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Responsibility in a collectivist society.

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In a collectivist society (A society governed by collectivist laws), do the people have a responsibility to each other? I will use Medicare as an example. Do Americans have a responsibility to others to eat healthier to avoid becoming diabetic or to not smoke cigarettes to avoid the health complications associated with that because the tax payers are funding their treatments? Under a free society (A society governed by the principles of capitalism), I would say no. But because there is less personal responsibility with entitlement and safety net programs, do we have more of a responsibility to each other?

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If you pass laws backed up by guns that compel me to participate in anything, do I have *any* responsibility to your system?

If so - to whom am I responsible? Those like me, who are also participating against their will? Or those who embrace the system that enslaves those of us who don't want any part of it?

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According to Objectivism, we don't have any inherent responsibilities towards others, need doesn't cause us to have such responsibilities, and involuntary actions aren't subject to ethical evaluation. That leaves responsibilities that are:

A. assumed.

B. caused, by our voluntary actions.

So, the people who have any responsibility are the people who are causing the collectivist system to exist. Those who did nothing (voluntary) to bring it about or further it, aren't responsible for its functioning in any way whatsoever.

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I can be wrong, but don't you have to apply for medicare and other entitlement programs? Let me rephrase the question-- do the people that participate in these entitlement programs have a responsibility to others-- aka if apply for medicare-- a responsibility to start eating healthier?

Does "being forced to pay for it" count as participating in those programs?

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Let me rephrase the question-- do the people that participate in these entitlement programs have a responsibility to others-- aka if apply for medicare-- a responsibility to start eating healthier?

Participation after retirement does not make one responsible, unless you actually support those programs in principle. If a person thinks Medicare is a good thing and that the government should force taxpayers to reimburse the elderly for healthcare, and if he votes for politicians who implement this ethics, then his (flawed) ethics should also include an obligation to stay healthy. On the other hand, a person who does not support such a coercive system would stay healthy for his own selfish reasons, but is not under any obligation to society or taxpayers at large.

When the latter type retires, he would have to sign up if he wants Medicare reimbursements. However, this does not mean he supports Medicare, nor does it mean he has any obligations to any terms such a program, even if Medicare makes him promise some type of obligation. Such a person -- a one-time victim -- is simply "playing the system" he finds himself in. This does not come with any responsibility of any type.

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I can be wrong, but don't you have to apply for medicare and other entitlement programs? Let me rephrase the question-- do the people that participate in these entitlement programs have a responsibility to others-- aka if apply for medicare-- a responsibility to start eating healthier?

If participation on the paying end of something isn't voluntary, then participation in that program isn't voluntary.

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  • 2 months later...

Whether you choose to participate or not the system continues and as such it is your responsibility to accept the system you are in until you and only you are able to exist as a self governing entity apart and different from this country. You cannot and should not expect to receive the protection that a system entitles you to while simultaneously denouncing such system while it keeps you safe. The secondary option you would have in order to separate yourself from having to participate in one program is to exclude yourself from all programs that this state provides you with, which quite frankly would make your life on this planet not only very expensive but quite impractical. You would not be able to afford college because it would be too expensive without -federal- financial aid. You would not be able to afford gasoline because you would have to pay the real price without government subsidies on various other things that make our price what it is. You would not be able to drive on roads because those are funded by wrongfully collected taxes. So unless you are willing to live on a self constructed boat on international waters then you are pretty much responsible for participating to the best of your ability in lowering the costs that you force upon any other individual since you are not self supporting or self governing and cannot most definitely self exist on a planet of our size and political structure.

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Whether you choose to participate or not the system continues and as such it is your responsibility to accept the system you are in until you and only you are able to exist as a self governing entity apart and different from this country. You cannot and should not expect to receive the protection that a system entitles you to while simultaneously denouncing such system while it keeps you safe. The secondary option you would have in order to separate yourself from having to participate in one program is to exclude yourself from all programs that this state provides you with, which quite frankly would make your life on this planet not only very expensive but quite impractical. You would not be able to afford college because it would be too expensive without -federal- financial aid. You would not be able to afford gasoline because you would have to pay the real price without government subsidies on various other things that make our price what it is. You would not be able to drive on roads because those are funded by wrongfully collected taxes. So unless you are willing to live on a self constructed boat on international waters then you are pretty much responsible for participating to the best of your ability in lowering the costs that you force upon any other individual since you are not self supporting or self governing and cannot most definitely self exist on a planet of our size and political structure.

We are only responsible for our own choices, agreed? We can't be responsible for other people's choices, that makes no sense.

