addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Freethought Arizona Message Board › Questions on Libertarianism from the Critical Thinking SIG

Questions on Libertarianism from the Critical Thinking SIG

John T.
user 5081321
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 38
Re: Michael Sandel's "Justice" discussion

I am not a Libertarian but to quote the Harold Ramis character in “Stripes,” “I am willing to learn.” I do have some questions that may get my education moving forward. I am assuming that there is a notion of an ideal Libertarian society that serves as a model for the philosophy and against which one can compare existing societies. I am assuming this ideal society is a democracy (as opposed to some form of authoritarian state) and that some manner of majority rule operates. Comments on these assumptions are welcome.

My first question concerns the role of government in any real society that aspires to the ideal. My understanding is the Libertarian philosophy seeks a minimum role for government but that there is still a role for such things as defense and enforcement of the principles of property and contract rights. My question is how is the role determined in a real society? How does a democracy reach agreement on the role of government in any particular case and assure that it is aligned with the Libertarian approach? How does the society keep from being mired in the sorts of political disagreements that are all too familiar to us today?

My second question concerns the transition from any given real society to one that is based on Libertarian principles. If you take any circumstance in America today, for example, you can find an instance of something that violates these principles (taxes, government, “moral” legislation, etc.). Nevertheless, there are people who, through no fault or action of their own, may be harmed in the transition to the Libertarian ideal. What does Libertarian philosophy say about how these people should be treated?

Finally, my last question has to do with efforts to create a Libertarian society. What society today, or in the past most closely approximates the Libertarian philosophy? If the example no longer exists, is it possible to say why? If it is contemporary, is it possible to say if it is getting closer to or more distant from the ideal and why?
Jason
user 5111324
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 3
Wow, those are some really good questions! I'll tell you what I think, but as we are fond of saying in libertarian circles "There is no centralized plan for freedom," and others may have different opinions.

Libertarianism is at its core a philosophy of circumscribed means. The notion of an ideal libertarian society centers around a single key concept: A libertarian society is one in which no one is presumed to have a legitimate moral authority to _initiate_ force or fraud against anyone else. Only defensive and retaliatory force are morally acceptable, though retaliation may be further circumscribed by due legal process. Anyone who initiates force is considered a criminal and treated accordingly.

The practical meaning is this: In our current society, if I point a gun at a rich person and force him to give me 35% of his income which I then gve to a poor person who really needs it, I still go to jail for robbery. But if an IRS agent commits that same act, they are presumed to have legitimate authority to do so and do not go to jail. In a libertarian society, *no one* would have that kind of authority, for such an act would be considered inherently immoral. The best analogy would be to our current treatment of sex. In our society, we require that sex always be consensual. No one in our society is presumed to have the moral authority to have sex with someone without that person's consent. Rape is rape, and you go to jail for it, whether you're the average man on the street, or the president, or even if 51% of the neighborhood were to vote that you deserve to have sex with someone who doesn't consent, even for a really good reason like everyone deserves to have some sex and you're not getting your fair share. :-) An individual's decision in regards to who he/she will have sex with is treated as morally final and unappealable in our society. That is libertarian. Libertarianism also treats theft and other forceful violations of individual consent that same way.

There are some nuances centering around the precise definitions of "initiate" and "force" which thinking about this for a while will probably cause you to consider. But for now let's focus on the general concepts. If you think about it, you'll see that this conception of libertarianism as circumscribed means is really orthogonal to political decision making systems like democracy. Democracy may be chosen as superior to other decision making systems and used, so long as the majority is not presumed to have the moral right to initiate force against the minority. An example is a group of 10 friends who all want to see a movie. Perhaps the 10 decide to take a vote, and all go see whichever movie gets the highest number of votes. That's fine, because any one of the 10 is still free to dissent and see a different movie (or no movie at all) if they really don't like the outcome of the vote. There may be substantial social pressure to go along with the majority despite not liking the majority's choice, and that's fine, as long as there's no force involved.

Minimal government falls out from this as a consequence, not as an end. The government can only be as large as people are willing to pay for without being forced. And it is generally agreed that is likely to be minimal. I'll stop there on the philosophy, but there's also an excellent 10 minute introduction here: http://www.isil.org/r...­

As far as the transition goes, any libertarian who tells you that they have it all figured out is LYING. :-) My own view is that libertarianism is an ideal that illuminates specific policy questions, rather than a light switch you can turn on all at once (lots of libertarians disagree with me about that). The biggest area for improvement I see is our system of taxation. What legitimate functions of government are people really interested in and willing to pay for? I think top on the list, particularly for wealthy people, is the protection of property rights and the enforcement of contracts. So it seems to me that a switch from a system of taxing income to a system of taxing contracts and property is called for. Such a system could be made voluntary and thus libertarian quite easily: If you make a contract and don't pay the tax, that's fine but the courts will not enforce that contract for you if later on there's a dispute/breech. And if you have property that you don't register and pay the tax on, that's fine but the police and courts will not protect that property from thieves, squatters, vandals, etc. Under such a system, the more property you have and the more contracts you make, the more you will pay, which seems to achieve the kind of progressivity in government funding that most people find fair. I could give other examples but the point is I look at specific issues for transition, since in my view that's the only way we'll get closer to the ideal.

Your last question is also the subject of much disagreement in libertarian circles. My own view is that various societies have approached the ideal in various ways while receeding from it in others, and their prosperity and hapiness has been roughly proportional to how close to it they are with regards to the average across all issues and all citizens. For example, 19th century US was relatively close to libertarianism IF you were a white male, but horrendously far from it if you were a woman or minority. 21st century US is much farther away from the ideal for white males, but much closer for women and minorities. The Netherlands (with legal recreational drugs, legal prostitution, and gay marriage) is closer to the ideal with regards to personal freedom than the US is, but further from the ideal of economic freedom (they have higher mandatory taxes). And it's important to remember that force is not strictly viewed from a formal government perspective. Somalia, for example, has no government to speak of and hence little in the way of formal taxes, etc. But Somalia is far from the libertarian ideal, because the population there tolerates warlords who rape, plunder, and kill at will. Mexico is another example, where the official government is in some ways more libertarian than our own, but the population permits a great deal of corruption and violence by government officials and organized crime.

That gets to your final question about why societies move closer or further from the ideal. I think the answer is, they move closer or further from the ideal in direct proportion to the amount of force that they will tolerate. And I don't mean "tolerate" simply by a vote - ask yourself what you would do if 51% of your neighbors voted that the mayor gets to have sex with the winner of the local beauty contest whether she wants it or not. Would you tolerate that? Or would you do your best to undermine that particular "will of the majority", by helping her escape or helping her defend herself? Enough people in America wouldn't tolerate it that it cannot happen regardless of the outcome of any particular vote about it, which in my opinion is the only reason why it doesn't happen! In other societies we have seen just that sort of thing happen (the right of officials to rape at will) and it stopped happening when the citizens stopped tolerating it. That happened even in societies that were not very democratic.

--Jason
A former member
Post #: 5
Good argument Jason, but let's get down to more practical issues. If I understand a Libertarians idea of freedom, I am assuming the owner of a restaurant could choose to allow smoking and it would be my choice whether to eat there or not. We know second hand smoke harms everyone. Over the past 20 yrs or so and because of parental guidance we have virtually eliminated smoke from restaurants. In 2-4 decades people have begun to listen to the warnings of smoking. Society has changed and smokers have been shoved to the corner. I personally like that while the smoker may not. And, you know very well this is only one example of a long line of many examples. How would a Libertarian government handle this. The parental controls by our government have benefited me. Without them, I am certain I would have remained a subservient woman (well perhaps not me ... but life would have been more difficult).

Patsy
Jason
user 5111324
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 4
No kidding - I hate cigarette smoke and I am also glad it's no longer a part of the dining out experience. I would not want to see it return.

I think the issue of smoking in restaurants is part of a class of problems that includes things like the widespread racial discrimination in restaurants that occurred in the first half of the 20th century in the southeastern US, and other problems of the following form: As social animals, humans adopt widespread patterns. Some social patterns are reasonably judged healthy (good) and others are reasonably judged unhealthy (bad). Despite reason, some unhealthy/bad social patterns may continue to propagate indefinitely, in spite of all the good, rational reasons against such patterns. Smoking in restaurants, racial sexual and other forms of discrimination, primogeniture, religion, and opposition to vaccinations are all (in my opinion) examples of such unhealthy patterns.

