything cannot be obvious to all people all the time. This is what I don't understand. Why do you think consensus determines what qualifies as the initiation of force? Rights are more than clear enough. I own myself and all that I make. Violence is wrong because it destroys man's life. Destroys it because man needs to think, and political violence is the antithesis of thought. You can refer to facts and they will tell you what is right and what is wrong. Who could the public even have a good idea if they weren't doing that themselves? As far as consistency goes, consistent taxes are bad. Not really because they're consistent, but because they are taxes. Even if you could force everyone to pay an equal amount in an equal manner for equal governmental services, why would you want to? Equality is not really a good thing. Unless you are talking about being considered equally free men before the law. Then I'm for it. But anyway, why shouldn't people pay more or less for what they want, and desire more or less depending on their circumstances? The law and the government doesn't need to fit some rigid model like that. It simply should keep men free. That is the point of having government in the first place. "Ideally, the majority who voted for the tax would voluntarily pay it. Furthermore, the minority who subscribes to the government would also voluntarily pay even though they disagreed - they've had their fair chance to have their disagreement represented. Only the marginal few - just like with crime - would refuse to pay." And as far as that, you're back to saying that the tax would be voluntary, if only people would do the right thing. That it would only be the criminals who would refuse to pay. That's a bogus contradiction. You can't say you're going to force a group of people to do something, but then say that ideally, you wouldn't have them being forced to do anything they didn't want to, even though they disagreed. The idea that were discussing is forcing them to do something - pay the tax. That is the idea. It has consequences. You seem to resist embracing those consequences and that is a good thing. We've been told so many big lies throughout history. They suffocate the truth. The world is so extremely upside down in some ways, it is almost incomprehensible.
  12. I don't understand it, because it is not true. I'm rejecting it because it is not true. Again, I appreciate your clearly written post. But I think you should look at where your 2cd paragraph ends and your 3rd begins. I'm unconvinced on this point. I was trying to argue about this with Grames what seems like several pages ago. I thought I asked him politely about this in my post #147 (around pg. 8), but he rejected me out off hand. I hasten to add that this part of the argument having to do with competition doesn't have the most weight with me. It is interesting to me, but it is not my main argument. Mostly, I'm pleased to have an excuse to return to the point where Grames said he was through talking to me because I bored him 4 or 5 pages ago. My main argument is that taxes violate my right. As long as I don't initiate force against anyone else, no one has the right to use force against me. If that strikes you as far too simple, even though it is perfectly true, then my second argument begins with the question, "why do we not believe that human beings are capable of providing law and order for themselves voluntarily?". Answer any way you like. Disagree with the premise if you care to. My answer is that we don't believe it, because our track record suggests otherwise. With as much senseless crime against humanity as there has been, how could we expect that a nation of good government could exist, if the population wasn't either tricked or forced into it? It is commonly put like this: If we allowed people to stop paying their taxes, they wouldn't. Anarchy ensues. I have some sympathy for this view, but it is wrong. It isn't just wrong, it is terribly wrong, because it normalizes the view that people aren't good enough to be free. They just can't handle the responsibility. That's profoundly incorrect. But that is the idea behind taxes. If there actually were such a thing as "voluntary taxes", I suppose I wouldn't have a problem with them. Except that it is confusing language. Money that you give voluntarily is either charity or the market price. Taxes are money that's exacted from you by a neighborhood law enforcement agency. And they do that when you're on "their" turf, simply because you own property near theirs. Human beings are capable of acting like animals. But you don't prevent that by treating them like animals. The hell is when we act like animals, and you prevent it by fostering individual responsibility. Edit: market price is really just another way of saying a sum of money that you would voluntarily part with
  13. That is well said, my friend! I agree here 100%. I think this goes a long way towards explaining why we have 11 pages in this thread. I also agreed with your principles until you got here: I underlined the parts I had a problem with. I don't understand what you could possibly mean by the the first sentence I underlined, and I think that is where you go wrong. I awarded a reputation point for this well written post. Is okay if I use a ninja here? EDIT: Because consensus has nothing to do with anything, really. Sure, everyone should use the metric system, I will concede that point. But we're talking about forcing everyone to support an unspecified group of people who have guns. Everyone should adopt the metric system voluntarily so that we have good, objective, consensus. But no group of people should get together and say if you don't support us voluntarily, we will compel you to. That is a contradiction. I don't care if they have the best of intentions, no one has the right. Some say we can't have lawlessness. They are right. It is said that we can't have competing gangs, or warlords. That is right. The solution then, is not to have sanction for a monopolistic gang which taxes in order to maintain its existence i.e. gang that forbids any rival gangs(not a good consensus). The solution is to outlaw gangs altogether. We should encourage free, responsible people who don't use guns when words fail. We should encourage people to take responsibility for their government. Not tell them that they can't or won't be able to do it.
  14. Is Slave Labor Moral? My own personal opinion is no, it is not. But it is my understanding that there are some people on this board who are not entirely sure. So, let's discuss. I have seen a few arguments made for slave labor here and there. This is a good sample. We need good government in order to maintain our free society, correct? Now, suppose a totalitarian regime mobilized the full force of its power, meaning maximal conscription, maximized war production, etc. Pretty scary, huh? Now, Suppose this regime attacked us. Heaven forbid, but what would we do? If our good government didn't have the power to tax us in order to fend off the invaders, we would all lose our lives, practically speaking. Most of us.. Excuse me, every rational one of us would be against letting that happen. So it wouldn't really be a tax. It'd be a tax, but since everyone would be for it, it'd be a tax in name only. Besides, if one would be against the tax, one would be, in reason and outcome, against the existence of good government, which would actually make them more like the people of the invading totalitarian regime than like us. Okay, now we've established that the government should be able to receive funding in order to maintain our freedom in times of war. Again, this is simply because a government that has no means to defend its citizens from invaders, is not a government which can justify its own existence. I also believe the government should provide everyone with equal rights under the law in order to be objective. Therefore, one has a right to access the legal system, lawyers and all that. If one has this equal protection by right, then taxes are necessary to pay for good government. That is so not only because objective law promises to not deal differently with people who can't afford legal representation (lawyers, police, etc.), but also because taxes are the only way in which objective law and therefore good government can maintain its objectivity. Can you imagine a courtroom being payed directly for either the plaintiff or the defendant? That is absurd. Under objective law, the money has to come from the law providers themselves in order for the process to be incorruptible. Taxes, and only taxes accomplish that by laundering taxpayer money, so to speak. Well, that's all I have to say I guess. Oh, and I suppose I also believe in the draft because if that totalitarian regime invades us, we need people to fight. We certainly need a well trained army to be established and funded in advance of the enemy. You couldn't be against this, as I explained. That's because we need good government in order to be free. I can quote Ayn Rand to support most of this. Well, I'm no Grames, but I gave it my best shot.
  15. Double Post Don't let me get the better of you, Grames. You're going to humor me, aren't you. I think you should, because you gave your consent by being here. I'm going to argue until I am blue in the face. I know I can convince you that I am right. If that doesn't work, well, what can I do? Wait, I know, I'll compel you to sign a piece of paper admitting you are wrong. I know, sign a piece of paper? Not at serious of a threat as, say, expropriating your wealth against your will. But I'm reluctant talk about that sort of thing, even in jest. You can understand that, I'm sure.
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