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Introduction to Logic

 

The following argument is unsound:

  1. Obama is president.
  2. Therefore, libertarianism is true.

By pointing out that the argument is unsound, I don’t thereby reveal that I’m secretly a fascist. I don’t thereby declare that libertarianism is false. I just explain that the argument doesn’t succeed in establishing its conclusion.

The following argument begs the question, if used against atheists.

  1. Everything the Bible says is true.
  2. The Bible says Jesus is the son of God.
  3. Therefore, Jesus is the son of God.

By pointing out the argument begs the question, I don’t thereby dispute the conclusion or reject Christ. Rather, I just mean to say that the argument assumes the thing being disputed.

Well, yeah, duh, that’s obvious. But even though everyone knows in the abstract that this is obvious, I frequently see exchanges among libertarians that go as follows:

Libertarian J: Hans Hermann-Hoppe’s “argumentation ethics” argument is among the silliest philosophy arguments I’ve ever seen, and when I say that, I mean to include essays I gave failing grades back when I was TAing for David Chalmers.

Libertarian S: Really? You think that? So, you must be a communist then.

Libertarian J: No, I just mean that I think it’s a terrible argument for its conclusion. I’m not disputing the conclusion. I’m just saying that that argument doesn’t come close to establishing its conclusion.

Libertarian S: Why do you want to aggress against innocent people!

The exchange above is of course fictional.

  • Phil

    Formal logic is just a statist tactic.

    You argue with me. Therefore, Anarcho-Capitalism.

  • A gues

    That isn’t “begging the question”, though: it’s form is (where B x means “bible says x” and JSG is the proposition “Jesus is the son of God”)

    B x -> x B JSG
    ———————-
    JSG

    which is modus ponens. The argument is completely logically sound. However, if you are an atheist, you can deny the argument by asserting

    – (B x -> x)

    which makes the argument have an invalid premise and therefore an invalid conclusion. The point is similar, as of course the argument

    A -> B -A
    —————
    -B

    is a logical fallacy, but I think y’all should know better…

    • A guest

      So, it seems that Disqus doesn’t even preserve multiple spaces. There should be a quad-space between (B x -> x) and (B JSG) and between (A -> B) and (-A), of course.

    • “The argument is completely logically sound.”

      I think you mean logically valid (the truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion).

      It is not sound (which means valid + no false premises). Premise 1 (everything the bible says is true) is quite obviously false.

      “…which makes the argument have an invalid premise and therefore an invalid conclusion”

      There might be a language barrier here, but I would say it makes the argument have a false premise (not an invalid one) such that the argument is no longer sound. Validity and invalidity are usually taken to be properties of arguments, not of premises, conclusions, or propositions.

    • Jason Brennan

      Begging the question is about dialectics rather than logical form. A sound argument can beg the question.

      E.g., “Marxist economics is false. Therefore, Marxist economics is false.”

      Valid, sound, and question-begging, if used when arguing with Marxists.

    • Since we are logic-chopping, you should excuse me being pedantic. The argument is not strictly modus ponens. Here is what modus ponens looks like:

      If p then q;
      p;
      therefore q.

      But the argument in question is not of that form, because its first premise is a universal quantification. It goes something like this,

      Every sentence, s, is such that, if s is in the Bible, then s is true;
      ‘Jesus is the son of God’ is in the Bible;
      therefore, ‘Jesus is the son of God’ is true.

      That has the form:

      p;
      q;
      therefore, q.

      The first premise of the argument is not compounded of two sentences (as are sentences of the form ‘if p, then q’). It is a single, but complex, sentence constructed out of two clauses, namely, ‘s is in the Bible’ and ‘s is true,’ where the ‘s’ is a variable, not a name. Such clauses represent properties, not propositions. The two clauses are combined by ‘if…then,’ but we only get a sentence once a quantifier is attached. In the case at hand, that is the universal quantifier ‘Every sentence, s, is such that.’

      However, the (valid) derivation of the conclusion has two steps, one of which is modus ponens. The first step of the derivation is universal instantiation, where we get rid of the universal quantifier and replace the remaining remaining occurrences of the variable with recurrences of a name of a particular sentence. So, from

      Every sentence, s, is such that, if s is in the Bible, then s is true

      we infer,

      if ‘Jesus is the son of God’ is in the Bible, then ‘Jesus is the son of God’ is true.

      From that sub-conclusion in combination with the second premise, we then infer the conclusion of the argument by modus ponens.

      Nick Flamel has pointed out your unusual use of the words ‘sound’ and ‘valid.’ It seems that in describing sentences as valid/invalid you mean that they are true/false. If so, then your comment ‘which makes the argument have an invalid premise and therefore an invalid conclusion’ is also mistaken. For a valid argument may have a false premise but a true conclusion. For instance,

      All philosophers are men [false]
      Nozick is a philosopher [true]
      therefore Nozick is a man [true].

  • Chet Lake

    How does the Jesus argument beg the question?

    • Sean II

      Right you are. That does not seem to be specimen of question begging. It’s just an argument with a very ambitious premise. He should have said something like:

      A) God’s son is Jesus.
      B) The Old Testament predicts this.
      C) The New Testament fulfills it.
      D) Therefore, Jesus is the son of God.

      That, at any rate, is closer to the way question-begging works in real-life, non-tin-eared dialogue. The beggar has to create an impression that there’s some process at work, with steps leading up to a conclusion. That’s how he makes people fail to notice that the conclusion is the premise.

    • purple_platypus

      Question-begging isn’t a matter of logical form. (If it were, all deductively valid arguments would beg the question, since in all cases their conclusions are in some way implicit in their premises.) It’s a matter of presupposing what you need to prove – of using premises that are only acceptable to people predisposed to believe your conclusion. Jason’s example here is a slight variation of one of the standard examples of question-begging arguments. He does make the conclusion a little more specific than he ideally should have done, but I still think the example is basically okay.

  • TracyW

    Jason, I suspect that S knows that as well as you, and is deliberately being a jerk.

    • Sean II

      To be fair, in any dispute with Jason Brennan, one should be very careful about guessing who drew first blood in terms of deliberate jerkiness.

      I suspect even he would have no trouble admitting that.

  • Sean II

    “The exchange above is of course fictional.”

    Jason…if you’re going to write fictional exchanges of dialogue, please, for the love of Jesus (son of God), learn how to write dialogue.

    The trick is, you have to give the other guy something that sounds remotely like something someone would say, ever.

    Your set-ups are so obviously fake, they’d get laughed out of a WWE ring.

    • Jason Brennan

      I wish you were right, but the dialogue is pretty realistic. If I were to say what J says to Stephen Kinsella, that’s how he’d react.

      • Sean II

        It just seems impossible that anyone would be that obvious, or give such a poor account of himself. Kinsella may be dogmatic in the usual Austrian fashion, but he’s clearly not an idiot.

        The argumentation ethics is, as you say, remarkably silly…but only if presented the way Hoppe presents it, as some sort of ziploc case-closer for libertarianism.

        But the underlying idea has some merit as an observation, or as a literary way of phrasing things.

        If I said: “Every time humans agree to argue instead of fight, they’re taking a small step in the direction of a big preference. They’re saying the use of force is not preferable in human relationships, even if they happen to be saying it one human, and one relationship at a time.”

        …I doubt anyone would object. The troubled happens when someone takes this kind of mildly interesting notion and tries to build it up into a total system.

        • I’m a bit confused on how Argumentation Ethics doesn’t rule out private property. Private property gives one person the right or moral permission to use violence to claim and defend some resource.

          So, when a proponent of private property engages in an argument with an opponent of private property, isn’t the former arguing for violence, in the same way that a proponent of the state is arguing for violence? Why isn’t Argumentation Ethics an argument for traditional or social anarchism?

        • jdkolassa

          No, Kinsella is pretty bad. Have you seen the comments he’s left on Matt Zwolinski’s Facebook wall?

          • Sean II

            No, can you pick me out a few samples?

        • clerk, Office of Dr. Menger

          Sean II,

          Brennan makes no argument against Austrian economics here. He is attacking an attempt at ethical theory by some e.g. Hoppe that also happen to be Austrian economists. If you have read any of Brennan’s recent threads on apriorism, if they have not been deleted by the author, you will notice a distinct frustrated, cartoonish attempt at undermining the Austrian basis. It may be true that the Austrians have made for not so strong political philosophers, but this is only over-matched by the anemia in Brennan and Zwolinski’s understanding of economics.

  • It’s posts like these that lead me to believe that BHL-ism isn’t about social justice or Rawls or any of the stuff the writers say it is about. It really just seems to be reactions to Rothbardists.

    I mean, I’m critical of Rothbard and Hoppe, too, but there’s only so much you can write about how wrong they and their adherents are before it just becomes mean-spirited.

    My suggestion: More original material, fewer reactions to others.

    • John

      The point of a philosopher is to make you think. A poor student believes that it is to tell them WHAT to think. And so they are constantly intending to prove how their philosophy teacher is wrong and must be corrected by them. Instead of simply expanding upon philosophy and knowledge.

      BHLs are basically liberterians that have the same personality disorder as liberals.

  • Steven Horwitz

    Jason’s fictional dialogue is slightly exaggerated, but only slightly. I’ve had that conversation in a variety of forms over the years. There’s another version that leaps from one saying good things about Hayek to being immediately accused of being a statist.

  • Steven Horwitz

    And if BHL sometimes feels like we’re constantly going after Rothbardians it’s because, at least for me, most of their defenses of liberty are not good ones and I want them to be better. It’s NOT (repeat NOT) because I think anarcho-capitalism is crazy (I consider myself to be one on most days). It’s because I think we can make better arguments than most of the ones I see out there. One need not even be an anarchist to think that there are better arguments for all varieties of libertarianism than the ones most often found among the denizens of the Internet, who of course publish in the absence of any meaningful peer review.

    These folks dramatically over-estimate the quality of their arguments, and the quality of the arguments by their favorite authors. Their collective self-congratulatory behavior and their citation of the latest video by someone who’s never published an actual article in philosophy or economics and faced the best of the people on the other sides, reflects a kind of intellectual bubble that I think desperately needs to be burst. Not because I hate Rothbard or Rothbardians, but because, as Bastiat put it, the worst thing that can happen to a noble cause is for it to be ineptly defended.

    • John

      Pot, kettle, black.

    • Sean II

      As I always do in such situations, let me chime in with this reminder:

      It’s important to judge other libertarians in relation to what they attempt. If someone claims intellectual glory for having built a total system of thought that answers every question perfectly and forever, to hell with that guy. He deserves whatever he gets, and certainly deserves to be pilloried by a far better satirist than Brennan.

      But if someone is just trying to figure out how to live – and isn’t that just a bit more important than prestige in academic publishing – the standards should be different.

      Rothbardians might make bad philosophers, but they make splendidly good neighbors. They don’t want to rob me, stop me from working, tax half my income, regulate half my choices, tort me into the poorhouse, or send me to war. The fact is, I like that about them far more than I could ever dislike a bad habit (dogmatism) which they share with most of humanity. And yes, damn right, it absolutely does matter that their dogma happens to yield correct answers on a wide range of questions. How could it not?

      Finally, and this I can never leave unsaid: given the absolute nonsense that routinely gets past peer review, why should I care who faces it and who does not? There are perfectly valid reasons why a libertarian, or even just a person of conscience, would look at the last 100 years of respectable output in the humanities and say: Fuck no, let me have nothing to do with that, and let me take pride if that wants nothing to do with me.

      • Except the dogmatism and bad arguments of Rothbardians might be causing many people to reject libertarianism when they might have accepted it with good arguments. It may give people an anti-libertarian impulse, which then makes it harder to convince them.

        If a religion sends its worst, most extreme evangelist to try an convert people, it would probably turn them off, making it more difficult for the smarter, more nuanced evangelists.

        • John

          People that are intellectually curious look at a statement like “Taxes are theft” with amazement and curiousity. People who are close-minded will obviously do what their mind does best.

          • Agreed.

          • John

            Such a statement is a very good way to find out who is intereted in reason and who needs to be publicly humliated. Even the most close-minded dogmatist will change his own mind if he is constantly humiliated. It’s almost impossible to humiliate a libertarian, however.

          • “It’s almost impossible to humiliate a libertarian, however.”

            Agreed. I think cartoon libertarians can’t be humiliated because they fail to see how bad their arguments, they suffer from too many biases, and spend too much time in their echo chamber and not enough time actually challenging their views. Dunning-kruger.

          • John

            The difference is that most libertarians come armed with facts and figures that are useful. I just let them do their thing. Good cop, bad cop. Makes me seem more reasonable, usually. There are actual communists who want to live in tents in the woods, too. You can’t convince them because they’re the real deal. Well, they are in theory. I don’t think they’d last a week in the woods, but I let them dream. Some of them are actually adorable. Wouldn’t hurt a fly, they just want to be socialists in peace. And I’m fine with it.

          • “The difference is that most libertarians come armed with facts and figures that are useful.”

            I disagree. MOST libertarians don’t do that, especially not cartoon ones. On the other hand, I’d say BHL do.

            “I just let them do their thing. Good cop, bad cop.”

            I don’t follow. Is BHL the good cop and cartoon libertarianism the bad cop? If so, I say ditch the bad cop. He’s making things worse.

            “Makes me seem more reasonable, usually.”

            Only in your own head.

          • John

            Well, a person who thinks that other people have to give up their income to support people they don’t know by force isn’t even a libertarian AT ALL, so I’d rather hang with what you call the “cartoon libertarians”. They’re also more fun, actually.

        • Libertarianism is NOT a religion!

        • Sean II

          I’ve covered this point better elsewhere, but we have NO reason to think libertarianism is a minority view because of guilt-by-association or tactical faux pas.

          Best way to see this….

          Think of all the people who aren’t libertarians. You know, the ones who would allegedly join us if only we did not have Grandpa Rothbard in the closet, or the stain of Uncle Ron’s newlsetters on our thumb.

          Now take a peek into their closet, and consider the unsavory characters who reside there: Rousseau, Karl Marx, Frantz Fanon, or maybe even history’s greatest monster, Bill Kristol.

          You see what I’m saying? They tolerate their own extremists/bad arguers well enough, so we can be sure that it’s not with extremism or bad arguments that they have a problem.

          The fact that they only have a problem with the crazy relatives of liberty tells us their quarrel is with liberty itself. The parsimonious explanation stands unmoved: people don’t like libertarians because they don’t like libertarianism…not the other way around.

          • Majkel

            Couldn’t agree more. Spot on.

    • jacksmind

      I wish I could upvote this 100 times.

  • John

    But libertarians don’t have to prove that libertarianism is “correct”. Libertarianism is essentially the absense of theft of money and freedom, so they need to explain how taking my money and my freedom is a good deal for me and why it isn’t optional.

    So I think you’re being more than a little defensive, while attacking anyone who makes the “taxes are theft” statement. For one thing, it’s designed to put neo-socialists off guard and only needs to be altered if it doesn’t do that.

    The typical liberal position is “that which I cannot argue makes you a fool”. IOW, you say that taxes are theft, they have no answer for that, and so you’re a crazy person. But “begging the question” isn’t the intention, it’s to force liberals into an uncomfortable discussion.

