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Friday, June 11, 2010

The anatomy of a tax cheat

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First we need to dispense with the question - What is a tax cheat? Common practice is to define a 'tax cheat' as a person who does not pay their tax. In fact this is an unreasonable 'smear' definition since most people minimise, avoid/evade taxes because on some level they are against them, whether they don't support either the concept of taxation, the methodology with which it is collected, the efficiency of its distribution or the underlying premise that their lives ought to be subordinated to the collective will. No choice you think? That is a different posting.
There are a significant number of people who don't believe there is a legitimate reasons for the imposition of taxation. They ought not to enslave people to achieve their values. In a democracy, we can consider this to be 'the tyranny of the majority'. Really it makes very little difference whether a tyranny arises from a minority or majority, coercion is not the basis for resolving conflicts. i.e. It is the origin of conflict - a lack of respect for the interests of others. It arises due to desperation for survival, a lack of empathy or self-respect, that one would undermine another's rights or values in order to satisfy some personal pretence for legitimacy or validation.
In the following dialogue I will demonstrate an example of a person who lacks self-respect. The forum conversation starts with an American who is interested in migrating to Australia. I weigh in with some critical feedback. My statements are in blue, the counter-parties are in red (for communists).
"Australia has the same fascist politics as America, in fact we are worse. But its a nice place to be coerced, abused and to pretend you have political freedom. Some people go to the beach to quash their anxiety, but because of the universal need to work, most simply repress any feeling of anxiety, and engage in unthinking love and social discourse.
Enjoy your stay. Let me save your time. NZ is worse. There is no escape, so I guess you're one of the suckers who is not going to change the system, given that you're a 'runner', so I guess you are a repressor".
[In fact he might not be a repressor. Given that he is leaving, he might simply not have the intellect or the time to identify the nature of the problem in the USA, or to appreciate that Australia is probably as bad].

A different forum poster weighs into the discussion....so a new contributor:

"You poor repressed thing you. I'll be sure to dodge the fascist death squads when I go to the shop. And you can be sure that the next time I feel some anxiety....I'll go to the beach".
You missed the point because you don't think. Please explain if you have rights why PM Rudd has the power to apply a new arbitrary tax on the mining industry, which has already cost investors in mining assets dearly. No warning. Perhaps you misunderstand the actual nature of fascism...
1. Initiation of force - wrong whether by government or private persons
2. Arbitrary rule or action - wrong because government has the moral sanction of force

You're decision to move to a beach is appropriate...you have a choice between immersing yourself in the water to wake yourself up, or burying your head in the sand.
Another characteristic feature of fascist regimes of a concrete nature since you are poorly versed with ideas is the use of price controls. The First Home Buyers Grant was such a scheme. Now you say...what about all those people who cannot afford homes? Ask yourself why homes are so expensive...because land development and sale is arbitrarily regulated by government. i.e. One of the least populated countries in the world prevents you from buying subdivided land. Why? To keep taxes high since land taxes are based on the value of property, which is kept artificially high by such restrictions.
PS: I suggest you look up the meaning of repression. By drawing attention to an issue tends to preclude me from being a repressor [....unless you can show I am a rationalising].

"That's the silliest thing I've read for a while, are you confusing Australia with Austria?"
Really? You are a classic case of repression. You say things are silly, but you present no argument. Convey to me please my contradiction. Please point me towards your beacon of freedom in Australia....perhaps the unfairest tax system in the world? Miners pay 54% because they can't escape persecution, meanwhile Google pays 0.1% in Australia, so they can pay 10% in Ireland.
Arbitrary rule. Persecution of those who pay the most because the federal government cannot catch the others. What of the property owners in Parramatta, who had their property expropriated by the NSW Labor state government so you could have a nice facade at the train station.
Please enlighten me. Maybe you ought to start by defining what you consider freedom.

