Thursday, February 2, 2012

Libertarianism and the Free-rider Problem

Over at the Bleeding Heart Libertarian blog, Damien S perhaps misinterpreted a comment of mine and warned me about the free-rider problem that would occur if people had the option to put their taxes back in their pockets.  His concern was misplaced though because as I mentioned in my post on Pragmatic Ethics vs Deontological Ethics, the free-rider problem is partly what led me to reject libertarianism.

Here are a few of my other blog posts where I mention the free-rider problem...
It's an important topic though so figured it's worth another entry or two.  This entry will focus on considering the liberal spectrum on A) the free-rider problem and B) the following compromises...
  • Compromise A:  People would be able to directly allocate their taxes among any organizations in the public sector and among qualified organizations in the non-profit sector.  For example...people could give their taxes to either the Red Cross or FEMA.  
  • Compromise B (pragmatarianism):  People would be able to directly allocate their taxes among any organizations in the public sector.  For example...people could give their taxes to the Dept of Defense and/or the Dept of Education.
  • Compromise C: The same thing as pragmatarianism...but people would only be able to directly allocate a certain percentage of their taxes...the rest of their taxes would be allocated by congress.
Anarcho-capitalists 

Anarcho-capitalists want to get rid of the government because they believe that taxes are theft and/or the private sector can do everything as good as...or better than...the public sector can.  Those that believe that taxes are theft support the idea of full self-ownership (see Self-Ownership Survey) while those that believe in the superiority of the private sector support the idea of the invisible hand (see Unglamorous but Important Things).

For those that believe in full self-ownership...there's absolutely no need for them to address the free-rider problem...given that property rights trump all.  That being said...I have yet to run across a proponent of full self-ownership that hasn't made some consequentialist arguments.  Here are a couple examples...

1. Kent's perspective of the free-rider problem
2. Stefan Molyneux's perspective of the free-rider problem...Unglamorous but Important Things (the video)

In terms of the invisible hand crowd...perhaps the best way to understand their perspective on the free-rider problem would be to read Bastiat's essay on the Seen vs the Unseen.

Compromise A

The strongest evidence that I have that anarcho-capitalists would accept this compromise is that it was proposed by Neville Kennard on an anarcho-capitalist website....If You Could Choose to Whom You Paid Your Tax.  Given the expanded options...it seems reasonable that anarcho-capitalists would choose this compromise over pragmatarianism.

Compromise B 

Full self-ownership crowd - Many have considered this compromise but probably all of them have rejected it.  For a perfect example check out Kent's critique of pragmatarianism.  For a less clear cut example check out the discussion that I had with the Benjamin Marks...the author of this anarcho-capitalist challenge... One Question that People Are Scared to Answer

Invisible hand crowd - This group seems to be a really small minority among anarcho-capitalists.  But there's no doubt in my mind that they are more open to pragmatarianism than the self-ownership crowd.  For a good example check out my discussion with James E. Miller in the comment section of this entry...My Reply to Jeffrey Sachs

Compromise C

Given the relative lack of interest in pragmatarianism...there's no reason to believe that there would be any real interest in a watered down version of pragmatarianism.  

Libertarians

Libertarians do not want to abolish government...they just want to reduce the scope of government.  Like anarcho-capitalists they can roughly be grouped into those that strongly support property rights (but not full self-ownership) and those that lean more towards the invisible hand (consequentialists).

Most academic libertarians are aware of the free-rider problem...
The primary line of justification that has been advanced for the power to tax is the problem of free ridership. If taxes were replaced by voluntary contributions, it would be impossible for anyone to claim that the state was involved in expropriating private property. At the same time, it is argued, people would have strong incentives to take free rides on the contributions of others. As a result, services such as civil order and national security, which we all value, are likely to be underfunded. - Ronald Hamowy, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism 
In essence..libertarians have a free-rider problem double standard.  Libertarians basically tell liberals...we're willing to gamble on the things that you value (welfare)...but we're not willing to gamble on the things that we value (national security).

