The Instigator
Frederik
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
DavidMancke
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Social Welfare Is Immoral

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
DavidMancke
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,574 times Debate No: 98496
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (29)
Votes (2)

 

Frederik

Pro

I will argue that public social welfare is immoral.

No new arguments in R5.

You start.
DavidMancke

Con

I will use this to frame the debate rather than introduce arguments. Since the burden of proof is on pro, Con anaysis can'treally begin until we have already seen the Pro analysis.

The resolution is framed by Pro as a truth statement, meaning that the topic is a resolution of fact, with the burden of proof resting sqaurely on Pro. Pro's burden is to offer contructive analysis and compelling examples showing us the resolutiois true in all cases. This is a very tall order.

The burden of Con is not to show that social welfare is "moral" or morally superior to whatever world view offered by pro, but to btter show that social welfare is not immoral.

If Con can show that social welfare is not immoral Con wins. If Pro fails to prove the resolution is true in all cases, Con wins.
Debate Round No. 1
Frederik

Pro

I appreciate Con taking the time to frame the debate. I have no objections and thereby fully agree to stated terms of the debate.

DEFINITIONS

"Welfare" or "Social Welfare" is the provision of a minimal level of well-being and social support for citizens without current means to support basic needs. [1]

"Public" specifies tax revenue as being the principle source of funding of an institution.

"Charity" is the provision of social support including, but not being restricted to, social welfare through private funding.

INTRODUCTION

I will not argue against the value of welfare as such, as it is unquestionable that any society of considerable size will always have people in need of help to increase their personal welfare, be it because of unfortunate circumstances due to no fault of their own or because of bad life decisions. Welfare is there to help these individuals to get to a point in their lives from which they are able to sustain themselves without subsidy. I have good reason to believe welfare is a necessary cause in a society that ought to be as free, prosperous and peaceful as possible.

That being said, it is crucial to examine the moral dimension that is inherent in the sourcing of funds that uphold an institution created for providing social support.

In this debate, I will argue that public social welfare is immoral because it is per definitionem funded through taxation, which I will show violates the basic moral principle of Thou Shalt Not Steal.

My moral reasoning will be based on Stefan Molyneux's "Universally Preferable Behaviour - A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics" [2] and I will expand on it as much as necessary.

ARGUMENTS

Any moral issue is either moral or immoral. "Amorality" is reserved only for issues that have no bearing on moral principles, such as "Being on time" or opening a door for someone (see [2]).

Any moral end that is achieved through the systematic violation of moral principles cannot be considered moral, and is thereby immoral.

Moral ends cannot justify immoral means, because without this principle morality ceases to exist and the principle falls apart. To illustrate, if stealing cash is moral for as long as one is buying food with it (or whatever moral action), then stealing and being stolen from both become good. As a result people will no longer resist being stolen from, and theft ceases to exist. The same is true for rape, murder and fraud, comprising all of the actions that can be argued are universally immoral (for further reference, see [2]).

Theft is the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. [3]

Theft is immoral because it violates the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), which states that the "initiation" of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property is illegitimate. [4]

Therefore, public social welfare is immoral if it is indeed funded through theft.

Taxation is a means by which governments finance their expenditure by imposing charges on citizens and corporate entities. [5]

To impose is to establish or bring about something as if by force. [6]

Force is violence, compulsion, or constraint exerted upon or against a person or thing. [7]

Therefore, taxation violates the NAP and describes - just like theft - the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it, with the difference of it being institutionalized and protected by government law.

It follows that public social welfare is indeed funded through theft and is thereby immoral.

[1] Definition of Welfare: https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] Universally Preferable Behaviour by Stefan Molyneux: http://www.fdrurl.com...
[3] Definition of Theft: https://www.merriam-webster.com...
[4] Definition of Non-Aggression Principle: https://wiki.mises.org...
[5] Definition of Taxation: http://www.businessdictionary.com...
[6] Definition of Impose: https://www.merriam-webster.com...
[7] Definition of Force: https://www.merriam-webster.com...
DavidMancke

Con


Pro agreed to the framework that requires the truth claim the resolution makes be true in all cases. If there is a single example of social welfare that is not immoral, pro loses the debate. This is one of the reasons Pro loses.

While Con rejects the analysis of Pro; conflating the onerous nature of taxes with outright theft, Pro loses even if this was correct. Here’s why.