    The problem I see with BHLs is that they believe that liberals are logical, reasonable people who respond to good argument. Not the case. It’s a futile effort to engage someone with serious mental issues about how they should maybe be a little less insane. It is far more useful to publicly embarrass them to the point that reasonable people will say “boy, I don’t want to hang out with that person, people make fun of their ignorance”.

    John McCain perfectly illustrates how BHLs are doomed to failure. John McCain was lauded by the left constantly, AS LONG AS he was saying things with which they agreed. But what happened the moment he ran against one of them? The long knives came out. John McCain, agreeable centrist? No. John McCain, pinnacle of evil and enemy of the state.

    So all this kissing up the left with “social justice” would be pretty comical if it weren’t so sad and naive. But, you know, go for it.

    • “But libertarians don’t have to prove that libertarianism is “correct”. Libertarianism is essentially the absense of theft of money and freedom, so they need to explain how taking my money and my freedom is a good deal for me and why it isn’t optional.”

      No, libertarianism is a political philosophy like any other that holds that institutions ought to be a certain way (minimal or no government, private property rights). So yes, you do need to argue for it, unless you want us to take it on faith.

      “IOW, you say that taxes are theft, they have no answer for that, and so you’re a crazy person.”

      But there is an answer to that. The liberal can say, “No, taxes aren’t theft.” You need to show that (1) taxes are theft, and that (2) theft is wrong. Until you do that, you’re not going to convince liberals that taxes are wrong. I think you misinterpret the reason liberals think you’re crazy. It’s not simply because you declare “taxes are theft”, it’s because you simply assert it and think you’ve made a point when you haven’t. You need to make an argument.

      “The problem I see with BHLs is that they believe that liberals are logical, reasonable people who respond to good argument.”

      The joke is that cartoon libertarians like you are the least logical and reasonable people around, so when you look at everyone else, you project this onto them. From this post and your previous posts, I’ll bet you’ve never made a good argument (or even a valid one) in your whole life. Prove me wrong.

      “BHLs are doomed to failure.”

      I’ll put my money on BHL easily above your cult of cartoon libertarianism. You guy assert the same things over and over, make the same fallacious arguments, stay inside your cartoon libertarian echo chamber, and are easy to ignore. BHLs make good arguments and have dialogues with people who disagree.

      “So all this kissing up the left with “social justice” would be pretty comical if it weren’t so sad and naive. But, you know, go for it.”

      Ironic, you calling someone else “comical, sad, and naive.”

      • John

        “No, libertarianism is a political philosophy like any other that holds that institutions ought to be a certain way (minimal or no government, private property rights). So yes, you do need to argue for it, unless you want us to take it on faith.”

        It is pointless to argue for a libertarian system because people simply can’t make that leap. It is far more productive to take a more piecemeal approach and demonstrate how doing nothing is better than doing something.

        “But there is an answer to that. The liberal can say, “No, taxes aren’t theft.””

        Sure, they can say it. Obviously the government takes the position that if they say it’s legal, it’s technically not theft. Of course, not all taxes are even constitutional, but that’s never stopped them. But you are taking something from someone against their will and giving them little or nothing in return, or only giving it to them with strings and control attached to it. A better way to say it is that taxation is just legalized theft. In a good governmental system, I would pay a fee for the services I want and use, and nothing at all for those that I don’t.

        “Prove me wrong.”

        I honestly couldn’t care less what your evaluation of my arguments are. I don’t make them for you as that is a waste of my time.

        The only truly good agency is that which has its primary goal of eliminating itself due to actually solving a problem.

        • purple_platypus

          Wow… I couldn’t have written that better if I were parodying you in an attempt to demonstrate Nick’s point.

          • John

            Cook, thanks stoner dude!

        • jacksmind

          “It is pointless to argue for a libertarian system because people simply can’t make that leap.”

          You’re absolutely correct that there is a point where either side just agrees to disagree and no further dialog can continue. I’d like to think we can find the common around somewhere before “Taxes are theft”. And I think that’s Jason’s point. One side could say “taxes is theft” and the other side can say “taxes are not theft” and leave it at that. But if you believe that claims should be justified as much as possible, you can’t just claim this without giving reasons for it. So why is taxes theft?

          So you seem to say:

          “But you are taking something from someone against their will and giving them little or nothing in return, or only giving it to them with strings and control attached to it. ”

          So the liberal (‘new’ not American) response is that you had no right to an absolute share of your income in the first place. If I steal your car, and you get the cops to come take it back from me, you would never say ‘but you are taking something from me against my will’. The point is that you never had a right to that thing in the first place.

          Similarly people don’t have a right to income that was earned due to luck or because the economic system favors them over someone else. If a market system is set up such that it favors really tall who can play basketball. They don’t have a right to profit from that when the rest of the world wasn’t fortunate enough to have the tall genes. Now, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay them lots of money so that they use their abilities, but they certainly didn’t have the right to every last cent, which is why it’s not theft when someone taxes them.

          • John

            If you steal my car, the cops save your life because if I find you, I’d shoot you. Now, I would say that if there were a private police system and cops got paid $100 for every car they recovered, they would recover 2-5x the number of cars that are currently recovered. There was a pair of bounty hunters that brought in more convicts than the entire 1000 person police force, 3 a day on average, because there was a reward for it. That’s how free market systems work.

            So, back to this supposition that my money is not mine, well, aside from it being absurd, the agreement is with my employer to give me X for Y. There is no agreement with the government except by force that my employer must give them part of X. The very premise is that I will be receiving goods and services from the government, that I don’t even want of course, and therefore must pay for them. But that is akin to someone dropping off a 30 year old POS car and demanding $50,000 for it. There is no agreement as to what I wish to pay for what services.

            I mean, look, if you don’t believe in property rights, then feel free, I can’t force you to believe in them. Though in this case, it’s not even property, but the right to the fruits of your labor. I gladly pay gas taxes because I get my money’s worth. But I could also avoid them by switching to a bicycle or electric car, which makes them more palatable than they would be if I were taxed for something I cannot use.

            Also, what is the proper percentage that you think is rightfully the government’s? 10%? 40%? 80%? Why not 100%? After all, it’s being made on the government’s turf. Why can’t I demand a ride in an F22? I helped pay for it.

          • good_in_theory

            “Now, I would say that if there were a private police system and cops got paid $100 for every car they recovered, they would recover 2-5x the number of cars that are currently recovered.”

            They’d also steal cars and then return them for bounties, or game the bounty in some other way, as inevitably happens with bounty programs. Incenting crime, always a smart idea.

          • John

            Yes, but it would be dramatically more efficient and you obviously want the bounties to be low enough so as not to encourage actual crime. I wouldn’t steal a car that is only worth $100. No one with a decent job would. Stealing a car pays better than $100, so returning it would be a lost of money. Crime is already incentivized at a much higher rate. We’re only incentivizing performance, which is known to work, if you’ve taken an economics class.

          • jacksmind

            So I’ll skip all the stuff about the cops, it’s really not relevant.

            “So, back to this supposition that my money is not mine, well, aside from it being absurd, the agreement is with my employer to give me X for Y. There is no agreement with the government except by force that my employer must give them part of X. The very premise is that I will be receiving goods and services from the government, that I don’t even want of course, and therefore must pay for them. But that is akin to someone dropping off a 30 year old POS car and demanding $50,000 for it. There is no agreement as to what I wish to pay for what services.”

            So first off, I never said your money is not yours. I only said that NOT ALL your money is yours. Also, when your employer registers as a business they agree to pay taxes and hand over taxes for your employment. But since that’s circumstantial then let take the libertarian case where people just want to trade with each other and don’t want to give any of their money over to the government. First of all, you still didn’t really defend your right to every last cent. Given that what you earn is largely the result of circumstances beyond your control, there is no sense in which you ‘deserve’ every last cent. You also don’t have a ‘right’ to it or are ‘entitled’ to it (because of lack of desert, among other reasons). But you’ve moved on from that point. Maybe, you say, you don’t have a right to every last cent, but that doesn’t mean the government has the right to take it from you.

            So lets take your car example. You say it’s like taking a 30 year-old POS car and the government demanding $50,000 for it. But that assumes that you are being charged for something. As far as taxation is concerned, it’s not that you’re being given a bill, it’s that you must forfeit a portion of the benefit you’re receiving from a system that unequally rewards you compared to, say, someone wandering the street with a mental disorder. And here’s an easy way to find out that I’m right; here’s a way to show it’s not a bill: don’t work. If you don’t work, no one will come to your door and demand that you pay. So back to the car example: It’s like there’s a case of $50,000 down the street (off your property), and then the government comes and takes the case, leaves a POS car that you or anyone else can use. You can’t say “Why are you taking my $50,000” because you had no right to it to begin with. Which brings us to your final paragraph…

            “I mean, look, if you don’t believe in property rights, then feel free, I can’t force you to believe in them. Though in this case, it’s not even property, but the right to the fruits of your labor. I gladly pay gas taxes because I get my money’s worth. But I could also avoid them by switching to a bicycle or electric car, which makes them more palatable than they would be if I were taxed for something I cannot use.
            Also, what is the proper percentage that you think is rightfully the government’s? 10%? 40%? 80%? Why not 100%? After all, it’s being made on the government’s turf. Why can’t I demand a ride in an F22? I helped pay for it.”

            Note that I never said I didn’t believe in property rights. I also didn’t say you don’t have the right to the fruits of your labor (just not all of it). In fact, you should be paid much much more than you have a right to (or that you deserve), since humans are basically selfish, and it’s a great way to motivate people, and we would be better off with people working. Also it’s not that I’m saying that the government has the right to it, it’s that YOU DON’T have that right. So take an anarcho-capitalist system. There is no government, but you’re benefiting from a market that rewards your circumstances and that mentally ill guy wandering the street is suffering from. So whoever it is, the private agency we all pay a small fee to keep order, or whoever. If it is a just society, then they, or whoever, someone has a right to make sure you’re playing by the rules contributing to the justice in society. As for how much? Like I said, you should probably keep much more than you have a right to. But you probably don’t have a right to quite a bit of it. If you were born in Somalia you wouldn’t be making as much, if you were mentally handicapped you wouldn’t be making as much, if you didn’t have the right parents that instilled a hard-work ethic you wouldn’t be making as much, if you were not in an American capitalist system you wouldn’t be making as much, if you were in the state of nature you wouldn’t be making as much. A very large portion of your earnings are due to things that had nothing to do with your ambition. So you don’t certainly don’t deserve it. And, you’re also not entitled to it. And, you don’t have a right to it. But it’s probably a good thing that you keep quite a bit of it.

          • John

            You’re talking about natural born slavery.

            In an An-Cap system (which I don’t necessarily recommend) you would subscribe willingly to a court system or paygo, and if you don’t, you won’t be protected by it.

            Why should we not pay for results and have accountability? Why is someone entitled to my work when I am not? Your post sounds simply contrarian. It’s like saying I have a right to life, but someone else has the right to cut off my leg too.

          • jacksmind

            “You’re talking about natural born slavery.”

            Not really. A slave has no choice over how much to work. Indeed, a slave can’t choose to not work at all. A slave also cannot pick their job. And slavery doesn’t really increase the liberties of a society broadly.

            “In an An-Cap system (which I don’t necessarily recommend) you would subscribe willingly to a court system or paygo, and if you don’t, you won’t be protected by it.”

            Well we are not talking about protection, we are talking about ensuring justice. If an anarcho-captitalist system wants to be just, in needs someone to ensure justice. Under such a system, if someone seals your car, and the protection service that you pay for coerces the thief to return it, he can’t protest that someone is forcibly taking the car from him–it wasn’t his to begin with. Similarly, if such a system wants to be just, it must ensure that each person earns what they do based on their ambition, not their endowment, not their favorable circumstances. So it wouldn’t be the government that would be ensuring that you do not unfairly benefit, but it would be someone (assuming the society cares about justice).

            “Why should we not pay for results and have accountability? Why is someone entitled to my work when I am not? Your post sounds simply contrarian. It’s like saying I have a right to life, but someone else has the right to cut off my leg too.”

            People are not entitled to your work. They are entitled to the unfair earnings you receive, for the simple fact that you were paid for something you didn’t deserve, and they were not. If there is one tall person in the world getting paid a billion dollars to play basketball and everyone else is short, this person has an advantage in a capitalist system. Clearly, he didn’t deserve all this money, he was lucky enough to live in a system that rewards him more than his hard work would have given him. Now, if everyone was the same height then his ability to be a great basketball star would not be attributed to his height, and he is more likely to earn his extra billion. In your case, you are reaping the benefits of many factors that you had nothing to do with (genetics, social upbringing, etc.) and the fact that you live in a capitalist system. If you lived in a Marxist, Communitarian, collective ownership, the state of nature, etc, you probably wouldn’t earn nearly as much. If everyone had the same genes, upbrining, education, etc, then no one has an unfair advantage, and then I would agree with you. But that’s not the world we live in.

            (Incidentally, this is just the fairness argument for coercive taxation. There are other ways to arrive at taxation via a democratic, collective action, and increasing liberty arguments.)

            I understand where you’re coming from with the leg example, but I think it’s the perfect analogy to show where you’re going wrong. You associate the leg as yours–as you should!–and it seems so revolting that someone would come and take something that’s yours. But the point is that what we are talking about, unjust rewards, are not part of you. You didn’t earn them, you’re not entitled to them, you have no right to them. Here’s a better analogy: Say there’s a contest. Everyone solves word puzzles and submits the completed puzzles to a contest. Every correct puzzle you submit gives you a chance to win a pot money across a few thousand prizes of differing amounts. So you work REALLY hard and submit 100 puzzles–far more than anyone else–and you win the 1 billion dollar prize. But then it was discovered that the computer was programmed so that it was 100,000 times more likely that someone with your first and last name would win. Now, no one would think that you have a right to that money. You didn’t earn it. You are not entitled to it. It’s unfair that you have it. This is analogous to what we have today: a range of differing endowments, with many that are unfairly rewarded in the system that we have (or have chosen).

          • John

            “Not really. A slave has no choice over how much to work. Indeed, a slave can’t choose to not work at all. A slave also cannot pick their job. And slavery doesn’t really increase the liberties of a society broadly.”

            Sure he can. He just must suffer the consequences for his choices, just as in a neo-socialist system.

            “People are not entitled to your work. They are entitled to the unfair earnings you receive, for the simple fact that you were paid for something you didn’t deserve, and they were not.”

            Still trying to get over the absurdity of this statement. “unfair” as determined by WHOM?!? Society? Society has already decided you are worth more money in the free market where people vote with their money. What you are attempting to do is say that people shouldn’t be able to vote to reward someone more for their attributes. So a brilliant engineer should get paid as little as a stupid one. How long will that work? Should short people be paid as much to play basketball? How will society reward it?

            The idea that society government gets to create equal outcomes when people, by choice, want to pay certain people more for their abilities is simple fantasy justice. In fact, it is totally injust to not reward people for better and also to prevent people from rewarding for better. It’s simply tyranny and it has never functioned for more than a few generations without falling apart. It is unsustainable, yet you keep wanting to do it because you feel guilty and need to alleviate your guilt. This is the core of liberal personality disorder. The demand that others alleviate your guilt for your perceived advantages in life, guilt you won’t alleviate on your own because you’re really not a terribly great human. As one liberal told me when I asked “so, what do YOU do for the poor” and she said “I vote Democrat”. BRILLIANT.

