Archive for August 2010
In response to my “Feudal Land Title: A Commonlaw Fraud” article, a reader, “Dogma” responded with what I consider to be the typical “best” Marxist argument defending the quashing of property rights in America and in other countries that do not respect no recognize the right to private property.
Let’s begin with his opening remark:
You seem to have developed a victim mentality with an entitlement attitude. You realize you are rationalizing a self-absorbed position in light of facts not in evidence. Your positions have zero basis in reality, they simply serve to help you justify your lot in life, whatever that is.
The reader’s comment starts out with a contradiction: no one but the individual can defend property rights. The government can’t do it, since it’s motivation is to increase the reach of its powers through ever-increasing taxes, regulations and encroachment into individual’s lives. So instead of having unorganized and poorly-funded roving bandits attacking your private property, now you have a single, well-funded, heavily-armed, military or para-military force that is bound by law to take your property, using practically-unlimited resources, funded by mass extortion. You see, in most countries, including America, your Constitutional rights are only recognized (poorly at that) when your taxes are paid. So when you have property taxes, the government grows in power at an alarming rate and is soon out of control and interfering with every aspect of your life. And they have more mite than any roving bandits. And if you kill a “law enforcement” officer who’s about to take your property that you’ve worked your entire life to earn, many more well-funded para-military will be on your property in short order, with orders to murder you. Kill a roving bandit and that would likely be the last you’d be dealing with that particular pack of bandits.
In a moral society, the government’s job is limited to securing individual rights, not subverting them. The current system in America is immoral. What a fine example it is: stealing is how to run a government. Theft is socially acceptable. Even if you have to murder the creator of a certain wealth or value in order to obtain it by force.
In the free market, some people provide services and products. Those that are a real value to other men, prosper–there is no need to point a gun at the consumer and say “buy, or else!” But that’s exactly how the government works. Since few, if any of the “services” it offers are what people with a rational self-interest would want (who want’s their children indoctrinated with Marxist ideaology? Who want’s to be burdened with a thousand different forms and fees just to build a tool shed on one’s own property?) the government, in order to remain in “business” has to seize its income by force, or threat thereof.
You are not entitled to own property to do what you please, without compensating the rest of society [AKA: the government] for the expense of securing YOUR property rights, which are relative. See, in your world you would own some property, and then you would attempt to defend that property from others that wish to take it away by force. This is a battle you would lose. And very quickly. Somebody, or some group would easily over run you, and take your property for themselves. They then would have to defend it from other would-be predators.
To wit, here are two illuminating arguments from fellow Objectivists:
That is an arbitrary assertion defensible in neither political philosophy nor the historical record in America. If someone is opposed to private property rights because he is a collectivist who thinks you owe “compensation to society” in order to live, then the dispute is a lot deeper than the nature of land rights.
Rights are a moral concept. The concept of rights of the individual means a moral sanction of the freedom of action of the individual in a social context. Rights subordinate society to moral law because the individual, not society, is the fundamental unit. Rights do not have to be bought from the collective. That would invert the process. This pertains to all of our rights, not just land rights. Our political rights under law are a recognition and legal formulation of our natural rights as human beings. The whole purpose of the government is to protect our rights as individuals, not dispense them by permission in exchange for extortion payments on behalf of the mob.
Does man not own his effort which he trades for values (or money) which can then be traded for another value(s), land? Whether people recognize it or not a moral government is created by the people to protect their individual rights (the right to take action) and all the values they accumulate from that action which includes land/property. In other words a moral government outlaws force and only takes action against those that use or state they will use force against others. So, the government (and it’s citizens that agree) that act to take one’s property/land are acting in an immoral manner when they take someone’s land for non-defense based reasons. …
A right is a moral concept that subordinates the will of the majority to the rights of the individual within a social context. And to protect those rights man creates a government which does so by creating laws to protect man’s right to take action and accumulate values (to include land). Once again whether people recognize it or not, the U.S. Constitution was created to defend man’s rights (which comes from his very nature of being a man) not to give him rights nor limit his rights. In other words the U.S. Constitution was created to limit the power of the government so that it’s sole purpose would be to outlaw any usage of immoral force.
Man, by his very nature has the right to take all the actions required to sustain his life. And any man that takes the action(s) to produce an effort, but does not own his effort’s reward(s) is just a slave. In other words, man does not need a government to tell him what actions to take to sustain his life, but he does need a government to protect him from those that want to enslave his actions (and hence any property that is earned from those actions) to their whimsical desires. …
The Founding Fathers were fighting against a feudal or nonsovereign land ownership because they recognized that man has a right to the property (all property) that he has earned or been given. And once man has earned the property (or it has been given by someone that has earned it) he has the right to keep, use or dispose of the property as he sees fit.
That is anarchy, where almost everyone dies a violent death, or is actually enslaved. That is the logical and absolute progression of your argument. That is what you want.
This reader has a malevolent view of mankind. He seems to believe that man is inherently evil, and that he will go about murdering everyone in sight, just to satisfy his lust for conquest.
No, this is not anarchy. This is moral and proper to man, to live in a free society, where individual rights are priority number one, and anyone can do what they please, at their own expense, so long as their actions do not harm others.
The rest of us want a manageable society where our children aren’t hunters or the hunted. This requires some sacrifice. SOME sacrifice. So we collectively agree to form a “government”. It is not some monarchy or brutal dictatorship, because by definition if it were, we would not be allowed to discuss this publicly or privately. We, the people, have agreed to hire and employ persons to provide enforcement of the laws we agree on. One of the many laws is indeed enforcement of property rights. So indeed one can own a home/property WITHOUT immediately being slain by some more powerful entity out to take the property.
There is a cost for this. It’s called taxes. So the deal is, for some cost (variable by state), the majority of citizens have agreed to pay some monetary fee into the collective we call the government. Part of what our government employees do is enforce the laws. We also put some penalty into the laws. If someone attempts to take your property by force, they are subject to losing their personal freedom. Also, if someone doesn’t pay their share of taxes, they to are at risk of penalty. Otherwise, many people, such as yourself, wouldn’t pay taxes, yet would want the protection of the law. In other words, these people would want something for nothing.
All Socialism leads to Marxism, which leads to Communism. Look at how our freedoms have eroded in America, at an exponentially-increasing rate in these last few decades. There can be no civility in a nation where the government is run by stealing. It sets one fine example for others to follow. A nation of thieves, starting with the government and working its way through to the inhabitants. Eventually all citizens of this type of government become the Hunted, and the government becomes the ultimate Predator.
If the government offered something we valued, we would gladly pay for it. The fact that the money has to be extorted is a clear sign that something is terribly wrong with what the government is “selling”.
We are not ENTITLED to these protections without some sacrifice. You are not a victim of the “evil government”. You have nobody to blame but yourself. You are a victim of yourself. You deserve what you get. Sorry.
I know I am sounding harsh, but I too thought like you for 20+ years. I too lost a property because I couldn’t afford both the payment on the property and the taxes on the property. I too blamed everyone else but myself. I lied to myself, I knew the rules before I committed to the binding contract. Property taxes, and the potential that they could rise were not hidden at all. I chose to ignore those cost because I felt I was entitled, I was owed the lifestyle I wanted … not the lifestyle I earned and thus deserved.
After the Sheriff physically removed me from “my house”, I realized that I had the equation all wrong. I too thought I was forced to, as you say, “make an un-coerced choice as to whether we want to participate in the Socialist income-redistribution system or not.” I could have “chosen” to move to another State, or even another country. I could have chosen to continue to bitch and moan about how “the man” is keeping me down.
What I realized was that I COULDN’T AFFORD the lifestyle I wanted (which INCLUDED paying the taxes that enforced property rights), therefore I DIDN’T DESERVE it. In order for me to afford what i wanted, I was going to have to devise and execute a plan that would allow me to earn more, therefore I could pay more, and AFFORD it.
Hopefully one day soon, you to will come to that same conclusion.
Been there, done that. I empathize with your pain. Really, I do. The first time I was removed from my property, I was too ignorant to stand up and say, “Hey! This is stealing!” It was a sewer assessment that put me into foreclosure. I had 30 days to come up with a year’s salary to pay it. Plus the town condemned my septic and well, which were only four years old. I spent the next 44 years recovering, financially, from that devastation. The next time it happens, the uniformed men will be dealing with a man with “nothing left to lose.” Beware!
In America, we were founded on the ideal of the pursuit of happiness. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires us to slave at jobs to pay a randsom just to be left alone (and even then we are frequently invaded, threatened and dislocated for other government demands). To pursue happiness, doing what we please, even if it means raising a garden and living off the land and not partaking in the IRS’ game of social security numbers and fiat money commerce. Since the only way to legally avoid paying income taxes is not to have any income, a homeowner is stuck with an inability to protest or “vote with his wallet” against the federal government.
This is America, a nation founded on the principal that no man should be forced to move somewhere else, to enjoy the lifestyle of his choosing. And no one should be forced to move, just because of government greed. You see, you’re property is YOURS, if you earned it and properly compensated the previous owner. You owe no other party anything. Society has no claim on your private property, nor on your person, as long as your use of your property does not put another’s in harm’s way.
Freedom means that no man is a slave to any other, or to any society. Property taxes are, in essense, the most quintessential form of slavery there is.