So, if, like you said, it's impossible to opt out of government programs (not for the reason you cited, but it is indeed impossible to opt out of taxpayer funded projects, because taxes are mandatory), then why would we be responsible for something we have no choice about?

P.S. While I think I got your point after reading your post a couple of times, a couple of paragraphs would've made my job so much easier. So please consider using them in the future.

Edited by Nicky
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1)Whether you choose to participate or not the system continues and as such it is your responsibility to accept the system you are in until you and only you are able to exist as a self governing entity apart and different from this country.

2)You cannot and should not expect to receive the protection that a system entitles you to while simultaneously denouncing such system while it keeps you safe. The secondary option you would have in order to separate yourself from having to participate in one program is to exclude yourself from all programs that this state provides you with, which quite frankly would make your life on this planet not only very expensive but quite impractical.

3)You would not be able to afford college because it would be too expensive without -federal- financial aid. You would not be able to afford gasoline because you would have to pay the real price without government subsidies on various other things that make our price what it is. You would not be able to drive on roads because those are funded by wrongfully collected taxes.

4)So unless you are willing to live on a self constructed boat on international waters then you are pretty much responsible for participating to the best of your ability in lowering the costs that you force upon any other individual since you are not self supporting or self governing and cannot most definitely self exist on a planet of our size and political structure.

(Numbered Paragraphs added by me)

I would say that there is a choice of whether or not to participate in anything. Once you have made your choice, responsibility for that choice and what it implies is assumed. In my case, when I turned 18 I had a choice of becoming an American citizen or leaving the country for somewhere else. I chose to stay, which opted me into the system.

Since I chose to stay I feel bound by the rules. This means I pay my taxes etc. I've accepted that living here was a better choice than trying to build that boat-in-international waters. I don't agree with a lot of things, and I excersise my vote to try to improve the system.

I disagree with you about pretty much everything in the third paragraph. I think that in a free market run by rational people just about everything would be cheaper and higher quality than what we have now.

I think that things could be better, but it is what it is. A is A. We have to deal with our fellow humans, even if they're behaving like morons. Make the best choices you can.

We assume the burdens of the system we choose to participate in.

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I would say that there is a choice of whether or not to participate in anything.

Except for Obamacare. Or Romney-care (Michigan's health care scheme). Or the Swiss military. Or a rape. Pretty sure participation in a rape is not a choice for all parties involved. Etc., etc.

Once you have made your choice, responsibility for that choice and what it implies is assumed. In my case, when I turned 18 I had a choice of becoming an American citizen or leaving the country for somewhere else. I chose to stay, which opted me into the system.

Choosing a geographic area to live in is not the logical equivalent of choosing a health care scheme. And yet, you are treating them that way, in your inference. That's why it is flawed.

Yes, by that method of "deduction", you could probably prove that there is a choice in everything. Even a rape. But it's a flawed method. A choice presupposes the absence of force.

Edited by Nicky
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"You would not be able to afford college because it would be too expensive without -federal- financial aid."

Not at all. I know many people who worked to pay their way through college, or had private financial loans -- all without the federal government's help.

" You would not be able to afford gasoline because you would have to pay the real price without government subsidies on various other things that make our price what it is."

Are you sure about that? Much of the price on a gallon of gas is TAX.

"You would not be able to drive on roads because those are funded by wrongfully collected taxes."

If the citizenship agrees that infrastructure is a legitimate expense for which they are willing to pay taxes, then it isn't wrongfully collected. Only a tiny minority in this country would say that tax-funded roads are wrong.

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Except for Obamacare. Or Romney-care (Michigan's health care scheme). Or the Swiss military. Or a rape. Pretty sure participation in a rape is not a choice for all parties involved. Etc., etc.

Choosing a geographic area to live in is not the logical equivalent of choosing a health care scheme. And yet, you are treating them that way, in your inference. That's why it is flawed.

Yes, by that method of "deduction", you could probably prove that there is a choice in everything. Even a rape. But it's a flawed method. A choice presupposes the absence of force.

I made a terribly general statement and you went way beyond my intent. My intent was that if there is a choice present, you need to honor your choices. There is no choice on the victum's part in a rape, it's a horrible use of force.

You do have a choice in where you live. The United States is (in my opinion) the best(least bad) choice of Government to live under. I don't agree with a tremendous amount of what the government does, but it's still the best option. Government is an all or nothing choice. You can't just pick the pieces that you like.

Obamacare and Romneycare (Massachusetts' health care scheme) are TERRIBLE. They should be struck down. I intend to vote against them and anyone that champions them. It doesn't mean I can avoid paying my taxes because I think it's icky.

