The Case for Compulsory Taxation

Richard Goode's picture
Submitted by Richard Goode on Sun, 2012-02-19 13:17

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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With the Euroland...

Marcus's picture

...bringing in a new financial transaction tax to punish banks, how can you say that they are moving towards less taxation?

Through green taxes and all that crap my plane ticket now consists of about 80% tax. When I fly to Austria I pay about £126 - of which £26 is the price of the ticket.

Now they are putting airlines into the carbon trading scheme which will increase the non-ticket price even more.

Movement towards low taxes in the EU, my ass!

Hubbard 2

Damien Grant's picture

Grant 0

I've seen police states, it

Mark Hubbard's picture

I've seen police states, it is why I love this one.

Hah!. I'll take the win by bad grammar on this one Eye

Hopeful.

Damien Grant's picture

I love new Zealand. It really is godzone.

Somethings annoy me and I'm prepared to get out there and say what I think, but there are so many things that make it one of the best countries to live in, it makes it hard for me to think of this as a nation where our freedom is really under attack.

Having to pay more tax that what I'm happy with is a tiny price for living in such a benign environment.

The are richer nations, like Australia and the US, and there are more interesting ones like the UK and Dubai.

Anyway, I've done a lot of traveling. I've seen police states, it is why I love this one.

It is possible my reasoning is flawed and the result of wooly subjective emotions, but my life is better if I think new Zealand is a wonderful place.

As for the herald.

If you drew a line, with no government libertarians at one end and dictatorial communism at the other, I would be so close to you on the spectrum you would need a magnifying glass to tell us apart, but in the apparently much more complex minutia of libertarian philosophy we are disagree on some key issues.

For my point, I come here because I'm closer to the views of those here than any other blog I'm aware of and I enjoy the debates.

Austerity

Mark Hubbard's picture

The trend in europe is towards less tax, the tea party movement etc etc, is moving in one direction.

Greece just hit a 45% tax rate, and it's moving up ... as it has to do across Europe given governments, including UK, are not diminishing the size of their States' at all. As I've said on this thread, the unfunded State pensions obligation in Europe is five times that of Europe's entire current debt: how do you think they plan to pay that? How did they make such promises entirely detached from any sort of reality?

I couldn't disagree more that we we are living in a state characterised by freedom of the individual. I, and the guy who penned your Herald piece today, don't think that at all. I, too, have overall great personal interrelationships with IRD staff, though, lately, when striking strangers in there implementing a more and more vicious tax administration, I'm finding that changing, quickly. Dunne is a disgrace.

And then of course, there's the principles involved. Just like in the hidden population of Orwell's 1984, and all the distopias, for that matter, there's the bulk of the population who no doubt think not much seems to be wrong, until they scratch the surface, and rub a bureaucrat up the wrong way. The State, and IRD particularly, have a huge and unhealthy level of power in New Zealand, that truly does rely on simply having 'nice' people in control for good people not to be destroyed (which under current law, they easily can be). That's not good enough. And one day soon I'll write on IRD's Head of Compliance: that might make you rethink your comfort zone. Outside of that, I don't have the energy or concentration for this thread.

freedom

Damien Grant's picture

I would say I am living in a state characterised by freedom of the individual, yes.

The west is moving towards freedom in some ways and against it in others. The trend in europe is towards less tax, the tea party movement etc etc, is moving in one direction.

But QE, stimulus packages, etc, are moving in the other direction.

... would you say you're

Mark Hubbard's picture

... would you say you're living in a state characterised by freedom of the individual?

Do you think the trend in Western states is toward more individual freedom, less tax, or toward more Statism and thus higher taxation?

I said I would recognise a

Damien Grant's picture

I said I would recognise a police state if I saw one, and New Zealand is about as far removed from a Police State as it is possible to imagine in today’s world.

You quote examples where the state or its agents have acted badly or exceeded their authority, but that is not a police state.

You were grumpy recently about Mr Dotcom being held in custody. Here we have the New Zealand government, backed by the United States government, demanding that this fellow be held in custody, and a middle aged lawyer sitting in a building around the corner from my office told them to buggar off, and released him.

The example you use, where my income is partially confiscated by the state. Yes, I agree that is wrong and should not happen. That does not make New Zealand a police state.

I do not believe that the existence of compulsory taxation means we live in a police state.

I accept you think that compulsory taxation is an attack on freedom and I understand why you think that. To a very large extent I accept your premise, but we are not a police state. And I would know.

I have been subject to all the majesty of the power of the state. I have seen its inner workings. It is incredibly benign.

If a police state is characterised by a fear of the state, New Zealand does not pass that test. The New Zealand state is about as scary as a small rabbit.

There are areas where the state has incredible powers, but those powers have been given to them by people elected by the people. We are self-governed. We are imposing these restrictions on ourselves.

I understand the tyranny of the majority but in New Zealand this tyranny is mostly over the government’s need to collect money. Annoying, wrong, not a police state.

A police state is

Mark Hubbard's picture

A police state is characterised mainly by fear of the State. Where your property rights can be breached on the whim of State officials, such as here http://www.solopassion.com/nod... or here http://www.solopassion.com/nod... or here http://www.solopassion.com/nod... where you have no privacy from a State that can snoop and search even without warrant from the Courts, such as IRD can.

Where, in other words, the State is the chief abuser of individual rights, rather than the protector of them. Where the State uses the tax system to fund people such as Tania Wysocki ( http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opin... ) against my will, even though it is I whom the taxes are extracted from.

The bedrock of a uncivil society is therefore the ability of the State to legislate compulsory taxation is it not? The minute the State assumes that function, the civil and free society is history.

... where the rules are developed by a legislature elected in regular intervals in free and fair elections

Let's say the civil society exists of Tania Wysocki, that women Campbell brought out prior to the election with no prospects but eight children, and that other women with five, and Damien Grant, on a salary of $1 million. A plebiscite is held on the motion that Ms Wysocki, Ms Mom of Eight and Ms Mom of Five have entitlement to live on the efforts of liquidators and the proper function of the State in a civil society it to compulsorily tax to implement the will of the majority: the vote is won 3 to 1 votes.

Democratically made, majority vote. Are you feeling it was a 'free and fair election'?

As a libertarian I don't want a democracy such as we have now. I want a constitutional minarchy, which to provide the framework for the free and civil society must not, MUST NOT, allow compulsory taxation, as, per my argument, no civil society becomes possible the minute you grant the powers to a government department necessary for a compulsory tax system. Such a system makes necessary the State can abrogate the private property rights and privacy of every single individual. That is why we are the Brute State, a long way from a civil one, and it's men thinking as you do that has allowed this to come about.

.... per your last post to Gregster: capitalism is not a zero sum game.

thank you Greg

Damien Grant's picture

I know this to be true, because I myself, am greedy, lazy and stupid.

Sadly, these traits allow the state to be expanded, because the majority see no good reason not to vote for measures to take from the more productive members of society and award it to themselves.

If you think economics is a zero sum game this of course makes sense. You can understand why they would want to do this, but the effect of taxing a doctor is that he works less, and therefore he only sees higher paying clients, so the poor can no longer afford to see a doctor, so they demand doctors are free, so doctors are taxed even more so they can be paid an even higher salary so their post-tax salary is high enough to induce them to see as many patients they would had the whole system not been set up in the first place.

Or they go to Dubai, of course, so we need to tax the remaining doctors even more and accuse them of being greedy and the last six doctors left had better be willing to put in some long hours!

People! Hopeless.

Damien

gregster's picture

People are greedy, lazy and stupid. They will not pay for the state if they thing you are going to.

What an excellent mechanism for the shrinking of the state. Well done. I concur.

civil

Damien Grant's picture

Wow, the definition of a civil society in one hundred words or less!

"A rule bound society where there is no restriction on freedom of speech, religion, assembly politics or similar, where the rules are developed by a legislature elected in regular intervals in free and fair elections.

Where property rights and personal safety are respected and those who infringe on either are both deterred or punished by a competent, accessible, and independent judiciary and police force.

And there is good access to quality bacon.

Bacon. Never forget bacon!"

A police state is like pornography. I cannot describe it but I would know one if I saw it.

Here's a question for you Damien:

Mark Hubbard's picture

You talk of wanting to live in a 'civil society', as indeed we all do: but what do you think a civil society is?

And define what would be the difference between a police/slave state society and a civil society.

Road rage

Damien Grant's picture

Good afternoon mark.

I did not say there would be no road rules in a libertarian society, I'm very nervous about saying anything about libertarian societies here given the passion with which errors of mine are rightly smacked.

I said I'm happy to give up some of my freedom if that is the price I must pay to live in a better functioning society. That, you will notice is not a statement of principle. I think we have already established I lack some key libertarian principles.

I'm a disappointment, I know.

Get your computer fixed soon, i'm looking forward to your reconstructed reasoning on why my bull analysis is wrong. I was quite pleased with that line of argument. The goode richard put me on the spot. The buzzard.

Here's how your thinking is muddled:

Mark Hubbard's picture

I am prepared to give up my freedom to drive however I want in return for an ordered road system.

So you think in a libertarian society - hint, non-initiation of force principle - there would be no road rules? Why?

(Though by the by, there's a fascinating documentary about a dangerous traffic intersection in Netherlands (may have been Belgium, can't remember),which they first tried to cut down accidents on by more and more rules and signage, which just made it worse, and then, ultimately, taking away absolutely all rules, and all signage, meaning vehicles, cycles, and pedestrians entering the intersection had to consciously interact and communicate with one another, plus be courteous - it proved to be the solution. Just as with free markets - which you want suffocated, bottom line, by government coercion - there arose the wonder of spontaneous order from men having to use their reason. Apropos nothing, really, but I've always thought a 'final proof' for the society I want. Though road rules - of course. Those who deliberately break same would be initiating force should they cause an accident. By this I mean the basics, side of the road to travel on, give way rules and so forth, but not necessarily speed, nor things like, to bring out the old hoary nut Statists like to trumpet, helmets. If consenting adults want to die stupidly, that's actually their right, they just don't have the right to carry that over to others.)

With that my computer packed up this morning. Luckily I've got good back ups, but I'm going to have to set about setting up a new one from scratch on top of an already behind schedule, so I'm going to be a little scarce for a while ...

Oh, I see you've got a version of 'that' post up on Herald, from a quick read you've not had to sacrifice too much. Well done, even though you're so muddled the ethic you're supporting in that piece, is the very one you're trying to squash in every post to this thread. I've already got your topic for two weeks time: Kim Jong Hickey - look at this bloody rot http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opin...

