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Retaliatory force is a concept that refers to a broader set of actions than does self defense. Self defense is limited to the actions that are immediately necessary to keep the material values you already have: your life, health and property. Retaliatory force is the basis of law and refers to those actions necessary to achieve justice: returning stolen property, pursuing and punishing criminals, and the actions of the military. Retaliatory force includes the force used in self defense as a defined and regulated sub-category because it is justice to defend yourself from assault and robbery. It is not self defense but is retaliation to cruise around your neighborhood trying to figure out who vandalized your car so you can beat him up. No private citizen has the right to enact his own private vengeance, but the law can and must mete out punishments.

Let me see if I can untangle this.

In your view, self-defense is a species of retaliatory force which is a "broader set of actions."

The individual, in your view, has the right of self-defense - a delimited use of retaliatory force on the personal or individual level; not a form of governmental retaliatory action - but the individual does not have the right to use retaliatory force beyond that of self-defense which you define or delimit as force "limited to the actions that are immediately necessary to keep the material values you already have: your life, health and property."

Beyond force used in self-defense, retaliatory force, in your view, also includes governmental actions, "those actions necessary to achieve justice: returning stolen property, pursuing and punishing criminals, and the actions of the military." And as well, retaliatory force, in your view, also includes vigilantism: cruising "around your neighborhood trying to figure out who vandalized your car so you can beat him up.

In brief, your view is that the "broader set of actions" that are retaliatory force include:

1. Self-defense (a delimited but proper use of retaliatory force on a personal or individual level; not government action)

2. Government action to achieve justice (proper use of retaliatory force, but retaliatory force beyond that of the limits of self-defense)

3. Vigilantism (improper use of retaliatory force)

I assume that you agree that the right of self-defense is a necessary corollary of individual rights, that the justification of the right of self-defense is the individual's right to life, which, as Miss Rand makes clear, is the fundamental right: "There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life." Individual Rights; "Man's Rights"

Now, since you limit the right to self-defense to being "limited to the actions that are immediately necessary to keep the material values you already have: your life, health and property," I take it that you disagree with Miss Rand when she says, "The individual does possess the right of self-defense and that is the right which he delegates to the government, for the purpose of an orderly, legally defined enforcement." (Self-Defense; "America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business," Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 46.)

So I am curious, in your view, on what basis is it proper for the government to engage in the use of retaliatory force, the non-self-defense use of retaliatory force?

Your answer, I infer from what you have said, cannot be the individual's right of self-defense (or therefore the individual's right to life given that the right of self-defense is a corollary of that fundamental right) as you've delimited the right of self-defense to the right to take only "the actions that are immediately necessary to keep the material values you already have: your life, health and property," or non-governmental retaliatory force on an individual or personal level, such as, presumably, using force oneself to stop a mugger when the police are not there and able to stop the mugger on your behalf.

Edited by Trebor
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YOU CANNOT CLAIM TO HAVE THE MORE REASONABLE ARGUMENTS AND THE GUN TO COMPEL ME TO SUBMIT TO YOU SIMULTANEOUSLY. If I don't agree that society must be forced to pay for government services, that doe

The alternative is that -- in its most core functions -- the government protects all people in its jurisdiction, those who pay, those who don't pay, foreigners visiting the country. I think the re

Saying I can be forced to pay money by being out-voted is a collectivist bate and switch tactic.  Morality is not subject to mathematics or any form of aggregate.  It's the old two lions and a lamb vo

Law enforcement and military defense are services provided by paid agents under contract. Failure to pay policemen, soldiers and their suppliers would be a unilateral breach of contract and an indirect use of force. Therefore: Pay your taxes.

When a government is not restricted to its proper functions it is beyond the bounds of its contract and is then in fact the initiator of force when it tries to collect taxes for services never agreed to.

The difference between taxation and voluntary contributions is the absence of consent. If you are in favor of taxation, you are not looking for consent. If you are looking for a signed contract from every individual you plan on collecting money from, that is not taxation, that is contract enforcement.

