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Anti-Tax Pilot crashes into IRS building in Austin

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brian0918
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I'm sure Rand blamed the guy himself. After all, free will and such.

Like I said before, I wasn't focusing on his crime or criminality. My first post in this thread states what I felt was important to focus on.

The man struggled to be independent and productive, and saw the government take what was rightfully his by the force of some unfair tax law. Over, and over, and over again, he found that everything he had had been taken from him by the government, and over and over again, he had to pick himself up with literally nothing.

If you doubt the unfairness of the law, read the link I provided. But since you don't seem to be open-minded to this, I'll summarize it here: If you work for a company in one of a few listed (and similar to listed) tech-related fields, there are certain taxes both you and the company you work for have to pay. If you decide to work independently as a contractor, you have to meet certain criteria in order to actually be considered independent. If you contract through a third party that has control over your relationship to that business, you are considered an employee, not independent. You can still work directly with a business, but if you don't meet certain (hard to meet) criteria, you can be considered an employee. If your relationship with that business is audited, and you are (subjectively) determined to be its employee, both you and the business owe about 50% back taxes on all the money they've ever paid you. As a result, independent contractors are a liability to businesses.

The above-described law, and other tax laws, have bitten that man in the ass and cost him everything, every time it happened to him. There is understandable outrage that the man killed two people and injured two others, but I seriously believe that the bulk of the outrage here ought to be directed at our own government.

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It seems to me you're making an exception for Rand, but then demanding that you be able to reject anyone's attempt to examine a murderer's past to find positive aspects, as Rand clearly did.

That might be clear to you, but not to me. I have no idea what Rand did, I wasn't there. If she searched the paper for murderers she could look into for inspiration, then she was wrong, and I'm not making an exception. But I doubt that's what she did.

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If you doubt the unfairness of the law, read the link I provided. But since you don't seem to be open-minded to this, I'll summarize it here: If you work for a company in one of a few listed (and similar to listed) tech-related fields, there are certain taxes both you and the company you work for have to pay. If you decide to work independently as a contractor, you have to meet certain criteria in order to actually be considered independent. If you contract through a third party that has control over your relationship to that business, you are considered an employee, not independent. You can still work directly with a business, but if you don't meet certain (hard to meet) criteria, you can be considered an employee. If your relationship with that business is audited, and you are (subjectively) determined to be its employee, both you and the business owe about 50% back taxes on all the money they've ever paid you. As a result, independent contractors are a liability to businesses.
Income tax law is arbitrary. For instance: pay x% on capital gains if the asset was help for over a year, and a slightly higher % if it was held for less. When such rules are first expressed, people find some way to work around the law's intent. For instance, suppose a person wants to sell a capital asset, but a year has not passed. He might come up with a way to short-sell some asset or option that is almost perfectly correlated with the original asset. This might lead to another rule that speaks to such situations. And so on and so forth. The complex rules are not anymore unjust than the simple ones.

The situation he speaks of is one where the person works like an employee in the sense that if you were to observe what he does you would find it identical to what an employee does. However, by claiming to be a non-employee, the person gets some tax-advantages: usually, this is because he can claim various business deductions. So, the IRS tightened the rules. Also, it tightened in particular occupations where the use of the "independent-business" (1099) technique was more prevalent. Is this unfair? I don't see how it is more unfair than any tax. Let us say that this guy was right in his reading of the law, and he should have been considered an independent employee. That means that the official employee working next to him and doing all the similar things is paying more tax than he does. Isn't that a little bit more unfair?

Every year, thousands of people are doing things that they think will save them taxes, within the complex rules of the IRS. As long as what they do is legal, that's fine. However, there are areas where the interpretations are not quite clear. If one visits a tax forum, one will find experts disagreeing about some details. When one is operating in this area of unsettled law, one has to be careful: if one interprets things one way, it is always possible that the final legal interpretation will come down on the other side. One needs to go into these situations with full awareness of the cat-and-mouse game one is trying to play. If there are heavy penalties if your interpretation ends up being considered faulty, then one has to take that into account too.