Within the definition of welfare provided by Pro, we see that social welfare programs are not necessarily provided for by taxation. That is to say, while they often are provided for by taxes, it is not universally true that welfare is funded by taxes.


Pro's definition reads: Welfare is the provision of a minimal level of well-being and social support for citizens without current means to support basic needs. In most developed countries, welfare is largely provided by the government from tax income.


This definition acknowledges that while in many or even most cases states provide welfare via tax funds, it is not true in all instances in all countries. Since the truth claim supported by Pro is not true in all cases, pro loses per his own definitions.


There are certainly examples where welfare is or might be provided without relying on direct tax. For example, war reparations distributed to a state’s populace is a welfare policy that is not funded by taxes. In many US states, municipal worker pensions are funded by bonds, sometimes sold by government and sometimes bought by government and allowed to mature. We could model a state that funds a welfare program through tariffs and fees. A nation could even in theory borrow money to fund welfare, and then default on the loan. These are all examples of welfare that do not involve direct taxes.


Since we have examples of welfare programs that can exist without taxing people, Pro loses the debate; Pro has to show the resolution is true in all cases, which Con shows is not true.


All this said, Con rejects the analysis provided by Pro, that taxation is tantamount to theft.



For starters, USD is backed by the full faith and credit of the US government the same entity that assesses tax on USD. The value of US currency is inherently linked to the ability to tax USD, since they both precipitate from the same entity. When Pro rejects the right of the US government to assess taxes, they are rejecting the same institution that give the money value to begin with. Taxation cannot be theft when the value of what is taxed is a feature of what is taxed. IE: money is worthless without the taxman to give said money value to begin with.


Even outside of this concern, real property rights and their legal protections precipitate from the same sources as the value of USD and the ability to tax American commerce: the US Federal Government. Pro is rejecting the institution that legally provides for property rights when they reject the institution that assesses taxes. “IE: property rights and tax collectors are defended by the same barriers.”



In both of these example Pro rejects the same instrument that he practically derives property rights from: the law.


Most damning though is Pro’s misappropriation of the ideas of theft and force. Pro compares taxes to an actual violation if rights, and even goes as far as to compare it with rape and murder; this is perverse!

Simply put nobody broke into anyone's home, held a gun to somebody’s head and forced them to fill out a 1040 EZ form.

When we earn money in the US taxes are a known and a given. They could be onerous or even unfair, but that does not constitute robbery. The day Pro starts any job, or sets up any direct deposit account, Pro will be advised of his tax obligations and provide instruments of his own taxation as part of the terms of employment. Pro can reject the deal if he feels that strongly, or could even try to claim, “exempt” but he has not been violated without warning and consent. Pro confuses not liking the rules with a violation of his rights, and tries to compare it to rape. Show us the rape victim that says, “it was kind of like paying taxes when he raped me.” Pro should have a little more respect for those that have actually been violated.
Disliking the rules is not the same as being cheated. But in any case, we can reject the Pro analysis since be his own definition the claim the resolution makes is not true in all cases. Pro is wrong about the truth statement the resolution makes, and Pro is wrong about the comparison of taxes to theft.

Even if Pro were right in his analysis of the topic, he would still lose since we can see examples of welfare taht don' depend on taxes, so teh resolution is not true in call cases. But worse for Pro still is the fact that taxes are not theft, taxes are a known and inherent proposition of earning money in society, and the authority to tax earners is robustly established and recognized.

Debate Round No. 2
Frederik

Pro

In this round, I will rebut or disprove all relevant sentiments and arguments Con made in the previous round.

In order to prevent the future creation of strawmans, the complete proposition of the debate is found in R1, "Public Social Welfare Is Immoral". Con dropped the use of the descriptor "Public" in order to make the proposition easier to attack. "Public" describes the "principle" source of funding of an institution (the "Welfare State") as being taxation (see Pro R2).

EXAMPLES REBUTTED

Anything that is not "publicly" funded (through the enforcement of taxation), is "privately" funded (through voluntary contribution). Thus, once "Social Welfare" is no longer actually provided through taxation, it becomes privately funded social welfare: Charity. I stongly advocate for charitable causes in R2 and am fully convinced of its benevolent nature.

