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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Libertarianism and Violence, II

I decided to move some discussion from this post up to the top level here.

Specifically, Watoosh wrote: "Well, if violence is defined as initiation of force (which, of course, presupposes certain property rights), then I think Rockwell is correct..."

Well, if we define cats as elephants, then many people keep elephants in their house. More seriously, firstly, violence is not usually defined that way. It's defined as, you know, violence, so that, say, someone may respond violently or non-violently to someone who aggresses against them. Otherwise, it would make no sense to say, for instance, "He punched me, but I did not stoop to violence in response."

And, secondly, the libertarian usage of "initiation of force" is very offbeat. If I wander onto someone's meadow, most people would not say I had "initiated force" -- I mean, sure, I used "force" against the earth to push off walking, but that's not force directed against the property owner! -- and when the owner shoots me, they would say he had initiated force. The person desperately clinging for his life to the balcony in Block's example (in the first post linked to above) has not "initiated force" against the balcony owner, and the balcony owner, in prying the accident victim's fingers from his railing, is initiating force.

If you have to defend your ideology with word games like this, you might want to consider why.

Also, Bob Murphy wrote: "Gene, just for fairness and accuracy, of the 5 quotes you posted thinking they show how libertarianism condones violence, actually 2 or 3 of them show when violence may not be used."

I'm going to guess that one of the "non-violent" examples Murphy is pointing to is Rothbard's declaration that parents must be legally permitted to "allow" their child to die of starvation. (If I've got this wrong, Bob, please let me know -- but I couldn't imagine what three you could be referring to if this wasn't one of them!) Well, as Silas would so politely put it, "Bzzt. Fail."

First of all, notice how passive the parents are in Rothbard's text: they are "allowing" the child to die. As if, you know, it was asking, and they said, "Sure, if you don't want to eat, fine with us!" No, what the parents are doing is starving the child to death. It is an active assault on the welfare of the child, just as surely as if, like Solomon proposed, they sliced it in half. In fact, slicing it in half would be a lot more merciful than slowly, agonizingly starving it. I'm fine with not legally forcing parents to feed their child, because we really don't want children raised under such conditions, if possible. But they sure as heck have to bring it to someone who will feed it if they won't, such as an orphanage or child services. And someone (child services, grandma, whoever) who comes to rescue the poor infant is not "aggressing" against these monsters if they enter the house without their permission: they are rescuing a victim of aggression!

By the way, the only really non-violent libertarian of whom I am aware is Bob. (Libertarians: I'm not condemning you in say this, just trying to clean up your language. I myself, like you, believe violence is called for in certain situations.) But I'm not sure it's correct to call Bob a libertarian! The thing is, because he's a pacifist, as I see it, "property rights," in his hands, turn into "property suggestions":

"Get out of my house!"

"No."

"Oh... OK."

44 comments:

  1. Hi Gene,

    As a libertarian, I would say, contra Rockwell, that libertarianism is not a consistently non-violent political theory. Nor should it be; consistent non-violence is nothing to be proud of! Pacifism would be a lovely doctrine if we had a foolproof guarantee that all people would practice it consistently at all times from now till the end of time. But as long as there's a single individual in the whole world who is willing to use violence and coercion, it's not only wrong but will produce disastrous results. Violence has a very proper role in self-defense. I regard the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, for instance, as not only morally justified, but also heroic.

    I do believe, though, that we libertarians/classical liberals are generally the *least* violent political theorists, aside from anarcho-pacifists like Thoreau and Tolstoy (and Bob Murphy?). And that, in terms of violence or whatever other metric you like, when you compare the fruits of classical liberalism (our intellectual progenitor) to the fruits of all the other "isms" out there (especially of the 20th century), like Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Fascism, Nazism, etc., it's pretty easy to see this. I know that your current view is that we're better off just having no "ism" at all, liberalism included, but I think this is wrong.

    It's been a while since I've read Rothbard on children's rights. But IIRC, Rothbard viewed it as a two-way street. On the one hand, as you say, parents should not be legally obligated to feed their children. But on the other hand, kids are not legally obligated to stay with their parents; they are not their parents' property.

    So, in your example, I think that a grandma who comes to rescue the poor infant would not be "aggressing" against bad parents. I would argue that libertarian law would have a strong presumption that the biological parents are the guardians of the child's welfare, but that this presumption would be rebuttable, so that one who is able to demonstrate (1) very bad parents and (2) the means and the will to do a better job taking care of the kid's interests, can become the new guardian. I believe that Walter Block has argued something along these lines from the libertarian POV with respect to the Terri Schiavo case and people in vegetative states.

