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How do you respond to this?

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DarkCatalyst Posted: Mon, Jun 16 2008 10:45 AM

Hey all,

   I have a friend that I sometimes debate economics/politics with but we rarely degree on anything. For example, if I complain about the abuses of the TSA and how I will never fly again since I don't want my privacy violated nor do I want to be humiliated...He tells me that no one is forcing me to fly and take some other form of transportation. That is his stock response to most everything. If I talk about the corruption and abuse of power by government, he tells me that I'm always free to leave the country so I don't have to pay taxes, ect.

I really don't know how to respond to this. I tried arguing that we have a duty to fight injustice but that doesn't work.

Paul

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scineram replied on Mon, Jun 16 2008 11:11 AM

Move into his house! He is free to leave.

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 Don't know why I never thought of that. Cool

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He is observing that avoidability has an effect on morality. A tax on goods is more moral than an income tax. The first is more avoidable than the other, therefore more desirable. However the most desirable is still no tax at all. What legitimate right does the government have to regulate someones property. None I can think of, they are just a violent gang and therefore hard to resist.

 

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Sage replied on Mon, Jun 16 2008 2:19 PM

The problem with the "love it or leave it" argument is that it is circular.

The statist is trying to prove that government is justified. Then they assume that government is justified, and say that you can leave if you don't like it. So they just assume what they are trying to prove.

In other words...

1-Government is justified

2-If you don't like it, you can move to a different country

3-Therefore, government is justified.

That's statist logic for you!

AnalyticalAnarchism.net - The Positive Political Economy of Anarchism

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 Perhaps you could say something like:

 

"Well actually I am not entirely free to leave because there are several 'barriers to exit' , both personally created (like a house that must be sold, a job that must be abandoned, etc.) and governmentally created and enforced (nationality, citizenship, etc) making transition difficult.

In reality people aren't that footloose, and of course your government wants your taxes so it makes it as difficult for you to leave as possible.

Austrians do it a priori

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I hate to say it, but your friend is an idiot.  I thought of useful retorts, but the reality is, he's an idiot.

Find some intelligent people to spend time with.  You can't "convert" everyone, and some people will slow you down and eat up all of your time and energy on these topics.  Get active, and maybe this person will get curious about what is energizing you.  or maybe not.  But it won't matter if you create some positive momentum for yourself.

"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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fsk replied on Mon, Jun 16 2008 9:24 PM

Technically, the airlines are private property.  A business can make whatever rules it chooses.  For example, if a professional baseball team says "No guns allowed in our stadium!", you should respect their rule.

The problem is that the airlines have a government-granted monopoly/oligopoly.  If they're abusive, you can't go to a non-abusive competitor.  The TSA screening is 100% done by the government now, so you're SOL if they decide to harass you.

Regrettably, if you plan on flying, make sure you don't have anything that could be interpreted as hostile.

I have my own blog at FSK's Guide to Reality. Let me know if you like it.

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 While there is a monopoly in place, you could in theory switch government suppliers by leaving the country.

After I slept this over I remembered taxation is theft and your friend's argument essentially blames the victim for permitting the crime to take place, when it sholdn't be taking place at all. If the green grocer is having money extorted from him by the mob would you tll him he is always 'free to leave'.

Austrians do it a priori

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 Hey, thanks for the responses everyone. No one around me is really open to talking about topics like this. I get frustrated at times and begin to wonder if what *I am* saying really makes sense. Someone above mentioned taxation and theft. It's clear to me that taxation is theft but no one I talk with would ever acknowledge that fact. I get the "taxation isn't theft" argument which usually leads to the "love it or leave it" nonsense. On more than one occasion I would get into the following ridiculous situation: I would start out with a moral question. For example, I'd ask if stealing something, say a bicycle, from another man was morally wrong. Everyone I've talked to would agree that it was, but once they sense I'm heading towards critiquing the government, you wouldn't believe the mental gymnastics people go through to avoid being consistent in their thoughts. I get people telling me that it's not really theft, or once in a while they would admit that money is being forcibly taken, but it's justified. No one has ever admitted to me: "I believe all theft is morally wrong and it doesn't matter who is doing the thieving."

 

Paul

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Yea people will say/think amazing things to avoid reality :) They mostly want to pretend that a politician or policeman is somehow different from them and therefore don't have the same moral rules. Usually their idiocy reduces to: the group > individual or might makes right.

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 Yes, you could move to an imaginary land where taxation doesn’t exist. or go to one of the real countries an have other arbitrary laws imposed to you.

Or another option would be, staying in your own country and expect not to get mugged by your government or anyone else, witch is very unlikely but it would be the ideal situation.

So as you can see you’re not really free since you are constantly being restricted by external forces.

Sounds like your friend is using that kind of “logic” only to avoid  deeper thinking.

 

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My favorite is when people claim taxation is justified because the government provide services that benefit you in return.  My response has generally been that I think they'd benefit tremendously from reading Mises and Rothbard, so would I be justified in stealing their wallets and buying those works for them on their behalf?

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