Dear Libertarians, A serious question for serious times

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT
 

Overly dramatic title? Check

I have a question for the 'Libertarians' here on the escapist, particularly the american flavor of them. Why does your party and/or vein of political thought equate the ability to amass ungodly sums of money with liberty?

[No arguments about what the word libertarian actually means please. I'm well familiar with it being a libertarian socialist (mutualist anarchist)]

I'm a fanatical lolbertarian. I strongly support the idea that everybody should have fun and laugh without the government regulating exactly how one should laugh.


Oh, ontopic comments? Eh... not so much. Historically the libertarians came from the class of rich industrialists who tried to protect their unparalled riches when society began to change. Those were different times, you had the industrialists, and under that wasn't really much. The middle class was fairly small, and the workers were poor in a way we can't even imagine.

Myself I see libertarianism mostly as a continuation of that manner of thinking; they mostly (ab)use the idea of liberty to protect and advance their own interests. One of my biggest problems with liberterians is that their views often curtail the freedom of others.

"A Libertarian is just a Republican who takes drugs." - Rev. Bob Black

I'm a Libertarian, and I think that if a person works hard and gets on top, they do deserve all the money they make. Now, I don't think Money should be considered Free Speech at all, and I think that the Constitution needs to add that as an amendment. However, I do believe that people are entitled to money if they have worked hard all their lives. Now, obviously, there are those who simply inherited there money; thus, I believe there should be an Inheritance tax on the very wealthy Americans. I also support Income Tax in America, and because of the huge financial crisis America is in right now, we should slightly increase it. However, I do believe the Rich should stay Rich, and that we should not tax them to death.

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Since making money allows you to get things, then making Money is a Pursuit of Happiness, and thus, of Liberty.

Mr.Mattress:
I'm a Libertarian, and I think that if a person works hard

I'm a Patriopsychotic Anerchomaterialist and I think that if someone 'works hard', they're probably NOT MAKING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, they're probably digging ditches or something. And if someone's rich, they probably as not didn't 'work hard' for it. (See Bush, George, Bush, also George, Hilton, Paris, and all of Sam Walton's kids.)

Mr.Mattress:
I'm a Libertarian, and I think that if a person works hard and gets on top, they do deserve all the money they make. Now, I don't think Money should be considered Free Speech at all, and I think that the Constitution needs to add that as an amendment. However, I do believe that people are entitled to money if they have worked hard all their lives. Now, obviously, there are those who simply inherited there money; thus, I believe there should be an Inheritance tax on the very wealthy Americans. I also support Income Tax in America, and because of the huge financial crisis America is in right now, we should slightly increase it. However, I do believe the Rich should stay Rich, and that we should not tax them to death.

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Since making money allows you to get things, then making Money is a Pursuit of Happiness, and thus, of Liberty.

there is an inheritance tax, any amount of money inherited or gifted that exceeds 250,000$ is taxed by 50%

arbane:

Mr.Mattress:
I'm a Libertarian, and I think that if a person works hard

I'm a Patriopsychotic Anerchomaterialist and I think that if someone 'works hard', they're probably NOT MAKING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, they're probably digging ditches or something. And if someone's rich, they probably as not didn't 'work hard' for it. (See Bush, George, Bush, also George, Hilton, Paris, and all of Sam Walton's kids.)

I addressed this issue, and someone has told me that there is indeed an Inheritance tax;

keiskay:

Mr.Mattress:
I'm a Libertarian, and I think that if a person works hard and gets on top, they do deserve all the money they make. Now, I don't think Money should be considered Free Speech at all, and I think that the Constitution needs to add that as an amendment. However, I do believe that people are entitled to money if they have worked hard all their lives. Now, obviously, there are those who simply inherited there money; thus, I believe there should be an Inheritance tax on the very wealthy Americans. I also support Income Tax in America, and because of the huge financial crisis America is in right now, we should slightly increase it. However, I do believe the Rich should stay Rich, and that we should not tax them to death.

