Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Line up for your rations

Patrick McClarty's long-awaited follow up to his post on Shamrocks concerning libertarianism is now up on Renegades. Both Mike and myself responded to his first post, and although both lengthy replies, I felt compelled to take up Patrick's challenge.

With all due respect to Patrick, I ask by what right and sanction are our elected representatives endowed with the ability to garnish our wages and spend our earnings on things not of our own choosing. How can another be said to decide what is in my 'best interest.' Is it not rather 'utopian' to assume that governments, even though elected by the people, will spend our money in such noble ways to protect the poor and unfortunate? Although Patrick agrees that much of the money spent by governments is wasted, at the same time he says that generally people will not be charitable unless forced. Now if that is the case, and if it is believed that people left to their own devices will lapse into barbarianism, then how can they be trusted to make just and wise decisions when it comes to election time.

One might say there are checks and balances in place to limit power, but the nature of power is that those who have it seek more and will continue to do so, with the additional advantage of having the police and the courts to back up their demands. At best, the decisions of the legislators are motivated by special interest groups and promised favours. At worst, these people crush their electors and vassals with laws, taxation and price controls for their own gain. The essential point being that such decisions will always be arbitrary and hence destructive to the general economy, even though the legislators, lawmakers and judges might have the best intentions in the world.

The idea that value can be determined by the market is confused with the idea that all value is monetary. All value is monetary in the sense that time and resources are limited, and certain choices preclude others and money is the means to secure the resources necessary for survival and to improve our standard of living. At the same time, a higher standard of living allows us to engage in other valuable activities and relationships which don't have an obvious price tag attached.

The welfare state may offer protection for a few, but it also enables a whole lot more people to illegitimately live at the expense of others. Many of the problems that exist today are a direct consequence of the state. Public administrators, the bulk of whom are unelected, are given the godlike task of deciding where the money is spent. Politicians and bureaucrats being human beings, they are most likely to spend it on projects that favour their own status and position. Just like the 'greedy' inhabitants of the free market, politicians hope to become prosperous. The obvious difference between honest advocates of the free market and public administrators is that real capitalists don't steal, and must make prudent decisions or they will directly suffer the consequences of their poor decisions. When you spend other people's money, you just don't take the same care.

Lawlessness is not libertarianism. Ethiopia is in shambles because the people were the victims of tyrants which destablized the society. In other words, countries that are subject to socialist regimes, and I include rule by fascists in this category, are the most poor. It is a necessary feature of totalitarian regimes that they are poorer in inverse proportion to the level of free exchange permitted. Hence the countries of the Middle East are vastly poorer. The wealthiest countries are those with the freest markets. Another good example would be postwar East Germany, especially as compared to West Germany. In socialist countries, the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few and the general populace continues to work for someone else's gain while the general standard of living continues to fall. Take Castro for example, recently listed as one of the richest men in the world by Forbes magazine. He doesn't deny it, but instead 'justifies' it, by saying that "the revenues of Cuban state-run companies are used exclusively for the benefit of the people, to whom they belong."

A country or community of looting and roaming hordes is not a libertarian society. It is hardly libertarian to take what you will because you have numbers behind you. The focal and central issues are that governments are by their nature necessary corrupt as they attempt to run an economy, lacking the omnipotent and objective viewpoint that would be required to do so.

And as I argued earlier in response to Patrick's post about Robert Locke's article, violence is never justified except in instances of self-defense. Libertarianism does not advocate mob rule - such a label is more accurately applied to the state.

I also take issue with Patrick's idea of a 'debt' owed to others. I am afraid I have no idea what that debt might be. How could I be said to owe something to my neighbour if I haven't enlisted his services, nor taken something from him that did not belong to me? Why am I 'owed' something from people just because I happen to exist? Just what is it that we strangers owe each other? Respect for life and property, yes, but that does not entail that we need government to achieve this. We need to work together, but that is evidenced by the free exchanges and contracts that people enter into in the absence of governmental control or sanction. Most of us pay taxes because we are forced to do so and could perhaps face jail time and huge fines if we don't comply. A libertarian does not believe that taxation is just, and so only complies with taxation laws for fear of incarceration. We weren't given a chance to opt out of the services currently provided through taxation and indeed in Canada, when it comes to many essential services, like health care, we have no choice. The burden of labour might be heavier on those that remain in a concentration camp if I escape, but should I thereby remain a prisoner?

The true preferences and needs of the people, along with natural checks and balances, arise through a free market, unhampered by the meddling of ignorant bureaucrats and corrupt politicians. I won't go into the detailed and complex issues of security and national defense here, because although the means to ensure property rights are respected and upheld in libertarian societies are open to discussion, it does not thereby invalidate the position of libertarians.

"Libertarianism counters that charity outside the state is the only way to deliver services to the poor, and that that system would be more effective, the practical application of this theory during the Depression and the resulting social crisis has put that theory down for good. A more pointed response might be `Would you want to trust the care of the invalid and dowtrodden to an ideology that views these people as parasites?` says Patrick.

People are not viewed as parasites by libertarians except in so far as they subsist at the expense of others, against their will. What is considered charitable by the state? A few get money at the expense of others who might be deemed to have a charitable need. There is no scientific calculus to guide the arm of the state. Some people are always going to be worse off than others, no matter what kind of society we live in, but that is no reason to redistribute unearned income in the name of poverty and utilitarianism. As for your example of the Depression, I fail to understand, as the Depression was not the result of a libertarian society.

Patrick says that "the basic purpose of a government or state is to protect its people, defend the collective interests, and improve the standard of living. It might be flawed in many of its attempts, but is it worth dismantling just to marginally increase the freedom of the individual?"

I answer that reason and justice guide the libertarian. True freedom is not a matter of compromise. And as for the concept of the government role being to protect the people and defend their 'collective interests', I say that this is the inherent problem with government in the first place. Such concepts might be clear to those of us who are lawful, but 'collective interests' as determined by the free market are hampered by governments who have no legitimate means to determine what the 'collective interest' might be. Not to mention the standard of living is hardly improved as the incentive to work and produce is reduced in direct relation to the amount a person is taxed. Why bother when you can suck the blood of thy neighbour.

7 comments:

Mike said...

I was really confused by Patrick's piece until it got to the part about Ethiopia and Burnt Friedmann -- then I figured he'd gotten libertarianism confused with Rastafarianism.

Shamrocks! said...

Ha. Good stuff. Like I put on my own site:

"I'll be the first to say that my libertarian critique at Renegades is a little weak. Let's call it a work in progress: I had an hour to kill and rattled off some poorly constructed arguments."

Shamrocks! said...

Lisa+

I`m not worried about the majority of people instantly attacking each other the moment the police force is decimated, I`m worried about violent opportunists who take advantage of power vacuums. Most people in Northern Ireland don`t the IRA operating in their neighbourhoods, but these unelected leaders are the ones with the guns.

Yes, there is a natural will within government to expand its own size, but that`s not a reason to think that government cannot be shrunk, or made to do with less if necessary. Democratic governments responding to an informed electorate will (and have in the past) shrink the bureaucracy if the time came.

There is naturally horse trading amongst politicians and special interests, no doubt, but that does not mean that a government cannot be responsive to public awareness. The more cynics (like you and I) of government waste and mismanagement, the less likely they will be to abuse their power.

I`m afraid of the alternative to democracy. Call me a true believer. I think most evidence suggests that in the long run, a stable government with an effective and evenly enforced regulations in any market is beneficial to the economy. Business likes stability and prosperity, and the best chance of that is in a healthy democracy.

You know Lisa, I was thinking about this problem in Welfare state of what to do with people who can work and those who legitimately cannot work. I think the best way is to wean the `able` off social assistance like the bc liberals have done (our welfare expenses are down 50% since 95).

The other thing is that in the west we have a nuclear family, and in many cases single parents homes which have destabilized the living conditions of many. Generally, as in the heat wave of France of 2003 showed (I was one of the victims of the heat) when 10000 elderly died in a heatwave, we have given up on the most vulnerable, or have outsourced the job to the government.

In Japan, the taxes are extremely low, but when you see a physically disabled person in the street or someone mentally disabled, you don`t see a government paid `helper`- you see family members caring for them. But then, Japan has tighter and larger extended families. This society is hardly libertarian, but it does have stronger bonds between families and the general Japanese people.

And yeah, when you spend other people`s cash, you tend to be more carelesss. No argument there. Remember, I`m not making a `big government` argument, here. I`ve been beating the Gomery issue to death partly because I`m disgusted with the behaviour of the Liberals and their profligacy with our money.

I agree with you: free markets are the most rich. No argument there.

The reason Ethiopia was even included in this was because it was one of the few states where the government has completely withered away. Honestly, it`s hard to find a western society that would want to make the leap to libertarianism....and I think that`s why it is alluring: it is hard to dispute a theoretical model when no working model is available.

I`m not suggesting that lawlessness is the aim or goal of libertarianism~only that lawlessness is the natural outcome. Lisa, if all people were reasonable human beings like yourself, I have no doubt that libertarianism would take off, but you aren`t representative of the most deadly members that exist in any society. Fundamentalists in Iraq, HA in Canada, IRA in NI, Yakuza in Japan...But not only the extreme fringes of society. In a libertarian society, there will be ample opportunity to take advantage of a power vacuum that will emerge.

Lisa, maybe I`m a big softie (hmm, probably not) but strangers have done a lot more for you and I than simply respect our lives and property and I think that`s a pretty grim minimum to ask of each other. I`m not stating that we have to give huge portions of our income to the government like we do now, but I hope that at some point we can at least see that in some alternative universe we might not have what gifts we have been bestowed. We could easily have become (and still might become) the needy, despite our best efforts to avoid it.

Hmmm. Escaping Canada is always an option. But if Libertarians are living in Canada, they are accepting social services for free if they are not paying taxes. And increasing the burden of taxes on others while accepting free goods sounds like the exact thing that libertarians hate about government: the appearance of a free lunch.

I included the example of the Depression because it showed that at the time that society had in a very basic way shifted away from an extended family that could subsist independently in hard times. Again, society had changed and the government was reacting to a market for a social net.

Okay, I understand the animosity towards government effectiveness many cases....But again: governments that cannot deliver higher standards of living can be ditched.

Look at Turkey: it has an obstensibly anti-western, anti american but democratic government. In an effort to improve the standard of living in turkey, the government has been pushing for acceptance into the EU by pushing a pro market agenda.

Anyways, thanks for your comments.

You kept it all above the waist
;)

gm said...

Hernando de Soto's Biography

http://www.cato.org/special/friedman/desoto/bio.html

De Soto tells these heads of state that their poor citizens are lacking formal legal title to their property and are unable to use their assets as collateral. They cannot get bank loans to expand their businesses or improve their properties. He and his colleagues calculate the amount of "dead capital" in untitled assets held by the world's poor as "at least $9.3 trillion"—a sum that dwarfs the amount of foreign aid given to the developing world since 1945.

Hernando de Soto has truly revolutionized our understanding of the causes of wealth and poverty. While many scholars have pointed to and explained the importance of property rights to rising living standards, de Soto has asked the hard question of what it takes to get the state to recognize the property rights that function within the communities of the poor. Can they transform the mere physical "extralegal" control of assets into capital, a key to sustained economic development?

De Soto affirmed that they can attain legal status and developed a guide to the "capitalization process" for poor countries. In his activism and in his books The Other Path and The Mystery of Capital, Hernando de Soto has done much more than apply the lessons of economics to old problems; he has asked new questions and provided both new understanding and new hope for transforming poverty into wealth.

Ian Scott said...

"I`m not worried about the majority of people instantly attacking each other the moment the police force is decimated, I`m worried about violent opportunists who take advantage of power vacuums. Most people in Northern Ireland don`t the IRA operating in their neighbourhoods, but these unelected leaders are the ones with the guns."

False dichotomy, Patrick. As well, ignoring cause and effect with regard to N. Ireland and "the ones with the guns."

Libertarians would not limit individual gun ownership. Libertarians support individuals defending their property against thugs with guns.

"Yes, there is a natural will within government to expand its own size, but that`s not a reason to think that government cannot be shrunk, or made to do with less if necessary. Democratic governments responding to an informed electorate will (and have in the past) shrink the bureaucracy if the time came."

Shrinking bureacracy does not necessarily lead to more individual freedom.

"There is naturally horse trading amongst politicians and special interests, no doubt, but that does not mean that a government cannot be responsive to public awareness."

Governments ARE very responsiive to public awareness. In Canada, the will of a minority rules over the will of the majority. The government is quite responsive to that minority that keeps electing them because of the "democratic system" in place.

All democracies have the effect of imposing the will of some voters over other voters.

"The more cynics (like you and I) of government waste and mismanagement, the less likely they will be to abuse their power."

Please explain how you arrive at this conclusion.

"I`m afraid of the alternative to democracy. Call me a true believer. I think most evidence suggests that in the long run, a stable government with an effective and evenly enforced regulations in any market is beneficial to the economy."

I think most evidence suggests that in the long run, it is the degree of freedom that is of the most benefit to any economy. The USSR ran a very stable government for decades.

"Business likes stability and prosperity, and the best chance of that is in a healthy democracy."

