Is Government Debt Immoral?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Michael, May 26, 2012.

  1. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    The fact that a lot of people aren't interested enough to vote is just that.

    They represent the majority of people who care enough to vote. Provided that all competent adults have the right to vote if they want to, I don't see any problem with that.

    Conditional on what, exactly? "Virtue," "wisdom," "truth" and "knowledge?" Are you aware that your arguments are taken direct from advocates of monarchy or aristocracy?
     
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  3. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    True enough, but so what?

    Only if you ignore state taxes. And the fact that various of those taxed items were necessities.

    You might as well point out that you can similarly avoid paying income taxes in the current system by simply not making any income in the first place. It's only if you choose to produce sufficient income that you are subject to income taxes.

    You mean except for the part where states could tax you, and punish you for failing to comply.

    And let's recall that the Federal income tax was created to fund the Civil War - that system of liberty you guys want to return to featured widespread human slavery.

    Let's also recall that the Constitution was amended to permit federal income taxation - that was a democratic process. Are you claiming that it was illegitimate?

    That's an inane definition of "fair," which can only ever be satisfied under anarchy.
     
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  5. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Very well put.
     
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Michael:

    Did you blow the whistle on these corrupt officials who flushed all that money? Where did it go, by the way? Into their own pockets?

    I'm not convinced it is crap. In fact, I and other members of my family have personally be treated in recent times by some excellent medical professionals.

    And students are invariably the best judges of quality of teaching. Hmm...

    An emissions trading scheme would have been preferable, but the political conditions blocked such an outcome. So, we're stuck with second best at this point.

    Even if your claim is true, 100 jobs is a drop in the bucket when you're talking about the impacts of a nation-wide economy-changing policy. Perhaps you need to look at the big picture.

    The Australian government is not bankrupt. In fact, it has a AAA credit rating, rare among western democracies these days. In the last budget, the government posted a surplus. So, I guess "bankrupt" is some kind of rhetorical flourish from you that has just flopped appallingly.

    I'd be interested in how you imagine the current government if "ruining their society" and "running the country into the ground", though. Or will that just be more rhetoric, backed by nothing?

    So by "corrupt", you only mean something like "immoral according to Michael's personal opinon"? Is that right? You're not talking about actual corruption.
     
  8. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    @Quad

    Never said anything about conspiracy, its the way the system is designed. Is there a reason why you only have two parties? Why is it both Republicans and Democrats supported deregulating the banking system? If you only have two parties who are both beholden to the same powerful interests then the results don't particularly matter that much. There are those who voted for Obama out of fear of mean & nasty Republicans only to be left not just disappointed but feeling betrayed. Where do they go now? Do they re-elect Obama? The lesser of two evils? This is what you call a functioning democracy? Where you only get to choose between the same two parties both of which work for the same interests?

    I don't know but it would be a real stretch to refer to either Psyche or Michael as being anarchist, if anything they both come across as being Libertarian a la Ron Paul. Not wanting to pay unnecessary taxes is not the same as refusing to pay any tax. Questioning the legitimacy of the IRS is not the same as saying there should be no taxation in the interest of the common good but if one did come to that conclusion wouldn't it be because they receive no benefit? In a free society you wouldn't need to force someone to pay taxes, in a society where taxation is deemed as being in everyone's best interest there would be little resentment against such taxes. Danes pay seriously high taxes and yet they do so without resentment, they will gladly pay if it means health care for all, guaranteed education from kindergarten to university. They pay because they reap the benefits. They don't have to pay for unnecessary wars nor for the foibles of risky banks. They pay for good infrastructure, a very high standard of environmental protection and quality of life which ensures no one goes homeless , its the universally upheld status quo in their society. Not to say these should be everyone's values, I'm saying their taxes reflect their clannish values. By comparison Americans pay much less in taxes but what do they really get for it? Mediocre schools (especially in poorer communities where taxes are lower)? Expensive health care? Long drawn out foreign wars? An expanding police state? Too big to fail banks? They did get an apology from Jamie Dimon but they can't sell that. They pay enough in taxes so that they feel it financially but not enough to actually reap much benefit or security. I have always wondered why it is Danes are not always complaining about their taxes, why its not the cornerstone of every election. Americans on the other hand can't get from one election cycle to another without fears and complaints about taxes. Is it because they feel they benefit from these taxes? They pay so little so what's the problem? Can it be that so much tax is levied for too little in return? At least the Finn's, for example, can boast that for their tax dollars there is very little difference between the schools in the wealthiest areas compared to those in the poorest. If you feel you can do better with money in your own pocket than putting it into the government's collective pot then its reasonable to be against forced taxation.

    I don't really believe either Michael or Psyche are reacting solely to a tax system they view with distrust, I think they are viewing the entire political-economic edifice as corrupt and not to be trusted, in so far as that's concerned I cannot really blame them. The idea of not paying taxes is the idea of not feeding that system, this is something R paul advocates (starve the beast). I'm not saying I agree with Paul, I'm just saying we would hardly refer to him as an anarchist.