So the fundamental question as I see it is, how do we deal with unhealthy patterns that appear and persist in society, without resorting to force? Honestly, I don't have a *complete* answer. That's why I'm of the opinion that libertarian philosophy should be used to illuminate specific policy questions, rather than be applied mindlessly like a religious dogma. I don't treat libertarian philosophy like a religion or dogma that must absolutely answer every single problem in the world, but I am well aware that there are libertarians who treat it that way.

Regarding smoking in restaurants, the first policy recommendation I would make in light of the libertarian perspective would be to at least limit the scope and duration of force to the minimum that is required to successfully dampen the unhealthy social pattern to the point where it no longer dominates. Primogeniture (leaving all of one's estate to the first born son and disinheriting all other children) is an example of what I'm advocating. Primogeniture was the common practice in Europe and the American colonists were predominantly made up of the disinherited later-borns who saw the practice as fundamentally unfair. As a result, primogeniture was made illegal in this country in most states around the time of the founding fathers. Some time later, primogeniture was re-legalized. Today it is perfectly legal for the firstborn son to inherit everything from the parent's estate, just as it was in medieval Europe. It has been legal for well over a century, but almost nobody does that or has even heard of it, because the previous unhealthy social pattern of doing so was very effectively broken. That would be my best libertarian "vision" for restaurant owners being allowed to permit smoking: I'd eventually like to get to a point where it is legal for them to do so, but almost nobody ever does it.

How long does it take to break the unhealthy pattern of smoking in restaurants? I have no doubt that if smoking in restaurants were re-legalized TODAY, there would be far fewer restaurants who would choose to allow smoking than there were before the ban. Maybe that's not enough and it's not time yet, but the discussion I would have would center around *when* the practice could reasonably be re-legalized without it re-emerging as the dominant social pattern.

The second policy recommendation I would make in light of the libertarian perspective would be around duties of disclosure and duties of reasonable care. When you walk into a restaurant to engage in a business transaction of paying money for food consumed on premise, you have a right to certain reasonable expectations about that transaction. One of those reasonable expectations is that the restaurant owner takes reasonable care to insure that neither the food nor the atmosphere you breathe while consuming it have been poisoned. If the owner allows the food or the atmosphere to be poisoned in contravention of this reasonable expectation, it's a form of fraud which like force is also immoral according to the libertarian philosophy. If the restaurant wants to permit random patrons to inject a little poison into your food, even if it's legal to do so they would have a reasonable duty to disclose that fact to you or be liable for damages you suffer from eating the food. In my opinion, the same thing goes for smoking which is really allowing random patrons to poison the air you breathe. So when smoking in restaurants is re-legalized, libertarianism would indicate that it would be reasonable to hold any restaurant owner who permits smoking liable for damages to their non-smoking patrons if they don't fully disclose the specific poisons and amounts they are permitting patrons to put into the air that all patrons breathe. Obviously, such a situation would tend to further disincentivize a restaurant owner from permitting smoking in the first place.

Does this make sense?

--Jason
A former member
Post #: 6
Yes, Jason and thanks you are making sense. I am a progressive democrat and all I still see is a huge amount of chaos with a Libertarian government. However, I am wondering if you feel a country like the US eases into Libertarianism rather than elect a Libertarian government which would make too many changes too fast? This philosophy is such a departure from what we know government to be that I don't believe the country could sustain it unless some of these ideas gradually took hold. Do you feel the wealthy would support a Libertarian? And how would you ever get a mix of democrats and republicans in the house and senate to support Libertarian ideals? It seems like an insurmountable task. I know Alan Greenspan is a libertarian, but I believe Paul Volker leans towards being a progressive democrat. I blame Greenspan for deregulation, or perhaps for not regulating some of the credit swap companies who brought us down. Volker had a tough task when inflation happened in the 80's and he got it resolved. (At least that's my opinion, likely too simple).

So, let me ask you this. If we had three excellent candidates running for President (all things being equal), and one was a Republican, a Democrat and a Libertarian would you vote for the Libertarian at this stage?

And, I'd also like you to address Rand Paul and his Board Certification issue when he founded the National Board of Ophthalmology. This really offended me! Am I to expect that anyone could set up his own certification? I don't want my life becoming more difficult, I want it to be easier for me to sort out things. I suppose the certification is connected somehow to your contract theory, and that a person could become liable if they did not adhere to the proper standards.