BIG business likes stability of government as it allows them to lobby government officials for regulations that suit big business.

"You know Lisa, I was thinking about this problem in Welfare state of what to do with people who can work and those who legitimately cannot work. I think the best way is to wean the `able` off social assistance like the bc liberals have done (our welfare expenses are down 50% since 95)."

Why is that the "best" way?

"The other thing is that in the west we have a nuclear family, and in many cases single parents homes which have destabilized the living conditions of many. Generally, as in the heat wave of France of 2003 showed (I was one of the victims of the heat) when 10000 elderly died in a heatwave, we have given up on the most vulnerable, or have outsourced the job to the government."

You will likely find that problem in socialist countries. The government has decided it will look after the "problem" and slowly remove individuals' rights to look after their own problems.

Please consider the plans here in Canada for the national daycare system. The Minister responsible wants EVERYONE to buy into this.. and if you want to seriously look at history, Patrick, then take bets with me on whether or not in a decade, all toddlers will be required to be in some sort of national daycare program, sort of like "school." Of course, it will be something that is in the "best interests of society.." blah blah.

I will no longer be able to leave my child with my trusted next door neighbour unless that neighbour is "certified" in some way.

"In Japan, the taxes are extremely low, but when you see a physically disabled person in the street or someone mentally disabled, you don`t see a government paid `helper`- you see family members caring for them. But then, Japan has tighter and larger extended families. This society is hardly libertarian, but it does have stronger bonds between families and the general Japanese people."

In some respects, it's less socialist though, wouldn't you agree? And if the government is taking less of my money, then I have more resources to help those that I want to help, no?

Do you have some notion that libertarians are all intensely callous towards other individuals? You seem to think so, but I could be wrong. In fact, libertarians RECOGNIZE the value of other individuals! To be able to negotiate with them, help them, and even educate them if we can, and they desire that. There are some very generous libertarian philanthropists in North America. Do you somehow think philanthropy will disappear in a libertarian society?

"And yeah, when you spend other people`s cash, you tend to be more carelesss. No argument there. Remember, I`m not making a `big government` argument, here. I`ve been beating the Gomery issue to death partly because I`m disgusted with the behaviour of the Liberals and their profligacy with our money."

So where do you draw the line at spending other people's money? And why don't you recognize that others of us have a different line than you? Based on what principle do you say it's "ok" to spend say... 10% of someone else's money as opposed to 40%? How about 11%? 9%? What's your figure that you won't cross over?

"I agree with you: free markets are the most rich. No argument there."

Then shouldn't we make them "free-er?"

"The reason Ethiopia was even included in this was because it was one of the few states where the government has completely withered away. Honestly, it`s hard to find a western society that would want to make the leap to libertarianism....and I think that`s why it is alluring: it is hard to dispute a theoretical model when no working model is available."

Including Ethiopia was an example of another false dichotomy. It is simply dishonest to even use Ethiopia as an arguement against libertarianism.

"I`m not suggesting that lawlessness is the aim or goal of libertarianism~only that lawlessness is the natural outcome."

"Lawlessness" occurs in "democratic" countries as well. If you recall the Rodney King riots in LA, pray tell in your opinion, what brought "order" back? The military? The police? The bureacracy?

No. It was the people.. who got tired of it all, and realized it was a stupid way to live. For a good discussion of this, please see the book, "Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do."

"Lisa, if all people were reasonable human beings like yourself, I have no doubt that libertarianism would take off, but you aren`t representative of the most deadly members that exist in any society."

Those deadly members of society seem to be thriving quite well, thank you very much, under government.

"Fundamentalists in Iraq, HA in Canada, IRA in NI, Yakuza in Japan...But not only the extreme fringes of society. In a libertarian society, there will be ample opportunity to take advantage of a power vacuum that will emerge."

There is no such thing as a "power vacuum." You seem to be suggesting that most people are not reasonable.

If this is true, why do you believe in their ability to vote reasonably?

"Lisa, maybe I`m a big softie (hmm, probably not) but strangers have done a lot more for you and I than simply respect our lives and property and I think that`s a pretty grim minimum to ask of each other."

What else would you like to ask of someone? Perhaps you will find it others to give you what you are looking for. Looking for love? Go find it. Should a government supply you with the means to find a lover?

Respecting my property - my person - my life, and providing me with the right to choose to live it as I see fit will have for more effect on my desire to help you. You want to take my stuff? Hell, maybe I'd give you some of my stuff.. but if you want to just take it because you think somehow you're entitled to it, ain't exactly endearing yourself to me.

And you don't have to like me, either. But we can tolerate each other, no?

"I`m not stating that we have to give huge portions of our income to the government like we do now, but I hope that at some point we can at least see that in some alternative universe we might not have what gifts we have been bestowed."

Fear the government that comes knocking on your door, bestowing gifts.

"We could easily have become (and still might become) the needy, despite our best efforts to avoid it."

Correct. We could. Your point being?

"Hmmm. Escaping Canada is always an option. But if Libertarians are living in Canada, they are accepting social services for free if they are not paying taxes."

You seem to have this idea that libertarians are all rich and don't pay taxes. This is ludicrous. Most libertarians don't want to go to jail, so we do pay our taxes.

And we're damn pissed off at the poor level of service and no choice available to us.

As far as services go, yeah.. I go to a MD. Finally found one that would accept new patients after four years of not having a doctor.

You seem to think that we don't pay taxes. Not sure where you get this idea.

"And increasing the burden of taxes on others while accepting free goods sounds like the exact thing that libertarians hate about government: the appearance of a free lunch."

Dude, if I were ALLOWED to negotiate with my doctor, or whatever, I would be! You're argument here is fallacious - and you haven't provided any alternative as to what you think libertarians SHOULD do. No matter, we break the law under what you are suggesting. We're NOT ALLOWED to build roads on private property, we're not ALLOWED to negotiate with doctors, we're NOT ALLOWED to contract out for policing services. So are you suggesting we should all crawl into a cave somewhere? But even then, we're NOT ALLOWED to do that either. Heck you can't even go caving ten minutes from my home anymore, yet it was a favorite thing for boy scout troops 20 years ago.

"I included the example of the Depression because it showed that at the time that society had in a very basic way shifted away from an extended family that could subsist independently in hard times. Again, society had changed and the government was reacting to a market for a social net."

Government financial policies which included banking changes and many monetary policies designed to give government more control had as much to do with the cause of the Depression.

"Okay, I understand the animosity towards government effectiveness many cases....But again: governments that cannot deliver higher standards of living can be ditched."

How does that happen? And what do we get in return?

Lisa said...

Thank you for your comments Patrick - I will be responding soon.

Lisa said...

To take a man's property without his consent, and then to infer his consent because he attempts, by voting, to prevent that property from being used to his injury, is a very insufficient proof of his consent to support the Constitution. It is, in fact, no proof at all

Lysander Spooner

Patrick;

I am afraid you fail to understand the basic tenets of libertarian thought, although I appreciate your taking the time to address my comments.

Ian's comments here have I think effectively exposed many of the fallacies and inconsistencies present in your response, so my comments here are perhaps unnecessary. At the same time, I highly and sincerely encourage you to read Hans-Hermann Hoppe's "The Theory of Socialism and Capitalism", available here in pdf format, and also Lysander Spooner's essay No Treason
The Constitution of No Authority
.

Seems to me that central to our disagreement is our respective views concerning the nature of humanity. Apparently, you view individuals as irrational Hobbesian beasts who without the mighty arm of government to restrain them and protect their 'best interests', would revert to criminality and join lawless bands of thugs. Libertarians do not view people in this way, although we do not deny that there are bad people in the world. But from the fact that there are bad people in the world, it does not follow that we need government. Further, from the fact that we have good, it does not follow that it is the result of government.

In fact, the presence of bad people in the world is all the more reason to get rid of governments, which tend to be made up of leeches and nannies, with the apparent sanction of voters. As I have asked you before, if most people need 'guidance', then how can they be trusted to make sound decisions on election day? And even if the legislators have the best will in the world, how can they be said to be endowed with the godlike ability to choose for us all, including the ones who did not vote for the current regime? How can my neighbour's needs or desires be said to justly trump mine? By what standard and by what right?

"Lisa, if all people were reasonable beings like yourself, I have no doubt that libertarianism would take off, but you aren't representative of the most deadly members that exist in any society . . . in a libertarian society, there will be ample opportunity to take advantage of a power vacuum that will emerge."

