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Rown
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#61

Posted 16 June 2012 - 07:26 AM Edited by Rown, 16 June 2012 - 07:31 AM.

I'm not decrying the benefits of taxation. This is an important point. To understand what I am saying you must be able to break down the individual pieces. Taxation is not the ends it reaches. Taxation is a means to them.

Again, I'm not decrying the benefits of taxation. I am not bemoaning the ends. I take issue with the means.

A criminal organization does in fact provide me a "benefit" from extortion. They could've just come in and tossed the place. But they had the decency to offer me a way out. Also, if I pay protection money (a form of extortion) the gang has a vested interest in keeping its cash-line secure and keeping me from being roughed up by other gangs, or paying them for protection. Now once it has received my money, that criminal organization could use my individual dollars to wage war on another criminal organization. They could also spend it on a sandwich at the deli down the street (maybe they're hungry). Hell they could use the money's of extorted businesses to fund a school trip to the zoo (maybe their kid is in the class). These ends are not my concern.

My concern is the means. Taxation. The threat of force or force itself, to gain a portion of my finances. This is extortion. Which I again, believe to be immoral.

===

Just to throw it out there: I happen to believe that voluntary "taxation" (think passing the plate at church) would go a long way to supporting government objectives. I believe people would continue to contribute to welfare funds and military funds if they wanted to. I believe the state could survive without the current form of taxing people. I don't necessarily want to see the death of the state. I just want to see it fit properly with the other institutions. I want it to play nice and stop bullying everyone else. Wouldn't you, El_Diablo (or Leftcoast or Irviding) continue to contribute to certain plans like providing food stamps or public housing?

I'd spare some change for it, though my primary focus would be split between environmental and military matters. I think just through the difference of opinions and interests damn near everything could receive tax money close to what it receives now. That's not to say it would be fully funded, because we do a lot of that through debt (which is another matter). But on money received from taxes? I think it'd be comparable*.

Rown rampage_ani.gif

*= Of course this isn't readily testable as I'd have to leave the country and go to a place where this system exists (Nowhere that I know of) or where no system exists (Antartica) and establish it there. Despite the fact that situational biases would doom me to failure from the outset, I'm sure it would be heralded as a victory of the status quo when I failed. Odd that.

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#62

Posted 16 June 2012 - 10:59 AM

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 01:54)
there's this from http://www.democracy...ulos_media.htm:
QUOTE ("Chomsky quoted by Fotopoulos")
The capitalistic ethic leans toward the extreme of selfishness (fierce individualism) rather than toward altruism. There is little room for collective decision making in an ethic that argues that every individual should go his or her own way. As we have seen, the idea that capitalism protects ‘individual rights’ would have been rejected during the early Middle Ages. ‘Individual rights’ were set in advance by the structure of feudalism, governed by the pull of tradition and the push of authority. Economics was based upon mutual needs and obligations

Chunkyman speaks of morality but the morality he understands is purely the capitalist ethic that Chomsky explains here.

I think similarly Naomi Klein speaks of how capitalist systems, the so called free market is in fact perhaps only possible with violence, through violence in "The Shock Doctrine" youtube link.

from http://propertyisthe...rket-isnt-free/ :
QUOTE (Property is theft blog)
Capitalism, as a system, descends directly from feudalism. We can see the transition from the time of lords and kings to employers and landlords in the mercantilist system that kept the British Empire going through the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and its offshoots in the corporatist economics of Fascism and the state-capitalism, i.e. the state as employer and proprietor, of “communist” countries. It is a system of hierarchy and domination which makes a mockery of Rothbard’s conception of “voluntary agreement” for the “exchange” of “economic goods.

Whilst I appreciate your posting in this topic and welcome as many disparate views as possible, I don't feel that selectively quoting pieces of various other individuals without using them to support some over-arching general concept or thesis is particularly beneficial in the context of wider debate. I don't really "get" the crux of any argument you are trying to make purely because you posts seem to consist solely of a selection of often out-of-context quotes by other people with at best very little, and at worst absolutely nothing, actually linking them together. In future, can you please ensure that you are making a point and that quotations are used to serve that purpose, rather than just providing quotations for people to digest (or otherwise) as they see fit.

For instance, why do you think an Anarchist blogger is right to link capitalism to feudalism, fascism and real-world Communism? Your quote doesn't substantiate this view; it just claims it as if it were intrinsically and empirically true without dispute. I dispute it entirely on the basis that in a purely economy sense Capitalism is the only system which does contain voluntary, mutually beneficial agreements- no other system ever implemented has, in reality, delivered the balance between preserving the sanctity of willingness amongst participants in financial transactions. Why do you chose to use a source that is both so provocatively titled (the very concept of property being theft is an entirely absurd one that I have never seen a single even half-rational argument to support) and so obviously biased towards the political view they are supporting (as is evident in other sources of yours, the underlying, Dickensian interpretations of Capitalism in a simplistic, mutated and unrealistic way does not make for a reasonable focal point from which to present a counter-argument, and if you were to do so in a formal debate having represented it in such a way you would be laughed out of the room)?