There are always exceptions to every rule though.  Unfortunately, Jeffrey Miron seems to be the only libertarian that I know of that has acknowledged this double standard...Poverty and Libertarianism.  If you know of any other exceptional libertarians in this regard then please share a link to where they acknowledge this double standard.

Compromise A

Tad DeHaven made an argument...Charitable Donations to the Government...that was in the same general vicinity as Neville Kennard's proposal.  Even closer to Kennard's proposal was Arnold Kling's proposal...
I think that allowing taxpayers to allocate their taxes would be an improvement, but why stop with government organizations? Why not allow them also to choose from competing charitable organizations? That is what I propose in Unchecked and Unbalanced. - Arnold Kling, My Version of Race Against the Machine
So we wouldn't be going too far out on a limb to say that libertarians would choose Compromise A over pragmatarianism.

Compromise B

Libertarians have shown very little interest in this compromise.  The most notable exception is probably Lupis42...yet he certainly has his concerns...Lupis42's Critique of Pragmatarianism.  One academic libertarian, who shall go unnamed, expressed great concern at the thought of allowing taxpayers to decide how much funding the department of defense would receive.  This would seem to give credence to the free-rider problem double standard.

Compromise C

Pretty much the same situation as anarcho-capitalism.  Given the lack of interest in pragmatarianism...there's no reason to believe that there would be any interest in a watered down version of pragmatarianism.

Liberals
Or, in other words, the ironic prospect that it might only be due to the presence of libertarians that we need a coercive state. - Declan, The Logic of Collective Action

Compromise A

So far I don't have any direct evidence with regards to liberals' stance on this compromise.  It seems logical though that if they reject pragmatarianism then they will also reject this compromise.

Compromise B

Liberals, by far and large, primarily reject pragmatarianism on the basis of coordination problems...which indicates that they lack a basic understanding of how the invisible hand works...Unglamorous but Important Things.

Compromise C

Here's an article that the progressive Cait Lamberton wrote on this compromise...Your Money, Your Choice.  In her article she offers evidence that it would be beneficial to allow taxpayers to have control over even a small percentage of their taxes.

Pragmatarians

We can see that anarcho-capitalists and libertarians are considerably more inclined to accept Compromise A while liberals are considerably more inclined to accept Compromise C.   As a pragmatarian I would be inclined to accept any of these three compromises...but it seems logical that Compromise B presents the most realistic compromise because it is roughly mid distance between libertarianism and liberalism.

In order to make progress towards a reasonable compromise we need more libertarians like Jeffrey Miron to acknowledge the free-rider problem double standard and more liberals like Cait Lamberton to recognize the value of tax choice (the invisible hand).  Personally, I'd be really interested in listening to a discussion between Jeffrey Miron and Cait Lamberton.  

41 comments:

  1. I would propose a Compromise D - Congress still gets to allocate a portion of your taxes, but the remaining portion can be allocated by you to either governmental agencies or competing entities (e.g. nonprofits)...

    I'm not just being contrary here, I think that would actually give more in both directions - it would also provide some market feedback as to what the ideal size of the government might be, while still addressing some of the traditional statist objections.

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    1. It sounds like Compromise D is a combination of Compromise A and Compromise C.

      Sure, I'd have no problem with that compromise. It seems like you would have to specify the percentage if you were going to try and sell it to either group.

      Personally my preference is still pragmatarianism because as I demonstrated on my entry on Unglamorous but Important Things...people don't understand how the invisible hand works. Adding another variable...the non-profit sector...would distract from the basic problem.

      Liberals might be distracted by the possibility of shrinking the government and libertarians might also be distracted by the possibility of shrinking the government. That distraction wouldn't help them focus on considering why they would trust the tax allocation decisions of congress over the tax allocation decisions of taxpayers.

      Well...for libertarians it might catch their attention enough to where they would be motivated to consider the invisible hand versus congress...but the opposite could be said of liberals. Rightly or wrongly...liberals might see it as another libertarian ploy to shrink government.

      The only thing that pragmatarianism says is that public goods should be efficiently allocated.

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  2. Xero,

    The "Free Rider problem" is an illusion - we've already gone over this, and you still have no argument to prove its existence OTHER THAN a consequence of liberalism envy.

    "The only thing that pragmatarianism says is that public goods should be efficiently allocated."

    Let me rephrase.
    Pragmatism can be no better than anything else in allocating 'public' goods - that is, disastrous.

    The reallocation of stolen loot will ALWAYS be political - those that sell their votes will get the loot - and this law of politics is immune to your ideology.

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    1. Why would you expect me to have an argument to prove its existence? If you think that one person could possibly prove the existence of the free-rider problem then you're basically subscribing to the socialist idea of "conceit". The same thing could be said if you think that one person could possible disprove the free-rider problem.

      You can't prove that it's not a genuine problem and I can't prove that it is a genuine problem... otherwise we would both be as conceited as the socialists. My argument has always been that I can't possibly know these things yet you keep challenging me to prove things that nobody could possible know.

      So who can determine whether it is a genuine problem? The invisible hand. Unfortunately you can't seem to visualize the process of applying the invisible hand to the public sector.

      It's really straightforward. If the private sector can do X, Y and Z better than the public sector can than taxpayers won't pay the government to do X, Y and Z.

      The free-rider problem is not the issue that we should be worrying about...the biggest obstacle that we face is simply that people do not understand how the invisible hand works. Look over all the evidence on this blog entry and tell me that this is not the case...Unglamorous but Important Things.

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  3. Xero

    "It's really straightforward. If the private sector can do X, Y and Z better than the public sector can than taxpayers won't pay the government to do X, Y and Z. "

    Your question is puerile.

    It is such because YOU CANNOT MAKE AN OBJECTIVE MEASURE of your claim.

    There is no such measure to say "by using violence to provide XYZ good is better/worse than voluntary provisioning of XYZ good".


    Whose yardstick?

    If your yardstick is the benefactor then he will say "YaHOO! Good for me and more the better!"

    If your yardstick is the victim, he will say "BooHoo! No more or I will die!"

    You flip/flop between these two actors on your whim - when one or the other improves your argument, you side with them - and when they no longer serve you, you abandon them.

    Your philosophy is no more exceptional than any other philosophy of plunder.

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  4. Xero,

    "Why would you expect me to have an argument to prove its existence?"

    Because if it does not exist, you are debating in fantasy while proposing action in reality.

    Such a circumstance ALWAYS LEADS TO EVIL.

    "If you think that one person could possibly prove the existence of the free-rider problem then you're basically subscribing to the socialist idea of "conceit"."

    Bullshit.

    You would equally arguing that challenging a man who claims rabbits lay eggs in April is "conceited".

    The problem: you are claiming the existence of an artificial construct as if was reality.

    You then argue solutions to this artificial problem by IMPOSING REAL ACTION.

    That is, you create real action to mitigate a fantasy!


    "You can't prove that it's not a genuine problem"

    I can so.

    It does not exist!

    If your claim holds true, then you should be more worried about the imminent attack of the Glactica horde that will devastate us in 3 months!

    Why aren't you worried about them?
    BECAUSE IT DOES NOT EXIST.

    Equally here.

    You are advocating "answers" to a problem that is a fantasy.

    When problems based on fantasy invoke real actions on real people, evil is created.

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  5. PS:

    I previously demonstrated (in your previous posts) the economic REALITY of transactions that shows that "free-rider" issue cannot exist, OTHER THAN by envy of the ignorant (that is, unlearned) classes.

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  6. BlackFlag..."by using violence to provide XYZ good is better/worse than voluntary provisioning of XYZ good"

    In a pragmatarian system taxpayers would have a choice which government organizations received their own, individual, hard earned taxes. If taxpayers were truly satisfied with the private provision of XYZ then why would they voluntarily allocate any of their own, individual, hard earned taxes to the public provision of XYZ?