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Hickman made the news because of his murder, Rand found out about him through the news, then read up on his background, and praised him in some regards, but not in regard to the murder itself, nor did she try to find an excuse for the murder. The same could occur here, point for point, no?
Since she never published anything about Hickman, it is not so easy to know her full opinion. When one writes for a journal, one will not put down some things that you would have to clarify for others. Even a blog post usually requires more than a note to oneself.

With that caveat, I don't think there is a parallel between the two cases, because what Rand seemed to be reacting to was the element of Hickman's psychology where he said things like "I am like the state: what is good for me is right." While she clearly knew he was degenerate, this seemed to have suggested an attitude that might be combined with the pursuit of moral values in a fictional hero. One does not get the same feeling of defiance etc. with this suicide-pilot: more the sense of a lost, depressed person. Someone like Madoff may be a slightly closer parallel to Hickman (slightly closer, but still not a good one, because the slyness and deceit would jar).

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With that caveat, I don't think there is a parallel between the two cases, because what Rand seemed to be reacting to was the element of Hickman's psychology where he said things like "I am like the state: what is good for me is right." While she clearly knew he was degenerate, this seemed to have suggested an attitude that might be combined with the pursuit of moral values in a fictional hero.

I could certainly see some aspects of this guy as being part of a fictional hero - e.g. independently trying to pursue his own career. My comparison, though, was not to a fictional hero, but to Cherryl Taggart - she knew something was wrong, but not what to do about it, and ultimately killed herself.

Edited by brian0918
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I could certainly see some aspects of this guy as being part of a fictional hero - e.g. independently trying to pursue his own career. My comparison, though, was not to a fictional hero, but to Cherryl Taggart ...
Yes, I was speaking to the comparison with Hickman. In whatever he chose to pursue, this guy seems rather ordinary, whereas Hickman seemed to pursued things that were spectacular though evil. If one abstracts away the goodness/evil and uses the second (neutral) meaning of "value": that which one seeks to gain or pursue, then this guy's value-pursuit seems to have been quite run of the mill. What stands out in his life -- compared to (say) all my neighbors -- is this feeling of being up against something evil.

... Cherryl Taggart - she knew something was wrong, but not what to do about it, and ultimately killed herself.
In that feeling of being up against something evil, of feeling that he was powerless in the face of it, and in not knowing what to do, I agree the parallels are there. However, Cheryl is quite different too. In her we see someone who has tried to pursue what she thought was the good all her life. We see someone who figured out the evil she saw in the ghetto and tried to distance herself from it, and who always thought it must be a feature of the poorer classes. Even if she could never make it to the rich classes, they represented the good. She thought of them as the achievers and doers. That was the reality that kept her from becoming like everyone else in the ghetto: there is good in the world, and I can be good too... I don't have to give up. When she understood Taggart, this shattered a very deeply held conviction. one does not see the same value-worship and value-pursuit in this pilot, at least not from what we know of him. To be more of a parallel, Cheryl would have to be much more focussed on the evil around her, and how so many people are trying to get her down. Edited by softwareNerd
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There's nothing noble about this guy. If he had taken a sort of moral stand, it would have been one thing. But he vilifies Capitalism alongside Communism. He's the kind of person who would commit suicide after hearing John Galt, not Cheryl Taggart. Also, he took his rage out on people not responsible. Clearly, an irrational man.

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There's nothing noble about this guy. If he had taken a sort of moral stand, it would have been one thing. But he vilifies Capitalism alongside Communism. He's the kind of person who would commit suicide after hearing John Galt, not Cheryl Taggart. Also, he took his rage out on people not responsible. Clearly, an irrational man.

Is he vilifying communism? First read I thought the same thing, but I read an article by I believe the Washington Post, and the liberal writer of the article got the impression that he was giving a 'nod' to communism.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postparti...ar_anti-go.html

To an Objectivist reading "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." is an attack, but to a sympathizer it isn't.

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To an Objectivist reading "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." is an attack, but to a sympathizer it isn't.

