Charity and Sacrifice in a Free Society

With no time to write this evening I offer instead an article I read a while ago on the American Thinker website. We often talk of how the poor suffer in this country. And we obviously differ in our approaches as to how to deal with this situation. Those on the left tend to believe that it is government’s duty to prop up the weakest among us. Those on the right tend to believe in Charity. Black Flag believes government shouldn’t exist and that charity would suffice to solve the problem should the government no longer be in the way. While I don’t share BF’s desire to see zero government, I do share his belief that charity can take care of the issues that plague our poor. There is no need to for a government handout program, which is what welfare has become. I share the article and invite discussion around it because I believe that the article succinctly lays out the consequence of the altruism that today’s politicians bring to bear on the American public.

It should be noted that while the modern politician is eager to inject government into the equation, taking the wealth that you earn and giving it to those who are “most in need”, they have little intent on offering any such charity themselves. And with every dollar taken from your pocket, the poor will likely see just a fraction of it. The rest will fund the government bureaucracy that makes the “charity” work. This isn’t an article that is put out there for you to bash Obama or blame Bush. It is meant to help you think about the concept of individual liberty as it was meant to be practiced in America. It helps you to see how far down the path of destruction we have come. More important, it is meant to help you see why you are in error to believe that the “right” of government to take from one to provide for another is simply outside not only the role of government, but outside the values and principles that this country was founded on.

So enjoy this little piece that was originally posted on the American Thinker. The link is below. And let the discussions around individual freedom begin…

Charity and Sacrifice in a Free Society
By Andrew Foy and Brenton Stransky

“If men have grasped some faint glimmer of respect for individual rights in their private dealings with one another, then that glimmer vanishes when they turn to public issues — and what leaps into the political arena is a caveman who can’t conceive of any reason why the tribe may not bash in the skull of any individual if it so desires.” – Ayn Rand

The Founding Founders established a Republic under a written Constitution with the clear intent of protecting individual freedom. However, the role of our government has been grossly perverted over the last century to the point where politicians now violate individual rights routinely and without batting an eye. Most violations occur under the banner of providing for the public good, and they call upon the virtues of charity and sacrifice to garner support. Fortunately, charity and sacrifice in a free society are individual and personal undertakings. As a rule, they cannot be subject to coercion if liberty is to be maintained. The current President and various members of both political parties do not abide by this rule, and as such, they are positioning themselves as tyrants. Servitude will be the price we pay unless we stand up today and boldly defend our rights. It is time to educate the broader public on the proper role of charity and sacrifice in a free society.

In his authoritative work on freedom, The Constitution of Liberty, F.A. Hayek explained the role charity plays in a free society:

By common opinion our chief concern…[is] the welfare of our family. But we also show our appreciation and approval of others by making them our friends and their aims ours. To choose our associates and generally those whose needs we make our concern is an essential part of freedom and of the moral conceptions of a free society. General altruism, however, is a meaningless conception. Nobody can effectively care for other people as such; the responsibilities we can assume must always be particular, can concern only those about whom we know concrete facts and to whom either choice or special conditions have attached us. It is one of the fundamental rights and duties of a free man to decide what and whose needs appear to him most important.

Ayn Rand was less loquacious in her explanation: Only individual men have the right to decide when or whether they wish to help others; society — as an organized political system — has no rights in the matter at all.”

Now ask yourself: regarding how your tax money is collected and spent for public services, do you get to decide what and whose needs appear most important to you or do politicians? It’s a rhetorical question, but it emphasizes an important point — that when politicians position themselves as the purveyors of charity, the values with respect to each member of society are disregarded as the values of one group or special interest win over those of others.

By limiting the power of the state, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights specifically forbade political charity in the interest of protecting the individual against mob rule and tyranny. Yet these documents have been tossed aside by today’s political elite. According to Hayek, “a society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom.”

As a reminder, the rights that our Founders sought to protect from government in order to ensure individual freedom were the unalienable or natural rights of man to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. These are rights to action, and as such, they impose no obligation on an individual except to abstain from violating the rights of another individual.

Now back to charity and sacrifice in a free society. Let’s consider the question of publicly supported health insurance. Does the fact that some individuals cannot or do not provide health insurance for themselves and family place a sanction on other individuals to provide it, whom the government has deemed make enough? Forgetting that the concept of make enough is completely arbitrary — publicly supported health insurance does not respect the values and ambitions of those members of society who would not freely donate the money being taken from them in taxes to support that particular cause.

Those individuals may instead choose to keep that money and buy a flat screen television, put it toward financing their own business venture, use it to send their child to baseball camp or piano lessons, or a thousand other possibilities. Even if you are not inclined to agree that those individuals are putting their money to the best use, you must respect their freedom to pursue their ambitions and values so long as they do not infringe on the equally protected spheres of others. For if these same individuals were robbed on the street in the name of using the money to donate to health insurance, you would certainly consider the perpetrators thieves.

The above example clearly illustrates why Ayn Rand considered government the biggest threat to individual rights. “It holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. When unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights, a government is men’s deadliest enemy.” It matters not whether its intentions are charitable.

Many individuals will still ask, What of the poor and those who can’t provide certain necessities for themselves? The answer in a free society is clear: you will not be stopped from helping them. Therein lies the essence of charity. According to Rand:

If a man speculates on what “society” should do for the poor, he accepts thereby the collectivist premise that men’s lives belong to society and that he, as a member of society, has the right to dispose of them…that psychological confession reveals the enormity of the extent to which altruism erodes men’s capacity to grasp the concept of rights or the value of an individual life.

If history teaches us one thing, it is to be on guard to protect our freedom from men who believe they have the right to provide charity and dispose of the private property of individuals in the name of the public good (see Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, or Castro). It was Alexander Hamilton who wrote:

Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their careers by paying obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.

To protect freedom from the grasp of these individuals, Rand shared the following advice:

The next time you encounter one of those “public-spirited” dreamers who tells you rancorously that “some very desirable goals cannot be achieved without everybody’s participation,” tell him that if he cannot obtain everybody’s voluntary participation, his goals had better remain unachieved — and that men’s lives are not his to dispose of.

To close, the only way to defend liberty is to heed Rand’s advice — to stand up and defend individual freedom from those who think they can dispose of it as they see fit. We must educate our peers on the role of charity and sacrifice in a free society. We must do this stubbornly and unapologetically, because in the words of country music singer Aaron Tippin, you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

Andrew Foy, MD and Brent Stransky are authors of the upcoming book, “The Young Conservative’s Field Guide.” They can be contacted through their website at aHardRight.com.

1. Hayek, F. A. The Constitution of Liberty. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1960.
2. Rand, Ayn. The Virtue of Selfishness. New York: Penguin, 1964.
3. Hamilton, Alexander. The Federalist Papers. 1787.

Read the article in its original posting here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/charity_and_sacrifice_in_a_fre.html

I will start by saying that I am in complete agreement with Rand’s philosophy. As many of you know I am a fan of her work and a fan of the objectivist approach. The big question for me has always been what makes others think the right thing to do is take my money by force to help others? You are free to donate as much as you like to some voluntary welfare program. Having government dictate it to others simply means that you don’t believe that the cause will be worthy enough to garner voluntary support. I am a quite generous person and will generally do whatever I can to help those around me. I believe that the majority of Americans are this way when able to be. Imagine how much more people would be able to help those around them if so much of their capital wasn’t taken away by the government to be used on a plethora of government wasteful programs.

And I know that the argument will be presented that in general people are not good and charitable. That we need government to do it because the majority of Americans won’t on their own. But I submit to you that if the majority of Americans are not good enough to help others, why should I support the idea of being forced to help them? Or is the argument that only people with money aren’t good and all those in need of assistance are good people worthy of my help? The idea that we aren’t good enough to help voluntarily while simultaneously arguing that we are good enough to deserve help is a bit hypocritical in my opinion.

Note the graph referenced above. It is obviously dated a bit, as it reflects year 2000 data. But I think it provides a good example of why the majority of Americans do not support the welfare system. Only a third of welfare recipients worked in 2000. And this was in a time of a good economy. Am I wrong to feel that when I am the one forced to work and be away from my family and do a job I don’t particularly want to do today, that I shouldn’t be forced to fund those who get to sit home and watch Oprah?

But beyond it all, it is the fundamental premise that it is OK to take my money to pay for things that I wouldn’t support. The sheer amount of fraud, waste, and abuse in the government’s handling of money is reason enough to completely disagree with their taking my money to do it with. Heck, even the worst charity will do a better job of maximizing what I contribute better than a government that isn’t interested in helping others to begin with.

So there is the beginning of the conversation. Feel free to engage me at your own risk… 😉

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Comments

  1. What!?!

  2. USW…you forgot to close the window.

    This is going to be interesting. I am pretty sure I know how it is going to go today, so I have your back.

  3. Buck The Wala says:

    A few quick comments to your thoughts USW — want to write more but its looking like it may be a busy day…

    1) “Right to take money by force to help others” — I’ve said time and time again, taxation is NOT taking your money by force. I refuse to accept this premise. Also the money is not used solely to help others — your money goes towards education, police departments, fire departments, libraries, national defense, etc. etc. etc. of which you are a direct beneficiary. As for welfare programs, hopefully you will never be in a position where you need to be a beneficiary of these programs.

    2) I agree with your argument that Americans are by and large generous. I don’t buy the argument that Americans won’t help the poor or needy on their own – of course they do. Just take a look at the sheer number of charitable contributions made by Americans not just in America but worldwide. But to me, that is not the point. Welfare programs are a statement by the American people that our society will provide for those that cannot provide for themselves. Are there abuses? Is it a perfect system? Yes and no, respectively. Have some of the programs grown too much over the years? Perhaps. But these are issues for another day. At the heart of it, it isnt’ that Americans are not generous; its that as a society we are saying there is only so much we will tolerate and erecting a safety net to safeguard against people falling below that level.

    3) The chart you reference indicates that only 1/3 of those welfare recipients were working, or that 2/3 were not working. I believe this may be a bit misleading. I don’t know too much about TANF but it is a temporary assistance program. Out of those 2/3 not working, how many were able to work at the time they were on TANF? How long were they on TANF? Just throwing out this admittedly ridiculous-sounding figure doesn’t paint a real picture as to what is going on.

    Overall an interesting article to read and a good summary of the views of many on this site.

    • Buck,

      I am always amused by your statement “I refuse to accept this premise”, because, sir, it is not a premise – it is an established argument.

      You cannot create a salience between a thief stealing your money by violence or the government stealing your money by violence.

      But that doesn’t bother you a bit. Your definition simply changes to be “If government does it, it can’t be stealing”.

      Your failure of understanding the situation is exposed in this comment:

      ….your money goes to …

      You would not accept a thief’s refrain that said “Yeah, I stole it. But look what I used it for! I used some of it to paint the orphan home wall!”

      You’d still call him a thief and deal consequences upon him as such. What he does with his stolen loot does not mitigate the fact he stole the loot!

      Further, because you happen to be the benefactor of stolen loot does not mitigate the fact that the loot was stolen!

      So, as usual, your argument floats out there in a middle of a gravity hole.

      It matters

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Taxation being akin to theft is a premise that you work from and hold to be true. It is not an established fact in the least. And it is not a premise that I can accept.

        You quickly dismiss any argument I and others make simply because we do not believe taxation to be the same as theft. Doing so enables you to avoid answering any questions we may pose. Why not take my premise (taxation is not theft) as a hypothetical and work from there for a change? See where it leads you.

        • Buck, then change the words to…..forced charity, required donations. Whatever. It is something you have no say over, how much, to whom or why. Semantics.

          If your company came in today and said they were requiring everyone to donate $200 by the end of the day because there was a project they wanted to get behind, you would not approve. And yet, your beloved government does this every day and you for some reason, buy into it.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Entirely different situation.

            If my boss comes down here and demands I donate to a charity, I had absolutely no say in that decision. Further he has no authority to make that demand of me.

            If government decides to fork over some tax dollars to a charity, I ostensibly do have a say in that decision (I voted for my representatives), I can change that decision (vote in new representatives), and have implicitly granted government the authority to make such a decision.

            Assuming you believe that government has no right to tax you, and that such taxation is tantamount to theft, why do you continue to pay taxes? Why not refuse – take a stand for your beliefs.

            • So then let’s assume your position. I voted for my representative and my Senators. If that were true, and they all voted against your spending program, then how did I have a say in the decision. As it stands, 60 Senators from other states where I had no say are making the decision on how to spend my money. I have zero say.

              And you cannot take a stand for you beliefs at this point. You will end up on the wrong side of a gun and taken to prison or fined heavily. And that is the point of taxes today. You CANNOT take a stand because government has deemed it moral to take violent action against you if you decide to stand up for your belief.

              USW

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Fair point — assuming your representatives vote against a program and it passes, you are still paying for that program. This is true. But that is also the essence of voting.

                As for taking a stand, it would be fine to compare the pros and cons of making that stand and deciding it is better for you to pay the tax. I didn’t meant to suggest you were obligated to take that stand, just that the option is there.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Buck,

                You have it exacly right. The essence of voting is that if the side which favors stealing from you wins, you lose.

        • Buck,

          I am willing to discuss it on your terms. I am working on a series of articles on changing the system. I will be interested in your take once that starts (probably Thursday is there is no guest commentary or Sunday night if there is a guest commentary).

          USW

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Looking forward to it!

            Its not necessarily that it should be discussed on my terms. I respect everyone’s differing opinions on this. But merely sticking to your guns that ‘taxation is theft’ completely obliterates any argument to be had – there can be no debate.

            Changing the system to me is a much more valid argument. It leads to real debate – how to accomplish changing the system? what to change the system in to? whether the system should be changed at all? impacts of changing a system? Etc.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Buck,

          You fail the logic test unfortunately. If someone takes your money by force or by using the threat of force, it matters not one whit whether they use that money to feed the hungry on the streets or to buy a Ferrari for their personal use. Regardless of what the money is used for, the FACT remains that the money was taken from you by force or by threat of force.

          If you think that I am lying, try telling the IRS that you will only pay taxes after they provide you with a contract stipulating exactly what each and every one of your tax dollars is going to, and also insist that they give you the ability to negotiate the contract so that your tax dollars are only going to things which you think are worthwhile to pay for.

          If the IRS allows you to do this, then it would not be theft. Otherwise, yes, it is theft. Go ahead and try that strategy out with the IRS boys and let me know how that works out for you 🙂

          Simply because you do not accept a premise does not make the premise false, it simply means you choose not to accept the premise.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            And vice versa – simply since you do not accept my premise does not make my premise false either.

            Another premise of yours: you begin by stating that taxation is taking your money by force. I don’t see the force inherent in this action to render it stealing. My not accepting this premise may not make the premise false, but it doesn’t make it true either.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Your premise is demonstrably false. Since I can clearly demonstrate that it is false, to accept your premise would be silly.

          • the FACT remains that the money was taken from you by force or by threat of force.

            This is your opinion Peter, not a Fact.

            try telling the IRS that you will only pay taxes after they provide you with a contract stipulating…

            If you want the IRS to change, elect officials that will change the law to met your demands. Until then…

            And simply because you do accept a premise does not make the premise true.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Todd,

              Nope, not an opinion.

              Simply try not paying your taxes and see what happens to you.

              Also, does not matter who we elect, it will not make a discernable change in the system, because even though the system was designed to protect individual liberty and personal freedom, flaws in the system have allowed those who would limit individual freedom and personal liberty to have complete control of the system, and the red-shirts and blue-shirts are not going to let anyone into power who is against the current flawed version of the system. Therefore, your proposal of voting different people in would not materially change the outcome.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                The result of not paying taxes cannot be used to ‘prove’ that taxation is theft, as this result is consented to by us as a society in much the same way that the taxation itself is.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Buck,

                Show me where I consented to have money taken from me for things I do not wish to pay for. I do not recall signing such a contract. Further, I made no verbal agreement, and I shook no one’s hand.

                I made no discernable contract whatsoever allowing anyone to take money which I have earned and use it for any purpose for which I do not approve.

                Yet, this happens anyway, therefore it is theft.

                You can pretty it up using any other words you like, such as “taxation”, but all taxation is is theft by those who claim to be able to monopolize the use of force or the threat of the use of force legitimately.

                I assure you, their claim has no legitimacy.

        • Buck,

          No, sir. You are confused between a premise – and an argument derived by definition.

          Theft – taking of another person’s property without that person’s freely-given consent.

          Now you can dance all you want and confuse yourself royally – but that does not dispel the facts of the theft.

          You can try to justify the theft as some moral civic good – but I’d suggest that you’ll find that argument line a disaster as well.

          • Todd,

            You, too, are confused between what a “premise” is and what an “argument from definition” is.

            Changing a definition so to fit your argument is a fallacy.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Kindly define ‘premise’ then…

            • Premise – A proposition upon which an argument is based.

              The premise of my argument is the definition of theft

              Theft – taking of another person’s property without that person’s freely-given consent.

              If that defines “theft”, THEN I argue that taxes is theft as it exhibits the conditions of the definition.

              Your premise is “All government action is legal – therefore it cannot steal”.

              But that is circular since government defines legal.

              Thus, you are compelled to find a valid definition of theft, within the context of government, that does not contain a circular structure.

              I suggest your search will be futile.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                My premise is not that all government action is legal. My premise is that taxation is consensual by virtue of your representation in government.

                Since taxation is consensual, it lacks unilateral force. Since it lacks force, it is not theft.

              • Buck,

                I do not require representation

                I do not consent.

                I am forced to pay tax.

                Ergo, it is theft.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                You are entitled to your opinion on the matter, but do not argue that your opinion is fact.

              • Buck,

                You are confused again.

                I do not hold merely an opinion about myself.

                I know myself.

                Therefore, when I say I do not require representation, it means I do not require representation. I speak of myself, therefore it is a fact.

              • Buck-

                If everyone in your neighborhood got together and voted to rob your home, and allowed you to vote against it, does that make it ok because you were represented?

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Not a good analogy.

                If everyone in my neighborhood god together and agreed to form a neighborhood government and each household would have 1 vote, and then all households voted to ‘tax’ my household that would be fine as I can guarantee that there would be successive votes against each household whereby each household is summarily ‘taxed’.

                Taxation does not tax any single individual to the neglect of all others. Taxation is spread across society.

              • Buck,

                But what if I do not agree to join your mob?

                Why do you believe you can still vote between yourselves and compel me into your agreement?

              • No, Buck? The majority of households do not pay federal income taxes. So how about instead of singling you out, 26 of the 50 households vote to rob the other 24? The 24 of you can’t accomplish anything with voting because the other 26 are always voting down any taxes on themselves and only take them from the smaller group.

                You can argue the parameters all you like but that doesn’t change the base argument.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Not sure where you’re getting those numbers. To be fair there are a substantial number of homes that do not pay federal tax. I believe I may have even read that that number is approaching 50% but it is not a majority of households.

                And federal taxes are only one part of the picture — state taxes, city taxes, real property taxes, sales tax…

              • Buck-

                You’re quibbling over parameters again instead of just answering the question. If a group of people come up to you, tell you you’re part of a government and are able to vote without any way of opting out, and then they vote to take away half your salary while keeping their own, you’re okay with that? That’s how our current system works.

                Any time a majority of people vote to raise taxes on only the top 1% of earners, or some other minority, it is the equivalent of this scenario. There is zero recourse for the minority.

                Our government allows the majority to vote away the rights of the minority. All of the rules put in place to limit this abuse (ie: constitutions) are irrelevant, because the government can simply ignore them outright or use the majority to pass changes to the rules. You are merely arguing that it should be allowed in one arbitrary set of circumstances but not in others, without any clear definition of either one.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Your premise is again false, taxation is not spread across all of society.

              • Buck,

                Since you’re a lawyer, will you represent me if I fail to pay my property taxes? Will you do this for free? I could save about a thousand bucks a year that I could put back into my property. But wait, paying taxes is voluntary, so I guess I won’t need your help, right?

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Sorry Cyndi, I can’t represent you since it would be a frivolous suit. Don’t want to lose my standing with the Bar. 🙂

              • So you say they won’t come after my assest if I withold my property taxes??? Can I have that in writing?

                😉

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Oh I never said that. I just said you have no claim. Failure to pay property taxes will result in a tax lien being placed on your property.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Buck,

                Taxation is only consensual if I agreed to it.

                Surprisingly, I don’t recall signing a contract giving anyone that authority.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Do you enjoy any of the benefits of society? If so it is consensual.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Your premise is again false. Simply because I live in a society does not mean that I have implicitly agreed to comply with anythiung.

              • Buck,

                The benefit I relieve from the division of labor is wholly independent from your notion of government

                Government does not create society nor design the division of labor.

                My commerce and dealings with my neighbor exists by my own action, uncoerced, and mutual.

                Why do you believe YOU have a right to interfere?

    • Hey there Buck….I would like to address your item #1….in actuality, the last sentence.

      Buck’s last sentence says: As for welfare programs, hopefully you will never be in a position where you need to be a beneficiary of these programs.

      D13 asks: I agree. I certainly hope I am never in this position, however, I do have some questions for you. Since these programs are tax funded and not essential services (police, fire, etc) and since these programs are tantamount to forced charity where I cannot designate my funds, would you agree to strict policing guidelines? I offer the following:

      Drug/alcohol testing: No person receiving public assistance can do so while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The cost of testing would be more than offset by the fraud and abuse that I feel would be eliminated. No excuses. No three strikes, no two strikes, no one strike. If you are on drugs or alcohol you are denied….eligible for retesting in 6 months. If found wanting again…deny eligibility indefinitely.

      Proof of Job search and follow up: For the jobless, in order to receive public assistance, you must provide proof of job search. Just going down to the local unemployment office and putting resume’s online is not sufficient. (Example: In Texas, to receive unemployment benefits, you must provide proof of job search each and every week. You can phone this in. Texas will follow up. If found to be false, you are subject to felony charges and are ineligible for further benefits.) Would you agree that, if found to be receiving benefits and public assistance and are guilty of lying or fraud, then your are indefinitely suspended.

      Repayment: Would you agree to treating it as a loan. That once you found a job, you are then required to pay back your entitlements at a predetermined and affordable rate.

      Limits: Would you agree to limiting the assistance to 24 months.

      Accountability: Would you agree that the assistance is not paid out in cash but designated for specific items. Rent (in public housing or directly to mortgage companies and not to Aunt Jessie), utilities, food (staples and not candy, cokes, cigarettes, dog food, beer, wine, etc), and have enforcement proceedings against stores that will allow this type of behavior…..say, Treble damages, clothes (voucher system for underwear, shoes, socks).

      There are other checks and balances that I can come up with…..would you be for something like this or do you feel that it is too draconian or infringes upon “rights”..you will have to go a very long way to convince me that public assistance is a right and not a privilege. Do you have a problem with strict accountability and penalties for violating whatever they are?

      As a taxpayer, I should have rights as to how my money is spent. I should have a right to designate it, should I not?

      • Buck The Wala says:

        I’d need to give your proposals some more thought, but overall I would definitely support some additional requirements on those receiving welfare as well as increased policing and enforcement.

        Initial thoughts:

        a) drugs and alcohol — I disagree as to alcohol as it is a legal substance, unless the individual is an alcoholic. And then, I wouldn’t take away their benefits but require drug rehab — if the individual refuses to attend, then I could support taking away benefits.

        b) Job search and follow up — that seems fine by me, though I would also want some form of temporary welfare for those who honestly cannot work for a period of time for some medical reason.

        c) Repayment – I would support partial repayment given certain caveats; not sure exactly what those caveats would be but I don’t think we should be requiring every individual in every instance to repay 100%. This would need to be fleshed out. With certain programs we already do provide for some sort of reimbursement which I do agree with (e.g., Medicaid is entitled to reimbursement from whatever is left from an individual’s Estate).

        d) Limits — Again, I would agree on certain limits, but not a bright line rule.

        e) Accountability — Definitely agree with you here – there must be increased accountability and oversight. Providing payment directly to the source would be a good way of accomplishing this.

        My main concern with your proposals would be with painting everything with a broad brush. But in general, you are completely right in my mind – we need stricter regualtions, oversight and enforcement.

      • The Vladiator says:

        Mr D13 – your requirements require more government to enforce them.

        • They would, but I interpret D13’s suggestions on what to do with what is already here. Yes, would eliminating be better? Of course! But the reality we need to deal with today, is a huge entitlement population, so how best to handle it?

          These restrictions alone would get some people off the system and that is the first goal.

      • This is exactly what I would like to see!

        But I am concerned about Vladiator’s point…

        • Bah humbug. If you don’t want the government interfering with your life while accepting welfare, then opt out and find alternative means of living.

          Beggars can’t be choosers.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Ah, but Mathius, beggars CAN be choosers, and they quite often ARE, just like anyone else!

            Let’s say you are a beggar AND a smoker (really bad combination) and you come up to me and ask to bum a smoke. Suddenly you see that I smoke menthols, and you only like regular cigarettes. Does this mean that you have no choice?

            No, you can either accept my menthol cigarette and get your nicotine fix even though you don’t like menthol cigarettes (if you truly had NO choice, this would be your only choice), or you can say, “no thank you” and either go without, or go to the next smoker you see and ask to bum a cigarette from them and hope that they say yes, and smoke regulars.

            Certainly, beggars have MORE LIMITED choices than those who are not beggars, but they do still get to choose.

            What government has done is ensure that when it comes to being fed, clothed, and housed, beggars have had almost all choices taken away EXCEPT choosing to take help from the government. All action of government strives to further limit the choices of all the beggars, and also seeks to turn more and more of us into beggars.

            The government will have won completely when we are all are beggars and have no choices (National Healthcare would be a perfect example of this).

      • Sounds good – all except the repayment. I think they’re repaying when they’re paying taxes again. Further these people typically don’t go from destitute to wealthy, but rather destitute to low income. As such, to saddle them with the extra burden seems problematic.

        I’d like to add that all purchases must be in generic form if available and cheaper.

        I’d also add cigarettes to the list of prohibited substances. Not because they are mind altering, but because they are a luxury. If you can afford to spend $10/pack, you can afford to buy some of your own basic necessities.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          I think D13’s accountability provision of having any monies granted go directly to the source would go a long way. If the individual isn’t being given money in hand, no real chance he can use that money to purchase cigarettes or other luxuries.

          You make a good point as to repayment, though I would say that there should be some circumstances where the state does seek some reimbursement. Though I think it would be a huge mistake to make this across the boards.

        • A Puritan Descendant says:

          OMG! I actually agree with Mathius 100%. I must need a nap!

    • @ Buck-

      At what point would the failure of our government “Robin Hood” handout system be seen as assured in your eyes?

      At what point would our government imposed taxation be considered affecting your living standard to the point at which it is unacceptable?

      Do you see health reform legislation as adding to the handout system?

      Have you ever been shopping and had a morbidly obese woman in a muu muu dress pay for two grocery carts full of “high dollar” steaks, roasts, brisket, ham etc with foodstamps…THEN pull out a wad of cash and buy two cartons of cigarettes; all the while screaming profanities at her six children that are raising hell at the checkout…THEN pay for your items and see her loading all of her groceries and kids into a brand new Cadillac Escalade?Did you wonder what in the heck is wrong with our system?I know I sure as heck have.

  4. The Vladiator says:

    New I am to this writing

    Perhaps you are on top of something here. Wherein I cannot decide how each cent that is taken from me and spent, wherein social darwinism shall always prevail over the silly notion of altruism, wherein any public services program shall be assumed to be corrupt, criminal and wasteful then drastic remedy is needed – for even a little welfare is still welfare. So then what is the path forward? Think not of the fruits of the collective that you have so benefited but seek instead on the most proper manner to rid yourselves of this continual reminder of what hath the communistic works wrought = shed your constitution and your Constitution and embrace a path that eliminates not tomorrow, not next week and not next year – but now the waste of public “anything”. You need not teach anyone to fish – a hungry man will teach himself eventually. And those who then wish to take from you rather than learn oneself to fish shall rightfully be deprived of that right (literally) which he seeks to rob me of (figuratively).

    • Hand grenades are a very good way to fish.

    • I think a hungry man is more inclined to learn to fish, but if he can worm out of it, he will.

      My exhusband wasn’t inclined to do much at all for himself while I provided all his basic needs. As the situation went on, his attitude became more entitled, and soon I was pretty much supporting an able bodied, 40 year man who treated me with contempt and disrespect. This when the local unemployment rate was under 5%! I’ve learned first hand what providing for someone’s basic needs and then some, gets you.

      • The Vladiator says:

        You are very very wise Cyndi – there is a reason them I guess he is your EX husband/freeloader.

        If the hungry man refuses to learn to fish then the hungry man must die. It is not my obligation to save him.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Precisely,

          Should you choose to save the hungry man who refuses to learn to fish, then that is your choice, and provided that choice does not impose upon another, you are free to make that choice, even if others think the choice foolish.

          However, if someone else mandates that you save the hungry man who has refused to learn to fish, then that person has imposed upon you, eliminating your freedom in the matter.

          Another person’s life is not my responsibility unless that person is my spouse or child, or unless I choose to make that person’s life my responsibility AND they allow me to assume that responsibility.

          To take responsibility for the life of another person without their consent also takes away the freedom of the person who did not consent to take your help, which is why welfare is essentially slavery.

        • Thanks, Vlad. It isn’t often I’m called very wise, usaully its something much less flattering, LOL! 8)

          Peter B,

          I agree wtih you.

  5. Is it a full moon or something?

    • Nope.

      Full Moon dates 2010
      Year Month Day Time Day of week
      2010 Jan 30 06:19 Sat
      2010 Feb 28 16:40 Sun
      2010 Mar 30 02:28 Tue
      2010 Apr 28 12:21 Wed
      2010 May 27 23:09 Thu
      2010 Jun 26 11:32 Sat
      2010 Jul 26 01:38 Mon
      2010 Aug 24 17:06 Tue
      2010 Sep 23 09:19 Thu
      2010 Oct 23 01:38 Sat
      2010 Nov 21 17:28 Sun
      2010 Dec 21 08:15 Tue

  6. Ellen Spalding says:

    Well this should be a interesting morning here on the site

  7. Ellen Spalding says:

    Good Morning to Everyone

    Okay I do agree that Americans in general are very generous in nature. We usually step up to the plate when people are in need, not only here but around the world. Unlike what other countries say about us, we are the first ones people call when the world has come crashing down around them. Example: Haiti!

    I have conflicting feelings on the entire welfare program. I do believe that sometimes hard time hit good harding working people. That these people need a temp. help to get back on their feet. They do just that. They use the help for a short time and move on their way. I dont have any problem with that at all.
    But on the otherside of that same coin are people who use and continue to abuse the system with no intention of getting off of it.
    I dont know if there is a easy fix to the problem. I do believe that if you do not have a job and are on assistance you should be require to work for the city for that time until you get employment. Now I do understand that people need time to search and apply for work also. Will this fix everything, mostly likely not. But we do have to look at other options than what we have now.

    Ellen

    • Ellen,

      You must answer this question to help you deal with your conflict.

      Is it right to inflict harm upon another innocent person so mitigate the harm dealt to another person?

      • Yes. Yes it is.

        IF the sum of the harm being done is lessened and
        IF the original person to whom the harm was being done is also innocent and
        IF all the other caveats you’re going to make me add also hold true.

        Imagine the following choices:
        A. A man will shoot you.
        B. He will instead be willing to give you, and 10 other (innocents) atomic wedgies.

        You would, in my opinion, be justified in choosing B since the sum harm is less and since you aren’t deserving of being shot.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Do I get to choose who gets the atomic wedgies??

          • No. Flag does. However, there will be no wedgies since he believes that he has no right to assign suffering to others – even if he, too, is innocent. Therefore, he is morally obligated to allow himself to be shot instead.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Mathius,

          I find it interesting that when you attempt to justify the use of force to impose upon others, your examples MUST (per force) always involve the use of the hypothetical or the imaginary.

          The only way to justify coercion or use of force on another is to construct a fantasy and use that fantasy to provide the necessary justification.

          In the real world, no such justification can exist.

          • In the real world they do. You simply do no or cannot see them. So I create these scenarios to simplify matters in an attempt to clarify the underlying point.

            I say that you can assign the wedgies in lieu of being shot. This is an analogy for assigning taxes in lieu of letting people starve to death. See? The choice does actually exist in the real world! And you have to pick a side. So do you let them starve to death or do you make everyone suffer a little bit?

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Mathius,

              If someone gave me the choice of being shot (and was actively threatening me with a gun) vs. giving 10 other people atomic wedgies, I would simply use a gun and shoot him.

              If I thought that the level of threat was severe enough to my own personal safety, I might even shoot to kill.

              A Hobson’s choice is not a choice. If you are threatened, you defend yourself and refuse to accept being shot or letting other people be subjected to the wedgies.

              The problem with your analogies is they only offer option 1 and option 2, when there are countless other options (such as self-defense) which need to be considered (and are far more correct than what you came up with).

        • Mathius,

          Yes. Yes it is.

          IF the sum of the harm being done is lessened and
          IF the original person to whom the harm was being done is also innocent and
          IF all the other caveats you’re going to make me add also hold true.

          Are you seriously saying that it is ok to harm a person if it benefits another??

          My Gawd Man! You are accelerating, not just meandering, back into savagery.

          (1) You cannot know the sum of society. You have no measure, nor way to confirm if the measure you chose actually measures what you desire.

          (2) Why do I deserve harm simply because you happened to be harmed too?

          Imagine the following choices:
          A. A man will shoot you.
          B. He will instead be willing to give you, and 10 other (innocents) atomic wedgies.

          You would, in my opinion, be justified in choosing B since the sum harm is less and since you aren’t deserving of being shot.

          Your fatal mistake

          It is not my justification!! You are not justifying MY action – you are trying to justify HIS action!

          He is the actor doing both the threat and the harm, not me

          You are justifying him – that is, the second act is a good because his first act is so horrible!!

  8. Let us all remember that part of the Contract with America or as the dems called it, “the Contract on America”, was welfare reform. Clinton was pulled, kicking and screaming to do it. Part of the reform was no more cradle to the grave welfare, no more mother to daughter to grand-daughter. What was the very first thing Obama,Reid,Pelosi did when they got in, bury it.

    There is no better way to control a population than to be the one providing their daily bread. There is no better way to create drum beating acolytes than to make people like Jackson and Sharpton appear to be the conduit to even more bread and of course better circuses. American Idol anyone?

    • The Vladiator says:

      Even a little welfare is still welfare – and a crack or chink in the armor of complete freedom and liberty. Too many people assume nothing positive can be learned from hardship and having to actually feed oneself from one’s hands.

      • Perhaps, Vlad, but too many people also think too little of the massive suffering of those who cannot help themselves.

        Complete freedom sounds good, but just like Communism, it doesn’t work in practice. The answer is, and necessarily has to be, somewhere in the middle.

        • The Vladiator says:

          Mathius – who cannot help themselves? A hungry man will learn to feed himself or benefit from those who participate in charity. There is not basis is stealing from me to give to someone else. There is no middle ground Mathius – you cannot be sorta pregnant any more than you can be sorta free.

          • Perhaps he will find food. Perhaps.

            And perhaps he will find it while robbing your house.

            Or perhaps he will not find food and will simply starve to death on the sidewalk.

            Adding, without government, whose job is it to remove the decaying corpse?

            Now, you (and Flag), keep calling it stealing but that’s not really fair. You have the choice not to pay. But, as will all choices, it comes with an opportunity cost. In this instance, you may choose to live elsewhere (Somalia has no taxes). Your complaint that you don’t want to be taxed, but that you aren’t willing to do what is necessary to not be taxed is like standing in the middle of a road and complaining that you were hit by a car.

            • Matt,

              Look at the TANF chart again. 65% do NO work in a year. Is that temporary assistance? If you want middle ground, I suggest taking a look at where we are now, which is very left of center. Many of these programs are no longer a safety net, they are a bed the lazy are content to reside upon.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                LOI,

                As I mentioned above that chart is very misleading. TANF is a temporary assistance program.

                How long are those people receiving benefits through TANF? How many of those 65% cannot work for medical reasons?

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Mathius,

              Calling it stealing is PERFECTLY fair, because the action fits the definition.

              Calling it something else other than stealing is called obfuscation. Obfuscation is used when you want to fool people into thinking that they are voluntarily doing something when they are really being forced to do something.

              You may continue to obfuscate (and be a victim of obfuscation) if you so desire, but don’t expect the rest of us to be uniformly fooled by it.

            • Mathius,

              Ah, the sick old fallacy

              “Hey, if ya don’t like me stealin’ your wallet, ya can always abandon your house!”

            • Mathius-

              Now, you (and Flag), keep calling it stealing but that’s not really fair. You have the choice not to pay. But, as will all choices, it comes with an opportunity cost.

              Your logic is flawed. An individual has the same “choice” to not pay taxes as does someone being robbed at gunpoint have the “choice” to refuse to comply and be shot instead. Both cases are theft.

              If someone robs your home, do you tell them, well too bad, you shouldn’t live in such a dangerous neighborhood, it’s obviously your choice to be robbed, and the person taking your belongings is not only not at fault, but doing a good service?

        • Matt,

          Can you explain how complete freedom does not work????

          • The Vladiator says:

            Cyndi = in their minds (though they will not admit it) it does not allow them to control other human beings

            • That’s very unfair, Vlad. I have no wish to control anyone. I view the extent of government’s control over our lives as a necessary evil. Some of it, certainly, is overreach. I will make no argument there. But a lot is necessary.

              Welfare not only cares for our most needy and vulnerable, but also prevents them from becoming a giant criminal class.

              Pollution controls prevent corporations from turning our country into a toxic sludge.

              The FDA ensures that your food and drugs are fit for human consumption.

              I could go on for days and days, but I won’t. You will never see the value that the government gives all of us, only the harm that it causes and the good that it fails to do.

              But do not mistake the left’s honest and good-natured wish to do what is best for all for a wish to control other human beings.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                “Welfare not only cares for our most needy and vulnerable, but also prevents them from becoming a giant criminal class.”

                Nope, welfare actually creates a LARGER criminal class then there had been prior to the existence of welfare.

                “Pollution controls prevent corporations from turning our country into a toxic sludge.”

                Nope, pollution controls ALLOW companies to turn our country into a toxic sludge, within certain limits.

                “The FDA ensures that your food and drugs are fit for human consumption.”

                Nope, if a certain food or a certain drug were not fit for human consumption, we would figure this out pretty quickly with no help from the government. The FDA routinely allows drugs into the marketplace which have extremely harmful side-effects and even kill people. The FDA cannot prevent this from happening. Tainted food (with E. Coli and such) makes it to the marketplace at least several times a year. The FDA does not prevent this from happening.

              • from Mathius:

                “left’s honest and good-natured wish to do what is best for all for a wish to control other human beings.”

                Please tell me you’ve learned more than this from your time at SUFA!

                It is totally about control!

              • Kristian Stout says:

                The only needy and vulnerable in this society are those who truly cannot take care of themselves. Those who have mental or physical handicaps. If a person is physically and mentally capable to hold a job then they don’t need to be on assistance. Don’t tell me about minorities because they have the same opportunity to learn as anyone else does. Don’t tell me about peer pressure either because they don’t have to choose to let it have an affect on them. If I believed everyone who ever told me that I would amount to nothing I wouldn’t have the life that I have now. Most, I won’t say all but most of the people that I have met that are on assistance are on it because it’s easier than getting a job and being responsible.

            • I don’t think that is a fair statement Vlad. We have had Matt, Buck, and Ray here for quite some time. I don’t think that their intent is to control others. Subsequently, I don’t believe that when it all boils down to what it is really about, that control is what they are seeking. They, in my opinion, want to make things better for all. Part of doing that, for them, is being somewhat selfless by being willing to sacrifice some to help others. There is nothing bad in that sentiment. There is no desire for control in that sentiment.

              Unfortunately, the people who represent them in Congress are not the same. They DO want control. They are not interested in helping people. And there is the largest problem with today’s political spectrum, the false belief by those on the left that their representatives share their desire to help. The difference for many who fall into my line of belief is that we know longer accept that those who are elected to represent us share our reasoning or our intentions.

              Washington plays a very clever game of passing control measures disguised as acts of charity or altruism. They get buy in for their plans by playing on the good in folks like Buck and Mathius. Similar games are played against everyone. I don’t mean to single out those two as “simple” or “manipulated”. I think most Americans are manipulated by one party or the other. There are very few who have woken up to the idea that we will serve only individual liberty and personal freedom.

              USW

              • Hi USW,

                Forcing someone to do something they wouldn’t do voluntarily sure sounds like force to me, I’m jus’ saying… 🙂

                I agree with you though, Buck and Mathius are not in it just because they get off on controling others. They mean well but are misguided. What’s the expression? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions…..

                Now the politicians, that’s another matter. They are definately in it for the power and perks.

              • Or maybe not USW.

                We’ve discussed this topic several times in the past. When someone accepts government welfare, they agree to let the government decide where they live, what they eat, how they will live. Their lives are controlled by the government.

                When someone supports the government in this behavior, how are they not also agreeing it is OK to control others lives?

              • Present-day “liberals” in this country have a “reach exceeds the grasp” problem, where they want to do all these grandiose things to make the world “better” but do not have the individual capability to do so themselves or persuade others to do so voluntarily, so therefore must rely on the force of government to compel everyone to contribute to their cause. To them, their well-intentioned final outcomes justify nearly any means of achieving that result – regardless of whether or not that desired outcome is actually achieved, which is often not the case.

                It is not a matter of intentional evil, but rather a hubris in thinking that any man possesses enough knowledge to accurately 1) predict precise future outcomes for present actions on a large societal scale, and 2) assess the total “good” state of society before and after taking action in order to make comparisons.

              • DKII,

                Such persons are, IMO, the most selfish of all humanity.

                They indulge in actions upon society for their own immediate benefit – and completely ignore the rot and damage they inflict upon their children.

                They care nothing for their lives – passing the damage to them with a flick “…they’ll figure it out when the time comes…”.

                Modern Statists have a “time preference” of zero – they want everything now.

                “Give it to me now, I don’t want to work for it nor wait for it”

              • Buck The Wala says:

                How selfish of us liberals to want to provide for those most in need living among us…

              • Richmond Spitfire says:

                Oh my…are guilt trips last resort to justify thievery?

                There is not a darn thing wrong with helping folks in need (most humans do want to help those in need regardless of if a C or L).

                By all means, feel free to help whomever you want to. Just don’t force me to help if I don’t want to.

              • Buck,

                The cost you deliver upon society to solve your personal guilt trip is the destruction of society for your children.

                And even more sad, you don’t even solve the problem of your guilt trip – you make it worse.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Todd said it best — (to paraphrase…) it is voluntary. We as individuals voluntarily created government and taxes to benefit society.

                If you and enough others agree to change the system, by all means…

              • Do it on your dollar, not mine. If I see it actually performs as advertised, then I’ll contribute. If it doesn’t, then I keep my money. fair enough?

              • Buck,

                I did NOT voluntarily create anything of government.

                Thus, your claim is false.

                You then leap right into …”..if enough agree…”

                You thus hold the position that any evil can be justified as long as enough agree to it?

              • The Vladiator says:

                Rest back on the quoted material dear USW – the folly in altruism and the fate of electing people they must know to be criminals means they support what those criminals do – they clearly advocate the actions of the criminal by electing the criminal. Choosing the criminal that best supports your type of crime is still supporting a criminal.

              • Vlad,

                All true.

                Further, the great Reckoning is coming.

                Those that live upon the proceeds of crime will face a deep Reckoning and Damnation.

                Society and Civilization cannot be sustained upon evil – and like an airplane fighting gravity, that evil will eventually be forced to return to viable standing or crash.

                In this case, we will witness a crash of grand magnitude.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                I would tend to agree with USW. The AVERAGE PERSON who believes in government (and possibly other fairy tales) generally has a good heart and good intentions.

                They also BELIEVE that those controlling the government SHARE their good heart and good intentions.

                They will ignore or turn a blind eye to all evidence that the government DOES NOT share their good heart and good intentions, as long as the government CLAIMS that it does share their good heart and good intentions.

                Thus, no matter what evil acts government foists upon the people, it will have the support of those that believe that the government is doing whatever it is doing out of altruism, good heart, and good intentions.

                If the government said that it was necessary to kill 100,000 people tomorrow (all of whom happened to have a certain specific ethnicity) but by killing those 100,000 that it was guaranteed that 10,000,000 would be saved from imminent doom, a certain portion of the population would probably be ok with that.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Mathius,

          You have no evidence that freedom does not work, you merely speculate.

          • My lack of proof is all the proof I need.

            If anarchy worked, there would be anarchist ‘states’. And the standard of living in these places would be comparable to living in the rest of the world.

            But it isn’t.

            The only truly free places in the world are chaotic destitute hell-holes where life is nasty, brutish and short.

            Why isn’t Somalia an economic rival to the United States? Why are their life spans so much shorter? Why is their literacy/numeracy rate so low?

            Where is your shining example that freedom does work? After all, free men can defend themselves and no one would have cause to attack them if they weren’t bothering others, right? So a completely free ‘nation’ should be somewhere for you to point at, no? That is.. unless the system doesn’t work…

            • Are we talking about free people or allegedly free nations?

              BTW, Somalia isn’t an anarchist state. Its full of Sharia and Islam.

              • Either / Or..

                Point out to me one singe totally free population (society / state / community) larger than, say, 1,000 people.

                If you can find one, tell me this: are they better off than we are here in any quantifiable measures?

              • What’s your definition of ‘better off’? I need to know that before I can measure it, and provide examples.

                There is no totally free society. There is no Utopia. That doesn’t mean we should force BS and tyranny on others, or accept it for ourselves.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                But Cyndi, I believe Mathius’ point is that the fact that there is no totally free society demonstrates that pure freedom does not work.

              • Buck,

                Then your argument is that a nation of government must work!

                Opps… sorry… that argument doesn’t hold either..

                As I’ve already complained about Mathius –

                You are trying to use the argument of exclusion…. because there is no perfection in freedom, government is the best solution.

                You do not place the same conditions upon government – perfection – but demand it of anarchy.

                You believe yours must be correct because others cannot sustain against your demand.

                But your position cannot sustain your own demand either.

                Therefore, your argument – like SK before you – fails.

                If the condition you demand cannot be held within your argument, you cannot apply it to my argument.

              • Black Flag beat me to it, though I probably wouldn’t have been so rational about it.
                I would have said something to the effect of ‘when has it ever been tried, and the results measured? We have measurable failed examples of promised Utopia in the form of the USSR, Nazi Germany, Moaist China, Venezuela, socialist European states, etc., but not a totally free state.

            • Somebody help me!

              I can totally see Matt’s point. Maybe that is precisely what we all keep saying to BF just not exactly in those words

              • Anita

                Let me try to help in brief.

