Friday, July 06, 2007

Taxation is NOT theft

Taxation is not theft, says philosopher Tibor Machan. It's extortion.
I do not regard, nor do I call, taxation “theft.” Rather I consider it extortion: “You may live and work here, provided you pay!” That is the Mafia’s way of obtaining resources! And government’s.
Discuss.

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46 Comments:

Anonymous Dave Mann said...

The idea that taxation in itself is extortion (or even simply theft) is the one tenet of Libertarianism which I have real problems with, frankly.

I have no doubt at all that we in New Zealand are over taxed.... and even more seriously, the taxes the government collects are, by and large, being wasted by being funnelled into PC, racially motivated and eco-fraudulent side alleys - which is neither productive nor desirable.

But, to make the blanket statement that 'taxation is theft' is, to my mind, extremist and ridiculous. Sure, the promotion of capitalism, free enterprise and individual responsibility are much more healthy and productive ways of organising society than the dead weight of socialism, overbearing bcureaucracy and state control; but to totally reject ALL taxation is just as untenable as a social system.

By all means, campaign for LOWER government intervention, LESS waste, LESS intervention etc. These are all valid objectives, and by giving some well thought out illustrations, I think the Libs would enliven the debate and gain enormous traction. But I doubt that many New Zealanders would agree with the notion all taxation is, per se, theft or extortion. Its just too long a bow to draw.

7/06/2007 10:59:00 am  
Anonymous Sean said...

What's wrong with a flat tax of 0% Dave? Your only objection is that many people like to pay it - lets assume they have good reasons for this (police, courts, defence). Okay, fine. Since they/we are so enlightened, they/we can voluntarily pay tax then. Not a problem.

7/06/2007 11:13:00 am  
Blogger Matt B said...

Provided taxes are used to fund services that are made available to the public then I can't see how either the theft or extortion analogy holds. Yes, you pay your taxes at the point of a gun, ultimately, but unlike theft you get something back (besides not being shot), and unlike extortion those services attempt to fix problems that were not deliberately created by the extortionist.

Yes, government squanders a good deal of the money it receives, so you get less back than you paid. But I think in defining theft intent matters, and it seems to me the intrinsic inefficiency of bureaucracy doesn't make them thieves or extortionists.

Where taxation does start to look like theft is in the public funding of special interests. Joe Taxpayer being forced to fund private goods (in the technical sense of the term i.e. excludable and/or rival goods) he does not have any interest in must come close to theft. When it comes to union favours, then its extortion to the extent unions use that money to enhance their ability to hold up owners of large fixed assets.

Unfortunately, funding of special interests is probably a significant share of government funding, depending on your definition of special.

Dave, libertarians I think recongnise a role for government in protecting private property and individuals' rights, and in the provision of truly public goods like national defense. That must be paid for with taxes. Anarchists would reject even that.

7/06/2007 11:21:00 am  
Anonymous DenMT said...

Isn't it funny, that of all the enlightened nations in the world, the only tax-free areas are quirky micro-states and tax-haven island municipalities, who have that status primarily for the investment capital it brings in, not for any high-minded libertarian ideal.

Question: Do the 'sheeple' in larger nations prevent the establishment of tax-free status, or is it simply such an abstract and unworkable concept for a population of anything more than a tiny size that it is effectively unachievable?

Personally, I think zero-tax would be so radically unpopular with any reasonable sized diverse group, that the only way it could work is if all of the libertarians of the world banded together and moved en masse to a (rather small, obviously) country of their own.

And what Dave Mann said.

DenMT

7/06/2007 11:22:00 am  
Anonymous Dave Mann said...

Don't be silly Sean. You or I may be perfectly willing to make voluntary contributions to run a society. I do about 15 hours' unpaid voluntary work in the community per month, so I think I can claim to be contributor in some small way, but if all taxation for roads, education, police, etc etc etc was voluntary the revenue raised would probably be about $5,000 per annum.

Oh yes, one might argue, the Private sector can provide all these things better and cheaper. Bullshit. Not all these things can be made to make a good profit, which is what any competent private organisation would want.. and, more importantly, by participating in public democracy, the people have a say in the services they get (if it is organised properly).

7/06/2007 11:27:00 am  
Anonymous Dave Mann said...

matt b, you make some good points, especially about the funding of special interests.

I would like to read a Libertarianz spokesperson's comment on this thread outlining in broad terms the extent and level to which they support taxation at all (if any). Broad brush principles would do. Don't lets get bogged down in detail.

(Oh bugger... I've just had a thought. Sean, you're not a Libs spokesperson, are you? :-( hehehe)

7/06/2007 11:38:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

I note that none of you care to challenge Tibor on the actual point, that to insist at the point of a gun that “You may live and work here, provided you pay!” is the Mafia’s way of obtaining resources.

Matt's wriggle just doesn't cut it, and in any case all the objections raised here have already been answered in Tibor's article itself.

"...a bill must be paid, in a free society, when all parties agree to the terms of exchange but not when one party unilaterally sets the terms and the others must comply, never mind their consent. If, for example, I deliver some very nice stuff to your home, leave it on your front porch, I have no right to demand payment for it. You need to have reached agreeable terms of trade with me before that may happen. And this is clearly not what government does. Instead, government provides citizens with services and goods whether or not they contracted for them and then sets the prices for these unilaterally—or quasi-democratically—and collects them at the point of a gun or its clear-cut threat.

