Carlos

Taxation, Regulation and Government Programs in a Free Nation

388 posts in this topic

And why should he (the man who refuses to pay to support government) receive the benefit of protection of his rights when he refuses to pay to support the system that gives him a free land to live in? I'm not saying that just because someone doesn't pay their taxes that it should be open season on them and their rights are suspended. What I'm saying should be suspended is the services the government offers to that individual for protection of his rights.

Here is one of your mistakes. A government does not give anyone "free land to live in." A proper government is created to recognize and then defend the rights of the individuals that live in a certain geographical area. I would suggest you read more about the nature of a proper government. I also think until you can define what a proper government is, we will just keep running in circles.

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Where did I suggest unlimited funding? The very most I suggested was a in the realm of 4-7% income tax.

Oh well, that makes it ok then - to hell with the principle that a penny taken by force is a violation of rights, and that once you grant the principle, you can no longer argue whether it's $0.01, 1%, or 100%, because the principle is not based on a voluntary exchange of values but on how much force can be gotten away with before too many people complain.

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That should read:

because violation of the principle is not based on a voluntary exchange of values but on how much force can be gotten away with before too many people complain.

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Where did I suggest unlimited funding? The very most I suggested was a in the realm of 4-7% income tax.

Oh well, that makes it ok then - to hell with the principle that a penny taken by force is a violation of rights, and that once you grant the principle, you can no longer argue whether it's $0.01, 1%, or 100%, because the principle is not based on a voluntary exchange of values but on how much force can be gotten away with before too many people complain.

Phil, please relax a bit, this isn't constructive.

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And why should he (the man who refuses to pay to support government) receive the benefit of protection of his rights when he refuses to pay to support the system that gives him a free land to live in? I'm not saying that just because someone doesn't pay their taxes that it should be open season on them and their rights are suspended. What I'm saying should be suspended is the services the government offers to that individual for protection of his rights.

Here is one of your mistakes. A government does not give anyone "free land to live in."

I think you misinterpreted my sentence. I don't mean the government literally hands out land for free that we can live in. I meant this this is a free land (free of oppression, tyranny, etc.), and the government gives this to us by the protective services they provide. If it weren't for the government protecting our rights, we would have no guarantee of a free land to live in.

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You say that the police and the courts can "reserve the right to refuse you". If the State has the right not to acknowledge your inalienable rights, then it cannot be called a rights-respecting government. It is, in fact, a tyranny.

Yes. And in fact, note that *visitors*, not even citizens, to any civilized country are generally afforded the same governmental protection as citizens. A cop in any civilized country is not going to stand by and let a man be beaten/robbed/murdered because he's a tourist or otherwise a visitor, and that's part of the meaning of a government protecting a delimited geographic region. Somebody doesn't become less human because they're not a citizen or whatnot.

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I also think until you can define what a proper government is, we will just keep running in circles.

Agreed: the pace of this argument has gotten a little bit frenzied, so I think I'm going to back off a little bit for now.

And also, to other posters in this thread, ease up a bit ok? I don't think it is useful to have four people simultaneously replying to and arguing over a single one of my paragraphs from a single post--that's overkill! :D

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Phil, please relax a bit, this isn't constructive.

Carlos, I am passionately expressing my disagreement (based on principle and logic) with your untenable position, that's all. :D The truth isn't diminished because it's a personal value, the Spock thing is highly overrated...

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You say that the police and the courts can "reserve the right to refuse you". If the State has the right not to acknowledge your inalienable rights, then it cannot be called a rights-respecting government. It is, in fact, a tyranny.

Yes. And in fact, note that *visitors*, not even citizens, to any civilized country are generally afforded the same governmental protection as citizens. A cop in any civilized country is not going to stand by and let a man be beaten/robbed/murdered because he's a tourist or otherwise a visitor, and that's part of the meaning of a government protecting a delimited geographic region. Somebody doesn't become less human because they're not a citizen or whatnot.

Phil, I never said someone's rights were suspended for not paying their taxes, and I never said they became less human, and I even said that it would be insane for a policeman not to step in to arrest a lawbreaker.

What I originally meant was that a Policeman could reserve the right to refuse service because it is unfair to expect him to risk his neck for someone who isn't grateful enough to pay for his salary. So this would be a decision made at the discretion of the police men based on the situation.

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I also think until you can define what a proper government is, we will just keep running in circles.

Agreed: the pace of this argument has gotten a little bit frenzied, so I think I'm going to back off a little bit for now.

And also, to other posters in this thread, ease up a bit ok? I don't think it is useful to have four people simultaneously replying to and arguing over a single one of my paragraphs from a single post--that's overkill! :D

My suggestion is that maybe you might want to take some time and think about what has been said. Why have so many people questioned one paragraph? Maybe because the ideas expressed in that paragraph are wrong and each individual is attempting to show you why your idea is wrong. That is not overkill but justice.

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My suggestion is that maybe you might want to take some time and think about what has been said. Why have so many people questioned one paragraph? Maybe because the ideas expressed in that paragraph are wrong and each individual is attempting to show you why your idea is wrong. That is not overkill but justice.

Still you don't want to overwhelm and press upon the person merely by the sheer weight and volume of everyone's response. I know personally, and I'm sure all the rest do too, that merely because there's a ton of replies to your post, that doesn't mean you have any less conviction in your position, it's merely a lot more daunting to have to reply to everyone. If one person states a rebuttal eloquently, there's no absence of justice if the rest take it easier.

Personally, I don't know how this got into "policeman" territory, because in my judgment the original basis for this argument, the Revolutionary period -- a concrete example where facts are known -- is sufficient for determining the principle. But I guess it's not my thread but Jordan's, and certainly Phil won't feel inclined to respond to anything I said after our heated exchange, so I'll step off for a bit.

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Still you don't want to overwhelm and press upon the person merely by the sheer weight and volume of everyone's response. I know personally, and I'm sure all the rest do too, that merely because there's a ton of replies to your post, that doesn't mean you have any less conviction in your position, it's merely a lot more daunting to have to reply to everyone. If one person states a rebuttal eloquently, there's no absence of justice if the rest take it easier.
But one's degree of conviction is irrelevant. Carlos posted something very controversial, and in my view contradictory. Are you surprised that there are more than one or two responses? The proper thing would be to read and reply to the best responses, after thinking over what was said.
Personally, I don't know how this got into "policeman" territory, because in my judgment the original basis for this argument, the Revolutionary period -- a concrete example where facts are known -- is sufficient for determining the principle. But I guess it's not my thread but Jordan's, and certainly Phil won't feel inclined to respond to anything I said after our heated exchange, so I'll step off for a bit.

If things do get heated, stepping away from the keyboard for a bit is a good idea.

I agree this thread has wandered a lot, and I'd like to see a careful chewing of just one concrete, rather than jumping around.

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Personally, I don't know how this got into "policeman" territory, because in my judgment the original basis for this argument, the Revolutionary period -- a concrete example where facts are known -- is sufficient for determining the principle. But I guess it's not my thread but Jordan's...

I think the "policeman territory" as you call it is probably straying from the meat of the discussion, because debating over endless examples of policemen scenarios is a little too narrow and concrete-bound as compared to the larger idea I have in my head about proper taxation for a nation.

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I think the "policeman territory" as you call it is probably straying from the meat of the discussion, because debating over endless examples of policemen scenarios is a little too narrow and concrete-bound as compared to the larger idea I have in my head about proper taxation for a nation.
Now wait a minute. You accuse others of being rationalistic, and unwilling to consider practical considerations and make inductions from reality, and now you object to being concrete bound when such considerations are made?!?!?

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Still you don't want to overwhelm and press upon the person merely by the sheer weight and volume of everyone's response. I know personally, and I'm sure all the rest do too, that merely because there's a ton of replies to your post, that doesn't mean you have any less conviction in your position, it's merely a lot more daunting to have to reply to everyone. If one person states a rebuttal eloquently, there's no absence of justice if the rest take it easier.
But one's degree of conviction is irrelevant. Carlos posted something very controversial, and in my view contradictory. Are you surprised that there are more than one or two responses?

My annoyance was at a sudden succession of posts that added nothing new content-wise, but were re-hashes aimed at me.

I agree this thread has wandered a lot, and I'd like to see a careful chewing of just one concrete, rather than jumping around.

Same here. If/when I continue this it will be more focused--thank you.

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I think the "policeman territory" as you call it is probably straying from the meat of the discussion, because debating over endless examples of policemen scenarios is a little too narrow and concrete-bound as compared to the larger idea I have in my head about proper taxation for a nation.
Now wait a minute. You accuse others of being rationalistic, and unwilling to consider practical considerations and make inductions from reality, and now you object to being concrete bound when such considerations are made?!?!?

:D I was waiting for someone to throw this back at me!

My point was that I thought the multiple police-scenarios were just far too narrow in scope, and would have been focused more on exhaustingly debating unimportant concretes rather than being centered around demonstrating some central important idea or principle.

My idea of a practical concrete situation to discuss is what I originally started the thread over: War.

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But one's degree of conviction is irrelevant. Carlos posted something very controversial, and in my view contradictory. Are you surprised that there are more than one or two responses?
No no, you're absolutely right. Of course people were eager to respond to a controversial point, hence the (unintentional?) piling-up. RickWilmes somehow made it a point of justice, however, and that's really what elicited a response from me.
The proper thing would be to read and reply to the best responses, after thinking over what was said.
You're absolutely right here.

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No no, you're absolutely right. Of course people were eager to respond to a controversial point, hence the (unintentional?) piling-up. RickWilmes somehow made it a point of justice, however, and that's really what elicited a response from me.

Perhaps, you might want to take a look at the first paragraph that started this thread.

At the moment I have come to the conclusion that voluntary taxation as a means to support the proper government of a free nation (Police, Military, Courts) is a virtual impossibility in reality, especially given the tremendous budget of modern Militaries. I therefore think it is completely proper for the United States to enforce involuntary taxation only for the essential services required in order to protect Freedom and individual rights within our nation. As a counter to the argument that involuntary taxation violates individual rights, I say that you are welcome to leave the USA (or worse yet, go live in the wilderness) any time you want!

The ideas expressed in this paragraph are wrong. Such a paragragh should illicit the response it has received. Free Capitalist you are right, I am making this a point of justice. The reaction to this thread is not unintentional piling up, it is an honest reaction to the ideas being expressed.

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The ideas expressed in this paragraph are wrong. Such a paragragh should illicit the response it has received. Free Capitalist you are right, I am making this a point of justice. The reaction to this thread is not unintentional piling up, it is an honest reaction to the ideas being expressed.

'Illicit' should be spelled 'elicit' . However, I do think the entire paragraph that started this thread is illicit.

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You say that the police and the courts can "reserve the right to refuse you". If the State has the right not to acknowledge your inalienable rights, then it cannot be called a rights-respecting government. It is, in fact, a tyranny.

Yes. And in fact, note that *visitors*, not even citizens, to any civilized country are generally afforded the same governmental protection as citizens. A cop in any civilized country is not going to stand by and let a man be beaten/robbed/murdered because he's a tourist or otherwise a visitor, and that's part of the meaning of a government protecting a delimited geographic region. Somebody doesn't become less human because they're not a citizen or whatnot.

Phil, I never said someone's rights were suspended for not paying their taxes, and I never said they became less human, and I even said that it would be insane for a policeman not to step in to arrest a lawbreaker.

What I originally meant was that a Policeman could reserve the right to refuse service because it is unfair to expect him to risk his neck for someone who isn't grateful enough to pay for his salary. So this would be a decision made at the discretion of the police men based on the situation.

I don't understand what "services" you are talking about in this last paragraph, and it contradicts what you said just before it.

A policeman's job is to protect people's rights. But you say that he also has the right to refuse service to some people. Please concretize this - exactly what services is it that could be refused?

If the job of the police is to protect individual rights, then if they "refuse service" to some people, that means they're deciding to not protect those people's rights. That's wrong. The government needs to protect the rights of everybody in its jurisdiction. Withholding, from some victims, the protection of rights will result in some rights-violators (who have "only" violated the rights of somebody deemed to be unworthy of protection) being left unpunished. And a man who violates the rights of one person is a threat to everybody.

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It would help if you would use meaningful, tied-to-reality language. Instead of, "...I don't think it is necessarily a violation of individual rights to have involuntary taxation...", why not write---'I don't think it is a violation of individual rights to forcefully take a man's money out of his pocket'?
Call me crazy B. Royce, but I don't think you are saying this to be helpful. Keep unneccesary comments out of the discussion.

....

On the contrary, I think B. Royce's comment was quite helpful and necessary. Ideas like "involuntary taxation" need to be concretized.

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A principle is always contextual. Do you see what I mean? There are no a-contextual absolutes, and that's what I think is being put forth in this thread.

FC, there is a distinction between context and situation. The Objectivist principle that all knowledge is contextual means that the validation of all knowledge depends on other, supporting knowledge. It does not mean that knowledge is situational. Except for the highly delimited situation of life-boat types of emergencies, all of the principles of Objectivist ethics and politics apply to all situations.

(And the life-boat situation does not represent a refutation of Objectivist ethics -- it does not represent a situation in which an act that is immoral according to Objectivist ethics becomes moral; rather, it is simply a situation in which no ethics apply.)

The violation of property rights through taxation is immoral and it is valid and proper to say so at all times -- as, indeed, Miss Rand did repeatedly throughout her life. Her greatest hero, when captured by the looters and faced with the demand that he become an economic dictator, stated his first order would be the following: "Start by abolishing all income taxes."

The fact that voluntary financing of government will not work to finance a regulatory/welfare state, and that such state must first be dismantled, does not make involuntary financing moral or proper.

Nor does it mean, as you said in post 62:

That's right, a little bit of absence of freedom.

And what's more, we must be prepared to support that, with conviction, if society is to continue and maybe at some long point down the line, consider changing it if the people are ready.

I cannot see any justification for the notion that we must "support, with conviction", the violation of our rights merely because such violation is necessary to keep the welfare state functioning. To do so is to concede the statist premise that capitalism has failed and that we must now have statism because the alternative is anarchy. That is precisely the sort of concession by which the conservatives have aided and abetted the creation of the welfare state.

I agree that we cannot oppose involuntary taxation "a-contextually", that is, I agree that we cannot oppose it in a vacuum without also opposing the welfare state and defending capitalism. We have to oppose all of it, on principle. We have to be "radicals for capitalism" -- I believe those were the words Miss Rand used.

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I think that the duty a citizen owes to his nation could be paid by choice in one of three ways:

1: military service

2: paying taxes

3: being a public/government official

As a sidenote to all of this, I would have no problem with a person refusing their duty to a nation on one condition: that they suspend their citizenship. They could no longer vote or be a participant in politics, and the Police could refuse them protection and the Courts could refuse them legal representation.

The following Op-ed might be of interest.

The Un-American Call for National Service

The logical end road of the belief that you have a duty to serve the nation is legislation that forces you to do so—i.e., compulsory national service. Like Time magazine, Senators John McCain and Evan Bayh, who introduced the Call to Service Act in 2003, think that “national service should one day be a rite of passage for young Americans.” But there is only one way to make national service a “rite of passage”: by government coercion. McCain has long favored compulsory national service, but laments that it “is not currently politically practical.” Robert Litan of the Brookings Institution has proposed that every 18-year-old be forced to perform one year of compulsory service. This is nothing less than involuntary servitude of the youth in the land of the free.

On the premise that service is a duty, those—such as President Bush—who have called for voluntary national service will be morally powerless against future bills that seek to make it mandatory.

Every totalitarian society in history has rested on the premise of man’s alleged duty to the state. It was Adolf Hitler, for example, who declared that “the higher interests involved in the life of the whole must set the limits and lay down the duties of the interests of the individual.”

To call service to a collectivist state pro-American is perverse. To preserve our great nation, we must embrace not the subjugation of the individual to the state, but his sovereign right to the pursuit of his own happiness.

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I think that the duty a citizen owes to his nation could be paid by choice in one of three ways:

1: military service

2: paying taxes

3: being a public/government official

As a sidenote to all of this, I would have no problem with a person refusing their duty to a nation on one condition: that they suspend their citizenship. They could no longer vote or be a participant in politics, and the Police could refuse them protection and the Courts could refuse them legal representation.

The following Op-ed might be of interest.

The Un-American Call for National Service

The logical end road of the belief that you have a duty to serve the nation is legislation that forces you to do so—i.e., compulsory national service. Like Time magazine, Senators John McCain and Evan Bayh, who introduced the Call to Service Act in 2003, think that “national service should one day be a rite of passage for young Americans.” But there is only one way to make national service a “rite of passage”: by government coercion. McCain has long favored compulsory national service, but laments that it “is not currently politically practical.” Robert Litan of the Brookings Institution has proposed that every 18-year-old be forced to perform one year of compulsory service. This is nothing less than involuntary servitude of the youth in the land of the free.

On the premise that service is a duty, those—such as President Bush—who have called for voluntary national service will be morally powerless against future bills that seek to make it mandatory.

Every totalitarian society in history has rested on the premise of man’s alleged duty to the state. It was Adolf Hitler, for example, who declared that “the higher interests involved in the life of the whole must set the limits and lay down the duties of the interests of the individual.”

To call service to a collectivist state pro-American is perverse. To preserve our great nation, we must embrace not the subjugation of the individual to the state, but his sovereign right to the pursuit of his own happiness.

When I'm using the term "Duty" here it is not the same meaning you will find if you open up the The AR Lexicon and read about the entry under duty that pertains to Kant. Perhaps I should use a different word, but I'd rather not, because I don't think that the common usage meaning of duty is an evil one (I would say the same thing for humble or humility).

Rather, when I say duty I mean something along the lines of sacred or profound responsibility.

Paul, in response to you saying my vision of duty and active citizenship towards a nation is Collectivism in the form of Nationalism, I've read the entry for Collectivism several times now in the Lexicon, and I don't see how what I'm advocating is Collectivism (and I hope it isn't! Because if what I'm advocating is Collectivism, then History tells us that Collectivism works).

I'm not saying that man should be subservient to the state for the common good, I'm not saying that groups have greater rights than individuals, or that groups intrinsically possess a greater significance that individuals.

What I'm saying is this: Freedom isn't free, so if a man wishes to remain a free man in a free nation, there are certain basic responsibilities he owes to his respective governing body. That is why I don't think that involuntary taxation is necessarily bad or a violation of the individual's freedom, because in certain contexts taxation as a means to supporting a strong government is a prerequisite for the existence of individual freedom.

And in response to a poster who said that involuntary taxation has worked spectacularly well in the bad sense of welfare and big government, here is my response: Blaming involuntary taxation for welfare, social security, and all the government's terrible programs, is like blaming the human mind or the intellect for Kantian Philosophy.

I repeat, involuntary taxation is not what has put America in the bad place it is in. The true culprit is moral collapse of our politicians, and great confusion over what the proper role of a government is. These problems would have arisen just the same under a system of voluntary taxation. The important problem isn't how the government gets the money, but rather what people believe the government should do with it. If we lived in an age of voluntary taxation, the money freely given to the government would still get wasted on programs like welfare, the EPA, FDA, etc, because Americans are confused as to what the proper role of the American government is.

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---------------------

When I'm using the term "Duty" here it is not the same meaning you will find if you open up the The AR Lexicon and read about the entry under duty that pertains to Kant. Perhaps I should use a different word, but I'd rather not, because I don't think that the common usage meaning of duty is an evil one (I would say the same thing for humble or humility).

Rather, when I say duty I mean something along the lines of sacred or profound responsibility.

There is no such kind of responsibility without my volitional choice. And if you are going to redefine a concept such as duty or humility, you'd better be prepared to state it up front and give a justification. Duty is often used when the concept should be 'obligation' or moral obligation. Implicit in duty is that the obligation is unchosen or owed as a result of other factors unrelated to the values of the individual. And from what I see of your use of the concept, there is no difference in meaning or implication.

Paul, in response to you saying my vision of duty and active citizenship towards a nation is Collectivism in the form of Nationalism, I've read the entry for Collectivism several times now in the Lexicon, and I don't see how what I'm advocating is Collectivism (and I hope it isn't! Because if what I'm advocating is Collectivism, then History tells us that Collectivism works).

I'm not saying that man should be subservient to the state for the common good, I'm not saying that groups have greater rights than individuals, or that groups intrinsically possess a greater significance that individuals.

What I'm saying is this: Freedom isn't free, so if a man wishes to remain a free man in a free nation, there are certain basic responsibilities he owes to his respective governing body. That is why I don't think that involuntary taxation is necessarily bad or a violation of the individual's freedom, because in certain contexts taxation as a means to supporting a strong government is a prerequisite for the existence of individual freedom.

I'll withdraw my accusation but still maintain my objection to your statements. Freedom may not be free but that doesn't mean that force needs to be introduced into political events. A person doesn't owe responsibilities to the governing body. A person's rights are inalienable and come before any such responsibility. How he chooses to protect his rights is his business, as long as he doesn't violate others rights. He may hire security guards to prevent others from stealing his property; but once stolen, he cannot tell his security guards to steal them back. The government must step in whenever physical force is initiated by one party.

Likewise, if government officials are aware that there is a threat from another country, it should take appropriate actions. But it would have to objectively demonstrate to people that there is a threat and people would have to agree that there is a threat. This requirement would have eliminated about 90% of the wars we've been involved in throughout American history.

You state that all citizens should be required to actively participate in government (military service, paying taxes, being a public/government official). I don't see how you can maintain that this is not an initiation of force. Nor do you justify why these are on your list. (If a court needs a clerk, why not assert it is my duty to fulfill the post, send some police and whisk me away for the duration of the job requirement?) Do you really think that I should pay taxes to California in the event that I might want to go to Disneyland? Should I be drafted by the Vermont National Guard in the event that I might go skiing there; after all, I don't want to be robbed when I go there!

The police and courts cannot refuse legal representation if laws are to be objective. It may be legitimate to require some form of payment for some of its services when rendered. It is the civil courts that may properly refuse access unless a fee is paid to cover operational costs.

And in response to a poster who said that involuntary taxation has worked spectacularly well in the bad sense of welfare and big government, here is my response: Blaming involuntary taxation for welfare, social security, and all the government's terrible programs, is like blaming the human mind or the intellect for Kantian Philosophy.

I repeat, involuntary taxation is not what has put America in the bad place it is in. The true culprit is moral collapse of our politicians, and great confusion over what the proper role of a government is. These problems would have arisen just the same under a system of voluntary taxation. The important problem isn't how the government gets the money, but rather what people believe the government should do with it. If we lived in an age of voluntary taxation, the money freely given to the government would still get wasted on programs like welfare, the EPA, FDA, etc, because Americans are confused as to what the proper role of the American government is.

I disagree. If people had voluntarily given their hard earned money to create a government bureaucracy, it wouldn't have been my money that helped to create it. And I wouldn't even give you that premise of most people voluntarily giving so much money to the government. It is not the moral collapse of politicians that created the current problem, it was the intellectual advocacy of altruism in political action that created the current problems. And it was these same intellectuals who advocated altruism and greater ability to collect taxes as a means to implement their morality. Without taxes, the political consequences of altruism would have remained where it was back in the 19th century.

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