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OfflineRonoS
DSYSB since '01
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Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 16,259
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Last seen: 1 year, 1 month
Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: ]
    #791948 - 08/02/02 05:10 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

That is a good point Mr_Mushrooms, but alot of people refuse to look at facts and figures. To use a quote that I recently posted, here is a fine example...

"I never apologize for the United States of America, I don't care what the facts are." ..George Bush Sr.


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"Life has never been weird enough for my liking"

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OfflineEchoVortex
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Registered: 02/06/02
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Last seen: 15 years, 6 months
Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: ]
    #792313 - 08/02/02 08:55 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

Mr. Mushrooms writes:

"EchoVortex's argument is the same. "

What exactly was my argument? I don't recall making an argument per se, for example "X = Y" or "Socialism is good." I simply set up a thought experiment in which participants are presented with a moral conundrum in which they have to choose where their moral priorities lay.

Although the "argumentum ad misericordiam" is a recognized logical fallacy, you might stop to consider that the distinctions and designations of logical fallacies are themselves contingent and based on fallible human reason. To appeal to pre-established logical fallacies (and to make a point of using their Latin names) is itself a logical weakness of sorts, an appeal to authority or, you could say, an appeal to tradition. Why is an appeal to pity any worse, say, than an appeal to self-interest? Nobody seems to be much bothered by the latter, but with the former, all sorts of red flags go off.

"I use my mind to come to conclusions, not my heart."

So you may think, but for all you know, you may simply be delusional.

The problem with logical systems is that they can only deal with so many variables at once. Most real-world problems are fraught with overwhelming complexity. Plato made stupendous contributions to Western intellectual history, but you may wish to look at some slightly more recent philosophical currents, as well as into the science of chaos and complexity.

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Anonymous

Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: EchoVortex]
    #792414 - 08/02/02 09:56 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

There are so many things wrong with your last post that it would take volumes just to get to the starting point. That being the case I do not have the time to address them.

Think as you will. You are wrong.

Cheers,

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OfflineEchoVortex
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Registered: 02/06/02
Posts: 859
Last seen: 15 years, 6 months
Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: ]
    #796088 - 08/04/02 03:16 PM (21 years, 8 months ago)

"There are so many things wrong with your last post that it would take volumes just to get to the starting point. That being the case I do not have the time to address them."

Funny, you seem to have enough time to make hundreds of posts of varying value on these forums, but you don't have the time to educate or debate those you consider to be in error. Socrates would have never replied like that.

"Think as you will. You are wrong."

Why should I think so? Because somebody too intellectually lazy to debate my points says I am? Please. I pity poor Plato that you've misappropriated his name like that.


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/18/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: EchoVortex]
    #796866 - 08/04/02 11:38 PM (21 years, 8 months ago)

Sally lives in an extremely poor country suffering triple-digit inflation. She has a rare disease that will cost $500,000 in medical bills to keep her alive. The average income in this country is $45 per year.

What do you do?


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The proof is in the pudding.

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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 9 years, 3 months
Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: EchoVortex]
    #797019 - 08/05/02 04:31 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

pinky: "Why stop at Sally? Why not take every last one of John Doe's billions and provide homes for a tenth of one per cent of the orphans on the streets of New Delhi, too?"

EchoVortex:

For a number of reasons. First of all because New Helhi is in a different country from our hypothetical one.

Okay then, replace New Delhi with New York. What is the relationship of distance to necessity in your thought experiment, anyway? If John Doe lives in Los Angeles and Sally lives in New York, he must pay for her upbringing, but if she lives in New Delhi he doesn't? Morality is morality -- it supersedes artificial political boundaries, does it not?

Second of all, because the point of the exercise is not to take away John Doe's money just for the sake of taking it all away, the point is to render immediate aid to save a life.

I understood that. But if it is correct to steal a bit of money from one individual to save one life, it logically follows that it is correct to steal lots of money from everyone to save all lives.

The point is simply this. Given two options:
A--Tax a billionaire for a dollar
B--Let a two-year-old child die
Libertarians would choose option B, because it is, according to Libertarian thought, morally wrong to tax someone, even a billiionaire, even for only a dollar.


The two options do not adhere to reality. It is easy to construct a fallacious "straw man" example, then make it look foolish.

A -- It will take a lot more than a dollar to support a two year old until she reaches the stage where she is capable of supporting herself. Therefore either a single billionaire is taxed for tens of thousands of dollars, or tens of thousands of billionaires are taxed for a dollar each. And that's just to handle ONE orphan.

B -- There is no logical justification for to restrict this principle to two year old orphans. What about a twenty year old quadraplegic woman or a seventy year old man with Alzheimer's disease?

To restate your proposition in its correct logical format, it should really be --

A -- Tax everyone whatever it takes
B -- Allow those with insufficient resources to die if others choose not to aid them voluntarily

This type of immorality takes priority over the immorality of letting a child die.

Where is it cast in stone that it is immoral to allow an individual to die? Unfortunate, yes. Immoral? Says who?

My thought experiment was a good deal more straightforward than this. I simply asked you to make a choice given a set of circumstances.

It may have been straightforward, but it was neither realistic nor germane to the principle you were trying to address.

The point is that you believe that taxation is wrong, is theft, in every case and at every time--even if it means taxing a billionaire for one dollar to feed an orphan. I don't define taxation in the same way, and would argue that there are cases in which even "theft" is justifiable.

I realize that. For example, clearly you believe theft (taxes) is justified in order to save lives. You believe that in the case of taxes "the end justifies the means". All that is left to decide is HOW MUCH tax is justifiable. From previous posts of yours I gather that many "ends" fall under the "justification" umbrella -- i.e. infrastructure, education, and regulatory agencies. Anything else?

People with different moral priorities are infamous for not being able to reach a conclusion or even a compromise so it's futile to think of it in that way.

This is true of those whose moral priorities are derived subjectively rather than objectively.

But there's nothing wrong with clarifying one's principles and making them known.

Agreed. Let's clarify yours.

In a nutshell, you believe some individuals have the right to force other individuals to act against their will. Your justification for this belief is that there are many individuals.

I believe that anybody who is interested in Libertarianism should know exactly where Libertarian principles stand on such matters of life and death--take it for a "test drive" as I said--before they close the sale. If they can do so in good conscience, more power to them.

And I believe anyone who is interested in Pragmatism should know exactly what the Pragmatist principles are based on -- nothing.

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (08/05/02 04:41 AM)

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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 12,949
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: hongomon]
    #797124 - 08/05/02 05:42 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

hongomon writes:

Pinky replies: "Why stop there? Why not increase taxes to the point where they'll provide free housing (and free energy to heat the housing), free food, free shoes and clothing for everyone?"

hongomon: Why are you forcing Phluck further toward an extreme?

I am doing no such thing. He believes everyone should have SOME things provided to them for free, but not others. I am merely trying to determine why those particular things should be free and not others. What are the criteria for deciding?

Let's follow the slippery slope the other way: So you want to take away my hard-earned money to pay for a police force and and army? Hey, if you want to pay for those, fine, but don't take MY money for it!

Ah! Actually, an intelligent question, and one much debated between minarchists such as myself and out-and-out anarchists.

The answer, in short, is that your rights cannot be protected without agencies whose sole purpose is to protect them. These agencies must be neutral, beholden to no particular individual or group, and must have funds in order to operate. Despite EchoVortex's protestations to the contrary, it is not a given that the funds for such agencies MUST be raised through taxes. Lotteries, voluntary contributions, and insurance are some ways in which the necessary funds could be raised. However, for the sake of argument, let's presume that even with such alternative funding methods, some level of taxation is required to make up the shortfall.

"Okay," you answer, "but I am capable of protecting my rights by myself, or with the help of my gang. I choose to take my chances rather than pay taxes."

This "self protection" argument isn't valid when it comes to foreign aggression. No matter how capable you and your gang may be at self defense, you will not be able to deter an invasion of a foreign power. The days have long since passed when farmers could drop their plows, grap their pitchforks, and repel Attila and his invading hordes. These days a standing military that is both well-trained and well-equipped with modern armaments is necessary.

But let's examine the case of domestic law enforcement a bit more closely. Can we envision a system in which only those who are taxpayers have access to the police and the courts?

Let's say you choose not to pay taxes, and a criminal rapes your daughter, steals your car, and burns down your house. What is your response? If you choose to grieve and then get on with your life, no problem. But if you and your gang decide to catch and punish the criminal, many problems. In the interest of keeping this short, I will leave it to the reader to come up with a few of the more obvious ones.

"Yes," you say, "I realize vigilanteism isn't the answer, I believe in forgiveness. I have no intention of trying to find the culprit. I will take my lumps and let God deal with the miscreant. Not only that, but I don't care if Attila the Hun invades us and puts me to death, either. What justification do you have for FORCING me to pay to have my rights protected when I don't WANT them to be protected?"

Good question. The answer is -- there IS no justification, which is why involuntary taxation is theft, regardless of WHAT use the funds from said taxation are ultimately used for. Income tax is theft, because you have no say in the matter. You are FORCED to pay income tax if you have an income. However, a sales tax on, say, restaurant food, is not an involuntary tax. No one is forcing you to eat in restaurants -- you are free to prepare your own food. A tax on imported cars is not theft. No one is forcing you to buy an imported car -- you can buy a domestic car or use public transportation and taxis. "Luxury" taxes on diamonds, liquor, and cigarettes are not theft. You can prospect for your own diamonds, brew your own wine, and grow your own tobacco. Or you can do without.

If, and ONLY if, the funding for the necessary protective agencies (police, courts, and military) cannot be raised without resorting to taxation, then such "discretionary" taxation is the only variant which may (possibly) be justified.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 12,949
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: hongomon]
    #797164 - 08/05/02 06:09 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

hongomon writes:

Mr Mushrooms, I disagree. I say that the great challenge facing civilization is to establish a system that balances these three imperatives:
1-- to protect basic human rights (let's say "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, for now, though of course this is still a bit vague I know)
2-- to avoid robbing individuals of their initiative
3-- to prevent the gap between rich and poor from increasing unchecked


I am curious. Why must a system exist that even ADDRESSES either point 2 or point 3, let alone BALANCE them? I agree that points 2 and 3 would be nice to have, but IMPERATIVE? Hardly.

I don't believe a system exists which by itself does this successfully.

I don't believe so either. So what?

EchoVortex's post, as I understand it, is suggesting that libertarianism (which unless I'm wrong is basically the same thing as capitalism, in its philosophical sense)...

Essentially correct, except many (not all) Libertarians believe in a bit more government intervention than do pure Capitalists.

...has no answer for number 3. Or, that its answer is something like "It's a cold world, but that's how it has to be."

Correct. There will ALWAYS be widening gap between the richest and the poorest individuals in a given society, regardless of how that society is organized. Observe the lifestyles of the members of the Politburo of the USSR vs that of the peasants on the collective farms, for example.

However, observe that the poorest quintile of those in a relatively capitalist country, such as the United States, have a collective wealth greater than that of the richest quintile of an oppressive slave state such as the ex-USSR. Immigrants often express their wonderment that in the US, people with cablevision, a car (even an ancient beater), a single-family apartment, etc., are considered "poor". In most countries, there is no such thing as a fat "poor" person.

To further complicate matters, whether we approve of it or not globalization is now a fact of life.

Correct again. What's your point? "Globalization" is nothing more than the current buzzword for free trade. Do you think that government subsidies for businesses who export are a good thing? Do you think that tariffs and restriction of foreign imports are a good thing?

I hate to sound Calvanistic, but I just don't think we can count on man's basic goodness to pick up the slack. Would that we could!

Here we have an oft-expressed sentiment of the Leftist crowd. As a matter of fact, it's practically their mantra -- "We must FORCE men to do good things because they are either too evil or too stupid to do them voluntarily." I personally have a less cheerless view of the human race than Leftists do. Yes, there are assholes, but the majority of the human race DO exhibit benevolence towards their fellow men.

I'm afraid I won't have a chance to continue my end of this. I leave the country tomorrow morning, and my internet time will be scarce for a while. Maybe the weekends, I may find my way to a cafe in the big town.

Seeya.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Registered: 02/06/02
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: Phred]
    #797386 - 08/05/02 07:57 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

"Okay then, replace New Delhi with New York. What is the relationship of distance to necessity in your thought experiment, anyway? If John Doe lives in Los Angeles and Sally lives in New York, he must pay for her upbringing, but if she lives in New Delhi he doesn't? Morality is morality -- it supersedes artificial political boundaries, does it not?"

Morality in the abstract does, but practical moral action cannot. Basically you're arguing that the notions of national sovereignty and political boundaries are arbitrary--which, as a matter of fact, they are. But even as that is the case, they are still operative and societies arrange their affairs according to those notions, as opposed to the notions upheld, say, by the Holy Roman Empire or by proponents of World Government or local autonomy.

"I understood that. But if it is correct to steal a bit of money from one individual to save one life, it logically follows that it is correct to steal lots of money from everyone to save all lives. "

The flip side of the logical presupposition behind this statement is that if you can't do everything, you should do nothing. We can apply this logic to all sorts of life situations and get equally absurd results. "Well, I can't learn everything there is to know, so why should I bother learning anything!"

