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 dalane75
Joined: 3/20/2009
Msg: 26
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn RandPage 2 of 4    (1, 2, 3, 4)
correction

tax rates have dropped not only as a percentage of GDP, but also in the rate paid by the rich


I meant to say that tax rates as percentage of GDP held steady, while the mariginal tax rate for the rich was drastically lowered. I apologize!
 motown cowgirl
Joined: 6/30/2010
Msg: 27
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/21/2010 6:37:39 PM

"Excess capacity" -- or inflation -- has nothing to do with taxes.


when i say excess capacity, i am merely talking about the number of "dollars" in free circulation (i.e., in the hands of you and me as opposed to the IRS).


If those who comprise the government wanted to prevent inflation, they would stop printing money. If you stop increasing the money supply, you stop general inflation.


your statement is meaningless without an understanding of what a dollar is. today's dollar is not a "real" dollar, it is a federal reserve note, fiat money, and an instrument of debt.

how can you pay a debt with a debt? i ask you.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 28
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History
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/21/2010 8:04:35 PM

when i say excess capacity, i am merely talking about the number of "dollars" in free circulation (i.e., in the hands of you and me as opposed to the IRS).

...which is called excess liquidity... which is caused by inflation... which is an increase in the money supply...


motown cowgirl


your statement is meaningless without an understanding of what a dollar is. today's dollar is not a "real" dollar, it is a federal reserve note, fiat money, and an instrument of debt.

how can you pay a debt with a debt? i ask you.

I know full well that the control of the United States money supply was handed over to the Federal Reserve via the Federal Reserve Act of in1913. And I know full well that the currency issued thereby are bank notes -- specifically Federal Reserve bank notes -- issued by the central bank of the United States.

*checks again*

Nope, my statement still holds meaning.. even with an understanding of US monetary history.

I never once said "pay a debt with a debt". I said if the Treasury stopped issuing bonds and the Federal Reserve stopped creating reserve notes, then there would be no increase in the money supply and therefore no inflation.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 29
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History
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/21/2010 9:35:23 PM
dalane75


By seeing citizenship as a commodity paid for with tax dollars

To whom? And what gives them the moral right to use violence to collect said payment? You still haven't answered that. Is it an edict from the gods? Is it given by birthright? Or when a mob votes 51% one way? What gives some human beings the moral right to use violence to forcibly extract money from other people?

I agree with you. I believe "community resources" have costs associated with them. I understand those costs must be paid if those resources are to be maintained. I just think the state does not operate them in a moral or practical way.

Why?

Because it uses violence.

Why do we judge the state differently than we do a company? What company is given the moral authority to throw its clients into a steel cage (and to shoot them if they try to leave) when they do not pay its bills? Especially according to contracts the clients did not sign. Would you not agree that if a company -- an organization of human beings -- operated in that way, they would achieve the opposite of "virtue"? Why do we have a different standard with the state? Is a state not an organization of human beings? Why is it suddenly virtuous for a state to throw people into a steel cage when its "clients" do not pay for its operations? Operations such as the violent enforcement of limited liability, of brutal warfare, of banking oligopoly, of corporate subsidies, and so on?

If my power company delivers power to my home for months while I do not pay, they turn off my power. At most, they hire a company to call me to ask for money. They do not send armed men to my door to take my money -- or me -- away.





Maybe Socrates response is proper when he says "...by giving every Athenian the opportunity, once arrived at voting age and having observed the affairs of the city and its law, we proclaim that if we do not please him, he can take his possessions and go wherever he pleases. Not one of our laws...forbids him, if he is not satisfied with us or the city, if one of you wants to go...anywhere else, and keep his property. We say, however, that whoever of you remains, when he sees how we conduct our trials and manage the city in other ways, has in fact come to an agreement with us to obey our instructions."

I've studied social contract theory. I understand the argument.

But if this were a legitimate, voluntary operation, then the state would, at most, only eject from the state those who are deemed "criminals" for non-violent offenses. Deportation. "If you do not follow the rules of our contract, we will not let you stay here."

A perfectly legitimate clause in a signed, consensual agreement.

But that is not how the state operates. Instead of denying service to non-violent "outlaws", they are instead stolen from, thrown into a cage, or worse.







Oddly enough, over that same period of time, though the plight of the poor has steadily improved (e.g. life expectancy, infant mortality rate, etc), tax rates have dropped not only as a percentage of GDP, but also in the rate paid by the rich. It seems that there is a correlation between tax rates and income disparity between the rich and the poor. As the tax rates decrease, the rich become richer at a faster rate than the poor.


You are making the freshman mistake of looking at taxes and not spending. Government spending is the true cost of government. The buying power that the government does not tax outright is either taken out as debt or is printed, both of which cause inflation. Inflation literally extract buying power from the rest of the money supply (the savings and wages of the people) which has the effect of increasing prices. Inflation is the product of an increase in the money supply, which is controlled (directly or indirectly) by the government.

Inflation is a hidden tax. And it affects the lowest classes the worst. Why? Because wages are "sticky" and are the last to raise or fall in a time of inflation/deflation. That means when prices rise due to inflation, the last "price" to raise is labor (remember, a "wage" is just the price of labor). The lowest classes are the ones with the most dependent on their wages and impacted the most by slight increases/decreases in income. Much more so than the rich. In fact, the wealthy are benefited from inflation. Why? Because they wealthy don't have much "money". They have assets. Most of the rich's money is actually tied into stocks and other hard assets. The prices of those commodities are extremely sensitive to inflation and are among the first to rise when the money supply increases.

This is not just an cooky idea. There have dozens of very careful studies proving this phenomenon and nobel prizes awarded for its research. Government spending is a measure of the buying power taken from the private sector. The word we use to describe buying power taken from the private sector by the government is "tax". Therefore, government spending is a measure of government taxes. Spending that isn't matched by direct taxation is literally printed or borrowed, both which cause inflation and extract buying power from the savings and wages of the poor.