Which is it? Are you saying individuals may only be forced to pay any money if they have consented to doing so, by signing a contract, or are you saying no consent is necessary for the government to collect money from an individual?

There is no third option. There is no such thing as an implicit or inherent contract, nor is there such a thing as voluntary agreement through democratic elections. Voluntary agreement is the prerogative of an individual, a majority cannot agree to something for any individuals.

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You're proposing forced expropriation of my wealth. I've pleaded that you stop that and instead appeal to my faculty of reason. And I've declared that I will defend what I've earned from you if you try to bypass my reason. You simply ignore me? That is astonishing to me. That this thread has gone on as long as it has without someone becoming visibly upset as I am, I regard that as an embarrassment. I'm sorry if that is harsh, or you think I'm not treating your arguments with enough respect. It is only because you are declaring that mankind in general should not be allowed to reason independently from you. You, who have read some history books, and think you have learned from them that I can not be trusted to provide for my own security. That you and anyone else who has read the same books must provide it for me against my will. Why can't I provide for my own security? I haven't read those books, so I don't understand and I'm not prepared to spend what it takes to keep my freedom? Nonsense.

If you quote some of the things that Grames is saying, I think there is a good chance that he will respond to your posts.

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The difference between taxation and voluntary contributions is the absence of consent. If you are in favor of taxation, you are not looking for consent. If you are looking for a signed contract from every individual you plan on collecting money from, that is not taxation, that is contract enforcement.

Which is it? Are you saying individuals may only be forced to pay any money if they have consented to doing so, by signing a contract, or are you saying no consent is necessary for the government to collect money from an individual?

There is no third option. There is no such thing as an implicit or inherent contract, nor is there such a thing as voluntary agreement through democratic elections. Voluntary agreement is the prerogative of an individual, a majority cannot agree to something for any individuals.

I was going to ask if this is what he meant by consent and I agree with you on the matter.

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This fails because only a small portion of your rights are delegated to government and only a small portion of your money is required to fund it. Conscription is the ultimate confiscatory tax and could only be justified by delegating additional rights to the government, rights which an objectively defined limited government cannot accept.

Grames is correct: we have to accept compulsory revenue collection for as long as there is a serious threat to our freedoms. Which means, needless to say, in any conceivable future.

Rights are not "intrinsic,” i.e., they are not a universal attribute, a magic shield presented to every human on the hour of his birth. Instead they are a function of social behavior: a feature that comes only from complex arrangements that obtain from men acting through reason and self-interest.

In short, rights are contextual.

It is nothing less than obscene to raise objections to assessments imposed on the beneficiaries of a free society in this age of Al Qaeda suicide bombers, Arab strongmen with fissile material, and Korean communists who rule millions in a state of living death.

The fact that we are permitted to engage in this conversation now is only by virtue of the legions of courageous men and women serving us in uniform, our nuclear-tipped warheads, our dozens of intelligence agencies, and our unsurpassed spy stations in orbit.

Not one item in this awesome arsenal would be possible if financed by national lotteries or voluntary deduction from one’s paycheck.

Onkar Ghate wrote,

“If, however, in waging war our government considers the deaths of civilians in terrorist states as a cost that must be weighed against the deaths of our own soldiers (or civilians), or as a cost that must be weighed against achieving victory over the enemy, our government thereby violates its most basic function. It becomes not an agent for our self-defense, but theirs.”

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6418

Similarly, if the government grows more concerned with the intrinsicist fantasy of perfect individual rights than achieving an unbeatable national defense, it becomes an agent for those seeking America’s enslavement to mystics, monsters and maniacs.

I disagree with Grames only on this point: his stipulation that “only a small portion of your money” be surrendered. Again, context is everything. If necessary to keep the red boot of North Korea off our faces, the government should take 90% of our income. I believe Ayn Rand once said something like this to John Hospers.