"The two options do not adhere to reality. It is easy to construct a fallacious "straw man" example, then make it look foolish. "

This is what you do all the time. Following suppositions to their logical conclusions always involves creating scenarios that stretch or exceed the limits of reality. You're right, reality is a very messy affair, which means that both this straw man and the ones which you construct (about having to "steal lots of money to save all lives", for example) have equally little relation to reality.

"And I believe anyone who is interested in Pragmatism should know exactly what the Pragmatist principles are based on -- nothing. "

Quite the contrary. Pragmatism rests on a constant and vigilant attention to existing physical realities and social relations. It is flexible because it recognizes the dynamic and changing nature of social relaity. Libertarianism and Capitalism rest on insufficiently proven abstract notions--which was true of Communism as well.

Let's talk about the morality of theft, shall we? It's a topic you seem to find very important.

Libertarians are staunch defenders of property rights, yet they are perfectly content to live in a nation (or rather, nations) that were forged on the basis of violence, theft, and deception. We can limit this discussion to the United States for the time being, but it is more or less applicable to all of the Americas as well as to parts of the old world as well. Much of the territory that the United States now occupies was taken by force and fraud (that is to say, stolen) from its prior inhabitants. The posession of this land is one of the many bases on which the wealth of this nation is formed (particularly when one considers the wealth of natural resources held within the land). Yet I don't see Libertarians working to hand this land back to the descendants of its previous owners.

In other words, Libertarians share the widely held (and you could say, Pragmatic) view that the mere passage of time is sufficient to turn stolen goods into legitimate property. This is a view that all the world recognizes: theft, whether by conquest or subterfuge, is redeemed by the passage of time, so long as the thief maintains the power to protect and maintain his stolen goods. Once again, a variation on the theme of "might makes right." Is this a moral position? No, it is thoroughly immoral, but it is a reflection of a reality about which one can do very little.

The problem with the Libertarian position is that it defines morality in very selective and, indeed, self-serving ways. The gist of it is something like "there's no reason that I should return the goods that were stolen by my forefathers, but no way, no how, is anybody going to steal anything from me." In other words, it simulatenously upholds the (immoral) notion that the mere passage of time legitimates theft, while at the same time trying to take the moral high ground in regard to all present and future threats to its own property.

There are a lot of names for this: hypocricy, double standards, etc. It is an inconsistent application of morality in a way that is patently self-serving. But there's really no reason to take this brand of "morality" seriously as morality. It is, in fact, a breed of self-serving pragmatism (as opposed to equality-oriented or stability-oriented pragmatism) that tries to camouflage itself in the rhetoric (but not the actions) of morality.

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Anonymous

Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: Swami]
    #797713 - 08/05/02 10:55 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

What do you do?

Not answer you. I guess he's just intellectually lazy.

Yours,

Hey, and what are you doing down here?

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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: EchoVortex]
    #798005 - 08/05/02 01:02 PM (21 years, 8 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

Basically you're arguing that the notions of national sovereignty and political boundaries are arbitrary--which, as a matter of fact, they are. But even as that is the case, they are still operative and societies arrange their affairs according to those notions, as opposed to the notions upheld, say, by the Holy Roman Empire or by proponents of World Government or local autonomy.

Okay then. For the sake of argument let's assume this proposition holds true, and that John Doe (and others of his ilk) is not being immoral if he refuses to pay for the upbringing of orphans in other countries. I am still waiting for you to explain how the fact that he lives in the US makes him responsible for the lives of American orphans he has never met.

The flip side of the logical presupposition behind this statement is that if you can't do everything, you should do nothing.

You sure you don't want to rethink that statement? The two are (logically speaking) not even remotely equivalent. It is not a question of "can" at all, it is a question of "should".

This is what you do all the time.

No I don't. I call you on this. Find a single straw man fallacy I have presented on this board. Any thread, any topic. Can't be done.

Following suppositions to their logical conclusions always involves creating scenarios that stretch or exceed the limits of reality.

You have never taken a course in logic, have you? Again, this is not true at all. It is entirely possible to create a scenario that adheres to the actual facts at hand, then pursue it to its logical conclusion. You're just upset because YOUR scenario of saving an orphan's life by stealing a dollar from a stranger was poorly constructed, and fails your own "reality test". My scenarios don't.

You're right, reality is a very messy affair, which means that both this straw man...

So you admit it was a straw man? Thank you.

... and the ones which you construct (about having to "steal lots of money to save all lives", for example) have equally little relation to reality.

What I constructed was not a straw man, but a scenario consistent with the FACTS.

Fact: It takes a substantial sum of money to raise an infant orphan to the stage where she can support herself.

Fact: There are many orphans.

Inescapable logical conclusion: If it is moral to take money from individuals against their will (to put it baldly, to STEAL their money) in order to keep these orphans alive, then it will be necessary to take a LOT of money.

Please show how this ignores the FACTS of reality, and thereby meets the definition of a "straw man" fallacy.

Quite the contrary. Pragmatism rests on a constant and vigilant attention to existing physical realities and social relations. It is flexible because it recognizes the dynamic and changing nature of social relaity.

No, it is "flexible" because it deals strictly in concretes rather than abstractions. Since it has no recognized fundamental principles as its foundation, Pragmatism is (ironically) not practical at all. In a nutshell, the motto of Pragmatism is : "Whatever works (for the moment)," while never supplying a definition of "works".

Libertarianism and Capitalism rest on insufficiently proven abstract notions...

In your opinion. You are adept at ignoring historical fact, however. We've had this argument before, so I'll stop here.

...which was true of Communism as well.

It is true that Communism is based on abstract principle. The problem is that the principles of Marxism contradict the observable nature of the universe and man's relationship to it. It is not enough to have any old abstract principle, one must have a CORRECT abstract principle. Pragmatism has neither.

Much of the territory that the United States now occupies was taken by force and fraud (that is to say, stolen) from its prior inhabitants.

This is the case of EVERY piece of inhabited land on the planet, if you go far enough back in time. Where are the Babylonians today?

This is a view that all the world recognizes: theft, whether by conquest or subterfuge, is redeemed by the passage of time, so long as the thief maintains the power to protect and maintain his stolen goods.

Which is why it is so critical that property rights be paramount -- so that conquest and subterfuge do NOT continue to happen until the end of time. It is not possible to undo the actions of those long dead. It IS possible to refrain from committing similar actions, and to prevent others from so doing.

Once again, a variation on the theme of "might makes right." Is this a moral position? No, it is thoroughly immoral...

Not exactly. If anything, it might be argued that this "variation on a theme" is morally neutral.

... but it is a reflection of a reality about which one can do very little.

