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Is taxation moral?

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Lakeside
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Perhaps, I can't claim that I've read all the threads here. I was just thinking along the lines of an author purchasing copyright infringement insurance, as a concrete example.

 

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.

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K.

If everyone is basically bad then what you want is a system of bad guys, to protect some bad guys from other bad guys, inconsistently. Inconsistently because if rights must be violated in order to protect rights then there simply is no consistent or principled way to defend them. What, then, do you mean by the term 'government'? A herd of indistinguishable bipeds who hold some relation to some other indistinguishable (and perhaps even interchangeable) herd, of which every single member is bad - somehow.

If everyone is basically bad then so are you. If you're basically bad, for reasons you can't control, then there can be no reason for you to try to be good; no pride and certainly no self-respect. When you accept yourself to be basically bad, you are plunging your own conscience into torment from which there is only one escape: amorality. And what is 'justice' without 'virtue'? If we accept that there's really no such thing as right or wrong then what do we mean by 'rights'? Things that bipeds have, because we say so; things which mean - something.

Without integrity there cannot be a morality and without morality there can be no politics. Hence any political theory premised on the bromide that 'absolute power corrupts absolutely' contradicts itself- in its explicit, theoretical form. Its practical form is of one indistinguishable herd of bipeds eating another.

You just want the moral authority to choose who gets eaten.

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Yes, despite Rand's opposing views about it, I am.

...

 

OK, so as an anarchist who dismisses a government monopoly on force, please clarify how laissez-faire force is avoided?

 

edit: BTW my citation from the King of fiction obviously refers to potentials of human nature.  There are many and the task is which to promote, n'est-ce pas?

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Without integrity there cannot be a morality and without morality there can be no politics. Hence any political theory premised on the bromide that 'absolute power corrupts absolutely' contradicts itself- in its explicit, theoretical form. Its practical form is of one indistinguishable herd of bipeds eating another.

You just want the moral authority to choose who gets eaten.

Given this assessment here, would it be fair to say

Yes, despite Rand's opposing views about it, I am.

could this have benefited by stating "Yes, despite Rand's seeming opposing views about it . . ."?

While providing a concrete example of the substitution of "absolute power corrupts absolutely" for a politic based on the principle of "man's inalienable rights."

 

That would tie in nicely with an understanding that "rights" are a moral principle.

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Given this assessment here, would it be fair to say

could this have benefited by stating "Yes, despite Rand's seeming opposing views about it . . ."?

[...]

 

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...

 

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Trying to catch up over the past half a week and this diversions, so let me just ask to see if I have the two major opposing points in this thread down:

 

1. It has never been done so there is no evidence to suggest that a voluntary tax system will work.  The closest examples still needed taxation to avoid collapse.  

2. Mankind, or at least a significant enough portion of it to matter, are scoundrels that will make a voluntary tax system inoperable as they will either freeload through the system at best or cause it to collapse at worse due to lack of funding.  

 

My take is that the immoral POV is a frat boy's complaint that every time the party gets started someone calls the police.  And the moral POV is the neighbors' complaint about being labeled the bad guy just because the frat boys can't behave themselves.  I'm sympathetic to the latter view.

 

Responding more directly to your points, the most popular example, the Icelandic Free State left the central government nest only to return there after being unable to provide security for itself against all threats foreign and domestic.  There are other weak examples of government free trade zones, but these too either collapse from within or are crushed by stronger government secured traders.  The apparent lack of endurance proves that it isn't possible to rely on voluntary taxation to sustain security for property rights regardless of the good or bad intentions of the participants.

 

Therefore taxation is moral primarily because it meets the standard of those actions that are necessary to preserve a right to life.  The whole force issue is a misrepresentation of aggression because it's actually a legitimate recovery of expense for security that works.

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My take is that the immoral POV is a frat boy's complaint that every time the party gets started someone calls the police.  And the moral POV is the neighbors' complaint about being labeled the bad guy just because the frat boys can't behave themselves.  I'm sympathetic to the latter view.

 

Responding more directly to your points, the most popular example, the Icelandic Free State left the central government nest only to return there after being unable to provide security for itself against all threats foreign and domestic.  There are other weak examples of government free trade zones, but these too either collapse from within or are crushed by stronger government secured traders.  The apparent lack of endurance proves that it isn't possible to rely on voluntary taxation to sustain security for property rights regardless of the good or bad intentions of the participants.

 

Therefore taxation is moral primarily because it meets the standard of those actions that are necessary to preserve a right to life.  The whole force issue is a misrepresentation of aggression because it's actually a legitimate recovery of expense for security that works.

 

I should have my wealth confiscated because a handful of people didn't participate enough in the system on an island? 

 

I'm willing to listen to counter arguments but your going to have to do better than forced participation insures the system will work.  It was a bad argument for Obamacare's individual mandate and it's worse for this.  

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I should have my wealth confiscated because a handful of people didn't participate enough in the system on an island? 

 

I'm willing to listen to counter arguments but your going to have to do better than forced participation insures the system will work.  It was a bad argument for Obamacare's individual mandate and it's worse for this.  

