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Critique of voluntary taxation

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The establishment of a rights-respecting government is better than relying on self-defense, vigilantism and lucky set of neighbors. 

 

But self-defense and vigilantism and moral neighbors are the minimum social context that establishes the validity of the moral principle of rights.  The significance of the minimum is epistemological: it helps us find the fundamental and discard the nonessential.

 

Relying on the concept of government in discovering or defining rights is to corrupt the concept by founding it on a nonessential, and is ultimately logically circular when it comes to defining the purpose of a proper government.

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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

The establishment of a rights-respecting government is better than relying on self-defense, vigilantism and lucky set of neighbors. 

 

But self-defense and vigilantism and moral neighbors are the minimum social context that establishes the validity of the moral principle of rights.  The significance of the minimum is epistemological: it helps us find the fundamental and discard the nonessential.

 

Relying on the concept of government in discovering or defining rights is to corrupt the concept by founding it on a nonessential, and is ultimately logically circular when it comes to defining the purpose of a proper government.

 

Interesting. I won't get into a long conversation about anarchism. Maybe just this link:

 

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/anarchism.html

 

"Anarchy, as a political concept, is a naive floating abstraction: . . . a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it into the chaos of gang warfare. But the possibility of human immorality is not the only objection to anarchy: even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy; it is the need of objective laws and of an arbiter for honest disagreements among men that necessitates the establishment of a government."

 

***

 

This is good, because it shows where we disagree (and we can agree to do so).

 

So here's a good summary of the thread:

 

If you are in favor of anarchism, or see it as compatible with individual Rights then the notion of a voluntarily-financed government is fine since such a scenario must envision of state of anarchy in some form. If you are not in favor of anarchism and/or don't see it compatible with individual Rights, then you cannot be in favor of a voluntarily financed government.

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Crow, I think you are talking past everyone's posts and rationalizing. I am going to stop posting on this subject after I make this one last point:

 

You are essentially claiming either that Rights do not come from Man's nature or that Man's nature could not be discovered without the context of government. Furthermore, according to you, there is no rational reason to create a government (originally) because the concept of Rights couldn't exist without the context of preceding, imperfect proto-governments. This is false.

Edited by thenelli01
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Crow, I think you are talking past everyone's posts and rationalizing. I am going to stop posting on this subject after I make this one last point:

 

You are essentially claiming either that Rights do not come from Man's nature or that Man's nature could not be discovered without the context of government. Furthermore, according to you, there is no rational reason to create a government (originally) because the concept of Rights couldn't exist without the context of preceding, imperfect proto-governments. This is false.

 

1. Rights come from the nature of Man. (check)

 

2. Man's nature can be discovered outside the context of a government. (check)

 

Any other straw men you want to build and then tear down?

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Crow, at some point you'll have to ask yourself why people keep constructing these straw men. Perhaps there is something in the way you present your arguments that leads people to misinterpret your intent. In other words, maybe you could ask some probing questions to find out why you were misunderstood.

Edited by FeatherFall
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Crow, at some point you'll have to ask yourself why people keep constructing these straw men. Perhaps there is something in the way you present your arguments that leads people to misinterpret your intent. In other words, maybe you could ask some probing questions to find out why you were misunderstood.

 

I've been trying. There seem to be parts of my posts people seem to read, and the other parts they seem to ignore. I can't quite see a pattern yet. It certainly leads to some very weird interpretations of my views by some.

 

And no, I don't think I'm being "voted off the island" since I am in harmony with the OP of this very thread: it said that the "voluntary" model of government financing is highly specious, and I agree.

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I think what is being disputed is the hierarchical nature of the concept "Man's Rights". Because historically the concept of rights came from observing the failure of proto-governments (which we will take as true for purpose of discussion), does it mean that (the concept of) government is necessary to form the concept of Rights? Do you need the concept of government to be able to effectively use the process of reduction to bring the concept of Rights down to the perceptual level of reality? I think not.

 

Although, I don't exactly know what Crow Epistemology is saying because he says something and then either denies that he said it or calls it a "semantics" issue. 

 

 

Edit: grammar

Edited by thenelli01
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I think what is being being disputed is the hierarchical nature of the concept "Man's Rights". Because historically the concept of rights came from observing the failure of proto-governments (which we will take as true for purpose of discussion), does it mean that (the concept of) government is necessary to form the concept of Rights? Do you need the concept of government to be able to effectively use the process of reduction to bring the concept of Rights down to the perceptual level of reality? I think not.

 

Although, I don't exactly know what Crow Epistemology is saying because he says something and then either denies that he said it or calls it a "semantics" issue. 

 

 

I don't get, "Because historically the concept of rights came from observing the failure of proto-governments...". I just plain don't know what that means or what that is about.

 

But to (try) to answer your question in there (was there a question?), yes, the concepts of Rights could not have been formed outside the concept of Government. It would make no sense. Concepts are not floating abstractions, and they are not formed in a vacuum.

 

As Ayn Rand put it:

 

"Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law."

