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Critique of voluntary taxation

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So many good points raised...

 

Crow -

 

What are your views about "would be" free loaders who in fact do not free load and who in fact ASLO do not delegate to the government their right to use retaliatory force to protect their rights?

 

In other words, some of these people in a free society inform you of their voluntary choice.  Do you attempt to persuade them to fund your government?  Do you attempt to show them it is more efficient to fund a government and delegate their right of self defence? 

 

Suppose some of these hire 3rd party private security companies... suppose others tell you they cannot afford to hire any others but will take care of themselves. Do you want them to carry arms and act on their own behalf using force?

 

Do you initiate force? Become a tyrant?  or do you broker a deal:

 

In exchange for their delegating their right to use retaliatory force. i.e. undertaking not to carry arms and use them etc. you pay an organization to take the arms and responsibility from them.

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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

So many good points raised...

 

Crow -

 

What are your views about "would be" free loaders who in fact do not free load and who in fact ASLO do not delegate to the government their right to use retaliatory force to protect their rights?

[...]

 

I certainly wouldn't agree with the notion of "competing governments" and so forth... if that's where you were going with that? Certainly we need one government who has a monopoly on the use of force, although I guess there's room for private security companies and so forth to operate, but they of course operated within a system protected by the government, and are regulated by said government... Again, if I understand your question correctly, which I am not sure I do...

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I like the idea of holding people responsible for contributing to the protection of their own rights. The conventional concept of government seems completely divorced from personal responsibility. Even Objectivist polemics in some ways lack attention to personal responsibility. At the same time I'm unready to say we should withhold all services from those who've refused or are unable to pay in. Your payment schedule is exactly the kind of thing I would support, but I tend to think such a schedule may actually work for criminal law. Government is a geographic monopoly, after all. If you license your land, it stands to reason that criminal acts on your land will receive the attention of government. Renters or patrons would receive protection; while they wouldn't necessarily pay in directly, they do bear the costs of higher prices. Are they moochers? I don't think so. I also think that people with assets to protect but no consumers at which to direct costs could fund government indirectly through insurance companies. The insurance companies would carry a huge portion of the tax burden. So while the direct burden does shift to a few large contributors, that doesn't represent the true distribution of costs.

Edited by FeatherFall
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I've thought about the "condo complex" idea as I've called it. Certainly members of a condo complex (or a "closed community" as they are sometimes called) aren't moochers--they pay for their services, and they are free to live someplace else if they don't want to pay.

 

Today, there are closed communities all over the USA with their own guards ("police") and shared services. One could imagine a world where every municipality would essentially be one of those. It's easy to imagine since many small towns in the USA already effectively work this way, charging property tax in exchange for local services, all controlled by a popular vote within a broader framework of individual rights.

 

The question is, can you look at the entire country as a "condo complex" in that sense. Certainly you are free to leave the country and live someplace else if you do not want to pay that country's taxes / fees. It seems like the principle is the same.

 

To be sure, however, what we're building here is a system wherein its virtually impossible to live in a way where you don't pay, directly or indirectly, your fair(ish) share of the burden of government.  We're eliminating the ability to be a freeloader, essentially. I think that's the right approach...

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We agree to disagree. I don't consider a government charging citizens for its services to be a "rights violation" anymore than Walmart charging its customers a "rights violation". I consider it, on the other hand, a rights violation for some people to enjoy the same service I enjoy but not pay for it and force the price of that service to cost more for those of us who do pay.

 

I also think it's unimaginable that such a system would scale to a very large pool of people, and I don't think Objectivism widely adopted will change the nature of Man enough to alter that assumption.

 

I also do not agree that Rights can exist outside the context of a government to protect them in any realistic, practical way in the modern world. Or to put it another way, having no government means your rights will be taken away from you rather instantly by evil people. I bring this up because this implies that since Rights are necessary to your survival--like food--you should pay to secure those rights, just like you pay to secure food. The argument in favor of allowing freeloaders free government is the same, therefore, as allowing freeloaders free food.

 

This is the heart of this disagreement. I've tried every way I know how to present it. Most people won't even read the paragraphs above, or just pull out a few "hot button" keywords and go off on some weird direction with them.

 

So all I seem to be able to do is make people very angry. I've learned what I need here, so I'll stop.

1:  By the Wal-Mart comparison, you've explicitly denied any difference between trade and theft.  This requires a fundamental denial of the concept of "consent" which matches every other post you've made thus far (and I'll have you know I've read them all).

2:  Your entire conclusion hinges on a comparitive concept of rights, as demonstrated by the repetitive reference to "paying their fair share".

3:  The argument by "Instant Death" is a blatant strawman and you know it.

4:  Every single one of these assertions entails an underlying negation of the human mind, which has been the basis of every single one of my criticisms.