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#63

Posted 16 June 2012 - 04:05 PM

Rown, as someone who studied economics, especially macroeconomics, what you suggested would cause the state to fall apart in about a week. No modern industrialized nation can survive on voluntary contributions. It's representative democracy for a reason. The public at large are too dumb to decide where tax money ought to go. Not just too dumb, but too disassociated. Do you think a 45 year old working mother has the time to read up on fiscal policy and decide whether or not she should support a stimulus? Does a 33 year old guy moving up the ladder at the office working 12-13 hours a day have the time to read up on Syria and whether his taxes should go to diplomatic or military action there? Come on, it's ridiculous. The status quo (not necessarily how the tax code is built) is fine and will continue to be fine.

You can't compare taxation to extortion. The idea that protection money and taxation is the same thing is frankly stupid. You can maybe compare it to the military, but that's even stretching it. This whole topic is just ridiculous conjecture.

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#64

Posted 16 June 2012 - 04:16 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 10:59)
Whilst I appreciate your posting in this topic and welcome as many disparate views as possible, I don't feel that selectively quoting pieces of various other individuals without using them to support some over-arching general concept or thesis is particularly beneficial in the context of wider debate. I don't really "get" the crux of any argument you are trying to make purely because you posts seem to consist solely of a selection of often out-of-context quotes by other people with at best very little, and at worst absolutely nothing, actually linking them together. In future, can you please ensure that you are making a point and that quotations are used to serve that purpose, rather than just providing quotations for people to digest (or otherwise) as they see fit.

Hummm.... I guess the over-arching general concept is that of "morality" and against "free market" and even ultimately against "property". I guess I should have commented more the quotations, as I believe the three quotations or texts I mentioned spoke regarding three different things and were not really cohesive. I think (and hope) that in this post I make my position clearer.

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 10:59)
For instance, why do you think an Anarchist blogger is right to link capitalism to feudalism, fascism and real-world Communism? Your quote doesn't substantiate this view; it just claims it as if it were intrinsically and empirically true without dispute. I dispute it entirely on the basis that in a purely economy sense Capitalism is the only system which does contain voluntary, mutually beneficial agreements- no other system ever implemented has, in reality, delivered the balance between preserving the sanctity of willingness amongst participants in financial transactions. Why do you chose to use a source that is both so provocatively titled (the very concept of property being theft is an entirely absurd one that I have never seen a single even half-rational argument to support) and so obviously biased towards the political view they are supporting (as is evident in other sources of yours, the underlying, Dickensian interpretations of Capitalism in a simplistic, mutated and unrealistic way does not make for a reasonable focal point from which to present a counter-argument, and if you were to do so in a formal debate having represented it in such a way you would be laughed out of the room)?

Why is he right to link capitalism to feudalism, fascism, and real world communism? because the utopia he argues for is completely different from these. (I think Chunkyman's "moral" ideal is similarly utopic.)

as to your argument that "capitalism" contains "voluntary [...]" I'd reply with the quote "[capitalism] is a system of hierarchy and domination which makes a mockery of Rothbard’s [and Sivis's and Chunkyman's] conception of “voluntary agreement” for the “exchange” of “economic goods.” The thing is though that a lot of the domination and hierarchy is harder to see from the center of capitalism perhaps. I guess the crux of the issue is the question of a continuum of voluntari-ness. A man choosing between starving and working as a slave is not really free. A man choosing between a 50,000$ a year job and a 30,000$ a year job is given a choice, he can by his own volition choose - but if both are foul jobs (say sewer cleaning like jackie chan) he cannot choose to not work at all. The big difference is that there is an owner of stock for example, who gets dividends without working, (and perhaps this person's forefathers never worked but is descendant from an aristocrat). This person - this person can truly choose, right? this person, this person who lives from capital, does not need and therefore can choose.

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 10:59)
Why do you chose to use a source that is both so provocatively titled (the very concept of property being theft is an entirely absurd one that I have never seen a single even half-rational argument to support) and so obviously biased towards the political view they are supporting (as is evident in other sources of yours, the underlying, Dickensian interpretations of Capitalism in a simplistic, mutated and unrealistic way does not make for a reasonable focal point from which to present a counter-argument, and if you were to do so in a formal debate having represented it in such a way you would be laughed out of the room)?

