Philosophy

'I Don't Know What Ideological Point You're Trying to Make'

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Guerrilla interviewer Jan Helfeld, a devotee of the Socratic method, springs a trap on Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.):

Helfeld: Should the government protect peaceful citizens against people that want to use force to take their money?

Moran: Yes.

Helfeld: Can you live well if other people can gang up on you and forcibly take your money?

Moran: No.

Helfeld: Should the government redistribute its citizens' wealth by forcibly taking money from some citizens through taxes in order to provide goods and services for others?

Moran: If that's the question you're asking, the answer is yes, because the people who are making the wealth in this country are making it as a result of the investment that has been put into the education of the work force that produces their goods, the money that has been put into the roads and transit systems and rails that carry the commerce that produces much of their profit, and the money from their taxes that has gone into the military to protect their wealth.

Helfeld: Did you agree that the government should protect peaceful citizens against people who want to use force to take their money?

Moran: You've asked me that question.

Helfeld: Yes. Did you agree that the government should protect them?

Moran: Yes.

Helfeld: When the government is forcibly taking money from some citizens in order to give it to others, are they protecting—

Moran (standing, removing his microphone, and walking away): I don't know what ideological point you're trying to make, but I've got to go back…I've already spent a lot of time in this interview. Thanks very much.

Moran's explanation of the distinction between taxation and theft—that tax revenue, unlike stolen money, is used to fund services that benefit the people whose money is taken—does not quite do the trick, since he surely would condemn a mugger who took people's money but then used it to buy them a nice meal or a comfortable pair of shoes. In any case, his argument does not really address Helfeld's question, which has to do with the redistribution of wealth, meaning the mugger is taking one person's money and giving it to someone else, perhaps someone poorer and, in the mugger's view, more deserving. If anything legitimizes that sort of forcible transfer, it would be the morally purifying effect of the political process, perhaps based on some notion of democratic consent and legislative representation. Helfeld's implicit argument, of course, is that going through those motions does not change the underlying reality.

That view is a challenge not just to statists like Moran but to people who support any sort of government at all. Going back to Moran's idea that taxes are mandatory fees for the government's services, much hinges on which services are considered legitimate. In his view, they include education, roads, transportation, military defense, and (judging from his legislative record) a lot more. The average libertarian's list would be considerably shorter—perhaps limited to protecting individual rights through police, courts, and a military, on the assumption (rejected by anarcho-capitalists) that such functions cannot be accomplished through voluntary arrangements. Wherever you come down on that issue, Helfeld's apparently simpleminded questions make the important point, against which Moran naturally rebels, that government depends on force and therefore should not be used lightly.

Helfeld did a similar interview with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a few years ago. More on Moran here.

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  1. the money that has been put into the roads and transit

    ROADZ!!! What a Moran.

    1. Yes please.

    2. COWBOY POETZ!

    3. ROADZ!!! What a Moran.

      “We own the roads so we own what you produce.”

      Perhaps we should start calling the left conservatives. I mean feudalism as a political ideology should be considered conservative right?

    4. See him work his magic against Nancy Pelosi

  2. Moran is loathsome in so many ways.

    1. name one

      1. opps never mind i confused Moran with Helfeld.

        1. Helfeld is a little bit loathesome, too, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the hell out of these videos (it does stop me from spreading them).

  3. “A PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF FORCIBLE WEALTH: KILLING KING KOOPA IS JUST THE BEGINNING”

    I WAS BORN A POOR BLACK GIRL.

    BUT I BECAME A COCKASIAN DOG IN MY LAID-BACK YEARS.

    SMELLING THE SWEET SMELL OF FLOWERS HAS GOT MY DICK ALL HARD AND STICKY.

    BUT I DIGRESS.

    THE PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF FORCIBLE WEALTH IS JUSTIFIED IF ONE RECOGNIZES THAT WHAT WE ARE IS WHO WE IS.

    THAT SIMPLE FACT ALONE FREES THE MIND FOR SO MUCH POON-TANG.

    CRY ME TO SLEEP BABY JESUS.

    CRY ME TO SLEEP, AMERICA.

    1. “BUT I DIGRESS.”

      No shit.

      1. BUT I DIGRESS NEGRESS.

    2. Gavin Rossdale?

      1. His daughter Daisy is gonna be in the Sept Playboy!

    3. Re: Paleacrita,

      [The PEACEFUL transfer of FORCIBLE WEALTH (sic) is justified if one recognizes that what we are is who we is.]

      “Peaceful transfer” when referring to taxation is an oxymoron; the person making such statement IS a moron.

    4. “KILLING KING KOOPA IS JUST THE BEGINNING”

      So the Princess is in a DIFFERENT castle??

    5. Who knew Hecule had a sister?

    1. Holy crap, that is the single greatest argument against the welfare state ever made. Nah, the liberals say, welfare does not instill dependence and entitlement. Well, here is young Duane to say, it damn well does.

      1. Nice nose wiping!

        1. It’s not his fault that the republicans wouldn’t subsidize kleenex for disadvantaged youths.

          1. Bitch said she was goan take care of the nose and ass wipe.

        2. used the four fity for coke I’m thinking.

    2. To his credit, he was actually able to name the agency giving him the checks.

      Also, I still hate Judy more. WTFBITCHBBQ.

  4. A true libertarian just does not accept the proposition that just handing a monopoly to the state is the best way to go regarding defense of individual liberty, the free market and the rejection of all socialism.

    Monopoly is NEVER the best or most efficient way to handle anything. It just defies common sense and all of mankind’s history.

    Again, it was not anarcho capitalism which mass murdered half a billion people in the last 150 years.

    1. Most adults know that the state has a few legitimate, limited, objectively defined functions.

      1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        The “appeal to adulthood” fallacy; the trope of dishonest, argument-less scum everywhere.

        1. and it’s subset, the emetic “Obama is an adult” argument

        2. C’mon Epi they had a re-org……they’re not adults they’re the “Reality Based Community”! It played better in the focus group.

        3. Blah blah healthcare is a right blah blah the Constitution is just a piece of paper blah blah gay rights blah blah roads blah blah anarchists blah blah government is good blah blah you just hate anything Obama does blah blah ad infinitum.

          1. don’t forget inequality.

      2. The main function of the state throughout most of human history has been to kill, rape, and mutilate its subjects.

        1. The main function of the state throughout most of human history has been to kill, rape, and mutilate its the subjects of other states.

          ftfy.

          1. Democide has killed more than war. Your own government is more of a threat to you than other governments.

        2. (that it always turns on its own subjects is the classic example of gov’t overreach.)

      3. “”Most adults know that the state has a few legitimate, limited, objectively defined functions.””

        And taxation is one of them.

    2. That’s because anarcho-capitalism has never existed and could never exist to actually do any killing.

      1. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

        “Anarcho-capitalism” is a contradiction in terms. It’s just as silly and childish as “compassionate conservatism” and “socialism with a human face.” And it has never existed because intelligent adults know it’s a farcical concept.

        1. intelligent adults

          Well, there’s your problem.

        2. You’re under the mistaken impression that lack of a ruling hierarchy means continuous, revitalizing class warfare, in addition to the absence of the assertion of property rights by property owners (ignoring absence of consensual enforcement mechanisms).

          In other words, your Marx is showing, and it stinks. Fuck you, you power-grubbing collectivist.

  5. Painfully boring “gotcha” bullshit.

  6. GET A BRAIN, MORAN!

    1. Oh yeah.

  7. Painfully boring “gotcha” tactics do not make a persuasive argument.

    1. As opposed to your persuasive… nothing?

      1. Or your unpersuasive retort?

        1. Write something substanceless, get something substanceless in reply, Mr. Tu Quoque.

          1. In this case, the “gotcha” showed what an incredible hypocrite the politician really is.

            He managed to contradict his own answers (if he actually *meant* them) in a matter of seconds. Which isn’t unusual for a Team Player, but…

            Anyway, the way he slunked off in defeat – probably to bitch about it with the nearest Kos representative – is a wonderful display of cowardice on his part. Very tasty.

    2. I don’t know…it got the guy so pissed of that he walked out.

      perhaps these work better then i thought they would.

      When I read em on Hit and run my eyes roll back into my head…perhaps we are wrong.

      1. Perhaps. I just tend to think that most people find such tactic unpersuasive and gimmicky. If the aim is to embarrass this or that pol or talking-head, well then mission accomplished. If, on the other hand, the object is persuasion, it falls a bit short.

        1. Pols and talking heads are pretty much immune to embarrassment – which just means we need to ridicule them remorsely.

          1. ***remorselessly***

            Damn preview.

            1. It’s hard for me to tell whether this is persuasive gold or less-zany Sasha Baron Cohen.

              I think people might throw up a wall and decide that Helfeld “was just being mean!” or something.

              It’s hard to tell what actually convinces someone though. Because they will never tell you, especially on the internet.

        2. perhaps that’s because you tend to get defensive and dig in when challenged? personally I’ve had my mind changed when challenged with contradictions or questions I couldn’t answer.

    3. I would generally agree, but watching our ‘political masters’ turn red with anger is ALWAYS enjoyable.

    4. Making public the hypocrisy in which our representatives operate via Socratic dialectic is hardly “gotcha”.

    5. Is that you, Duane?

  8. I like Lysander Spooner’s comparison of taxation and theft. It’s not the same thing:

    But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: ‘Your money, or your life.’ And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat. The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful. The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a ‘protector,’ and that he takes men’s money against their will, merely to enable him to ‘protect’ those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful ‘sovereign,’ on account of the ‘protection’ he affords you. He does not keep ‘protecting’ you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

    1. As always, Spooner sees right to the heart of it.

      This is why anarchy is the correct moral position. Because the instant you allow forcible stealing (taxes), your lose any moral argument instantly.

      1. Not according to Tulpa / Rev. Blue Moon / Fiscal Meth / capitol 1 and John.

        1. Don’t forget GGRREEGGOOOOOOOOO!!!

          I’d like to remind them that they, in essence, agree with Tony. It’s just a matter of degree.

          1. Degree is a big deal. Stick your hand in a fire if you don’t believe me.

            1. I think you’re talking to the wrong crowd with this one.

      2. Fucking bingo.

        Also, as a film buff, I hope you check out the excellent troll job on the consumer protection thread. Dude reworked Quint’s entire Indianapolis speech from Jaws. I gave it an A because I love that movie.

