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Can you craft a scenario wherein anybody realistically lives completely without any protection whatsoever from the government? Absolutely none?

I don't have to.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchy_in_the_United_States

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anarchist_communities

Above and beyond that, there's already a scenario devised in which everybody lives almost without a government: Galt's Gulch.  What was it Judge Narragansett said about the difficulty of peaceful coexistence?

 

What do we have a government to protect us from?  Foriegn invaders, internal criminals and essentially contractual breaches; civil court is only necessary when one or both parties refuses to negotiate voluntarily.

So the degree of governmental protection required is directly proportional to the number of irrational people one deals with (which is where the Judge's line becomes relevant, although I cannot remember precisely how it goes).

 

I'll make this brief:

To deny the possibility of a completely voluntarily peaceful society is to assert a form of Original Sin (specifically Innate Coercivity).

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Can you craft a scenario wherein anybody realistically lives completely without any protection whatsoever from the government? Absolutely none?

Yes.  A society in which nobody decides to initiate force.

 

In other words, by the very virtue of you living in the nice, safe USA, with police roaming around to protect your rights, courts, etc. etc. etc... you are using a great deal of expensive stuff.

Hypothetical scenario.

 

If I stole your car in the dead of night and brought it back a decade later, with another car for you, and claimed every right to do so because "you're benefitting from this second car I've brought" how would you respond?

If I anasthetized you and removed one of your kidneys, in order to "benefit" you with a million dollars, would that be alright?

 

What if I took everything you owned and liquidated it for a million dollars, in order to replace your failing kidney without permission?

---

 

Your conception of our "benefitting from the military," while that benefit is real, the consequent reasoning is an example of the "free rider" argument which conveniently drops the concept of "consent".

 

So maybe, technically, taxation is "voluntary" in that you can choose not to pay taxes by moving out of the USA and renouncing your citizenship lest you lay claim to the protections afforded every citizen. But that's your choice: pay taxes or leave the USA and all of your property in it.

Just as hanging out just beside a rock concert to hear the music, without paying for a ticket, should be prosecuted as theft.  Correct?

The implicit assumption here is that enjoying a certain benefit is identical to consenting to it, regardless of the cost.

 

The same reasoning would logically lead to outlawing junk food, to benefit the obese.  Since you've dropped consent from this conception it will necessarily lead to intrinsicism and, if implemented in reality, ultimately dictatorship.

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This actually isn't true. Rand repeatedly said that compulsory taxation is wrong, and Objectivism is opposed to it. How are you going to protect rights with an agency that is violating rights as a mea

I have no idea, but one could track down the references listed on the wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voluntary_taxation

A similar example: some economists will say that the free-market "rations" production one way, while a socialist state rations it a different way, but that national product has to be rationed out one

If you can claim the right to take my money, because your military protects the place I live, then I can also take your money for arbitrarily renovating your house- with or without permission!

And that's why the "free rider problem" is complete garbage.

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Which is all to say that a "completely voluntarily paid-for government" has the all of same fallacies as the various arguments for anarchism. Rights cannot exist outside of the context of a government to protect them.

And that's what I mean by "innate coercion."

Defense is only necessary in the context of an attack, whilst rights are necessary in any sort of disagreement from a war to a debate to a difference of tastes.  "Rights cannot exist without a government to protect them" means that, left to their own devices, not only will people revert to looting and raping and eating each other- but that they cannot do otherwise!

 

Where did she write that? I only recall Ayn Rand writing to the effect that thinking in terms of a specific taxation system is drastically premature, etc.

In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance.

-Ayn Rand, Government Financing in a Free Society

 

This also backs into a semantic issue: if there's a "fee" you are required to pay in order to be a citizen or resident of the USA--wherein you are free to not pay it and leave--then it's possible to not call that a "tax" since it's "voluntary".

The Mafia also had a system of "fees" which they wanted to be paid, although they left many people the opportunity to have their legs broken instead.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Which is all to say that a "completely voluntarily paid-for government" has the all of same fallacies as the various arguments for anarchism. Rights cannot exist outside of the context of a government to protect them.

 

Objectivism portends lower taxes, but not no taxes.

 

As others have pointed out, this is not true.

 

And, you are proposing an enormous contradiction: to say we need our rights protected, therefore, we are going to violate our rights to do so. That is the essence of your argument. People should and would contribute voluntarily (in a society where the trend is Objectivist), but you do not have the right to compel them to do so.

Edited by thenelli01
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As others have pointed out, this is not true.

 

And, you are proposing an enormous contradiction: to say we need our rights protected, therefore, we are going to violate our rights to do so. That is the essence of your argument. People should and would contribute voluntarily (in a society where the trend is Objectivist), but you do not have the right to compel them to do so.

