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Given that there is such a thing as an inalienable right should such rights be taxed?

Thomas Jefferson said that it was self evident that we all have certain inalienable rights. If a right is inalienable it seems to me that it should be free. Yet, we have a right to life and that life is taxed through income taxes. We must spend part of our lives working so we have what we need to live. We have a right to property yet we have to pay sales and property taxes. If you believe that Jefferson is correct then should such rights be taxed as they are now in pretty much every country on Earth?

Topics: politics

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    Feb 2 2013: Again, Robert, your position below is not entirely unreasonable. The difficulty as I see it is that not enough people will contribute to charity if not forced to, and you will have millions of superpoor which actually brings down the quality of life for everyone. Yes, I could individually fight poverty, but as one person I cannot succeed completely on such a massive problem. I suppose that the government tackles massive problems that one person alone cannot solve altogether, and yes, does force some people to help. I do think many people don't mind contributing to general welfare, for example, my mother is worth about twenty million dollars, and she doesn't mind contributing to welfare as she doesn't want people to be starving and homeless. I still say there is a kind of balance, because if you contribute to charities, you get to pay less income tax.

    Thinking about the "slave" term: could we also say that by forcing us to follow laws that forbid murder, rape, and robbery, the government is "enslaving" us? I would say this is a kind of "slavery" I can live with.

    These are difficult issues, and you can make a great case for both sides.
    • Feb 2 2013: What is slavery about requiring people NOT to do something. The point of slavery is to make people do things you don't want to do yourself.

      I contend that forced charity does more harm than good. I left off a some reasons why that I forgot about in my other post. I'll put them here.

      Forced charity becomes a means by which politicians buy the favor/vote of those who are on charity. This encourages our leaders to come up with more ways to get people on charity so that their voting base is expanded. They get to come off as being for the little guy while in reality they are using him.

      It is a historical fact that every nation in history that has gone down the path of creating huge welfare programs has collapsed under the burden of paying for them. Present nations excepted of course because they haven't quite reached the point of collapse. The present sorry state of the finances of most nations means they are working on it though. Go to usdebtclock.org and check out the current state of US finances. Down toward the bottom you will see the off book debt that is money owed in the future for currently promised entitlement benefits. That total is something like $122 trillion ($122,000,000,000,000). The clock is real time so you'll see that the number is increasing rather rapidly. When the US requires corporations to report their finances they are required to report the portion of their debt that is financially equivalent to this debt since it is critical to judging the state of the company's finances. This means that the US's real debt to GDP ratio is about 760%. Economists usually say a country is in big trouble when debt to GDP passes %100.

      So as a result of helping the poor along with all the other things the government does that it has no business doing we as well as most other western nations are on the verge of a complete financial collapse. How many poor people do you think there will be then? Probably billions and there will be no one to help them.
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        Feb 2 2013: Well, I would say that there are aspects of slavery that have to do with what one doesn't do. For example, one aspect of being a slave is that one is not to escape, or try to escape. I think you could say that any time someone is controlling your actions, controlling either what you do or don't do, there is an aspect of slavery. So if the government controls me by outlawing murder, I guess I'm somewhat of a slave. Maybe this is a kind of "good slavery."

        Technically, Robert, you could have a society where no government outlawed murder, or enforced laws against murder. Every man for himself. It'd be a pretty violent society, I would think. Would you want to live in such a society?

        As far as governmental charitable programs go, well, I admit to not having the big picture. I would really hesitate to say whether I think government charity is sustainable. But it seems to me you're getting into a different issue, although I admit they're really hard to separate. Before you were asking if one can philosophically justify the government taking some of successful people's money to help poor people. Now you're getting into more of a practical question of what effects this has. Possibly I don't worry about it, because if it becomes unsustainable, we will simply adjust it.
        • Feb 2 2013: Certainly and perhaps the way I replied was a little short but here is the overriding principle. Society is built to protect the rights of the citizen. In order for the rights of one citizen to life, liberty and property to be respected the rights of all citizens to those things must be. Hence, no murder. You think I advocate no rules, apparently. That is not true. I only advocate those rules that lead to the preservation of our rights And by "our" rights I mean the rights of ALL of us.

          Just because I want to live in a society where everyone is free to pick their own associations and their own causes rather than something demanded by our overlords doesn't mean that people with similar beliefs can't work together to achieve their goals. I doubt seriously that you, me and your mom would be the only ones to come together voluntarily to feed the hungry. It would be every man for what he believes in. Nothing could be further from every man for himself.
    • Feb 2 2013: I also want to comment on your implicit endorsement of slavery. It seems slavery is OK with you as long as it serves what you think is a good purpose. You have no special moral authority just as the slave owners in the Old South didn't. They, like you, endorsed slavery for a purpose that they thought was just and moral. They were wrong and so are you.
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        Feb 2 2013: Well, again, Robert, I believe you're talking about an age-old argument that has good arguments on both sides. I can't say I hugely love government, but I'm okay with a mix of government and private industry.

        I would say that if people have a right to life, liberty, and property, well, in the Constitution isn't the third one the pursuit of happiness, well, if someone is too poor to buy food I suppose they will die, which pretty much does away with their life, right? Or they will try to steal food from someone else, and in the process someone might die and lose their life, as the owner of the food tries to defend it; or the person stealing the food will get caught and go to prison, which does away with their liberty; or the person will successfully steal the food, so the other person loses their property. So starving people threaten the three values you named. It's not that government taking away successful people's money to feed poor people isn't taking some of their life, liberty, and property, because it is; I'd think rather the idea is that not feeding poor people is an even greater threat to life, liberty, and property. I don't know where you are financially, I think some of us who are doing okay are glad to know that if we ever became really poor, there is a "safety net" for us.

        Do you seriously want to do away with food stamps? Because I don't think you'll like the society you see, with beggars on every corner like India.

        You say you want to pick your association. I guess we've decided as a country that not enough people will choose to join associations that fight hunger, and thus we have to fight it with a certain amount of force, not a huge amount, but some.

        As far as slavery, I suppose in the strictest sense none of us are slaves, because we all have the right to leave and go to another country. But wherever we are, we're going to have to exercise great self-control. Freedom doesn't mean being able to do anything you want to do.

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