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Chunkyman
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#1

Posted 02 June 2012 - 04:57 AM

I've read a few articles on how taxation is theft (and by extension, immoral) and it's really got me rethinking my views on government. Below are a few thought provoking examples that have made me rethink my philosophical views on taxation and statism in general.

A refutation of standard pro-taxation arguments.

A very neat video showcasing the progression of government coercion/taxation.

If you didn't read or view the above two links (which you should), the argument basically boils down to this; Taxation is based on the assumption that the government has a greater moral claim on your assets (like money) than you do, and uses violence or the threat of violence to obtain your assets. Because theft is an immoral action, it follows that the act of taxation is immoral as well. Furthermore, taxation has to be taken by threatening the money-owner with being thrown in a cage for 10 years for their "crime" if they do not comply. The initiation of force (and the threat of initiating force) is not an acceptable or moral behavior, even if you happen to have a little badge that says IRS on it.

Whether you agree or disagree, I hope to have a thought provoking discussion on morality and taxation. Shifty41s_beerhatsmilie2.gif

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#2

Posted 02 June 2012 - 08:00 AM

In my view, taxation is not theft as it is part of your social contract. By being a citizen of a state, you agree to subsidise it to the extent that the political authorities see fit, but within the realms of reason. There can be absolutely no expectation from the citizens of a nation state for the state to provide the things they require- the rule of law, security and other "basic rights" without some direct contribution from the population. If you want to live in a society that possesses a social and governmental infrastructure, then taxation is absolutely necessary. The question for me is whether the tax regimes in many nations offer value for money, rather than whether taxation itself is theft or is fundamentally necessary.

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#3

Posted 02 June 2012 - 08:54 AM Edited by Rown, 02 June 2012 - 08:58 AM.

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Friday, Jun 1 2012, 22:57)
I've read a few articles on how taxation is theft (and by extension, immoral) and it's really got me rethinking my views on government.

From what I know of your posting style and the flag you wear... that feels a tad disingenuous. I mean maybe you didn't realize you were so close to anarchism in thought. Or at least minarchism.

sivis, could you respond to the social contract argument made in his first link (point 3)? I like the social contract concept, but a lot of its practice seems obscure and indirect. Like making kids citizens by default and not giving them any idea of what they're getting themselves into. Is statism a path I would support by nature? Or am I so inundated by it that I comply for simplicities sake?

I tend to agree on the assessment of taxes as immoral and unnecessary. Morals wise I submit part III of the Essay "No Treason".

Necessity wise I submit my opinion that direct taxation should be replaced by a more indirect, and systemic taxation. I'd prefer a system where the money is diverted at the beginning, as opposed to skimmed periodically. I'd also like to see a real currency market so I could more firmly and accurately show my support or disdain for government action.

(I tend to unintentionally hide my meaning, I think I might have done that here. If so I'll try and fix it tomorrow.)

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#4

Posted 02 June 2012 - 10:47 AM

QUOTE (Rown @ Saturday, Jun 2 2012, 09:54)
sivis, could you respond to the social contract argument made in his first link (point 3)? I like the social contract concept, but a lot of its practice seems obscure and indirect. Like making kids citizens by default and not giving them any idea of what they're getting themselves into. Is statism a path I would support by nature? Or am I so inundated by it that I comply for simplicities sake?

I refute that counter-argument in point 3 of the first link on several levels-

1) The idea that societies in the modern political context are just "groups of people who interact" is utterly absurd. Societies in developed nations manage all sorts of incredibly complex and costly interactions which are enabled by taxation. It is financial contributions from the citizens of nations which have enabled the rule of law to be exercised, economic promotion to take place and trade between groups to be managed in mutually beneficial ways. And that's without coming on to the issue of public service provision, enforcing and developing the concept of individual rights and the suchlike. If you want to go live in an isolated settlement in the Amazon, then sure, society may well just be a "group of people who interact", but if you want that society to operate in a way we recognise as "modern" or "proper" then societies must have some ability to internally police, ensure survival and to project power, and none of these can be done without some kind of financial impetus.

2) Some persons and groups of persons do have the right to prevent, limit or force conditions on interaction. That's the basic premise of politics in all its kinds. Historically, agreement of the majority against a minority, even in tribal societies with no defined system of taxation or societal self-enhancement, resulted in three possible consequences. The dissenters could be killed, they could be expelled or they could live under the system they did not agree with. Sometimes they'd be given a choice. Try as you might, there is no way of removing the idea "tyranny of the majority" from a political system without disproportionately empowering a minority, which is even more dangerous. Sure, you can have a collectivist system where all individuals are truly equal in all circumstances, but non-hierarchical societies are an exception as they don't tend to work in the real world.

3) Similarly, the state does have the right to expel, kill, steal the property or otherwise bring retribution on an individual who breaks it's rules. If you reject the idea of a state being having the power to enforce rights and regulations, then unless you believe in the principal of universal rights (which is very arguable due to variances in the moral code brought on by generations of history in different social and actual environments) then you essentially reject the idea of the rule of law and the idea of a social contract entirely. That's perfectly fine, but without a social contact you cease to have a society as we recognise it. It's a logical fallacy to say, as the article does, that "No one has the right to deny anyone the right to live, to own property, to travel, to engage in commercial transactions with others who are willing, or to do anything whatsoever so long as no else's rights are being violated" when the entire existence of those "rights" which is speaks of is down to the existence of the social contract which it appears to be fundamentally against.

QUOTE (That article)
You have inalienable rights because you are a person

Is contradicted by

QUOTE (That article)
A society is just a group of people who interact. It has no more rights or powers than does any one of its members.

as the rights of the individual are based on the collective wills of society. Unless the author can demonstrate the existence of inalienable human rights that are not products of the whims of society (which he may find incredibly difficult) then the entire crux of this argument is built on a fallacy.

If you reject the idea of a social contract, as the author seems to, you also reject the idea of a rule of law. The very defining principle of the "rule of law" is that rules agreed by the state and a majority of its citizens can be enforced with deprivation of rights attributed to that society. If you cease to have a central state that can meter out justice or enforce individual rights, then you have no rule of law regardless of whether you believe in the idea of universal human rights. Rights, however obtained, are entirely meaningless without the means to enforce them.

4) As you rightly identify, the social contract is not a signed contract and not one that the rules of are made particularly clear. That's because the rules are based largely on the demands of society as a whole, and not on some arbitrary political whim. I'm personally all for the completely free movement of individuals across national boundaries not for any economic reason but because I believe that those who reject the society of their home nation should be able to seek out another society to join voluntarily which more suits their personal desires. That way, if you reject the idea of the social contract entirely you can go off and live in a small social group with other like-minded people, have no centralised system for administering justice or maintaining the rule of law other than under the likely vindictive and emotionally driven actions of the individual; likely no hierarchical political structure or "chain of command", no diplomacy or trade other than on a personal level, no flexibility or agility in reacting to the actions of nature and no sense of collective purpose or direction. If people want to live like that then I have no objection to them doing so, but I'm quiet happy paying my taxes to fund a society that won't lead to tribalism, violence, pestilence and egotism.

If people have a personal dislike of social contract theory, in my world they would be welcome to live outside of organised and structured societies. But I guarantee very few would take up these offers, and even fewer of those would make anything other than a complete pigs ear of it.

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#5

Posted 02 June 2012 - 04:07 PM Edited by Chunkyman, 02 June 2012 - 04:43 PM.

QUOTE (Rown @ Saturday, Jun 2 2012, 08:54)
QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Friday, Jun 1 2012, 22:57)
I've read a few articles on how taxation is theft (and by extension, immoral) and it's really got me rethinking my views on government.

From what I know of your posting style and the flag you wear... that feels a tad disingenuous. I mean maybe you didn't realize you were so close to anarchism in thought. Or at least minarchism.


I was a minarchist on pragmatic grounds, I never really got into the philosophical aspect of libertarianism before. These articles/videos I posted (as well as a whole bunch I didn't post) introduced me to the moral argument against statism and taxation, which I find myself agreeing with quite a bit.


QUOTE


3) Similarly, the state does have the right to expel, kill, steal the property or otherwise bring retribution on an individual who breaks it's rules. If you reject the idea of a state being having the power to enforce rights and regulations, then unless you believe in the principal of universal rights (which is very arguable due to variances in the moral code brought on by generations of history in different social and actual environments) then you essentially reject the idea of the rule of law and the idea of a social contract entirely. That's perfectly fine, but without a social contact you cease to have a society as we recognise it. It's a logical fallacy to say, as the article does, that "No one has the right to deny anyone the right to live, to own property, to travel, to engage in commercial transactions with others who are willing, or to do anything whatsoever so long as no else's rights are being violated" when the entire existence of those "rights" which is speaks of is down to the existence of the social contract which it appears to be fundamentally against.