 

5:  The underhanded accusations are getting very annoying.

I've read every single one of your posts, in full, and given what responses I thought relevant.  I have nothing else to say to you because the actual issue is your conviction that there is no such thing as "choice" and you're adamantly opposed to examining that.

 

You want an actual response?  Review your current understanding of rational selfishness, as it relates to the rest of your ideas.

 

If you have more allegations to make then make them.  If not then please stop making a martyr of yourself.

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I've thought about the "condo complex" idea as I've called it. Certainly members of a condo complex (or a "closed community" as they are sometimes called) aren't moochers--they pay for their services, and they are free to live someplace else if they don't want to pay.

 

Today, there are closed communities all over the USA with their own guards ("police") and shared services. One could imagine a world where every municipality would essentially be one of those. It's easy to imagine since many small towns in the USA already effectively work this way, charging property tax in exchange for local services, all controlled by a popular vote within a broader framework of individual rights.

 

The question is, can you look at the entire country as a "condo complex" in that sense. Certainly you are free to leave the country and live someplace else if you do not want to pay that country's taxes / fees. It seems like the principle is the same.

 

To be sure, however, what we're building here is a system wherein its virtually impossible to live in a way where you don't pay, directly or indirectly, your fair(ish) share of the burden of government.  We're eliminating the ability to be a freeloader, essentially. I think that's the right approach...

Hi Crow: Aren't you half way to competing governments, here? Plus, there can't be "regulation" of private security agencies as you suggest - they would carry exactly the same rights of self-defence the citizen has, no more, no less.

(It must have come up already) but a nation living by individual rights presupposes a rational majority which demanded this in the first place. Civilisation, "the process of setting man free from men" is an ultimate value which in reality would come at a very modest price, I think. A no brainer.

Who cares that there would exist some free-loaders or free-riders getting all the benefits without the cost? They should not be treated any differently or singled out by the government. If that country's minimalist government cannot survive financially (of course, with its massively reduced expenditure) on voluntary taxation, then all it's citizens deserve what they get.

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Hi Crow: Aren't you half way to competing governments, here? Plus, there can't be "regulation" of private security agencies as you suggest - they would carry exactly the same rights of self-defence the citizen has, no more, no less.

(It must have come up already) but a nation living by individual rights presupposes a rational majority which demanded this in the first place. Civilisation, "the process of setting man free from men" is an ultimate value which in reality would come at a very modest price, I think. A no brainer.

Who cares that there would exist some free-loaders or free-riders getting all the benefits without the cost? They should not be treated any differently or singled out by the government. If that country's minimalist government cannot survive financially (of course, with its massively reduced expenditure) on voluntary taxation, then all it's citizens deserve what they get.

 

RE: "competing governments", yes, that's something to worry about if it went too far. It seems like this sort of thing is done in closed communities today, and in places like large amusement parks? I could see the same applying in many more places. I don't think that gets you to "competing governments".

 

A nation might reduce (but never eliminate) crime and disagreements and thus government cost, but the world is going to be a hostile place for a very long time (forever?) and a quick check of my taxes (about 90% goes to the feds) and a quick check of the US military budget (about 1/3 of spending) shows that the burden of government is not necessarily "meaningless pennies".

 

And yes, the issue of free-riders has been discussed above, with two distinct opinions formed. No point in going over it again.

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Crow - Do you have any idea of the sort of transformation it would be: from gargantuan state... to minimal government?!

 

Heh, I admit I can scarcely imagine it either.

 

A privatised, deregulated economy, far smaller military budget, and extremely judicious foreign aid (if any).

 

(btw, "setting man free from men", is not only protecting his life, rights and property, it's also setting him free from their social/political influence. A majority electorate would not make any difference, with individual rights in place.)

Edited by whYNOT
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Crow - Do you have any idea of the sort of transformation it would be: from gargantuan state... to minimal government?!

 

Heh, I admit I can scarcely imagine it either.

 

A privatised, deregulated economy, far smaller military budget, and extremely judicious foreign aid (if any).

 

(btw, "setting man free from men", is not only protecting his life, rights and property, it's also setting him free from their social/political influence. A majority electorate would not make any difference, with individual rights in place.)

 

It's certainly hard to imagine, and definitely something that wouldn't happen all at once (which makes it even harder to guess how it would play out).

 

Now, we did discuss in the other thread I mentioned above that the ideal government, based on today's realities of the world, is not "dirt cheap" by any means. It might be half the cost, or even a bit less, but it will certainly cost a significant percentage of our GDP. Freedom is not free.

 

To whit, a "far smaller military budget" is something we can all hope for, but certainly not something we can be sure of. It could even go up in price. Ditto for foreign aid, since some of that money is a proxy for military spending in today's context.