The source is not provocatively titled at all - in fact I had previously quoted "Property is theft" which is a famous phrase by Proudhon. (here's the wikipedia article on that!) If by provocative to those who are still in the mindset that capitalism is great and property is a god-given right. Well, I would hope to provocate, to cause, to instigate some sort of reflection in those that believe that certainly. I feel that it is additionally very relevant in a thread which asks "Is taxation theft?" since if property itself is theft, if property is not absolute at all, if it not yours - then taxation either cannot be theft, or it is at least no more theft than property itself.

As to it's being biased? I see no real distortions of reality really. Here's a quote for example from the same artigle
QUOTE (Kevin A Carson quoted by Phil Dickens)
In fact, capitalism–a system of power in which ownership and control are divorced from labor–could not survive in a free market. As a mutualist anarchist, I believe that expropriation of surplus value–i.e., capitalism–cannot occur without state coercion to maintain the privilege of usurer, landlord, and capitalist.

It seems both to me very relevant, as the government was compared in this very topic to a landlord, as if a landlord were perfectly allowed to charge you for doing nothing, just for owning land. See that's the thing about the anarchists, they accept that property is not absolute when it's between people (you have rights, propriety to use it, but not rights of ownership, propriety to sell it) but when it's the government they cannot see it as less than absolute.

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 10:59)
if you were to do so in a formal debate having represented it in such a way you would be laughed out of the room

I don't know whether anti-capitalism is often laughed at. I believe Milton Friedman spoke of how at the time the "Chicago School" started anti-free market and leftist speakers at universities were the norm. I would not be surprised if today the opposition to capitalism has weakened significantly in the US. I think Marx spoke of how the ideology created by the higher classes was passed down to the lower classes. Thus you have anarcho-capitalists who are poor! hehehe...

I just noticed you called the blog's description dickensian, and the post is written by "Phil Dickens" - hehehe. I don't believe that was intentional on your part Sivis, was it? whether it was or not, kudos to you!

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#65

Posted 17 June 2012 - 09:24 AM Edited by sivispacem, 17 June 2012 - 10:42 AM.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 17:16)
Hummm.... I guess the over-arching general concept is that of "morality" and against "free market" and even ultimately against "property". I guess I should have commented more the quotations, as I believe the three quotations or texts I mentioned spoke regarding three different things and were not really cohesive. I think (and hope) that in this post I make my position clearer.

The issue from my perspective is that you are basing your argument around a variety of premises which I entirely dispute. I understood the general concept of what you were discussing, but I still don't quite get the structure of any thesis or argument that you are presenting...

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 17:16)
Why is he right to link capitalism to feudalism, fascism, and real world communism? because the utopia he argues for is completely different from these. (I think Chunkyman's "moral" ideal is similarly utopic.)

I don't think that this is a legitimate argument, though. I personally feel that it is very misleading to lump these three ideas together for any other purpose than dismissing them out-hand and without any real consideration. There are very few real similarities between them on a conceptual basis. A sensible, rational argument would dismiss each in turn, acknowledge the differences between them and the individual strengths and then creating a cohesive counter-argument against each which demonstrates why the theory is inferior to their idea. But that's not what happens here, and the lack of consideration of these thesis in rational ways such as this leads me to believe that as an argument his is quite weak as it does not demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the counter-points.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 17:16)
as to your argument that "capitalism" contains "voluntary [...]" I'd reply with the quote "[capitalism] is a system of hierarchy and domination which makes a mockery of Rothbard’s [and Sivis's and Chunkyman's] conception of “voluntary agreement” for the “exchange” of “economic goods.” The thing is though that a lot of the domination and hierarchy is harder to see from the center of capitalism perhaps. I guess the crux of the issue is the question of a continuum of voluntari-ness. A man choosing between starving and working as a slave is not really free. A man choosing between a 50,000$ a year job and a 30,000$ a year job is given a choice, he can by his own volition choose - but if both are foul jobs (say sewer cleaning like jackie chan) he cannot choose to not work at all. The big difference is that there is an owner of stock for example, who gets dividends without working, (and perhaps this person's forefathers never worked but is descendant from an aristocrat). This person - this person can truly choose, right? this person, this person who lives from capital, does not need and therefore can choose.

You can say that it "makes a mockery of the concept of voluntary agreement" but in reality I would dispute this. The phenomenon you talk of in terms of "domination and hierarchy" is not unique to Capitalism but is a construct of human social interaction (and as such has existed in every society, well, pretty much ever), and most nations that are variously describes as Capitalist implement measures to ensure that their citizens do not starve. The fact of the matter is that economies in any sense of the word require individuals to fill roles that they may not actually aspire to, and the same would be true in both theoretical Communism, anarchism, or really any theory in which there is an overriding concept of a community (be that community a family, a commune or a state). In fact, the scale and disparity of options for those existing in a "free" capitalist society vastly outnumber those available to small groups an so in terms of raw figures in this context you are actually "freer" (in an economic sense) in a Capitalist society than in any of the alternatives. Also, I personally find it very unhelpful to present an argument based on the logical fallacy that all businesses in this context are run by individuals who have "never worked" or that share/stakeholders are all wealthy and therefore exploit the employees of their direct or indirect companies. For the most part, bearing in mind that about 95% of all companies and about 80% of revenue comes from small and medium enterprise, its a myth.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 17:16)
The source is not provocatively titled at all - in fact I had previously quoted "Property is theft" which is a famous phrase by Proudhon. (here's the wikipedia article on that!) If by provocative to those who are still in the mindset that capitalism is great and property is a god-given right. Well, I would hope to provocate, to cause, to instigate some sort of reflection in those that believe that certainly. I feel that it is additionally very relevant in a thread which asks "Is taxation theft?" since if property itself is theft, if property is not absolute at all, if it not yours - then taxation either cannot be theft, or it is at least no more theft than property itself.

No, the source is provocatively titled. I'm fully aware of the origins of the phrase but that in itself is provocative, as it essentially alleged that anyone with property of any kind (which is basically every living human) is committing theft. And whilst I also understand that you, personally, feel that property is theft, you have not given any cohesive reason for this. Why is property theft as, for instance, the concept of property is hard-wired not just in humans but in some animals too. Surely the decision on whether property is theft should be based on an overall societal view, rather than theorising, as all other issues of ethics tend to be (as I don't see the logic in claiming that there are explicit moral codes which exist in every society as there is plenty of evidence to dispel the idea of unified morality). So, in short, can you explain how property can be theft if its very principles are hard-wired into the human condition? What better basis for an understanding of morality is there than that which appears to be a component of the psyche? Fukuyama discusses the concepts surrounding human nature, democracy and the rule of law in "The End of History" and basically concludes that current (albeit twisted) interpretations of democracy, exercised within Capitalist economies, are essentially the pinnacle of human society and anything seen as an "improvement" beyond that point is mere window dressing. Whilst I don't necessarily sympathise with all of his points (nor with his constant but inaccurate association with the Neocon movement), the anthropological trajectory of the human race rather demonstrates the idea that hierarchical societal structures, property, political order et cetera that are enshrined in human nature as well as various political and economic systems.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 17:16)
As to it's being biased? I see no real distortions of reality really.

Your dismissive, propagandist and wholly inaccurate comments about Capitalism (see above) indicate that this is not entirely true.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 17:16)
It seems both to me very relevant, as the government was compared in this very topic to a landlord, as if a landlord were perfectly allowed to charge you for doing nothing, just for owning land. See that's the thing about the anarchists, they accept that property is not absolute when it's between people (you have rights, propriety to use it, but not rights of ownership, propriety to sell it) but when it's the government they cannot see it as less than absolute.

If property is not an absolute then why do almost all societies treat it as though it is? Anarchists believe that property is not an absolute, but to say they accept that it is so implies that property not really existing is an explicit truth, which in the light of societal and individual attitudes to property shared by the vast majority of citizens of this planet demonstrates to me that this fundamental principle just isn't true. The argument you make takes the assumption that it is; your argument is logical and sensible based on that fundamental premise but I don't think that the premise has an ounce of truth in it.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 17:16)
I don't know whether anti-capitalism is often laughed at. I believe Milton Friedman spoke of how at the time the "Chicago School" started anti-free market and leftist speakers at universities were the norm. I would not be surprised if today the opposition to capitalism has weakened significantly in the US. I think Marx spoke of how the ideology created by the higher classes was passed down to the lower classes. Thus you have anarcho-capitalists who are poor! hehehe...

It tends to be dismissed quite rapidly; it did have its hey-day but much of that is in history now. Leftist speakers at universities are still the norm (though they don't tend to be radical, just centre-left) but that's more a reflection on the individuals who chose the teaching profession at various levels than it is on the legitimacy of their ideas. I think that despite the problems in Capitalist societies (in all honesty often the result of political wrangling or poor economic assessment rather than direct faults of the system itself); Capitalism still rules the roost. You must not forget that as a basic system it has provided a faster growth in living conditions, safer environments, individual and societal wealth, political stability, less conflict et cetera far more effectively than any other alternative system has been shown to. You may say that it is prescriptive; that it limits the choice of the individual- I would agree, but I would also say that all societies result in hierarchy, be they anarchist, communist, capitalist or corporatist, and this cannot be avoided as it is an intrinsic part of human nature. Capitalism provides the most individual choice out of all the available systems.

Though my initial reference was more to do with the cohesiveness of the argument that was being made, and the fact that it was/is based on fundamental premises that have not been demonstrated to be true.

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#66

Posted 17 June 2012 - 06:41 PM

Yes, none of us pay tax, and watch how our healthcare, police, defence, education and law collapse as they have no means from which to finance them. Sivis summarised it at the start - we'd love to pay no tax, but unfortunately it is necessary in our society as we are members of it, and so must support the services we require.

