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Critique of voluntary taxation

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Say what? Are you saying Objectivist principles only apply in the context of an Objectivist society? Is this true for reason, egoism, and rights? Or is it only the case when we run into serious difficulties, then we get to invoke this floating abstraction of an unprecedented and dare one say Utopian Objectivist society?

 

Hence the idea of a "Objectivist Society" is... well, not a very useful concept (read: invalid). One where its influence is much more pronounced, sure, but humans will not ever turn into a race of robots who automatically follow the right path in anything.

 

Anyhow, even in the alleged robot society, you still concede that only "most" people would want to donate to the government (how much?)...

 

Just to be clear: I am not claiming there will ever be a society of Objectivists or that people will automatically be rational. All I am saying is that the context in which a capitalist voluntarily funded government can be created and sustained necessarily is a society in which rational egoism is the dominant philosophical trend. This does not imply that all people will be rational or that they will even understand Objectivist principles fully (or at all).

 

I never claimed that an Objectivist Society where all people act rationally automatically like robots will exist. I never even used the term "Objectivist Society", it was a straw man created and perpetuated by the above posters. 

Edited by thenelli01
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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

You don't work, you don't eat, you die.

You don't pay taxes, you get shot, you die; same difference.

Equivocation that would make Clinton blush.

 

Nice straw man attack. I said you must do what is necessary to sustain your life, including the purchasing of food, shelter, and protection. Why is that last something you can opt out of paying? Why not the first two as well? Should we have a "volunteer McDonalds" wherein "rational" people gleefully pay extra there so moochers can come eat for free whenever they don't feel like paying?

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Um, what? Rights presuppose a society and presuppose other persons who may violate your rights (and without a government to protect them, absolutely will). The concept of Rights is non-existent on a desert island.  We're not Aristotilians--we don't believe that concepts exist within humans innately. They are objective and are derived from cognitive necessity.

 

So no, Rights are not epistemologically prior to governments. They are epistemologically concurrent. One cannot physically exist without the other, nor does the very concept of Rights exist outside the context of government.

Whoa. Slow down.

Rights presuppose the existence of other people, but they do not presuppose those other people are organized into a government. You making a gigantic leap into the arbitrary when you posit "people exist therefore government exists".

Semantic issue? All I'm saying is that without a government, we effectively have no rights since they will not be protected and thus violated.

Self defense, vigilantism, and a fortunate selection of neighbors can all lead to the happy circumstance of one's rights not being violated even in the absence of government.
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Whoa. Slow down.

Rights presuppose the existence of other people, but they do not presuppose those other people are organized into a government. You making a gigantic leap into the arbitrary when you posit "people exist therefore government exists".

 

 

That surely would have been a gigantic leap had I made it. I have no idea where you got that... Confused...

 

 

Self defense, vigilantism, and a fortunate selection of neighbors can all lead to the happy circumstance of one's rights not being violated even in the absence of government.

 

Um, yeah. See: every single argument against anarchism...

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Ayn Rand Lexicon entry on Rights

 

"The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"

 

Ayn Rand does not assert the erroneous position that governments create rights.  If one's rights are violated or not protected that is not the same as not having them for then one would upon the instant of having a right violated immediately lose all grounds for complaint, for one cannot claim as a loss what one no longer has a right to possess.  

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That surely would have been a gigantic leap had I made it. I have no idea where you got that... Confused...

 

 

 

Um, yeah. See: every single argument against anarchism...

Reread your written words which I quoted.  You leaped to an assumption that social context equals a government.

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Reread your written words which I quoted.  You leaped to an assumption that social context equals a government.

 

No I didn't.

 

Certainly a social context gives rise to the concept of a government (i.e. an absence of a social context would make a government an invalid concept), but is not the same thing... which is nonsensical... A social context is also a precursor for the concept of Rights as well. If there was exactly one human being on Earth, there would be no such concept as Rights as the concept would not be useful for anything and thus wouldn't make it past Rand's Razor...

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Reread your written words which I quoted.  You leaped to an assumption that social context equals a government.

 

Yes you did, and continue to do so.  All your posts in this thread rely on the idea that without government around to protect rights then we don't have rights.

 

Your two posts don't even agree with each other.

 

You are confused because you are not correctly following valid concept formation (I think, although its clear you are having a hard time reading what I write).

 

The concept of Rights was formed in order to discover the proper government. That was the context. If we had no notion of "government" then the concept would have no reason to exist, and therefore it wouldn't (or shouldn't, as it were). As I said before, we are not Aristotelians--concepts are not inside things they are inside us. Rand's razor states that concepts are not to be multiplied beyond necessity. Concepts that are created "just because" are not valid.

 

The concept of Rights was then based on the Nature of Man as we perceived it, again within that context. That context drives concept formation. That's why the concept of Rights did not take into account Man's possession of fingernails and foot fungus.

 

Finally, what you said above does reflect my stance: that without a government to secure our Rights in the real world, we effectively do not have them in the sense that they are not there for anybody to enjoy. Imprisoned people (for either the right or wrong reasons) have "their rights taken away from them" (and yes, technically they have some of those rights taken, etc.).

