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Thread: Rothbard's Blind Spot

  1. #1

    Default Rothbard's Blind Spot

    This is my response to Len Larson's post in Hazlitt - Public works mean taxes...

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to educate me and others here.
    Perhaps you could comment on this passage found at Mises: http://mises.org/rothbard/myth.pdf
    Yeah, that's a pretty great paper by Rothbard. Man, I hate giving him credit.

    Before jumping in gotta warn you that there's going to be quite of bit of redundancy...but the point is to emphasize what's important and to help demonstrate that Rothbard's critique of the government was based on a false premise. It definitely does not take away from the value of his contribution...but it does help us understand why so many of his followers have been aimlessly wandering around in the wilderness.

    Ok...here we go.

    In The Myth of Neutral Taxation he references another paper of his...Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics. In that paper, which is also pretty darn great, he starts off by saying..."Individual valuation is the keystone of economic theory." I definitely agree...which is why individual valuation is the keystone of pragmatarianism. Here's what Rothbard had to say about individual valuation...

    The crucial point is that when consumers spend, they benefit, because the expenditures are voluntary. The consumers buy product X because they decide that, for whatever reason, it would benefit them to buy that product rather than use the money on some other product or save or add to their cash balances. They give up money for product X because they expect to prefer that product to whatever they could have done with the money elsewhere; their preference reflects a judgment of relative benefit from that, as compared to another, purchase. In my own terms, spending choices by consumers demonstrate their preference for one, as compared to another, way of using their money.
    ...and again...

    The concept of demonstrated preference is simply this: that actual choice reveals, or demonstrates, a man’s preferences; that is, that his preferences are deducible from what he has chosen in action. Thus, if a man chooses to spend an hour at a concert rather than a movie, we deduce that the former was preferred, or ranked higher on his value scale. Similarly, if a man spends five dollars on a shirt we deduce that he preferred purchasing the shirt to any other uses he could have found for the money. This concept of preference, rooted in real choices, forms the keystone of the logical structure of economic analysis, and particularly of utility and welfare analysis.
    It should be obvious that demonstrated preference is important to Rothbard's argument. Yet, I just created the Wikipedia entry for demonstrated preference. Rothbard's followers should have created and developed that entry a long time ago. That they have not done so is irrefutable proof that they are lost in the wilderness. Developing Rothbard's economic argument just wasn't a priority for his followers. Instead, they put all their eggs in his non-aggression principle basket. This principle of theirs trumps the need to understand economics...opportunity cost concept, partial knowledge and so on. This means that they have no idea how markets truly work. Therefore, they are advocating a religion...not economics.

    Rothbard, however, promoted both. Let's ignore his religion and focus on his economics.

    We have no idea how much the taxpayers would value these services, if indeed they valued them at all. For example, suppose that the government levies a tax of X dollars on A, B, C, and so on, for police protection—for protection, that is, against irregular, competing looters and not against itself. The fact that A is forced to pay $1,000 is no indication that $1,000 in any sense gauges the value to A of police protection. It is possible that he values it very little, and would value it less if he could turn to competing defense agencies. Moreover, A may be a pacifist; so he may consider the State's police protection a net harm rather than a benefit. But one thing we do know: If these payments to government were voluntary, we can be sure that they would be substantially less than present total tax revenue.
    In terms of strategy...what do you think that liberals will focus on in that passage? Here's my guess...

    If these payments to government were voluntary, we can be sure that they would be substantially less than present total tax revenue.
    Imagine you are a door to door salesman. Your bottom line would depend on getting your foot in the door. So do you think it would help get your foot in the door if you were covered in blood, wearing a hockey mask and wielding a bloody butcher's knife? Nope. The people we need to sell to are the very people who don't believe that the total tax revenue should be substantially less. So do you think it would help get your foot in the door to mention anything about taxes being theft...or about the total tax revenue being substantially less? Nope. Those things only prevent us from getting our foot in the door. Anything that limits our ability to help people understand the importance of individual valuation is a stumbling block that should be removed. So let's remove it...which would leave us with this...

    We have no idea how much the taxpayers would value these services, if indeed they valued them at all. For example, suppose that the government levies a tax of X dollars on A, B, C, and so on, for police protection—for protection, that is, against irregular, competing looters and not against itself. The fact that A is forced to pay $1,000 is no indication that $1,000 in any sense gauges the value to A of police protection. It is possible that he values it very little, and would value it less if he could turn to competing defense agencies. Moreover, A may be a pacifist; so he may consider the State's police protection a net harm rather than a benefit.
    This is very true. What's the solution? Get rid of taxes or implement pragmatarianism? If A is a pacifist...then in a pragmatarian system...he just won't give any of his taxes to any government organizations that use violence. Therefore, we can have taxes and individual valuation.

    Only the free market, then, can determine different qualities or degrees of a service. Second, and even more important, there is no indication that for a particular taxpayer, the government is supplying a "service" at all. Since the tax is compulsory, it may well be that the "service" has zero or even negative value for individual taxpayers. Thus, a pacifist, philosophically opposed to any use of violence, would not consider a tax levied for his and others' police protection to be a positive service; instead, he finds that he is being compelled, against his will, to pay for the provision of a "service" that he detests. In short, equal pricing on the market reflects demands by consumers who are voluntarily paying the price, who, in short, believe that they are gaining more from the good or service than they are giving up in exchange. But taxation is imposed on all people, regardless of whether they would be willing to pay such a price (the equal tax) voluntarily, or indeed whether they would voluntarily purchase any of this service at all.
    Same thing...in a pragmatarian system taxpayers would be able to engage in ethical consumerism.

    In the first place, how much of the deficient good should be supplied? What criterion can the State have for deciding the optimal amount and for gauging by how much the market provision of the service falls short? Even if free riders benefit from collective service X, in short, taxing them to pay for producing more will deprive them of unspecified amounts of private goods Y, Z, and so on. We know from their actions that these private consumers wish to continue to purchase private goods Y, Z, and so on, in various amounts. But where is their analogous demonstrated preference for the various collective goods? We know that a tax will deprive the free riders of various amounts of their cherished private goods, but we have no idea how much benefit they will acquire from the increased provision of the collective good; and so we have no warrant whatever for believing that the benefits will be greater than the imposed costs. The presumption should be quite the reverse. And what of those individuals who dislike the collective goods, pacifists who are morally outraged at defensive violence, environmentalists who worry over a dam destroying snail darters, and so on? In short, what of those persons who find other people's good their "bad?" Far from being free riders receiving external benefits, they are yoked to absorbing psychic harm from the supply of these goods. Taxing them to subsidize more defense, for example, will impose a further twofold injury on these hapless persons: once by taxing them, and second by supplying more of a hated service.
    How much of the deficient good should be supplied? That should be determined by the demonstrated preferences of taxpayers.