"The state’s bills are not my responsibility unless I freely, voluntarily incurred them, which most of us do not...

"Of course this does leave us with a challenge: How are we to fund those services and goods that we do freely accept from those who administer the legal order? Whatever the correct answer to this, extortion—taxation—is not it. Some way must be found to eliminate taxation just as serfdom has been eliminated. Neither can be part of a bona fide free country."


Tibor offers one idea here that makes good sense, but for a sense of the scale involved, I've suggested before that if govt were restricted to its proper functions, the amount required from each of us to pay for those functions is about what each of us pays for insurance, which we pay voluntarily for the same reason we'd likely pay for govt's proper functions.

7/06/2007 11:47:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Dave, you asked, "I would like to read a Libertarianz spokesperson's comment on this thread outlining in broad terms the extent and level to which they support taxation at all (if any). Broad brush principles would do. Don't lets get bogged down in detail."

Perhaps the best answer here is provided by that article of mine I linked to above: Would I Kill My Mother to Build a National Museum, which uses PJ O'Rourke's ideas on cutting the budget to size:

" The secret to balancing the budget is to remember that all tax revenue is the result of holding a gun to somebody's head. Not paying taxes is against the law. If you don't pay your taxes you'll be fined. If you don't pay the fine you'll be jailed. If you try to escape from jail, you'll be shot. Thus, I - in my role as citizen and voter - am going to shoot you - in your role as taxpayer and ripe suck - if you don't pay your share of the national tab. Therefore, every time the govt spends money on anything, you have to ask yourself, ‘Would I kill my kindly, gray-haired mother for this?’"

Broad brush enough for ya?

7/06/2007 11:57:00 am  
Anonymous Dave Mann said...

Thanks PC, that is very broad brush, and very enlightening. Thanks.

It is also completely idiotic bullshit. Nobody in this country has ever been shot for trying to escape from jail and no government official has ever consciously or unconsciously threatened any taxpayer with being shot for not paying their taxes. I doubt if one could even be imprisoned for not paying the IRD except in extremely exceptional circumstances, let alone threatened at the point of a gun.

I really enjoy your blog and I often find myself in agreement with you and punching the air with gusto - but in this case you are completely off the planet mate.

7/06/2007 12:06:00 pm  
Anonymous James said...

Dave...while you are correct that someone being "literally" threatened with a gun to pay their tax has probably not happened in NZ there is no doubt that many many examples exist of threats and borderline criminal actions by IRD and State officials in this country.

The David Henderson saga is the main one I can think with Ian Muttons case also of prominence.PC no doubt will know of many more...

A point I fell that gets missed is ....people will be able to voluntarily fund many things if they are able to retain control of the money that they currently lose in tax to fund poor inefficient State funding.The former becomes much easier once the latter is substantially reduced...The scale of State taxation now is what makes voluntary contributions harder to make...

7/06/2007 12:25:00 pm  
Anonymous DenMT said...

The Grandma-shooting analogy is a few notches too high on the hyperbole dial, surely. I think the natural tendency to state worst-case scenarios is a big flaw in the libertarian playbook.

What really gets to me is the swiftness to (faux, hopefully) anger, name-calling, and vitriol that one sees so often on the stauncher libertarian/objectivist mouthpiece sites. Lindsay Perigo is a cracker of an example, and although I really enjoy the excellent quality of argument and debate with PC, that style is occasionally reflected here (Annette Presley etc). It may be viewed by those 'on the side of the angels' as forceful, passionate dialogue, but to me that tenor of argument looks more like childish hyperbole borne out the frustration of margin-dwelling invisibility. Harsh, but that's my opinion.

DenMT

7/06/2007 12:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Dave Mann said...

Yes, DenMT "that tenor of argument looks more like childish hyperbole borne out the frustration of margin-dwelling invisibility" to me as well!

Its a great pity that the Libz are so dogmatically attached to patently untrue scenarios such as PC illustrated for us, because, in many ways, the general thrust of their argument is undoubtedly facing in the right (punny, huh?) direction.

Actually, of course, if taxation were to be completely voluntary, then the only people paying towards the maintenence of a civil society would be the rich. This, of course opens me up for the quick retort "Ha! So what would change?".... but in actual fact we all pay taxation in different ways. Some would be justified in saying "too many ways", a point which I would agree with.... but to go the Libs' way completely would be to throw the baby out with the bath water (I think thats the cliche I'm looking for hahaha).

7/06/2007 12:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Lurker said...

Dave Mann, you have summed up perfectly my own feelings on 'libz', what point is there in replacing one form of extremism with another? I want to vote libertarians, I really do! but get put off by the inflexibility & Rand worship. Good ideas wreaked by philosophical extremism. We need real world ideas here folks, not intellectual cock smoking.

7/06/2007 03:07:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes, one might argue, the Private sector can provide all these things better and cheaper. Bullshit. Not all these things can be made to make a good profit, which is what any competent private organisation would want..

Not every private provider wants "profit" (in the monetary sense). Ever heard of churches? The Red Cross? Salvation Army? Etc.? Not that I'm endorsing any of those organizations (but at least they're voluntary), but they're the best-known examples of a huge number of private non-profit-motivated entities (there are far more such private entities than "public" ones!)

and, more importantly, by participating in public democracy, the people have a say in the services they get (if it is organised properly).

Ah, yes, there's the rub: democracy! http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/chu6.html

7/06/2007 04:55:00 pm  
Anonymous AngloAmerican said...

The really unfair thing about the Mafia extorting money is that people are already having their money taken from them by the government. So they are being asked to pay twice and that’s not right. If the Mafia were the only ones asking for payment then you could probably give them a call when the Colombians come calling. Quite reasonably we call the police, the biggest gang in town, when we have trouble at the moment.

So saying, “That is the Mafia’s way of obtaining resources!” is very silly – everyone knows it’s a niche that only one entity should fill. It really would waste a lot of time if one had to explain in detail the reason for paying taxes before extracting tax every damn payday. It’s so much easier and more efficient to use the threat of force. It’s also a lot nicer to have a democratically elected government robbing you than the local warlord or Don – at least you can argue with the government.

I totally agree with the other commenters here that calls for 0% tax are extremist and will achieve nothing except derision. Actually the majority of the populace would happily take up arms to ensure that it would never happen.

7/06/2007 05:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Dave Mann said...

Anonymous, if I found myself living in a society where (for example) education was provided by the church, the water supply was controlled by the Salvation Army or the roads were the province of the Red Cross, then I would immediately take myself off to the nearest drug rehab centre for a full check up.

I know that children of the sixties are often subject to acid flashbacks and reality distortions... but, honestly, I would have to kick myself before I died laughing!

7/06/2007 05:45:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you made all the current goverment services user pays you could fund the cops, courts and defense through a voluntary 10% sales tax which bussiness would pay to safeguard contract law etc and consumers could use bussiness which support there collective security.
G.S.T.= Goverment services tax
This would result in the wealthy paying more because of there higher consumption and its all voluntarily

7/06/2007 05:58:00 pm  
Anonymous Cleetus Burgjman said...

Dave et al

Yup. It be theivery or extortion plain and simple. Tax have a long and a dirty history. It aint gittin' better any time soon.

The whole tax show is backed up with the threat of "Pay us or else we are going to do you in- BIG TIME." People obey 'cause they choose to avoid all the trouble and impoverishment and violence and prision rapes and stuff what goes with getting done in. You sure don want the tax enforcers in your life. tha's fer certain. Jenny, pass the butter!

Now if you want to civilise the whole thing you make tax a voluntary contribution. Then you can say I don' think tax is a bad thing and THEN you may have a point. In the meantime, until then, tax is a criminal act- a criminal act upon which numerous other criminal acts and frauds are based.

Now you can prattle on about how you don' like no Libertarianz (and let's face it, many of them are not that nice to collectivists but there you go) and how you don't agree with some of the ideas they promote around the shop BUT that's just you opinion and it's about a worthwhile as a piggie turd on a BBQ with natural sauce- whooooeeee tha smell bad! Mother!

The big mutha fact you gotta git your head arouond is that tax is about the threat of, initiation of and use of force. It is the negation of individual private property and individual freedom. Think hard on that fella.

Reread tha last part again to make sure you get it and understand. 'Cause I fer one do not want to be wading through the morass of yer yellow opinions any more. Stick to facts baby.

Cleetus

7/06/2007 06:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a tiny principality, for example, can be tax-free, then a large country should be able to be tax-free as well.

I am in favour of 0% personal income taxation, an increase in GST, Windfall Taxation to be implemented (which applies to lottery and gambling wins, inheritances, gifts, etc). That way, people could work for their money and save it without being penalised while getting free services (roading, healthcare, superannuation fund payments) at the same time, paid for by the additional GST and Windfall Taxation revenue.

7/06/2007 06:46:00 pm  
Anonymous bogstandard said...

You really need to learn to read because you just lived up to all above listed 'libz' cliches. Taunting people from your logical high ground just makes you look retarded, you need to go and live a little. That's it, I'm off to write some poetry...

7/06/2007 06:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Dave Mann said...

Gosh Cleetus - That was so well articulated. Its a lovely warm feeling to know that you gentlemen of the Mongrel Mob are so passionately involved in the affairs of state.

Will you be representing the Libz at the next election, if you are not too busy writing a text book on political science for your university?

7/06/2007 07:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Harry said...

And also your landlord's way of gaining resources. If you remain on his property (country) without paying your rent (taxes), you will be in legal trouble.

How is a government different from a landlord? Not because you have a choice - you can leave the country if another will take you. Not because the consequences are different - you can be jailed for trying to live in the landlord's house if someone else is living in it now (breaking and entering? home invasion?). Discuss, yourself.

7/06/2007 09:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is a government different from a landlord?

That's easy: the landlord owns the property he controls. The government controls other-people's-property.

7/07/2007 01:11:00 am  
Anonymous Cleetus said...

Well, gee whizz Dave. Turn up yer BBQ and suck in yer aroma! But thar ya go avoidin' the facts at issue agin. This time youse displayin' your feelings- as if they important. No-one give a toss about 'em. They be worth less than your opinions and those be irrelevant.

Now how about you quit with yer sooking and try really, really hard ta stick with the issue at hand.

Read this again and this time think about it:

Tax is about the threat of, initiation of and use of force. It is the negation of individual private property and individual freedom.

OK. Get that? It is a simple enough concept- even for you.

Cleetus

7/07/2007 07:22:00 am  
Anonymous Cleetus said...

Bogstandard, yo fella! You need to get off yer potty and wipe the spit of ya chin before ya be addressing yer betters.

The discussion here is supposed to be about the essential nature of taxation. So what do you contribute? Jus some mumbo jumbo 'bout your cliches. Man oh dear have you provided some insight on the nature of tax - not!

Is it any wonder that the likes of you and yours are treated with disdain and contempt? There is good reason to. You deal in red herrings, non-essentials and moan on and on about yer "position" and your feelings. Sickly and weak.

If you want ta earn respect ya gotta start dealing with the substantive. Ya can't do it by departing into empty emotion and definately not by demanding that people empathise with you.

Now then, I jus done you'll a grand favor just now by xplaining your failings. Time to return to the topic of tax , doncha reckon?

Cleetus

7/07/2007 08:20:00 am  
Anonymous AngloAmerican said...

Cleetus, you do the libz a great disservice by being such a twat.

7/07/2007 08:25:00 am  
Anonymous Cleetus B said...

angloamerican

Yo bro' fellow 'merican. Where you from? I hail from Colorado Springs,CO.

Anyways, what you think about doing diservices and the like aint worth a naked diddle. Empty opinion's all that is. How about youse try real hard now and address the actual isssue? Can ya do it or are you'll the same as aLL the other shallow hollow men? - all puffery and posed position with no substance to yers?

Doncha reckin we's all better to return to the topic- the essential nature of taxation? Is dealing with fact too hard for yer?

Comon buddy- lift ya game!

Cleetus

7/07/2007 11:23:00 am  
Anonymous bogstandard said...

Lotsa words, but yer still a twat.
'Libz' refuse to acknowledge anybody else might have a point, agree with me or be labeled a 'collectivist', now that's a debate! DM made the points and all he gets is a bunch of shit for not having a Ayn Rand shrine in his backyard.

7/07/2007 05:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Harry said...

Anonymous - so taxation is consistent with libertarianism if the government owns the land? Which our government certainly claims to, having acquired that part of the bundle that allows one to govern others from the land's original owners by treaty (or, laying original claim to it if you don't believe that the Maori had property before 1840).

Most governments can also make a fairly good claim to ultimately own the land they control (and the Common Law ones all use the legal fiction that they are the owner).

7/07/2007 05:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Cleetus B said...

kajihbut boggy boy, YOU don't have a point at all. You be an empty man what contribued nothing. probably as you with nothing to contribute anyways (a hollow man- noisy when hit but nothing inside). Why don't cha get your head out of the potty, dry yer hair and start thinkn' fer yesself? Davy the man, he aint gonna be able ta do it fer ya.

See what youse face is this chioce:

Either you accept that tax is a type of theft and/or extortion, since its defining characteristics show it to be so

or you show substantive points as to why it is not (empty opinion and description of feeling is worthless- you have to deal in fact and logic).

or you admit that you are uneasy with the argument and will need ta go away and think on it some as you do not have the knowledge to state an opinion either way.

Start thinking on it next time your at Davy's turdie BBQ.

Cleetus

7/07/2007 06:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Cleetus said...

Oh & one other thing you desparate graspers, I aint a Libz- not a one of them - never were. Not a Libertarian or Objectivist neither.

HOw 'bout that! So youse weenies gotta start thinking 'bout the substantive issue now eh! "Cause you aint got nothing! Mebbe it be time to grow up and rekognise that castin' aspersions about Libz and that aint a-goin'ta cut it!

Here be some rules:

1/. None of this "I have trouble agreeing with that..." crap. That's for weaklings.

2/. Substantive points only. In youse case it would be summat like, "tax is not extortion because..." and say something substantive and factual.

3/. Quit trying to guess who I may vote for or whether I'm in a club or pol party or whatever or even where I live. It ain't going to help youse argument. Stick with the point.

4/. be prepared to have your ideas examined carefully and critiqued.

5/. Defend them with the facts and with logic if you can (course if you'll aint up to it you can go cry on each other's shoulders and kiss each other better...)

6/. If ya dontknow- fess up and admit it.

Are you'll up to it? Or just puss puff? MEEEEEEOW!

Cleetus

7/07/2007 06:30:00 pm  
Anonymous cleetus said...

Harry

you wrote:

"Most governments can also make a fairly good claim to ultimately own the land they control (and the Common Law ones all use the legal fiction that they are the owner)."


Verry good.

Leads to this problem. If the government owns all the land then no individual can. That makes ownership of real estate for private people an invalid notion.

Same thing goes for labour. After all government gets to take it first. they say how much the employer is allowed to let employees have. Governmennt owns the labour as they get firs dibbs on it... Well, guess they could argue they own the person doing the labourin actually...

So there can't be private property (gov gets first dibbs) and there cant be freedom for individual people neither.

Whatcha think we do about that?

Cleetus

7/07/2007 06:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Harry said...

Cleetus - You present, sir, a false dichotomy. If I own land and lease it to another person, I cannot remove him from it unless he fails to pay me or breaks the lease (such as damaging the property). So, he still has property in the land, yet I am the ultimate owner.

Likewise the government only owns a limited interest in land: the ability to make rules over its inhabitants. Freeholders own the use of the land which the government cannot take without compensation*.

Hence the government owns everything and we still have private property.

This doesn't mean that the government owns people. I could lease land to you on condition that you and everyone you allow onto the property pays me 33% of their income and 12.5% of the value added to what they sell (but I doubt you'd take that deal).

You can only avoid this by leaving the property and taking all of your stuff with you.

Leave New Zealand and take all of your stuff with you, and you no longer have to pay tax in New Zealand.

How then is New Zealand's tax system not a completely non-aggressive and libertarian?

*The compensation to be decided by the government, of course, but this is on the rules of the lease - the government is sovereign over your land. You just own it. No one's making you live here.

7/07/2007 09:29:00 pm  
Anonymous CB said...

Harry

Good good good!

You say that, "You present, sir, a false dichotomy."

How come you say that?

Please explain.

Cleetus

7/09/2007 06:56:00 am  
Anonymous CB said...

Harry, Harry, Harry

Where you be? I dun wait fer you to come back but ye be not there.

Several of ther troubles with yer analogy stick roght out there.

Firssup.

You equivocate about ownership and leaseing. Keep the notions clear.

It like this. If you OWN the land, it belong to you and NOT the fellow what lease it from you. Ownership stay with you. He can't say he owns that proprty as it still is and is blonging to you. he jus' be a tenant without any ownership whatsoever.

The fudgy wonky sentance, "He has property in the land" is BS and false. The land it be yours.

Now if youse are a gonna try the old ar5gument of saying the govt be leasing the land to the people, then youse gotta rely on the idea tha ALL land it belong to the government. All the peoples are is tenants and renters and that is all they ever allowed to be.

There be no freehold for any people, only freehold what exists is the government freehold.

This sentance,"Hence the government owns everything and we still have private property" is false. The only way for there to be government ownership of EVERYTHING is for there to be NO private property.

Every person, he, she or it, be born onto the property of the govement. They all be serfs who get to pay and obey from birth. trhe only way out is to die. No other escape! Some lease!

Secon-up.

"Analogy is similar too, not the same as"- Vatu

You kid yourseff by tying up leasing as being same to government tax schemes.

A lease what is negotiated and agreed VOLUNTARILY between the owner and the tenant prior to the tenant occupying the property. They mus agree both of them to the terms of the lease. Then there be a volunary exchange or transaction. Neither one of them can arbitrarily alter the terms of the lease afyter it agreed on and started. After agreement is reached then the lease can begin.

If one of them decide to break the terms of the lease then and only then the other can react. If things bad enough the lease be ended.

IN the xampl of government, there is NO volunarily agreement wi them. It aint on a contract written down anywhgere signed by the parties. Government can and do change its demands and regulations over people arbitrarily and at any time for any (or no) reason. It aint voluntary. It all one way. Their way.

There is no way to escape them. Ya can't go off an homestead some new land. No matter where a fella he goes, there is a government ordering and telling him to obey OR ELSE. There is no termination clause! YOu must die to end it. (!)

Notice that in a conventional leasing arrangement there is voluntary agreement but the government scene is characterised by an threat of force. Not an agreement. Not an negotiation. Jus "we got power and can use it on yer- so do as youse told OR ELSE buddy". And each person be born into this servitude... He and none of them ever get to negotiate or agree to anything. Jus threatened with force.

SO then. YOu can't rely on the leasing analogy as it is not the same as the government situation. The fundamentals are different. The similarities are superifical. And so the analogy do es not hold up.

Third thing.

Now where this really done get ta be bad news is where youse start thinking about labour. For then the argument you used aobut property and how the govternment owns all of it can be consistently applied to each individual person. For the person to do the labour and not get paid for it until the government has decided how much they be allowed of the leavings, it mean gov get first dibs of the pay and gov it decide what be happening with that pay. It decide how much to leave for the person what do the work. he do all the work but he not get all the pay. That mean gov own the labour firs. In other words the gov own the perosn.

Ugh! What a hporrible thing.

Forth and lastly for today.

Soverignty is about ownership and control. If govt has soverignty over all property then it is caliming control, hence ownership over all property.

Among other things what you nned to consider is who has soverignty over YOU. Do you or do the govterment have soverignty over you. Ultimately whoever has ultimate control owns...

Cleetus

7/10/2007 06:59:00 am  
Anonymous Harry said...

Cleetus -

"False dichotomy" was a joke. I won't explain it - it won't become funny nor was it intended to advance the argument.

So,

"It like this. If you OWN the land, it belong to you and NOT the fellow what lease it from you.

Ownership stay with you. He can't say he owns that proprty as it still is and is blonging to you. he jus' be a tenant without any ownership whatsoever."


Perhaps mortgage would be a better analogy than lease then.

My point about ownership and leasing is that property is not a you-have-it-or-you-don't concept. Much of libertarianism and our current system rely on property being a bundle of rights.

I could be sold land on condition that I must pay a person an amount of money over time or else forfeit the land (a mortgage). I still own the land if I pay my mortgage (and interest rates float, y'know.) Hence a leasee still owns a valuable piece of property - the right to use the land for a limited time, and a taxpayer still owns his land if he pays his taxes.

This "mortgage" could be any condition at all - if it is a right to use the land as long as you pay an arbitrarily-changing rent or a right to use the land subject to the payment of arbitrarily-changing taxes it makes no difference. Remember that it could be an income-related rent: nothing stops that but commercial pressure and common sense, neither of which are required by the non-initiation of force (NIF).

"Now if youse are a gonna try the old ar5gument of saying the govt be leasing the land to the people, then youse gotta rely on the idea tha ALL land it belong to the government. All the peoples are is tenants and renters and that is all they ever allowed to be.

There be no freehold for any people, only freehold what exists is the government freehold."


Yes, that is exactly my point. The argument only works if governments own all the land. But a world where only 200 governments own freehold is still a libertarian, non-extortionate world, since my argument requires no more power of governments than property-owners have over their property, and nothing in libertarian philosophy (the only system that calls taxation extortion) sets a minimum number of landowners. I do not claim that what we have at the moment, nor the system I am describing are good systems. You are wasting your time appealing to the consequences of my hypothetical libertarian tax system, since I agree they are terrible. Consequences don't matter to the libertarian - all policies are derived from principles.

I only say that if rent is not extortion or theft then taxation is also not extortion or theft, by libertarian standards. So, right now, as far as taxes are concerned, we have a libertarian world with 200 freeholders.

"This sentance,"Hence the government owns everything and we still have private property" is false. The only way for there to be government ownership of EVERYTHING is for there to be NO private property."

Okay, my sentence was so badly put as to miss meaning, coherence or logic. I'll put it differently.

1. A private property owner could sell you land on condition that you paid them an annual fee. He could also add the condition that he could change the fee to anything he liked at any time. You almost certainly wouldn't buy it then, but you could do it if you wanted, without violating NIF.

2. The government could do this too, and if these were the same terms offered everywhere, you might take it. (The government can own land if it aquires it the honest way, such as by contract (treaty), or homestead, or purchase, or even a gift).

3. Either way, you still own the land but have to pay taxes, and no force has been initiated.

4. But this argument is unneccessary anyway. If it is not extortion to be required to pay rent if one doesn't own land, then it is not extortion to be required to pay a rent that is called a tax if one doesn't own land.

"Every person, he, she or it, be born onto the property of the govement. They all be serfs who get to pay and obey from birth. trhe only way out is to die. No other escape! Some lease!"

1. Consider a couple who have a child on their farm (which they have a 25-year lease on). They die in a tragic car accident on the kid's 18th birthday. He inherits the lease, although property prices have shot up in the meantime.

He continues to farm the land. He gets kicked out a few years later because he won't pay more than the golf-course developers who also want the land. Is he a serf? Was his land stolen?

It is horrible, but it is the landlord's private property. Tough shit.
Now change the situation to "wouldn't pay his property taxes".

2. There are about 200 other countries, including Somalia which has no effective government, and not including the unclaimed parts of Antarctica which contain no-one at all. You can leave whenever you want.

"A lease what is negotiated and agreed VOLUNTARILY between the owner and the tenant prior to the tenant occupying the property. They mus agree both of them to the terms of the lease. Then there be a volunary exchange or transaction. Neither one of them can arbitrarily alter the terms of the lease afyter it agreed on and started.

After agreement is reached then the lease can begin.

If one of them decide to break the terms of the lease then and only then the other can react. If things bad enough the lease be ended.

IN the xampl of government, there is NO volunarily agreement wi them. It aint on a contract written down anywhgere signed by the parties. Government can and do change its demands and regulations over people arbitrarily and at any time for any (or no) reason. It aint voluntary. It all one way. Their way.

There is no way to escape them. Ya can't go off an homestead some new land. No matter where a fella he goes, there is a government ordering and telling him to obey OR ELSE. There is no termination clause! YOu must die to end it. (!)"


1. Again, your argument collapses in the case of people born on the property. They didn't agree to anything, but still live on the property on condition the lease's terms are met.

2. If you're on the Internet, you've probably signed a contract with either your employer or your ISP which can be changed or terminated at any time. If it weren't illegal, the same could apply to a rental agreement.

3. But, yes, in general there is no escape. Except for those bits of Antarctica (and there's a reason no-one wants them), every square metre of the Earth's surface is the property of a private landlord and/or government. No escape. You gotta pay and obey.

"Now where this really done get ta be bad news is where youse start thinking about labour. For then the argument you used aobut property and how the govternment owns all of it can be consistently applied to each individual person. For the person to do the labour and not get paid for it until the government has decided how much they be allowed of the leavings, it mean gov get first dibs of the pay and gov it decide what be happening with that pay. It decide how much to leave for the person what do the work. he do all the work but he not get all the pay. That mean gov own the labour firs. In other words the gov own the perosn."

You ever have a job? Your boss can give you a pay cut. The government (your boss's boss, if you will) can raise your taxes (another form of pay cut). Two hundred employers or two hundred million - what's the difference?

"Among other things what you nned to consider is who has soverignty over YOU. Do you or do the govterment have soverignty over you. Ultimately whoever has ultimate control owns..."

Then, our private landlords own us, regardless of whether they call themselves governments and own hundreds of thousands of hectares, or have regular names and own shitty apartment blocks.

So in the spirit of your closing words, who owns has ultimate control. At the moment it is the governments. The world might be a better place if there were more owners, and they let people onto their property more freely, but it would be no more or less libertarian, people would have no more or less of the narrow negative freedom libertarians so crave, and the rents they charged would still not be extortion.

7/11/2007 01:35:00 am  
Anonymous Cleetus said...

Harry

Good to hear from ya. Good yo came back. You wuz missed. Now all was gon’ along jus’ fine until you dun this: “’False dichotomy’ was a joke. I won’t explain it – it won’t become funny not was it intended to advance the argument.”

Shit-O-dear and spray the flies. That dun make you look silly. Make it look like ignorance you be a-doin’. Like using terms and word ya don’t unnerstan loike. There aint no joke in ignorance and not knowin stuff, especially if you be ignorant about using ‘em roight- no joke thar be in that. Best to keep things simpl and avoid a getting’ into out-of-your-depth trouble situations. Don be havin’ youself on or else ya get found out and it look bad, terrible it be. Whacked!

