Taxation is violent robbery.

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Sy Borg
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

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Scott, would a person who is stabbed for their money on the street refer to taxation as violent robbery?
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

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Scott wrote:
Steve3007 wrote:Despite what you said earlier, I do still suspect that a large part of your disagreement with US federal government taxation is a disagreement on the specific issues of recreational drugs legislation and the military. You mention them almost every time you mention the amount taken in taxes, despite them representing a minority of US federal government spending.
...The reason I commonly use the example of the War on Drugs and especially marijuana is that it is one of the lowest hanging fruits...
OK, I accept the point you've made about this in the longer passage of which the above is an extract.
Scott wrote:
Steve3007 wrote:In this post:
https://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums ... 45#p382345
the source seems to suggest that education accounts for 15% of US federal government spending. If other states are similar to what you say Connecticut is like (and almost entirely fund schools using local voluntary payments) what happens to that money?
If I had to guess, maybe most of it goes to furniture in DC, or shell corporations tied to bank accounts in Panama or such. Presumably, a large portion goes to employees and contractors working in DC such as those working for or providing services to the USA President-selected Secretary of Education. Also, another recipient is private for-profit banks or such providing student loans for artificially inflated tuitions to overpriced institutions, including private ones, that disproportionately serve the white and wealthy while hard working families struggle to find daycare let alone preschool for their kids, some of which are literally taxed into poverty, meaning their gross income is above the poverty line but their net income is below it. If the EPA buys a $10 million dollar couch, it's considered environmental spending. If the United States Department of Education buys a $10 million dollar couch, it will be counted as "education spending". Recently, USA taxpayers were charged $10 million for Pakistan "Gender Studies".
I doubt that it's necessary for you to guess, and speculate that most of the 15% of US federal government spending goes on furniture in Washington DC. You can probably look it up and see. You can where I live. I did a brief google of the $10 million spent on gender studies in Pakistan. At first glance, it looks like a section of foreign aid that is spent on promoting education of girls in Pakistan. Looks like a good use of the money to me.
I am an unpaid volunteer on the Board of Ed in my hometown....
I appreciate those specific points you make about the very specific way things work in your home town in Connecticut, USA, and your contribution to that. I don't think that system would work everywhere and I'd rather have taxpayer funded schools than have schools whose continued functioning relies on voluntary payments - effectively charitable donations - that, being voluntary, could reduce or disappear at any time. I think the same goes for other taxpayer funded services whose continuity of supply I regard as essential to the society in which I live, such as policing, judiciary, prison service, social services, fire brigade, healthcare, state pensions, unemployment benefits, statutory sick pay, defence, environmental protection, maintenance of public spaces, clean water and foreign aid. Where I live those things are funded by taxation and that taxation is almost certainly not spent on furniture for 10 Downing Street. Not even the flat above number 11 Downing Street where the PM lives when he's in office, it seems. (That's a reference to a current news story here.)
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

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Scott wrote: April 26th, 2021, 1:18 pm Maybe I can help figure where our views are diverging if you answer these questions instead:

1. You and I agree that taxation is by definition non-consensual; correct?

2. Do you agree that taxation by big non-local governments (e.g. the USA Federal government) is violent?

3. Do you agree that non-consensual violent taxation is non-defensive?

4. Do you agree that one human or a group of humans using non-consensual non-defensive violence, or the threat thereof, to attempt to get other humans to give them money is coercion? In other words, do you agree that one human(s) demanding a second human(s) to give them money and threatening that second human with non-defensive violence is coercion?

5. As you use the terms, are the following phrases synonymous: "society killed Bob Notreal" vs "A group of humans killed Bob Notreal". If not, what is the difference in meaning?
Cambridge Dictionary wrote:Consensual - with the willing agreement of all the people involved.
Since it is clear that you do not agree with taxation, and according to the above definition, I would have to say that taxation is not consensual. But I also submit that your attitude to taxation is not universal. I do not agree that taxation is violent; I consider that to be a strange word to apply to paying your debts, or rather, to resisting the payment of your debts. No, being asked to pay your debts is not coercion. You owe taxes in return for the privilege of being able to obtain wealth for yourself within the society whose very existence you lament.

