[ExI] Under the libertarian yoke was Re: Next Decade May See No Warming

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Wed May 7 06:40:22 UTC 2008

On May 6, 2008, at 9:19 PM, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:

> On Sun, May 4, 2008 at 8:43 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com 
> > wrote:
>> Breach of perhaps the most basic and common contract - namely, if I
>> buy something from you but don't pay - does normally authorise the  
>> use
>> of force against me
> ### This is incorrect. Use of force is either explicitly authorized in
> the contract, or else it is implied by the general legal framework
> under which the contract is signed. Frequently a contract will have
> provisions for non-violent sanctions in case of breach, such as
> forfeiture of a surety. In other situations there are provisions for
> arbitration, which may or may not involve agreeing to the use of
> force.

Violence per se is not verboten to libertarians.  The *initiation* of  
force without cause is verboten.  Violence in self defense for  
instance is perfectly acceptable.   Non-initiation of force is not the  
same thing as non-violence.  Not all initiation of force entails  
physical force.

> -----------------
> . An alternative way of dealing with this in a free
>> market with where everyone has access to the information is that if I
>> keep cheating, people will see me as untrustworthy and won't trade
>> with me.
> ### Yes, this is another, non-contractual and non-violent form of
> contract enforcement.
> -------------------
>> A tax in a democracy is a kind of conditional contract just like  
>> this.
> ### No, most definitely it is not. One of the essential features of a
> valid contract is that it is being entered voluntarily, that is,
> neither of the parties, their agents, principals, nor allies, is
> threatening violence to induce another peaceful party to sign the
> contract. Clearly, the agents of the state are threatening deadly
> violence to anybody who fails to meet their peremptory demands, and
> therefore neither the state nor its victims can enter into a contract.
> The threat of violence is sufficient to invalidate or pre-empt a
> contract.

The use of force if I disagree with this arrangement invalidates  
taxation as any sort of legitimate contract.   The weasel tax code  
more or less claims that you "agree" if you file a W4 swearing you are  
a taxpayer subject to withholding or agree in your 1040 that you owed  
the taxes withheld!   It is illegal to not file a 1040 (although tens  
of millions do not) and you can't find many employers that will hire  
you if you don't file a W4.  The 1040 is used as an information return  
of you voluntarily assessing how much you owe the government of "all  
that comes in" which may or may not be what "income" really means  
within the intricacies of the tax code.   Pretty sick if you ask me.

> -----------------
>> I won't voluntarily pay (i.e. as charity) the amount I pay in tax  
>> even
>> for projects I consider worthwhile, but I will agree to pay on
>> condition that everyone else also agrees to pay.
> ### You are in fact not capable of giving consent to pay taxes, simply
> because you have no choice. Are you following it? No matter what is
> your opinion, what kind of "conditions" you are imagining, you *have*
> to pay the tax.

That is not at all clear if you start delving into the actual tax  
code.  However the IRS is not exactly known for playing fair or  
hearing out arguments against paying.  To this day the IRS claims the  
tax is "voluntary".   Curious, no?

> I know it may seem strange at first... but all you need to realize is
> that to be able to legitimately say "yes", you must be able to say
> "no". Without the right to refuse, there can be no legitimate
> contract.

Another reason the tax is an invalid contract is that the majority of  
people are tricked into assuming it is legitimate.   Taxation in the  
US at least involves a large measure of fraud.

> ---------------------
> This is why people in
>> general hate paying tax, but keep voting in a government that will
>> force them to pay tax.
> ### Why people keep voting is a whole another issue, none of it
> however can legitimize a tax as a form of contractual payment.


> ---------------------
>> Yes, that might work, but it would have to be included in the  
>> original
>> contract since there would be a temptation to defect by selling to  
>> the
>> defectors, who would be very keen for trading partners.
> ### Exactly! You have just described the heretofore missing ingredient
> in our non-violent solution to global warming: provisions for
> maintenance of secondary public goods, that is features of the social
> order that are only important as means to achieve or protect primary
> public goods. Here, the primary goods are parts of the
> Save-Our-Happy-Planet conditional contract directly necessary to
> prevent a collective heatstroke, while the secondary goods are
> provisions meant to protect the primary good from being destroyed -
> such as an injunction against trading with defectors. Note that once
> you voluntarily sign the contract, you *may* be legitimately subjected
> to violent reprisals for breaching it.

I would not sign a contract subjecting me to violent reprisals if I  
come to disagree with the "save the happy planet" line and trade with  
others who disagree.

> If paragraph #22 says "Whoever
> trades freely with a defector or refusnik, will have his right hand
> taken off", well, then the other parties to the contract, and their
> agents, may cut off your hand for selling beef at normal price to me.

Sorry no, no more than you can create a legitimate contract enslaving  
yourself or others.

> ----------------------
> But this isn't
>> any different to swapping fines and criminal prosecution for boycott,
>> ostracism or exile of businesses and individuals who refuse to pay
>> their tax.
> ### Yeah, isn't this great? No thugs chasing you, just people turning
> away from you, one by one. This makes unjust punishment so much less
> likely.

Also it makes uniformity of bad opinions as encoded in law and  
regulation much less likely because an unpopular cause will have lots  
of defectors quite happy to trade with one another so the "cause" is  
likely to harmlessly dissipate.

- samantha

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