How do Libertarians account for the poor? I guess I just have too many questions. I've been left with the impression that it's just too darn bad; if we have a Libertarian government they either make it or they don't. From my perspective the only way to protect the unfortunate is with social programs and that means taxing those who have.

I know you work for a living and are busy with your wife and children, so please don't feel the need to rush any answer. And, I don't want to take up all of your time ... I expect there are others who want to ask questions as well.

Thanks for the time. Patsy
A former member
Post #: 7
Jason (and by the way, anyone else who cares to comment) ... I've just read this on the internet ...

"The economic burden of cigarette use includes more than $193 billion annually in health care costs and loss of productivity," Sebelius said.

"More than 1,000 people are killed every day by cigarettes and one half of all long-term smokers are killed by smoking-related diseases," the report adds.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said research also shows how to reduce smoking.

"The largest impacts come when we increase tobacco prices, ban smoking in public places, offer affordable and accessible cessation treatments and combine media campaigns and other initiatives," they wrote in an introduction to the report.


If we don't have the state watching out for our interests who will? Understand this is not just about smoking but rather about anything where an individual can't stand up to protect their own interests let alone the interests of the weak and the vulnerable (ie children and seniors). I feel the Libertarian platform will let me (and others) down. I did check on line to see what percentage of voters are Libertarian and it appears as though this philosophy is growing ... polls were showing anywhere from 13% to 50% of the voting population (with 20% the more realistic figure) depending on how the questions were posed ... ie: are you fiscally conservative and socially liberal generating the highest percentage.

Patsy

Jason
user 5111324
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 5
I do not intend to sound condescending, but I have to chuckle at the suggestion of Libertarians taking over the government and changing things too fast. At the federal level we have two houses of congress, a president, and a judiciary with lifetime appointments. I can't conceive of a scenario where suddenly the entire US government is elected as Libertarians and implements the entire Libertarian platform virtually overnight. Much as some libertarians (even me) might wish for such a thing, political reality dictates that it just won't happen, and any change at all will be gradual. How much of the Democratic Party platform got implemented when the Democrats controlled the presidency and both houses of congress the last 2 years? So, I often though not always vote for Libertarian candidates, knowing that I'll be lucky if even one of them actually wins, and even some small change becomes possible.

A friend of mine is fond of saying, "When I can be elected as a Libertarian, I won't even have to run for office". The change we seek is more about how people think than about taking over the reins of power.

The wealthiest people in this country are not Libertarians. The wealthy control the government, and they are Republicans and Democrats. Ask yourself why that is? I think that many of the wealthiest became wealthy on government contracts and government enforced monopolies and the free government enforcement of their business contracts. I also think that all of the wealthy depend on a government that spends far more on protecting their private wealth than they pay for such protection. All of the fighting over income tax rates is a ruse that hides the fact that income and wealth are two very different concepts. A wealthy person - a person who owns a lot of property - can easily arrange his or her affairs such that they can live quite well having no "income" at all and hence owing no income tax regardless of the income tax rates! I can explain the mechanism of this in detail if anyone is interested. Warren Buffett also let the cat out of the bag when he disclosed that his secretary pays a higher percentage of her income than he does, and the only reason he pays anything at all is because he chooses to. The ironic reality is that the only people in this country who aren't forced to pay taxes are the very wealthy!

Alan Greenspan has publicly expressed some libertarian ideas, but he did not run the Fed with those ideas. Instead, he enabled the corruption that led to the financial crisis by providing cheap money to the banks (money that all of us are forced to use by the legal tender laws) along with an implicit guarantee (later made real) that the taxpayers would be forced to bear the cost of the bank's bad bets with that money. That is not libertarian -- not even close. The Republicans use a lot of libertarian-sounding rhetoric, but that's all it is - rhetoric. They use the power of government to force their way just as much if not more than the Democrats do. Do not confuse Republicans with Libertarians!

Regarding Rand Paul's board certification the issue there is one of fraud. Was the certification board he set up bona-fide, an organization that ensures real qualifications and treated him objectively? If so, then no harm, no foul. If not, then it was fraud and that's not libertarian and it is as you say - offensive. I don't know enough to know which of the two it was - do you? It certainly doesn't "smell" right.

