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Taxes: Government Financing In A Free Society

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There is a FAQ section at http://www.capitalism.org/ that can help you out. Browse that site.

Is the initiation of force always immoral?
Yes, but retaliatory force is justified.

So therefore, would it be true that all objectivists oppose taxation?

Yep :confused:

what would be the difference between this government and a private corporation?

The government would be the only organization allowed to use retaliatory force, and it's function would be to ban the initiation of force inside its jurisdiction. The law and power of the government would be applicable to everyone and not just those who pay for it.

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I know there's not much interest in the specific how of government funding, but it seems to me that contingent contributions might have some potential. The idea is that contributions are pledged

The law and power of the government would be applicable to everyone and not just those who pay for it.

Which begs the question, what if no one pays?

As far as I can tell, the objectivist model of government relies on the fact that the majority of the populace has to be rational (I'd say 60% and above).

What happens when government funding becomes so low, that a much wealthier individual simply buys a bigger, better fihting force and uses it to exact his form of justice?

(just playing devil's advocate, though I've never really answered this question myself)

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Which begs the question, what if no one pays?

As far as I can tell, the objectivist model of government relies on the fact that the majority of the populace has to be rational (I'd say 60% and above).

What happens when government funding becomes so low, that a much wealthier individual simply buys a bigger, better fihting force and uses it to exact his form of justice?

(just playing devil's advocate, though I've never really answered this question myself)

What if the majority elect representatives who repeal the Constitution and base the new government on the principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" in order to extract their form of "social justice"?

------

Any capitalistic government must rely on the fact that a majority of its people are mainly rational.

This is why capitalism does not work for irrational people.

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What if the majority elect representatives who repeal the Constitution and base the new government on the principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" in order to extract their form of "social justice"?

------

Any capitalistic government must rely on the fact that a majority of its people are mainly rational.

Well, it actually requires less than a majority, since repealing the constitution would take more than a 51% vote. If you get the right states to line up in support of the idea, it might be doable with a simple majority -- somebody wold have to do the math on state populations. On the other hand, they could pass a statute to that effect, and leave the Constitution alone. In fact, they have been passing that law, piece by piece, over the past century.

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Yes, but retaliatory force is justified.

What are the boundaries to this? I think we'd agree that I have a right to defend myself if I am attacked, and then seek justice for this. I think we'd also agree that I have a right to hire another person to relatiate force on my behalf if somebody initiates force on me. But does a person have a right to initiate force on the behalf of another person without being given consent? For example- can any organization band together decide that they are going to dish out their own punishments for crimes they see around their city- even if they are not involved and have not been given consent to retaliate force on other people's behalf?

The government would be the only organization allowed to use retaliatory force, and it's function would be to ban the initiation of force inside its jurisdiction.

What differentiates a government from the organization I described in my example above?

The law and power of the government would be applicable to everyone and not just those who pay for it.

So would it be fair to say that your ideal government would be similar to a corporation (or maybe more like a private charity) in the sense that it allows people to voluntarity fund it, but it's different than a corporation in the sense that it can declare authority over everybody- even those who do not fund or consent to it?

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So would it be fair to say that your ideal government would be similar to a corporation (or maybe more like a private charity) in the sense that it allows people to voluntarity fund it, but it's different than a corporation in the sense that it can declare authority over everybody- even those who do not fund or consent to it?

A system has to be established on the basis of reason, not solely on the basis of human rights.

Let us say there is a murderer. If the government had authority as it has now to judge each and every person, then the murderer couldn't get away with murder. But if the government had authority over only those who payed for it, then do you think the murderer would pay for or contribute to the government? This way he could get away with limitless murders.

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Hi everyone, I'm new here . . .

But does a person have a right to initiate force on the behalf of another person without being given consent? For example- can any organization band together decide that they are going to dish out their own punishments for crimes they see around their city- even if they are not involved and have not been given consent to retaliate force on other people's behalf?

I think you are mixing up retaliatory force and self-defense. We as citizens have the right to self-defense (this is why we should be allowed to own firearms) but we do not have the right to use retaliatory force ie we can't legally hunt down a criminal after the crime has already taken place and play judge, jury, and executioner.

I was under the impression that government would earn its money from protecting contracts that are made within its jurisdiction. If two people enter into a contract, they would pay a fee to have it backed by the power of a gun ie the government. Of course, they would not be forced to pay this fee, but it would be in their best interest to do so.

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What are the boundaries to this? I think we'd agree that I have a right to defend myself if I am attacked, and then seek justice for this.  I think we'd also agree that I have a right to hire another person to relatiate force on my behalf if somebody initiates force on me.

No, I don't really agree.

What differentiates a government from the organization I described in my example above?
What organization did you describe above? Anyways, no matter what your question, read the link to find your answer.