    Do cases exist where only coercion can yield desired services? At first glance, Baumol’s “external economy” grounds for an affirmative answer seem plausible. Such services as military protection, dams, highways, and so on, are important. People desire that they be supplied. Yet wouldn’t each person tend to slacken his payment, hoping that the others would pay? But to employ this as a rationale for State provision of such services is a questionbegging example of circular reasoning. For this peculiar condition holds only and precisely because the State, not the market, provides these services! The fact that the State provides a service means that, unlike the market, its provision of the service is completely separated from its collection of payment. Since the service is generally provided free and more or less indiscriminately to the citizens, it naturally follows that every individual—assured of the service—will try to shirk his taxes. For, unlike the market, his individual tax payment brings him nothing directly. And this condition cannot be a justification for State action; for it is only the consequence of the existence of the State action itself.
    Rothbard acknowledged that people desire public goods. If we created a market for public goods...then the provision of these goods would be connected to its collection of payment. If you want more protection for the environment...then you'll have to give more of your taxes to the EPA...and/or convince others to do so.

    A second important point is that, in contrast to the market, where consumers pay for received benefits (or, in nonprofit organizations, where members pay for psychic benefits), the State, like the robber, creates a total disjunction between benefit and payment. The taxpayer pays; the benefits are received, first and foremost, by the government itself, and secondarily, by those who receive the largess of government expenditures.
    Creating a market in the public sector would build a junction between benefit and payment.

    Since "benefits" are subjective, we cannot measure anyone's benefit on the market either, but we can conclude, from a person's voluntary purchase, that his (expected) benefit was greater than the value to him of the money given up in exchange. If I buy a newspaper for 25 cents, we can conclude that my expected benefit is greater than a quarter. But since taxes are compulsory and not voluntary, we can conclude nothing about the alleged benefits that are paid for with them. Suppose, in analogy, that I am forced at gunpoint to contribute 25 cents for a newspaper and that that newspaper is then forcibly hurled at my door. We would be able to conclude nothing about my alleged benefit from the newspaper. Not only might I be willing to pay no more than 5 cents for the paper, or even nothing on some days, I might positively detest the newspaper and would demand payment to accept it. From the fact of coercion there is no way of telling. Except that we can conclude that many people are not getting 25 cents' worth from the paper or indeed are positively suffering from this coerced "exchange." Otherwise, why the need to exercise coercion? Which is all that we can conclude about the "benefits" of taxation.
    This is all true...except...if taxpayers had the freedom to shop for themselves in the public sector...then if a taxpayer gave 25 cents to the EPA...then we can conclude that his (expected) benefit is greater than the value to him of the money given up in exchange.

    If you and I were both given the same exact tools and raw materials...then perhaps we'd come up with two entirely different products. The market is so great because everybody is given the opportunity to use their dollars to indicate which of our products they find more valuable. Rothbard and I both used the same great tools and raw materials...but he produced anarcho-capitalism while I produced pragmatarianism.

    It should be clear that, based on Rothbard's best economic arguments, anarcho-capitalism depends on the premise that you can't have taxes and individual valuation. Hopefully it should also be clear, based on my counter-arguments, that Rothbard's premise is faulty...it is entirely possible to have taxes and individual valuation.

    Arguing against taxes does absolutely nothing to help the people who want public goods to understand the importance of individual valuation. All it does is prevent them from learning about the keystone of economics. That's why pragmatarianism...aka tax choice...is something that we should all actively promote.

    Am I a better writer than Rothbard was? No. Am I a better public speaker than Rothbard was? Not even close. Am I smarter than Rothbard was? No. Am I better looking than Rothbard was? No. Do I have my own 10 commandments / NAP? Nope. But if you're tired of wandering around in the wilderness then I'm pretty sure I know where the exit is.



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  3. #2

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    Rothbards economic contributions were far more important than his ethical ones. Its weird to see that backwards.
    Stop the Looting and Start Prosecuting! Gold plated Tungsten IS Money!
    We Must Dissent A colher não existe.
    A government is just a body of people, notably, usually, ungoverned.

    "You mean this entire war started because The Empire dressed as the enemy? That's exactly what happened in the last major war! Our government is so stupid!"

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    Who creates this public sector market? Individuals associating freely or some authority?
    Is it really a market if it does not emerge from the actions of individuals?

    Please demonstrate how the Regression Theorem would operate in your public sector market.
    Is it really a market if there is no mechanism by which something as fundamental as money can arise?

    You have not advanced your argument, merely restated your assertion in slightly different terms.
    I see you can link to Mises.org, please link to an article there that supports your position.

    Better yet, link to an article that you consider to be a reasonable critique of your position.
    Because I gotta tell you, right now I'm seeing you build up a non-falsifiable belief system AKA religion.
    Rothbard at least was up front about his belief in the NAP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    Who creates this public sector market? Individuals associating freely or some authority?
    Is it really a market if it does not emerge from the actions of individuals?
    At anytime throughout the year you could go to the EPA website and submit a tax payment. They'd give you a receipt and you'd submit all your receipts to the IRS by April 15. Would you have to give any taxes to the EPA? No...you could give your taxes to whichever government organizations you wanted.

    Right now the visible hand (congress) determines how our taxes are spent in the public sector. I'm advocating that we replace the visible hand with the invisible hand...the individual valuations of 150 million taxpayers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    Please demonstrate how the Regression Theorem would operate in your public sector market. Is it really a market if there is no mechanism by which something as fundamental as money can arise?
    Put your money where your mouth is and create a Wikipedia entry for regression theorem. If it's worth it for you to do so then that will help me determine whether it's worth it for me to address.

    If taxpayers aren't happy with the government having a printing press...then what will they be able to do? They'll be able to do what consumers/donors can do...spend their money elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    You have not advanced your argument, merely restated your assertion in slightly different terms. I see you can link to Mises.org, please link to an article there that supports your position.
    Here's a list of the economic concepts that support my position...libertarian economics. But there is no article at Mises.org that supports my argument that taxpayers should be given the freedom to directly allocate their taxes.

    Why is it that none of them advocate allowing taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes? That's how markets work. There's no guarantee that a solution to a problem will be found today...within a decade...or within our life times. Consider this passage...