      3. If the end of moral reasoning is anarchy (or genocide, or disease, or anything else that is fundamentally bad) then you have an apparent problem with your moral premises. Nobody really wants anarchy, so in order for it to work you’d have to force it on people. Most people don’t have moral qualms with paying taxes if they think about it for more than two seconds. It’s just a fee for a service, the only difference from other such arrangements being trivial and resulting from the fact that new people are born and don’t have the capacity to opt out for a certain number of years. It’s no less fair than a tab at a restaurant.

        1. I didn’t give you permission to enter our discussion, sockpuppet. Fuck off.

          1. I saw no discussion, I saw you making a flawed argument and others licking your ass about it.

          2. Anarchy means anyone can comment here.

            Oooh, pwned!

          3. Why engage someone who’s a self described troll.

            Tony|7.12.11 @ 1:18PM|#
            ………What I often fail to acknowledge is that often I’m merely playing devil’s advocate. I try not to have too many deeply held beliefs, if I can help it.

        2. …anarchy…is fundamentally bad…

          Says you. Thankfully you’re not god, so your subjective opinions don’t automatically become true just because you say so.

          Nobody really wants anarchy…

          Except for several people on this very website, along with many thousands of others in various groupings around the world. Blanket statement fail.

          C’mon, you’ve got better stuff than that.

          1. You’re right of course, I’d have to explain why anarchy is fundamentally bad. Even without doing so I think it goes without saying that it’s not appealing to most people, and that you can’t make a case for why people who don’t want a type of society should have to accept it.

            I think anarchy is bad because it’s inherently unstable and will most likely lead to one form of tyranny or another. That is if it’s not itself a form of tyranny (tyranny of nature).

            1. you can’t make a case for why people who don’t want a type of society should have to accept it

              Stop…please…

              1. Stop…please…

                Tony will never see the Irony of what he just wrote.

                N E V E R

            2. I’d have to explain why anarchy is fundamentally bad. Even without doing so I think it goes without saying that it’s not appealing to most people

              How about religion anarchy? being able to choose which church you go to or not go to. Do people think that is bad?

              How about sex anarchy? Being able to choose who you will and will not sleep with. Do most poeple not like that?

              how about internet anarchy? being able to post what you want and read what you want. Do most poeple hate that?

              How about food anarchy? Being able to eat or not eat what one wants to. Do you hate that?

              1. Religion anarchy, that’s a good one. I think you’re confusing anarchy with liberty. You may think they are equivalent, but I think anarchy is probably the least liberated type of society imaginable, excepting possibly a total fascist state. But see cliche bandit below, a good explanation of why there is really no such thing as anarchy.

              2. re: sex anarchy – prostitution laws
                internet anarchy – “net neutrality”
                food anarchy – restaurant regulations

                Never underestimate the nannies’ propensity to fuck with people.

              3. None of those are “anarchy”.

                Religion anarchy would mean allowing women of certain religions to be flogged for being seen with a man other than her husband.

                Sex anarchy would mean allowing rape.

                Internet anarchy would mean allowing people to hack your computer over the net with no legal consequences.

                Food anarchy would mean allowing people to piss in your food before serving it at a restaurant with no consequence.

                1. Wrong on all counts, Tulpa. All of those are examples of initiating force, for which retaliation would then be justified.

                  Anarchy does not mean that one becomes free to initiation force against others. It means that a gov’t doesn’t have a monopoly on preventing such an occurance, or retaliation were the action to occur.

                  1. Anarchy does not mean that one becomes free to initiation force against others.

                    Of course it does. It’s a fucking ANARCHY. Who’s going to stop you? If you’re strong and the people you’re using force against are weak, retaliation is irrelevant, justification is irrelevant, rights are irrelevant.

                    1. So Tulpa, just to make sure I understand your position, no force in the universe can prevent force except for government. If government doesn’t do it, it must be impossible. Thank god government makes all these shoes, because they would not be created otherwise.

                      PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS ALREADY EXIST to prevent force being used. You may have seen them walking around malls, with police-ish uniforms on. That is not to say that mall cops will become everyone’s protectors. What it does prove is that where there is a need, there is a market. Private defense organizations would be utilized by each individual, or groups of individuals, for protection. If they don’t do a good job of it, stop giving them money and get a different one. As it stands, you can’t do that, because gov’t has a monopoly of force.

                      Like others who simply seek to smear things they don’t agree with, you’re using a totally arbitrary definition of anarchy to mean “law of the jungle”, which it most emphatically is not. The only way your argument holds up is if you take the ridiculous position that private organizations only exist because of the government.

                    2. The private security forces that exist now depend utterly on the police and the criminal justice system to back them up. They don’t punish people who commit crimes — any criminal they catch in the act is detained for police — and they don’t go out and arrest people who committed crimes but have since left the place where the crime was committed. Your an-cap private security forces are going to have to take over both those roles somehow, and are going to be totally different from our current benign mall-cops.

                      The most obvious private organization that currently performs both punishment and capture functions is the Mafia, so that’s a much better analogue for what security companies would look like in an anarchy.

                      If they don’t do a good job of it, stop giving them money and get a different one.

                      Yeah, I’m sure there won’t be any “consequences” from the security company you just stopped giving money to. Maybe if the security company you switch to is stronger they can protect you. Eventually, of course, the strongest security company is going to gobble up all the customers of the weaker security companies and become something that starts with a G that you apparently don’t like very much.

                    3. This is the only thing that has kept me from being a 100% advocate of a Stateless Society. If anyone here has a stateless solution, I’m on board.

            3. “tyranny of nature”??? WTF. My god where do these people come from?

              Oh right, grad school.

            4. and if you prove “anarchy is bad” does that in your mind prove that totalitarianism is good? Because that is the game you are playing with your false dilemma. So what is your favorite kind of totalitarianism now that we’ve heard about the kinds of anarchism? The communist forced-collectivism=genocide type perhaps?

          2. several people on this very website [what, five?] along with many thousands of others [in a world of billions! Nice!] None of the Reason editors or contributors, though. Hmmm. Sometimes a crackpot is just a crackpot.

            1. There was a time when slavery was favoured by the majority too.

          3. Look, the usual troll is here to PWN us, Jim! Oh noes!

            1. Yep. Our view is not a majority one, and for some reason (drink?) it matters what the editors of this esteemed magazine think.

              I have been totally defeated in the war of ideas.

              1. PPPWWWNNNNNNNNDDDDDD!!!

                1. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

            2. What I want to know is how the hell I came out being the one defending anarchy?

        3. Re: Tony,

          If the end of moral reasoning is anarchy (or genocide, or disease, or anything else that is fundamentally bad)[…]

          Why would “Anarchy” be fundamentally bad? It just means “no government.”

          then you have an apparent problem with your moral premises.

          Or your own conclusion is wrong.

          Nobody really wants anarchy,
          Oh? You polled them all?

          so in order for it to work you’d have to force it on people.

          We’re in extreme polylogical thinking here, folks. Not having a government is “forcing” not having a government.

          Up is down.

          Most people don’t have moral qualms with paying taxes if they think about it for more than two seconds.

          The fact that people vote away politicians that raise their taxes indicates they DO have qualms. So your starting premise is already a lie.

          It’s just a fee for a service,

          Stealing from people to then pretend to give them a “service” is no exchange that deserves to be called a service.

          It’s no less fair than a tab at a restaurant.

          Restaurants do not pull out money from patrons before serving their wares.

          You have a nack for making really contradictory analogies.

          1. Why would “Anarchy” be fundamentally bad? It just means “no government.”

            Yeah and that’s traditionally understood to come with a negative value judgment. Not in these parts, where government=bad is the depth of moral reasoning, but I do acknowledge that I have to explain that one. It’s bad because more people die from luck and justice comes purely from physical strength.

            Nobody really wants anarchy,
            Oh? You polled them all?

            I’d be willing to bet substantially on the results of such a poll.

            Not having a government is “forcing” not having a government.

            I don’t see what’s contradictory here. If the only moral form of government possible is one very few people want, what makes it moral exactly? Sounds like your moral assumptions are just wrong.

            The fact that people vote away politicians that raise their taxes indicates they DO have qualms.

            What about the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans right now think that raising taxes is a correct way to reduce federal deficits?

            Restaurants do not pull out money from patrons before serving their wares.

            Neither does government. The services start immediately. Before that even–you are hauled around on government-built infrastructure and benefit from government safety rules (and armed forces, etc.) while you’re still in the womb.

            1. @Tony –
              It’s bad because more people die from luck and justice comes purely from physical strength.

              And the “justice” that you are always advocating for on this board comes purely from physical numbers – which, of course, is just reducible to that same physical strength. You’re just a phony hypocrite.

            2. Restaurants do not pull out money from patrons before serving their wares.


              Neither does government. The services start immediately. Before that even–you are hauled around on government-built infrastructure and benefit from government safety rules (and armed forces, etc.) while you’re still in the womb.

              So in essence we are all just born into slavery? Fuck off, slaver – I don’t belong to the likes of you.

            3. Yeah and that’s traditionally understood to come with a negative value judgment.

              Making a Burkean argument isn’t going to get you very far here, Tony.

              Not in these parts, where government=bad is the depth of moral reasoning,

              Misrepresentation. ‘Government=bad’, as you put it, is nothing like the depth of libertarian moral reasoning: it’s just a surface conclusion, and one among many. The fact that it’s the only one you’re capable of seeing is your failing, not ours.

              It’s bad because more people die from luck

              Yes, there are downsides – although I would argue that a free market would better provide technologies for keeping people alive, so it’s an overall win even in pragmatic terms. In terms of moral upsides, people don’t go to jail for refusing to spend their own labour how others order them to.

              and justice comes purely from physical strength.

              Justice has always come purely from physical strength – or, rather, physical strength has always been a huge block to justice. The strong get to decide how the world’s going to be – that’s what it means to be strong, whether strength is in the hands of government or the mafia or private defense organisations. We have to hope that strength is on the side of justice, and work towards that end, whatever world we end up in. The fact that strength could end up in the hands of the unjust is no excuse for supporting current unjust uses of strength – e.g. theft by government.

              I’d be willing to bet substantially on the results of such a poll.

              The majority once thought slavery was acceptable, so we know that what the majority thinks is a bad discriminator between true and false moral propositions.

              If the only moral form of government possible is one very few people want, what makes it moral exactly? Sounds like your moral assumptions are just wrong.

              But even you don’t believe that ‘what most people want’ is what morality is. How many times have I asked you: if the majority wants to makes homosexual activities illegal, would you support them (or: do they deserve to win)?

              What makes it moral exactly? Same thing I’ve always told you: the fact that it allows each individual to maximise their own utility functions without having to agree, or, to put it somewhat archaically, it allows each to pursue his own conception of eudaimonia.

              What about the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans right now think that raising taxes is a correct way to reduce federal deficits?

              Yeah, but they’re idiots.

              Neither does government. The services start immediately. Before that even–you are hauled around on government-built infrastructure and benefit from government safety rules (and armed forces, etc.) while you’re still in the womb.

              Don’t know if anyone’s ever mentioned this to you, but you may not charge for services conferred without consent. May, in fact, not. Shouldn’t. Oughtn’t to. It’s bad. Don’t do it. You know why? Because you don’t know whether the service you’re providing is worth more to the person you’re providing it to than the money you’re charging, and you don’t have the authority to make that judgement on their behalf. By all means, provide the benefit, but you must consider it a charity. You can’t collect ‘debts’ that the ‘debtor’ never agreed to.

          2. Anarchy is a paradox. “Government”, as far as “archies” is concerned, means “dudes with power”. Power isn’t going away. At best, if it’s spread out, there can be a broad consensus on when it should and should not be used, leading to a result that favors liberty. But that’s just a disorganized democracy. Punishment of those that violate the consensus will look like mob rule.

          3. Why would “Anarchy” be fundamentally bad? It just means “no government.”

            Why would “communism” be bad? It just means everyone is equal and everyone is given what they need in return for doing the work they can do.

            1. What is so wonderful about receiving only what one needs – or rather, what someone else thinks one needs – no matter how much effort one puts out?

        4. Most people don’t have moral qualms with paying taxes if they think about it for more than two seconds. It’s just a fee for a service, the only difference from other such arrangements being trivial and resulting from the fact that new people are born and don’t have the capacity to opt out for a certain number of years. It’s no less fair than a tab at a restaurant.

          How can you have dinner political expression freedom health if it doesn’t take months to get signs things government approved pharmaceuticals approved by petty municipal bureaucrats the waiters attention. Waiting periods for guns, waiting periods for political lawn signs supplements meals in a lovely casual bistro setting…its all part of making life better for the people.

        5. It’s just a fee for a service, the only difference from other such arrangements being trivial and resulting from the fact that new people are born and don’t have the capacity to opt out for a certain number of years. It’s no less fair than a tab at a restaurant.

          _____________________

          Ah but when do you go to a restaurant, have a delicious meal of lobster and steak, and then tell the waiter to hand the bill to a guy at another table? I ask because something like 45% percent of tax filers pay NOTHING for the service being provided. Then you have the folks who eat their meal, leave a few cents, and say “bill the rest to that diner over there who looks far richer than I.”

          1. Because payroll, property, and sales taxes clearly don’t exist.

        6. Nobody really wants anarchy, so in order for it to work you’d have to force it on people.

          I’ll bite. What is it, exactly, that an anarchist is trying to force people to do?

      4. anarchy is the correct moral position

        HAHAHAHAHA!

        1. PWN’D! We pull the strings and the puppets dance!

          PPWWWWNNNNNNNDDDDDD

          1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      5. It might be the morally correct position, but it’s not the one conducive to a stable, prosperous society. A society going by such a rule, unless it be peopled with angels, would transform into a ruthless dictatorship within weeks once the strongest faction realized it could coerce without consequence.

        While Moran is probably an ass of the highest order, the questioner is also completely ignoring the free rider problems that occur in practice.

        1. It might be the morally correct position, but it’s not the one conducive to a stable, prosperous society.

          So such a society (the stable, prosperous one) is probably not a morally correct one? Got it.

      6. I’ve pretty much decided I’m crypto.

    2. I like the cut of this Spooner’s jib. Does he have a newsletter I could subscribe to or something?

      1. He did but the Post Office shut it down.

        1. Hey, almost 3700 post offices are soon to close, so he’s getting some beyond the grave revenge at least.

        2. He did but the Post Office shut it down.

          +1 I lol’d

  9. It’s easy to fund minarchy without taxes. You just let the government auction off unowned property to fund itself.

    You just have to recognize that the right to property is a derivative of the right to life, and thus that dead people have no property rights. As a result, the dead have no property to give to others after their death, and so accordingly “heir”, like “king”, is a word without a legitimate referent.

    1. You just have to recognize that the right to property is a derivative of the right to life, and thus that dead people have no property rights.

      Taken literally, this would mean that all property anyone owns is taken by the State upon their death. Why the State would have the best, if not the only, claim to such property is not clear.

      However, while a man is alive, he can give his property away. He can give it away at a date future, or conditional upon the occurrence of some event. Such as, oh, I dunno, his death.

      And, indeed, this is the way wills and inheritance work (leaving aside the complication of intestacy). While I am alive, and have full authority over disposition of my property, I give it to someone upon my death. I die, and, viola, the gift vests.

      1. And voila, your property rights terminated with your life, and there’s nothing to give. Next?

        1. Bzzt. Wrong. You gave it before you died, and gift vested on your death.

          1. Go ahead and demonstrate that you are not depending on the current structure of property law, but rather a pure logical consequence of a natural right to property, and I’ll grant you have a point.

            1. OK, try this:

              While I have property, I have the natural right to dispose of property.

              I have a natural right to dispose of my property upon upon any terms that I choose.

              There is no reason why any disposition of my property should become invalid upon my death.

              Thus, I can give property, conditional upon my death, and that gift becomes effective upon my death. voila!

              1. You’re going to be rather shocked when you wake up one day and realize that natural rights are as much a convenient fiction as social contracts, if not an outright fantasy.

                1. I’m just playing the game, here, Tony. I’m agnostic on natural rights – haven’t felt the need to come to a final conclusion on their nature or content.

                2. What’s that, Mr. Orwell? “Imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever”? You don’t have to tell me twice!

                  1. Funny how right Orwell was… and how prophetic he will, eventually, be.

                    And it really won’t matter which Team is in charge when some variation of his fictional future comes along… because they’ll both have a hand in creating it.

                3. So remind me why gays have to be treated equally again? Just being nice I suppose?

                4. @Tony –
                  You’re going to be rather shocked when you wake up one day and realize that natural rights are as much a convenient fiction as social contracts, if not an outright fantasy.

                  The fact that scum like yourself don’t recognize them as being valid for anyone but yourselves doesn’t mean they are fictional. It just means that your piss poor excuse for a mind either can’t follow a logical line of thought or that it is too dishonest to do so.

        2. Taking your approach literally, all anyone ever has is a life estate in their property; that is, all property rights they have in something terminate on their death.

          Well, you can’t sell what you don’t have. So, if I sell you a house, and die the day after closing, you don’t own that house any more. How could I sell you the right to own in that house after I die, if I don’t have any rights in that house that survive my death?

          1. How’s that for applying pure logic to the notion that all property rights terminate on death?

            1. Your difficulty is that you’re still thinking of property in terms of current law, not in terms of natural rights. “Life estate” doesn’t mean anything in terms of natural rights theory, any more than “eminent domain” does.

              1. Sure it does. “Life estate” is just the legal shorthand for a particular set of property rights. Those rights are set when the property is transferred to the new life estate owner.

                Natural law allows the person who transfers property to do so in any manner, and under any terms and restrictions they choose, doesn’t it? So why wouldn’t natural law allow life estates?

                But you’re missing the point. It’s your concept of property rights that seems to be artificially limited, as apparently you believe that natural law doesn’t allow anyone to have anything except (what we describe as) a life estate.

              2. Natural law says that property is whatever stuff you can obtain and control, by whatever means. Kill previous owner and take it? It’s your property.

                For example, if I am a lion, and would like to make antelope flesh my property, I kill the antelope and take it. Then, the hyena steals part of the meat, and it becomes his property. That’s the law of nature.

              3. Your difficulty is that you’re still thinking of property in terms of current law, not in terms of natural rights””

                In the realm of natural property rights, how is it that govenment is a default owner?

                1. Yes, indeed. How is it that in the event of one’s death that the government has any more valid a claim to this now “un-owned” property than anyone else?

    2. Prior to death, sell almost everything to one whoever you want to get your stuff when you are dead, and then rent it from them for the rest of your life.

      1. If you know when you’re going to die, that works quite well. Go ahead.

        1. Actually it can work indefinitely – if you sell it for a nominal sum and rent at the same nominal sum for a thousand years, say, and have the contract specify that you forfeit the balance of your time if you die in those thousand years. Problem solved.

    3. And the government owns that property because…?

      Don’t be a retard.

      1. The government doesn’t own it. The government notes that the property is unowned, and offers to sell recognition of a new owner through an auction procedure. Since the property is unowned, the offer of the government to recognize a new owner doesn’t violate anyone’s rights.

        1. Who gets the money from the auction?

          Oh, yeah. The government.

          What was that again about the government not owning it?

          Seriously, if you were trying to come up with a more destructive way to fund the government, I don’t thing you could top this. And I include our current income tax.

          1. Someone who’s parents weren’t productive enough to provide for them doesn’t want anyone else to be provided for. Transgenerational sour-grapes.

            1. How are we supposed to tell the difference between “productive” and simply “wealthy” when you use the terms so interchangeably?

              1. Why do you care? As long as they got their property voluntarily, whether by gift/inheritance or by commercial exchange, what difference does it make to you?

                1. He cares because he subscribes to the labor theory of value. He believes that the labor of a CEO cannot possibly be worth (say) 4000 times more than the labor of a factory worker; ergo, the CEO hasn’t legitimately “earned” his pay, and it’s just to confiscate the excess and redistribute it.

                  1. He cares because he can’t conceive of anything being produced except by the sweat of someone’s ass-busting labor – preferably someone other than himself.

                  2. These people have no right to confiscate such wealth because they have no right to set the point at which earnings are legitimate.

                    Every single time you find people arguing that they have the right to do so because they use the money to ‘provide for the poor’, you find that they actually provide the confiscated wealth to their cronies.

                    It’s a financial scam, just like wall street insider trading.

                2. Oh so now you don’t care about their moral fortitude as an excuse not to tax them. I don’t care how wealth was acquired, that’s why I’m free to devise tax policy that leaves moral judgment out of it. What’s your justification for not taxing them again?

        2. …and exactly how would you deal with the incentive to kill people off to effectively eminent domain their posessions and transfer it to your favorite campaign donor?

    4. I actually agree with you that the moral basis of property transfer via inheritance is very unclear. However I do have two beefs: first, why should the govt be privileged to have first right to all unowned property, rather than letting nearby individuals take possession of it as in the case of abandoned property. And second, it wouldn’t be practical even if we had no moral concerns.

