taxes

If The Government Were A Person

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Herbert Spencer – The Right to Ignore The State

As a corollary to the proposition that all institutions must be subordinated to the law of equal freedom, we cannot choose but admit the right of the citizen to adopt a condition of voluntary outlawry. If every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man, then he is free to drop connection with the state – to relinquish its protection and to refuse paying toward its support. It is self-evident that in so behaving he in no way trenches upon the liberty of others, for his position is a passive one, and while passive he cannot become an aggressor. It is equally self-evident that he cannot be compelled to continue one of a political corporation without a breach of the moral law, seeing that citizenship involves payment of taxes; and the taking away of a man’s property against his will is an infringement of his rights.

Read The Right to Ignore the State by Herbert Spencer, 1851

15 Ways to Live Libertarian

“Harry, Don’t Run for President” (LFB.org)

Many of the ideas here are more powerful than others. A few are classic agorism and resistance. A few excerpts:

4. Stop doing business with people who support your enemy. Boycott businesses that live on government contracts. Boycott those who lobby for protective legislation. Tell them you don’t approve of them stealing from you through the state.

5. Support private alternatives to government services. Wherever you can use a private service instead of a government service, use it. Use faxes instead of the Post Office. Use private libraries instead of public ones. Use private schools instead of public schools.

11. Engage in civil disobedience if you are prepared for the consequences. Henry David Thoreau went to jail for refusing to pay a small poll tax. He believed that civil disobedience was a moral obligation. His view of political action as a means of changing government was succinctly stated in his tract, ON THE DUTY OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. “How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.”

12. Find ways to avoid taxes. Cut every corner. Make life miserable for a tax collector. Consider using trusts, foundations, tax deferred investments and offshore charities. Your success will be emulated by others, and every dollar denied a thief makes him that much more likely to find another line of work.

Police Lawsuits Cost Taxpayers $1 Billion

Detective is NYPD’s most sued cop, with 28 lawsuits filed against him since 2006

They’re the NYPD’s most-sued cops, and Peter Valentin’s their king.

Valentin, a hard-charging Bronx narcotics detective whose online handle is “PistolPete,” has been sued a stunning 28 times since 2006 on allegations of running slash-and-burn raids that left dozens of lives in ruins while resulting in few criminal convictions.

The city has paid out $884,000 to settle cases naming the stocky, 36-year-old detective, but he doesn’t seem too concerned.

“I’m not aware of that,” he scoffed at a Daily News reporter when told of his claim to shame. “Once it goes to court, I don’t follow it.”

The Bloomberg administration routinely dismissed the relevance of civil suits against the NYPD, even as the number of claims against the department doubled over the past decade to a record high of 9,570 filed in 2012. The suits cost taxpayers more than $1 billion dollars during that time period.

Crackpipe Vending Machines

Vancouver home to Canada’s first crackpipe vending machines

“This is one piece of the larger puzzle,” See said. “You have to have treatment, you have to have detox, you have to have safe spaces to use your drug of choice, and you have to have safe and clean supplies.”

She pointed out while the pipes cost $0.25, every new case of HIV or hepatitis could cost taxpayers up to $250,000 in medical treatment.

Harvard Lectures On Libertarianism Parts 1 & 2

Introductory basics of libertarianism, a short lecture and discussion with Dr Michael J. Sandel at Harvard University. Each video is around 25 minutes and gives a general overview of libertarian political philosophy, with discussion from attendees/students and some brief criticisms/rebuttals.

Selected highlights of the lecture.

  • Individual human rights serve as the highest value and the basis of justice within the context of libertarianism.
    • In contrast to utilitarianism – the highest form of justice or value being that which provides the greatest utility or benefit for the maximum number of people.
      • The libertarian value of self-ownership, or the self as individual property, versus utilitarianism: May a doctor use a healthy man for his organs if they provide a greater quality of good for more people? The right of the individual, on the basis that he is his own property, is greater than the potential good arising from the sacrifice of that individual to the benefit of others. This is intrinsic to libertarianism. If self-ownership provides the basis for an individual’s right to his body, the same principle of self-ownership applies to the individual in respect to all that he owns.
  • As individual liberty is the fundamental, basic human right what laws or restrictions by the state are illegitimate?
    • Paternalist legislation. This is coercive legislation designed to guide or protect. Seat belt laws are used as an example.
    • Moral legislation. This is coercive legislation designed to enforce moral values. Prohibitions on homosexual marriage are an example.
    • Any form of taxation used to redistribute wealth from those who have earned it legitimately to those who have not.
      • This does not include all forms of taxation.
      • Legitimate income is defined as that which is earned with consent in the context of free trade.
  • Taxation as slavery.
    • Earnings and property are reflected as a product of work and time worked.
      • To take a portion of income is to take a portion of time worked, to be applied elsewhere.
        • This is therefore tantamount to forcing a person to work elsewhere, thus can be expressed as a form of slavery.
          • Taxation = forced labor = slavery.
      • To force an individual to work and/or appropriate a share of that work violates the principle of self-possession or self-ownership.
        • Additionally, as taxation is coerced (under threat of force) it calls into question the fundamental idea that we have liberty and ownership over ourselves.
  • Objections and rebuttals.
    • Those with less have more need.
      • The benefits of taking from those with more in order to give to those with less do not outweigh the benefits, or fundamental right, of liberty within self-ownership.
      • To need something is not to deserve or be entitled to it.
    • Taxation is via consent within a democracy.
      • There is insufficient representation of individuals to demonstrate true consent.
      • There is no obligation to demonstrate or democratize fundamental human rights.
        • “Liberty is not up for a vote.”
    • Those with more have a debt to society.
      • The debt to society has already been paid by the service or value created that resulted in earning more.

A few final thoughts. A young lady named Victoria in the lectures brought into question if individuals, living within a society, truly have self-ownership. That is, that we may in fact not have true ownership over ourselves but are fully or partially owned by the state. Although she was attempting a critique of libertarianism, this reinforces a libertarian premise – state slavery. If we are owned, in full or part, by the state then we are fully or partially slaves of the state. This raises many ethical and political questions, one of which is if we are slaves if we have a right to be free of our chains. The American Revolution centered around the issue of taxation and the role of individuals as subjects – not individuals in a state of self-ownership. This also implies that slavery is permissible today, in the given context of the government owning slaves.