 

So people have a right to mooch off of me? I pay for the cops and the military and they get protected even though they pay nothing?

 

People should pay for their own lives and not mooch off of others. What can be more Objectivist than that?

 

And yes, this does present a paradox, and I know not how to solve it...

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So people have a right to mooch off of me? I pay for the cops and the military and they get protected even though they pay nothing?

You get a just society. You wouldn't be flat out paying for their legal services, but yes, they would benefit by being in proximity of the system you help perpetuate. This is the same thing as the invisible ripple effect of benefit in the economy for those who don't directly buy every product. All people wind up richer. Edited by JASKN
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You get a just society. You wouldn't be flat out paying for their legal services, but yes, they would benefit by being in proximity of the system you help perpetuate. This is the same thing as the invisible ripple effect of benefit in the economy for those who don't directly buy every product. All people wind up richer.

 

Um... and this doesn't sound to you like the exact same arguments they made for Starnesville?

 

Who pays? Who doesn't? Why do some pay more and some pay less, or at all?

 

Certainly if one has already made their fortune, why would they invest anything to allow anybody else do the same? Why should I care if "we all wind up richer". Certainly if I pay for my portion of government services then I will get a just society for me. Other people's failure to pay means I pay more.

 

A volunteer system means that some can--and inevitably will--mooch off of others.

 

The alternative is that we tax people based on the services we democratically agree that we want and pay for those services insofar as we use them (viz. property value tax since more property = more protection; contract tax based on the value of the contract being protected; etc. etc.).

 

Both of these scenarios involve people being compelled to pay for something they do not necessarily want.

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The alternative is that we tax people based on the services we democratically agree that we want[...]

Both of these scenarios involve people being compelled to pay for something they do not necessarily want.

"Um... and this doesn't sound to you like the exact same arguments they made for Starnesville?"

I'm not at all filled with ideas about what exactly would go down in funding a government without taxation. Btw, there are loads of threads here which are filled with those ideas, you can easily search. It is clear to me, however, that compelled payment negates the purpose of the organization doing the compelling. You don't agree?

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"Um... and this doesn't sound to you like the exact same arguments they made for Starnesville?"

I'm not at all filled with ideas about what exactly would go down in funding a government without taxation. Btw, there are loads of threads here which are filled with those ideas, you can easily search. It is clear to me, however, that compelled payment negates the purpose of the organization doing the compelling. You don't agree?

 

Being compelled to pay for anything you don't (explicitly or implicitly) agree to pay for... sucks. No doubt. I just don't see any way out of it in any practical way. A volunteer system compels those who want the system to pay for those who also want it but don't wish to pay for it.

 

Also, in my own aggregated judgement, there's simply no way a volunteer system could scale to the size of the USA...

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I just don't see any way out of it in any practical way. A volunteer system compels those who want the system to pay for those who also want it but don't wish to pay for it.

Also, in my own aggregated judgement, there's simply no way a volunteer system could scale to the size of the USA...

It probably couldn't be implemented immediately in a country where half the population is accepting stolen money from the other half, everyone seems ok with that, and most of the population are oblivious about philosophy, individual rights, or much of any big ideas. We are, of course, speaking idealistically, since no such system has ever existed.

So in this ideal world with an intelligent, educated populace, the impracticality argument is pretty much nil. Knowing that humans need to be free, ideas would spring from that premise.

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Being compelled to pay for anything you don't (explicitly or implicitly) agree to pay for... sucks. No doubt. I just don't see any way out of it in any practical way. A volunteer system compels those who want the system to pay for those who also want it but don't wish to pay for it.

 

Equivocation much?

 

The fact is that it is in your interest to have a society that protects the rights of every individual even moochers. But again, as with the OP of this thread, you are context dropping. The dominant trend in a free society must be Objectivist to have a government funded by voluntary donations. So moochers won't be that much of an issue because the intellectual premises of society will hold government to be good and in man's self interest. Societal pressures, as well, will be a huge incentive to donate for those who don't want to.

 

So people have a right to mooch off of me? I pay for the cops and the military and they get protected even though they pay nothing?

 

People should pay for their own lives and not mooch off of others. What can be more Objectivist than that?

 

Yes, they have a right to mooch off someone who donates to a government designed to protect the rights of every individual. Just as I have the right to mooch off of soldiers who decide to fight for the freedom of every American citizen, while I stay home and go to school.

 

I agree that everyone should pay for their own lives and not mooch off of others. So, the proper response is to think of ways to eliminate or reduce the "problem" -- unless your argument is that government should only protect the rights of people who pay into the system. But, if your argument is "I can't think of any ways to eliminate the mooching problem, therefore, no solution exists and voluntary taxation can't work," then I think that argument falls on its own.

