From: Mark Steven Heyman (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Jun 29 2004 - 02:56:25 BST
Intellectual Vaue Pattern For Enhancing Social Quality?
Reply from NC,
In a dictatorship, taxation is theft. In a true democratic
community, people make decisions, including decisions about
how to deal with problems of concern to the community, like
schools, health services, transportation, etc. Insofar as
this leads to expenditures, they make decisions about taxes
or some counterpart. There is no theft.
Societies like ours are somewhere in between.
To take your case, suppose your neighbor never uses a road
or a bus at the other end of town. Why should he fund it?
Maybe we should each just pay for the roads we use -- and
that means, of course, that we have to prevent others from
using them, so we hire private armies, and if someone comes
along with a bigger army we get nuclear weapons to keep
them from using our road, and.... Actually, proposals like
this are made, in all seriousness, in literature that is
taken seriously. And it extends to everything else,
leading to a world in which no sane person would want to
live, even if it would be possible to survive in it.
Or, suppose we decide we'd rather be part of democratic
communities where people make decisions based on concern
and sympathy for one another. In that case there will be
taxes or some equivalent, but it won't be theft.
The PBS case is basically the same.
How do you feel about the argument that taxation is theft?
Tax money is certainly coerced by the state, and we often
wind up supporting things we don't want to. This argument
works well for income tax protests, like the one you were
involved in during the Vietnam war, but as I'm sure you
know, the political right often likes to use it for things
like PBS. Why should taxes support PBS? If my neighbor
never listens to it and says "I don't want to pay for it",
should he have to?
Related to this argument is the assumption (correct me if
I'm wrong) that what one does when one makes a private
donation to something like PBS is effectively what we
strive for with system of taxation, taking special note of
certain "free rider" difficulties as occur with Defense and
Social Spending. Without getting too wordy, do you think
it's preferable to finance PBS (and the like) with
"coerced" taxpayer money rather than by private donations?
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