Saturday, August 01, 2009

Quote of the day: “No representation without taxation”

From the 2007 book, John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand:”

 "[Mill] also insisted that there should be no representation without taxation. Allowing non-taxpayers a vote, he said, amounted 'to allowing them to put their hands into other people's pockets for any purpose which they think fit to call a public one’."

Is this an idea whose time has finally come back? I firmly think it is.

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28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed PC.
Some of these serial bludgers are nothing more than petty terrorists in my opinion. Selfish losers that take bread from the mouths of the more derserving

8/01/2009 06:09:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Actually, to make your metaphor strictly accurate, the moochers take the bread from the mouths of those who produced it.

8/01/2009 06:29:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha exactly, my apologies. You seem to write quite alot about Enlightenment thinkers PC, what do you think of John Locke? He is my favourite of them.

My question to you PC, is how do we reverse the "entitlement culture"? One thing for sure, is that it is engrained in NZ. Secondly, National doesnt have the balls to stop it.

8/01/2009 07:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Quoth the Raven said...

An idea whose time has come? I don't think so. Isn't taxation theft? So what you're saying in other words is "no representation without theft". Thankfully everyone has the right to representation in this country. Further, everyone pays taxes, in one form or another. So your undemocratic idea wouldn't work anyway. I myself advocate participatory/direct democracy, not repsentative, anyway.
I would like to see how this writer actually derives that position from Mill's work. From what I've read I can't see it. How about this work by Mill: Considerations on representative Government. "No arrangement of the suffrage, therefore, can be permanently satisfactory in which any person or class is peremptorily excluded--in which the electoral privilege is
not open to all persons of full age who desire to obtain it."

8/01/2009 07:58:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

"Further, everyone pays taxes, in one form or another."
Please explain how some second or third-generation welfare bludger "pays taxes".
I'm all ears.....

8/02/2009 11:17:00 am  
Blogger Cactus Kate said...

Yes we "like" as facebook would have let us tick.

8/02/2009 01:26:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Quoth the Raven said: "An idea whose time has come? I don't think so. Isn't taxation theft? So what you're saying in other words is 'no representation without theft'."

It's certainly true that taxation is theft, but unfortunately it's not yet true that the full realisation of that fact has come.

There might be nonetheless, I'd suggest, at least support for the proposition expressed here. Which in the meantime would be a start.


Well, actually, it comes from that very book, Mill's Chapter 8, page 313. You can see it discussed here at the Division of Labour blog, which is where I'd harvested the quote.

To give its full context, here's the whole passage:

"It is also important, that the assembly which votes the taxes, either general or local, should be elected exclusively by those who pay something towards the taxes imposed. Those who pay no taxes, disposing by their votes of other people's money, have every motive to be lavish and none to economize. As far as money matters are concerned, any power of voting possessed by them is a violation of the fundamental principle of free government, a severance of the power of control from the interest in its beneficial exercise. It amounts to allowing them to put their hands into other people's pockets for any purpose which they think fit to call a public one. . .
That representation should be coextensive with taxation, not stopping short of it, but also not going beyond it, is in accordance with the theory of British institutions. . .
However this may be, I regard it as required by first principles that the receipt of parish relief should be a peremptory disqualification for the franchise. He who can not by his labor suffice for his own
support, has no claim to the privilege of helping himself to the money of others. . .
"

8/02/2009 02:18:00 pm  
Blogger Ruth said...

Really is paying tax and being part of the govt machine such a high achievement? I don't think so.

Those who take govt subsidies in ANY form - like students or nitwit small businesses who use govt grants for training programmes - should not be able to vote.

8/02/2009 03:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Quoth the Raven said...

KG - I understand where you're coming from, nevertheless they still pay taxes even if they derive their income from the state.

PC - The quote I provide and the one you provide appear to contradict eachother if one is deriving the correct implictions from the quotes. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds I suppose...
A lot of people pay taxes and do not labour and produce nothing. Under such a system such idlers would have representation and others wouldn't. So the idea sounds simple but it is not.
I think no representation without taxation is an illiberal idea. We shouldn't limit sufferage. We should push for more democratization and less government. FYI on representative democracy I recommend this post at Classical Liberalism.