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Since making money allows you to get things, then making Money is a Pursuit of Happiness, and thus, of Liberty.

there is an inheritance tax, any amount of money inherited or gifted that exceeds 250,000$ is taxed by 50%

I thank you for letting me know. I wouldn't be against raising it to 65%

Plus, there are those who did work hard to get where they are. Bill Gates; Shigeru Myamoto; Most the Actors and Actresses of Hollywood (Although not all of them obviously); Countless Internet Celebrities; and several people in Politics.

Free market economics is actually detromential to getting obscene amounts of wealth. If the market was truly free, staying rich and keeping the largest company would be very, VERY difficult, since new businesses are constantly popping up to challenge the big boys. I cannot even begin to count the amount of regulations that actually make it easier for a tiny few companies to be able to sit happily and let the government stop new competition from sprouting up and challenging them.

What's wrong with making "ungodly sums of money". If you do (legal) work that someone feels is worth that giant pile of cash, good for you. You earned it, and it doesn't matter what anyone else says. Be it luck, playing your cards right, or anything else, you made it. Good for you. It's just jealousy and envy, and I don't think those are emotions we need to base legislation on.

Not G. Ivingname:
Free market economics is actually detromential to getting obscene amounts of wealth. If the market was truly free, staying rich and keeping the largest company would be very, VERY difficult, since new businesses are constantly popping up to challenge the big boys. I cannot even begin to count the amount of regulations that actually make it easier for a tiny few companies to be able to sit happily and let the government stop new competition from sprouting up and challenging them.

Sure in meny sectors of an economy in the Adam Smith utopia (where everyone is a homo economicus and the government does next to nothing etc.) then this could work. But there do exist secters that have falling marginal costs (water and oil-suply are good examples). Falling marginal costs in a perfect free market economy WILL LEAD to monopolys and there is nothing you can do about it.

Aris Khandr:
What's wrong with making "ungodly sums of money". If you do (legal) work that someone feels is worth that giant pile of cash, good for you. You earned it, and it doesn't matter what anyone else says. Be it luck, playing your cards right, or anything else, you made it. Good for you. It's just jealousy and envy, and I don't think those are emotions we need to base legislation on.

I believe your oversimplifying this so let my suggest a quandary to you,

"Surely a man is entitled to the sweat of his brow but is one man entitled to sweat of another man's brow?"

The problem with modern "capitalism" is that it makes other people entitled the fruits of your labour through the wage system (You commonly see socialists and other dissenters of all stripes refer to this as wage-slavery).

Aris Khandr:
What's wrong with making "ungodly sums of money". If you do (legal) work that someone feels is worth that giant pile of cash, good for you. You earned it, and it doesn't matter what anyone else says. Be it luck, playing your cards right, or anything else, you made it. Good for you. It's just jealousy and envy, and I don't think those are emotions we need to base legislation on.

No, no it isn't. Part of the problem is that thanks to the Miracle of Compound Interest, money flows UPHILL towards more money, resulting in ever-increasing weath-concentration. So, if there's no taxation to get the money moving again, eventually a small fraction of the population will own all the wealth, which by amazing coincidence is exactly the situation we have NOW. Then there's the fact that our electoral system is horrendously corrupt, and renting a Congressman is an investment with a fantastic ROI.

Not G. Ivingname:
Free market economics is actually detromential to getting obscene amounts of wealth. If the market was truly free, staying rich and keeping the largest company would be very, VERY difficult, since new businesses are constantly popping up to challenge the big boys.

Ho fucking ho.

Like all those companies making new operating systems to compete with Microsoft? Or all the new power companies springing up to put up their own power-lines?

Look up the concept of 'barriers to entry', then get back to us on this.

(And Captcha says "pearly gates". Stop trying to drag religion into this, Cap.)

Imthatguy:
The problem with modern "capitalism" is that it makes other people entitled the fruits of your labour through the wage system (You commonly see socialists and other dissenters of all stripes refer to this as wage-slavery).

