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Are taxes justified to fight fascist foreign invasion?

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This has nothing to do with quotes. Your response doesn't address our arguments. You say "you're initiating force" and our argument is that there are very different rules when we're in a "lifeboat scenario/similar".

At risk of being accused of not properly responding to this topic, I have a question in response to this summation you've provided.

Are you saying that, should you feel threatened by some third party, you would have the right to point your gun at me and demand that I rescue you?

How do you think I ought respond to such a thing?

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EC, what if only 99% of the people want to donate to the military, and it's highly likely that their contributions will make the difference between victory or defeat?

I suppose you mean something like the top 1% of earners. Given the context of an existing Capitalist society these would be the people that have the greatest incentive to contribute to the defense of their nation since they would have the most to lose. Any other small 1% minority just wouldn't matter because their contributions would be negligible relative to the total. Also, how would the government enforce such a tax in such a fundamentally "taxless" and free society. It would seem that the penalty would have to be extremely severe in order to "ensure" that the emergency law was followed. This would seem to be a major violation of the nation's fundamental principles for results that would be negligible at best.

This just seems like a highly constructed and arbitrary situation given the context we are assuming to me.

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Not worth paying for (and fighting for), not worth continuing to exist.

I see EC already covered that.

Voluntarism would function perfectly in this case, I think. Assuming there were already in place an efficient professional military - which a responsible, minimalist g-ment would have - the added expense (and volunteers) might not be so great.

I'm not so sure about the wealthy potentially having more to lose, though: slavery is slavery, and a life is a life.

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Imagine if you and your 50-odd farm animal neighbors decided to engage in a common goal that will be mutually beneficial. Let's imagine this would be the construction of a windmill that will increase the final yield on all crops (harvested individually). Given that everyone wants this and will contribute to it, what determines how much each animal should individually contribute to the construction of the mill?

Ignoring the compulsory labor argument (there will be none), and assuming that all gains will be equal by proportion to the input (individual harvest), the only remaining moral question is 'how much should I contribute?'

Perhaps if you are wealthy and anticipate using the mill more than others, you will contribute more. Perhaps you feel that your wealth is the product of your superior harvesting methods, and greater number of hours of personal labor. Perhaps you feel that the ultimate product of the mill will take most of its value in economic aggregate from your initial grain inputs: therefore, you perhaps feel that you should contibute least to the mill. The mill is a 'purchase' of your surplus.

Perhaps your valuation of your labor, and others, concerning the mill varies from those of others. Perhaps this is because you are less intelligent than others, or maybe they are. If the mill construction was compulsory, there would be a central authority to 'judge' which valuations are more 'correct'. Surely, some people are better at math than others, but sometimes differing valuations are purely political: we tend have different values one from another.

With no central authority, maybe game theory would take over. The mill construction would be substandard, initially underfunded, then plagued by cost overruns.

In other words, it would be a disaster.

I don't need to explain on this forum why compulsory collectivism would be a disaster. I also can say that my mill example as a critique of some interpretations of libertarianism is probably less necessary to this audience.

In terms of economics, the 'correct' solution, politically and philosophically, to the mill problem is capitalism. Private individuals privately own the means of production, and are responsible for valuations and production decisions and planning. Easy answer. But this exposition on economic policy must be compared in parallel with military and criminal policy.

Unlike economics, safety and law cannot be privately owned. Some functions of safety and law can certainly be fulfilled by the services of private enterprises, but the law - and the employment of force specifically - cannot. When private citizens exercise force there are two names for it: barbarism, or possibly, a dictatorship.

The use of force in society represents, quite accurately, a 'tragedy of the commons' as safety and order can sort of be thought of as products just as any other service or good. But order and safety are purchased through the employment of force against human beings.

Force, specifically (not the bureaucracy, the weapons manufacture, the investigative work), is not a private good. Period. For this reason, capitalistic solutions cannot be used to resolve the issue of the proper employment of force in society.

Neither can 'libertarian' solutions work, with my mill metaphor serving as a good example. If society shares a common objective, or commonly values something, then these individuals must develop some means of collective agreement. With differing opinions, levels of knowledge, and values, all individuals cannot be expected to magically reach a consensus. This, incidentally, is why capitalism is the only proper economic system for man.

Man has two alternatives, fundamentally, in his interaction with other men: the law of the jungle, or reason. The former is essentially might makes right, the latter recognizes that man needs both mutual agreement and shared understanding with other men. The absence of the latter implies automatically the conditions of the former.

Force must be used against those who initiate force, but only according to proscribed laws, proper evidence, and the consent of - yes - the consensus of men in society. There is one reason for this: truth may be objective, but it must be discovered to be employed, and it is discovered by individual men.

