zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
[personal profile] zeborah
Normally I have DF plonked but he replied to something Irina said and I wanted to know how obnoxious he was going to be. It wasn't too obnoxious except that he said:
The bizarre way in which systems of taxation intertwine with voluntary arrangements among human beings.

Which is the sort of thing that makes me want to say, "But taxation is a voluntary arrangment among human beings too!"

But then someone would say that the state enforces taxation on pain of death. You what? was my response when I first heard this concept, but apparently it breaks down like this: you don't pay your taxes, therefore the state imposes penalties, which you ignore, so it confiscates your property and/or comes to arrest you, therefore you defend yourself and your property with a gun, therefore the state shoots you in defense of its officers. Personally I think that the step where you defend yourself with a gun is not strictly under the control of the state, but I've never yet managed to make this clear to someone holding this point of view.

Next time someone tries to convince me of taxation-or-death, however, I think I'll complain that the state has everyone enslaved. After all, if I choose not to work, then I won't get money (even this great socialist country of New Zealand will stop a person's benefits if they don't make some kind of show of looking for work) and if I don't get money then I can't eat and I'll starve to death. The state is forcing me against my will to do work on pain of death! Oh noes!

I probably won't say this, actually, because it's as stupid an argument as taxation-or-death. Maybe I should instead counter by nodding wisely and saying that New Zealand forbids littering on pain of death: you litter, and a police officer asks you to pick it up, and you draw a gun, and the police calls the SWAT team in, who, when you refuse to put your gun away, shoot you in self-defence.

I mean, seriously, guys, there is a piece of logic here that is missing.

The point is that society has to organise itself somehow, and our society has organised itself (by the combined choices of its constituents over the years - it's almost like market forces, really) such that people who can work generally work and pay some percentage of their money for a) the support of people who can't work, including b) themselves when they were children and when they will be elderly, as well as for c) large-scale projects which are more likely to be organised by the state than by unrestrained market forces.

It doesn't work perfectly, of course, because it's got humans in it. But it does work, which is why it's still here.

Date: 2008-12-09 09:45 am (UTC)
ext_6381: (WTF)
From: [identity profile] aquaeri.livejournal.com
Yes, I'm getting to the point of "well, go die then, you miserably ungrateful psychopath" to the next person who pulls one of those "give me liberty or give me death" stunts. Because, social primates, and they don't deserve to be part of the arrangement if they can't play by the rules.

Date: 2008-12-09 11:53 am (UTC)
ext_12726: Me at the computer (pebbles)
From: [identity profile] heleninwales.livejournal.com
"But taxation is a voluntary arrangment among human beings too!"

Of course it is. It's a system devised by humans. It wasn't imposed from outside by aliens!

Date: 2008-12-09 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] green-knight.livejournal.com
The state enforces *anything* to the point of death. You dislike something, you pull out a gun and threaten a fellow human being, and you don't stop: you're likely to get shot.

As someone who has no intention to do the gun-swinging and every intention to not be shot, I kind of apporve.

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