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Is taxation moral?

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Lakeside
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OK Crow:

 

we'll come back to Guards... or security of the person and property.. later.

 

 

Let's talk insurance.

 

Why would a rational person pay for any kind of insurance (not just life... theft, fire, etc.) if they do not know whether they will incur a loss?

 

 

Specifically what about Fire insurance?

 

If I buy fire insurance (at an appropriate rate according to my risk factors) for 20 years and never had a fire did I receive any value for my payment?

Suppose in that same time someone else with higher or lower risk but paying their appropriate amount, actually had a fire ... the amount they paid into the system of course no where near the amount of the loss or the compensation they received. 

Would you say I "paid" for their loss?

 

Is fire insurance a valid choice (in fact a moral choice) that a rationally self-interested Objectivist should adopt (short of being certain that loss due to fire is not possible)?  Why?

 

Are we seriously going to talk about insurance in this thread? Seriously?

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Would you like to elaborate on that point?

 

Sure. I guess I made two points.

 

First, the poster was citing articles which talked glowingly about ancient civilizations that we clearly know very little about, and we certainly wouldn't know the details about. It's a total guess to reckon that, for instance, the rights of minorities were respected in these cultures, or that justice was carried out in any sort of consistent way. All we really know is that the given (small-scale) civilization survived--but then again so did the ones run by the Pharaohs.

 

Combine that with a truism we've come to learn about human nature, and one Ayn Rand--among countless others--chronicled in fiction: that power tends to corrupt. That people with access to power over the lives of others tend to gain and use that power to enslave others in some form or another. It's not consistent with this historical knowledge to imagine that there existed an entire society full of people who could each gain power over others if they felt like it, but consistently, perfectly, didn't feel like it.

 

Of course, this is overkill on these so-called examples: they were isolated societies and did not have to provide for a common defense. That will never again happen in the future history of mankind.

 

Bad people who want to cheat and rob and kill exist and always will. Bad countries who want to kill us exist and always will. The police, courts, and military are necessary and always will be. Tell me how we make a tax-free society in that context because any other context is fantasy land.

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I'll assume, based on your prior comments, that wasn't intended to diminish the validity of Peikoff's test.  Cuz you know what I could do with a concession that anything's possible :devil:

 

Prior to computers there were numerous examples of calculating devices progressing from IIII II, to abacuses, to slide rulers, etc.  Each advancement provided evidence of improved calculating devices, and nothing in the history of calculating devices contradicted the possibility that something like an electric abacus was possible.  Then voila, computer.

 

convenient

Well, that is how I'm more or less correlating StrictlyLogical's examples of life insurance, alarm system, security guards and bouncers to voluntary tax, as you are from slide rules, to abacuses to computers, to the realm of computing, albeit, I wouldn't consider it exact. Unknown, here is only that it has not been tried, rather than a case of trying to apply Peikoff's considerations regarding the arbitrary.

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Well, that is how I'm more or less correlating StrictlyLogical's examples of life insurance, alarm system, security guards and bouncers to voluntary tax, as you are from slide rules, to abacuses to computers, to the realm of computing, albeit, I wouldn't consider it exact. Unknown, here is only that it has not been tried, rather than a case of trying to apply Peikoff's considerations regarding the arbitrary.

 

Using your example, I think the point is there probably were always those who resented having to buy into using a calculator.  After all, fingers and toes worked just fine and didn't cost anything to use.  And everyone else would be like, "Hey, It's still cool to still use your own digits if you want to."

 

But the F&T crowd would get all upset and say, "No, you all don't get it. Making someone spend money to do math is just wrong!"  And everyone else would try to point out, "We all do math and it's important to get the numbers right.  It's just more accurate to use a calculator today."

 

Then the F&T's would get even more upset and say, "That just means you don't think we're all good enough to be trusted to do math freely!"  And everyone else would try to reassure them with, "Calculators are just better for doing complex calculations. You don't have to buy one if you don't want to. Here, you can use mine."

 

And the F&Ts would turn red and say, "Now you're trying to socialize math! You're EVIL !!"

 

edit:  Enjoy your weekend.  I'm gonna take a break and read some of 2046's examples.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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But an Icelandic Free State that descends into civil war and surrenders itself back to a more powerful centralized government??

What're you looking for, then?

No country, no matter how clever or well-intentioned its founding, can survive a sufficient amount of stupidity within its own citizens; I find that painfully obvious, when I look at the *still* freest country on Earth. That's what DW was alluding to when he pointed out the moral roots of Communism (altruism) and also what Rand observed, repeatedly.