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    1. Xero,
      Your system demands this:

      1) Taxation exists to fund government and NEVER to manipulate the people economically.

      2) The choice to select an organization demands that some selection must be made, that is, there is no such thing as 'no thanks' - therefore, false dichotomies are created ... that is, a choice of one thing.

      3) Tax is not voluntary so you claiming that people voluntarily provide taxation is a contradiction.


      The problem you cannot overcome:
      You position is rooted in massive contradictions - which makes it fundamentally no different then the current paradigms that are equally rooted in massive contradictions.

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    2. If German taxpayers had been allowed to directly allocate their taxes...would WWII still have occurred?

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    3. Yes, because they would NEVER be able to "untax" or allocate their taxes in the face of a tyranny.

      You have your argument sideways.

      For any tax relief of any sort, you must FIRST dispense with government tyranny.

      Once you dispense with government tyranny, wars of aggression are massively unlikely by that government.

      Thus, it has nothing to do with taxes at all

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    4. So you're saying that pragmatarianism isn't feasible because the government wouldn't allow people to choose which government organizations receive their taxes?

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  7. I'm a "left-libertarian", a former libertarian, and an outsider here (came here via Andrew Sullivan via Jeffrey Miron) so I may be a little slow on the uptake, but I did want to comment.

    It seems to me the issue is as basic as one's support or opposition to "democracy", the idea of the "collective" controlling their government and therefore the policies of the nation. My side's great mission is to enhance democracy, and thus we fight against the concentration of power and see the way government has come to serve the interests of those with the means to finance campaigns, etc. as the problem to overcome. Our lament is that the rich are disproportionately influential and can effectively buy policy that benefits themselves (see: a generation of tax cuts and other tax code shenanigans).

    The idea of "free market" allocation of taxes is appealing except when you realize that the majority would again be subverted under this model, too, for while a great majority may favor education spending, the wealthiest few could direct their tax contributions to defense, defeating the will of the many with the dollars of the few. As an alternative, how about each citizen submits a form directing how they would want taxes to be allocated in the abstract (20% to defense, 20% to welfare, 20% to education, etc), instead of as applied to their own contribution, with the collective result producing a directive for each taxpayer's proportional allocation, thereby producing a democratic result that controls for income/wealth.

    The point here is that democracy should be based on the concept of each citizen having an equal voice in government, not privileging the privileged with greater power.

    Would you kindly address this in the context of your proposals?

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    1. Let's say that I'm your neighbor and I have an idea for a new business. So I pitch the idea to you hoping that you'll invest some money to help me get my business off the ground. As I'm sure you're aware...most business ventures are not successful. So...all things being equal...this would be a risky investment for you.

      Perhaps you decide that the risk was just too high. The question is...what would I do? On one hand I could just accept your decision...and on the other hand I could sneak inside your home...steal your most valuable possession...and use it as collateral for a loan to start my business.

      If I did steal something from you...would it make a difference if I planned to give you all the return from your involuntary investment?

      The issue that we're dealing with is conceit versus humility. It requires conceit for me to think that my idea is so solid that I don't have to convince you to invest in it. If you look throughout history...all the man made disasters boil down to conceit. Whether it was Hitler mortgaging Germany to pay for war or Chairman Mao mortgaging China to pay for industrialization...the root cause of these disasters was conceit.

      They didn't think that their ideas were bad ideas. That's the problem...nobody thinks that their ideas are bad ideas. It requires humility for us to realize that maybe our ideas might have a fatal flaw. That's the basis of challenging people to put their money where their mouths are.

      This same concept applies to our taxes. If you want me to invest my taxes in your ideas...then it should be up to you to convince me to do so. The more conclusive the evidence is that you share...the more likely it is that I will invest in your idea.

      For a more detailed coverage of the issue of equality/fairness versus the efficient allocation of limited resources...see my discussion with John Holbo...Crooked Timber Liberals do not Advocate Selling Votes.

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    2. Xero - Your comments were not really responsive to my inquiry but seem rather a bursting out of your own viewpoint, a rote recitation of the "libertarian" dogma that views taxation as coercion.

      I don't expect you to back down from that but would hasten to point out that this can be conceived as a folly of libertarian utopianism. I'm more interested in real world applications. What does the pragmatarian say?

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    3. Please reread my comment and note that I said nothing about taxes being coercion. As I mentioned in my recent post...pragma-socialism...I could care less what the tax rate is. If you happen to run across any other libertarians that include that in their dogma then please send them my way.

      My issue...which you didn't address...is the problem where you don't feel the need to persuade me to allocate my taxes a certain way. We need to pay taxes...and by "taxes" I mean money that's sole purpose is to help fund government organizations...but it's harmful for everybody involved...rich and poor alike...for our taxes to be indirectly allocated.

      Taxpayers should be allowed to directly allocate their taxes because we all would benefit...rich and poor alike...from a system where you have to persuade me to allocate my taxes a certain way. What do you want me to spend my taxes on? Why do you want me to invest in a certain public sector? If you want me to put my hard earned money in an area that you care about then you need to show me the evidence.

      If you can't sell your idea to the American public then it shouldn't be done. That's how it works in the for-profit sector...that's how it works in the non-profit sector...and that's how it should work in the public sector.

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    4. Xero - Again, I'm not interested in the argument you're trying to have - I get where you're coming from, but I rejected that libertarian stuff when I was still a young man. What I'm interested in knowing, since the subject of this thread pertains to reaching a consensus between libertarians and liberals, is how libertarians propose to address the core issues that interest liberals, namely promoting democratic values and fighting the tendency toward concentration of wealth and therefore power in our system. This "tax choice" idea, once you get beyond the superficial appeal of "free choice", seems to offer nothing.

      Does anyone want to address this?

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    5. Xero - after reading more of your blog, I want to add that I may have been a little out of line and not precise enough in my previous remarks.

      I do agree with your concept of "tax allocation" but only to the extent that the system "controls" for wealth. In other words, this liberal (and I think most) would strongly oppose any system of taxation in which the rich got to direct their taxes in ways that disregarded the consensus of public opinion. That wouldn't be much of a change, outcome-wise, from what we have today so why bother?

      I suggest that you add this formula that I laid out above (everyone gets to submit their vote for allocation of taxes, and everyone's taxes are allocated according to the "collective will"). This preserves your objective of "convincing your neighbor", meaning that the ideas that are most broadly accepted, get funding, and those that aren't popular wither away. Let's call it Compromise D (or E). What do you say?

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    6. Let's consider the math. The 1% pays 40% of the taxes while the 99% pays 60% of the taxes. According to your argument the 1% controls Washington DC...so we can say that the 1% controls 100% of the taxes.

      My argument is that taxpayers should be allowed to directly allocate their taxes. That means that the 1% would control 40% of the taxes while the 99% would control 60% of the taxes.

      Your argument is that it wouldn't be much of a change for the 1% to lose 60% control of taxes...and conversely, it wouldn't be much of a change for the 99% to gain 60% control of taxes.

      If taxpayers' allocation annotations are truly honored in your compromise...then what is the difference between Compromise E and Compromise B? What's the difference between A) noting on my tax form that 25% of my taxes should be spent on public education and B) directly giving 25% of my taxes to the Dept of Education?

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    7. I'm not interested in the math (and never stipulated that the 1% controls 100% of the taxes). I'm interested in understanding how you and others of the libertarian ilk propose to address the most pressing concerns of liberals, without whose support your proposal is a mere fantasy (nttawwt).

      My impetus is to have a more democratic outcome than what we have today. If you're simply not interested in that, just say so.

