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  1. #21
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonAthos View Post
    I think before we can legitimately answer the question of "is taxation theft," we'd have to try to suss out matters such as property rights, and whether all such "rights" come from governmental fiat, or whether some exist "naturally."
    Indeed and you argue the case very well, however you are missing a key point...

    Who owns the earth, the land itself? do you own it by being the first to occupy it? What if you claim it but do not use it? What if you are born and all the land is already owned? What natural rights to property do you have now? Is it fair that one generation can pass its ownership to the next when that next generation has done nothing to actually earn or use the land? Is that fair to those parts of the next generation who are thus disenfranchised to the possibility of owning it?

    The native Americans had a notion of theft but in generally they though the notion of owning the land or its resources to be absurd. I think they have a point there.

    And what do you do when a society has built up an infrastructure like ours? Highways, electrical grids, sewer etc... all put there by a community effort? Do you just get that stuff for free because you were born? Are you entitled to all that the generations have done before to create this great society because you were lucky enough to be born here and have no responsibility to help ensure its continued success?

    Life isn't fair, its practical. Nations exist to ensure property rights from other people or groups that might claim them through force of arms. They have a monopoly of force because if they didn't someone else might have enough to break the rules set for said property. In return you have to support the institution that supports your rights. If you want to cast off said right then you have to leave. If you want to dispute it then you have to fight.

    There is a practical benefit to working together, greater security and power. But it comes with the cost of compromise and responsibility.

    The earth and all its resources are not entitlements of anyone. We simply, as a society decide how things get alloted. We have different notions of how that should work out. In the end, might makes right. Be glad we live in a nation that decided that right means for the most part you have autonomy over property.

  2. #22
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    However, one issue I take with your stance is the last sentence there. I am an American citizen by virtue of my birth, however I don't remember "joining" my society nor "agreeing" to its rules. Further, I'd argue that this is true of most people--we may be a part of our specific societies based on agreements that our forefathers have made, but only a segment of us ever enter into a specific, explict contract with our society.
    I can understand this idea, and I can even agree with this idea. I am a firm individualist and believe that people, for the most part, should be able to do whatever they want.

    You make a good point, you never really "agree" to it in writing, or even verbally, but could you agree that by your presence you are "agreeing" to a contract?

    For example. You build a bar 15 years before I am born. You have established rules in your bar: no fighting, stealing, perhaps non smoking; what rules you have are not important. Let us say my father frequents this bar, and when I become of age (I already am...) I too come to this bar. Now I may have never agreed to the rules when it was built, but I am now apart of this establishment when I walk in. Am I not obligated to follow the rules you have laid down?

    You are certainly intelligent enough to realize how our American society works. You have been a part of it for some time now. Your agreement comes up with your very presence. The fact that this society exists, and that you are born into it and live and prosper in it, implies that you are accepting the norms that society has laid out.

    I am doing my best not to compare this to American society... because it is a higher philosophical question, so I apologize if we get taken off track and used America as the base.

    It could be ANY society. Whether or not you were around at the conception of the society to agree to it is not very relevant. Staying IN the society however is relevant. The society has established norms and customs, staying in that society implies that you are agreeing to the terms set out. This implication is your agreement.

    Hopefully that makes sense, and if you take issue with it we can both be on the same page.

    Further, if we find taxation to be theft in the sense of violating natural property rights (if we agree that such natural property rights exist), I'm not sure that I agree that a person can surrender those by contract. As I do not believe that a person can legitimately sell himself into slavery, surrendering what I believe to be his own natural rights to liberty, I don't know that a person can legitimately surrender his right to property, as such.[/QUOTE]


    Does such a response justify anything that a "society" may do? If we're living in a place where slavery is allowed, and supported by government, would that invalidate any complaints that such slavery is immoral or unjust or a violation of natural rights? Would we say to people who would so complain: "well, just move or create your own society if you don't like it!" ?
    As we know, historically speaking, societies HAVE had "rebels" (in the sense that they differ from the established norms, good or bad they differ) who have changed that society.

    There is nothing saying that a society cannot change. But these rebels must be aware that when they are attempting to change this society they are in fact NOT PART of the society. They have detached themselves to make changes. In order to change your society you must in a sense detach from it. If you disapprove of something you detach from it and change it.

    It is perfectly acceptable to change societies... if we don't ask the "big questions" like "who decides what is right or wrong?"