You seem to be comparing libertarians to terrorists. Please explain how libertarianism results in lawlessness? Libertarians oppose the use of force except in the act of self-defense. Do you think that most people get along in society simply because of the presence of the state and its police force? Is it not in people's 'best interest' to get along, which is the only means to a peaceable, just and prosperous society? The real checks and balances in a society come about when people must accept personal responsibility for their actions and thus learn to comport themselves accordingly. Theft and slothfulness is not rewarded nor encouraged. In a libertarian society, peaceful people will have the means available to defend themselves against wrong doers - i.e. property violators. In a state run society, force is sanctioned by law and the means of defense and the ability to make laws and contracts concentrated in the hands of a few. Democracy in the form we know it frightens me for that reason. The will of 'the collective' results in a tyranny. Exactly no one is responsible, for it is not clear who voted for the government in the first place and the government being the abstract entity that it is results in the further diffusion of responsibility and makes it possible for evil doers to justify their actions with reference to their association with the state - the familiar refrain: 'I was merely following orders and it is in your best interest besides.'

Patrick, there can be no compromise when it comes to governments, for no matter the size and degree of power, the state must necessary use force to attain its goals. Unless membership is voluntary, there can be no justification for taking money from another against their will. There is no way to limit government except by dismantling it completely and a market will never be truly free until individuals are entrusted to make their own decisions and exchanges. What are the 'proper checks and limitations'? How are these determined? If the electorate is unfit to make their own decisions free from force, then how can they be trusted to 'choose' just legislators?

All political power, so called, rests practically upon this matter of money. Any number of scoundrels, having money enough to start with, can establish themselves as a "government"; because, with money, they can hire soldiers, and with soldiers, and with soldiers extort more money; and also compel general obedience to their will.
[. . . .]
For this reason, whoever desires liberty, should understand these vital facts, viz.: 1. That every man who puts money into the hands of a "government" (so called), puts into its hands a sword which will be used against him, to extort more money from him, and also to keep him in subjection to its arbitrary will. 2. That those who will take him money, without his consent, in the first place, will use it for his further robbery and enslavement, if he presumes to resist their demands in the future. 3. That it is a perfect absurdity to suppose that any body of men would ever take a man's money without his consent, for any such object as they profess to take it for, viz., that of protecting him; for why should they wish to protect him if he does not wish they to do so?

Lysander Spooner - excerpt from No Treason
The Constitution of No Authority

Which brings me to your persistent claim that a society without government would be grim, limited and lacking in charity. I see plenty of voluntary charity going on right now - you cannot claim that I wouldn't donate to cancer research if it wasn't for government and state education. There is plenty and love and caring too, also not a result of government. Society, far from being poorer without the state, would be more prosperous. Think of the wasted revenue and capital, effected through government spending, that could have been spent elsewhere. My neighbour might be better off if I had more money to support his particular endeavour. As it is, in Canada, we have an excess of flags and golf balls and a serious lack of doctors and common sense. Such wasted money makes us all poorer, and that is what has created the 'nuclear family.' The state would like to create a great big collective family, but the 'will of the collective' is an abstraction that necessarily ends in tyranny, despite the appearance of stability in a given nation. If I wasn't forced to pay for other people's children and health via the monopoly of public health care and the universal day care program, maybe I could afford to have children myself and have some left over for charity besides.

I may want to help my neighbour, as many others might wish to do too, but it is not required of me. The only obligations I have are to respect the property rights of others and the conditions of any contracts freely entered into. Yes, the world can be a sad place, and no matter what kind of society we have, people will always suffer. But believing that governments are the only way to bring about a prosperous society is utopian and indeed just plain illogical.

Taxation is theft Patrick. If it isn't' right to steal, than it's not right to take someone's else's money in the name of 'effecting good'. Does this not reek of the Robin Hood Scenario, where the people who are to receive the spoils are determined by the thief. The majority of people wouldn't pay taxes to the state if they weren't staring into the barrel of a gun with an iron cell looming in the background. Sure, I may 'benefit' from services paid for through appropriated funds, but it does not follow that I am acting in a just manner. Instead, it could be said that I have a moral responsibility to avoid paying taxes - through my compliance, I encourage and consent to the plunder of others. I remind you of a point I made in my post: "The burden of labour might be heavier on those that remain in a concentration camp if I escape, but should I thereby remain a prisoner?" I'm not asking for a 'free lunch' Patrick, nor do I avoid paying my taxes. Most importantly, I am not allowed the option of hiring private contractors for many goods and services. Dismantling the government monopoly would prevent others from having a 'free lunch' at my expense. I don't ask other people to look after me for free, and I demand the same respect in return.

The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: "Your money, or your life." And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.
The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.
The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a "protector," and that he takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to "protect" those infatuated travelers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords you. He does not keep "protecting" you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

Lysander Spooner - excerpt from No Treason