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#67

Posted 17 June 2012 - 07:31 PM

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

People complied with slavery for hundreds of years. And in a way it was all the justification it needed - it was customary. People were property, and many people saw no problem with people owning others. But then at least some people were convinced otherwise, and a movement was started. (economic reasons abounded for the abolishment of slavery as well)

But most importantly, just because you cannnot see the beginnings of a war against taxation from an unjust government, does not mean it is not there.

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#68

Posted 17 June 2012 - 08:03 PM

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Sunday, Jun 17 2012, 20:31)
But most importantly, just because you cannnot see the beginnings of a war against taxation from an unjust government, does not mean it is not there.

It sort of does if you believe in the basic principles of social contract theory as defined by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Weber or Rawles. The basic defining characteristic of the social contract in democratic societies is the ability for citizens to renegotiate the contract if a majority wish to do so. And seen as the organisation of societies tends to be on the basis of social contracts (at least in the West) I can only presume that, as your insinuated global revolution has no popular support, it poses no realistic threat to current morals, economics or the rule of law.

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#69

Posted 17 June 2012 - 09:14 PM

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Sunday, Jun 17 2012, 12:31)
People complied with slavery for hundreds of years.

LOL WHAT??

yes, all those black men in Africa WILLINGLY and HAPPILY walked onto those slave ships.
and they WILLINGLY and HAPPILY picked all that cotton.

sigh.gif sigh.gif sigh.gif

"people" did not comply with slavery.
slave owners and slave traders complied with slavery. huge difference.

remember that little thing called the Civil War?
yeah, we fought that because at least HALF the country did NOT comply with slavery.

I'm sorry but comparing taxation to slavery is a non-sequitor at best and just really stupid at worst.

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#70

Posted 18 June 2012 - 01:32 PM

QUOTE (El_Diablo @ Sunday, Jun 17 2012, 21:14)
yes, all those black men in Africa WILLINGLY and HAPPILY walked onto those slave ships.
and they WILLINGLY and HAPPILY picked all that cotton.
[...]
remember that little thing called the Civil War?
yeah, we fought that because at least HALF the country did NOT comply with slavery.

And you willingly and hapilly pay all your taxes. And seeing that there are other people being forced to pay taxes unjustly you do not fight for their rights either.

Remember the American Revolution?
Yeah we fought that because at least HALF the country did NOT comply with unjust taxation.

Remember that future revolution against unjust taxes?
Yeah we will fight that because at least HALF the country will NOT comply with unjust taxation.

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#71

Posted 18 June 2012 - 01:41 PM

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 14:32)
And you willingly and hapilly pay all your taxes. And seeing that there are other people being forced to pay taxes unjustly you do not fight for their rights either.

Because the potential benefit to citizens outweighs the harm. The majority accept that taxation is a requisite component of the society they wilfully and freely choose to live in. I have no idea what "rights" you are referring to here- presumably some fundamental concept of inalienable human entitlements that all are privileged to be party to? I don't believe such concepts exist and I feel that the disparity in moral codes across the world is testament to this. Also, I find it deeply ironic that you talk of people "unjustly" paying taxes as if it were something fundamentally and intrinsically immoral, whereas on the other hand you decry the every idea of property as in itself immoral despite the fact that in both of these circumstances currently accepted moral values and overriding societal beliefs entirely contradict your statements.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 14:32)
Remember that future revolution against unjust taxes?
Yeah we will fight that because at least HALF the country will NOT comply with unjust taxation.

Unless you can provide me two verified sources, one indicating that half of all US nationals are inherently and aggressively opposed to taxation as a basic principle and the other demonstrating how the theoretical maximum harms of taxation are higher than the theoretical maximum harms of violent revolution against the state, then I dismiss this statement as nothing more than propaganda. So much for "unbiased"...

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#72

Posted 18 June 2012 - 02:23 PM

QUOTE (Rown @ Saturday, Jun 16 2012, 05:52)
The way the government acquires taxes is force. Demanding payment with the threat of force is extortion. By definition. That most people aren't bothered by it doesn't diminish that reality. There is a slight difference with this and theft, though. Theft generally means a lack of permission or even a lack of knowledge. Theft might not even require force. If I pluck your wallet and you didn't feel it... then I didn't exactly use force did I? Taxation, and extortion are very open about it. Pay or don't play. In both cases you either participate (pay), are removed (killed or imprisoned), or leave (run away where it's not a problem).

So I'll say that Taxation might not be theft, but it's likely some form of extortion, and extortion is, I believe, immoral. 

Not that society is without immorality. We in the modern audience just don't like to see it so close and familiar.