Thus, anytime Con tries to create a case where somehow the tax-funded institution of the welfare state can provide a social welfare service without relying on its only principle source of funding that is taxation (which is contradictory and thus cannot be true), Con is describing a charitable cause, and thus no longer argues against the proposition of this debate. In other words, Con creates a strawman and attacks that one instead.

But it gets more sophisticated. Con bases his examples aimed to disprove the proposition on "welfare [...] provided without relying on direct tax." With the distinction between "direct" and "indirect" tax funding, Con tries to conceal the fact that a cause that is funded "only indirectly" through immoral means is still immoral. "Any moral end that is achieved through the systematic violation of moral principles [...] is [...] immoral." (from Pro R2).

If I rob my friends' bank account, invest the money into stocks and donate the dividends to charity, I could not claim the profits are mine and the contribution was made on moral grounds. In court, I am forced to give back all the money plus reparation, including all profits that I made with it because my friend could have earned the profits himself had his money not been stolen.

Thus, examples showing welfare can be provided through "indirect taxes" are still immoral for as long as my argument of taxation being theft is not disproven. Also, welfare services being provided entirely without government funds - that includes the government officials' salaries who run the service - do per definitionem not qualify as public social welfare services and thus become irrelevant for the debate.

With this knowledge, we shall examine provided examples.

1. War reparations
War reparations are paid by nations through the regular enforcement of taxation onto their own people, through the printing of currency (indirect taxation through inflation) and the creation of public debt (immediate taxation of future taxable income). Thus, services would be paid for by (foreign) taxes.

2. Worker pensions funded by corporate or government bonds bought by the government
Private bonds bought by the government are investments made with taxes and their payoff thus stems from tax money.
Government-issued bonds are ... obviously funded through taxation. It has to be payed back with tax money because the government has no money of its own.

3. Tariffs and fees
Tariffs: Tax on imports or exports [1]
Fees: "Taxation is a means by which governments finance their expenditure by imposing charges on citizens and corporate entities." (from Pro R2)

4. Loan defaulted
Con is suggesting a government borrows money from, I assume, private citizens with the intention of defaulting.
Well, let me just commend Con for his creativity, since this example is indeed not based on the enforcement of tax laws but instead is outright evil.

Thus we see that, be it through direct or indirect taxation or plain theft, all cases provided by Con describe funding through illegitimate means, based on the moral framework provided in R2 that Con had no objections to.

That is, if Con hasn't disproven the argument of taxation being theft of the grandest scale.

TAXATION IS THEFT

When it comes down to it, my proof of "taxation equals theft" was three-and-a-bit lines long, citing:

"Taxation is a means by which governments finance their expenditure by imposing charges on citizens and corporate entities.
To impose is to establish or bring about something as if by force.
Force is violence, compulsion, or constraint exerted upon or against a person or thing.
[If taxation is force, it describes theft.]"

Con argues, because people conform to government laws there is no violence. That is like saying a woman not resisting being raped at gunpoint is not being aggressed against. The fundamental truth is, behind every law there is a gun. Consider this:

If laws were actually voluntary, why pay taxes? Sure, one will receive multiple letters demanding payment but that can be easily ignored. First they come from the IRS, after some time from a judge. Eventually, cops will show up at your home with an arrest warrant. But they don't have guns, right? Well, they do, and if you continue to resist arrest in self-defense, guess what they'll do with it...

Con argues, taxes are voluntary and names tax obligations in terms of employment as an example. Sure I can choose between jobs, but how can I work and not pay taxes if I so prefer, without the fear of government violence? The example is analogous to a mid-eighteenth century slave being allowed to choose which slaveholder he would rather like to work for. Not freedom!

"Disliking the rules is not the same as being cheated." (Con R3) It is much worse, in fact, when one is threatened being thrown in jail for not following the rules. One can like or dislike the laws, but has no choice but to act in accordance with them or have one's life destroyed. It is force.

TAXATION AND CURRENCY

On the other hand, Con is correct in arguing that it would be entirely hypocritical of anybody to both reject taxation and simultaneously embrace government-issued currency, or the government itself. It does not take long to understand that to reject the legitimacy of taxation means to reject the legitimacy of governments altogether, for I have layed out above, laws constitute the state and the state does not exist without enforced laws.

To argue taxation is immoral, is to argue governments are immoral.

Indeed, government-issued currency would be worthless without the government. Without the government, people would finally be free to create their own currencies, competing over the best combination of convenience, lowest volatility, widest acceptance, and safety. In the free marketplace of currencies people will choose whichever currencies they want to use. Today, currencies like bitcoin basically only exist because government laws are too ancient to address them.