    Sorry to cut short, I will come back and answer the rest because you took a good deal of time to answer mine.

    But I gotta go pick up dinner. I will get to the rest tomorrow.
    Witty puns...

  3. #23
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    @Sigfried

    Oh man! You raise a lot of big and thorny issues! I dunno that I can do justice to any of them, let alone all of them in one reply. But let me answer as best and honestly as I can...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Who owns the earth, the land itself? do you own it by being the first to occupy it? What if you claim it but do not use it? What if you are born and all the land is already owned? What natural rights to property do you have now? Is it fair that one generation can pass its ownership to the next when that next generation has done nothing to actually earn or use the land? Is that fair to those parts of the next generation who are thus disenfranchised to the possibility of owning it?
    I'm not sure I have any good answers for these questions. It seems to me that some of them are dealing with specific issues of property law, and that legislatures and courts have argued over for many, many years (such as: if a person builds a house on a parcel of land, how far can his claim extend? If he doesn't live there for X years, at what point can someone else make a claim? And scores of other interesting issues...)

    But I guess my initial question is: are we agreed that a natural right to property exists in some way? I mean, I think that these are questions we may have to deal with once we concede that property rights, as such, exist. Then if we were governing a society, or if we were justices on a bench, we would have to take care to define the parameters, and to deal with special cases that aren't readily understandable. But our interest in these questions would depend on an initial recognition that, at heart, there is something real about the concept of property.

    To put what I'm trying to say another way, is chartreuse more green or more yellow? I don't know. But I feel like I'm trying to say that "green" and "yellow" exist, and are separate colors, and you're asking "well, what about chartreuse?" I don't believe that the existence of chartreuse takes away from the primary claim, that green and yellow exist as separate colors, and I don't believe that (admittedly thorny) questions about specific applications of property law take away from my primary contention, which is: there exists a natural right of property.

    Or maybe you don't agree with me on that. Suppose I built a house as I indicated in my earlier post (and though I admitted that I was "sweeping over" a lot of fine points, perhaps you think some of them germane? Let's say that this is on land newly discovered, unclaimed by anyone else... let me know if there are any other vital questions that need to be answered as regards this hypothetical): do you disagree that the house would be, in some real sense, "mine"?

    Because if you don't think it would be "my house"--again, in a real way--then I think you can answer in all cases that "no, taxation would not be theft"; but then again, except for appealing to a legal definition, I'm not sure that you could then define anything as theft. And moreover, I'm not sure why you would support creating a legal definition for theft, or making it illegal in the first place. If the house that I build is not truly mine, then why should anyone care who possesses it? What moral authority or impetus would I have for retaking it from my squatter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    The native Americans had a notion of theft but in generally they though the notion of owning the land or its resources to be absurd. I think they have a point there.
    Heh. I'm barely qualified to discuss my own society, vast as it is; I'm certainly ignorant to the views of Native Americans (and, as I understand it, there were hundreds of tribes with varying cultures and political structures, and presumably that would extend to their practices of law as well).

    That said, I would like to point out that, when Europeans moved to North America and made their in-roads into the continent, at some point the Native Americans felt compelled to fight in a variety of ways to keep things that, presumably, they regarded as their own.

    To go too far into that specific subject might take us afield from the thread, and I can already imagine counter-arguments to what I've just now said (perhaps contact with the Europeans altered their sense of property rights?), but if I imagine myself as a pre-contact visitor in a given Native American society... and I imagine myself taking from them, without any regard to a natural sense of "property"; I'd like this man's food, so I eat it... I'd like this man's wigwam, so I'll sleep there... I'd like to ride this man's horse, so I do... (Edited to add: duh... there were no horses in pre-contact North America! )

    Well, I think at some point they would stop me from doing these things.

    Anyways, like I say, I'm not really educated as to Native American views on property, but if you think it relevant to further discussion you can certainly develop it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    And what do you do when a society has built up an infrastructure like ours? Highways, electrical grids, sewer etc... all put there by a community effort? Do you just get that stuff for free because you were born? Are you entitled to all that the generations have done before to create this great society because you were lucky enough to be born here and have no responsibility to help ensure its continued success?
    I don't know that there's an easy answer to the "infrastructure" question. (I suspect there's not. ) But I will say that I don't believe that the existence of infrastructure gives a blanket right for "society" to charge me whatever it sees fit for the blessings it believes it has conferred on me.

    In my initial post in this thread, I stopped myself short of answering the question of the OP; I did not say "yes, taxation is theft." I might yet say that in a future post. However, I do first want to concentrate on other issues that I think are necessary to sort out before answering that question. Specifically, can the government or society commit theft at all? I say: yes it can, provided that we agree that there is a natural right to property.

    If you'll bear with me, I'd like for us to see if we can come to an agreement on these more general issues of natural rights, property and theft, and then if you'd like we can come back to some more specific questions as to roads and such. I don't consider these questions unimportant--and actually, I think they deserve a great deal of discussion and attention--but if I try to argue them now, when we haven't even hammered out some of the more foundational issues, I fear that the argument won't proceed in a helpful manner, as we'll be drawn into arguing a myriad of specifics rather than getting to the heart.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Life isn't fair, its practical. Nations exist to ensure property rights from other people or groups that might claim them through force of arms. They have a monopoly of force because if they didn't someone else might have enough to break the rules set for said property. In return you have to support the institution that supports your rights. If you want to cast off said right then you have to leave. If you want to dispute it then you have to fight.

    There is a practical benefit to working together, greater security and power. But it comes with the cost of compromise and responsibility.

    The earth and all its resources are not entitlements of anyone. We simply, as a society decide how things get alloted. We have different notions of how that should work out. In the end, might makes right. Be glad we live in a nation that decided that right means for the most part you have autonomy over property.
    Life isn't fair, but I believe that we can be. Or, at least, I believe that we ought to try to be.

    Also, I would never argue that there isn't a "practical benefit to working together." However, certain applications of government are certainly destructive to human goals and desires, and certain governments in history have provided more defecits than benefits. I think that what we're trying to determine, here, is if a specific mechanism of government--taxation--amounts to a violation of natural rights. I don't believe that question has yet been answered in this thread, or at least not to my satisfaction.

    What I don't think is up for argument in this thread--even if we did find that taxation is theft--is that such would make all government evil, or unnecessary, or that even governments that do practice taxation can't also provide some good... or even that it wouldn't be worthwhile to live under a government that steals from you.

    Regarding "might makes right," I disagree, though I do think this gets to the heart of our discussion. I believe that "might makes right" stands in opposition to my view of "natural rights." Further, as to the idea that we live in "a nation that decided that right means for the most part you have autonomy over property," I believe that this stems from the fact that, according to my understanding, the founding fathers of the American project did not themselves believe that "might makes right"; they believed, rather, in these "natural rights" that I'd like to discuss, and they tried to institute a government that would recognize that, and protect them. (Even though, as I'm sure we both recognize, their execution left something to be desired in many respects.)

    Finally, if I were to try to summarize my overlong reply, I would do so thusly: do we agree that there is some kind of a natural right to property? Or are there no such things as natural rights, and it is only "might makes right"? If there is a natural right to property, does it follow that a given government or society could, in some way, violate it, so that it would make sense to describe that governmental action as theft? Because I think so. If you disagree, I'd like to know why.

    (And if you have disagreed in some of these points I've glossed over in my reply, please accept my apology and, if possible, try to help me to understand.)
    Last edited by DonAthos; January 27th, 2010 at 11:37 PM.
    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these things with you!

    If you'd like to know "where I'm coming from" you can look here.

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  5. #24
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Also, can a person always do that? Move or create a new society? You say that the impracticality of it doesn't matter, but is that really so? Suppose we're talking about East Germany subsequent to the construction of the Berlin Wall? Could you say to a person complaining about the immorality of governmental action that they can just move away, when the government has set its power against such a thing?
    Tired after ice skating, so if I do not write so "educated" like forgive me. I think this is where I left off.

    You raise a great point, as an individual you are usually powerless against the state.

    Does it matter? I suppose it would... to people who cared (not saying I do not care). It all depends on the "morality" of the government. Are some governments impossible to change? No, nothing is impossible, but I can see your point here, and can concede to that.

    But I still feel that in MOST cases my argument would stand, but I will concede that they ARE factual cases that do not fit.
    Finally, I know that you've dismissed the argument that "there might be no place to go," but how far can we take it? Suppose the globe were united under one government? Could we then say to someone who doesn't like the government's policies to "just move"? With respect to taxation, if every country on earth taxes, isn't that comparable to having a single global government with a tax policy?
    Move, perhaps, was not the best word. Change is possible though, no matter how difficult it may be. There have been plenty of rebellions that have changed governments (for better or worse).

