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So Rothbard is okay with taking government money?

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Sonik posted on Mon, Feb 28 2011 10:25 PM

Please tell me I'm missing something.
I've gotten into heated debates over this, specifically government grants for musicians.

While pooping, I thumbed through the Ethics Of Liberty and stumbled up to chapter 24...

 

THE MORAL STATUS OF RELATIONS TO THE STATE

...This means that it cannot be unjust or immoral to fail to pay taxes to the State, to appropriate the property of the State (which is in the hands of aggressors), to refuse to obey State orders, or to break contracts with the State (since it cannot be unjust to break contracts with criminals). Morally, from the point of view of proper political philosophy, “stealing” from the State, for example, is removing property from criminal hands, is, in a sense, “homesteading” property, except that instead of homesteading unused land, the person is removing property from the criminal sector of society—a positive good...

 

Okay, so I'm a stand up guy if I get some tax money for myself? Did Murray just give me a green flag to appropriate a music grant?..

 

I'm at odds with myself on this one.

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Yes, it is okay to take government money. If it weren't, you should be living on homesteaded land in Yellowstone National Park, while refusing to use government roads or any other government "service."

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While the government can trace some stolen money (such as taxes) no one on the receiving end of things such as welfare type payments can trace the money and likely no single individual in government can trace the money.  So while technically if someone had complete access to the whole of government (or at least all of the accounting books) part of the money could be traced.  There is still the issue that things like printing money effectively 'tax' anyone with money stores by devaluing what they currently have saved up.  This is much more difficult to trace and since cash comes into play (not logged reliably) I don't think it's possible to accurately trace these figures even given all logged information.

On top of that, one would have to determine the labor costs associated with convincing the government to give you that money along with any opportunity costs associated with acquiring that money.  If I am unemployed and collecting unemployment I have to put time/effort into filing for unemployment and maintaining good standing.  I also am missing out on the opportunity of having a job that likely pays as good, if not better than, unemployment.  Of course I have a lot more time free to work under the table, educate myself, have fun, etc. but what it all comes down to is there is not an effective way to calculate how much of what I am stealing from the government should go to me and how much should go "back to the tax payers".

That being said, we are currently working in a statist society so the question becomes (in my opinion) what route will expediate the destruction of such a society.  In the case of accepting money from the government I am of the opinion that the more people who exploit the system the faster the system will collopse.   I believe that most people here agree that a socialist system is unsustainable due primarily to exploitation (i.e.: socialism only works if everyone is altruistic) so what better way to expediate it's downfall than to exploit the system as much as you can.

I personally utilize every loophole I can to get the government to give me money in one form or another.  I am getting close to breaking even on taxes paid back when I was in a high tax bracket, one day I hope to come out ahead.

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I think there are two different circumstances: one in which the government is realistically going to give the same amount of money to someone no matter what, and one in which the government will only give x amount of money depending on whether someone applies for it.  I feel that at least in the former case, it is better for the money to go to someone who uses said funds in his campaign against the state (e.g. Rothbard) than someone who uses it in his campaign in support of the state (e.g. Krugman).  I think ultimately the state will try to spend as much money as possible, so it is preferable for this money to be spent on relatively worthwhile things (e.g. Rothbard's research) rather than detrimental things (e.g. propaganda)

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What money? The government doesn't have any legitimate money of it's own.

Pretty basic stuff.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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"We know exactly who was taxed and how much.  We know exactly how much they paid in which fiscal year and into what particular government departments."

 

Are you suggesting that the government will give all that money back to the appropriate tax payer?  lol.

steal as much government resources as you possibly can....don't look back.....hide it....then go and steal some more resources from the government.

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"steal as much government resources as you possibly can"

Stealing implies theft. Government however, is the aggressor and criminal. Naturally, it is instantly better off in someone elses hands, than that of the robbers.

Welfare recipients should not be blamed or called bums, direct the ire at those who steal the money in the first place.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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liberty student:
I am not a Rothbardian, so once again, you are wrong.  Mind you, it was a lame attempt to ignore my argument and use another red herring.  No one here is debating ethics.

I have already demonstrated that it is possible to solve this problem because the government documents the flow of all taxes in and out.

Appeals to the "real world" are empty and usually the sign that the individual bringing it up doesn't have an argument.  I haven't yet seen an argument from you that refutes my answer.  Taxes are paid in the real world.  Tax returns are filed and documented in the real world.  Pretty simple stuff.

I find this [the bolded] to be somewhat incorrect, factually.  I hope you don't mind my saying so.

According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.

http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=430

That, itself, is a very minor technical point though, which is what I believe you meant by telling RJM that he's changing the argument.  I have no doubt that the government does track every penny coming in, otherwise it couldn't prosecute people for failure to pay income taxes.

I think that part of the problem, though, is that those taxes are put into a pool.  The money is then deducted from that pool and put into other accounts, and subsequently spent in various places.  Seizing all cash assets in government's possession would hardly pay back the taxpayers whose taxes were used to purchase consumable goods or repay foreign debts.  Either everyone gets gypped by being repaid the percentage of the total pool they paid in, or not everyone gets repaid.  Admittedly, if I were to steal the contents of an armored car carrying cash "belonging" (I use that term very losely here) to the state, assuming the state itself still exists, how do I as an individual know where that money came from (i.e. who paid into the "funds")?  I don't have unfettered access to government accounting that I'm aware of.  How would I return it to its "rightful" owners in that case?  --  But don't answer that here if you have already answered it elsewhere.  If you have truly answered those questions in your thread two years ago, could you post a link, or send it to me outside of this thread? I'm very interested in the arguments you would have posed on this topic.