Reed

Damien Grant's picture

Concise and on point. As ever.

Very clever.

Mark

Damien Grant's picture

The principle of freedom is yours. I am willing to give up some freedom in return for some benefits, as are most people. I am prepared to give up my freedom to drive however I want in return for an ordered road system.

But, as to the bull analogy, you say my thinking is muddled, but you do not address why it is muddled.

Troy

Damien Grant's picture

Two points.

One: your argument is based on faith. You assume peope will act this way but you cannot know this.

Two: why would I pay for something I can get for free? History tells us people will not do so. You think that once people gain freedom they will embrace it, yet I am not so sure. I think they will assume everyone else will pay.

In another life I was in the gas industry. We used to supply large apartment buildings. We installed a central gas boiler that would provide unlimited hot water, at maybe one hundred dollars a month for each user. The marginal cost of hot water was almost zero.

The residents of the units were angry because they complained they did not use as much hot water as their neighbor. I explained we could install hot water meters, but by the time we did the billing, meter reading, capital cost, the lowest cost for a user would be higher than the bills now.

They did not care. They were so upset at the idea that they were paying for someone else they insisted, we installed the meters, cost went up to around twohundred a month, everyone was happy.

People are greedy, lazy and stupid. They will not pay for the state if they thing you are going to.

A correction to your Bull analogy...

reed's picture

You (government) forcibly take the gun from the farmer's expert hands, take aim at the bull and accidentally shoot the kid. Eye

Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

If taxation is needed to protect the civil society

If you have compulsory taxation, enforced by a department with ruthless powers to breach private property rights and privacy, and we surely have that, then there is no civil society to protect. It's gone already.

the right, I guess, comes from the need to allocate resources to the best effect

This first part of your post, and the example you use, is incredibly muddled: in fact, muddied thinking is a problem with you, period, but the only mechanism that allocates resources efficiently and effectively, is the free market, and the a priori condition of a free market is voluntarism and lack of State compulsion (such as compulsory taxes and the police state powers given to enforce same).

The principle is it's always about freedom, but you don't have any idea what that means.

Damien you are forgetting something...

Jules Troy's picture

People in a free true capitalist society will rationally do what is in thier best interests.

Your argument ignores the reality of rational self interest.  Hypothetically speaking let us assume a country adopted a true free society were individual rights were fully protected by the rule of law and guaranteed by it's constitution and the rest of the world was inhabited by nihilist crazy islamofascist saddamites bent on subverting your country to obey their islamic ways or wipe you off of the face of the earth.  Do you seriously think people would have a problem with funding the government's need for the funds in which to protect it's citizens freedom and their very lives?  What price would it cost? People would pay WHATEVER it costs to remain free.

Mark

Damien Grant's picture

It is my view that we are the next incremental step in the evolutionary ladder up from chimps.

However, a tiny incremental step can be huge in terms of terms of mental capacity. Alas, I really have no understanding of how this process works. I simply accept unquestioning what I am told by people and sources I find credible. My views on this matter are irrelevant to my views in other areas where I feel I have a degree of competence.

The issue of how we develop reasoning, what being sentient means, the very nature of what it means to be human are issues that I think are beyond the scope of this discussion, and I would rather listen to other people discuss it than tackle it myself.

Richard

Damien Grant's picture

Great. I see your question.

My answer, which must be brief, is two fold.

One: I am unsure that if the state does not raise taxes by compulsion it will fail gives it a right per se. It is simply that if the risk was chaos or anarchy, I would prefer being taxed. This is not a right it is an expedient response.

Two: the right, I guess, comes from the need to allocate resources to the best effect. Imagine you are on a farm, not your farm, no right to access any of the tools. You see a bull running towards a child. In order to save the child you must grab a gun from the farm and discharge the firearm.

It is not your farm. By discharging the firearm you are damaging someone's property and you have no right to the firearm.

You are forced, (the key word here is forced) into a situation where to do nothing is the same as doing something.

However, although you have no right to the firearm, your actions are right, morally and ethically. You are confiscating a third party's property, but if you fail to act harm may come to the child.

If taxation is needed to protect the civil society, the property rights and provide personal protection of a states citizens, and the only way l do so is by using tax obtained by compulsion, then that is where a state obtains its moral authority to use compulsion to raise revenue.

I have an argument based on the concept of nature of commerce and property but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Damien

Richard Goode's picture

people are getting angry at me for pushing the issue, resorting to slogans, putting their fingers in their ears and going 'nargh, nargh nargh.' ... That, sadly, is the level of debate here, and you invited me to defend my position based on a throw-away line from an earlier post.

Yes, I did, but I do hope you're not blaming me for the level of debate. I'm sorry to have abandoned you to the Objectivist horde.

A libertarian state needs, let’s assume, two billion dollars to maintain law and order and defend property rights. Non-compulsion revenue only reaches one billion. The state is unable to pay its bills and is lurching towards failure. What do you do? ... Do not just say this cannot happen.

I'm not saying it cannot happen. I accept that it could.

What happens if the libertarian state cannot be funded without compulsion? It is a simple question. No one here has an answer because there is no answer

There is an answer. You already gave it. Either the libertarian state resorts to raising taxes by compulsion, or it is replaced by something else.

You are ducking the issue.

No, I think you are.

Your position is that a libertarian state unable to fund itself without raising taxes by compulsion has a right to raise taxes by compulsion. To defend this position you must say what gives the state that right. Your defence appears to be that such a state has a right to raise taxes by compulsion because if it does not raise taxes by compulsion it will be replaced by something else. I find this defence inadequate.

I'm not disputing that a hypothetical libertarian state might be unable to fund itself without raising taxes by compulsion. I'm not disputing that such a hypothetical libertarian state would fail if it does not raise taxes by compulsion. I'm not disputing that in this event it would be replaced by something else. What I am disputing is that these undisputed (by me) facts give the state the right to raise taxes by compulsion.

I'm suggesting that if the hypothetical libertarian state does, indeed, have the right to raise taxes by compulsion, as you claim, it must be in virtue of some other facts. These other facts might be additional to the ones already mentioned, or they might be sufficient in themselves to give the state the right to raise taxes by compulsion. But what are these other facts?

If the hypothetical libertarian state is replaced by "something else", the "something else" is going to have funding issues, too. That's why I asked you, if the "something else" is unable to fund itself without raising taxes by compulsion, does the "something else" thereby have a right to raise taxes by compulsion? If the something else is a brutal totalitarian regime, I don't think it does, and I don't think you do, either. Such a brutal totalitarian regime is a counter-example to the claim that the mere fact that a state's survival depends on raising taxes by compulsion gives it the right to do so.

Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

Mark Hubbard is angry with me over some issue relating to monkeys that I am completely confused about ...

Evasion, Damien. I give you credit you are not that stupid you don't understand my argument. I'm saying you can't live with the contradiction of writing classical liberal articles, classical liberalism founded on individual responsibility, which is founded on human reason, and yet believe we are apes living on instinct thus must be forced to pay taxes to run the State. You must resolve that contradiction, because at the moment you are writing to advocate a system you believe will result in anarchy - even though it won't - and you are not an anarchist. As the saying goes: 'what are you doing!?'

You've never addressed this contradiction, even though it is the answer to the question you have posed here, which is simply a straw man fishing for a red herring.

And for a laugh, just from facts off BBC this morning, lets look at where government compulsorily raising taxes has led us to:

The public train system in Greece employs more people than travel on it. It would be cheaper to give passengers using it taxi chits Smiling

Here's a frightening one: Europe's unfunded state pension obligations are five times higher than Europe's total, current combined debt. That equals one thing: stuffed, but huge coercive police states before it all falls over to pay for the irresponsible wet dreams of incompetent politicians. I for one am over being forced to pay for their idiot mistakes, which are the equivalent of not being able to balance a cheque book, but on a national level. They have detached themselves from economic reality entirely, and it is not my responsibility to save them, even if that were possible anymore, (which it's not).

Limited government, laissez faire, voluntarism, volunteerism: that's the answer, and therein lies freedom for all of us. Whereas in our current Swindler of Revenue lies the Gulag.

(Loved the media whore link).

Richard

Damien Grant's picture

Richard,

You are ducking the issue.

A libertarian state needs, let’s assume, two billion dollars to maintain law and order and defend property rights. Non-compulsion revenue only reaches one billion. The state is unable to pay its bills and is lurching towards failure. What do you do?

Do not just say this cannot happen. It can. You might think it unlikely, but the possibility is not zero.

What happens if the libertarian state cannot be funded without compulsion? It is a simple question. No one here has an answer because there is no answer and people are getting angry at me for pushing the issue, resorting to slogans, putting their fingers in their ears and going 'nargh, nargh nargh.'

Mark Hubbard is angry with me over some issue relating to monkeys that I am completely confused about and Lindsay Perigo accuses me of being pig ignorant because i think anarchy may happen if a libertarian state fails. Reed is at least concise and to the point.

That, sadly, is the level of debate here, and you invited me to defend my position based on a throw-away line from an earlier post. I did not come here shoving my views in anyone's face.

The 'something else' could be chaos and anarchy, dictatorship by some other well-funded force, or most likely, the re-emergence of a democratic state using compulsion. If the libertarian state fails why do you think that whatever replaces it will be bound by its legal underpinning?

Brant

Damien Grant's picture

Accepted, and I apologise for my inflamatory remarks.

damien

Damien

Richard Goode's picture

It is possible that a libertarian state cannot be funded. If it cannot it will fail, therefore compulsion is necessary because I prefer an imperfect order to whatever unknown thing will happen if the state fails.

You cannot justify compulsory taxation on the basis of your own preferences. Rephrase?!

What happens in a power vacuum? Someone one steps in. Someone always steps in. A state unable to fund itself will be replaced by something else. What, you cannot know. No one can know. It might be simply a democratic parliament reinstating compulsion or it might be something less benign, but whatever happens compulsion will return.

You say that a state unable to fund itself will be replaced by "something else". If the "something else" is unable to fund itself, does the "something else" have a right to raise taxes by compulsion? If not, what is it apart from its inability to fund itself that gives a state a right to raise taxes by compulsion?

Damien

Brant Gaede's picture

This will take me a day or two more at least. I apologize for my posts to you last night. It wasn't just the liquor. I'm under unbelievable stress in my personal life right now. It's much worse than anything I've ever gone through before, even in that stupid war now so long ago.

Again, I apologize.

--Brant
let's start over with a clean slate

Ok

Damien Grant's picture

I look forward to your comments.

I enjoy a good debate, really enjoy it.

If you can challenge me I will likewise apologise for my earlier comment.

Damien

Listen

Brant Gaede's picture

Listen to me very carefully: I will review the entire thread tomorrow. I will comment on it as such, tomorrow. Nothing I will say will contradict anything I've already said here. If it does I will acknowledge and apologise. Okay? I'm goin' to bed.

--Brant

enough

Damien Grant's picture

If you want a debate, debate.

You are proud of your ignorance, you came here and stated a mindless slogan without reading the comments leading up to it.

You are like a mindless heckler at a debate.

We

Brant Gaede's picture

We are not "debate" ing. You called me a "fuckwit." What did I call you?

--Brant
the man doesn't even know about the NIOF principle or what that means
did I call him "ignorant"? Suppose so--let's see some non-ignorance
tomorrow I'll ne nice and civil, as is my usual want

yeah.

Damien Grant's picture

the level of your debate indicates otherwise.

I

Brant Gaede's picture

I only get nasty when I get drunk. I don't get stupid.

--Brant
NEXT!
otherwise known as a "good" drunk

Easy

Damien Grant's picture

You stated your view, I stated mine.

What is the problem here. I am confused.

How

Brant Gaede's picture

How can I infringe on your "rights" without initiating PHYSICAL FORCE? Are you stupid or ignorant? Where in the fuck do you think you are? This is an OBJECTIVIST LIST! Got it? Do you know WTF that means? Not curious; I know the answer.

--Brant
get an education; get an Objectivist life; get the fuck out of here until you are worthy of some demonstrable basic knowledge of WTF we talk about here!

YES...

Damien Grant's picture

And I'm, entitled to think you are a fuckwit based on the quality of your response.

Do not infringe on my rights!

NO!

Brant Gaede's picture

I'm entitled to respond to the title of the thread!

--Brant
I said so!

Brant...

Damien Grant's picture

You seem proud that you have not read the thread, yet you come here and state your view.

Fair enough, I guess, but if you want to boast of your ability to form opinions without knowing the issues or bothering to understand other people's views, then I feel entitled to form an opinion of you based on nothing other the fact that you are proud of your ignorance.

IF

Brant Gaede's picture

If u want to engage me engage me but use reason and analysis, not vacuous ad h. BS!

--Brant

Look

Brant Gaede's picture

I'm drunk and drinking but I'm still leaving you screamin'!

Hurray up or give up ure cup to tomorrow's sober and terrible reasonin"!

--Brant

Damien

Brant Gaede's picture

This is thinking?

--Brant
please tell me this is some kind of misunderstanding or why.

--Brant

In that case, Brant:

Damien Grant's picture

I do not know you, I have not met you, but i have decided that you are a complete fuckwit.

NOT!

Brant Gaede's picture

I've not read any post on this thread. However, there is NO case for compulsory taxation except a million or so! Only ONE case against! The case is FREEDOM!

--Brant

sent you the link

Damien Grant's picture

via private email: to be fair, I did ask them to!

:)

Mark Hubbard's picture

Indeed, the NBR identified me today as a media whore!

Buzzards.

Apes, you mean. In what context - I can't find the article?

clearly not

Damien Grant's picture

I make no claim to being anything Mark. I am a self-promoting insolvency practitioner operating from the industrial wastelands of Albany.

No more, no less.

Indeed, the NBR identified me today as a media whore!

Buzzards.

You don't get it!

Mark Hubbard's picture

I’d prefer to see a state funded without compulsion, but

In the 'but' lurks the apologist for the Police State. In the 'but' is the guard outside the door just following orders.

And the answer is one. One on the head of a pin. One individual. The civilised society starts and ends there.

Finally what you really don’t get is that the ‘ape stuff’ was all of it, regarding this thread, and classical liberalism.

I await the next Herald piece with interest ...

Mark

Damien Grant's picture

I do not think you can make those statements until you answer my question about how do you fund a libertarian state if voluntary contributions are not enough.

I’d prefer to see a state funded without compulsion, but if that is not going to work then I accept that compulsion is necessary to avoid the failure of a state. In this forum this is akin to debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

It does not make me an apologist for a police state.

The ape stuff is a distraction Mark and I do not wish to get sucked into it.

Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

Damien said: I am unsure how I became the socialist apologist in this forum ...

Because other than backing, bottom line, the Police State's moral authority to initiate force against the rights of free men, rather than adherence to the classical liberal notion that the state's role is only the protection of them, Damien, believing men are little more than apes, stated his belief in the bedrock of collectivism, by which I mean he said: We all today enjoy the gifts from the civilization bequeathed to us, for which we pay nothing (except servicing government debt).

Re 'we pay nothing' - bullshit. We're paying everything, because we've paid with our freedom. As the humanist Clive James wisely said, the Soviets thought they had a free health system, when in fact it cost them everything they had.

And the vicious machine of Big Brothers Mean State moved on this morning as IRD issued further edicts against using tax pooling to cover past year audit positions to ensure free men are punished, punished, punished for their mistakes at the merciless hands of taxing legislation so complex and contradictory, no single mind can hold it anymore, certainly not Dishonourable Dunne who shows no philosophical backbone to hold his henchmen back ... more coming soon in my reportage from behind New Zealand's IRon Drape.

Though, for the record, Damien, I have not tagged you with any particular title, and unfortunately I include in that the title of classical liberal. Your views on this thread don't make that possible.