PROPERTY RIGHTS

Con argues, laws provide property rights. On the outside, it seems logical. But property rights have no requirement for laws, for they are based on the Self-Ownership Axiom and the acceptance of Ownership over the effects of our actions. [2]

"Self-ownership is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity, and be the exclusive controller of her or his own body and life." [3]

Property rights follow from owing ourselves and the effects of our actions. We own ourselves because we have exclusive control over our body. A house that I alone have build is not mine because some law somewhere said so, but because it is the fruit of my own labor. We all accept inherent property rights not because of some abstract concept that is called The State, but because we understand that we own ourselves and the fruits of our labor and don't want to be stolen from.

For anybody interested in the full proof of property rights based on universal ethics, I refer to a 15-minute presentation by Stefan Molyneux. [2]

Regarding the enforcement of property rights, one is well-advised to take personal measures, anyway, to ensure safety and integrity of one's own property. For example, having a gun oneself is generally better than waiting for the cops after the robbery already happened. In a stateless society, people would pay for security services voluntarily, as can be seen in private security agencies that already exist.

CONCLUSION

In this round, I have refuted all examples provided by Con trying to come up with a public social welfare program that is not inherently based on the systematic violation of basic moral principles. I have shown that Con has failed to prove why taxation is not force. Con's attempt to discredit arguments based on a lack of consistency in principles has failed, as I equally argue for the immorality of the state-enforced exclusive right to create currency, and the government altogether. Finally, I have shown that property rights can be derived entirely independent of laws and their enforcement does not require a government.

Con's lack of strong arguments against the immorality of taxation and the state are finally demonstrated by committing the common logical fallacy of Appeal to Popularity [4]: The legitimacy of taxation is known and valid because it "is robustly established and recognized." (from Con R2) As a philosopher one can only say: Not an argument.

"We Will Win, and We Will Win, and We Will Win." –Donald J. Trump

[1] Definition of Tariff: https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] A Proof of Property Rights [audio-visual]: https://youtu.be...
[3] Definition of Self-Ownership Axiom: https://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] Definition of Appeal to Popularity: https://en.wikipedia.org...
DavidMancke

Con

Pro is playing very loose with the definitions.

Pro tries to say that any social welfare not provide by “tax,” is “private.” To quote Pro:

“‘Social Welfare’ no longer actually provided through taxation, becomes privately funded social welfare: Charity.”

That’s false, and absurd.

This analysis is a combination of two fallacies, and both will cost Pro the debate.

This is a ‘fallacy of single cause,’ which assumes there is one cause for an outcome when in fact there can be more than one. Pro assumes that the only way the state can provide welfare benefits is to force others to surrender money to the state. This is false. In R1 Con provided examples where the state can collect funds without coercion, and Con buttresses those examples in this round.

Welfare can be funded without taxing incomes, and state provided welfare not funded by taxing incomes doesn’t constitute private charity. Citizens don’t vote on how charities spend money, but citizens do vote on how government spends money.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

The other fallacy Pro relies on here is structural, “affirming the consequent. When we test Pro’s logic with a syllogism the conclusion is obviously false.

Pro argues;

Premise 1) Private welfare (charity) is not funded by taxes.

Premise 2) Some state provided welfare is not funded by taxes.

Conclusion: Therefore, some state provided welfare is private charity.

Compare the syllogism to the reasoning offered at the beginning of Pro’s R3

“‘Social Welfare’ no longer actually provided through taxation, becomes privately funded social welfare: Charity.”

Once again, false and absurd. This costs pro the whole game. The government can fund welfare without taxing incomes, and operating this way doesn’t magically turn the government into a private charity.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

The worst definition abuse by Pro is his general concept of “Tax.” At several junctures in R3 Pro shifts on his definition of taxes, even to the point of contradicting his claim that taxation is theft when responding to some Con examples.

Pro claims that taxation is theft on the part of government, and therefore any “public” welfare program is funded by theft. Pro then tries to spread this notion any government spending, even when the source of said funds are not taxes and when it’s obvious the source of said funds is not anything that can be reasonably called, “theft”

Pro makes this mistake in addressing several Con examples of welfare not funded by tax, and therefore not theft, even according to the pro analysis.