To the OP...  I actually crossed this very section fo Chapter 24 just this morning.  And I, too, noticed that it made me rather uncomfortable.  I have approached this topic before with a close friend of mine, but I'm not entirely sure I have reached resolution.  There's something disturbing about the thought of "stealing" from theives, at least for me.  I can't quite pin-point it just yet.  Admittedly, the thought of living without a state at all was disturbing to me on a similar level, and once I understood the reality of my current situation, that thought was no longer "scary" to me.  I think in this case I just need to understand it better.

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Take money from the state. As much as you can. Use social programs if they benefit you directly. Do everything you can to raise your standard of living. Be happy.  I'm an ancap and use state whenever I can, because I'm aware that by using it's services where it suits me I'm in fact accelerating it's demise. Banksters are fcking heroes in my eyes. I wish I had such skill like them to do exactly the same! I mean what is better way to show that system we have does not work and at the same time rise your standards of living? It's showing result of best ancap theories in reality. Lobbyists/banksters/etc are basically like hackers. They show weakness in systems they crack and make money off it. IMHO nothing wrong with that. If people can't learn from mistakes and see epic fail of their ideas then for the better for hackers/banksters/lobbyists.

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To address the OP directly, I have a problem with being a net tax consumer. It would be akin to knowingly buying stolen goods from someone. So I try not to receive more government money than has been taken from me already in taxes.

ladyphoenix:
To the OP...  I actually crossed this very section fo Chapter 24 just this morning.  And I, too, noticed that it made me rather uncomfortable.  I have approached this topic before with a close friend of mine, but I'm not entirely sure I have reached resolution.  There's something disturbing about the thought of "stealing" from theives, at least for me.  I can't quite pin-point it just yet.  Admittedly, the thought of living without a state at all was disturbing to me on a similar level, and once I understood the reality of my current situation, that thought was no longer "scary" to me.  I think in this case I just need to understand it better.

I think taking from thieves becomes stealing when 1) you take more from them than what they stole from you, and 2) you plan on keeping the extra things that you take.

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DD5:
The government also expropriates by another method other then by  just taxation: All those other millions of decrees which comprise the total sphere of government action that we call interventionism.  Those things cannot be measured or assessed by the method of accounting, but they inflict damage and result in a loss of wealth to the individual no less then taxation, perhaps even more.

Without a doubt. Surely no one thinks I deny this.

However, that wasn't what the discussion was about.  It was about whether the money government has can be restored to the persons it was taken from, and the answer is yes.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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krazy kaju:
Yes, it is okay to take government money. If it weren't, you should be living on homesteaded land in Yellowstone National Park, while refusing to use government roads or any other government "service."

I'm not sure what you're arguing.  Are you saying that receiving known stolen goods is ok?

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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boniek:
Take money from the state. As much as you can. Use social programs if they benefit you directly. Do everything you can to raise your standard of living. Be happy.  I'm an ancap and use state whenever I can, because I'm aware that by using it's services where it suits me I'm in fact accelerating it's demise. Banksters are fcking heroes in my eyes. I wish I had such skill like them to do exactly the same! I mean what is better way to show that system we have does not work and at the same time rise your standards of living? It's showing result of best ancap theories in reality. Lobbyists/banksters/etc are basically like hackers. They show weakness in systems they crack and make money off it. IMHO nothing wrong with that. If people can't learn from mistakes and see epic fail of their ideas then for the better for hackers/banksters/lobbyists.

With all due respect, I find this point of view to be disturbing. By your reasoning, you should also applaud car thieves for "showing weakness in systems they crack and making money off of it". If people can't learn to lock their car doors, etc. then the better for the car thieves.

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Autolykos:
I think taking from thieves becomes stealing when 1) you take more from them than what they stole from you, and 2) you plan on keeping the extra things that you take.
Does this mean I should only be taking from thieves things they stole from me specifically?

Also, this doesn't address whether or not I know for a fact that the man stole the property in question.  If it looks like mine, and mine is missing, should I be permitted to take his property from him pending him proving he didn't steal it from me (or anyone else)?  What if it's impossible to determine whether or not the property in his possession is actually my rightful property? 

I don't know that I like the idea of taking property "in hopes" that you were right, even if you're willing to repay them for the damages should you be wrong.  Granted... if a person did that one time and was wrong and held laible financially... I don't think he'd be likely to do it twice...  I don't know.  This whole situation feels ripe for exploitation.

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Micah71381:
While the government can trace some stolen money (such as taxes) no one on the receiving end of things such as welfare type payments can trace the money

Sure they can.  The government documents all outbound payments.

Micah71381:
I personally utilize every loophole I can to get the government to give me money in one form or another.  I am getting close to breaking even on taxes paid back when I was in a high tax bracket, one day I hope to come out ahead.

The rest of your post sounds like you're trying to rationalize your self interest, fitting facts to your values.  Sounded like RJM was doing the same.  Kaju makes a similar argument.  "I have to do it, or I have to live off the grid", the implicit idea being that living off the grid is somehow the insane choice, but again, it comes down to individual values.

You're certainly welcome to your values, and I wish you God's peace along the way, but I believe what you're doing is counter-productive to radical libertarianism.  The state wants to serve as your wealth ATM.  They want to give you money, it gives them a reason to make or acquire more, in a race to the bottom. You certainly won't have the moral high ground to oppose taxation, since you try very hard to receive the fruit of that operation.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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boniek:
I'm an ancap and use state whenever I can

Then what is the difference between you and a statist in method (not in motivation)?

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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