Differences in political views.
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07-09-2013, 06:41 AM (This post was last modified: 07-09-2013 06:51 AM by Luminon.)
RE: Differences in political views.
(06-09-2013 08:29 PM)frankksj Wrote:  @Luminon, do you have any thoughts on my prior post that was all about monetary policy? Do you disagree with the assertions I made about monetary policy on a factual basis? Or you disagree with the conclusions? Or you just don't like all that talk of money?
I agree with you on monetary policy, they're all facts and very interesting as well. I agree with the conclusions. And I have argued several times in a similar way to people who do not understand monetary policy. In my view, monetarism is another true and useful skill, just like atheism.

(06-09-2013 08:29 PM)frankksj Wrote:  I enjoy reading your posts top to bottom. But do you see what I mean when I say your focus is more on the abstract, esoteric concepts, whereas a libertarian is more concerned with how to make it happen in the real world? Case in point: I don't know a lot about the Venus Project, so I can't comment on whether I think as a system it can work or not. But to me, that's not important. Breakthroughs in humanity occur because individual non-conformists think out of the box and decide to try something different, something that most people (myself included) may think is a crazy idea. They shouldn't need my approval or anyone else's. Sure, most of the time these odd ball ideas end up being crazy and they don't work out. But rather than stopping them, they should be protected since every once in a while, these guys are really onto something great. So, my question is how can the Venus Project be protected against all the naysayers who think it can't possibly work and don't like the idea of such a radically different experiment going on here in the US? Maybe the Venus Project will be a dismal failure, but maybe it will be a great breakthrough, I have no idea, so I want them to have the opportunity to try it out so we can see.
That's simple. TVP is an integrated mechanism like a laptop. We know what it needs to do, in order to work, yet there is no perfect laptop, every part can be improved as technology goes on. We can sort out the naysayers easily. If they say "utopia, this can't work", then they do not address any part or aspect of TVP. They don't say "this doesn't work, you need to make the tunnel diameter standardized." Or, "this education model is wrong, humans learn in 21-day cycles, you need to design your courses and practical experiences around that," or "this pattern of housing will put undue strain on this part of traffic system." As long as they don't say such things, their criticism is not relevant and says nothing about TVP. If they were educated in TVP, they would offer only specific comments. All specific objections I have heard so far were addressed or were based on misinformation or ignorance about science. (see below)

(06-09-2013 08:29 PM)frankksj Wrote:  In my opinion, the only way that we'll ever know if the Venus Project is workable is we limit the scope of laws to the local level, and allow people to voluntarily decide what system they want to try. See, if there's a central law at the federal level that mandates how a system must work, and the Venus Project is not compatible with that system, it will be impossible for the Venus Project to try their experiment. They will have broken Federal laws and be hauled off at gunpoint. I know you think libertarians focus only on the elimination of physical force, and not more subtle forms of coercion. But that's because physical force is absolute. If more subtle coercion is used to stop the Venus Project, they can get around it if they believe in their project strongly. But if police go to them with overwhelming force and tell them they will be locked in a cell unless they cease and desist, and they will be shot dead if they resist arrest, well there's nothing they can do. The project is dead.
TVP and resource-based economy is necessarily a global system. It can not exist as an isolated community. The only isolated community is a testing city and it is similar to NASA Houston center, Silicon Valley or Google HQ. NASA may build domes in the desert to discover best ways of living on Mars, TVP builds to discover best ways of living on Earth.
A testing center or city would be strictly within the limits of law as any laboratory or industrial complex. However, it would need funding. I am not sure if private sector can fund such a project and yet keep it non-commercial. Some Libertarians have a great problem with any funding that comes from the government or the U.N. It is tax money stolen from the people and using them on anything is evil, they say. Do you agree with that?

By the way, there is an ongoing and very interesting debate between TVP and Libertarians. I think TVP kicks ass, because we know about so many different areas of knowledge Smile TVP is my greatest learning resource, it's a treasure of useful scientific information, which I will need in my area of study (public administration, the Govt)
http://tvpchallenge.blogspot.cz/

(06-09-2013 08:29 PM)frankksj Wrote:  I think that if the role of the government is purely defensive, to defend the small odd-ball groups like Venus Project that want to do something different so that even if 99% of the population thinks they're nutjobs and should be stopped, so long as they're not forcing their experiment on anyone else, I want to let them conduct it, because just maybe they're on to something.

See the difference between the abstract thought of 'what is the proper way to define the Venus Project' vs the practical of 'what system will allow the Venus Project experiment to go on'?
I don't think we have a problem with the political system, except how it controls media and makes people stupid. The violence is not yet a big problem, yet. (except USA, which is like a conspiracy nightmare right now) The problem is money. TVP needs funding and it is not a commercial project, it does not lead to more money, but to ending the money as such. Even today's billionaires would be better off in TVP, just like an average citizen of today is better off than a medieval king. But as long as we're dependent on returns of our investments, we can't stop. To stop using money is as difficult as to turn off the money printers.
(If you have read Frank Herbert's Dune, then you know that the spice is a good allegory for money and the spice must flow! )
This is why Fresco relies on spreading the message. When there will be an economic crash of some kind, people will compel the governments to make an investment and build a TVP research center. If the center proves that TVP is a workable model (surveys and calculations have to be made, all depends on resources) then some nations may choose to switch to TVP together as a start.
It goes without saying that a small, restricted government to protect us from the violence is a necessity.
But we see the monetary system as wasteful, as an obstacle. If I found myself in a position of power, I would use the monetarist principles, but I'd also educate the public about the money and resources they use. Libertarians are right, but we are all behind the schedule. Not only we should have monetarism long ago, we could have TVP decades ago.

Of course I have questions and doubts. Some people wonder, how would we build roads and streetlights without the government. I wonder how large-scale science project can work without a government to steal the money and put them on a big heap. NASA was just a flamboyant political project to get a few men on the moon. But it paid itself a hundred times over, by all the technologies that it created to get to that goal. It seemed useless from a commercial, market point of view. Would we still have NASA (or TVP) if we had monetarism and no government?
I'd say we need this. We need a center of research of best modes of living and building, not on Mars or moon, but on Earth.
I'd be perfectly satisfied if this center was built still in the world of big government budgets, it would make no difference when the world economy crashes, we could go directly into TVP. We can take it slowly, but I don't see the need to take it slowly. I'd of course pursue the libertarian policies, but I'd consider them only as means to buy time for the system, for the public to learn about TVP and decide if they want it.

And I think they will want it. Monetarism may be a monetary perfection, but in a moment people will take it for granted and they'll want to eliminate other problems. What will you think, ungrateful bastards, we worked so hard to fix the money and now they want to do away with it altogether? Dodgy

(06-09-2013 08:29 PM)frankksj Wrote:  That's why Libertarians hate it when we see all those defensive laws in our constitution from the Age of Enlightenment, those which protect individuals from the use of force, get eroded and eliminated, as we gradually return to the original brute force method where whoever controls the legislature (whether it be the 51% majority, or more likely the special interest lobbyists), gets to make laws that forces every one to act uniformly and all do the same thing. If we stuck to the original concept in the constitution where the Federal government solely played a defensive role, defending basic human rights and ensuring freedom of mobility, and all local states were sovereign and were free to experiment with various forms of government without interference, only then you can have experiments like the Venus Project.

And at the risk of sounding alarmist, history keeps repeating itself, so I think it's fair to say that at some point in the future another tyrant will come to power, or we'll have another mass hysteria, like during the 1950's with McCarthyism and the communist witch hunts. The next time something like that happens, the powers that be will have access to all our emails and our phone calls since the 4th amendment is now gone (NSA/etc.), anybody who tries to talk about what's going on may face a gag order and we may never know what's going on since the 1st is gone (see the Lavabit issue vs. free speech, and the free press), we no longer have habeus corpus and a right to judicial process since the defense appropriation act allows the President to lock anybody up indefinitely without a trial and without even acknowledging the government has them, and the President can arbitrarily kill anybody with a drone strike that he sees as a threat without any checks or balances (like the 16-year old Colorado born son of Al-Alwaki). Sure, at the moment things still seem pretty calm and it it's only a minor annoyance, so I see that this sounds alarmist now since it's hard to imagine how these changes may come around to bite us.
I see, you understand it. No, you're not an alarmist... What I am afraid of is the smooth replacement of Bush by Obama, Obama seems to do the same as Bush, only worse. What if both candidates were frauds? The unsinkable Putin stays in power by manipulating the Constitution, someone else stays in power by providing presidential candidates who behave as if they were political clones of each other. It would be probably the same with Romney, but it's more obvious with Obama, because he's from the Democrats.
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07-09-2013, 11:13 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
@Luminon, great post.

Quote: Some Libertarians have a great problem with any funding that comes from the government or the U.N. It is tax money stolen from the people and using them on anything is evil, they say. Do you agree with that?

There IS a peaceful, non-violent way for governments to get the tax revenue they need to function properly. Remember, in Switzerland, there is no criminal penalty for refusing to pay taxes—nobody is ever threatened with physical force (ie jail time) for refusing to send in their tax return (which is a postcard). Yet, their tax compliance rate is actually higher than in the US, and the government provides better services even than Sweden, light years better than the US, and the government gets its revenue solely from taxes, they have no natural resources, AND they generally run a budget surplus. And they do it simply by following the libertarian philosophy enshrined in their constitution—which is actually modeled after the US constitution. But, my experience is that every time I explain to Democrats and Republicans how our common goal of a functioning government can be accomplished without the use of violence, they refuse to listen. They're so programmed to think that violence is the only solution to all our problems that they cover their ears when you talk about peaceful alternatives.

