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 Post subject: Is taxation immoral?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:07 am 
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birthdayfan wrote:
1. Not many people know that evil is evil. For example, taxation. Taxation is theft, thus evil. However, people don't know that.

2. As much as I want to right now, I have a severe headache and a test to finish. However, I will provide a brief answer, that I may or may not need to retract/modify later. Following the non-aggression principle is the one thing everyone can do, without harming another person's ability to do the same thing. Everyone can respect property rights, everyone can avoid coercion. These are the behaviours that everyone can do, and are obligated to do. This is contrary to immoral behaviours, such as murder. If I murder you, you cannot murder me. Everyone cannot constantly be coercing at the same time. However, everyone can be not coercing at the same.

On what basis do you claim all coercion is immoral? If you claim the Bible as your basis for morality, could you outline a reason on why coercion is immoral based on Biblical principles?

Regarding taxation = theft: (Albeit a bit off topic): Do you not enter into an agreement as a citizen of the United States of America to pay taxes? It is entirely voluntary, but you just have to relocate if you don't want to pay. ;)

//Andrew

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:43 am 
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anorton wrote:
On what basis do you claim all coercion is immoral? If you claim the Bible as your basis for morality, could you outline a reason on why coercion is immoral based on Biblical principles?

Regarding taxation = theft: (Albeit a bit off topic): Do you not enter into an agreement as a citizen of the United States of America to pay taxes? It is entirely voluntary, but you just have to relocate if you don't want to pay. ;)

//Andrew


1. The non-aggression principle.
2. I was forced into citizenship. A newborn cannot consent, nor does a newborn even have the ability to understand and sign a contract. A newborn is both mentally and physically unable to consent. Also, the idea that a select people have the moral authority to steal and coerce is incorrect.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:55 am 
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Halogen wrote:
I agree that the acknowledgement of moral, rational behavior sometimes causes a person to act morally, but only when the person cares about morality (which we agree is not always true).

I interpreted your statement as a categorical one ("distinguishing between right and wrong necessarily causes a person to choose right over wrong") rather than an existential one ("there exist people who choose right over wrong because they learned to distinguish right from wrong.")

By "evil result", I mean an effect of a decision that the decision-maker would have wanted to avoid.

I've never heard of people accept the non-aggression principle then openly defy it and try to go out and coerce, whether in the private or public sector. However, by no means do I believe it to be impossible.

What someone wants to avoid does not always equal what is evil. As long as the means are moral, I don't see how the end result would be immoral.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:45 pm 
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birthdayfan wrote:


1. Not many people know that evil is evil. For example, taxation. Taxation is theft, thus evil. However, people don't know that.



Taxation is not theft. Taxation is a business transaction. I pay taxes to the government so that I may live in the United States under the security of the US government, holding all the rights that citizenship grants.
You know what WOULD be theft? If I was allowed to profit from the government (i.e. schools, roads, security) without paying taxes.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:37 pm 
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My parents own a huge amount of property in the local school district. (They rent houses.) Every year they have to pay humungous property tax levies for the school district. A school district none of their kids have attended or benefitted from in the least.

We pay property taxes to the county to plow our roads, but then we end up paying our neighbor to plow the roads anyways because we are too far down on the priority list.


These are business transactions how?

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:27 pm 
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David Roth wrote:
My parents own a huge amount of property in the local school district. (They rent houses.) Every year they have to pay humungous property tax levies for the school district. A school district none of their kids have attended or benefitted from in the least.

We pay property taxes to the county to plow our roads, but then we end up paying our neighbor to plow the roads anyways because we are too far down on the priority list.


These are business transactions how?


I totally agree that that isn't fair. I personally don't believe in publicly funded education.
My point was not that every tax the government has ever had the whim to impose is perfectly fair and balanced and ought to be praised from the rooftops. My point was that taxation at least in theory is a business transaction in which one party (the citizen) pays his part to support another party (the community or nation) in return for membership in that body.
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:31 pm 
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Clare-Quilty wrote:
David Roth wrote:
My parents own a huge amount of property in the local school district. (They rent houses.) Every year they have to pay humungous property tax levies for the school district. A school district none of their kids have attended or benefitted from in the least.

We pay property taxes to the county to plow our roads, but then we end up paying our neighbor to plow the roads anyways because we are too far down on the priority list.


These are business transactions how?