Rown rampage_ani.gif

I'd mostly agree with this. I feel like most people in this topic are missing the point by screaming that taxes pay for our health care and pave roads. Obviously taxation has a function, one that is pretty key to maintaining society on some level. I'm not opposed to taxation, but to say that it is not in any way comparable to extortion is ridiculous. Government and taxation could be thought of as a bit of a protection racket, and that's not some absurd analogy, many a political scientist will use this to explain the fundamentals of how government works.

QUOTE
taxation is not extortion.

taxation provides an array of reliable protections and services to anyone who is paying in regardless of any personal circumstances. the fire department doesn't let your house burn to the ground just because you were late on your last utility bill. it's a form of public insurance.

extortion is a criminal tool; it doesn't actually provide protection or public services or anything for that matter.
it is merely the threat of violence for not paying tribute to a gang. and if you don't pay, they might burn your house to the ground on purpose.

taxation could not be LESS comparable with extortion.


Everyone here is getting to hung up on legitimacy. You can't wrap your mind around the fact that the government could extort everyone without that implying they are automatically criminal or malevolent. The fact that they are providing a service is irrelevant. The fact that they are not technically criminal is irrelevant, legitimacy is subjective. A gang might extort you in order to protect you from another gang, it's not legitimate or very useful service.

The government is much more useful protection racket, they are the strongest entity within our borders and they will protect you from lesser groups who might seek to use force on you (criminals) and provide services in exchange for your submission to the state, through taxation. It's not a voluntary service, you are likely born into it, not many people are born stateless. You don't get to choose whether or not you pay taxes. If you don't pay taxes and don't agree to accept the government's protection, they will arrest you and put you in jail. Many people suggest it is voluntary because you can leave, but it is not as if there are tax free political entities out there, and there is right of exit in most countries in the world but there is no right of entry. You are bound to your state until to you can go through the legal hoops of subjecting yourself to some other similar protection racket.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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#73

Posted 18 June 2012 - 07:49 PM Edited by El_Diablo, 18 June 2012 - 08:06 PM.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 06:32)
there are other people being forced to pay taxes unjustly

this sentence doesn't make any sense.

no one is being "forced" to pay "unjust" taxes. and the taxes that people are required to pay are not collected "unjustly."
at least not when it comes to the individual citizen.

you might argue that corporations are saddled with unjust taxes and/or regulations that are forced on them, but that's another discussion for another topic.
we're talking about the individual private citizen. and I don't know of anyone who is "forced" to pay "unjust" taxes.

this premise would require you to convince me that basic taxation is unjust.
you haven't done that.

it would also require you to convince me that tax collection itself is unjust.
you haven't done that either. we ask very politely that people voluntarily fill out and send in their own taxes. and 99% of them do. even when they don't, the government doesn't turn around and immediately lay siege. they receive letters and phone calls and visits from the IRS well in advance of any legal recourse. no one goes to jail for tax evasion BEFORE being given the opportunity to make things right. the only people serving hard time for tax evasion are the ones who refused to pay even after being give MULTIPLE chances and/or those who evaded on MASSIVE sums (multi-multi millions of dollars in back-tax).

I say again; you have yet to prove that taxes or their method of collection are unjust.
therefore your point is invalid.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 06:32)
Remember the American Revolution?
Yeah we fought that because at least HALF the country did NOT comply with unjust taxation.

2 things wrong with this point.

first; the American Revolution was about WAY MORE than taxes.
it was primarily about separating ourselves from the grip of a monarchy that we couldn't elect and who did not represent our interests.

second; taxes were a part of the instigation, that's true. but the issue with taxes in 1750 wasn't that we were being taxed, it was that most of the taxes were way too high on basic import / export goods like paper and ink and coffee. they didn't start the Revolution because they didn't want taxes at all. that's absurd aside from being completely untrue.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 06:32)
Remember that future revolution against unjust taxes?
Yeah we will fight that because at least HALF the country will NOT comply with unjust taxation.

predicting the future eh?

yes that's sure to win the argument.

QUOTE (Mike Tequeli @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 07:23)
The fact that they are providing a service is irrelevant. The fact that they are not technically criminal is irrelevant

no it's not.
it's extremely relevant.

it is the very reason why tax collection is justified in a State like the US; because it provides tangible benefits to all people equally.
to say that this is irrelevant belies a PROFOUND misunderstanding of the issue on your part.

QUOTE (Mike Tequeli @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 07:23)
legitimacy is subjective.

exactly.

and at least 99% of citizens in this country (and most civilized countries) pay their taxes without incident or trouble.
by this standard we can safely say that taxes and tax collection are subjectively legitimate by way of their widespread acceptance.

QUOTE (Mike Tequeli @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 07:23)
A gang might extort you in order to protect you from another gang, it's not legitimate or very useful service.

criminal extortion and protection is in NO WAY comparable to taxes and tax collection.
I don't know why this is hard for you to comprehend.

"protection" in the criminal sense could not be further removed from the act of using tax dollars to maintain public roads, schools, and fire stations.
you're not just comparing apples to oranges. you're trying to compare apples to chimpanzees. you couldn't be more off base.

QUOTE (Mike Tequeli @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 07:23)
The government is much more useful protection racket,

it's not a racket.

a racket implies that you're not actually receiving the things that you paid for.
that's why it's a racket. it's a trap, it's unjust.

with taxes you get exactly what you pay for.
by definition it's not a racket.

QUOTE
It's not a voluntary service.... Many people suggest it is voluntary because you can leave, but it is not as if there are tax free political entities out there

2 things.

1.) it is voluntary.
just because you were born somewhere doesn't mean you have to stay. you also won't be thrown in jail immediately for not paying your taxes. as I've explained, you are given opportunities to pay when the IRS finds that you're short or late. opportunities is plural, you get multiple. you aren't faced with legal action until evasion has become a pattern of behavior.

2.) the fact that most States in the world use and collect taxes is NOT an argument against the voluntary nature of taxation.
it simply illustrates the fact that tax collection is the best method of maintaining a functional and orderly civil society that humans have yet conceived. it just shows that - so far - taxation is the gold standard for running a country that attempts to provide equal treatment for it's people.

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#74

Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:11 PM Edited by oysterbarron, 21 June 2012 - 01:14 PM.

The thing i don't agree with is the multiple layers of tax.

your boss earns money witch incurs tax, he then pays you witch incurs tax, your bank then taxs you on the money in the bank, you then buy stuff witch on some products has more tax put ontop, If you rent or buy a house you incur council tax, when you die your inheritance gets taxed again even though tax has already been payed on items or money, surely there is a better system than this?

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#75

Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:26 PM

QUOTE (oysterbarron @ Thursday, Jun 21 2012, 14:11)
The thing i don't agree with is the multiple layers of tax.

your boss earns money witch incurs tax, he then pays you witch incurs tax, your bank then taxs you on the money in the bank, you then buy stuff witch on some products has more tax put ontop, If you rent or buy a house you incur council tax, when you die your inheritance gets taxed again even though tax has already been payed on items or money, surely there is a better system than this?

I understand what you are saying here, but the highlighted bit is not strictly speaking correct. Company income is not taxable but profit is- salaries for staff can be written off as expenses and therefore are not treated as taxable- though employers have to pay a proportion of any salary as Employer's NI. ENI is factored in to the salaries staff are paid so it effectively comes out the pocket of the employee, along with the individual NI paid by that employee and their income tax. The way the tax system in the UK works is that it rests the burden of taxation on whoever is at the "end of the line"- which is generally a consumer or employee.

Also, things like council tax are designed for a specific purpose- funding local government services. I do however think that the tax system needs to be simplified (for instance rolling personal NI and income tax into the same tax)

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#76

Posted 21 June 2012 - 08:53 PM

QUOTE (El_Diablo @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 19:49)
[...] no one is being "forced" to pay "unjust" taxes. and the taxes that people are required to pay are not collected "unjustly."
at least not when it comes to the individual citizen.

you might argue that corporations are saddled with unjust taxes and/or regulations that are forced on them, but that's another discussion for another topic.
we're talking about the individual private citizen. and I don't know of anyone who is "forced" to pay "unjust" taxes.

this premise would require you to convince me that basic taxation is unjust.
you haven't done that.

it would also require you to convince me that tax collection itself is unjust.
you haven't done that either. we ask very politely that people voluntarily fill out and send in their own taxes. and 99% of them do. even when they don't, the government doesn't turn around and immediately lay siege. they receive letters and phone calls and visits from the IRS well in advance of any legal recourse. no one goes to jail for tax evasion BEFORE being given the opportunity to make things right. the only people serving hard time for tax evasion are the ones who refused to pay even after being give MULTIPLE chances and/or those who evaded on MASSIVE sums (multi-multi millions of dollars in back-tax).

I say again; you have yet to prove that taxes or their method of collection are unjust.
therefore your point is invalid.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 06:32)
Remember the American Revolution?
Yeah we fought that because at least HALF the country did NOT comply with unjust taxation.

2 things wrong with this point.

first; the American Revolution was about WAY MORE than taxes.
it was primarily about separating ourselves from the grip of a monarchy that we couldn't elect and who did not represent our interests.

second; taxes were a part of the instigation, that's true. but the issue with taxes in 1750 wasn't that we were being taxed, it was that most of the taxes were way too high on basic import / export goods like paper and ink and coffee. they didn't start the Revolution because they didn't want taxes at all. that's absurd aside from being completely untrue.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, Jun 18 2012, 06:32)
Remember that future revolution against unjust taxes?
Yeah we will fight that because at least HALF the country will NOT comply with unjust taxation.

predicting the future eh?

yes that's sure to win the argument.