A jihadist is not an innocent

Richard Wiig's picture

A jihadist is not an innocent person, nor is a lunatic with a clear intent to kill people. Taking defensive action against them does not violate anyone's rights. Jules, original statement still stands. Nothing has withered and wilted.

Damien

reed's picture

Proceed.
No further questions. Just let me know if my conclusion is incorrect.

…I am unsure how I became the socialist apologist in this forum
I think it's because you share the same premisses as socialists. If you disapprove of the consequences then you would unjustly presume authority over another person or their property.

Where you may differ from socialists is which consequences you can accept.

Haha yah

Jules Troy's picture

That "is" and "aught to be" scenario does tend to throw a wrench onto the best layed plans of mice and men.

Jules

Damien Grant's picture

And there is exactly is my point.

As soon as we start to look into the real world details our fixed positions wilt like a thristy flower.

Amnyway, I am not saying I have an answer, an I am unsure how I became the socialist apologist in this forum. I just do not like slogans for debating points.

Your points are well taken

Jules Troy's picture

I was honestly not thinking about the extremes but rather the average ordinary citizen.  Clearly a jihadist does not qualify as his intent is to do harm to infidels such as those that elieve in a free society.  As for the insane there is a reason they are restricted.  I will quantify my reasons in my next post.

 Sorry for not being more specific.

Jules

Damien Grant's picture

Your point is clearly nonsense.

There are circumstances where confiscating someone's assets is deemed necessary for the greater good,

"Never" I can hear you thinking, without actually thinking.

What about a lunatic with a predilection for violence, who we discover is in possession of a collection of guns and has been writing fantasies about killing his work colleagues.

“Well, that is different!”

What about a jihadist with two hundred kilos of fertiliser in his Mt Eden garage?

‘well that is different’

Yes, my examples are extreme but your premise is equally extreme.

I would add..

Jules Troy's picture

The only moral justification for confiscating ANYONE'S property would be if that property were gained through fraud,coercion,theft or initiation of force. Any other reason is a violation of individual rights.  So if a person is "innocent" of those violations then no, there is no moral justification for confiscation.

Reed

Damien Grant's picture

I have never met an innocent person, but seriously, if you want to go down this track, I will answer yes.

Tread carefully. Your question has three complexities.

Wrong. Sometimes we do things we know are wrong because the cost of not doing wrong is too great.

Innocent is a highly subjective term. We all today enjoy the gifts from the civilization bequeathed to us, for which we pay nothing (except servicing government debt).

Property. Most property, such as cash, has no meaning outside of the social and economic context that it and its owners exist.

But yes, I answer yes.

Proceed.

Damien

reed's picture

Is it wrong to confiscate an innocent person's property?

Damien

reed's picture

i think so. These are very subjective judgements but yes.

That sounds like a no to me.

reed

Damien Grant's picture

i think so.

These are very subjective judgements but yes.

Hi Damien Do you believe that

reed's picture

Hi Damien
Do you believe that there is right and wrong?

Cheers

Reed

Cracking the ring-masters terrible swift whip.

Mark Hubbard's picture

The Greeks are an example of Keynesian socialism and the welfare state taken to it's logical, probably violent, end. I note today that the Jesus Morgan crew are hailing even more Keynesian socialism as the harbinger of rising markets this year, despite their point (1), the unprincipled printing of fiat money on an historical scale, is what caused all the asset bubbles that burst in August 2008 and set the whole mess off in the first place. Apparently like insane apes they believe that they will get a different result by doing the same thing over and over.

But that aside, the main reassessment I am making is as regards your classical liberal writing for the Herald: your opinion pieces are an absolute contradiction given you think we are inseparable from animals acting on instinct only. You don't believe in a society at all, and certainly not a civilised one, but rather a city as a zoo. To be consistent shouldn't you be writing in support of those ring-master fellows with their whips keeping we beasts under control (and preferably de-clawed); men whom from our history we would refer to as tyrants and dictators? You know, like Stalin.

Justify why you write what you write?

And yes, Objectivists certainly believe in the enlightenment. I just assumed you did.

going ape

Damien Grant's picture

It has been my experience that reason and responsibility are not the dominant traits of man.

The Greeks are an excellent example. Given a choice of getting something for free and paying for it, it is my belief that most people would take it for free, because man is a petty, venial, nasty animal driven by basic instincts. And it because I think this, and you think that we are being capable of higher reason and enlightenment, that we disagree as to whether a libertarian state can be funded without resorting to compulsion.

Mmm

Mark Hubbard's picture

Well you seem to have the comprehension (dis)abilities of our ape cousins Damien: why, when men have finally won their state of freedom, a state that cultivates reason and responsibility, rather than the opposite under the welfare state, would they not be prepared to pay for it, just as they already insure what is important to them?

There would be no 'reason' not to do that, because they would realise, like any liquidator should, what happens when there is not enough money to run the basic machinery of limited government, that is, it would collapse, as any entity in such circumstances would. Just as like Greece is finding out now, though, having destroyed a vibrant laissez faire economy, they have no ability to help themselves, unlike the laissez faire economy where prosperity would be the norm, rather than the current relentless drive to economic and moral poverty.

What made you such a cynic: your job?

the point...

Damien Grant's picture

And staying on the issue, why would that be?


What happens if, once we enter a libertarian environment, insufficient money is being raised to do even the bare minimum of your minimalist state?