    Quad: The only people who think that are fringe nutters, and the fact that a democratic system marginalizes their voices is a feature and not a bug.

    You would have to include Bill Moyers, Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, Gore Vidal, Chomsky, Sheldon, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader…a whole asylum full of nutters.

    What I find interesting is that Americans take their intellectuals and progressives, who are generally never part of mainstream thought, and call them "nutters". In France they would call them their conscience. You admit this is a feature of the system.


    Is it that Mike and Psyche do not want to pay for goods and services or is it that they would rather pay for those goods and services out of pocket? R. Paul is in favor of keeping all of ones earnings and paying for services such as health care and education out of pocket leaving the indigent to charity which he believes would be in abundance.
     
  9. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    The New York Times, April 9, 1961

    Mark Twain on the Income Tax

    By popular custom at this time of year, millions of United States citizens pause only long enough from biting pencil stubs and fingernails to curse the day, Feb. 25, 1913, when the Sixteenth Amendment became effective.

    That amendment gave Congress power to tax incomes, but no one should think that this particular form of tax bite began in the twentieth century. By the act of Aug. 5, 1861, Congress provided for a tax of 3 per cent on all incomes over $800, subject to a variety of deductions, many of which are in vogue a century later.

    Irate citizens saw to it the act was repealed in 1872 (a subsequent law was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1895) but not before the yearly struggle with the tax form and the taxpayer's conscience had made a deep impression on Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

    Mark Twain aired his observations in a yarn he called "The Mysterious Visit." It first appeared in the old Buffalo Express, of which he was part owner and associate editor, and was shortly reprinted in The Internal Revenue Record and Customs Journal of April 9, 1870, with a prefatory apology that "it is not an official matter" but "suggestive of some fun and any amount of truth in reference to all assessment of incomes."

    Modern readers desiring comic relief from Form 1040 should also find "The Mysterious Visit" suggestive of some fun and perhaps even an antidote for excessive deductionitis.

    - Lucian C. Warren

    By MARK TWAIN

    The first notice that was taken of me when I "settled down," recently, was by a gentleman who said he was an assessor, and connected with the U. S. Internal Revenue Department. I said I had never heard of his branch of business before, but I was very glad to see him, all the same - would he sit down? He sat down, I did not know anything particular to say, and yet I felt that people who have arrived at the dignity of keeping house must be conversational, must be easy and sociable in company. So in default of anything else to say, I asked him if he was opening his shop in our neighborhood.

    He said he was. (I did not wish to appear ignorant, but I had hoped he would mention what he had for sale.)

    I ventured to ask him "how was trade?" and he said "So-so."

    I then said we would drop in, and if we liked his house as well as any other, we would give him our custom.

    He said he thought we would like his establishment well enough to confine ourselves to it - said he never saw anybody who would go of and hunt up another man in his line after trading with him once.

    That sounded pretty complacent, but barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.

    I do not know how it came about, exactly, but gradually we appeared to melt down and run together, conversationally speaking, and then everything went along as comfortably as clockwork.

    We talked, and talked, and talked - at least I did. And we laughed, and laughed, and laughed - at least he did. But all the time I had my presence of mind about me - I had my native shrewdness turned on, "full head," as the engineers say. I was determined to find out all about his business, in spite of his obscure answers - and I was determined I would have it out of him without his suspecting what I was at. I meant to trap him with a deep, deep ruse. I would tell him all about my own business, and he would naturally so warm to me during this seduction burst of confidence, that he would forget himself and tell me all about his affairs before he suspected what I was about. I thought to myself, My son, you little know what an old fox you are dealing with. I said:

    "Now you would never guess what I made lecturing, this winter and last spring?"

    "No - don't believe I could, to save me. Let me see - let me see. About two thousand dollars maybe? But no - no, sir, I know you couldn't have made that much. Say seventeen hundred maybe?"

    "Ha-ha! I knew you couldn't. My lecturing receipts for last spring and this winter were fourteen thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars - what do you think of that!"

    "Why, it is amazing - perfectly amazing. I will make a note of it. And you say even this wasn't all?"

    "All? Why, bless you, there was my income from the Buffalo Express for four months - about - about well, what should you say to about eight thousand dollars, for instance?"

    "Say! Why, I should say I should like to see myself rolling in just such another ocean of affluence. Eight thousand! I'll make a note of it. Why, man! - and on top of all this I am to understand that you had still more income?"

    "Ha-ha-ha! Why, you're only in the suburbs of it, so to speak. There's my book, 'The Innocents Abroad' - price $3.50 to $5.00, according to he binding. Listen to me. Look me in the eye. During the last four months and a half, saying nothing of sales before that, - but just simply during the four months and a half ending March 15, 1870, we've sold ninety-five thousand copies of that book! Nine-five thousand! Think of it. Average four dollars a copy, say. It's nearly four hundred thousand dollars, my son, I get half!"