 

Ayn Rand said, "without Property Rights, no other Rights are possible". Without a government to protect your property, then you effectively have no tangible property rights even though as a human you are entitled to such Rights.

 

If we're getting bogged down in semantics then I hope that helps. Otherwise, I've tried to explain this as clearly as I can...

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The concept of Rights was formed in order to discover the proper government.

 

That's alot like "The concept of living was formed in order to discover the proper diet"  ...   ???   Needless to say I'm confused by your formulation.  It doesn't make sense.  Are you saying that men decided to form a proper government but did not know what a proper government should be for and then came up with the concept of rights to provide such a government with a reason to exist?   Yeah.. I think I'm going to have to disagree with that. 

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That's alot like "The concept of living was formed in order to discover the proper diet"  ...   ???   Needless to say I'm confused by your formulation.  It doesn't make sense.  Are you saying that men decided to form a proper government but did not know what a proper government should be for and then came up with the concept of rights to provide such a government with a reason to exist?   Yeah.. I think I'm going to have to disagree with that. 

 

It's like saying the concept of nutrition was formed to discover the proper diet...

 

Otherwise, yes, it's exactly as you said. Thinkers looked for the basis of a proper government and the notion of Rights was created. It's as simple as that.

 

Unless maybe you think God came up with the idea, at which point maybe I'm on the wrong website...

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Cicero was already a citizen of the Roman Republic when he ventured the idea that the right to life was something apart from government that governments ought to recognize (argument from the stance of natural law, an individual retains the right to their life, irrespective of what others may hold.) Sorry, but rights exist by the undertanding of them by the individual irregardless of the respective government under which they reside. The only question is if the government of residence is willing to adapt their position to recognize individual rights, or continue to quelch them for some rationalistic goal. In this sense, the recognition of the existence of individual rights is a recognition by individuals of what the proper role of govenment ought be in their lives.

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The concept of Rights was formed in order to discover the proper government. That was the context.

 

If that was the case, then what was the purpose of creating the "proper government" in the first place? What was the need that would make a government necessary? Why does society need a government at all?

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If that was the case, then what was the purpose of creating the "proper government" in the first place? What was the need that would make a government necessary? Why does society need a government at all?

 

Now at least you are thinking about this the right way. Let's trace through this step by step.

 

1. Societies formed, and proto-governments were formed.

 

2. Over generations Man sought to make those governments better.

 

3. In this context, thinkers formed concept of the Natural Rights of Man, and based a new form of government on those Rights.

 

Hence the notion of government is implicit in Rights. Rights were not discovered by scientists cutting apart cadavers, they were discovered by thinkers trying to make government better.

 

Saying that the concept of Rights can exist outside the context of Government is like saying a Turbocharger can exist outside of the context of internal combustion engines.

 

This is also why Rights and anarchy are incompatible. Rights presuppose a government instituted to protect those Rights. Otherwise they are a floating abstraction meaningful to nothing. Again, akin to inventing a Turbocharger in the 1600s. Impossible and invalid.

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1. Societies formed, and proto-governments were formed.

 

Why were proto-governments formed in the first place (properly, I mean)? Could the concept of rights exist without a proto-government? If a proto-government was not formed, would there be a need for a government?

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Why were proto-governments formed in the first place (properly, I mean)? Could the concept of rights exist without a proto-government? If a proto-government was not formed, would there be a need for a government?

 

???

 

I simply can't even parse what the above means. Rephrase?

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???

 

I simply can't even parse what the above means. Rephrase?

It seems to me that you are saying the concept of rights couldn't exist outside of its historical context. You start (historically) by saying that proto-governments were formed. But, they didn't have to be. Was there a rational reason to create a proto-government? If so, why?

 

And if an irrational or improper proto-government was never created, do you mean to say that the concept of rights could not exist? Why does a social context necessarily imply a government? If we are defining the freedom of action in a social context, couldn't this be done without any government and, instead, between two rational adults discussing moral philosophy? Are you saying we wouldn't be intellectually advanced enough to be able to come up with such a concept as individual rights without looking at the failures of past governments?

Edited by thenelli01
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It seems to me that you are saying the concept of rights couldn't exist outside of its historical context. You start (historically) by saying that proto-governments were formed. But, they didn't have to be. Was there a rational reason to create a proto-government? If so, why?

 

And if an irrational or improper proto-government was never created, do you mean to say that the concept of rights could not exist? Why does a social context necessarily imply a government? If we are defining the freedom of action in a social context, couldn't this be done without any government and, instead, between two rational adults discussing moral philosophy? Are you saying we wouldn't be intellectually advanced enough to be able to come up with such a concept as individual rights without looking at the failures of past governments?

 

I'm completely lost.

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I'm trying to figure out how this thread ended up so far out in the weeds, but maybe it was here:

 

Self defense, vigilantism, and a fortunate selection of neighbors can all lead to the happy circumstance of one's rights not being violated even in the absence of government.

 

I need to level set with people here. I for one do not imagine a society without a government to be either desirable or in any way compatible with individual rights. It's about a long conversation about anarchism which I suspect has been covered ad nauseum elsewhere.

 

If people here are in favor of anarchism, or find that it is in any way compatible with Rights, let me know. That will let me know where you are coming from.

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