          • jacksmind

            “Sure he can. He just must suffer the consequences for his choices, just as in a neo-socialist system.”

            I’m not sure what you’re talking about. As most people understand it, a slave (like black slaves in America’s history) had no choice to work, how much to work, or what job to do.

            “Still trying to get over the absurdity of this statement. “unfair” as determined by WHOM?!? Society? Society has already decided you are worth more money in the free market where people vote with their money. What you are attempting to do is say that people shouldn’t be able to vote to reward someone more for their attributes. So a brilliant engineer should get paid as little as a stupid one. How long will that work? Should short people be paid as much to play basketball? How will society reward it?”

            Unfair as determined by you. All you have to recognize is three things:

            1) you received something that is favorable to your life
            2) other people did not receive that thing.
            3) you got it not because you earned it, but because of favorable circumstances that you had nothing to do with

            1 and 2 are pretty obvious. And for #3 we have an ambition test: If we can think of a circumstance (a possible world) in which you would not have earned that thing, then it wasn’t you that earned it, it was due to your favorable circumstance. Say, some guy owns a business. He works really hard to get that business off the ground. But he also had parents who were well off enough to help him through business school. So if that person grew up in poverty from parents who didn’t have the money to support him through business school, he didn’t really build the business all by himself. He was lucky. The guy in the poor neighborhood could work just as hard, but simply because he didn’t have the favorable circumstances, he couldn’t reap the benefits.

            So you bring up the issue of motivation. Remember, I said that you should keep quite a bit of the amount you make. There are MANY arguments as to why we might have systems that have a certain level of inequality, and you point out a very important one. If we reward people equally, no one will have any ambition to try and work harder, start a new business. It would be like pre-reform China, it would be horrible. We learned from Marx’s mistake that humans are selfish and need to be motivated, we DON’T want to live in that type of society. If it works at all, every still one suffers. But just because we should reward people with their Net income doesn’t mean they should be allowed to keep their Gross. I’m not saying that the basketball player shouldn’t get paid a lot of money, but I’m also not saying that he has a right to all of his money and should not be taxed.

            “The idea that society government gets to create equal outcomes when people….”

            I didn’t respond to the last paragraph because I think you misunderstood my position.

          • John

            Everyone has a choice. But it might include being beaten or dying, or today, being fined or jailed, occasionally executed by a cop. I can’t be a doctor unless the government says I can. Even if I knew everything about medicine that is possible to know. If I practice without their permission, I will be jailed. Is this the freedom you think we have?

            “1) you received something that is favorable to your life
            2) other people did not receive that thing.
            3) you got it not because you earned it, but because of favorable circumstances that you had nothing to do with”

            1. You assume that something I want is something everyone wants.
            2. So? I didn’t stop them from receiving it.
            3. Prove it. You make your own luck mister. You can’t say I had nothing to do with it. If I was in the right place at the right time, I put myself there. If I am an extra desirable basketball player for being tall, I obviously know how to play as well. Many of these guys aren’t nearly as intelligent as I am either. Why should I begrudge them getting wealthy using whatever talents they have, to the appreciation of those that directly or indirectly pay them?

          • jacksmind

            Everyone has a choice. But it might include being beaten or dying, or today, being fined or jailed, occasionally executed by a cop. I can’t be a doctor unless the government says I can. Even if I knew everything about medicine that is possible to know. If I practice without their permission, I will be jailed. Is this the freedom you think we have?

            Medical accrediation is determined by the ACGME, a private body. Even in an anarchist society there’s nothing that precludes accrediting institutions. But again, this is getting way off topic. To keep us on topic, let me must bite this bullet: yes, state governments should not recognize the ACGME, and the ACGME should be disbanded, and they are the devil incarnate. BUT you still don’t have a right to every last cent.

            “1) you received something that is favorable to your life

            2) other people did not receive that thing.

            3) you got it not because you earned it, but because of favorable circumstances that you had nothing to do with”
            “1. You assume that something I want is something everyone wants.”

            Doesn’t matter. Yes there may be someone out there that doesn’t like money, then I’ll have to find something they like to show them that the current distribution that is obtained by the American market is unjust. But I’m just talking about you. You received something that is favorable to your life. Yes, I agree completely that someone else might not find that thing favorable. But it doesn’t matter. Let’s assume they think money makes their life go worse. That’s fine, all that matters though is that YOU think it makes your life better to show you that by your own logic, the holdings you attain are undeserved. (Not to mention that the things I’m talking about can almost be shown to be objectively good for people (or at least doesn’t make people’s lives worse): money, health, etc.

            “2. So? I didn’t stop them from receiving it.”

            Agreed. But the fact that you didn’t stop them doesn’t matter in terms of fairness. So let’s say yes, you didn’t stop them from receiving something favorable you did receive. But that doesn’t really matter for the argument. All that matters is that you received something–that’s it–not whether you stopped anyone from receiving it.

            “3. Prove it. You make your own luck mister. You can’t say I had nothing to do with it. If I was in the right place at the right time, I put myself there. If I am an extra desirable basketball player for being tall, I obviously know how to play as well. Many of these guys aren’t nearly as intelligent as I am either. Why should I begrudge them getting wealthy using whatever talents they have, to the appreciation of those that directly or indirectly pay them?”

            There are at least two ways to prove it: one theoretical, one empirical.

            Theoretical I assume you believe that if you earned something it’s because YOU did it. It is something inherent to you and nothing else. So say you own a business. Now say that life was slightly different and you were born with an IQ of 65. Do you think that you would have had that business if you had those circumstances?

            Emperical: so let’s just assume that what you say is true and deduce the absurdity. Let’s assume that we are all self-made people. Now questions come up: Why are so many people that are poor black? Why are so many people in Appalachia poor? Why would lots of poor people live in Africa? Why would Eastern Europe have more poor individuals than Western Europe? The probability of this happening by chance (assuming we are all self-made individuals) is basically zero. It’s like flipping a coin with two sides ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ and having it land ‘poor’ 10,000 times in a row. If we are all self-made individuals, you have to be able to explain why all the evidence in the world and history points to the fact that we are are (at least in part) a product of our surroundings.

          • John

            Who gives the ACGME the force of power? Can they jail me? The government would. In a free market, I would have no diploma, only word of mouth and reviews to bring me business. So they are not evil, they are good, only giving them the force of law makes it wrong. If it weren’t for self-taught doctors, the would would have a lot fewer people in it right now.

            I’m still trying to figure out your arbitrary assessment that I don’t deserve 100% of my wages first, and then get to contract with the government in the way that brings the most services back to me. How does the government have a “right” (governments don’t even have rights by definition) to the money I don’t “deserve”. How can they even determine how much is “rightrully” mine?

            “That’s fine, all that matters though is that YOU think it makes your life better to show you that by your own logic, the holdings you attain are undeserved.”

            WHAT?!?!?!? So, no person, who works more than he must to support himself, in order to better his life, deserves the improvement in his life?!? Seriously?

            Okay, so next, what you’re saying is that if I’m the only person on Earth and I am doing better than I need, I don’t deserve it. But so now there’s another person on the other side of the world. We will never meet. But he works less hard and has less stuff, so it’s unfair to him that I am working harder and making more so…..what’s your solution?

            Dude, okay, look, people are born unequal in ability. Some are tall, some are good looking, some are born wealthy, some brilliant. YOU CAN’T CHANGE THAT. You can’t pay someone with a 65 IQ the same as someone with a 165 IQ because their output is different. The only thing you can do is pay the person with 165 IQ the same as the 65 IQ guy and in doing so, lower his contributions to society and harming the guy with a 65 IQ! How does it help the guy with a 65 IQ if the guy with a 165 IQ isn’t developing technology and is living under a bridge instead? This is WHY that guy gets paid more, to incentivize him to produce great things for society. My child hasn’t the capability to create a TV, but she enjoys it.

            As for poor people, many who you think are poor are not and don’t believe they are poor. Secondly, if you remain in a poor area and don’t do anything to increase the wealth, you’re the only one that can be blamed for your relative poverty. OTOH, what is poor and why does someone else having more stuff somehow make you poor? How many people would kill for the lives our poor lead? By having something closer to a free market, we are able to create a more powerful economy that benefits everyone, versus countries that can’t get out of the mud because they don’t protect property and innovation. THAT is the unfairness. That they are born in a country where the government doesn’t protect property and work.

          • jacksmind

            “Who gives the ACGME the force of power? Can they jail me? The government would. In a free market, I would have no diploma, only word of mouth and reviews to bring me business. So they are not evil, they are good, only giving them the force of law makes it wrong. If it weren’t for self-taught doctors, the would would have a lot fewer people in it right now.”

            You’re point, I think, was that the government restricts freedom. If in an anarchist system, if the ACGME provided accreditation, this would also restrict your freedom to the extent that they dictate who is a ‘doctor’ and who is not. Do you think that a non-ACGME-sanctioned ‘doctor’ would receive more patients than one who is? The alternative of course is to ban any credential granting institutions because they infringe on others liberties.

            “That’s fine, all that matters though is that YOU think it makes your life better to show you that by your own logic, the holdings you attain are undeserved.”

            WHAT?!?!?!? So, no person, who works more than he must to support himself, in order to better his life, deserves the improvement in his life?!? Seriously?

            I’m not sure where you’re getting that. I’ve said several times that you should keep quite a bit of what you make, and I said that ambition should be rewarded. Just scroll up. Here’s a couple of places where I said it:

            http://i.imgur.com/necWqBF.png

            http://i.imgur.com/OxRVpHi.png
            http://i.imgur.com/QmEJM5s.png

            But let me just clarify if those are unclear. Yes, if you really did work for it you should earn it. I’m pretty sure nothing I’ve said runs afoul of that idea. If you earned it you should get to keep it, but the point is that a whole lot of what we earn is not because we worked hard, but because we were lucky. But back to P1, to make this argument work doesn’t take that much. All I’m trying to show is that you don’t deserve every last cent. (Although I have been claiming more than that.) But, for this argument to work I just have to show that you don’t deserve every last cent. You have the difficult task of showing that everything you earned is due to yourself and nothing circumstantial. This is a VERY hard task, as both theoretical, empirical, and intuitive arguments all point to the fact that we are at least SOMEWHAT the product of our environment.

            “Okay, so next, what you’re saying is that if I’m the only person on Earth and I am doing better than I need, I don’t deserve it. But so now there’s another person on the other side of the world. We will never meet. But he works less hard and has less stuff, so it’s unfair to him that I am working harder and making more so…..what’s your solution?”

            You bring up an EXCELLENT point about global justice and the obligations we have to other individuals. This is a good reason for why we should minimally have fairly open borders. Also the degree to which the other person suffers clearly places a moral obligation on you. And there are other ways to argue for foreign aid via democratic, global stability, humanitarian arguments. But this case is getting away from the central issue that you don’t deserve every last cent, because you two are not under the same system. In the case provided you haven’t told me what type of market is in place. Are you in the state of nature? If there is no economic system in place, and you are just harvesting wood as is he? If so, then you are not benefiting from a system that rewards you unfairly compared to him. Again, there are other ways to argue for coercive taxation even in this case, but it doesn’t come from the fact that you’re benefiting from a system which rewards you for circumstances beyond your control.

            “Dude, okay, look, people are born unequal in ability. Some are tall, some are good looking, some are born wealthy, some brilliant. YOU CAN’T CHANGE THAT. You can’t pay someone with a 65 IQ the same as someone with a 165 IQ because their output is different. The only thing you can do is pay the person with 165 IQ the same as the 65 IQ guy and in doing so, lower his contributions to society and harming the guy with a 65 IQ! How does it help the guy with a 65 IQ if the guy with a 165 IQ isn’t developing technology and is living under a bridge instead? This is WHY that guy gets paid more, to incentivize him to produce great things for society. My child hasn’t the capability to create a TV, but she enjoys it.”

            EXACTLY, I’m glad we agree. I actually pretty much said the same thing in an entire paragraph here:

            http://i.imgur.com/8DmHKXE.png

            Remember: I’m not arguing that everyone should be paid the same; I’m arguing you don’t have the right to every last cent. They are two different claims.

            “As for poor people, many who you think are poor are not and don’t believe they are poor.”

            Yes, but I’m sure we both agree there are poor people in the country, right? That’s all that matters.

            “Secondly, if you remain in a poor area and don’t do anything to increase the wealth, you’re the only one that can be blamed for your relative poverty.”

            Why would people in a poor area do something irrational and stay in a poor area?

            “OTOH, what is poor and why does someone else having more stuff somehow make you poor? How many people would kill for the lives our poor lead? By having something closer to a free market, we are able to create a more powerful economy that benefits everyone, versus countries that can’t get out of the mud because they don’t protect property and innovation. THAT is the unfairness. That they are born in a country where the government doesn’t protect property and work.”

            I mostly agree. This is why we don’t want to just pay everyone the same, because everyone is better off if we don’t. But there’s a way to improve the situation even further: if the rich are taxed a small percentage and this is used to help get people out of poverty, then the infringement on the liberty of the rich is such a small amount compared to the liberty that the poor obtain from the redistribution.

          • John

            But if ACGME can’t initiate violence against me, all they can do is claim that they have a service that offers peace and security to those looking for a doctor, whereas, if I’m good, I won’t even need that, I would go off word of mouth. Libertarians are FOR private accredidation! It is a free market solution. It helps those who need have little experience or customers obtain business, while it would do little to nothing for anyone who already has a thriving business. It is good for customers as well.

            Can you give me an example of how you just “lucked” into money? And who gets paid for your luck? If it’s luck, no one did it. So if you get a job by luck, in your society, you would simply refuse it as it would be of no benefit to you. The government would take the money claiming it is “rightfully” theirs. Now, if you want to say that “we built the roads that helped your business” and I would reply “sure, but didn’t I pay for them? Yes? Okay, my debt is cleared”. The problem with “you don’t deserve all of it” is that someone else will be put in charge of how much you deserve, not you. And there is no actual process to determine what was made ONLY by you and what was done with a little help from societal circumstance. This gets into a dangerously arbitrary thing. Now, if you want to say “okay, everyone gets equal services and everyone pays $1000/year or they have to move”. Okay, that’s not ideal, but it’s a bit more logical.

            There is no “poor” or “rich”, there is rich or poorer, as measured by stuff and economic power. There’s no cutoff where suddenly you are poor and when they try to do that, many college kids live well being poor and other people make more money and struggle terribly for where they live or for having kids. It’s all arbitrary. So, one person’s $20K is another person’s $60K. So how do you move the money equitably when everyone has different needs, and do so efficiently. The market can do it but government cannot.

            Further, what would really help the poor is the removal of barriers such as licensing and zoning and other things that stop someone from opening up a barber shop or rules that stop them from hiring someone. I used to limit my business to that which didn’t require me to hire anyone. I lost business, but I didn’t have to deal with the hassles of hiring someone. It’s odd, too, that we live in a country that says that minimum wage is mandatory, unless someone agrees to work for free. Can’t work for $4/hour, but you CAN work for free as an “intern”. That’s bizarre. And random.

            Again, stating that people don’t have a right to their money makes for an arbitrary law that says the government can take anything they want as long as they declare you don’t deserve it or that they need it more than you. Even if it impoverishes someone. Over 5 million people, nearly 10, are put into “poverty” by FICA taxes alone. Think about it. Those people could theoretically work all their lives and never afford to get ahead because they have 15% less income, the part that makes a difference, and can’t buy a house, can’t make investments, can’t start a business, but they DO get to have a retirement program they might have easily provided for themselves through investment and business activity.