    Like I said, I can concede that my "policy" cannot apply to every situation. I made the presumption that the society in question was a relatively free and open society, and that there were other societies of equal freedom.

    Suppose our global government were to claim jurisdiction into space and beyond? Suppose there literally were "no place to move to" to escape what is considered "unjust government"? Would that make a difference?
    It would make a huge difference, but theoretically one can still change the government.

    As I said earlier, I can concede that there are places where my "policy" is not going to work. In a free and open society one is free to move, or attempt to make changes.

    I think we got a little off track... but hey, who cares. Is it theft? I don't know, I do not think so. I have agreed to live by the terms and conditions of this society by continuing to live in this society.

    Here is another question. Should a society change because one person believes it is immoral? Or better yet, who decides what is "moral"? Does society decide, or does an individual?
    Witty puns...

  6. #25
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    You make a good point, you never really "agree" to it in writing, or even verbally, but could you agree that by your presence you are "agreeing" to a contract?
    Well, I think that things might get a little fuzzy if we equate the fact that I've never moved away from the country of my birth to a contract that I've entered into explicitly, and of my own choosing.

    But for the purpose of this thread, I'll stipulate a limited agreement: living in a country is an implied consent to abide by the laws of that country to a point.

    However, I'm sure that we can agree that obedience to a law does not mean believing that the law in question is just, and if you and I agree to pay taxes per the laws of our country, that does not mean that taxation is not theft.

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    Move, perhaps, was not the best word. Change is possible though, no matter how difficult it may be. There have been plenty of rebellions that have changed governments (for better or worse).

    [...]

    As I said earlier, I can concede that there are places where my "policy" is not going to work. In a free and open society one is free to move, or attempt to make changes.
    Now this I like a lot better!

    Rather than telling someone who disagrees with taxation to "move," perhaps we should first entertain the question "is taxation theft," and then, if we judge it to be theft, perhaps our strategy ought to be to change something about our society.

    I understand that you do not believe that taxation is theft, and that's cool. Maybe some of the other discussion in this thread will serve to shine some more light on the subject? In another post, I raise the question of whether or not there is a "natural right to property," and maybe you'll be interested in weighing in on the subject... or not, but I do hope that, if we wind up ultimately disagreeing on taxation, you won't feel that my views mean I ought to leave the country!

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    Here is another question. Should a society change because one person believes it is immoral? Or better yet, who decides what is "moral"? Does society decide, or does an individual?
    A proper discussion of these heavy, heavy questions demands its own thread. (Or several threads, really.) But since you've asked, here's my short answer: "society" is an abstraction; what really exists is individuals (e.g. you and me). Society, therefore, cannot "decide" anything, as society has no mind. You decide what is moral. And so do I. And in a democracy, you and I have the duty of running our society's political sphere, and likely we do it in concordance with our individual views of morality.

    Thus, the question is not "should a society change because one person believes it is immoral," but will it? And the answer is: likely not. But if one person believes that it is immoral, and that one person convinces enough other people that his views are correct then eventually, yes, society will change.
    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these things with you!

    If you'd like to know "where I'm coming from" you can look here.

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  8. #26
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by SwanSong View Post
    A common idealist libertarian Randite argument is that taxes should not imposed on others since it is morally wrong. Because it causes direct coercion. That philosophy fails to ignore the fact that direct coercion is a good thing if it can prevent an indirect coercion which is worse.

    what?! i fail to even begin to fathom what you mean by indirect coercion being somehow preferable to direct coercion. unless you are saying that somehow being shot directly in the head will prevent one from being hit in the head by ricochet. if i got that wrong, please explain.

    The government has the responsibility to defend people against coercion and other vital functions. In order to do this a tax is needed. People are not going to pay voluntarily for these services.

    plausibility in place of truth? simply, if the u.s. had stuck to it's constitutional guns regardinng the printing (coining) and distribution of currency, we would not be in the deep dookie that we find ourselves in today. spending money into existence by the u.s. government (aka we the people) is far preferable to lending it into existence with no creation of capital by which pay the interest on the loans. (fed reserve system).
    this may sound a bit loony at first glance, so if you were to enter the three words: bill stills oz into your internet search box, you would easily find a film that expains it (and a lot more) quite nicely.
    but essentially, neither tax, nor voluntary donation is needed to run a constitutional republic.



