Friday, June 19, 2009

What's in a Right or Dilution Through Redistribution

This is a branch of Monday's post on the difference between rights and privileges. This is mainly because many of my fellow bloggers who commented seem to intentionally misunderstand why I continue to insist that rights have to be narrowly defined or they become meaningless. So to begin this, let's list the the rights, with a little defining.

Life - pretty self-explanatory. Your life and your body are your own, and must not be violated, except when lost through due process (for crimes, primarily for violating another's rights (murder, for example)).

Liberty - Liberty is the choice of action. This includes most of the amendments specifying rights. Liberty can be abridged to protect equally the rights of another (life, liberty, or property), or taken away through due process, as above.

Property - Anything in which you can claim ownership, whether that is money, real estate, personal effects, promissory notes and contracts (paper conferring ownership to something you do not physically possess), or nonsentient life (pets, livestock). Property is obtained by exchanging Life and Liberty (and other Property). And, as with the others, it can be taken through due process. It can be abridged to protect other's rights. And it can also be appropriated to support common goals (and to provide the services required to secure all rights). In other words, taxes.

In seeking the fulfillment of these rights, some will inevitably do better than others (through work ethic, advantages of birth (because your family did well), and some degree of random chance).

Now, the problem is: How do we determine how much to appropriate in taxes, and in what manner would it be fairest to do so?

Let's start with three basic ideas.

First, there's a flat amount tax. In this way, everyone pays the same dollar amount. If the tax was $1000, a single person would pay $1000, a family of four, $4000. This system is fair in the sense that if we all receive the same services, we pay an equal share.

Then there's the flat percentage tax. In this system, a percentage is levied against each individual based on some amount (income, spending, assets). The flat tax proposals use this as their model of fairness. This system is fair in that the burden is spread equally in the sense that it takes into account the cost of living by compelling the poor to pay a smaller amount (but the same percentage).

Then there's the concept of the progressive tax. This is the most complex concept, which takes the same concept as the flat tax, but varies the percentage based on the amount being taxed, to where those that have, earn, or spend the most pay the highest percentage, while the poorest will pay the lowest percentage. This purports fairness, in the most extreme circumstances, in the Marxist principle of 'from each according to their ability.' It's also the model for almost every tax (and tax reform) proposed today (this includes my beloved FairTax, because it too is a progressive tax).

The first concept won't work, mainly because it relies on a large population and places the most burden on the least able to pay. The second would require the complete elimination of tax incentives, breaks, deductions, credits, etc. Which is somewhat how the current tax system began. That inspires little confidence. In addition, it impacts the poor in the sense that 10% of their income is a larger portion of their minimum expenses.

This is why pretty much every tax plan is progressive, to some degree. So the question then, is, how progressive is fair, and how progressive is socialist redistribution?

Our current system is riddled with loopholes, so that politicians can play with the higher tax number, and make it possible not to have to pay it. This allows bullshitting to escalate to new heights. And while it has improved (taxes used to be higher, but the loopholes were bigger), it's still a grandiose damned clusterfuck of Biblical proportions.

Now I happen to thing a fair top bracket would be 23% (mainly because that's the highest rate of the FairTax). But as I'm not really trying to suggest a tax level, but discuss the logic (or lack thereof) of taxation, especially within our current income tax model....

Should the top half of earners pay all the taxes? Should just the top 25%? Should half the people get a free pass, 25% pay half their earnings, and those above that increasing amounts to keep them roughly equal with the lifestyles of the lower half? Should the (EEEVIL) top 1% bet taxed at a confiscatory level that, while still leaving them more money than most, is not worth the hours and work and stress and responsibility and challenge they put into it? If that's the case, why not cap earnings at, say, $250,000 and confiscate EVERYTHING above that?

Probably because that's socialism. And Congress would probably exempt themselves anyway.

This brings me back to the danger inherent in creating "rights" (health care, for example) that require redistributive taxes to fuel them. When achievement is taxed progressively to the point that the taxes are primarily to fund the lives of people who aren't making money, then the value of that work becomes less. Not because they are paid less, but because hey see an increasing percentage of that money suck away and given to people that see the opportunity to be less than they can be.

After all, when everything is subsidized, and all you need money for is a little pizza, maybe some gas in the car, a few other incidentals, and working harder means you get less of the tit that has sustained you, is there any value in working at all?

The point is that the continued erosion of property rights, mainly by taxation, driven by an obsession with class envy, is creating an angry and resentful upper class that has less incentive to work harder to earn more. It's also creating a larger underclass that has no incentive to work as more and more things are given to them in the belief that it will make their life better.