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    8. Ok...please bear with me. Let's try and flesh out our respective views on democracy. Do you believe that children of any age should be allowed to vote? The only restrictions to voting would be 1. the voter cannot be accompanied in the voting booth and 2. the voter must be a resident.

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    9. Ok, I'll play.

      No, but I would certainly be open to the notion of allowing people under 18 to vote so I could accept your proposal with some modifications (I don't think 5 year olds should be allowed to vote).

      Please bear in mind that my viewpoint and thus my concern centers around the way money subverts democracy.

      Also, I'd suggest we take this conversation to email for the sake of efficiency.

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    10. So what's the youngest age you believe that kids should be allowed to vote? And how do you justify that age?

      Right...I understand that your concern is how money subverts democracy...but we first need to be on the same page in terms of what exactly is being subverted.

      Your e-mail suggestion is reasonable...but I prefer if others can benefit from our discussion as well. It's more efficient if I don't have to repeat this same discussion with every liberal that comes along.

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    11. I don't have an answer for you. Honestly, I'm okay with keeping the age at 18, but, as I said, I wouldn't object to your proposal to lower it.

      Pick your number (I don't think it will change any outcomes).

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    12. My proposal isn't to lower the age restriction...it's to completely eliminate it.

      Do you think if we did so that this would give an unfair advantage to families with more kids?

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    13. Possibly, but I don't think it would change any outcomes. What's your point?

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    14. Well...I'm trying to narrow down if you care more about fairness/equality or outcomes. I'm trying to figure out why I advocate for children's suffrage...yet you seem completely ambivalent about the subject.

      Did we let women vote because we were concerned with outcomes? Given that the outcome was overwhelming negative...prohibition...was that a proper justification for revoking their right to vote?

      Your continued patience in this matter is appreciated. I feel like we're making progress in terms of considering the overall purpose of democracy.

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    15. Maybe so. To me there's never been any doubt about the purpose of democracy: the people rule themselves. The problem I related is the usurpation of democratic outcomes under a corrupt system whereby the rich can effectively buy politicians, producing laws, policies, and outcomes that favor themselves, contrary to the greater good.

      You have still not addressed how libertarianism either recognizes or proposes to address this problem, leading me to believe you don't consider it a problem, leaving me to conclude that there is no common ground by which we could unite for tax reform.

      Is there something else?

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    16. Ok, so you want to limit campaign contributions. But...would you also want to limit how many hours people can volunteer for campaigns?

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    17. What I want is to see where a liberal and a libertarian can find common ground. Thus far your answer is elusive. Again: do you share a conviction for democracy and concern for its corruption? If so, what is your solution?

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    18. My conviction is that people should have the right to try and protect their interests. The problem is...it seems like my conviction is what you consider to be corruption.

      In my opinion...the point of voting is to determine which side cares the most. How do I know how much you care about corruption? Can you just tell me on a scale from 1 to 10 how much you care about corruption? Would that be an accurate reflection of the truth? Does merely showing up at the voting booth reveal how much you care about an issue?

      The only way I can objectively discern how much you really care about corruption is by observing whether you put your money/time where your mouth is.

      How much of your time/money do you spend lobbying against corruption? All the time/money you spend lobbying against corruption could have been spent on your family, on your hobbies, on your favorite charities, on bills...on so many other things that you also value. That you were willing to forgo all those other things is the true indication of how much you care about corruption.

      This is, of course, the opportunity concept which, if you look in my keyword section, is a major focus of my blog.

      So you say you have a conviction for democracy...yet you actively seek to undermine the very point of democracy: accurately determining which side of an issue cares the most. Because it surely wouldn't make any sense for the side that cares less to win.

      My solution, which I've already mentioned, is to allow people to try and protect their interests even more. How so? By allowing them to directly allocate their taxes. This would provide us a true reflection of our society's values, interests and concerns.

      Your concern is that people don't all have the same amount of time/money to spend trying to protect their interests. The thing is...your concern is your interest. Your interest is the welfare of others. My interest is the environment...which is also the welfare of others. Other people's interest is national defense...which is also the welfare of others.

      The common ground is that we're all interested in the welfare of others...but each in our own different way.

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    19. I'm familiar enough with libertarianism not to have expected accord on this subject. I saw a little opening there in your blog, but it was chimeral.

      Thanks for hosting the discussion.

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    20. No...you're not at all familiar with libertarianism. I acknowledged the free-rider problem...I didn't argue for lower taxes...and I didn't argue for getting rid of any government organizations. That you don't understand how unlibertarian these concessions are clearly indicates that you are not at all familiar with libertarianism.

      The point is...it's not much of a compromise if one side makes all the concessions.

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  8. Lin
    " Again: do you share a conviction for democracy and concern for its corruption? If so, what is your solution?"

    Your position, Lin, is premised on legal theft.

    Yet, you are surprised that thieves are corrupt.

    You hunt for a solution to the corruption with the den of thieves, and believe it must exist there, your excuse - you haven't look hard enough or long enough.

    How you believe you can reconcile theft with freedom is beyond me.

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    1. My experience with libertarians and libertarianism has left me to conclude that democracy is not on the radar. That's why I don't think there will ever be a reconciliation between liberalism and libertarianism.

      I'll close with a quote:

      "I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it." - Alexander Woolcott

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  9. Lin

    You are correct.
    Liberty and Democracy are opposites - the tyranny of mob rule is still tyranny.

    Democracy is "The God that Failed" - simply because it marries diffuse responsibility "..hell, WE ALL voted for it..." with unlimited justification "...majority said it was ok!..."

    With no responsibility and no limits to justification, democracy will be the worse hell on earth for mankind.

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  10. I didn't expect libertarians to come out in support of democracy, but I never expected to see such brazen opposition to it. Honesty is the best policy so "Cheers".

    And one more quote: "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." - Sir Winston Churchill

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    1. As if you haven't already offered enough evidence that you're not familiar with libertarianism. Black Flag is obviously not a libertarian...he's an anarcho-capitalist. Anarcho-capitalists want to abolish the government because they believe that A) the private sector can do everybody better than the public sector and/or B) taxes are theft.

      Churchill said that the best argument against democracy with a 5 minute conversation with the average voter. Good thing he wasn't talking about us...right?

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    2. Xero

      You are not accurate in your description of anarcho-capitalists

      Concept of 'better' is personal.

      Certainly a situation where you profit from the proceeds of another man's thieving is a 'better' situation...FOR YOU...you receive an unearned gained with little or no personal risk.

      The free market provides goods WITHOUT COERCION or violence - it abhors these means to an end.

      Public sector MUST use violence to seize the goods of others so to redistribute them.

      It is this difference that is fundamental.

      All theft, including government theft via taxation, requires the initiation of violence on innocent people.

      The consequences of this violence degrades social cohesion - the victims of theft either (1) withdraw their goods or/and (2) eventually resist the thief - the former reduces economic prosperity and the latter creates an ever increasing escalation of violence until the murder trumps the thief and wholesale slaughter within society occurs - resulting is social collapse.

      You are stuck in measuring short-term outcomes - you are an "ends justifies the means" concept-holder.

      As long as the means of provisioning the goods for society are evil, it matters not one wit the outcome - it cannot be for good for long.

      Watch the means of provisioning - if such a provisioning is moral and devoid of violence and coercion, the ends will take care of themselves optimally.

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  11. Lin

    The position against Democracy is not merely an opinion - it is from a position of reasoning and logic of consequences

    Those that blindly adhere to it are the ones that hold the distortions and the ones that assign irrational "God" powers to it.
    .
    Churchill - who I share a grandmother with - (his grandmother, my great-great grandmother) was a murdering SOB, and indeed, he used the tyranny of democracy to toss the world into wars that murdered millions.

    He is no hero, and his opinion on worst form of government carries zero weight..

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  12. All A, B and C compromises are correct and provide a great knowledge to my mind. Thanks for it.

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