The political ideals of any man stem from his moral ideals, which are directed by his epistemology (and jointly dictated by that, together with the entirety of his individual value-judgments). If he's accepted a bad concept of the "good" or a bad concept of what "knowledge" is then it's not possible for him to grasp what freedom is, until he sees and then accepts the responsibility of correcting his own errors.

I mean, as much as I despise the "go and read it for yourself" line, how thoroughly have you analyzed Atlas Shrugged? It's difficult to overstate its relevance, here.

I understand the desire to find some perfect and incorruptible political system, to protect yourself from all of the wrongness out there, but the fact is that THAT dream can't be realized- at least until more people are willing to live more correctly.

If you care about freedom then you should make a serious study of truth. If you need more clarification on that point then I'd be happy to oblige.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Combine that with a truism we've come to learn about human nature, and one Ayn Rand--among countless others--chronicled in fiction: that power tends to corrupt. That people with access to power over the lives of others tend to gain and use that power to enslave others in some form or another.

This is the root of our disagreement.

"Power" in this context means coercive power (right?) so for 'someone in power to want to enslave others' essentially means that they already have enslaved others, to some degree or another, and they enjoy it so much that they want more. If we assume that this desire predated their rise to power (which I do) then it boils down to saying that people who pursue power, desire power.

I would agree that people act in accordance with their thoughts and desires; it's one of my firmest convictions (and also the basis of the Austrian school of economics), so I see no dispute over that. I only mention it in order to point out that it provides no additional information, in its original form.

However, there's the implication of something more here; that those in positions of authority (cops, judges, et cetera), who have neither the legal allowance nor the inclination to run anyone elses' lives, are actually wielding coercive power simply by their capacity to potentially do so.

To illustrate why I think that's wrong, suppose I were to walk into a gas station with a concealed handgun; would I not then be in a position to initiate violence, if I so chose to? We may quibble over whether it would be wise or prudent to, but I don't see how its possibility could be denied (and, while it would not be rational to rob a gas station, neither would it be rational to rob a country-for similar reasons).

And neither is a weapon of any sort necessary for violence to be possible. After all, what is kung-fu, if not the discipline of turning your own hands into consistently formidable weapons?

Doesn't it then stand to reason that, if a cop would suffer from this "corruption" of potential power, so too would every single one of us at all times? If absolute power corrupts absolutely then a little bit of power must corrupt a little bit.

And if that's true then we're all doomed to a life of slow mental rot, from the inside out, and if that's true then why in the Hell should we care about morality at all?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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This philosophy like many others sometimes draws a certain kind of personality that craves perceived persecution and is chosed because its an outlier, and an isolating social force.

No. The world is full of philosophies like that; anyone who wants to say "it's someone else's fault" can take their pick. While there are admirers of Objectivism who lack the courage to accept and practice it as an absolute, I have yet to find one who was drawn to it for the wrong reasons.

As for an "isolating social force" - wouldn't it be more efficient in every single way to simply stop practicing personal hygiene? If the goal were solitude, as such, I have a million better ways to do it than labeling yourself as an Objectivist, just off the top of my head.

And I'll repeat that, insofar as we cannot come up with a clear alternative-and insofar that there's lots of evidence to the contrary--then advocating a different system is immoral. Immoral even on the epistemological level, since you are willfully throwing away reason and substituting feelings (hopes and dreams) for cognition. Your focusing your attention on issues that don't matter, and will never matter, and taking away from issues that do.

The identification of hope (if you will)- of the belief that something better is possible - as an attempt to use emotions as a tool of cognition, is directly related to that "life of slow mental rot" which I mentioned.

Some hopes are irrational; the ones which contradict the facts of reality, as we currently understand them. However, the claim that hope- hope, as such - is irrational, is not correct; it represents the failure to induce from the facts at hand.

No, this does not appear to extend to every conceivable topic; it is specific to mankind, which means that the error is an introspective one.

"Power" is not good for you, nor is it the corruptive force that you believe it to be- to those who understand it. I'll elaborate however I can think to, if you'd like, but I'm not sure how much further in that direction my assistance can extend.

My signature has a link to "the nights" by Aviici; perhaps it might help you to remember meaningfulness.

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Doesn't it then stand to reason that, if a cop would suffer from this "corruption" of potential power, so too would every single one of us at all times? If absolute power corrupts absolutely then a little bit of power must corrupt a little bit.