I don't quite understand your argument. So in order to protect our rights, we need a monopoly on the instigation of force which steals our property, throws us in a cage if we don't follow their every command, and can make us fight in wars against our will? I don't think a powerful, violent monopoly with the authority to do whatever it gives itself permission to do is a viable way to protect individual rights, because at a minimum it requires the constant violation of property rights (confiscating your money against your will) in order to maintain itself. It's sort of like saying businesses need the mafia in order to protect them from shoplifters.


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#6

Posted 02 June 2012 - 06:09 PM

His point is that humans are inherently going to do bad things if not governed. I refer you to Federalist 51, in the words of James Madison "But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary."

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#7

Posted 02 June 2012 - 07:57 PM

taxation is not theft.

if you want to live in a society that provides shared services for its citizens (police, fire department, schools, roads, highways, water lines, electrical grid, etc) then you have to be willing to support these services; even if you never used them.

if you don't want to pay taxes then go establish your own island nation.
otherwise don't even start this nonsense argument. it has no basis in anything other than a lazy interpretation of our own Constitution.

I've never heard a good argument for why we shouldn't pay taxes.
and to be perfectly frank, I'm certain that no such argument exists.

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#8

Posted 02 June 2012 - 10:36 PM Edited by Chunkyman, 02 June 2012 - 10:38 PM.

QUOTE
taxation is not theft.


Yes it is. Theft is taking someone else's property without their consent. Money is the property of the person who earned it. Theft has no dependency whatsoever on what will be done with the stolen goods, it's still stealing. A mother who steals bread to feed her starving kids has still committed theft, even though we can certainly see the justification for her doing so. Just because you can find justification for the theft doesn't make it any less stealing.

QUOTE

if you want to live in a society that provides shared services for its citizens (police, fire department, schools, roads, highways, water lines, electrical grid, etc) then you have to be willing to support these services; even if you never used them.


There are undoubtably alternative means to provide such services that aren't dependent on violent monopolies and throwing people in cages for 10 years if they don't give you their money. Do you honestly believe there would never, ever be a system devised that could provide things like a fire department or electrical grid without the use of a violent monopoly; that society would be, for all eternity, without roads or water lines?

QUOTE
if you don't want to pay taxes then go establish your own island nation.
otherwise don't even start this nonsense argument. it has no basis in anything other than a lazy interpretation of our own Constitution.

There is soooooo much wrong with this paragraph. monocle.gif

For starters, I don't want to start a "nation". Besides the fact I'm arguing against taxation and statism, that's impossible considering every landmass is already claimed in some capacity or another (hell, even the moon has a US flag on it, so even there wouldn't not be viable!).

The whole, "If you don't like it, you can get out" line is fallacious anyways. It's like telling an abolitionist "If you don't like slavery, you can move somewhere else".

Furthermore, the act of being born does not constitute agreeing to obey a contract (whether a literal one or a figurative one like the "social contract"). I believe in self-ownership, and as the owner of oneself, only the individual can voluntarily agree to participate in any form of a contract. Society doesn't magically gain the right to force newborns into accepting the terms that the state has prescribed.

Not sure where you're getting this "lazy interpretation of our own Constitution" thing from. I haven't made that argument, and neither did the sources I provided make that argument.

QUOTE
and to be perfectly frank, I'm certain that no such argument exists.


...Except the ones presented both in the sources provided as well as the arguments I made.

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#9

Posted 02 June 2012 - 10:51 PM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Saturday, Jun 2 2012, 15:36)
Theft is taking someone else's property without their consent.


ok so then obviously you don't understand the concept of government and society.

when you choose to live in a society with a government, you give consent to be taxed.
it's as simple as that.

if you want the cops to respond to your 911 call or the fire department to prevent your home from burning to the ground, then you're going to have to pay taxes.

QUOTE
There are undoubtably alternative means to provide such services that aren't dependent on violent monopolies and throwing people in cages for 10 years if they don't give you their money. Do you honestly believe there would never, ever be a system devised that could provide things like a fire department or electrical grid without the use of a violent monopoly; that society would be, for all eternity, without roads or water lines?


undoubtedly?
look, if there are alternative systems to providing these services without a mandatory tax, then I sure as hell have never heard them.

you can't just say "undoubtedly there are!" without providing an example.
because so far in this world, undoubtedly there are not.

how do you get everyone to chip in their fare share without making it mandatory?

QUOTE
The whole, "If you don't like it, you can get out" line is fallacious anyways.


how is fallacious?
you have yet to provide examples of a viable alternative.

so I say again, if you don't like paying taxes then you better go find your own isolated community to call home.
because taxation is not about to change (fundamentally) any time soon.