"Account for the poor" is a very broad statement that no party or philosophy can directly answer. A specific policy question might be, what are some libertarian ideas about how to provide for people who do not have enough money to purchase the food they need to survive? I have a couple ideas about this: First, if the government taxed less and did less then voluntary donations to organizations like the community food bank would increase. Second, people would be more willing to engage in voluntary community food projects (co-ops, urban gardens, etc. that are ultimately more healthful than grocery store food anyway) if the government wasn't handing out food stamps. You might feel that this would not be a perfect solution - some people would inevitably fall through the cracks. I agree, it would not be perfect. But our present system is also not perfect. No one could reasonably claim that there is no hunger in America, or that all Americans get the right amount of the right kind of food, despite the billions of forcibly taxed dollars that are spent on food programs. There is so much bureaucratic overhead and waste in federal programs that is not present in voluntary and community based programs.

There seems to be something about libertarian ideas that causes people to demand perfect results from those ideas or dismiss all of them out of hand, when they don't treat other competing ideas the same way. I prefer to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Is it moral to forcibly tax people to fund the worlds largest military, that bombs and invades other countries who aren't threatening us? I say no. Republicans and Democrats say yes. Is it moral to forcibly tax people to pay for the world's largest prison industry, that hunts down and forcibly incarcerates people for non-violent acts like drug use? I say no. Republicans and Democrats say yes. Is it moral to forcibly tax ordinary people to bail out big banks and auto companies? I say no. Republicans and Democrats say yes. Is it moral to heavily tax people who are in the process of creating new wealth (income), while protecting the wealth of those who already have it, whether earned, inherited, or whatever...for free? I say no. Republicans and Democrats say yes. Is it moral to absolve corporations of liability for their harms while holding individuals who don't have the corporate shield liable for every last cent? I say no. Republicans and Democrats say yes. Is it moral to lock accused terrorists away without due legal process? Is it moral to spy on the communications of peace activists and ordinary citizens without a warrant? Is it moral to order the assasination without trial of individuals who aren't engaged in any conflict at all? Is it moral for government agents to grope children and old ladies in airports? Is it moral to distribute forcibly taxed money to religious organizations? On all of these questions and more, I and most libertarians say no but Republicans and Democrats, as evidenced by their policies in power, say yes.

With full knowledge of these very clear cut (at least to me) moral issues, should I still vote for a Republican or a Democrat on the wrong side of most if not all of them, who cannot figure out how to feed everyone even by using force, simply because a Libertarian cannot figure out how to feed everyone without using force? No, that wouldn't make sense to me.

I do not claim to know how to completely solve every social problem without resorting to force. In my opinion anyone who claims they can is exhibiting blind faith. What I do claim is that the force the US government employs today results in much more harm than benefit to the average American (not to mention the average civilian in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.), and that the force is initiated at the behest of both Republican and Democrat politicians. Do you disagree with that claim?

--Jason
John T.
user 5081321
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 39
There is a bit of reference to taxation in this conversation and I have been reading a bunch of sites to try to find out if there is a Libertarian consensus on what form of tax is acceptable. I have not had any luck.

I assume there are some acceptable functions of government (a military for defense, some manner of law enforcement, enforcement of contracts and property rights, etc.) and there has to be a tax to pay for them - that is, we do not just rely on voluntary contributions.

Income tax is out - that is slavery; wealth or property tax seems to be out although the logic there is a little vague to me; I am not sure at all about a sales or VAT form of tax. The question is what is an acceptable form of tax and why? How do you assure that it is fairly applied? Since corporations have standing similar to individuals in many cases, does this mean they should have a similar tax standing as well?
Jason
user 5111324
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 6
There is no libertarian consensus on taxation or even government itself. Some say taxes in whatever form are acceptable so long as they are only used for the functions of government you cite. Some say the government should be run on voluntary donations and the equivalent of bake sales. Some say the government should charge for contract insurance. Some say there should only be import tariffs. Some say there should be no government at all.

The only thing there is a consensus on is that there is currently too much taxation and too much force in our society.

While I can't claim to speak for all libertarians, here is what I can say about my own views:
(1) There should be a government - I am not convinced that anarchy would work.
(2) The government should ideally be limited to the following tasks:
(a) protecting the rights of the people (life, liberty, and property) from domestic aggressors. This includes enforcing laws against such aggression (laws against murder, kidnapping, rape, theft, fraud, etc.) and punishing the aggressors after due legal process, and things like fire prevention and regulation of pollution.
(b) protecting the rights of the people (life, liberty, and property) from foreign aggressors on US soil. This means having a military to defend against invasions and other foreign attacks. It does not include "protecting US interests overseas".
(c) adjudicating civil disputes and enforcing contracts.
(3) In order to fund those tasks, the government is entitled to charge the beneficiaries of these services for their reasonable costs in proportion to the benefit received. Wherever the benefit is excludable (meaning that those who don't pay can be exluded from the benefit), such payment should be optional.

I support wealth and contract taxes as the primary means to fund these services.

This is how I arrive at the wealth tax: Most of what the government does in criminal justice and fire prevention and military ultimately amounts to protecting property. Murders, kidnappings, and military invasions that do not have a property component are comparatively rare. By this I mean, most of the time the ultimate motive is property related - though there are other motives people usually kill or hurt each other over property of some sort. So I think you can legitimately fund all of the required military and most of the required criminal justice system with an optional, excludable tax on property in all forms (real estate, stocks/bonds, bank accounts, etc.). Reporting your property and paying the tax should be optional. If someone doesn't want to report a piece of property or pay tax on it, fine...but then the government will not protect that property in the legal system at all. For example if you don't choose to pay the tax on your house, and while you're out someone breaks in and steals your stuff or takes up residence there, the police won't kick out the squatters or help recover your property. Or if you don't pay the tax on your bank account and the bank suddenly "looses" your balance, the government will not make them pay it back. So it's a voluntary tax, but there's a very strong incentive to report and pay tax on all of your property. And unlike our current system, the *truly* wealthiest people (the people with the most property) will pay the most tax.

This is how I arrive at the contract tax: Many civil disputes amount to enforcement of contracts, enough that I think it's fair to fund the civil judicial system with a contract tax. Contract enforcement is an easy thing to make voluntarily taxable. Reporting and paying tax on a contract should be optional. If both parties to a contract don't want to report it and pay tax on it, fine...but then the government will not enforce that contract in the legal system. For example, if your cell phone company decides not to pay the contract tax on your cell contract, then if you just stop paying or switch to another carrier the government will not enforce their ability to collect the termination fee. So it's a voluntary tax, but there's a very strong incentive to report your contracts and pay the tax. And unlike our current system, the people who use the civil justice system the most (businesses) will pay the most tax.

I do not think that corporations should have the same standing as individuals. Corporations are artificial entities that are given special privileges by the state. They are specifically designed to do two things: concentrate capital, and avoid liability claims otherwise ruled legitimate by the courts. Really! If you ask yourself, why would anyone want to form a corporation instead of a partnership, those are the only two underlying reasons that would exist absent the byzantine tax system we have today. Of course, few people talk about corporations that way. But once you understand corporations, they are on pretty shaky ground from a libertarian perspective to begin with. What gives the state any right to absolve some people of legitimate liability for their actions? Some libertarians say that corporations should not be allowed at all. I'm on the fence on allowing the existance of corporations, primarily because of the fallibility of the legal system (all claims ruled legitimate by the courts are not, in fact, legitimate), and the real need to concentrate capital for some capital intensive projects.

As an entity created with special privilege from the state, I at least view any and all taxation of corporations (in ADDITION to the wealth and contract taxes I cited above) as inherently voluntary and hence acceptable libertarian ideas. If you don't want to pay corporate income taxes, for example, then just don't do business as a corporation. Do business as a partnership and don't hide behind the special liability treatment that the state offers to corporations. As a practical matter, corporations ultimately pass on the costs of taxation to their customers - so if corporations are taxed in ways that partnerships are not, then partnerships will have a price advantage in the marketplace, which offsets the increased liability risk their owners are under.

I also don't completely dismiss the idea of voluntary contributions to the government, of both money and labor. The level of generosity and community spirit that people display when force isn't present is not infinite, but it's not zero either. So the government should ask for voluntary donations, particularly for projects that people are likely to be generous about (help protect the poor, help hunt down serial killers and rapists who aren't concerned about property, etc.)

--Jason
John T.
user 5081321
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 40
I really appreciate your extended answers to my questions, Jason. Those and the information I have found on-line have helped me realize that the Libertarian philosophy is not nearly as rigid and monolithic as I had supposed. There are many subtleties and variations of opinion ( as seen mostly in comments to blogs) that I can appreciate. I am the better for your contributions, thanks.

John Thompson
Powered by mvnForum

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy