no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Of Greed and Charity

September 18th, 2008

I received a response to my all-time most popular post, All Your Property Are Belong to Uncle Sam. Ryan Anderson objects thusly:

I don’t believe in the ideas your spreading. Look at in a positive manner. Yes, sometimes there will be abuse like Wulfs case; sometimes the government abuses their power.(W. W Woodward) I do not agree with either of these cases, but when your making a extraordinary amount of money you usually do not have the time to invest in others. Because just Like I need you to give me for example a product(Art, technology, ETC) you need me to grow your food. And Sometimes its nice to just give something away without knowing who it might go to. I know I don’t have the time in the world to check with the girl next door is doing well, But i always hope so.

Look, Ryan. You clearly didn’t read my post. It’s not that I merely don’t like how tax dollars are spent. I don’t like taxes. Period. I don’t like any program that relies on the threat of murder. There is a fundamental, and undeniable difference between giving money away, and having money taken from you.

Yes, sometimes it is just nice to give things away, without really knowing who benefits. This is called charity, and it is what happens among the members of compassionate communities. I’m a strong proponent of both charity, and community. There are mountains of evidence that charity will not cease if governments stop stealing from us, because people are simply not as greedy as you’d like to imagine.

The historical record is full of fraternal orders, mutual aid groups, friendly societies, etc. But perhaps the most damning counterexample to the “government needs to help the poor” argument, is the fact that charity continues to exist, in spite of the massive amounts of wealth that are stolen from us directly (through taxes) and indirectly (through inflation, etc.). As I’ve previously blogged about charity and government:

Would you stop giving to charity if you had more money to give? Or would you give a little bit (or even a lot) more? The bottom line is this: There are many, many people just like you, who express concern about the plight of the less fortunate.

If you would, then you’re part of the fucking problem. I care. And I don’t want to share a society with anyone who doesn’t, I don’t want to be forced (by government) to interact, to participate with these people.

Taxation, and welfare schemes are neither charity, nor community, and it is sad that you would equivocate the terms. I donate to charity every time I receive a paycheck, and on a few other occasions throughout the year. I believe that I know, intimately more than anyone else possibly could, when I can and when I cannot afford to help others. I trust that they know the same, about their own personal lives. Taxes force me to “help” other people, even when I might be in a tough spot, financially, of my own.

People who make extraordinary amounts of money, some would argue, have extraordinarily satisfied many others. At least, this is the case in a free market: the only way you can get rich, is by enriching others, by producing products which others want to buy. You could make the argument that the USA is not a free market, but that doesn’t validate your argument, it only indicates that government has screwed up the market so badly that they need to levy taxes as a corrective measure.

But this isn’t the argument you made, and if it were, could be summarily dispatched by appealing to reason alone: the current situation is the product of government interference, that is, the violent imposition of one group’s will to power over the rest of society. There is one, and only one way to rectify this problem.

Further, Ryan counsels:

If you don’t like how your Tax dollars are used; instead of giving it a mafia like presences, go talk to your Representative and tell them what to spend the money on. Yeah Listen or They will be out of a Job.

You still have to give your money to the State-mafia, “talking to your representative” is not a free pass towards not paying taxes, don’t you think I would’ve figured that out, by now?

What happens if, and I desparately would like to hear an honest answer to this question, your representative doesn’t give a flying fuck what you have to say? That’s the case, always and everywhere. If you think my representative cares about my meager, individual opinion, you live in a fantasy world. And even if he (or she, as the case may be) cared, it would still be necessary for the Rep to convince a hundred others, or a thousand others, that my particular concerns are more deserving of political attention than yours, or anyone’s for that matter.

The nature of politics is a zero-sum game. I can only get my way, live as I choose, if I use the coercive apparatus of the State to meld others in to my way of thinking. This is wrong, no matter what the motive.

The point of this post, was to demonstrate that even if you can see past that smokescreen, even if you accept taxes = charity, you ought to be appalled by the fact that your government is claiming the right to an indefinite amount of the incomes generated by individuals who are no longer citizens or residents. Slavery is slavery.

This is de facto slavery, and it’s not one iota more tolerable simply because they’re doing it to wealthy caucasians.


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no third solution

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