And at the rate we're going, I'm not sure how I'll be able to teach my children how hard work has its rewards.


rockync said...

Patrick - I'm pretty sure that no matter if the tax rate goes up or down a few points that the more wealthy people are going to lose their McMansions or Mercedes.
Warren Buffet has already stated that the tax breaks he gets are criminal, but since they are legal, he takes them.
What's your point here? If we had single payer health care the next step will be the Boleshevik Revolution and 15 families will be moving in with each of the rich folks?
Let's dump the income tax and go to a national sales tax. If you spend, you pay; if you save you keep more. Drug dealers and others who make their money illegally will then be paying taxes on it like the rest of us.
All this socialist labeling is bullshit counterproductivity. Every government has some sort of social programs, in a large society, it's kind of unavoidable.
Health care in this country has reached proportions that make having insurance cost prohibitive. I know, my huband and I are two of the millions that can't afford it. And even if we could, have you been listening to anything but Fox News lately? If so, you might have picked up testimony before the senate committee where people are telling their stories of becoming sick and having their insurance cancelled after years of paying preiums. The lady with 5 kids who is dying of cancer was a tough one.
I am currently caring for a terminally ill relative who has hospital insurance but no prescription coverage - yesterday we learned she has multiple clots in her arms and must now have daily injections to dissolve the clots. The monthly cost of this one drug? $7,000 and she will need to be on it indefinitely.
Health care is a matter of life and death and until you are facing it in very real terms and staying awake nights wondering how you are going to pay for life saving treatment, you have no idea what that kind of reality is.

Patrick M said...

Rocky: What's your point here?

You mean other than my tendency to ramble when I start writing a post one day and finish it another?

My point is that as you punish people for financial achievement, it becomes less valuable to do so. And that's counterproductive to growing the country, or even crawling out of the current recession.

Let's dump the income tax and go to a national sales tax.

Not that I'm looking to get on a FairTax discussion, but yeah.

All this socialist labeling is bullshit counterproductivity.

If it ends at just labelling, yes.

Every government has some sort of social programs, in a large society, it's kind of unavoidable.

Again, something I've acknowledged a few times, and will include in my discussion of my health care reform plan.

...have you been listening to anything but Fox News lately?

Haven't even really been listening to them. But I've heard about the insurance companies going to Washington and slitting their own throats w/testimony (backing up possibly illegal practices).

Health care is a matter of life and death and until you are facing it in very real terms and staying awake nights wondering how you are going to pay for life saving treatment, you have no idea what that kind of reality is.

Perhaps. And while I'm not without sympathy for individual people with individual problems, the loss of freedom for the individual in general is never warranted in a misguided effort by government to step in to "save" everyone.

And I extend my sympathies for your situation, regardless of how heartless I'm bound to sound in this discussion.

TRUTH 101 said...

Would it be insensitive of me to pint out that you my friend Patrick take advantage of the current public health care system. Would it also be insensitive f I pointed out I am 100% for your taking advantage of said system in your time of need.
I don't think it would insensitive for me to say I believe a system that we all pay into that covers all of us in good times and bad would be good for all America.

The argument the right makes against single payer health care is that it's a government give away. They disingenuously leave out that we ALL would pay into the system. Their only motive is to help the fat cat insurance companies that have those of us that can afford health insurance held hostage, to continue raping us with high premiums and the threat of being dropped from plans when we do need to file a claim.

I find you to be intelligent and highly perceptive on many issues Patrick. Why you continue this defense of an industry that hoses the American Public at every opportunity is puzzling Brother.

dmarks said...

Single-payer is a government take away, really.

It replaces many fat-cat insurance companies (and the little lean ones too) with one really huge fat cat. A fat cat that is not accountable in any way, since there is no choice or competition.

The same sound logic used against business monopolies and for anti-trust legislation applies to health care. Yet some think that complete monopoly in health care is a good idea.

Even more regretable is the logic, heard so often, "there are some problems with health care, so we might as well trash it all and have the government run everything". Whatever happened to the idea of measured reform?

Applying this sort of logic to food production, we should nationalize all farms and food processing and restaurants and grocery stores because there's some food-born illness problems.

Want to be hosed worse? Go with single-payer health care.

Patrick is doing nothing more than showing a healthy skepticism of those who say "We're from the government, we're here to help you". He's civically informed enough to know that those who say so are looking to serve themselves at the expense of the public.

Question authority.

Patrick M said...

