I Own Myself … sort of   8 comments

Image result for image individuals own themselvesThis is the rock solid foundation of liberty. Each individual owns themselves. This is why rape and murder are wrong because they violate the private property of the victim. I am my private property and you are yours.

That is how liberty works. I have the right to act in my own best interests. I may voluntarily help others from my surplus, but I cannot force my neighbor to contribute to the cause and they cannot force me to contribute to theirs.

This is the basis of liberty, which is so rarely practiced today. I don’t actually own myself anymore because my neighbor can obligate me to provide for her care by the confiscation of my income. In liberty, I own myself. In US democracy, I am a slave to my neighbor.

I’m looking for readers who would like to argue this point. Go!

 

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8 responses to “I Own Myself … sort of

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  1. When you say “confiscation of your income” are you talking about tax?

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    • Yes.

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      • Giving is part of being a global citizen.

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      • Is it?

        Just think about this. If I went to my local park and started robbing people, I’d be arrested, right?

        But what if I only robbed people who had more than $400 in their wallet? Would that make it legal or moral? Of course not.

        But what if I only robbed those $400+ people and let them keep $100 and distributed the extra to everyone in the park who has less so everybody had at least $100 in their wallet? Would that make it right? No, it still wouldn’t.

        What if I donated the money to the upkeep of the park? Nope. I’d still go to jail because the theft would still be illegal and immoral.

        So why does it magically become legal and moral when we have government take income from SOME people to essentially keep up the park and balance the contents of everyone’s wallet?

        If you go back to that study I did of Bastiat’s The Law, that was one of his contentions … that what is illegal and immoral for an individual is still immoral for a government. Just because we have collectivized into a group of bullies does not make our actions right.

        And we could debate that whole global citizen idea. Why should you pay to support a bridge to nowhere in Alaska? That would be the connotation of global citizen, that you are responsible for my standard of living and I am responsible for yours.

        What if we were simply responsible for our own standard of living? I paid 25% of my income in various taxes last year. That money could have really helped my family toward some of our goals. Instead, the government pissed it away on presidential travel and $400 toilet seats at the Pentagon.

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      • Tax is built into constitutional law. Theft is criminal law. They are not the same, & a bit too simplistic & a sensationalising example. Tax has been around since feudal times. It’s a moot argument.

        I pay tax. We all pay tax. & I donate. To foreign charities, local charities, disaster charities (I actually get a tax break for it).

        We are privileged. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re Caucasian, educated, earn relatively good money, middle-class. Like me. You should actually be giving more. & correct me if I’m wrong again (as I often am) but do Alaskans get special tax breaks or incentives for living there? Or so a guy from Utah told me.

        & you’re right, global citizens are responsible to support others. Africa has been starving for decades. Is it the fault of the people unfortunate enough to be born there? Of course not. But that doesn’t mean we have to ignore them? Especially if we have capacity to help.

        Of government taxation schemes, where in the world does a country’s citizens pay no tax – with the exception of those citizens that don’t work.

        & did your government spend ALL revenue on presidential travel & toilet seats? If that’s the case, I’d look at emigrating somewhere else.

        & begrudging the poor is not a good reflection on Christian ideals, either. (I don’t claim to be one, BTW). We’re stuck with the citizens we’re stuck with: bludgers, idiots, breeders, thieves, etc, etc, etc. Until they can be quarantined, we pay for them. & then we die. & that, is life.

        It’s the old saying: “You know what is inevitable … “

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      • I will correct you, because you are wrong.

        I give to my church and to charities. Last year that amounted to slightly more than 10% of my net income. The money went to feeding and housing the poor locally, to a literacy program, and to a agricultural mission in Tanzania. We also give small donations to Heifer International and Samaritan’s Purse. Through the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptists, we also give to missions that we are not personally involved in both domestically and internationally. I’ve done enough research to know that the money is well-spent and has shown proven results in changed lives and people who move beyond needing supports for living … which ought to be the point of all charity … to teach the poor how to fish for themselves so they won’t be poor anymore, because that frees up charity to be used to improve the lives of others going forward. If we’re still feeding the same people a decade later, we’ve failed.

        United States citizens, btw, rank rather high on the charitable scale world-wide and American conservatives (those who rail the loudest against taxation) score quite a bit higher than our liberal fellow-citizens who are the most enamored of high taxation. This is voluntary donation rather than forced taxation.

        Charity is a voluntary donation from my surplus. Taxation is an involuntary theft regardless of how it affects my ability to pay my bills.

        My husband and I have a lower-middle-class income. We used to make a lot more, but he got tired of being on the North Slope all the time, so started his own business, which means our income is just a bit above where we would be eligible for government benefits.

        The government still takes 15% of our income which combined with various other taxes comes to 25% of our income. That’s money that we don’t give voluntarily and don’t approve of 90% of what it is spent on … wars, farm subsidies, bridges to nowhere, etc. While there are plenty of things government does that could be classified as “good”, there’s very little that government does that could not be done cheaper and more efficiently by the private market … saving us all money and stimulating rather than dragging on the economy.

        When money is not given voluntarily, it’s not charity and here in the United States, the government benefits are structured so that the “poor” actually have a very good life. In fact, with government benefits, many of them can afford a nicer life than most working-class people. They have no incentive to work or, if employed, to work harder, to improve their circumstances because if they do that, they’ll lose those benefits and have to work even harder. I personally know people who deliberately limit their income so as to remain eligible for benefits. So, government benefits encourage a choice to remain “in poverty.”

        And, by the way, that agricultural mission in Tanzania has helped 15 African villages go from starving to self-supporting over the last 30 years. Instead of sending massive amounts of rice, etc. to the region for the last 30 years (most of which would be stolen by the government for resale), the Southern Baptists sent missionaries who taught the villagers modern agricultural methods. They started with one village and as they have gone along, the earlier villages are now giving from their surplus to help their neighbors while teaching them how to transform their own lives. I’ve seen the stark difference between those 15 villages and the surrounding area, but the success of those villages is causing other villages to voluntarily adopt better practices. The mission can’t afford to help them (yet), but the Rorabaughs note that even a decade ago, those village leaders scoffed that these better farming techniques would replace the need for US-provided rice.

        That’s the difference between forced confiscation of taxes so that government can “spread the wealth” and voluntary donation of charity than is spent intentionally. Those neighbors are still reliant upon US-government provided rice, while the 15 villages aren’t and are now helping their neighbors to move beyond that too.

        An accountant at church figured out how much more just our church would give if we just tithed on our gross … something very few people in our church can afford to do. It’s a church of folks with middle-class incomes. Not a lot of working-class people in this congregation. (Working-class in the US don’t pay taxes or get them all back in credits.) He had a complicated algorithm for accounting for what it would cost us out-of-pocket to buy the services government now provides. Eliminating taxation doubled the church’s donations. Brad and I (if we only tithed) would be giving 30% more than we do now and we’d have more money in our personal budget, so we might actually give more.

        Since you brought up the whole Christian ideals thing … the Bible requires that Christians (not people who aren’t) give at least 10% of their income to charity with a primary purpose of spreading the gospel. Feeding the poor is in there, but secondary to the Great Commission. Having our income confiscated before we even get it does not constitute charity. We’re still required to give. The fact is, even with having to pay directly for the services the government now provides, our church would be giving hundreds of thousands of dollars more per year to charities that actually work instead of to the government where 80% of the money collected goes into overhead – buildings and the high wages of federal employees.

        Just because something has been around for centuries doesn’t mean it’s right or that it’s working. Inevitability is just an excuse not to look at better solutions.

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      • I’ve heard that the States is ?the highest / most giving nation in the world – which surprised me, because especially post GFC, all we saw down here were people living in their cars.

        I don’t actually know how ANY government can run a country without collecting tax. & privatising or getting the private sector to intervene has caused problems here where services actually become more expensive.

        I agree, spending $$ on weapons & defence (has made news here) is not going to give returns – unless it means avoiding invasion. But the US looks like it’s going to go to war & everyone (including us) will be dragged into it. Our foreign minister is already talking about supporting the States re Nth Korea.

        Your ethic is admirable; but I don’t understand how you are influencing. Obviously through your writings – I read them, I can see that.

        Are you affiliated with some political party? Are you interested in running yourself? Why hasn’t Alaska seceded? (or have you explained that already). Sorry if you have. I know you’ve talked about California & Texas & constitutionally being able to secede. There must be many people who feel the same way as you, especially in Alaska.

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      • Ah, the media, that plays up every crisis as if it were the truth. Yes, there were a few people who lost “everything” in the GFC (new term for me, I’ve just been calling it the Recession of ’08) and had to live in their cars (which were often really nice cars). There’s been several studies that show that those happened because people were living beyond their means and had no savings to cushion them through the recession. Brad and I got pretty banged up financially during that time too, but we scaled back, sold a truck and I took a second job for a while (yes, there were jobs available … they weren’t glamorous). That’s also when we started looking at what we pay in taxes and questioning whether it’s right for the government to steal it from us. Here we were scrimping and working extra to get through these tough times that were caused by government overregulation of the mortgage market, forcing banks to lend to poor credit risks who then didn’t make their mortgage payments (that’s the simplified, at-the-root-of-the-problem cause of 2008). The recession of 08 was then exacerbated by Obama’s massive increase in government spending, followed by increasing taxes on job-creators, followed by increased government regulations of entire industries that further reduced productivity in those sectors, followed by a health care bill that essentially turned one-sixth of the American economy into a privatized wing of the government (that is now experiencing out of control price increases because of government regulations). But while 1/4 of our income was confiscated before we ever had a chance to use it, our home heating and electric bills were going through the roof and our health insurance premiums were increasing 25% each year. We looked at our taxes and said “that’s a used car, a year’s worth of mortgage payments, a year’s worth of oil for the house, a semester of college for one of the kids, etc. Then that accountant did the study with our church and we realized our church alone, if we had our tax money and just tithed, could fully fund the local Food Bank every year … or the Rescue Mission. Fully 1/3 of America’s income production is confiscated every year. What could that money do if it were repatriated into the economy rather than going to pay government salaries that are on-average 52% higher than private market salaries?

        In some ways, the US is still in that recession, btw. We’ve had less than 2% annual growth in GDP since 2008 and the long-term unemployment rate (those are people who no longer qualify for benefits) is about 20%. A lot of people took their retirements early as well, which is another drain on the economy and is hastening the bankruptcy of Social Security (the gov’t retirement program, which is slated to be in the red the year I am supposed to retire). The history of the Great Depression suggests that government intervention lengthens economic downturns. That’s going to be my next series, btw — the Great Depression.

        I don’t like what’s going on internationally either. My goal would be for the United States to return to our borders and stop interfering with other countries so long as other countries don’t attack our merchant fleets or borders, but we’re a long way from that ideal right now. I doubt Trump is an internvetionist at heart, but he’s surrounded by neoconservative warmongers and saddled with a technocratic administrative state that insists the only way of handling international relations is to interfere in the affairs of other countries.

        I am a registered non-partisan, which means that I am not a member of a political party. My personal arc has been that I started voting mostly Democrat, gradually grew to vote a very mixed ticket, then found myself voting mostly Republican and this last election I voted mostly Libertarian in protest over the awful choices the two main parties (Democratic and Republican) offered. I’m a small l libertarian. I don’t see government as the answer to much. There’s a chance I won’t vote at all in 2020 … I’m that fed up with the politics of my country.

        My goal with this blog is to educate people about the alternatives they don’t teach us in public schools here. Things like “Why is it wrong to rob people in a park even if you give the money to a good cause, but it’s suddenly okay if government does it?” Or why do we assume we can’t make wise decisions for ourselves concerning health care or the roads, but the minute we elect a neighbor to office, we assume they are now experts who can make these decisions for us?

        I have no intention of ever running for public office. I have had a few friends who did and had the misfortune of actually being elected. They discovered how difficult it is to be a libertarian (small “l” for the philosophy, not the party) in a system of statists (Republicans and Democrats alike). They’ve all said the same thing — Americans need a great deal more re-education on our history, economics and political philosophy before they’re ready to stop going along with the herds.

        So that’s the reason for this blog. That you’re reading it, even if you disagree with it, is accomplishing my goal. And, yeah, I know you live in Australia. These principles can be adopted anywhere, starting in the personal lives of individuals.

        Might I suggest that when privitization increases prices, it is often because of the government regulations that come with privitization. There’s a lot going on in the background that government and the big corporations it’s in bed with don’t want us to see. Unwinding that relationship will take a lot of work and in the meantime, they’re going to justify government by cutting privatization deals that cost more money than they need to.

        As for secession … most Americans attend public school where they are taught that secession is unconstitutional and that was settled by the American Civil War. Yes, might made right and now we all have to go along like good little government-owned slaves. I have dealt with the lies about that in the past on the blog. Pre-Civil War, the states often talked about secession and it was considered constitutional. After the Civil War nobody talked about it much for nearly 100 years. Over 100,000 dead and the southern states subjugated under the heel of the federal government for 25 years … I can understand why people were scared to talk about it. Plus they were being taught in school that it was unconstitutional, even though it wasn’t. Starting in the 1960s, we’ve had a lot of discussion about it, but it remained radical fringe until the Obama administration frustrated so many people. Alaskans discussed it openly in the 1980s after President Carter locked up 1/3 of the state in federal parks and wilderness areas when we’d been promised at statehood that we would have access to the resources on those lands. Some of us still believe that is the solution, but you still have 90% of the American public (including Alaskans) taught in public schools that secession is unconstitutional and that if we went independent it would immediately start a war with the US and other countries would invade us. So, even people who accept that secession is the best choice will resist the movement because they fear the boogeyman. Some of us say “go for it and it’ll probably not be as horrible as we’ve been brainwashed to believe.”

        The American Revolution was essentially the work of 20% of the American population. Most people weren’t involved and many didn’t really care how it turned out. And the colonists talked about the principles of liberty for fully 25 years before things came to a head.

        I’m not, btw, advocating a violent revolution. I think our nation’s mounting debt will eventually lead to the federal government being unable to function. That will be the perfect time for states to secede, provided their residents have some understanding that smaller, more locally controlled areas cannot afford huge welfare states and that not having universal insurance coverage doesn’t mean you won’t have access to medical care. I think we maybe have 10 years. And I’m not the only one doing this education thing. There’s hundreds, maybe thousands. And people talk to their neighbors and … maybe we’ll be ready when the time comes. The US is generally 20 years behind Europe. The EU is breaking up now, so by 2030 or so, the US ought to be follow suit.

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