Exactly. In most cases it is impossible to return a given piece of land to the descendants of the original owners, since there ARE no descendants. I live on the island of Hispaniola, which was inhabited by the Taino when Columbus arrived. The Spaniards wiped the Taino out to the last man. To whom should I give my land?

In other cases (when the "original" inhabitants were nomadic hunter-gatherers) there never WAS "ownership" by those inhabitants. It is only necessary to own a piece of land if one intends to build either a permanent dwelling or a permanent enterprise to produce wealth, such as a farm or a mine or a factory. The nomadic tribesmen had no need for ownership of land, but they did own other property; their horses, tents, and tools, for example.

The problem with the Libertarian position is that it defines morality in very selective...

If by selective you mean fundamental, then you are correct. The Libertarian (or Capitalist) principle states it is immoral to initiate the use of force against another human. How is that selective? Clearly it applies to ALL humans.

...and, indeed, self-serving ways.

How is it self-serving? Again, the same rule holds for ALL individuals. Even Pragmatists are accorded the same treatment.

The gist of it is something like "there's no reason that I should return the goods that were stolen by my forefathers, but no way, no how, is anybody going to steal anything from me."

I don't know about you, but I have no goods that were stolen from anyone. My parents gave me an old black and white TV and some beat-up kitchen chairs from K-Mart when I left home. To the best of my knowledge, they were originally bought with savings from my father's salary, not plundered from the Sioux.

In other words, it simulatenously upholds the (immoral) notion that the mere passage of time legitimates theft...

Actually, no it doesn't "uphold" this notion at all. As just one example, twentieth century administrations of the US federal government returned large stretches of land to Native Americans that had been taken from their ancestors by previous administrations.

... while at the same time trying to take the moral high ground in regard to all present and future threats to its own property.

I repeat, just because some of our ancestors may have found it acceptable to pillage and loot doesn't mean we must.

But there's really no reason to take this brand of "morality" seriously as morality.

Yet you expect the readers of this forum to take seriously a brand of morality that holds it is okay to take money from people against their will simply because other people exist.

It is, in fact, a breed of self-serving pragmatism (as opposed to equality-oriented or stability-oriented pragmatism) that tries to camouflage itself in the rhetoric (but not the actions) of morality.

Sigh. After all this time, you STILL haven't grasped the difference between Pragmatism ("Whatever works", "The ends justify the means", "Whatever the majority decides", "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs", etc.), and Capitalism ("Thou shalt leave others alone"). Calling Capitalism "a breed of self-serving pragmatism" is as absurd (and intellectually dishonest) as calling it "market Stalinism".

As for the "actions" of morality, Capitalists hold that there are NO moral actions, except of the NEGATIVE kind; i.e refraining from interfering with others. This is not, strictly speaking, an "act" at all.

Speaking of the "actions" of morality, you have yet to supply us with YOUR definition of morality. Why is that?

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Registered: 02/06/02
Posts: 859
Last seen: 15 years, 6 months
Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: Phred]
    #798236 - 08/05/02 03:37 PM (21 years, 8 months ago)

"I am still waiting for you to explain how the fact that he lives in the US makes him responsible for the lives of American orphans he has never met."

He is not personally responsibile per se. If, however, the society he is living in doesn't want to have thousands of dead orphans decomposing on the streets (no money to clean them up, you see) they will have to find that money somewhere. If there ARE decomposing orphans on the streets, many people (and many of the most productive and intelligent of them) will do what they can to help, but if they cannot they will quite reasonably decide to contribute their productivity to societies that are willing to use public funds to save AS MANY LIVES AS IS REASONABLY POSSIBLE TO SAVE. How to define "reasonably possible"? Different societies will answer that question differently, as is their right.

"No, it is "flexible" because it deals strictly in concretes rather than abstractions. Since it has no recognized fundamental principles as its foundation, Pragmatism is (ironically) not practical at all. In a nutshell, the motto of Pragmatism is : "Whatever works (for the moment)," while never supplying a definition of "works"."

The definition of what "works" is dependent on what you're trying to achieve. Pragmatism can be applied to moral ends, immoral ends, and everything in between. It is a tool, not a moral compass. Most democratic societies have the same end: the greatest peace and prosperity for the greatest number. Pragmatic, mixed-system societies have historically been shown to deliver that.

"In your opinion. You are adept at ignoring historical fact, however. We've had this argument before, so I'll stop here."

Huh? You yourself have said that there has never existed a pure Libertarian or Capitalist society, so what historical facts are you referring to? Surely you can't be referring to the United States, which has income taxes (state, federal, AND local), has drug laws, has welfare schemes, funds public education, engages in tariffs and mild forms of protectionism, props up ailing industries, and does all other sorts of un-Capitalistic things.

Which brings up an interesting point. In another thread, you stated that since a third of the voting nations did not vote for the torture protocol, that means that there must be some good reason not to. Yet the fact that 100% of the societies throughout history have chosen not to embrace Libertarianism or Capitalism (by your own admission) leaves you unfazed. Self-contradiction number one.

"It is not possible to undo the actions of those long dead." Then later you write: "Actually, no it doesn't "uphold" this notion at all. As just one example, twentieth century administrations of the US federal government returned large stretches of land to Native Americans that had been taken from their ancestors by previous administrations. "

So it seems there ARE ways to undo the actions of those long dead after all. (Self contradiction number two). Monetary reparations are another way. By the way, using the example of the US Federal government returning land as a defense of Libertarians is patently absurd. The US federal government is neither Libertarian nor Capitalist.

"It IS possible to refrain from committing similar actions, and to prevent others from so doing"
I very much hope that is the case. I don't support force or fraud any more than you do. The crucial difference is that I don't consider taxation, in principle, to be either. I accept the notion of a social contract. You do not. That's all there is to say about it.

"Exactly. In most cases it is impossible to return a given piece of land to the descendants of the original owners, since there ARE no descendants. I live on the island of Hispaniola, which was inhabited by the Taino when Columbus arrived. The Spaniards wiped the Taino out to the last man. To whom should I give my land?"

Correct. In such a case nothing can be done.

"In other cases (when the "original" inhabitants were nomadic hunter-gatherers) there never WAS "ownership" by those inhabitants. It is only necessary to own a piece of land if one intends to build either a permanent dwelling or a permanent enterprise to produce wealth, such as a farm or a mine or a factory. The nomadic tribesmen had no need for ownership of land, but they did own other property; their horses, tents, and tools, for example."

This is evasive at best. Even for people who did not possess concepts of land ownership it was still theft. They were forced from the lands they normally inhabited and were often killed in the process. Simply because they did not understand land ownership at the time they were dislocated doesn't mean they're not entitled to reparations. That's like saying "it's okay to take candy from a baby because he doesn't really understand that it belongs to him."