          • jacksmind

            But if ACGME can’t initiate violence against me, all they can do is claim that they have a service that offers peace and security to those looking for a doctor, whereas, if I’m good, I won’t even need that, I would go off word of mouth. Libertarians are FOR private accredidation! It is a free market solution. It helps those who need have little experience or customers obtain business, while it would do little to nothing for anyone who already has a thriving business. It is good for customers as well.

            Yes, but you originally said that the person who knows everything about medicine is not free because the government. The person who knows everything about medicine is not free for cultural reasons as well–that people trust accredited doctors. The very act of accrediting a doctor sanctions some and not others. The very existence of the ACGME (even without a government) infringes on the liberties of the guy that knows all of medicine, independent of the government. Now not all infringements of liberty are bad things. The type of infringement of ACGME isn’t, and there’s a case to be made that the government requirement that docs be accredited, is not either.

            “Can you give me an example of how you just “lucked” into money?”

            Sure, there’s lots of ways. The most obvious and direct way is if someone bequeathed it to you. If warren buffet decided to give all his money to his kids (or the Waltons say), that’s a whole help of luck.

            “And who gets paid for your luck? If it’s luck, no one did it. So if you get a job by luck, in your society, you would simply refuse it as it would be of no benefit to you.”

            I’m confused on what you mean. We already had one example. If you were born tall (> 7ft, you have a 17% of making lots of money in the NBA):

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/06/27/nba-draft-is-being-7-feet-tall-the-fastest-way-to-get-rich-in-america/

            “The government would take the money claiming it is “rightfully” theirs. Now, if you want to say that “we built the roads that helped your business” and I would reply “sure, but didn’t I pay for them? Yes? Okay, my debt is cleared”. ”

            Again, remember I didn’t say it was rightfully theirs, it’s just not yours. They are there to make sure that other people get back some of the money because they suffer under a capitalist system in a way that you don’t (but again it could be someone else, it doesn’t HAVE to be the government).

            “The problem with “you don’t deserve all of it” is that someone else will be put in charge of how much you deserve, not you. And there is no actual process to determine what was made ONLY by you and what was done with a little help from societal circumstance. This gets into a dangerously arbitrary thing . ”

            Yes, this is a question of degree. But the best you can do with this argument is to argue that you really did work for what you earned and it wasn’t just due to circumstance. There’s a few problems with this. First, there’s a good case to argue that you don’t deserve hardly anything that you make. The more you think about it, the more all of our actions are the result of factors beyond out control. But even if this is false, my goal is very humble, I’m just trying to show why you don’t deserve every last cent. And just because it’s hard to determine where to draw the line doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t draw any line. In fact, that’s probably the least defensible position. So I say you should be taxed 50% (depending on your income; for all taxes). Now, you’re welcome to try and show that you deserve more or less depending on how you work, and that’s a debate to have. The EXTREMELY difficult position is for you to show that you should be taxed 0%. That is what I’m arguing against. So even if it’s hard to find the percentage where we draw the line, doesn’t mean we should draw the line at 0%.

            “Now, if you want to say “okay, everyone gets equal services and everyone pays $1000/year or they have to move”. Okay, that’s not ideal, but it’s a bit more logical.”

            This would be worse economically and for fairness reasons. Most obvious is that some people don’t have $1000/year to even pay, and the person who makes a billion a year, has had a whole heap of a lot more luck and can afford more.

            “There is no “poor” or “rich”, there is rich or poorer, as measured by stuff and economic power. There’s no cutoff where suddenly you are poor and when they try to do that, many college kids live well being poor and other people make more money and struggle terribly for where they live or for having kids. It’s all arbitrary. So, one person’s $20K is another person’s $60K. So how do you move the money equitably when everyone has different needs, and do so efficiently. The market can do it but government cannot.”

            So call it what you will. All we really need is richer or poorer. So let’s just use your language. Say we live in a society, an almost-utopia, where everyone has their basic need met, but 1% of the population don’t have to work at all and can have 365 vacation days a year. The other 99% of people live in 4-bedroom mansions and have 5 cars each, but they can only take 30 days of vacation a year. If this asymmetry is due to endowment, and not ambition, it is not fair and the 1% have no right to the totality of their earnings.

            As for the movement of capital, here’s one. Tax the richest 10% to apply to the poorest in work retraining programs and education. This seems very equitable to me (assuming the richest are not rich because of ambition). In fact the market does not do that, the are arguments for why that is actually more efficient, but the main reason to do that is because of fairness. We don’t have the government enact welfare programs because it’s more efficient than the market, we do so because the market will not optimize on just outcomes and just outcomes at least matter SOMEWHAT. So even if it wasn’t efficient, we might want to enact welfare programs for justice reasons–because the justice gained is more important than the efficiency lost.

            “Further, what would really help the poor is the removal of barriers such as licensing and zoning and other things that stop someone from opening up a barber shop or rules that stop them from hiring someone. I used to limit my business to that which didn’t require me to hire anyone. I lost business, but I didn’t have to deal with the hassles of hiring someone. It’s odd, too, that we live in a country that says that minimum wage is mandatory, unless someone agrees to work for free. Can’t work for $4/hour, but you CAN work for free as an “intern”. That’s bizarre. And random.”

            So this is another side issue, but I really do think you put too much trust in the market’s ability to provide economic justice.

            “Again, stating that people don’t have a right to their money makes for an arbitrary law that says the government can take anything they want as long as they declare you don’t deserve it or that they need it more than you. Even if it impoverishes someone. Over 5 million people, nearly 10, are put into “poverty” by FICA taxes alone. Think about it. Those people could theoretically work all their lives and never afford to get ahead because they have 15% less income, the part that makes a difference, and can’t buy a house, can’t make investments, can’t start a business, but they DO get to have a retirement program they might have easily provided for themselves through investment and business activity.”

            Well, I’ll say it again. It is not in the government’s interest to tax you to death. It would make no sense to tax you at 99.9999% rate, EVEN IF you didn’t deserve it. What this fairness objection does is provide grounds for taxation because people erroneously believe (because of evolution, psychology, etc) that because it’s in close relation to them, it must be theirs, without a second thought to endowments and unfair systematic advantages.

            As for FICA, I don’t think your argument is saying what you think it is. So you say that FICA makes people poorer and more likely to put them into poverty because it reduces their take-home pay. So the argument for why they would be taxed is because they, too, didn’t earn every last cent. The people poorer than them have a claim on their undeserved income on fairness grounds. But if we agree that increasing the pay of the poorer citizens (by eliminating FICA) brings them out of ‘poverty’, then logic would dictate if we give them more money, that will also get them out of ‘poverty’. So if we take from the person making 51 billion over their lifetime and tax them 10% and provide it to the poorer people, they would be even more out of poverty.

          • John

            “The person who knows everything about medicine is not free for cultural reasons as well–that people trust accredited doctors. The very act of accrediting a doctor sanctions some and not others. ”

            But he IS free. There is no such thing as freedom from information and competition in the free market. If I suffer for clients, I may have to get accredited. Nothing wrong with that.

            You didn’t luck into an inheritence, it was given to you because someone willed it to you. That was a decision and it is also a tradition beyond time. It has nothing to do with “luck”. And you can only play in the NBA if you actually can shoot a basketball. And even then, it is not luck, it is what people want to see. They make the choice to pay tall people to do it. What is your remedy for it? You sound like you want to pay people different wages, but tax people such that all net wages end up being equal.

            “If this asymmetry is due to endowment, and not ambition, it is not fair and the 1% have no right to the totality of their earnings.”

            This is a totally ridiculous and arbitrary statement. This makes a mockery of ownership and just says “you get to own what a bureaucrat says you can”. Look at Elon Musk. He could sit around for the rest of his life, but he’s actually throwing money at interesting projects with societal value, arguably more than any taxes he ends up paying. The right to your earnings is also the power to put it back into the pool and transfer it to others at will. In your world, there is never anything such as fairness and people must always look at what they have through the prism of what someone else has. It’s ridiculous and unhealthy. When I even begin to think this way, I look back in time a few hundred years where I might have absolutely nothing and would already be dead from a disease. It is wealth that creates poverty, poverty doesn’t exist on its own. But destroying wealth doesn’t destroy poverty, because people already know what wealth is.

            “we do so because the market will not optimize on just outcomes and just outcomes at least matter SOMEWHAT.”

            Not the way you define it, it doesn’t. The way you define just is far from just. It is simply your own version of it based on envy and greed, not on fairness. Freedom is just. Stealing is not just. You also forget that the richest 10% do fund training and innovation and education and all manner of things even in the private market. They must. My wife gets paid to go to seminars, for instance. I do online training for free, provided by greedy capitalists, to help my business.

            “but I really do think you put too much trust in the market’s ability to provide economic justice.”

            It’s not that I trust it to do so, I simply trust government to do great evil and my trust has been more than rewarded over the past dozen years. Our government is officially insane and can’t be trusted to do squat. The only thing worse than the free market is the government controlled market which does everything in its power to keep me poor so that the people that have the ability to bribe remain rich. That is the insufferable part.

            Your plan for wealth distribution simply gives people money for doing nothing. That is highly unproductive. In a free market, they would have to do something, which adds to society. Redistribution is a black hole, where people give to those who wish not to contribute. That’s exactly the opposite of what is needed in a just and productive society. It’s not only inefficient, it’s immoral, as these people no longer contribute to society as they should. Virtually everyone can contribute something. Steven freaking Hawkins can contribute, why can’t someone who is moderately healthy?

          • jacksmind

            “This is a totally ridiculous and arbitrary statement. This makes a mockery of ownership and just says “you get to own what a bureaucrat says you can”.”

            1) Remember it doesn’t have to be the government.
            2) You get to own what justice dictates. The statement says “If we are going to have this system, where some people benefit (you) and some people suffer, then you’re not going to get to keep all the benefits without compensating those who suffer because of the system.”

            “Look at Elon Musk. He could sit around for the rest of his life, but he’s actually throwing money at interesting projects with societal value, arguably more than any taxes he ends up paying. The right to your earnings is also the power to put it back into the pool and transfer it to others at will.”

            This isn’t really relevant. The question is whether he can be taxed. And he is being taxed, and he’s still giving this money out.

            “In your world, there is never anything such as fairness and people must always look at what they have through the prism of what someone else has. It’s ridiculous and unhealthy.”

            No, not at all. I should remind you, that we HAVE THIS SYSTEM NOW. A portion of your taxes goes to help out the needy. And insofar as it’s unhealthy, it’s not worth it for the equality it brings. And just let me remind you, I’m arguing for the moderate position pretty much to the system we have now. You’re the one that says you have a right to every cent you earn. Your burden is FAR more difficult.

            “When I even begin to think this way, I look back in time a few hundred years where I might have absolutely nothing and would already be dead from a disease. It is wealth that creates poverty, poverty doesn’t exist on its own. But destroying wealth doesn’t destroy poverty, because people already know what wealth is.”

            You seem to keep bringing up irrelevant cases. In most of these, I agree with you almost completely. It’s not clear to me how this proves that you have a right to every cent. Yes, captialism is great to move people out of poverty? So what? That implies that you have a right to every cent? See that’s what I mean when I say it’s irrelevant.

            “Not the way you define it, it doesn’t. The way you define just is far from just. It is simply your own version of it based on envy and greed, not on fairness.”

            Well of course I disagree with you. I’ve presented a consistent formulation of justice. But feel free to explain how envy and greed fit in.

            “Freedom is just. Stealing is not just.”

            Again, you’re calling it stealing, but it’s not. If you benefit from a system that rewards you and not other people, you can’t call it stealing when it was never rightfully yours. If you steal a car, you can’t call it stealing, if I come and take it back from you.

            “You also forget that the richest 10% do fund training and innovation and education and all manner of things even in the private market. They must. My wife gets paid to go to seminars, for instance. I do online training for free, provided by greedy capitalists, to help my business.”

            Again, irrelevant. I agree almost with everything you say. So because the richest 10% fund training and innovation, you have a right to every cent? I don’t see how that follows.

            “It’s not that I trust it to do so, I simply trust government to do great evil and my trust has been more than rewarded over the past dozen years. Our government is officially insane and can’t be trusted to do squat. The only thing worse than the free market is the government controlled market which does everything in its power to keep me poor so that the people that have the ability to bribe remain rich. That is the insufferable part.”

            Again this isn’t really relevant and of course I disagree. But even if it was evil, the question is whether you deserve every cent. And I don’t see how this is relevant.

            “Your plan for wealth distribution simply gives people money for doing nothing. That is highly unproductive.”

            I didn’t say that. Let me ask for the 4th time. Though I know you started to answer it:

            “What if I was able to prove that there are similar [training programs] programs that are very useful? Would you support it then? The reason Im asking it this way is to get at the crux of the disagreement.”

            ” In a free market, they would have to do something, which adds to society. Redistribution is a black hole, where people give to those who wish not to contribute. That’s exactly the opposite of what is needed in a just and productive society.”

            Again, no one is talking about not attaching work requirements. So let me ask for the 2nd time:

            What do you say to someone who works in fast food and has to live under government assistance? What should they do?

            “It’s not only inefficient, it’s immoral, as these people no longer contribute to society as they should. Virtually everyone can contribute something. Steven freaking Hawkins can contribute, why can’t someone who is moderately healthy?”

            If someone is seriously mentally ill, should they be made to get a job? Say these people for example:

            http://video.pbs.org/video/1114528522/

          • John

            The difference is a major and dangerous shift between actual liberalism and socialism.

            The real American liberal position has been that you have the right to your property, but government has the power to take some of it regardless. This acts as a counterweight against abuse.

            You are now shifting the argument to “it’s not all yours, you don’t have the right and you didn’t deserve it anyway”.

            I refuse to live in your world. It is extraordinarily dangerous.
            As soon as you say someone has only partial rights, in truth, they have none at all. In your world, people could be left to die after 65 because they’ve used most of their life. They could be jailed for political speech because they’re allowed to have most other types of speech. They could be jailed for being atheists because people have a right to religion, not a right to not have a religion.

            Your kind killed 100,000,000 people in the previous century. We won’t allow it again.

          • jacksmind

            “The difference is a major and dangerous shift between actual liberalism and socialism.”

            Again, I’m arguing for the CURRENT system. You’re the one arguing that you don’t have to pay a cent.

            “The real American liberal position has been that you have the right to your property, but government has the power to take some of it regardless. This acts as a counterweight against abuse.
            You are now shifting the argument to “it’s not all yours, you don’t have the right and you didn’t deserve it anyway”.”

            No. Of course you have a right to property that you’ve purchased, so that doesn’t change, so this system (the current one) allows for strong property rights. But those rights DO NOT extend to 100% of what you earn in a capitalist system when other people are suffering from it. Here’s a perfect way to show that what I’m arguing for is quite mild:

            Do you agree that the government has the right to take 1 penny from you and give it to a person worse off in America?

            Your answer to that question will show who is being more radical.

            “I refuse to live in your world. It is extraordinarily dangerous.

            As soon as you say someone has only partial rights, in truth, they have none at all.”

            Why? You have to back this up. In fact it seems prima facie silly. I may have a right to swing my hands, but I don’t have a right to punch you. Standard liberties are not absolute. In fact, no rights are.