Edited by thenelli01
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Equivocation much?

 

The fact is that it is in your interest to have a society that protects the rights of every individual even moochers. But again, as with the OP of this thread, you are context dropping. The dominant trend in a free society must be Objectivist to have a government funded by voluntary donations. So moochers won't be that much of an issue because the intellectual premises of society will hold government to be good and in man's self interest. Societal pressures, as well, will be a huge incentive to donate for those who don't want to.

 

So you are saying I don't have the right to be sponged off of? I want and need a government to protect my stuff. I have the money and I'll pay for it. Others won't and they will get the same protection. Those people are violating my rights by making me pay more.

 

Whether moochers will be a greater or lesser issue in some future society is hardly the point: they will exist insofar as mankind possesses the faculty of volition. Insofar as they exist, they will be freely allowed to violate my rights, and be allowed by the government who I pay (all the more) to protect those rights.

 

And why is it in my interest to protect moochers? Are you kidding me?

 

But, if your argument is "I can't think of any ways to eliminate the mooching problem, therefore, no solution exists and voluntary taxation can't work," then I think that argument falls on its own.

 

My point was that I can't think of any ways to eliminate the mooching problem, which I see as a fundamental problem. If there's a solution for it, I'm all ears.

 

Another argument, by the way, against a volunteer system is one of pricing: how much voluntary donation is "fair"? No layman can possibly know this, nor could anybody without a complete pricing system in place. Bill Gates should pay a lot more taxes than most people since he has a lot more stuff to protect, and presumably engages in a lot more government resource-using commerce. How much more exactly? Without a detailed system of account and pricing (which is what taxes do today) then you have know way of knowing how much you should pay in order to pull your own weight (along with that of the moochers presumably).

Edited by CrowEpistemologist
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So you are saying I don't have the right to be sponged off of? I want and need a government to protect my stuff. I have the money and I'll pay for it. Others won't and they will get the same protection. Those people are violating my rights by making me pay more.

 

 

Nobody is making you pay anything if the govt financing scheme is voluntary.  That's the irony here.  You endorse a compulsory tax (that DOES make people pay against their consent) in order to protect your right from being 'sponged off of' by 'those people' who you accuse of violating your rights by doing.. nothing??

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So you are saying I don't have the right to be sponged off of? I want and need a government to protect my stuff. I have the money and I'll pay for it. Others won't and they will get the same protection. Those people are violating my rights by making me pay more.

 

Whether moochers will be a greater or lesser issue in some future society is hardly the point: they will exist insofar as mankind possesses the faculty of volition. Insofar as they exist, they will be freely allowed to violate my rights, and be allowed by the government who I pay (all the more) to protect those rights.

 

They aren't violating your rights if you voluntarily donate to a government that is designed to protect the rights of every individual. You keep saying that they are, but don't explain how.

 

And why is it in my interest to protect moochers? Are you kidding me?

 

No, I am not kidding you. It is in your interest to have a society where everyone's rights are protected because it creates a just society. For example, if a man robs, assaults, or rapes a moocher, does the police step in if the moocher doesn't contribute? If it doesn't, you have a known criminal walking the streets, which puts your rights and the rights of every other productive member of society at risk.

 

 

Another argument, by the way, against a volunteer system is one of pricing: how much voluntary donation is "fair"? No layman can possibly know this, nor could anybody without a complete pricing system in place. Bill Gates should pay a lot more taxes than most people since he has a lot more stuff to protect, and presumably engages in a lot more government resource-using commerce. How much more exactly? Without a detailed system of account and pricing (which is what taxes do today) then you have know way of knowing how much you should pay in order to pull your own weight (along with that of the moochers presumably).

 

Not right now you can't know what price is fair. But once you create a budget, you will know how much it will cost for the government operate. Then you can create a suggested donation based on income or wealth. Or, if you like the citizenship fee idea, you could make it so you need to contribute "X" amount annually to become/remain a citizen. And that X amount is based off government needs, the number of citizens, its ability to raise money in other ways, and weighted by your income or wealth.

Edited by thenelli01
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A volunteer system means that some can--and inevitably will--mooch off of others.

 

The alternative is that we tax people based on the services we democratically agree that we want and pay for those services insofar as we use them (viz. property value tax since more property = more protection; contract tax based on the value of the contract being protected; etc. etc.).

 

Both of these scenarios involve people being compelled to pay for something they do not necessarily want.