    In any case, the need for this would arise quite rarely in practice, since the overwhelming majority of parents are not monsters who would starve their children.

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  2. Oh, and with regard to the libertarian usage of "initiation of force," of course there is no single usage for this; it entirely depends on one's conception of property rights. Mutualists and Georgists will have one understanding of aggression; Rothbardians undoubtedly another. I agree that it's impossible to simplify a political theory to "don't initiate force," because what counts as force will obviously depend on what counts as property, which is a complicated question that can't be solved by axiomatic deduction from a single premise. But, although you like to pick on the NAP as empty verbiage, I don't think there are many libertarian thinkers who seriously argue this way (that everything can be deduced from NAP, end of story).

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  3. The logic of "response to the initiation of force with force is just and perhaps even advised" isn't entirely problematic. Tit-for-tat usually ends up being a pretty stable strategy in the long run, and I even argue here (http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2011/07/bridging_the_co.html) that starting from a tit-for-tat policy is the only viable way of having pacifism in practice.

    The real problem with the position (I don't know whether to call it "libertarian" or "Blockian" or "Rothbardian") is the initial identification of the violence, which is considered to be most clearly exemplified in the state.

    Let's keep in mind there is no national libertarian campaign against meadow trespassers or against child abuse and neglect laws which have the audacity to force parents to feed their children. Their real point is much harder to grapple with (because the state is obviously coercive and can act like the mafia in some cases), but much more presumptuous on their part.

    It's presumptuous because as you pointed out in your post about coercive property rights and communists, when we start identifying emergent institutional arrangements themselves as being violent or coercive it's not clear why one institutional arrangement should be highlighted as coercive over others. Libertarians rely on people being lazy about this point.

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  4. "Violence has a very proper role in self-defense."

    I agree.

    "I do believe, though, that we libertarians/classical liberals are generally the *least* violent political theorists, aside from anarcho-pacifists like Thoreau and Tolstoy (and Bob Murphy?)."

    Perhaps. But that was not the argument on the table.

    "In any case, the need for this would arise quite rarely in practice, since the overwhelming majority of parents are not monsters who would starve their children."

    There are over a million abortions a year in the US, Mike. If this method of "late, late-term abortion" became legal, don't you think there might be more than a few people who would avail themselves of it?

    "So, in your example, I think that a grandma who comes to rescue the poor infant would not be "aggressing" against bad parents."

    Me, either. But if the parents had not invited her in and she snuck in to save the child, Walter Block would say they should be allowed to shoot her!

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  5. "But, although you like to pick on the NAP as empty verbiage, I don't think there are many libertarian thinkers who seriously argue this way (that everything can be deduced from NAP, end of story)."

    Well, Mike, there are *some*, and some who even go further: Hoppe says that everything can be deduced from arguing, end of story. And many of those libertarians who claim anyone who doesn't operate in their way is *not* a libertarian! (I just had a referee complain that, while I had called Hayek a libertarian, he was, in truth, "a pinko.")

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  6. "There are over a million abortions a year in the US, Mike. If this method of "late, late-term abortion" became legal, don't you think there might be more than a few people who would avail themselves of it?"

    No, because - rightly or wrongly - most people's moral intuitions about abortion are vastly different from their intuitions about starving an infant/child to death. (Peter Singer excepted). Even the most ardent pro-choicers would react in horror, and cry bloody murder, to parents who starve their children to death. And people don't feed their kids because they're afraid the cops are going to lock them up; they do it because they love them! And to anticipate a possible response: no, they don't love their aborted fetuses, because (rightly or wrongly) they don't regard them as moral persons.

    "if the parents had not invited her in and she snuck in to save the child, Walter Block would say they should be allowed to shoot her!"

    That's crazy; are you sure that Walter Block really argues for the blanket proposition that you can just shoot trespassers? I mean, under libertarian principles, even an "aggressor" must still be treated in a manner proportionate to his aggression. So, unless the homeowner reasonably believes that the invaders are going to kill him or something, I don't see how Block could justify shooting them. Further, children are persons and not chattel property under libertarian theory. So if I am wrongfully holding a prisoner in my basement, I can't simply invoke private property rights to shoot the "trespassers" that come to rescue her.

