RE: Property [was Re: The Education Function]
Wed, 16 Dec 1998 10:22:42 -0700


First of all I want to apologize for the tone of my last post. I had no reason to attack you personally. I'm sure you're sincere in believing that the job you do is valuable. I'm just so f***in' tired of being jerked around by "the system" that I tend to lash out at anyone I see as representing it. Unfortunately, the fact is that your position _is_ supported by funds that are, from my point of view, simply extorted from me and others who have other uses for our own money. Hope you understand my discontent with that situation.

>The notion that all men (people) are created equal is arguably not well
>supported by market mechanisms.

I think the market is the most egalitarian social phenomenon possible, in that every person has absolute say over whether to participate in any given transaction.

>In any event, "global capitalism" is what economists and business leaders
call it.

It's what *some" economists call it, specifically those who favor interventionism. Technically, it's a form of mercantilism.

>>>I live in DC and work for the government.

>>That explains a lot...

>Really it explains nothing. That you think so is telling.

Cheap shot, sorry.

>>>Trust me, most government activities have nothing to do with force.

>>Why should I trust you? You're part of the gang that takes a big
>>of my earnings against my will and spends it on things I don't approve

>Ah yes, we're one big happy gang here. Have you ever even *been* to DC?

How is that relevant? The point I was undiplomatically making is that your job, like all gov't jobs, is funded by extortion (taxes), and that most of the "goods" those taxes pay for are things I don't want or even abhor.

>>If most gov't activities have nothing to do with force, why can't I
>>decline to hand over my property to the IRS without risking jail or

>Because that's the law.

Yes, and the law is obviously backed by force, or it wouldn't be law. So how can you honestly claim that "most gov't activities have nothing to do with force"? They are _all_ supported by monies taken under threat of force.

>If you can provide a convincing argument that the IRS is unnecessary I
wouldn't mind
>eliminating the IRS one bit.

I shouldn't have to prove that the IRS is "unnecessary", it's for those who support it to prove that extortion is ethical in support of their goals.

>All of the government employees I know work for agencies involved in
>commerce, transportation safety and labor issues. Force has nothing to do
>with it.

Again, they're all funded by taxes. And they all will resort to police action where necessary to inflict their decisions on the rest of us. You know this. Force has _everything_ to do with it.

>For the most part I find the bundle of goods and services provided by the
>government to be acceptable.

Fine. You pay for the bundle, then. Why should I have to pay just because *you* find it acceptable?

>If a mugger offered something comparable in
>compensation for the mugging I probably wouldn't object as strongly.

Oh, come on...

>>>Oh sure, at some abstract level the State could suddenly decide to ditch
>>>constitutional rights and blow us away for non-conformance, but in the
>>>majority of transactions this possibility is so remote as to be

>>Bullshit, it happens every day. It's not at all abstract.

>Every day, hardly.

I won't quibble over "constitutionality". But "government" violates my rights every day. My salary is looted daily (withholding and Social Insecurity tax), if nothing else. And if I were adamant in my refusal to "pay" taxes, at some point the IRS (or some goons in uniform) would "blow me away", as it has done to others in the past.

>As I often say, in the end people *always* have a choice. You don't have
>do anything you don't want to, even if it's the guvmint doing the asking.
>There are consequences, of course.

You know, you have a point. I don't _have_ to hand my wallet to the mugger who "asks" for it. There are consequences, of course.

>There most certainly is such a thing as normative economics. You can find
>this terminology in any good intro economics text. Objective descriptions
>of economic behavior are quite a different thing than proposals for
>policy. Economists engage in both activities.

"Normative economics" is a synonym for what used to be known as "political economy", as distinct from economics per se. When economists engage in policy prescription, they are acting in their capacity as political advisors, not as economists strictly speaking. Politics and economics are separate fields of inquiry, albeit often intermixed in practice.

>*My* objective is to live in a largely libertarian society under a
>minimalist government. Don't go jumping to conclusions about my motives.

Pardon me if that's so. Are you actively engaged in reducing the size and scope of "government"? Is that why you hold the job you do?

>"I" want to take it from "you"? I don't want to take anything from you.
>Why do you think this?

Because your job depends on my - unwilling - monetary support.

>>>Sure, governments do bad things, but so do businesses.

That's like saying, sure, Hitler did some bad things, but look at Coca-Cola - why their product rots our teeth! There's a little matter of scale, don't you think?

>>Business can't get away with bad things by dint of firepower or
>>immunity", however.

>True. Mostly they have to rely on PR people to cover their

Yeah, that's certainly the "moral equivalent" of armed force, isn't it?

>>>Personally, I'm much more
>>>concerned about what my next (private sector) employer might do to me,
>>>try to make me do, than I am about the guvmint.

>>Don't make me throw up.

>Why should my feelings upset you so as to cause gastric distress?

Because it wrenches my guts to see someone pretending that businessmen are somehow more to be feared than the wielders of armed might who claim the "authority" to run our lives and take our property at will.