"To the best of my knowledge, they were originally bought with savings from my father's salary, not plundered from the Sioux. "

Objects weren't plundered, land was. That land was later sold to somebody else and then to somebody else and so on down the line. The current and all past owners of the land were the beneficiaries of that plunder.

"How is that selective?"

It is temporally selective.

"How is it self-serving?
It's self-serving because it establishes an arbitrary temporal limit on liability. As long as people say "it's impossible to undo the actions of the past" those who have the power to evade punishment for theft in the present will have plenty of temptations to give it a shot. Those who have benefited from past plunder can continue to do so (benefit, that is).

"I repeat, just because some of our ancestors may have found it acceptable to pillage and loot doesn't mean we must."

I agree with the statement as written. I don't concede, however, that taxation is "pillaging and looting."

"you have yet to supply us with YOUR definition of morality"

Let's look at some dictonary definitions first. From Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Ed.:
"Moral implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong (the basic MORAL values of a community). Ethical may suggest the involvement of more difficult or subtle questions of rightness, faireness, or equity (committed to the highest ETHICAL principles)."

Key words for "moral" here: "conformity" "established" "sanctioned" "accepted." The example sentence is even more explicit on this point: the VALUES (which are variable or changeable in time) of a COMMUNITY.

All of these words imply the existence of other people. No appeal is made to abstract universals. The community in which I reside does not consider taxation to be "theft" or a "violation of human rights." If I agree, as I do, then I don't have much reason to complain about taxation per se. I may complain about the ways in which much of that money is used, but I am given means of replacing the people who make those decisions. I accept the existence of a social contract, and consider it to be a moral instrument of governance. I realize that I get certain things in return for my tax money. They may not be EXACTLY the things that want, but I have enough discretionary income left afterwards to do with EXACTLY as I please. The rest I consider to be my due to society at large, although f sometimes, or even often, disagree with that society.

I consider a society that lets orphans die and decompose on the street if it can help it IMMORAL. In the society in which I live that happens rarely, as far as I know. Very often it is averted by state funds that were obtained through taxation. Because I do not consider taxation theft (as I subscribe to the notion of a social contract) I do not feel that that is an immoral act. If other taxpayers, or if I myself, were being detained from leaving the country for no good reason (a good reason would be suspicion of criminal acts) or if they are being denied access to the vote or to public spaces and services, even though they had paid their taxes, I would consider that immoral.

Both I and the society I live in value a certain degree of public security. For that reason I certainly agree that those who initiate acts of violence or force on others should be considered criminals. Going further, however, I believe that the government has the right to prohibit certain actions that do not in and of themselves constitute initiation of force but that create unnecessary potential for harm. Building unsafe bridges, cars, aircraft, etc. being some examples. Owning semi-automatic rifles being another. In this regard, I have been to countries that are highly unregulated in this regard. They have laws on the books but they are never enforced. China is one such country. Although the government is draconian about things like political action, sensitive speech, religious freedom, etc., in most aspects of daily life everything is more or less unregulated. This makes for an astoundingly chaotic and dangerous country.

Here's what YOU don't seem to understand. Mixed systems work. They don't work perfectly, nothing does, but they work. Could we do better? Perhaps. Or perhaps the laws of entropy, human stupidity, and other factors prevent that from happening. What Libertarians are asking people to do is to exchange a system that works, to risk their lives, their livelihoods, their security, their way of life, for a system of governance that MAY work as well, maybe a little better, who knows?, but that also MAY fail catastrophically. In other words, to become a nation of gamblers (which dovetails nicely with the whole ridiculous lottery scheme). On the basis of what? Because they SAY SO! Because they make appeals to abstract universals! Because it's moral! This is all just rhetoric. While they themselves repeat, PROUDLY, that no truly Libertarian or Capitalist society has ever existed. Is this cause for confidence?

If a group of Libertarians or Capitalists or whatever you want to call yourselves could just find a nice, uninhabited plot of land somewhere, in a country with a government that will more or less leave them alone (the DR? I don't know, there's got to be somewhere) and try this thing out on a small scale I would be more than happy to look very carefully at the results. Hell, I'd even shell out the airfare and stay for a couple of months. And if the result was a livable society, full of personal liberty and morality and a decent standard of living, believe me, I would be your most enthusiastic convert. I would get on these forums and tell everybody to go there and check it out. I'm not bigoted about it. To paraphrase Huxley, I'm willing to stand like a child before the facts. But you have to realize that rhetoric is not, and will never be, enough to convince enough people to make that gamble. Only a living, breathing model of a society that people can actually live in with a good conscience will do that. Until somebody produces that, on a reasonably large scale (let's say 10,000 people) it's all just wasted breath. There must be at least 10,000 of you out there, mustn't there? My suspciion, however, is that even most of you wouldn't be willing to risk it all to make that gamble. And my second suspicion is that you'd have a lot of trouble finding many women who would want to join your experiment, which could, er, depending on how you look at it, cause some problems.

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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: Swami]
    #798240 - 08/05/02 03:39 PM (21 years, 8 months ago)

"Sally lives in an extremely poor country suffering triple-digit inflation. She has a rare disease that will cost $500,000 in medical bills to keep her alive. The average income in this country is $45 per year.

What do you do? "

Isn't it obvious? If nothing CAN be done, nothing WILL be done. Sally will die. No choice is presented here.

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OfflinePhred
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: EchoVortex]
    #798856 - 08/05/02 09:05 PM (21 years, 8 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

He is not personally responsibile per se.

On this we agree. If he is not, and I am not, and you are not... in fact, if the only people who ARE responsible for Sally's orphanhood are now dead (killed in the car crash, as I recall), how does it follow that any of us must be forced to pay for her upbringing? Supply the logical connection for me, please.

If, however, the society he is living in doesn't want to have thousands of dead orphans decomposing on the streets (no money to clean them up, you see) they will have to find that money somewhere.

I doubt the issue you are trying to get me to concede is one of sanitation.

...many people (and many of the most productive and intelligent of them) will do what they can to help, but if they cannot they will quite reasonably decide to contribute their productivity to societies that are willing to use public funds to save AS MANY LIVES AS IS REASONABLY POSSIBLE TO SAVE.

And many people won't. For example, I am both productive and intelligent, and I contribute VOLUNTARILY to worthy causes such as orphanages, but I will leave a society (again) before I will allow them to FORCE me to be "compassionate". Compassion at the point of a gun is not compassion at all.

(pragmatism) is a tool, not a moral compass.