Society is a group of humans, but also more than that. And the "more" clarifies things admirably. Society is a group of willingly cooperative humans, who work together to achieve their aims. There are probably better definitions than that, but mine includes more of the necessary clarifications than yours does.
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

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Steve3007 wrote: April 27th, 2021, 5:10 amLooks like a good use of the money to me.
That is the key point. Who would care about tax if governments spent the money with integrity, foresight and wisdom? Admittedly, after the events of the last half century, such a notion seems laughable.

It's said that a democracy is a system where governments fear the people and a dictatorship is where people fear the government. I think the issue is that overpopulation and the rise of China is driving democracies to move towards the latter.

China points to our future. The Chinese people have endured huge famines in the past and fear that any rebellion against the government would lead to chaos and a return to starvation. So they have sold out their freedom for security. Just as the west has been doing since 9/11. Thankfully, we have not caught up yet. If some western countries stop using high levels immigration to mask inherent economic weaknesses, then we can to some extent avoid China's high stakes and the level of fear and desperation in its gaslit and downtrodden people.
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

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Pattern-chaser wrote: April 27th, 2021, 9:53 am
Scott wrote: April 26th, 2021, 1:18 pm Maybe I can help figure where our views are diverging if you answer these questions instead:

1. You and I agree that taxation is by definition non-consensual; correct?

2. Do you agree that taxation by big non-local governments (e.g. the USA Federal government) is violent?

3. Do you agree that non-consensual violent taxation is non-defensive?

4. Do you agree that one human or a group of humans using non-consensual non-defensive violence, or the threat thereof, to attempt to get other humans to give them money is coercion? In other words, do you agree that one human(s) demanding a second human(s) to give them money and threatening that second human with non-defensive violence is coercion?

5. As you use the terms, are the following phrases synonymous: "society killed Bob Notreal" vs "A group of humans killed Bob Notreal". If not, what is the difference in meaning?
Cambridge Dictionary wrote:Consensual - with the willing agreement of all the people involved.
Since it is clear that you do not agree with taxation, and according to the above definition, I would have to say that taxation is not consensual. But I also submit that your attitude to taxation is not universal. I do not agree that taxation is violent;
Do you think people are put in prison non-violently?

Why do people who pay taxes non-consensually pay those taxes if they aren't being threatened with violence?

If I suddenly refuse to pay taxes to the United States government, do you not think men with guns will come to my house, break my door down, drag me away, and throw me in a cage?

What would happen if you suddenly today vowed to not pay any taxes and kept your vow no matter what?
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

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Sy Borg wrote: April 27th, 2021, 2:19 am Scott, would a person who is stabbed for their money on the street refer to taxation as violent robbery?
I have no idea, but I imagine their views about taxation would be the same as before getting stabbed.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

Post by Sy Borg »

Scott wrote: April 27th, 2021, 9:42 pm
Sy Borg wrote: April 27th, 2021, 2:19 am Scott, would a person who is stabbed for their money on the street refer to taxation as violent robbery?
I have no idea, but I imagine their views about taxation would be the same as before getting stabbed.
My guess is that they would not see taxation as very much like violent robbery at all. One can cope with being taxed multiple times per year but surviving that many actual violent robberies would be pretty stressful!
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

Post by Steve3007 »

Sy Borg wrote:
Steve3007 wrote:Looks like a good use of the money to me.
That is the key point. Who would care about tax if governments spent the money with integrity, foresight and wisdom? Admittedly, after the events of the last half century, such a notion seems laughable.
Well, Scott's view, as he's expressed it in this topic, is that it doesn't matter what the thief spends the money on - how worthy the cause - if the money is stolen.

But yes, for my part, I agree that people tend to be happier to pay taxes if they consider the things on which tax revenues are spent to be worthwhile. But, of course, one of the defining feature of living in a large society is that you can't please all of the people all of the time and that I'm never going to agree entirely with the way my government spends the money that they take/reclaim from me in the form of tax. That doesn't affect my central disagreement with Scott. That is that I am, in principle, in favour of the non-consensual violent robbery more commonly referred to as taxation, even if I don't always agree with the way it's spent. I agree enough to believe that on balance I prefer a society in which certain services whose continuity and relative consistency I consider to be essential are funded by taxation.
It's said that a democracy is a system where governments fear the people and a dictatorship is where people fear the government. I think the issue is that overpopulation and the rise of China is driving democracies to move towards the latter.