QUOTE
Furthermore, the act of being born does not constitute agreeing to obey a contract


who said anything about being born?
you agree to the contract the moment you decide where you want to live, not when you're born.

if you decide to live in a society with public services then you must provide for them.
regardless of whether or not you ever need / use those services.

QUOTE
Society doesn't magically gain the right to force newborns into accepting the terms that the state has prescribed.


actually yes it does.
if that newborn wants to live within the rules and regulations of that society, then eventually he or she will have to pay their dues to the State.

QUOTE

...Except the ones presented both in the sources provided as well as the arguments I made.


hello?
I'm disagreeing with you.

my original statement remains unchanged.
I haven't come across a good argument for not paying taxes. the few you provided me were nowhere near good enough.

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#10

Posted 02 June 2012 - 11:26 PM

QUOTE
you can't just say "undoubtedly there are!" without providing an example.
because so far in this world, undoubtedly there are not.


Voluntary bucket brigades have existed.

Private toll roads have existed.

Waterlines are semi-private in many areas already.

Electrical grids are semi-private in many areas already.

Even if there weren't examples to provide, trying to solve complex societal issues through violence is immoral. You end slavery because it's wrong, not because you think it will make farming more efficient.


Some of the statist arguments remind me of my fundamentalist christian Aunt. Things that are so clearly immoral and wrong when individuals do it magically become okay whenever "God" does it. I remember her trying to justify the story of Job by using all of this convoluted logic in an attempt to justify what is morally indefensible. Up becomes down, black becomes white, evil becomes good, all dependent on whether it was "God" who did these things. When an individual steals your money, it's bad. When an individual with a little IRS badge steals your money it's not only good but the only possible method society can function!

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#11

Posted 03 June 2012 - 03:57 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Saturday, Jun 2 2012, 18:26)
QUOTE
you can't just say "undoubtedly there are!" without providing an example.
because so far in this world, undoubtedly there are not.


Voluntary bucket brigades have existed.

Private toll roads have existed.

Waterlines are semi-private in many areas already.

Electrical grids are semi-private in many areas already.

Even if there weren't examples to provide, trying to solve complex societal issues through violence is immoral. You end slavery because it's wrong, not because you think it will make farming more efficient.


Some of the statist arguments remind me of my fundamentalist christian Aunt. Things that are so clearly immoral and wrong when individuals do it magically become okay whenever "God" does it. I remember her trying to justify the story of Job by using all of this convoluted logic in an attempt to justify what is morally indefensible. Up becomes down, black becomes white, evil becomes good, all dependent on whether it was "God" who did these things. When an individual steals your money, it's bad. When an individual with a little IRS badge steals your money it's not only good but the only possible method society can function!

Are you kidding? Voluntary toll bridges? Come on man. You're a history major. Do you not recall the fights over road building and railroad building from the 1820s through the 1870s? American System? The one thing most historians point to as growing our country and making it the world power it is today (and was by 1900) was creating transcontinental railroads and interstate roads for travel. Panama canal is another thing looked at. Bucket brigades? Really???

They're not stealing your money. You live here. You're a citizen, thus you pay taxes. This has been the standard since the f*cking ancient Egyptians, and probably before that too. I know the line is repeated a lot, but go live in Somalia if you don't like to pay taxes and you think it's immoral.

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#12

Posted 03 June 2012 - 04:44 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Saturday, Jun 2 2012, 16:26)
Voluntary bucket brigades have existed.

Private toll roads have existed.

Waterlines are  semi-private in many areas already.

Electrical grids are semi-private in many areas already.


these are your examples? seriously??
wow.... ok.

voluntary fire fighters are never going to cut it nationally.
especially in huge cities that need equally massive resources and budgets. a voluntary fire crew would never work in New York, for instance.

private toll roads do not meet the needs of the entire country.
if EVERY road and highway in the nation were suddenly private and required a toll the economy would grind to a halt. you clearly haven't thought this through.

about half of the water and electrical systems around the world are monitored by private companies. this is true.
but they were not laid or installed by private companies. government created the grid and gave it standards. those grids are now partially regulated by private industry, but private industry could never have laid and installed those grids with the efficiency (in time and cost) that government was able to achieve.

the examples you mentioned have never been viable on a large enough scale to work for an entire country.
they work in isolated cases for certain communities. but once the population becomes large enough these voluntary/private solutions utterly fail to meet the demand.

QUOTE
Things that are so clearly immoral and wrong when individuals do it magically become okay whenever "God" does it.