    "The suffering Moses! I'll set that down. Fourteen-seventy-five - eight - two hundred. Total, say - well, upon my word, the grand total is about two hundred and thirteen or fourteen thousand dollars. Is that possible?"

    "Possible! If there's any mistake it's the other way. Two hundred and fourteen thousand, cash, is my income for this year if I know how to cipher."

    Then the gentleman got up to go. It came over me most uncomfortably that maybe I had made my revelations for nothing, besides being flattered into stretching them considerably by the stranger's astonished exclamations. But no; at the last moment the gentleman handed me a large envelope and said it contained his advertisement; and that I would find out all about his business in it; and that he would be happy to have my custom - would in fact be proud to have the custom of a man of such prodigious income; and that he used to think there were several wealthy men in Buffalo but when they came to trade with him he discovered that they barely had enough to live on; and that in truth it had been such a weary, weary age since he had seen a rich man face to face, and talked with him, and touched him with his hands, that he could hardly refrain from embracing me - in fact, would esteem it a great favor if I would let him embrace me.

    This so pleased me that I did not try to resist, but allowed this simplehearted stranger to throw his arms about me and weep a few tranquilizing tears down the back of my neck. Then he went his way.

    As soon as he was gone, I opened his advertisement. I studied it attentively for four minutes. I then called up the cook and said:

    "Hold me while I faint. Let Maria turn the batter-cakes."

    By and by, when I came to, I sent down to the rum mill on the corner and hired an artist by the week to sit up nights and curse that stranger, and give me a life occasionally in the day time when I came to a hard place.

    Ah, what a miscreant he was! His "advertisement" was nothing in the world but a wicked tax-return - a string of impertinent questions abut my private affairs occupying the best part of four foolscap pages of fine print - questions, I may remark, gotten up with such marvellous ingenuity that the oldest man in the world couldn't understand what the most of them were driving at - questions, too, that were calculated to make a man report about four times his actual income to keep from swearing to a lie. I looked for a loophole, but there did not appear to be any. Inquiry No. 1 covered my case, as generously and as amply as an umbrella could cover an ant hill:

    "What were your profits, in 1869, from any trade, business, or vocation, wherever carried on?"

    And that inquiry was backed up by thirteen others of an equally searching nature, the most modest of which required information as to whether I had committed any burglary, or highway robbery, or by any arson or other secret source of emolument, had acquired property which was not enumerated in my statement of income as set opposite to inquiry No. 1.

    It was plain that that stranger had enabled me to make an ass of myself. It was very, very plain, and I went out and hired another artist. By working on my vanity the stranger had seduced me into declaring an income of $214,000. B y law, $1,000 of this was exempt from income tax - the only relief I could see, and it was only a drop in the ocean. At the legal five per cent, I must pay over to the Government the appalling sum of ten thousand six-hundred and fifty dollars, income tax.

    (I may remark, in this place, that I did not do it.)

    I am acquainted with a very opulent man, whose house is a palace, whose table is regal, whose outlays are enormous, yet a man who has no income, as I have often noticed, by the revenue returns; and to him I went for advice in my distress. He took my dreadful exhibition of receipts, he put on his glasses, he took his pen, and presto! - I was a pauper! It was the neatest thing that ever was. He did it simply by deftly manipulating the bill of "DEDUCTIONS." He set down my "State, national, and municipal taxes" at so much; my "losses by shipwreck, fire, etc." at so much; my "loss on sales of real estate" - on "live stock sold" - payments for rent of homestead" - on "repairs, improvements, interest" - on "previously taxed salary as an officer of the United States Army, Navy, Revenue Service, and other things. He got astonishing "deductions" out of each and every one of these matters - each and every one of them. And when he was done he handed me the paper, and I saw at a glance that during the year 1869 my income, in the way of profit, had been one thousand two hundred and fifty dollars and forty cents.

    "Now," said he, "the thousand dollars is exempt by law. What you want to do is to go and swear this document in and pay tax on the two hundred and fifty dollars."

    (While he was making this speech his little boy Willie lifted a two-dollar greenback out of his vest pocket and vanished with it, and I would bet anything that if my stranger were to call on that little boy tomorrow he would make a false return of his income.)

    "Do you," said I, "do you always work up the 'deductions' after this fashion in your own case, sir?"

    "Well, I should say so! If it weren't for those eleven saving clauses under the head of 'Deductions,' I should be beggared every year to support this hateful and wicked, this extortionate and tyrannical Government."

    This gentleman stands away up among the very best of the solid men of Buffalo - the men of moral weight, of commercial integrity, of unimpeachable social spotlessness - and so I bowed to his example. I went down to the revenue office, and under the accusing eyes of my old visitor I stood up and swore to lie after lie, fraud after fraud, villainy after villainy, till my immortal soul was coated inches and inches thick with perjury, and my self-respect was gone forever and ever.

    But what of it? It is nothing more than thousands of the highest, and richest, and proudest, and most respected, honored an courted men in America do every year. And so I don't care. I am not ashamed. I shall simply, for the present, talk little and wear fire-proof gloves, lest I fall into certain habits irrevocably.

    http://www.twainquotes.com/19610409.html
     
  10. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    I'm still of the mind that we could take this debate on whether INCOME TAX (again, not ALL tax, I specified income tax, a voluntary tax is perfectly moral [which incidentally in a 'democracy' would have overwhelming support and thus be paid... that many think it wouldn't says something])

    Bonding the labor against the productivity of the unborn is immoral, that some of us can not see that this is the case, really is a worry. I'm not holding up a sign "The End is Nigh" but perhaps, "The End.... THAT happened LONG AGO"

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    Some of it went into their own pockets. Legally. Basically there are many millions of jobs whereby the snout goes into the public trough and snorts around, nothing gets done, and said individual moves onto another Public project. I've personally seen someone snort through $1.3 million and then move onto a more lucrative position in the AU government. They specifically told me "I like the job security and the higher pay, plus it gives me more time to work on a housing project I'm investing in".


    As for the state of the medical profession in AU. All I can say is I've worked in three AU medical schools. I've also had the experience of working in multiple countries. Ever hear of the PBL system? Ever hear of a Medical School cutting the Human Anatomy out because it was too expensive? I have. At a recent medical school they're sneaking lectures back into the school, to do otherwise would be to admit tacitly, the entire program is a failure. Another school was supposed to be closed, but then "lawsuits" and all that jazz was probably a bit too much. As of now, it's still open. Admittedly, I've never worked at that school, but I know people there.
     
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    36,505
    Michael:

    I'm glad to see you're backing off on some of your more extreme statements as this discussion proceeds, even if you're doing that mostly by ignoring the claims you know you can't support.

    Sounds like we need better oversight of government programs, if what you say is true. Have you told the government of the waste you have personally observed, so they can put better measures in place to stop it?

    We do have an opposition in this country, too, you know. I'm sure they would be keen to make massive government waste an election issue. Have you informed them of the many millions of dollars that you have personally seen being wasted?

    Or are you claiming that corruption pervades the whole of Australian politics and bureaucracy across the board, to the extent that every party is equally corrupt?

    I'm wondering why you are willing to sit back and watch all this rampant corruption, and complain about it on an internet forum, and yet you seem unwilling to use your own privileged position to do what you can to stop it. Why is that?

    Yes, I know what the PBL system is.

    Why all the cloak and dagger? Which one has cut human anatomy? Which one had the lawsuits? Are these things not part of the public record?

    Also, you started off complaining about the overall poor state of medicine in Australia, but mostly what I've heard from you are stories about what is in your opinion sub-standard education.
     
  12. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Presidential systems with first-past-the-post elections strongly incentivize a two-party structure. This has been covered many times on SciForums, including in other currently active threads.

    Tell you what: you spend the five minutes it will take to learn and phrase an accurate characterization of the politics behind the legal changes in question, and then maybe I'll spend a few minutes giving you a serious answer. If you're going to give me loaded questions that have canards built into the premises, I'm just going to tell you to take your Republican talking points and get stuffed.

    I'm as disappointed in Citizens United as the next guy, but the fact remains that there are more issues in the world than just bank regulation or tax policy (even supposing one believes that the parties are too similar on those issues). The fact that certain single-issue voters are perpetually disappointed is an indictment of their narrow perspective, and not the political system.

    That's how actual politics works. Sorry if that is disappointing to your utopian outlook. Maybe you should just let the adults worry about this stuff, if you can't cope with reality.

    Exactly - they want to reject the basic legitimacy of governance outright when it happens to suit their immediate, narrow interests, and then stump for powerful government when that suits their interests. They're sunny-weather anarchists, not the real deal. That's why I keep challenging them to follow through on those lines of thought, and why they keep refusing to do so. Sorry if I was unclear on what I meant there.

    It is if you define "unnecessary taxes" in a sufficiently pathological way, as is done here.

    What conversation is it that you think you are describing here? Because it doesn't look like the one I've been having with Michael and Psyche. They are explicitly attacking the legitimacy of taxation as such. They want to replace everything with "voluntary taxes," which is simply another word for "donations."

    Well, since there are no such people, it would then follow that anyone reaching said conclusion is in error. All we have is people who are too ignorant and self-centered to appreciate the benefits they are exploiting every single day of their lives, and which they would never seriously countenance relinquishing. It's only because nobody takes them seriously that they have the luxury of their inconsistent positions - put this stuff into practice and they'd hate it. That's exactly why they rely so heavily on fantasy re-imaginings of, for example, US society as some kind of totalitarian Stalinist dystopia.

    That's an asinine definitino of "free society" that you're implying there. The term you want is "utopia." Or, maybe, "anarchy."

    "Deemed" by who? You're talking about literal unanimity, which is irrelevant. There are always going to be some people who want to take a free ride. There are always going to be some people who are just too thick to understand the cost-benefit analysis clearly. If the only way for a "free society" to exist is for everyone in it to completely agree on exactly what everyone is supposed to do, then you've defined that down to a u/dys-topia.

    I reject the latter assertion. There are people in every country who hate taxes and harbor delusions of having their cake and eating it too.

    But, the fact that small countries typically display greater levels of social solidarity is just that. It has very limited implications for what levels of social solidarity you can expect in large countries. Especially, large countries that value individual freedom and autonomy, are composed as federations of different states, etc.

    They get things that reflect their values. Democracy insures this.

    Who is this "they" you are speaking for, and where is the evidence that you are a legitimate spokesman for "their" views?

    How is it that when Danes get what they pay for, that's democracy fulfilling their values, but when Americans get what they pay for, that's some kind of evil bankster conspiracy?

    You're welcome to try to answer those questions using data and reasoning, although any answer that fails to account for the lower levels of social solidarity (and greater diversity) in the USA, as well as the American culture of libertarianism, is going to be severely lacking on its face.

    They can also boast that there is very little difference between one Finn and another. It's a very small, homogenous country and so exhibits very high levels of social solidarity. Meanwhile, we have individual cities in the USA that dwarf the population of Finland, and contain more demographic diversity than all of Northern Europe combined.

    Or any taxation, of course.

    And it also follows that, for any large polity, there are going to be some outliers who don't like the deal and want to pay a lot less taxes. This isn't a problem - a democratic system is supposed to marginalize and ignore marginal voices.

    Well, they do that when it's rhetorically convenient to their demands to pay less taxes, but note that they never follow through on my demands to give force to those assertions in general (by embracing anarchism).

    Meanwhile, they advance lots of arguments that deal narrowly with the question of taxation and debt, without any reference to larger considerations of government legitimacy. You're dressing them up in positions that you'd like them to advocate, and which are significantly more principles, deep and coherent than their actual output.

    I do not accept any requirement that my statements about our local libertarian trolls must also apply to whatever list of names (of progressivist leftists, of all things) you care to throw at me. Who do you think you're kidding?

    That said, I'm unsure why you thought that I'd hesitate to tell any of the people on your list to take a long walk off of a short pier. They're largely navel-gazing fools more in love with their own self-righteousness than they are people with serious answers to any of our problems.

    I don't accept that assertion. And anyway there's nothing progressive nor intellectual about either Michael's output or Psyche's, so what is the relevance? Stop trying to paper over the actual issue here with some other debate about progressivism that you'd apparently prefer to have.

    And he is demonstrably incorrect about that. The fact that he relies on convenient fantasies to dress his policies up as humane and moral is a major reason why his politics are so objectionable. If these types at least had the courage of their convictions, and so would openly assert that they think that minorities, the poor, the elderly, and pretty much any vulnerable person of any type should be thrown to the wolves so that they can keep a few more dollars, I could at least respect their honesty and consistency. But they want to go around stumping for the most selfish, destructive policies imaginable while simultaneously congratulating themselves for their superior compassion and progressivity. It's childish, nasty and insulting. More than that, it attempts to gain power by exploiting ignorant naifs like Michael who can't grasp the implications of their positions.

    Also: maybe try to learn the "quote" functionality.
     
  13. Psyche Registered Senior Member

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    135
    If you understood my argument you would see that you are illustrating the point that I am making when you say:

    "there is no valid comparison between the Hambuglar, Mayor McCheese and the US government."

    You believe the U.S Government is beyond the scope of fundamental criticism, which is to say it is supposed to be taken on faith that it is good because it's goodness cannot be compared to any other man made institution. Hence, you are presenting beliefs which are unfalsifiable.

    If a person is forced to pay for and consume Mcdonalds than it is irrelevant if he gets to participate in a vote over which company stooge gets to be the next ceo because the fundamental issue of freedom of association is simply not addressed by the vote.

    Whether an institution claims to represent the voice of God or the voice of the people it is simply a difference between one expression of mysticism and another. It has no relevance to how one should judge, or suspend judgment, of the activities of the particular people of that institution according to universally applicable standards of ethics.

    If you have no problem paying tax to the U.S Government you should have no problem paying tax to Mcdonalds or to me for that matter. You keep repeating that these are false analogies because you can't understand them. And I do empathize with where you are coming from. I know that you think it is somehow different because we get to vote.

    But it's not.