Really is paying tax and being part of the govt machine such a high achievement? I don't think so. Absolutely agree. No representation without taxation seems to put some virtue into paying taxes.

8/02/2009 04:18:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

Raven, they're not 'paying taxes' in any meaningful way at all--in fact you're playing with words there.
Handing back stolen money does NOT make someone a 'taxpayer'.

8/02/2009 05:06:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

If a person receives income from the government, then they are not a tax payer. They are a tax consumer.

The notion that a beneficiary is a tax payer is nonsense. Their tax "payment" is merely a book entry- a make-work administrative fraud.

LGM

8/02/2009 06:46:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

This would created an incentive to make people redundant. Don't like someone's political views? Sack them, they won't be able to vote until they get another job.

The reason we have democracy is not because it's the "Best" way to run things productively, but because political and social influence needs to be distributed as evenly as possible or the system itself becomes corrupted.

8/02/2009 08:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Quoth the Raven said...

KG, LGM - I understand what you're both saying, however that is how a taxpayer is currently defined by the state. It's you two who are shifting the definition from what it currently is.

8/02/2009 08:52:00 pm  
Blogger bez said...

Following that reasoning one would make the point that whoever works in a government position shouldn't be allowed to vote either, so that would exclude teachers and the like as well. This might actually be a nice incentive to privatize many of the things the government should get its grubby fingers out to start with.
That politicians shouldn't vote is clear of course.

8/02/2009 09:50:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Quoth

What you really mean is that we are telling the truth. The "definition" to which you refer is a device designed to obscure that truth. Hence it is false- a lie.

LGM

8/03/2009 05:53:00 am  
Blogger Owen McShane said...

Weird.
I thought I invented that phrase when I wrote a column about Health boards many years ago, and have included the phrase in all my submissions to the Auckland governance committee.
I thought I had turned the US phrase on its head.
But when I read the Mill paragraph I find he made the point but did not actually use the phrase as a phrase.

8/03/2009 09:39:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

Quoth: Ask yourself why the state insists upon referring to welfare beneficiaries, for example, as "taxpayers".

A: Because it's politically expedient (for them) to do so.

It is, of course, nonsensical. The beneficiaries are not "paying tax"; they're simply receiving less of others' money.

8/03/2009 09:48:00 am  
Anonymous twr said...

"I thought I invented that phrase when I wrote a column about Health boards many years ago"

I think that's pretty unlikely. First time I heard it was when Alan B'Stard used it on an episode of The New Statesman 15 years or more ago, however it's likely that many others have coined the phrase well before we were all born.

8/03/2009 11:03:00 am  
OpenID kiwipolemicist said...

Apparently Mill had not heard of GST/VAT/sales tax,

Stopping those who do not pay taxes from voting will not solve the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem is that democracy is mob rule, and it allows the mob that rules to "put their hands into other people's pockets for any purpose which they think fit to call a public one".

Full explanation here:
The problem with democracy - Part One

8/03/2009 11:11:00 am  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

I spent much of last year advocating the disenfranchsing of poor people.

I was regularly barbequed for doing so and am therefore delighted at the change in attitudes to this issue.

Like Ayn Rand I seem to initiate all the best ideas but have to wait for them to be adopted.

8/03/2009 01:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent much of last year advocating the disenfranchsing of poor people.



Excellent! This really should be ACTs sole policy.



whoever works in a government position shouldn't be allowed to vote either, so that would exclude teachers and the like as well.



Of course. THat's just common sense. What's more, 20 years ago, up until Lange's Labour really started ruining the country civil servants voluntarily did not vote because the conflict of interest is just so broad. How can you trust someone after a change of government if they have voted (regardless of who they voted for).


Now we have a two-party system: A party of the moderately productive (National) and a party of the bludging poor and civil service (Labour/Green)


This might actually be a nice incentive to privatize many of the things the government should get its grubby fingers out to start with.