China points to our future. The Chinese people have endured huge famines in the past and fear that any rebellion against the government would lead to chaos and a return to starvation. So they have sold out their freedom for security. Just as the west has been doing since 9/11. Thankfully, we have not caught up yet. If some western countries stop using high levels immigration to mask inherent economic weaknesses, then we can to some extent avoid China's high stakes and the level of fear and desperation in its gaslit and downtrodden people.
Yes, certainly from my perspective as a fairly typical western liberal type, a lot of aspects of the Chinese Communist Party's solution to the problem of how to keep society as a whole relatively stable and violent-revolution-free are horrifying. But it's very difficult to tell how it's all going to play out in the relatively near future (as opposed to the far future when we'll all be dead and/or replaced by the intelligent and self-perpetuating descendants of our technology! :D ). To paraphrase Lincoln again: it's difficult to tell whether democracy and the general concept of individual liberty can long endure.
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

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Scott wrote: April 27th, 2021, 9:41 pm Do you think people are put in prison non-violently?

Why do people who pay taxes non-consensually pay those taxes if they aren't being threatened with violence?

If I suddenly refuse to pay taxes to the United States government, do you not think men with guns will come to my house, break my door down, drag me away, and throw me in a cage?

What would happen if you suddenly today vowed to not pay any taxes and kept your vow no matter what?
Why do you avoid addressing the perspective of taxation being a licence to earn? That taxation is owed and due, and therefore avoidance of taxation is theft or fraud on the part of the person avoiding payment of their dues? That you seek to deprive society of its income, and its right to require tax in return for the privilege of being able to earn/obtain money within its bailiwick?

Though you may not approve of it, your country maintains a huge army of killers and killing hardware, and it all costs money. As this army is raised and maintained on your behalf, who else but you (and your fellow countrymen) should pay for it? What about the (very limited) healthcare provided to those American citizens who can't afford it, and other welfare benefits (also severely limited) too?

Can you deny that you are trying to steal from your own society, your own people, by proposing that tax need not be paid?
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

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Pattern-chaser wrote: April 28th, 2021, 6:52 am
Scott wrote: April 27th, 2021, 9:41 pm Do you think people are put in prison non-violently?

Why do people who pay taxes non-consensually pay those taxes if they aren't being threatened with violence?

If I suddenly refuse to pay taxes to the United States government, do you not think men with guns will come to my house, break my door down, drag me away, and throw me in a cage?

What would happen if you suddenly today vowed to not pay any taxes and kept your vow no matter what?
Why do you avoid addressing the perspective of taxation being a licence to earn? That taxation is owed and due, and therefore avoidance of taxation is theft or fraud on the part of the person avoiding payment of their dues? That you seek to deprive society of its income, and its right to require tax in return for the privilege of being able to earn/obtain money within its bailiwick?

Though you may not approve of it, your country maintains a huge army of killers and killing hardware, and it all costs money. As this army is raised and maintained on your behalf, who else but you (and your fellow countrymen) should pay for it? What about the (very limited) healthcare provided to those American citizens who can't afford it, and other welfare benefits (also severely limited) too?

Can you deny that you are trying to steal from your own society, your own people, by proposing that tax need not be paid?
Good point. Criticizing the status quo without a superior alternative is an intellectually dishonest exercise in rock throwing.
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

Post by Empiricist-Bruno »

Pattern-chaser wrote: April 28th, 2021, 6:52 am
Scott wrote: April 27th, 2021, 9:41 pm Do you think people are put in prison non-violently?

Why do people who pay taxes non-consensually pay those taxes if they aren't being threatened with violence?

If I suddenly refuse to pay taxes to the United States government, do you not think men with guns will come to my house, break my door down, drag me away, and throw me in a cage?

What would happen if you suddenly today vowed to not pay any taxes and kept your vow no matter what?
Why do you avoid addressing the perspective of taxation being a licence to earn? That taxation is owed and due, and therefore avoidance of taxation is theft or fraud on the part of the person avoiding payment of their dues? That you seek to deprive society of its income, and its right to require tax in return for the privilege of being able to earn/obtain money within its bailiwick?

