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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16631/the-true-nature-of-taxation/

The True Nature of Taxation

April 26, 2011 by

All of the services now funded by taxation and provided by the government were at one point in the not-so-distant past funded and provided privately. FULL ARTICLE by Rod Rojas

{ 52 comments }

Inquisitor April 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

It’s more than theft, it is retroactive slavery.

The other thing that amuses me is when the government bitches about “costs” when it refers to taxes not extracted, and the whole “pay your fair share, citizen!” dogma.

Franklin April 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Right on.
I got one that makes me even crazier, when swirling debates of so-called tax cuts paint themselves as the news program, talking head agenda of the day:

“We can’t ‘afford’ to give out tax cuts to….”

Cripe, more absurd than Swiftian satire.

Bruce Graeme April 26, 2011 at 10:10 am

Land Value Taxation is a better method of raising public revenue. Although described as a tax, it is not really a tax at all, but a payment for benefits received. It would replace, not add to, existing taxes.

Rebuttal to Arguments Against Land Value Taxation

1. Critics say that the supply of usable land can be expanded by filling, clearing, and leveling. No, because that does not change the cubic meters of space within the boundaries of the area. The improvements are capital goods, not land. Taxing land value does not tax the improvements.

2. Critics say that the supply of land offered in the market is not fixed. Yes, the quantities offered for sale are not fixed, but the total amount of land available is fixed. The sale of land just changes the persons who have title. The total quantity is important in setting the market rent and price of land. The fixed total quantity, and the fact that land was provided by nature, makes land rent an economic surplus that can be tapped with no economic damage.

3. Critics say that there is plenty of bare land, so there is no shortage of land, and no land problem. Yes, there is much unused land, but what matters is the scarcity of land in locations people want to use.

4. Critics say that much of the value of land comes from services and improvements such as streets, parks, and security, so land-value taxation would tax the capital goods along with land. No, because if the added value comes from privately provided works, the payment would go to the providers by contract. If the public works are provided by government, then the added rental goes to the government to pay back value received and avoid a subsidy to landowners.

5. Critics say that people have much of their asset value in land, and LVT would result in great losses and also wreak financial markets as much of lending is for mortgages. Not if those with net losses are compensated with bonds. To see “How to end stinking taxes immediately” click here .

6. Critics of LVT claim that speculation is an essential part of a market economy, as entrepreneurs seek the best timing for development, and LVT results in premature redevelopment and causes too much building. No, because the tax on land value is independent of its actual use, based only on its potential in its highest and best use, and it is the lack of LVT that in some cases causes premature development expecting higher land value, and in other cases causes speculators to avoid developing, waiting for higher land values. LVT promotes the optimal timing as the opportunity cost of not developing is in money and thus has a greater impact. What is bad is not speculation as such but subsidized land value, distorting incentives.

7. Critics say that LVT redistributes wealth from landowners, but there is nothing morally wrong with an inequality in wealth and income. But when government provides public goods paid for by taxes other than on land, this pumps up rent and land value, redistributing wealth from workers to landowners. And for land value provided by nature, geoist ethics say that human equality requires an equal benefit from natural resources. Inequality in market wages respects equal self-ownership, while an unequal benefit from the natural heritage does violate our creation as moral equals.

8. Critics say that LVT is not fair to homeowners whose land goes up in value and whose wages do not rise. But LVT would provide an opportunity for companies to provide insurance against an unexpected increase in the land value tax. The insurance would have a cost at the time of purchase, so that the new titleholder would know if he could afford the payments. Also, retired folks with low incomes could postpone the payments until the property is sold or inherited.

9. Critics of LVT claim that much of wages is due to luck, connections, and talents, so a portion is wages is unearned. But as Henry George wrote, justice is the end, taxation only the means. It is just for the benefits of natural resource to be shared, and for landowners to pay back the rental generated by public goods. Self-ownership is also just, even if some have greater wealth due to luck. Nobody is coercively harmed if one person has more talent than others. If others own your luck, you become a slave to them, violating self-ownership.

10. Critics of LVT claim that rent is often earned as landlords actively seek out the best tenants and the best use of a site. But this is not rent; the return on this exertion is wages. Those seeking the best tenants and sites are in the role of entrepreneur, not landlord. Some of the rental that tenants pay is wages to the entrepreneur and to the manager.

11. Critics say that the tax burden should be shared by everyone, not concentrated on landowners, and that since tenants don’t pay taxes, they will vote for bigger government. But the rent tapped for public revenue is what is paid by tenants. The rent could be taken directly from tenants, skipping the landlord middleman. A “citizens’ dividend” or distribution of some of the rent to all residents would provide an incentive for people to avoid wasteful government spending, as that would reduce their cash dividend.

12. Critics claim that there is no precise method of separating land value from improvement value. They have not talked to professional real estate appraisers. Land value appraisal is needed for fire insurance, mortgages, the purchase of land with a building to be demolished, and other private transactions. Techniques to appraise site value include comparable sales of bare lots or lots sold for demolition, calculating the replacement costs of buildings minus depreciation, and maps of neighborhood properties.

13. Anarchist critics claim that LVT would finance government tyrants. But geoism is not just the taxation of land but equally sharing the benefits. Geoism opposes landlord tyranny.

14. Socialist critics claim that LVT leaves intact capital inequalities. But much of the historical inequality of wealth has come from land tenure. Over time, inherited wealth other than land dissipates or gets donated to charity. With good education and equal access to natural opportunities, inequalities in financial assets are not unjust so long as there is no force or fraud.

