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  #11  
Old Jul 30th 2015, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Libertarians and Taxes

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Here's a fourth possibility of how freedom might work:
http://www.amazon.com/Machinery-Free...cal+capitalism
I've never seen any of these utopian plans account for the fact that they MUST be constructed upon a society that has already been built and constructed by government policies, laws and taxes.

That's always the flaw with libertarian dreams. If they can explain how their game would work on a virgin site, I'd love to hear it. But they can't do that. They need the roads and courts and other infrastructure to be created for them in order for their utopian dreams of liberty to function.

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But is the main point whether individual sovereignty works or not?
You go live on a deserted island all by yourself and you tell us how all that rugged individual sovereignty works.

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Some argued that the South could not exist as a viable society without involuntary, coerced, servitude. So what? Which is more important, ethics or economics?
That's just a silly argument to justify slavery. They didn't need slavery to survive or function, they needed slavery in order to create a cash crop that could be exported in order to make themselves wealthy. Without slaves, the South would be a whole lot less wealthy than they were, that's for sure.
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  #12  
Old Jul 30th 2015, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Libertarians and Taxes

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Coercion of no-coercive people is not logically ethical, and is a violation of The Golden Rule of Reciprocity.

If you and I are equal a human beings, then I do not personally have a right to rule you or coerce you.

And if I don't personally have a right to coerce you, how can I delegate a right that I don't have to a third party calling himself The President or Der Fuhrer, or a group of people calling themselves "The Majority?"

I can't logically do it. I can't logically delegate power over you that I don't first legitimately possess. I have to respect your right not to be bullied or worse, as I would want you to respect my right not to be bullied or worse.
Hmmm. Allow me to enumerate a series of objections:

1) I don't acknowledge the validity of your Rule of Reciprocity. Personally, as a Christian, I accept the "Golden Rule" as formulated "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," but this doesn't ban all coercion since there are any number of situations in which I would accept (even hope for) various levels of outside coercion. If your Rule of Reciprocity bans all forms of coercion, then I have to wonder where it comes from and why you'd accept it as valid.

2) [As an aside] I also don't acknowledge the equality of all human beings except in some very narrow and specific contexts. It seems obvious that some humans are taller, stronger, smarter, faster, nicer, prettier...etc...than others. One of the narrow realms in which I DO think humans should be treated equally is before the law, not because they ARE equal but because, in that context, treating them so seems to generally yield better results. But that sort of legal fiction presumes the existence of an external coercive entity charged with maintaining law and order.

3) Why would I even need a "right" to coerce someone? Experience suggests that personal desire and a gun are quite sufficient. I don't see any evidence that some sort of "right" is also required. I will grant that, in various particular instances, coercion may be immoral according to religious doctrine or simply undesirable because it interferes with a separate goal. But I don't see any evidence in history, experience, or tradition to indicate that ALL coercion is unwise or immoral or that any sort of general "right" is necessary. From whence does this right not to be bullied originate?

4) Regardless of the ethical implications (or lack thereof) there remain the practical difficulties. How will you maintain general welfare projects without mandating general contributions?
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  #13  
Old Jul 30th 2015, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: Libertarians and Taxes

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Coercion of no-coercive people is not logically ethical, and is a violation of The Golden Rule of Reciprocity.
The golden rule of the majority trumps pretty much any rule you care to name.

Btw, you can have all the liberty you want, any time you want - why don't you just go and live on a deserted island? Why must our society be deconstructed in order to satisfy your libertarian fantasy?

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If you and I are equal a human beings, then I do not personally have a right to rule you or coerce you.
No, but if we all get together and a large majorty agree that we all need to pay taxes in order to have a functional and peaceful society. And I don't have any problem with locking you up and throwing away the key if you resist. It is what is necessary for society to function.

A few irate and screaming libertarians are hardly sufficient reason to eliminate society in order to salve their consciences.

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And if I don't personally have a right to coerce you, how can I delegate a right that I don't have to a third party calling himself The President or Der Fuhrer, or a group of people calling themselves "The Majority?"
The majority commands the power. That's what matters. Who gives a crap about ethics or morality? Those are just excuses and justifications we pretend to follow to salve our conscienses.

Power is necessary for a peaceful society to exist. Power by majority is preferable to every other form of power. Ethics and a couple of bucks might buy you a cup of coffee.

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I can't logically do it. I can't logically delegate power over you that I don't first legitimately possess. I have to respect your right not to be bullied or worse, as I would want you to respect my right not to be bullied or worse.
The power that the majority uses to force you to conform (ie. pay taxes) does not derive from any delegation or pre-existance in some free individual descended from Adam.

The power and authority used by the majority to do that is created by the majority, not something that is delegated to it from any individuals.