I don't know why you think this is relevant.

collecting taxes is completely amoral.
it's not moral. it's not immoral.

it's just something that must be done as part of agreeing to the social contract (including don't murder or steal).
it's not about right or wrong. it's about fairness.

if you want the fire put out in your house, you need to be willing to pay to have the fire put out in your neighbors house.
it's really that simple.

QUOTE
When an individual steals your money, it's bad. When an individual with a little IRS badge steals your money it's not only good but the only possible method society can function!


again, you're not helping your case.
I implore you to reconsider your approach to this argument because your current method is nonsensical at best.

1.) you haven't done anything to show how the collection of taxes is comparable to petty theft.

2.) collecting taxes has nothing to do with morality.

3.) no one is saying they love it when the IRS collects their taxes. but most people understand it's necessary. no one is saying that tax collection is the "only possible" method for which society can function. but most people recognize that no better alternative has yet been proposed and/or shown to be viable.

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#13

Posted 03 June 2012 - 05:25 AM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Sunday, Jun 3 2012, 03:57)

Are you kidding? Voluntary toll bridges? Come on man. You're a history major. Do you not recall the fights over road building and railroad building from the 1820s through the 1870s? American System? The one thing most historians point to as growing our country and making it the world power it is today (and was by 1900) was creating transcontinental railroads and interstate roads for travel. Panama canal is another thing looked at. Bucket brigades? Really???

They're not stealing your money. You live here. You're a citizen, thus you pay taxes. This has been the standard since the f*cking ancient Egyptians, and probably before that too. I know the line is repeated a lot, but go live in Somalia if you don't like to pay taxes and you think it's immoral.

I'm aware of the history of railroads/highways and their public-private partnerships. My argument is one of morality. Sometimes the ends don't justify the means. I do not believe it is morally acceptable to take someones money, regardless of whether or not it's for a good purpose. I understand your pragmatic view about the issue, but I don't believe the taxation used to fund such programs are morally acceptable. The forced exchange of goods and services is wrong, regardless of how good of a deal the taxpayer might receive. Only voluntary exchanges of goods and services are morally permissible in my view.

For example, even if slavery could be proven to be a net benefit to society at large, I would still oppose it on the moral grounds that the instigation of force is wrong.

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#14

Posted 03 June 2012 - 08:07 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Sunday, Jun 3 2012, 06:25)
My argument is one of morality. Sometimes the ends don't justify the means. I do not believe it is morally acceptable to take someones money, regardless of whether or not it's for a good purpose. I understand your pragmatic view about the issue, but I don't believe the taxation used to fund such programs are morally acceptable.

This argument boils down to whether taxation is forced or not, though. I don't think that citizens are forced kicking and screaming into paying their taxes (well, for the most part anyway), more grudgingly accepted by the vast majority. The fact that the majority pay their taxes willingly, for whatever reason, is a demonstration that as a principle taxation is not forced. Citizens are certainly coerced into paying taxes but coercion is different from force. As I've said before, the pragmatic social contract dictates that if you don't want to pull you weight in society you can go somewhere else. Admittedly much harder in practice than in theory but the only reasonable option for people who do not wish to follow the norms or rules of a given society.

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Saturday, Jun 2 2012, 17:07)
I don't quite understand your argument. So in order to protect our rights, we need a monopoly on the instigation of force which steals our property, throws us in a cage if we don't follow their every command, and can make us fight in wars against our will? I don't think a powerful, violent monopoly with the authority to do whatever it gives itself permission to do is a viable way to protect individual rights, because at a minimum it requires the constant violation of property rights (confiscating your money against your will) in order to maintain itself. It's sort of like saying businesses need the mafia in order to protect them from shoplifters.

In essence, yes. The idea of "rights" in my views is that they are not universal- they are products of societal hierarchy. decided by the majority's representation and enforced by those at the top of social structure. If you look at the idea of the state as the ultimate definition of society, I think you would struggle to argue that a monopoly on violence would be "unnecessarily". And as I've said previously, I don't think it's a violation of a fundamental right for an expectation to be placed on the individual to pay their taxes when they have the option of leaving a society they evidently disagree with the fundamental principles of. It also assumes that the concept of a "property right" not only exists but is fundamental, all-encompassing and only relates to the individual, none of which I agree with. And its more like saying businesses need security guards in order to protect them from shoplifters, primarily for two reasons- the fact that I don't agree with the basic premise that taxation constitutes theft (as it gives people the option of participating in society or leaving it instead of aggressive enforcement), and the fact that regardless of the prior the government aren't getting rich on the backs of the citizens (well in most countries where corruption is minimal) but instead using the money to provide services for the good of the majority. The vast majority do not realise that increased costs in their purchases in the shop down the road are directly funding the security guard (well, they probably understand that but seldom consider it) so in essence they are continuing to pay for a service that they have not been consulted on. The same with transportation of products, et cetera. If taxation is theft, then by default any exchange of money for goods and services at least partially constitutes theft unless every single stage of the production, manufacturing and distribution process, plus the entire governance system of the providing company, is explained and agreed to by the customer.