15. Critics of LVT claim that property ownership promotes civil values and stability. This has been disputed, but if true, the ownership of one’s human capital, future wages, buildings, and personal property should provide similar benefits.

http://www.progress.org/2011/fold706.htm

Sione April 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Bruce

What you are promoting is the notion that LVT is a superior means of stealing than other forms of stealing. You may as well have been promoting one form of rape as better than another. The rest of your missive isn’t worth the time lost in reading it.

Sione

Inquisitor April 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I guess Sony should also be taxed whenever another firm develops complementary products that improve the PS3′s value, based on LVT crankism.

Señor Peligro April 26, 2011 at 3:02 pm

How do you propose to determine the “value” of land without reference to a market in land?

Eric Hackenberger April 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Exactly what I was thinking. Things don’t have intrinsic value. They need someone to value them for them to have value/become “valuable.”

Daniel April 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm

The criticism I would levy against the LVT is that it is elitist, that is, it is burdensome on someone trying to come up in life and trying to live somewhere better, since the burden on him is increased.

But nice try anyway.

P.M.Lawrence April 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Curious… I don’t see any of the critics saying any of that at all. I see them saying that an LVT is a tax because it is an involuntary taking, and that it is not a payment for benefits received because (a) there are no benefits provided in return, and (b) anyway, any benefits that turn up later on, in passing, typically aren’t better than what people could have arranged for themselves if only they hadn’t had their own resources taken – because they could have arranged for that or refused to pay if good value wasn’t offered.

Whether you agree with those criticisms or not, that whole list is a troop of straw men because those weren’t the criticisms.

Shay April 27, 2011 at 6:02 am

Yep. A simple test of whether the taxation is really merely for benefits received is to find whether one is taxed for simply owning an undeveloped plot of land (where one receives no benefits, because one isn’t even present).

Ron Finch April 26, 2011 at 11:29 am

Just make taxes voluntary, outlaw public debt, repeal legal tender laws and legalize competition (freedom). So, businesses can still collect and send money to the govt, but the payer can specify any amount without penalty. I will make mine zero, but most people will pay more because, like Warren Buffett keeps telling us, he can pay more. I say go ahead! And they keep telling us that people want the stuff they provide. So people will pay for it. No problem. Let the govt compete with private business on a level, voluntary playing field.

Horst Muhlmann April 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I have come up with a similar plan. Let’s get the nonsensical objections out of the way:

If taxes were voluntary, no one would pay
Nonsense. There are dozens of millions of lefties who would be too happy to pay the full amount. They hold the monopoly on compassion. They tell us so. Lefties wouldn’t lie, would they?

Even so. If taxes were voluntary, there wouldn’t be enough money to pay for all of the services.
Nonsense. The lefties could easily outsmart everyone else to earn enough money to pay for the government they want. They hold the monopoly on intelligence. They tell us so. Lefties wouldn’t lie, would they?

The neocons wouldn’t pony up any money for their wars
True. They won’t. But now that the occupant of the White House has a D after his name, war is good again! If you disagree, you are racist.

Gil April 26, 2011 at 11:55 pm

How about:

* if taxes are voluntary then they aren’t taxes at all just voluntary payments or donations.

* If enough taxes can’t be raised it proves the government is either inefficient at providing desired services (e.g. roads) or has been providing services few to no one ever wanted (e.g. wars)

* Who nows? Neocons might pony up enough money to provide their for their own wars. They’ll just have to way more efficient.

Shay April 27, 2011 at 6:06 am

If enough taxes can’t be raised it proves the government is either inefficient at providing desired services (e.g. roads) or has been providing services few to no one ever wanted (e.g. wars)

In other words, voluntary payment would be real voting, which would reveal what people really want (none of this majority dominates crap).

Gil April 26, 2011 at 11:51 pm

In other words, free the slaves and let them seek their own employer including their former master (for some reason)?

Ron Finch April 26, 2011 at 11:31 am

and the Federal Reserve has to go, obviously.

David Bratton April 26, 2011 at 11:51 am

“1. Critics say that the supply of usable land can be expanded by filling, clearing, and leveling. No, because that does not change the cubic meters of space within the boundaries of the area. The improvements are capital goods, not land. Taxing land value does not tax the improvements.”

But it is the improvements that determine, in part, the value of the land. Cleared land with a road leading to it is worth more than remote woodland, right?

“2. Critics say that the supply of land offered in the market is not fixed. Yes, the quantities offered for sale are not fixed, but the total amount of land available is fixed. The sale of land just changes the persons who have title. The total quantity is important in setting the market rent and price of land. The fixed total quantity, and the fact that land was provided by nature, makes land rent an economic surplus that can be tapped with no economic damage.”

But the market doesn’t consist of the total amount of land that exists on Earth. It consists of willing buyers and willing sellers. That population is not fixed either in size or in makeup, and taxation can certainly distort it.

“3. Critics say that there is plenty of bare land, so there is no shortage of land, and no land problem. Yes, there is much unused land, but what matters is the scarcity of land in locations people want to use.”

This seems to be contradicting your on argument above.

“4. Critics say that much of the value of land comes from services and improvements such as streets, parks, and security, so land-value taxation would tax the capital goods along with land. No, because if the added value comes from privately provided works, the payment would go to the providers by contract. If the public works are provided by government, then the added rental goes to the government to pay back value received and avoid a subsidy to landowners.”

Let’s just ignore the glaring fallacies (e.g. public works = improvements) and assume that’s all true. What purpose would it serve to tax away the income that would have been spent making improvements, only to spend the tax revenue making improvements?

Bruce Graeme April 29, 2011 at 3:04 am

David Bratton April 26, 2011 at 11:51 am “But it is the improvements that determine, in part, the value of the land. Cleared land with a road leading to it is worth more than remote woodland, right?”

Wrong. The clearing and roads are capital goods, and the value added is a capital yield, not land rent. You are using a physical meaning rather than the economic meaning of land.

Capt. A. April 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm

First, Mr. Rojas offers a known, valid, good assessment of taxation.

Second, it’s apparent through the comments about this article, many subjects (slaves) exist, that recognize the turpitude of taxation. No quibble there. When redistribution of wealth ensues through “the vote,” using government, as the “gun” for such redistribution, it can be noted that that same turpitude steadfastly rests in the minds and heart of the confederacy that takes such redistribution. The voting booboisie accepts the day-old horse lunch offered by politicians and the controlling elite, in turn…. History accounts for the truth … and that is the truth!

I’d offer this: Once born into the “collective,” treated to the collectives’ schooling including tribal inculcation via government and religion—an individual has little chance to recover his or her individuality, to be truly free. The collective despises such individuals! However, it can be done! To the individual that comes to understand precisely and accurately what the master’s yoke, (taxation) and its enforcement (thugs with badges and guns) stands for, the individual will make a choice: stay … or disassociate from the collective. It’s as simple as that! Really!

The collective imbues through parents, religious leaders, government (politicians and bureaucrats) the most profound (and unusually successful measures) to stifle all but the most capable “thinkers willing to act” of exactly what armed theft really stands for, a mugging by thugs of the collective! No secret there.

How can you tell if an individual is sincerely capable of breaking free from the collective? Easy! The individual who will “renounce citizenship” of a given collective and seek his or her freedom and liberty elsewhere in this world, paying the cost for that freedom—becomes the exemplar. It can be done! In your wildest dreams, turning those dreams into real freedom and liberty is very rare. Reflecting on the late great thinker, Henry L. Mencken:

“The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty–and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.” — H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, Feb. 12, 1923

The great vast majority will carry the yoke and submit to the master’s lash. (Do as you are told … or else!) And that’s the way it is…

Capt. A.
Principauté de Monaco
UTC +2:00 CET
*******************
“Anyone who needs to be persuaded to be free, doesn’t deserve to be.” ~ L. Neil Smith

Jimmy S April 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Cheese with your whine anyone ?

As if you have never received a benefit from taxes.

Dustin S April 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Even a perfectly functioning tax-and-spend scenario, in which the dollars paid in taxation equal the dollars paid out in benefits, absent all forms of graft, fraud, distortion, coercion, or simple human error–in short, untainted by bureaucracy or human self-interest–even granted such an unequivocal Eden of efficient redistribution, taxation would still be theft. Your contention is as much as asking why we don’t feel sufficiently bribed by the largess paid out of the public coffers.

Eric Hackenberger April 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Well put! Can I use your comment on my blog? This is an excellently worded philosophical refutation of the idea not the practice.

Dustin S April 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm

By all means. I tend to ramble a bit trying to fit every loose thread into a one or two-line package, so I’m not usually comfortable posting my thoughts, but my comment above wasn’t as treacherous as others have been.

Jimmy S April 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Brilliant ! I ‘m sure we wouldn’t be able to find a trace of any of that in your little privatized land of hand holding, all agreeing where and how roads should be built,with smiles and pats on the butt. Like you’ve actually got a better alternative. You guys ever try and take your ideas over to reality where they have to actually work ?

Ned Netterville April 27, 2011 at 11:25 am

Pass the cheese, Jimmy. If Capt.A.’s wise words are whining, yours are those of a sniveling wuss. Go pay your “fair share” as determined and directed by your master, and save your snide comments for the thugs picking your pocket, not the brave souls who are trying to rescue you from your statist delusions.

Sione April 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Jimmy

Speak for yourself!

Sione

pooslie April 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

so, who WOULD pave roads? Not roads in private cul-de-sac/communities who take care of their roads through homeowners associations (which levy fees (“taxes”) for living there) as in the example that they give but roads like “Main Street” or interstate 79?

Who would I call if someone is breaking into my house?

I don’t see taxes as being like having my toy stolen or like slavery at all. When a small child gets their toy stolen, they receive nothing in return. Taxes are something you pay for services. Maybe some of those services are not things you, personally, receive (like funding for children’s healthcare for parents who can’t afford it on their own). Maybe they are things you don’t agree with (like National Defense). But the services are for the greater good of your society.

SLAVES were stolen form their homeland (or their ancestors were) and forced to do work they may or may not have any desire to do for NO PAY. I could quit my job tomorrow and, yes, we may lose our home and yes, I may go hungry but NO ONE is forcing me to work upon penalty of death/whippings/jail.If I don’t work, I don’t pay taxes. Therefore no one is forcing me to pay taxes, either. Hardly like slavery.

Joel April 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

“so (sic), who WOULD pave roads?”
The people who use the roads would pay for them to be paved. Just like the people who go to the theatre pay a small fee to watch a movie; or through a subscription, like I do to visit websites such as this; or by advertisement revenue, like when I watch TV. The market will sort that out. See Walter Block on private roads.

“Who would I call if someone is breaking into my house?”
Who do you call when your plumbing backs up, or your car won’t start, or you need someone to mow your lawn? Just like a market exists for plumbers, mechanics and landscapers absent government monopoly, so too would a market for police services. See Hans-Hermann Hoppe or Robert Murphy for private defense.

“Taxes are something you pay for services.”
No, just as your two examples prove, taxes are something I pay for OTHER peoples’ services, Which effectively makes me a slave to them. Also, I don’t “pay” taxes, just like I don’t commission someone to rape me, or arrange to be kidnapped. Taxes are coerced from me. I pay them in the sense that I would prefer not to be locked in a cage for not paying them. This is not a standard business transaction with two willing participants.

nate-m April 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm

so, who WOULD pave roads?

Want to have paved roads? Probably. So do most people. So you would pay for the roads you use. Property owners wishing to gain money by creating roads through their property will take the fees paid to them and put it into the roads to attract traffic.

“Road Companies” will seek out profitable routes and build roads along them. Either paying for the land they use or paying rent.

Who would I call if someone is breaking into my house?

The people you pay to be policemen. Instead of public security forces they will be private.

Think about it… Do you want your money to paying policemen to travel around terrorizing people in traffic and doing everything they can to extort money for violations in order to increase revenue for county and city schemes? Or would you rather it go to paying policemen to patrol your neighborhoods and watch your property when your away?

I don’t see taxes as being like having my toy stolen or like slavery at all.

Try not paying them sometimes. Then you witness first hand the violence inherent in the system.

But the services are for the greater good of your society.

Governments are very inefficient and corrupt. Much of the money that goes to taxes is wasted in a way that no corporation could ever get away with.

SLAVES were stolen form their homeland (or their ancestors were) and forced to do work they may or may not have any desire to do for NO PAY.

Slaves received plenty of services. They got food, housing, free health care, protection, free travel, and lifetime employment. Unless a slave holder protects his investment then he will lose money.

I could quit my job tomorrow and, yes, we may lose our home and yes, I may go hungry but NO ONE is forcing me to work upon penalty of death/whippings/jail.If I don’t work, I don’t pay taxes.

If you don’t pay your taxes the state will seize your property. Even if you own it 100% and pay no mortgage. They will take your house and auction it off for profit. They will arrest you for driving your car as you will have expired registration and tags. They will seize the money out of your bank account and seize your other assets.

They will make it near impossible for you to work… Nobody is going to hire a homeless guy who smells like crap, has no address, and has no ability to drive to work. Then if you ever get a job again they will contact your employer and garnish your wages. They will continue to inflict penalties and interest to the point were you will be paying off taxes for the rest of your life.

If you don’t pay your taxes they will ruin your career, severely cripple your future earning potential, take everything you own, take you away from everything that you love, and throw you in jail.

That, like you said, unless you abandon everything before they get a chance to take it away from you. Your logic is, essentially, if I abandon my freedom, family, and property then the government can’t take it away from it if I don’t have it. Then that is freedom.

So yes. Unlike slavery they give you the option to abandon your life.

Therefore no one is forcing me to pay taxes, either. Hardly like slavery.

They will send men to your house to harass and threaten you. They will contact your place of work and threaten them into giving them your wages. If you ignore them then they will send armed men after you to imprison you. If you resist they will assault you with clubs, electrical shocks, and chemical weapons until you give up. If you resist with force they will likely kill you.

Yes, taxes are NOTHING like slavery. (that’s sarcasm by the way)

Franklin April 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Taxes are typically (but not solely) justified on the basis of the free rider problem and utilitarianism. It ultimately comes back to those roots. Always.
The lefties of which you folks speak would indeed pay taxes, as Horst states. But they’d be screaming about those who don’t pay and who receive a direct or indirect benefit.
Denial of service is the mechanism to address the former, but then you’d hear about the poor who are deserving of the things they cannot afford.
Many lefties usually don’t see taxes as theft but rather the price for maintaining a just society. Which brings them back to the free rider dilemma. I’m just sayin’.
And to poolsie, “Who would pave roads?”
The road pavers, of course. Not just kiddin’ either.

P.M.Lawrence April 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Take a toy away from a toddler who cannot yet speak a word, and you will often be met with a very clear protest. As far as the toddler is concerned, you have stolen her toy, you have initiated violence, and therefore it’s time to cry. The toddler’s reasoning probably isn’t this sophisticated, but the understanding is there.

Slightly older children are even more amazing. They understand that there is illegitimate violence (when a toy gets stolen), but they also understand that there is such a thing as legitimate violence as well, which is when the victimized child goes to the thieving child and takes her toy back. The astonishing thing is that the usual focus is on getting the toy back rather than punishing the aggressor. Punishment is a concept that they learn later, probably from us.

Now try that with a boy. Even though retrieval is still his priority, you will probably find he chooses violence as the means of retrieval, and he wants to inflict maximum pain in passing, with little weight placed on pain received (by that, I don’t mean that he won’t think of that before he starts, but that even during and afterwards he won’t think it as important). He still won’t be thinking in terms of punishment but as some combination of retribution and zeroing out any empathy for the thief. That last may persist, so he may well not care so much about hurting the thief on other, later occasions either.

Another reassuring example for those who want answers right now regarding a future without taxation is that not so long ago slavery was normal, and in many parts of the world nobody could have conceived of life without it. When some pointed out the ethical and economic problems behind the practice, the vast majority of people claimed that, not only was it impossible to abolish slavery, but even the slaves themselves were actually better off in captivity than in liberty. Today these claims seem ludicrous to us.

We shouldn’t take that view. Anyone who takes that view, when those people weren’t stupid, should have the intellectual humility to see that he is probably missing something, that even if they were wrong they were actually going on something they misunderstood – something he hasn’t spotted.

Actually, people in those days often argued something different: that the slaves themselves were actually better off in captivity than if they hadn’t been enslaved. That isn’t the same thing, because there is a false dichotomy between captivity and liberty. There was also death. And, in prevailing African conditions, when villages were destroyed to get women and children for domestic purposes, the men usually were killed as by-catch. Until some time in the eighteenth century, when the slave trade started driving raids, the overseas slave markets really did improve things – relatively, and only because it was from a very low base.

Some were genuinely concerned about the slaves. Because they had no property, some said they would all be homeless and scattered around. Such well-meaning conservatives even feared that without their masters the slaves would be unemployed.

Well, some slaves feared that, too. Burton reports that, after Napier conquered Sind for the British Empire, the slaves there were very worried and complained loudly at the prospect of freedom. Also, there was a minor slave revolt against emancipation in the British West Indies, until the transitional measures to prepare slaves for freedom were explained. This was a well founded fear, too, as we can see from V.S.Naipaul’s description of the suffering of coolies in the British West Indies who were turned loose without a transition or their contractual bounties or passages home when the indentured labour system was ended. And long term convicts in French Guiana really feared the ends of their sentences, according to the reports of missionaries (though that is not strictly comparable, as they were also deprived of opportunities by the remaining convict labour).

What this comes down to is, gradualism with proper transitions is often better than abrupt abolition, and there are babies that can be thrown out with the bath water. This is not an issue of justification at all, but it is still a very real one.

Dustin S April 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Reminds me of a recent Nat Geo article covering the steps taken by India or sommat (reading retention ain’t my forte) to end their ancestral rickshaw profession, and the fear for unemployment among its practitioners. That, and the LMvI article re: sweat shops vs. prostitution in third world economies.

nate-m April 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm

People are better off with shitty jobs then no jobs.

nate-m April 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

We shouldn’t take that view. Anyone who takes that view, when those people weren’t stupid, should have the intellectual humility to see that he is probably missing something, that even if they were wrong they were actually going on something they misunderstood – something he hasn’t spotted.

What? That is borderline gibberish.

They were _wrong_. It’s obvious now that they were wrong. He is pointing it out because while it did not seem obviously wrong then, it was still wrong. The same thing is going on with taxation and socialism today. It’s wrong, but it’s not obviously wrong.

People who have lived under a oppressive state most their lives have difficulty understanding how life would work without the oppression. That is the point he was trying to get across.

Actually, people in those days often argued something different: that the slaves themselves were actually better off in captivity than if they hadn’t been enslaved.

Didn’t you even read what you were quoting?

this is what you quoted:
“”"the vast majority of people claimed that, not only was it impossible to abolish slavery, but even the slaves themselves were actually better off in captivity than in liberty. “”"

And your response to that is:

“”"Actually, people in those days often argued something different: that the slaves themselves were actually better off in captivity than if they hadn’t been enslaved.”"”

How is that ‘actually’?

Joy April 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

If some slaves wanted to remain slaves, then that is not forced labor.

Joy April 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm

P.M Lawrence: what is your point actually? if some slaves wanted to remain slaves, then this was no longer forced labor for their particular case. Do you mean that because a few wanted to remain slaves, the others had to suffer the same fate? You talk about gradual change, would you like someone to gradually stop raping you? or gradually stop hitting you?

Jimmy S April 26, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Lets imagine for a moment some of the roads that would be built if any one could just build a road where ever they wanted one how ever they wanted. How about this lets have the butter makers do a study on the effects of cholesterol ? nuff said.

tlpalmer April 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Yes, it would be great if roads were all in sensible places and built properly instead of what we currently have.

Also, what is wrong with butter makers doing cholesterol studies? There are enough other studies for us to pick and choose which to believe. Too many people believe the government funded studies that prove anything the government wants the studies to prove, why allow the government the government a free pass to lie?

Joy April 27, 2011 at 6:32 am

Jimmy S: if it’s your private property and you are paying for it, you will make sure that you purchase the amount of road you need and no more, at a level of quality that is desirable to you.Look at a mall as an example: a mall is a climate controlled pedestrian-only street, with abundant parking, clean bathrooms, private security, etc…When you go to a mall you do not pay a surcharge for this, it is all included in the price of the goods you buy.This would work the same way for residential or industrial areas, with their own particular needs, and with private contractors competing for customers.

Jimmy S April 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm

you guys are unfortunately so short sighted.

Tlpalmer: “sensible places” to who ? you ? a sensible road to you is not to me maybe you want it to run by a lake I don’t, one of a billion problems. also “properly” what does that mean some believe gravel is proper some prefer concrete, some just wherever they can get through the trees.
also the butter makers shouldn’t do the study (I can’t believe I have to point this out) is the same reason cigarette companies shouldn’t study the effects of smoking.

Joy: I don’t want the road at all so now it runs to my northern neighbor and stops at my property then continues on my southern neighbors property…..brilliant.

lets get past the fourth grade here folks.

Joy April 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Jimmy S: who in the right mind would pay for your hypothetical dissected road? Whereas government has been known to build MANY bridges to nowhere, private individuals NEVER do this.