I was sure somebody was gonna say "if you have more than half the people against something, then they'd just win the election and they would abolish taxes within this very system, making the revolution useless".

Taxation without representation was a big part of the reason for the american revolution. And they were against being part of the decision making process located in the UK either because that would mean being a minority - so a revolution was in order. At the same time it was largely a minority that agitated the process, that forced or provoked the hand of the British crown into greater repression and thus - yes the american revolution was based not only on the taxation and tariffs, but also on the repression itself.

I guess the question is whether in this case in the US, the "democratic process" is truly democratic, popular. I don't think taxation necessarily is unjust, but if a majority of a group I am part of decides something, there are a number of problems there. Not only in how they are formulated, how the positions are created, but who gets to speak, who is heard, who has the power to use and create propaganda. If a revolution were to begin it would similarly have to create ways to get the revolutionary opinions heard - and thus not only is the appearance of democracy anti-revolutionary, as it creates the appearance of "voluntary" compliance, but the shall we say the corrupt exercise of democracy that exists is I'd say a kind of eternal counter-revolution or reaction against mobilization.

It seems to me strange that you say that it is "voluntary" as opposed to "forced" or mandatory which I proposed they were. You defended that by saying that you can choose when to pay them, you can turn them in late for example. But you cannot choose to not pay them - this part of it is kindof important. If you say to the IRS "I don't want to pay taxes", they'll order you, "you will do as the law says, under penalty of prison, fees, [...]" the penalty being a way of "forcing" you to pay taxes.

I used the messianic "the revolution will come" and since you cannot tell the future you cannot say "the revolution will not come", you say "you cannot tell the future" - that's part of my point though, the world is disturbed by changes all the time, and it is important to see that there is always the possibility of the new suddenly appearing.

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#77

Posted 21 June 2012 - 09:33 PM

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Thursday, Jun 21 2012, 21:53)
I used the messianic "the revolution will come" and since you cannot tell the future you cannot say "the revolution will not come", you say "you cannot tell the future" - that's part of my point though, the world is disturbed by changes all the time, and it is important to see that there is always the possibility of the new suddenly appearing.

But for the purposes of contributing to a reasonable argument, it's utter bollocks if I may say so. No-one is claiming that revolution of some kind will not come under some unspecified context, but the resistance to this idea is that you insinuated that it would be a direct result of taxation policy and that therefore it would be in direct relation to taxation policies in Western, democratic and capitalist nations. Which is an emotive personal opinion- not even a real estimate as it appears to have no evidence supporting and/or substantiating it.

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#78

Posted 21 June 2012 - 10:01 PM

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Thursday, Jun 21 2012, 13:53)
Taxation without representation was a big part of the reason for the american revolution.

no one is disagreeing with you here.

but this discussion is about whether or not taxation is just or moral.
it's important to note that the revolutionaries were not against taxes at all - they had no problem with taxation itself - they were against specific taxes that they felt were unfair because they had no way to provide feedback or input (so to speak) to the dictatorial monarchy of King George.

QUOTE
It seems to me strange that you say that it is "voluntary" as opposed to "forced" or mandatory which I proposed they were. You defended that by saying that you can choose when to pay them, you can turn them in late for example.

you are incorrect, I'm afraid.

I didn't defend the voluntary nature of taxation by noting that you can do your taxes late. that was a different point entirely. that was addressing the fact that tax COLLECTION is more than fair because the IRS gives you plenty of time and warning before going ahead with legal action. whether you're late or haven't done your taxes yet at all, the IRS doesn't immediately throw you in prison. there are numerous opportunities to avoid recourse.

I defended the idea that taxes are voluntary by noting the fact that you don't have to live in a country whose system of taxation you disagree with.
you can leave at any time.

now if you're going to stay then yes; taxes are likely mandatory.
when you choose to stay in a civilized country, to live and work there, then you have chosen to comply with taxation. because mandatory taxation is the only fair way to have taxes. but mandatory and voluntary are slightly different terms.

a country that collects taxes will do so in a mandatory fashion; the practice is mandatory for people who choose to live in that society.
but those people can always volunteer to go elsewhere or to drastically cut down their personal tax burden through lifestyle choices. there are many people in many different countries that find ways to live off of the grid. they might have to be willing to develop their own commune and acknowledge that the local fire department probably won't be rushing to their aid if there's a fire. but there are pockets of communities like this if you're interested in finding them

it's true that you cannot choose to NOT pay your taxes if you have CHOSEN to live in a place (or under a lifestyle) that incurs public services.
but you can always choose to find a different system or a different way of living that dramatically alters or reduces your tax burden.

just because you can't find a country that DOESN'T collect taxes doesn't mean that you don't have choices.




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