 

Also remember that just having "individual rights in place" doesn't remove all imaginable disagreement from a society. For instance, what should we do about Iran? You could ask 5 people here and get 5 answers--and they'd all be rational and valid arguments, which would include different people's predictions of the future. Rational people can disagree. Their decisions and views can affect your life even in the most free society we can imagine.

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JASKN is right and SoftwareNerd has pointed to Miss Rands essay on the subject. If anybody disagrees with JASKN on this, then either you've got an error in knowledge, or you misspoke, or your principles are at odds with Objectivism. If you're an Objectivist and you continue to insist that compulsory taxation is moral, then please, check your premises, & reread the essay softwareNerd referred to. & if that doesn't convince you, please reread VOS in its entirety. & if that doesn't convince you, please go hangout with Greenspan @ Statism Online.

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I'm quite sure that transformation will start on the grass root level. it will be a bottom up, not a top down process. And the reason for it is obvious. The statist government took upon itself functions which it cannot perform simply because these functions are incompatible with the nature of government. Distribution of wealth, schooling, health service, industrial actions, nature preservation etc...all belong to the realm of mind. But government is a tool of coercion. Therefore government inherently cannot handle these issues. But it's trying, and as in economy when the fiat money drive the real money out of the market, so government inappropriate actions drive out the appropriate ones-protection of rights. Thus the statist government is doomed to fail and that what we observe today everywhere. But people still  need all these services and they will look for  alternatives, be it private hospitals, private roads or private security. They will start to develop private infrastructures to substitute the failing government. Also the economical decline caused by the government's intervention in the market forces will reduce government revenue which in turn will make the government even less effective. Hence the  private services including law enforcement will start to grow. Does it mean competitive governments? No! The whole idea is an anarchist fiction. Free market cannot allow competitive governments which compete on the basic principles of individual rights' protection. As private roads couldn't be arbitrary right and left sided in the same country so private law enforcement agencies ( LEA) cannot  function under different subjective voluntary laws. For the simple reason-they will lose their client base. Nobody will pay them for the privilege to be abused. In additional a fight between different LEA would mean waste of resources and negligence of their clients. So LEA are in the dire need for the objective legal framework. The institution which can provide it is a government and this in fact the only proper government function. 

 

"If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules.

This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government.

A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws."  “The Nature of Government,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 109

 

So who is going to pay government for the performance of this vital function?  Those who need it most-LEA. They will use a small part of their revenue to fund small effective government, so they could function and make money. For the same reason they will fund independent courts. Who is going to fund military?  The people who live in the just and free society have vested interest to protect their way of life and their property from the threat of external aggression and they will voluntary contribute for this protection. But they will not pay for the costly overseas military expeditions which have nothing to do with their well being. One may ask, and what if people don't pay? My answer is simple-if people don't pay for protection of their country, don't volunteer to serve in the Army, then such a country has no right to exist.

Edited by Leonid
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So who is going to pay government for the performance of this vital function?  Those who need it most-LEA. They will use a small part of their revenue to fund small effective government, so they could function and make money. For the same reason they will fund independent courts. Who is going to fund military?  The people who live in the just and free society have vested interest to protect their way of life and their property from the threat of external aggression and they will voluntary contribute for this protection. But they will not pay for the costly overseas military expeditions which have nothing to do with their well being. One may ask, and what if people don't pay? My answer is simple-if people don't pay for protection of their country, don't volunteer to serve in the Army, then such a country has no right to exist.

 

Emphasis added to the word, "will".

 

Given human volition, we're engaged in predicting what humans "will" do.

 

Your guess is that most people "will" pay for their government, including the part of the government that their neighbors also enjoy but don't feel like paying for.

 

My guess is that such a system would reward non-payers, and the whole thing would snowball. My guess is that such a country would never exist because other less-principled countries would tear it apart militarily since such a country would be incapable of acting as a single force.

 

Your guess is as good as mine.

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Emphasis added to the word, "will".

 

Given human volition, we're engaged in predicting what humans "will" do.

 

Your guess is that most people "will" pay for their government, including the part of the government that their neighbors also enjoy but don't feel like paying for.

 

My guess is that such a system would reward non-payers, and the whole thing would snowball. My guess is that such a country would never exist because other less-principled countries would tear it apart militarily since such a country would be incapable of acting as a single force.

 

Your guess is as good as mine.

You quote refers to the last part of the post, which deals with military. Yes, people have Free Will and they may behave irrationally, not to pay for their own protection from the criminals and aggressors. There are many possible case scenarios, but one thing is clear-reality is a final argument and if people contradict objective reality, they will eventually pay with their lives, prosperity and happiness till they learn to pay with money.

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