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Let me see if I can untangle this.

In your view, self-defense is a species of retaliatory force which is a "broader set of actions."

This is an excellent response because it zeroes in on the issue of what is the definition of self defense. Your summary of my position is accurate up to the point where you inferred that I disagreed with Ayn Rand.

Distinguishing self defense from the broader retaliatory actions of the criminal justice system and the military is only possible if there is an existing criminal justice system and military to provide that context. In the absence of a government the only kind of justice available is that provided by vigilantism, and in that context vigilantism would not be improper. Once a government is formed then vigilantism is ruled out because it is incompatible with the principles of objective law. The reason self defense has the narrower definition under a government is because that is the only scope permitted to it by law. The legal restrictions on individual self defense do not apply to the law or military. The law and military are justified on ethical grounds not a kind of circular argument presupposing a legal system and the narrow legal definition of self defense.

In that sentence from "America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business," Ayn Rand is using self defense as the general term for all ethical force in the absence of a government. Searching for the justification of government involves imagining there is no government and then asking why anyone would create one. That is the Randian method which she uses to investigate what are values and why do we need them, what are concepts and what do they do for us, and even what is philosophy and who needs it. This definitional issue is an example of how the principle of two definitions can trip up the unwary. There is a factual basis that self defense refers to as an impartial and objective definition, and then a narrower definition where those same facts are integrated with a standard of what is proper. Lecture 3 of Unity in Epistemology and Ethics covers this principle.

The justification of government is that it does what an individual would find necessary to do in the absence of a government, but it does it better because of the principle of objective law, the economies of scale and the benefits of specialization and division of labor. Self defense does name what an individual would find necessary to do in the absence of a government, but once there is a government the scope of self defense narrows because government is intended to narrow the permissible scope of individual use of physical force to make it conform to objective law.

So yes, once there is a government and the scope of proper self defense is narrowed then retaliatory force is broader. Without a government, there is no basis to make a distinction between retaliatory force and self defense because they refer to the same actions and are effectively synonyms.

I think it is helpful to add as an aside (not a refutation of anything or anybody) an analysis of vengeance and vigilantism from the perspective of rights.

Rights are inalienable. Self defense is a right, and when it is delegated to the government it is not also alienated from the individual but remains with him. Is it a clue then that vengeance is not a right because when it is delegated it is alienated with no part remaining behind? I think that is true but a poor and confusing analysis which might lead to the incorrect conclusion that government does not have a delegated right to imprison criminals or wage war. Vengeance and vigilantism considered as improper acts are actually stolen concepts applied to a state of anarchy because it is only the possibility of a proper act by a government that makes an evaluation of an act as improper possible. What does exist even in anarchy are inalienable rights and the principle of justice and it is from these that the justification of government is drawn.

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There is no third option. There is no such thing as an implicit or inherent contract, nor is there such a thing as voluntary agreement through democratic elections. Voluntary agreement is the prerogative of an individual, a majority cannot agree to something for any individuals.

You might want to check that. Implied contracts exist when offer and acceptance are made, and none of the defenses against contract are present. Wikipedia Contract: Offer and Acceptance.

However, given that there is a diversity of scope in human intellectual capacities, it might actually be a good idea have something concrete for people to sign upon reaching the age of adulthood.

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I would say, "initiation of force is wrong, therefore forced taxation is wrong"....

...[H]ow would you state your operating principle?

At the ethical (personal) level an initiation of force against you imposes a cost. Either you surrender to the superior force and they take what they want or you pay the cost of resisting in time, effort, and expenses. If no one happens to initiate force then the cost never manifests.

At the political level the creation of a government entails forethought, planning and a continuing expenditure of money to provide for a military capability, payroll for civil servants, managing government property and payment of national debts. The government is continually resolving conflicts both foreign and domestic on the basis of its monopoly on retributive force. The government merely transfers the real costs imposed by the actual initiators of force to its taxpayers.

A government that forswears the power to tax will be a failure either by dissolving due to internal chaos within the territory it is supposed to govern or will be unequal to the challenge of the first collectivist government that is willing to ruin its own population in order to conquer.

I understand your argument, but I still cannot find a fundamental principle behind it. Since I believe that you are incorrect in your premise that a government is forever destined to fail should it be organized around a non-coercive funding principle, I'm compelled to ask you to, as Miss Rand would say, "check your premises".

What I'm looking for is the fundamental in your argument. You must be moored to something, correct? Trying myself to play devil's advocate for your argument, I cannot formulate a principle without sacrificing the individual to the collective.

Remember, the founding of America was considered (by the founders) and experiment. There was no history of successful self-government. ("A republic, if you can keep it..." and such)

"We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government." James Madison

I would submit that you, being unable to resolve the concretes of how a voluntarily financed society could work, have left a more primary issue unresolved. That being an objective principle. Instead of my own restating of the principle at work here, I'll quote Rand directly:

From: Ayn Rand - Government Financing in a Free Society

"What the advocates of a fully free society have to know, at present, is only the principle by which that goal can be achieved.

The principle of voluntary government financing rests on the following premises: that the government is
not
the owner of the citizens’ income and, therefore, cannot hold a blank check on that income—that the nature of the proper governmental services must be constitutionally defined and delimited, leaving the government no power to enlarge the scope of its services at its own arbitrary discretion. Consequently, the principle of voluntary government financing regards the government as the servant, not the ruler, of the citizens—as an
agent
who must be paid for his services, not as a benefactor whose services are gratuitous, who dispenses something for nothing.

...

The premise to check (and to challenge) in this context is the primordial notion that any governmental services (even the legitimate ones) should be given to the citizens gratuitously. In order fully to translate into practice the American concept of the government as a
servant
of the citizens, one has to regard the government as a
paid servant
. Then, on that basis, one can proceed to devise the appropriate means of tying government revenues directly to the government services rendered."

It is your counter to this passage which I'm not clear on.

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"The principle of voluntary government financing rests on the following premises: that the government is not the owner of the citizens’ income and, therefore, cannot hold a blank check on that income—that the nature of the proper governmental services must be constitutionally defined and delimited, leaving the government no power to enlarge the scope of its services at its own arbitrary discretion. Consequently, the principle of voluntary government financing regards the government as the servant, not the ruler, of the citizens—as an agent who must be paid for his services, not as a benefactor whose services are gratuitous, who dispenses something for nothing..."

I think the response that I might make to this statement is to, first of all, agree completely with the first half of it. The government should never have the power to arbitrarily increase the tax burden or hold a "blank check" on the income of a citizen. However, I don't think anyone here is proposing such a thing. Why is it not possible to have a constitutionally defined and delimited government with the power to tax also being constitutionally limited? You might say that it is impossible to restrain such a government from expanding its powers past what is defined in any constitution, but I don't see how this problem disappears if you write a constitution eliminating taxation; then it'll be just one more thing the government could overstep on. Our government today engages in many activities expressly forbidden in the Constitution.

I think that the principle that government needs to be a "paid servant" does not immediately lead to the principle of voluntary taxation. It seems to me an open question whether or not collective action problems render it impossible for a good like national defense to be provided entirely through voluntary contributions. If this is indeed an open question, and if ought implies can, I don't think you can make a statement that the government ought to provide national defense without the power to tax. At the very least, some preliminary evidence that this is even possible would be required. If anyone is actually interested in the evidence, people working in the field of public choice economics often examine such questions of collective action and public goods and such. If you have university library access, just search the journal "Public Choice" for these subjects and you'll find a lot.

Just a note, I'm more thinking out loud here than laying out an argument that I've thought all the way through, but with any morality which does not require the impossible, it is vitally important to ensure that every resulting position actually is possible, and the only way to do so is with actual evidence.