 

Again, my point is that the whole "confiscation/redistribution of wealth" argument is a misrepresentation of what taxation does.  Your wealth isn't confiscated or redistributed in matters of payment of debt.  This is money you owe for services rendered and you are morally obligated to pay for them to avoid getting something for nothing, i.e., violating the Trader Principle.  Taxation is essentially an automatic payment plan opted for by a majority of members of the household you reside in.

 

Look at the effort that goes into arguing against taxation.  Apparently taxation is evil because democracy is evil because enacting a majority vote is evil because being held accountable in any social context is evil.  We should all be free as anarchists in Voluntaryland, nevermind AR's view on taxation, cited by myself et al, which explicitly states we "would and should" pay for services rendered a la insurance.  A policy holder does't get to choose not to pay for the insurance he receives.

 

I would respectfully suggest that instead of being willing to listen to "counter arguments" to the morality of actions that are necessary to the preservation of a right to life, you might begin to question the stock rebuttal that taxation=aggression when it requires misrepresenting and dismissing those voluntary actions that define, enact and maintain the financial means of hanging around long enough to make improvements to the system.

 

Individual mandates would be a wonderful place to start, provided we can at least agree that reality is the only credible source of what individuals must do to survive in this world.

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I should have my wealth confiscated because a handful of people didn't participate enough in the system on an island? 

 

I'm willing to listen to counter arguments but your going to have to do better than forced participation insures the system will work.  It was a bad argument for Obamacare's individual mandate and it's worse for this.  

 

There's thousands of years of precedent for forced participation working. Take the last 230 here in the USA...

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So, the reason we should be forced to pay for government is because without government we wouldn't have the privilege to be forced to pay in the first place?

 

Your use of the term privilege is well chosen.  It is your privilege to live in a country that secures your right to life.  It is not your privilege (or right) to expect private or public security without payment for that service.  Taxation is the current means of obtaining a service which you "would and should" pay for in any case.  And you certainly don't have to accept or live under the shelter of this government.  It remains your right to alter or abolish it, or wander off into the desert.

 

You simply have to persuade a majority of share holders of your viable alternative and act on your convictions.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Well, at least you admitted it openly. The entire basis of Objectivism is that you've got the right to do with yourself as you please. Government comes second to that. Your argument here is switching those two.

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Well, at least you admitted it openly. The entire basis of Objectivism is that you've got the right to do with yourself as you please. Government comes second to that. Your argument here is switching those two.

 

This again misrepresents the reality of the situation.  How does choosing government to secure my right to life, or choosing to alter or abolish it, or to freely run away from home and take my chances anywhere else on this planet, suggest in any way that I am not acting primarily on my right live as I please?  The false premise you are asserting is that some dark coat with sunglasses will inevitably drag you back and force you to ramain a taxpayer. 

 

Phooey!

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Again, my point is that the whole "confiscation/redistribution of wealth" argument is a misrepresentation of what taxation does.  Your wealth isn't confiscated or redistributed in matters of payment of debt.  This is money you owe for services rendered and you are morally obligated to pay for them to avoid getting something for nothing, i.e., violating the Trader Principle.  Taxation is essentially an automatic payment plan opted for by a majority of members of the household you reside in.

 

Look at the effort that goes into arguing against taxation.  Apparently taxation is evil because democracy is evil because enacting a majority vote is evil because being held accountable in any social context is evil.  We should all be free as anarchists in Voluntaryland, nevermind AR's view on taxation, cited by myself et al, which explicitly states we "would and should" pay for services rendered a la insurance.  A policy holder does't get to choose not to pay for the insurance he receives.

 

I would respectfully suggest that instead of being willing to listen to "counter arguments" to the morality of actions that are necessary to the preservation of a right to life, you might begin to question the stock rebuttal that taxation=aggression when it requires misrepresenting and dismissing those voluntary actions that define, enact and maintain the financial means of hanging around long enough to make improvements to the system.

 

Individual mandates would be a wonderful place to start, provided we can at least agree that reality is the only credible source of what individuals must do to survive in this world.

 

OK DA, let's question the argument instead as you suggest:

 

"Again, my point is that the whole "confiscation/redistribution of wealth" argument is a misrepresentation of what taxation does.  Your wealth isn't confiscated or redistributed in matters of payment of debt.  This is money you owe for services rendered..."

 

A services is something I choose to purchase. I do not choose to be taxed.

 

"... and you are morally obligated to pay for them to avoid getting something for nothing, i.e., violating the Trader Principle."

 

Morality deals with choices we make, and as established I did not choose to be taxed.  Morality ends where the barrel of a gun begins. 

 

The trader principles is exactly about two consenting adults choosing to trade.  Not one forcing the other.  

 

"Taxation is essentially an automatic payment plan opted for by a majority of members of the household you reside in."

 

Classical collectivist justification for mob rules - See my points above for choice vs. Force.  

 

"Look at the effort that goes into arguing against taxation.  "

 

Look at the excuses people make to justify force.  The 20th Century is a testament to such compromises. 

 

"Apparently taxation is evil because democracy is evil because enacting a majority vote is evil because being held accountable in any social context is evil.  "

 

You do understand the difference between a Democracy and a Constitutional Republic, right?  