Nothing stops you or anyone else from working for yourself. 100% of my current income is from freelance sewing jobs. It doesn't make me rich, but it doesn't keep me too busy either. I could easily pick up more jobs if I wanted more money, but I prioritize my time with those I love more than money. My father put himself through school waiting tables, and now loses more of his income to taxes in a week than I'll make in a month. Ten years ago, I was legitimately homeless. Didn't have anything but the clothes I was wearing. Now, despite being technically unemployed, I'm living comfortably and generally happy.

Yes, money does tend to flow upward, but I believe that has a lot to do with the fact that money flows toward those who go after it. You're never going to get rich without initiative. Digging ditches and "wage-slavery" aren't the way to go, and never will be. If all you do is follow the line like everyone else, why are you surprised when you end up like everyone else?

The problem is that most people are scared. They have payments, they have dependents. They have a quality of life that they can't risk if the attempt to do something different fails. So they go to work every day, come home, and resent those that did make it. I had nothing left to lose. And that gave me the freedom to do something different. "Fortune favours the bold", they say, and it is true. Rather than hate those who have more, why not try taking a path that leads to more for yourself?

I think it largely plays into a just world fallacy about how hard work equates to success and a lack of understanding about the social and societal nature of economy and work.

Edit: See^

arbane:

Aris Khandr:
What's wrong with making "ungodly sums of money". If you do (legal) work that someone feels is worth that giant pile of cash, good for you. You earned it, and it doesn't matter what anyone else says. Be it luck, playing your cards right, or anything else, you made it. Good for you. It's just jealousy and envy, and I don't think those are emotions we need to base legislation on.

No, no it isn't. Part of the problem is that thanks to the Miracle of Compound Interest, money flows UPHILL towards more money, resulting in ever-increasing weath-concentration. So, if there's no taxation to get the money moving again, eventually a small fraction of the population will own all the wealth, which by amazing coincidence is exactly the situation we have NOW. Then there's the fact that our electoral system is horrendously corrupt, and renting a Congressman is an investment with a fantastic ROI.

Not G. Ivingname:
Free market economics is actually detromential to getting obscene amounts of wealth. If the market was truly free, staying rich and keeping the largest company would be very, VERY difficult, since new businesses are constantly popping up to challenge the big boys.

Ho fucking ho.

Like all those companies making new operating systems to compete with Microsoft? Or all the new power companies springing up to put up their own power-lines?

Look up the concept of 'barriers to entry', then get back to us on this.

(And Captcha says "pearly gates". Stop trying to drag religion into this, Cap.)

Wow, for once, I fully agree with Arbane completely. This is a rare sight.

But yeah, barriers to entry are so high for some of these industries that no one will even bother.

Aris Khandr:
snip

Well I salute you for making your own place in life. However society still compels you to enter the wage system via barrier of entry, not having any knowledge of how the marketplace works, and generally kicking your ass when you fail at what ever you set out to do (Which an unbelievably vast majority of private businesses do).

Not G. Ivingname:
Free market economics is actually detromential to getting obscene amounts of wealth. If the market was truly free, staying rich and keeping the largest company would be very, VERY difficult, since new businesses are constantly popping up to challenge the big boys. I cannot even begin to count the amount of regulations that actually make it easier for a tiny few companies to be able to sit happily and let the government stop new competition from sprouting up and challenging them.

Yes, this would explain why so many mom-and-pop stores are selling their products cheaper than Wal-Mart. Oh. Wait. Hang on a sec. That doesn't happen. Do I really have to explain why?

Look, I'm sorry, but there's simply no denying it. Even without all the regulations and government interventions in place, the basic overview is undeniably stacked into a pyramid scheme - wealth flows uphill, not down.

Aris Khandr:

Nothing stops you or anyone else from working for yourself. 100% of my current income is from freelance sewing jobs. It doesn't make me rich, but it doesn't keep me too busy either. I could easily pick up more jobs if I wanted more money, but I prioritize my time with those I love more than money. My father put himself through school waiting tables, and now loses more of his income to taxes in a week than I'll make in a month. Ten years ago, I was legitimately homeless. Didn't have anything but the clothes I was wearing. Now, despite being technically unemployed, I'm living comfortably and generally happy.