So would it be fair to say that your ideal government would be similar to a corporation (or maybe more like a private charity) in the sense that it allows people to voluntarity fund it, but it's different than a corporation in the sense that it can declare authority over everybody- even those who do not fund or consent to it?

Sure, in the sense that it uses voluntary funding, it is similar to the same method a charity or company obtains money.

These type of questions have been asked here quite often. I posted a link to you in my first reply which will answer your questions, which I assume you didn't follow.

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A system has to be established on the basis of reason, not solely on the basis of human rights.

Let us say there is a murderer. If the government had authority as it has now to judge each and every person, then the murderer couldn't get away with murder. But if the government had authority over only those who payed for it, then do you think the murderer would pay for or contribute to the government? This way he could get away with limitless murders.

I started this thread to specifically ask about the philosophical issue of government- not the utilitarian ones. I assume that there would be philosophical arguments in support of government, and that utilitarian arguments would not need to be resorted to.

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I think you are mixing up retaliatory force and self-defense.

No, I outlined clear differences between the two. Show me specifically how you think that I am mixing them up.

We as citizens have the right to self-defense (this is why we should be allowed to own firearms) but we do not have the right to use retaliatory force ie we can't legally hunt down a criminal after the crime has already taken place and play judge, jury, and executioner. 

If individual citizens don't have the right to retaliatory force, then at which point does government gain this right? Can an individual grant a right to another individual that he himself does not have? Can the majority of individuals vote to grant a person a right that no individual in that majority has? Can an organization of individuals form and declare that the organization has a right that the individuals did not have before?

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No, I don't really agree.

What don't you agree with? I made multiple statements, so it would be helpful if you told me specifically which of those statements you disagreed with and why.

What organization did you describe above?

A hypothetical one. I don't understand why you didn't answer my questions.

Anyways, no matter what your question, read the link to find your answer.

No matter what my question? Surely that website can't have all the answers, can it? :)

These type of questions have been asked here quite often. I posted a link to you in my first reply which will answer your questions, which I assume you didn't follow.

I disagree. I've read the page you posted and did not see where the questions I asked here are addressed.

You can prove me wrong by pointing to the specific page in which you think that the main questions I ask in this thread are answered.

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What don't you agree with?  I made multiple statements, so it would be helpful if you told me specifically which of those statements you disagreed with and why.

I don't agree with the statement that immediately preceded my remark. Why? Capitalism is a system where the government holds a monopoly on retaliatory force.

A hypothetical one.
"What organization did you describe above?"

  I don't understand why you didn't answer my questions.

I didn't answer because I was left wondering what "organization you described in an example above". Tell me how your hypothetical organization exists to do and I will tell you whether it is correct.

I disagree. I've read the page you posted and did not see where the questions I asked here are addressed.

You can prove me wrong by pointing to the specific page in which you think that the main questions I ask in this thread are answered.

http://capitalism.org/faq/force.htm

http://capitalism.org/faq/guns.htm

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If individual citizens don't have the right to retaliatory force, then at which point does government gain this right?

At the point at which your immediate self-defense is not an issue and at the point at which one must consider the rights of the accused, i.e. at the point at which objectivity and impartiality is mandatory if the principles of civilization vs. vigilantism are to be upheld.

Fred Weiss

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Is the initiation of force always immoral?

Yes, but you have to be careful about definitions here. For example, fraud is an initiation of force, so when gov agents arrest the perpetrator of fraud it may look like the gov is the initiator, when it fact it was the perpetrator of the fraud who initiated force. Also the threat of force is the initiation of force. If you walk into a bank with a note that says "I have a bomb in this suitcase and I'll set it off if you don't give me X dollars", you've initiatied force.

Is it still immoral even if the majority of people decide to initate force on the minority?

Yes. This is the most common form of it, and the one that makes rational government so necessary.

Doesn't taxation necessarily imply the initation of force?  Isn't this force what differentiates the word "tax" from words like "buy"- which imply a voluntary exchange?  So therefore, would it be true that all objectivists oppose taxation?

Yes, taxation does imply the initiation of force. I've yet to find anything to be true of all objectivists, but it's clear to me that according to the Objectivist philosophy, taxation is wrong and should be stopped.

Isn't taxation an inherent part of government? If a government existed which did not fund itself through forceful exchange, but rather allowed people to voluntarily exchange their money for the services it provides- what would be the difference between this government and a private corporation?

Taxation has been a traditional part of governments to date, but that doesn't make it inherent. Before we solve the problem of how to fund the government without taxation, we need first to establish that taxation is wrong. Something isn't "right" just because it's "always been there". Look at slavery, the prohibition on women's sufferage, etc.

The difference is that corporations are formed to organize productive activity, but government is created to provide the necessary environment in which to perform productive activity. Part of providing the necessary environment is that everyone involved needs to agree to the government's role.

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At the point at which your immediate self-defense is not an issue and at the point at which one must consider the rights of the accused, i.e. at the point at which objectivity and impartiality is mandatory if the principles of civilization vs. vigilantism are to be upheld.

I think this does a sufficient job at answering the question posed to me . . . Thank you.

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What if the majority elect representatives who repeal the Constitution and base the new government on the principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" in order to extract their form of "social justice"?

------

Any capitalistic government must rely on the fact that a majority of its people are mainly rational.

This is why capitalism does not work for irrational people.

And that is why I believe in restricting immigration.

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I don't agree with the statement that immediately preceded my remark. Why? Capitalism is a system where the government holds a monopoly on retaliatory force

The statement that immediately preceded your remark was;

"I think we'd also agree that I have a right to hire another person to relatiate force on my behalf if somebody initiates force on me. "

Why do you not agree with this statement?

I didn't answer because I was left wondering what "organization you described in an example above". Tell me how your hypothetical organization exists to do and I will tell you whether it is correct.

I already described that organization. I'm assuming you didn't see my description, so I will repeat it here;

"For example- can any organization band together decide that they are going to dish out their own punishments for crimes they see around their city- even if they are not involved and have not been given consent to retaliate force on other people's behalf?"

No, neither of those pages describe how I can morally grant to a government a right in which I myself do not have.

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Taxation has been a traditional part of governments to date, but that doesn't make it inherent. Before we solve the problem of how to fund the government without taxation, we need first to establish that taxation is wrong. Something isn't "right" just because it's "always been there". Look at slavery, the prohibition on women's sufferage, etc.

Strawman. I never mentioned tradition as the reason why taxation would be inherent to government. Also, putting a phrase in quotes like that ("always been there") implies that the phrase was actually said, or at least that the notion what implicated. That's not the case here.

I was questioning how a privately-funded government gets it's right to authority over everybody within certain boundaries- regardless of whether or not each person has voluntarily entered into a contract with the government allowing them this right.

Part of providing the necessary environment is that everyone involved needs to agree to the government's role.

If I do not consent to the government's authority over me, am I exempt from it's laws?

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The statement that immediately preceded your remark was;

"I think we'd also agree that I have a right to hire another person to relatiate force on my behalf if somebody initiates force on me. "

Why do you not agree with this statement?

I answered in my last post. "Capitalism is a system where the government holds a monopoly on retaliatory force." Political retaliatory force does not include self defence.

I already described that organization.  I'm assuming you didn't see my description, so I will repeat it here;

"For example- can any organization band together decide that they are going to dish out their own punishments for crimes they see around their city- even if they are not involved and have not been given consent to retaliate force on other people's behalf?"

"Capitalism is a system where the government holds a monopoly on retaliatory force."

No, neither of those pages describe how I can morally grant to a government a right in which I myself do not have.

Yes, but the pages answered some of your previous questions:

"How is the right to self-defense applied under capitalism?

Under capitalism, it is the government's job to use force to defend its citizen's rights; however, government is not omnipotent, and it is not omnipresent: it cannot be everywhere. In many cases the protective forces of government cannot arrive to a criminal situation in time to prevent an irreversible situation, i.e., such as a murder. As such, every peaceful citizen has the right to those means necessary to protect themselves in emergency situations, until the police can arrive to 'takeover', i.e., an intrusion by a would be rapist when a woman is alone in ones apartment. "

"Can men use force in self defense?

To use force in retaliation -- in self defense against those who initiate it -- is not a moral option, but a moral requirement. A moral man has nothing to gain when a man tries to kill him, but he has much to lose if he does not defend himself. For this reason it is right, just, and proper to use force in retaliation and self-defense. The use of force, in and of itself, is not evil -- but to initiate (start) force is. Contrary to the vile doctrines of the pacifists, force used in self-defense is a species of the good.

Any man (or group of men) who initiates force against others is a dictator -- a monster -- and should be treated as such, to the extent he initiates force.

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I answered in my last post. "Capitalism is a system where the government holds a monopoly on retaliatory force."

Where do you get that definition? I have never seen a definition of the word "capitalism" which mentions government. All of the definitions I have seen (including Merriam-Webster's) define capitalism as being private ownership of resources with prices that are set by the free-market.

My underlying question here has been "Where is government morally granted the authority to have a monopoly of force over everybody within a certain boundry, regardless of whether or not a person has voluntarily consented to this?" You answered this with "Capitalism is a system where the government holds a monopoly on retaliatory force," as if to imply that questioning the morality of government was questioning the very foundation of capitalism itself. Your response seemed to me to be similar to people who argue against legalized homosexual marriage by saying "The definition of 'marriage' involves one man and one woman," or in the past, "The word 'suffrage' refers to white males." All of which are intellectual sloth and avoid the true issues at hand.