            “In your world, people could be left to die after 65 because they’ve used most of their life. They could be jailed for political speech because they’re allowed to have most other types of speech. They could be jailed for being atheists because people have a right to religion, not a right to not have a religion.”

            I disagree. You’ll have to show how my defending the current system makes any of that happen.

            “Your kind killed 100,000,000 people in the previous century. We won’t allow it again.”

            Again, you’ll have to explain. I assume you mean socialism? Well again, I’m arguing for the current system.

          • John

            No, you aren’t. You’re arguing for something more dangerous. The current system doesn’t say you don’t deserve your money or that it isn’t yours, it simply says you must pay it because that’s the law. You are arguing for a system that doesn’t recognize property rights on the arbitrary idea that “you don’t deserve it”. It is part and parcel of “you didn’t built that”. In your system, the money isn’t taken to provide for the general welfare, but simply because it’s the government’s money and you don’t deserve it or even have any right to it. It’s entirely dangerous and anti-libertarian.

            “Do you agree that the government has the right to take 1 penny from you and give it to a person worse off in America?”

            I would rather give someone 10 cents freely than have you steal 1 to give away badly.

            Also, I have no idea why you would say I have 100% right to anything I purchase. Since I don’t deserve all my money, surely I don’t deserve everything I buy with it. Surely the Undeserved Revenue Service needs it more than I do. Why not come and steal my sofas while you’re at it?

            “Why? You have to back this up. In fact it seems prima facie silly. I may have a right to swing my hands, but I don’t have a right to punch you. Standard liberties are not absolute. In fact, no rights are.”

            Yes they are absolute. They simply cease to become rights only when I am harming someone else directly. How does me making more money directly harm someone else? The only harm possible would be indirect, as I may have gotten a job that someone else wanted, but DIDN’T DESERVE because I made a better deal for the consumer. That is a teaching moment for him.

            But your argument is that “you have a right to SOME of your money”, which only means that something above 0%. By your standard, if society says I didn’t deserve 99%, they take 99% and I get 1%. Likewise, what if a poor person, unemployed, gets totally lucky and is given $20,000 by a rich man (and it happens). By your standard, that was luck, not effort, he didn’t deserve it and the state can take 100% and leave him poor and homeless. But I know you will say “but we’d only take above [insert arbitrary number]” but of course, this completely negates your early argument about whether someone deserves it or not, which is another totally arbitary piece of BS.

            “I disagree. You’ll have to show how my defending the current system makes any of that happen.”

            Again, you are NOT defending the current system, but taking the existing system and gutting any concept of natural rights from it, leaving people exposed to life or death decisions by the government. It could literally turn into Logan’s Run. I could make a perfectly good argument on your thought process that people over 65 shouldn’t get ANY medical treatment at all, even if they want to pay for it. They lived a full life, they need to leave that health care for someone else. They shouldn’t be occupying a doctor that is better off helping a 5 year old. After all, you only have a right to some of your life, not all of it.

            Your argument is pure socialism. I suspect you don’t realize it.

            Let’s put it this way. Do you think people would prefer to live in a world where the government has a RIGHT to some, maybe even most, of their income, and where they have no right to expect equal ROI, or would they rather live in a system where they have a right to their income, and the government must woo them with needed services for which people will gladly pay, like a bus system that breaks even or a road system that is paid for by fees or gas taxes, a retirement system that is optional, or a parks that are paid by users fees?

            Which one is close to a paradise. You really think your idea is even close? You say you’re arguing for the current system, yet the current system hasn’t come even close to eliminating poverty.

          • jacksmind

            “No, you aren’t. You’re arguing for something more dangerous. The current system doesn’t say you don’t deserve your money or that it isn’t yours, it simply says you must pay it because that’s the law.

            The current system doesn’t say anything of philosophical content, as you said. We have laws, (which by the way, allow taxing for redistribution), which tell us what is illegal or not. But laws don’t tell you how much of your money you deserve. If it did, it would probably say that you don’t deserve all of it.

            “You are arguing for a system that doesn’t recognize property rights on the arbitrary idea that “you don’t deserve it”.”

            Again, please point to where I say that we shouldn’t have property rights. And the idea that you don’t deserve (combined with your unfair advantage) justifies taxation. But your car? That’s yours. Your house? That’s yours. Basically everything in your house is yours. So I don’t know where you get the idea I don’t believe in private property. Private property does not equal “every last cent”

            “It is part and parcel of “you didn’t built that”. In your system, the money isn’t taken to provide for the general welfare, but simply because it’s the government’s money and you don’t deserve it or even have any right to it. It’s entirely dangerous and anti-libertarian.””

            I agree it’s not libertarian; I’m not a libertarian (so don’t think that BHLs are like me). I don’t see how it’s dangerous. It justifies the system we have now.

            “I would rather give someone 10 cents freely than have you steal 1 to give away badly.”

            I don’t think that’s really an answer, but I’ll assume that that’s a ‘no’. So you see how radical your thinking is? I can’t even take a penny from you and use it to help out someone in unfortunate circumstances. No matter how great the cause, no matter how little the money, no matter how deserving the recipient. In your eyes, every last cent is yours, no matter what. And I’m showing you where you’re wrong: You have been unable to provide a justification for every last cent. You don’t deserve every last cent. You don’t have a right to every last cent. You arn’t entitled to every last cent.

            “Also, I have no idea why you would say I have 100% right to anything I purchase. Since I don’t deserve all my money, surely I don’t deserve everything I buy with it. Surely the Undeserved Revenue Service needs it more than I do. Why not come and steal my sofas while you’re at it?”

            Because you have a right to a very large portion of it legally. It’s no good taxing you so hard that you won’t work, won’t invent, won’t start a business, as you said. You have a legal right to a very large portion of your gross income, far more than you actually deserve. So once you get your net income, the government has no right to take that. But it does have a right to set the percentage of what will be taxed. And when you use that to buy a car, you have a legal right to that, the courts will hold up strong private property rights for you to do whatever the heck you want with YOUR car. It’s yours. Same with everything in your house. Just because you don’t have a right to take unjust advantage of a system by earning an unfair amount doesn’t mean you don’t have a legal right to own your car.

            “Yes they are absolute. They simply cease to become rights only when I am harming someone else directly.”

            This is pure semantics, and completely wrong compared to the legal and philosophical understanding of rights. But fine, we’ll go back on all philosophical and legal understanding of rights and say that rights and say that rights can ‘cease to become rights’. So then back to the original issue. Your right to your income is not partial, but it ceases to be a right when you are unfairly rewarded.

            “How does me making more money directly harm someone else? The only harm possible would be indirect, as I may have gotten a job that someone else wanted, but DIDN’T DESERVE because I made a better deal for the consumer. That is a teaching moment for him.”

            Because you get the system that make it best for you. Say we had a system where everyone got the same amount of money. It would be a bad system, but no one would have any advantage over another person. So then you come along and say, ‘let’s try captialism’. Then you make a lot more, but other people make a lot less. THAT’S how you harm someone.

            “But your argument is that “you have a right to SOME of your money”, which only means that something above 0%. By your standard, if society says I didn’t deserve 99%, they take 99% and I get 1%.”

            Exactly. And there’s a good chance you don’t even don’t deserve a whole lot of what of what you earn. But you don’t have to worry. Because we don’t want to make things worse off. So you’ll keep A LOT more than 1%. Basically, it’s the system we have now. Not crazy, moderate.

            “Likewise, what if a poor person, unemployed, gets totally lucky and is given $20,000 by a rich man (and it happens). By your standard, that was luck, not effort, he didn’t deserve it and the state can take 100% and leave him poor and homeless. But I know you will say “but we’d only take above [insert arbitrary number]” but of course, this completely negates your early argument about whether someone deserves it or not, which is another totally arbitary piece of BS.”

            It doesn’t negate it at all. It strengthens it. Of course he didn’t deserve it. And yeah, maybe the state can tax him. In fact, the state does tax some gift transfers. But for many reasons (infringements on liberties, welfare, size of the donation) there’s no big reason to tax these transfers. So, like the current system, they’re probably not taxed. But if millions of people benefit from a system and others suffer, that’s a different story.

            “Again, you are NOT defending the current system, but taking the existing system and gutting any concept of natural rights from it, leaving people exposed to life or death decisions by the government.”

            Not at all. Here’s the list of rights:

            1) You have a right to yourself
            2) You have a right to your body

            3) You have a right to work in any job you want

            4) You have a right for how much to work

            5) You have all the bills of rights
            6) You have every other civil rights
            7) You have a right to a very large portion of your income. For someone who makes 300K, you’ll get to keep 70% of that.

            So, basically, the system we have now.

            “It could literally turn into Logan’s Run. I could make a perfectly good argument on your thought process that people over 65 shouldn’t get ANY medical treatment at all, even if they want to pay for it. They lived a full life, they need to leave that health care for someone else. They shouldn’t be occupying a doctor that is better off helping a 5 year old. After all, you only have a right to some of your life, not all of it.”

            Please show me where I said you only have a right to some of your life? In fact, just to be clear. You have a right to your body (as I said before) and your person.

            “Your argument is pure socialism. I suspect you don’t realize it.”

            Actually, believe it or not, it’s the EXACT system we have now. The only difference is that I justify the right of redistirubtive transfers, which, by the way, happens in the current system. You’re the one that claims that the government doesn’t have the right to take one penny from you. That’s VERY EXTREME. I’m just defending a system that we already have in place. Your examples seem to be anything you think of to see if it will stick, but it’s almost all irrelevant or things that really don’t imply what you think they imply. For example…..

            “Let’s put it this way. Do you think people would prefer to live in a world where the government has a RIGHT to some, maybe even most, of their income, and where they have no right to expect equal ROI, or would they rather live in a system where they have a right to their income, and the government must woo them with needed services for which people will gladly pay, like a bus system that breaks even or a road system that is paid for by fees or gas taxes, a retirement system that is optional, or a parks that are paid by users fees?”

            This is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what people think is the best system, what really matters is what *is* the best system. Your question could be asked: “Let’s put it this way, would a thief like to live in a world without cameras, or one with cameras?” I guess that means we shouldn’t have cameras. That’s just silly. People can be wrong about things. Moreover, in the system I’m describing–the current one we live in–the politicians have to justify taxes to the people, and are representatives of the people. If they tax too much, different people will be elected to change the laws as per the will of the people.

            “Which one is close to a paradise. You really think your idea is even close? You say you’re arguing for the current system, yet the current system hasn’t come even close to eliminating poverty.”

            Well thank you for finally agreeing that I’m talking about the current system. Yes, the current system isn’t perfect. If someone designs a new vaccine, someone could say, “Well your vaccine hasn’t eliminated polio yet.” But that’s not a fair charge. There’s lots of reasons why people are poor, and it’s a hard thing to fix. But with proper welfare programs (and yes, a capitalist system), we are making progress. Just like the smallpox vaccine, it just takes time. One thing I can be sure of: “you don’t have a right to one penny”-economics will not fix the problems of poverty any faster.

          • John

            The Constitution is grounded in natural rights, which includes the right to property and the right to keep the fruits of your labor. Taxes allow government to infringe upon that right, but with the obvious necessity to be good stewards of that money and use it for the welfare of all, not just a few. You’re swapping that out with the idea that you don’t even have the right and you’re not being infringed by the theft. That’s bloody absurd and dangerous. It is the basis of communism.

            “I don’t think that’s really an answer, but I’ll assume that that’s a ‘no’. So you see how radical your thinking is? I can’t even take a penny from you and use it to help out someone in unfortunate circumstances.”

            Right, okay, go up to someone and demand a penny from them. Threaten to take it. I had a guy do just that and I got out of my car and he ran. Actually, he demanded a dollar. You have no right to just take things from anyone. That’s the point. You have to make a persuasive case. You do yourself damage by first telling someone they have no right to that money, but yet somehow you do. Try it in the real world. Seriously. And video tape it so I can watch you end up on your butt. Just use your argument. Tell someone they aren’t entitled to all their money, and therefore, they have to give you some of it. But demand it. Don’t ask. Say it like the socialist you are. Demand it. But don’t call me for bail.

            “Because you have a right to a very large portion of it legally.” ARBITRARY. I can say that after every thing that comes out of your mouth.

          • jacksmind

            “The Constitution is grounded in natural rights, which includes the right to property and the right to keep the fruits of your labor.”

            Yes, but not a limitless right to property.

            “Taxes allow government to infringe upon that right, but with the obvious necessity to be good stewards of that money and use it for the welfare of all, not just a few. You’re swapping that out with the idea that you don’t even have the right and you’re not being infringed by the theft. That’s bloody absurd and dangerous. It is the basis of communism.”

            1) The other ‘natural’ rights, like speech, are retained
            2) No, you do have a right to the fruits of your labor, just not all of it.
            3) If it’s dangerous, it’s what is used to justify welfare transfers in our current system.

            “Right, okay, go up to someone and demand a penny from them. Threaten to take it. I had a guy do just that and I got out of my car and he ran.”

            Yes, and if I track down my stolen car, and go to a chop shop, and show up and threaten to take it back, I’m sure a VERY similar thing would happen ;).

            “Actually, he demanded a dollar. You have no right to just take things from anyone.”

            I agree. It has to be justified, just like in the stolen car case. And the fact that you have no right to benefit from a system that disadvantages others, is the justification.

            “That’s the point. You have to make a persuasive case. You do yourself damage by first telling someone they have no right to that money, but yet somehow you do. Try it in the real world.”

            Again. If your car is stolen, and you confront the person who stole it, you will also “do yourself damage”.

            “Seriously. And video tape it so I can watch you end up on your butt. Just use your argument. Tell someone they aren’t entitled to all their money, and therefore, they have to give you some of it. But demand it. Don’t ask. Say it like the socialist you are. Demand it. But don’t call me for bail.”

            One more time: Car. Stolen. Confront thief. Same thing.

            “Because you have a right to a very large portion of it legally.” ARBITRARY. I can say that after every thing that comes out of your mouth.

            Not at all. Arbitrary is “i have a right to every cent”. You have to provide a reason. On the other hand, ensuring basic liberties and just holdings. Someone taking unfair advantages of the system (by claiming more than was deserved), is a perfect example of justified coercion. Just like when the cops force someone to give back your stolen car:

            http://i.imgur.com/Nv6qUea.png

            http://i.imgur.com/msUoGs5.png

          • John

            You say you have a right to your property, but only a limited right to your earnings. Tell me how this isn’t arbitrary and tell me how this wouldn’t naturally endanger ownership through simply next stating that you don’t have a right to all your property. You are simply stating people don’t have 100% rights because you say so, you’re not stating any reason except “you don’t deserve it all”. Well, how does this not apply to everything? You don’t even see how dangerous and evil you are, which is what makes you so frightening. But this is par for the course for the left. Every communist dicatator believed he was the most benevolent, fair and loving person in the world. Except that they had to kill people to make their ideas work.

          • jacksmind

            “You say you have a right to your property, but only a limited right to your earnings. Tell me how this isn’t arbitrary and tell me how this wouldn’t naturally endanger ownership through simply next stating that you don’t have a right to all your property.”

            So let’s just make sure we understand what ‘arbitrary’ means:

            Here’s what a definition I found says:

            ” based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.”