Yes, money does tend to flow upward, but I believe that has a lot to do with the fact that money flows toward those who go after it. You're never going to get rich without initiative. Digging ditches and "wage-slavery" aren't the way to go, and never will be. If all you do is follow the line like everyone else, why are you surprised when you end up like everyone else?

The problem is that most people are scared. They have payments, they have dependents. They have a quality of life that they can't risk if the attempt to do something different fails. So they go to work every day, come home, and resent those that did make it. I had nothing left to lose. And that gave me the freedom to do something different. "Fortune favours the bold", they say, and it is true. Rather than hate those who have more, why not try taking a path that leads to more for yourself?

I'm sorry, but this post looked more like something one of them "motivational speakers" would say. And that's uh...yeah, let's just say I prefer the expression "con artist" for those people. Not you, of course, but those people who take other people's money to spout "motivation, initiative and hard work", while all the work they do is spouting that. If working for oneself worked for everyone just like that, everyone would be doing it. It would be the only logical thing to do.

Those who have more? See, there's nothing wrong with that, but. Those who exploited others to get where they are? Those who are hell bent on closing those "paths" for everyone else? Those who think they're above the law because they have more? Now that's an entirely different can of worms.

I don't have a problem with rich people. Just people who don't play fair, people who think being better off than me makes them better than me, people who got to their fortune by unfairly exploting others or plain cheating, people who try to keep others down, people who take away from others in tough times so that they don't have to sacrifice anything themselves, and so on. I suppose that most rich people I know or know of are like that is just a coincidence?

As for Lolbertairanism? Well, yes I like lol'ing now and then, and I think I should be free to do so.

FHG:

Not G. Ivingname:
Free market economics is actually detromential to getting obscene amounts of wealth. If the market was truly free, staying rich and keeping the largest company would be very, VERY difficult, since new businesses are constantly popping up to challenge the big boys. I cannot even begin to count the amount of regulations that actually make it easier for a tiny few companies to be able to sit happily and let the government stop new competition from sprouting up and challenging them.

Sure in meny sectors of an economy in the Adam Smith utopia (where everyone is a homo economicus and the government does next to nothing etc.) then this could work. But there do exist secters that have falling marginal costs (water and oil-suply are good examples). Falling marginal costs in a perfect free market economy WILL LEAD to monopolys and there is nothing you can do about it.

Really?

Well, which nation is rated the most competative by the EU in Europe?

Why, the only one listed as a "free" on the Index of economic freedom, Switzerland.

Making and maintaining a monopoly is very difficult feet without government intervention on the side of company. Comcast only has a monopoly on TV and internet services by lobbying into that position, even though many of these areas had local internet providers that actually provided a better service.

If a company gets to big and doesn't die natrualy, I will accept the government splitting the company into several. That is as far, however, I think most government regulations should go.

Also, Libertarianism is more than about economic policies, so I don't like how the OC seams to be pretending that is all it is about.

I come at Libertarianism, and taxes in general for that matter, differently than with the anecdotal hyperbole I so often see my liberal brethren use. I just see it as a matter of practicality. The country needs a certain amount of money to run. The lower 90% can not finance it. The upper 10%, particularly the top 1%, however, can and have evidently benefited most from how the country is set up. A lot less "harm" will also be caused by taking the money from those with the most money. I don't see this as some sort of great moral victory, but rather just a matter of pragmatism.

First, the Libertarian Party is, to say the least, splintered within itself.

As far as your statement, it's a strawman argument from the beginning. The freedom to make money, keep your money, and dispose of your money as you see fit is a kind of liberty.

If you want to get into the philosophy of it, it goes back to John Locke's theory of human rights. That is, a human has all their own rights imbued in them from their birth. You have your rights merely by being human not because a king or dictator grants you rights. You have rights to do with yourself as you see fit as long as doing so does not harm others. Any of these rights can only be taken away if the person makes the decision to cede away these rights. You can cede away these rights in many ways. By way of contract or by choosing to submit to a set of rules. Such as, accepting the citizenship of a nation is the choice to submit to the laws of that nation.

tl;dr: Your argument is a strawman, Libertarians believe you have the right to make ungodly amounts of money as long as you do not hurt others in the process of doing so simply because you are human.