    I will tell you what theft is. Theft is receiving services from the government such as protection from foreign and domestic aggression, and then not paying for it. If you don't want to pay taxes in your country, move elsewhere.
    just suppose (not hard if you are really paying attention to current events) that the domestic aggressor in your scenario is none other than the federal government. you really gonna pay for that? well, i'm not and i am not going anywhere.

    but i do slightly digress. no, taxation is not theft per se. it is extortion. and it is a form of slavery.
    Last edited by puma237; November 15th, 2012 at 12:04 PM. Reason: typo and not sure how to separate quotes from my replies.

  9. #27
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Taxation is a necessary part of government, and without government there is anarchy, and with anarchy comes imminent death. I see taxes as the Government doing us a favor in the long run because settling economic and political issues requires money. As long as tax dollars are allocated to a desirable cause, I'm fine with them.

  10. #28
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aroth79 View Post
    Taxation is a necessary part of government, and without government there is anarchy, and with anarchy comes imminent death. I see taxes as the Government doing us a favor in the long run because settling economic and political issues requires money. As long as tax dollars are allocated to a desirable cause, I'm fine with them.
    no, taxation is not a necessary part of anything. taxes will not help the deficit or the debt, unless you can somehow pry about a hundred grand out of each and every man, woman and child in the nation. and that would just get the ball rolling. just to keep up with the 40 bilion a month the fed is doling out to banksers and major corporations would tax us to the poorhouse, not to mention the 45 billion a month going to our military.

    the only way it will ever be fixed is if we make the criminals who stole it pay it back (on their way to gitmo).

    taxation is theft, taxation is slavery.

    but it's good to hear that you are fine with taxes as long as they are "allocated to a desirable cause" ............huh!

    well thanks for teeing it up there pard, but i think i will just leave that one alone onaccounta....too easy

  11. #29
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuijias View Post
    Since taxes fit the definition, I think I can accurately call taxes theft.
    Taxation could only be considered "theft" if the one being taxed has never and will never use the services being provided which are funded by those taxes. It is more precisely a form of coercive transaction, for the most part, since a service is being provided, although there is no competition to encourage the quality of that service, as occurs in the free market. In cases where tax dollars are clearly wasted (such as absurd and wasteful government "studies"), then it might be considered theft.

    Yes, taxes are too high, and the federal government has greatly overstepped its bounds in our day. But there are also local and state taxes. I doubt you are opposed to having maintained roads, a police force, a military, etc.

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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    A majority of people consent to taxes. People vote for tax increases all the time. And I think most people would recognize that taxes are essential to the maintenance of government, and without a government you have anarchy.

    It's silly to call taxes theft. To do so completely butchers the intent behind both words.
    ~Zealous

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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZealousDemon View Post
    A majority of people consent to taxes. People vote for tax increases all the time. And I think most people would recognize that taxes are essential to the maintenance of government, and without a government you have anarchy.

    It's silly to call taxes theft. To do so completely butchers the intent behind both words.
    Although taxes cannot usually be considered theft, there are certain cases where they could qualify as such. Like I said, the tax would have to a) be taken without the person's consent and b) be spent with no benefit to that person.

    In most cases, people a) do consent to some taxation because b) it benefits them. But, that is not always the case. By definition, even if a person complains about a given tax, if one does indeed benefit from it, or utilize a service provided by it (even without one's direct awareness, such as protective police/military operations), then one has "consented" to that tax.

    The problem is that the government does not provide any invoices or statements for the services they fund with our tax dollars, because they do not want to be held accountable for the large amount which they do wastefully spend.

  14. #32
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZealousDemon View Post
    A majority of people consent to taxes. People vote for tax increases all the time. And I think most people would recognize that taxes are essential to the maintenance of government, and without a government you have anarchy.

    It's silly to call taxes theft. To do so completely butchers the intent behind both words.
    whenever taxes are voted in by the people, it does indeed require a simple majority to "consent". more often than not, however, bills of taxation are voted down. other than that, null point.

    what most people recognize is what they are told to recognize. our mainstream medea, religions and what passes for education sees to that. but that is democracy in a nutshell. churchill was so correct when he said that democracy is the worst form of government ever devised by man. it's an old greek trick that the grecian gov came up with to quell a very unhappy populace by telling them that they had prevailed and now owned the government. bread and circuses lured masses to gather in large stadiums. after the masses were fed and entertained, out would come the orators who were quite skilled in furnishing majority opinions for them. now we have the mainstream media and a really screwed up education system that is way more thorough.

    if taxes were essential to government operation, this country would have turned to dust long ago. taxes do not (at least on the federal level) finance the operation of government. they only serve to pay part of the interest on the rapidly rising debt that our voracious fedgov accrues by borrowing from the federal reserve (multinational mob of banksters) who, lends the government money that does not exist in return for collateral which is you and me. the debt has gone to the point where it cannot be paid back simply because, when all is considered, the debt is more than all of the assets on the planet.

    ok, this anarchy thing. talk about yer typical propaganda campaign working like a charm. the constitutional republic of the united state of america was founded upon nothing other than anarchy.
    there is a serious reason why the first three words of the consititution are written five times larger that the rest of the copy. noone has ever come up with a more concise definition for anarchy than lincoln in the gettysburg address. "a nation of the people, by the people, for the people". anarchy means no king, anarchy does not mean chaos. chaos means chaos.

    taxation is theft by extortion. america was not designed to be a democracy. it was designed to be a constitutional republic with a constitution (social contract) expressly designed to protect the rights of the individual from the will of the masses. because our founding fathers knew from experience that the masses were not all that intelligent. unfortunately the social contract required the people to be vigilant. we dropped the balll on that one and now we are just being looted back to the stone age. by theft.

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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by puma237 View Post
    churchill was so correct when he said that democracy is the worst form of government ever devised by man.
    Not quite.

    "Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill

    [emphasis mine]
    Speech in the House of Commons (1947-11-11)
    The Official Report, House of Commons (5th Series), 11 November 1947, vol. 444, cc. 206–07.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill

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  17. #34
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    ok, you caught me being a little too hasty in my sourcing. thanks for the heads up.

    so, beyond that, what's the price of tea in china now?

  18. #35
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonAthos View Post
    I'm not sure I have any good answers for these questions. It seems to me that some of them are dealing with specific issues of property law, and that legislatures and courts have argued over for many, many years (such as: if a person builds a house on a parcel of land, how far can his claim extend? If he doesn't live there for X years, at what point can someone else make a claim? And scores of other interesting issues...)

    But I guess my initial question is: are we agreed that a natural right to property exists in some way? I mean, I think that these are questions we may have to deal with once we concede that property rights, as such, exist. Then if we were governing a society, or if we were justices on a bench, we would have to take care to define the parameters, and to deal with special cases that aren't readily understandable. But our interest in these questions would depend on an initial recognition that, at heart, there is something real about the concept of property.

    To put what I'm trying to say another way, is chartreuse more green or more yellow? I don't know. But I feel like I'm trying to say that "green" and "yellow" exist, and are separate colors, and you're asking "well, what about chartreuse?" I don't believe that the existence of chartreuse takes away from the primary claim, that green and yellow exist as separate colors, and I don't believe that (admittedly thorny) questions about specific applications of property law take away from my primary contention, which is: there exists a natural right of property.


    "Natural right of property" would be a sub-set of the totality of natural rights, correct?

    May I request your definition and/or source for your use of the term "natural rights"? That goes directly to the heart of the matter and I'm absolutely sure in context that you and I perceive the subject differently. I'm hoping we can come to an agreement of terms.



    Quote Originally Posted by DonAthos View Post
    In my initial post in this thread, I stopped myself short of answering the question of the OP; I did not say "yes, taxation is theft." I might yet say that in a future post. However, I do first want to concentrate on other issues that I think are necessary to sort out before answering that question. Specifically, can the government or society commit theft at all? I say: yes it can, provided that we agree that there is a natural right to property.


    I agree with what you've written earlier, in that "theft" is a concept unto itself without any legal support to make it so. Perhaps the existence of the legal support tends to make a more "primitive" concept of theft superfluous, but I understand what you're saying in that regard and agree.

    I further agree that the government is capable of theft. I further, further agree that determining that something is theft does not necessarily determine the moral value of the alleged theft. Finally, I agree that the original question, whether or not taxation is theft, has not been answered to a satisfactory degree.

    That said, I disagree that the ability of the government to commit theft necessarily implies a natural right to property.

    But I will await your definition of "natural rights" before I go further.

  19. #36
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    mordecai,

    for the purposes of either debate or just straight up q&a, your question "is taxation theft" is concise and direct. if i was to wander off on a side road and nit pick the question, i would submit that the word crying out for definition was "taxation" instead of theft. only because the answers i have given to this point are regarding u.s. federal income tax. but, i don't think that the word requires further definition than the context (yes you can build sufficient context with three words, and you have) implies. i agree with you that the question does not rely on a definition of natural rights for a cogent answer. the question is subjective, so all answers will be opinion.

    but, for the sake of argument. the natural rights question is one that the supreme court has been choking on pretty much since it's inception. way too many ways to slice it. you could simply and honestly say that defining natural rights requires a definition of natural. and then, welcome to the minefield.
    or, you could say that if someone of "authority" walks up to a podium and says: "the right to privacy is a natural right" something very strange happens at that exact moment. the natural right as just become a granted one. what a natural right is, and can only be is what you personally think it is. you and only you can determine what your natural rights are because if someone else defines them for you, they are no longer "natural" rights. the balance to that, of course, is that you are responsible for the consequences.
    i fear the fate of all mankind is in the hands of fools.....
    -king crimson-

  20. #37
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by puma237 View Post
    mordecai,

    for the purposes of either debate or just straight up q&a, your question "is taxation theft" is concise and direct. if i was to wander off on a side road and nit pick the question, i would submit that the word crying out for definition was "taxation" instead of theft. only because the answers i have given to this point are regarding u.s. federal income tax. but, i don't think that the word requires further definition than the context (yes you can build sufficient context with three words, and you have) implies. i agree with you that the question does not rely on a definition of natural rights for a cogent answer. the question is subjective, so all answers will be opinion.

    but, for the sake of argument. the natural rights question is one that the supreme court has been choking on pretty much since it's inception. way too many ways to slice it. you could simply and honestly say that defining natural rights requires a definition of natural. and then, welcome to the minefield.
    or, you could say that if someone of "authority" walks up to a podium and says: "the right to privacy is a natural right" something very strange happens at that exact moment. the natural right as just become a granted one. what a natural right is, and can only be is what you personally think it is. you and only you can determine what your natural rights are because if someone else defines them for you, they are no longer "natural" rights. the balance to that, of course, is that you are responsible for the consequences.


    'Just curious about Don's answer.

    I am not personally of the opinion that taxation is theft and I intend to go into that, but I'd like to settle the bit about Natural Rights before I go further.

  21. #38
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mordecai View Post
    'Just curious about Don's answer.

    I am not personally of the opinion that taxation is theft and I intend to go into that, but I'd like to settle the bit about Natural Rights before I go further.
    if you are curious about don's answer (he rocked it by the way) then why did you highlight my post?

    and if you would "like to settle the bit about natural rights" before you go furthur,, then why did you not respond to what i said about them in post #36? (the post you highlighted)

    if you want to settle it, then get to it. or are you waiting for an argument that you may be more comfortable addressing?
    i fear the fate of all mankind is in the hands of fools.....
    -king crimson-

  22. #39
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by puma237 View Post
    if you are curious about don's answer (he rocked it by the way) then why did you highlight my post?


    Because I was given the impression by your post that you did not see the relevance of natural rights to answer the question.

    I'm inclined to disagree and it appears to me that Don is given to the same impression.

    You'll probably recall that I originally responded to Don, whereupon you responded to me. I didn't see anything I wanted to disagree about in your post except the bit about "i agree with you that the question does not rely on a definition of natural rights for a cogent answer. the question is subjective, so all answers will be opinion."

    I said that the concept of natural rights "goes directly to the heart of the matter," which is a far cry from your interpretation that "[I said] the question does not rely on a definition of natural rights for a cogent answer."

    In other words, I responded to you as I did because I thought my original response sounded better than implying that you're illiterate. I was attempting to be polite.

    You've kinda forced my hand.



    Quote Originally Posted by puma237 View Post
    and if you would "like to settle the bit about natural rights" before you go furthur,, then why did you not respond to what i said about them in post #36? (the post you highlighted)


    I mean, I guess we could, but I don't see the point.