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  7. "when we start identifying emergent institutional arrangements themselves as being violent or coercive it's not clear why one institutional arrangement should be highlighted as coercive over others. Libertarians rely on people being lazy about this point."

    I agree that libertarians who simply parrot non-aggression slogans in casual political discourse are often guilty of this. But I don't think the same can be said of the libertarian literature, which explicitly defends (or at least attempts to) conception(s) of property rights against existing institutional arrangements.

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  8. Ever read any libertarian science fiction. They posit things like farmers who don't hire protection services owning small nuclear weapons.

    No, libertarians aren't pacifists. I think if you put their philosophy into practice you would end up with a very polite highly armed society with lots of personal duels (for those who won't say excuse me or can't be convicted of stealing that money.) and very few large wars.

    The hardest part of the society to implement I believe is the very few large wars. While strictly against libertarian philosophy, it seems to me that fomenting war is the single easiest thing for a demogogue accomplish.

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  9. To clarify my personal opinion: I don't define violence as initiation of force, but I don't think it's always such a bad definition.

    The principle of non-initiation of force is a very popular starting point for most ethical codes (even though "Blockean" libertarians are the only ones who take that principle and run with it till the sunset), and people who adhere to it mostly consider themselves and other adherents as non-violent, despite their use of self-defense. The word violence carries a negative connotation and is usually reserved for people who unnecessarily aggress upon others or situations where the amount of aggression is more than any moral intuition would permit. Your example (stooping to violence in response) is an exception, but the tone seems to indicate that the person regards any force as undesirable, and pacifism as heroic. (Would anyone say "I won't stoop to defending myself?")

    So if Rockwell & co. want to use the word violence the way they do, I don't have a huge objection because I'm not the final arbiter of language. Violence has multiple meanings, none of which is ultimate. The libertarian definition is rhetorically powerful, but it has its problems and libertarians have a lot of explaining to do to people who define violence differently. (I for example would never consider Block's hypothetical shotgun-wielding trespasser-slaughterer as a non-violent person)

    Btw, your cats & elephants -counter-example is taxonomically flawed. Initiation of force is clearly a form of violence in most circumstances*, but cats and elephants are neither super- nor suborders of one another.

    *The Blockean would, of course, consider the bread-stealing Aladdin as a violent thug, which is another reason why violence as initiation of force (=violation of any property rights) is a problematic definition.

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  10. "Btw, your cats & elephants -counter-example is taxonomically flawed. Initiation of force is clearly a form of violence in most circumstances*, but cats and elephants are neither super- nor suborders of one another."

    Come on, your being silly here: I wasn't talking taxonomy, I was saying, sure, you can re-define ordinary words and in order to make extraordinary statements true.

    Watoosh, do I know you?

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  11. I think the ZAP is essential, but not sufficient. And violence is ethically neutral. In some cases it is the correct response to initiated force.

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  12. Libertarianism is actually the most violent political theory if we define violence as the defense of property rights.

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  13. "Libertarianism is actually the most violent political theory if we define violence as the defense of property rights."

    Maybe, but that'd be just as wrong as defining violence as "initiation of force."
    I was arguing simply based on the commonly understood meaning of the word "violence."

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  14. Mike, I think Edward was being witty.

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  15. Mike: "That's crazy; are you sure that Walter Block really argues for the blanket proposition that you can just shoot trespassers?"

    ""First, you are standing on the balcony of a 25th story high-rise apartment when, much to your dismay, you lose your footing and fall out. Happily, in your downward descent, you manage to grab onto a flagpole protruding from the 15th floor of the balcony of another apartment, 10 floors below. Unhappily, the owner of this apartment comes out to her balcony, states that you are [trespassing] by holding on to her flag pole, and demands that you let go (e.g., drop another 15 floors to your death)... the only proper questions which can be addressed in [the libertarian] philosophy are of the sort, if the flagpole hanger attempts to come in to the apartment, and the occupant shoots him for trespassing, Would the forces of law and order punish the home owner?... When put in this way, the answer is clear. The owner... is in the right, and the trespasser in the wrong." -- Walter Block

    Note: this person was only saving their own life, and only wanted to pass through your apartment rather than plunge to his death!

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  16. Perhaps, instead, it should be said that libertarians decry "aggression." Not all violence is aggression, and being against aggression does not make you a pacifist.

    That said, I tend to agree with the responsibilities of those who are guardians of children. I have no problem with you divesting yourself of that guardianship, but you have an obligation to allow that child to find (or find for it since there are cases where it will be unable to do so on its own) others who would willingly taken on such guardianship. There is no shortage of such people.

    I also agree that it is very necessary to establish, from the onset, the premises upon which you base your idea of "property" and what the consequences of those ideas are. Obviously, the idea of "aggression" has no meaning if "property" has no meaning. Semantics are ugly if you aren't forthright.

    Otherwise, I think I've got a lot more reading to do here. :)

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  17. But Erin, pretty much everyone is against aggression. People who think taxes are justified think not paying them is an act of aggression: that's why they say you "owe" taxes and that failing to pay them is "cheating."

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  18. Aggression is, to me, the act of being the attacker, in a physical sense.

    Taxation "by itself" is not aggression; it is theft. As long as there are no consequences for non-compliance. (But there are, aren't there?)

    Resisting theft is not aggression either, since taking your property against your will is taking a part of your life from you- you can never get that part back. Violence in order to prevent theft is not wrong. Is it "aggression" to hide an ounce of gold in your shoe (and lie about it) rather than to allow the mugger in the alley to take it? No. Nor is it aggression to resist, or even kill, the mugger if that mugger is holding a gun to your head, since in that case he HAS initiated force (he has made a credible threat to use force against you in order to take your property that you do not wish to relinquish). Of course we all know that all taxation is backed by the credible threat to kill you (in the game of escalating consequences) if you don't "pay up".

    Now, you can play all kinds of word games to pretend that taxation is different from (other forms of) theft, but that's like arguing that a trout is a fish, but a goldfish is not a fish because it is not a trout.

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  19. Of course we all know that all taxation is backed by the credible threat to kill you (in the game of escalating consequences) if you don't "pay up".

    All claims of property rights are likewise backed by the credible threat to kill you (in the game of escalating consequences) if you don't respect them.

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  20. Btw, to the extent that taxes are used to provide genuine public goods it would seem to be quite distinct from theft. If a person is honest, he will admit that he would gladly pay 30% of his income (or whatever) in exchange for being protected from being blown to bits in a nuclear attack from another country, etc. If national defense is a public good, then the only way to adequately provide it is through compulsory payment, a man can hardly complain that he has to pay for a service he would gladly pay for voluntarily if the option was available.

    Of course, one can argue whether there really are any public goods, or whether governments actually provide them in an adequate manner. Those can be fruitful lines of discussion. But simply condemning taxation for public goods as theft doesn't cut it.

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  21. Kent, some feminists declare that all heterosexual sex is rape. I find your argument analogous to one of them who said:

    "Now, you can play all kinds of word games to pretend that male-female sex is different from (other forms of) rape, but that's like arguing that a trout is a fish, but a goldfish is not a fish because it is not a trout."

    In other words, it is nonsense that only a "true believer" could swallow. (Don't feel I'm being mean: I used to swallow the same nonsense myself.)

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  22. "Get out of my house!"

    Closemary Rooney:

    Get out-a my house,
    My house-a get out
    I'm gonna give you violence
    (Murphy Remix: *violins*)

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  23. "Taxation"- government taking by force (or threat of force) property that is owned by someone else from the person whose life and time went into getting that property, when the owner of the property would not hand it over of his own free will. In other words, it is an act of transfer of property that is not voluntary.

    Rape- Coerced sexual contact that is not mutually voluntary.

    Women who claim "all heterosexual sex is rape" are probably right in their own personal life. If they never consent, it is never voluntary.

    Edward- I have no issue paying for what I use (in fact, my most recent column was on this very subject), but I want to have alternatives and not be forced to pay for things I don't want.

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  24. Kent: 'Women who claim "all heterosexual sex is rape" are probably right in their own personal life.'

    That's not the claim they are making, so what is the point of this "come back"?

    "I have no issue paying for what I use (in fact, my most recent column was on this very subject), but I want to have alternatives and not be forced to pay for things I don't want."

    Simple, Kent. You don't want to pay for US government services? Leave the US.

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  25. Ok, Kent, piss off. Allowing you to air your quirky views here is one thing, but when you start throwing around insane insults implying that anyone who thinks taxes are legitimate is into genocide, you are done.

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  26. Gene,

    I hardly think that anything that Kent could have written is more radical than that of Walter Block, and probably less so than Hoppe.

    But anyway, I wonder if you have ever investigated what one must do to escape the clutches of the IRS if you have ever been a US citizen?