Though you may not approve of it, your country maintains a huge army of killers and killing hardware, and it all costs money. As this army is raised and maintained on your behalf, who else but you (and your fellow countrymen) should pay for it? What about the (very limited) healthcare provided to those American citizens who can't afford it, and other welfare benefits (also severely limited) too?

Can you deny that you are trying to steal from your own society, your own people, by proposing that tax need not be paid?
Personally, I have never ever succeeded in getting any of my favored election candidates and parties to form government and I am getting old. I take it that the political system in Canada denies me representation in government.

What kind of citizen would still feel as if they are a part of such tyrannic society, so much afraid of representing minority views, and then feel guilty about not caring to help out that group by volunteering to pay tax?
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

Post by Scott »

Scott wrote: April 27th, 2021, 9:41 pm
Scott wrote: April 26th, 2021, 1:18 pm Maybe I can help figure where our views are diverging if you answer these questions instead:

1. You and I agree that taxation is by definition non-consensual; correct?

2. Do you agree that taxation by big non-local governments (e.g. the USA Federal government) is violent?

3. Do you agree that non-consensual violent taxation is non-defensive?

4. Do you agree that one human or a group of humans using non-consensual non-defensive violence, or the threat thereof, to attempt to get other humans to give them money is coercion? In other words, do you agree that one human(s) demanding a second human(s) to give them money and threatening that second human with non-defensive violence is coercion?

5. As you use the terms, are the following phrases synonymous: "society killed Bob Notreal" vs "A group of humans killed Bob Notreal". If not, what is the difference in meaning?
Pattern-chaser wrote: April 27th, 2021, 9:53 am
Cambridge Dictionary wrote:Consensual - with the willing agreement of all the people involved.
Since it is clear that you do not agree with taxation, and according to the above definition, I would have to say that taxation is not consensual. But I also submit that your attitude to taxation is not universal. I do not agree that taxation is violent;

[Emphasis added.]
Do you think people are put in prison non-violently?

Why do people who pay taxes non-consensually pay those taxes if they aren't being threatened with violence?

If I suddenly refuse to pay taxes to the United States government, do you not think men with guns will come to my house, break my door down, drag me away, and throw me in a cage?

What would happen if you suddenly today vowed to not pay any taxes and kept your vow no matter what?
Pattern-chaser wrote: April 28th, 2021, 6:52 am

Why do you avoid addressing the perspective of taxation being a licence to earn? That taxation is owed and due, and therefore avoidance of taxation is theft or fraud on the part of the person avoiding payment of their dues? That you seek to deprive society of its income, and its right to require tax in return for the privilege of being able to earn/obtain money within its bailiwick?

Though you may not approve of it, your country maintains a huge army of killers and killing hardware, and it all costs money. As this army is raised and maintained on your behalf, who else but you (and your fellow countrymen) should pay for it? What about the (very limited) healthcare provided to those American citizens who can't afford it, and other welfare benefits (also severely limited) too?

Can you deny that you are trying to steal from your own society, your own people, by proposing that tax need not be paid?
Can you answer my questions first since I asked first:

1. Do you think people are put in prison non-violently?

2. Why do people who pay taxes non-consensually pay those taxes if they aren't being threatened with violence?

3. If I suddenly refuse to pay taxes to the United States government, do you not think men with guns will come to my house, break my door down, drag me away, and throw me in a cage?

4. What would happen if you suddenly today vowed to not pay any taxes and kept your vow no matter what?


Alternatively, if you concede the point that taxation is violent then the questions above are moot.
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"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

Post by Scott »

Sy Borg wrote: April 28th, 2021, 4:58 am
Scott wrote: April 27th, 2021, 9:42 pm
Sy Borg wrote: April 27th, 2021, 2:19 am Scott, would a person who is stabbed for their money on the street refer to taxation as violent robbery?
I have no idea, but I imagine their views about taxation would be the same as before getting stabbed.
My guess is that they would not see taxation as very much like violent robbery at all. One can cope with being taxed multiple times per year but surviving that many actual violent robberies would be pretty stressful!
Are you assuming the person was not also shot by a government agent? If so, why? Does it have to do with the skin color of the imaginary person and what country the imaginary person lives in? Because I agree all those kinds of factors could affect what I would guess the imaginary persons views about taxation are. However, since the person doesn't exist and all these qualities the person are unknown, I don't think we can reasonably say what that particular imaginary human's opinions about taxation would be. Granted, if you asked a totally random human their opinion about anything (taxation or otherwise) the odds of that human sharing my opinion about the same is extremely slim.