Government spending is what has increased dramatically. Since the end of WWII, total Federal spending has more than doubled.

Understanding this, we see the exact opposite of your conclusion. When taxes are increased -- when violent extraction of money is increased -- then poverty increases. The rich's assets are protected and the poor's wages and meager savings are eroded away by inflation. No longer is a family able to put away a few hundred dollars away each month and have a sizable nest egg to hand off to their children once the parents pass away (thereby lifting their children one notch higher on the economic ladder). This is historically what created the middle classes. But to do this today, the same family would have to increase their payments each month. And this is made much more difficult to maintain in an environment where state monetary policy forces prices to increase faster than the family's wages.

What would we expect to see as an effect from this? An entrenchment and polarization of the economic classes. The rich kept rich and the poor kept poor. This is exactly what we have been seeing in the US under this inflationary monetary policy, marked by enormous government spending. This is exactly the opposite in Asia, where states have been spending and controlling less of their nation's GDP. The citizens in those nations are being lifted out of poverty when taxes and spending are reduced.

Just reducing taxes without reducing spending simply causes inflation, thereby worsening the problem of poverty and reducing economic mobility.
 motown cowgirl
Joined: 6/30/2010
Msg: 30
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/22/2010 11:23:39 AM
I said if the Treasury stopped issuing bonds and the Federal Reserve stopped creating reserve notes, then there would be no increase in the money supply and therefore no inflation.


i'm glad that you're one of the few people out there who understands what a federal reserve not actually is. thumbs up to that! but according to the keynsians there is nothing inherently wrong with either inflation or deflation per se, it is all about tweaking the monetary supply, taxation on fiat money, as well as access to credit (a.k.a. debt) through the manipulation of interest rates to control these cyclical forces. because the house of cards must be maintained at all costs. our belief in the strength of the dollar and the fate of the planet depends on it ;)
 DartmouthRunner
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 31
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/22/2010 12:07:39 PM
Someone may want to average out the money supply per capita. It gets murky when talking about money supply in nominal terms.

Theoretically, if new money is being printed at the same rate of population growth (of working age) there should be no inflationary impacts from printing money. Though, off the top of my head, in recent years the US money supply grows on average around 6% per year, while over the past 50 years the US population has grown 1.2%ish per year. Don't quote me on those figures :P
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 32
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taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/22/2010 2:12:17 PM
not mike holmes


Theoretically, if new money is being printed at the same rate of population growth (of working age) there should be no inflationary impacts from printing money.


Even if printing money does not cause a rise in prices, it will prevent prices from falling. The absence of lowering prices is an inflationary impact. Falling prices are the trend in a free market economy. The price of food goes down. The price of transportation goes down. The price of cars goes down. The price of communication and energy go down. Falling prices are extremely healthy for an economy and increase economic mobility. In fact, the lowering of costs (and prices thereby) is precisely what created the middle class. Capital is added to the economy, increasing productivity and lowering costs. And competition drives prices down to the point where the poor can afford the goods and services that were once only luxuries enjoyed by the rich.


The US experienced falling prices on the aggregate for the majority of its history -- even after accounting for population growth. The steady rising of prices over time is a feature of a currency that is being debased. A printing of money. That's exactly what the Federal Reserve System does and has been doing for our entire lifetimes. It prints money, loans it to the Federal Government, and politicians spend it for political purposes... regardless of the ethical or economic implications of inflation (theft).

It is not consistent with economic prosperity.
 DartmouthRunner
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 33
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/22/2010 3:44:45 PM
Ubiquitous


Falling prices are the trend in a free market economy


Yes and no. You are looking at supply side of they tilted cross, demand side may counter act the reductions in cost. If prices are indeed viewed as falling, demand may increase. So prices may rise because more people are demanding product X. In turn this would have an impact on the supply side as well. The producer may have to ramp up production, increase capacity, hire more labour in order to meet the increase in demand.

In sum it's all a twisted balancing act and price movement either direction would happen even if money did not exist. Though I am not saying prices should never decrease and only increase, that would be foolish. Personally I'm an advocate for zero growth models and may make that a PhD thesis.

Though, we are not really in a free market economy. People claim we are and rally around that point, but that's not the case. Free market economy and the theories around it heavily relies on perfect competition, large number of producers, producing identical goods, etc. Really it has to be examined market by market because some will obey the free market principles while others wont. Computers are a great example where prices did decline, PC's in the early/mid 1990's would cost you $4000 just for a average model, now you can get them for $400-$600 easy. Lots of competition, really no difference between producers.

This is a great topic, haven't had a good econ talk since Grad School!
 dalane75
Joined: 3/20/2009
Msg: 34
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/22/2010 4:47:58 PM
Ubi,


To whom? And what gives them the moral right to use violence to collect said payment?...

I agree with you. I believe "community resources" have costs associated with them. I understand those costs must be paid if those resources are to be maintained. I just think the state does not operate them in a moral or practical way.
...it uses violence....Why do we judge the state differently than we do a company?


It is the same right given to you to use that same government to extract money owed to you by another or to forcibly remove another from your property. I do not expect you to allow another, without your permission, to continue to live inside your home without paying their rent.

I suppose it can be refered to as the deferment of power. By defering to the government the power to act on our behalf, we must allow for that government to be able to adequately defend itself against those that act against it. Given other societies do not wish (generally) to take in another society's troubled citizens, options are limited. In democratic and constitutional governments, there is at least limits the government imposes upon itself, and as in the U.S., greater limits have been imposed upon itself overtime in such areas as free speech (e.g. flag burning, war protests, obscenities, etc).

The government thus has jurisidiction of power over those who inhabit within its boundaries. The continued residence of those that live within that jurisidiction implies an agreement that power is defered to that government. Modern democracy is nothing more than the centralization of power with means to control that power by the populace and so limiting the extent of that power or having a share of that power.

As you are concerned with the 'violence' of the state, I think it might be useful to remember Clausewitz's quote: "War is nothing more than the continuation of politics by other means.” When an individual no longers wish to pay the taxes or the fee of citizenship, then they officially no longer see the legitimacy of power formerly placed in the government, thus entering a state of war. It is a state of war because the individual, no longer recognizing the legitimacy of that power, voids the right of redress and of petition (politics). The individual, by severing political ties, initiates the violence, and the government, to continued its justification granted to it by the larger society, must defend itself. Instead of advocating war of all against all, limited government continues the political process.

If someone is concerned about how their tax dollars are being spent, an easy solution is to extend the Beck Law (allowing union members to demand their money not to be used for political donations) to federal, state, and local governments.


You are making the freshman mistake of looking at taxes and not spending.


I really do not want to get a debate on this. However, I only said "there seems....correlation...rich faster than....poor." This was merely to suggest that a correlation (which could work either way or may not even be related) appears, and that with the quote for Paul, the rich, with more wealth to work with than the poor, will continue to outpace the poor. Though the poor in absolute terms (e.g. food, health, consumer goods) are better off, the comparitive difference to the poor will widen. If someone has a dollar to work from and another has fifty dollars, with a return for both at say 5%, the one with the dollar will continually fall behind, though is better off than before. The wealth of the rich and poor will continue to grow so the overall wealth of that sociey will as well. However, the rich will continue to control more of a percentage of that wealth, and so the wealth will be concentrated in fewer hands...the power.

I would like to add that income disparity was steady through the 60s and 70s. In the 60s inflation was relatively low, while in the 70s relatively high and flucuating. Income disparity was also high in the 20s, steadying during the 30s, and dropping in the 40s, and steadying again into the 70s. Inflation varied over this time. Since 83, inflation was been somewhat steady. Government spending as part of GDP in 64 was around 25%, 74-30%, 84-35%, 94-35%, 04-30%, 09-43%. The spike in income disparity happens to coincide with the Tax Reform Act of 1981, but continued to grow during the 90s when taxes rose. However, I am only throwing these numbers out there. There are other theories on the widening income gap such as outsourcing of low skilled labor, increase in skilled labor so greater competition, greater production levels per employee unmatched by their wage, etc, etc, etc blah, blah, blah.
 dalane75
Joined: 3/20/2009
Msg: 35
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/22/2010 4:50:12 PM
However, the rich will continue to control more of a percentage of that wealth, and so the wealth will be concentrated in fewer hands...the power.


I should also add that raising the taxes on the rich, and redistributing that wealth to the bottom, would decrease the wealth of the rich, while increasing the wealth of the poor, so reducing the difference in power. Doesn't mean though that it is a good idea!
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 36
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taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 7:29:04 AM
RE Msg: 2 by Ubiquitous.:
But this is not the case for a man. A man can coerce you. A man may initiate force upon you. Especially one with a gun and a blue uniform. One who -- if you do not pay money to the organization that funds his paycheck -- will be sent to your door to take money from you. And if you attempt to protect yourself from this theft, you will be thrown into a steel cage. And if you try to leave said cage, you will be shot.

This is the reality of the state.

The state is rooted in force. Those who comprise the state wield violence to maintain it's rules. It does not submit itself to persuasion and voluntary choice. It uses brute force to achieve it' ends.

Even if "the people" control the state -- which is not entirely clearly -- that does not excuse or justify violence. Violence is not made right by popularity.

Statists believe that it is virtuous and practical to use violence to solve social problems. I believe the opposite. That violence is neither virtuous nor practical.
Fair enough. However, even according to statists, an armed official of the government may not act on you without your prior permission. If you are attacked by 10 young men, who are robbing you, and kicking you, until you are dead, then the police may not intervene, unless there is tacit permission, and so, it is the same right of violence that you claim hurts you, that protects you from criminals.

Think what would happen in America if you took away the right to use violence. The prisons could not hold people in, as their right to control criminals comes from the same right. All the criminals would empty on the streets, with all the drug dealers, rapists, muggers, thieves, murderers, you name it. They'd go and break into gun shops, take the weapons, and then go into the rich communities and steal, rape and kill. With so many, many criminals, many, many poor people would be flooding with them. They would seriously outnumber the rich people in those areas, and their private security people on top. You couldn't even rely on advanced weaponry, as these people already deal with bigger disadvantages than that, and the police cannot even hold them back from selling drugs. It would be a total massacre of every rich person in America.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 37
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 9:19:21 AM
And still...a whole lot of what's "wrong" but not many meaningful suggestions of how to do it "right."

Why am I not surprised?
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 38
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History
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 12:43:49 PM
Not Mike Holmes

You are right. The lower the price, the higher the demand. Where the two meet is where prices tend to be.

But notice how I said on the aggregate. Without central banking credit expansion/money printing, prices tend to go down, on the whole, in a free economy. This... is not just a theory. Look at historical price data. The only times aggregate price levels have increased in the US have been during inflationary times (mainly in times of war and ever since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913).

When the money supply is more or less static, and new products and services are added to the economy, prices go down. This has the effect of lifting the buying power of wages and of savings.







dalane75

Thank you for not dismissing me outright. Direct taxes are bad for an economy... but they are even worse politically. Politicians do not gain popularity by taxing people. But they do get popular by spending money on them.

...and that's where the Federal Reserve system comes in. It prints the money that the government spends, but isn't taxed. This, of course, comes at a cost. That cost is a lost buying power of the wages and savings from the rest of the economy.



As for the social contract, if it is a legitimate Socratic contract, why does the state resort to imprisonment for non-violent criminals? "If you import too much steel from over seas, we will fine you. If you do not pay this fine, we will imprison you?" If modern states really were Athenian-like, why wouldn't they simply deport these non-violent outlaws from the land?

"If you broadcast a television show to compete with Fox news, we will fine you and tell you to stop. If you do not comply with both of these, we will throw you in prison." "If you do not pay the taxes we set for you to fund our corporate subsidies, international wars, banking oligopoly, broadcast media cartel, limited liability, etc, we will imprison you." "If we find you carrying more than an 28 grams of this particular green plant on you, we will arrest you and throw you into prison for 6-18 months".

...these rules are all backed by state agents initiating force onto citizens. If these comprise a legitimate contract, then why not simply deport these people from the land, remove their social security ID , etc?

That would obviously be the less violent, less costly thing to do.


Lastly, on distributing wealth to the poor, it seems to me you left out two important points: " should also add that raising the taxes on the rich, and redistributing that wealth to the bottom, would decrease the wealth of the rich, while increasing the wealth of the poor, so reducing the difference in power. "

1) Increasing taxes on the rich -- higher income taxes, luxury taxes, etc -- reduces economic investment. This is empirical fact,verified hundreds of times over. The exceptions are few. Lowering income taxes increases investment.

Investment is what provides paychecks, 401ks, job security, new industry, and adds more resources to the economy to be distributed among its participants. Reduced investment has a profoundly long-term negative impact on the poor.



2) There is enormous overhead associated with wealth that is taxed for redistributive purposes. The paychecks of all the IRS, social workers, welfare agents, and other state employees (and their pensions), must be accounted for. These costs, literally come out of the wealth that is taxed. What is left over and is not spent in corruptly is handed over, intended to be collected by the poor.




So, with redistribution programs, some money is redistributed at the expense of investment. I emphasize "some" because there have been a number of very careful studies that show a very low ratio of money that is spent on overhead/money that ends up in middle/upper class hands, and money that actually makes its way to the poor. Moreover, there are good reasons to believe that the incentives provided by a welfare-type system work against promoting long-term independence by those receiving government payments. That they encourage families to break up, they encourage mothers to have children, and they discourage people from taking a job (and thereby gaining skills, experience, and value to other potential employers) that may pay the same or even a little less than welfare payments.


And remember... if income taxes are not increased, but the government still spends the money on welfare, then that will simply cause inflation. And inflation hurts the poor the most. This is exactly what's been going on for the past several decades... where income taxes have remained modest, but redistribution spending has increased dramatically. What do we find? Poverty rates increasing.

That fact alone negates the proposition that "if more money is spent on redistribution, the more money the poor will have".





scorpiomover

There are less than a million police officers in the United States. We have more accountants, for crying out loud. Are you really suggesting that without this thin blue line of, "America's finest" all social order would collapse? That people do not naturally organize and do not cooperate on their own without coercive force?

This is matter of factly not true. We know from sociology and we know from real-world examples that human civilization experience spontaneous order. Order does not come from state control.

What you are proposing -- "without the state, there will be chaos!" -- is neither a logical or factual argument. It is in fact not supported by the evidence.

This is the most common misconception held by people with regards to a stateless society. I held it too. But the fact is, if you actually take the time to honestly look into what I'm talking about, to actually do some research with an open mind rather than to resort to fear-mongering propagated by received assumptions, then you'll find that many of your preconceptions are incorrect. That is precisely what I found.

Governments to not create order. People do. People have and do organize without violent coercion. There is plenty of evidence for this. Governments merely reflect the values of people, be it religiosity, the belief in a divine right of a nobility, communalism, or violence. People today, literally, value using violence against non-violent individuals who disagree with on political grounds. They consider this to be virtuous. At the same time, people reject the use of violence. They do not want "blood on their hands" so to speak. The state is a product of this paradox, justifying itself through "voting", propaganda about being "the will of the people" and the virtue of state activities. These, literally, excuse the violence of the state in the minds of citizens. If we are told -- and because the state is a projection of ourselves, we tell ourselves -- that throwing a man in jail for broadcasting a television program to compete with Fox News without a state official's permission is virtue, we will not view that action as violent, even if it is by definition.

We know for a fact this mechanism takes place. This is precisely what hid the violence of the Holocaust from the German people, and excused the use of violence. Even though the actions were by definition violent (and counterproductive to economic and social prosperity), they were seen as virtuous by the German people.

Are we really so different? Is this really how we achieve the maximum freedom and prosperity? By electing men with guns to run a system fraught with corporate influence to use violence against us and foreigners to force compliance with rules?

We know from history that slavery is counterproductive to voluntary contracting. That people are more productive and that the goals of the slave AND the slave owner are better reached when both parties voluntarily interact. That slavery is only maintained to the extent the people do not view it as violent. That when slavery is seen as violent, it collapses for economic reasons, falling to the vastly more productive interaction of voluntary cooperation.

Look at the news today. Look at how state regulation on the private sector has increased astronomically over the past 4 decades, but the problems of income disparity, pollution, only get worse.

Notice how the war on drugs literally finances organized crime and is responsible, in the US, for over half of our prison population... the highest of any nation in the world.

Is this really the best way to get people to cooperate peacefully? Isn't that what we want?





Stargazer

As I stated openly inthe Pragmatic realities thread, I believe the "solution" is to 1) encourage the family to act with integrity 2) to expose the violence behind the state (people naturally reject violence) and 3) to propagate an understanding of economics in order to correct people's misunderstandings of history and to do away with their irrational fears of business, profit, money, markets, and other natural human activities.

The belief in the divine right of a monarchy was ended not from "within the system", but from an age of enlightenment. Ideas spread and "the peoeple" grew out of that belief. The same holds true for abject slavery. It was abandoned around the world was ended almost universally by an intellectual growth and the free interaction of people. The same holds true for female suffrage, corporal punishment for children in education, and on and on and on.

If statism will end -- and I believe it will -- it will be in this way.

Integrity is impossible between two people who claim to love each other, to hold themselves as each other's highest values, but to simultaneously believe that it is virtuous for violence to be used against the other if they act non-violently. That literally means the two value the brutal system of violence above the other person.

The pleasure of integrity is profound. Living in complete honesty with someone -- hiding no secret, opinion, or belief from them -- and knowing that that person values you above all else is, I believe, the single most satisfying human experience possible. Promoting this, encouraging integrity, I believe is what will call for our next enlightenment. It must start in the family. If parents do not act with integrity towards their children, their children almost certainly will not act in integrity with their friends, their spouse, or their own children.

A lack of integrity is what excuses violence, and masks it as virtue.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 39
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 2:38:26 PM

As I stated openly inthe Pragmatic realities thread, I believe the "solution" is to 1) encourage the family to act with integrity 2) to expose the violence behind the state (people naturally reject violence) and 3) to propagate an understanding of economics in order to correct people's misunderstandings of history and to do away with their irrational fears of business, profit, money, markets, and other natural human activities.


Not surprisingly, the typical "fuzzy" recommendations. Might as well have just said "be nice to one another." The typical B.S. follows.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 40
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History
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 3:26:49 PM
More like, "stop deluding yourself into thinking supporting laws against non-violent 'crimes' is anything other than an expression of violence"

But leave it to the "scientist" to reply to valid analysis of current political philosophy and historical trends with dismissive sarcasm.






...this is precisely what maintains (and destroys) states. The kings of the past did not have the resources to maintain the kingdom by force. The kingdom was maintained by the belief of the people that the king was virtuous. Dissidents who spoke out against the king were not attacked by the king's agents. They were attacked and sold-out by the people: the dissidents' fellow serfs. The moment these people accepted the idea that the king was not virtuous -- the dissidents' belief -- the monarchy fell and freedom expanded.

Those who work for the modern state do not maintain it themselves. It is the fellow "citizens" who attack those who speak out against the state. It is they who believe it is virtuous to vote-for and fund the activities of people who manage the infliction of violence against non-violent people who act in peaceful ways inconsistent with the political agenda of the majority.

The moment this is viewed by the people to be violent, not virtue, the state will fall. And freedom will expand.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 41
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 3:31:45 PM

But leave it to the "scientist" to reply to valid analysis of current political philosophy and historical trends with dismissive sarcasm.


Okay, little boy, then offer us something substantial rather than the usual Aynrandroid BS. Or do you think your devotion to this quasi-religious nonsense is anything other than pathetic self-importance.

I'm sure you'll grow up...eventually.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 42
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History
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 3:39:43 PM
As I have told you before, Ayn Rand was a statist and did not support a stateless society. Your belief that my political positioning is a result of her work is indicative of your (literal) ignorance of this topic. That you literally do not know what you're talking about and have never once explored this area of political philosophy seriously or with an open mind. And your continual bigoted attacks are indicative of a mind bent on intellectual dishonesty rather than a natural curiosity for truth.


My position isn't mystical. It is based on reason and evidence. The ideology that those who comprise the state are not violent is what's mystical and lacks basis in reason.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 43
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 3:46:33 PM

My position isn't mystical. It is based on reason and evidence. The ideology that those who comprise the state are not violent is what's mystical and lacks basis in reason.


What I have, junior, is a functional BS meter and, so far, this thread has been nothing but a big steaming pile of it.

I'll say it again...give us something "substantial" to discuss. Not vague generalizations and proclamations about the "evils of the state." I know it makes you sound smart, but after a while, it just raises the same old stench.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 44
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taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 3:54:58 PM

What I have, junior, is a functional BS meter

You mean "conformity meter".

I do not conform to your agenda, so you are trying to persuade (with hilarious, blatant bigotry, not reason).

That's fine. Persuasion accounts for so much of human interaction.


Thing is, I would never dream of using violence to prevent you from acting on your beliefs. Will you grant me the same respect?

Or do you support the use violence against me?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 45
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taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 4:05:57 PM
RE Msg: 47 by Ubiquitous.:
There are less than a million police officers in the United States. We have more accountants, for crying out loud. Are you really suggesting that without this thin blue line of, "America's finest" all social order would collapse? That people do not naturally organize and do not cooperate on their own without coercive force?

This is matter of factly not true. We know from sociology and we know from real-world examples that human civilization experience spontaneous order. Order does not come from state control.

What you are proposing -- "without the state, there will be chaos!" -- is neither a logical or factual argument. It is in fact not supported by the evidence.

This is the most common misconception held by people with regards to a stateless society. I held it too. But the fact is, if you actually take the time to honestly look into what I'm talking about, to actually do some research with an open mind rather than to resort to fear-mongering propagated by received assumptions, then you'll find that many of your preconceptions are incorrect. That is precisely what I found.

Governments to not create order. People do. People have and do organize without violent coercion. There is plenty of evidence for this. Governments merely reflect the values of people, be it religiosity, the belief in a divine right of a nobility, communalism, or violence.
I understand well enough, how people often co-operate without coercion. I've lived in enough communities and visited enough communities, and been involved in enough industries, to understand how the process does and doesn't work. But what many anti-statists don't understand, is that nearly always, the very existence of the state, and the state's coercive measures, have been induced by the people, because they people already tried to organise themselves, tried many solutions, and found that the best way to get the best co-operation, was by either setting up a central agency that occasionally coerces its members, or to induce a central agency in such coercion.

Accountancy is a classic example, because there are many industries, including accountancy, in which there are central organisations to which every company or individual in that industry belongs, and must adhere to its rules, or face exclusion from the industry.

Even when it comes to the police, many people don't realise how it developed, that it only really started being developed from the 1700s onwards. England had been around as a united country for 700 years before they had any sort of an organised and fair police force. It only really developed as the country became much more organised, and it became clearer and clearer that more and more people wanted such a force to protect them from crime.

Other examples are the laws against sexual harrassment, which was a big problem in the 60s and the 70s for men and women. They pushed for change in the corporate world. But corporations were not willing to reveal act on harrassment, in case it became public knowledge, as it would make the company look bad, and that might cause people to stop buying those company's products. So the people called for the state to act, to force companies to take responsibility. Once that happened, then companies proscripted sexual harrassment much further than the law demanded, to ensure they didn't have to get to the point at which it might make the company look bad.

The fact is, that quite often, what we call "statist" actions, are actually actions that the people WANT done by the state, because they HAVE tried to do it themselves, and couldn't get it to work for themselves, but felt that it was very important, and that they COULD get the state to accomplish what they had not.

People today, literally, value using violence against non-violent individuals who disagree with on political grounds. They consider this to be virtuous. At the same time, people reject the use of violence. They do not want "blood on their hands" so to speak.
That is not a virtue, if it disagrees with their own values. However, quite often, it happens that the majority of the people in your country, want to control others, and wish to use violence against them, but in ways that disagrees with their moral values. But in that case, it's not a case of the people want one thing, and the state wants another. It's the state fulfilling the wishes of the people.

The state is a product of this paradox, justifying itself through "voting", propaganda about being "the will of the people" and the virtue of state activities.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about the paradox in his essay on liberty. What he explains, is not what we might think. He points out, quite accurately, that people want choice, but they also don't want to have to make that choice for themselves, and that is an inherent contradiction. That is a contradiction in the nature of PEOPLE, for people still make that same contradiction, in their lives, in many ways.

People decide to do what their friends want to do, all the time. We call it peer pressure. People decide to do what their leaders want, even when their leaders say it's up to them. If they have no leaders, they still appoint them, even randomly, if no better method can be found. The Russian Revolution and the French Revolution were both revolutions of the PEOPLE, to become countries ruled by the people themselves. Yet even in those situations, the people looked to leaders like Lenin, Robespierre, and later Napoleon, and accepted the laws and edicts of the Communist Party and the Committee of Public Safety, even though they were far more violently brutal than their predecessors.

People look to leaders, so they can have choice, but without having to make it. The paradox of the state, is the paradox of leadership, that people want you to do the things that they themselves want to have the choice to do, but don't want to actually do, even when abrogating that decision, means removing the choice to make it.

So you cannot escape the problem, by removing the state. The only way you can remove the problem, is by getting EVERYONE to decide to make their choices for themselves, or to have no more people. It's a SOCIAL problem, not a politicial one.

These, literally, excuse the violence of the state in the minds of citizens. If we are told -- and because the state is a projection of ourselves, we tell ourselves -- that throwing a man in jail for broadcasting a television program to compete with Fox News without a state official's permission is virtue, we will not view that action as violent, even if it is by definition.
Actually, the sad truth is, that most of us may not like such control, but we don't want to live with the consequences of letting the media be truly free. We LIKE that the media is controlled. It means that it forms a semi-consistent, biased, view, one that appeals to us emotionally, and allows us to avoid facing the things that make us uncomfortable.

We know for a fact this mechanism takes place. This is precisely what hid the violence of the Holocaust from the German people, and excused the use of violence. Even though the actions were by definition violent (and counterproductive to economic and social prosperity), they were seen as virtuous by the German people.
Afraid not. I was present when someone I knew quite well, and was a man who spoke the truth, spoke on Kristalnacht. He had been to Germany, and investigated the matter for himself, by speaking to those who were there. He assured us, that he had gotten to know these people well enough to be sure, that everyone who was there on that night, knew exactly what would happen. On Kristalnacht, there were no Germans "following orders". It was the people.

Even in North-Eastern Europe, the Nazis didn't start out by killing the Jews there. They simply marched into each town, and told the police to declare that they would be going on holiday for a few days, out of town, and if any Jews got killed in that time, the killers would be let alone. There were numerous cases of decapitations, mass murders, burnings, thing that are absolutely horrific. But these were NOT Nazis doing these atrocities. These were the people.

It's no different than when a fight breaks out in the playground. The majority don't try to stop it. This we understand. But we at least expect they disapprove, or show a passing curiosity. But kids do something different in our playgrounds. They yell "Fight! Fight!" They taunt those fighting, as if it's a boxing match. They delight in the violence of it.

The problem we don't like to face, is that when murders happen, we are usually going "Fight! Fight!" We watch violent sports, because we like being violent. We just don't want to admit that deep down, most of us would love to slit someone's throat, for fun.

Most of us are NOT mass-murderers. Most of us would not kill, if it would hurt us in the process. But if it doesn't hurt us, then it's something we can enjoy without loss, and why would anyone deny themselves pleasure?

Are we really so different?
No. But don't confuse matters. The German relationship to the Nazis, ws the same as the Roman relationship to the Gladiators, and our relationship to sportsmen in boxing, American football, and other violent sports.

Is this really how we achieve the maximum freedom and prosperity?
No. But as I am quite sure that you realise, it doesn't matter what you know, or claim to do. It matters what you do. To achieve the maximum of freedom and prosperity, can only come, when each person seeks to do what they already believe they should. It requires self-control, of every person within society, to do as they believe they ought, and to not just do what they desire that is harmful to themselves and others.

By electing men with guns to run a system fraught with corporate influence to use violence against us and foreigners to force compliance with rules?
We don't. We elect men without guns to make our decisions for us, by our own choices. Then they use men with guns to fulfil those choices. But WE chose to elect those politicians in the first place, mostly to make decisions we could have made ourselves, but didn't want to.

We know from history that slavery is counterproductive to voluntary contracting. That people are more productive and that the goals of the slave AND the slave owner are better reached when both parties voluntarily interact. That slavery is only maintained to the extent the people do not view it as violent. That when slavery is seen as violent, it collapses for economic reasons, falling to the vastly more productive interaction of voluntary cooperation.
Actually, that's not quite true. When the American Civil War was over, and slavery in the South was abolished, and the slaves were freed, most of them went BACK to their previous masters. No-one would do that, if they had been mistreated, or even just not been treated all that great. You'd find something else to do.

If you feel that you are treated well, you are happy in your situation. If you are NOT treated well, then you complain to your employer, or leave for a different job. Your only problem with that, is if you are not free to leave. Slavery is only a problem when it is accompanied by maltreatment.

Most people associate one with the other. But maltreatment still occurs, even when people have the choice to leave their job. The real problem most people have with slavery, is that maltreatment is so common, that if slavery exists, it is almost bound to come with maltreatment. However, that too is a misnomer, for there are quite a few employers who treat their employees well. In reality, you will only imagine what you can see, and your first imaginings are therefore your first choices, the things you want to do the most. The reality is that so many see slavery as evil, because those same people would maltreat others as soon as they got a chance to, where the other person could not escape. We hate slavery, because it is in our hearts, to be the most evil of slavers, and that is the only reason we hate slavery, because we are the evil ones.

It was believed that a complete ban on slavery would kill the problem. But all it did was turn it into other forms, wage slavery, debt slavery, where you are so dependent on your wages, or so indebted, that you feel you have no choice, but to submit to your employer's or lender's whims.

The matter of slavery is a matter of control, that others in some ways are controlled by you, and that in other ways, they control you, and that people abuse that power they have over others, to maltreat them. That is the essence of the problem. But everyone is controlled by others, and controls others. Even the CEO of a company is controlled by his shareholders, and the shareholders are controlled by their wives and children, and so on. So it again is a social problem, if the people are willing to not abuse those who they have power and control over.

Look at the news today. Look at how state regulation on the private sector has increased astronomically over the past 4 decades, but the problems of income disparity, pollution, only get worse.
Interesting that you mention this, because in the UK, the income disparity only started showing up in the last 10 years, when Labour relaxed control of the private sector in corporate taxes and other income-related matters, and only increased regulation about health and safety rules and employee rules. The consequences have caused a massive shake-up of the economy. Now, the mom-and-pop businesses are put out of business, because they cannot afford the overheads for things like health and safety. But the overheads of health and safety are nothing compared to the much larger profits that large corporations stand to make with the relaxation of income-related regulations. So the overall tendency has been to squeeze small, family-oriented businesses out, in favour of large corporations.

There is an equal effect on the personal level. In the 60s and 70s, there were very high entry requirements for university. But the fees were paid for by the state, and so was a maintenance grant. So in that time, if you were of average intelligence, you couldn't get to go to university, unless your parents bought your way in, and even then, they couldn't influence your exam results. But if you were from a poor family, but had drive and intelligence, the way was clear for you to go to university, and to become a highly-paid professional. In the last 40 years since, there has been a drive for everyone to go to university. That has meant that the state could provide less and less funding for each student, until we are now reaching the point where the state is not paying for you at all. As a result, the rich idiotic kids can afford to go to university, and can pass the exams to get a degree. The poor super-smart kids can still go. But their degree is now only showing they are of at least average intelligence, and now, they have to pay for it all. So the changes have meant that a degree is now about how much money your parents have, and not how smart you are.

The prima facie evidence has been to promote the average person. But the secondary facia consequences of those decisions, has meant that only the rich can afford to take advantage of those greater opportunities, turning our societies from meritocracies into oligarchies. It is a reversal of the destruction of the class system.

The state regulation is not the issue. It is in how it has been used, to promote support of everyone's rights, but only in ways that ensure that only the very wealthy can afford to use them to their benefit.

Removing those regulations changes nothing, as the problem is not with the amount, but the proportion of regulations that end up favouring the rich over the poor.

Notice how the war on drugs literally finances organized crime and is responsible, in the US, for over half of our prison population... the highest of any nation in the world.
Channel4 did 3 documentaries on the war on drugs in the last month. The poor get routinely arrested for possession and supply. But the vast majority of drug dealers are selling to rich, white kids, and it's the rich, white kids, the kids of the rich, who are mostly being left untouched by law enforcement. The system hasn't changed, because the people don't want it to. The rich don't want to have their children arrested for drug possession, as that would show their kids are taking coke all the time, even more than the poor people do. The poor don't want to be treated equally to the rich, as that would mean they would have no-one to blame for their miserable lives. No-one really wants equality all that much. Equality means everyone taking responsibility for their actions.

Is this really the best way to get people to cooperate peacefully?
Edward Banfield examined every strata of society. Surprisingly, he found that wealth, background, education, and a whole host of other factors, did not have anything to do with upwards socio-economic mobility. The one most reliable predictor of social and economic upward mobility in America, was long-term perspective, planning for the future, and nothing else.

Isn't that what we want?
Most of us don't want that. If we require that we all get along, and then your live turns out to be sh*t, then it's your fault. You did it to yourself. Most people, rich AND poor, would rather not face that.

If they DID face that the things that happen to them are their fault, then they'd not be passing the buck anymore, in which case, there would be no point in passing decisions onto others either. So most people would make their own decisions for most of the things in their lives. If that happened, then the state would cease to exist, simply because people would be already doing what the state would normally be asked to legislate for, and so the police, judges, lawyers, and politicians, would simply find they have absolutely nothing to do.

Taxes could no longer be demanded, as they would only be paying for providing services that would already be provided by the people themselves. You cannot argue for taxes to fix the roads if the people get out and fix the roads themselves. You cannot ask people to pay for police, if they police themselves, and there is thus no crimes to police. Public officials would be bored sh*tless. Half of them would leave, just to find something less boring to do. The rest would find they could not reasonably demand to pay for taxes, to pay for their jobs, when they are never being asked to do anything in the first place. So they'd get sick of asking for money that is transparently unjustifiable, and seek alternative more productive employment.

The problem is that all this comes from the people as a whole. It's dependent on what people do. As long as the people choose to mostly be responsible, there is no state, as any state that exists becomes superfluous. But as long as the people choose to mostly act irresponsibly if not kept in line, there remains a very strong need to have a state to keep them in line, even if it fails miserably at the task, because removing the state, doesn't solve the problem.

This is the same problem Ayn Rand had. The necessity of force from the state, is a de facto consequence of irresponsible attitudes of the majority, and the only solution, is the for the majority to choose to take a responsible attitude. But you cannot force the people to act responsibly. It's a matter of free will. To get your and Ayn Rand's society, requires a paradigm shift in the consciousness of the people, that no-one can make happen, except for the people themselves. Till then, it's a waiting game.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 46
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taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 4:10:42 PM
Anyways, if you ever decide to open your mind to this area of political philosophy and actually give it a chance, I would encourage you to watch this 9 minute video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLCEXtpTNYU

I think it's up your ally. It compares the history of astronomy to one aspect of modern statism.




...remember, giving an idea a fair chance doesn't mean you have to adopt it. It just means you're acting with intellectual honesty.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 47
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taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 4:25:18 PM
scorpiomover

You bring up some great points. I think we could have a very fulfilling conversation.

Do you have a microphone on your laptop/desktop? If so, would you be open to a conversation on skype sometime?

We could even record it and post it here!

I just find this medium limited when we get into this level of detail on an issue as complex as political philosophy.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 48
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 4:32:17 PM

Or do you support the use violence against me?


Please feel free to quote where I have advocated the use of violence. Just one where I have openly indicated the need for violence.

And while you're at it...how about one single substantial example of an alternative.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 49
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taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/23/2010 5:39:01 PM
Stargazer


quote where I have advocated the use of violence. Just one where I have openly indicated the need for violence.

If violence is the initiation of force, and the state initiates force upon non-violent individuals to enforce non-violent "crimes", then the state is violent. Therefore, supporting the state is advocating violence.

This is a valid syllogism.





And while you're at it...how about one single substantial example of an alternative.

A stateless society. A society without institutionalized violence.

The economy would still exist, as most of it is based on resources and emergent phenomena natural to human psychology, even to the degree it has been manipulated by the state. So you would still get your food, your car, your home. And those services provided by the state that are important enough will be provided by competitive firms vying for your business rather than propped up by a monopoly of violence supported by the forceful extraction of money.

You can't expect me to detail exactly what a stateless society would look like. Even the philosophers who denounced the acts of the king as evil could not envision how society would look after the fall of the monarchy. But their inability to see the future did not .

There are a whole slew of works describing how a stateless society might be organized. It takes an open mind.. and an understanding of human psychology and of economics.. to see which are viable.
 dalane75
Joined: 3/20/2009
Msg: 50
taxes as mutual exchange-the logical conclusion of Ayn Rand
Posted: 8/24/2010 12:31:56 AM
Ubi



As for the social contract, if it is a legitimate Socratic contract, why does the state resort to imprisonment for non-violent criminals?...If these comprise a legitimate contract, then why not simply deport these people from the land, remove their social security ID , etc?


including


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLCEXtpTNYU


Let me begin by first commenting on the video as that it will lead into commenting on the above quote. What the postee of the video assumes, is that society, in its complexity neglects the center of society which is the non-aggression principle. However, the non-aggression principle, similarly stated oddly with a few of the ten commandments, was created out of the necessity of violations of that principle. The moral law had to have power over the people. The problem is that the moral law is a social phenomena, and does not exist in nature so power had to be imposed to enforce the law. As it developed during the enlightenment, morality was substituted as rights where morality was no longer attempted to be based on nature itself (natural law) but rested on the rights either given to it by the state, bestowed upon by a god, the social contract as opposed to the state of nature (both good or bad), etc. In many ways, Rouseau, Smith, Voltaire, Jefferson, etc can be seen as attempting to establish a relationship of morality and rights and so the relationship between the government and its citizens and citizens to citizens.

The problem however, is that the non-aggression principle can only be applied if it is aggressively enforced. As the non-aggression principle only applies if the right to property exists, given that if there was no such thing as property then there is nothing towards which to be aggressive, right to property created a slew of problems that called for greater control. Today we see it as 24 hour police patrol and security guards in private businesses; cameras on the streets and in the stores; selling of our private information to other entities; found in the gated communities, fences, car and house alarms; it exists as expected moral behavior, family structure, sexuality, social networking, health, prepping for interviews and school exams, etc. (A case in point, is your reference to your label "non-violent criminal")

It evolved into this for a few reasons. As Locke hinted at, property does not exist in the state of nature but only after one adds labor to the material available. Labor eventually becomes one of the fundamental justifications for right to property. The state must then become interested in labor itself to sustain the right to property. The question becomes not only how to protect labor, but how to also create greater opportunities to labor. The state creates such institutions that promote the opportunity to labor through first training in schools, by removing the sick to hospitals, nursing homes, and mental institutions so that care is placed outside the family, and society at the individual level is the orchestration of such events. As Foucualt said (since this is a cheap, and I mean cheap version of what he argued) power begins from the bottom and moves up. Individuals want the right to property, to have it protected, greater opportunities to labor, and make a living.

I think this is where the libertarians and communists both fall within the same divide. Libertarians argue that property belongs to the individual, where communists root property on the state. In both property is produced by labor and transforms the individual and by extension the state (since power works from the bottom up) to slaves of both property and labor. The justification and purpose of the individual becomes its labor, where the state is derived from property. Thus both systems are oppressive and requires aggression to sustain it.

In a state of anarchy, property does not exist as there is no right to property since there are no rights in nature. Attempting to establish rights in nature succumbs to the same problems as basing morality in nature. Both nature and rights are social conventions created by a society. This is the essentially the cost of living in a society...its right to property and labor...functioning and acting. This serves as the right to your 'violence' by the state. As modern states exist under this rubric of justification, imprisonment becomes necessary by virtue that the complexity of the relationship between property and labor, the state and the individual, excludes other states from taking the original state's deviants except under special conditions. To evaluate those conditions consists in the amount of labor one will perform and the cost of protecting their property. The non-tax payer costs by demanding protection of property, the embezzler by requiring greater oversight to protect other's property , the leisure deviant through lack of labor contribution (stereotyped as you are aware), etc. So the state is justified in its actions.

I like to think, however, so that I avoid being a slave to property and my labor that a quote from Nietzsche is useful to apply:

"The inclination to depreciate himself, to let himself be robbed, lied to, and taken advantage of, could be the modesty of a god among men."

I will respond later on the other comments.
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