Remember, Pro claims that taxes are immoral; that taxes are taken from folks by force.

Pro calls several Con examples of state funding taxes (and therefore theft) that do not involve coercion or force. Look at how Pro addresses the example of Tariffs and fees in his R3.

Pro calls a Tariff or government fee a tax. But these funds are not obtained by force or duress. There is no compulsion whatsoever to pay tariffs or fees: that means it doesn’t satisfy Pro’s own concept of theft. These are costs assessed when a buyer freely chooses to purchase the product or service on offer by the government.

Examples of a fee include getting a passport, license or permit. The choice to pay for the passport or permit are entirely up to the buyer. Nobody forced anything, much less surrender of money under duress.

Likewise a tariff is a charge that is elective. It’s up to a merchant to decide to bring their product into a foreign market, knowing that a tariff will be assessed on import. This is a cost of doing business, and no compulsion or duress is involved. Just like with the fee for a passport, a merchant can decide for themselves if the value of selling their product in a foreign market is worth the cost of the tariff.

In the case of tariffs and fees, these examples do not satisfy Pro’s functioning definition of theft; no force is involved when assessing and collecting these fees. Nevertheless, Pro erroneously conflates these examples with his shifting concept of “taxes.” This inconsistency on Pro’s part is another reason they lose the debate.

Pro has two choices to make this consistent: 1) Pro must concede that tariffs and fees are not taken by force, and therefore not all taxes are theft or, 2) Pro must concede that tariffs and fees are not taxes.

Regardless of the choice Pro makes, the example of tariffs and fees provides a revenue stream for publicly (government) funded welfare programs that involves no coercion or force on the part of the government and therefore isn’t theft. This means we still have an example of public welfare that is not immoral according to Pro’s own analysis.

This means Pro loses the debate, since Pro agreed that to win the debate the truth claim made by the resolution has to be true in all cases, which it is not.

The same analysis can be applied to the example of a state employee funded retirement pension. Many of these program are not provided for by taxing incomes and redistributing the collected funds to pensioners. Instead they are funded by investing a portion of wages into a pension fund that is reinvested or diversified to maximize what the fund earns. It is employee funded, and within the trust of the government for whom these folks work.

By collectively investing employees gain added security and/or diversity of the overall fund, and increased options for how the money can be invested.

In the 1970’s and 80’s mortgage backed bonds were the investment de jour for these kinds of pensions. Regardless of what financial product the fund is invested in, it is not funded by taxing incomes and redistributing the funds to pensioners. Additionally if the employee doesn’t like the package, they can opt out. They don’t have to invest, but would be ineligible for the benefit.

This shows that there are publicly managed and distributed welfare programs that don’t rely on coercion or force to obtain funding. Everyone participating in this pension example decides to on their own.

Pro must concede that some pension programs are distributed by the state without being funded by taxes, meaning the resolution is again not true in all cases, and Pro loses the debate.

Pro must also concede that nothing in this pension example constitutes theft, so there is nothing within it for Pro to morally question (no force: nor moral problem per Pro)

Regarding the abstract example where a state funds welfare via a defaulted loan, there was nothing within the example suggesting the loan was to the state from citizens. The example speaks to when one nation borrows from a large bank with access to funds in such large amounts.

In any case, it doesn’t involve taxes or coercion, which is all that is needed for this example to also cost Pro the debate. Additionally, a nation can settle debts through leaning on or liquidation of assets rather than taxing citizens. They could sell a military base, or lease out a small fleet of cargo vessels or even surrender earnings from other assets until the debt is paid. None of these examples for repayment of debt involve coercion or taxing incomes. Since the example excludes taxes and excludes coercion, it also costs Pro the debate.

Likewise, reparations could be paid for the same way a defaulted debt could, relying on national or military assets and revenue streams rather than income taxes. A nation could sell oil reserves or an airbase in order to pay reparations.

Pro’s tag line about, “outright evil,” is just superfluous dribble. It is an appeal to emotion rather than a valid reason to reject the example. It’s the same when Pro later calls all government immoral.

The continued complaint that taxes are theft isn’t really relevant to the debate anymore, because the Con examples show both that this claim is not always true (if tariffs and fees are taxes) and that the state could fund welfare without taxing incomes (Pro’s propositional fallacies)

That said some of Pro’s tirade demands a response. Particular, Pro’s decision to double down on the distasteful comparison of taxes to rape.