Exactly. Pragmatism has nothing to do with morality. So why are you ragging on Libertarians for their (in your opinion) moral shortcomings?

Most democratic societies have the same end: the greatest peace and prosperity for the greatest number.

Perhaps this is true of Democracies. However, that is not the primary end of Capitalism (although as it turns out, the closer a society is to pure Capitalism, the greater the peace and prosperity enjoyed by its citizens); the primary end of Capitalism is the protection of individual rights. Peace and prosperity are merely the inevitable by-products.

Pragmatic, mixed-system societies have historically been shown to deliver that.

If you wish to consider nineteenth century America as a mixed-system society, I'll agree with you.

You yourself have said that there has never existed a pure Libertarian or Capitalist society...

And I myself have pointed out that the United States was the closest thing the world has ever seen to being a pure Capitalist country. For the first century or so, it was about 99% pure Capitalist. The Founding Fathers were unaware (though some suspected) that they had left two crucial flaws in their carefully constructed experiment: giving the federal government the power to mint currency and giving it power to regulate interstate commerce. Although they were geniuses, they weren't clairvoyant.

... so what historical facts are you referring to? Surely you can't be referring to the United States, which has income taxes (state, federal, AND local), has drug laws, has welfare schemes, funds public education, engages in tariffs and mild forms of protectionism, props up ailing industries, and does all other sorts of un-Capitalistic things.

The USA of today has all those things, yes. It didn't always.

Yet the fact that 100% of the societies throughout history have chosen not to embrace Libertarianism or Capitalism (by your own admission) leaves you unfazed.

First of all, at the time Capitalism was invented, all of the countries in the world had existing governments, none of which were eager to relinquish power, so it was not really a question of merely "choosing" to embrace Capitalism. I'm sure you recall it was necessary to overthrow (by armed revolution) British rule in The Colonies before it was possible to form the United States. Secondly, at least one country DID embrace Capitalism -- the United States of America. The fact that they did not yet foresee all of the possible future ramifications of the unperceived flaws in their drafting of the rules does not change the fact that what they embraced WAS Capitalism. For a first-ever crack at a brand new concept, I think they did pretty well. Too bad their successors pissed it away.

So it seems there ARE ways to undo the actions of those long dead after all.

That is not "undoing" the actions of the long dead. It is doing the best one can to atone for (long after the fact) a broken commitment.

By the way, using the example of the US Federal government returning land as a defense of Libertarians is patently absurd. The US federal government is neither Libertarian nor Capitalist.

Correct. But at the time the land was returned, it was still the government closest to pure Capitalism in existence.

I accept the notion of a social contract. You do not. That's all there is to say about it.

A "contract" that I neither negotiated nor signed is not a contract, "social" or otherwise.

Even for people who did not possess concepts of land ownership it was still theft. They were forced from the lands they normally inhabited and were often killed in the process. Simply because they did not understand land ownership at the time they were dislocated doesn't mean they're not entitled to reparations.

Assuming there are any left to collect the reparations. This is probably the moral principle behind giving native Alaskans huge chunks of money from oil revenue.

It is temporally selective.

What does that mean?

It's self-serving because it establishes an arbitrary temporal limit on liability.

If neither the criminal nor the victim are still alive, how is it possible to hold anyone liable?

As long as people say "it's impossible to undo the actions of the past" those who have the power to evade punishment for theft in the present will have plenty of temptations to give it a shot.

Which is why Capitalism realizes the necessity for police and courts -- so that as few as possible of those who give in to those temptations get away with it.

I don't concede, however, that taxation is "pillaging and looting."

It can reasonably be argued that taxation of discretionary items (see my reply to hongomon a few posts previous in this thread) is perhaps not pillaging and looting. Income tax, however, IS. How is taking money from someone against their will at the point of a gun not theft? Does it not meet the dictionary definition of the term?

Let's look at some dictonary definitions first. From Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Ed.:
"Moral implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong (the basic MORAL values of a community). Ethical may suggest the involvement of more difficult or subtle questions of rightness, faireness, or equity (committed to the highest ETHICAL principles)."

Key words for "moral" here: "conformity" "established" "sanctioned" "accepted." The example sentence is even more explicit on this point: the VALUES (which are variable or changeable in time) of a COMMUNITY.


Umm... the example phrase (not a sentence) is there merely to show how to use it correctly in the grammatical sense.

Let's look at the Oxford Dictionary of Modern English, 7th Ed.:

"concerned with goodness or badness of character or disposition with the distinction between right and wrong; virtuous in general conduct (of rights or duties etc.); i.e founded on MORAL law, capable of MORAL action.

Key words for "moral" here: "goodness", "badness", "distinction", "right", "wrong", "virtuous". Note the example phrases illustrating the correct grammatical use of the word in a phrase.

I probably phrased my question sloppily. I wasn't looking for the dictionary definition of the word "moral", I was curious as to what moral code you, EchoVortex, believe in. I have yet to get any answer other than (by implication) "whatever the 'community' believes in today." Presumably this means you believe taking drugs is immoral, since that is undeniably the stance of the 'community' today.

But since you have not espoused any basic moral PRINCIPLES by which you live your life, I would have to ask you a whole shopping list of questions to get some sense of it.

All of these words imply the existence of other people.

Of course. Morality is a null concept in the absence of other humans. A man stranded alone on a desert island has no need for a code of morality.

No appeal is made to abstract universals. The community in which I reside does not consider taxation to be "theft" or a "violation of human rights."

If you resided in an Iroquois village in the sixteenth century, you would find your community didn't consider the torture or enslavement of individuals from other tribes immoral. If you lived in a pre-Columbian Aztec village your community didn't consider the drowning of babies to satisfy the rain gods immoral, nor the ripping out of beating human hearts to satisfy the god of war. If you lived in Afghanistan a year ago, your community wouldn't find the stoning of an adultress immoral, nor the beating of women who left the house unaccompanied by a male relative.

Your position, in essence, is that there is no such thing as an objective morality -- whatever the majority accepts (today) is moral. Here we disagree. I say all of the examples above are objectively immoral, whether those perpetrating the deeds recognize it as such or not.

I may complain about the ways in which much of that money is used, but I am given means of replacing the people who make those decisions.

No, you are not given the means, if you are referring to the voting process. Your vote for a moral candidate means nothing if enough people vote for an immoral one.

I accept the existence of a social contract, and consider it to be a moral instrument of governance.

I don't accept the CONCEPT of a social contract, much less the existence of one.

Both I and the society I live in value a certain degree of public security.

But not the security of making an honest living, apparently. The government can change the rules on you at any time, forcing you into bankruptcy.

Going further, however, I believe that the government has the right to prohibit certain actions that do not in and of themselves constitute initiation of force but that create unnecessary potential for harm.