    Short answer: there is effectively no way-you can leave but according to the US government you owe tax on every penny of income you make even if you renounce your citizenship and move to Guatemala. The current administration has been actively targeting these "evaders" in fact.

    No other country in the world has such a tax demand.

    Your love it or leave it is not just trite, it is ignorant of reality.

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  27. "Your love it or leave it is not just trite, it is ignorant of reality."

    Mike:
    1) I never said "love it or leave it" or even implied it.
    2) I never said the US tax system is just.

    Societies require certain things from those who want to be a part of them. That such requirements exist is a natural and justified part of reality. You can work to make the dues other than they are, or you can opt out of the dues and the society. But complaining that owing anything to the society without which you would not have made it past your first day of life is "theft" is to live in a fantasy.

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  28. Simple, Gene. You want to pay for US government services? Then you pay.

    If others don't want a multitude of those services and refuse to pay for crazy services that damage them... Then what?

    Are they allowed to disagree? Or would you just round them up? Or deny their speech (as you are demonstrating here, on your 'property')?

    So is the US then the 'property' of the majority, who can force any dissenting voice to leave, pay, or submit and be quiet?

    What color is the sky in your prison planet?

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  29. sofa, your simple, childish view of society is quite cute.

    "If others don't want a multitude of those services and refuse to pay for crazy services that damage them... Then what?"

    They get arrested, don't they?

    "Are they allowed to disagree?"

    Sure. Write an editorial. Vote for someone who wants lower taxes. Move to a country with lower taxes.

    "Or would you just round them up?"

    If they don't pay their taxes, eventually, yes.

    "Or deny their speech (as you are demonstrating here, on your 'property')?"

    To whom am I denying the right to speak? And why is 'property' in quotes? I pay for the blog -- do you think it's not my property?

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  30. "So is the US then the 'property' of the majority, who can force any dissenting voice to leave, pay, or submit and be quiet?"

    If one adheres to a simple minded, either-or view of property, one has a hard time grasping the idea that the rights of society and the rights of the individual have to be balanced against each other.

    "What color is the sky in your prison planet?"

    Insane delusions of persecution are something you might want to have checked out, sofa.

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  31. Thank you for your reasoned response. And thank you for not shooting me while I visited your personal property.

    One question regarding "the rights of society and the rights of the individual have to be balanced against each other": Who does the balancing, and how?

    I would balance you as a paranoid tyrant.
    You balance me as a simpleton.

    You are supporting the use of force against those who disagree: Agression.

    Yet others choose to defend against tyranny. Simpletons, we, in another time were called 'Yankee Doodle' for our "simple minded" ideals. Rail against me. Know that you rail against nature and reality.

    We, your intended victims, have seen this before. Your "balance" is Stalin's bayonet, and your expressed willingness to use it against those who would dare to disagree.

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  32. Sure, sofa, anyone who thinks we ought to pay our taxes is just like Stalin! Paranoid lunacy passing as argument.

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  33. By the way, sofa, doesn't it even bother you a little that the US founders you invoke, were, to a man, not anarchists, and that every single one of them believed people had an obligation to pay taxes to a representative government? So that every single one of them would be on my side, not on yours, in our current "argument" (which consists in you ranting about how anyone who disagrees with you is planning mass murder)?

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  34. "the fruits of classical liberalism (our intellectual progenitor) to the fruits of all the other "isms" out there (especially of the 20th century), like Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Fascism, Nazism, etc., it's pretty easy to see this."

    Weird, Mike, because those other isms ARE the fruits of classical liberalism!

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  35. sofa, think about how hopeless you have just painted your position to be. About 99% of the US population agrees with me that one ought to pay one's taxes (although there is vast disagreement about the correct level, means of collection, etc.). So, according to you, about 99%of Americans are Stalinists. If THAT is true, then nature and reality are certainly not on your side!

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  36. The Tories taxed our Founders, who disagreed with what those taxes were created for and the harm those taxes did to individuals (which shows that Americans have always disagreed with tyrants).

    Stalin is an agressor who kills those who disagree (which is your oft stated position).

    Your argument then, as you seem to be explaining it, is that 9 men may decide that a 10th must be there tax slave, "for the good of the community as the 9 perceive it"; and that they may use force to compel and/or kill the 10th man if he disagrees with them. That's your argument, and I find it repugnant and tyranical and un-American.

    Or is that not your argument?

    Us simpletons, us Yankee Doodle Americans, we insist that rights are inalienable, and not privileges granted by others. The rights exist, despite what 9 other men may think or vote.