First, understand only SOME forms of taxation are theft. Remember, a core libertarian litmus test for what is moral is to first accept that all humans are equal and have the same rights and privileges. What we disagree with is the traditional notion that when an individual joins some group (like a government institution) he is magically bestowed with super powers and rights that individuals outside the group don't have. Remember, the only difference between a government agency and a private corporation is which box you tick on the 'entity type' box on the formation documents. Either way, they can operate democratically, or any other way that is specified in the articles of incorporation. In fact, towns and cities ARE corporations. So why are your rights different if you tick one box or another? Aren't you still the same person after as you were before? Aren't all groups, like governments and corporations, just abstract concepts to describe a collection of individuals? You can't touch a government or a corporation—they don't actually exist. What exists are people. So why should the people who belong to one group have more rights than those who are outside the group? Doesn't that imply that all men are actually NOT equal, because your rights do not come from simply being a human, your rights come based on which group(s) you belong to. So, always ask “How would I feel if an individual, a private party, did this? Would I condemn it is immoral and evil? If so, then it's still immoral even when the individual belongs to a group, such as a government agency.”

That's the underlying principle described by classic liberals, like Bastiat. As a side point, a lot of people falsely accuse libertarians of being pro-corporation. This couldn't be further from the truth. A corporation, like a government, is just an abstract concept used for convenience—it's still just a group of individuals. So, libertarians are equally opposed to the super-human powers given to corporations, like 'limited liability' and 'corporate umbrellas' that protect shareholders from prosecution for doing things that would be criminal to do as a private party. Even guys like Ron Paul, Milton Friedman, have been explicit in this. In fact, Friedman once researched all the myriads of corporate monopolies that have existed worldwide in modern times and concluded that except for DeBeers (the diamond company), all the rest got that way by obtaining special government privilege. This means the government used physical force and violence on their behalf to get them their monopoly, generally because unsuspecting voters gave their politicians powers to initiate force (regulation) on their behalf, but, since the the purported beneficiaries (the public) are very broad and generally disinterested and disengaged in the process, and since the target of the force (a handful of corporations) is very narrow and their very existence depends on the outcome of the regulation so that they focus all their energies into shaping that regulation. Therefore, in the end, the use of force (regulation) usually gets secretly turned around so the corporations end up writing the regulation and the public unknowingly becomes the victim, and the use of force does nothing but empower the corporations to plunder from the people that the regulation was supposed to protect. I'll give you some examples later.

Now, although I agree with you that it would be great if all resources were shared, here's where belief in private property rights becomes practical. If you accept that individuals have the right to use force only defensively to repel physical force initiated against their persons or property, then governments don't need to have super-human powers that individuals do not have. If I, as a private person, have the right to defend myself and my home against the use of force, then I certainly can delegate my right to a protection officer, be it a policeman or private security, acting on my behalf to defend me and my property. Thus, in a libertarian society, individuals in governments or in corporations have no super-human rights—all men are equal and have the same rights. It's a neat, tidy system. Sure, TVP may at some time be a better system (I have no idea), but as of today, the libertarian system is the best I've seen. Many times objective criteria has been applied to rate countries based on how closely they adhere to the libertarian ideal: strictly defend persons and property from the use of force, or at least limit the use of force to a local area and let people leave without hindrance if they feel it's excessive. Then make a chart where the 'X' axis is 'how libertarian a country is' (0-100%) and put the countries on the bottom sorted by their libertarianistness. Then put objective measures of quality of life along the 'Y' axis, like life expectancy, infant mortality, average household wealth, etc. The dots always follow a general curve that the closer you get to 100% libertarian, the more you live long, happy, prosperous lives. It's not a bell-curve where you can be “too libertarian” and things start deteriorating. Switzerland generally scores near the top as being most libertarian, and they also score near the top on nearly every measure of quality of life. What, in my opinion, solidifies my belief in libertarianism is how, when you explain these things, liberals and conservatives heads explode and they spew all sorts of non-sense. Liberals will generally say, “But Switzerland is NOT 100% libertarian. I can find examples where the federal government used force. THEREFORE, we should move in the other direction, away from libertarianism.” That's literally the argument they use over and over! They'll look at these charts plotting infant quality of life and effectively say “We're here somewhere in the middle of the curve. Therefore, because no country on the chart is 100% libertarian, we shouldn't even try to head in that direction where people live long, healthy, prosperous lives. We need to run in the opposite direction, where people die young, miserable and destitute.”

Anyway, I think it's always helpful to use the standard litmus test of “is it wrong for an individual to do this, and if so, then it's wrong for the government to do it also”. So, let's apply the test to your question of taxation:

Scenario 1: Let's say that I, as a private individual, obtain a plot of land to start a community. I build roads, schools and infrastructure for everybody who wants to live there. And I tell you that if you live in my community, you must pay a tax proportionate to the value of their home and/or lifestyle, and there's a few modest residences, little studio apartments, which, provided it is your only residence, have a negative tax rate (you get money back to use on basic necessities). And you must accept that the rate may change based on a vote of the town's residents, and that if they don't pay, a lien will be filed against your home which will include substantial penalties and interest so that, ultimately, the tax is unavoidable because eventually you'll want to sell the home or you'll die and want to pass it to your heirs, at which point I'll get all the taxes back with generous interest. If you don't like it, then don't live here. Simple as that. Now we have a progressive tax system where the rich pay more, we have a welfare system and safety net to ensure the less privileged can cover their basic necessities and nobody in my town will be homeless or hungry. The town will have the money it needs to provide services because tax compliance is unavoidable, yet it was accomplished without violence (nobody is threatened with violence for not complying). And I did not invade anybody's privacy (I'm not forcing you to report to me any details of your private life). Would you accept that I, as a private individual, can morally setup such a system? Of course. This is the exact system used by all sorts of private planned communities, condominiums, home owners associations, and privately owned towns, like Disney's Celebration. And it's the same system Western Countries have used successfully for centuries to fund government. It's called a property tax. Remember, the income tax is a relatively recent invention (less than 100 years old in the US), before that it was all property tax. And even today, nearly all the useful services we get from government, like police, fire dept, roads, schools, water, power, sewer, waste disposal, and many social programs, etc., etc., are all funded by property taxes. What do you get for federal income tax? Remember, medicaid and SS entitlements are funded by FICA contributions—not income taxes—and in fact those funds are robbed to cover the general budget because income taxes don't raise enough money. The lion's share of US federal income taxes go to one thing: WAR, and the slaughter of millions of innocent people. And the rest goes to a bunch of useless bureaucracies, almost all of which cause far more harm than good. We can go through them one a time, like the Dept. of Education, formed in 1971. Education got better and better through the 20th century, when the DOE was formed in 1971, Friedman warned the quality of education would reverse course by shifting centralized control to Washington DC. By 1976, he showed there was already a sharp decline in the quality of education, and pleaded with the government to disband the DOE. But they only made it bigger, and education has continued to slide. Several disasters, like the elimination of GATE programs in CA, are directly attributed to DOE programs, like NCTB. In Western Europe, by contrast, they nearly always stuck to the libertarian principle of having the most localized control possible, and increasing competition. Benelux and Scandinavian countries have decentralized education, many even have a voucher system where public schools have to compete on an open, free market against private schools. The country that took this libertarian the furthest is Finland, where the curriculum is decided not by the Federal government, not by the state, not by the county, nor the city, nor the school district, nor the school, but by the individual teacher. Now look at internationally standardized test scores, and see which country is in the #1 slot across the board: Finland.

Now, let's apply the libertarian litmus test to the US concept of income taxes:

Scenario 2: I, as an individual, tell you that you must report to me all your activities, every private, voluntary transaction you engage in, all the fruits of your labor, and you must surrender everything to me and I will decide how much I will keep for myself and how much I will let you have. This commitment is for life, and has nothing to do with any services I provide you. Even if you move to Brazil, obtain lawful residence there, pay Brazilian taxes for all the services Brazil provides, and never again use any of my services and never again even come anywhere near me, it doesn't matter. Your obligation is for your whole life. No matter where you live you still must surrender EVERYTHING to me and I will take what I want, and there is no escape. Do not think you can simply hide your livelihood in a Brazilian bank account. I have put Brazil, and every other country in the world, on notice that if they do not report back to me everything that you do in their country and every transaction you engage in, or else I will engage in an act of war and confiscate that country's property (this is what Obama's FATCA law says, btw). So, if I find out that you have held anything back from me, that you haven't reported some money you have, or some property you own in the Amazon, I will apply pressure to Brazil to have you arrested at gunpoint and flown back here so I can lock you up in a cell. And this extends to even non-financial activities you enter into. If your neighbor breaks his leg and you agree to mow his lawn and in exchange he will tutor your son, that is a barter. It MUST be reported to me... or else... And if I decide I want you back, I can force you to abandon your life in Brazil and return to me at any time by simply imposing a 99.9% tax, with no credits, on all your foreign income.

So, how would you feel if I, as a private individual did that to you? Would you accept that it was moral and proper? Or would you condemn me for what is effectively human slavery, debt peonage? If you would condemn me, then why is it that when I join the group known as 'Congress', I now magically have the power? That scenario is point-for-point precisely what Congress has done, and nobody but libertarians seem to object. Everyone else seems to believe that by becoming a member of Congress you have super-human rights to do things that would be pure evil otherwise.

Now, if you want to have an income tax, there is a libertarian-compatible way to do it, and that is to limit the jurisdiction and simply allow you to move out of the jurisdiction if you feel it is too oppressive. That is the way the whole world, except for North Korea, Cuba and the US do it. I think it's even better to do it like Switzerland does, where the taxation is at the local level because that way if you don't like it, you don't need to abandon your country and try to find some other country that will give you residency. You're guaranteed the right to move anywhere you want. This is why, in Switzerland, the local governments have to compete so vigorously to provide the best possible services for the lowest possible tax rates because if they become too bloated an inefficient, people while just move 50 miles to the next town. That's why in Switzerland total government spending at all levels is less than it is in the US (ie % of gdp), yet they provide more and higher quality government services even than Sweden. The next most libertarian-compatible income tax system is to do what the EU does. You have to leave the country if you don't like the taxes, but at least you're guaranteed the right to live and work in a variety of other countries if you want, including tax havens. After that, the next most libertarian-compatible is what the rest of the world does, like Canada, China, etc. If you don't like the income taxes, all you have to do is leave, but you're on your own to find a place to live and work. So in all cases, you could say that income tax is voluntary because, although it may be inconvenient, you can at least leave if you don't like it. The only income tax systems that are totally incompatible with libertarianism are those in N. Korea, Cuba and the US, since those are the only 3 countries in the world that based your duty to surrender the fruits of your labor to the government based on where you were born (something you had no say in)—not where you live (something that is a voluntary choice). In another thread, you'll see Americans go all apeshit when I point out this out, and they all say 'The US does let you leave, you can't compare it to N Korea and Cuba'. But, that's only because N Korea and Cuba don't have the military power to bully the rest of the world into forcing their citizens to be returned if they fail to comply. If they had the power, like the US does, obviously N Korea and Cuba would also allow their people to move to another country, since they'd still get the fruits of their labor, and they could use the hard foreign currency. But they can't. For N Korea and Cuba, once you cross the actual border, there's nothing they can do about it, you're gone and they've lost you. Contrast that with the experience of Americans, such as the famous example of Bobby Fischer, who was fed up with the US, gave up his residency never to return to US soil. While he was gone, he went to Yugoslavia to play chess to earn a living, but because he didn't send the winnings back to the US, he was indicted for tax evasion, as well as traveling to a forbidden country (since the US also bases other laws, like travel restrictions, on citizenship, not residency like the rest of the world), so the US pressured Japan, where he was happily living with a Japanese wife in full compliance with Japanese law, paying Japanese taxes, to arrest him and extradite him to the US.

I'll get into your question about transportation later (this post is long enough). But, as you can see, to the libertarian there's nothing inherently wrong with taxation—it's a necessary price one must pay to have a functioning government that defends our liberties. The problem is with the use of force, violence and coercion, and stripping people of their freedoms. There are peaceful, voluntary ways to fund government without resorting to violence if you just have an open mind.
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07-09-2013, 11:56 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
@Luminon, as a quick P.S. to my long-winded prior post explaining why I think taxation is not evil, but the way the US imposes income taxes is... I just read the latest leak: an IRS training manual teaching IRS agents, who are covertly getting copies of the NSA's data collection, how to falsify an information trail to hide from the taxpayers the fact that their tips are coming from reading our emails and private communications.

This was an entirely predictable event when you have a system where the government's funding comes from taking a cut in every one of citizens' private transactions, trades and barters, everywhere in the world, for their entire lives. The only way to ensure compliance is for their agents to know everything about you and have access to all your communications to be sure you're not secretly exchanging goods or services without reporting them. I fear that some day we will come to accept that the price for such an invasive system is much higher than most people realize.
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07-09-2013, 12:10 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
(07-09-2013 11:13 AM)frankksj Wrote:  There IS a peaceful, non-violent way for governments to get the tax revenue they need to function properly. Remember, in Switzerland, there is no criminal penalty for refusing to pay taxes—nobody is ever threatened with physical force (ie jail time) for refusing to send in their tax return (which is a postcard).

You appear to have an idealized and untrue view of Swiss law, or you are being a bit disingenuous.

Tax evasion and tax fraud are criminal offenses in Switzerland. Evasion is punishable by fines and fraud by fines and imprisonment.

Non-payment of tax is tax evasion.

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07-09-2013, 12:30 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
@Chas, I really despise it when someone accuse me of lying, when in fact he isn't even familiar with the topic at hand. I'd never do that to you. You may say stuff I disagree with or think is wrong, but I'll do some fact checking before I accuse you of lying. What I said isn't even controversial, and if you googled it you'd see that it's common knowledge, even to all the mainstream US media:

Here's a quote from NBC: "It also helped that since tax evasion isn’t a criminal offense in Switzerland, U.S attempts to extradite Rich fell on deaf ears."

And from the NY Times: "Tax evasion is not a crime in Switzerland and would not be grounds for extradition"

From CNN: "Swiss authorities, arguing that tax evasion is not a crime in their country, refused to extradite them."

I chose my choice of words carefully and accurately. Yes, in Switzerland all fraud, means filing false sworn declarations and falsifying documents, is criminal. It's irrelevant if it's done to avoid paying taxing or for any other reason.

What I said was that tax evasion is not a crime, meaning that that there is no threat of force used to prevent it. It is considered an misdemeanour (Übertretung), and carries a purely financial penalty, of course, to discourage it, but there is no possibility of force being initiated (ie arrest and jail time). Rather, it is dealt with in a civilized, peaceful manner.

There are few things in life I'm very familiar with and I try to restrict my comments to those that I know well, and I do know well the Swiss tax system. Everything I said was correct.

And the Swiss system is fully compatible with libertarian values because committing fraud, falsifying documents and making false sworn declarations, is most definitely a criminal offense under all libertarian systems I've observed.

This is also well known and not controversial because for years the US and Europe has railed on Switzerland for refusing to extradite tax evaders, like Marc Rich, and the Swiss response is that extradition treaties require the act to be a crime in BOTH countries, and tax evasion is NOT a crime in Switzerland, and thus nobody can be extradited for it (see those quotes above).

Wikipedia sums it up and links to the original Swiss tax code here: link. It says:

Quote:Tax evasion is the act of causing a tax to be falsely assessed, such as through the failure to report taxable income.[52] It is classed as a misdemeanour (Übertretung / contravention) and is punishable by a fine of 33% to 300% of the amount of tax evaded.[53] Tax fraud, on the other hand, occurs if a tax evasion is committed by using false documents (such as untrue corporate financial reports) for deceptive purposes.[54] It is classed as a crime (Vergehen / crime) and is punishable by additional imprisonment of up to three years or an additional fine of up to 30,000 CHF.
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07-09-2013, 01:41 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
@Chas,

PS: The reason I get so irritated by your attacks is that I typed up a very long 4-page explanation of a political position, filled with hundreds of facts, and explain why I reached the conclusions I did based on them.

You never addressed any of the core issues and ignored all the conclusions I made. Rather you scanned the post trying to find one fact that was inaccurate, so you could use that as an excuse to dismiss everything I wrote as the rantings of a lunatic. Even IF one of those facts was misstated, that's no justification. But, what's especially egregious is that out of the hundreds of facts, the one fact which you were so sure had to be wrong, and which you accused me of lying about, was, in fact, correct.

My personal belief is the reason why you resist so much is that you don't want to acknowledge that the ONLY different thing I said is that I don't want to force my views, which I kept to myself, on anybody else. Note that in my post I never said if I'm in favor of low taxes or high taxes, a strong safety net or none at all, complete equality or a caste system. To me, that's immaterial—those are subjective opinions, and, like assholes, we all have them. There's no proving that one is right or wrong. Rather, the ONLY point I'm making is that I favor a system where one man's opinions aren't forced on another.

The reason I think it's so difficult for people to accept is that nobody starts out as a libertarian. Have you ever heard of an undisciplined and untrained toddler that desperately wanted a toy that another toddler had, who did not just use force and take it? Have you ever heard of a toddler saying “Yeah, that's my natural instinct, but I'll suppress it see if we can find a peaceful mechanism that doesn't involve force with which I can be given the toy voluntarily?”

I know hundreds of libertarians, and haven't met one that was born that way. We all start out somewhere on the political spectrum convinced that our way of thinking is the right one and we need to use force to coerce other people into to do what we want. The only way to become a libertarian, in the way I use the term, is to accept that maybe you're wrong after all, maybe other people know something that you don't know and maybe they've actually got a better belief system which needs to be respected. That's a very difficult leap to make.

The challenge is that I'm using libertarian to mean one very specific thing, a meaning which is generally forgotten. There are tons of club-wielding neanderthals calling themselves “libertarians” or “liberals” when all they're doing is trying to force other people to do things their way—which is the opposite of the way I use the term. So, it's embarrassing to call yourself a libertarian because people assume that means you like Glenn Beck, or Michele Bachman, or any of those other barbarians throwing the term around. I prefer "voluntarist", which still retains the original meaning, but few have heard of the term.

When I say libertarian, I am not referring to where my views are on the political spectrum. You can have any viewpoint you want on any of those topics and it's immaterial because the essence of what I mean by libertarianism is simply the acceptance that nobody else should be forced into your belief system. That's all I mean by libertarian—nothing more. This is why you had a right-wing, homophobic, religious conservative, like Ron Paul, whose biggest financial donor was a gay, atheist liberal, like Peter Thiel. That doesn't happen anywhere except among libertarians. Paul and Thiel are polar opposites politically. They have one and only one thing in common: they respect that maybe they're wrong, so they need to let the other live his life the way he wants.
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07-09-2013, 02:14 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
(06-09-2013 10:08 AM)frankksj Wrote:  I still maintain the problem is “that the labels are not used consistently, so the original meaning is lost.” You are correct that in the in France in the 1700's, the National Assembly was divided by those who supported the king on the right vs. the revolutionaries on the left. Your claims about left-right being about which side supports institutions is correct, if you use that early definition. But clearly the meanings have evolved over time. For example, unions are obviously institutions too, correct? Are they supported more by the left or the right? And, the early US Republicans were considered “left”, and they opposed institutions like slavery, that were supported by the Democrats. Do you still think Republican=left? I agree with the comments in Wikipedia that: “The terms left-wing and right-wing are widely used in the United States but, as on the global level, there is no firm consensus about their meaning. The only aspect that is generally agreed upon is that they are the defining opposites of the United States political spectrum. Left and right in the U.S. are generally associated with liberal and conservative respectively, although the meanings of the two sets of terms do not entirely coincide.” Also, The Harris polling released a survey of 2,209 adults and discovered that most Americans only have the vaguest idea of the meaning of left and right.

You should have at least mentioned the important part that explained the use of terms, in connection to the institutions, with regard to the hierarchy and/or inequality of those institutions being seen as unjustified.

Unions can be a democratic institution, which can be used to threaten multiple different right-wing institutions. Certain discriminatory social institutions, capitalism, especially corporate capitalism, the state, wage labor, income inequality, private power and control, elitism, etc., are all things that unions can address with an institution, if considered as such, that can be democratic.

Republican party is a political party. The Dallas Cowboys don't have the same players and team as in the 90s, and they are not cowboys.

The terms are used inconsistently and incorrectly, but that only obfuscates the meaning a little. You can simply be wrong with the use of a term and/or use the term in a misleading way; but usually, from my experience, left-right is used in a relative way, specific to certain societies, at times (like you seem to be doing with the US), and used in a way that doesn't reflect consistency with regard to separate institutions (i.e. a person can support one, oppose another). That can lead to ignoring the overall scale, completely taking out certain positions in the mainstream politics, for a more limited scale not representative of all positions, that can lead to smaller separation between left-right, obviously taking into account, also, the inconsistencies with regard to separate institutions.

Quote:So I still think that it's hard to debate with labels because everybody uses the labels to mean different things. Although the initial definition of 'left-right' did mean support of institutions, in today's political climate, I still feel it means more of 'where you want to use force to coerce people'. Those who consider themselves 'left', like Nancy Pelosi, Michael Moore, etc., want to focus the government's ability to enforce laws more on economic matters. They will often talk about wealth redistribution, welfare programs, etc. Those who consider themselves on the 'right', like Bush, Santorum, etc., want the government to enforce moral issues, like a ban on drugs, and gay marriage, and they also bring in religion a lot and tend to be more aggressive against Muslim countries. I disagree that one or the other supports more corporate interests. Look at the campaign donation disclosures from both parties—they are both funded by big corporations in pretty much equal measures. However, I admit, it's very hard to draw lines. Obama is considered 'left', but he's also begging the world to let him attack Syria, and it's now the Republican-controlled house that is arguing for a peaceful solution. Go figure.

Same.

American mainstream politics squashes the shit out of a political spectrum that is actually representative of all views. Majority of views in American politics, are far from represented, especially accurately.

It would just be blatantly incorrect and completely unfair to say it had any thing to do with who wants to use force for what.

Views on the left, specifically oppose violence/force, and some on the left would oppose violence even in situations where their own life could potential be threatened.

I know it is cool to throw the political spectrum out of the window, and act like you are better and more enlightened than everyone else who accepts certain positions that you want no part of, but you have to be serious.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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07-09-2013, 02:48 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
Quote:Views on the left specifically oppose violence/force

@TrulyX, did you read my post above, starting with “@Luminon, great post”, where I describe “Scenario 2”, and the subsequent paragraph about Bobby Fischer? All the people I've heard of who defend that policy, and those who wrote the laws in the first place, describe themselves as “Left”. Yet, I think it is one of the most violent policies imaginable. Hauling people back at gunpoint and locking them up because their only crime is trying to escape lifelong indentured servitude. If he continued to resist he'd get tased and eventually shot. That's not violent? To me, the meaning of these terms is pretty clear and black & white. Physical pertains to that which is material (ie matter). Force is strength or power exerted upon an object. So physical force is when some material object (a club, a fist, a bullet) is exerted (comes into physical contact with) a person to coerce him, as opposed to non-physical force like persuasion. Violence is rough or injurious PHYSICAL force. Those definitions came from the dictionary--I didn't make them up.

In my opinion, the reason the left THINK they're not violent is because they delegate the task of using violence to someone else, while the right is more likely to exert the physical force themselves. It's like if I hire a hitman to shoot my wife, and then insist I'm not violent because I never touched the gun myself. For example, Piers Morgan, who identifies as 'left', calls for a ban on guns and advocates a law ordering the police to make house-by-house raids to confiscate guns, which means that if someone resists this physical force, they will get arrested and/or a court order, if they continue to resist, they will get tased, and if they someone manage to still resist that physical force, they will get shot. Now, who is the violent one? Piers, or the elderly daughter of a cop who keeps her dad's sidearm in a momento box and has never threatened anybody. Piers would insist that he's NOT violent purely because he's not himself holding the gun—he uses his power of the vote to compel someone else (a policeman) to hold the gun at his behest (or he would if were able to vote).

When I say stuff like this people insist I must be an NRA card-carrying right-winger, because it's inconceivable that I might actually firmly oppose something and somehow resist the temptation to use force to get what I want. But, the fact is I've never touched a gun and want to live in a gun-free society as much as Piers. The only difference is that I want to find a non-violent way to solve the problem. I don't think a good solution to violence is to introduce MORE violence, and that a way to get guns off our streets is to use MORE guns. I understand that Piers' is the natural policy choice. Like everyone else, when I see something I don't like, my first instinct is to use force to make it stop. But I don't think it's fair to use someone else as my proxy to commit violence in my behalf, and then trick myself into thinking my hands are clean. Thus I would abstain from voting at all on a gun ban, like in the UK, no matter how badly I wanted to get rid of guns. I'd favor instead trying peaceful alternatives, which may be more complicated and even less effective, and reserve voting for the use of force only as a last-ditch effort if it was absolutely unavoidable. But I've never heard anyone on the left reject the use of violence—they just pretend that it's not force if they get the police to do it. However, by that definition, the SS wasn't violent either and the Holocaust was a peaceful event.
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07-09-2013, 03:25 PM (This post was last modified: 07-09-2013 03:34 PM by Chas.)
RE: Differences in political views.
(07-09-2013 12:30 PM)frankksj Wrote:  @Chas, I really despise it when someone accuse me of lying, when in fact he isn't even familiar with the topic at hand. I'd never do that to you. You may say stuff I disagree with or think is wrong, but I'll do some fact checking before I accuse you of lying. What I said isn't even controversial, and if you googled it you'd see that it's common knowledge, even to all the mainstream US media:

Here's a quote from NBC: "It also helped that since tax evasion isn’t a criminal offense in Switzerland, U.S attempts to extradite Rich fell on deaf ears."

And from the NY Times: "Tax evasion is not a crime in Switzerland and would not be grounds for extradition"

From CNN: "Swiss authorities, arguing that tax evasion is not a crime in their country, refused to extradite them."

I chose my choice of words carefully and accurately. Yes, in Switzerland all fraud, means filing false sworn declarations and falsifying documents, is criminal. It's irrelevant if it's done to avoid paying taxing or for any other reason.

What I said was that tax evasion is not a crime, meaning that that there is no threat of force used to prevent it. It is considered an misdemeanour (Übertretung), and carries a purely financial penalty, of course, to discourage it, but there is no possibility of force being initiated (ie arrest and jail time). Rather, it is dealt with in a civilized, peaceful manner.

There are few things in life I'm very familiar with and I try to restrict my comments to those that I know well, and I do know well the Swiss tax system. Everything I said was correct.

And the Swiss system is fully compatible with libertarian values because committing fraud, falsifying documents and making false sworn declarations, is most definitely a criminal offense under all libertarian systems I've observed.

This is also well known and not controversial because for years the US and Europe has railed on Switzerland for refusing to extradite tax evaders, like Marc Rich, and the Swiss response is that extradition treaties require the act to be a crime in BOTH countries, and tax evasion is NOT a crime in Switzerland, and thus nobody can be extradited for it (see those quotes above).

Wikipedia sums it up and links to the original Swiss tax code here: link. It says:

Quote:Tax evasion is the act of causing a tax to be falsely assessed, such as through the failure to report taxable income.[52] It is classed as a misdemeanour (Übertretung / contravention) and is punishable by a fine of 33% to 300% of the amount of tax evaded.[53] Tax fraud, on the other hand, occurs if a tax evasion is committed by using false documents (such as untrue corporate financial reports) for deceptive purposes.[54] It is classed as a crime (Vergehen / crime) and is punishable by additional imprisonment of up to three years or an additional fine of up to 30,000 CHF.

So a hefty fine is not force?

And it is against the law, a criminal act.

Not reporting is illegal. Your explanation of it was misleading, stating that it is voluntary.

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07-09-2013, 03:34 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
@Chas, why comment if you're not even reading what I say. I read everything you wrote. In my last post, I copied/pasted from the dictionary the definition of violence, which is the use of physical force. Physical requires the use of matter. There has to be physical contact with 2 material objects. Like a handcuff around the wrist, or a bullet in your head, or a taser barb in your chest. How is a "fine", that you can never go to jail for, "physical"? Where's the matter? "Fine" as an abstract concept. It is merely a form of persuasion.

What's really bizarre is that I actually advocated the use of fines in the very post you criticized me for! See that 'scenario #1', where if you don't pay your property taxes, a fine and penalties with interest are assessed and a lien is filed? This is exactly how the Swiss system works. There's no violence involved (ie no physical force). Nobody is locked in jail for tax evasion. And the system works very, very well, and tax compliance is actually HIGHER than it is in the places where violence is used. You're just so convinced that violence (ie physical force) is the only possible solution to every problem you see that you're doing everything imaginable to avoid the issue that are non-violent alternatives that actually work very well.
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