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You do have a choice in where you live. The United States is (in my opinion) the best(least bad) choice of Government to live under.
Let's assume you have an option and that the U.S. is the best option. Does it follow that you must then obey U.S. laws? I don't see how you can make that argument.

If you reason that the laws in the U.S. are by-and-large protective of rights, and that you should thus obey all the laws and try peacefully to change the ones that violate rights, I can see that argument.

However, it is different to argue that you must obey the laws just because this country was the best option available to you. By this logic, how about someone who has a choice of living in Iran or Iraq (because his parents are from those two countries). If he chooses the least evil option, does he then have to follow those laws? I don't see how.

One does not have a choice of not living anywhere at all. So, living in a country is not the same as some other type of private contract.

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I'm not explaining myself well. I'm not in practice I guess.

I reason that I must follow the laws of the US is that that is the system I chose to participate in. The system has value to me. I think the system has some defects, but it also has a mechanism to correct those defects. I think that the system is not beyond hope of becoming a moral system.

Are there immoral aspects to government? Yes. Does that give me carte blanche to ignore laws I don't like? No, I don't think it does.

I'm feeling out of my depth a bit. I don't know if I can articulate why I feel that it is more moral to be a "law abiding citizen of the United States" than something other.

...argue that you must obey the laws just because this country was the best option available to you.

...One does not have a choice of not living anywhere at all. So, living in a country is not the same as some other type of private contract.

I don't think I was arguing that. I was arguing that you should obey the laws of the political system which you have chosen.

Yes, you have to live somewhere. You do have a choice of accepting the local political system or not. IF not, you have to deal with the consequences of being an outlaw.

Edited by captainswjr
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You do have a choice of accepting the local political system or not. IF not, you have to deal with the consequences of being an outlaw.
Not sure what you mean by "living like an outlaw". If you mean that committing a crime is impractical because you can be caught and suffer the consequences, you're absolutely right. can Imagine some white Northerner helping a slave to escape in a state where the slave is regarded as property that must be returned. Or, imagine someone consuming an illegal drug? These people are acting like outlaws in this little sliver of their lives, but perhaps they live within the law the rest of the time. There's a danger that they might be caught, and the guy doing drugs might be making the wrong choice, but is there any other reason they should not do what they're doing?
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If you choose to live in an area where there are taxes, you chose to be taxed. Now replace area where there are taxes with area where there are rapes.

Your claim that a choice of a geographic area implies a choice of things that are forced on people, in that area, still would mean that rape's a choice.

No, my friend, that makes no sense. A choice is something that presupposes freedom from force.

Edited by Nicky
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If the citizenship agrees that infrastructure is a legitimate expense for which they are willing to pay taxes, then it isn't wrongfully collected. Only a tiny minority in this country would say that tax-funded roads are wrong.

If the "citizenship" agrees, then the "citizenship" is responsible. I never agreed to any infrastructure, and I definitely never agreed to being part of a group called "citizenship" which operates on majority opinion, so I'm blissfully exempt from any responsibility over any action of said citizenship, except the ones I agree and vote for.

Edited by Nicky
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"If you choose to live in an area where there are taxes, you chose to be taxed. Now replace area where there are taxes with area where there are rapes.Your claim that a choice of a geographic area implies a choice of things that are forced on people, in that area, still would mean that rape's a choice.

No, my friend, that makes no sense. A choice is something that presupposes freedom from force."

If one has the freedom to move in or out of geographical areas where one knows that force (however manifested) is going to be applied, then yes, you have chosen to be forced. Freedom doesn't mean freedom from personal responsibility or common sense. Using your example, a woman freely choosing to move into an area where rapes are the accepted and expected norm is either stupid (and why do we need to protect others from their own stupidity?) or simply not averse to being raped.

"If the "citizenship" agrees, then the "citizenship" is responsible. I never agreed to any infrastructure, and I definitely never agreed to being part of a group called "citizenship" which operates on majority opinion, so I'm blissfully exempt from any responsibility over any action of said citizenship, except the ones I agree and vote for."

But you have made the choice to live here (even if you were born here, you've had the choice to leave but have chosen not to do so), and thus yes, you are part of a group called the "citizens" of the United States whether you like it or not. You have complete freedom to be otherwise by renouncing your citizenship, and even the freedom to move somewhere else if you don't wish to be subject to this country's laws. If you view taxation for infrastructure akin to being raped, then why in hell are you sticking around? You are like the woman who freely chooses to live in your hypothetical area where rape is accepted, expected, and just plain part of everyday life. You don't dislike being raped enough to give up the benefits that living here presumably gives you (else why stay?).

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