101: You may point that out. As I have been around a lot of these programs, I'm well aware of the effect they have on the motivation of the individual. And I will be taking a lot of this into account when I craft my magnicifent health care system.

They disingenuously leave out that we ALL would pay into the system.

And to cover everyone, it's bound to be a progressive tax, i.e. from each according to his ability, to each, according to his need.

Dmarks: The only killer to our argument is the idiots in the health insurance industry playing with their coverage (and dropping the sick on technicalities) so ineptly that the gut reaction is to not trust the private sector. Come to think of it, the stories piss me off enough that I'd be fine with government takeover if I trusted the government to do a better job (I don't of course).

Also, I usually put "We're from the government, we're here to help you" in the list along with "the check is in the mail" and "I won't come in your mouth." The list called "greatest lies ever told" that is.

TRUTH 101 said...

The key is to replace backward thinking, fatcat loving deluded fools like trent Lott and Mitch McConnell so we have legislators that will put the American People first. ot their wealthy and powerful benefactors.

dmarks said...

Patrick: And do you trust the government to impliment any large program like this with without it costing at least twice what the proponents claim it would?

You are right about the "idiots on the health insurance industry". And such idiots are also found in government health care monopolies. Like the famous one the Oregon state health care system who wrote someone a letter telling her to die because her staying alive was not compatible with the state health care system.

The difference with single-payer insurance idiots is that, since they have the forced of the federal government behind them, you can get shot and killed for not complying with them. (if you doubt that, go ahead and refuse to pay your taxes, and resist anyone who tries to arrest you for it).

And there is no choice. No alternative insurance company unless you flee the country. And with no choice, there is no incentive for the monopoly to lift a finger to actually serve the public interest.

TRUTH 101 said...

Unless you are a very wealthy person Dmarks, your only choice is to accept whatever health insurance plan your employer sponsors. You want a large group to bring down the percentage of adverse selection? THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS 308 MILLION PEOPLE. Is that alarge enough group for you Dmarks and Patrick.

And knock off your mistrust of government running of programs propaganda. I think our military does a fine job. I applaud the FBI for their efforts. 40 cents to mail aletter that goes across country and is delivered within three days in rain, sleet and gloom of night is a good job also.

It's when those in government allow backward thinking fools to set the agenda that things go awry.

I care about both of you and your families enough to want you to have health care you can count on. Single payer delivers that.

dmarks said...

"Unless you are a very wealthy person Dmarks, your only choice is to accept whatever health insurance plan your employer sponsors."

I never said there's not room for change. For one thing, I think this whole thing of tying health insurance plans to employers is a bad idea. Competition, choice, and accountability would improve if employers dissolved their mandated health-care plans and instead gave each employee back the money, so they could choose the health care plan they wanted. We need to improve things, not destroy health care by forcing one badly run system on everyone. Move toward less centralization, not more.

We need more choices, more open-ness. That's the direction we should move in. Not move in the direction of getting rid of all choices (single-payer).

"And knock off your mistrust of government running of programs propaganda."

Propaganda meaning "information you dislike" ? I will never knock off "questioning authority" and my bias toward private matters being controlled by the people instead of the state, and my push toward privitazation in areas where government is unnecessarily involved in matters that the private sector can do just fine.

"40 cents to mail a letter that goes across country and is delivered within three days"

Actually, it's $4.95 last time I checked. You have to pay $4.95 for "priority mail", which says it will do it in 2 to 3 days (first class won't do that). They won't guarantee it though. Even then they lose and destroy mail, unless you pay them even more.

I care enough about health care in this country to oppose stalinizing it. Monopolies are a bad idea. That is why we have anti-trust legislation. It's a good idea to resist the powerful from grabbing more power for power's sake.

TRUTH 101 said...

I don't know what country you live in Dmarks. It can't be the United States of America. We have a government by and for the people.

TAO said...

Patrick, hard work has no rewards...wake up!

Why not read your whole post again and then give us a definition of 'due process' its seems to be the centerpiece of everything and it never gets defined...

dmarks said...

I live in the real world, where the government rules over the people. "The government" and "the people" are two separate entities, and it is dangerous to confuse the two and ignore the realities. The founding fathers realized this, which is why they put in place a Bill of Rights in order to keep checks on government power.

If we truly had a "government by and for the people" in reality, we would not need a Bill of Rights at all, would we?

But no. In the US, government is "them", not us. There are various mechanisms to hold representatives accountable (which can decrease the very real gulf between the government and the people), but there is a difference between us and our representatives. No doubt about that.

"The government is the people" type of logic is a misleading line used by some to justify unchecked power for the rulers. And it is a hallmark of some of the worst tyrannies to claim that they are a "peoples' republic".

