Francisco Ferrer Posted April 16, 2014 Share Posted April 16, 2014 There is no reason to accept either property rights violation or the legal power to violate property rights as a necessary fact of man's existence. In the 1850's slavery was an institution firmly established in American law and custom. A decade later it was was gone. It disappeared in large part as a result of people who refused to accept it as an "unfortunate reality."I think that there are a few good reasons to accept the power of states to tax and violate property rights as a necessary fact of man's existence. While there are many states throughout history that did not allow slavery, there are no states that did not have the power to tax and violate property rights. Now, this alone does not prove my point, but it is evidence for it when you consider why no state in history did not have such power.A state requires people to support it if it is to continue to exist. People will not support a state if they think they can form a new state that gives them more benefits than the old one. If a state did not have the power to tax, and instead relied on voluntary donations, it would not be able to reward its supporters better than a state that did have the power to tax and violate property rights.Hence, if at any point in history, some head of state relinquished his power to tax, immediately his supporters would turn from him and replace (and probably kill) him with a head of state that would tax and violate the property rights of the weak.Nations without slavery are entirely a modern phenomenon. Even within the British Isles slavery existed in the form of serfs attached to the land, and slavery was common throughout the empire until 1833.As for nations without taxation, there is in fact precedent for that. See "Private Creation and Enforcement of Law: A Historical Case." Do courts and police and armies require support of the people? Of course. So do shoe stores, but somehow shoe stores manage to survive and prosper without anyone be forced to support them.Will some non-productive people shop around for the state that gives them the most benefits? Sure. We see that now in certain Western democracies. On the other hand, productive people will undoubtedly shop for a state that robs them the least. In this context, I have hope for the free nation movement. Will the moochers be stronger than the producers? In the long run, no, due to what's called a "brain drain."The community itself. Mutual defense based on the premise that the initiation of force is evil would require a widespread respect for and cherishing of property rights. This would, of course, necessitate much prior educational-intellectual groundwork. (Ayn Rand repeatedly reminded us that the philosophical battle must precede the political battle.) But ultimately we might end up with something quite similar to what the Founding Fathers had in mind, not a standing army, but a well-armed citizenry.A well-armed citizenry is not an army. They cannot devote all of their time to training, preparing, and, most importantly, organizing themselves for war.An organized military force could easily overwhelm a well-armed citizenry by conquering them piecemeal. Unlike a unified and organized army, a well-armed citizenry faces a "Belling the Cat" problem when it comes to defending their allies. Each citizen can gain little from defending anybody who the army attacks, but faces enormous costs if he decides to help out, even if they win. Furthermore, they are all well aware of their conundrum, so any citizen that the army attacks usually cannot count on the support of other citizens, and simply surrenders. Thus, an army could conquer the citizens simply by threatening to do so.Indeed, this "belling the cat" problem perfectly explains why popular revolutions against tyranny are so rare.The example of Switzerland disproves your claim. Only about five percent of the military in that country are full-time professional soldiers.This plan would work perfectly in any society where there are no altruists. However, in a diverse population it is not hard to imagine that there would be at least one self-sacrificing do-gooder who would propose the bill in order that his comrades gain a higher portion of the total amount of private wealth in the land, either through the payoff or the threat that backs up the bribe request.I am glad that we can agree that the plan would work perfectly in a society without any "do-gooders". However, I think that there is a way for the producer to win even when there are "do-gooders". All he has to do is make a slight modification to his offer..Suppose that the producer make the following offer, "If a parasite proposes a tax bill, then I will give everyone an equal share of the money that would be taxed if the bill were to pass, but only if the bill fails. However, if a do-gooder proposes a tax bill, then I will give one dollar more than what they can expect to gain from the bill to any parasite that votes against the bill".Suppose that a parasite proposes a tax bill. Then, all the do-gooders vote against it, because everyone would get even more than they could with the tax bill. The producer also votes against it, breaking the tie, and failing the bill. He also gives everyone an equal share of the money.Suppose that a do-gooder proposes a tax bill. Then, all the parasites vote against it, because the producer has promised them more than they could get if the wealth was distributed over a greater number of people. The producer also votes against it, breaking the tie, and failing the bill. He gives to each parasite that voted against it the money he promised them.Thus, the parasites can get nothing if they propose the bill, and a lot if the do-gooders do. So they never propose the bill. The do-gooders get a more equal distribution of wealth, but only if a parasite proposes the bill. So they never propose the bill either.Once again, a tax bill is never proposed, and the producer gets to keep everything he produces.I think this example illustrates my original point quite well. No matter what the parasites do, because the producer starts the game with more resources and can make credible commitments about his use of those resources, he is always able to out-maneuver the parasites.I do not know how on the surface one can distinguish between a parasite and a do-gooder. Nor do I wish to do away with the secret ballot only to find, too late, that the average parasite does not trust rich guys offering bribe money.When that happens the corporation is no longer acting as a player in the free market but as a partner with and a part of the state. By comparison consider this exchange:X: Aren't you worried about the power that churches have?Y: What power?X: Well, churches could always take over the Congress and have a law passed to round up all the non-believers and make them convert or else be burned at the stake.Y: I see what you mean. Churches are a real threat to freedom.Economic organizations, such as corporations, are never acting solely as ordinary participants in markets. They are always, almost as if by a law of nature, "a partner with and a part of the state." This is true for very similar reasons to the ones I used above to explain why states necessarily interfere with markets.I do not know what you are talking about. My family has operated a successful corporation for over 40 years, and other than filing the necessary forms mandated under penalty of law, they have had nothing to do with the state.Additionally, your example is a really bad one because it describes a very plausible scenario. Churches could have an enormous hold over secular governments. Indeed, for centuries in Europe, they did exactly that. Indeed, to a quite significant extent, they still do today.The only reason they don't have a greater say is because the corporate elite have pushed them off to the margins.If you fear either the church or the corporation (or men or rich people or whatever) having too much state power, then the solution is to put a collar on the state, not on the church or corporation. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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