Re: MD the quality of eliminating taxes

From: Wim Nusselder (
Date: Fri Apr 25 2003 - 22:18:49 BST

  • Next message: Scott R: "Re: MD FW: 'unmediated experience'"

    Dear Platt,

    A reply to your 25 Apr 2003 09:53:53 -0400 post:

    How come you are so sure that I am a left-wing socialist?
    I think the difference in interests between laborers and capital-owners is
    far less important than it is according to socialists. If you take the size
    of the role of government as a measure of left and right, I am only slightly
    left of the middle of Dutch extremes and I have considerable sympathy for
    the idea that government should not treat the underprivileged as victims and
    pamper them. Government should only interfere in the market if opportunities
    are very unequal, not if the results are unequal. Limiting over-exploitation
    of the environment and greed can usually be done by measures that employ the
    market mechanism (e.g. trade in CO2 emission rights) or that operate on
    another level than the market (e.g. political leaders publicly setting moral
    standards of moderation, openness, truthfulness and incorruptibility).

    What is wrong if some political parties offer a smaller government role (low
    taxes) and other political parties offer a larger government role (higher
    taxes) and voters give power to a coalition of parties that offer a
    government role that is (by American standards) as large at that of Dutch
    government (with the taxes necessary to finance that role)? Voters alias
    consumers expect better standards of education and health care, both at a
    national level and at a global level (that's what development aid is for),
    from competing political parties than from competing private enterprises.
    Maybe the problem is that American politics is only a competition between
    two potential monopolists, whereas in the Netherlands a government can only
    be formed by a coalition of 2, 3 and sometimes 4 different political
    parties. Dutch political decision-making rather resembles a market place
    (with exchange of interests and weighing of arguments) than a struggle for

    Dutch colonial history is a bad example if you want to prove that
    governments are dangerous to human welfare. Dutch colonialism was led by
    private enterprises (the Oost Indische Compagnie being the strongest and
    best known, but not the only one) and quintessentially capitalist in nature.
    As a right-wing capitalist you would have really felt at home. (-;

    It is governments seeing as their role to defend their society against
    internal and external 'criminals' rather than governments seeing as their
    role better education and health care that are in danger of turning into a
    'Giant' that devours individuals. If politicians have the means to defend
    national interests against any internal or external threat, they are easily
    tempted -in the absence of big enough real threats- to invent them (e.g. by
    demonizing Jews, socialists, Islam etc.) and/or to justify maintaining those
    means in other ways (e.g. for active promotion of national interests at the
    expense of weaker nations also known as 'imperialism').
    The only way to prevent the need for national 'Giants' that accumulate huge
    countervailing military power (e.g. North Korea wanting atomic bombs to
    prevent being invaded like Iraq) is by creating democracy and governance on
    a global scale. The historical lesson of nation building is, that the more
    power is monopolized by one democratically controlled institution, the less
    military its nature needs to be to defend national society against internal
    criminals. Economically society is more and more global already. If we
    globalize politics also (with proper checks and balances of course), all
    criminals will become 'internal' and can be controlled with police methods
    rather than with military force.

    Why do you see only governments as representing 'the Giant' (the aspect of
    social patterns of value that prevents intellectual evolution by turning
    their 'immunity systems' upon individuals instead of upon lower quality
    social patterns of value, like organized crime and systems of patronage and
    corruption)? Big private enterprises can just as easily turn into such
    'Giants', especially if they have monopoly power in certain markets or when
    local populations are very dependent on them for employment.
    As an economist I am all for capitalism ... as long as there are strong
    anti-trust laws and strong governments that can apply them on the same scale
    as these capitalist enterprises operate on. Don't you think that is a proper
    role for governments too?

    With friendly greetings,


    ----- Oorspronkelijk bericht -----
    Van: "Platt Holden" <>
    Aan: <>
    Verzonden: vrijdag 25 april 2003 15:53
    Onderwerp: Re: MD the quality of eliminating taxes

    > Hi Wim:
    > > You wrote 24 Apr 2003 11:14:50 -0400:
    > > 'I'm all for eliminating taxes. I never heard a liberal say that.'
    > >
    > > Then I must be liberal by American standards (even though the political
    > > parties that call themselves 'liberal' in the Netherlands do so to refer
    > > relative 'freedom from government intervention'). 'Liberal' in the
    > > Netherlands stands for right-wing. Being a member of the Green-Left
    > > I support a democratical government (financed by taxes) that leaves
    > > freedom for the market to create the wealth we need, but limits greed
    > > over-exploitation of the environment that would result in social
    > > instability and ecological disaster. (Proper democracy -as in the
    > > Netherlands- doesn't create 'mob-rule', as you called it recently, but
    > > space for decision-making on the basis of rational balancing of
    > Yes, you are liberal by American standards. You basically a left-wing
    > socialist. I am a right-wing capitalist.
    > > You have often quoted with approval:
    > > 'The instrument of conversation between society and biology has always
    > > a policeman or a soldier and his gun.' ('Lila' chapter 24) How should
    > > policeman and this soldier and his gun be financed according to you, if
    > > with taxes???? And the war against Iraq, which you supported??
    > I led you astray. When I said I'm for eliminating taxes I meant to convey
    > that I'm for reducing the overall tax burden which would require
    > eliminating a lot of taxes such as the personal income tax. The proper
    > role of government is to defend society against criminals, both inside
    > and outside. The rest I would prefer to leave to private enterprise. As
    > history shows, governments, representing the "Giant," are extremely
    > dangerous to human welfare. The colonial history of the Netherlands is
    > just one example, but by no means the worst. :-)
    > Platt

    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Apr 25 2003 - 22:21:26 BST