Sunday, April 06, 2014

Koch's Anger Translator

Koch's Anger Translator
Charles Koch wrote a ludicrous screed in the Wall Street Journal, a stand on dignity to excuse decades of plutocratic meddling in politics. A pseudonymous commenter "Mr." served as Anger Translator at Noahpinion.


y said...

Hi Mike.

if you argue with a right-wing 'libertarian', inevitably the assertion that taxation is theft comes up. If you respond that taxes are a legal obligation, a payment like a fee, part of the social contract, etc, the next argument I've seen come up is that the government has no legitimate right to create laws or demand payment, because it doesn't or can't legitimately own land, because national borders are arbitrary and just based on brute force, etc.

How do you respond to those sorts of arguments?

I saw somewhere on your site you say that the government acquired control of its territory through purchase, treaty, or conquest. But 'libertarians' I've encountered would argue that none of those are legitimate. Do you think it is possible to argue that, for example US borders are 'legitimate'?


Mike Huben said...

You're thinking of the Taxation is theft section of A Non-Libertarian FAQ. If you read through, section 5.16 is "5.16 There's no such thing as rights to govern territory!"

Libertarian claims that these are "illegitimate" are silly because (a) legitimate is what the law says and (b) "illegitimate" simply means that libertarians don't like it.

Libertarians might like the Lockean fable of mixing of labor as an origin of property, but that is anthropologically dead wrong. Nobody is going to be foolish enough to invest labor until they have figured out how to forcibly claim property. For example, US homesteaders relied on government and their own superior weaponry to dispossess Amerindians so that they could "mix their labor".

The unspoken argument in "taxation is theft" is that property is not coercive. I have an index for rebuttals to that foolishness: Property Is Coercive.

y said...

Thanks, Mike. Keep up the great work!