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Let people be free. You say you came to your conclusions after reading history. Well, after you share that history with everyone, everyone will voluntarily adopt whatever scheme you've concluded is necessary, correct. If you can figure it out, then we all can. Therefore, there is no need to confiscate what you need for your scheme by force, correct?

I think you need to be careful with this line of argument. The whole reason we need government in the first place is that some people wish to live irrationally, by taking what they want by force. If a rational argument was all that was needed to get everyone in the country to do something, we wouldn't need police in the first place.

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Why is it not possible to have a constitutionally defined and delimited government with the power to tax also being constitutionally limited?

That is possible. It is pretty much what we have... (but surely not limited enough to my liking)

What you have to resolve is the justification for claiming WITHOUT consent an individuals income. Consider the following:

What of the grumpy old man that says, "5%?!? You want 5%? My income is 20x more than the guy next door. I live a humble life. Why should I pay 20x more than him? I don't agree to this. I never have! I donate five time more than his 5% anyway, because I choose too! And you demand 15 times more?! No. I've given plenty!"

Now what?

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What you have to resolve is the justification for claiming WITHOUT consent an individuals income.

That question of justification is precisely what I'm exploring. Grames has been arguing (as I understand his posts) that it is not possible for a government to both provide an adequate national defense and fund itself purely through voluntary contributions. I see no a priori reason to agree or disagree with this claim; it seems like an empirical question to me. What I'm saying is that if, after the evidence is examined, it becomes apparent that his claim is correct and a government with both of those features is not possible, then you cannot hold that form of government as a moral ideal. The practical is the moral, and morality does not demand the impossible. If collective action and free rider problems necessitate a choice between voluntary funding only and national defense, advocating a government which does both divorces morality from reality.

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... I see no a priori reason to agree or disagree with this claim; it seems like an empirical question to me. What I'm saying is that if, after the evidence is examined, it becomes apparent that his claim is correct and a government with both of those features is not possible, then you cannot hold that form of government as a moral ideal.

That is an impossible if to prove. How could one objectively argue that individuals with free will could never provide for their own defense without some of those individuals having to submit to force? I wouldn't spend too much time trying to figure out how something like this could "never" be.

As for holding to the moral ideal of true Capitalism, A.R. goes into some detail in the opening chapter of Capitalism the Unknown Ideal "What is Capitalism?"

"The objective theory of values is the only moral theory incompatible with rule by force. Capitalism is the only system based implicitly on an objective theory of values—and the historic tragedy is that this has never been made explicit

If one knows that the good is
objective
i.e.,
determined by the nature of reality, but to be discovered by man's mind—one knows that an attempt to achieve the good by physical force is a monstrous contradiction which negates morality at its root by destroying man's capacity to recognize the good,
i.e.,
his capacity to value."

I don't want to over-quote, and there is much more if you take another look at that chapter with this debate in mind. Grames' argument finally hinges on man's inability to value his own life enough to protect it without being forced to.

(That statement might take us off course... but don't leave my grumpy old man up there hangin'... What do we tell him? His argument is reasonable, is it not?)

Edited by freestyle
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That is an impossible if to prove. How could one objectively argue that individuals with free will could never provide for their own defense without some of those individuals having to submit to force? I wouldn't spend too much time trying to figure out how something like this could "never" be.

...

Grames' argument finally hinges on man's inability to value his own life enough to protect it without being forced to.

I don't think physical impossibility of voluntary funding is really the issue. Let me draw a comparison to make what I mean clear.

It would be physically possible for everyone in society to realize that they have nothing to gain by initiating force against others and simply stop doing it. There's nothing inherent in the nature of the universe or of man that says mankind is doomed unavoidably to having members who will violate the rights of others. Despite this physical possibility, I think it is objectively demonstrable that a police force designed to deal with rights-violators is a necessity of a free society. Even though individuals with free will are perfectly capable of refraining from the initiation of force in all their relationships, it is not feasible to design a society based on this possibility. We will always need a police force, because we cannot depend on appeals to self-interest to prevent rights violations.