Hmm, I had not even considered that statement to be pro-communist. I read it as agreeing that communism is bad, because nowhere in that letter did I get the impression that he was looking for handouts from other people or from the govt. He was certainly poor, but he blamed the govt theft of his money for that situation, not some failure on the part of the government to take others' money and give it to him.

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I think we can sympathize with his plight, that the IRS messed up his business, but certainly flying an airplane into a building and killing oneself isn't going to solve the problem. The tax code is irrational, but it looks like he was trying to take advantage of a tax loophole and it didn't work out in his favor. Of course, Objectivists are against government interference in the economy, but certainly wouldn't recommend flying an airplane into a building, which is suicidal and self-sacrificial. Looks like he could have been an articulate guy, if he just would have calmed down and thought it through better. I sympathize with his plight of having all of his earning confiscated by the IRS, but killing a few revenuers isn't going to solve the problem. I think he had uncontrolled anger and he was acting on emotions rather than reason. In other words, I don't think he was being rational, so he doesn't have my moral support. His cause, if he had one, could have been better articulated if he had the right philosophy. As it is, he acted on the emotions of anger and frustration, not reason.

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Of course all the comments on the news sites are loving this "anti-tax = terrorism" and anyone who opposes the regime is now officially "on the side" of the pilot.

2046, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised by the posts you have found on the news sites. The left would love nothing more than to be able to spin opposition to taxation as terrorism. It lets them evade moral judgement when it comes to actual terrorism while simultaneously villifying all of us who oppose statism. My how they love to blank out.

“This is a right-wing domestic terror act. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – THIS SHOULD CONCERN YOU!”

————————————-

“Looks like one of the Teabaggers woke up on the wrong side of the bed. LOL. You nuts better not start doing this regularly.”

————————————-

“Not a single one of you is concerned that one of your own just committed an act of domestic terror. You are already attacking the messenger and they have not even brought the message in yet.”

————————————-

“YOU need to take an ounce of responsibility. All you repubbers are complaining about Bush but still putting all the blame for Bush’s errors on Obama or “The Government”. This plane guy decided to attack the Government. Pilot-guy sounds like a thousand posts I have read on thee boards.”

————————————-

We will see more domestic terrorism. People like the posters here need to accept responsibility to police themselves. You preach hate and destroying your enemies “foreign or domestic” and people will start blowing up innocent people because of the message you preach.

These quotes and the others all indicate the direction the statists intend to take this. The left never likes to waste a crisis.

"There is no point in “dialogue” with you right wingers, you guys are the taliban of america.”

There's that moral equivalence/nihilism/evasion again, comparing the "right wingers" to actual terrorists. Do they actually hold classes on the art of smearing?

“Another terrorist attack by the GOP/FOXZI/Aryan Nation, and there Teabagger storm troopers.”

And of course, the obligatory comparison of all non-leftists to Nazis. Interesting how the New Left completely evades their own fascist proclivities. Could this incident be America's modern-day Reichstag Fire?

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After thinking about this some more, I have to agree that this guy wasn't such a great guy. But a man's money/property is an extension of his life, and our government knocked him down over and over and over again. How many times can most of your life be stripped away from you before you start to wonder if your life will ever be worth living?

It's a shame he decided to go this route. But he did, and now the message is out. Awareness is spreading; people are more aware now (hopefully) of what our tax laws do to everyday people like that guy. Now, the question is: What do we do about it? The confusion has already begun, lies are already being spread. Is the ARI going to make an official statement about it?

Just because the guy went suicidal and killed people, and just because the government was within the law with what they did to him, doesn't make it right. Huge injustices were committed against him by the government, multiple times, and it should serve as a reminder of how out-of-control our government is.

But as Dr. Hurd there puts it, these are just the symptoms of a bigger problem.

So long as we're the only ones standing up against this, with the majority of our society ignorant and evasive of the problem, we're going to be like Dagny Taggart; pouring all our lifeblood indirectly into the moochers/looters while we try to save the system that they are destroying. Maybe this is already obvious to most, but I kind of just realized that the number one front against this has got to be spreading awareness to people and combating evil ideas. The proper politics will follow from a proper ethics.

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