    I'm quite serious when I say that your accusations that I don't understand logical fallacies is a case of projection. My arguments are sound attempts to reason from first principles. It is clear at this point your major block to understanding me is the fact that it is your argument which is rooted in fallacies, namely these two:

    1)The Argument from Authority: This is basically the "They make the rules, so if you don't like it you can just get lost" sentiment that you and quad are continually harping on. A father who regularly beats his children may in fact "make the rules" but this does not mean that it is moral.

    and,

    2) The Argument From Popularity: Taxation is legitimized because of the vote. Essentially you admit that taxation in any other context would be considered theft, but that it is legitimized by a popularity contest. You believe that the act of a show of hands can change an immoral act into a moral one.

    The political process itself is nothing more than fraud that pulls the wool over everyone's eyes. If you believe that what I am saying is all nonsense and that you were never propagandized than my response to that is to say, "exactly".

    Voting is to democracy what prayer is to Christianity. It is a fantasy that makes you believe you have some say in how things are run when in actual fact you do not.

    When one loses their faith it doesn't mean they run off and join another religion. They just have to learn how to be as honest with themselves and those around them about what they truly believe. And on this topic I agree with Stefan Molyneux when he calls voting "a suggestion box for slaves".

    I cannot fight the system from within the system because the system itself is an effect of brainwashing and the system itself is based on violence. What your arguments presuppose is the right of the government to control what it controls and to order people around as it does. This is why you can't come up with a moral defense of it but rather must continually revert to the bully pulpit ("you can either work to change the laws or leave"). But all voting does is legitimize ones enslavement. Regardless of the outcome the government as an institution always retains an indefinate claim on power, the population continues to be condemned to live out their lives in total ignorance as tax livestock to the ruling elite, and their children of course will continue to have their flowering individuality sacrficed in government schools so that they can be domesticated and turned into citizens (believers).

    In other words, any vote is a vote for business as usual. I'd much rather speak as truthfully and honestly as I can whenever I can, and work on developing freedom within my own mind and my personal relationships, which is in actual fact the only area where I have real control.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2012
  14. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    9,391
    What a joke. The fact that he rejects your terrible, silly analogies is just that. Stop trying to dress that up with fancy logic terms that don't apply, and just come up with a good analogy.

    If you don't wish to associate with the American polity, you are free to go elsewhere. Nobody is holding a gun to your head.

    Well, that's horseshit. You think that democracy is "mysticism?" The the mere existence of the people is some unfalsifiable article of faith?

    On the contrary, it has an immediate, strong and obvious relevance to the question of the legitimacy of the actions of said people. In the one case, they are appealling to an unproveable proposition that a supernatural force approves of them. In the other, they are subject to actual voters with an independent ability to express their preferences.

    The main problem here is your patholigical inability to discern bad analogies from good ones.

    No, it's because they are obviously bad analogies. People keep explaining to you exactly why they are not valid, and you never have any response except bare insistence to the contrary, and insults to people's intelligence. It's pathetic.

    You have presented nothing serious that would substantiate that assertion.

    Of course you are: because you are projecting.

    "Attempts," maybe, but there's nothing sound about them. You wouldn't have to be trying to characterize them as such, if they were. You'd instead be presenting salient counterarguments to the various pointed criticisms you've received.

    No, nobody has asserted that. On the contrary, the assertion is that because we make the rules, and you have as much voice as anyone in that, it is reasonable to expect you to be subject to them. And that if you reject such, you are free to leave, so there is no coercion.

    That's not an instance of the argument from popularity fallacy. People aren't saying that voting renders statements logically true. They are saying that voting endows government actions with political legitimacy. And that is true on its face.

    Any act by a government that lacks legitimacy is objectionable, because of the lack of legitimacy. If you add democratic legitimacy, then it becomes legitimate.

    When the immorality is itself premised on an absence of democratic legitimacy, there's nothing strange about that.

    So: are you an anarchist, or not?

    Because if you are, please stop wasting everyone's time with these arguments about taxation and debt, and stick to the fundamental issue.
     
  15. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    6,865
    This is demonstrably false...but why would anyone want an electoral system that strongly incentivizes a narrower diversity of choices?

    My own system has four main parties and they all represent a significant block of citizen interests.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  16. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    6,865
    This was likely the British response to the tax revolt (stamp act) that started the American Revolution and founded your nation.

    This response also undermines the first amendment right to petition the government.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  17. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    6,865
    What percentage of private GDP do you think should ideally be turned over to the government as federal revenue?

    Are you willing to pay this percentage in the form of retail sales tax?
     
  18. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    By all means, then, demonstrate such.

    Although, I notice that you chose to edit out the other qualifier about presidential republics. Can you demonstrate a presidential republic with a first-past-the-post voting system that sustains more than two parties for any length of time? Or were you just thinking of parliamentary systems? Because the qualifier that you chose to edit out, there, was included exactly to exclude parliamentary systems.

    Regardless, I'll thank you to refrain from such cheap, dishonorable tactics as editing out important qualifiers from my statements and then attacking them as falsehoods. That's just childish and rude.

    Not for that reason, obviously. That's one of the costs. You can go ahead and look on Wikipedia for your answer, though: this stuff is well understood. The usual reasons are stability, issues about separation of powers, direct elections, etc.

    The thing about parliamentary systems is that they can be paralyzed at high-pressure moments. Presidential republics do not have that problem - they tend to be decisive and consistent, up until elections that are scheduled well in advance.

    Sure, and you guys are a constitutional monarchy and not a presidential republic. Your prime minister can be brought down by a vote of no confidence at any moment, etc. Different set of party incentives entirely.
     
  19. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    The difference being that Americans today can vote, but Americans then couldn't. So the one response is principled and defensible, and your hypothetical response is not.

    It's also interesting that you'd try to use some "likely" response as a rhetorical bludgeon here. We're talking about history, here - it is perfectly knowable what Britain's response to the Declaration of Independence was. And, in fact, it was not the above. It was an outright rejection of the principle that all men are created equal, buttressed by a lot of snark about how Americans held slaves and so didn't really buy into the principle themselves.

    So maybe don't skip the five minutes it would take to check your premises on Wikipedia, in your rush for cheap snark.

    The larger point I've been making with that rhetoric here has been "work within democratic processes to influence the system or leave." You are simply cherry-picking one individual quote and misrepresenting me on that basis. I'll thank you to cease your cheap troll tactics and try to add something useful to the discussion, or shut up.
     
  20. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    6,865
    I think this should be up for debate, not dismissed with blanket statements such as...'if you dont like a tax law, you are free to live somewhere else'.

    Do you want to live in a country where it is illegal to revoke an act in 2012, simply because it was passed legitimately in 1913?

    Should the core of the constitution be considered legitimate, even though it was not established democratically...and passed by lawmakers who supported voting rights ONLY for white men of property?

    At the time...this is what 'we the people' actually meant.
     
  21. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    20,285
    As for the lack of human anatomy courses see here:
    https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2010...gin_no_cache=cfd0886fb0e497b2fa95abb64a2c5f06
    You'd shit yourself if you knew how poorly trained medical doctors are in Australia. Literally,
    Shit.
    Your.
    Self.

    Bet you didn't know your MDs were walking out WITHOUT ANY HUMAN ANATOMY! Did you? No, you didn't. Do think it's any better anywhere else. It's just as bad, if not worse!!! Why is that James? Why is that not a crime? Why doesn't the Australian electorate know that USYD Medical Doctors can't find the liver on a X-Ray to save their life? Why?

    This isn't anything new. It's been going on for decades!

    Want to see some eduspeak? Look here: Changes to the University of Sydney medical curriculum Talk about pure bullshit. Unadulterated dripping bullshit. So, your proof is in plain sight, it's just most people don't know enough to see it.

    Want to know what those good ole doctors refer to the new doctors as? Glorified therapists! That's about all they're good at. Talking to you and making you feel good about yourself as a "client" whereas the old school doctors knew up from down but may have had a bad bedside manner. The new mantra is "happy happy". Screw knowing anything, just Happy Happy .... oh, and I want to make as much money as I can as quickly as possible so I can buy investment apts in the city.... :bugeye: Oh, and where is Google, I need to figure out what's wrong with my patient and I'm too dense and poorly trained to figure it out... or I just send to a specialist who might know a bit more.


    Are there some well trained doctors? Of course, they generally go through the 6 year accelerated course and are the cream of the intellectual crop. I know, because I personally know those students. They're a FAR cray from the GMP which included some of the most dumb-ass moronic self-serving people you could meet. Not all, but quite a lot. The GMP program is supposed to take "the best" but they ALWAYS fill out the roles with full-fee paying international students. ALWAYS. This coincidentally happens to include full-fee paying Australians who have poor marks, lots of money, well connected families who just happen to "interview well". The proof? How the hell can you get proof? Here it is happening. Who's going to do the mathematical study to prove the numbers can not be as they are? And then who are you going to go to? What happens is people with integrity are pushed out or simply quit.

    As for the money, you literally have no clue as to how quickly hundreds of millions of dollars can be sucked into public institutions with shit pooped out the other end.

    You want to know WHY it's we invented FREE-MARKETS? Take a god damn good guess. It's because you will NEVER have enough proof. It's impossible. Entire agencies try to get "the proof" and even they can barely keep up and are blocked at every turn. Which is why free-markets are the most effective and meaningful measure of the corruption that's endemic in politics and institution.

    Ask yourself this: IF Australia has such wonderful educational institution (which it absolutely doesn't) why is it they have so many VISA's to import professionals from abroad? Why is it none of the medical technology comes OUT of AU and instead is imported IN to AU? The price for medical treatment in AU runs about 3 to 4 times more than in Japan. I've personally told people to go to Japan for some treatments it's cheaper and better treatment. The doctors in Japan are excellent.