If national defense is a similar situation, where it is not feasible to expect that individuals in society can be relied upon to contribute enough to government for national defense, then it's possible that taxation may be necessary in the same way that a police force is necessary.

Now, don't get me wrong. I would much rather live in a society with no taxation, where the national defense was supported completely by voluntary contributions and we could be sure that this would be sufficient. I'd also like to live in a society where other individuals understood that initiation of force was bad for everyone and we therefore didn't need a police force. What I'm saying is that the second is not a feasible option anytime in the near future, and I'm inquiring whether the first one is either.

Also, I'm not exactly sure what point you're trying to make with your "old man." If you're just trying to ask how I could justify any particular amount of taxation, I would appeal to the reason for that taxation and the costs of the services that are objectively necessary for society. If you're asking about a particular schema of taxation, I have not put one forth as superior and I don't plan to.

Edited by Dante
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Let me draw a comparison to make what I mean clear...

That is no comparison though. Having a police force is consistent with the principle of barring the initiation of force in a rational society.

"... it's possible that taxation may be necessary in the same way that a police force is necessary."

It is most definitely not the same thing. We agree that taxation is force initiated. A police force is intended to protect the citizens from acts of force.

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That is no comparison though. Having a police force is consistent with the principle of barring the initiation of force in a rational society.

So the police never initiate force against innocent people in the course of doing their jobs? They never enter property without the owner's permission unless they know he's a rights violator? I don't think it's as simple as you make it out to be.

It's great that you'd like to bar the initiation of physical force in relationships. I would too. What I'm asking here is whether or not it's possible.

Edited by Dante
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Trying myself to play devil's advocate for your argument, I cannot formulate a principle without sacrificing the individual to the collective.

Please explain where is the sacrifice here? Remember, the hypothetical government in question is properly restricted in the scope of its activities so presumably you do consent to what it does. The only way you can not consent is to repudiate the entire principle of government and be an anarchist and go off to live in the woods somewhere. And if you did that, then why would the government chase you since you have no taxable activity? To claim to not consent while continuing to live within civilization would be an outrageous hypocrisy.

Also, I do not see any feasible manner to have national defense paid for as a direct service. It cannot be parceled up and sold piecemeal to individuals.

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So the police never initiate force against innocent people in the course of doing their jobs?

If they do it, it is wrong.

Police are to be bound by objective rules of evidence. They operate, properly, in the realm of retaliatory force. If they initiate force against the innocent, that is a violation of that innocent person's rights. Is it not?

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Please explain where is the sacrifice here? Remember, the hypothetical government in question is properly restricted in the scope of its activities so presumably you do consent to what it does.

Then you've changed your position. If I'm consenting to it, I have no problem with it.

The sacrifice comes when I don't consent. See the grumpy old man above that doesn't like the percentage of income system of taxation. In another system, we may find an individual who is a conscientious objector to what he feels is unreasonable attempts at expanding the military beyond what he agrees is necessary for his own protection. An equal fee from everyone perhaps? "I didn't earn that much, what do I do?"

We'll all shop at the big successful companies like Home Depot though. In that voluntary system we may be indirectly funding these services, but with the option to patronize the institutions and business we choose.

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Police are to be bound by objective rules of evidence. They operate, properly, in the realm of retaliatory force. If they initiate force against the innocent, that is a violation of that innocent person's rights. Is it not?

Certainly they're to be bound in that way. But evidence is not always conclusive and the judgment of police isn't always right. Therefore, it would be improper to hold the police to a standard whereby they have acted immorally if they mistakenly break into someone's home looking for, say, a kidnap victim when they had just cause to believe the person was there. Taking a realistic look at what the police need to do in order to operate means acknowledging that as stated, barring physical force from all human relationships is an impossible goal. The rules of evidence by which the police operate attempt to minimize it by on the one hand restricting police officers from breaking into homes on a whim, and on the other hand allowing enough discretion for them to stop crimes occurring on private property, when they have a reasonable amount of evidence that such is occurring. On one extreme the police are ineffectual and rights violations are rampant, and on the other extreme policemen are laws unto themselves and rights violations are rampant. There is no set of evidence rules that will completely stop rights violations. I think that if one is to advocate the elimination of all taxation by citing the goal of "barring physical force from human relationships," one needs to support the fact that that goal is in fact possible. It may be the case that minimizing physical force in human relationships requires some finite level of taxation.

This is a different comparison than the one I originally wanted to draw, which was to support the idea that we cannot design a governmental structure which relies fundamentally on people voluntarily recognizing their own long-term, rational self-interest. If we could do that, we wouldn't need police in the first place. In that regard, your distinction between the police as an institution compatible with barring physical force was missing my previous point. The fact that we both agree that we need police in the first place is evidence that we can't rely on convincing everyone else in society as a prerequisite to our chosen form of government. We need a form of government that works even when others are irrational.

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What you have to resolve is the justification for claiming WITHOUT consent an individuals income. Consider the following:

What of the grumpy old man that says, "5%?!? You want 5%? My income is 20x more than the guy next door. I live a humble life. Why should I pay 20x more than him? I don't agree to this. I never have! I donate five time more than his 5% anyway, because I choose too! And you demand 15 times more?! No. I've given plenty!"

Now what?

This is making unwarranted assumptions about the form of the taxation. There is no reason why receipts for donations cannot be used to offset taxes IF there are income taxes.

Observe the basic principle governing justice in all these cases: it is the principle that no man may obtain any values from others without the owners' consent—and, as a corollary, <cui_334> that a man's rights may not be left at the mercy of the decision, the arbitrary choice, the irrationality, the whim of another man.
This sentence can be read with the perspective of a taxpayer in mind, automatically casting the tax collector into the role of the arbitrary, irrational, whim worshipping Attila resorting to legalized theft. But it can also be read with the perspective in mind of the government employee doing the job properly and getting stiffed by some arbitrary, irrational, whim worshipping cranky old man. Even an employee of a private business does not get paid at the whim of the employer. He may get fired at the whim of the employer, but time on the job will be paid for voluntarily or involuntarily.

This also applies to holders of government bonds. If the bond is not paid then what has happened is theft, an initiation of force. Whether or not there is money to pay off the bond should not be left to the caprice of cranky old men.

Edited by Grames
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So the police never initiate force against innocent people in the course of doing their jobs? They never enter property without the owner's permission unless they know he's a rights violator? I don't think it's as simple as you make it out to be.

It's great that you'd like to bar the initiation of physical force in relationships. I would too. What I'm asking here is whether or not it's possible.

It is very simple. This is an objection some libertarians have to government because the thought goes, then if any police enters anyone's property when guilt has not been proved 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt then the police can't operate without initiating force routinely. You say, well then it's okay that the police do this, but then libertarians who think they are consistent say, well then there should be no government and private police can never even enter a house unless guilt is established beforehand.

But it is you who are asking for the impossible. Man must act on the basis of his knowledge, he is not omniscient. As he gains knowledge, or in this case evidence of a rights-violating crime, then his epistemological certainty increases. But the point is, it is not either "I have no idea if this guy committed this crime, so I'm just going to kick his door in and see what happens" or "I know for absolutely sure that this man is guilty." There exists a state of "I am reasonably certain that this man probably is guilty." That is the basis for an objective probable cause for arrest. If the police do nab the wrong guy, then they can reimburse him for any damages caused.

Otherwise, the reductio ad absurdum of the position that the police initiating force is just inevitable would be that trials then are pointless, then government itself would be pointless and we are in a Hobbesian state of war of all against all. The whole point of government is to establish these objective rules that make the use of retaliatory force organized as to minimize the initiation of force to the least possible amount, given human error. Certainly no justification for legalized plunder.

I would also like someone from the "taxation is necessary for a government" side to explain what logical defense they have against the reductio ad absurdum for the draft or indeed ultimately a command economy in the name of "protecting rights more efficiently." You obviously cannot then invoke a contradiction of "violating rights to protect rights."

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I would also like someone from the "taxation is necessary for a government" side to explain what logical defense they have against the reductio ad absurdum for the draft or indeed ultimately a command economy in the name of "protecting rights more efficiently." You obviously cannot then invoke a contradiction of "violating rights to protect rights."

Trebor already tried that in post #57. I responded in post #60.

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You might want to check that. Implied contracts exist when offer and acceptance are made, and none of the defenses against contract are present. Wikipedia Contract: Offer and Acceptance.

However, given that there is a diversity of scope in human intellectual capacities, it might actually be a good idea have something concrete for people to sign upon reaching the age of adulthood.

I wouldn't sign anything like that (because it doesn't sound like a contract, with specific moneys and services being exchanged, nor does it contain reasonable time limits after which I can change my mind about any kind of arrangement). Does that mean you would refrain from initiating force against me, or are you still hellbent on disregarding my rational mind, and using my life as a means to your political ends?

Also (if your answer to the first question is that my decision matters), what happens next? May I turn to someone else for a similar service, or will I be left defenseless, with your "government" denying me my right to self defense?

Please explain where is the sacrifice here?

Without choice, there is no morality. The sacrifice is the greatest imaginable, the thing being sacrificed is your victim's spiritual independence (and with it, his rational mind):

“Sacrifice” is the surrender of a greater value for the sake of a lesser one or of a nonvalue. Thus, altruism gauges a man’s virtue by the degree to which he surrenders, renounces or betrays his values (since help to a stranger or an enemy is regarded as more virtuous, less “selfish,” than help to those one loves). The rational principle of conduct is the exact opposite: always act in accordance with the hierarchy of your values, and never sacrifice a greater value to a lesser one.

This applies to all choices, including one’s actions toward other men. It requires that one possess a defined hierarchy of rational values (values chosen and validated by a rational standard). Without such a hierarchy, neither rational conduct nor considered value judgments nor moral choices are possible.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Trebor already tried that in post #57. I responded in post #60.

Oh okay. Yes, so my only delegated right to the government is the right of self-defense, then it does not logically follow that I delegated the specific portion of my income that you want me to delegate. In other words, I have not delegated the right to initiate force to the government. Of course, not only did it not follow, but the “right to initiate force” is a contradiction (given the Objectivist ethics here without having to go into detail.) So anyway, if I have no delegated 5% of my income (assuming at this point that “the Grames tax” is 5%), then it follows my delegated right of self-defense is being violated by the government's taxation regime.

Why couldn't a proper government simply just set a cost price for its functions and leave it to each individual whether to pay or not, while at the same time not leaving those non-payers unprotected. If this is ever to be implemented, it could only work in a society where rational people must be the majority in this scenario and there is absolutely no reason why they cannot just meet those costs by voluntarily parting with their money in any number of conceivable ways, indluding the voluntary funding of armed forces:

1. Defensive nature of armed forces under laissez-faire would greatly reduce costs as compared with today's nonobjective foriegn policy.

2. A country without taxation is richer and thus has much more capital accumulation and thus more wealth including credit to draw on for defending the country from an invader. (These are essentially my arguments in my post #12.)

3. Contractual program offering voluntary payment of war debt in various ways, ostracism for those who do not sign up. (This would not amount to nor require putting non-payers in jail.)

4. Selling of war bonds, not limited to just the property owners in the country under attack. Speculators would have plenty of reasons to bet on the free country to win.

5. Debt could be repaid if the proper government wins (if it loses, the whole problem is superfluous anyway) by liquidation of assets in the defeated country.

The only objection to be had at this point is that there just wouldn't be enough rational people.

Edited by 2046
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