Taxation is Theft? or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Libertarians

People,

Now that I am near the end of my life and all the early promise is mostly unfulfilled, I find I am still (unhappily) groping around for some “ism” that will solve all the world’s problems. If one ignores all the fairy stories then there are only actions in the real world that might be useful. The Left still mostly seems to have its heart in the right place but for the Financial-Corporate-Military-Spook-Complex (FCMSC) “tank” which is inexorably rolling around the planet, it doesn’t really seem to matter who is in “power” - the FCMSC always wins.

The Upside:

On the Downside:

The Biggest Question (BQ) is: “Why am I here?” - of course there is no sensible answer to that but a good one might be: “To explore the universe.” However, Late Corporate Capitalism (LCC) with its unfettered greed and lust for power is destroying the planet, the only home humans have. The Progressive Left has substantially been co-opted by LCC so what is to be done? How are Homo sapiens going to seriously address the BQ? A serious, sensible course of action would be:

  • Preserve the natural environment to an extent necessary to allow:

  • ALL humans to continue to exist (well) and:

  • Technology, culture and civilisation to flourish so that:

  • Homo sapiens (or its various descendant species) can fulfil the cosmic imperative and:

  • Spread mind to the rest of the Universe and:

  • Understand the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything.

Now that I have been around for many decades, I realise I don’t know everything and that on odd occasions (more frequently than I like to admit), I have actually been wrong about some issue where I previously held a very strong, but incorrect, opinion. With this background I am prepared to admit that the various flavours of Libertarianism might have something useful or interesting to say about addressing the Downside problems mentioned above. With this in mind I am interested in a relatively free-flowing discussion with people of goodwill here who might say in single sentences or, at the most, short paragraphs, that which will incline me to investigate their ideas further.

My quick summary of the world’s situation is that:

  • No-one owns anything - everything that current people have, has been stolen from previous peoples (eg Australian Aborigines; North and South Native Americans etc etc) going back thousands of years - “might has made right” essentially. So to base an entire philosophy of human behaviour and management of society on who “owns” something seems a little silly to me . . but, it is where we are and we need to deal with things as they are . . so:

  • I don’t really care TOO much about disparities in wealth - AS LONG AS:

    • Every new human being (and sentient non-human?) gets (in the Australian idiom) “a fair go” - ie adequate nutrition, shelter, schooling, health services etc etc

    • With a world wasting trillions of dollars in scarce resources EVERY YEAR on armaments, there is NO reason why these resources could not be better managed and allocated so the previous point can be true.

    • There will have to be some equitable “redistribution” of wealth (reverse theft) from the obscenely rich to the bottom half of people on the planet somehow.

So, at the moment, I would describe my general political inclinations as leaning to:

“A just, anarchic, ordering of legal rules and institutions in a stateless society which could be said to embody clearly leftist, anticapitalist, and socialist values.”

in the sense that that situation is broadly described by Gary Chartier:

Anarchy and Legal Order: Law and Politics for a Stateless Society

I still don’t have all the answers but if you are going to respond to this cathartic brain-dump, make sure you are ultimately addressing the Downsides above . .

Thanks for your time,

Phil.

“A just, anarchic, ordering of legal rules and institutions in a stateless society which could be said to embody clearly leftist, anticapitalist, and socialist values.”

I wrote, and deleted, a 500 word comment so instead of criticizing your ideas I will try to ask questions related to the sentence above:

  • Socialism (and other statist societies that dominate in the world) is not sustainable without the constant application of force. How would you retain productive members in your society? If they could choose where they live and work, most would leave. No question about that.
  • Just society: why would anyone who has anything accept to live in an environment where one of the founding principles is “no one owns anything”? Even those who have nothing should be terrified, because joining in would mean they could never have anything, so say goodbye to all your hopes beyond food and shelter. Imagine a community in which you couldn’t own a dog or bed you sleep in. Or imagine how justice would be dispensed in such “just society”. Without the concept of private property there can be no justice.

I understand your points. You correctly recognize statism is a problem, but you fail to distinguish the free market capitalism from its perverted variants ( state capitalism, fascism, and so on) and so think socialism would improve upon the current condition.

I would (as a voter) support the establishment of such communities (socialist and other), so I am probably one of few forum members here who support you (another point you fail to recognize - you think statists are somehow on your side even though you favor a stateless society). I am worried, though, that your community would sooner or latter try to overrun or tax mine, because its leading thinkers would come up with a story to justify that. Still, I’d give you my vote if I had to vote on a proposal that makes the establishment of such communities possible.

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This is where labels cause problems. On another thread somewhere, someone said “true” capitalism has not existed. When I say “socialism” I am not necessarily saying there has to be NO property rights - “we can’t get there from here”. And “my socialism” (and Gary Chartier’s) does not channel Stalin . . The point I was making about ownership is that it is not straightforward - even some smart Libertarians acknowledge there is a problem:

David D. Friedman: Problems with Libertarianism.

I did say that I can tolerate disparities in wealth so long as it is not “obscene” - which it most definitely is at the moment.

My summarised version is: pure “Libertarianism”, based solely on “owned property” is not a solution to “The Downsides” as far as I can see - and you haven’t addressed them . .

Jeez dude, for real?? That’s super dark
I’m really sorry

That’s why we’re here, fostering SAFE. In my opinion, it really is our only hope of ever being free and getting back to our important goals and natural roots, and the BQ

Ugh, it’s been a while, but I wanted to say I watched the vid (18d ago, when you posted this comment).

Absolutely, there are problems that libertarianism has no solution for!

But nothing prevents you from doing what you think is best! Someone might want to prefer to get killed than to kill both the terrorist and his human shield. (Related to this, I haven’t checked, but I think Rothbard would probably argue you have the right to kill the hostage, but anyway.)
Libertarianism doesn’t say you must be stingy or selfish. It is often said that its critics confuse the libertarian desire to have the state get out of certain businesses (such as charity & redistribution) with the intent to put and end to helping your fellow man. Libertarians object to force-initiated redistribution, not to voluntary giving.

I don’t really care TOO much about disparities in wealth - AS LONG AS:
Every new human being (and sentient non-human?) gets (in the Australian idiom) “a fair go” - ie adequate nutrition, shelter, schooling, health services etc etc

I’m pretty sure that if you checked any significant government spending program, you could easily cover basic needs for food and shelter for the neediest. So even currently the problem is not wealth disparity, but wasteful government spending.
But at the same time the fact that you do not believe that people could donate enough without state coercion shows your lack of confidence in your fellow men. (And I think you’re probably right.) That’s another reason why people should be able to self-organize in communities in which their fellow men care about them, and vice versa. Those who are humble and honest would certainly find a helping hand.

A just anarchic society could not guarantee the right to food, because food has to come from somewhere, and who can take it but the government (I certainly wouldn’t want to live in an anarchistic society where random thugs come to take food from my house - at least in the current one they steal on schedule). But I have no doubt that a free, stateless society could voluntarily ensure basic well-being of its members (meaning: no starvation and Third World poverty, as well as the very important ability to excommunicate undeserving members).