Firssup. You wuz warned, don’ be using analogies again. No. no. no. NO. Yet here ya be a-doin’ analogies again. It aint no good at all. If yer goin’ to do something, do it proper fer Chrissake. Remember what the great Vatu man he say about it.

“Analogy is similar to, not same as.”

Summat like that he say. But get this; SIMILAR TO is not SAME AS. They be DIFFERENT.

{Aside. Why it be that whenever we be a discussing stuff wid the kiwis dey ALWAYS start talking about summat different and then try to patch it all together by going and saying “It’s analogy.” It’s piggy turd pig-ignorance that what it is. Shit all over the BBQ again and pass the fly-spray! Caint youse’ll kiwi guys get it right and stick to the topic and stick with the issue? Is dis fixation wid “analorgy” summat ta do wid yer culcha? Fahrrrking anal cultcha it be then. Bum fluff stuff. Kiwi moaning mumbo jumbo that what that is. So! Git your greasy litta fingers outta there and concentrate will ya’ll! No more analogy BS. Righto . that’s be that off and sorted then. Back to the work.}

Harry. Mortgage analogy is no better than the lease one. For reasons I clued you inta be4. But here be the point YOU gotta have ta get. Tax and mortgage (or lease) is complete and different situations. Context is completely different. Premise is completely different. Principles be completely different.

The essential error ya be a makin’ is foegetting all about the difference between a voluntary arrangement between two parties what negotiated summat together and a regime where one party claims all power and forces the other to do something by threats of force (like prison and rape and torture and stuff).

Mortgage. If someone sell you the land then you be a ownin’ that. You can use the land as security to be borrowin’ some other fellas property (loike his money) but that be youse land and that be his property (money) and you give (pay) it back as you agreed to do. That aint tax.

Tax be when a gang or organized criminal outfit or government demands tribute from you regardless of whether your voluntary agreement or not. Get it?

Now the trouble with yer analogies is that they fools ya into equivocating over ownership. And they cause’s you over-look CONTEXT.

Context is different between tax and mortgage (or lease): Voluntary versis unvoluntary. Voluntary versus forced. Voluntary versus coerced.

Again, do not be foegetting about the difference between a voluntary arrangements between two parties what negotiated summat and an arrangement where one party has power to force the other to do something by threatening them- a protection racket loike. That be what tax is about. Threats of Violence.

Another trouble with analogy is it be a-leading into false conclusions based on nothing much. As wees about to see next-up.


OK then. Second-up. Now how on this entire planet did yer come up with this swamp of nonsens:- “I only say if rent is not extortion or theft then taxation is also not extortion or theft by libertarian standards.”

BULLSHIT! (OK so I got that from Penn & Teller, but what you wrot was wrong.)

Harry. Harry. Harry. That is so superficial & poor it isn’t even worthy of being called “turdy.” You much betta den that, surely youse are. Comon. Look, ya canna go from some sloppy-mama snot-wet analogy and somehow reckon you derived the Libertarian standard. Let alone an Objectivist one.

Look man, I aint no Libertarian or Objectivist but even I red up their philosophy afore I got to talking & writin ‘bout it and certainly long b4 debating and arguing with those boys. If yer goin’ to be a makeing statements about what their philosophy says, at the very tiny least think, wot ya shoulda done is actually read it yerselff & KNOW what the Libertarianz philosophy and Objectivist philosophy ACTUALLY is.

You dunno. You don’t. That is fer absolut shure bro. Youse well in the error zone. Dammn close to bullshit town. Too close mebbe. Don’t go there or else people’ll think youre smelling of lies. Pongeeey!

Objectivist and LibZ standard position leads to conclusion that government is formed in order to do only two things. That be the purpose and that two things only.

A/. “Provide protection against initiations of force by holding a monopoly on the employment of non-emergency retributive force.” (Ok, you got me, I got this words out of a Libertarian book)

B/. Same as A.

Now to do that they be doin’ a Department of Justice and a Department of Defense. That be the total of what they do. No more. Juss that bit. Finito. Totallo.

Now how LibZ and Objectivists come up with that is interesting; very much. They have a hierarchy of thought. Each step they builds on the one below it. They be goin’ like dis:

Metaphysics
Epistemology
Nature of Man
Ethics
Rights of Man
Politics

Each one builds on the other below it and applies and reinforces on it. They don’t be making up loose swampy analogies all over the show and smearing them altogetherlikethissee? It all precise, deliberate and logical. No sloppy stuff here. It don’t rely on arbitrary slippery-wriggle analogies to make the connections ta make it work. That important to unnerstand- you invalid to try representing the Lib standard by from quick and dirty analogy work. Hell!

Also, these guys they also have a philosophy of Art as well but that fer another time to be a getting’ inta.

Now we be not having time to go all the way thru each step by step. Hell no! that be a book or four or more than that even. This be getting long enough now And I only got one finger typing over here. Better of you try reading stuff up fer youself. If yer like I can recommend sum books 4 U.

What we can do roight away is unnerstand that they (LibZ & Objectivists) derive the legitimate and valid government tasks as….. protection for individual rights ONLY.

The individual rights they define by carefully considering the Nature of Man (which be one step down the ladder from politics- geddit? Each one builds and leads up to the next.). The rights be what a man is to be left alone by others to do without interference from them.

OK. Now, There be only three rights. Do ye know ‘em?

Right to Liberty (call that one freedom).
Right to Pusuit of Happiness (call that one setting and pursuing one’s values and goals).
Right to acquire private property.