      That’s essentially a 100% estate tax, and there’s already plenty of methods for evading estate taxes. One would expect those methods would become even more intense and popular if the tax rate went up to 100%.

      1. Na, they’ll just implement a 100% “gift” tax as well…

        1. Might as well go whole hog and institute a 100 percent property tax, too. “You don’t own anything, we just let you use it for awhile – in return for a fee, of course. Why? Cuz we can, that’s why.” The old might-makes-right school of ethics thought. Lovely.

  10. Wherever you come down on that issue, Helfeld’s apparently simpleminded questions make the important point, against which Moran naturally rebels, that government depends on force and therefore should not be used lightly.

    FIFY

  11. Moran (standing, removing his microphone, and walking away): I don’t know what ideological point you’re trying to make, but I’ve got to go back…I’ve already spent a lot of time in this interview. Thanks very much.

    What a fucking wuss

    Tony could have argued the lefty point and he would not walk away from it.

    Hell I could have made a plausible left wing argument.

    1. well, let’s hear it.

      1. Taking from the rich is morally justified to feed the poor.

        Furthermore the state legitimized through a democratic process is the only entity capable of justly redistributing wealth.

        A mugger could be poor and he could need the money but he cannot be just.

        1. Social contract!

        2. Furthermore the state legitimized through a democratic process is the only entity capable of justly redistributing wealth.

          So a charity supported by voluntary donations is not capable of justly redistributing wealth?

          1. Don’t you do it!!!

            I was making up a leftist argument that i do not agree with.

            For the love of all that is holy please do not make me justify it!!!

            So a charity supported by voluntary donations is not capable of justly redistributing wealth?

            But yeah i meant forcible redistribution. Although the left i am sure has some fucked up reason why they need to regulate and tax voluntary redistribution as well….that is one argument I cannot fake.

        3. Taking from the rich is morally justified to feed the poor.

          Define moral. How is it moral? End justifies the means?

  12. That’s my member of Congress. Re-elected with 61% of the vote in 2010. Down from 67% in 2008. sigh.

    1. Don’t feel bad, people in most districts like to elect someone not too bright to represent them.

      My current Rep is the son of the long-serving previous one. So nepotism on top of stupidity.

      1. Duncan A Hunter (A for a–hole?) perchance?

        1. Hoping I get redistricted, cause the morons will surely re-elect him.

  13. That’s not really a “blow up”, Jake.

  14. “I don’t know what ideological point you’re trying to make, but I’ve got to go back…I’ve already spent a lot of time in this interview. Thanks very much.”

    I thought it was Moran who was trying to make an ideological point that went awry:

    “[Y]es, because the people who are making the wealth in this country are making it as a result of the investment that has been put into the education of the work force that produces their goods, the money that has been put into the roads and transit systems and rails that carry the commerce that produces much of their profit, and the money from their taxes that has gone into the military to protect their wealth.”

    All of the above is purely ideological. Just because all the money that was forcefully taken from people was used to educate a few, place a few miles of tarmac over otherwise pristine lands and pay a few mercenaries, does NOT justify the forceful taking of money.

    1. It’s more than roads and schools (though they are hardly trivial). The very ability to make money and have a legitimate claim to it is a function of government. You don’t get to base your entire moral worldview on “finders keepers” then lecture others about what everyday obligations are foundationally morally wrong. Force is a fact of living among other people. Your worldview depends either on people being perfect beings who won’t take advantage of their liberties, or on might makes right minus the legitimacy of democratic government.

      1. You heard it here first, folks: no one in history ever benefited from transactions (here identified as “making money”) before there were governments. Historians of the ancient world are astounded to find this out.

        1. Surely, Tony means “printing money”, rather than “earning money”.

          Right?

        2. Can we agree that we all want modern society with modern conveniences, that the types of bartering that may have worked prior to the invention of civilization is not really relevant to those living today? Because I can look back pretty far into history and fail to find a single society where government doesn’t precede organized commerce.

          1. Re: Tony,

            Because I can look back pretty far into history and fail to find a single society where government doesn’t precede organized commerce.

            Your lack of investigative abilities do not suddenly become proof of what you argue. Arguments from Ignorance are invalid.

          2. Can we all agree to stop feeding the troll?

            1. It doesn’t appear so.

              1. Re: Episiarch,

                It doesn’t appear so.

                I’m game. That self-righteous bastard pretends to care about “the poor” just to feel good about himself. I have tired of him.

                He can go to hell for all I care.

            2. Not that my opinion matters, but I think people who use the word “troll” are embarrassing idiots who take this way too seriously.

              1. Not that my opinion matters….

                Yes…..finally common ground!

            3. no, he’s poor & hungry.
              Sooo hungry.

            4. Tony|7.12.11 @ 1:18PM|#
              ….What I often fail to acknowledge is that often I’m merely playing devil’s advocate. I try not to have too many deeply held beliefs, if I can help it.

              M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
              O: Well! it CAN be!
              M: No it can’t!
              M: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
              O: No it isn’t!
              M: Yes it is! ’tisn’t just contradiction.
              O: Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!
              M: Yes but it isn’t just saying ‘no it isn’t’.
              O: Yes it is!
              M: No it isn’t!
              O: Yes it is!
              M: No it isn’t!
              O: Yes it is!
              M: No it ISN’T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.
              O: It is NOT!
              M: It is!
              O: Not at all!
              M: It is!
              M: (exasperated) Oh, this is futile!! (pause)
              O: No it isn’t!
              M: Yes it is!

              1. Excellent summation. And excellent example of why you should always ignore sockpuppets.

            5. Trolls are attention starved. They need attention, because they do not get enough attention in the real world. Therefore, it’s a matter of social justice to feed them, and keep replying to their asinine remarks. Don’t make the government come in and redistribute attention.

              1. In other words, they suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder.

                Via WKUK.

          3. Because I can look back pretty far into history and fail to find a single society where government doesn’t precede organized commerce.

            Uhm, somalia?

            1. how about organized commerce in spite of government?

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ubJp6rmUYM

      2. Re: Tony,

        The very ability to make money and have a legitimate claim to it is a function of government.

        That’s the working definition of Fascism, Tony.

        1. His inner Sunstein is poking out again.

        2. No, I believe he’s using legitimate to mean “according to law”. A claim made according to law would, presumably, require an entity that (insofar as it would be involved in making and enforcing laws) could be described as a government.

          So, yes, he’s right, in a tautological sense.

          1. circular, not tautological.

      3. The very ability to make money and have a legitimate claim to it is a function of government.

        _________________

        Uh, no. Money is a medium of exchange, that’s all, and societies used mediums of exchange before governments. Shocking. Also one’s claim to basic freedoms like creating goods and voluntary exchange may be protected and enforced by governments as a practical matter, but they are not created by them.

      4. @Tony –
        Your worldview depends either on people being perfect beings who won’t take advantage of their liberties, or on might makes right minus the legitimacy of democratic government.

        You must not be very good at simple math. A given government is not any more legitimate if one million persons claim to be one’s master than if only one does. Numbers don’t have anything to do with legitimacy – anymore than a change in the value of variables in an equation has to do with the truth of the expression. One times zero is the same product as a gazillion times zero.

        1. I should have said theorem rather than equation – as in C=pi x 2R. If that expression is true, it is true regardless of the value of either C or R

        2. So what confers legitimacy?

          1. Con-fucking-sent.

    2. the money from their taxes that has gone into the military to protect their wealth.

      The essence of “protection money”.

      1. “Pretty nice wealth ya got there – be a shame if anything happened to it.”

  15. It was an instructive lesson in why it is a waste of time to argue with a Progressive.

    1. Almost. This is an instructive lesson in why it’s IMPOSSIBLE to argue with a Progressive: they will always walk away.

    2. No ,it was an instructive lesson in why it is a waste of time to argue with a Statists. Conservatives support involuntary taxation, too.

      1. So what you’re saying is you are not open to altering your beliefs when presented with convincing arguments, because you’re just right the end.

        1. So what you’re saying is you are not open to altering your beliefs when presented with convincing arguments, because you’re just right the end.

          Maybe if you had a convincing argument?! Why are you even here at all (other than so I can laugh at your “Bulletheaded” approach to effecting “conversion of the heathen) nobody cares about your position or arguments. You aren’t changing any minds at Reason.com…..back to DailyKos…be amongst your own kind!

          1. I find it extremely boring to debate with people I agree with.

            1. Shit!

              This was supposed to be here!

              There is no debate. It seems that reason.com doesn’t agree and isn’t likely to be swayed by your….ahem….arguments. We ain’t getting through to you either! Just go so we can continue mocking your kind behind your hunched Montgomery Burns backs!
              reply to this

        2. There is no debate. It seems that reason.com doesn’t agree and isn’t likely to be swayed by your….ahem….arguments. We ain’t getting through to you either! Just go so we can continue mocking your kind behind your hunched Montgomery Burns backs!

      2. Conservatives support involuntary taxation, too.

        yeah, but for cooler stuff, like battleships.

        1. I prefer the exploding stuff myself. At least it looks cool.

      3. Actually, I’d chalk this one up to politician.

      4. Conservatives support involuntary taxation, too.

        Is there some other kind of taxation?

  16. Harry Reid’s interview is classic. He should get his own show on Comedy Central. Instead of that unbearable Colbert. Sharon Angle should have used that interview in her campaign ads last fall. Assuming she didn’t think the same thing.

  17. Gotta lub my Congresscritter, who mostly runs unopposed and wins by a cool 80-ish% every two years.

    The people in my district who keep re-electing this corrupt Tamany Hall scum are the real Morans.

    1. Sorry – per NoVA, 61%. It must be 80-ish% when he’s unoppsed.

    2. that’s what I really don’t get. Sure, it’s a D+20 or more district. fine. can’t they find a non-asshole to run?

  18. “If anything legitimizes that sort of forcible transfer, it would be the morally purifying effect of the political process, perhaps based on some notion of democratic consent and legislative representation.”

    My take on this is that there is only one truly fair means of taxation–and that is by way of a sales tax.

    Sales taxes are the only form of taxation that isn’t really theft–because all sales taxes are paid more or less voluntarily.

    I calculate the value of my purchase with the tax included–and if I don’t want to pay the tax, then I don’t have to. If I choose to pay the tax, then I can hardly call it theft.

    Sales taxes aren’t completely bereft of coercion–but they’re as close as we can get. And they’re all paid more or less voluntarily–they certainly take the volition of the taxpayer into consideration, and they could never be confused with a mugging.

    If those taxes are charged on things that spillover onto the rights of other people–like say pollution does? Then sales taxes that charge people for externalities are the most just form of taxation imaginable.

    1. The only thing required to get us from an ultra-regressive system of sales tax only to something more useful for a modern civilization is to get over the hangup over voluntariness. Granted, the social contract philosophers came at this question from the assumption that government would already exist, so, in a way, the voluntariness of a social contract society is a convenient fiction. I think this is sufficient, since I just don’t think it matters that much–what good is a total lack of coercion if it requires us to give up modern civilization? (Besides, there still is no way, that I’m aware of, to ensure a lack of coercion against you without some other coercion acting on your behalf.)

      So the only thing we need in order to have modern civilization is a definition of voluntariness that accounts for the fact that people are born into the world without the capacity to volunteer anything. You’re already a citizen–and thus agree implicitly to the terms of the society–by the time you are capable of making voluntary choices, because there is no other practical way of doing it. If you’re free to leave at any time, the arrangement is voluntary, and we’re free to set up taxes in the most functional way instead of chaining policy to an unbending and purposeless moral premise.

      1. Re: Tony,

        The only thing required to get us from an ultra-regressive system of sales tax only to something more useful for a modern civilization is to get over the hangup over voluntariness.

        “Just accept being slaves, already!”

        1. You hardly even notice the cuffs and chains after a while, ya sissies!

        2. If paying taxes is slavery, then we really need a new word for being forced to work for no wages.

          1. Can we agree that if you were taxed 100%, that would be the same as working for no wages, and thus, we be slavery?

            If so, what percentage is the cut off?

            1. would be slavery

              This site needs a preview button.

              1. it has one…

                it is the button marked “preview”

                1. “preview” is slavery.

            2. It still wouldn’t be slavery if you’re free not to work, it would just be very bad tax policy.

              Personally I have no moral problem with setting a maximum amount of wealth people are allowed to hoard. But I’ll settle for a minimum standard of living for all people, and thus am for whatever tax levels are needed to achieve that end.

              1. “hoard” is not the same as “earn”, but you know this already.

                You will reward sloth and punish productivity, and call it “fairness”?

                1. Fine, let’s triple the size of the IRS so we can have the manpower to investigate whether each person’s wealth was “earned,” since it’s so important that we base tax policy on your idea of how morally virtuous people are.

              2. Personally I have no moral problem with setting a maximum amount of wealth people are allowed to hoard.

                You probably don’t have a moral problem with setting a minimum amount of wealth that people are required to produce either. In fact, you don’t have any moral problems whatsoever, because you don’t even comprehend the concept of morality. Fuck off, slaver.

              3. “Personally I have no moral problem with setting a maximum amount of wealth people are allowed to hoard.”

                Of course not, as you have no morals.

          2. Taxation for public goods like national defense clearly is not slavery. Having to work half the year to pay for others’ medical care and retirement income, though, is getting a lot closer to the line.

            1. That’s a matter of opinion. There is no fundamental difference between national defense and national health insurance. They both have the same goals.

              1. Re: Tony,

                There is no fundamental difference between national defense and national health insurance. They both have the same goals.

                Uh, to blow things to Kingdom Come?

              2. There is no fundamental difference between national defense and national health insurance. They both have the same goals.

                Yes…smiting barefoot brown people in foreign lands…no wonder I can’t get in to see my doctor….he’s in Khandahar.

              3. There is no fundamental difference between national defense and national health insurance.

                History has proven one is necessary to secure the peace and one has not.

                I will let you figure out which is which.

                1. “There is no fundamental difference between national defense and national health insurance.”

                  The idea of national health insurance is to deter a foreign invasion?

                  Obama’s idea is to screw up our healthcare system so bad and make fixing it so daunting–that no one would ever want to invade us?

                  It all makes sense now!

                2. Why is securing peace good? Because it protects the welfare of the citizens. Like national healthcare. Same fundamental purpose.

            2. Taxation for public goods like national defense clearly is not slavery.

              You probably don’t think military conscription is involuntary servitude either.

          3. Re: Tony,

            If paying taxes is slavery, then we really need a new word for being forced to work for no wages.

            No need – it’s slavery. Even if I am forced to work for no pay 30% of my time, it is still slavery.

            1. But you’re still mostly free. 70% of the time, in fact. That’s a pretty good deal. Pray we do not alter it further.

              1. Pray we do not alter it further.

                Pray we don’t tar and feather your ass (or something worse) for trying.

          4. “If paying taxes is slavery, then we really need a new word for being forced to work for no wages.”

            But if you only paid people 5% of their due wages, what would you call that if not slavery?

            The difference between slaves and free people is that free people get to make their own choices.

            That makes you arguing against volition a pretty weird thing, Tony.

            People making choices for themselves isn’t a problem.

            Oh, and the idea that people wouldn’t fund the government if we just relied on more voluntary forms of taxation like sales taxes? That would seem to fly in the face of the real world…

            I remember when I was a kid hearing that if we didn’t have a draft, then not enough people would volunteer for military service–and that turned out to be utter bullshit. If you can’t get enough people to volunteer for military service, then you probably shouldn’t be doing whatever you’re trying to do with the military…

            Likewise, I think that model fits taxation too. If you can’t get enough people to pay taxes with more voluntary forms of taxation–then as a free society, you should probably scale down whatever it is you’re trying to do with the government.

            Free markets are way more democratic that Democracy. Forcing other people to pay for your social engineering experiments against their will is fundamentally incompatible with a free and just society. And the fact that doing so breeds a world of parasites who imagine themselves entitled to the fruit of other people’s labor? Just belies the true nature of wealth redistribution. Wealth redistribution isn’t about the welfare of the poor–it’s about inflicting your opinion on minorities by force. It’s about intolerance of people who don’t conform.

            1. The difference between slaves and free people is that free people get to make their own choices.

              It’s always gotta be all or nothing… Free people are constrained in specific ways because constraints can enhance meaningful freedom. That’s just trivially true, as anyone who believes in law and order at all believes.

              If you can’t get enough people to pay taxes with more voluntary forms of taxation–then as a free society, you should probably scale down whatever it is you’re trying to do with the government.

              Hence the need for force… free riders are a fact of life. At least in a democracy that force is the end product of a free choice: voting for it, and voting to keep it.

              Free markets are way more democratic that Democracy. Forcing other people to pay for your social engineering experiments against their will is fundamentally incompatible with a free and just society

              But isn’t that what you want me to do? Engage in your silly quasi-anarchic social experiment, likely at significant cost to me? Sometimes shifting costs away from government places an even greater cost burden on private citizens. That’s why we have things like Medicare. Without it we’d still be paying, just in a much more inefficient and inequitable way. Free markets are inherently undemocratic because people can have vastly varying amounts of votes, and markets tend to promote this disparity without strong checks. Oligarchy is not democracy.

              1. “But isn’t that what you want me to do? Engage in your silly quasi-anarchic social experiment, likely at significant cost to me?”

                But that’s just it, Tony. We libertarians aren’t about trying to seize the levers of power and inflict our opinions on everyone else by force.

                That’s what the “free minds” in “free minds and free markets” is all about!

                Just because you’re trying to force us to do your will under threat of violence–and give you our hard earned money to do it with? That doesn’t mean we’re trying to force you to do anything.

                That’s typical though. People often imagine others think the same way they do. But libertarians aren’t trying to force you to do anything–except respect other people’s right to liberty and justice.

                1. We libertarians aren’t about trying to seize the levers of power and inflict our opinions on everyone else by force.

                  Bullshit. You just want to get out of that responsibility and slap a bumper sticker on it that says freedom.

                  There is no way your society would work without significant imposition on people. Just because the costs may not come as much in the form of taxes doesn’t mean they won’t be there in some form. Your preferred society would require the disruption of many, many more lives in a much more dramatic way than anything I’m in favor of. You can’t escape this!

                  1. It’s not imposing a cost on a thief to stop him stealing – it’s preventing an unfair cost being imposed on his victims.

      2. Besides, there still is no way, that I’m aware of, to ensure a lack of coercion against you without some other coercion acting on your behalf.

        Coercion in and of it self is not bad. Children posting low prices at their lemonade stand may coerce poeple into buying from them.

        Violent coercion or fraudulent coercion is not the same thing at all.

        I think you need to look up the meaning of coercion…cuz you are not using it correctly.

        1. I agree that violent or deceptive coercion is (usually) bad. Has the IRS ever beat you with a stick?

          1. They won’t use a stick.

            1. It’s for your own good! And watching them beat you is the only way I can achieve an erection. By definition then that makes it for the good of society.

        2. “Besides, there still is no way, that I’m aware of, to ensure a lack of coercion against you without some other coercion acting on your behalf.”

          You’re conflating coercion with protecting people from coercion–and those are two different things.

          By your definition of coercion, an armed robber sticking a gun in the face of a cashier is the same thing as a police officer arresting someone for armed robbery.

          Those are not the same thing.

          Punishing a criminal for coercing others and violating their right to liberty and justice? Is not the same thing as violating someone’s right to liberty and justice.

          Everyone is obligated to protect your right to liberty and justice–right up until the moment you violate their rights. …at which point, they are no longer obligated to protect your rights. That’s why self-defense isn’t murder.

          By your definition, self-defense and murder would be the same thing–but they’re not.

          You also don’t seem to know anything about criminal intent–which basically means that criminals willingly forgo their right to liberty when they knowingly and purposely violate someone else’s right, but you need to get to point A before you try to get to point B.

          You should try to just focus on the fact that violating someone else’s rights is not the same thing as protecting someone’s rights. You can call them both “coercion”, but then you’re just playing word games.

          They’re not the same thing no matter what you call them.

      3. The only thing required to get us from an repressive, corrupt system of taxation to a consensualist system more useful for a modern civilization is to get over the hangup over progressiveness.

        1. You mean give up caring for fellow human beings?

          1. right, because it is only possible to care for others through the filter of the state.

            1. The state is well known for its superhuman levels of concern for human needs.

              1. We have to beat hell out of or kill a few cuz we care so much about them.

    2. Sales taxes are the only form of taxation that isn’t really theft–because all sales taxes are paid more or less voluntarily.

      I calculate the value of my purchase with the tax included–and if I don’t want to pay the tax, then I don’t have to. If I choose to pay the tax, then I can hardly call it theft.

      Scenario: I want to buy a toaster and am willing to pay $19.99, but not for $21.99. Someone is willing to sell me a toaster for $19.99, but not for $18.20. The sales tax for our jurisdiction is 10%.

      In the absence of my jurisdiction’s sales tax, we would make the exchange, but once we figure in the sales tax we would not make any exchange. Government action has prevented a free exchange, so this is coercion.

      Personally I think the property tax is the most justifiable tax, since you depend on the govt to certify and defend your property, followed by the estate tax, since you depend on the govt to enforce your will in your absence. So these are somewhat similar to user fees, as close as we can get at least.

      1. I’m for corporate income taxes. The corporate form is basically a state construction. If you want to make a company that’s uincorporated and assume legal liability you should, of course, be exempt from taxation.

      2. but if you are going to claim property tax as a user fee, the money would have to be used exclusively for the defense of the property and the claim.

  19. That sinking feeling you’re feeling Mr. Moran is your inner intellectual honesty telling you that you should reevaluate your position. The question is if you are man enough and honest enough to do so.

    1. your inner intellectual honesty

      I think the trial lawyers call this “assuming facts not in evidence”.

    2. That’s why they get so pissy with our kind. They like to pretend to pseudo-intellectualism so they will argue until you pin them down. Then you get to the “Fuck you, that’s why!” point.

      At least the so-cons just think we are dope-smoking homosexual muslim-felching traitors, which doesn’t even pretend to be a reasonable position.

      1. Well, they’re right about you, at least.

        1. come on, epi. SF may be a dope-smoking porn-peddling blight on society, but he’s hardly a traitor.

  20. Here’s one I’ve heard before, including here: the government uses non-lethal force (arrest, prison, etc.) to enforce the collection of revenue to protect you from the lethal force that would occur without their collection of revenue (rioting and civil attacks on the rich by the poor because the rich have too much and the poor have none).

    1. Try resisting arrest or escaping prison if you think arrest or imprisonment don’t involve lethal force.

      1. Heck, just trying walking away from one of their enforcers when he’s talking to you. That can get you killed.

    2. So the government is then not justified to protect a person from non-lethal force?

      1. Apparently, but if you go over to HuffPo and even CNN, the leftists are convinced that the poor will rise up violently and attack the rich Dawn-of-the-Dead-style if they are not placated through the redistribution wealth.

        1. Hence one of the more transactional justifications for taxation.

          At some point wealth isn’t the product of your own labor (a really outmoded definition anyway), it’s just you having more stuff than everyone else. Abstract justifications for this only go so far when people are hungry.

          1. I was speaking in theory.

            The whole hungry people will attack and kill the rich, and take their goods to feed themselves is false.

            Africa is full of such hungry people, and violent in many aspects, but not because its people are hungry.

          2. At some point wealth isn’t the product of your own labor (a really outmoded definition anyway), it’s just you having more stuff than everyone else

            No, wealth is having more stuff not having more stuff then others.

            Abstract justifications for this only go so far when people are hungry.

            And once again no one is going hungry in the US, with or without entitlements. If your justification is hunger then you actually have to have hungry people or at least people who would go hungry.

            1. Why are you so sure about your claim that no one in the US is hungry? What’s so special about the US? What if we take away all the food subsidies so that it’s no longer cheap? Do you come to your conclusion by looking out your window or something?

              1. Why are you so sure about your claim that no one in the US is hungry?

                If people were starving in the US Democrats and leftists like you would be screaming to high hell.

                “200 americans starve every day!!!!”

                Sorry Tony it is not happening.

                What if we take away all the food subsidies so that it’s no longer cheap?

                Not all food is subsidized in the US, yet all of it is cheap.

                Subsidies do not keep food cheap…they prevent imports.

            2. Besides things are pretty bad if our only standard for underprivileged is starvation. A wealthy society has to have a pretty damn good reason to deny to anyone the basic requirements of living, and living in that society.

              1. Duane (see the Judge Judy link above)feels the same way. “I’m me,” so pay for my school, rent, healthcare and other “basic requirements.” I’ll be over here doing nothing.

              2. There may be a moral argument for state redistribution of wealth if some poeple are starving.

                There is no moral argument for state redistribution of wealth if some people can only afford a Honda civic instead of a Lexus.

                1. There’s no moral argument for keeping the distribution where it is. That’s a totally arbitrary–and incidentally wealthy-favoring–choice.

                  If the poor have it so great in this country, that is in large part thanks to government programs. You can’t seriously think they’d be better off without them, as if supply of workers magically creates demand for jobs.

                  1. a supply of workers doesn’t create demand for jobs?

                    I need a fucking drink.

              3. Bring those goalposts back right now, mister.

        2. the leftists are convinced that the poor will rise up violently and attack the rich Dawn-of-the-Dead-style if they are not placated through the redistribution wealth.

          This is probably true…ie french revolution and Bolshevik revolution to just name two.

          But those revolutions were not because of wealth disparities…they were because people were starving.

          No one would starve in the US if entitlement were cut.

          1. About six million Americans’ only income is food stamps.

            Because our society is built in such a way that it’s possible to go through life ignoring poor people doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

            1. Re: Tony,

              About six million Americans’ only income is food stamps.

              If I were offered either to receive food stamps or work, guess what I would choose as well?

              Because our society is built in such a way that it’s possible to go through life ignoring poor people doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

              They DON’T exist, you self-righteous moron! Do you want to know what REAL poverty looks like?

              http://www.myseveralworlds.com…..fslums.gif

              Compare THAT to THIS:

              “The following are facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

              * Forty six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a threebedroom house with oneandahalf baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

              * Seventy six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

              * Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than twothirds have more than two rooms per person.
              The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

              * Nearly three quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.

              * Ninety seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

              * Seventy eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

              * Seventy three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.”

              YOU FUCKING GRINGO, you have NO IDEA! NO IDEA!

              1. YOU FUCKING GRINGO MARICON, you have NO IDEA! NO IDEA!

                fify

                1. Earth to Tony,

                  We also use the term ‘gay’ in Mexico to designate homosexuals. ‘Maricon’ means ‘girly’ or flamboyant in his mannerisms, and it’s a derogatory term.

                  Gringo means ‘a gringo’ – like you.

                  1. I’d ask people to kindly not spoof me being obnoxious, but I don’t think it would do any good,

              2. There are a lot of people who could get a good dose of reality if they traveled to anyplace that’s actually fucking poor. The best thing I took away from my military days was the stark experience of how people in the less savory parts of the world live.

                1. “Our poor have it good enough” is not an argument. If they do, it’s because of government programs those other places don’t have. Duh. Taking that away doesn’t mean they maintain their current standard.

              3. OM, if I could buy you a beer…

              4. more than half have a stereo

                Do people even buy stereos anymore?

                They should replace that number with PC or cellphone or iPod or all three.

                YOU FUCKING GRINGO, you have NO IDEA! NO IDEA!

                Also Old Mex you are old. Mexico is not as poor as it use to be.

            2. Hunger may be a rallying cry, but the wealthy are not responsible for its existence.

              The fact that six million cannot afford food without government assistance did not come about because of the actions of millionaires.

              1. Who cares how it came about? Why should government be in the business of adjudicating morality? That’s what you want it to do, right? Let the distribution heavily favor the top percentiles because they earned it with hard work. Where is it written tax policy has to follow this Protestant-ish morality? Why can’t we just do what makes sense to maximize well-being?

                Not that your moral assessment is worth shit… they are such virtuous human beings while lacking basic human empathy?

                1. …they are such virtuous human beings while lacking basic human empathy?

                  Odd that you seem to lack any basic human empathy for those top percentiles who earned it with hard work. Makes me wonder if you’ve ever done a day’s hard work in your life.

                2. Why do you keep bringing morality into this, Tony?

                  1. FIFY I’m trying to explain that morality–a strict, specifically Christian morality–is pretty much the basis for your tax policy ideas. You think it should reward “being productive,” do you not? But I don’t understand where it’s written that tax policy should have anything to do with people’s moral virtue. And surely you’re not advocating snooping in everyone’s life to determine if they’re actually being productive–and I don’t see you calling for 100% taxation on lottery winners. So it’s a moral excuse that’s not applied consistently. You can deny it if you like, but without the moral argument (don’t tax the producers!) I fail to see what justification there is.

                3. Not that your moral assessment is worth shit… they are such virtuous human beings while lacking basic human empathy?

                  I’m fine with charity, I just don’t think that the ideal form of implementation takes place because the sleeve of the administrator says Federal Government or the only adequate source of funding comes from a check attached to a 1040 form

            3. Because our society is built in such a way that it’s possible to go through life ignoring poor people doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

              _________________

              Indeed. We have therefore built elaborate welfare systems which shower them with attention and keep them poor.

              1. Shower them with attention. Hum. Yes, all those wealthy bankers and CEOs are turned away at the doors of Congress, no time for them, Congress is too busy addressing all the concerns of the poor.

  21. Not having the time to present this properly, forgive me a shorter response.

    I am not an An-Cap, never was. Not becuase of the silly left/right arguments but simply because we live in a universe with fundamental truths. One of these is anarchy does not exist…period. It is a construct of the human mind not of human action. Whenever two or more people are in proximity (the distance is variable of course, the only requirement being the ability to effect one another in some fashion) to each other you have government. All idealogical discussions aside, I am making a definitional argument. with more than one you have government. Period. It is the same as the definition of dimension 1, as soon as another point is added there is now referent to the other, however small. With two/more people you will have a dominant/subjugated arangement. sorry…just the way it is. NOW, alone on island in space…sure, whatever (i could even argue self governance in sucha situation) but with more than one a government exists. Since a government exists always and everywhere people are I would rather have as little of it as possible. Hence a true minarchist (stupid term) argument. And taxes are NOT required at all to fund a government.

    1. Also, taxation IS theft, i do not dispute this in any way.

    2. With two/more people you will have a dominant/subjugated arangement

      Let’s accept this (though I don’t actually agree) for now as a function of human/primate nature. You are still wrong, because remember that government is a (supposedly) legal (that is, it is accepted by most inhabitants as being legal) monopoly on force. Anarchy, in its simplest description, is a situation where no one has a legal monopoly on force.

      Your definition is completely flawed as it describes primate behavior dynamics, not legal systems. Of course even in anarchy there will people who dominate others. Of course. But they have no “legal” backing for that, unlike in a government.

      1. I would contend the government has no legal authority for a monoply on force. That still does not mean anarchy. Anarchy is defined as the absence of government. I contend there is NEVER, at any point in space-time
        , an absence of government.

        I am not going off “behavior” for my definitional argument. I am going off the precept that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time (this ebing metaphorically and literally). Therefore, one person will always (in at least one context) be governing over the other. If you have 2 or more people then some form of governance exists.

        1. I have to utterly disagree with your use of the term “government”, and repeat my contention that you are describing behavior.

          If three people wash up on a deserted island and cooperate, yet no one feels they can tell the others what to do and therefore doesn’t, how do you have a “government”? That’s absurd. Now, if they wrote up some kind of charter and all agreed to some rules that the majority could enforce (2 vs 1), then you would have a government.

          1. Because no two people will ever have the same results from such agreements and therefore one is necessarily ‘above’ the other (in negotiating, communicating, acting prior, any number of ways). This is not a bad thing, this does not violate the rights of anyone (voluntary you said), this however is what a government is. Authoritative direction or control. Just because it is voluntary doesn’t relieve it from being a government.

      2. government is a (supposedly) legal (that is, it is accepted by most inhabitants as being legal) monopoly on force. Anarchy, in its simplest description, is a situation where no one has a legal monopoly on force.

        But one might have a de facto monopoly on force even in a situation that would be “anarchy” by your definition. You’re reducing the difference between archy and anarchy to a question of semantics.

    3. Yeah, we’re talking past eachother. Some people will always dominate others, and anytime there are groups of people, they will form some structure of rules by which they interact (which you identify as “government”. I disagree, but we won’t quibble over definitions.).

      However, that is quite different than having a single entity which is imbued with a monopoly of force which people are born into.

      If you like, instead of anarchy, imagine it as voluntary panarchy. If the people of San Franciso want to voluntarily form a commune, they can do so, as long as people are free to leave whenever they want, and their commune interacts on a voluntary basis with other groupings. That’s the kind of anarchy most of us are talking about.

      1. That isnt anarchy…My point exactly. Nothign wrong with what you are saying, but the “logical end point” argument of AnCaps is a fallacious premise. Liberty, Fredom, no government haveing a monopoly of force, etc. do not require (we are talking philosophically here) anrachy…And as stated above, they by their very nature must be a form of governance.

        I am as ruggedly independant as the next guy, but using a term like anarchy to describe a governing structure is counter productive to the argument of limited/competitive governance.

        1. That hinges on accepting your definition of “government”, which I don’t think many people do. I don’t think 10 people deciding amongst themselves how they want to interact is “government” if any of them are free to bail at any time. It’s a society, but it isn’t government.

          1. I understand what you are saying, that does not change the fact that an underlying government exists…One of social norms, etiquete, communication, property realtionships, etc. Yes Society nis NOT government but both are fundamentally tied. Government as is currently espoused by most is of a more obvious nature. I agree. But if we are talking logical end points, and philospohy (as AnCaps are wont to do…nuttin wrong with that) then the definition of governance is much broader. Simply thus: authoritative direction or control (Merriam Webster). With 10 people you damn well better believe there is control…not only are you allowed to leave but they are allowed to not associate with you against your will. That is governance.

            1. We’re going to have to agree to disagree on the definition of “government”, dude. Because what you think it is is absolutely not what I think it is.

              1. I understand that. However, I think we can agree to disagree on anarchy’s definition as well. If government is “authoritative direction or control (Merriam Webster)” and anarchy is “The absence of government” then we should probably discuss social organizations using different terms.

                I vote for JIm
                ‘s butseksarchy.

              2. We’re going to have to agree to disagree on the definition of “government”, dude. Because what you think it is is absolutely not what I think it is.

                Your definition reduces government to a purely semantic concept though. If you have a group of 10 people on an island where 9 of the people obey the other one out of fear of coercion, you have a government. The fact that the guy (or less likely, gal) giving orders may not be popular doesn’t change the fact that he has primacy of force.

            2. Yes, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. If I accept your definition of gov’t, then anarchy as defined by a lack of government is impossible. If you accept my definition, then it becomes possible. The end result (a society which has no monopoly of force) is the same, but we would just use different words to describe it, so the conversation is, while interesting, ultimately pointless.

              1. If I accept your definition of gov’t, then anarchy as defined by a lack of government is impossible.

                See my first post. That is precisely my argument. True An Caps are actually arguing for a form of limited governance with competition. And (I hate to be pedantic about this but…) there is nothing that says government must have a monopoly on force. In any writings I am familiar with (I understand that it does but what I am saying is nowhere in philosophy does it state government must have a monopoly on force). Therefore we can have governments without monoplies on force.

                1. How would they survive without it?

                2. Therefore we can have governments without monoplies on force.

                  Yes, and in fact, we do. In this country at least, private citizens are authorized to use force in self defense.

                  1. Only because they have permission from the government.

      2. Then that’s the kind of anarchy we all currently live in. What distinguishes the San Francisco commune from a regular nation-state? People are free to leave, after all. Any such society would have to figure out what to do about new people being born. The democratic nation-state is simply an evolution of voluntary communes. You can’t ask an infant to decide whether to stay or go, after all.

        1. The difference is that one can leave the San Francisco commune and still remain in San Francisco, if one so chooses. One cannot opt out of the nation-state and still remain in its territory.

          1. So you want a free ride?

      3. by the way, the “governance” of which I speak need not be despotic in nature. Just cause there are 2 dudes on an island doesnt mean they wont thrive and be free…but there is no denying they are under a government.

        1. and two minor points:
          1. I said I WAS TOO BUSY DAMNIT…and her I am.
          2. Since Tony is agreeing with me I may have to kill myself.

          1. You are already dead, you just don’t know it.

    4. p.s.
      The voluntary group I would set up in North Dallas would be based on butsecks with Asian chicks. But that’s just me, and I won’t force anybody to join it.

      1. As an an-cap I fully support this idea as long as quart- and half-Asians are included. If not, I will have to found my own competing voluntary group.

        1. I’m a mongoloid. Does that count?

        2. Oh, naturally they will be allowed, Bingo. I’m not a soulless barbarian.

        3. Mine accepts all chicks, regardless of race; they just have to be hot.

          I WIN.

    5. Re: Cliche Bandit,

      One of these is anarchy does not exist…period. It is a construct of the human mind not of human action.

      You mean you ask permission to the government before you go to take a dump? Or have sex?

      Fornication Under Consent of the King, and such?

      By the way, the relationship between buyers and sellers located in different countries is very anarchic, as there’s no meta-government overseeing their transactions.

      1. I believe you missed the point of the statement. There is a government between a buyer and seller no matter where they are lcoated…I am not talking the obvious form, I refer to the definitional argument as proposed in my posts above. Authoritative direction or control. Anarchy can not exist as there will always be authoritative direction or control.

        1. Re: Cliche Bandit,

          There is a government between a buyer and seller no matter where they are [located]…

          It is YOU who missed the point: Government is NOT OMNIPRESENT. Most of your life you live without the apparent ubiquity of government, unless (I ask you again) you have to call th Dept of the Interior for permission to watch TV, or stroke your meat.

          Anarchy can not exist as there will always be authoritative direction or control.

          You’re just trying too hard to make government into a ubiquitous superthing, Cliche. You sound like Tony, and that’s no compliment.

          1. OM, I am merely using the english definition of Government. My whole point from the start was the definitions used today to define government mean that anarchy can not exist. Just because I can exercise free will does not mean that government doesn’t exist. It is a construct of MORE THAN ONE person being in interaction (within effectible range, whatever that might be). I do not need permission to watch TV unless there is someone else watching it also…hence a form of government.

            Claiming I am being Tony, who argues without intellectual honesty, is not helping the conversation. I merely wish to point out a logical fallacy within AnCap rhetoric using the definitions given for the terms used.

          2. You sound like Tony, and that’s no compliment.

            Dude. That’s like the meanest thing I’ve ever heard. You might think he’s absolutely wrong, but at least he’s arguing politely and in good faith.

    6. It is the same as the definition of dimension 1.

      Actually, two points have lebesgue measure zero, which means its hausdorff dimension is still zero.

      1. touche
        Still, it maintains more referents than a single point. I always like to refer to Van Flandern’s Meta Model. It is eloquent.

  22. Actually Jim Moran makes a really good point — we have to tax the rich because the government has created an environment where the rich benefit greatly from those taxes — and by that I mean people like Jim Moran gives our tax dollars to his wealthy friends and donors. Can we just pass an extra tax on rich people that live in the DC metro area?

  23. I guess this means that our attempts to oust Qaddafi in Libya are part of ‘protecting our wealth’…. because, what, Libya was about to bomb wall st?…

    Or all those ethanol subsidies… they benefit me. Yeah, I don’t have a car, but there’s a benefit, you see…. Silly citizen. When The Government Does It, Its Good! End of story.

  24. In the case of the mugger comparison, it seems not insignificant that the mugging victim lacks the ability to “opt out” of the mugging. The tax payer does; he can emigrate.

    1. The mugging victim should just choose to live somewhere with less muggers!

      1. or he can become a mugger himself.
        And thusly does the government grow.

  25. This dude is a supreme troll. I like these lulz even better.

    1. The thing is, he’s not even a troll, he’s just trying to show people a flaw in their beliefs. If there’s one thing that people hate, it’s being shown that they are wrong about something. Hell, Socrates was killed for it.

      1. So you’re saying that Socrates was the supremest troll?

        1. The “troll” term is really overused.

    2. PWN’D!!!

  26. Anarcho-capitalists can keep their perfect moral logic. It’s all that will keep them warm considering they don’t have any historical precedent or any more of a grip on the reality of personal incentives than pure Marxists.

    I’ll take the clumsy limited government route. That way, even If hell freezes over and we get some libertopia, we won’t have to fear any army the size of Andorra’s or warring private goon squads of rival privatized court firms.

    1. I love that the anarchist society where anyone can own any weapon is just assumed to be under constant threat of invasion.

      1. A cohesive army with an airforce and tanks isn’t going to be too afraid of a militia. Especially one that isn’t guided and organized by ultra coercive means.

        Considering most Americans will do just about anything to avoid a fist fight i don’t see how anarchists would believe people would choose risking everything and everyone they hold dear in a protracted guerilla war just so they could maintain perfect rothbardian principles.

        1. And a localized militia at that, since there is no nation any more. Or any unifying legitimizing political doctrine like the constitution. Id reckon there’d probably be a civil war or three going on already, so it should be that much easier to divide and conquer.