Agreed. The legal concept of "reckless endangerment" is a valid and necessary one. Driving a car in populated areas (or anywhere other than on your own empty property, really) while dead drunk, for example, should properly be considered a criminal act.

Here's what YOU don't seem to understand. Mixed systems work. They don't work perfectly, nothing does, but they work.

Sure they "work", but for whom? The theocracies of meso-America worked pretty well for those who weren't sacrificial victims. The Roman Empire worked pretty well for those who weren't slaves. Norman England worked pretty well for those who weren't Anglo-Saxon serfs. The Soviet Union worked for those who weren't dying of famine in the Ukraine or being frozen to death in a gulag. Of COURSE they "worked" -- the human animal is infinitely resilient and ingenious at surviving. Because of this trait, a social system has to be pretty screwed up before it collapses completely. Any society can limp along for quite some time if there is a black market operating. Note that a black market is essentially laissez-faire capitalism.

Could we do better? Perhaps.

Sure we could. Capitalism works SO MUCH BETTER. But that is not even the justification for moving to a Capitalist system, it's merely a side benefit. The reason to move to pure Capitalism is that Capitalism is the only social system consistent with freedom, the only social system that completely respects individual rights.

What Libertarians are asking people to do is to exchange a system that works, to risk their lives, their livelihoods, their security, their way of life, for a system of governance that MAY work as well, maybe a little better, who knows?, but that also MAY fail catastrophically. On the basis of what? Because they SAY SO! Because they make appeals to abstract universals! Because it's moral! This is all just rhetoric.

Who is indulging in rhetoric here? Fail catastrophically? Anyone who has read even a little bit of history cannot fail to note the ample evidence that the less government interference a country has, the more successful it is. Many, many examples PROVE this. Pre-socialist England vs Labor Party England. Pre-1997 Hong Kong vs PRC Hong Kong. Post-Revolution France vs Monarchy France. Pre-Johnson United States vs Post-Watergate United States. Post-Trujillo Dominican Republic vs Colonial Dominican Republic, or Papa Doc Haiti. Czechoslovakia vs Romania. Liberia vs Uganda. West Germany vs. East Germany. Canada under Diefenbaker or Pearson vs Canada under Trudeau or Chretien. Nineteenth century England and America vs. any other six countries of that era combined. Hell, even the politburo of the People's Republic of China has finally realized that it must turn a blind eye to internal capitalist activity in order to survive.

While they themselves repeat, PROUDLY...

Proudly? Wistfully, is more like it.

...that no truly Libertarian or Capitalist society has ever existed.

The United States for the first century and a quarter or so was about 99% pure Capitalist. Close enough to draw some valid conclusions from. The other examples listed above corroborate the basic principle pretty clearly since the trend should be unmistakeable even to a Pragmatist: the closer a society is to pure Capitalist, the more successful it is.

If a group of Libertarians or Capitalists or whatever you want to call yourselves could just find a nice, uninhabited plot of land somewhere, in a country with a government that will more or less leave them alone (the DR? I don't know, there's got to be somewhere) and try this thing out on a small scale I would be more than happy to look very carefully at the results.

Already been done, in North America circa 1776.

But you have to realize that rhetoric is not, and will never be, enough to convince enough people to make that gamble.

Really? It was enough in 1776. Probably because Capitalism is more than empty rhetoric (or public opinion polls), it has a solid foundation in fundamental principles that don't contradict observable reality. If anything, we should be even easier to convince than the Founding Fathers, since we have an enormous advantage over them. We can point to an actual working historical example.

Until somebody produces that, on a reasonably large scale (let's say 10,000 people) it's all just wasted breath.

There were considerably more than 10,000 people in the United States in 1776.

My suspciion, however, is that even most of you wouldn't be willing to risk it all to make that gamble.

Then I guess we should be grateful your forefathers were.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: EchoVortex]
    #798878 - 08/05/02 09:17 PM (21 years, 8 months ago)

Swami asks:

"Sally lives in an extremely poor country suffering triple-digit inflation. She has a rare disease that will cost $500,000 in medical bills to keep her alive. The average income in this country is $45 per year.
What do you do? "


EchoVortex replies:

Isn't it obvious? If nothing CAN be done, nothing WILL be done. Sally will die. No choice is presented here.

pinky comments:

Nothing can be done, you say? No choice is presented? Not so.

If the country has a population of a million people, the government can take $0.50 from every inhabitant and save Sally's life. If the country has a population of only 100,000 people, they can take $5.00 from every inhabitant and save Sally's life.

What's the problem? Five bucks is only eleven per cent of the average annual income, after all. I'll bet a lot of people in other countries would be delighted to pay a mere eleven per cent in annual taxes.

pinky



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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: Phred]
    #799395 - 08/06/02 06:11 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

"And many people won't. For example, I am both productive and intelligent, and I contribute VOLUNTARILY to worthy causes such as orphanages, but I will leave a society (again) before I will allow them to FORCE me to be "compassionate". Compassion at the point of a gun is not compassion at all."

You've left, and how many people have followed you? Canada hasn't exactly collapsed because of your departure.

"And I myself have pointed out that the United States was the closest thing the world has ever seen to being a pure Capitalist country. For the first century or so, it was about 99% pure Capitalist. The Founding Fathers were unaware (though some suspected) that they had left two crucial flaws in their carefully constructed experiment: giving the federal government the power to mint currency and giving it power to regulate interstate commerce. "

The United States was never 99% pure Capitalist. This is hogwash. Many of the powers now held by the federal government were held by the state governments, but they were still governmental powers to which citizens had to submit. Property taxes were levied on all possessions. Government had already secured the right of eminent domain. Slavery was legal. Already in the early years of the republic the federal government was forced by fiscal realities to secure broader powers for itself. This is from http://www.tax.org/Museum/1777-1815.htm, a site which provides a handy history of taxation in the United States from early colonial times to the present.

"Government inefficiencies encountered during and after the Revolutionary war, particularly with respect to matters of taxation and finance, frustrated a growing number of influential public figures. This group of nationalists - George Washington, Robert Morris, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams, to name a few - advocated a stronger central government to administer fiscal and commercial policies directly, rather than devolving control to the individual states. Nationalists had several concerns. The intransigence of states like New York and Rhode Island prevented the passage of a tariff, impeding the national government's ability to pay its bills. Furthermore, a number of states had decided to discharge some of the national debt on their own, undermining Morris's plan for the Confederation government to assume the debt burden unilaterally. But without a revenue raising mechanism of its own or timely contributions from the states, the Confederation could not hope to pay even the interest on the national debt. As early as 1780, Hamilton had warned that "without revenues, a government can have no power. That power which holds the purse-strings absolutely, must rule."

