The morality of theft

Tez3

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I may be an anarchist, but I am not an ideologue. If someone has a good idea, I'm willing to listen objectively, regardless of the particulars of their philosophy.


-Rob

Good for you! I am rather tired of the word Liberal being used here as if it were a dirty word. John Dalberg-Acton was a Liberal in the English manner which is what I and others are in the UK, not as it's known in America.
 
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Thesemindz

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Good for you! I am rather tired of the word Liberal being used here as if it were a dirty word. John Dalberg-Acton was a Liberal in the English manner which is what I and others are in the UK, not as it's known in America.

In America the words for one's opponents have all become epitaphs. Liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, black, white, christian, atheist, traditionalist, secularist.

It's not an accident. This happened by design. That way we stay mad at each other, instead of mad at those who are really screwing us. While they shuffle around and pretend things change when their titles do.


-Rob
 
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Thesemindz

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Uh, society?

You can disingenuously claim that social programs benefit no one, or moochers etc, but really charity cannot cover everything and people are as likely to break into your store when they can't get money as they are to magically bootstrap themselves into grand fortunes.

What makes you so sure charity couldn't provide for those in need?

I believe that most of those in need wouldn't be in such dire straights absent the influence of government. First of all, in a real economy with commodity based currency, people would have about fifty times as much spending power as they do now.

Secondly, there is evidence that government subsidies to private charities actually decrease individual donations. This occurs for two reasons, one, private individuals are willing to allow their seized tax monies to replace their charitable giving, but also, charities reduce their fund raising efforts after receiving government grants. So when the government gives money to charities, it decreases the amount given by individuals.

In 1991, private citizens gave roughly 300 billion dollars worth of charitable donations, both in time and money. That included approximately 42% physical resources and 58% donated time. If we use that same math to extrapolate out to 2006, we get a total of nearly 700 billion dollars worth of resources donated. By comparison the American government spent approximately 1.3 trillion dollars on welfare in 1995, both through direct benefits and tax credits, roughly 20 percent of GDP. In 2006, the percent of GDP was roughly similar, but the growth in GDP in the United States resulted in that twenty percent increasing to roughly 2.6 trillion dollars in welfare expenditures.

So while the government stole and redistributed approximately 2.6 trillion dollars of private assets, individuals donated nearly a fourth as much on their own, free from government coercion, even after as much as 70% of their nearly worthless money has already been stolen from them.

In addition, when comparing people with similar incomes, those who work give more than three times as much as those who receive government assistance, even though they have roughly the same expendable income. For another, those who believe that the government does not have a responsibility to take care of those who can't take care of themselves are 27% more likely to make charitable donations than those that do. The reality is not that people who don't support social welfare are selfish, or cruel, or uncaring. It's provably the opposite. They believe that charity is important, and should be the responsibility of individuals, not governments. Accomplished not through theft and violence, but consciously and freely given.

In a society free from government "charity," real charitable giving would increase, because many people really do care about the welfare of others, and are interested in seeing them taken care of.


-Rob
 
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Thesemindz

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But we are not discussing a societal philosophy; we are discussing the morality of theft and applying our conclusions to society at large. In our hypothetical scenario, the other men and women provide some sort of benefit that allows our car owner to own his car in the first place. Thus, collecting some sort of recompense from the car owner is not theft (up to the value of the benefit), it is collecting what is owed. Thus, the car owner gaining a benefit without paying out anything in return is in itself theft, we just call it free-riding here.

That is just in regards to the hypothetical you have created. In a larger system, yes there will always be free-riders, and you can minimize but not eliminate them.

Ultimately, I don't think you and I will ever see eye to eye, because we can not even begin a discussion on common ground.

You feel that I owe a general debt to my fellow men and women for allowing me to exist, and that not paying my taxes is theft.

I feel that I generally owe my fellow men and women nothing, and they owe me nothing, and we should find mutually beneficial ways to participate in voluntary exchange free from fraud or force, and that taxation is theft.

I don't think you and I will ever accomplish much discussing the issue with each other. Our positions are irreconcilable.

How 'bout them bears?


-Rob
 

Empty Hands

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You feel that I owe a general debt to my fellow men and women for allowing me to exist, and that not paying my taxes is theft.

No, that's not what I said. The public provides you with tangible benefits that assist you in earning what you do. Roads, for instance. The benefits you receive have costs. You should provide your share. That is different from your existence, for which I suppose you should thank your parents.

How 'bout them bears?

Silva or Leites? I'll go with Silva. :)
 
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Thesemindz

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No, that's not what I said. The public provides you with tangible benefits that assist you in earning what you do. Roads, for instance. The benefits you receive have costs. You should provide your share. That is different from your existence, for which I suppose you should thank your parents.

I don't entirely disagree with this position. So let's have a system of voluntary exchange where I am only charged for those services which I take advantage of, and I have an option not to take advantage of any services I choose not to.

That I'm fine with. I'm not looking for a free lunch. I'm looking to pay only for the lunch I order, without charging you for my lunch or paying for yours, while not being obligated to buy the same lunch as 51% of the people in the diner.

Silva or Leites? I'll go with Silva. :)

I was thinking Kodiak. They're some bad mothershutyourmouths.


-Rob
 

Archangel M

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Social order can be maintained absent government enforcement. Look up Dispute Resolution Organizations. That is only one possible theory as to how it could be done. The tribes in Somalia practice a form of common law called the Xeer. Essentially, this law allows for social censure of "convicted" offenders and is enforced primarily through tribal tradition and peer pressure.

Bwahaha! If you are holding Somalia up as some sort of exemplar I dont see any use in hanging around THIS conversation.
 
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Thesemindz

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Bwahaha! If you are holding Somalia up as some sort of exemplar I dont see any use in hanging around THIS conversation.

I'm not, in fact I've repeatedly responded in other threads to Somalia by pointing out that it's a mixed bag with both good and bad. In fact, I wasn't holding up Somalia as anything at all, I was referring instead to a practice that exists inside Somalia.

My point was only to give an example of a system of judgement that exists outside of the traditional government beaurocracy.

I guess we'll see you around.


-Rob
 

Wishbone

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But we are not discussing a societal philosophy; we are discussing the morality of theft and applying our conclusions to society at large. In our hypothetical scenario, the other men and women provide some sort of benefit that allows our car owner to own his car in the first place. Thus, collecting some sort of recompense from the car owner is not theft (up to the value of the benefit), it is collecting what is owed. Thus, the car owner gaining a benefit without paying out anything in return is in itself theft, we just call it free-riding here.

That is just in regards to the hypothetical you have created. In a larger system, yes there will always be free-riders, and you can minimize but not eliminate them.

Does the car owner not pay for the car in the first place? How is taxing them further collecting what is owed? How does one decide what the value of the benefit is? I paid sales tax on a car that has broken down multiple times, the same car that is fully functional would have more value, but I don't see a tax reduction for that.
 
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Thesemindz

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The tax protesters and 14th/16th Amendment crazies as a "type" are not the sort of people I personally want to be associated with. I have met and dealt with a few of them....uhhh can anybody say "wackjob"?

Tax Protester Myths

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/IncomeTax.htm

You're right. There are crazies. Just like there are crazy people belonging to any ideology. There are crazy christians, and crazy americans, and crazy white people, and crazy kempo guys. Should we disassociate from every group because some people within that group are crazy? Is it possible that some crazy people are also associated with groups that have good ideas?

Besides, I never mentioned the 14th amendment or the 16th. I never mentioned tax protesting, or anything else. I asked a question, which was, at what point, and under what circumstances does the immoral act of theft by violence become the moral act of government taxation?

Can you provide me with an answer to that question? Specifically? Is it one thousand people? One million? Is it when the violence is implied instead of overt? Is it when the taxes are indirectly collected? If I can't use violence to take what is yours, at what point is it okay for "us" to do so?


-Rob
 
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Thesemindz

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Bwahaha! If you are holding Somalia up as some sort of exemplar I dont see any use in hanging around THIS conversation.

As another point, if you don't like the examples I already offered, perhaps you would be interested in reading about the Lex Mercatoria.

Lex mercatoria is the Latin expression for a body of trading principles used by merchants throughout Europe in the medieval. Meaning literally "law merchant", it evolved as a system of custom and best practice, which was enforced through a system of merchant courts along the main trade routes. It functioned as the international law of commerce.[1] It emphasised contractual freedom, alienability of property, while shunning legal technicalities and deciding cases ex aequo et bono.

A distinct feature was the reliance by merchants on a legal system developed and administered by them. States or local authorities seldom interfered, and surrendered some of the control over trade within their territory to the merchants. In return, trade flourished under the lex mercatoria, increasing tax revenues.

Just another example of voluntary participation in a system of law that exists outside of government.


-Rob
 

Empty Hands

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Does the car owner not pay for the car in the first place? How is taxing them further collecting what is owed? How does one decide what the value of the benefit is? I paid sales tax on a car that has broken down multiple times, the same car that is fully functional would have more value, but I don't see a tax reduction for that.

I think this becomes the point where we have extended the metaphor too far. I'm not even sure what sales tax would represent in this hypothetical compared to the real world.
 
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Thesemindz

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I think this becomes the point where we have extended the metaphor too far. I'm not even sure what sales tax would represent in this hypothetical compared to the real world.

That's because you don't view taxation as theft, and it always is. Sales tax, excise tax, income tax, property tax, vice tax. It's all theft. It's all seizing your property by force.

No, that's not what I said. The public provides you with tangible benefits that assist you in earning what you do. Roads, for instance. The benefits you receive have costs. You should provide your share.

And what about those people who take advantage of these services, but don't pay any taxes? What about those people who pay far more in taxation then they will ever receive in benefits from these services? Are we paying "our share" or are we paying as many shares as the government feels it can extort from the populace?

I've got an idea. How about we make taxation voluntary. Then, you can judge everyone who doesn't pay their taxes as immoral freeloaders, and those who choose not to pay can go about their business free from oppression. Then you can just choose to only associate with those people whose morals you concur with.


-Rob
 

Marginal

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That's because you don't view taxation as theft, and it always is. Sales tax, excise tax, income tax, property tax, vice tax. It's all theft. It's all seizing your property by force.
They're actually providing services for your money. Theft is taking away property with no compensation.
And what about those people who take advantage of these services, but don't pay any taxes?
Who manages this? A homeless illegal immigrant that shops exclusively in the duty free shop at the airport?
 

Wishbone

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I think this becomes the point where we have extended the metaphor too far. I'm not even sure what sales tax would represent in this hypothetical compared to the real world.

Well it doesn't have to be sales tax. It should be just as simple as income tax which is apparently what you are basing your comments relating to giving back to the people who made the car. What I'm saying is that when a person buys the car, the people who made the car have already been reimbursed. They agreed to work for a company. The company said they would pay them X, the employee said I will work for X. The employee gets paid X before the consumer buys the car. Then the consumer buys a car for another agreed upon price. Therefore, the people who made the car aren't 'owed' anything more as you are implying in your example.
 

Bob Hubbard

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I don't see sales tax as theft. Added cost? Sure. But then again, so is paying 10c for a paper bag at Aldi. Don't like it, don't buy that. No one shows up and arrests you. You have a choice. Income tax, you have no choice.

The decider for me, is choice.
 
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