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#15

Posted 04 June 2012 - 10:01 PM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Saturday, Jun 2 2012, 22:25)
I'm aware of the history of railroads/highways and their public-private partnerships.

so then you're also aware that an all-private service sector would never work in a country with this many people.

QUOTE
My argument is one of morality. Sometimes the ends don't justify the means.

but you still haven't successfully explained how taxation = theft.
and you haven't explained how taxation is immoral.

QUOTE
I do not believe it is morally acceptable to take someones money, regardless of whether or not it's for a good purpose.

it is perfectly acceptable to collect public funds for public services.
that's all taxation is.

shared sacrifice for the common good.
how could this be anything BUT moral?

QUOTE
I understand your pragmatic view about the issue

then why are you arguing??
just for sh*ts and giggles?

QUOTE
The forced exchange of goods and services is wrong, regardless of how good of a deal the taxpayer might receive. Only voluntary exchanges of goods and services are morally permissible in my view.

this is extremely ignorant.

you're completely ignoring reality.
the world cannot function strictly on the basis of service-for-service exchanges. and certainly not if it's voluntary.

think about the implications of your concept.
you think the world is unfair and greedy now? when we actually try to force people to do good?
think how unfair and greedy the world would become if we simply relied on everyone to exchange services with each other fairly and on a volunteer basis.
I don't even want to imagine it. this would be a terrible way to live for anyone who isn't already a millionaire...

I think your anti-tax argument is so full of holes - both conceptually and functionally - that it might as well be Swiss cheese.

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#16

Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:04 PM Edited by Chunkyman, 04 June 2012 - 11:14 PM.

QUOTE
This argument boils down to whether taxation is forced or not, though. I don't think that citizens are forced kicking and screaming into paying their taxes (well, for the most part anyway), more grudgingly accepted by the vast majority. The fact that the majority pay their taxes willingly, for whatever reason, is a demonstration that as a principle taxation is not forced.


It's true that most people pay taxes without serious resistance (unless tax evasion counts as resistance), but I don't believe that changes whether it's forced or not. The state rarely uses actual, physical force in order to collect taxes, but it uses the threat of physical force to make you more compliant. The state simply tells you that you either give them your money or are forcefully thrown into a little cell for few years for your "crime". I don't see a difference (morally) between actually, physically taking your money, versus the state threatening you with imprisonment if you don't.

For instance, slave masters often didn't have to beat their slaves in order to get them to do work. The mere act of threatening them with punishment was more than enough to get them to comply. Just because they didn't always have to use actual beatings to get them to work didn't make it any less immoral.

The only way I could see taxation as being morally acceptable is if you accept the premise that you do not inherently own the fruits of your labor, and that society (expressed in the form of a state) has a greater moral claim on your property (money) than the individual does. Since I believe both of those premises to be false, I cannot find a way to justify taxation.

QUOTE
The idea of "rights" in my views is that they are not universal- they are products of societal hierarchy.


I understand that particular view, but I don't agree with it. I believe in universal morality (and by extension, rights). I don't believe there is an ethical way in which one group of people (like the state) can ever have the moral authority to exercise the initiation of force against anyone else.

Irviding
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#17

Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:40 PM

Then I'm sorry but the discussion is moot then. If you really believe that, then you aren't welcome in this country, any of Latin America, Europe, any part of Asia, Oceania, and most parts of Africa. You can go live in Somalia, Yemen, or hell, even Antarctica if you truly feel that way.

I'm not trying to be snide, but that's the truth here. If you really believe all of that, especially this -
QUOTE
I don't believe there is an ethical way in which one group of people (like the state) can ever have the moral authority to exercise the initiation of force against anyone else.


then you don't believe in any type of organized society/government at all. So, yeah, then leave.