I totally agree that that isn't fair. I personally don't believe in publicly funded education.
My point was not that every tax the government has ever had the whim to impose is perfectly fair and balanced and ought to be praised from the rooftops. My point was that taxation at least in theory is a business transaction in which one party (the citizen) pays his part to support another party (the community or nation) in return for membership in that body.
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

Here's the problem: business transactions are consensual. For example, McDonalds cannot force me to eat their meals. I can choose to not pay them, thus not receive their food and services. If I try to not pay taxes, and not receive services, I will be forced to pay. There is no choice. There is no consent. The services, whether or not you want or use them, are funded by forcing others to pay for it. Forcefully extracting money from someone is, by definition, theft.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:00 pm 
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birthdayfan wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
David Roth wrote:
My parents own a huge amount of property in the local school district. (They rent houses.) Every year they have to pay humungous property tax levies for the school district. A school district none of their kids have attended or benefitted from in the least.

We pay property taxes to the county to plow our roads, but then we end up paying our neighbor to plow the roads anyways because we are too far down on the priority list.


These are business transactions how?


I totally agree that that isn't fair. I personally don't believe in publicly funded education.
My point was not that every tax the government has ever had the whim to impose is perfectly fair and balanced and ought to be praised from the rooftops. My point was that taxation at least in theory is a business transaction in which one party (the citizen) pays his part to support another party (the community or nation) in return for membership in that body.
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

Here's the problem: business transactions are consensual. For example, McDonalds cannot force me to eat their meals. I can choose to not pay them, thus not receive their food and services. If I try to not pay taxes, and not receive services, I will be forced to pay. There is no choice. There is no consent. The services, whether or not you want or use them, are funded by forcing others to pay for it. Forcefully extracting money from someone is, by definition, theft.


Granted, you haven't agreed to any business transaction. Not yet anyway. Your agreement happens when you come of age and choose NOT to renounce your citizenship. If you believe you are being cheated and stolen from, then you have every right in the world to renounce your US citizenship and leave the country when you come of age. By not giving up your citizenship you are in effect agreeing to this business transaction, this social contract. Good luck finding any country that will give you half as great a deal as being a US citizen does.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:07 pm 
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Clare-Quilty wrote:
birthdayfan wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
David Roth wrote:
My parents own a huge amount of property in the local school district. (They rent houses.) Every year they have to pay humungous property tax levies for the school district. A school district none of their kids have attended or benefitted from in the least.

We pay property taxes to the county to plow our roads, but then we end up paying our neighbor to plow the roads anyways because we are too far down on the priority list.


These are business transactions how?


I totally agree that that isn't fair. I personally don't believe in publicly funded education.
My point was not that every tax the government has ever had the whim to impose is perfectly fair and balanced and ought to be praised from the rooftops. My point was that taxation at least in theory is a business transaction in which one party (the citizen) pays his part to support another party (the community or nation) in return for membership in that body.
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

Here's the problem: business transactions are consensual. For example, McDonalds cannot force me to eat their meals. I can choose to not pay them, thus not receive their food and services. If I try to not pay taxes, and not receive services, I will be forced to pay. There is no choice. There is no consent. The services, whether or not you want or use them, are funded by forcing others to pay for it. Forcefully extracting money from someone is, by definition, theft.


Granted, you haven't agreed to any business transaction. Not yet anyway. Your agreement happens when you come of age and choose NOT to renounce your citizenship. If you believe you are being cheated and stolen from, then you have every right in the world to renounce your US citizenship and leave the country when you come of age. By not giving up your citizenship you are in effect agreeing to this business transaction, this social contract. Good luck finding any country that will give you half as great a deal as being a US citizen does.

1. The event of "coming of age" is arbitrary.
2. The government doesn't have the legitimate authority in the first place. No person may initiate force against another person, no matter where you are.
3. If I stay on my private property, whether or not I renounce citizenship, I will be attacked by the government, whether through taxation or deportation.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:09 pm 
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Clare-Quilty wrote:
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

Then what is it? Are they still 'Business Transactions'? Because you have yet to explain how a transaction in which a person must pay for money for a service they do not want or need (or will fail to recieve.) under penalty of arrest is a 'Business Transaction.'
Just because you agree that a tax isn't good and/or fair doesn't mean it isn't a tax.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not necessarily convinced all Taxation is theft. I am not 100% sure what I believe, except that our government and taxation systems need to be radically restructured.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:18 pm 
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David Roth wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

Then what is it? Are they still 'Business Transactions'? Because you have yet to explain how a transaction in which a person must pay for money for a service they do not want or need (or will fail to recieve.) under penalty of arrest is a 'Business Transaction.'
Just because you agree that a tax isn't good and/or fair doesn't mean it isn't a tax.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not necessarily convinced all Taxation is theft. I am not 100% sure what I believe, except that our government and taxation systems need to be radically restructured.