We must never forget the reality that government seeks its own power for power's sake, and that power corrupts.

TRUTH 101 said...

So you're an anarchist now Dmarks?

dmarks said...

No. Just someone aware of the nature of government. You can't live with it, you can't live without it. And we will always have it. You might as well realize its true nature, and deal with it.

TRUTH 101 said...

And work to make sure people in government act with the best interests in mind of those they work for.

You made a good point there Dmarks. It explains much of what you've said. Thanks for the discussion.

Time said...

There are no Health Care reform plans (that I know of) that call for Health Care to be a right.

There are many different plans offering a different way to finance health Care, some that would cover all people.

Health Care can certainly become a right, but that would mean a change in the Constitution (voted on by the people) not simply instituting a new health care Plan.

Government can force (by the normal processes of law) that certain hospitals (hospitals funded by taxpayers) cannot deny medical care.

This is a decision of the majority vote of the Congress, and I doubt would be found unconstitutional even if the vote of the Congress decides to install Universal government Health Care.

It would not make Health Care a right, it would make Health Care the law. There is a difference.

There is much ideological and philosophical evidence to make Health Care a right, that would conform to the principles of the Constitution.

The only reason this is an issue, is because the private sector has failed to service the needs of the people. Obama's plan IS healthy competition as long as it does not eliminate private options.

Choice still remains.

It is only a reflection of how bad the private sector is servicing customers, that a majority chooses a public (different) plan.

As a society, as a country, we have decided to communally tax ourselves for many services deemed necessary to all our people, and the development of what we consider best to better our society.

The people, by a majority, now think that Health Care should be another in a long list of things important enough to our society, to communally tax ourselves for, so all people will have access to it.

That is a secular, yet moral decision that Americans feel is best for the improvement of the American society.

Capitalism is not just making money, it is meeting the needs of the people while making a profit.

Why should Americans swallow being a waste product of bad capitalism. They will and should find another way to fill their needs.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Probably the greatest distinction between actual rights and perceived rights is that actual rights are free from physical compulsion & coercion; they do not interfere with the rights of another individual. For instance, the right to keep and bear arms is versed in the right to one’s life and protecting it. It is not compulsive or coercive, nor does it interfere with another’s right to life, liberty or their pursuit. And, it is the right to one’s life which is to be held in the highest regard. Because, it is the right to life which is at the heart of all rights. And, it is through the acquisition of property (i.e., wealth, food, shelter, etc.) that man is able to sustain his life. He must be able to own this effort. It is this fact which explains why no other rights can exist without property rights.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

We can very well yammer on incessantly about the "right" to healthcare, education, affordable housing, etc. etc. etc.

However, at some point we'd do well to challenge such premises by asking one fundamental question which is this:

"What moral justification is there in enslaving another at the point of a gun to provide such things to you that you alone cannot provide for yourself?"

Name: Soapboxgod said...

On the Fair Tax....

For all its virtues Patrick, I've not seen it addressed that it fails to address on any meaningful level THE fundamental problem which is of course reigning in Government Spending.

It is for this reasons such as this that I have slid further away from supporting the Fair Tax plan in favor of a Flat Tax.

Patrick M said...

Apologies if you were expecting a quicker response. Remember, those weekends I have the kids and am not working, it's a bitch for me to get near the computer (at least until I get my laptop up and running (should be Tuesday or Wednesday (which I have off, so no guarantees))).

101: As well as idiots like Nancy Pelosi, slobbering Barney Frank, and all the morons on both sides that spend like it's somebody else's money (which may leave a dozen or two people that don't need kicked to the curb).

Unless you are a very wealthy person Dmarks, your only choice is to accept whatever health insurance plan your employer sponsors.

And that would be because the government has set up the fucking system that way. And you wonder why we don't trust them?

Dmarks: I thought i was sufficiently obscene to indicate my loathing of government takeover of anything. But, since you missed it: I'd prefer an ass-raping with a mop handle embedded with razor blades, and only ketchup for lube than a total government takeover of health care.

A horribly flawed but free system will ALWAYS be better.

Tao: Patrick, hard work has no rewards...wake up!

If that's the case, then I'm sitting on my ass and collecting for the rest of my life. And so is everyone else (including you).

However, based on your posts, that doesn't seem like what you believe.

...give us a definition of 'due process' ...

Due process is the administration of law. In my specific usage, it refers to the loss of rights by accusation, trial, and conviction for breaking laws. It can also be through legal action by the government (an example being eminent domain) for non-punitive reasons. Hopefully this helps you follow where I was going.