    When you say you will use force upon anyone who does not submit to your tax demands- Then we see the "Tory" in you.

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  37. "Stalin is an agressor who kills those who disagree (which is your oft stated position)."

    Do you realize how distorted your interpretation of others' positions is? No one is killed for "disagreeing" with the current level of taxation in the US. And the current level does not exist because it is my opinion! It exists because democratic institutions have set the tax at the level it is. I believe it should be much lower, and arranged much more fairly. But so long as I choose to continue to live here, I realize I am obligated to pay the tax set by law (not MY opinion).

    "When you say you will use force upon anyone who does not submit to your tax demands- Then we see the "Tory" in you."

    1) They are not "my" tax demands: they are set by a well-established legal process.

    2) You don't seem to have any idea what "Tory" means: There were both Whig and Tory PMs during the revolutionary era. "Tory" does not mean Stalinist! Why don't you learn a little history to back up your insulting manner?

    3) You stil l haven't even addressed my points that:
    a) All of the Founders felt that the government had a right to collect taxes; and
    b) The vast majority of Americans today believe the government has the right to collect taxes. So that:
    c) If my position is "unAmerican," so was everyone of the founders and about 99% of the current population.

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  38. Gene says "No one is killed for "disagreeing" with the current level of taxation in the US."

    Are you sure about that, Gene? Because, admit it or not, the penalty is ALWAYS death

    The founders of America were "only human", and they were flawed. They were often wrong. They believed slavery was OK, after all. They were wrong about The State and "taxation" (which is just another form of slavery), too. Whether a thing is "American" or "unAmerican" has no bearing on whether it is correct. And I've never seen a State that didn't believe it had the authority to "tax". This is just more evidence against The State; not evidence that "taxation" is OK.

    Just because the vast majority of people share an opinion, such as that a State has any rights, including a right to "tax", is not evidence that they are right. Most people also believe in the supernatural.

    Even if 7 billion people were of one opinion, they have no authority and no right to violate the rights of one person who disagreed. Rights are not additive. Two people do not have "more rights" than one. And neither do one billion people. No "law" which violates a basic human right can be a legitimate law (what is often called a "natural law"). And keeping your own property, when you don't wish to hand it over to someone else, is a basic human right. Regardless of what a "law" may order you to do.

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  39. "Are you sure about that, Gene? Because, admit it or not, the penalty is ALWAYS death..."

    Kent, millions of people disagree with the current tax levels in the US. None of them have been put to death. You are out of your mind.

    "The founders of America were "only human", and they were flawed."

    Kent, were you following the discussion at all? The point here was that "sofa" kept invoking the Revolution and how that sided with him against me. I was calling BS on that. There was no implication that the founders were always right.

    "No "law" which violates a basic human right can be a legitimate law..."

    And since there is no agreement on what these basic human rights are, what you are advocating is several billion individual interpretations of "law," or, i.e., no law at all.

    Insane.

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  40. So disagreeing on human rights, means you get to compel others to be slaves for you?

    That's the crux of this- Am I an individual with inalienbale rights, or am I a slave to the whims of a majority of a collective?

    Hint: I am not your slave.
    Double plus un-good to keep trying to make me your slave at gun point.

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  41. "So disagreeing on human rights, means you get to compel others to be slaves for you?"

    This constant emphasis on personal aspertions is childish, sofa. This is not about me and you, it is about the nature of law, which can only exist in a political *community*.

    No, sofa, as an isolated individual, you have absolutely no rights. The very idea is nonsense. One has rights only as part of a political community, and only those rights the community acknowledges.

    And if you try to live in a political community while ignoring its laws, it will crush you. That's the way it always has been and always will be. Welcome to reality, sofa.

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  42. sofa, you just wrote (your comment was accidentally lost):

    "And you've made the point repeatedly that your collective insists on killing anyone who claims those individual rights."

    sofa, you are being an absolute moron. The "collective" is not "mine," and I've never, even once, "made the point" that you say I've "made repeatedly": YOU claim such inalienable rights, and I don't recommend killing you. Nor have you been killed.

    You're an infantile person, deluded that everyone who disagrees with you is a Stalinist and murderer.

    We are done talking.

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  43. sofa: "I'm asking for reasoned discussion, and you're saying you support killing and slavery of people who disagree with you."

    Listen, you blooming' idjit, it's not about disagreeing with *me*, it's about *obeying the law*.

    Now go away.

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