"You have a very nice way of distorting the real meaning of fascism with your poorly driven semantics. By your example, there is no real thing as freedom".
Actually it is the conventional definitions which are very poor. They are poor because they are concrete-bound. They fail to convey the nature of fascism. Why? Because most people don't understand the nature of fascism...which is why we are destined to drift towards it AGAIN! I could use a better (more fundamental) word like 'collectivism', but it entails no value judgement or association with fascism, which is ultimately considered the cause of the problem. The problem is people don't make the abstract connection, so I use the world fascism.
Please define freedom for me. There are two basic definitions:
1. Rights which are an imposition upon others rights, e.g. Your right to an education which is an obligation on others to teach and finance it.
2. Rights as a protection from [the initiation of] impositions or coercion.
Clearly I support the latter. The former is a contradiction. Nothing semantic about that. I'm still waiting for an answer to my previous arguments.

"Oh how beautiful, someone who still believes that there are such rights which protect us from coercion or impositions. The only way to enforce those rights is through impositions and coercions, so it is just as coercive as the former. You call Australia fascist whilst missing the irony that you have the ability to do so".
I believe I am arguing that there are no such rights, but there should be, because the alternative is some degree of fascism or 'collectivism'. Any tolerance breaches a principle which enables only more.
The reason we live in a fascist society is because under 'representative' democracy the values of a single person, or non-substantive minority do not matter. The government therefore has no reason to listen to me because the media are a pack of liberals who don't. Even if by some miracle I was published, I would be discredited, misquoted or smeared as an irrelevancy. And I would be by the intellectual values of contemporary society. I would be in the minority. That is fascism - 'the tyranny of the majority'. The system does not work. The Senate is not working. The High Court seldom works, and too late.
In fairness to you I could have been clearer. By 'rights as protection', I mean that force should only be used by government as a defense measure. They ought not to initiate force. This was my original argument. If you want to get more fundamental. I am saying that values ought not to be gained by force. i.e. A person who protects their wealth does not seek to gain from others by force or fraud...the thief does.

Not true. The only way to take away all forms of governmental coercion is anarchy, but that just leads the way to individual coercion, which is far worse.
I did not suggest taking away all forms of coercion. I am saying that the only morally legitimate role of government is the protection of legitimate rights. Of course I support police, common law, courts, a military force, and even the instruments for regulating markets, so long as their role is protection, and not violations of rights, i.e. distortions of markets, which lead us to the current recession.
The logic of your point would be true, if I was arguing government ought to have no coercive powers, but I did not make a case for anarchy.
Think about it. Would you allow someone to take your kid without due process/reason/objective legislation (i.e. court determination).

But you argued that the government was fascist because it had coercive powers. You can't then say that the government is allowed some coercive powers without accepting the fact that that too would be a form of fascism, by your earlier argument. And then, you also have the argument of what constitutes a 'legitimate right', since for all people, their opinions differ on the matter.
Actually I argued above that government arbitrarily initiates use of force. That is the basis of fascism. Actually I can argue that...if I can base it on more fundamental values, i.e. A Theory of Values. I gave you a snippet of that. Fortunately, you are arguing towards fundamentals. You allude to the fact that there needs to be some sense of objective truth. Which I believe. Everyone at some level does, which is why they accept that science has some legitimacy. It is also why they don't walk in front of speeding cars.