Time: There's a difference between what is a right guaranteed by the Constitution and those magically assumed by government (and declared by the UN). The problem is that too many people pushing for the universal care believe it is a right. And they don't seem to have a problem that the Constitution doesn't say so.

Obama's plan IS healthy competition as long as it does not eliminate private options.

Since when has the government ever fostered healthy competition by getting involved? Again, it comes back to trusting the government, which isn't going to happen here. Not for this. Not under Bush. Not under Reagan. Definitely not under Obama.

Soapman: On the Fair Tax... it fails to address... reigning in Government Spending.

It doesn't. The most it does is make legalized government theft transparent so we can see how much they're wasting. Spending reform is the other side of the coin (and something that needs separately addressed). Same with the Flat Tax, unless there's also a balanced budget clause slipped in there.

Time said...

I don't trust government anymore than I trust the current Health Care Corporations.

The difference is that government waste is mainly because of bureaucracy, which is the definition of institutional waste, not of intent, but of process.

Mismanagement and waste of government programs happens in EVERY government program.

It is the responsibility of our elected representatives to oversee that process, They are failing to do that job.

That is our fault. We hired (elected) them, we can fire them, and it is our job to supervise them. We have failed at our job, as involved citizens.

Corporate waste is more devious and intentional. Greed is their motivator to gouge profits wherever and whoever than can get it from.

They take premiums and refuse to pay claims, they charge fees for drugs and services that are double, or more, than anywhere else in the World.

They make life and death decisions based on money and an individuals worth. Sorry, I don't accept that one life is better than another, just because one has a bigger bank account than another.

Competition is not always healthy, but it always has an effect on the market place. Getting the same services elsewhere will either change the competitions mode of operation, or they will go out of business.

If people believe Health Care should be a right, fine, let them change the Constitution, if they can get the votes. If they think Health Care is already a right, that is their delusion.

I don't like Obama's plan, but I don't see a plan from the Republicans, and the latest poll shows that 74% of Americans think a public plan should be part of their choices.

That is not a cry from the U.N. or assumed by a magical government, that is the American people speaking.

We seem to trust government to do roads, buildings, defense, and many other vital projects. Health Care is no more, or less vital than protecting our lives and property.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"...the latest poll shows that 74% of Americans think a public plan should be part of their choices."

If 99% of the American populace thought it proper to sacrifice the other 1% in hopes of curing cancer for the other 99%, still the practice would not be just.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

And for the record, there is no "right" to any healthcare other than the healthcare you administer to yourself or have administered to you by another with their voluntary and uncoerced consent.

The same goes for the cost of healthcare. There is no right to "affordable" healthcare.

Asserting otherwise on either scenario presupposes that there exists an individual who, by threat of force, will provide said services.

Rights to not define or guarantee an end. What they do guarantee is an action. That is to say there is a right to act or to pursue healthcare or healthcare that is affordable by your standard. There is no guarantee that you will achieve either just as there exists no guarantee that you will live, be liberated from ever being held captive or otherwise, or that you will attain the happiness you so desperately desire.

But indeed you are sure has hell able to try without being compulsed, coerced, or intimidated otherwise.

TRUTH 101 said...

So for those that can't afford health care Soabbox, would you have them do without? I've submitted my ideas about single payer national health insurance. All I've seen from the right is quips about government and a veiled protection of the haves over those that don't.

Little catch phrases like "safety net" might fool a few into thinking everthing is fine. But it's not fine. We haves pay the bills of the have nots already. I don't know ytour economic situation SBG, but mine is not so grand that I can pay their bills plus mine without struggle. I endorse a system we all pay into. In essence, it makes the poor also pay. I figured once the right figured that out they would jump on board with it. Much like tobacco taxes.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"So for those that can't afford health care Soabbox, would you have them do without?"

Were government at all levels not so predestined to impose a myriad of regulations upon the healthcare industry, et al. affordability would much more accessible as the removal of many unnecessary regulations would free up the market. Hence, people would have accessibility to catestrophic type plans or plans that don't cover items not pertinent to the individual and as well the individual purchaser would have the ability to cross state lines in an attempt to find a provider (something they are prohibited from doing in many states).

There are many things in life I do without because of cost. Healthcare, regardless of its importance, is no different.

Patrick M said...

101: I endorse a system we all pay into. In essence, it makes the poor also pay.

Except for the people who couldn't pay, and then they'd get the free ride. Then it comes back to the "right" to health care argument, which could then be used to shift responsibility for the government system onto the people who can afford to pay the most (because that kind of shit buys votes for Democrats).