 

 

In the context of the present-day USA, for instance, that cop is operating under the laws of the USA. He can break the law etc. but there's a fair chance he'll get caught. This will provide quite a deterrent, and a recourse to somebody who falls to their injustice.

 

In ancient Iceland--possibly for instance--that "cop" is part of your neighbor's private army, and your neighbor doesn't like you because you play your Bjork music too loud and it doesn't rhyme for godsakes. So his "cops" beat the crap out of your whenever they feel like it and your only recourse is to go to the "court system"--which is also funded by your neighbor.

 

Your neighbor has a "little power", and corrupt it most absolutely does.

 

Only when there's a central government with an absolutely monopoly on the use of force does any society stand a chance of being just and realistically holding together for any length of time. The arguments for anarchism and anarcho-capitalism and aracho-whateverthehell are just mental masturbation. They could never work and they couldn't even be tried anywhere in the modern world for more than a few nanoseconds before they'd instantly self-destruct.

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LOL. Dude, you need to get out more. That's all I'm saying...

LOL you're more than welcome to provide supporting evidence, whenever you can. Until then I remain convinced that even you, who have surrendered so much, must have initially seen something Objectively good in Rand; otherwise you would not still identify with her ideals.

And just in case you didn't get the Buck Rogers reference, it's here.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/ayn-rand-works/art-in-education.html

LOL.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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In the context of the present-day USA, for instance, that cop is operating under the laws of the USA. He can break the law etc. but there's a fair chance he'll get caught. This will provide quite a deterrent, and a recourse to somebody who falls to their injustice.

This is a thin veil over the contradiction which you failed to fully address.

In every conceivable sort of society (centralized monopoly on force or not) there is the possibility that one's victims will seek retribution, within the legal boundaries or not, as well as the possibility that they will simply let it go. The probability of either potential is different in every case, but the potentials themselves remain unaltered.

You insinuate that a difference of degree is really a difference of fundamental type. It is not. This integration cannot be dodged like that.

Every single one of us holds this erosive "power" in the sense that you mean it- TRUE OR FALSE?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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You have not answered by questions.  Why are you getting angry?  It's a rational discussion.

 

It has relevance to the issue if "the impossibility of voluntary payment of resources required for the delegation of the use of retaliatory force in the form of a police, justice, and military system"

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You insinuate that a difference of degree is really a difference of fundamental type. It is not. This integration cannot be dodged like that.

 

 

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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You have not answered by questions.  Why are you getting angry?  It's a rational discussion.

 

It has relevance to the issue if "the impossibility of voluntary payment of resources required for the delegation of the use of retaliatory force in the form of a police, justice, and military system"

 

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.

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What're you looking for, then?

...

 

An example of a protocapitalism that didn't require the stability of governance to avoid self destruction.  You know, like what happened to the Icelandic Free State example?

 

I'm willing to concede there have been some weak examples of non-aggressive free trade zones that existed by luck or by being ignored by the world at large, e.g., the IFS.  You could also argue that even in the more repressive forms of tyranny there remained isolated pockets of protocapitalism looking for the opportunity to emerge.  The decline and fall of the Soviet Empire comes to mind.  Yes, the IFS might be considered an example of what is being advocated here...  if you ignore the fact that it eventually returned to the shelter of governance to avoid being destroyed by civil war.

 

So what I'm looking for is an example that wasn't contradicted by the result that followed.  Got any of those??

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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.

Answer my question.

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...

Every single one of us holds this erosive "power" in the sense that you mean it- TRUE OR FALSE?

 

"Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." ~ Stephen King

 

Capitalism requires a stable government for security and government requires stable funding - T/F?

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Capitalism requires a stable government for security and government requires stable funding - T/F?

False. Those who need to be governed can never be governed properly; those who can be have no reason to be.

Capitalism is the antithesis of governance.

"Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." ~ Stephen King

What, then, is the point?

If we're all monsters anyway then what could we hope to accomplish by forbidding ourselves- at gunpoint- to be ourselves?

For what?

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An example of a protocapitalism that didn't require the stability of governance to avoid self destruction.

How about a man that didn't die? =] There are a lot of those around, right now, and yet we already know that they will all die someday.

With that in your mind, please point out a single social structure- of any kind, whatsoever- that hasn't or won't collapse.

You want something that's outside of time, itself.

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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.

That's the opposite of what "voluntary" means.

Do you believe that both of us, deep down, have the inescapable tendency towards monstrosity?

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