Pro said: “Con argues, because people conform to government laws there is no violence. That is like saying a woman not resisting being raped at gunpoint is not being aggressed against.”

When Pro made this comparison last time, I reminded him that while many legal precedents uphold the authority of the state to assess tax, there is no legal upholding of rape. The fact that Pro needs to be advised of this is a creature all its own.

Pro also compares the onerous nature of payroll taxes to slaves selecting from a pool of masters, but never getting freedom. This is an absurd comparison too. However onerous, taxes are far less burdensome than slavery. Ask any former slave.

Pro moves on to property rights, and offers an axiom that doesn’t uphold the notion that taxes violate those rights. The Self-Ownership axiom offered by Pro just asserts ones right to their own life and body. It doesn’t speak to wealth or possessions, which means the axiom doesn’t address taxes.

It looks like Pro meant to to suggest laws don’t grant property rights, believing such rights are inherent to people. But he never gives us a reason to believe this notion, and it doesn’t comport with reality anyways.

The fact is that property rights are real to the extent they are ensured by the law. Without the law and enforcement, property rights would be up for violent dispute. This makes the rejection of government by Pro absolutely absurd. Pro rejects, in all forms, the only proven avenue for defense of private property.

Pro links a philosophy video addressing “Property ethics,” but didn’t introduce any component of the video into the debate. For the content to be considered, Pro needs to tell us what it is, and why it relevant. Pro just links the video without offering analysis. One can’t argue that dictionaries exist to make a definition argument. One must actually offer the definition.
Debate Round No. 3
Frederik

Pro

This is not easy to write for me, but Con's last post is so absurd, I don't seem to be able to fathom enough motivation to form any longer response. It is astonishing to me how unwilling Con is in actually thinking through my arguments.

Would Con have actually thought through my arguments, we would have moved onto The Social Contract argument a long time ago. Here we are, still discussing in which uncommon ways social welfare could theoretically be provided without taxation by the government, solely because Con is trying so hard to "Win the game" instead of actually considering the moral foundation of what we are talking about.

It does not matter if there is some way in which government provided social welfare could not be funded through taxation - ignoring the fact, for a moment, that the government officials would still be payed through taxes.

What matters is that the government is a violent institution based on the initiation of force against peaceful individuals. People have never signed a contract to be forced to comply to laws. The government itself is an immoral institution, therefore, government provided social welfare is immoral. That's what this debate is really about.

Instead, this debate has gotten lost in detail - and I take partial responsibility for it.

If I have to point out that Tariffs are just another way of taxing people because they violate Free Trade and are therefore not voluntary, then there is nothing in it for me. It is an utter waste of time.

Therefore, I will yield the last round.
DavidMancke

Con

Well, the last response from Pro almost sounded like he was surrendering. Nevertheless, the burden of clash hold that I should respond to what was said, and extend the arguments from R3; so I shall.

Pro says the Con R3 was absurd, but does not tell us why, so we don't have to consider it.

Pro also says if Con had, "actually thought through [his] arguments" we would have had a debate abous social contract theory. This is absurd and a little odd for Pro to claim, here's why:

I did in fact think through the claims Pro made in R2 and R3. It turned out that several of the claims Pro made were false and or fallacious. It even turned out that Pro was contradicting his claim that all taxes are theft when he defined theft as "taking by force" and then called tariffs and fees "taxes. The fact is that tariffs and fees are the cost of getting the product or service on offer from the government, and there is no pressure or duress on anybody to pay these costs or buy these products/services. So tariffs and fees don't satisfy Pro's definition of theft. This means either, 1) tariffs and fees are not actually taxes, or 2) that not all taxes are theft, since someone has to decide for themselves to pay these costs in order to get the product, like a passport or an over-sized hauling permit.

More importantly, Pro unequivocally accepted the framework I laid out in R1; that the resolution is a question of fact, and for Pro to win the truth statement, "social welfare is immoral" must be true in all cases to win. Since Con shows that there are revenue streams government can and does use to fund benefit programs that don't satisfy the Pro definition of theft, the examples provided by Con are not immoral per Pro's measure of immoral; theft and force.