"Belief is not

Richard Wiig's picture

"Belief is not knowledge."

The libertarian mindset in action is not a belief. Unlike the concept of God, Satan, Santa Claus, ad infinitum, it is a real-world fact.

And staying on the point, why

Mark Hubbard's picture

And staying on the issue, why would that be?

Ok

Damien Grant's picture

Let me just concede that point.

I want to stay on this issue:

What happens if, once we enter a libertarian environment, insufficient money is being raised to do even the bare minimum of your minimalist state?

For the record, because a rational man has pride, unlike an ape.

Mark Hubbard's picture

Without the typos this time ...

The relevance here is that to argue the impossibility of the Libertarian minarchy, a state of freedom, you've had to 'logically' argue, using yourself an an instance, that man is little above an ape, with no ability to reason, and the morality, it has to be assumed, of a baboon. Coincidentally, it's not a stretch to say that the policy of Western social democracies over the last sixty or so years has been based on precisely that belief about man ...

where the f is my banana?

Damien Grant's picture

Gotta work, unfortunately I don't have a zookeeper to feed me ...

That is funny!

Ape man ..

Mark Hubbard's picture

I see no relevance here.

The relevance here is that to argue the impossibility of the Libertarian minarchy, a state of freedom, you've have had to 'logically' argue, using yourself an an instance, that man is little above an ape, with no ability to reason, and the morality, is has to be supposed, of a baboon. Coincidentally, it's not a stretch to say that the policy of Western social democracies over the last sixty or so years has been based on precisely that belief about people.

And the results have become depressingly obvious ... Indeed, it's precisely what Ayn Rand wrote about as being the reason for man's end, just as is happening in Europe, then US, then a place near us no doubt. You are in her novels, Damien, but not on the right side of the civilised freedom ledger I'm afraid.

Gotta work, unfortunately I don't have a zookeeper to feed me ...

belief is not knowledge

Damien Grant's picture

You believe that the freloaders will be a small minority. I believe they will be a crushing majority.

This is a difference in our expectation of how people will behave and there is no right or wrong here.

Yes, I believe that we are 2% improvements on apes. The difference between genius and stupidity is incredibly tiny. Two people from the same family, virtually identically DNA, one can be brilliant, the other not.

Again, I see no relevance here. It makes no difference to the original point, what happens if a Libertarian state cannot be funded by voluntary contributions?

Bottom line now.

Mark Hubbard's picture

I may pay to be free but that does not mean everyone else would. We cannot make this assumption.

Obviously there will be some freeloaders, but they will be a small minority - compare that to the welfare state that creates freeloaders which fewer and fewer productive have to pay for through more and more taxation. The welfare states are collapsing in Europe due to being populated by so many freeloaders: the answer to that is the Libertarian state which fosters individual responsibility as a point of absolute necessity.

Of course we are animals. I'm 98% ape, apparently. Pass the banana!

There is no contradiction.

Saddest post you've made yet. For the record, you believe your life is nothing higher than the level of an ape? Evolution has completely passed you by? Why? And how do you explain the contradiction of having an Internet and being able to use it to post this: I've not see apes do that?

I am not everyone

Damien Grant's picture

I may pay to be free but that does not mean everyone else would. We cannot make this assumption.

Of course we are animals. I'm 98% ape, apparently. Pass the banana!

There is no contradiction.

So would you pay a fee to be

Mark Hubbard's picture

So would you pay a fee to be free?

If yes, then why wouldn't anyone else?

If you believe we are animals, what store do you put in reason? Classical liberalism = reason. You can't be a classical liberal and believe humans are nothing better than animals - how do you explain the contradiction?

And again, a libertarian state has a constitution, the rule of law, and means to defend the rights of the individuals in it - so where is this power vacuum you speak of?

pack animals

Damien Grant's picture

But we are Mark.

Why do we form into groups, companies, nations, all with leaders?

It appears to be our default position.

Again, I'm saying it is right or wrong, but it does appear to be a fact.

I pay insurance, yes. Because I am risk averse

Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

We are, it seems to me, pack animals.

You've got to be kidding. Sure your not a closet communist, because if you really believe that, then what has a single one of your supposedly classical liberal Herald pieces been about?

We have reason: you place absolutely no store in that at all? Or a morality of man qua man?

No wonder you can't envisage a Libertarian state of freedom.

It is not possible to write pieces in a classical liberal vein if you are believe we are nothing more than a pack animal - contradictions don't exist, so what are you?

And getting back to my point, you obviously pay insurance: why?

Hubbard, Mark.

Damien Grant's picture

There is no power vacuum other than the vacuum in people's heads that tells them they must be slavishly ruled by some Other. The libertarian state is a constitutional state with the rule of law. You're mixing the Libertarian minimalist state up with anarchy again, where, I agree with you, the gang with the biggest gun would rule.

This vacuum in people's head is a part of the human condition. We are, it seems to me, pack animals. Every society that has left any historicial record has had a ruler.

I am not mixing up a Libertarian state with anarchy. I am saying if a Libertarian state cannot be funded, it will fail, and anarchy will follow from that failure. Further, anarchy never lasts for long. There is always some goon with a gun willing to provide order.

belief is now knowledge

Damien Grant's picture

.
.
1) You cannot, ever, know the mind of another person.

2) Most people are not libertarians.

3) You have not dealt with the fatal flaw in the whole enterprise. What if the libertarian state cannot be funded without compulsion.