    As protected firms become less innovative, a country’s overall economic growth may suffer. This is because, as Schumpeter emphasized nearly a century ago, economic growth thrives on “creative destruction.” In a healthy economy, new firms constantly arise to challenge older, less-innovative behemoths. - Matthew Mitchell, The Pathology of Privilege: The Economic Consequences of Government Favoritism
    The Mises Institute is...well...an institution. Just like the Republic Party and Democratic Party...they have a reputation to uphold. They are the epitome of less-innovative behemoths. Pragmatarianism is an innovative approach to the problem of government planners spending our money. I'd love it if the leaders of the Mises Institute took the concept and "sold" it...but I highly doubt that they will do so. Innovation generally means risk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    Better yet, link to an article that you consider to be a reasonable critique of your position.
    Oh man...I love critiques of my position. All you have to do is google "critique of pragmatarianism". I'll let you decide whether any of them are reasonable. If you're not satisfied with any of the critiques then by all means feel free to e-mail your favorite economist and ask them to critique the concept.

    On this page...Unglamorous but Important Things... I've collected 81 snippets of people's critical responses to pragmatarianism. Read through all of them...or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    Because I gotta tell you, right now I'm seeing you build up a non-falsifiable belief system AKA religion. Rothbard at least was up front about his belief in the NAP.
    Eh? I'm saying that we should create a market for public goods. Why do I advocate this? Because I believe that the consequences will be beneficial. The guy in the Bible...Job...was the epitome of a believer because he did not allow the negative consequences to shake his belief. Religion/NAP...are completely divorced from the consequences. For example, a true believer of the NAP would not steal a loaf of bread from a millionaire in order to save the life of a starving child. Why? Because even though the consequences would be beneficial...it would not be "moral" to do so.

    Here are a few passages on consequentialism (economics) vs deontology (religion/NAP). Carefully read them over...

    The short version...

    I generally prefer consequentialist arguments. I think I understand economics better than I understand moral philosophy, and possibly better than anyone understands moral philosophy. - David Friedman
    The long version...

    I guess the first thing is that it offers arguments which don't require that people already share your religion...using the term "religion" broadly. That as far as I can tell, nobody, whether deontological libertarians or communists or anyone else really has a really convincing argument to show that their moral views are right. Many people believe that they do but I don't think that they do. Ayn Rand, at least, presented an argument. Ayn Rand claimed in effect to have defeated David Hume's is ought problem. Hume argued that you couldn't derive on ought from an is. I have a discussion up on my webpage of the holes in Rand's arguments. As far as I can tell she simply didn't do it. I don't think it can be done as far as I know. So in order to persuade people by a natural rights argument there has to be some reason why they believe in natural rights to start with because you don't have any good arguments to show that they ought to believe it. Whereas my argument...it claims to show...it hopefully shows...that my system would be better in terms of the value that almost everybody already has. So I'm really saying if you regard natural rights to be really important...well look...in my system rights will rarely be violated. If you regard people being happy and being healthy and living long lives...look in my society people will be in effect wealthier than in societies with governments, therefore you should like the results of those things...and so forth and so on. So I think that I have an argument which does depend on convincing people that economics is relevant to human behavior but doesn't depend on convincing them of your particular right and wrong beliefs. - David Friedman
    An older version...

    That which has no existence cannot be destroyed — that which cannot be destroyed cannot require anything to preserve it from destruction. Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense — nonsense upon stilts. - Jeremy Bentham

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    I read a great article this morning over at Mises: http://mises.org/daily/6264/Liberty-...-Brief-History

    Quote Originally Posted by Herbener
    Like us, our forerunners labored to advance pro-liberty ideology during dark days when liberty had been eclipsed by state power. Their strategy involved building independent institutions. Christopher Dawson, in his book The Crisis of Western Education, has demonstrated that the intellectual movements of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment developed outside the state. Dawson wrote,

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson
    In England and the United States the traditional relation of church and school and the medieval system of corporative independence still survived in spite of the attacks of educational and political reformers. The abuses of the old system and the neglect of primary education were certainly no less flagrant in England than they were on the Continent. But the strength of the voluntary principle and the lack of a centralized authoritarian state caused the reforming movement in England to follow and independent course and to create its own organizations and institutions.[26]
    To restore liberty in our age, we must build genuinely private enterprises and independent educational institutions. Through organizations like the Mises Institute, we can do our part in the 21st century in rolling back the tide of the collectivist state built up in the 20th century, as our forerunners did in rolling back royal absolutism in the 18th century. We must not repeat their mistakes. This time our pro-liberty ideology must embrace its logical implications and reject the state, root and branch. Only then can the potential of life, liberty, and property be realized in the flourishing of the entire human race.
    This helped me to focus my objection to your philosophy to a single point, namely, that believers in Pragmatarianism must hold that Liberty is the result of actions by the govt. If Pragmatarianism were to be recast as individuals freely choosing between independent institutions, I would have no objection to it.

    BTW, Why use Wiki when we have direct access to the source at Mises? Seems counterproductive to refer people to Wiki rather than the definitive Mises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    It should be obvious that demonstrated preference is important to Rothbard's argument. Yet, I just created the Wikipedia entry for demonstrated preference. Rothbard's followers should have created and developed that entry a long time ago. That they have not done so is irrefutable proof that they are lost in the wilderness. Developing Rothbard's economic argument just wasn't a priority for his followers. Instead, they put all their eggs in his non-aggression principle basket. This principle of theirs trumps the need to understand economics...opportunity cost concept, partial knowledge and so on. This means that they have no idea how markets truly work. Therefore, they are advocating a religion...not economics.

    Rothbard, however, promoted both. Let's ignore his religion and focus on his economics.
    So, because neither Rothbard nor his followers bothered to create a Wiki entry, Rothbard is running a cult. Therefore, because this is a cult, their belief that things are done with less corruption and other inefficiencies by the private sector than by government is null and void, and we should all jump on with your selective taxation theory which we have poked enough holes in elsewhere on this forum to put off even a swiss cheese buyer.

    Are you serious?

    I hope someone checks that Wiki entry...
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Coolidge View Post
    There is danger of disappointment and disaster unless there be a wider comprehension of the limitations of the law. The attempt to regulate, control, and prescribe all manner of conduct and social relations is very old. It was always the practice of primitive peoples.
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Rogers View Post
    It's a mighty hard thing to tell nowadays whether an idea is revolutionary, or downright conservative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    This helped me to focus my objection to your philosophy to a single point, namely, that believers in Pragmatarianism must hold that Liberty is the result of actions by the govt. If Pragmatarianism were to be recast as individuals freely choosing between independent institutions, I would have no objection to it.
    Liberty is not the result of actions by the government? You mean that when the government protects the environment it's not protecting my liberty? Can you list all the actions of government? Would you say that all those actions benefit or harm you equally? Can you list all the actions of the private sector? Would you say that all those actions benefit or harm you equally?

