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Old Aug 4th 2015, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Libertarians and Taxes

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Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
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"?
I think you answered your own question. Human happiness is a viable end in itself (from the perspective of humans). Liberty and freedom if treated as ends in themselves, could and likely will require human happiness to be sacrificed.

As I noted above, what good is liberty and freedom without humanity itself?

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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.
The point about 'rights' is that they are not natural, fundamental, pre-existing or inherent unless they are god-given. If god is taken out of the equation, one is left with zero - just some political hot air and a piece of paper which ain't worth much.

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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.
Indeed, this is my key argument. The choice between government and no government is a false dichotomy. Power abhors a vacuum.

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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.
Yes, but your relationship with an employer, church or landlord is a voluntary relationship. I for example choose not to have a relationship with any church. That option is available to me. Only the family and government come with no options or viable evasion and therefore these two institutions are special. We can't do much about the family, but we can do something about the government, ergo, addressing violations by government is something that can and should be addressed.

Alternatively, one could argue that only the government has the right/power/authority to put people in jail, declare wars or even kill its own citizens. Employers, churches, landlords and families don't have that kind of power. Ergo, government authority is special.
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  #22  
Old Aug 6th 2015, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: Libertarians and Taxes

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I think you answered your own question. Human happiness is a viable end in itself (from the perspective of humans). Liberty and freedom if treated as ends in themselves, could and likely will require human happiness to be sacrificed.

As I noted above, what good is liberty and freedom without humanity itself?
I don't follow. Why is human happiness a viable end in itself? That doesn't strike me as a self-evident claim (it certainly hasn't been universally embraced historically), and I can't off hand think of a rational argument for it...at least not one that doesn't require some moral presuppositions.

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Indeed, this is my key argument. The choice between government and no government is a false dichotomy. Power abhors a vacuum.



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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Yes, but your relationship with an employer, church or landlord is a voluntary relationship. I for example choose not to have a relationship with any church. That option is available to me. Only the family and government come with no options or viable evasion and therefore these two institutions are special. We can't do much about the family, but we can do something about the government, ergo, addressing violations by government is something that can and should be addressed.

Alternatively, one could argue that only the government has the right/power/authority to put people in jail, declare wars or even kill its own citizens. Employers, churches, landlords and families don't have that kind of power. Ergo, government authority is special.
True enough. Though, at least in some respects, that's a facet of this particular historical moment and our location in the west. E.G. Church and landlord are not always voluntary; family, church and even employer (broadly construed) once killed their own members.
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