Each individual tax isn't some kind of business transaction, citizenship is a package deal. We get it warts and all.
But it comes with a really nice feature: we can work within the system to change laws we find abusive.
I wholeheartedly agree that our tax system needs to be significantly reformed. But I also believe that in its current imperfect state it is not a form of legalized theft. If any of you ever feel that the disadvantages of your package-deal citizenship out way its benefits, then you can trot off to Europe or Canada or China or wherever you think will tax you most fairly.:)
Clarification: Citizenship is the business transaction.Taxes are merely a part of that whole structure.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:27 pm 
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Clare-Quilty wrote:
David Roth wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

Then what is it? Are they still 'Business Transactions'? Because you have yet to explain how a transaction in which a person must pay for money for a service they do not want or need (or will fail to recieve.) under penalty of arrest is a 'Business Transaction.'
Just because you agree that a tax isn't good and/or fair doesn't mean it isn't a tax.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not necessarily convinced all Taxation is theft. I am not 100% sure what I believe, except that our government and taxation systems need to be radically restructured.


Each individual tax isn't some kind of business transaction, citizenship is a package deal. We get it warts and all.
But it comes with a really nice feature: we can work within the system to change laws we find abusive.
I wholeheartedly agree that our tax system needs to be significantly reformed. But I also believe that in its current imperfect state it is not a form of legalized theft. If any of you ever feel that the disadvantages of your package-deal citizenship out way its benefits, then you can trot off to Europe or Canada or China or wherever you think will tax you most fairly.:)
Clarification: Citizenship is the business transaction.Taxes are merely a part of that whole structure.

Isn't every naturally-born citizen forced into citizenship?

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:36 pm 
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birthdayfan wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
David Roth wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

Then what is it? Are they still 'Business Transactions'? Because you have yet to explain how a transaction in which a person must pay for money for a service they do not want or need (or will fail to recieve.) under penalty of arrest is a 'Business Transaction.'
Just because you agree that a tax isn't good and/or fair doesn't mean it isn't a tax.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not necessarily convinced all Taxation is theft. I am not 100% sure what I believe, except that our government and taxation systems need to be radically restructured.


Each individual tax isn't some kind of business transaction, citizenship is a package deal. We get it warts and all.
But it comes with a really nice feature: we can work within the system to change laws we find abusive.
I wholeheartedly agree that our tax system needs to be significantly reformed. But I also believe that in its current imperfect state it is not a form of legalized theft. If any of you ever feel that the disadvantages of your package-deal citizenship out way its benefits, then you can trot off to Europe or Canada or China or wherever you think will tax you most fairly.:)
Clarification: Citizenship is the business transaction.Taxes are merely a part of that whole structure.

Isn't every naturally-born citizen forced into citizenship?


Yep! But you are only forced into it until you reach the age at which you can renounce it. At that point you are choosing for yourself that citizenship is preferable to the lack of citizenship.
Btw, spoiler alert: By the time you are actually going to be paying significant taxes, you'll probably be old enough to renounce your citizenship.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:52 pm 
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Clare-Quilty wrote:
birthdayfan wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
David Roth wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

Then what is it? Are they still 'Business Transactions'? Because you have yet to explain how a transaction in which a person must pay for money for a service they do not want or need (or will fail to recieve.) under penalty of arrest is a 'Business Transaction.'
Just because you agree that a tax isn't good and/or fair doesn't mean it isn't a tax.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not necessarily convinced all Taxation is theft. I am not 100% sure what I believe, except that our government and taxation systems need to be radically restructured.