    Markets give us the freedom to support the actions that benefit us and protest the actions that do not. What is the result? You're surrounded by the result. You're surrounded by products/services that benefit you.

    To restore liberty in our age, we must build genuinely private enterprises and independent educational institutions.
    Nothing is stopping us from building private institutions. Nobody is stopping you from setting up your private schools or your private security agencies or your private courts. However, we are prevented from distributing our taxes to reflect the effectiveness of these private organizations. If taxpayers could directly allocate their taxes...then why would they give their taxes to public courts if private courts were adequately meeting the demand for impartial justice?

    Through organizations like the Mises Institute, we can do our part in the 21st century in rolling back the tide of the collectivist state built up in the 20th century, as our forerunners did in rolling back royal absolutism in the 18th century. We must not repeat their mistakes. This time our pro-liberty ideology must embrace its logical implications and reject the state, root and branch. Only then can the potential of life, liberty, and property be realized in the flourishing of the entire human race.
    This is complete nonsense. We live in a democracy...so it's absurd to reject the state. What we need to reject are the beliefs that prevent taxpayers from directly allocating their taxes. Have you asked anybody whether taxpayers should be given the option to directly allocate their taxes? Chances are extremely good that their response will reflect one thing...economic ignorance. Who do we blame for economic ignorance? The state? No...the state is merely a reflection of economic ignorance. The people who bear the responsibility for economic ignorance are the people who have economic knowledge. Why are they failing to "sell" their economic knowledge?

    It's obvious. The Mises Institute bundles their economic knowledge together with religion. Do you think the average person wants to be forced to "buy" both products? I sure don't. I grew up being forced fed religion. I rejected religion when I was 11 and I still have absolutely no interest in listening to sermons on morality. That's exactly why as a pragmatarian I only "sell" economic knowledge.

    In fact, the idea of bundling...also referred to as tying...isn't just a problem with the Mises Institute...it's the very problem with our government. When we pay taxes we're forced to pay for a bundle of public goods that does not reflect our actual preferences. Do most people have a preference for some public goods? There's no doubt of this. That's why our goal should be to help them understand that we're all better if they have the freedom to choose exactly which public goods they help fund.

    Liberals nearly unanimously support the idea of ethical consumerism...but there is no ethical consumerism if you can't choose which goods you consume. Therefore, we just need to help liberals understand why ethical consumerism in the public sector is just as important as ethical consumerism in the private sector.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    BTW, Why use Wiki when we have direct access to the source at Mises? Seems counterproductive to refer people to Wiki rather than the definitive Mises.
    We don't do the large bulk of referring...Google does. What happens when people search for ethical consumerism? They will discover that the first result is the Wikipedia entry for ethical consumerism. And what happens when they read the Wikipedia entry on ethical consumerism?

    1. They will see the link to dollar voting...which explains an economic concept developed by Mises.
    2. They will read the section on tax choice.

    Why would I want people to use Wikipedia to learn about tax choice when they could just use my blog? Because the more places that they can learn about tax choice the greater the chances that they will stumble upon one of these places. I want people to stumble upon these places because I want them to learn about economics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    So, because neither Rothbard nor his followers bothered to create a Wiki entry, Rothbard is running a cult.
    Yes, Rothbard really really should have created a Wikipedia entry for demonstrated preference. Are you serious? Have you even ever tried to teach an old person how to use the mouse?

    Like I made perfectly clear in my post...Rothbard promoted both religion and economics. Unfortunately, his followers have primarily focused on his religion. What's my evidence? Compare the Wikipedia entries on demonstrated preference and the non-aggression principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Therefore, because this is a cult, their belief that things are done with less corruption and other inefficiencies by the private sector than by government is null and void, and we should all jump on with your selective taxation theory which we have poked enough holes in elsewhere on this forum to put off even a swiss cheese buyer.
    If the followers of Rothbard truly care about corruption and government inefficiency then how could they possibly reject pragmatarianism? Obviously that's not all they care about. They reject pragmatarianism because pragmatarianism does not advocate their religion. If it advocated their religion then it would be their religion. But it's not their religion...which is why people who aren't interested in religion are more likely to accept it. Does pragmatarianism force people to give up their religion? How could it? It says absolutely nothing about religion. All it says is that taxpayers can spend their taxes in the public sector better than congress can. Is this true?

    If you believe in getting rid of the government then obviously you have to believe its true. But if you advocate getting rid of the government for religious rather than economic reasons...then you won't understand the economic benefits of creating a market in the public sector. And given that I'm the one who created the Wikipedia entry for demonstrated preference...I take it to be a fact that the large majority of Rothbard's followers do not understand the economic benefits of creating a market in the public sector.

    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Are you serious?
    Of course

    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    I hope someone checks that Wiki entry...
    Yeah, me too. That's why I created it. But the fact that you need someone else to check that Wiki entry...rather than just checking it yourself...is even more proof that the vast majority of Rothbard's followers haven't bothered to learn his economic arguments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Like I made perfectly clear in my post...Rothbard promoted both religion and economics.
    Yes, but everyone does. Because you can't divorce economics from ethics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    Yes, but everyone does. Because you can't divorce economics from ethics.
    Eh, well. I mean...you looked over my entire post and felt that this was where you could make the greatest contribution. If taxpayers were allowed to directly allocate their taxes...then they'd look over the entire public sector and make a decision regarding where their taxes could make the greatest contribution. This is simply "profit" (gain > loss) seeking behavior.

    What's a god? A god is an entity that you make a sacrifice to in exchange for a blessing that's greater than your sacrifice. How's that any different from any other exchange? It's not fundamentally different. It's simply "profit" (gain > loss) seeking behavior.

    So in essence...the economics that we support is merely another way of describing the benefits of religious tolerance. From this perspective...it's impossible to separate the church and state. All we can do is agree on the "gods" that we all benefit from worshiping and then implement religious tolerance. You give your taxes (sacrifice) to the DoD (your god) and I'll give my taxes (sacrifice) to the EPA (my god).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Eh, well. I mean...you looked over my entire post and felt that this was where you could make the greatest contribution.
    Many things that you say have already been addressed in these forums. There's no reason to go back over those objections. I just thought what you said here stuck out to me.