                Matt’s argument makes the assumption that because a totally free country does not exist is BECAUSE freedom DOES NOT work.

                It is an assumed cause/effect relationship that:

                1. Ignores historical evidence to the contrary (USA in the early years and various tribal govts as BF noted) and,

                2. Ignores other potential causes for freedom to not exist. Such as the growth of altruistic philosophies and political systems that are opposed to freedom.

                In other words, strong govts restrict and prevent a “free society” from developing. The two can not exist in the same space. So then we conclude free societys can not work because they do not exist. Yet they do not exist because of our historical reliance on strong government.

                You see, it has nothing to do with the inability to work. It has everything to do with not being allowed to work.

                I think there is one real question that must be addressed in all of this, however.

                I can make the case that man must be free to live a fullfilling life. That it is our right to be free, according to the laws of nature.

                But if history is our guide, we also know that it is the nature of man to form govts in order to impose upon others. So is it also part of nature’s laws that man must remain a savage? Are we incapable of living as free men and women?

                You see, I have no doubt it will and can work. The real question is whether we are worthy, ready and able.

                The challenge we face today is a society comprised of those who are ready and able, and those who are not. The latter want more govt because they do not trust in themselves or their fellow man, yet. We can not round them up and ship them to Europe and replace them with those in the world who share our lust for freedom.

                So we must figure out how to build a bridge from here to there. The place where freedom lives in its full splendor. That is the transtition from strong govt to Very Damn Little Govt. and then to NO GOVT.

                Black Flag’s village is our long term destination. Whether most of us ever get there is not known, but our failure is not pre-ordained. Meanwhile we must build a few more villages along the way so some can rest and get their bearings before moving on.

                My best to you dear Anita.
                Guessing the kids are home from school and its time to fix dinner. So I will let you go and enjoy them to the fullest.

                JAC

              • JAC,

                That is the transition from strong govt to Very Damn Little Govt. and then to NO GOVT.

                Black Flag’s village is our long term destination. Whether most of us ever get there is not known, but our failure is not pre-ordained. Meanwhile we must build a few more villages along the way so some can rest and get their bearings before moving on.

                Well, a year later, and I will take a small step – as a tactic to bridge “How to Get There from Here” VLDG is an obvious stepping stone.

              • BF

                It has been a most challenging yet rewarding journey.

                But much uphill remains before we can see the horizon to home.

                Best to you and your girls.
                JAC

              • You da man JAC- Been wondering why you hadn’t chimed in today. Was at mom’s for Tues. night dinner and told them what I learned from a sweet guy in Montana about blue moons. They were thrilled to have an excuse for their problems!

                Flag knows darn well that I live in JACville but maybe we can walk the yellow brick road to Flagville together 🙂

              • Anita

                I look forward to that day.

                Hope dinner with mom was nothing but pleasure.

            • Mathius and Cyndi,

              The problem Mathius confronts constantly is his belief that freedom is a “noun”. He is looking for a place called “freedom”.

              That is akin as looking for the place called “flying” and hoping to build a house there.

              Freedom is a verb – an action.

              Mathius experiences anarchy 98% of the time throughout his whole day. He interacts with his colleges, friends and family without coercion from the government. He buys and trades, organizes his affairs, etc.

              Yet, he does not see himself free to do so, because he is seeking a place.

              • Black Flag:

                Freedom is a verb – an action.

                Daniel Webster:

                free·dom
                   /ˈfridəm/ [free-duhm]

                –noun
                1.
                the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint

              • Mathius,

                While I will not debate with Webster, each and every example requires an action.

              • All nouns require actions.

                Forests require planting.

                People require being born.

                Etc, etc..

                If your idea were viable, I would think there would be an example somewhere in a physical place of an actual collection of people. Somewhere.

                Can you point it out on a map to me?

              • Plains Indians, such as the Apache and the Nez Perce functioned perfectly well in a non-governmental structure. I’ve posted about Somalia here ad nausem.

                In European History, the dominance of the centralization of violence as illuminated first by the Romans plays deep in the mind of Western Society. The west still suffers from the horrific cultural damage of the Roman Empire – 1,500 years after its fall, and the subsequent rise of the Papacy.

                If you’re really interested in this history, consider this book.

                Law and Revolution, by Harold Berman, Proffessor of Law at Harvard University. His was a detailed study of the Papal Revolution of 1075-1122 and its after-effects. Only scholars in medieval history and legal history are likely to read it. I read it.

                Here is his point.

                The Western tradition and law is the result of six revolutions: (1) Papal; (2) Reformation; (3) English (1688); (3) American; (5) French; (6) Russian.

                There is now a seventh: administrative law. This is the main one. It is taking away our liberties. It is universal.

                The USSR is gone. Russian administrative law isn’t.

                What is administrative law? Law that is written by the executive and enforced by nearly autonomous executive agencies. The term “administrative law judge” identifies such an official.

                The executive is centralizing control. The legislatures are becoming peripheral. The courts are becoming peripheral.

                He said that this is the greatest threat to liberty today.

                I argue that only one thing can reverse it: de-funding and de-legitimizing it.

                The process has escalated since 1983. The Federal Register was 70,000 pages under Carter. It shrank under Reagan. It is back up to 70,000 pages. Every day, 200 pages of triple-column pages of new Federal regulations are published. It is never-ending. With every page, the freedom of buyers and sellers to work out an agreement shrinks. The public is unaware of this process.

                Lawyers win. Bureaucrats win. Most of the rest of us lose.

              • Forests DO NOT require planting to be a forest – they exist without planting RIGHT NOW.

                Freedom is ethereal – touch it for me.

                I can touch a tree in a forest. How do I touch free in freedom?

              • I have to agree about that Administrative Law Judge crap. been in front of a bunch of them . It’s a hanging court. the truth has nothing to do with their decision. They have no knowledge of the circumstances they are judging and listen exclusively to the cop, fireman, or inspector who wrote the violation. Evidence never matters. the cost of an appeal is prohibitive, in the range of $ 10,000 while the fine may be $ 500. They win!

                You would get better justice from Judge Roy Bean. Merely another way for NYC to make money.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Mathius,

              Your examples fail to show a single example of a country with true freedom, other than perhaps Somalia.

              First of all, not ALL of Somalia is free, only parts of it are. It is not yet a rival of the United States, because it has only had freedom (and only in a portion of the country) for a very short period of time.

              Even within that very short period of time, the economy of the portion of the country which is free has SKYROCKETED. Compare that to the performance of the US economy!

              Also, yes, Somalia has problems with bad people doing bad things. Guess what, we do as well! In fact, in many ways we have it worse. We have all of the “illegal crime” such as rape, murder, assault, battery, etc., but we also have “legalized crime” to deal with on a daily basis.

              Does Somalia currently have it better than we do here in the US? No. However, the part of Somalia that is darn close to free may quite well be more prosperous than we are soon if they are allowed to stay free.

        • An interesting beginning to a great argument. last night I was teaching the Citizenship in the community merit badge. We began by defining a community. It turns out there are many types including this blog itself. the next question is why belong to a community. The kids finally got it when they realized that they get somethiing out of it by belonging.

          When you join a community you voluntarily surrender some of that freedom of yours. Here for example, USW asks up to refrain from personal attacks and bad language. If we want to belong, we agree. We have surrendered some freedom voluntarily. Have we surrendered it permanently? Of course not, we can reclaim it when we leave the site or when we no longer participate. The same holds true for civil societies.

          I am a citizen of my town/ state/ country because I desire something from the association. that may include education, healthcare, protection and the basics of food and shelter. the community does not provide the food and shelter but it provides the stability for people to farm and build. I surrender freedom, be it the desire to walk around naked, marry my dog, or carry a Schmeisser MP40 in order to live in this community. In biology this is a symbiotic relationship. I contribute my taxes and my knowledge, wisdom, expertise to help this community grow. In return they give me what I think I need to survive, be content and prosper.

          The problem arises when I feel that the community is taking from me more than I am getting in return. If I feel my taxes have grown far beyond what I would like to pay and they go for things that cannot conceivably aid or help me, I am upset. I then have to determine if belonging to this group is worth it or not. In a civil society it may not be possible to withdraw since there may not be an alternative so, then I have to direct my energies to changing the community, decreasing taxes or eliminating some other intrusiveness I don’t agree with. Hence, the constant battle, liberal vs. conservative over those who are willing to surrender more of their rights/choices against those who do not desire to do so. Since both groups are literally fighting over the same turf, there is no alternative but to clash.

          So, with apologies to all, Matt is right. There is no such thing as a truly free society unless it is a society of one. A truly free anarchistic society would last for about twenty seconds until somebody realized that they could beat the crap out of the guy next door and have him do their bidding. Then we get very, very Darwinian and head towards the one truly free society, Feudalism. Don’t laugh, it is the natural outcome of a “free” society, survival of the fittest, slavery for the rest. To assume otherwise is to ignore human history and human behavior. We have, over generations, at least since the time of King John, choosen to create and refine this society we live in. What I have always tried to get my more liberal friends to understand is that the society were are in did not just happpen, it is not just the result of circumstance. It was created over centuries and the nature of the human, that brutish fellow sitting at the desk next to you is to abandon it in favor of returning to better, more simple times when others, who are smarter than you, (maybe not them) did all the thinking for you.

          • SK,

            You fall into the trap that community, society, country – are all real things.

            They are not. They are abstractions.

            Please go and show me your community as a thing. You can only point to … individuals.

            Because you confuse an abstraction to be real – you further confuse their roles and the actions of individuals.

            Yes, freedom is individual and it can only be so.

            You, like Matt, seek a place called “freedom”. Yet, you hold it in your own hand but wholly ignore it.

            You are like a fish in water – totally oblivious to the ‘thing’ that you swim in – until you are removed from it.

            • No, no, no. Of course I am “free” I have the choice in my actions but I do not live on the mountaintop. I deal with others on a daily basis to earn my daily bread. I could choose to do any damn thing I please to do but it devolves to the old you can get more flies with honey than you can with vinegar routine (though, to be honest, I don’t know why anyone would want more flies anyway).

              Society is a construction, an abstract but it serves a purpose and requires that I pay attention to its mores. I am sure that you too heve heard many times of those incarcerated during war or revolution, tortured to renounce their beliefs who have held out and have remained free in their minds. That is the only true freedom. Once we are forced to physically relate to others, our course of action becomes constrained and we are no longer truly free regarding actions. Thoughts yes, actions no. If we choose to remain totally free in our actions, then we might by accident or on purpose engage in that “violence” against others that you constantly point out and abhor.

              • SK,

                If we choose to remain totally free in our actions, then we might by accident or on purpose engage in that “violence” against others that you constantly point out and abhor.

                So let’s start with this little ditty –

                “..if by accident…”

                So, under your argument that with government, you will never by accident inflict violence on me.

                Oh, sorry… you do.

                SK, if your argument against me is the same argument against you, your argument against me is fallacious.

                The condition you demand cannot be obtained within your argument, you cannot enforce that upon my argument.

                Second part of your argument:

                You fear the imposition of violence upon you by other men, therefore you demand an entity to impose upon you by violence edicts upon your non-violent actions.

                Do you see why I see you wholly contradicted?

              • Either I am getting tired or I am in way over my head. the whole purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate that you are constrained in your actions once you start relating to others.

                let us take the construct “government” completely out of the picture. I live on a desert island. My neighbors are a pirate , a buck, a mathias, a cyndi, a judy and a Ray. basically these are the nicest neighbors one can have. I raise sheep, the rest of you farm and fish. I am tired of mutton, I want swordfish and plantans. I go to you and trade you two hindquarters of a sheep for a swordfish., I trade one fore quarter to judy for plantans. Everybody is happy since I just invented “trade”. By next week you realize that you can get yams, plantans, coconuts and squash for your swordfish. I come back to you and again offer you the two hindquarters for a swordfish. You say no, now you want the whole sheep since you discovered that the swordfish traded to others could feed you for two weeks while my sheep could only feed you for a week. I think you are being unfair and refuse to trade with you again. You say fine and refuse to trade with me. We now are not speaking because we are offended. Our “freedom” has been compromised by our actions.

                from my perspective, just dealing with folks on a day to day basis imposes limits on how you act and what you can do. In my business, I may think you an SOB as a tenant but I still have to treat you well or you will report me to the boss or refuse to pay rent. If I had no tenants the problem could not arise.

              • SK-

                I think you are confused as to the definition of freedom. It does not mean “do whatever you want” – that’s more akin to chaos. The very meaning of freedom has an implied limitation that you cannot limit the freedom of others by your own actions.

                In your trading scenario, you and BF are both free to reject any deal and refuse to trade, there is no limitation on your freedom here – rather, by forcing a trade on BF in the name of preserving your own “freedom”, you would in fact be limiting his.

              • If I restrict the meaning of freedom to what I can’t do/impose on others I think I am really limiting it way too much. Many years ago a NY cop and I sat down and came up with “Your rights end where mine begin”. While I kind of still agree with that I don’t know that others all do and I can see where sometimes it would be hard to draw a line.

                This whole issue kicked off with my contention that by choosing to belong to a community you voluntarily restrict your actions and freedom. Now, those actions do not necessarily have to be bad or evil but they may be inappropriate and cause offense which may be interpreted as violence by some.

                So, the only way to guarantee true, absolute freedom, is to not associate with any community.

                I think a traditional conservative would argue the meaning of freedom very differently from a libertarian conservative. That’s what used to happen back in my college days.

                Smoking a joint in public for medical reasons may be legal but it “offends” me on a variety of levels which I think would cross over into impinging on my freedom. Hell, smoking tobacco outdoors is still legal but it offends quite a few who all think that their “rights” are being not only assaulted by the smoke but violated. I believe they claim to have trhe “freedom” from unwanted smoke.

              • SK –

                Hell, smoking tobacco outdoors is still legal but it offends quite a few who all think that their “rights” are being not only assaulted by the smoke but violated.

                The problem you are having is the idea with the current paradigm of “public” property. In a free society you might have some form of “common” property but ultimately it would be owned either individually or by a group of people who would then be able to decide what actions are or are not allowed on that property.

                With regards to smoking, I have no right to tell you not to smoke on your own property, or to tell someone else (say, a private business owner, such as a bar) that they cannot allow people to smoke on their property. I can, however, require that you not smoke on *my* property as a condition of being allowed onto my property in the first place.

            • Well, Mr. Flag. There is no place called freedom. OK.

              We hold our freedom in our hands and ignore it. OK.

              If we are all totally free, then what’s all the fuss about?

              • Mathius,

                The fuss is that the likes of you – for intentions better or worse – wish to deny me my non-violent free action so to satisfy your own personal and selfish desire.

              • Hmmmm.

                Still comes back to me that merely living in a society restricts you. Are there people in that society who want to restrict you even more,? Absolutely!

          • I must be on a roll today..

            In the words of Boris: I’m invincible!

  9. Is it perfect? No. It only takes one Acorn event to sour me on the whole notion of the government giving money to charity.

    Buck – I respect your opionion but we differ. The government can arbitrarily decide to raise the amount of tax for whatever reason. That is forcing me with no voice. yes they pay for these other things but they also take a portion of that money and give it to charities… IE ACORN. Therefore I am forced. Even after all the hoopla over the Acorn thing they recieved a cool million dollar grant for fire prevention. How many people can you feed with a million?

    The real issue here for me personally is this. Lets say I have $200.00 in disposable funds today and I choose to donate to “Charity X”. Tomorrow the government raises taxes. I recieve no raise at work and that tax increase on my home costs me $200.00. They are now choosing who gets the money and not me. So they have taken my choice and my money.

    Have a good day.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      That would be extremely frustrating and upsetting to anyone. At first glance, yes it is the government arbitrarily deciding to raise the amount of tax to whatever level it wishes for whatever reason it wishes. But the government is not some unknown entity – it is your representatives voing to raise taxes. Through them, you are voting. You don’t like it – elect someone new.

      • Electing someone new does not prevent them from still taking the money. I dont get to elect all of them that make the decisions. If the people I voted for – voted against the tax increase but it still passes. Then they are taking from me against my wishes and how my representation voted. How about dont take it from me in the first place?

        Mathius. How can you make statements “It is right to inflict harm”? That directly affects my rights and my liberty.

        while BF makes a great arguments. Who is this body that gets to decide “how much harm to inflict upon me”? This all sounds rather subjective.

        My bottom line. I dont want anyone deciding what is best for me. I dont want anyone deciding who gets my expendable dollars. I believe those right should be mine and not anyone elses.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Precisely,

          Regardless of who we elect, the problem doesn’t go away (and frequently it gets worse).

          Buck, your argument that these are our representatives voting for us (or in our name) is a sham.

          Take a look at “healthcare reform”. A significant majority do NOT want it to happen in any of the forms proposed currently (some do not want it at all, some want complete government control, etc.)

          Regardless, “our representatives” are trying to ram it through in the form that THEY want, in spite of the fact that a significant amount of the population does NOT want the form of “reform” that they are proposing.

          So how are they representing their constituents in this matter?

  10. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hello Everyone

    Reading along for now, but some weird comments.

    Hope all has a good day today.

    Judy

  11. Martin,

    Here’s a woman that now has a job opening. She can be reached through her attorney, Gloria Allred. Just don’t lie to her or tell her you love her.

    Good luck!

    http://primewriter.com/news-1246-headlines/?p=4336

  12. I just want to know who it was that was letting a 4 year old drive.

    USW

  13. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I believe that Buck and Mathius (and Charlie, although we haven’t heard from him for quite a while) are firmly convinced that without government forcing us to spend money for particular causes, massive numbers of people would die of starvation in the streets because “People are Greedy (or Stupid, or Lazy, or Selfish or insert derogatory description of choice here…)

    Certainly, there ARE people who are like that. Also there are people who are NOT like that.

    Mathius, Buck, and probably Charlie are convinced that the only thing that is “fair” is to force those who are greedy and selfish and to force those who are normally generous and charitable to ALL be charitable and help the needy.

    The problem with this is that forced charity is no longer charity, and has no virtue.

    Prior to the enactment of the Federal Income Tax, and prior to then advent of the Welfare State in the United States, people did endure many hardships, but by and large, with the help of their fellow human beings, they did ENDURE them. Before welfare, there were not millions of starving Americans dying in the streets. After the Welfare State finally dies a merciful death, there will not be millions of starving Americans dying in the streets. We will help each other by choice, just as we did in the past. Sure, some people will choose not to be helpful, but that is their choice, and others will judge them by that choice.

    If 2 businesses make similar products, and one business owner is a horrible person, whereas the other business owner is active in the community and known to be kind and generous, which business, in a free market, is going to be more successful? Certainly the nasty business owner might still get enough custom to turn a profit provided that his product is good and people like it, but the business owner with high regard and good reputation is likely to be more successful.

    • Peter,

      “without government forcing us to spend money for particular causes, massive numbers of people would die of starvation in the streets”

      There would be people “dying in the streets”. Those people the government has taught to be dependent on government could not survive on their own. And the numbers are increasing as government schools have fewer graduates each year and girls are rewarded for having out-of-wedlock children.

      • I’d say that most people will learn to help themselves when the alternative is worse. Take for example, my ex. For at least a time, he had to provide his own food, shelter and clothing. I’m pretty sure he’s since found some other female chump to provide for him by now, but for a while, he had to be responsible for himslef, like when he finally got arrested for drunk driving! It wasn’t me who had to pay the thousands of dollars in fees and fines! Funny how I haven’t seen his name in the CrimeWatch section of the local newspaper in the last four years! This is proof postive that some people can learn to be responsible for their own actions!

      • LOI,

        I do not believe that people would be dying in the streets due to hunger.

        If there is motivation, they will figure out how to survive.

        I believe that people will be dying in the streets due to the murderous rage of the people who will lose their stolen loot.

        • Well according to Washington, they are already dying in the streets due to lack of health care. I’ve yet to see one of these bodies, but if “they” say they are there, they must be!

  14. “Only individual men have the right to decide when or whether they wish to help others”

    Yes, and these individual men have decided to form a government that will collect taxes to benefit all of society (roads, police, etc) and help those who cannot help themselves (and of course those who scam the system).

    What’s the issue?

    “a society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom.”

    Right. I would say our society does recognize that each individual has values…

    As a reminder, the rights that our Founders sought to protect from government in order to ensure individual freedom were the unalienable or natural rights of man to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Hmmm…I don’t remember property being in this phrase. Doesn’t quite roll-off-the-tongue the same…However, it would seem the addition of property is key here, because without it, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is just a little too vague…but add property, and suddenly all government and taxes are evil and theft……

    “(Government) holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. When unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights, a government is men’s deadliest enemy.”

    This is such a simplistic view. What about the Mob, Street Gangs, and Al Gore? And then there’s Mother Nature, who can have a pretty mean streak…

    If history teaches us one thing, it is to be on guard to protect our freedom from men who believe they have the right to provide charity and dispose of the private property of individuals in the name of the public good (see Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, or Castro).

    Yes, there have been some terrible dictators in the world. But that doesn’t mean all governments will turn out that way.

    To close, the only way to defend liberty is to heed Rand’s advice

    So Rand is the only way? Sounds kind of like a dictator to me…

    Only a third of welfare recipients worked in 2000. And this was in a time of a good economy.

    Wait a minute, a few weeks ago you were arguing that Bush inherited a recession from Clinton. So which is it?

    And I wouldn’t start a fight with Oprah – you think the government is mean… 😉

    But beyond it all, it is the fundamental premise that it is OK to take my money to pay for things that I wouldn’t support. The sheer amount of fraud, waste, and abuse in the government’s handling of money is reason enough to completely disagree with their taking my money to do it with. Heck, even the worst charity will do a better job of maximizing what I contribute better than a government that isn’t interested in helping others to begin with.

    Ok, then let’s ramp-up these charities and do away with the need for big government. Big government will fade away on it’s own when there are alternatives providing better services…

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “Yes, and these individual men have decided to form a government that will collect taxes to benefit all of society (roads, police, etc) and help those who cannot help themselves (and of course those who scam the system).

      What’s the issue?”

      Two issues: Issue 1, the government (of this country anyway) was designed to PROVIDE for the common defense and PROMOTE the general welfare. It was not designed to PROVIDE the general welfare. Issue 2, NOWHERE in the Constitution does it grant the government the RIGHT to help those who cannot help themselves. It is not in there… not at all… not anywhere.

      “Right. I would say our society does recognize that each individual has values…”

      Sure, and right now, if you publicly express values that are not currently in vogue with the government, you might be charged with a “hate crime” or might be listed by the CIA as a “potential domestic terror threat”.

      “Hmmm…I don’t remember property being in this phrase. Doesn’t quite roll-off-the-tongue the same…However, it would seem the addition of property is key here, because without it, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is just a little too vague…but add property, and suddenly all government and taxes are evil and theft…”

      Originally, property was indeed in the phrase. Many of the founding fathers favored the wording to be “Life, Liberty, and Property” but others convinced them that “Pursuit of Happiness” though more vague, was a better choice. They argued that it should be understood that property was essential to both freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, since they subsequently failed to SPECIFICALLY SPELL OUT property as one of the essential rights of a free society, government has found it much too easy to infringe upon the property rights of others.

    • The first half of your comments are taking aim at the words of another. I cannot pretend to know their thoughts. But I will give some of it a try. Saying that heeding Rand’s advice is the only way is not a dictatorship. The authors state this and follow up with a very clear definition of what they mean. I would agree that society does recognize that each individual has values, the government just doesn’t give a hoot what they are.

      Only a third of welfare recipients worked in 2000. And this was in a time of a good economy.

      Wait a minute, a few weeks ago you were arguing that Bush inherited a recession from Clinton. So which is it?

      Well Todd, you are attempting to link different contexts together. Nice Try. Compared to today, I would say that 2000 was an excellent economy. Heck, compared to today, I would say Obama inherited a great economy. But that’s just me.

      “(Government) holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. When unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights, a government is men’s deadliest enemy.”

      This is such a simplistic view. What about the Mob, Street Gangs, and Al Gore? And then there’s Mother Nature, who can have a pretty mean streak…

      I would say that history has shown government to be far more deadly than any of the things that you listed, including mother nature.

      Ok, then let’s ramp-up these charities and do away with the need for big government. Big government will fade away on it’s own when there are alternatives providing better services…

      We can’t ramp up these charities until government stops taking our money and wasting it on bureaucracy and studies to determine if gay men in SanFrancisco like using condoms.

  15. “The idea that we aren’t good enough to help voluntarily while simultaneously arguing that we are good enough to deserve help is a bit hypocritical in my opinion.”

    That’s an excellent point, will have to remember that contradiction for later.

  16. I agree that the truly needy could be taken care of by charity. Many of the people who use government programs now use them just because they can qualify and not because they are in desperate need. Most of the medical students we’ve known that have families use some kind of government program (medicaid, WIC, government subsidized housing, food stamps). All of them could have made ends meet without these programs by taking out more loans, and most of them had families that could have helped them financially, but most of them figure that all too soon they will be paying a ton of money in taxes, so they might as well get something for their money now.

  17. There’s no problem with programs that assist people who legitimately need help. Anyone could find themselves down on their luck due to a sudden job loss, illness or critically disabled – people sometimes honestly need a leg up.

    To willingly vote an idealistic national program into being to address those needs is a form of charity, but it’s naive to believe it will not become corrupt.

    Politicians purchase their voter base by implementing additional programs for the poor, increase government in the guise of national pity where true need does not exist and sit back and allow incessant, uncontrolled abuse of the program(s). That’s thievery.

    Is it possible to reform national programs to become entities that are forthright in their charitable intent and honest in their distributions?

    This is doubtful because DC rarely has the ability to discern “need,” in relation to any type of program, grant, etc., unless it’s their own “need” to get re-elected. Therein lies the rub.

    And that’s why taxes on charitable programs should be voluntary – how many would contribute to TANF as it exists now? No one with any common sense. Look at CA – 6.5% of their population is on the dole.

    Ciao!

  18. SK,

    The whole purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate that you are constrained in your actions once you start relating to others.

    Sir, you misstep right out of the gate.

    You are constrained in your actions by the Laws of the Universe. You cannot do “whatever you desire” even if you are alone.

    Now this may sound like an obvious claim, and you may roll your eyes – but it is key because you have defined freedom as doing anything without constraint.

    My point flags that your definition is faulty as it fails the test of the Universe.

    I point to my definition of freedom – which avoids the conundrum of yours – “no imposition upon one’s self by another man”.

    let us take the construct “government” completely out of the picture.

    My dream and goal…. 🙂

    Everybody is happy since I just invented “trade”.

    I know its a small point – but you did not invent it – you “discovered it”. Why I feel this distinction is important is because the likes of Mathius believe the free market is ‘invented’ by men, like socialism is ‘invented’ by men.

    By next week you realize that you can get yams, plantans, coconuts and squash for your swordfish. I come back to you and again offer you the two hindquarters for a swordfish. You say no, now you want the whole sheep since you discovered that the swordfish traded to others could feed you for two weeks while my sheep could only feed you for a week. I think you are being unfair and refuse to trade with you again. You say fine and refuse to trade with me. We now are not speaking because we are offended. Our “freedom” has been compromised by our actions.

    What freedom has been compromised???? I believe because you hold a faulty definition of freedom, you end up with a bizarre claim.

    from my perspective, just dealing with folks on a day to day basis imposes limits on how you act and what you can do.

    Living in the Universe limits how you act and what you can do. Again, I believe you failed at step one – your concepts and definitions – and created a wholly impossible situation with the entire Universe – that is, a fantasy. I cannot argue with your fantasy.

    In my business, I may think you an SOB as a tenant but I still have to treat you well or you will report me to the boss or refuse to pay rent. If I had no tenants the problem could not arise.

    And you would have no money to pay your mortgage either.

    Freedom is NOT the ability to act without limits. It is the ability to act without imposition from another man.

    • “It is the ability to act without imposition from another man” I find that is an excellent definition of freedom!

    • Curious.

      Emilius is obsessed with Judge Judy. I often read in the same room as the tv and so get second hand exposure. This, like cigarette smoke, is hazardous to your health.

      A case yesterday presented a situation that I would like to know how you resolve.

      A teenager had a loud car. He had purchased and installed an aftermarket muffler and was in the habit of revving his engine at late hours of the night. When confronted about the noise, the teenager was extremely disrespectful and told his neighbor that he had no intention of being quieter. An attempt to talk to the boy’s mother was equally fruitless.

      I was trying to figure out how you would handle this in your society. Your traditional response has been that you threaten ostracism, but this cannot work in a city of millions. Where you have no other leverage, how do you handle a problem like this?

      • Mathius-

        There are many possible solutions. I can present examples. Also you did not clarify whether said teenager was driving on a public street, or on his own property.

        For behavior on a road – roads would be privately/commonly owned, with rules established for their use.

        If loud noise is allowed, those offended by it can withhold their contributions for that ownership group to maintain current roads and build new roads, organize a boycott of roads owned/operated by that group, etc. Over time property adjacent to undesirable roads of that nature would be valued less, and people would pay a premium to be located near roads that do not allow such behavior.

        Other road ownership groups could forbid anyone using the roads to make noise late at night as a property right – anyone trying to use the roads without following the owners’ conditions would be guilty of trespass and subject to restitution from the road owners for lost income from unhappy customers.

        For behavior on owned private property – assuming personal negotiations failed, you would have to prove harm, and if necessary sue in an arbitration court for damages. If the teenager still refused to comply, it is likely that he would be looked at as an unreliable person and receive negative ratings from consumer groups, or have his licenses/certifications removed from professional societies, or the charity that feeds and clothes him will no longer see him as worth helping and cut off all aid, or any number of such negative-feedback mechanisms. In the end he has to earn his bread somehow and will find himself less able to do so if he is not able to interact with other people in a reasonable manner.

        On a side note, you say that ostracism cannot work in a city of millions? Behold the power of the seller rating of an eBay power seller – you think that these people do not go to great lengths to avoid any kind of negative feedback there? Similar for a buyer with a negative rating – sellers will refuse to deal with them, at least not without additional safeguards (insurance, fees, payment up front, etc). None of that requires government involvement. The internet has opened up the communication floodgates so that one’s personal reputation can be widely known among the masses who are willing to find it.

        • Interesting.. You paint a fascinating picture.

          I would love to see this in action.

          • Mathius-

            I have a creative mind and the box around my imagination has thin and porous walls. 🙂

            Not all solutions will actually work well in practice. I think the ideal situation would be one where society is organized on a much smaller basis (more of a local level) with thousands of entities looking for solutions, so that the ones that work the best quickly spread throughout to become generally adopted (and niche exceptions will exist as well to serve those markets). In my opinion, it is the consolidation of society into a relative handful of large entities that has been most detrimental to real societal progress.

            In other words, I think competition would be as good for consumers/individuals with respect to government as it is with respect to commerce.

        • Followup with all the good points from DKII.

          Again, if harm can be proven (and in this case it can, as lack of sleep a proven determent to one’s health) – the person is full in their rights to stop the noise by whatever means reasonable – which may include destroying the car.

          I would suggest, though, that there are other alternatives that would need to be explored first.

        • The barrier to entry for building a new road is too high for a boycott to be effective. You need to get to work somehow, and the road groups know it. Further, because of the absence of anti-trust laws, they are all in cahoots. They know that if none of them ban noisy drivers then everyone still has to pay and they can still obtain fees from noisy drivers.

          So you complain to the Social Acceptability Ratings Agency (SARA) – a privately owned company which maintains a database of unique IDs and a variety of acceptability statistics.

          So the teen, whose name is Alex Hole, has an account with SARA. His ID, understandably, is A-HOLE. SARA logs the complaint against the A-HOLE.

          Alex then goes to buy something at the store, but suddenly, they won’t accept his credit. So he has to pay in cash (gold, of course). At least this is how your theory goes, I assume.

          Alex then goes to find a job. The prospective employer sees that he’s willing and able. So they pull the record on this A-HOLE and see a bunch of noise complaints. But that’s not going to stop them from hiring a good worker. So A-HOLE now works at Deutsche Bank, AG (D-BAG, for short)

          But then something interesting happens. SARA starts logging the aggregate ratings of the people working for companies. And D-BAG, it turns out, also has a bunch of others just like him. So D-BAG’s rating is pretty negative – they aren’t good citizens. So people stop using D-BAG. D-BAG, in turn, lay off this A-HOLE as a way to bring up their rating.

          So, the A-HOLE removes his muffler, and apologizes. You remove your complaint against him. The feedback mechanism works! HUZZAH!

          Did I get that about right? I have to be honest, it sounds intriguing..

          • Mathius,

            You act as if you do not understand that social norms enforced by non-violent means exists powerfully in most societies today.

            • Yes, and most people adhere to them. But those aren’t the people I’m concerned about. There are people who, absent the threat of legal recourse, would go hog wild.

              This scenario replaces the threat of jail/fines with the threat of inability to get a job/get credit. I can accept that.

              It even seems preferable.

              But there are a lot of other problems a society faces which I do not this this is equipped to handle. Unfortunately.

          • Mathius-

            I could probably nitpick certain points but in general that would be a pretty viable scenario.

      • In my society, citizens wouldn’t be packed in like sardines, so excessive noise wouldn’t be much of an issue. Also, the snotty brat likely wouldn’t even own a car because he’d have to actually EARN it, by which time he’d probably have outgrown his obnoxiously loud music desire. As a responsible adult, he’d likely have learned to respect the rights and wishes of others and be considerate in his behavior.

        But that’s just in Cyndi Land…. 😉

  19. Buck The Wala says:

    For those that believe taxation is theft — how about a system that makes taxation completely voluntary. We give everyone a choice: either (a) pay taxes as set forth by Congress or (b) do not pay taxes but remove yourself from obtaining any benefit from society.

    If you choose (b) you will not need to pay any taxes, however you must also not:

    – accept any help or assistance from police or fire departments
    – send your children to public schools
    – use the local library, or any other public building
    – accept unemployment or any other government benefits should you find yourself down on your luck
    – play in public parks
    – drive on any public roads (highways, interstates, city streets, etc.)
    – use public gas, water or electric lines

    There are a host of others things you would be refrained from doing by virtue of your choice to not pay taxes, but I’ll let others flesh those out.

    • Buck:

      Would those who do not pay taxes now be ineligible for benefits? If so, today’s post would be irrelevant.

      What if we made charitable taxes voluntary? This is the an aspect of the post, not infrastructure and first responders.

    • Buck-

      If such a list could be itemized and shopped for piecemeal rather than as one giant package, you would be very close to a practicing version of a free society already. Now allow competition for each of those items by private entities as well, and you’d be just about all the way there. (would have to add such items as currency, national defense and the court system)

      • Where do I sign up??!!

        🙂

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Can’t be itemized and shopped for piecemeal, sorry. All or nothing approach. It is after all my hypothetical. 🙂

        Good additions though — cannot sue those who wrong you in society’s court rooms nor receive any benefit from our military (though admittedly not sure how this one would work since by virtue of their ‘freedom island’ being located in the midst of society)

        • Buck

          Can’t be itemized and shopped for piecemeal, sorry. All or nothing approach. It is after all my hypothetical. 🙂

          Then you admit you are evil.

          By the use of violence, you prevent others from peacefully exercising their own rights to obtain the goods and services they desire.

          Good additions though — cannot sue those who wrong you in society’s court rooms nor receive any benefit from our military (though admittedly not sure how this one would work since by virtue of their ‘freedom island’ being located in the midst of society)

          Societies -before the Statist evil- organized their own arbitration services just fine without the need of centralized violence.

          Same with military. The original intent of the militia was for free men to buy their own weapons, and organize themselves for their own defense. The militia would select for themselves their own leadership and officers.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Buck,

      Provided that the government allows private companies to provide fire and security services, I have no need for public police or fire services.

      The only reason I send my kids to public schools right now is because of taxes. Absent taxes, I could afford to send them to a private school.

      I would be perfectly happy to pay for a service which allowed me to rent books, movies, and CDs for a small fee for 2-3 weeks at a time and fine me if I did not return the materials in good condition at the agreed upon time.

      I do not need public assistance if I am out of work or down on my luck. If no one is forced to pay taxes for this “public assistance” then I can rely on my family, my friends, my neighbors, and as a last resort a private charity should I happen to be out of work or down on my luck.

      I would be happy to contribute to an organization which purchased land for use as a park and charged a reasonable admission fee to people who would use said park.

      Why should roads be public in the first place? If there is sufficient demand for drivers to get from Milwaukee to Chicago, why not allow a private company to design and build a road for such purpose, and charge commuters a useage fee for said road? The useage fee would depend on traffic volume and maintenance costs. The better built and more well-traveled the road, the less the private road company would need to charge commuters. Of course, fees would probably be kept somewhat higher on the most popular routes because they would be the most profitable. However, if the road company tried to gouge the market, another road would be built by another company in competition.

      Why do gas, water, and electric utilities need to be public? Much like the roads described above, if there is sufficient demand for heat, electricity, and clean water and sanitation, people will pay competitive rates for these services.

      Any other questions?

    • Buck

      For those that believe taxation is theft — how about a system that makes taxation completely voluntary.

      Then it is not a tax, but a fee for service – gee! Just like the marketplace!

      We give everyone a choice: either (a) pay taxes as set forth by Congress or (b) do not pay taxes but remove yourself from obtaining any benefit from society.

      Tired old fallacy….Society = Government.

      Government is not, never was and never will be equal to Society.

      – accept any help or assistance from police or fire departments

      ..unless you pay for it.

      – send your children to public schools

      THANK GOD!

      – use the local library, or any other public building

      ..unless you pay for it.

      – accept unemployment or any other government benefits should you find yourself down on your luck

      Oh, blessed luck! With the money I save, I can pay my own benefits and store of savings!

      Yipee!

      – play in public parks

      Unless invited, just like I can’t play in your house without invitation

      – drive on any public roads (highways, interstates, city streets, etc.)

      …unless you pay for it…. which I do now…hmm, no change here.

      – use public gas, water or electric lines

      …unless you pay for it…. which I do now…hmm, no change here.

      There are a host of others things you would be refrained from doing by virtue of your choice to not pay taxes, but I’ll let others flesh those out.

      ..unless you pay for it….

  20. Down Here Buck,

    Why won’t I have a claim? If taxes are voluntary, why can’t I keep my money? What if I feel that only half the tax is is an adequate amount to ‘donate’? If the local government puts a lein on my property, isn’t that a form of coercion/force? How does that aquare with voluntary?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Putting a lein on your property IS force. Private property is essential to individual liberty and personal freedom. By placing a lein on your property, the government has threatened you with confiscation of your property for not complying with their wishes. It is no different than the threat of a fine or imprisonment. In some ways, it is worse.

      • You don’t have to explain it to me! I know a lein=force. Its Buck that doesn’t understand, LOL!

        😉

    • Buck The Wala says:

      You do not have a claim as you must pay taxes. That does not mean that this is force nor theft, as I have argued above.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Buck,

        Your reasoning is circular, you are claiming that taxes are not theft because you MUST pay them. Completely circular logic.

        Taxes ARE theft if we MUST pay them. Taxes would not be theft if they were not manditory.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          You are not reading what I am writing. I did not say “taxes are not theft because you must pay them”. What I said is that “Just because you must pay taxes (or go to jail), does not make taxes theft”.

          • If I MUST pay it, then it isn’t VOLUNTARY, now is it?

            • Buck The Wala says:

              Not necessarily.

              First, you don’t have to pay. You can face the consequences for not paying.

              Secondly, assuming it is mandatory, why is it mandatory? Because we as a society voluntarily made it so.

              Ta-Da!

              • Buck,

                Ta-Da! Nice, utterly incoherent argument – you have to pay, but they are not theft, because you have to pay because a bunch of guys 1500 miles away said so!

              • Buck The Wala says:

                It is incoherent to you because you refuse to accept my premise.

              • Buck,

                Your premise contradicts the definition of theft.

                Theft isn’t theft if society says so…. is mush.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Once again you refuse to read what I actually said.

                Theft is not theft because we as a society have voluntarily decided this is how we will run our society. It is the cost of living in our society.

                If you do not want to pay taxes anymore, then either work to change the system or start a new society somewhere. Your village can be the first place where there is true freedom and no government in any form, we can see firsthand whether or not such a system will work and whether people will want to live there.

                Unfortunately (or fortunately as I’m tired and hungry) I’m heading out. Enjoy your night.

              • Buck,

                Again with incoherent mush.

                Society ‘voluntarily’ decided? Who is this Society? I didn’t? You did? When? By what vote did “government” appear? Where is this agreement? Why does an agreement dead men made among themselves bind me? Answers please!

                You raise the refuted third argument. I’m amazed that, as a lawyer, you don’t blush in embarrassment by using it (again).

                You raise the same mush (again) the “Steal wallet-abandon house” fallacy. Do you having any argument at all in your quiver?

              • So all ‘society’ has to do is declare we no longer volunteer to pay taxes. My God, why didn’t I think of that? I’m sure the IRS will happily go along….NOT.

                So where would we like to create our new system/state? Texas maybe? I’m sure O would be fine with that…..

              • I think we should use buck’s arguement against him and his kind, ya know, Obama supporters. Since the majority of American society doesn’t want O’s Hope-N-Change, maybe should start a national movement ‘vlounteering’ O supporters to turn over all their wealth to O for the ‘common good’. It’ll be perfectly legal and ethical if a majority make it ‘law’. If they don’t like it, they can always suffer the consequences……sheesh.

              • Yeah, spread the wealth!. I’ve tried that line on some of my liberal friends. They have no comeback except something like “shiiiit sister, I’m broke too”.

              • Buck-

                First, you don’t have to pay. You can face the consequences for not paying.

                So if I point a gun at you, and say you either give me your money or I kill you, and you then choose to give me your money and live, then that isn’t theft because you had the choice and could have faced the consequences of not paying? Criminal defense lawyers could go wild with that train of thought.

                Much like the pro-choice people who try to argue that abortion isn’t killing, I think you are making a stand on a vocabulary/wording issue when you would be better off trying to argue that taxation/theft isn’t wrong if the government does it.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                I’ve never argued that something is not wrong if the government does it. Case in point: capital punishment.

          • Buck

            So answer the rest of your own statement.

            Taxes are not theft because ???????????????.

            And you can’t use the same old answer from earlier. You know, because we agreed.

            Because WE didn’t agree. Some agreed so they could take from the others.

            So if you must give up your property (money) to someone against your will, because failure to do so will result in violence (jail, fines, etc) against you this is called what?

            I am curious. Did they have any Logic classes in Law School? Not being nasty here. I am truly curious.

            See you managed to have time in your busy day to play with everyone. Hope you had fun.
            JAC

            • Buck The Wala says:

              Today started out busy then slowed down, then picked up again, now it slowed down once more. Been a roller coaster of a day.

              No logic classes in law school, but plenty of logic games to get into law school!

              To complete you sentence: Taxes are not theft because we as a society have agreed to pay taxes as a cost of living within the society and benefitting from said society. This is not a tired old answer that has no weight or meaning. I know I and others take a lot of flak for this sentiment, but it is true. You are more than welcome to argue that you had never agreed so you are not bound by this social contract, but that does not make it so. Change the system if you so feel the need. Remove yourself from the society if you so choose. But to dismiss this argument on its face simply because you disagree with the premise of a social contract is (can’t think of the word at the moment…mental block…but you get the gist.)

              Where have you been today – been wondering when you would chime in.

              • So if society decides that slavery is acceptable, then slavery it is? Slavery is the stealing of one’s entire amount of labor, where paying taxes is stealing just some portion of it. Either way, the laborer is entitled to the benefits of his work.

              • Buck

                I knew you had kicked the can of hornets over this morning right out of the chute. Figured I would just watch from a distance.

                Also had some things to clean up today. I had finally had enough and resigned from the Republican Party apparatus. But had to clean up some things to make a clean break.

                It is not that your argument carries no weight it is that it defies the accepted definition of theft. It is illogical in my opinion as it creates a circular justification for use of force against innocent people.

                To say taxes is not theft because it is collected by govt does not account for all those govt’s where there is no vote, or only a show vote. What is it called then?

                To say it is not theft because we agree as society, places characteristics on “society” that don’t exist. Societies are measured by broadly accepted things like cultural values and customs. You will not find “acceptance of taxation” as a criteria. If we have rights as individuals then society can not impose upon those rights. Only the individual can impose upon himself. Anything else results in violence against the innocent and the eventual destruction of the society itself.

                To say it is the result of social contract then plays into the whole issue of which contract and who exactly agreed. Your the lawyer. You know that such a contract does not actually exist. Our founders understood this concept quite well I might add. That is why federal taxes were voluntary, and why they were always scrambling for money to pay the bills.

                It is a FACT that I never agreed to the “social contract” to which you refer. It is not just a sentiment or hollow argument. You can not declare that I agreed because I happened to be born in this country. To do so is the same as imposing another person’s debt upon someone as a birth right, or penalty.

                To argue that taxation is not in effect theft is a rationalization of some inherent right of govt to use coercive force against the innocent. There is no real boundary between rationalizing taxation as an agreed payment and executing left handed red heads as being just.

                Once you allow govt to define what is right and wrong, what is theft and what is something not theft called tax, you give it the power to declare murder as nothing more than restoring order. I know it seems like a harsh comparison but that is in fact the lesson of history.

                Your argument can be fit ONLY within the context of STATIST political systems. It thus requires the negation of the entire concept of “unalienable rights”. The concept you present is at its core based on a philosophy of altruism.

                The one that requires the sacrifice of the individual for the benefit of society. It is this philosophy that ascribes the power to society that is required for your concept of “taxation is not theft” to stand. But then it must stand against the natural laws of the universe. That being the nature of mankind.

                I submit that it is not consistent with our nature, because it is contrary to the right of the individual to survive, to continue living as he wishes to live, as only he can determine what is required for him to truly be alive (biologically and spiritually).

                Sorry, got a little off the path there for a minute. Back to the basics. Your definition is not defensible in my view, just from a purely logical standpoint. It creates contradictions in the meaning of other terms and concepts.

                Logic is the process of eliminating contradictions.

                See ya tomorrow
                JAC

  21. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Since we have several people here who love hypotheticals, I will give the following hypothetical:

    Let’s say you simply happen to be born in a certain place. Later, as you grow up and begin to assume responsibility for yourself, you find out that because you live in a certain place, you MUST pay for certain things, and a failure to pay for those things will result in you being fined, imprisoned, or both.

    Further, you have people who supposedly represent your interests in the organization that runs this place, and you can vote for who you want to have represent you. In this way, you are given some say in the things you are willing to pay for and the things you are not.

    The people who are vying to represent you will tell you the programs which they favor, the programs which they do not favor, and how much each will cost.

    There is a catch, however. The people vying to represent you have NO REQUIREMENT TO TELL THE TRUTH. They could, in fact, favor completely different things than what they originally told you.

    There is a further catch. In most cases, if you find out that they have not told the truth, and they pass “laws” which REQUIRE you to pay for all sorts of things that you had no intention of paying for, YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO RECOURSE. Sure, you can wait until the next “election” and then select a different representative, but this presents several problems:

    Problem #1, The things which you had no intention of paying for have now become law already, so you now MUST pay for them, even though your “representative” lied about their intentions. If you do not pay for these things, you will be fined and/or imprisoned.

    Problem #2, In most cases, there is no way to remove the liar of a “representative” from office, short of waiting for the next election.

    Problem #3, In 99.999% of all cases, there is no way to get this “law” repealed, so that you are no longer forced to pay for these things which you had no intention of paying for.

    Problem #4, The next candidate vying to represent you has NO REQUIREMENT TO TELL THE TRUTH.

    In spite of this, some people in this place where you happen to live attempt to convince you that you consented to pay for all of these things which you had no intention of paying for, simply because you voted for “representation”.

    Sound familliar?

  22. When reading many of the comments here, it sounds like I’m corresponding with people who are living a life of terrible oppression under Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, or some third world dictator.

    Is life really so bad that you’ve given up all hope?

    Buck & Mathius asked for examples of “free” societies. The only responses were excuses as to why none exist. Hmmm…

    SK Trynosky Sr. laid it out pretty good today. It’s called “Society”. You give up some things to get others. And even in a perfectly free society, you would have to do that.

    I obey the “laws” at my job everyday, because it provides for me. I’d prefer to not give up 40% of my life, but my job makes the other 60% much better (and I like my job but you get the point).

    The US isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the few places in the world where you can work to improve it.

    A lot of people around the world would consider your complains quite petty.

    • Hi Todd!

      I couldn’t post anything this morning. I suddenly (before my first cup of coffee no less) had a vision of a overweight, very hairy, toothless Polish hooker, which was rather frightening 😆

      Th funny part of your post, is that we are working to improve it. That’s why most of us post here, because we see the corruption, the fraud, the theft and all the rest of the BS that is going on within govt.

      IMHO, most of us have great love for this country and the people in it, but we also see the road that it is traveling, and don’t like it much.

      If I told you that I can prove that the entity known as the Federal Government is knowing committing murder, and then prove it to you without doubt, would you then better understand the positions being presented?

      Hope your day is a good one!

      G!

    • Todd-

      If I could borrow BF’s favorite analogy, then just because our water is only 10% sewage while much of the rest of the world is drinking water with 90% sewage, does not mean that we do not prefer clean water even as we appreciate that things could certainly be worse.

      The personal choices and tradeoffs you mention are made every day at an individual level, and the problem I have is when others feel they have to not only make those choices for me, but force me to abide by them against my will.

    • Todd, you owe me $10 for income tax for your Polish hooker money.

    • Todd,

      only responses were excuses as to why not

      Your complaint is accurate.

      But it is not an excuse – it is an explanation.

      I’ve outlined this many times before.

      The Law of Mutuality creates two, opposite, consequences – both fundamental to the Laws of Nature.

      (1) Freedom
      or
      (2) Government

      (1) Obtain the goods necessary for human life by earning

      (2) Obtain the goods necessary for human life by stealing (use of force)

      (1) The “Economic” way.
      (2) The “Political” way.

      Todd, you have to clear some bubbles out of your thinking.

      The debate today is what does exist – obviously the political way dominates – but why.

      We – including you – entered this debate by offering moral premise – you on the side that wished to demonstrate that using violence on non-violent men would create a society of “good”. I, obviously, argued that such violence destroys society.

      We are placing our arguments by reason of morals – and I have amply demonstrated that your arguments always fail because they are not consistent. You agree that violence on non-violent men is wrong – and then turn right around and claim that it isn’t.

      But the dominance of government is not based on argument – if it was, it would have been dispelled 2,000 years ago.

      The dominance of government is based on Law of Mutuality second consequence – that “Might is the Right”.

      Violence is very profitable. It is high risk, but the risk/return ratio is very positive.

      If the risk of violence is mitigated, the ratio gets even higher.

      Centralized violence – the violence of a disciplined mob – is incredibly profitable – see Vikings.

      The legitimized and centralized violence mitigates the risk to the ultimate extreme.

      If I can convince you that I have a right to steal from you and attack you on my whim, and your resistance to my theft and violence is declared the ‘wrong’ – my risk of using such violence is nearly and completely mitigated – see Government.

      As long as the People suffer moral anesthesia, the theft and violence will expand unabated – as it has.

      So, Todd, the explanation is simple. Mass, centralized and legitimized violence provides the highest possible profit at the lowest possible risk to the actor. Hence, it dominates as resistance to this evil is declared to be a ‘wrong’ and punished.

      When the ability of self-defense of an individual increases, there is an exponential increase in human freedom.

      There are real reasons all governments do or attempt control and prohibition of self-defense of the individuals via weapons-control legislation.

      (Recall Marital Arts derived from the prohibition of peasants to have weapons by writ of their government)

      The present time is offering two, concurrent, situations.

      The myth of government is unfolding by its wars and economic disaster.

      Technology is empowering the individual like never before in history.

      The shattering of the legitimacy of violence coupled with the logarithmic increase of personal power by technology presents a rare, historical, opportunity for mankind to throw off their slavery.

    • v. Holland says:

      The point is that there seems to be no end to government expansion and it obviously takes away freedom so where do you see it leading if we continue on our present course? I see it leading to that terrible oppression that you mentioned and would like to stop it before we get there. We are pretty far down that road already IMHO.

      • V. Holland,

        The ability of forces of violence to extend from a center is diminishing. It’s reach is contracting.

        Government has extended itself to a maximum within the society. It is the Scorpion on the back of the Frog in the middle of a river, striking the Frog with its poisonous sting (“Why?”, pleaded the Frog as its paralyzed body slipped beneath the water. “Because that is what Scorpions do”, said the Scorpion fir its last words as they bubbled under the water…). The Scorpion, along with the Frog that carried, are doomed to die.

        The future is unknown.

        The failure of centralized power will create a vacuum, probably filled with an increase in personal violence. Look for more street gangs and such as law enforcement capability contracts to protecting only itself.

        Closer local communities. Look for more empowered “Neighborhood Watch” and “Guardian Angel” groups – possibly vigilante groups as well.

        The fracturing of the established Nation States. The US could go the Czech/Slovakia way (mutual and peaceful split), the Russian way (mostly mutual and mostly peaceful) or the Yugoslav way (not mutual and not peaceful).

        In my opinion, it will be the Yugoslav way initially, then the Russian way simply because the Elite of America, after gloating over the fall of the Soviets will be too embarrassed to allow the peaceful split of America – they will force military compliance of the Union – invoking Lincoln-esk ideas and propaganda. But this time, the Feds are bankrupt, and will not be able to mount the sustained effort over a large, dispersed local militias. Many in the Regular Army will refuse, or desert to locally organized State Militias as active resistance. The Fed will capitulate – allow those States that wish to leave to do so, and hold together those States that will not wish to. Expect the original 13 to hold together, and the rest to muddle through independence and new commonwealths.

        The breakup will create a phenomena of competing governments – where benefits and taxation will be advertised as incitements for earners and wealth creators to ‘join’ one or another region.

        Expect a massive repulsion of wealth-destroyers from most regions, though some regions may wish to attract them as potential cannon fodder for a new revival of Federalism by Civil War.

        Technology application will make the difference – primarily communication. The ability to mobilize large segments of the population immediately will play as big a factor as the ability of Germany to move divisions via rail and highway from East to Western Fronts quickly to defeat two enemies nearly simultaneously.

        All in all – situation normal; all mucked and muddled, hopeful and fearful.

        • v. Holland says:

          “Government has extended itself to a maximum within the society” Is this your way of telling me that we have already gone too far down that road, I hope not my friend and for peace of mind I must at least retain the hope that we can beat the odds.

  23. So, as the afternoon closes…. here are my thoughts and opinions.

    Mathius and Buck, advocates of taxation, have not provided any coherent argument to deny that taxation is theft.

    They have, instead, offered justifications of taxation based on the ‘good’ utilization of the proceeds of such theft.

    They have not, however, explained why this qualifies as a valid justification since they do not use this argument to claim the act of the thief to be a ‘good’ if he spent his stolen loot ‘well’.

    They further have offered the justification of taxation as a requirement of society based on some sort of undisclosed contract, or unilateral agreement written by some men and enforced upon others who were not party to said agreement.

    They have not, however, explained why in all other contracts that by agreement between to parties that force a third party to act are declared null and void but in this case for taxation the same nullification does not apply.

    They have complained that acting without imposition from other men does not create a perfect world. They then contend that because perfection cannot be created, government is therefore required. They cannot explain coherently the reason since government is not perfect either, as they admit.

    But most daunting of all;

    Though all their justifications and arguments are burned to the ground – they remain steadfast in their belief that using violence on non-violent men is justified.

    What is fearful: they are not alone.

    • Buck The Wala says:

      Don’t know about Mathius, but I sure don’t feel that my justifications and arguments have been burned to the ground in the slightest.

      You may disagree BF, but your disagreement does not make my thinking wrong.

      Both Todd and SK said it best today in varying ways — individual men voluntarily formed society and imposed taxes for the benefit of that society, and taxation is one of the costs of living in a society.

      • Maybe we’re working from different definitions of “voluntary”?

        Even in your package-deal hypothetical above, that’s still a hypothetical – I can’t just stop paying taxes and go live alone on a farm somewhere. At the very least the government will come in and tell me I can’t grow certain food for myself because if I do I’m not buying someone else’s government-approved food.

        If (50+X)% of people force the other (50-X)% to jump off a cliff or be executed just because the they voted against it but were out-voted, is that considered a suicide because it’s “voluntary”?

        • Buck The Wala says:

          In my hypothetical the government wouldn’t be able to come in and tell you anything because you would have removed yourself from society and created the island of “DKII World”.

          You cannot analogize taxation to murder – apples and oranges. Not even a 99.999% vote would be sufficient for society to take another’s life, which is why I am against the death penalty. Which incidentally proves my point to BF earlier that my premise is NOT ‘it must be legal if the government does it’!

          • Buck,

            It is legal if government does it, even capital punishment.

            I do not see the executioner punished nor those that ordered the killing.

            Your point is misplaced. You confuse your disagreement being sufficient to declare it ‘illegal’ – it is not.

            The definition of legal is whatever the government so declares to be legal.

            Legality does not justify evil.

          • Hi Buck 🙂

            You said: You cannot analogize taxation to murder.

            Actually, I plan on doing just that. I’m working on an article that will prove that tax dollars were used for the eventual murder and disfigurement of possibly hundreds of thousands of Americans. The very tax dollars that you think are needed.

            G!

            • Buck The Wala says:

              Should be an interesting read.

              But again, I’ve never said something can’t be wrong if its the government doing it. Also, just as the government’s use of tax money for something good does not make it not theft (as was pointed out ad nauseum today), the use of tax money for murder would not make the act of taxation theft. Two entirely separate things.

              • Out of simple respect, I’ll not enter the theft discussion. You’ve got enough to handle! 🙂

              • Buck The Wala says:

                haha, seems that way. Not much longer to go – about ready to get out of here for the night.

                Have a good one…

      • Buck,

        You miss my complaint.

        You continue to make such statements Both Todd and SK said it best today in varying ways — individual men voluntarily formed society and imposed taxes for the benefit of that society, and taxation is one of the costs of living in a society.

        .. you fail to provide any coherent reason to your statement of “voluntary” – where obviously it is not – it is under threat of violence – and “costs of society” – where other goods and services, ergo costs of society, are offered by mutual voluntary trade.

        I await with bated breath some coherency of argument.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          BF, regardless of what I argue you will never be satisfied as to its coherency because it will always go against your stated premises, much the same as your arguments go against mine.

          • Buck

            Trust me young one. If you present a logical argument that is consistant with truth HE WILL AGREE.

            If you can show his position flawed based on solid reason, HE WILL CHANGE his position.

            You are trying to debate from a flawed definition. Theft is theft. It has a common meaning among humans. At its existence is not dependent on who perpetrates the theft. It is still theft.

          • Buck,

            You avoid the coherency because you cannot create a non-contradictory premise.

            I repeat my complaints.

            (1)you have not provided any coherent argument to deny that taxation is theft.

            I have presented the definition of theft which you cannot refute. You left that one sitting right there unattended.

            You shifted gears and presented this
            (2)offered justifications of taxation based on the ‘good’ utilization of the proceeds of such theft.

            You, again, abandoned that on the table when you could not explain why this qualifies as a valid justification since they do not use this argument to claim the act of the thief to be a ‘good’ if he spent his stolen loot ‘well’.

            You then tried to run with this:
            (3)the justification of taxation as a requirement of society based on some sort of undisclosed contract, or unilateral agreement written by some men and enforced upon others who were not party to said agreement.

            You completely abandoned any hope of explanation why one is compelled to accept words on paper written by men long dead somehow have a force on me today, let alone the theory that two parties can create an agreement that bind a third without the third’s consent.

            Your only argument is incoherent – the one you offered Cyndi – as already detailed previously.

            You exhibit precisely the failure of the Statist position – it cannot rest on moral and rightful human action

            It is the use of violence upon non-violent men to enforce edicts.

            You are willing to accept the evil dealt upon you because you believe the game is merely a battle to see you can use that violence.

            If you (or the powers that you support) achieve it, you are happy to accept its evil application because you benefit.

            The fight for you is not to provide any moral basis for your position, but to argue the amount of paperwork that you need to fill in to use evil for your benefit.

            The Statist position is clear. Evil is Good.

    • Perhaps Mathius and Buck should live a more philanthropolistic lifestyle and open up a soup kitchen to provide for these people that are so bad off they need other people to take care of their monetary obligations to themselves and their families.If I did not have to work so many hours to support myself and my family and all the lazy freeloaders taking advantage of the welfare system I WOULDN’T MIND BEING a more generous person with my time to aid others in need!

  24. v. Holland says:

    Been really busy lately but must add my two cents worth-there is how we as individuals want it to be and the reality of how it is-Barring a total economic collapse I suspect we will always have to pay taxes and will always be represented by a government. I really have no problem with this anymore than I have a problem with paying taxes or even helping the truly needy-I do however have a big problem with the total ignoring of the Constitution and the limits that were placed on the government-I have a problem with a huge federal government-I have a problem with huge social programs-I have a problem with people having unending arguments of why we need another social program to help people which brings about an even larger freedom reducing powerful government. The problem with the greater good theory is that there seems to be no end to the programs it creates and if we don’t watch out we are going to help people to our total loss of freedom and an economic collapse, which I suppose might bring about BF’s hope for a government less society at least for a little while, although I believe people would just form another one.

  25. Judy Sabatini says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion, that the only way to prevent yourself from being taxed to death, is this.

    Don’t own a home.
    Don’t own a car
    Don’t own any investments
    Don’t have a job
    Don’t own anything that would/could/will be taxed.
    Find a cave, live in there, and live off the land, if you can.

    I know that sounds ridiculous, but, it’s getting to that point. There isn’t anything you can do or own that is not taxed. They want to raise, regulate, or just plain tax everything there is to tax, they even tax you when you die.

    • Taxation is a proof of ownership.

      Ergo, they own you.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        So, whats the answer BF? I have this idea or dream that I would like to do, but not sure still. I want to move to Virginia City and maybe open up a frozen yogurt and gelato shop up there, but it has to wait at least another 2 to 3 years. There is no way of being able to do that now. Not the way things are.

        It’s always busy up there, even in the winter, but not as busy. The place is booming during the summer so I know there will be a lot of people there. It’s something I have been thinking about for quite awhile now. something that we can own ourselves, but there is the problem. We could own the business, but not the place, they only lease those shops out, not sure if you can buy it outright.

        I say another 2 or 3 years, because our oldest son wants to buy our house, but the way the housing market is, I told you before, we’re upside down on it, but we’re thinking of maybe buying a house up there, and live up there. I love it up there, got history up there, and I always look forward in going up there.

        I have been going back and forth in my mind about this, and just wonder if we could make a go of it.

  26. v. Holland says:

    I really want someone who believes that all these social programs are okay and necessary and who claim to be for a democratic Republic, who would scream bloody murder if you accuse them of being a socialist to please tell me how this path doesn’t lead to a socialist form of government-I realize that societies are going to have some socialist programs but there has to be a stopping point or the transition from a form of government that at least attempts to protect freedom and liberty will be transformed to one of oppression.

  27. Judy Sabatini says:

    Her’s another topic we can discuss. Not just unemployed men get violent. I’ve heard of working men getting just as violent as well. Women can be violent just as much as men can. I think a lot of domestic abuse comes from the relationship itself, not just whether men are unemployed. I’m unemployed too, but that doesn’t mean I’m hitting my husband over the head with a frying pan, or punching my mother because she’s handy. My husband is working mainly on a part time basis right now, things are tight, but we’re managing for right now. Neither one of us is a violent person, and it will be a cold day in hell before I turn into one.

    Advocates for men are calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to apologize for suggesting that men are more likely than women to commit domestic violence, especially when they’re out of work for long periods of time.

    But Reid’s spokesman told FoxNews.com on Tuesday that the Nevada Democrat is not apologizing for arguing during Senate debate a day earlier that the $15 billion jobs bill he is sponsoring should be passed to help prevent an uptick in violence.

    Marty Nemko, co-president of The National Organization for Men, described Reid’s comments as “irresponsible,” citing numerous studies that show women are just as likely or even more so to commit domestic violence against their male partners.

    Nemko also noted that that the police reports women advocacy organizations use are misleading because “men are embarrassed to say their wives beat them over the head with a frying pan.”

    “Instead of looking to try and find men jobs, he’s bashing men completely unfairly,” Nemko told FoxNews.com.

    Reid’s office responded by e-mailing articles that show domestic violence is increasing with unemployment, including one published by the Atlantic Monthly. And Reid repeated the assertion Tuesday, saying that two people who run domestic crisis shelters in Las Vegas told him that the high unemployment has “created lots of additional work for them they would rather not have.”

    “There is no question that people being out of work causes more people to be involved in domestic violence. I mean, I didn’t make that up. I was told that by two people who run domestic crisis shelters,” he said.

    On Monday, the Nevada Democrat seized on a trend in the rise of domestic violence cases across the country that experts say can be linked partly to the recession that has left millions of Americans unemployed.

    “I have met with some people while I was home dealing with domestic abuse. It has gotten out of hand. Why? Men don’t have jobs. Women don’t have jobs either, but women aren’t abusive — most of the time. Men, when they’re out of work, tend to become abusive. Our domestic crisis shelters in Nevada are jammed. It’s the way it is all over the country.”

    Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting (RADAR) took Reid to task for his comments, arguing that the $787 billion stimulus package that he supported last year funneled close to half of the spending to programs that women while 80 percent of those who lost jobs in the recession were men.

    “Grant for the moment that, in spite of all the scientific research to the contrary, maybe Sen. Reid is naïve enough to believe that only men, and not women, turn violence to their partners when unemployed,” the group said in a press release. “What kind of misogynist promotes a bill as unjust as last year’s massive stimulus package while sincerely believing that doing so will cause more women to be beaten?”

    Reid, who is in a tough re-election bid this year, has a long history of making controversial comments. Most recently, a new book ignited a firestorm of controversy by disclosing comments Reid made a couple years ago on then-Sen. Barack Obama’s race and dialect. Reid said Obama could win the presidency because he was “light-skinned” and didn’t use a “Negro dialect.”

    The conservative blogosphere showed Reid little mercy in its reaction to his latest controversy.

    HotAir.com questioned Reid’s suggestion that abusive men outnumber their female counterparts, citing a British study in 2000 that found that women are just as likely to initiate domestic violence.”

    “If recession-related stress and money woes are shortening men’s tempers, they’re probably shortening women’s too — which, ironically, only improves Reid’s argument about the jobs bill, although he’s too captive to identify politics to try to make that point,” reads one post.

    Nemko also cited a California State University study that finds that women are as physically aggressive or more aggressive than men in their relationships with male partners.

    • v. Holland says:

      Let me see if I understand-I am suppose to support this bill on the basis of out of work men might beat up on their wives or sufficient others-lets see -I guess we should give criminals a million bucks when they leave prison too, after all we must protect ourselves. Of course we’re also suppose to think abortion is okay because some women might be crazy enough to have an unsafe abortion and well we must keep giving people who won’t work welfare so they won’t become criminals-this constant blackmail tactic is really getting old. How about if you beat your wife or break the law we just put your behind in prison instead of rewarding the offenders. Maybe I’m just tired today but I am really sick of the reasoning that people use to try and blackmail or guilt us into supporting all this stuff-This country and it’s people need to return to family taking care of family and neighbor helping neighbor. I watched a show today and the woman made a speech-it was inspiring-she said it’s time for people to pick their place and make their stand and that family and individual pride needs to come back-that family needs to be there for family and that we need to take our stand Today-starting today.

      • V,

        You were late to the party today. Should have been around early- it was funny as you see. But to watch it all go down in real time was hilarious. You’ve made some valid points this evening. I think everyone is wiped out from the daylong discussions. JAC might be still lurking around though. I’m with you on your posts.

        • v. Holland says:

          Thanks Anita-it just really bothers me that people keep saying give more, tax everything, give give give, but they ignore the question of when is enough enough-when do we reach the point where we aren’t just taking a little from everybody to help a few-how far can this go before they will finally yell enough.

          • I know V- its very frustrating. There never will be an answer to your questions. Seems like “they” have just lost faith in people. I think if we were suddenly faced with VDLG in our lap we would all do just fine. Things have a way of working themselves out. Then OMG! we’d all have more cash too! All I know is we can’t give up. Good things come to those who wait. 🙂

            • Oh, I’ve got a lot of faith in the American people and the American spirit-I’m just sometimes scared that the good people of this country will deny the possibility of losing what we have until it is too late. I pray a lot though so God willing, maybe we’ll last a while longer. 🙂

            • Anita and V.Holland

              I am indeed lurking 🙂

              You may not have been at SUFA yet when I shared my story about my days as a liberal Democrat. A somewhat powerful member of the “PARTY” explained to me in no uncertain terms that taxes for welfare were just the price we pay to keep the riff raff in the cities so we don’t have to deal with them where we live.

              Yes, that was the beginning of the end of my association with the D party.

              But it is not far from the actual thinking of many elitists even today. Surf the net and look for comments about the populist uprising and potential riots of the masses. Taxes for welfare is the cost of preventing a populist revolution. That is their thinking.

              I believe Charlie Stella even mentioned this fear right here once.

              Don’t know about you guys but the entire idea leaves a vile taste in my mouth. There is nothing compassionate about govt provided welfare. It is nothing more than a trap. Especially for a population that was not raised with a distaste for handouts. One that has lost the values required to support a free society.

              It is little wonder that those marching with the tea parties are the working class. That is where the remnants of our values lie today. I fear they have been lost to the permanent welfare class and the upper class elites. They both depend on govt handouts and protection.

              Good night dear ladies. It has been a fun rodeo to watch today.
              Perhaps tomorrow I will pay my money and take my chances as well.

              JAC

              • Wow, JAC. That’s awful and much worse than I thought. But somehow, it doesn’t surprise me that much when I think about the hatred of fellow humans the Left harbors. Its frightening to contemplate what they are capable of.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        That last sentence, was that immediately family, or just family in general? Because if it’s family in general, there’s one member in ours, who is screwing his brother over big time. Won’t go into details though.

        • v. Holland says:

          She was talking in general Judy but the beginning of her speech was a gentle but firm chastising of her family members for not taking care of each other but allowing there weaknesses instead of their strengths to rule them, or at least that was my take on it-brought tears to my eyes.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Thanks V, I was just wondering, because some heads are going to be rolling here before too long. Jim’s brother has screwed him royally the last 2 months, and it’s only a matter of time before things come to a head.

            Maybe sometime I can explain, but not right now.

        • Glad to see you ladies still at it. Keep the faith and fight the good fight!

          G!

  28. Judy Sabatini says:

    No New Taxes, Mr. Obama?

    By John Kartch

    On Monday, the White House unveiled a health care plan with a net tax hike of at least $700 billion over the next ten years. What happened to the promise that no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase?

    One year ago, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and restated his central campaign promise: “If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.”

    But on Monday, the White House unveiled a health care plan with a net tax hike of at least $700 billion over the next ten years. Not only does the plan increase taxes more than the House and Senate bills already roundly rejected by the public, several of the tax hikes in the plan violate Obama’s tax pledge. Let’s look at a few examples:

    Individual mandate excise tax: The White House gets creative with its terminology here, preferring to call this tax a “payment” or an “assessment.” This provision would require all Americans to purchase health insurance – as a condition of lawful existence – or pay an excise tax.

    This tax was also a pillar of the House and Senate health bills, both endorsed by the White House. In a famous exchange with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos last September, Obama refused to admit that the tax was actually a tax, forcing Stephanopoulos to read aloud the dictionary definition of the word “tax” to the President.

    Employer mandate tax: If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax for all full-time employees. This would apply to all employers with 50 or more employees. Small business owners pay their taxes on their owners’ 1040 forms, and there is no exemption for employers making less than $250,000.

    Special needs kids tax: This provision caps pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contributions at $2,500 per year – currently, these accounts are unlimited. There are 30 million American families using FSAs for everything from deductibles to eyeglasses, but hardest hit would be families with special needs children. These families often rely on their FSA for special needs education, which can cost thousands of dollars per year.

    “Haircut” for medical itemized deductions: Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction if the total cost of the expenses reduces the filer’s income by 7.5 percent. The new White House provision would raise that threshold to 10 percent.

    Excise tax on indoor tanning services: Leaving no stone unturned in its hunt for revenue, the White House adopted the Senate’s “tanning bed tax”. Those using indoor tanning services will be hit with a 10 percent excise tax.

    None of the provisions above include exemptions for families making less than $250,000.

    Take a look at the plan yourself at the White House Web site, then click over to Obama’s Change.gov site. Under the “Taxes” category, it still reads as follows: “no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase.”

    Somebody has some explaining to do.

  29. Why do I pay thousands upon thousands of dollars in taxes each year with no return but yet I see people with little to NO income getting back huge returns from the federal government?Does no one else see the robbery taking place here?Not only do these people recieve benefits throughout the year but at the end of the year they get a “fat cat” bonus as well!It is not our governments job to redistribute my hard earned wealth to those “less fortunate”ie…lazy bums.

    I consider myself a representative of the middle class here in America.I am not rich yet my family does not want.I have worked hard to get where I am in life.It wasn’t easy and I believe any person that sets their mind to becoming successful in America can achieve thier intended results with a just little effort.

    We have developed an entire culture of people dependant upon our nations social services.Current administration policy will only lead to expanding that social culture.In my eyes it is a form of servitude and should be abolished.It is not politically correct to create a culture of people that will never reach their full potential in life!

  30. Buck The Wala says:

    Last thoughts on the issue:

    As USW pointed out in the opening paragraph of open mic tonight one of the problems here is completely different starting points.

    JAC – it may seem that my argument is full of contradictions and even illogical, but it is not. I accept the social contract theory – that is my starting point. There are ways of changing the ‘terms’ of the contract so to speak, but yes, merely by living in the US as a citizen, enjoying the rights and benefits of citizenship, you are agreeing to the social contract. I know many of issues with this theory – “What contract? I never signed anything…” But when it comes down to it, in my opinion, we all live within this society and abide by the society’s rules. Clearly this is a very simplistic way of phrasing everything, but you get the gist. Based on this theory though, taxes are not theft. You point out that my argument can’t succeed because it requires the changing of other defintions. I don’t see it that way – different words are defined differently given different circumstances. Maybe its the lawyer in me…

    BF – You routinely characterize my comments as ‘incoherent mush’ (which by the way is a cutesy argument by you – glad to see you jumping on the bandwagon) and jumping around from one point to another. I dont’ believe that to be the case. I have been very consistent in my arguments – I’ve never argued (or at least don’t think I did) that taxation is not theft because the money is used for good. I don’t believe how the money is used has any bearing on the underlying act itself. My argument basically amounts to the social contract theory; the cost of living in society and consented to by its members. You can disagree with this theory, but you cannot simply disavow my entire argument as ‘incoherent’ because you refuse to accept or acknowledge my underlying premise. One of the first things you learn in law school — do not fight the hypothetical! Work within the framework given to argue your case. Simply stepping outside the hypothetical and saying ‘I don’t believe that framework exists’ pretty much ends any debate to be had since we will just keep talking over one another.

    I’m looking forward to USW’s articles on these underlying premises though and hope I have time to weigh in to better articulate my position. Hope this clarifies some of what I’ve been arguing yesterday though.

    • Buck,

      I call your ‘premise’ mush by this reasoning:

      “Blackflag premise is that no matter what, Blackflag is never wrong”

      That is not a valid premise yet, this is an exact example lie the one you want to hold for our discussion.

      There exists a definition – but you distort it to suit your argument. That is not an argument nor a premise – that is a fallacy, Buck.

      Your premise is contradicted by yourself – you hold that this man, over here, taking what is not his is a thief – but this man over there taking what is not his is not a thief – simply because the latter is wearing a piece of tin on his chest. That is why your argument is mush, Buck, you are contradicting yourself – and changing definitions to suit your argument

      I sincerly hope to hear a real argument from a solid premise without contradicting yourself.

      I’ve never argued (or at least don’t think I did) that taxation is not theft because the money is used for good.

      Your post @ #20

      accept any help or assistance from police or fire departments
      – send your children to public schools
      – use the local library, or any other public building
      – accept unemployment or any other government benefits should you find yourself down on your luck
      – play in public parks
      – drive on any public roads (highways, interstates, city streets, etc.)
      – use public gas, water or electric lines

      My argument basically amounts to the social contract theory;

      I have asked, repeatedly, for you to explain your theory of how men can write words on a paper and claim that it to apply to another party not involved in said ‘contract’ – a third party.

      In your own occupation, you know such an event would invalidate such “contract” – yet, again you contradict yourself.

      the cost of living in society and consented to by its members. You can disagree with this theory, but you cannot simply disavow my entire argument as ‘incoherent’ because you refuse to accept or acknowledge my underlying premise.

      I do so, Buck, because you contradict yourself once again. You claim my consent – I state, factually, it does not exist. You blunder along ignoring the fact. That is why you are mush.

      Your argue rests upon consent as a required pillar. That pillar does not exist. Therefore, your argument is UNSUPPORTABLE – but to you, that matters not! Mush, I say!

      One of the first things you learn in law school — do not fight the hypothetical!

      Courts are not rational nor logical. They are political and legal.

      Hypothetical statements (they are NOT arguments) cannot prove nor disprove an argument. They can explain or highlight points of an argument.

      I can see why you are confused – you misuse your tools.

      Work within the framework given to argue your case. Simply stepping outside the hypothetical and saying ‘I don’t believe that framework exists’ pretty much ends any debate to be had since we will just keep talking over one another.

      Which is why your argument is mush. Welcome to the rational world!

      Creating artificial worlds, and arguing with contradictory statements simply won’t hold you here, my friend.

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