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#18

Posted 05 June 2012 - 12:31 AM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Monday, Jun 4 2012, 23:40)
Then I'm sorry but the discussion is moot then. If you really believe that, then you aren't welcome in this country, any of Latin America, Europe, any part of Asia, Oceania, and most parts of Africa. You can go live in Somalia, Yemen, or hell, even Antarctica if you truly feel that way.


I'm going to keep living in America just so it will annoy you. Mwahahahaha! tounge.gif


But seriously, what philosophical problems do you have with the Non-Agression Principle?






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#19

Posted 05 June 2012 - 12:51 AM

well since you keep ignoring my points, I'll just move the discussion along at will.

I bet you pay your taxes.
I bet you pay your taxes without putting up much of a fight.

aside from this little exercise in thought-experiments, I bet you do little else to fight the power.
I mean, obviously you pay your taxes or you wouldn't have the freedom to be posting on this forum right now.
at least, I don't think they let you have interne access in federal prison.

and - as someone else pointed out earlier, perhaps Sivis - the fact that you (and the vast majority of people) comply with taxation without rioting in the streets is all the justification that the tax system inherently needs. if people really thought that taxation was so wrong they would be up in arms about it, like they were up in arms about women's suffrage, the rights of minorities, and numerous other moral issues. but they're not. they comply peacefully and willingly.

if you really didn't believe that taxes were moral or justified or legal then you would do more about it than sit at your keyboard and flap your gums.
if you really believe that taxation is so abhorrent (even though you still haven't objectively proven this to be the case) and you're still paying taxes then you're a disingenuous hypocrite at best. you already said that you agree with the practical interpretation of the tax system. so at best, you're simply arguing for the enjoyment of arguing?

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#20

Posted 05 June 2012 - 01:06 AM

QUOTE (El_Diablo @ Tuesday, Jun 5 2012, 00:51)

If you really believe that taxation is so abhorrent and you're still paying taxes then you're a disingenuous hypocrite at best.

I'm simply trying to discuss alternative philosophical and moral viewpoints, no need to get so hostile.

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#21

Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:34 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Monday, Jun 4 2012, 20:06)
QUOTE (El_Diablo @ Tuesday, Jun 5 2012, 00:51)

If you really believe that taxation is so abhorrent and you're still paying taxes then you're a disingenuous hypocrite at best.

I'm simply trying to discuss alternative philosophical and moral viewpoints, no need to get so hostile.

But he's not hostile. He, sivis, and myself have made numerous counterarguments to what you have said and you've only selectively answered it. I know it can be hard to be the odd man out in these threads (I had to do it in a religion topic) but just choosing things you have an answer for and ignoring the rest, then submitting your post thinking you're right is, to be frank, noncontributory.

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#22

Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:49 AM Edited by Chunkyman, 05 June 2012 - 03:21 AM.

QUOTE (Irviding @ Tuesday, Jun 5 2012, 02:34)
and you've only selectively answered it. I know it can be hard to be the odd man out in these threads (I had to do it in a religion topic) but just choosing things you have an answer for and ignoring the rest, then submitting your post thinking you're right is, to be frank, noncontributory.

I don't have enough free-time to answer every question/statement made by everyone (hell, I'm avoiding homework right now), but I've answered some of the ones that I thought were the most important. Basically what I'm saying is I'm not intentionally avoiding the questions, it's just that I have a limited timeframe to answer them (finals are in a week!).

I will be willfully ignoring the "if you don't like it, leave it/move to somalia", however. Somalia has violent warlords that kill people. The lack of a formal, recognized state doesn't mean it's actually without rulers because a warlord is basically a dictator on a local level. I've never been to Somalia, but I'm pretty sure the warlords there would instigate force against me. Even the regular civilians would likely kill me for being an atheist. Since I enjoy living, I'm obviously not going to Somalia. And how, exactly, am I supposed to live in Antarctica? Besides the logistics of getting there, anyone living there would likely starve because you can't grow food. Telling me to go live in either a war-torn, sh*t hole of a country which I don't speak the language of and have no financial means of getting there, or in a frozen wasteland where I would definitely die from hypothermia/starvation soon after arriving, is not really a reasonable possibility, is it?

And the United States has an expatriation tax, so even if I did manage to leave, some of my money would still be legally owed to the IRS.


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#23

Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:25 AM

Because those are societies in which there is no state ruling over people. You've realized what I wanted you to realize. A stateless society doesn't work. Why is there massive carnage in Somalia and Yemen? Because there is no government to keep people in line. It's that simple. People need government and government needs people. James Madison quote on the last page, read it!