    You see the subject of natural rights as entirely subjective. I disagree completely. Had you read my original remarks correctly, you might have thought to ask what my definition of natural rights was or proffered one of your own. Instead, you simply declared the subject of natural rights irrelevant to the subject and too subjective to discern even if they were anything but entirely irrelevant.

    And that about wraps that up, don't you think? There's nothing to debate with you. You didn't support any of the assertions you made in the post to which I responded and you didn't interpret what I wrote even close to correctly. So, I didn't bother treating what you wrote like a cogent reply. Put simply, it wasn't.

    Again, I was attempting to be polite.



    Quote Originally Posted by puma237 View Post
    if you want to settle it, then get to it. or are you waiting for an argument that you may be more comfortable addressing?


    *laugh* Yeah, you're real scary.

    Honestly, I do want to settle it, but I'd like to settle it with someone who is more bite than bark.

    Now, would you like to try that again without the bravado? We could have a serious conversation, you know.

  23. #40
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    Re: Is taxation theft?

    [QUOTE=Mordecai;508229]Because I was given the impression by your post that you did not see the relevance of natural rights to answer the question.

    that would be my stand on the matter, yes.

    I'm inclined to disagree and it appears to me that Don is given to the same impression.

    You'll probably recall that I originally responded to Don, whereupon you responded to me. I didn't see anything I wanted to disagree about in your post except the bit about "i agree with you that the question does not rely on a definition of natural rights for a cogent answer. the question is subjective, so all answers will be opinion."

    wow, i do recall this. you responded to don and i responded to you. this is how an open forum works, is it not?
    I said that the concept of natural rights "goes directly to the heart of the matter," which is a far cry from your interpretation that "[I said] the question does not rely on a definition of natural rights for a cogent answer. here i must apologize. i had kind of a busy day yesterday and did indeed mistake you for the creator of this thread, us old farts tend to get in too big a hurry sometimes. my bad. still, the fact remains we disagree, so, let's make an attempt to find out why.
    In other words, I responded to you as I did because I thought my original response sounded better than implying that you're illiterate. I was attempting to be polite.
    thank you so much for your consideration in not wanting to expose me as an illiterate, i am grateful. just my opinion, but; maybe work on the attempting to be polite thing a little?
    You've kinda forced my hand.
    if you say so.

    I mean, I guess we could, but I don't see the point.

    well, how about the point being, simply, that we disagree?

    You see the subject of natural rights as entirely subjective. I disagree completely. Had you read my original remarks correctly, you might have thought to ask what my definition of natural rights was or proffered one of your own. Instead, you simply declared the subject of natural rights irrelevant to the subject and too subjective to discern even if they were anything but entirely irrelevant.

    well i may have thought to ask your opinion, but i was too busy wondering why you hadn't given it already. as for proffering my own, i did that son. recap: my opinion is that natural rights are whatever you think them to be because they are subjective. i also added two examples of why they cannot be objectively defined.

    And that about wraps that up, don't you think? There's nothing to debate with you. You didn't support any of the assertions you made in the post to which I responded and you didn't interpret what I wrote even close to correctly. So, I didn't bother treating what you wrote like a cogent reply. Put simply, it wasn't.

    okay, let me make sure i got this right. you, who proport to be of the mind that natural rights is essential to the question: "is taxation theft?", and have not yet gotten around to posting your definition of natural rights quite yet, are accusing me, who did in fact define my take on natural rights with two examples, of not supporting my assertions? please correct me if that is a faulty assumption.

    Again, I was attempting to be polite.

    again, thank you. and work on that.


    *laugh* Yeah, you're real scary.

    welll i am certainly not trying to be scary. but hey, i'm glad i was able to make you laugh :-)

    Honestly, I do want to settle it, but I'd like to settle it with someone who is more bite than bark.

    well i am not going to bite you son, and i didn't come here to bark. so, if you feel the need to run away, you have that right, no need for excuses. or, how about your definition of natural rights?

    please bear with me, not use to the format here. still trying to figure out how you highlight individually and respond piece by piece. trying to use old msm board method in the meantime. i am going to click on submit reply and hope a disaster does not occur. thank you for your understanding.
    Last edited by puma237; November 19th, 2012 at 11:22 AM. Reason: typo
    i fear the fate of all mankind is in the hands of fools.....
    -king crimson-

 

 
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