Yes, you are free to come to whatever decision about the justice of any given situation you choose, in spite of the opinion of others. You are not free from the responsibility of contending with those who disagree with you. And yes, you are free to choose at which point in this process you are willing to accept the laws of the jungle, or the laws of civilization.

With invasion, and the military, society must decide to collectively and in a coordinated manner, employ force to counterattack the ivaders. Why? The enemy has identified your nation, a group of individuals, as a single unit worthy of attack. Sure, perhaps you can decide to be a breakaway province, but then might you be next? My point being that nations are formed as they are for a reason. People exist under the umbrella of governments that functionally serve to coordinate the actions of the people under them toward a common objective.

Resources must be employed, weapons built, officers appointed, and men of the right caliber recruited, all working in coordination to defeat the enemy and protect the safety of the people, and preserve the laws of the nation.

If you are truly a participant in this society, you would respect the consensus of the central authority on strategy and what part of your wealth you should donate, even if you disagreed. In this sense, though I have made the argument that war strategy is not up to individual decision making, I haven't yet closed the case on compulsion in these situations.

Compulsion would me morally right because the individual expresses his valuation on the matter through whatever democratic, legal, constitutional process is used to create the war fighting consensus.

Note that I do not apply this argument to safety as a public good. No, I am ONLY saying that the employment of force is subject to public consensus. Private decisions do not create this consensus, the public constitutional process does.

This process itself is worth much deep discussion, definitely worth another topic. Nation states may be natural evolutions of history, but morally speaking, what is a proper nation? Understanding that answer will answer the OP question.

With a military invasion, the nation attacked must understand that it is now following 'jungle rules'. What is the place of an individual within a nation in this situation?

Any individual that does not comply with the strategy or taxation is in effect 'seceding' from the constitution. Would that be their right? Perhaps not post-facto, but suppose they said before "I will only pay what I want if we're attacked", this is a de facto pre-emptive secession. Should they actually contribute during the crisis, they are acting as a sovereign individual, essentially an allied nation. This provides a final metaphor for dealing with the question.

Now, let's imagine three countries, A, B, C. If A attacks B, with C neutral, could B declare war on C to win the war? Let's say that C has a strategic pass that allows counterattacks on A. Let's also assume that B and C are 'morally clean' free-market countries.

This is the question the OP is essentially asking. If compulsory taxation is okay, then for the same reasons it would be okay for B to invade C to counter A. So, is it okay? I say yes.

B is not invading C for any economic gain or destructive purpose. B is only empowering itself to be in a position to defend its rights in the international arena - which IS the law of the jungle. In the 'jungle' environment, man has the right to employ whatever means he can to survive. Now, internationally, there are some laws and standards, and treaties. When these are in place and valid, might does not make right, and it is man's imperative to establish these, but in their absence, might does make right.

The rules of morality that come into effect within a nation with established laws - those that lead to the 'initiation of force' priniciple and capitalism, do not apply. There are no laws, no means of objective justice, or place for rational agreement. "No initiation of force" is not a magical, universal principle, no matter what the J tells you, dude. It is the consequence of enough rational men banding together to agree on objective moral principles to govern their right and ability, as men, to exercise force against other men.

Back to the analogy: B does not have the luxury of tolerating C's intransigence. Presumably, C believes they will survive the war if they stay neutral. Good for them, but B wants to defend itself. B is not violating C's rights, it isn't taking anything undeserved, it is simply expressing its disagreements with C over who should own that strategic pass to defend their fundamental existence.

"No initiation of force" only applies when:

1) A group of individuals get together and communicate a shared understanding of objective morality (nation forming)

2) They establish a set of rules to govern the use of force according to that morality (constitution framing)

3) They enforce those rules according to their prescriptions (law and order)

Then, no initiation of force applies. AND, non-initiation is incorporated into the rules as a GOAL, PRODUCT, AND FUNDAMENTAL PURPOSE of them. But, should the system fail, out the window goes the principle. And the system itself lives in the jungle so to speak.

For the purpose of defending their constitution, a group of individuals is completely morally enabled to 'initiate force' all up over you.

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I'm sorry but this doesn't really help us. If we accept your argument about the context in which rights arise for the moment (it seems way to Hobbesian for my taste thus far), it only proves that there is no prohibition from one country (B in your example) invading another (C in your example), due to the grounds that each state is a "state of nature" (or "law of the jungle" status) vis-a-vis each other. (Also note that C would be equally morally justified in resisting and even invading B, or even that it isn't exactly clear on these grounds whether or not A is unjustified in invading B in the first place, which creates some problems.) But it does not show that B is morally justified in taxing its own citizens, because the grounds you gave aren't present (that anyone can initiate force in the jungle-status.)

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I'm not sure if I totally agree with ZSorenson's post, but it's definitely at least close to what I'm advocating.

As for what 2046 just said, remember that governments are just abstractions. If it's valid for a government to initiate an attack against another government under X circumstances, then I see no reason why it isn't valid for individuals to do so against others under such circumstances as well (because, in the end, we're always talking about individuals).

When there's two people and one lifeboat, force has already been initiated against both people--they can't initiate force against each other.

If the USA were O-ist in the 1940s and Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan are determined to enslave the world, the fascists have already initiated force against everyone in the USA. Under that context, I see any O-ist society taxing its citizens to win the war as appropriate--they aren't initiating force because it's already been initiated. Someone might object "But those getting taxed aren't harming anyone", but I see that as analogous as saying "States are an initiation of force because someone setting up their own private police force doesn't mean they're necessarily harming anyone." In these situations, those getting taxed/private police aren't obviously/visibly/tangibly doing harm by not paying taxes/submitting to a monopoly police force, but they are because of context: you have to defeat the fascists to have freedom for the future, and having private police compete implies that the non-aggression principle is optional.

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If it's valid for a government to initiate an attack against another government under X circumstances, then I see no reason why it isn't valid for individuals to do so against others under such circumstances as well (because, in the end, we're always talking about individuals).

This is true. However, the "circumstances" matter greatly. When is it valid for a government to initiate an attack against another government? In response to the initiation of force. Or, if I'm abusing your intended sense of the word "initiate" -- if you mean outside of such a response -- I would say only in reasonable anticipation of an initiation of force. That is, should someone rear back his fist to punch you, you do not have to wait for his fist to be thrown to execute self-defense.

When there's two people and one lifeboat, force has already been initiated against both people--they can't initiate force against each other.

Here we have a crucial disagreement.

Note the passive construction of "force has already been initiated"; this leaves out by whom. When force is initiated against a man, this does not give him carte blanche to act out against one and all. Nor is "force" an undifferentiated lump triggering one fixed reaction -- we can recognize the sources of force against us, and assess their severity, and etc.

If the USA were O-ist in the 1940s and Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan are determined to enslave the world, the fascists have already initiated force against everyone in the USA. Under that context, I see any O-ist society taxing its citizens to win the war as appropriate--they aren't initiating force because it's already been initiated.

If Nazi Germany, et al., are pursuing global enslavement or some such, then yes, they have initiated force against me and my neighbor. But unlike your earlier suggestion, this does not make it somehow impossible for me or my neighbor to initiate force against one another, which persists as an easily recognizable distinction. Nazi Germany's actions make a response of force necessary, it is true, against Nazi Germany.

Contrarily, your arguments seem to suggest that any action I would take for the general purpose of defeating Nazi Germany, up to and including instituting a draft; concluding secret alliances with "lesser evils"; targeting innocents; and ultimately the wholesale sacrifice of my neighbor; etc.; that this should all be seen as moral (or perhaps somehow outside of morality altogether). That, once "force has been initiated against me," I am now completely free of any moral concerns whatsoever.

And I disagree with that. I think it is proper to respond with force against one's aggressors, but inherent to that is the recognition that there is a difference between one's "aggressors" and those who are innocent and must be treated accordingly.

Someone might object "But those getting taxed aren't harming anyone", but I see that as analogous as saying "States are an initiation of force because someone setting up their own private police force doesn't mean they're necessarily harming anyone." In these situations, those getting taxed/private police aren't obviously/visibly/tangibly doing harm by not paying taxes/submitting to a monopoly police force, but they are because of context: you have to defeat the fascists to have freedom for the future, and having private police compete implies that the non-aggression principle is optional.

I don't think I understand the full meaning here, so I may err in my partial interpretation (please correct if necessary), but I'd like to respond briefly to this: "those getting taxed/private police aren't obviously/visibly/tangibly doing harm by not paying taxes/submitting to a monopoly police force, but they are because of context"

As an anticipatory nod to my earlier claim -- that there is a difference between "aggressors" and "innocents" -- you're now claiming that there are no innocents; that a failure to "submit" is, itself, an act of force. And frankly, I find this a chilling sentiment. It seems to suggest that we are each of us bound by a moral duty to one another, and that breach of this duty invites just punishment.

And... I don't know how to respond to this, except to say that I am not responsible for your defense, as I am not responsible for your life. It may well be that you and I would often have common cause in defense. Were the barbarians at the gate, I'm sure that you and I would do what we could to keep them out. But that's a decision I would make out of self-interest, not because I feel beholden to you and your interests. I do not recognize your "right" to enslave me for any purpose, and I think you should reassess claiming one.

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As for what 2046 just said, remember that governments are just abstractions. If it's valid for a government to initiate an attack against another government under X circumstances, then I see no reason why it isn't valid for individuals to do so against others under such circumstances as well (because, in the end, we're always talking about individuals).

If I understand you, it sounds like you're making a fallacy of nominalism here. Government is not an entity, or a universal existing in reality, but government is an abstraction with a basis in reality consisting in the relation of the individual actors comprising it. The argument presented was the claim (I don't agree with this claim) that it would be okay for one government to initiate force against another because governments are in a sort of "law of the jungle" status vis-a-vis each other. That argument does not show that on its own grounds it would be okay for a government to initate force onto the citizens in its jurisdiction, because those individuals are not in a "law of the jungle" status vis-a-vis the ruling government, which the argument claims is the whole reason why governments are set up in the first place. (Of course one wonders whether this would require a single world government to remedy.)

All these arguments twisting themselves into pretzels to try to justify initating force because you're being invaded are silly, and some amount to the kind of "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery" kind of logic.

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Well to expand, on what I said earlier, in this context I would personally defend this Capitalist nation to the death against foreign aggression until the second my nation either attempted to tax me or force me in any other way to participate. At the second my nation attempted that it will have erased it's moral base and any legitimacy that I had been defending without being forced before that.

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"No initiation of force" only applies when:

No. "No initiation of force" always applies. Resorting to force in self defense is not an initiation. Consensus is no substitute for objectivity. And no, Germany had no right to invade Belgium either 1914 or 1940 (the country A, B, and C scenario has occurred historically multiple times).

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Note the passive construction of "force has already been initiated"; this leaves out by whom.

I think force can be initiated by nature (or whoever is responsible for putting you out into the ocean in the first place).

this does not make it somehow impossible for me or my neighbor to initiate force against one another, which persists as an easily recognizable distinction.

True, but it does mean that there are some actions which used to be initiations of force and no longer are.

your arguments seem to suggest that any action I would take for the general purpose of defeating Nazi Germany

No--you can only take actions which will be effective at defeating the enemy (i.e. outright slaves aren’t going to be effective workers), otherwise, you are doing harm by making enemy victory more likely.

there is a difference between "aggressors" and "innocents" -- you're now claiming that there are no innocents; that a failure to "submit" is, itself, an act of force.

No--I said they’re doing harm, not initiating force. They’re doing harm because by not funding the war effort, they are making defeat more likely. As I've said, it's now no longer possible to initiate force, but you could still do harm by overreaching and making the citizenry into ineffective workers (i.e. because taxes are too high or they are de facto slaves, etc).

I am not responsible for your defense

Correct--but you’re responsible for your own defense. If you don’t want to take that responsibility in this situation, then you’re also making it less likely that others will be able to defend themselves. Even if you're not initiating force because it's impossible, you're still doing harm. Within the "law of the jungle" context, you can still create situations which are not preferable to others.

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because those individuals are not in a "law of the jungle" status vis-a-vis the ruling government

In the sense that their government doesn't want to kill them, sure. However, everyone in this O-ist society has been thrust into the law of the jungle because they're being invaded. Just because the Nazis aren't marching into New York doesn't mean there isn't a war on. You can look at the concrete of the government not wanting to initiate force against its citizens, but there's also the abstract context of how for everyone in that society everything is now at stake. They're in the process of being thrown into the jungle, so to speak.

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In the sense that their government doesn't want to kill them, sure. However, everyone in this O-ist society has been thrust into the law of the jungle because they're being invaded. Just because the Nazis aren't marching into New York doesn't mean there isn't a war on. You can look at the concrete of the government not wanting to initiate force against its citizens, but there's also the abstract context of how for everyone in that society everything is now at stake. They're in the process of being thrown into the jungle, so to speak.

I *think* that I've already expressed my sentiments as well as I'm able in this thread, so I'll simply acknowledge my continued disagreement.

However, with respect to this reply to 2046 and the metaphorical "law of the jungle," I'd just like to observe: if "civilization," as opposed to the jungle, exists only when that civilization is respected by all -- if it is at the mercy of anyone who would choose to act as though it is a jungle, and disappears when those who disrespect our notions of what it is to be civil choose to act -- then we have surrendered civilization altogether.

If you suggest that we act according to the law of the jungle when our enemies drag us into it, then it is always the law of the jungle and nothing but. Objectivism has no place there.

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