I'd rather get stabbed once than go to prison for a year, let alone longer, but one person's trash is another person's treasure. I'd rather be mugged on the street then be subject to a no-knock raid in my own home by police, and find the latter to be more likely to lead to PTSD, if not simple because it's easier to avoid streets than home, and easier to avoid lone muggers than police.

However, perhaps your point is that in practice typically most humans would prefer to be coerced via the threat of violence, which they then obey, as opposed to having actual bodily injury done. If so, then I agree with you about that.

In other words, for example, most humans would rather have a bank robber threaten to pull out a gun and shoot them if they don't hand over their money, versus having the bank robber actually shoot them with no threats made and then while they bleed out take their money. If that's your point, roughly speaking, then I fully agree.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

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Scott wrote: April 14th, 2021, 10:07 pm Generally speaking, taxation is violent robbery that makes the rich richer.
I find this sort of argument a bit childish.
The state creates the money and if you want some of it you have to pay some of it back.
The function of tax is to justify and make money valuable.
If you don't like tax, then do not take any money.
If you have some on you, now, get it out of your pocket and tell me what you see. The queen maybe? George Washington; icons of the government?
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Re: Taxation is violent robbery.

Post by Sy Borg »

Scott wrote: April 28th, 2021, 2:45 pm
Sy Borg wrote: April 28th, 2021, 4:58 am
Scott wrote: April 27th, 2021, 9:42 pm
Sy Borg wrote: April 27th, 2021, 2:19 am Scott, would a person who is stabbed for their money on the street refer to taxation as violent robbery?
I have no idea, but I imagine their views about taxation would be the same as before getting stabbed.
My guess is that they would not see taxation as very much like violent robbery at all. One can cope with being taxed multiple times per year but surviving that many actual violent robberies would be pretty stressful!
Are you assuming the person was not also shot by a government agent? If so, why? Does it have to do with the skin color of the imaginary person and what country the imaginary person lives in? Because I agree all those kinds of factors could affect what I would guess the imaginary persons views about taxation are. However, since the person doesn't exist and all these qualities the person are unknown, I don't think we can reasonably say what that particular imaginary human's opinions about taxation would be. Granted, if you asked a totally random human their opinion about anything (taxation or otherwise) the odds of that human sharing my opinion about the same is extremely slim.

I'd rather get stabbed once than go to prison for a year, let alone longer, but one person's trash is another person's treasure. I'd rather be mugged on the street then be subject to a no-knock raid in my own home by police, and find the latter to be more likely to lead to PTSD, if not simple because it's easier to avoid streets than home, and easier to avoid lone muggers than police.

However, perhaps your point is that in practice typically most humans would prefer to be coerced via the threat of violence, which they then obey, as opposed to having actual bodily injury done. If so, then I agree with you about that.

In other words, for example, most humans would rather have a bank robber threaten to pull out a gun and shoot them if they don't hand over their money, versus having the bank robber actually shoot them with no threats made and then while they bleed out take their money. If that's your point, roughly speaking, then I fully agree.
My point is that referring to tax as "violent robbery" would be as insulting to people who have actually been violently robbed as the metaphorical use of rape are to victims when used to describe issues far milder than actual rape. I like to cut vulnerable people slack, just as I want people to cut me some slack when I am vulnerable.

Tax is a quarterly or annual hassle and an inconvenience. Would you prefer to be stabbed or beaten up every quarter? Would you survive it? Violent robbery is not just about the act, but fear of death. By contrast, there is more control over tax. That is, a person can pay tax like a good citizen and suffer no further consequences, or a person can be a parasite and try to avoid responsibility, at which point they risk fines or, if they are intransigent, they refuse to pay the fines and go to prison.
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