Basically, the problem with your argument is that you are assuming the pre-existence of a fully functional, moral and ethical individual that pre-exists the advent of soceity - from whom society is created in the form of a social contract. That's nothing but a libertarian (or religious) fantasy that has no evidence in reality. Humans evolved in a social environment going back millions of years. There is no social contract and never has been one.
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  #14  
Old Jul 30th 2015, 09:53 PM
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They seem as deluded as the libertarians with their fanciful property rights created and enforced by governments, saying they don't need no stinking governments. Always reminds me of those teabaggers demanding the Government keep their hands of medicare.
We generally are the old-guard radical Rothbard libertarians before the label was co-opted by conservatives.

But I remind myself more of the sincerely delusional Commies of Olde who had their Five-Year Plans and dreams of a Worker's Paradise, than I do the Tea Partiers who are haunted by the fear that someone might fly their sacred American flag AT NIGHT and not lower it to a rendition of Taps and fold it properly as they should have been taught in Boy Scouts!
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Old Jul 31st 2015, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: Libertarians and Taxes

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We generally are the old-guard radical Rothbard libertarians before the label was co-opted by conservatives.

But I remind myself more of the sincerely delusional Commies of Olde who had their Five-Year Plans and dreams of a Worker's Paradise, than I do the Tea Partiers who are haunted by the fear that someone might fly their sacred American flag AT NIGHT and not lower it to a rendition of Taps and fold it properly as they should have been taught in Boy Scouts!
My comment about teaparty was not to compare directly. The point of similarity between libertarians and the teaparty is the self-delusion part (pretending that Medicare isn't a government program).

Libertarian property rights require governments to create those property rights and enforce them. So when libertarians speak of the sanctity of property rights and the evil of government coercion, I just laugh.
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Old Jul 31st 2015, 11:14 AM
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My comment about teaparty was not to compare directly. The point of similarity between libertarians and the teaparty is the self-delusion part (pretending that Medicare isn't a government program).

Libertarian property rights require governments to create those property rights and enforce them. So when libertarians speak of the sanctity of property rights and the evil of government coercion, I just laugh.
David Friedman (The Machinery of Freedom, the late Harvard Professor Robert Nozick (Anarchy, State, and Utopia), and others, have discussed how property rights have existed in certain areas without government, and how they could possible exist now without government.

I'm no theoretician. I've been told, "You just don't like being told what to do," and I plead guilty. As Proudon put it:

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so."

I don't know who is saying that Medicare isn't a government program, but it's not me, or other people who call themselves individualists, that I know of.
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  #17  
Old Aug 3rd 2015, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Libertarians and Taxes

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David Friedman (The Machinery of Freedom, the late Harvard Professor Robert Nozick (Anarchy, State, and Utopia), and others, have discussed how property rights have existed in certain areas without government, and how they could possible exist now without government.
1. Nozick's theory is based on the idea that individuals are endowed with fundamental rights and therefore the 'right' of a government to rule is derived entirely from the individual right of sovereignty.

The problem with this particular theory is that any "fundamental rights" that people may be endowed with must come from somewhere and the only rational locus for the origin of such rights is 'god the creator'. And that means that Nozick's whole theory is essentially theocratic, it requires god to exist in order to fill the role as the creator (and endow these rights for individuals) or the whole theory of liberty becomes meaningless (and we can't have that can we?).

2. Just because one Harvard Professor says something, and perhaps a dozen other Harvard Professors say he's completely wrong, how does one decide that one Harvard Professor is right and another is wrong?

3. When it comes to something as important as property, that has existed for thousands of years, don't you think it is reasonable to consider the historical record of how actual property rights came to be and have existed as being more relevant than some theory that has no real world proof of functionality, especially when asserting that same hypothetical system would be, not just functional, but superior to anything ever actually invented in the real world in thousands of years of determined effort?

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I'm no theoretician. I've been told, "You just don't like being told what to do," and I plead guilty. As Proudon put it:

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so."
Yes, that's true to some extent, but it is a non sequitur. And to be a private citizen is to be subjected to the exact same things by the private marketplace. To be governed by a government is indeed obnoxious, but I respectfully submit that to be governed solely by private corporations and/or an oligarchy of [libertarian minded] billionaires would be far worse.

To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, to be ruled by a pseudo-democratic representative western liberal style government is the worst thing in the world, except for all the alternatives.

The idea that there is a choice between government and no government is absurd. That choice has never existed, it is a false dichotomy. The only real choice is between different kinds of governments. Some are elected, some are military despots, others are run by oligarchies of the super rich. 'No government' is only an option on paper in someone's utopian theory.