Currency issued seperately by New York, Pennsylvania, and the Continental Congress. The rapidly depreciating Continental currency gave rise to the distainful expression "not worth a Continental". (larger version)
The fiscal and monetary policies the individual states adopted threatened to undermine the stability of the national economy. In an effort to avoid raising taxes, and in response to the petitions of debtor interests, state legislatures endorsed the emission of large volumes of paper money. As had been the case during the War, currencies rapidly depreciated, and creditors despaired of recouping a fair value on the funds they had advanced. They also resented relief bills that interfered with the collection of private debts. Holders of government securities, meanwhile, disliked the fact that southern legislatures were granting tax relief to specific groups of citizens, thus diminishing the flow of revenue and delaying redemption of public debts.

In September, James Madison organized a commercial convention at Annapolis [external link], Maryland to discuss tariff and taxation policies. Only five states sent delegates. Subsequently, Madison and Alexander Hamilton called for a Convention in Philadelphia, to be held in the Summer of 1787, that would address the powers and responsibilities of the Confederation.

1787
The ratification of the Constitution shifted the locus of power from the individual states to an invigorated national government. Congress's authority over fiscal policy and taxation reflected this transformation. Under the requisition system of the Articles of Confederation, Congress had little recourse in revenue collection beyond the good faith of the individual states. The new Constitution, however, granted the national legislature exclusive power to impose tariffs and coin money, along with the flexibility to collect excises and levy taxes directly on individual citizens. ""



If the founding fathers had considered income tax "theft" or a violation of human rights they would have explicitly stated so in the Constitutuion or Bill of Rights. It seems I have more faith in their capacity to articulate what they meant than you do.

In any event, your attempt to demonstrate that the US circa 1776 was 99% Capitalist does not stand the test of scrutiny. At all.

Even if it did, however, it still does nothing to address the fact that Libertarians today are unwilling or unable to put their ideas to the test in communes or other experimental environments. They simply expect the world's wealthiest and most powerful nations (who got that way, over the past 100 years, through a great deal of taxation and state intervention) to demolish their political systems. Nobody calls the 19th century "the American Century." America became the world's pre-eminent power during the 20th century, after it moved even further away from pure Capitalist practices (and I reiterate, it was never 99% Capitalist to begin with).

"But not the security of making an honest living, apparently. The government can change the rules on you at any time, forcing you into bankruptcy."

And a safe could land on my head tomorrow. It hasn't happened yet. In any event I'm always free to keep my money in foreign bank accounts.

"the closer a society is to pure Capitalist, the more successful it is."

The example of the US actually rebuts that. The average American is considerably more wealthy today, in terms of purchasing power, than he was in 1776 or 1800 or 1850 or 1900, or even 1950. The United States is also more powerful as a world entity now than it was at any of those times, with the possible exception of 1950 (simply because it was the immediate postwar period).


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: EchoVortex]
    #799970 - 08/06/02 11:21 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

Echo, I couldn't possibly improve upon pinkys posts so I won't even try.

I'll just say this... assuming your anal cherry is still intact, pinky could have you bent over and squealing like a pig in under 5 minutes.

Pinky, that wasn't any kind of implication, just a compliment on your clearly superior stance.


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers

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Anonymous

Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #800635 - 08/06/02 04:53 PM (21 years, 8 months ago)

Agreed. Indeed.

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OfflineAndytweed
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Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: Jammer]
    #1256412 - 01/28/03 04:25 PM (21 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Some like to call the common worker a "lazy welfare rat" (once they get lay-off due to so called "free trade policies"). Do tell?

Liberals want to change the PAY structure.... You know... WHO DESERVES WHAT? - It's not simply about supply and demand... Many people get paid way too much money 'cuz it's been that way in the past. - Fuck the tradition of the white collor workers making more 'cuz they think that there smarter! If the ones that got paid the most were actually paid based on how hard they actually WORKED they would be the Liberials.

Work is work. People deserve to get paid for actual work. - Not so called "thinking" work-(thats not work). Wall Street has shown us where this leads! (Enron/Worldcom etc...)

It's all a ignorent bunch off pyramid scams and PR controll that cant last forever. (EX: Oct. 1929) - Sooner or later the ones that have it so easy thinking that they are smarter will have to dig in the ditches with the rest of us for let's say $5.75 an hour!! - (if we have any jobs left!)

The Liberials are NOT the lazy ones!! Thats our main issue. We are totaly sick and tired off doing all of the work for others that think that they should some how deserve more money for doing far less work...and then to go around complaining about how Liberals are lazy.... (shesh!)

Dream on.





You're using another stereotype when you say that the heads of companies just sit back and let employees do all the work. Although this may be true for many corrupt corporations, I have seen first hand that it is not the case with honest business owners. My parents are upper class Republicans and I disagree with most of their beliefs, but believe me when I say they work their asses off to get their money. They may make more money because they own their company, but it's THEIR company so they should. They took the risk of starting their own company and became successful. That's how business works. This is not to say that they should make 50x the average worker like some CEOs do, there has to be some regulation.

I myself am a liberal so I think that there are many things that are wrong with our system, but you give liberals a bad image when you use your own stereotypes.


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All Information posted by me is for entertainment purposes only and should not be attempted in real life!!!

Edited by Andytweed (01/28/03 04:28 PM)

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OfflineSinistar
I Am Sinistar

Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 29
Last seen: 19 years, 2 months
Re: Personal Responsiblity [Re: ]
    #1261961 - 01/30/03 11:49 AM (21 years, 2 months ago)

lets take the story with sally to its logical end. the streets would become much like prisons, where the weak die and the strong rape and pillage, and the only relationships these ppl ever have are power relationships. quickly there would gangs in every single city, and would be so cruel cunning and overpowering by numbers alone that the police couldnt hande them. no amount of untaxed dollars protect you from the equivilent of death squads. the working poor will see that these thugs are really runnign the town, and there begins the erosion of law.

i also love hearing about the guy who loses half his check straight off the bat. sounds like someone is quite a ways up the tax bracket. poor guy.

if you think your way of letting children die because you dont like taxes wont come back to fuck you your crazy. id like to see a town run on this way of thiinking for a decade, and well talk to whoevers left. my guess is it wont be whinign assed elitests. i think a healthy helping of street justice would bring these guys out of there poor hating %1 delusion. whos with me?


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I Am Sinistar

You Dont Pay A Hooker For Sex, You Pay Them To Leave.

In The City, Where Angels Fear To Hover And Devils Come To Croon, The Sex Of The Night Lets Down Her Black Narcotic Hair To A Yellow Opium Moon.

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