 

The notion of law presupposes the notion of government. The notion of Freedom (from whom?) presupposed the notion of government. Etc. Etc.

 

Talking about Rights outside of the context of government is invalid. Again, just as talking about the concept of a spark plug is invalid outside of the context of the existence an internal combustion engine. Savages with no notion of machines could not have invented a spark plug, and a man stuck on a desert island all his life would have no notion of Rights nor could he. Concepts are not formed in a vacuum. They are not handed to us by God. They are formed out of necessity and based on our existing knowledge.

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As Miss Rand uses the idea of "moral law" in this context, would you consider that a case of prescriptive or descriptive law? To assert that the notion of law presupposes the notion of govenment  is to suggest that all law is prescriptive. Would you consider the law of gravity or the law of identity to be prescriptive or descriptive in nature?

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As Miss Rand uses the idea of "moral law" in this context, would you consider that a case of prescriptive or descriptive law? To assert that the notion of law presupposes the notion of govenment  is to suggest that all law is prescriptive. Would you consider the law of gravity or the law of identity to be prescriptive or descriptive in nature?

 

She was not talking about a law affecting things in that context, no. Here's the link to the page:

 

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html

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"Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law."

 

The notion of law presupposes the notion of government. The notion of Freedom (from whom?) presupposed the notion of government. Etc. Etc.

 

 

A single person can rob, kidnap or enslave another person, so therefore freedom is not logically dependent upon the concept government.   A single roving human predator using physical force does neither constitute a government in himself nor require a government to defeat him.

 

To move from Ayn Rand's quote which uses the term "moral law" to "law presupposes the notion of government" is a gross equivocation on the word 'law'.  This is what dream_weaver is trying to get you to recognize.

 

IF law presupposes the notion of government that can only be true if the only source of law was government.  Yet the very idea that government should be subordinate to or constrained by law is the antithesis of the idea that whatever the government does is the law by definition.  

 

The objects of laws are the behavior of individual persons.  Government is a means to serve the already possessed goal of forbidding some possible human behaviors by means of law and law enforcement.  It is the case that government exists to enforce law i.e  regulate the behavior of individual persons.  It is not the case that law i.e the regulating of the behavior of individual persons exists to give the government something to do.  The point of this paragraph (and the next) is the concept of law is neither logically nor chronologically dependent upon the concept of government.

 

An objective definition of government that Ayn Rand uses is "A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area."  This definition requires prior understanding of the concept of a "rule" applied to social conduct, which can only be a principle of what should happen (normative) because people are capable of, and do in fact, act as they should not.  Rules and laws are a type of principled thought.  Government is not required to conceive of a principle of social behavior.  Government is required to enforce a principle of social behavior.  The idea of law, that people should behave in a certain way, is prior to the enforcement of law.  Law is prior to government.

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I've been trying. There seem to be parts of my posts people seem to read, and the other parts they seem to ignore. I can't quite see a pattern yet. It certainly leads to some very weird interpretations of my views by some.

 

And no, I don't think I'm being "voted off the island" since I am in harmony with the OP of this very thread: it said that the "voluntary" model of government financing is highly specious, and I agree.

 

I must have missed something, because I don't know what it means to be voted off the island. Not in this context, at least.

Anyway, my advice is this: People will often restate what they think your position to be, and many times they will include the implications they see following from your argument. A disagreement on the implications does not imply a strawman argument. It could be their statement of the implications does not follow, or maybe your statement of implications doesn't follow. Either way, probing questions are a good way to find out where the communication broke down (or where the flaw might be in your own argument).

For the record, I drew the same conclusion as many others when you wrote, "no government, no rights." Perhaps you meant to write, "no government, no society-wide protection of rights." If so, you never made that clear.

Edited by FeatherFall
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For the record, I drew the same conclusion as many others when you wrote, "no government, no rights." Perhaps you meant to write, "no government, no society-wide protection of rights." If so, you never made that clear.

 

Thank you. And yes, to me, something that cannot exist in reality... doesn't exist. I don't believe in floating abstractions. The notion of "fire" would be invalid in a universe with no oxygen. Etc. Maybe that's a big too subtle sometimes though.

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No idea. What's this got to do with the OP?

The choice of a specific method of implementation is more than premature today—since the principle will be practicable only in a fully free society, a society whose government has been constitutionally reduced to its proper, basic functions.

 

A fully-free society, depends on a proper implementation of the aforementioned principle. Out of proper moral principles also arises the recognition of the voluntary mutually benificial exchange of values. A rational people, recognizing the value that a morally proper government provides, would want to ensure its continuence. Rather than being a contradiction, this is actually the precondition of such an arrangement coming to be. Until the morality of rational egoism is discovered and adopted on a wide enough scale, this is akin to a portion of the title of one of her other works, "The Unknown Ideal"

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Thank you. And yes, to me, something that cannot exist in reality... doesn't exist. I don't believe in floating abstractions. The notion of "fire" would be invalid in a universe with no oxygen. Etc. Maybe that's a big too subtle sometimes though.