I disagree that it is an arbitrary use of force. Our government basis its laws and regulations on the desires of the majority of its constituents. It's the basis of the Westminster system. You may argue that it would be a 'tyranny of the majority' but that is merely hyperbole, because if it were a tyranny, who is being terrorised?
I am not suggesting that all govt coercion is arbitrary, just some of it. Voluntarism or negotiation are important elements of accountability, even if they are the last measure through the court. The legislative process was created I believe with the expectation that it would achieve reason as the standard of value, but there was never any assurance or protection that it would. Implicitly the High Court, which is implicitly supposed to hold reason as the standard, gives arbitrary statutory law greater standing (than Common Law) based on the argument that its the democratic desire of people. Really people don't know, or reflect on such issues.
Why is democracy based on coercion? Because it does not seek to reconcile differences of opinion. Instead politicians make concessions. e.g. Senator Haraldine takes a kickback for Tasmania in exchange for Telstra privatisation.
The majority is almost almost destined to be wrong because they are passively represented by non-analytical people, who seek 'numbers', not principles based on fact. Of course they cannot avoid the most self-evident concepts, but they are not judicious in their scrutiny or analysis.
You think its not tyranny because you concede. You accepts its outcomes. But on some level everyone is frustrated with government; its just that few people choose to understand why. The reason is that they have no reason to believe they can make a choice. The tyranny arises because you have no effective choice about that. i.e. If I decide the tax system is immoral, and I choose to renounce my support by not paying. There is no negotiation where reason is the standard of value. I go to court, and the judge says 'the law is....'. I argue points of law. He decides the will of the majority is more important (i.e. statutory law), so my fate, and the fate of any individual is subject to the 'tyranny of the majority', irrespective of the validity of my arguments. Maybe he gives me a soft sentence, as is customary in cases where the law is considered outdated. There is the prospect of course that the judge might take an interest in my whole philosophical treatise if he hates the legislators, but there is a dim prospect of him investing the time. Its too much of a stretch. The flaw goes back to 1100AD, so the Westminster system has little standing with me.

The only other option is to base actions of the will of the minority but then I would argue that enforcing the status quo on the majority is just as much the basis fascism.
This is a false alternative. Your choice is not simply between being a perpetrator and a victim. There is a choice of being a trader, the same basis upon which you participate in voluntary agreements, i.e. By way of contract if specific and careful protection is required, but more importantly, a system where reason is the standard of value. Democracy is only legitimate if its consensus based (not representation) because reason must be the standard of value. Whose reason? Everyone's....with objective reality the final arbiter. Just like for science and the court system.

There needs to be a healthy mix of objective views but the majority of beliefs tend to be subjective, for example, one's belief on abortion is subjective, one's belief on economic is subjective and the fact is that there are no objective truths when it comes down to those situations, there is ONLY opinion. Most 'truths' as it were, tend only to be a basis, not definite.
I agree, most people are subjective, but what do you expect when:
1. Objectivity would cause you moral conflict, manifesting in anxiety/anger or repression/cynicism.
2. Government is the highest level of organisation. If reason is not the standard of value, it conveys a certain 'impracticality' to 'being real' and the practicality to faking it. Of course society as a whole cannot fake reality, as it confronts it in ways like reduced productivity, slower growth, financial crises, etc. We are forced to wake up at some point. It can take generations, e.g. Sweden. It will be the same for Brunei and Norway when they run out of oil & gas. The problem is people accept democracy because we were born into it. People don't trust a new conception. Galileo was killed for his efforts.
3. Rationality alienates you from people in society. Most people by accepting 'subjectivity' are undermining their cognitive development, and thus their respect for facts, and in the process diminishing their self-esteem. They can impress friends by a relative standard, but it does not 'mean' the same. They will therefore shoot the messenger or whistle blower who holds truth above perceptions.

If you analysed the issue of abortion and economic theory, you would find objectivity. You don't think there are patterns of behaviour to those issues. I don't want to deal with these specifics because that it going backwards. I'm trying to break you down to your basic philosophical premises. We started with politics, then ethics, then epistemology, now we are discussing the most fundamental values (metaphysics) - the nature of reality - objective or subjective. I kind of have you 'caged' and you want to jump from the 'metaphysical' bath water into the 'political' sea. You can do that...if you want to choose those philosophical set of implications.
You can explore these issues at my blog www.sheldonthinks.com. I am a writer. My blogs are poorly developed argument because they are unedited, but I deal with a plethora of issues in the media.

This issue seems to have winded up. Credit to the guy for his 'relative' honesty. Most people would not debate me to this level of philosophy. They would either me smearing, or more commonly simply walking off whilst cursing me. Occasionally people threaten to beat me up. :)
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Andrew Sheldon
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