Sione April 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Jimmy S

You have the intellectual code of a wee thief. You promote the notion of forcing everyone else to do what makes you comfortable. You defend the ideology of stealing their property for your convenience and pleasure, or rather, having a third party doing the thieving on your behalf (since you’d be too shit scared to do it yourself).

That may make you all feel nice and contented. Trouble is that contentment is deceptively illusory, only lasting until the moment some government branch or special interest decides to violate your body and/or your property. Then, no doubt about it, you’d squeal, rationalise, twist and turn. You’d be the first to complain about intrusion and destruction of your private property. What a hypocrit.

Let’s see about sensible places to build a road. Now how about we put it right throught the middle of your property (I charitably assume you actually own some property with a house on it, although you likely don’t). The govt decides that’s a sensible place and so you’r front yard gets bulldozed and the road (a dusty gravel one) gets laid right past your front doorstep. Too bad if you’d rather it wasn’t.

Now the reason for the road is that there is a special interest group that wants to build an open refuse pit for the community. The govt says they can do it right near by your bedroom window. This modest pit is going to be for all sorts of nasty stuff, like weird chemicals and biohazardous muck and even some low level radioactive daughter nucleides (the government has a report on how safe the disposal process is). The govt says they only need pay for the land they actually intend to use and they automatically generate a convenient valuation for the property. Too bad for your valuation of what you thought was yours (turns out, by an application of your own ideology, it never was). Anyway, you don’t get to move out of the house. You get to stay and enjoy!

Think on what it means for a party to be able to take property from owners who do not voluntarily grant assent. If that is acceptible to you, it means that you do not observe the principle of an individual’s right to his property. That, in turn, results in you being unable to expect anyone to observe your own right to private property. Now where do you suppose that leads to? Consider it next time your getting your junk touched up and squeezed by some guy with dribbly wet lips in a nice uniform at the airport.

Where is your ideology taking you?

Sione

Jimmy S April 27, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Joy:
your implication is that we each voluntarily pay for our “own ” section of road if I refuse… no section; plus maybe I don’t want you all driving on my property so no road no trespassing. your ‘s is ideological thinking .It’s nice and all but it fails at the point of function.

Sione:
“You have the intellectual code of a wee thief. You promote the notion of forcing everyone else to do what makes you comfortable”.

This is only your view you guys just think everyone is going to go along with your little road plan. My view is it’s my property and I don’t want a road, I want to grow corn, so even though it works great for all of you it doesn’t for me so the whole thing is shot. Mal-function

You need to stop thinking Ideologilcally , and think real world function.

“(I charitably assume you actually own some property with a house on it, although you likely don’t).”
… Nice argument… actually I own a home and 16 rental properties all of which I built from nothing with a lot of god damn hard work thank you.

To your entire 2nd 3rd & 4th paragraph I don’t savvy it any more than the guy next door doing the same thing because he owns THAT property,and can do as he pleases there. You are actually making my argument for me. Mal-function

“Think on what it means for a party to be able to take property from owners who do not voluntarily grant assent.” O. k. now think about what happens when not every one volunteers. Mal-Function.

“If that is acceptable to you, it means that you do not observe the principle of an individual’s right to his property.”

This is a ridiculous statement as if it’s only one or the other. under this thinking if aspirin is good so heroin is good. All drugs are good or all drugs are bad. Mal-function

It’s not black and white. all or nothing.

Getting your junk felt up at the airport is wrong in my view. there is no defense for it nor would I try to defend it.

“Where is your ideology taking you?”

I’ll tell you where: There have to be some rules and some one has to enforce them justly.

Your ideology Sione is chaos. there are some aspects that are appealing on the face, but when you apply them to the real world they fail in function.

Sione April 28, 2011 at 3:39 am

Jimmy

Oh. So you want other people to respect your property do you? For consistency this requires you to respect other people’s property, else you can’t expect them to respect yours. What this means in practice is that if someone wants to build a roadway across property that you own, they must purchase the property from you or, perhaps, lease it. Whatever arrangement they and you come to, it must be mutually voluntary in nature. Neither may coerce or force the other. Fair enough.

Now as I understand it, in the USA the mutually voluntary approach is not consistently followed or ultimately relied upon. Indeed, there are developers and agencies etc that can take the property away from you, cornfield and all, regardless of whether you agree to such a transaction or not. In such situations the principle of private property is not recognised. What is recognised is that you are subject to a power beyond your means to oppose or deny. In reality what occurs is that the developer or agency that coerces you to yeild up your property has claimed an ultimate ownership over what you considered “yours” in that they can revoke permission for you to possess the property. They ultimately have the power over “your” property, you do not. This is an uncivil and immoral approach to matters pertaining to property. That it occurs is not a justification for the practice.

Applying the real situation in the USA to you and your claimed 16 properties. You do not really “own” any of these, not in practice. They are not “your” property. In reality the government, its agencies and allied interests (such as certain developers) have the power to distribute, allocate, change status and dispose of the properties. After all, they can at any time step in and require you to vacate all or part. Whether they offer you a pay-out or not is irrelevant (and make no mistake about it, in the USA the govt can take whatever it likes for whatever cost, or lack thereof, it arbitraily calculates). All you have granted to you is a permission to occupy and use. Don’t kid yourself that you possess anything else, for in practice a permission is all you are allocated. That is the real world function you need to think about and understand. In the absence of a consistently recognised and observed property right you can’t expect to “own” anything. So it is the government’s 16 properties that you presently have permission to operate, occupy and enjoy the use of. So much for your “god damn hard work”. Ha! You have nothing and your work was for your overseer!

If this is uncomfortable for you, it should be. Anyway, as a bit of a contrast go look up the Declaration of Independence. Read the bit about individual rights. Better yet, read Prof Hans Herman Hoppe’s careful explanation of the principle of private property, how it is derived, what it is and what it isn’t, how it should be applied and the costs of not applying it consistently. A little searching through the Von Mises Institute website will soon bring up leads for the material to which I refer.

It is important to understand that principles are applied consistently within their context. Failure to do that means that they are not being applied. Instead some other ideas are being applied instead (likely in opposition to the principle/s which is/are the subject of enquiry). An old analogy is that of the plate of nutricious food and the bottle of deadly poison (say, radioactive polonium). One is good for life. The other is no good for life. Opposites. Cutting the story well short, by mixing the poison into the nutricious food one renders the food deadly poisonous. It is now no good for the sustenance of life. Compromise with the poison is impossible for the maintenance healthy life. It is the antithesis of healthy life. In similar fashion, the arbitrary or piecemeal rejections of a principle represents the destruction of that principle. Either the principle is observed or it is not observed. There is no compromise available. Either you apply the principle or you do not.

In regards to the situation where you what a project to be undertaken on some other fellow’s property and he does not grant assent; you need to recognise and observe the principle of his right to his property. He owns it. It is his. That means he is the one who ultimately should control that property. If he says no to your pet project, then that is his right being expressed. You have no right to coerce him or force him to comply with your wishes and dreams. You have no right to his property. None. Nada. Nil. Nothing of it is yours. It’s his. It remains his. Do not be a-tresspassing or a-thieving his property.

What should happen in such a case is that when the fellow does not grant his assent, you go away and leave him alone to the quiet enjoyment of his property. That’s what happens between civilised people in such instances. The project does not go ahead- not in its original form anyway. So, go find an alternative approach to the project or do without it.

What malfunction there is here only occurs should you take away the non-assenting fellow’s property right while simultaneouslty expecting others to continue to respect your right to property. Why should they do as you say but not as you do? After all, you are clearly not recognising the property right yourself.

As previously suggested, think on this when a nice official has his hand deep in your trousers grouping about your personal junk. Think on it when he smiles as he gives you a bit of a squeeze. After all, that’s his project and since you don’t recognise other people to have a right to their property, you can hardly expect him to respect you as having a right to property, not even to your junk. Perhaps you might like to cough for him. Smile for the camera when he’s finished with you.

Jimmy, the only alternative available is that either there is an individual right to property or there is not. There is no third way. There is no way out. The moment you accept the notion that it is OK to ignore a man’s property right is the moment you deny the principle of property rights. From that point you are enslaving the man to live according to arbitrary permissions. From that point you have allowed the same treatment to be applied to you.

You write, “This is a ridiculous statement as if it’s only one or the other. under this thinking if aspirin is good so heroin is good. All drugs are good or all drugs are bad. Mal-function. It’s not black and white. all or nothing.”

What you need to understand is that a principle is not its antithesis. You can’t act according to both at the same time. Once you choose, you necessarily abandon the opposite of that you selected. Examples:-

The act of forcibly raping a someone is not an expression of love or of respect.

War is not peace.

Violence is not non-violence.

Death is not life.

Theft is not ownership.

Existence is not non-existence.

Non-recognition of a principle is not recognition of that principle.

As far your expedition into drugs is concerned, are you on some or what? There is no rational connection between your illogical silliness (if asprin is good so heroin is good etc) and understanding the difference between the recognition of principle vs. the non-recognition of the same principle.

Now, you did write, “Getting your junk felt up at the airport is wrong in my view. there is no defense for it nor would I try to defend it.”

I agree that behaviour is wrong. Trouble is, by failing to recognise the principle at stake here (the individual right to property) you have indeed defended this legalised molestation. It is the non-recognition of an individual’s right to his property that allows the systemised groping to take place. Your assent to the negation of other people’s property when it suits your purposes & convenience etc allows for the same negation to apply to you and to your rights (including your ownership of your own body). By failing to defend the principle you fail to defend principle. Once you refuse to recognise the principle you can’t expect that any other person should recognise it. That would be a self-contradiction, a hypocracy.

I asked you where your ideology was taking you. You answered thus, “I’ll tell you where: There have to be some rules and some one has to enforce them justly.” That isn’t an answer. It’s a bromide. Nevertheless, here are a few questions for you to ponder.

Whose rules?

What premise and principles are those rules derived from?

Who decides?

Who is the enforcer? Who is the someone?

Whose enforcer? Whose someone?

By whom is your enforcer authorised?

By what right is the authorisation granted?

By what standard is the enforcement established as just or unjust?

Whose standard?

What principles are relied upon?

How does this correspond with individual right of property?

This is non-trivial enquiry and will take a fair effort of thought and analysis, assuming you intend to deal with it seriously and avoid repeating conventional thoughtless bromides. Now, I could say for you to go read Locke. I could ask you to study the Declaration of Independence and the Articles and the Constitution to see how the framers of those documents grappled, or attempted to, with those issues and related matters during the early days of the USA. That would be very time consuming and it would take a long time to grasp the significance of the question I presented to you. “Where is your ideology taking you?” An easier approach would be to get hold of Prof Hoppe’s derivation and explanation of property and the associated rights. After that you’ll be in an excellent position to address the question. Try it and see.

Final point. To apply principle in the real world you must first understand how it was derived from the real world. Absent this knowledge you are lost in a wilderness of random arbitraries.

Sione

Joy April 28, 2011 at 7:36 am

Jimmy: when there is a new development does everyone build their own little bit of road? when people build a mall, does every store owner build his own little path? Jimmy, you are assuming many things without looking at the history of private road building. If you are out in the country you may have to build your own little road, otherwise things work out very differently.

Ed Waggoner Sr. April 27, 2011 at 4:08 am

“you have stolen her toy” Clearly Canada has good sensitivity classes that you have attended.

Ned Netterville April 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

“The problem with socialism (public roads included) is that the socialists eventually run out of OPM” (sounds like opium, is equally addicting, stands for other people’s money.) [Quoting M.T.] People like Jimmy S and pooslie love spending OPM. It’s cheaper, easier (no work required), addicting, and they can say they are really only concerned for the welfare of the downtrodden, which is a lie.

Thanks be to folks like Capt.A. and Irwin Schiff, the U.S. “public” infrastructure of roads, bridges, and many of the other physical plants paid for with taxes are not being adequately maintained because the IRS thieves assigned to steal the necessary taxes can’t squeeze enough blood from the stones. There are just too many unemployed stones and brave refusniks gumming up the tax-collection works, particularly during the recession. This is good, not bad, because hopefully the Democrat and Republican slugs who are so hopelessly addicted to OPM will see that their addiction is killing themselves and the goose whose eggs they’ve been sucking, submit themselves to a 12-step treatment program, turn back from the pit of socialist insolvency, and finally embrace freedom. As distasteful as it may sound now, when they get used to freedom they’ll learn to love it.

Jimmy S April 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm

“People like Jimmy S and pooslie love spending OPM. It’s cheaper, easier (no work required), addicting, and they can say they are really only concerned for the welfare of the downtrodden, which is a lie.”

Try sticking to the discussion brain child.

Building functional roads and conducting independent studies are hardly for the “downtrodden”

You regurgitate the crap you’ve been fed quite well though. No thinking required.

Ned Netterville May 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Jimmy, my words were a little too harsh. I apologize. In my defense, I want to assert that everything the government does is done with taxes, which means by force. I happen to believe that the initiation of force in the conduct of human affairs always and everywhere and for any reason has deleterious direct or remote effects that more than outweigh the apparent, and they are only apparent, benefits.

Sione April 28, 2011 at 3:49 am

Jimmy S

Try to stay civil, else go away.

Re undertaking “independent” studies?

“Independent” of whom exactly?

According to whom?

Who pays?

Where do they get their funds?

Whose funds?

Who undertakes the studies?

Who appoints those guys?

Who pays them?

Who sets the terms of reference?

For what purpose is this all to be accomplished?

Who decides?

Why?

Who benefits?

Sione

Jimmy S April 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

Sione:paragraph 2-3 these are all true,but they are no less true in your version. which eventually de-volves from everyone singing kumbaya and holding hands to might makes right. Eventually wealth,or mafioso begin pushing, coercing, forcing, so it’s just a matter of who’s doing the nasty.
In the end reality dictates you pay your share to “own” either way.
“If this is uncomfortable for you, it should be.” It is relatively comfortable yes,at least preferable to the alternative, However if the mafia makes you uncomfortable (and they will emerge) come by to stick they’re hand in your pocket for they’re “cut” (read tax)and a lil’ grope,
and maybe a little rape on the side I doubt you’ll be discussing a new road.regarding principles : you listThe act of forcibly raping a someone is not an expression of love or of respect.War is not peace.Violence is not non-violence.Death is not life.Theft is not ownership.Existence is not non-existence.Non-recognition of a principle is not recognition of that principle.Though some of these are not black and white I ‘ll leave that alone.The grey principle of tax is that while you may view it as a theft most view it as voluntary. On the whole being more good than evil.I suppose you could always move to that place on the globe that doesn’t have government, taxes,mafia a ruling wealth…where is that again ?Regarding ideology: You listWhose rules?What premise and principles are those rules derived from?Who decides?Who is the enforcer? Who is the someone?Whose enforcer? Whose someone?By whom is your enforcer authorised?By what right is the authorisation granted?By what standard is the enforcement established as just or unjust?Whose standard?What principles are relied upon?How does this correspond with individual right of property?To the first ten you have a choice, some form government, or accept rule of the wealth/mafioso class.To number 11. How it relates is you will never actually “own” any property. You WILL pay your cut one way or another.Your utopia you think you can conjure up disappears as soon as the humans show up.”Final point. To apply principle in the real world you must first understand how it was derived from the real world.”Yes please would you do this as well. Not in some utopian sense where people hold hands and sing Kumbaya but to the one we actually live in.Regarding civility: It’s a two way street.“Independent” of whom exactly?Those with monetary attachments to the outcome.According to whom?variableWho pays?weWhere do they get their funds?usWhose funds?oursWho undertakes the studies?those most qualifiedWho appoints those guys?I don’t think they are appointed I believe they are hired based on qualifications.Who pays them?we do.Who sets the terms of reference?Not sure what you are asking here.For what purpose is this all to be accomplished?knowledge it self.Who decides?currently the we the people either passively/intentionally/or against but over ruled.Why?Knowledge “its whats for dinner”Who benefits?depends on the study generally all of society whether they are aware of it or not.

Ned Netterville May 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Jimmy, you concoct a world of conjecture, supposition and hypotheticals. What will we do if the bogeyman comes? I think we make our own reality by how we treat our neighbors.

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