But you are right that the GOP is piss poor on ideas. So I'll have to whip something up, now that I'm done getting my newest computer online.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"101: I endorse a system we all pay into. In essence, it makes the poor also pay."

If we are all paying into a system, then why the hell wouldn't each individual/family simply pay their own cost in a private system?

I'm not comfortable pooling it into one big slush fund when the reality is that individuals within said fund may very well use a greater proportion of healthcare services than I.

A subsidy is a subsidy is a subsidy. I am not my brother's keeper nor is he mine. I don't work and produce for his prosperity. I work and produce for my own prosperity and the prosperity and betterment of my family.

There is no moral justification for complete and total strangers to stake claim, in such a "pooled" system, to the contributions that I have made to said pool. Nor do I endorse a "pooled" system that everyone pays into by force.

If individuals prefer a "pooled" type of system then they may very well collectivize their contributions and distribute said funds as needed by members of said group.

Conversely, if my preference is NOT to collectivize (and it is) then I ought to be permitted to act as such.

Time said...

There are many government services I disagree with, that I HAVE to pay taxes for, because the majority of my fellow Americans have voted that a certain service is what they want and what they feel is best for our society.

Debating the use of our tax dollars is the never ending debate and is decided at the ballot box.

But, Soapboxgod said,

"I don't work and produce for his prosperity. I work and produce for my own prosperity and the prosperity and betterment of my family."

I not only disagree, but your statement is not reflective of the factual History of America.

We would be no where, we would not be the Great country that we are, if we had not worked and paid into a collective society.

My (and your) personal work and financial contributions to society has built this country for the prosperity and betterment of all.

You could not enjoy the life we have in America, without the help of your fellow citizens.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"We would be no where, we would not be the Great country that we are, if we had not worked and paid into a collective society."

Bullshit. One need only look to the great collectivist societies throughout history to conclude as much. Where are they now? Where is the great collectivist society of Nazi Germany? Of Soviet Russia? Of Socialist Europe?

Collective prosperity wasn't the fundamental or primary premise by which Americans operated. Quite the contrary.

Collective prosperity was merely a consequence of Individuals in America working for their own rational self-interest.

Henry Ford didn't invent the Model T for the benefit of the collective. He invented it for himself and it merely comes to pass that the collective benefits as a consequence. Same goes for Bill Gates. He doesn't invent Microsoft Windows because the collective demands it. He invents it to satisfy his own curiosity and his own self-interest.

"You could not enjoy the life we have in America, without the help of your fellow citizens."

Again, the "help" of my fellow citizens is not a primary but a secondary; a consequence. My fellow citizen doesn't open a business merely to satisfy my need for employment. He opens it to first and foremost satisfy his own desire and to sustain his own life.

He employs me because he needs workers to satisfy his need just as I accept the pay he offers and agree to work for him because I need to satisfy my desires.

Our relationship is neutral in as much as it is voluntary. We are not indebted to each other but instead we are indebted to ourselves.

I owe him no eternal praise as he owes me no eternal praise.

And so while you may very well disagree with my previous statement, the greater likelihood is that you do not understand it.

And so I stand by my previous statement:

"I don't work and produce for his prosperity. I work and produce for my own prosperity and the prosperity and betterment of my family."

My prosperity (working for my fellow citizen) is contigent upon his prosperity.

It is inherent to man's nature to survive for himself and to take the means necessary to sustain his life by acquiring food, clothing, shelter, etc.

It is not inherent to man's nature that he work to sustain his life so that he may live for the sake of someone other than himself.

Time said...

Soapbox God,

We must be talking about different things, or you are just way off base.

I'm not talking about a socialist commune philosophy. I'm talking about the number of people needed to build a decent society.

Can you defend the country from our enemies, by yourself? Can you stop crime in our country, by yourself? Can you put out all fires, by yourself? Can you educate all children, by yourself? Can you build roads, by yourself?

It takes communal hard work and communal taxation to build a great society. Without these essential services, we would be less than a 3rd World country.

Capitalism is not, and never was just how much money one can make. If capitalism does not fill the needs of society, it fails. Just as recent bankrupt companies have proven.

Capitalism thrives on producing what people need, or a product that makes life better, customer satisfaction, and improving the lifestyles of the people.

What you talk about, your philosophy of capitalism, is why capitalism is in such trouble. That is capitalism of greed, not capitalism of ensuring a better society, while enriching oneself.

