[ExI] the formerly rich and their larvae...

Tom Tobin korpios at korpios.com
Thu Feb 14 03:32:59 UTC 2008

On 2/13/08, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Feb 13, 2008 2:53 PM, Tom Tobin <korpios at korpios.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > ### Taxes mean you are forcibly deprived of the resources you could
> > > use to attain your goals - obviously, right?
> >
> > Err, no, not "obviously" at all.  Leaving my society is always an
> > option; taxes happen to be part of the ruleset of this society, same
> > as any corporation-state might impose.  If I really want to leave, I
> > can; I had better not try to come back, of course.
> ### Well, yeah, like running away from slavery. Saying that "it's just
> the way things are done here" doesn't make it right, you know? And why
> should *I* leave? Did I do something wrong? If somebody doesn't like
> the lack of "free" healthcare, they can leave anytime.

You could apply that sort of logic to an employee working for a
corporation; the corporation tells them "that's just the way things
are done here", and the employee is free to leave if they don't like
it.  It doesn't make the corporation *right* (or wrong, for that
matter).  I don't get what makes a nation any different than a very
large corporation in a libertarian world, unless they use coercion to
prevent citizens from leaving.

> Violence is wrong no matter if you call yourself a state or a
> corporation, no matter if there are "laws" that say otherwise.

We agree here!  :-)

> > > There is only
> > > a difference of degree, since a slave is wholly owned, while I am
> > > owned only during about 40% of the time I spend working for money.
> >
> > You're "owned"?  Really?  Your boss can kill you with impunity?
> ### Well, yes. Have you ever tried not paying your taxes, and
> resisting a visit from IRS agents (they are armed)? Any resistance
> would end up with the resister ruined, and any serious resistance
> would end with him dead, while some goons would be getting a bonus for
> offing him.

I've never liked this.  The proper response from the government in
terms of "libertarian non-aggression-speak", IMHO, would be to inform
the non-tax-paying citizens that they are violating their citizenship,
and will be considered trespassing if the violation continues.  The
individual should then have the option of either paying taxes or
leaving the nation; if they refuse both, force would be reasonable
only to the extent necessary to remove the former citizens from the

> > > I
> > > wonder what would you say about taxes if they took not 20% but 80% of
> > > your income? You presumably wouldn't be able to afford your laptop,
> > > among other things. Would that change your POV?
> >
> > From my point of view, if all my basic needs are taken care of, and
> > I'm not looking to obtain anything else (like ::cough:: children,
> > which I remain convinced are the ultimate luxury items), I damned well
> > could afford that laptop, that cellphone, and connectivity.  And I'd
> > be perfectly content, since that's *all I'd need*.
> ### I would disagree with the assessment of children as luxury items.
> If you want to have your "basic needs" taken care of in about 30 - 40
> years, children are a necessity.

Wow.  Relying on the tug of genetic heartstrings for potential medical
care down the road doesn't strike you as both cynical *and* fallible?
;-)  But that doesn't address your claim of necessity, of course.
When there are so many other paths towards such care that are much
less expensive both for oneself and for everyone else (including a
libertarian's private health insurance), I'll stand by my claim.

> Are you honestly telling me you would be happy with losing 80% of your
> current income while having to work just as mucht? That's strange.

Assuming the 80% went into projects that benefited me, directly or
indirectly?  Yeah.  Not having to even *think* about whether I can
afford a doctor's visit if sick, or an ambulance run if injured, is
one benefit I'll gladly pay taxes towards.  You make it sound like
taxes are a black hole, when that's not even the case in fairly
inefficient America.

> > > In general, since as you say you are not interested in making money on
> > > your own, I am surprised you show interest in monies belonging to
> > > others. If you really don't care about money, don't ask (or force)
> > > others to give it to you.
> >
> > Money is a product, one of the glues, of society; it doesn't have any
> > value on its own.  I don't why libertarians haven't figured out that
> > the only way they can obtain resources as efficiently as they do is
> > because we have a framework to do it with.  (Don't get me started on
> > the joke of "natural rights", either.)  ^_^
> ### I don't understand your paragraph. BTW, I am not a natural rights
> libertarian, except in the most roundabout and indirect way.

I was trying to anticipate a potential line of argument, and I
predicted wrong.  ^_^  What I was saying is this: the only value of
money is in the society that backs it.

> > What I meant is this: under, say, an anarcho-capitalism scheme, I
> > could own a piece of land which is then surrounded by land owned by a
> > malicious entity.  Said entity won't let me cross its land.  How do I
> > get out?  A libertarian would claim that the entity was completely
> > within its rights to restrict me from crossing, and perhaps even to
> > attack me if I tried.
> ### Yes, if you trespassed. Other ancaps would ask, "So why did you
> buy this land if you know it's surrounded by a malicious entity? Why
> didn't you make sure you have rights of way to the nearest roads you
> are subscriber of?" If the entity was not too large you could perhaps
> call some mercenaries to help you fight your way out and next time you
> buy land you would be more cautious.

What if I *did* take those precautions, and it happened anyway?  And
if I called in mercenaries, assuming I successfully got out, wouldn't
I be attacked by other entities deciding that I had broken a "no
initiation of violence" rule?  And what's to prevent said malicious
entity from simply using its mercenaries from seizing land at whim?
(This quickly turns into a "ancap eventually devolves into a standard
nation-state scenario" argument; I still haven't come across a solid
rebuttal to that, but I'd be willing to follow any links/references
and read up.)

> And, actually, the same thought experiment can be directly used in
> favor of anarchocapitalism: Imagine you are minding your own business,
> living quietly somewhere in Germany, Turkey, or Spain. One day the
> huge malicious entity you have been feeding with your taxes all your
> life decides you need to be killed, because you are Jewish, Armenian,
> or Jewish, or whatever. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Since
> the entity is definitely much larger than whatever could have
> surrounded you in Ancapistan, you can't run. No mercenaries to do your
> bidding, all were hired by the entity or killed already. And at least
> in Ancapistan you could hang tough under siege, since the entity would
> be breaking the law if it invaded your land, and you'd still have your
> cell phone, maybe you could pay for airmail delivery of stuff. But
> there in Govtland, they just send in some Gestapo and a body disposal
> van.

I don't grasp how laws are enforced against an entity powerful enough
to smack down all challengers, which leaves me back at the point I
raised above — what's so different under anarcho-capitalism from
traditional nation-states?  The "law" is mutually-agreed convention,
and only works when it can be (and *is*) enforced.  (Again, I'm
willing to read up before continuing on this line, because I don't
want to drive anyone nuts.)  :-)

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