Well yes indeed: as long is it really is privatised: sold off, never mind the damn price - sound economics suggests the overall result is best if it is given away, rather than supplying more money for the government to waste - and there are no stupid mandatory "education" laws or subsidies that continue.



Those who take govt subsidies in ANY form - like students or nitwit small businesses who use govt grants for training programmes - should not be able to vote.



Yep except for bona fide companies on commercial contracts where less than say 10% of the income of the company descends from the taxpayer


And them ideally, you'd also transfer all the votes of all employees of a company to the board of directors of that company.



My question to you PC, is how do we reverse the "entitlement culture"? One thing for sure, is that it is engrained in NZ.



You have to work on fixing the franchise. For example, Helen Klark's supercity (ironically being babysat by Rodders) could be greatly improved by moving to a ratepayer franchise, or better still a large business franchise only. E.g. turnover of 10M per annum, or property worth 10M should be the criteria for a vote - and one vote per 10M in each category.


Do that and changes will be made for the better. Leave things as they are and the council will be building libraries and museums and fucking sports grounds til kingdom come!

8/03/2009 01:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

'Poor people'?

Are you lumping tax-funded beneficiaries in with tax-paying low-income earners, Elijah?

I certainly don't.

And as for Rand, where does she say that?

8/03/2009 02:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Actually, the "poor" people in NZ are the poor buggers who fund everybody else ...

8/03/2009 02:20:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

"Actually, the "poor" people in NZ are the poor buggers who fund everybody else ..."
YESS!!

8/03/2009 02:34:00 pm  
Blogger Madeleine said...

This principle really came home for me when my kids first began working at part-time jobs. They get crap pay, work really hard doing things adults wouldn't do if you paid them twice the amount and they they get their pay-cheques and the government has taken a chunk and they can't vote because they are too young.

8/04/2009 09:42:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

Agreed, Madeleine. As a libertarian I obviously have my own beliefs as to the outright immorality of taxation, but even in our own long-time highly-taxed situation, I always thought it was despicable that the govt taxed kids' after-school jobs.

Talk about miserable sods and their culture of penalising enterprise ...

8/04/2009 10:28:00 am  
Blogger The Tomahawk Kid said...

Anonymouse said:
My question to you PC, is how do we reverse the "entitlement culture"? One thing for sure, is that it is engrained in NZ. Secondly, National doesnt have the balls to stop it.

******
I know I am not PC, but here is my thought on the matter anyway.

I am afraid it will be very difficult to stop

It is a self-perpetuating cycle that guarantees its continuation.

The people who vote for the political parties, were educated by the govt-run education system and curriculum.

The politicians who are elected were educated by the govt-run education system.

They DECIDE what the curriculum is

We live in a country where the media, radio, tv, newspapers, magazines all promote the system and culture that we now live under, and which they see as the ONLY way. (because thats what it is NOW, and that is how THEY were taught)

The only way to change this culture is to educate children before they become PART OF THAT CULTURE.

Give them some ammunition to THINK and use their own minds to understand that this entitlement culture is WRONG and IMMORAL.

There will always be those who want a bit of what belongs to somebody else without having to earn it, and that is human nature - but the system as it stands makes it easier and more accessible than ever before

Anybody who thinks this is possible, will of course also believe in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy!

. . . in short we are farting against thunder
Pissing into the wind

I think the fastest way to fix the problem would be to do what Francisco Danconia (or however it is spelt) did in Atlas Shrugged.

JOIN THEM and help them on their way to destruction so that we can start again from scratch! - thats how far GONE we are!

8/04/2009 11:29:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

"My question to you PC, is how do we reverse the 'entitlement culture'?"

On the one hand it's simple, on the other hand it's hard.

How do we reverse the 'entitlement culture'? Simple: we fight the root of that idea: the idea that we are our brother's keepers.

How do we do that? That's the harder part. As Graham suggests above, the simplest way to start that is to persuade people before they're twenty-five, when they're still receptive to ideas. To do a Gramsci in reverse.

To change a culture isn't easy, but it's necessary.

8/04/2009 11:47:00 am  

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