 

"We should all be free as anarchists in Voluntaryland, nevermind AR's view on taxation, cited by myself et al, which explicitly states we "would and should" pay for services rendered a la insurance.  "

 

I have no idea what this means.  Evidently advocating a free society backed by moral law (aka Constitution) = Anarchy.  

 

 

"A policy holder does't get to choose not to pay for the insurance he receives."

 

A policy holder chooses the policy and agrees to the payment option at the time.  Thank you for making the point.  

 

"Individual mandates would be a wonderful place to start, provided we can at least agree that reality is the only credible source of what individuals must do to survive in this world."

 

Reality and the desire to live is why I choose not to settle for a life without choice and voluntary association

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There's thousands of years of precedent for forced participation working. Take the last 230 here in the USA...

 

At least we are at the fundamental of the argument and here is the impasse. 

 

I simply will not agree to continuing thousands of years of force because of expediency or the lack of will to move beyond it. 

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It's really not your job to choose for someone else what's good for him or not, which is implicit in your forced taxation argument.

 

My argument for taxation is that capitalism requires a stable government for security and that government requires stable funding.  My job has been to sort through all the "evidence" being presented of what is or isn't possible in order to present support for my argument.  Any "implicit" statements you assign to me beyond that are of your own creation.

 

It's certainly not my job to prove some voluntary method of securing a right to life is possible.  That's your claim and responsibility to provide evidence for that isn't inevitably contradicted by what follows such experiments with freedom from government and the taxes that fund it.  Let me know if you ever get around to addressing that.  You might begin by distinguishing the moral consequences of not doing what you "should and would" with taxes as opposed to, oh I dunno, say an insurance policy?

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The two of you have obviously thought about this a lot and are very passionate about it.  Instead of telling us how voluntary funding will not work, how about you put that passion to work in coming up with some ideas to come as close as possible?

 

Did it ever occur to you to find the line and work towards that?  Instead of saying no, you say yes "but I think we have to draw the line here".  I think if you laid out that line everyone here would agree it would certainly be better than where we are at right now.  Possibly, through the process, with the largely tax free society and the minimum forced taxation you advocate, others can help improve upon the model to take it the rest of the way (or even prove you right).

 

I mean, we agree on a lot here actually so moving the conversation to what we can do might really open up the concept.  

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OK DA, let's question the argument instead as you suggest:

 

"Again, my point is that the whole "confiscation/redistribution of wealth" argument is a misrepresentation of what taxation does.  Your wealth isn't confiscated or redistributed in matters of payment of debt.  This is money you owe for services rendered..."

 

A services is something I choose to purchase. I do not choose to be taxed.

 

...

 

Is it not a fact that your first payment followed your first purchase?  Did someone hold a gun to your head forcing you to be a consumer??

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The two of you have obviously thought about this a lot and are very passionate about it.  Instead of telling us how voluntary funding will not work, how about you put that passion to work in coming up with some ideas to come as close as possible?

 

Did it ever occur to you to find the line and work towards that?  Instead of saying no, you say yes "but I think we have to draw the line here".  I think if you laid out that line everyone here would agree it would certainly be better than where we are at right now.  Possibly, through the process, with the largely tax free society and the minimum forced taxation you advocate, others can help improve upon the model to take it the rest of the way (or even prove you right).

 

I mean, we agree on a lot here actually so moving the conversation to what we can do might really open up the concept.  

 

Good advice.  I suggest moving the line beyond the presumption that taxes are evil just because they happen to be what got us to this point.

 

I think everyone here can agree that doing what one "would and should" do regarding payment for services rendered means pay for what you get, or at least, you get what you pay for.  Not to speak for CrowEpistemologist, but implying that you can receive security for a right to life and choose not to pay for it, as the term voluntary is understood to mean, is a nonstarter.

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Working with your premise that everyone needs government and life without government isn't worth living, so much so that we should force everyone to pay for government for his own good, is it safe to assume that you believe most people will come to understand this same viewpoint? If so, would most people then want government? If so, wouldn't non-payers be the minority?

If so, are you saying that forcing the majority to pay whatever is mandated to them is worth violating their rights through force, so that the minority don't violate the rights of the paying majority, by not paying?

Do you not see the cotradition of banding together with the purpose of protecting each individual's right to his own life, all the while violating that same principle by making him band together against his will?

Edited by JASKN
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  Not to speak for CrowEpistemologist, but implying that you can receive security for a right to life and choose not to pay for it, as the term voluntary is understood to mean, is a nonstarter.

This conjures images of Washington, Jefferson, Paine, - who originally purchased their freedom, and if you ask me, it was done so, in part, voluntarily. The only involuntary part I see in that equation is what drove them from without to drive them from within.

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Do you not see the cotradition of banding together with the purpose of protecting each individual's right to his own life, all the while violating that same principle by making him band together against his will?

Not to derail the topic, but the tying in with American history, I've seen plausible argument that the south was made to band together against theirs via the Civil War. Albeit, I've recently heard a plausible case for the other side of that as well.

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