Now take a real careful look at tha last one. #3 Aint it jus’ purrty? It not say that the government owns all the property. Not a chance. Government is ONLY for guarding the individual’s rights and those include his right to acquire his property (the firss essential bit of propertys what he has is his own body and mind). The most anti-LibZ or anti-Objectivist systems you’ll coulda ever identify is ones where government owns all the property. Worse when it be it owns the people too. Slaves they then be. No freedom there (and that conflict with individual right #1- see above).

Now by LibZ standards there is no way you can properly conclude that tax is not theft or extortion. Because, fer one thing, by Lib/Objectiveist standards there is no way the government can legitimately and validly own all the property. That goes against the Lib reason for government existing and what its purpose actually is be. It can’t legitimately and validly own all the property by their political system. It can’t do that by their philosophy. And also, to do that would need an massive explicit initiation of force. Taint allowed. Not unless you destroy and negate the individual rights that the LibZ and Objectivists rely on to define their entire political philosophy. Now if you do that it aint Lib standards youse using. Youse using sommat else entirely. Dat be a misrepresentation of the situation at best.

So your conclusion about what you said about Lib standards is dead wrong. Not correct. False. Fake. Stuffed. Up the Ganges River without a tetanus shot.

The rest o yer arguments & conclusions regarding Libs political philosophy be weak or incorrect too. This treatise now be long enough foer you to be getting’ the idea why. (Clue: your analogies do not deliver you valid conclusions- they mislead). You need to fess up and study some afore you make incorrect statements about the show.

Anyway. Nice being with you today. I enjoyed thinking about the topic some. You a heck of a lot better guy den thise others. Thoughtless greasy squealers the lot of ‘em they be are. Self absorbed in their muck of self-opinion and what feelings they got. Ugh-worthy.

I gotta get off to work now. Gotta get going with the job. Getting’ into it I be!

Good luck in your work and hapenings.

Cleetus


PS A little detail… The kid don’t “inherit the lease” like you said. He inherit the deceased’s estate. Big difference.

Fer one thing, he aint tied to the property without his voluntary agreement. He can dispose of the estate, abandon it, sell it, whatever. Anyway. This one’s beside the major point. The analogy you are attempted to use is broken and does not hold. Too much too different. Context is way different.

Again. AVOID USING ANALOGY. It confuses ratha than clarifies. Piss poor thing ta be doin’. Kinda like having smelly fingers at a Japper restaurant or a farting problem at a wedding.

7/12/2007 06:35:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Cleetus,

Not a libertarian or an Objectivist? Maybe an anarcho-capitalist?

7/12/2007 09:28:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

BTW, Cleetus, speaking of anarcho-capitalism, better be a bit more explicit about what monopoly on retributive force means for Objectivists and Libz. It means you don't have the right to secede from the government and set up an alternative government, no matter that your alternative may be better in many respects.

Not sure how Objectivists and Libz would punish or forcibly suppress secessionists, especially those committed to using just necessary defensive force. It seems to be that secession would be a very real possibility in a voluntary society and that, really, anarcho-capitalism, would be the logical outcome.

Would be interested to get your thoughts (and PC's of course!) on secession. Should secession be allowed provided the secessionists only use defensive force?

7/12/2007 09:48:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Brian S said...
Should secession be allowed provided the secessionists only use defensive force?

Yes interesting question. I have heard of Ken Mare, Mike Smith & Hone Harawira mentioned something like this a few years ago. Definitely any NZ government of the day wouldn't allow such thing.

BTW, isn't this the main cause of the Balkan wars in the 1990s? Croatia wanted to secede, but Serb government in Belgrade said NO. This sparked the war, when Slovenia followed by declaring they are independent? Did Serbia initiate force then , to star the whole mess in the Balkans ?

7/12/2007 12:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Correction :

... start the whole mess in the Balkans

7/12/2007 12:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Cleetus said...

Brian

Yes. Sympathetic to anarchism I.

No trouble with sessesion as each individual is soverign over hissleff. Of course, the Capitalism is what I want. Not commo pinko collectivist tribalist mumjo bumjo.

I understand there be trouble in politics for those who want to secceeds from government territory if using a LibZ or Objectivist political system. They get to become like a hermit. and are on their own then.

Cleetus

7/13/2007 06:32:00 am  
Anonymous Cleetus said...

Oh. When I say : "government territory", I don't mean the government owns any of it or has control over any of it. I mean that a region where LibZ political system is in action and govt is worked according to LibZ system of thought all through.

Cleetus

7/13/2007 06:35:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

FF,

I think that freedom lovers have no choice but to allow secession, but this doesn't mean that secessionists who act agressively should be tolerated. As I mentioned, the logical consequence of this is anarcho-capitalism and I must say that ancap is something that have I given a lot more thought to lately.

7/13/2007 07:00:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only say that if rent is not extortion or theft then taxation is also not extortion or theft, by libertarian standards.

That would be true only under two conditions: that only land was taxed (in particular, income tax could never be legitimate), and that the taxing government was actually the legitimate owner of the land. Neither is true, therefore your argument is nugatory.

7/14/2007 06:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more thing: it's absolutely incompatible with democracy! In theory, a monarchy could exist that had legitimate ownership of the entire area and would be libertarian, though it's difficult to imagine how anyone could come to own any very large area (certainly micro-states like the Vatican are a possibility)

7/17/2007 01:08:00 pm  

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