 

The problem I see with your position is that there are limited contexts where rights exist without government. Asea, for instance, in a real-life lifeboat. And I'm not talking about torturously construed what-if scenarios, but rather plane-Jane moral questions about whether it's ok to rape your lifeboat partner. The kinds of contexts where the government is irrelevant in personal relationships exist simultaneously all over the world thousands of times over. A moral framework for action involving rights exists in the bedrooms of Saudi Arabia, within the parent-child relationship, etc.

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The problem I see with your position is that there are limited contexts where rights exist without government. Asea, for instance, in a real-life lifeboat. And I'm not talking about torturously construed what-if scenarios, but rather plane-Jane moral questions about whether it's ok to rape your lifeboat partner. The kinds of contexts where the government is irrelevant in personal relationships exist simultaneously all over the world thousands of times over. A moral framework for action involving rights exists in the bedrooms of Saudi Arabia, within the parent-child relationship, etc.

 

Asea in context where the life-boat will never reach a landfall where there is a government and you thus have no fear of future prosecution, you mean. Yeah, that happens all of the time.

 

It's not okay to rape your... anything because of morality, not legality. It's illegal in most places as well, insofar as those governments uphold Rights. Rights are based on morality, but they are not morality itself...

Edited by CrowEpistemologist
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Asea in context where the life-boat will never reach a landfall where there is a government and you thus have no fear of future prosecution, you mean. Yeah, that happens all of the time.

 

It's not okay to rape your... anything because of morality, not legality. It's illegal in most places as well, insofar as those governments uphold Rights. Rights are based on morality, but they are not morality itself...

 

... and yet governments, and laws can and should be judged against the standard of morality, if a man wishes to erect and/or live in a moral society.

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Asea in context where the life-boat will never reach a landfall where there is a government and you thus have no fear of future prosecution, you mean. Yeah, that happens all of the time.

 

It's not okay to rape your... anything because of morality, not legality. It's illegal in most places as well, insofar as those governments uphold Rights. Rights are based on morality, but they are not morality itself...

Rights are NOT merely based upon morality, they ARE moral principles just as much as are the virtues Rand lists.

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Crow, the prospect of never reaching landfall is something everyone on a lifeboat faces. In the bedrooms of Saudi Arabia and, unfortunately, in the parent-child relationship the prospect of the government enforcing rights is often nonexistent or remote enough to not matter.

 

It's not okay to rape your... anything because of morality, not legality. It's illegal in most places as well, insofar as those governments uphold Rights. Rights are based on morality, but they are not morality itself...

 

The fact that legality has no bearing on the moral status of rape was exactly my point. Don't you see how this contradicts your assertion that rights don't exist without a government? If laws are to be justified, we need moral principles that establish a threshold beyond which defensive, emergency, non-emergency and retaliatory force is warranted. That's what a right is.

Edited by FeatherFall
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The fact that legality has no bearing on the moral status of rape was exactly my point. Don't you see how this contradicts your assertion that rights don't exist without a government? If laws are to be justified, we need moral principles that establish a threshold beyond which defensive, emergency, non-emergency and retaliatory force is warranted. That's what a right is.

 

No, I said morality exists outside the context of a government (although not fully out of the context of at least a small society).

 

So yes, moral principles are the basis for individual rights as a concept, just like compressed air is the theoretical basis of a turbocharger. Rights are an invalid concept outside the context of the existence of a government just as a turbocharger is an invalid concept outside the context of the existence of an internal combustion engine. Rights are, in a sense, a way to think about the institution of a proper government.  Or rather, they are the goal of a proper government. That is the context wherein that concept lives. Out of context, it is invalid.

 

(Nobody gets why I keep bringing up Aristotle and his view of concepts, and why this issue surrounds Aristotle's error. Y'all need to read ITOE a few more times :-)).

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 Rights are an invalid concept outside the context of the existence of a government 

 

You keep asserting this over and over without even acknowledging how it has already been proven wrong in this thread.   I would advise you to reread ITOE again, but that seems unlikely to help at this point.  

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If you think there is a relevant section of ITOE, you can go right ahead and provide a reference. Otherwise, realize that you look bad when you employ those kinds of lazy insults.
 

 

Two of your statements require the creation of a concept. 

1) "It's not okay to rape your... anything because of morality, not legality"

2) "Rights are an invalid concept outside the context of the existence of a government,"

I've provided several contexts where government is effectively absent. Because your second statement treats rights as invalid concepts under such contexts, It follows that under such contexts rights don't provide a moral barrier to activity such as rape. The task, now, is for you to explain what moral principles bar things like rape in such contexts. For you to effectively explain this new type of moral principle, you will have to differentiate it from the concept, "rights."

Edited by FeatherFall
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Scary. A bunch of "Objectivists" intransigently supporting anarchism as a valid form of government (which is what this amounts to).

 

Clearly we're going to have to agree to disagree here. We're just going around in circles and I keep repeating myself just to have my words ignored any new invented ideas put in their place. I can certainly see where people want to go, and what ideal they are defending. I'm just blown away though...

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