Capitalism has a responsibility to society, and society has a responsibility to capitalism. Why do we give tax credits to business, if it were not that a business will make the community richer, not just the owner of the business?

Henry Ford - His product would mean nothing if the people had not taxed themselves to build roads.

I've seen Gates interviewed many times. Sure he got rich, but he states himself that he thought his product would make life better and that's why he was so focused on invention.

He is retired from Microsoft, and now spends his life full-time giving his money away to the poor and Health projects that will better society and peoples lives.

I don't have children, but I have to pay school taxes, I agree with paying school taxes, it makes for a better, more secure society.

Generations of Americans have sent their children to private schools, but they are not relieved of pay taxes for their local public schools, nor should they be.

I hate to think of the poor condition of our society if we had your go it alone attitude.

Now society believes it is the best interest of our country to have every one insured for Health Care. You may disagree with that, but explain why a healthier people is NOT good for our society.

Americans believe it important enough (like military defense) to communally tax ourselves for it.

And if a majority vote for it, hey, like I said i don't like paying school taxes, but I agree it builds a better society. I think healthier people make a better society.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

I'm most certainly not off base. What is however way off base is to infer that Capitalisms moral justification is to "fill the needs of society".

What I'm saying is that Capitalism does this but that it is not the proper justification (moral or otherwise) for promoting it.

Capitalism is the only economic system which is consonant with man's being and inherent nature.

"What you talk about, your philosophy of capitalism, is why capitalism is in such trouble."

Again you couldn't be more incorrect.

You're philosophy & understanding (or lack thereof) bastardizes the true meaning and intent of Capitalism. It is your definition of Capitalism which leads to individuals being granted homes that they can ill afford in an effort to provide societal betterment. It is your version of Capitalism which carves out monopolies that could never exist in a Laissez Faire form of Capitalism.

"That is capitalism of greed, not capitalism of ensuring a better society, while enriching oneself."

Greed is not to be mistaken for the man who employs his working mind to create the next greatest invention of the 21st century and then seeks ownership of said intellectual property.

No no no. Greed is attributed to those who seek to collectivize the product that came from one man's mind and claim it as their own.

Greed is a company like Sylvania or GE who jumps in bed with government and gets government to carve out a monopoly for it whereby legislation is passed so that you can no longer purchase incandescent light bulbs but instead must purchase a $4 CFL lightbulb. That is Greed my friend.

My version of Capitalism (and the only sort of Capitalism there is) allows a man and/or company to put their best product forward so that consumers may decide voluntary who shall become successful and subsequently wealthy.

Bill Gates owes nothing more to society. He needn't give millions of dollars away to anyone because you see...

His contribution to society through his product is contribution enough. He created a product that people could purchase voluntarily and thus, businesses were created, people had jobs, capital grew. He owes society nothing more.

"Generations of Americans have sent their children to private schools, but they are not relieved of pay taxes for their local public schools, nor should they be."

So, if you're on a diet and everyone at your work pitches in $5 a month for a pizza party, but you being on a diet and wishing to eat a salad instead, should be forced to pitch in the $5??

Why the hell should someone pay for a service that they themselves are not benefitting from? I don't have children either so pray tell why the hell I ought to shell out tax money for my neighbor's kid to go to public school?

Oh lemme guess...because we need educated people in society and him/her being educated works to my benefit should they ring me up in a store, etc.

Well I should say it works to their benefit if I have automobile insurance should the two of us be involved in a car crash. AND YET..I don't expect them to subsidize my auto insurance now do I??

And lastly, let me remind you that simply because a majority (i.e., society) votes for something much to the chagrin of the minority does not the practice make just.

Suppose we the majority thought it virtuous to carve out one of your kidneys for someone who "really needed it". I'm just going to go out on a limb here and guess you'd have a little objection to that.

If the majority in our society thinks that a healthy populace is to their benefit great I concur as well. But I draw the line at any attempt to squelch my personal life, liberty, and pursuit under the guise that some total stranger might live an extra few years thanks to my contribution to his health care premium.

Time said...

So your against majority rule democracy?

Patrick M said...

Time: So your against majority rule democracy?

I surspect Soapster's answer, as mine, will be a resounding YES. But I'll let him explain and hit it out of the park.

Time said...

Fine, but are you not living in the wrong country?
If happiness is a goal in your life, how can you be happy living under America's style of government?
ANY law passed squelches someones life, in that any law eliminates someones free choice.
I would never claim that choices made by the majority are just.
When you talk about corporate greed and other inequalities of life, I agree.
But who and how builds a society?
Are you a pure anarchist?

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"So your against majority rule democracy?"

Whatever tipped you off? Of course I am.

"...but are you not living in the wrong country?"

At this present moment it pains me to no end to answer in the affirmative.

"But who and how builds a society?"

Society is a collection of individuals who co-exist voluntarily under the rule of law not the rule of men.

"Are you a pure anarchist?"

An anarchist no. A minimalist, libertarian, objectivist, individual, et al. yes.

Government has a legitimate function which is codified in our Constitution. I'd like to see us return to such function and little else in short order.

What is more, let us make no mistake about it. Anarchy comes to fruition not in light of an absence of laws. Anarchy is blowback for the existence of too many laws.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

One more mention on Society:

Collectivists (be they socialists, communists, fascists, etc.) see society as a super-organism, as some supernatural entity apart from and superior to the sum of its individual members.

However we should recall that a great deal may be learned about society by studying man; but this process cannot be reversed: nothing can be learned about man by studying society—by studying the inter-relationships of entities one has never identified or defined.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Time: So your against majority rule democracy?

I surspect Soapster's answer, as mine, will be a resounding YES. But I'll let him explain and hit it out of the park."

Patrick, I'm afraid my response may have come up foul ball.

Let me take this next fastball and respond accordingly.

"So your against majority rule democracy?"

Up and until I should come to find myself amongst the majority so that we may extinguish the previous majority who dismissed us when we were the greatest minority of all; individuals.

Time said...

But the American Constitution sets up a government of a majority vote democracy, so you must be against such a document, yes?

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Eau Contraire:


A government of the masses...
Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of "direct" expression...
Results in mobocracy...
Attitude toward property is communistic--negating property rights...
Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether is be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences...
Results in demogogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy...


Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them...
Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences...
A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass....
Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy...
Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress...
Is the "standard form" of government throughout the world...

In recent years, we have been taught to believe that a democracy is the ideal form of government... Supposedly, that is what was created by the American Constitution... But, if you read the documents and the speech transcripts of the men who wrote the Constitution, you find that they spoke very poorly of democracy... They said in plain words that a democracy was one of the worst possible forms of government. And so they created what they called a republic... That is why the word democracy doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution; and, when Americans pledge allegiance to the flag, it’s to the republic for which it stands, not the democracy... When Colonel Davy Crockett joined the Texas Revolution prior to the famous Battle of the Alamo, he refused to sign the oath of allegiance to the future government of Texas until the wording was changed to the future republican government of Texas...

The reason this is important is that the difference between a democracy and a republic is the difference between collectivism and individualism...

In a pure democracy, the majority rules; end of discussion. You might say, “What’s wrong with that?” Well, there could be plenty wrong with that. What about a lynch mob? There is only one person with a dissenting vote, and he is the guy at the end of the rope... That’s pure democracy in action... “Ah, wait a minute,” you say... “The majority should rule... Yes, but not to the extent of denying the rights of the minority,” and, of course, you would be correct... That is precisely what a republic accomplishes... A republic is a government based on the principle of limited majority rule so that the minority – even a minority of one – will be protected from the whims and passions of the majority... Republics are often characterized by written constitutions that spell out the rules to make that possible... That was the function of the American Bill of Rights, which is nothing more than a list of things the government may not do... It says that Congress, even though it represents the majority, shall pass no law denying the minority their rights to free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, the right to bear arms, and other “unalienable” rights...

Patrick M said...

Soapster: You fouled it a little, then smacked a grand slam, as I knew you would (because I knew you'd (eventually) say what you said in your last comment).

Time said...

Since things are not the way you would like them to be, how do you deal with the reality of politics and government the way they are?
Do you get involved in the political process? Do you ignore government, like refusing to pay taxes?
Would you like to see a Constitutional Convention to rewrite, make more clear, or redirect government and its power?
I am one that deals with what is at hand. Whether or not that is the way it should be.
I focus on what I need to do dealing with the system the way it is, to meet my needs and goals.
It's the vote number (mainly by the Congress but also by the public) that determines the laws we must live by.
Certainly the public is not always correct. Sometimes the laws the public liked, turned out to be a disaster. Sometimes the laws the public hated, turned out to be best for the country.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Do you get involved in the political process?"

But of course. Because, “Impotentes defendere libertatem non possunt.” Meaning “Those without power cannot defend freedom.”

I focus my efforts on getting government to where it ought to be.

And for the record, I do in fact pay my taxes. And as I do, my hope is that they are spent in a legitimate fashion.

dmarks said...

We have a Bill of Rights. Many/most of us support it.

That is a perfect example of being against "majority-rule democracy".