    What's a god? A god is an entity that you make a sacrifice to in exchange for a blessing that's greater than your sacrifice. How's that any different from any other exchange? It's not fundamentally different. It's simply "profit" (gain > loss) seeking behavior.
    I agree that the language of salvation is a language of accounting and law and business. This is the language Paul uses, and this is the language every Christian should use.

    Also, your description of exchange is a very apt description of every non-Christian religion, but in Christianity, the exchange that must take place for salvation to be accomplished is something that no man could ever give to God. The Bible asks rhetorically:

    Romans 11:35

    “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
    And the Bible describes salvation as a free gift that no man can work for:

    Romans 4:4-5

    Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
    God gave men laws that has made man even more guilty and more sinful before Him:

    Romans 5:20

    The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase.


    God demands an absolute, sinless perfection from man. All men will be called to account and judged based on God's perfect law. And even one minor deviation from this law will condemn man to Hell. God gave the law to make man utterly condemned before Him. There is no act of obedience, no acting of faith, no sacrifice, nothing that man can give to God in an exchange for something.





    So in essence...the economics that we support is merely another way of describing the benefits of religious tolerance. From this perspective...it's impossible to separate the church and state. All we can do is agree on the "gods" that we all benefit from worshiping and then implement religious tolerance. You give your taxes (sacrifice) to the DoD (your god) and I'll give my taxes (sacrifice) to the EPA (my god).
    I think this statement belies the fact that you see government as God. I don't.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    If A is a pacifist...then in a pragmatarian system...he just won't give any of his taxes to any government organizations that use violence.
    Which is all of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    but he produced anarcho-capitalism while I produced pragmatarianism.
    This is describing your ideas rather generously. To say you produced any kind of "ism" is to suggest that you've devised a complete, coherent, system of ideas. What you've really done is whimsically pulled some notion out of your sphincter, like that time when I was a kid and I said that schools shouldn't use grades.
    I’m not a libertarian. I’m not advocating everyone run around with no clothes on and smoke pot.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    And the Bible describes salvation as a free gift that no man can work for:
    There's no such thing as a free lunch...that's basic economics.

    The other day my neighbor brought over the best chicken, noodle, vegetable soup that I've ever had. She gave it to me...but was it free? Consider this poem by Stephen Crane...

    A man said to the universe:
    "Sir I exist!"
    "However," replied the universe,
    "The fact has not created in me
    A sense of obligation."
    How could it be modified to fit my situation?

    Ana said to her neighbor:
    "Sir I exist! Take this bowl of soup as proof!"
    "Indeed, it is delicious," replied her neighbor,
    "The fact has created in me
    A sense of obligation."
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16
    Somebody sacrifices their only son for you and you refer to it as a free gift? How does it not create a sense of obligation in you?

    The conviction reigns that it is only through the sacrifices and accomplishments of the ancestors that the tribe exists - and that one has to pay them back with sacrifices and accomplishments: one thus recognizes a debt that constantly grows greater, since these forebears never cease, in their continued existence as powerful spirits, to accord the tribe new advantages and new strength. In vain, perhaps? But there is no "in vain" for these rude and "poor-souled" ages. What can one give them in return? Sacrifices (initially as food in the coarsest sense), feasts, music, honors; above all, obedience - for all customs, as works of the ancestors, are also their statutes and commands; can one ever give them enough? This suspicion remains and increases; from time to time it leads to a wholesale sacrifice, something tremendous in the way of repayment to the "creditor" (the notorious sacrifice of the first-born, for example; in any case blood, human blood). - Nietzsche
    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    God demands an absolute, sinless perfection from man. All men will be called to account and judged based on God's perfect law. And even one minor deviation from this law will condemn man to Hell. God gave the law to make man utterly condemned before Him. There is no act of obedience, no acting of faith, no sacrifice, nothing that man can give to God in an exchange for something.
    From John Holbo's book on Reason and Persuasion...

    S: You could have been much more concise, Euthyphro, if you wanted to, by answering the main part of my question. You're not exactly dying to teach me - that much is clear. You were just on the point of doing so, but you turned aside. If you had given the answer, I would already be well versed in holiness, thanks to you. But as it is, the lover of inquiry must chase after his beloved, wherever he may lead him. Once more then: what do you say that the holy is, or holiness? Don't you say it's a kind of science of sacrifice and prayer?
    E: I do.
    S: To sacrifice is to give a gift to the gods; to pray is to ask them for something?
    E: Definitely, Socrates.
    S: Then holiness must be a science of begging from the gods and giving to them, on this account.
    E: You have grasped my meaning perfectly, Socrates.
    S: That is because I want so badly to take in your wisdom that I concentrate my whole intellect upon it, lest a word of yours fall to the ground. But tell me, what is this service to the gods? You say it is to beg from them and give to them?
    E: I do
    S: And to ask correctly would be to ask them to give us the things we need?
    E: What else?
    S: And to give correctly is to give them in return what they need from us? For it would hardly represent skill in giving to offer a gift that is not needed in the least.
    E: True, Socrates
    S: Holiness will then be a sort of art for bartering between gods and men?
    E: Bartering, yes - if you prefer to call it that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    I think this statement belies the fact that you see government as God. I don't.
    It only indicates that the basic rules of economics applies whether we're talking about religion, politics or economics. You want the most bang for your buck. If you could directly allocate your taxes would you try and get the most bang for your tax dollars? Of course. We all want our burdens to be lifted from us.

    Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. - Luke 22:42
    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    Many things that you say have already been addressed in these forums. There's no reason to go back over those objections. I just thought what you said here stuck out to me.
    Of course we have to go over these objections. You know why? Because you still don't understand the opportunity cost concept. There's no such thing as the "pure" gift...

    Sacrifice will always be distinguished from the pure gift (if there is any). The sacrifice proposes an offering but only in the form of a destruction against which it exchanges, hopes for, or counts on a benefit, namely, a surplus-value or at least an amortization, a protection, and a security. - Jacques Derrida, Given Time: Counterfeit Money
    The next time you're taking communion...the next time you're eating the flesh of Christ and drinking his blood...remember that he paid the ultimate price for your salvation. What is that worth to you? How much obligation does that create in you? Who knows? All we can know is that actions speak louder than words.

    James 2

    14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

    15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

    16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

    17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

    19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

    20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

    22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

    23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

    24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

    25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

    26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

  15. #14
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    I don't see any blind spot, only the little red spot next to your handle.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    There's no such thing as a free lunch...that's basic economics.
    I didn't say salvation was free, as in it is something that didn't cost anything. I said it was free in that there is nothing that a man can do to work for it. There is a difference.





    Somebody sacrifices their only son for you and you refer to it as a free gift? How does it not create a sense of obligation in you?
    It only creates a sense of obligation if you erroneously think that you must do something in order to attain salvation.

    But if there is anything so clear in Scripture, it is that man cannot do anything to attain the sinless perfection required to stand in the presence of God. Salvation is not something man must work to get, it is something God has already accomplished for His people.





    From John Holbo's book on Reason and Persuasion...

    S: You could have been much more concise, Euthyphro, if you wanted to, by answering the main part of my question. You're not exactly dying to teach me - that much is clear. You were just on the point of doing so, but you turned aside. If you had given the answer, I would already be well versed in holiness, thanks to you. But as it is, the lover of inquiry must chase after his beloved, wherever he may lead him. Once more then: what do you say that the holy is, or holiness? Don't you say it's a kind of science of sacrifice and prayer?
    E: I do.
    S: To sacrifice is to give a gift to the gods; to pray is to ask them for something?
    E: Definitely, Socrates.
    S: Then holiness must be a science of begging from the gods and giving to them, on this account.
    E: You have grasped my meaning perfectly, Socrates.
    S: That is because I want so badly to take in your wisdom that I concentrate my whole intellect upon it, lest a word of yours fall to the ground. But tell me, what is this service to the gods? You say it is to beg from them and give to them?
    E: I do
    S: And to ask correctly would be to ask them to give us the things we need?
    E: What else?
    S: And to give correctly is to give them in return what they need from us? For it would hardly represent skill in giving to offer a gift that is not needed in the least.
    E: True, Socrates
    S: Holiness will then be a sort of art for bartering between gods and men?
    E: Bartering, yes - if you prefer to call it that.
    This is a very apt description of every religion of man...where man gives to God so that God repays them. But I just showed you that the Bible rejects this religion of man, and says that no one has given to God that God repays them.

    Every false religion says that God requires something from man that man is able to give.
    The Bible says that God requires something from man that man cannot give, and cannot do.





    It only indicates that the basic rules of economics applies whether we're talking about religion, politics or economics. You want the most bang for your buck. If you could directly allocate your taxes would you try and get the most bang for your tax dollars? Of course. We all want our burdens to be lifted from us.
    Allocating taxation does not lift the burden of government from anyone.









    The next time you're taking communion...the next time you're eating the flesh of Christ and drinking his blood...remember that he paid the ultimate price for your salvation. What is that worth to you? How much obligation does that create in you? Who knows? All we can know is that actions speak louder than words.

    James 2

    14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

    15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

    16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

    17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

    19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

    20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

    22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

    23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

    24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

    25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

    26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    James chapter 2 is not talking about how one is made right before God. He is talking about how we can determine if a person's faith is real. "Show me your faith" is what James is concerned about. He is talking about justification before other men, not justification before God, which is what Paul is concerned with. James is contrasting a false faith (one that is not evidenced by good works), with a legitimate faith (one that is evidenced by good works).

    This passage has been misunderstood and abused by works-salvationists for a very long time.
    Last edited by Sola_Fide; 11-20-2012 at 08:24 PM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    Allocating taxation does not lift the burden of government from anyone.
    Why wouldn't it? Explain to me why creating a market in the public sector wouldn't help us overcome scarcity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    I didn't say salvation was free, as in it is something that didn't cost anything. I said it was free in that there is nothing that a man can do to work for it. Big difference.

    James chapter 2 is not talking about how one is made right before God. He is talking about how we can determine if a person's faith is real. "Show me your faith" is what James is concerned about. He is talking about justification before other men, not justification before God, which is what Paul is concerned with. James is contrasting a false faith (one that is not evidenced by good works), with a legitimate faith(one that is eveidenced by good works).

    This passage has been misunderstood and abused by works-salvationists for a very long time.
    Yes, they are the ones who are misinterpreting the Bible.

    Matthew 25

    31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

    32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

    33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

    36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

    40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

    43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

    44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

    45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

    46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by awake View Post
    I don't see any blind spot, only the little red spot next to your handle.
    Yet, here you are with plenty of green spots next to your name...yet your comment contributed absolutely nothing of value to the discussion. Use economics to explain why I'm wrong...and then we'll see if there's any merit to this rating system.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerograhphica
    Liberty is not the result of actions by the government?
    No, Liberty is the root from which emerges social order and civilization. Govt. comes later usurping the institutions established by free individuals. Examples would include the Law, Money and Defense, each an institution established by free individuals before Govt. became involved.

    You mean that when the government protects the environment it's not protecting my liberty?
    You've mentioned the EPA several times now. I wonder if you realize that the EPA was founded and exists for the sole purpose of protecting cronies from lawsuits, thus affording them legal protection to pollute. Prior to the EPA, property owners or injured individuals were free to sue those responsible. Now, mere documentation of compliance is sufficient to quash any case, no matter how grievous the injury.

    Nothing is stopping us from building private institutions.
    Hello? Is there anybody in there? Can you say govt. enforced monopoly? Just you try and establish an institution to provide sound money to the public.

    I grew up being forced fed religion. I rejected religion when I was 11 and I still have absolutely no interest in listening to sermons on morality.
    No you did not reject religion, you merely substituted the State as your religion. So here you are, force feeding us your State Religion disguised as Pragmatarianism and sermonizing on the "morality" of "protecting" the environment.

    I'm sorry to speak so baldly to you sir, but you are a hypocrite and a fool!
    Last edited by Len Larson; 11-20-2012 at 09:04 PM.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Why wouldn't it? Explain to me why creating a market in the public sector wouldn't help us overcome scarcity.
    You said that allocating taxation would "lift the burden of government" from people. How?

    If I point a gun to your head and tell you to give the contents of your wallet to person A, person B, or person C...and you get the choice of which person the contents of your wallet goes to, how does this "lift the burden" of the person pointing the gun at me?

    Sure, the person pointing the gun at me has "created a market" for the contents of my wallet, but how can you rationally say that the burden of my emptying my wallet to someone is lifted? I'm still burdended by the person pointing the gun at me.






    Yes, they are the ones who are misinterpreting the Bible.

    Matthew 25

    31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

    32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

    33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

    36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

    40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

    43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

    44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

    45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

    46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
    Yes, they are the ones misinterpreting it. And it seems you are now.

    No one says that Christian people don't do good works...they do. But do Christian people do good works to get saved, or do Christian people do good works because they have been saved? The answer is that Christian people do good works because they have been saved.

    We are not saved by any righteous act we perform:

    Titus 3:5

    he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
    Not by works:
    Ephesians 2:8-9

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

    Christians don't do good works to get saved, the good works we do were predestined by God. We do them because we have already been saved by Him:
    Ephesians 2:10

    For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
    Let this one sink in..

    God saves men, not because of anything they've done but because He has predestined the ones to be saved before the beginning of time:

    2 Timothy 1:9

    who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time
    ,
    Last edited by Sola_Fide; 11-20-2012 at 09:20 PM.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    No, Liberty is the root from which emerges social order and civilization. Govt. comes later usurping the institutions established by free individuals. Examples would include the Law, Money and Defense, each an institution established by free individuals before Govt. became involved.
    When haven't their been kings, rulers, emperors or pharaohs? When haven't tributes, offerings or taxes not been required? There's always been liberty to some degree and there's always been coercion to some degree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    You've mentioned the EPA several times now. I wonder if you realize that the EPA was founded and exists for the sole purpose of protecting cronies from lawsuits and affording them legal protection to pollute. Prior to the EPA property owners or injured individuals were free to sue those responsible. Now, mere documentation of compliance is sufficient to quash any case, now matter how grievous the injury.
    Do you think creating a market in the public sector depends on the current effectiveness/efficiency of the organizations in the public sector? Oh noes...the EPA is corrupt and harmful...let's not allow taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes. Let's prevent them from coming to that conclusion themselves. It will be for their own good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    Hello? Is there anybody in there? Can you say govt. enforced monopoly? Just you try and establish an institution to provide sound money to the public.
    Heh, yeah, great critique. The government has a monopoly...therefore...let's not create a market in the public sector. That wouldn't solve anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    No you did not reject religion, you merely substituted the State as your religion. So here you are, force feeding us your State Religion disguised as Pragmatarianism and sermonizing on the "morality" of "protecting" the environment.

    I'm sorry to speak so baldly to you sir, but you are a hypocrite and a fool!
    Is it my fault that you can't grasp the economic consequences of allowing millions and millions of self-interested, utility maximizing, purposefully acting, psychic profit seeking taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes? Yes. So I guess I am a fool. Am I a hypocrite though? I mean...I really don't think that I was trying to sell you on the value...or importance of the state. So I definitely wasn't preaching the morality of statism to you. I figured you'd be smart enough to understand that allowing taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes would be the most effective and efficient way for them to see the truth of your own perspective on the state.


  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Larson View Post
    No you did not reject religion, you merely substituted the State as your religion. So here you are, force feeding us your State Religion disguised as Pragmatarianism
    Yes, I agree.

    Also, there are several problems with pragmatism as a philosophy. One glaring problem with pragmatism is that it can never furnish a man with knowledge until after one has acted. But one of the purposes of knowledge is to give a man knowledge enough to make an informed choice. On the pragmatic theory of knowledge, one always knows too late.


    Also, if what is right is defined by success, than virtually anything could be defined as right and good. Stalin murdered countless people, but died peacefully in his bed. Was his murder right because it was "successful"? On the pragmatic theory, where success is the desired end, one could say that Stalin's murder was good.
    Last edited by Sola_Fide; 11-20-2012 at 09:45 PM.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    You said that allocating taxation would "lift the burden of government" from people. How?

    If I point a gun to your head and tell you to give the contents of your wallet to person A, person B, or person C...and you get the choice of which person the contents of your wallet goes to, how does this "lift the burden" of the person pointing the gun at me?

    Sure, the person pointing the gun at me has "created a market" for the contents of my wallet, but how can you rationally say that the burden of my emptying my wallet to someone is lifted? I'm still burdended by the person pointing the gun at me.
    Somebody points a gun at me and forces me to decide which person to give $1000 to...

    Person A: Will give me $10 in return
    Person B: Will give me $500 in return
    Person C: Will give me $3000 in return

    Well...obviously I'd choose to give my $1000 to person C. Are you going to argue that it's a burden for me if somebody triples my money?

    The burden of government stems from the fact that we aren't getting our money's worth of public goods. That shouldn't be a surprise...that's an inevitable consequence of command economies. How do we lift that burden? By allowing taxpayers to reward the government organizations that do more with less. If you want to argue that all government organizations are equally ineffective and wasteful...then why wouldn't allowing taxpayers to shop for themselves in the public sector be the most effective/efficient way to help them come to the same conclusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    God saves men, not because of anything they've done but because He has predestined the ones to be saved before the beginning of time:
    How do you know that you, Sola Fide, are predestined to be saved?

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Somebody points a gun at me and forces me to decide which person to give $1000 to...

    Person A: Will give me $10 in return
    Person B: Will give me $500 in return
    Person C: Will give me $3000 in return

    Well...obviously I'd choose to give my $1000 to person C. Are you going to argue that it's a burden for me if somebody triples my money?

    The burden of government stems from the fact that we aren't getting our money's worth of public goods....
    Other people have already refuted your ideas better than I can. First you assert that there are "public goods" without any argument. Also, you have not alleviated the burden of government from anyone in your example. Even if someone puts a gun to my head and forces me to do something that even may ultimately benefit me, it still does not alleviate the burden of the gunman forcing me to do something.

    Other people have explained this better than I can.




    How do you know that you, Sola Fide, are predestined to be saved?
    Because I believe in Christ alone for salvation.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    First you assert that there are "public goods" without any argument.
    But why do I need to make an argument in support of there being "public goods"? If you want to argue that all goods can be effectively/efficiently supplied by the private sector then why would I argue against that? My argument is...if everything can be effectively/efficiently supplied by the private market...then allowing taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes would reveal this to be true.

    For example...if you set up your own private court...what do you want? Money. And where does money come from? Customers...people who are willing to pay for impartial justice. If a customer is happy with your business...then why would he give any of his taxes to public courts? If he did so then perhaps we can imagine that he felt impartial justice should be available to people who can't afford to purchase it in the private sector.

    John Stuart Mill put it best when he said, "It is, of course, not desirable that anything should be done by funds derived from compulsory taxation, which is already sufficiently well done by individual liberality."

    Are you going to argue that everything is already sufficiently well done by individual liberty? Great...maybe you're right. But should we just get rid of the entire government because you might be right? How would that make you any different than a dictator? No...we simply put it to the test. We allow millions and millions of taxpayers to use their own hard-earned taxes to indicate exactly which goods are not already sufficiently well done by individual liberty.

    How they distribute their taxes in the public sector will reveal the path to individual liberty. If they give their taxes to public courts...then that means that you need to start a for-profit or non-profit organization dedicated to supplying impartial justice. If they give their taxes to public schools...then that means that you need to start a for-profit or non-profit organization dedicated to supplying education. Will this benefit consumers? Most definitely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sola_Fide View Post
    Also, you have not alleviated the burden of government from anyone in your example. Even if someone puts a gun to my head and forces me to do something that even may ultimately benefit me, it still does not alleviate the burden of the gunman forcing me to do something.
    If taxpayers don't want a gunman forcing them and others to do something...then they just won't give their taxes to the IRS. But if enough taxpayers DO give their taxes to the IRS...if they do want a gunman to force them and others to do something...then what's the point of getting rid of the government? They'll simply all pay one private defense agency which will purchase all the other defense agencies until you end up with a monopoly on the use of force.

    A further point: in a profound sense, no social system, whether anarchist or statist, can work at all unless most people are "good" in the sense that they are not all hell-bent upon assaulting and robbing their neighbors. If everyone were so disposed, no amount of protection, whether state or private, could succeed in staving off chaos. Furthermore, the more that people are disposed to be peaceful and not aggress against their neighbors, the more successfully any social system will work, and the fewer resources will need to be devoted to police protection. - Rothbard
    How many taxpayers are disposed to be peaceful and not aggress their neighbors? I don't know. But how can you make an informed decision without this information? Let's implement pragmatarianism and see exactly how many resources taxpayers are willing to devote to the police, the IRS, jails and courts.

    If you get a chance you should read Economists and Scarcity by Steven Horwitz...

    When economists say, “We will never run out of resources,” what they often mean is that faced with increasing scarcity of one resource, we will always find new solutions to the problem that that resource originally solved. In an important sense, the actual economic resource was not copper but “the ability to convey voice and data.” And that resource has become “less scarce” by the substitution of sand. This illustrates Simon’s point that the “ultimate resource” is the human ingenuity that finds new and better ways of using physical resources.
    The burden we're always trying to overcome is scarcity. We overcome this burden by giving people the freedom to give their money to the individuals who find new and better ways of using resources. This is why markets work. This is what we need to help people understand. Is there any human ingenuity to be found in the public sector? If there is...then let's give taxpayers the opportunity to find and support it. If there isn't...then what will taxpayers do with this knowledge? Let's find out.
    Last edited by Xerographica; 11-21-2012 at 03:41 PM.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    This is my response to Len Larson's post in Hazlitt - Public works mean taxes...
    How much of the deficient good should be supplied? That should be determined by the demonstrated preferences of taxpayers.

    Rothbard acknowledged that people desire public goods. If we created a market for public goods...then the provision of these goods would be connected to its collection of payment. If you want more protection for the environment...then you'll have to give more of your taxes to the EPA...and/or convince others to do so.
    .....
    Arguing against taxes does absolutely nothing to help the people who want public goods to understand the importance of individual valuation. All it does is prevent them from learning about the keystone of economics. That's why pragmatarianism...aka tax choice...is something that we should all actively promote.
    Your "pragmatarianism" is completely ridiculous. Here is why: Public goods funding is only possible if there are some who pay taxes and others who don't. If I am able to earmark my own taxes entirely, then I choose... spending that directly and exclusively on stuff that benefits me. If everyone did this then there would be no need to tax, as a far more efficient system would just be to allow people to spend their own money on these things voluntarily. (Don't speak of large, expensive projects that no one would ever be able to afford, people participate all the time in buying a share or service collectively through Walmart, toll roads, insurance protection etc.) This would be far more efficient because the tax collecting and the bureaucratic management of government costs money and must be taken out of this pile of taxes, only to hand what is left back again. This, you must see, is absurd. The Pragmatarian Utopia you paint conveniently leaves out all of the public goods that Non-tax payers are hollering for, and that my friend is the only real reason taxes exist: government produces nothing by itself, it only redistributes and taxes are the means by which the shell game functions. People only want public goods because they can be paid for by someone else, otherwise they become private goods enjoyed by many people.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stallheim View Post
    Your "pragmatarianism" is completely ridiculous. Here is why: Public goods funding is only possible if there are some who pay taxes and others who don't. If I am able to earmark my own taxes entirely, then I choose... spending that directly and exclusively on stuff that benefits me. If everyone did this then there would be no need to tax, as a far more efficient system would just be to allow people to spend their own money on these things voluntarily. (Don't speak of large, expensive projects that no one would ever be able to afford, people participate all the time in buying a share or service collectively through Walmart, toll roads, insurance protection etc.)
    If people could directly allocate their taxes then it would be ridiculous because they would then realize that there would be no need for taxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stallheim View Post
    This would be far more efficient because the tax collecting and the bureaucratic management of government costs money and must be taken out of this pile of taxes, only to hand what is left back again.
    If people could directly allocate their taxes then it would be ridiculous because they would then realize that government organizations suffer from X-inefficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stallheim View Post
    This, you must see, is absurd. The Pragmatarian Utopia you paint conveniently leaves out all of the public goods that Non-tax payers are hollering for, and that my friend is the only real reason taxes exist: government produces nothing by itself, it only redistributes and taxes are the means by which the shell game functions. People only want public goods because they can be paid for by someone else, otherwise they become private goods enjoyed by many people.
    If people could directly allocate their taxes then it would be absurd because they wouldn't have to pay for public goods that other people want?

  28. #27
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    You have been at this before, claiming we should make a market in public "services", which is an oxymoron...But I agreed because it would collapse the government overnight, and that's a good thing. Your Idea is hair brained but it would work toward libertarian ends to some degree. The first thing I would do is to organize a movement to have everyone pay all their tax dollars to the Institute of Peace.

  29. #28

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    “I will be as harsh as truth, and uncompromising as justice... I am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard.” ~ William Lloyd Garrison

    Quote Originally Posted by TGGRV View Post
    Conza, why do you even bother? lol.
    Worthy Threads:
    Ignore: Xerographica, newbitech, Travlyr

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by awake View Post
    You have been at this before, claiming we should make a market in public "services", which is an oxymoron...But I agreed because it would collapse the government overnight, and that's a good thing. Your Idea is hair brained but it would work toward libertarian ends to some degree. The first thing I would do is to organize a movement to have everyone pay all their tax dollars to the Institute of Peace.
    Did you ever read the short science fiction story...We, The People...by Jack C. Haldeman?

  31. #30

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    Conza, what's the point of having an ignore list if you're just going to ignore it?

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