            So what I need to show is not that this is random, or a whim, but that it is based on a reason or system. Just because you don’t like the reasoning, doesn’t make it arbitrary. Even if it is 100% wrong, that doesn’t’ make it arbitrary. If I ask you to pick a number between 1 and 100, that’s arbitrary. You asked, ‘what should my tax level be’, and I said ‘50%’ and when you asked “Why?” I said “no reason”. THAT is arbitrary. But if I give a fundamental principle in which the implication is that you do no have a right to all of your earnings that is NOT arbitary. Again: you don’t have to like it, and it can be 100% wrong. EVEN THAT doesn’t make something arbitrary.

            So what’s the principle which derives the fact that you don’t have a right to all of your earnings? Justice.

            1) You have a right to do anything as long as it doesn’t violate the principles of justice.

            So what are some principles of justice?

            2) liberty (a.k.a freedom) – (There’s a question here in ‘freedom to what?’, but let’s just skip that, since I don’t think we disagree here.)

            3) equality – So the question here is ‘equality of what?’ Some say ‘equality of wealth’ best promotes justice. I disagree. In fact, even Marxists disagree with that one:

            http://philosophybites.com/2007/12/ga-cohen-on-ine.html

            Libertarian notion of equality is one of equal access to unowned resources, but there are MANY libertarian theories of equality. Even some, who like egalitarians, believe in equal opportunity:

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/libertarianism/#2

            Egalitarians believe that people should have equal opportunities. This doesn’t mean giving everyone the same income, but it means making sure that the rich kid and the poor kid both get a decent shot at pursuing self-determination of their life.

            So let’s take some examples:

            * Do you have a right to punch someone’s in the face. No, that violates someones freedom to walk around without harm.
            * Do you have the right to steal someone’s car? Well this depends if have property rights. But I think we both agree that we do, so no, you don’t have a right to steal someone’s car because that violates his liberty to do what that person wants with his property. If you do steal a car, then it’s fine to violate your liberty (freedom do drive a car you don’t own) because this is JUSTIFIED coercion/violation of liberty.

            * Do you have the right to plow unowned land. Depends. Minimally, you can’t claim all the land on earth to yourself and leave nothing for anything else, that violates equality. But if there’s enough left over, sure.

            So where you and I disagree is the role of endowments. Anything that you earned because you worked your butt off (ambition) you should be allowed to keep. That doesn’t violate liberty or equality. But if a genetically superior individual, with rich parents, and a great education, gets paid 51 billion dollars over his lifetime, but some kid in a poor neighborhood goes to a poor school, ends up working for minimum wage for his entire life in fast food and both work just as hard, this violates equality. If it was the case that the rich was rich and the poor, poor because of ambition, then it doesn’t violate the principles of justice, but if they both work just as hard, then it does. How is it equal IN ANY WAY? There was no equality of endowments (one genetically superior, rich parents, the other was poor and normal), there was no equality of opportunities (one went to a crappy school), there was no equality of wealth, there CERTAINLY wasn’t equality of outcomes.

            So what I’m saying is quite mild. I’m not saying we should ensure equality of outcomes. I’m not saying we should ensure equality of income. I’m not saying we should ensure equality of initial wealth. I’m not saying we should ensure equality of endowments. I’m not saying we should ensure equality of ambition. In fact, I’m not saying we should ensure equality of ANYTHING. What I’m saying is VERY mild. It justifies redistrbutive transfers to educate poor kids under a democratically elected government represented by the population which elects representatives that reflect their desired level of taxation and willingness to fund these education programs in order to TRY to even the playing field and TRY and give people a little bit, just a little more equality of opportunities in life to pursue self-determination. In short: it justifies the system we have now.

            So when someone comes by and says “You don’t have the right to tax me a single penny”. I point out that SOME of people’s income is the result of factors beyond their control, they didn’t work for it, so don’t deserve it. And if they’re not entitled to it, they have no right to it. There is nothing that violates the principles of justice when someone places a precondition to work on the populace such that if they work, they will be taxed. This doesn’t violate any MEANINGFUL principles of self-ownership, this doesn’t violate their equality, this doesn’t violate the principles of justice. It MAY be a violation of liberty or coercive, or a violation of non-aggression (there’s a debate about this), but if it is then it is JUSTIFIED (for the same reason why the cops can violate a thief’s liberty by taking the owner’s car back). If you are rich for no other reason than the fact that you got lucky and happened to live in a capitalist system, then YES, the state has the right to tax you one penny.

            Now I know you probably don’t agree with ANY of this. And that’s fine. But it *IS NOT* arbitrary, unless you define arbitrary to a word that doesn’t really have any meaning anymore.

          • John

            Also, let’s look at this. The world RUNS on inequality. Inequality is the fuel that betters mankind and without which, physics wouldn’t even work. A motor functions because there is unequal pressure inside versus out and the natural force tries to balance it. Electricity works because there are unequal amounts of electrons in two different areas and nature rushes to the void. But in the meantime, in order to fill that void, WORK gets done. PROGRESS is made. When one person is poor, they can either go on assistance, creating a permanent “ground”, or they can actually work a bit harder, and pull money from those that have it, as I do. I seek people that have more money than I do and I offer them my services so I can have more of their money. In return, often times, they will say “hey, do you want this $2000 sofa, I’ll sell it to you for $300. “Sure”. Okay, now not only did I get paid, but I got a $2000 sofa subsidized by the rich person who has no need to maximize his return as he’s gotten use for it and really doesn’t need to get every penny. A poor person would try to sell it for $1000 or more because he needs the money, but now I have gotten wealthier thanks to my richer client. Yard sales are one of the greatest equalizing forces in all of society.

          • jacksmind

            “Also, let’s look at this. The world RUNS on inequality. Inequality is the fuel that betters mankind and without which, physics wouldn’t even work. A motor functions because there is unequal pressure inside versus out and the natural force tries to balance it. Electricity works because there are unequal amounts of electrons in two different areas and nature rushes to the void. But in the meantime, in order to fill that void, WORK gets done. PROGRESS is made.”

            I don’t really buy the analogy. Physics also has many fundamental conservation laws. The mass-energy of the universe remains EQUAL. Momentum before and after a collision is EQUAL. Angular momentum remains EQUAL. Either way, I don’t think either is a very good analogy.

            “When one person is poor, they can either go on assistance, creating a permanent “ground”, or they can actually work a bit harder, and pull money from those that have it, as I do. I seek people that have more money than I do and I offer them my services so I can have more of their money. In return, often times, they will say “hey, do you want this $2000 sofa, I’ll sell it to you for $300. “Sure”. Okay, now not only did I get paid, but I got a $2000 sofa subsidized by the rich person who has no need to maximize his return as he’s gotten use for it and really doesn’t need to get every penny. A poor person would try to sell it for $1000 or more because he needs the money, but now I have gotten wealthier thanks to my richer client. Yard sales are one of the greatest equalizing forces in all of society.””

            I agree about the yard sales–definitely. You’re also moving away from why someone might have a right to their full earnings, to the possible bad consequences of some government policy. That’s fine, but just because something bad can happen certainly doesn’t mean you have a right to every last cent. For example, I’m not saying that people should go on assistance. Here’s what I mean: Would you be in favor DOUBLING the percentage you pay to these assistance programs if it meant they could only be used for things that would help people out of poverty. So what I mean is: no food, no shelter, nothing essential. The money just goes to job retraining, education, etc. So if you are ok with that, then it seems you don’t think you have a right to every last cent. If you’re not, then there’s something more fundamental than dependency (since you can’t really get dependent on job retraining), and that’s the real issue.

          • John

            But I DO have the natural right to every cent and it’s up to you to offer me a bargain that I encourages me to give you my labor.

            But let’s say that everything is equal and all live in harmony because everyone has the same stuff and same outcomes. How fast do you think mankind will progress? If contentment occurs, how does society advance?

            Another example. Early adopters are wealthier. They casn buy a $10,000 LCD TV. And because they can, they fund the innovation required to drop the price of an LCD down to under $1000. And when there are $1000 TVs, they are still buying very expensive models with cutting edge technology, that is trickles down within 1-2 years. And this doesn’t just happen with LCD TVs, this happens in virtually every industry. The wealthier pay a premium to get the advanced stuff and make it affordable for the common person. Without that, no one could bring out these technologies. Tesla is another example. The rich will drive the technology (although they are also obviously living off tax subsidies that harm everyone but the rich). So it is government that causes wealth to trickle up from the poor, while the free market causes wealth to trickle down from the rich.

            Another real world example. When the Chinese started coming here in the 1800s, their immigration was quickly outlawed with an unconstitutional federal law, in order to stop them from creating businesses and competing with the wealthy. They could only come essentially as slaves to big corporations and were often abandoned to die or even killed when they were done with them. Or rounded up and sent back. So, hurt the poor Chinese in order to benefit wealthy industrialists.

          • jacksmind

            “But I DO have the natural right to every cent and it’s up to you to offer me a bargain that I encourages me to give you my labor.”

            But you can’t just say that, you have to prove it. Well I mean you could say it, but then I can just say ‘you DON’T have the natural right to every last cent’. (Moreover, I gave you a reason for why you don’t and you haven’t given any reason for why you do.)

            “But let’s say that everything is equal and all live in harmony because everyone has the same stuff and same outcomes. How fast do you think mankind will progress? If contentment occurs, how does society advance?”

            I think you’re not reading what we wrote. I DID NOT say that everyone should have the same amount.

            “Another example. Early adopters are wealthier. They casn buy a $10,000 LCD TV. And because they can, they fund the innovation required to drop the price of an LCD down to under $1000. And when there are $1000 TVs, they are still buying very expensive models with cutting edge technology, that is trickles down within 1-2 years. And this doesn’t just happen with LCD TVs, this happens in virtually every industry. The wealthier pay a premium to get the advanced stuff and make it affordable for the common person. Without that, no one could bring out these technologies. Tesla is another example. The rich will drive the technology (although they are also obviously living off tax subsidies that harm everyone but the rich). So it is government that causes wealth to trickle up from the poor, while the free market causes wealth to trickle down from the rich.”

            There are several reasons why consumer electronics decrease over time. But again, I think you’re missing what I say. I didn’t say there would be no wealthy people in a world in which the poor got some help. Take the current society you live in for example. The poor get help, and we have the EXACT phenomenon you describe occurring. You have to show me how eliminating welfare programs would make things better, and that example certainly doesn’t show that.

            “Another real world example. When the Chinese started coming here in the 1800s, their immigration was quickly outlawed with an unconstitutional federal law, in order to stop them from creating businesses and competing with the wealthy. They could only come essentially as slaves to big corporations and were often abandoned to die or even killed when they were done with them. Or rounded up and sent back. So, hurt the poor Chinese in order to benefit wealthy industrialists.”

            I’m not really sure how this is relevant.

          • John

            Wait, why do I have to prove to you that my stuff is my stuff?!? That is opposite of reality. I shouldn’t have to prove a thing. It doesn’t make sense that I need to prove my possessions are something I earned to anyone else. They should be assumed to be mine until proven otherwise.

            We cut welfare programs back in the 90s and it had a tremendously beneficial effect. People went to work, they even were interviewing people that said they were HAPPIER with a job, even if they made LESS because they had self-respect, friends, they got out of the house, they improved themselves, gained skills. Dependence is an awful thing. It’s why we kick our kids out of the house and make them get jobs. Because we love them too much to let them be dependent. And the government swoops right in and takes over.

            The Chinese thing is relevant because wants you set up a government that determines what is good and bad…ah, hell, I’ll just quote Jefferson….

            “It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.”

          • jacksmind

            “Wait, why do I have to prove to you that my stuff is my stuff?!? That is opposite of reality. I shouldn’t have to prove a thing. It doesn’t make sense that I need to prove my possessions are something I earned to anyone else. They should be assumed to be mine until proven otherwise.”

            Exactly, and I have proven otherwise. I know you don’t believe that I have. But you have to show me why not. You can’t just assume that it’s not. If I claim that the earth is flat because it looks flat when you’re outside, and you tell me how I’m wrong, I can’t just say “no, don’t believe you”. I have to confront coutnerclaims if I’m going to be a rational person.

            “We cut welfare programs back in the 90s and it had a tremendously beneficial effect. People went to work, they even were interviewing people that said they were HAPPIER with a job, even if they made LESS because they had self-respect, friends, they got out of the house, they improved themselves, gained skills. Dependence is an awful thing. It’s why we kick our kids out of the house and make them get jobs. Because we love them too much to let them be dependent. And the government swoops right in and takes over.”

            Again, this is irrelevant. I ask for the third time: would you DOUBLE the percentage of your taxes that go to work training and education programs that to go the poorer, if it means that the programs cannot induce dependency?

            “”The Chinese thing is relevant because wants you set up a government that determines what is good and bad…ah, hell, I’ll just quote Jefferson….

            “It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.””

            I don’t really have a problem with this. Yes, there are governments that are horrible, and there are governments that do right by the will of the people. When any authority has the ability to coerce an individual always has to be careful because they get to be the ‘judges of good and evil’. Even in an anarchist society in which two individuals get into a disagreement, if one party never agrees to arbitration, the impetus is on the coercive institution to behave in an ethical way to the person who it deems in violation of norms. Same with the government, same with parents, same with all sorts of institutions really. Moreover, there are plenty of checks and balances–the major one being a democratic republic which create major safeguards.

          • John

            “Exactly, and I have proven otherwise. I know you don’t believe that I have. But you have to show me why not.”

            No, a claim isn’t proof. And the fact is, the earnings go to me because that is the agreement. They are in my possession. I don’t know how you can presume to say that I owe it to someone else unless I have contracted for their services and have agreed to give them part of it. You must take it from me by force. Therefore you must supply the rationale for it and you have not.

            “I ask for the third time: would you DOUBLE the percentage of your taxes that go to work training and education programs that to go the poorer, if it means that the programs cannot induce dependency?”

            Didnt’ see the first two times. No, I don’t want to pay for those things. This is something employers should do. Most of these programs are useless. So I certainly don’t want to double that. People should get a job at low wages in which they are taught. That’s how the rest of the world does it. You work at half the pay of someone else who is teaching you how to do the work, then you leave and charge more.

            I would be more okay with taxes IF when paying it, you had the ability to vote to increase taxes by a percentage, lower it by an equal percentages or keep it the same. At least there is some real democracy. Most people vote with their wallets and would vote to pay less the next year. Further, I would say there would have to be categories that people could say “I want to pay 10% to this, 20% to that.” rather than government deciding.

            Democratic Republics have proven to have AWFUL safeguards. They literally ignore the Constitution and the will of the people and do what they think they can do successfully.

          • jacksmind

            “No, a claim isn’t proof. ”

            A claim certainly can be proof. But a claim certainly can be a strong justification which shifts the burden of proof. I believe I have made a very compelling case for why you don’t deserve every cent. I know you don’t believe that. But again. You have to provide reaons. It’s not enough to say “I don’t believe that.” Well not if you’re being rational.

            “And the fact is, the earnings go to me because that is the agreement. They are in my possession.”

            Again. If you steal a car, that is also in your possession. That doesn’t mean you have a right to it.

            “I don’t know how you can presume to say that I owe it to someone else unless I have contracted for their services and have agreed to give them part of it. You must take it from me by force. Therefore you must supply the rationale for it and you have not.”