We didn't get into social contract theory because Pro had constructed an illogical case on a sweeping generalization. Pro then made the mistake of wholly embracing a win condition that required his weeping generalization to be true in all cases. Generally speaking, mass generalizations are hard to defend, because there are exceptions. Con presented several of those exceptions to show the resolution is not true in all cases. Once that happens, we don't really need to go any farther, the debate is over; only nuance is left.

Pro complains that Con was just trying to, "win the game" and I take that to mean he was frustrated by getting bogged down in the logical inconsistencies of his own case. But once again, Con only has the burden to show that the generalization made by the resolution is not true in all cases. Breaking down the Pro's analysis and directly refuting questionable claims and structural fallacies does the job here, and is the burden on Con.

But in the interest of being thorough, it bears mentioning that the best arguments casting income taxes as theft also contend that the government should fund itself though tariffs and fees that folks pay voluntarily. In that scenario the only question remaining is what government should then do with the funds it collects. In this debate its benefits for citizens. Pro could have argued this is a foolish way to spend money, but did not. He could have argued that it's not the role of government to provide for citizens, but he did not. Pro is actually the one dodging his burdens, not me.

Now I'd like to address Pro's propensity for shifting. Shifting on his notion of "tax" put Pro at odds with his own core claim, "taxation is theft" in R3 when he tried to call fees taxes and by extension theft. Con showed why tariffs and fees are not theft, and how that shifting definition of tax and theft cost Pro the match.

But Pro also tries to move the entire goal post in R4, consider this paragraph from Pro's R4:

"What matters is that the government is a violent institution based on the initiation of force against peaceful individuals. People have never signed a contract to be forced to comply to laws. The government itself is an immoral institution, therefore, government provided social welfare is immoral. That's what this debate is really about."

Up until now the debate was about whether taxation is theft, not if government is inherently violent. That was the premise offered to tell us welfare is immoral. The entire work of Pro's R2 and R3 are trying to sell the notion of taxes as theft, and that anything funded by immoral means is also immoral. Now Pro says it's about government being an immoral institution.

Last I heard this was about how government funds itself, not the inherent nature of government. Pro began by rejecting the notion that government can tax citizen income to fund government expenditures. Now Pro just rejects government itself. First Pro was concerned with the means (taxes as opposed to fees) that achieves the ends (welfare benefits). Now Pro is concerned with the agent itself rather than what methods (taxes or fees) the agent (government) uses. See the difference..?

While we are on the topic of government itself though, Pro’s statement, “People have never signed a contract to be forced to comply to laws.” is also misleading. Perhaps there isn’t anyone going door to door with actual, “social contracts,” but thousands of people have literally signed documentation and taken oaths before witnesses to this very effect.

Anyone that joins the military, serves in public office, or public administration or is a contractor, bought a trucking permit, gotten a passport or driver’s license, bought or sold broadcast ads, has a food handling permit or taught public school have all; all of them, signed documents and made promises to comply with the laws of the country More importantly they did so voluntarily.

That Pro would be so occupied with the notion of a literal social contract is absurd. Moreover, nothing in our legal system is etched in stone. We can change laws, recall congressmen and governors, sign petitions, conscientiously object, protest, vote or abstain, post on Facebook and write OpEd for the Washington post. This is America, there’s many avenues for change and a high degree of personal freedom under our status quo.

To quote Dustin Hoffman in, Stranger than Fiction, “Invent something, or just finish reading Crime and Punishment. Hell, Harold, you could just eat nothing but pancakes if you wanted.”

Very quickly, right before Pro tells us he “will yield the last round.” Pro tells us, “Tariffs are just another way of taxing people because they violate Free Trade and are therefore not voluntary.” Again, this is false, and suggests that Pro has not been listening when we showed that one has to make the choice to pay a tariff or a fee. That is the very essence of voluntary. The merchant can always take the product to a different market, or even seek a break on the tariff. Once again, Pro does not remain consistent with his own definition of theft and taxes that he said were one and the same. Pro told us the problem with taxation is duress; taxes are compulsory. But even now, when the error was literally printed in bold in the Con R3, Pro doubles down on the notion. It kind of blows my mind.

So let’s be clear here. Let’s go with logic. Let’s go with consistency and a better understanding how inherency works in a debate. Let’s go Con!

Vote Con and thanks for reading.

Debate Round No. 4
Frederik

Pro

I yield this round.
DavidMancke

Con

A round of thank yous to Pro for offering the topic, and to the readers for reading, and I hope, voting.