A volunteer system may indeed involve many people who don't pay for it. I'd even say I expect it to be "progressive" in the sense that poorer people will pay smaller proportions of total revenues. But so what? If the choice is between a moral system with moochers and a cleptocracy (presumably without moochers? If so, how?) then I'll take the moral system. Insurance companies would have a great deal of interest in promoting law and order, and anyone with assets worth protecting deals with insurance companies. Do you think such people and companies would rather cry about moochers or get on with their lives?

Edited by FeatherFall
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Nobody is making you pay anything if the govt financing scheme is voluntary.  That's the irony here.  You endorse a compulsory tax (that DOES make people pay against their consent) in order to protect your right from being 'sponged off of' by 'those people' who you accuse of violating your rights by doing.. nothing??

 

Other people who are using services I pay for without paying for them are making it more expensive for me. They are no different than bank robbers who making storing my money there more expensive. Moochers violate rights. There's no way around this.

 

Again, if you can think of a scheme that doesn't violate my rights, I'm all ears...

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A volunteer system may indeed involve many people who don't pay for it. I'd even say I expect it to be "progressive" in the sense that poorer people will pay smaller proportions of total revenues. But so what? If the choice is between a moral system with moochers and a cleptocracy (presumably without moochers? If so, how?) then I'll take the moral system. Insurance companies would have a great deal of interest in promoting law and order, and anyone with assets worth protecting deals with insurance companies. Do you think such people and companies would rather cry about moochers or get on with their lives?

 

A system that enables and emboldens moochers is not moral. A system filled with (mostly?) moochers is the very definition of a cleptocracy.

 

It's not practical either. Thousands of years of human behavior shows us that in such a system, virtually nobody would pay, making the costs for the few that do pay untenable.

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Other people who are using services I pay for without paying for them are making it more expensive for me. They are no different than bank robbers who making storing my money there more expensive. Moochers violate rights. There's no way around this.

 

Again, if you can think of a scheme that doesn't violate my rights, I'm all ears...

 

You voluntarily donated to a government designed to protect the rights of everyone. There is no rights violation

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You voluntarily donated to a government designed to protect the rights of everyone. There is no rights violation

 

Got it. So based on the virtue of selfishness, I don't find it moral to give money away to strangers that I do not value and who choose to mooch from me. Hence it is not moral to give anymore than your fair share of the cost of the government services you consume.

 

Hence a voluntary system won't work unless people are immoral.

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Got it. So based on the virtue of selfishness, I don't find it moral to give money away to strangers that I do not value and who choose to mooch from me. Hence it is not moral to give anymore than your fair share of the cost of the government services you consume.

 

Hence a voluntary system won't work unless people are immoral.

 

You aren't doing it for them. You are doing it to create a rights respecting (i.e. just) society so you can be free to flourish.

 

If, for example, you had a society that only protected the rights of people who contributed, you would be unable to respond justifiably to a criminal that raped, robbed, or assaulted a moocher. Because the rapist, robber, or attacker didn't violate your or a contributor's rights, on what grounds would you arrest them? The moochers, according to you, do not deserve to have their rights protected, and as a result, a known criminal is free and posing a serious risk to society.

 

And if you do not want people to mooch off you, which I understand and agree, come up with solutions to eliminate or reduce it. However, I think you are overstating the issue by simple context dropping. The fact remains: they are not violating your rights by mooching. 

Edited by thenelli01
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Government exists in order to put a retaliatory force under strict control of the objective law. The question now who is a consumer of this service? If people are to delegate their right for self-defense, then a consumer is law enforcement agencies. Without such a law they would collide with each other, wouldn't be able to function properly to the satisfaction of their clients, will lose revenue and eventually will go out of business. Therefore this is in their interest to pay for governmental service. Observe that these agencies can function properly only under objective law. Nobody would pay for an abuse of rights. Therefore agencies will not support the abusive government and such a government will fall. However people would willingly pay for protection of their rights to the law-enforcing agencies as they pay today for security companies and these agencies will willingly pay for government services which provide them with objective framework.

Edited by Leonid
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The fact remains: they are not violating your rights by mooching. 

 

If the moochers didn't mooch, I'd pay less for the same service. How can this possibly not violate my rights? It's like saying bank robbers don't violate my rights because the losses are insured... and therefore we should make bank robbery fully legal. Somebody has to pay for these moochers. Who should pay for them? Why? How much?

Edited by CrowEpistemologist
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Who should pay for them? Why? How much?

As has been said, there would be many fewer moochers if society was so great that its populace would volunteer to fund the government, and understand why. Off the top of my head, I'm sure charities could take care of the stragglers, or they would be so few that nobody would care that they were "mooching" because the protection of the government would be so valuable.

 

Here you go: (OO.net bottom bar search terms "tax voluntary")

Is taxation moral? (2010)

Taxes: does one have to pay (2005)

Taxes (2006)

Edited by JASKN
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