Re: Intellectual bias and misinterpretation of governmental functions.

John Blanco-Losada (
Thu, 26 Jun 97 09:58:12 -0400

On 6/25/97 10:41 PM, Abraham Moses Genen wrote:

>There is a substantial doubt in my mind as to whether our tax system is a
>legitimate form of coercion and whether it follows that all forms of
>governmental action are therefore based on coercion.
>The concept as stated seems far to simplistic to dignify except through
>sophistry, and ignores the numerous -- and real -- contingency factors that
>exist in the formulating policy and applying these contingencies to the
>legislative process.

I believe that coercion is immoral. So as far as I am concerned, asking
whether our tax system is a "legitimate form of coercion" is oxymoronic.
While this is indeed a simplistic premise, it works for me and forms the
basis of much of my philosophical and political viewpoint.

So perhaps we'll just agree to disagree on this basic point.

>The contingency factors I refer to are the inputs involved in formulating
>policy from the various interest groups. In many instances these interest
>groups have legitimate needs.

I believe that _I_ have legitimate needs. Does that make it right for me
to force you to pay for these needs? Adding a middleman in the form of a
legislator or a bureaucrat who serves only to compel you to pay me should
have no effect on the basic morality or immorality of this question.

>Obviously, some interest groups are wholly self serving and have no
>interests beyond their own selfish needs.

Actually, I think it could be argued that _all_ interest groups are
wholly self-serving, since by definition an interest group is a
collection of individuals who unite around a common set of beliefs and
attempt to cause change in a direction consistent with those beliefs.

>In these instances a
>counteractive filtering process takes place to take as many non-considered
>factors under advisement in order to provide greater equity in the
>formulation of a policy. Indeed, this does not always work the way we would

So you admit that the legislator applies his own perceptions, beliefs,
and biases to the requests of these groups, and makes judgements of the
worthiness of their claims based on his opinions? How can he possibly
know their needs better than they do? The fact that things don't always
work out "the way we would like" only serves to illustrate that none of
us, not even the legislator, is omniscient. Quite often, we do not even
posesses complete information about the particular issue at hand. But
until we develop a reliable method of mind-reading, the only person who
knows what a particular person values and needs is that particular
person. Which is why I believe that an anarcho-capitalistic, free-market
system, which leaves each person free to conduct transactions based
solely on his or her values and needs, is currently the optimal
political/economic arrangement.

>No system is perfect.

I agree with you. (I don't want to be completely contrary!)

>The object is to keep as open a mind as is possible
>and encourage the development of an ever greater paradigm that can be
>applied to the betterment of the human condition. Within such a framework
>all things can be considered and integrated to the extent that they have a
>constructive effect on an increasingly literate and slowly evolving

I'm not sure what you specifically have in mind here. But I can't think
of an arrangement which is more open-minded, and which leaves people more
free to develop and better themselves, than the free market. Admittedly
such an arrangement can't be controlled, or its results predicted, but as
you've already admitted, the same is true for the "democratic" system in
which we currently live and which you seem to advocate.

John Blanco-Losada "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - M. Gandhi

The First Millenial Foundation - Colonizing the Galaxy in 8 Easy Steps