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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Other people are not your property, redux

I have been reading blogs over at BlogExplosion, and I just came across one in praise of taxes. How the poor have it rough and the rich can afford to stop whining and give to those who are more needy. I'll agree, that yes, the poor have it rough, and the rich can afford to stop whining and give. However, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, quoting from Roderick T. Long:
Other people are not your property.

In other words: They are not yours to boss around. Their lives are not yours to micromanage. The fruits of their labour are not yours to dispose of.

It doesn’t matter how wise or marvelous or useful it would be for other people to do whatever it is you’d like them to do. It is none of your business whether they wear their seatbelts, worship the right god, have sex with the wrong people, or engage in market transactions that irritate you. Their choices are not yours to direct. They are human beings like yourself, your equals under Natural Law. You possess no legitimate authority over them. As long as they do not themselves step over the line and start treating other people as their property, you have no moral basis for initiating violence against them – nor for authorising anyone else to do so on your behalf.

Someone else's money is not yours to take and do with what you like, no matter how just it would be. You do not own anyone else, nor do you own their property, nor does the government own anyone or their property, nor do the poor own the property of the rich.

You can be as generous as you like with your own money. You can not be "compassionate" or "generous" with someone else's property. That is not generosity. Taking someone else's property is generally called theft.


  • Amen and amen! Love this post! I will be voting libertarian this year. dollymama.blogspot.com

    By Blogger DollyMama, at 7:21 PM  

  • Just wondering, where's the pro-tax blog?

    By Blogger WildWriter, at 1:43 AM  

  • Pretty much any Republican or Democratic site would be pro-tax. As long as they're advocating government spending on *something*, whether it's social programs, farm subsidies, or bombs, the money has to come from *somewhere*, and since the government can't make anything of its own, the money has to come from the taxpayer, either through present taxes or deficit spending resulting in future taxes.

    By Blogger David, at 1:51 AM  

  • I think it's short-sighted to assume that taxes are a form of theft. Taxes are a way to ensure that all people who benefit from a society give back to it in accordance to how much that society gives them. A billionaire obviously benefits (or has benefitted) more from her society than does a single parent. Why should the billionaire not give back to her society for what it has given her. None of us are self-sufficient. We rely on the rest of our society for countless basic needs and luxuries. We should be fairly rewarded for any work we do and fairly give back for any good or service we receive.

    By Blogger Frozen Truth, at 12:04 AM  

  • Ahh.. yes, the old choice theory routine. You can only control yourself, and only you can control yourself. Same goes for everyone else. That's the basics of it, anyway. Society seems such an unnatural state of existance for humanity. We seem to constantly fight against it, and yet, once we break free, we long to come back.

    I wonder what the world would be like if nobody ever tried to control someone else... probably nothing, since that will never happen. Oh well. Next problem. ;)

    By Blogger Nikosai, at 6:40 AM  

  • Nikosai,

    If I understood what you were talking about, or even if you were arguing with me or against me, I could comment on it. I do not know economics, so "choice theory" doesn't mean anything to me. My argument is from first principles:

    I own myself. I own the product of my labors. I own that for which I trade, or that which is given to me by someone who obtained it via trading for it with someone else or who was given it. The same is true whether I am a struggling single parent or a billionaire. If I am a billionaire, the only way in which I could have gotten that way "from society" is if government gave it to me. If I got my billions through trade or private transactions, then those with whom I've traded have been compensated as well. I don't "owe" anything to "society" for "allowing" me to make or keep my billions, as long as I haven't defrauded anyone or stolen what I have.

    For anyone to argue that a billionaire owes a single parent anything, simply because one is rich and the other not so much, is to argue that the billionaire does not own himself and that the less well off partially owns the billionaire.

    By Blogger David, at 8:39 AM  

  • Sorry. I was agreeing with you, completely. I was just commenting on something else as well that had nothing to do with it. Ignore me, I'm crazy.

    By Blogger Nikosai, at 3:43 AM  

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