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#24

Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:44 AM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Tuesday, Jun 5 2012, 03:25)
Because those are societies in which there is no state ruling over people. You've realized what I wanted you to realize. A stateless society doesn't work. Why is there massive carnage in Somalia and Yemen? Because there is no government to keep people in line. It's that simple. People need government and government needs people. James Madison quote on the last page, read it!

And what if the government is out of line? Some governments can be so horrendously evil on so many levels that it makes you sick (like North Korea).

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#25

Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:59 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Monday, Jun 4 2012, 22:44)
QUOTE (Irviding @ Tuesday, Jun 5 2012, 03:25)
Because those are societies in which there is no state ruling over people. You've realized what I wanted you to realize. A stateless society doesn't work. Why is there massive carnage in Somalia and Yemen? Because there is no government to keep people in line. It's that simple. People need government and government needs people. James Madison quote on the last page, read it!

And what if the government is out of line? Some governments can be so horrendously evil on so many levels that it makes you sick (like North Korea).

Then the people no longer have to follow that government. A country like North Korea is a bad example; they've never EVER had a type of democratic, republican society. All those brutal Korean empires, then Japanese colonial rule, then Soviet Exploitation, then Juche communism. If something like that were to occur in the US, then the people have the right to break the contract by not voting for that group of leaders. It's pretty simple. That's how society works - we need government. All men are not angels.

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#26

Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:04 AM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Tuesday, Jun 5 2012, 03:59)

Then the people no longer have to follow that government. A country like North Korea is a bad example; they've never EVER had a type of democratic, republican society. All those brutal Korean empires, then Japanese colonial rule, then Soviet Exploitation, then Juche communism. If something like that were to occur in the US, then the people have the right to break the contract by not voting for that group of leaders. It's pretty simple. That's how society works - we need government. All men are not angels.

What if the government simply doesn't allow them to not follow their rules? They have armies and tanks and missiles to crush any rebellion. If the citizens tried to rebel/form a better government they would likely be crushed or at least have massive casualties.

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#27

Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:10 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Monday, Jun 4 2012, 23:04)
QUOTE (Irviding @ Tuesday, Jun 5 2012, 03:59)

Then the people no longer have to follow that government. A country like North Korea is a bad example; they've never EVER had a type of democratic, republican society. All those brutal Korean empires, then Japanese colonial rule, then Soviet Exploitation, then Juche communism. If something like that were to occur in the US, then the people have the right to break the contract by not voting for that group of leaders. It's pretty simple. That's how society works - we need government. All men are not angels.

What if the government simply doesn't allow them to not follow their rules? They have armies and tanks and missiles to crush any rebellion. If the citizens tried to rebel/form a better government they would likely be crushed or at least have massive casualties.

That wouldn't happen in most societies with a generally free government. Look at Egypt - the military did not obey the orders to kill the protestors. Do you think the military of the US would obey a President doing that? Or do you think the cabinet would section 4 his ass out of office in two seconds? The latter, likely. In a place like Syria which is much less democratic and more tyrannical than Egypt(Mubarak was really not a brutal dictator like the media make him out to be, he's not "Egypt's Stalin") we are seeing the very problem you described. But the solution to that problem is not having no government at all.

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#28

Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:12 AM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Tuesday, Jun 5 2012, 04:10)
But the solution to that problem is not having no government at all.

What would be the solution then? What if the revolutionaries were never able to successfully overthrow the evil dictator and were forced to live under his rule?

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#29

Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:16 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Monday, Jun 4 2012, 23:12)
QUOTE (Irviding @ Tuesday, Jun 5 2012, 04:10)
But the solution to that problem is not having no government at all.

What would be the solution then? What if the revolutionaries were never able to successfully overthrow the evil dictator and were forced to live under his rule?

Then the international community would intervene. Libya, for example. There is too much political pressure to intervene in Syria right now.

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#30

Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:33 AM

Ok, I have been following this topic all day. I didn't have anything of value to add that wasn't already stated. Now, I just have something I want to air.

Chunkyman, you brought this discussion up, there have been a lot of valid points and arguments against your statement(s) and I do understand being too busy with finals, I have been there before. What I want to see are ideas from you since you keep brining up these "what if" statements. For my money and how I make my living, you can't just bring those what if ideas, you have to bring solutions and answers or at least ideas that might work.

I'm not trying to be a punk here, there are times when I have flat out disagreed with Irviding, but this isn't the hold a grudge forum, I have nothing against Irviding just because we don't agree 100%. That being said, honestly, what kind of ideas do you have to replace the system(s) you have disagreement with? You may have some great ideas, but we don't know till we here them.




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