            I have supplied a rational; you just don’t believe it. And that’s fine. But you have to show me why you disagree. When you unfairly benefit because of endowments, circumstance, or a particular system, you have no right to claim those rewards when someone else is suffering because of that system. Here’s the argument again:

            “1) you received something that is favorable to your life
            2) other people did not receive that thing.
            3) you got it not because you earned it, but because of favorable circumstances that you had nothing to do with”

            “Didnt’ see the first two times. No, I don’t want to pay for those things. This is something employers should do. Most of these programs are useless. So I certainly don’t want to double that.”

            What if I was able to prove that there are similar programs that are very useful? Would you support it then? The reason Im asking it this way is to get at the crux of the disagreement.

            “People should get a job at low wages in which they are taught. That’s how the rest of the world does it. You work at half the pay of someone else who is teaching you how to do the work, then you leave and charge more.”

            So what do you say to individuals who work at a fast food job and have no choice but to live off of government assistance to make ends meet?

            “I would be more okay with taxes IF when paying it, you had the ability to vote to increase taxes by a percentage, lower it by an equal percentages or keep it the same.”

            Well this is basically what happens now to some degree. One check on the government taxing 100% is that representatives would be voted out of office, so they don’t do so.

            “At least there is some real democracy. Most people vote with their wallets and would vote to pay less the next year. Further, I would say there would have to be categories that people could say “I want to pay 10% to this, 20% to that.” rather than government deciding.”

            That’s fine, but it doesn’t really fix the problem we’ve been talking about. If you think you deserve every last cent, then it’s not clear how voting on it makes any difference.

            “Democratic Republics have proven to have AWFUL safeguards. They literally ignore the Constitution and the will of the people and do what they think they can do successfully.”

            Well of course I (and the Supreme Court) largely disagree with you. But this is a completely different debate. The point is that these things are a clear check on government tyranny or uncareful application of coercion.

          • John

            ” But again. You have to provide reaons. ”

            I do, but you don’t listen. My wage is my deal with another person or company, it is a private affair and the government need not even know about it in a free society. In the first 150 years of America, the government had zero business knowing what you made or how you earned it. Then came socialism. I don’t give the government my permission to invade my privacy and meddle in my economic affairs. They force their way in.

            I also think we can assume that if I believe in property rights, I also don’t believe in the right to possess someone else’s property without permission. Possession doesn’t mean ownership, but in the absence of any provable ownership, it is the very next best thing.

            “1) you received something that is favorable to your life
            2) other people did not receive that thing.
            3) you got it not because you earned it, but because of favorable circumstances that you had nothing to do with”

            I’m sorry, but that is a BULLSHIT argument. It goes nowhere with me. Life isn’t fair. It was never meant to be fair and any attempt to make it fair simply creates unfairness and misery. Cubans have fairness. And they’re more poor than ever. Fairness is keeping your stuff, not having government arbitrarily take it from you.

            “What if I was able to prove that there are similar programs that are very useful?”

            If they are useful, the free market will provide it. The free market doesn’t provide things without value. Because to do so equals failure.

            “So what do you say to individuals who work at a fast food job and have no choice but to live off of government assistance to make ends meet?”

            I’d say that government is causing their life to be too expensive and we need to eliminate the causes. Ethanol subsidies, for instance and farm subsidies cause the price of food to be notably higher than need be. Taxes cause rent to be higher. Safety mandates cause cars to be more expensive. Insurance mandates. A speeding ticket. Fees. Fines. Zoning. All done by government, all causing your life to be more expensive than necessary.

            “Well this is basically what happens now to some degree.”

            Not nearly enough. Why should someone else decide for me whether I should pay more taxes? Let’s put it up to a real vote and see how many people really believe in the socialist state, because people may vote for more taxes only because they’re voting against something else, so let’s separate the issue and find the truth.

            “If you think you deserve every last cent, then it’s not clear how voting on it makes any difference.”

            I honestly don’t believe it should be up for a vote. I think the government has a legitimate reason to tax gasoline to pay for highways. Pay to play. But to make me pay for someone else’s transportation when my own car needs new tires and some engine repair is just BS.

            The only person on SCOTUS that has a clue about the Constitution is Clarence Thomas, maybe Alito. In a good world, Scalia would be the worst SCJ we have, but he’s the third best.

            Do you know what “provide for the general Welfare” means?

          • jacksmind

            “I do, but you don’t listen. My wage is my deal with another person or company, it is a private affair and the government need not even know about it in a free society. In the first 150 years of America, the government had zero business knowing what you made or how you earned it. Then came socialism. I don’t give the government my permission to invade my privacy and meddle in my economic affairs. They force their way in.”

            Yes, because the American system does not provide economic justice. If your employer said it wasn’t going to hire black people, it is completely in the right of the government to get involved (though I know some libertarians don’t believe that). This disadvantages blacks and advantages whites. Now if your employer said it was only going to hire people with an IQ over 130, then this disadvantages people who weren’t born with those gifts and it’s completely acceptable for the government to make requirements that if businesses in America are going to reward some people and not others, then they will be taxed. The employer is welcome to go to a different country and do business in a different way. But if the people of this country make laws to ensure some level of economic justice, businesses will be taxed.

            “1) you received something that is favorable to your life

            2) other people did not receive that thing.

            3) you got it not because you earned it, but because of favorable circumstances that you had nothing to do with”

            “I’m sorry, but that is a BULLSHIT argument. It goes nowhere with me. ”

            I know it doesn’t. It’s hard to convince racists that blacks should be treated equally, it’s hard to convince killers not to kill, (btw I’m not calling you either). Just because you’re not convinced doesn’t really matter. It’s obvious that you’re not convinced by what I’ve said, and that I’m not convinced by what you’ve said. But that doesn’t really tell us anything. You need to critique the argument and tell me where you think it’s wrong.

            “Life isn’t fair. It was never meant to be fair and any attempt to make it fair simply creates unfairness and misery.”

            I gave you an example where it makes things more fair. Take 10% from the guy with 51 billion dollar and give it to the poor person. That’s more fair.

            “Cubans have fairness. And they’re more poor than ever. Fairness is keeping your stuff, not having government arbitrarily take it from you.”

            And we have a degree of fairness via redistribution, and we are the best in the world. That shows that you can be more fair, and you don’t end up like Cuba. And remember, it’s not taking it from you. You had no right to it in the first place. If I steal your car, I can’t complain that you’re taking it from me when you take it back.

            “If they are useful, the free market will provide it. The free market doesn’t provide things without value. Because to do so equals failure.”

            The market doesn’t provide everything that’s good. The market didn’t get us to the moon, build the national highway system, create a military. The market didn’t fund–well any–research that was awarded the Nobel Prize. Also the internet. The market doesn’t price for externalities.

            “I’d say that government is causing their life to be too expensive and we need to eliminate the causes. Ethanol subsidies, for instance and farm subsidies cause the price of food to be notably higher than need be. Taxes cause rent to be higher. Safety mandates cause cars to be more expensive. Insurance mandates. A speeding ticket. Fees. Fines. Zoning. All done by government, all causing your life to be more expensive than necessary.”

            Ok, say we get rid of all those, do you think that we would eliminate all poverty, that everyone would be able to make their ends meet?

            “Not nearly enough. Why should someone else decide for me whether I should pay more taxes?”

            1) Well it’s not someone else, you’re just a part of it. I mean we can abandon the vision of the founding fathers and have a direct democracy, some towns do. But that doesn’t mean that the majority of people might not vote for things like welfare and FICA taxes. I’d be fine with that. It doesn’t really show that you own every last cent.

            “Let’s put it up to a real vote and see how many people really believe in the socialist state, because people may vote for more taxes only because they’re voting against something else, so let’s separate the issue and find the truth.”

            We already know how people feel about taxes:

            http://www.gallup.com/poll/1714/taxes.aspx

            “I honestly don’t believe it should be up for a vote. I think the government has a legitimate reason to tax gasoline to pay for highways. Pay to play. But to make me pay for someone else’s transportation when my own car needs new tires and some engine repair is just BS.”

            So this has to do with collective action. I agree, let’s get the government out of anything where the market would do a better job. But the question is, if by switching to pay for play poor people can’t get to work, then it’s just another example where the rich benefit unfairly from the market system, and deserve to be taxed.

            “Do you know what “provide for the general Welfare” means?”

            Do you really want to get in a semantic debate? If you want feel free to quote your orginalist of choice, and I’ll find someone from the other side that disagrees and we’ll go back and forth on it. But we’re talking philosophy here. It doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks it means, because, after all, they could be wrong. Take for example taxation. Some people believe they have a right to every last cent, but they’re wrong, the extent to which they benefit from endowments and the particular system unfairly advantages them providing an impetus for coercive taxation.

          • John

            “Yes, because the American system does not provide economic justice. ”

            Not the job of government. When you can provide “economic justice” without theft, call me. Until then, it’s a nonstarter.

            If an employer refuses to hire blacks, blacks will then be in less demand. Another employer, wanting to compete with the first employer will then find an an advantage in hiring blacks at a lower wage, bringing an equal product to market at a lower price and destroying or forcing change upon the first employer. Even more ironic, it would create a situation where a black businessman eats his lunch and drives him from business. Turnabout is fair play. Now, I think that if there is institutional racism that the private market can’t handle, i’m okay with a temporary solution to get things moving, though I would also believe that any society willing to create that solution is one where the free market is already solving the problem. In any case, Walter Williams does a great program on this.

            “You need to critique the argument and tell me where you think it’s wrong.”

            What’s wrong is your solution. For one thing, no one can eliminate unfairness. Can you make a guy with an IQ of 65 and add 100 points? No? Okay, how can you make his life fair? Can you take a quadriplegic and make his life fair? You can’t? Alrighty. Life is officially unfair. It can’t be made fair. But you can’t harm others to make that attempt because that is also UNFAIR. It’s also arbitrary. What does someone who has all four limbs owe someone who doesn’t? Humans naturally try to care for each other. To act as though they do not is the worst form of cruelty.

            “I gave you an example where it makes things more fair. Take 10% from the guy with 51 billion dollar and give it to the poor person. That’s more fair.”

            The guy with $51B is already doing that. Bill Gates, for example. He’s also creating products adored by millions of people, products that make their lives better. Quadraplegics benefit from his products. I helped fit technology to a quadraplegics chair to make his life better. I made a small profit doing it, but very small, and it was funded by the person that crippled him.

            “And remember, it’s not taking it from you. You had no right to it in the first place. If I steal your car, I can’t complain that you’re taking it from me when you take it back.”

            I’m sorry, but I’m going to finish this and just move on because this is just F’ing stupid for you to say. I can’t argue with stupid. Telling people they have no right to THEIR things. Jesus H Christ. No wonder the world is going to hell.

            “The market doesn’t provide everything that’s good. The market didn’t get us to the moon, build the national highway system, create a military.”

            First of all, going to the moon had no value worth the trip. Nor does creating the military for the most part. Even if we need the military, corporations would gladly fund it to maintaing their businesses and people will gladly serve to protect their possessions. People always organize for self defense. Sure, I’ll give government the highway system as the only way to do it was by force.

            “The market didn’t fund–well any–research that was awarded the Nobel Prize. Also the internet. The market doesn’t price for externalities.”

            Uhhh, yeah….you just made the worst argument ever for your point, given that the Nobel Prize is a free market endeavor that has nothing to do with government. The internet is largely a creation of private industry needing to be able to move data and would exist no matter what.

            “Ok, say we get rid of all those, do you think that we would eliminate all poverty, that everyone would be able to make their ends meet?”

            Not 100%, but we’d be a whole lot closer, wouldn’t we? Government destroys more than it creates. It’s exceptional at destruction.

            “I mean we can abandon the vision of the founding fathers”

            We did that in the ’30s, if not earlier. So your point?!?

            “We already know how people feel about taxes:”

            So you wouldn’t have any problem putting it up to a direct vote on April 15th every year?

            “Do you really want to get in a semantic debate?”

            Nope, there is a literal meaning, do you know what it is? I can quote the Father of the Constitution on exactly what it means. Do you know?

            But, please, if you want me to respond, don’t bother with the socialist talking points. Create something of value. “You don’t own your stuff” is just bullshit.

          • jacksmind

            “Not the job of government. When you can provide “economic justice” without theft, call me. Until then, it’s a nonstarter.”

            Again, it’s not theft it wasn’t yours to begin with. You haven’t yet provided an argument for why you deserve every last cent.

            “If an employer refuses to hire blacks, blacks will then be in less demand. Another employer, wanting to compete with the first employer will then find an an advantage in hiring blacks at a lower wage, bringing an equal product to market at a lower price and destroying or forcing change upon the first employer.”

            This didn’t work during segregation because none of them would hire. In fact, that’s a great way to extend the analogy, since it actually happened. What happens when no business will hire blacks?

            “Even more ironic, it would create a situation where a black businessman eats his lunch and drives him from business. Turnabout is fair play. Now, I think that if there is institutional racism that the private market can’t handle, i’m okay with a temporary solution to get things moving, though I would also believe that any society willing to create that solution is one where the free market is already solving the problem. In any case, Walter Williams does a great program on this.”

            So then in the same way, you would at least be fine with a temporary government solution until ‘things get moving’ for those who are poor for historical/cultural reasons?

            “What’s wrong is your solution. For one thing, no one can eliminate unfairness.”

            So if we can’t stop murder, we shouldn’t try?

            “Can you make a guy with an IQ of 65 and add 100 points? No? Okay, how can you make his life fair? Can you take a quadriplegic and make his life fair? You can’t? Alrighty. Life is officially unfair. It can’t be made fair. ”

            You can certainly make it more fair. Do you claim there is NOTHING that can be done for the guy with an IQ of 65 to make his life closer to the life of the one who is 165? Not even closer?

            “But you can’t harm others to make that attempt because that is also UNFAIR.”

            It’s only unfair you are taking what they deserve. But I’m not suggesting we take something that they didn’t earn unfairly to begin with.

            “It’s also arbitrary. What does someone who has all four limbs owe someone who doesn’t?”

            Well that’s a question to morality. Take the pond example: say you’re walking by a pond and you see a child drowning. You could rescue her but it would get your shoes dirty. Do you have any obligation to save the child?

            “Humans naturally try to care for each other. To act as though they do not is the worst form of cruelty.”

            That’s my point exactly. So those who do not contribute to the welfare of those much less fortunate, are cruel. Moreover, if their advantages are unfair, then it is unjust.

            “The guy with $51B is already doing that. Bill Gates, for example.”

            Ok, so then it’s ok to tax people who don’t do that, right?

            ” He’s also creating products adored by millions of people, products that make their lives better. Quadraplegics benefit from his products. I helped fit technology to a quadraplegics chair to make his life better. I made a small profit doing it, but very small, and it was funded by the person that crippled him.”

            Irrelevant. The question is if he can be taxed. Indeed he is taxed, and he still manages to do all that.

            “I’m sorry, but I’m going to finish this and just move on because this is just F’ing stupid for you to say. I can’t argue with stupid. Telling people they have no right to THEIR things. Jesus H Christ. No wonder the world is going to hell.”

            Well you’ve failed to show where I am wrong. I mean I COMPLETELY 100% understand why you don’t believe it: you grew up in a certain system, with certain education, with certain circumstances which form your beliefs. As did I. So the best we can do is use reason to see which one of us is wrong, and you haven’t in one place made an argument for why you deserve every last cent.

            “First of all, going to the moon had no value worth the trip. Nor does creating the military for the most part. Even if we need the military, corporations would gladly fund it to maintaing their businesses and people will gladly serve to protect their possessions. People always organize for self defense. Sure, I’ll give government the highway system as the only way to do it was by force.”

            That’s all I need. So you’re saying that the market doesn’t always provide what is useful and needed?

            “Uhhh, yeah….you just made the worst argument ever for your point, given that the Nobel Prize is a free market endeavor that has nothing to do with government. The internet is largely a creation of private industry needing to be able to move data and would exist no matter what.”

            Please go to http://www.nobel.org and guesstimate a percentage of Nobel Prizes that were funded by private industry as opposed to government funding. The internet was created as part of government funded ARPANET http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARPANet

            “Not 100%, but we’d be a whole lot closer, wouldn’t we? Government destroys more than it creates. It’s exceptional at destruction.”

            Ok, so what do you say, after we remove all those, to the person that is still poor?

            “We did that in the ’30s, if not earlier. So your point?!?”

            I’m describing the situation which you prefer in which the people decide on how to regulate an economic system so as to ensure a modicum of ecnomic justice. One in which you would still be taxed.

            “So you wouldn’t have any problem putting it up to a direct vote on April 15th every year?”

            No, of course not, polls show that people almost accept taxes where they are at. Either way we are a LONG way off from your ‘I deserve every last cent’ level of taxation.
            “Nope, there is a literal meaning, do you know what it is? I can quote the Father of the Constitution on exactly what it means. Do you know?”
            If you want you can, but like I said, It really is irrelevant, because whatever the definition is it’s completely possible that the founders were wrong. Does general welfare mean ensure that no person unfairly benefits from a capitalist system based on their endowments or from the simple fact that they were lucky? I would hope they would have thought about that, they were smart men.

            “But, please, if you want me to respond, don’t bother with the socialist talking points.”

            It’s not socialist. This is luck-egalitarianism, or new liberal, or probably a number of political philosophies.

            “Create something of value. “You don’t own your stuff” is just bullshit.”

            Well you know what they say, “it’s all been done.” In fact “I deserve every last cent” is pretty much one of the oldest American conservative talking points. The argument I have sketched here probably isn’t as old:

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/redistribution/#2.2.2

            And let me just reiterate. It’s not that you don’t own your ‘stuff’. It’s that you don’t have a right to the total benefits you reap from a system that awards you more than someone else unfairly.

          • John

            “Again, it’s not theft it wasn’t yours to begin with. You haven’t yet provided an argument for why you deserve every last cent.”

            Okay, well, if you try to take my stuff, I will kill you. Is that a good enough argument? Most people will. Because people like their stuff and don’t recognize your claim. Government takes a better approach. “Give me your stuff or we will kill YOU”. That’s what makes it theft.

            “What happens when no business will hire blacks?”

            They start their own businesses serving black people. That’s exactly what they did. Many got rich doing it. Many wouldn’t hire white people. We didn’t hear any complaints about that.

            “So if we can’t stop murder, we shouldn’t try?”

            Red herring as murder violates someone’s rights, much in the same way taxation do.


            “Do you have any obligation to save the child?”

            NOPE. You do so because you are a good person and that’s what makes people heroes.

            “You can certainly make it more fair.”

            No you can’t. You can only move around unfairness.

            “So those who do not contribute to the welfare of those much less fortunate, are cruel.”

            Maybe they are. Most liberals fit into this category. But they shouldn’t be forced, because that is also immoral and unjust. Further, by creating an outsourced guilt relieve mechanism, liberals are free to say “I vote Democrat” and feel good about themselves. I suspect this sums you up.

            “Ok, so then it’s ok to tax people who don’t do that, right?”

            NOPE.

            “Irrelevant. The question is if he can be taxed. Indeed he is taxed, and he still manages to do all that.”

            Can be doesn’t make it right. I can kill someone, but how does that make it just.

            “and you haven’t in one place made an argument for why you deserve every last cent.”

            Sure I have. Private contract, private business. What I make is purely a matter of the contract I make with another person and not at all the business of anyone else and, in actuality, unknowable to someone else unless they force their way into our business by force.

            Let’s say that you have the hottest wife. It’s unfair to other people. So your wife should have to have sex with other men who can’t fairly get a wife that is that hot. Are you willing to share your wife? Why not? You don’t deserve all of her. Maybe you deserve her 3 days a week and she needs to screw other guys the other 4 days.

            I’m going to state that probably 75% of all Nobel prize winners are not government employees. Prove me wrong. Are you going to tell me that all the writers were all funded by public money? Doubtful.

            And the internet would exist anyway without government help. There was a need for it and so where there is need, there is private industry.

            “Ok, so what do you say, after we remove all those, to the person that is still poor?”

            GET A JOB.

            “No, of course not, polls show that people almost accept taxes where they are at.”

            I’ll give you a clue. My father believes in high taxes. But he also hires an accountant that make sure he pays the very least amount of money he must and he takes advantage of every subsidy possible. Same with Warren Buffet. He SAYS he wants higher taxes for himself, but could easily double or triple his taxes simply by not claiming all his deductions. Does he? Hell no. So don’t tell me that people want to pay higher taxes themselves. They want OTHER people to pay higher taxes. Liberals will all vote to pay less taxes, in the same way that they ALL rush to cash their government refunds that they claim is better off with the government. People are liars, but liberals more than anyone are superb liars.

            “:It’s not socialist. This is luck-egalitarianism, or new liberal, or probably a number of political philosophies”

            It’s dumber than dirt is what it is. And it’s certainly not in any way libertarian. But worst of all, it’s a liar lying to himself.

            Anyway, I think we’re done here. My job isn’t to convince you. It’s to stop you.

          • jacksmind

            “Okay, well, if you try to take my stuff, I will kill you. Is that a good enough argument?”

            No. It’s not. if someone steals your car, and you go to get it back, if they threaten to kill you, they are in the wrong. That’s what we’re talking about. Your ability to kill someone does not mean that you have the right to every last cent.

            ” Most people will. Because people like their stuff and don’t recognize your claim.”

            Of course they don’t. People also once thought it was ok to own a black person. They also thought the world was flat. People can be wrong. But actually if we are talking about popular opinion, I think people are more aligned with my beliefs than yours. I mean, I’m not arguing for something all to different than what we have now. My guess is the percentage of people that think they have a right to every last cent is FAR fewer.

            ” Government takes a better approach. “Give me your stuff or we will kill YOU”. That’s what makes it theft.”

            I know it’s in vogue for libertarians/anarchists to claim that the government will kill you. But this is very rare. More than likely they’ll garnish your wages before any of that happens.

            “They start their own businesses serving black people. That’s exactly what they did. Many got rich doing it. Many wouldn’t hire white people. We didn’t hear any complaints about that.”

            Actually most failed. In fact, most fail to this day: http://goo.gl/3cbtzR

            “Red herring as murder violates someone’s rights, much in the same way taxation do.”

            Now who’s making the red herring. Let’s review. You said

            “For one thing, no one can eliminate unfairness”

            The implication being that if we can’t eliminate it, then we shouldn’t try. I said:

            “We can’t elminate murder, so we shouldn’t try”.

            And you pointed out that murder violates someone’s rights. So basically you’re saying we shouldn’t try to fix something unless it violates someone’s rights. Now THIS is arbitrary. We’ll never solve poverty, but since that’s doesn’t violate someone’s rights we shouldn’t try. We’ll never attain 100% literacy, but that doesn’t violate someone’s rights so we shouldn’t try. We’ll never have 100% voting, guess people shouldn’t vote.

            “NOPE. You do so because you are a good person and that’s what makes people heroes.”

            Why is someone a good person if he saves the child?

            “No you can’t. You can only move around unfairness.”

            What’s your evidence for this claim?

            “Maybe they are. Most liberals fit into this category. But they shouldn’t be forced, because that is also immoral and unjust. Further, by creating an outsourced guilt relieve mechanism, liberals are free to say “I vote Democrat” and feel good about themselves. I suspect this sums you up.”

            Let’s keep the personal attacks aside. We’ve had a cordial and nice debate up to this point, we should keep it that way. So I don’t know about the ‘guild relieve mechanism’, but the point is that you just admitted, and I’ll repeat:

            “so those who do not contribute to the welfare of those much less fortunate, are cruel.”

            So you agree that some people are less fortunate than others?

            “NOPE.”

            Ok, so the point was irrelevant, we’ll move on.

            “Can be doesn’t make it right. I can kill someone, but how does that make it just.”

            Yes, and when you unfairly benefit from a system, that is also unjust.

            “Sure I have. Private contract, private business. What I make is purely a matter of the contract I make with another person and not at all the business of anyone else and, in actuality, unknowable to someone else unless they force their way into our business by force.”

            All that shows is that you have a private contract. You haven’t made any case for every last cent. If the economy is setup so that you both are taxed, I don’t see how that violates a private contract. In fact, we have lots of private contracts and people are still taxed. Why does a private contract, or a private business, or the fact that it was done in secret show why you can’t be taxed?

            “Let’s say that you have the hottest wife. It’s unfair to other people. So your wife should have to have sex with other men who can’t fairly get a wife that is that hot. Are you willing to share your wife? Why not? You don’t deserve all of her. Maybe you deserve her 3 days a week and she needs to screw other guys the other 4 days.”

            You can’t because THAT would be slavery. You’ll note that every example I’ve given does not force someone to work. Actually it doesn’t force anyone to do anything. Only if they choose to work, they do not have the right to reap all the benefits of that system when others suffer from that system.

            “I’m going to state that probably 75% of all Nobel prize winners are not government employees. Prove me wrong. Are you going to tell me that all the writers were all funded by public money? Doubtful.”

            No the research was funded by government grants. I’d be happy to go down the list with you.

            “And the internet would exist anyway without government help. There was a need for it and so where there is need, there is private industry.”

            Yes, and so would the national highway system–eventually. The point is that insofar as the government did it first, humanity is better off.

            “GET A JOB.”

            They have a job, remember? They are working more than full time at a fast food place.

            “I’ll give you a clue. My father believes in high taxes. But he also hires an accountant that make sure he pays the very least amount of money he must and he takes advantage of every subsidy possible. Same with Warren Buffet. He SAYS he wants higher taxes for himself, but could easily double or triple his taxes simply by not claiming all his deductions. Does he? Hell no. So don’t tell me that people want to pay higher taxes themselves. They want OTHER people to pay higher taxes. Liberals will all vote to pay less taxes, in the same way that they ALL rush to cash their government refunds that they claim is better off with the government. People are liars, but liberals more than anyone are superb liars.”

            I think you need to reread what I wrote. I didn’t say they want higher taxes. In fact my goal is VERY humble. I just have to show they don’t want 0%. I’m pretty certain of that.

            “It’s dumber than dirt is what it is. And it’s certainly not in any way libertarian. But worst of all, it’s a liar lying to himself.”

            I am well aware of your belief. But the trick with rationality is to prove it, to argue for it. I know you think I’m a liberal that wants to take from the workers and give to the moochers, and I know that I think that you are psychologically unable to see the role that fortune plays in your life and what this means for justice and your rights. The point, though, is to give REASONS for our beliefs.

          • John

            You’re wrong, of course, about black business. By segregating blacks, it actually helped black create their own business and jobs. – http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-newcentury/5.0

            When you are give up business over misguided principle, you simply create competition.

            And again, you aren’t open to reason, obviously, so my job is to stop you. There is a huge and dangerous distinction between “WE SHOULD help the poor” and “YOU MUST help the poor”.

            You call it a middle ground position, but in fact, it is more dangerous than the horrible system we have. 100,000,000 people found out the hard way.

          • jacksmind

            “You’re wrong, of course, about black business. By segregating blacks, it actually helped black create their own business and jobs. – http://www.learnnc.org/lp/edit…”

            Helped compared to what baseline? Compared to the case where all blacks would starve in the street? Yeah, of course it would. The point is that the market did not eliminate injustice just because blacks could do business with blacks. Blacks did worse off in this arrangement. Here again:

            http://goo.gl/VYoW4d

            So basically your evidence that the market provides justices is that you can find a few black businesses in Durham that were successful (which I don’t deny). My evidence is a study of Africian-American enterprises comparing failure rates of white and black businesses, with black businesses more than twice as likely to fail. My evidence is MUCH stronger

            “When you are give up business over misguided principle, you simply create competition.”

            Yeah maybe under an ideal world. But in the mean time wages and prices are sticky and there’s information asymmetry and other market failures. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_failure

            “And again, you aren’t open to reason, obviously, so my job is to stop you. There is a huge and dangerous distinction between “WE SHOULD help the poor” and “YOU MUST help the poor”.

            No you don’t have to help the poor. You don’t have to work. But if we are going to enact a system in which you benefit from it and others suffer (American capitalism), it is not unjust to create rules in which your employer will pay a portion of your benefit to the government to provide for those who suffer.

            “You call it a middle ground position, but in fact, it is more dangerous than the horrible system we have. 100,000,000 people found out the hard way.”

            It *IS* the system we have. We have taxation currently, we have welfare programs currently.

          • John

            Thanks for proving my point. Blacks did BETTER in the racist South than they did in the integrated North!!!!!

            That’s the point! Racism actually HELPED blacks, at first, by forcing black people to use black businesses, and forcing blacks to start their own businesses, giving them the ability to succeed whereas they may not have, and did not, in an integrated, level playing field. It actually helped blacks network with themselves and work together, whereas that didn’t happen in Boston.

            THANK YOU.

          • jacksmind

            “Thanks for proving my point. Blacks did BETTER in the racist South than they did in the integrated North!!!!!

            That’s the point! Racism actually HELPED blacks, at first, by forcing black people to use black businesses, and forcing blacks to start their own businesses, giving them the ability to succeed whereas they may not have, and did not, in an integrated, level playing field. It actually helped blacks network with themselves and work together, whereas that didn’t happen in Boston.”

            I don’t think you’re reading the data correctly. But how about this: If I can prove the opposite, does that mean that I’m correct?

            http://i.imgur.com/a6WuhF1.png
            http://i.imgur.com/TXlIqNY.png

            http://i.imgur.com/NgGLXQm.png
            http://i.imgur.com/vXlBg7X.png

            http://i.imgur.com/r9Ah9wp.png
            http://i.imgur.com/IDIQAD6.png

            http://i.imgur.com/c3mtKJb.png

            Check and Mate ;).

  • John

    So, IOW, apparently we don’t want the left to ask us why taxes are theft, because then we’d have to explain it to them. Because we don’t want questioning liberals.

    • Moosebreath

      No, because they would respond that if taxes are theft, then anyone who uses public roads, the court system, police services and anything else paid for by taxes is receiving stolen property, and demand your arrest.

      • John

        Eh, not much different from today. They don’t believe in public property, only government property.

        • Damien S.

          As usual, your beliefs about what liberals believe are hilarious in their total inaccuracy.

          • John

            Yeah, sure, inaccurate. When Obama and the Democrats shut down the government in their hissyfit about Republicans not funding an obviously broken program, the first thing he did was shut down public parks and spend money that wasn’t coming in to keep people out. So zealous about making sure people didn’t enter “public” property that he even shut down a few private areas in the rampage.

            So, yeah, just totally inaccurate, except for all of the accuracy part.

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