Indeed, I think the central fallacy of libertarian philosophy is that they hold liberty and freedom to be fundamental ends in themselves and seek to maximize them in isolation from everything else. I would say that liberty and freedom are just means to an end, that end being human happiness. All the liberty and freedom in the world is useless if you have no food, shelter or clean water. We value liberty and freedom because it is usually a fairly effective a means to producing human happiness. The road to human happiness isn't actually paved with golden rules, ideal ethical systems, cooperative ventures and principles of individual human sovereignty. In the real world, the road to human happiness is rather bumpy with coercive elements like taxation, police forces armies and human rights tribunals. Obnoxious yes, unethical, and violating idealist and utopian principles of individual sovereignty as well. But as long as that road leads to human happiness, that's what matters most.

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I don't know who is saying that Medicare isn't a government program, but it's not me, or other people who call themselves individualists, that I know of.
The so-called teaparty set were demonstrating a few years ago against Obamacare and many of them held up signs telling the government to "keep their hands off our medicare" - seemingly oblivious to the fact that medicare is entirely a government program.

I brought this up because it is very similar to the way utopian libertarians believe that property rights are sacred and that government is evil, yet appear to be oblivious to the fact that property rights cannot, and have never existed, without governments using coercive authority to establish and maintain those property rights.

As far as I'm concerned, property rights are no different than any other kind of right. Goverments appear to be the only source of "rights" that have ever existed on this planet.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 02:59 AM
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In the real world, the road to human happiness is rather bumpy with coercive elements like taxation, police forces armies and human rights tribunals. Obnoxious yes, unethical, and violating idealist and utopian principles of individual sovereignty as well. But as long as that road leads to human happiness, that's what matters most.
The problem, as I see it, is that in the US at the very least, big government is not leading the way to human happiness, but is a destructive rather than a constructive force promoting perpetual war and eventual bankruptcy in the service of the Military-Industrial-Political Complex.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: Libertarians and Taxes

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Indeed, I think the central fallacy of libertarian philosophy is that they hold liberty and freedom to be fundamental ends in themselves and seek to maximize them in isolation from everything else. I would say that liberty and freedom are just means to an end, that end being human happiness. All the liberty and freedom in the world is useless if you have no food, shelter or clean water. We value liberty and freedom because it is usually a fairly effective a means to producing human happiness. The road to human happiness isn't actually paved with golden rules, ideal ethical systems, cooperative ventures and principles of individual human sovereignty. In the real world, the road to human happiness is rather bumpy with coercive elements like taxation, police forces armies and human rights tribunals. Obnoxious yes, unethical, and violating idealist and utopian principles of individual sovereignty as well. But as long as that road leads to human happiness, that's what matters most.
Why is "human happiness" a more legitimate fundamental end than "liberty and freedom"? Might one just as well say "the central fallacy of your philosophy is that you hold human happiness to be a fundamental end in itself and seek to maximize it in isolation from everything else"?



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I brought this up because it is very similar to the way utopian libertarians believe that property rights are sacred and that government is evil, yet appear to be oblivious to the fact that property rights cannot, and have never existed, without governments using coercive authority to establish and maintain those property rights.

As far as I'm concerned, property rights are no different than any other kind of right. Goverments appear to be the only source of "rights" that have ever existed on this planet.
Hmmm...

It seems to me that pretty much all organizations and societies have some set of "rights" they grant for their members, regardless of whether those organizations are states, private clubs, businesses, families, etc... I suppose one could argue that all of those organizations represent "governments" in the broadest sense of the word, but then the argument becomes circular: Only governments provide rights and any right-providing organization is ipso facto a government.

I think you're certainly right on the main point: people will be governed by something. If it isn't a public entity (like the government as we traditionally define it) it's quite likely to be a powerful corporation or other private institution (e.g. the Church). Libertarian ideology does seem to overlook that, to assume some utopian system where people are governed by nothing.

However, I'd argue that we are actually being governed by numerous overlapping institutions at any one time (government, employer, family, church, landlord, etc...) and that each of these institutions provides its own set of laws and rights. The question isn't which ONE we will be governed by, but rather what is the hierarchy among our many governing organizations.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Libertarians and Taxes

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The problem, as I see it, is that in the US at the very least, big government is not leading the way to human happiness, but is a destructive rather than a constructive force promoting perpetual war and eventual bankruptcy in the service of the Military-Industrial-Political Complex.
Yes, that's partially true, but please remember that they are doing this as the junior partner with the corporate elites.

The point being that corporations and billionaires will ALWAYS be destructive of human liberty. Governments on the other hand can go either way, depending on who controls them. If the corporate elites are in control, then government is used to transfer wealth from the citizens to the corporate rich through tax policies and subsidies (and bank bailouts).
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