Each individual tax isn't some kind of business transaction, citizenship is a package deal. We get it warts and all.
But it comes with a really nice feature: we can work within the system to change laws we find abusive.
I wholeheartedly agree that our tax system needs to be significantly reformed. But I also believe that in its current imperfect state it is not a form of legalized theft. If any of you ever feel that the disadvantages of your package-deal citizenship out way its benefits, then you can trot off to Europe or Canada or China or wherever you think will tax you most fairly.:)
Clarification: Citizenship is the business transaction.Taxes are merely a part of that whole structure.

Isn't every naturally-born citizen forced into citizenship?


Yep! But you are only forced into it until you reach the age at which you can renounce it. At that point you are choosing for yourself that citizenship is preferable to the lack of citizenship.
Btw, spoiler alert: By the time you are actually going to be paying significant taxes, you'll probably be old enough to renounce your citizenship.

1. Even as a minor you pay taxes. You haven't shown why that isn't theft.
2. Renouncing citizenship costs money. What you're saying is to comply with government standards, you're going to lose money either way.
3. Since the entrance is forceful, it is unethical. The people, who call themselves a government, have no right to force you into an organization.
4. You have not shown that either force is moral, thus can be universally applied, or that government isn't a form of the initiation of force.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:10 pm 
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birthdayfan wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
birthdayfan wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
David Roth wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
My point stands: Taxation is not theft.

Then what is it? Are they still 'Business Transactions'? Because you have yet to explain how a transaction in which a person must pay for money for a service they do not want or need (or will fail to recieve.) under penalty of arrest is a 'Business Transaction.'
Just because you agree that a tax isn't good and/or fair doesn't mean it isn't a tax.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not necessarily convinced all Taxation is theft. I am not 100% sure what I believe, except that our government and taxation systems need to be radically restructured.


Each individual tax isn't some kind of business transaction, citizenship is a package deal. We get it warts and all.
But it comes with a really nice feature: we can work within the system to change laws we find abusive.
I wholeheartedly agree that our tax system needs to be significantly reformed. But I also believe that in its current imperfect state it is not a form of legalized theft. If any of you ever feel that the disadvantages of your package-deal citizenship out way its benefits, then you can trot off to Europe or Canada or China or wherever you think will tax you most fairly.:)
Clarification: Citizenship is the business transaction.Taxes are merely a part of that whole structure.

Isn't every naturally-born citizen forced into citizenship?


Yep! But you are only forced into it until you reach the age at which you can renounce it. At that point you are choosing for yourself that citizenship is preferable to the lack of citizenship.
Btw, spoiler alert: By the time you are actually going to be paying significant taxes, you'll probably be old enough to renounce your citizenship.

1. Even as a minor you pay taxes. You haven't shown why that isn't theft.
2. Renouncing citizenship costs money. What you're saying is to comply with government standards, you're going to lose money either way.
3. Since the entrance is forceful, it is unethical. The people, who call themselves a government, have no right to force you into an organization.
4. You have not shown that either force is moral, thus can be universally applied, or that government isn't a form of the initiation of force.


1. As a minor you will pay taxes only if you take a job. If you don't want to pay taxes, then don't get a job. Its that simple. The business that is employing you is itself part of this social contract between government and citizens. In effect, you are consenting to the system when you take upon a job within that system.
2. I don't know if its 100% fair that you have to pay to renounce citizenship, but to be honest, by the time you renounce your citizenship you will have been profiting from the community you are leaving for quite a while. Besides, again I say that if you don't like the way taxes are spent, don't get a job.
3. First, I think its high time you prove that use of force in any instance is unethical. Second, the state takes you in when you are an infant, at a time when you really can't make the decision to join for yourself. And while yes, they don't really ask you if you want to join, isn't it better to be taken in than to be literally abandoned?
4. Rephrase?

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:31 pm 
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These long quotes have gotten out of control.
Clare-Quilty wrote:
1. As a minor you will pay taxes only if you take a job. If you don't want to pay taxes, then don't get a job. Its that simple. The business that is employing you is itself part of this social contract between government and citizens. In effect, you are consenting to the system when you take upon a job within that system.
2. I don't know if its 100% fair that you have to pay to renounce citizenship, but to be honest, by the time you renounce your citizenship you will have been profiting from the community you are leaving for quite a while. Besides, again I say that if you don't like the way taxes are spent, don't get a job.
3. First, I think its high time you prove that use of force in any instance is unethical. Second, the state takes you in when you are an infant, at a time when you really can't make the decision to join for yourself. And while yes, they don't really ask you if you want to join, isn't it better to be taken in than to be literally abandoned?
4. Rephrase?

For sake of clarity, I offer the following definition:
Initiation of Force: the start, or beginning, of the use of physical and/or legal coercion, violence, or restraint. This is to be distinguished from retaliatory force. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initiation_of_force)
1a. If you buy anything, you are taxed.
1b. What is the social contract? Who signs it? Who gave consent? Where does it derive its authority, as to legitimize the initiation of force?
2. You have to travel to renounce citizenship.
3a. One check to prove its morality is to check for self-contradictions and universality. For example, everyone initiating force is self-contradictory. If it is moral for me to steal from you, then that assumes property rights. However, then someone may then steal from me, legitimizing their property rights, which will then be legitimately violated, like mine will be. Saying that the initiation of force, specifically theft, is moral brings self-contradictions, like both legitimizing and illegitimizing property rights. Another example is murder. Not everyone can murder at the same time. If I murder you, you cannot then murder someone else. This shows a clear lack of universality. Also, you have not shown why the initiation of force is moral, only for a few in government. You have that burden of proof.
3b. The government has no authority to force you into any organization. The ends do not justify the means.
4. You have not shown that either:
a) The initiation of force is moral. If it is, then the initiation of force must be able to be universally applied.
OR
b) That government isn't a form of the initiation of force.
Q: In Summary: The argument of morality regarding taxation, and government in general, seems to boil down to social contract, for you. That is yet to be defined. As I know it, social contract is a theory, developed by philosophers, determining how government works and ought to work. It lacks authority. Philosophers are used for quotes, not proof. You also have not shown the logic that legitimizes governmental coercion.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:46 am 
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Clare-Quilty wrote:
Each individual tax isn't some kind of business transaction, citizenship is a package deal. We get it warts and all.

How does a 'package deal' excuse theft? If I she'll out some hard earned money for the complete Mastodon discography, and my supplier fails to give me one of the albums, isn't that theft plain and simple?
So why does the government get to charge people for services they will never recieve?

I don't really care that my album set had 4 of 5. I care that I spent good money for the fifth album and didn't recieve it.
Similarly, I am perfectly content that my tax money supports the interstate which I use. That doesn't excuse taking my money in a separate levy to pay for something I don't use.

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 Post subject: Re: Rationality
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:03 pm 
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David Roth wrote:
Clare-Quilty wrote:
Each individual tax isn't some kind of business transaction, citizenship is a package deal. We get it warts and all.

How does a 'package deal' excuse theft? If I she'll out some hard earned money for the complete Mastodon discography, and my supplier fails to give me one of the albums, isn't that theft plain and simple?
So why does the government get to charge people for services they will never recieve?

I don't really care that my album set had 4 of 5. I care that I spent good money for the fifth album and didn't recieve it.
Similarly, I am perfectly content that my tax money supports the interstate which I use. That doesn't excuse taking my money in a separate levy to pay for something I don't use.


Hey David,
I guess what I was trying to say is that by accepting our US citizenship we submit ourselves to abide by the system of taxation that the government has in place. Now our current tax system isn't fair by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is not a form of theft because we willingly submit ourselves to it when we accept our citizenship. It is not theft because we have the choice to accept or reject the tax system.

I think I understand where you are coming from. The place we seem to differ is that you see citizenship as a carefully calculated purchase where everybody gets their moneys worth (which is what it would be in an ideal society). However, I see citizenship the way it seems to play out in the real world: An all or nothing deal that forces us to put up within unfair taxes and regulations in exchange for the privilege of being a US citizen. Within the system that is currently in place I don't think taxation is theft.
I sincerely apologize if I misrepresented your viewpoint, it was unintentional. Please correct me if I did.:)

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 Post subject: Re: Is taxation immoral?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:26 am 
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Masked Midnight wrote:
Taxation is not immoral. Being taxed to support those who don't pay taxes is.

// $0.02

Why not? Please explain/answer everything brought up throughout this thread.

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 Post subject: Re: Is taxation immoral?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:37 pm 
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Two basic errors in the discussion so far:
(1) The liberalism apparently shared by all parties. It is not the case that the "autonomous individual" is the sole or even fundamental locus of ethical consideration.
(2) The elevation of consent to an ethically absolute category. It is not the case that consensual actions are always ethical; it is not the case that non-consensual actions are always unethical.

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