@ Not G. Ivingname & KittensTiger

If you had read my post to the end you'd know that I myself am a socialist libertarian and my questions are leveled at your more garden variety capitalist libertarians which corporations and companies play at their heartstrings to lower regulation so they can do whatever they please.

My own views are built around preserving liberty however we as a society constantly see others that are better off curtailing the rights of their employees and generally limiting the liberty of those in lower stations.

@ LetalisK

I can't really argue with your statement because i believe tax is theft anyway

Imthatguy:

I can't really argue with your statement because i believe tax is theft anyway

I think you should have the option to opt out of taxes. Of course, doing so should carry the consequence of you no longer having a right to use services you no longer pay for, such as roads, law enforcement, the legal system, or elections.

arbane:
"A Libertarian is just a Republican who takes drugs." - Rev. Bob Black

Republicans always take drugs.

Imthatguy:
@ Not G. Ivingname & KittensTiger

If you had read my post to the end you'd know that I myself am a socialist libertarian and my questions are leveled at your more garden variety capitalist libertarians which corporations and companies play at their heartstrings to lower regulation so they can do whatever they please.

My own views are built around preserving liberty however we as a society constantly see others that are better off curtailing the rights of their employees and generally limiting the liberty of those in lower stations.

Well I think it's pretty obvious there's no such thing as a "garden variety Libertarian." Libertarianism isn't something you just fall into, it *usually* involves significant thought and consideration of your true views on the world and humanity. I think you are oversimplifying Libertarian philosophy and constructing a strawman argument. It's very easy to make a winning argument by painting the other side as Snideley Whiplash or a bunch of gullible idiots but it usually involves a significant amount of whitewashing and a big strawman argument.

First, "regulation" is a broad term that needs some defining to be able to make a good debate on the topic. In general, Libertarians would say it is better to decrease regulation because "regulation" is a nice way of saying telling you how to run your business and your life. Do some regulations have positive outcomes? Certainly. However, the concept in general at a very broad level is allowing the government to tell you how to run your life and/or your business.

Imthatguy:
I can't really argue with your statement because i believe tax is theft anyway

Tell me... Did you use public education? How about public roads? Public utilities? Eat food made in the USA? BREATHE THE FUCKING AIR?! If so, then you should feel morally bankrupt, as you are a direct beneficiary of "theft".

No, seriously though? If you think taxation is theft, then you're wrong and there's nothing to talk about; you're simply not worth debating.

Stagnant:

Tell me... Did you use public education? How about public roads? Public utilities? Eat food made in the USA? BREATHE THE FUCKING AIR?! If so, then you should feel morally bankrupt, as you are a direct beneficiary of "theft".

No, seriously though? If you think taxation is theft, then you're wrong and there's nothing to talk about; you're simply not worth debating.

It's rather entertaining in a very sad way to sit here and watch you wave your arms around and scream out ad hominem attacks instead of making well thought out arguments on the topic.

Stagnant:

No, seriously though? If you think taxation is theft, then you're wrong and there's nothing to talk about; you're simply not worth debating.

Well, as I said, make people able to not pay taxes, but with the consequence of not benefitting from anything taxes pay for. They become free game because they'll no longer be proteced by the law enforcement.

They would still have their rights, of course, but since they opted out of paying for public services that enforce those rights, they will not be enforced by public services.

KittensTiger:

Stagnant:

Tell me... Did you use public education? How about public roads? Public utilities? Eat food made in the USA? BREATHE THE FUCKING AIR?! If so, then you should feel morally bankrupt, as you are a direct beneficiary of "theft".

No, seriously though? If you think taxation is theft, then you're wrong and there's nothing to talk about; you're simply not worth debating.

It's rather entertaining in a very sad way to sit here and watch you wave your arms around and scream out ad hominem attacks instead of making well thought out arguments on the topic.

Hey, you want a well-thought-out argument? Have a well-thought-out position to argue against. "Taxation is theft" is not a well-thought-out position. When I can point to the myriad of ways that taxation has made virtually every single person with the philosophical background to call it theft's life better, then there's a problem.

Furthermore, I think you fail to see the difference between an ad hominem attack (attacking a person instead of their arguments) and "adding insult to injury" (destroying the argument, then attacking the person for the hell of it). The former is a fallacy. The latter is fun.

For example, the above was me destroying your argument. The following is me adding a insult to it:

Also, you know what would be really entertaining? You posting anything of actual merit. So far my experience is that you've (incorrectly) called me out on ad hominems twice, while not touching on my actual arguments. HUH. GO FIGURE.

Stagnant:
snip

I think we should work to world where taxation doesn't exist however until then its simply the world we live in.
(And yes I do feel bad that I have profited from others)

KittensTiger:

Imthatguy:
snip

Perhaps there is no such thing as a garden variety libertarian and formally being in that position i can also say that it takes a lot of thought to arrive at that position. I'm simply suggesting that a very particular tenet of capitalist libertarianism is made under false assumptions. Namely that Business would not take the role vacated by government. (Jennifer Government and Snow Crash are too very accessible fiction novels that illustrate my point [I could recommend dry academic tomes of Das Capital's like but I do not think anyone would read them])

Vegosiux:

Stagnant:

No, seriously though? If you think taxation is theft, then you're wrong and there's nothing to talk about; you're simply not worth debating.

Well, as I said, make people able to not pay taxes, but with the consequence of not benefitting from anything taxes pay for. They become free game because they'll no longer be proteced by the law enforcement.

They would still have their rights, of course, but since they opted out of paying for public services that enforce those rights, they will not be enforced by public services.

in the US there is a way to avoid paying taxes, but you cannot have a "job"(registered legal job) in the country, you cannot own any form of property and you probably cant buy anything unless you live in one of those sales-tax free states. its a very hard way to live and you lose many of your own rights(voting,etc.).

keiskay:
in the US there is a way to avoid paying taxes, but you cannot have a "job"(registered legal job) in the country, you cannot own any form of property and you probably cant buy anything unless you live in one of those sales-tax free states. its a very hard way to live and you lose many of your own rights(voting,etc.).

Really? Well then it's an open and shut case. Whoever thinks taxes are theft, has an alternative.

If one doesn't choose that alternative simply because they basically want to benefit from stuff that's paid for by taxes for free, then I am starting to wonder who's the actual thief.

Vegosiux:

keiskay:
in the US there is a way to avoid paying taxes, but you cannot have a "job"(registered legal job) in the country, you cannot own any form of property and you probably cant buy anything unless you live in one of those sales-tax free states. its a very hard way to live and you lose many of your own rights(voting,etc.).

Really? Well then it's an open and shut case. Whoever thinks taxes are theft, has an alternative.

If one doesn't choose that alternative simply because they basically want to benefit from stuff that's paid for by taxes for free, then I am starting to wonder who's the actual thief.

As someone who has 'worked under the table' I can tell you that the IRS will bite you in the ass for that (as keiskay pointed out)

I guess I'll comment since Blah's not in here to misunderstand everything about libertarianism. I don't have an issue with people amassing large sums of money as long as they did so fairly. If they are gaining this money through what is a largely deliberate funneling of money from the lower to the upper classes by government then they did not get this money fairly. If they made their money by exploiting loopholes in the system then they clearly do not deserve their money. If they attained their money by begging the government to let their failing businesses stay afloat then they do not deserve their money. If they attained their money through outside market forces such as monopolies they do not deserve their money. If they attain their money through illegal means such as slavery of any sort (this includes the exploitation of illegal immigrants which never ceases to anger me) they do not deserve their money.

Also I believe that taxes are ideally a fair exchange. A fair exchange where the wealthy obtain a large number of benefits and therefore should pay a large sum in trade. It is they that benefit disproportionately from welfare, public education, and public services, as the two prior ensure that they will have adequate workers and the latter will ensure that their property will be protected, which they have an absurd amount of.

In short, I am a libertarian. I am also a moderate. You should not be so quick to assume things OP.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked