Tag Archive: Anarchy class


Anarchy Class the Third

Is taxation theft? Why or why not?

Response Paper 3

Is taxation theft? Well, first, we must look at the word theft. I would define theft as taking the property of another as your own, or depriving the owner of that property full use of that property without his or her consent. The consent part is important. If I have a pen, and I let a friend borrow it, I cannot still use my pen. However, I do not believe that the pen was stolen, because I willingly let my friend borrow it, and am expecting to receive it back at a certain place and time. Well, if theft involves property, well what is property? Property is a “thing” that belongs to “you” exclusively. A “thing” could be anything, from a plant to a crayon to a house to a farm. You is not intended to be necessarily one “you”. I believe that there can feasibly be communal property. Say, for instance, someone wants to buy a house, but the person just does not have the money for whatever reason. I see no problem with the person pooling their money together with a friend or two, and them writing up a contract saying that they each own whatever percentage of the house/property and that if one person wants out, either he gets to “sell” his section of the property, or the other owners buy him out. However, I agree with the Tannehills on their idea about making sure that your property is properly marked, or that you in some feasible way make your claim known. Perhaps registering with an insurance company would seal the claim, however, I feel as though requiring insurance for possession to be a bit unfair, and almost like a tax.  However, if you own a large or strangely shaped piece of land, it could be quite difficult indeed to fence your claim. This is a problem I do not yet have an answer for, and am still thinking on. Now we finally come to, what is a tax? A tax is a mandatory fee charged by the government, supposedly for “services” that the government “provides”. Even if you don’t use said services, such as you don’t have a child, or that child goes to private school, or you don’t plan on cashing in on “social security” because you’ve got an amazing retirement plan, or you don’t approve of the police’s actions and want to hire a different one, you still have to pay the same full amount. In fact, some of the people who use the services most get a tax credit because of it, an example of which is that parents get tax credits for their children, yet their children could quite feasibly be using government funds for their public schooling. Therefore, yes, I think that a forced fee, on threat of violence, for services you may or may not receive, is theft.

Let us just pretend, for a moment, that you did, in fact, willingly hand over your hard-earned money to the government for the “services” they “give” to you. What happens if you are unsatisfied? Does the government give you a refund, say sorry, and see you on your way? No. The government keeps the money, tells you to fill out a complaint form (that may or may not be read, and, if it is read, it probably will not cause them to change anything because, due to their monopoly status, this is your only choice!), and you still will not ever see a cent of your money back. In a free market, I would avoid a company that provided such horrible service, and would make sure that a company I used, especially for things that are so important, offered a money-back guarantee.

I don’t think I got feedback on this one yet. And I’m dropping the class and just paying back my boyfriend the $25 he spent on it. I learned what I wanted to learn from it, and I just don’t have the time nor the energy for the response papers, never mind the huge paper I was going to have to write soon.

Hi! Too lazy to go find the feedback, but here’s the assignment!

Response Paper 2

Webster defines monopoly as “exclusive control of a commodity or service in a given market, or control that makes possible the fixing of prices and the virtual elimination of free competition.” I believe that, if you use this definition, that the government is a monopoly.
One of the problems with monopolies (coercive ones, at least) is that they are wasteful. If all the business for a particular item or service were guaranteed to you, why would you bother trying to cut costs when you can just do whatever you want and get a boatload of money regardless? For an example of this in the government, I look to the police force, however cliché that may seem. In my small town, there is a very low crime rate. Even as a small, petite, unarmed female, I feel completely safe walking around alone in the middle of the night. However, recently in the newspaper, my friends and I noticed that the town police station is actually being given more money to hire more police. If you assume that the police stop crime or lower crime (which is debatable), then would it not be more efficient for that money be given to a police station in an area where the crime rate is higher? However, since the government has a monopoly on police forces, they can afford to waste money however they see fit, because people cannot take their money away from the government police force and pay a more efficient one, or, even, indeed, pay for another one even without drawing their money away from the police, because the government would not allow it. Even if the police spent the entire day harassing innocent people (which some people would argue they do), it’s impossible to remove your support from them, because the government takes taxes away from you, under threat of violence, to pay the police officers, and doesn’t allow you a choice in the matter. In a free market, rendering such horrible service would obviously drive customers away, to police companies that were both more efficient and gave better service.
Another example of this is the postal service. For quite some time now, the postal service has been hemorrhaging money, and trying to make up for it by raising the price of stamps, and, now, contemplating eliminating Saturday delivery. Yet the United States government prohibits creating a competing postal service. If the postal service is hemorrhaging money as badly as they are, one assumes they must be inefficient. Either they pay their workers too much, or give them too many benefits, or the mail carriers take unnecessarily long routes to deliver the mail, or any other number of such inefficiencies. If the government had not created a coercive monopoly, if the postal service was being inefficient, a competing, more efficient postal service could pop up as a competitor, and, by being more efficient, could offer lower prices to the customer. This is helpful to both parties, because the customer gets a lower price, and the shop owner gets more business from people wishing to save money. Either the government postal service would have to become more efficient to be able to compete, or their competitors would force them out of business.

Pretty much the feedback was all like “Good job..here’s a few points I want to share about monopolies too!” So, yeah.

Enjoy!

So, I told you all I’d tell you about my class. I’ve had two classes now, but I’ll separate them, for my own sake. It’ll make it easier to deal with.

So…here’s how this post is gonna work. I’m gonna talk about my ideas on the class so far, and then I’m gonna get on with posting my assignment.

So…the class so far is cool. The one chat I’ve been to so far (I had internet problems while the second one was occuring) was interesting, but the chat itself was laggy. But, that’s not the class’s fault, it’s the software’s fault. I like it so far. It’s like a regular class, except we meet in a chat room instead of in person. I listen to the lectures on youtube like I would a lecture for a professor (although, I admit, I pay attention more to this than my irl professors. I get to rewind and re-listen, whereas in person, there is no rewind button…) I submit my coursework online, as I do with some of my classes. And I get graded on my work like I do with my classes, although the grading is a bit different. There’s unsatisfactory, satisfactory, and honors.

So so far, it’s all good. Hopefully this’ll help me get more confident about expressing my views, instead of sitting and passively listening to people.  I said a few things in the first chat, but with the lag and people typing and all, I was getting bits and pieces of a bajillion different convos, so it was a bit difficult, especially because the chat would scroll back down to the bottom whenever someone said something.

Okay, so I need to give you background. My assignment was to read pages 1-15 in the book The Market For Liberty (PDF link), watch lecture 1 (that’s a link to their youtube channel…it’s like…4 or 5 parts long, if you really want to check it out, it’s pretty cool) and then write a 500-600 word response paper on the prompt: What is aggression? How can we distinguish between aggression and other kinds of undesirable influence? Oooohhh, daunting, said the Momo, but she was up to the challange!

Before I post this, in my defense: I wrote this after a long day of classes and work. I was running purely on caffeine at that point, so…yeah. Take that for what you will….

Response Paper 1

What is aggression? According to the Tannehills, aggression is “…to initiate (that is, to start) the use of physical force, the threat of force, or any substitute for force (such as fraud) against any other man or group of men. This means that no man, no gang, and no government may morally use force in even the smallest degree against even the most unimportant individual so long as that individual has not himself initiated force.” That is, basically, that aggression is the initiation or threat of initiation of violence against a person, and does not include self-defense under their definition of aggression.

I essentially agree with these ideas.  I also feel as though aggression is not self-defense. If someone initiates violence towards you, I feel as though you have a right to defend yourself though. However, I disagree with their assertion that one has a moral obligation to defend one’s self. There are many moral reasons, I feel, for not defending one’s self against violence. For example, someone could agree with the reason that violence is being visited upon him or her. Say¸ for instance, my schizophrenic sister had a psychotic episode, and during it, she attacked me. I would never be able to harm my little sister, physically because she is built like a tank, and spiritually because I love my little sister, and would prefer to help care for her. So I would not try to defend myself if I were in that particular situation, beyond dodging any particular facts, because for me to do so would be to violate an important moral belief that I have, being that I love my family members and I would rather have harm come upon me than come upon them.

The Tannehills in the book also go over how man’s nature makes it so that no one can live for/run  life for another person, due to it being impossible to make another human being to think, or to do his thinking for him. I think trying to do so would be a bit different from aggression, and instead, would be classified as another type of “undesirable influence”. In trying to make another person think, you are not holding a gun against his or her head, screaming, “Learn this, or we’ll kill you family!” Indeed, intentionally, that picture looks somewhat ridiculous. Visiting violence upon someone for not learning is, at least, in my experience, something that is not common. I feel threatening someone to learning would be counter-productive in many cases, not the least in situations where a person has performance anxiety, or a person who considers outwitting authority to be a fun and interesting challenge. Also, since it’s well known that you can’t control someone’s mind (for example, when people talk about things with “a mind of their own”, they’re talking about something that does other than what is desired of it, recognizes the impossibility of being able to control someone else’s mind) the person who would be threatening you to learn would likely at least suspect, if they did not already know, that failure would soon follow.  Since I do not believe that violence is rarely learned to try to make people learn (with the exception of truancy boards, which, I think we can all agree, public school is not really learning, it’s more like a happy little government indoctrination camp with forced attendance unless you live in a home-schooling friendly state), I think then logically follows that it cannot be violence.

Reading through it makes me wince. That’s why we don’t leave papers for the wee hours of the morning the night before. So many ways I could have made this better….

Here’s my prof’s response (my name changed to my internet name):

Hi, Momo,

What’s most interesting, of course, is your view, not that of the Tannehills.

It’s important that you distinguish between wrongs that are and wrongs that aren’t aggressive: this is a really crucial distinction that I wish the Tannehills emphasized more.

I agree completely about the silliness of the Tannehills claim about the wrongness of not defending oneself.

Grade: Satisfactory

There are three grades. Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, and Honors. So I got an okay grade. I wasn’t really expecting honors. Especially not when I’m a bit of an “anarchy newbie” and others in the class are…not quite newbies so much? :-p

As long as I get at least a satisfactory in the class, I’m happy. I’d be thrilled if I got an honors, but I just don’t know if that’s in me. I’ve got other coursework to do, and a job to work at to support myself, and…yeah. But we’ll see….

Okay, so, Dr. Q, being the awesome amazing guy that he is, enrolled me in an anarchism class. Basically, it’s intro to anarchy, which I think will be beneficial to me. I hang around with a whole bunch of anarchists, so I’d like to have some grounding in it so that I can participate in a conversation with my friends whenever the topic switches to it, which, knowing my friends, is quite often :-p. I’ve thought about trying to read all the books necessary to be able to “know the topic”, as it were, yet there are many many books, and I’ve gotten conflicting answers from some people, and certain authors **coughcough** who shall remain nameless I couldn’t even get halfway through, not due to their ideas, which I thought were fine, but the way the author presented it reminded me of an arrogant fuckwad. I had even joked around with my friends, “Oh, yeah, just wait until I can have an anarchism class, then you all would be owned!”….and then an anarchism class was offered. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep my side of the argument…

Anyways, why am I telling you all this? Well you get to have more posts from me now! Each week, we have to write 500-600 words about whatever topic is assigned that week. I am going to post these critiques every Friday after I pass them in, as well as talk about the class. Why? Because I can. So that I can force myself to keep a record of this, so that I don’t forget where I’ve been, once I get where I’m going! I want to be able to chart my growth. My first paper…I feel like I’m only kind of toddling. It’s kinda sad, because the other people in my class seem like they’re already at a run (they might have known stuff about it before…probably did, considering who is holding the class…)…but I plan to try to catch up to them by the end of the class.

So, we’ll see what happens. I’ll post the critique later tonight, after I have a chance to edit it a bit for clarification…

%d bloggers like this: