Unrugged Individualism


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  • 1 month later...

I have read Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence and I think it is a great book. David Kelley presents the case for benevolence in a straightforward manner. His concept of benevolence is both practical and wise, which are traits often lacking among many Objectivists. Kelley does not suffer the frequent Objectivist problem of over-simplifying important and complex topics. He is an observant commentator on our society.

He has written another book which also is very relevant to the topic of benevolence. A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State offers an insightful analysis of how our human desire to treat other's benevolently has been corrupted into the welfare state. He discusses benevolence and its proper function in a free society in this book. Again, I recommend the book.

Charles R. Anderson

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Charles -- Thanks for your post about David's book Unrugged Individualism. I think it's one of his best and explores an important implication of Objectivism, that we not only create our own virtues and not only act in a just manner towards others but also that it is in our self-interest to create the sort of society and culture that will allow us best to flourish.

Best,

Ed Hudgins

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Adding to Ed's comment:

Benevolence toward another individual accomplishes many purposes of the rational man:

1) It recognizes that many people in a fairly rational, post Enlightenment society enhance our life by making many values available to us. Many of these come through free trade in the market, but many come from individual interactions with trade in other currency, such as simply learning from one another. In such a society one starts from the assumption that others are to be respected because they have values to trade.

2) If one opens an interaction with another individual under the assumption that they deserve respect, your prospects for finding values to trade with them go up dramatically. A genial approach encourages the exploration of what values each person has to offer the other.

3) It lowers everyone's anxieties and helps greatly to reduce the number of imagined wrongs and threats. It creates an atmosphere in which one does not have to gather up a gang of cohorts before taking a walk down the street. Being too wary of others costs us time and energy that can be put to better purposes. Usually when you treat others with respect, they try to deserve it.

It has been too long since I read David's Unrugged Individualism to remember his particular arguments, but these were probably included in his far more extensive discussion. I certainly remember it as consistent with my essential perspective on benevolence and as a very wise assessment of benevolence at the personal and societal levels.

I just picked up his book to regain a sense of how it was organized and some of the things he discusses. His discussion is very perceptive of the many facets of benevolence. The snatches I just re-read were very interesting. This is a topic I have written a number of essays on myself, long after I read his book. It has me wondering which ideas were independently mine and which stuck from reading his book without my remembering it as the source, which resulted from our discussions at Brown, and which I had before I met David. In any case, everyone in the world should read David's book, especially Objectivists.

In fact, it would be great if David were to write an enhanced version of this book which did not assume so much that his readers were Objectivists. But as it is, it should be required reading for Objectivist bloggers!

Charles

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What galls me about David's Objectivist critics is that they make the same mistake that was made against Ayn Rand by very vicious people. They grossly misrepresent his ideas in the same manner that was done to her.

Rand's rational self interest became a command to go to the gas chambers and so forth. None of David's detractor's have any difficulty in seeing how completely wrong and boneheaded that was.

Yet they do the same thing. They constantly say that David's concept of benevolence is the same as altruism. They also say that he preaches appeasement of evil by holding tolerance as a value. They completely ignore the limitations he puts on benevolence and tolerance and paint him practically as a leftist.

(Of course his real sin is that he stood up to Peikoff, but nobody will say that.)

It would be nice if people, certain Objectivists in particular, learned how to read.

Michael

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  • 1 month later...

Michael,

I very much agree with you. Dianna Hsieh is especially egregious in paraphrasing David in a manner to give his argument a strawman meaning, taking a statement out of context, or defining a word in such a way that it means something very different than the meaning David used it in. Others have criticized David for being too aware of the complexities of the real world with their complaints that his pronouncements are not simple enough for them. I commonly see that as a sign of their simple-mindedness.

Robert Tracinski's recent essay series What Went Right? makes some good arguments for benevolence and tolerance, even though he never uses those words. Perhaps he is afraid of them, given how shabbily they have been treated within the ARI or LPI crowd. Nonetheless, they are essential in making society work rationally and efficiently to allow us all "normal" lives as Tracinski describes the aspirations of those of the underdeveloped world who are making the leap into more developed societies.

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  • 7 months later...
What galls me about David's Objectivist critics is that they make the same mistake that was made against Ayn Rand by very vicious people. They grossly misrepresent his ideas in the same manner that was done to her.

Rand's rational self interest became a command to go to the gas chambers and so forth. None of David's detractor's have any difficulty in seeing how completely wrong and boneheaded that was.

Yet they do the same thing. They constantly say that David's concept of benevolence is the same as altruism. They also say that he preaches appeasement of evil by holding tolerance as a value. They completely ignore the limitations he puts on benevolence and tolerance and paint him practically as a leftist.

(Of course his real sin is that he stood up to Peikoff, but nobody will say that.)

It would be nice if people, certain Objectivists in particular, learned how to read.

Michael

Michael -

Thanks. You are dead-on accurate here in the analogy. It makes me sad to observe how completely (and apparently effortlessly!) some desert their claimed Objectivist principles in the rest of JUST NOT SAYING ANYTHING GOOD ABOUT ANYONE WHO HAS DISSENTED FROM THE ARI CROWD IN SOME WAY.

Alfonso

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  • 1 year later...

Damn. I lost my copy of this book. I would have really liked to discuss it here, too. I'm very interested in people's notions of benevolence and I suspect Kelley's notion reflects a kind of "fence-sitting" between morality and a kind of non-morality centered on the wish for others to have their desires gratified.

Perhaps I'll get another copy of the book and investigate whether my suspicion has any validity.

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  • 2 years later...

I have learned of a critical review, available online, of this monograph by David Kelley. The review is by Loren Lomasky and is available here: Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence.

My own criticisms are touched on here:

. . .

I should pause over the necessity of intended self-benefit for correct values. Not all of one’s potential selves are worth benefitting. Among those who are, Rand maintains that only potential selves whose every value is intended to benefit themselves hold entirely correct values. “Concern with his own interests is the essence of a moral existence, and . . . man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions. / The actor must always be the beneficiary of his action” (VS ix–x; also OE 46–47).

One is a beneficiary in ways other than by one’s resulting positive feelings, because one is a self that is not only feelings. Man’s self is “‘that entity that is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego’” (HR XVIII 737). It is the self—one’s soul—that has thoughts, meaning, will, values, desires, and feeling (GW II 454).

Roark loves the buildings he designs not only because of the positive responses they elicit in him. Dagny loves diesel-electric locomotives and the minds that create them not only because of the positive responses they elicit in her. It is not plausible that when she finds that man at the end of the rails, the one for whom she has longed since her youth, she will love him only because of the positive responses he evokes in her.

There is, however, a thread of subjectivity in Rand’s conception of value and love and normative selfishness that is puckering up the fabric. In my judgment, that thread is unnecessary and should be removed. Speaking metaphorically, the solemnity of looking at the sky does not come only from the uplift of one’s head (HR V 598). In extreme desire for another person, the other does not recede in importance compared to the desire (GW IX 539). A rational desire to help someone in need is animated not only by “your own selfish pleasure in the value of his person and struggle” (AS 1060, emphasis added). Rather, it is enough for rational egoism that, by design, no actions be contrary self-benefit (of a self worth benefitting). The requirement that all actions should intend primarily self-benefit should be dropped. In this way, one can love persons simply for the particular ends-in-themselves that they are.

The man who dynamited Cortlandt rises, takes the oath, and stands before the court audience. “Roark stood before each of them as each man stands in the innocence of his own mind. But Roark stood like that before a hostile crowd—and they knew suddenly that no hatred was possible to him. For the flash of an instant, they grasped the manner of his consciousness. Each asked himself: do I need anyone’s approval?—does it matter?—am I tied? And for that instant, each man was free—free enough to feel benevolence for every other man in the room” (HR XVIII 736).

Rand takes benevolence to be people’s natural state when they are not constrained by law or morality to take basic direction from others rather than from themselves and to benefit others rather than themselves. David Kelley has added to Rand’s ethics by reckoning the ways in which benevolence is in one’s self-interest and arguing that the virtue of productivity has a cohort virtue in benevolence towards others (1996). In Kelley’s view, although benevolence is not an obligation by way of respecting the rights of others, it is an obligation to oneself. I think only some occasions of right benevolence are morally required; other occasions are morally permitted, but not required, not an obligation. Be that as it may, my dissent registered to Rand’s account of rational egoism applies to Kelley’s as well. Both of them correctly recognize that genuine benevolent responsiveness is not educed primarily by motives of self-sacrifice. Both are wrong in not recognizing that the genuine, innocent response of benevolence is also not educed primarily by motives of self-benefit.

. . .

I would now add a caution to my criticism of David’s analysis of benevolence. In an earlier essay The Best within Us, David had written:

Virtue consists in the rules of conduct, the traits of character, that are required for living successfully. To make virtue one's highest end is to focus inward, forgetting that the purpose of virtue is to help us to live in the world. . . Such people tend to become crabbed and cautious, more concerned with avoiding moral errors than with getting anything done. This is not to say that virtue is merely an instrument. Because we are beings of self-made soul, because our character is itself a crucial achievement, virtue ought to be a source of satisfaction in its own right—and a matter of concern in any action we take. But it nevertheless must take second place to achievement as a global value.

Having the creation of value—achievement—within one’s immediate view in a benevolent act does not render the act inauthentic in the way that having moral rationale of altruism or moral rationale of egoism would by their immediacy and primacy in one’s view of the occasion. So David’s position is not necessarily so wide of the mark as I had thought in the excerpt above.

I noticed this past summer another, younger Objectivist (ARI) scholar,* in an excellent course on egoism and altruism, portrayed Rand’s account of the proper benevolent occasion as “more proximately motivated by concern for others,” with self-interest as one’s ultimate concern. Naturally, all of what Rand published bearing on the subject needs to be closely considered; one’s elisions to, one’s shift of emphases in, or one’s streamlining of Rand’s express views to improve them needs to be set forth explicitly in an exposition or analysis of her position. That is to say, each point appearing at odds with one’s representation of her view needs to be addressed, where one is aiming for comprehending her view, rather than simply formulating the truth.

Edited by Stephen Boydstun
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I have learned of a critical review, available online, of this monograph by David Kelley. The review is by Loren Lomasky and is available here: Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence.

This review of Kelley’s excellent book is from Reason magazine. It was published in 1997, and clearly shows once again how clueless Reason’s editors are about Ayn Rand and Objectivism. The author, Contributing Editor Loren E. Lomasky, obviously thinks “Miss Manners” is an infinitely superior philosophical thinker than Ayn Rand or David Kelley.

Lomasky lacks anything remotely approaching a grasp of Objectivism’s views on altruism and benevolence, and makes no effort to allow Kelley to enlighten her. In fact, she appears to have no grasp of the essential distinction between the two. She examines Kelley’s views on human relationships though an utterly conventional lens. She seems to think Kelley is arguing for benevolence from a purely practical, cost-benefit standpoint, ignoring his case for maximizing the enormous potential for emotional enrichment that other human beings can offer.

. . .[The] Randian scorn of altruism seems to place that venue [benevolence] off limits.

Kelley disputes this. Benevolence, he claims, is "a commitment to achieving the values derivable from life with other people in society, by treating them as potential trading partners, recognizing their humanity, independence, and individuality, and the harmony between their interests and ours." Trade, unlike fraudulent deception or the blunt introduction of force, evinces respect for others. They, like oneself, are bearers of rights that may not be transgressed.

Kelley is certainly correct to maintain that a disposition to seek voluntary agreements with others rather than run roughshod over their person and property is a virtue. But to label it "benevolence" is blatant misidentification. Adam Smith was not similarly confused. In The Wealth of Nations he famously observed, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." When regard to one's own interest is pursued in a manner that does not violate the rights of others, an individual is manifesting justice, not benevolence.

. . .But, then, I am not an egoist. That is, I do not equate rationality with selfishness, and I do not identify willingness to make small sacrifices for the sake of others with the pathological syndrome known to Randians as altruism.

What utter claptrap. "I do not equate rationality with selfishness." Lomasky writes like someone who got her views on Ayn Rand from National Review.

Reason was founded by the late Lanny Friedlander, a strong admirer of Ayn Rand, in 1968. I was an enthusiastic subscriber at that time. Reason’s two interviews with Nathaniel Branden, both published shortly following his break with Ayn Rand, were magnificent. Friedlander would likely have tossed this sort of stupid, vapid, ignorant review of an Objectivist book directly into his round file. The last thing he would have done is publish such tripe.

Reason has come a long way since 1968.

A long

way

down.

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Dennis,

I don't think that's entirely fair. Full disclosure; I've read plenty of phenomenally interesting analysis from Reason writers, most of it I would consider Objectivist-compatible at the very least. I'm a donor to the Reason Foundation and they've sent me a T-Shirt and two books as well as a free year's subscription. Best value charity donation I've ever made.

I agree that Reason has a tendency to misinterpret Rand as a rationalist/intrinsicist. But this tendency isn't due to stupidity. Its due to a terminology-barrier (Objectivist terminology DOES have a tendency to sound rationalist/intrinsicist, especially to people more from the Hayek/Popper/Epistemic-Modesty school of libertarian thought, which both Virginia Postrel and Nick Gillespie are devotees of), and its also due to the fact that Rand herself as well as many Objectivists have a "rationalist temperment" (and at times, both Rand and some other Objectivists have indeed sank into de facto rationalism).

I find it quite easy to explain Objectivist ideas to people like this, simply by phrasing them in formulations that they'd understand, and showing the common ground between Objectivist ideas and their own perspective. This is a lot more effective than dismissing what they say as "utter claptrap" or, in the case of the orthodoxy/Randroids, condemning them as evil.

But lets look at the article itself. And to an extent, I agree with you. Lomasky indeed seems to be thinking of costs and benefits in a purely economic, quantitative, utilitarian sense (this is a common error which frequently effects people from economics backgrounds). I should also add that I disagree with Lomasky's interpretation of Adam Smith. Smith's famous quote about the butcher and baker's self-interest doesn't disprove Kelley at all.

If I were to define "benevolence" I'd define it as deliberately doing something with the aim of benefitting others. This differs from altruism, which says that benevolence should be the ultimate end (or Telos) of all actions. Egoism is the idea that benefitting oneself should be the ultimate end of all actions. Adam Smith's quote doesn't separate benevolence from egoism in the way that Lomasky seems to think; Smith is saying that we appeal to the baker's self-interest but that doesn't mean we are assuming the baker must be an egoist. Self-interest isn't Egoism unless its held as the ultimate end of all actions. Plus, Smith's quote deals with the specific context of commercial transactions; Kelley was speaking in a wider context.

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Every dollar I'm taxed is one less dollar I can give to the causes and individuals of my choice.

There are some things you pay by way of taxes that you would buy in a totally free non-tax society. Such as fire protection for your house, various kinds of insurance and payment for the use of streets and roads that others have built and that you use. You would pay for the shipping and mailing of packages and other items that the post office carries. Deduct the taxes that you pay for these ends from your potential charitable contributions?

You will notice that some things you pay for in taxes are NOT income transfers. They are not loot taken from you and given to unworthy recipients.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I agree that Reason has a tendency to misinterpret Rand as a rationalist/intrinsicist. But this tendency isn't due to stupidity. Its due to a terminology-barrier (Objectivist terminology DOES have a tendency to sound rationalist/intrinsicist, especially to people more from the Hayek/Popper/Epistemic-Modesty school of libertarian thought, which both Virginia Postrel and Nick Gillespie are devotees of), and its also due to the fact that Rand herself as well as many Objectivists have a "rationalist temperment" (and at times, both Rand and some other Objectivists have indeed sank into de facto rationalism).

I agree. It's an oft-lamented, squirm-inducing fact that ~many~ well-meaning (?) people in the Objectivist movement have tended to misinterpret (?) Rand's ideas in a rationalist/intrinsicist manner, not to say an overly ~judgmental~ manner. A good amount of Peikoff's 1983 course, "Understanding Objectivism," was aimed at uprooting and dispelling such tendencies of Objectivists--students and spokescritters thereof, alike. As was his later course, "Judging, Feeling, and Not Being Moralistic." As were his later courses, "Objectivism through Induction" and "Induction in Physics and Philosophy."

These are very good antidotes, even if only partial, to the problem noted. Unfortunately, up until now, they have remained part of the massive "aural" tradition of Objectivist philosophy. You can buy the CDs, listen, and frantically scribble notes--wondering later: did he really say that, then hunt and peck through the audio for the actual comment. Not much fun, compared to eyeballing a stationary target on the printed page.

As Peikoff once remarked: "Then it's for eternity." Exactly. That means that critics and careful students can pick it apart and maybe find subtle flaws that cast doubt on patterns of inference and the resulting action recommendations. And that's scary. Which I think is the main reason there has been ~so little~ published by Objectivist writers other than Ayn Rand herself -- or Nathaniel Branden, of course, who has been as fearless as he has been prolific in putting his ideas out there in printed form.

The only good news in this area is that Peikoff's "Understanding Objectivism" is going to be edited/re-written(?) by Robert Mayhew and published next spring. Probably over the anguished protests of Peter Schwartz and his ilk, who seem to prefer the rougher-tougher, more judgmental brand of Objectivism. Should be an interesting roll-out.

REB

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Dennis,

I don't think that's entirely fair. Full disclosure; I've read plenty of phenomenally interesting analysis from Reason writers, most of it I would consider Objectivist-compatible at the very least. I'm a donor to the Reason Foundation and they've sent me a T-Shirt and two books as well as a free year's subscription. Best value charity donation I've ever made.

I agree that Reason has a tendency to misinterpret Rand as a rationalist/intrinsicist. But this tendency isn't due to stupidity. Its due to a terminology-barrier (Objectivist terminology DOES have a tendency to sound rationalist/intrinsicist, especially to people more from the Hayek/Popper/Epistemic-Modesty school of libertarian thought, which both Virginia Postrel and Nick Gillespie are devotees of), and its also due to the fact that Rand herself as well as many Objectivists have a "rationalist temperment" (and at times, both Rand and some other Objectivists have indeed sank into de facto rationalism).

Andrew,

My point was simply that Reason shouldn’t be assigning people with no knowledge of Objectivism to write reviews of Objectivist books. You expect that sort of dim-witted “claptrap” from the New York Times Book Review, but not in a magazine whose inspiration and whose very name was inspired by Ayn Rand.

As for the editors of Reason who have followed Friedlander, I am just disappointed that they obviously made no effort to come to grips with the philosophy that inspired the magazine they represent. It’s like Playboy coming out with an editorial in defense of censorship. I’m sure it’s true that Objectivist spokesmen turn off a lot of potential supporters because of their authoritarian approach, but Reason’s editors cannot reasonably claim such commonly held ignorance. Most libertarians have a better grasp of Rand’s view of selfishness than this review reflects. It should never have made it into print.

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My point was simply that Reason shouldn’t be assigning people with no knowledge of Objectivism to write reviews of Objectivist books.

That's a very valid point. However, the problem is that widespread misunderstanding of Objectivism, even amongst many libertarians, still exists (and it is very widespread amongst those libertarians mostly allied with the Hayek-Popper-Epistemic Modesty tradition). Like you, I want more people to be correctly informed about Objectivism. In order to do this, I think the best policy we can have is Kelley's policy of benevolence and civility.

I hope you don't take this as a personal attack, but I think at times, some of your word choices create a very harsh and unforgiving impression. This impression may make it more difficult to enlighten people about the actual content of Objectivism (by making the audience less receptive).

I'm not trying to attack; I'm simply saying that persuasion is much more effective when the audience is receptive, and that sometimes you phrase things in a manner which could easily render an audience hostile.

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Every dollar I'm taxed is one less dollar I can give to the causes and individuals of my choice.

There are some things you pay by way of taxes that you would buy in a totally free non-tax society. Such as fire protection for your house, various kinds of insurance and payment for the use of streets and roads that others have built and that you use. You would pay for the shipping and mailing of packages and other items that the post office carries. Deduct the taxes that you pay for these ends from your potential charitable contributions?

You will notice that some things you pay for in taxes are NOT income transfers. They are not loot taken from you and given to unworthy recipients.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Something is only an "income transfer" if it's forcibly taken and then given to a ~worthy~ recipient??

So, if a robber forces me to give him money which he then gave to FedEx, surely a worthy recipient in the present context, in order to ship an item I was intending to send to someone, that is ~not~ an income transfer or loot taken from me?

I really don't see an essential distinction. Forcibly taking money from me in order to "spend it on my behalf" -- whether for charity or police protection or mailing packages -- is theft, whether legalized or done illegally by a vigilante do-gooder.

In an ideal society, we may not be able to ~completely~ eradicate theft -- whether by individuals or groups or governments -- but shouldn't we at least start consistently calling it what it is, and start demanding that it stop?

REB

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Every dollar I'm taxed is one less dollar I can give to the causes and individuals of my choice.

There are some things you pay by way of taxes that you would buy in a totally free non-tax society. Such as fire protection for your house, various kinds of insurance and payment for the use of streets and roads that others have built and that you use. You would pay for the shipping and mailing of packages and other items that the post office carries. Deduct the taxes that you pay for these ends from your potential charitable contributions?

You will notice that some things you pay for in taxes are NOT income transfers. They are not loot taken from you and given to unworthy recipients.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Something is only an "income transfer" if it's forcibly taken and then given to a ~worthy~ recipient??

So, if a robber forces me to give him money which he then gave to FedEx, surely a worthy recipient in the present context, in order to ship an item I was intending to send to someone, that is ~not~ an income transfer or loot taken from me?

I really don't see an essential distinction. Forcibly taking money from me in order to "spend it on my behalf" -- whether for charity or police protection or mailing packages -- is theft, whether legalized or done illegally by a vigilante do-gooder.

In an ideal society, we may not be able to ~completely~ eradicate theft -- whether by individuals or groups or governments -- but shouldn't we at least start consistently calling it what it is, and start demanding that it stop?

REB

You miss the point. I will repeat. Some taxes are for services you would buy even in a society without government. It is unfortunate that the government has monopolized even these. However unfortunate, they are not mere income transfers. The tax payer actually gets some benefit. Perhaps he would do better if these services were offered in a free competitive market. For example delivery of paper mail. A set of private deliverers could do much better than the U.S. Postal Service. Unfortunately, Federal Law makes delivery of first class mail a government monopoly. Even so, the money you pay for delivering first class mail does not go into the pockets of moochers and only there, such as welfare and some government subsidies.

I hope I have made myself more plain.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Every dollar I'm taxed is one less dollar I can give to the causes and individuals of my choice.

There are some things you pay by way of taxes that you would buy in a totally free non-tax society. Such as fire protection for your house, various kinds of insurance and payment for the use of streets and roads that others have built and that you use. You would pay for the shipping and mailing of packages and other items that the post office carries. Deduct the taxes that you pay for these ends from your potential charitable contributions?

You will notice that some things you pay for in taxes are NOT income transfers. They are not loot taken from you and given to unworthy recipients.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Something is only an "income transfer" if it's forcibly taken and then given to a ~worthy~ recipient??

So, if a robber forces me to give him money which he then gave to FedEx, surely a worthy recipient in the present context, in order to ship an item I was intending to send to someone, that is ~not~ an income transfer or loot taken from me?

I really don't see an essential distinction. Forcibly taking money from me in order to "spend it on my behalf" -- whether for charity or police protection or mailing packages -- is theft, whether legalized or done illegally by a vigilante do-gooder.

In an ideal society, we may not be able to ~completely~ eradicate theft -- whether by individuals or groups or governments -- but shouldn't we at least start consistently calling it what it is, and start demanding that it stop?

REB

You miss the point. I will repeat. Some taxes are for services you would buy even in a society without government. It is unfortunate that the government has monopolized even these. However unfortunate, they are not mere income transfers. The tax payer actually gets some benefit. Perhaps he would do better if these services were offered in a free competitive market. For example delivery of paper mail. A set of private deliverers could do much better than the U.S. Postal Service. Unfortunately, Federal Law makes delivery of first class mail a government monopoly. Even so, the money you pay for delivering first class mail does not go into the pockets of moochers and only there, such as welfare and some government subsidies.

Sorry you think I'm not understanding your point.

It didn't help that I mis-spoke myself. I meant to challenge your claim that a transfer payment was a redistribution of money to an ~unworthy~ recipient. (Your word: "unworthy.") The implication apparently being that if the recipient was ~worthy~, it would be a transfer payment or a redistribution of income?

Let me try again.

So, if there's someone I feel sorry for and feel ~would~ be a worthy recipient of financial assistance and not just an unworthy "moocher," but I did not choose to aid them at some point of time, your (or the government's) forcibly taking the money from me and giving it to this worthy person would NOT be a transfer payment?

Please clarify.

I hope I have made myself more plain.

Please provide some before and after photos, and I'll let you know. :-)

REB

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