          1. You mean like Somalia?

            Oh wait, we’re not allowed to use Somalia as an example because there used to be a government there. We’re also not allowed to use the Mafia as an example of a non-state enforcement organization since there’s a state present in the territories it operates in.

            Basically, the only example of an anarchist society one is allowed to use is Saga Iceland. Don’t mention the proliferation of fortresses during that era or the way it ended, with Icelanders begging the King of Norway to take them over. Because, like, this time it will totally work.

        2. I’m not talking “dudes with rifles” against tanks. A free market could throw together a smart missile for a couple of grand. There’s a reason why the US only invades countries with pre-Vietnam-era military forces, and thats because all those million- and billion-dollar big scary machines mean jack shit compared to cheap-as-fuck missiles.

          1. And who gets possession of this missile? Who gets to make the decision whether to launch it? Who determines the target?

            You speak of “the free market” as if it’s an organized entity. It’s not.

            1. And who gets possession of this missile? Who gets to make the decision whether to launch it? Who determines the target?

              Um, the exact same way corporations have many stockholders, and yet there is someone who makes decisions for them (the CEO). Anyone purchasing stock or contributing to building the missle would almost certainly enter into contract which would specify the answers to your questions, just as when you buy a piece of stock, you are contractually agreeing that the CEO gets to make decisions, and you get to speak at shareholder meetings if you’re unhappy about it.

              1. So an effective autocracy with consent is a good model for business, but a much weaker form of government is a bridge too far for organizing society in general?

                You can’t seem to make the leap from these organizational procedures in the private sphere and applying it to the public one. The differences are minor: consent is implicit rather than explicit. Who cares? It’s that way because it’s the only way to do it.

            2. And who gets possession of this missile? Who gets to make the decision whether to launch it? Who determines the target?

              “Aieee!!! I keel you!”

          2. I’m sure China’s shitting themselves. And that pre-Vietnam equipment still causes mass carnage.

            The real thing that would keep libertopia from outward invasion would be the political balance of power outside the borders. It could last a few hundred years if you’re lucky.

            All you have to do is convince people who don’t even want legal weed that the only moral way to defending ourselves is by disbanding the army and buying a rocket launcher for gramma.

      2. And of course they wouldn’t be wasting weapons using them against each other, would they? Because everyone in ancapitopia is a perfect little noncoercive angel.

  27. “Property is theft.”

    “Taxation is theft.”

    Not mutually exclusive.

    What if they’re both right?

    Actually, if they’re both right, it’s about the same thing as both being wrong.

    ‘Taking’ is a part of life — not just human life but all life. You can’t wish it away. You can only organize it, channel it, manage it.

    The notion that there is some a priori natural law of property, from which follows some one singular natural distribution of wealth, from which all other distributions of wealth are a “redistribution” and thus less legitimate than the one pure original distribution …. this is pure fantasy.

    So-called “rights” without a concrete enforcement mechanism are less than vapor. But concrete enforcement mechanisms cost something. And that “cost” can include compromise, bargaining and negotiating writ large amongst the public (not just one-on-one). This is politics.

    No one has written an “argument-ending” set of aphorisms about property, taxes, and the-individual-versus-the-collective. Not Plato, not Hayek, not Rand, not even Jesus.

    This pathetic little “guerrilla interview” just illustrates how barren the search for “first principles” has become in the context of arranging the affairs of seven billion people crammed onto the more temperate zones of six land masses on a planet this size.

    1. Re: mobiustrip,

      ‘Taking’ is a part of life — not just human life but all life. You can’t wish it away. You can only organize it, channel it, manage it.

      Disease is also part of human life. Should we all accept it and die of measles?

      The notion that there is some a priori natural law of property, from which follows some one singular natural distribution of wealth, from which all other distributions of wealth are a “redistribution” and thus less legitimate than the one pure original distribution …. this is pure fantasy.

      You’re right. I will stop by with a truck and a couple of burly guys to take away your fantastic property.

      So-called “rights” without a concrete enforcement mechanism are less than vapor.

      You think so? You can try an experiment: Come to my house, try to break in. While you expire on a pool of you own blood, your insides ripped open by buckshot from my 12-gauge, maybe then you will experience an epiphany.

      Oh, and that learning experience will not cost YOU anything – it’s on the house.

      1. You’ve refuted exactly nothing.

        Robbery by two “burly guys,” on the one hand, and deadly force against a housebreaker, on the other, are concrete factors. They tell us nothing about the a priori.

        You, personally, may be able to defend what you claim as yours with a gun. But what about some half-blind old lady? What about you when you get old and frail and much less capable of self-defense? You want such vulnerable people to have their rights respected, too, correct?

        You’ve got nothing. You reacted to perfectly civil comment with tellingly vivid and brutal imagery of murder and mutilation. You have a flawed, often ugly, nature. So do I. We’re human. And there is no theoretical construct that can rescue us from our condition.

      2. You can try an experiment: Come to my house, try to break in. While you expire on a pool of you own blood, your insides ripped open by buckshot from my 12-gauge, maybe then you will experience an epiphany.

        So your argument for natural rights is might makes right? That’s nonsense.

        And when two guys with machine guns — and you can be assured that in a stateless society there would be plenty of such groups — break into your house and rip open your insides with bullets before helping themselves to your possessions, you’ll understand what rubbish your alleged natural rights were worth.

        The ancap (and libertarian in general) tendency to think you’re some sort of invincible individual because you have a fucking shotgun or a fucking pistol would be funny if it weren’t sad. Yeah, a gun is good for protection against the sorts of bad guys typically found in a society patrolled by a robust government — burglars in the night, muggers in dark alleys, etc. They’re not going to do much against the professional gangs that would arise in the absence of a state.

        1. Revisionist Tulpa history:

          The American West and the territories therein were in a constant state of violent bloodbath, in which all the settlers were constantly slaughtered because there was no strong, coercive state to prevent it. And that is why the West was never settled, and America never got past the Appalachians.

          1. LOL, now the West is the example of the wonderful stability of anarchy? How did that turn out?

            In any case you can get away with a much weaker government in a sparsely populated territory. And there were plenty of criminal gangs roving the West, btw.

            1. I didn’t say it was an example of anarchy. I was using it as an example of a society in which there was very little (sometimes no) central gov’t, and yet the entire place wasn’t overrun by vicious criminals (as per your theory).

              There are plenty of criminal gangs roving the streets of major cities now, also. So what’s your point, other than that we pay a lot more now for similiar results (regarding crime)?

              Not to mention a wealth of recent research which indicates the old west may have been no more violent, indeed possibly even less so, than many modern places in America.

              Here’s a good read on the subject. They equate the old west to an anarch-capitalist state; I wouldn’t go that far. But it doesn’t detract from the rest of the paper.
              http://mises.org/journals/jls/3_1/3_1_2.pdf

  28. Ah Fortney……congresses straight Barney Frank.

  29. The Declaration of Independence laid down the principle that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” This provided the only valid justification of a government and defined its only proper purpose: to protect man’s rights by protecting him from physical violence.

    Thus the government’s function was changed from the role of ruler to the role of servant. The government was set to protect man from criminals?and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government. The Bill of Rights was not directed against private citizens, but against the government?as an explicit declaration that individual rights supersede any public or social power.

    The result was the pattern of a civilized society which?for the brief span of some hundred and fifty years?America came close to achieving. A civilized society is one in which physical force is banned from human relationships?in which the government, acting as a policeman, may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.

    This was the essential meaning and intent of America’s political philosophy, implicit in the principle of individual rights. But it was not formulated explicitly, nor fully accepted nor consistently practiced.

    America’s inner contradiction was the altruist-collectivist ethics. Altruism is incompatible with freedom, with capitalism and with individual rights. One cannot combine the pursuit of happiness with the moral status of a sacrificial animal.

    It was the concept of individual rights that had given birth to a free society. It was with the destruction of individual rights that the destruction of freedom had to begin.

    http://www.aynrand.org/site/Pa…..man_rights

    1. Q: Why don’t you approve of the Libertarians, thousands of whom are loyal readers of your works? [FHF: “The Age of Mediocrity,” 1981]

      AR: Because Libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people: they plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose, and they denounce me in a more vicious manner than any communist publication, when that fits their purpose. They are lower than any pragmatists, and what they hold against Objectivism is morality. They’d like to have an amoral political program.

      Q: The Libertarians are providing intermediate steps toward your goals. Why don’t you support them? [Ibid., 1981]

      AR: Please don’t tell me they’re pursuing my goals. I have not asked for, nor do I accept, the help of intellectual cranks. I want philosophically educated people: those who understand ideas, care about ideas, and spread the right ideas. That’s how my philosophy will spread, just as philosophy has throughout all history: by means of people who understand and teach it to others. Further, it should be clear that I do not endorse the filthy slogan, “The end justifies the means.” That was originated by the Jesuits, and accepted enthusiastically by Communists and Nazis. The end does not justify the means; you cannot achieve anything good by evil means. Finally, the Libertarians aren’t worthy of being the means to any end, let alone the end of spreading Objectivism.

      1. Yeah, I ran across that while browsing Ayn Rand Answers a few weeks ago. I was like “WTF bro?!?”

      2. Aren’t you supposed to be blowing Nathaniel Branden…..?

        1. His dick withered and fell off after he left her for still another woman.

      3. It would be interesting to know whether she was refering to Libertarians with a capital L or libertarians with a lower case l. Cuz strictly speaking her politcal philosophy was (is) about as libertarian as it gets – whether she likes that or not.

    2. “America’s inner contradiction was the altruist-collectivist ethics.”

      Weird, I thought it was the whole “land of the free, if you don’t count all the slaves” thing. Those tensions lead to secession, secession lead to war, and war lead to a more powerful central government that ruled its constituent polities through the threat of military devastation rather than a common dream. It was all downhill from there.

      1. “America’s inner contradiction was the altruist-collectivist ethics.”

        Which of course, was at the moral heart of the idea that it was okay for members of one collective to “own” members of another collective. Racism is a primitive form of collectivism which was used to justify slavery.

      2. Though actually I don’t think she had African slavery in mind when she wrote that statement. I think she meant the predominantly Christian or altruistic ethics which were prevalent in the country and which were used as justification for subjugation of the individual’s good to the “greater good” or the good of Society. Only altruism could assert that the one is inimical to the other. Obviously such an ethics is at odds with the political ideas of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

  30. morally purifying effect of the political process

    *barf*

  31. Remember when Pete Stark threatened Helfeld?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjbPZAMked0

    Priceless.

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