Best wishes, vote con.
Debate Round No. 5
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DavidMancke 1 year ago
DavidMancke
The Pro case never gets off the ground because he bound himself to very high burdens, then built a case on a deductive fallacy.

Pro never gets off the runway, because they got stopped at the logical problems in the core claims of the pro case. It's kind of tantamount to never getting to the on-case for a policy round. "Spent all your time on 'T' and didn't even carry that argument. Why show up..?"
Posted by warren42 1 year ago
warren42
RFD CONTINUED

2. The government is what gives currency its value. Therefore, they have full control over exchange of currency, and extraction of it for the benefit of citizens is warranted.

To be honest, I was not a fan of Con's arguments, but they held strong.
Posted by Frederik 1 year ago
Frederik
I have never ever tried grilled lemons. I have never even condsidered that there is such a thing as gilled lemons. Sounds interesting, though.

We have the first solid two inches of snow here in Germany!
Posted by DavidMancke 1 year ago
DavidMancke
Two words: grilled lemons. they make great drinks, salsa, baked goods with Brussels sprouts and are even good by themselves!

Grilled lemons are basically the flying car of barbecued fruit. And then of course there's always corn on the cob.

I miss summer :-(
Posted by Frederik 1 year ago
Frederik
Haha, I appreciate that. I'm afraid to say I am not that much of a meat eater, though^^
Posted by DavidMancke 1 year ago
DavidMancke
See, there's always common ground. I bet we like some of the same foods too.

What are your thoughts on Texan Barbecue..?
Posted by Frederik 1 year ago
Frederik
At least we can agree on something lol
Posted by DavidMancke 1 year ago
DavidMancke
I am very unlikable. It's one of my more obvious traits.

So, now that we've had that discussion, are you still so sure tax is theft in all cases; and that social welfare is immoral..?
Posted by Frederik 1 year ago
Frederik
At least you show some awareness of how unlikable you are
Posted by DavidMancke 1 year ago
DavidMancke
Make your case then. I may be pompous, but at least I know what I am talking about. You strike me as the typical recalcitrant conservative that hasn't ever thought these concepts through.

It's been shown to you that either all taxes are not theft, or you are wrong in calling a fee a tax. Keep in mind you are totally disarmed and that is before I challenged the actual concept your floating here, which is false too.

So by introducing one sentence you categorically lose based on your own definitions. That is terrible work, and it typifies the types that tend to call taxation theft.

There are those that make a better case for the idea, but they don't harp on entitlements and welfare,a nd they support reliance on tariffs and fees; my example.

If you can't do the homework, you should be taking a different class.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by warren42 1 year ago
warren42
FrederikDavidManckeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct is awarded to Con due to what was essentially a "rage quit" by Pro. If Con's arguments were too absurd to rebut, it would be easy to outline to the voters how they aren't related to the Pro argument and begin reinforcing your own position. Additionally, the use of hyperbole comparing taxation to rape and murder is absurd. This is just poor argumentation and this alone wouldn't merit Con getting conduct, but when paired with the quitting it does. Toward the end Pro essentially stated that the debate should've progressed to the morality of theft via taxation. There isn't much debate here. If taxation is immoral Pro wins. Therefore, Con nipped this argument at the bud by proving that even if taxation was theft, public social welfare need not be funded via taxes. Furthermore, Pro did not respond to two key arguments by Con. 1. Any time an individual enters a labor contract, taxation policy is outlined. If agreed upon, it is not then theft. [cont. in comments]
Vote Placed by evanjfarrar 1 year ago
evanjfarrar
FrederikDavidManckeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con provides examples of income of the state which refute the connection between taxation and welfare, and these points are not adequately responded to by Pro. Tariffs and reparations, for example, are proven by Con to be a source of income for the state which prove (albeit, in a single case) that welfare is moral, in the sense that it is not necessarily funded by "theft". I agree with Pro in the sense that the entire debate was reductio ad absurdum, as rebuttal became nitpicky and petty, however Con emerged victorious in proving that there is not necessarily a connection between Pro's proof and conclusion. Pro effectively concedes by waving the last round. Con's arguments, thus, stand unrefuted. Conduct given to Con as Pro effectively gives up in the last 2 rounds. Instead of refocusing the debate and orienting the audience towards the bigger picture he so wishes us to see, he dismisses this prospect as an "utter waste of time". In my view, this is extremely unsporting.