    What does AU do?
    Cattle, Wheat and other Commodities. They used to sell higher education but this was really only because the government linked residency to points, 10 of which were given for an AU degree.

    That's fricken SAD James.

    Yeah, big shock: Sit atop a bunch of resources and your politicians have a lot of money to bribe the electorate. Until that little equation runs it's course, then the people, as usual, are stuffed. Wait until China concludes this cycle, and the water recedes, you're going to see all the crap and sludge that was just under the tidal line.

    That's when the "I hope YOU'RE happy Steve Jobs - YOU HAVE HIS KIDNEY!!!" and the politicians (the real criminals) not only get to cause the mess they then get to demagogue the mess they caused!




    But, again, I digress - this thread is about whether income tax and government bonds are immoral?

    I suggest we take it to the ethic's subforum and then to the formal debate form, because I'm fairly certain you can't draw lines on the earth call them countries and suddenly change vinegar into wine. It doesn't work that way. You don't get to call stealing taxing and make it moral. Just because the will of the majority is that Slavery is "good for the nation" and make it legal, will NEVER make it moral. AS for Bonds, children born today have ZERO say in how the money THEY will have to pay back is being spent today. That is immoral.

    Lastly, somewhere back there or around here I seem to recall a side-remark about racism? Give me a freaken break. If the comment was over the word "Abo" ... as you well know, that's an Australian insult of Native Australians. When I use the word, it's to represent the political-correctness charade I find common to most Australians - whom have little IF ANY Aboriginal friends and couldn't give two craps about Aboriginals. So? Why the comment? Because the University pretends they give two craps, they suck in $10 million from the federal government (supposedly to 'help Aboriginal Med Students) and then where's the money go? Where it always goes. Right into administration of the money. $10 million can be burned through in administrative costs in less the a year with NOTHING to show for it. As a matter of fact, I personally tutored the ONLY full blooded Aboriginal woman and she (and I) never saw one red cent.

    As for the Carbon Tax: Let me see, the tax has resulted in less high-end engineering jobs, more carbon in the atmosphere and more expense shoved onto the middle class. Classic Big Government at it's finest. It's just another way to suck money out of the middle class's pocket under the guise of 'helping them' to fund pet projects for political friends and constituents. Watch as billions are flushed James. Because that's exactly what will happen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  22. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    20,285
    Psyche,

    Nice analogy by the way. I was wondering, why is it, do you think, it's so hard for people to understand something as simple as theft IS theft even when you change the word from stealing to taxation?

    Why is that? What's the psychology underpinning this? Is it the idea of "Nationhood" somehow changes the perspective in some weird way? Is it the idea that Democracy also means equality? As if it's somehow "unfair" someone has more wealth than another? Are we really communists at heart? What is it? It it that people with little faith in God replace God with The State and place their faith there? You're attacking their faith? I mean, McDonalds analogy would be like making fun of a religion, the brain just goes into a state of static. It freezes.

    What's going on here? Why is this such a hard concept to come to terms with?
     
  23. Psyche Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    135
    I certainly wouldn't attribute it to any sort of pathology. Throughout my life I've always been extremely apolitical (and still am). Whenever I did think about politics I was sure that my sympathies were with the left. They were pro helping the poor and pro equality and pro all these wonderful sounding things. Whereas the right I saw as more in bed with big business and with an imperialist agenda that I thought horrifying. So as far as taxation went it was too me just part of how the world works. Part of the reality I was presented with. Part of what everyone believed. So I never really thought much about it.

    I do vaguely remember a teacher mumbling something about a social contract when I was in grade school, and I'm sure I regurgitated whatever he said on a test. But I never thought of myself as attending a government school where I was learning to think and perceive reality in a fashion desired by any particular agenda or ideology. It was just "school", and I was far more interested in music and video games than these questions I obsess over now.

    One of the major sociological studies that may shed light on answering the question of why the fact that taxation is theft is something that most people just can't wrap their heads around is the Solomon Asch Experiment in conformity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments) which documents how people will discard the evidence of their own senses when there is social pressure, even indirect social pressure, to do so.

    We are highly socialized creatures, and if need be we will sacrifice our own experience of reality in order to go along with the tribe. When a lie like taxation being moral becomes so big that almost everyone believes it most people will subconsciously perform a cost/benefit analysis on the topic and conclude that to see taxation for what it is and to start talking about it openly will more than likely socially damn them. They may judge based on the rough ride that people like you and me get when we point it out that it's really not worth it. Moreover, they will honestly not be able to perceive the length that the social consensus has dramatically skewered their perception of reality. This is even more for someone who is on, or is close to someone who is on the payroll of the government.They may take the argument that taxation is immoral as a personal attack, not just on their morality, but their very identity.

    No such attack is (consciously) intended on my part. But I do understand when you throw a stick into the spokes of a persons smoothly flowing worldview they are apt to blame you for trying to make them to crash rather than thank you for attempting to prevent them from riding off a cliff.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012

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