Yes, but the pages answered some of your previous questions:

I understand that. However, I specifically asked where on that site "you think that the main questions I ask in this thread are answered." Questions such as "Is taxation always immoral?" were not my main questions. They were cleared up early in the thread. I asked them to see which premises we agreed on and which we didn't.

You accused me of not reading the site, and then stated that "no matter what my question" I could "read the link and find my answer." Yet now when I ask you to show me specifically where my main questions are answered on that page, you are only able to show me answers that were cleared up early in the thread and are no longer disputed. It just seemed to me that contiunally posting that link but avoiding the question was a bit of a cop out.

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Where do you get that definition? I have never seen a definition of the word "capitalism" which mentions government.  All of the definitions I have seen (including Merriam-Webster's) define capitalism as being private ownership of resources with prices that are set by the free-market.

If capitalism is to protect individual rights, then that is corollary requirement.

My underlying question here has been "Where is government morally granted the authority to have a monopoly of force over everybody within a certain boundry, regardless of whether or not a person has voluntarily consented to this?"  You answered this with "Capitalism is a system where the government holds a monopoly on retaliatory force," as if to imply that questioning the morality of government was questioning the very foundation of capitalism itself.
It is. Politics rests on ethics. I was led to believe that your questions were purely political before, so I stayed in that realm. Your thread never really started out as that question, it progressed toward it. Your question relates to the same issues adressed in the anarchist threads. There are a few that are up now.

Your response seemed to me to be similar to people who argue against legalized homosexual marriage by saying "The definition of 'marriage' involves one man and one woman," or in the past, "The word 'suffrage' refers to white males."  All of which are intellectual sloth and avoid the true issues at hand.

If you have questions, why not ask them directly instead of using introductory vignettes?

I understand that.  However, I specifically asked where on that site "you think that the main questions I ask in this thread are answered."  Questions such as "Is taxation always immoral?" were not my main questions.  They were cleared up early in the thread.  I asked them to see which premises we agreed on and which we didn't.
If your true question is:

"Where is government morally granted the authority to have a monopoly of force over everybody within a certain boundry, regardless of whether or not a person has voluntarily consented to this?"

You should make it known. I am not reading all of the posts in the thread, and am paying attention to only the ones that are replies to me. If you want to change the subject of our particular discussion between us, then fine, reveal the question like you did now.

You accused me of not reading the site,

I said I "assumed" you didn't, since you still had disputes with the questions I had quoted.

and then stated that "no matter what my question" I could "read the link and find my answer."
Now you are taking my words out of context. I said "no matter what your question" AFTER I said that I was unclear on what your question meant. Since I had the general idea of it, I felt the site could adress whatever THAT QUESTION was.

Yet now when I ask you to show me specifically where my main questions are answered on that page, you are only able to show me answers that were cleared up early in the thread and are no longer disputed.  It just seemed to me that contiunally posting that link but avoiding the question was a bit of a cop out.

Your questions had no resemblence to what you now present. My replies are only to subject matter that we are discussing, not what you are discussing with someone else, unless I quote it.

Anyways, there are about 5 anarchist threads going on in this forum, 2 or 3 active.

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I think I've finally found an answer to my question (or, more like a conclusion to the issue). I was looking through some of my books last night in regards to this subject and I found these:

"Government is a social creation, and society consists of individuals. Any powers of government, therefore, must derive from those of the individuals who create it."

and

"By it's nature, government has a monopoly on the use of force. In a rational society, individuals agree to delegrate their right of self-defense...If a society is to uphold man's rights, such delegation is essential."

Both of those statements were written by Leonard Peikoff.

What I've gathered is that Objectivists cannot (or do not attempt) to morally justify a government which has authority over everybody in a certain geographic area (including those who do not consent to it's authority), or a government which has rights that no individual citizen had in the first place. What Objectivists do say is that everybody in society should voluntarily consent to government because it is essential to protect man's rights. However, it would still be immoral for a government to have power over somebody who does not consent to it's authority but merely lives within a certain boundary that the government has set for itself (such as how I can't make rules for whoever moves into the house next door to me just because they moved into the neighborhood I live in).

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  • 1 month later...

[Mod's note: Merged with earlier thread on a similar topic. - sN]

Government Financing:

As I understand it, a government would gain funding in a Capitalist society mainly through a voluntary fee paid by parties when forming a contract to ensure that the contract is enforceable. If this is the case, what's stopping a private corporation, e.g. an insurance company offering insurance against non-compliance for a lower fee than the government? Sure, the insurance company couldn't strictly 'enforce' a contract, but it could offer insurance, couldn't it?

Edited by softwareNerd
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