This debate is over until you can answer this point. Refusing to even accept the possibility that a libertarian state cannot be funded reveals a weakness in your reasoning.

Your belief is faith, no different to the faith that the communists had that their system would be better than any system before it because communists 'knew' human nature, etc etc.

And, most importantly, your knowledge is of no help to me. A Christian claims to know Jesus is God. A Hindu claims he knows Vishnu is a God. Neither can demonstrate any proof to validate their belief, and neither can you.

Critically, I claim no such knowledge and my justification of compulsion is not based on a belief. It is possible that a libertarian state cannot be funded. If it cannot it will fail, therefore compulsion is necessary because I prefer an imperfect order to whatever unknown thing will happen if the state fails.

No one here has any answer to that other than saying that a Libertarian state can be funded from non-compulsion.

Belief is not knowledge. If it was I would be one of the world’s best lovers.

QED People.

Damien 1

Libertarians 0

Damien, you are overlooking

Richard Wiig's picture

Damien, you are overlooking that I can know human character. I know that Charles manson should never be released from prison. I know that x would be a great person to employ and I know that y wouldn't be. I know that the libertarian minded fund their way in life, honestly, not expecting any handouts from anyone. You are essentially telling me that I do not and cannot know these things. All things remaining equal - and the libertarian mind switching off overnight enmass is as likely as the sun switching off overnight - a constitutionally limited libertarian state would have absolutely no trouble raising funds. The opposite is as unlikely as Charles Manson finding sanity. I know these things. Even if none of that could be known, that's no reason not to pursue what is actually morally right. You'll have to come up with a better reason for me to choose the immoral over the moral.

Damien

Mark Hubbard's picture

No time to post today other than to say you've only got one part of the non-initiation of force, Damien.

The State should never initiate force, but it can certainly use force in defence to protect the individuals in it. It's not a defenceless state - remember my piece on the difference between a libertarian state and Somalia: http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

There is no power vacuum other than the vacuum in people's heads that tells them they must be slavishly ruled by some Other. The libertarian state is a constitutional state with the rule of law. You're mixing the Libertarian minimalist state up with anarchy again, where, I agree with you, the gang with the biggest gun would rule.

and there it is

Damien Grant's picture

"It hasn't happened yet, and it doesn't need to happen for me to know it" Richard w


 


You cannot know it, Richard, and that is my point. You philosophy is based on faith, not reason. You have no answer to the problem of what happens in a libertarian world where the state cannot raise enough money to fund itself. You are relying on your belief that it will be okay, and your belief that it will be okay has no more validity than my belief that it would not.


 


There's a hidden premise in your argument, viz., that "a flawed but functioning society" is better than "something else". How bad does something else have to be to justify compulsory taxation?" Richard Goode


 


What happens in a power vacuum? Someone one steps in. Someone always steps in. A state unable to fund itself will be replaced by something else. What, you cannot know. No one can know. It might be simply a democratic parliament reinstating compulsion or it might be something less benign, but whatever happens compulsion will return.


 


 

Commander

Richard Goode's picture

A voluntarily funded government is dependent upon a certain philosophical outlook. That philosophical outlook exists in enough numbers for a voluntarily funded government to come into being already. It is only hampered by geographical and political obstacles. If those were non-existet, there is enough libertarians in the world to easily establish a constitutionally limited state. That is a fact.

Good point. And plans are afloat to circumnavigate the geographical and political obstacles.

Your choices are Libertopia, anarchy, or a cup of cold sick. Take your pick.

Well yes, that is true of a

Richard Wiig's picture

Well yes, that is true of a certain mentality, but we can discount them. They can lobby whoever they want for as long as they want, but at some stage they are going learn that they are banging their heads against a wall. We are not discussing a situation in which their mentality prevails.

Damien

Richard Goode's picture

But you should concede that there is a possibility that a state cannot be funded by voluntary means, however unlikely you consider that. And if that happens, how does the minimalist state fund itself?

It doesn't.

I vote for taxes. If you adhere to your no compulsion ever argument, the state will fail and be replaced by something else. ... We would have been better off with a flawed but functioning society.

There's a hidden premise in your argument, viz., that "a flawed but functioning society" is better than "something else". How bad does something else have to be to justify compulsory taxation?

Commander

Richard Goode's picture

I know, with certainty, that a cure for cancer would be voluntarily funded by those who desire it.

No, it wouldn't. Those who desire it would lobby PHARMAC.

Damien

Richard Goode's picture

Your certainty that the state can be funded without compulsion lacks any empirical underpinning. It is like the Christians’ certainty in the divinity of some dead carpenter.

Are you saying that Jesus was NOT divine?! Sorry, but

You are wrong. I am certain of this, indeed, know it because ...

i rely on human intellect. I

Richard Wiig's picture

i rely on human intellect. I did note the fact that it would only work if government was seen as desirable. I know, with certainty, that a cure for cancer would be voluntarily funded by those who desire it. It hasn't happened yet, and it doesn't need to happen for me to know it. That applies to any and everything, including goverment, which is, afterall, just another product or service. A voluntarily funded government is dependent upon a certain philosophical outlook. That philosophical outlook exists in enough numbers for a voluntarily funded government to come into being already. It is only hampered by geographical and political obstacles. If those were non-existet, there is enough libertarians in the world to easily establish a constitutionally limited state. That is a fact.

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