The Instigator
Ragnar_Rahl
Con (against)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
bringtheshred429
Pro (for)
Winning
39 Points

The government stealing from you and giving it to someone else.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,510 times Debate No: 203
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (20)

 

Ragnar_Rahl

Con

Morality begins with the choice to live. Because life for humans can only be sustained through conscious action (such as obtaining and consuming food), anyone who disagrees with this choice is not here to debate the matter.

In order to secure one's life, it is necessary to have property, i.e. to assure that what one makes will remain under the control of the maker until he gives it away. To imagine trying to live without property, one need merely control none, i.e. don't eat, etc.

In order to secure your own property, you must, of necessity, not threaten the property of others- you are not more powerful than they are, and so cannot maintain such a system.

Denying one piece of property on arbitrary grounds (which government taxation does to many pieces of property) opens the door to the denial of all property on similar grounds.

You say "But I only want to take a little of the pie for the poor..." No. Wealth, you see is not a pie handed out automatically, waiting to be distributed. Wealth is created by volition. To the extent that man can expect to have the fruits of his labor nationalized, man will not create more wealth. You want to help the poor? Allow more wealth to be created. Employment will come down with the inexorability of a law of nature, demanding new hands to continue the growth in wealth. In the modern world, work is not merely a possibility for the healthiest of body, but for any man with a mind. You say your poor are too weak to work? Take a look at what Stephen Hawking has accomplished.They may have a lesser degree of mind, but if he can do what he has done, they can certainly accomplish something, if they have a mind at all. If you claim the poor you are speaking of have no skills, no rational faculty, no ability to do anything at all-- then frankly I can't see why you care about them. An insect has no mind either, but you still crush it. Why? Because morality is derived from man's mind-- and does not apply to those who lack it.

A need is not always the same thing as a right. Rights are needs, but needs that are fulfilled by the party possessing them, asking no demand of anyone save to not interfere. The needs your "social programs" demand, are not rights but rather the antithesis thereof- needs demanded at gunpoint from parties not considered to possess them.

If you deny my right to exist, and seek to replace me with a mindless automaton in the same body for the sake of providing for other mindless automata, you not only can have no rational expectation of my cooperation, but in the long run if you succeed consistently, you will destroy all minds and have no means left to live. Not only should men not be considered to exist for the sake of others, in the long run they effectively cannot.
bringtheshred429

Pro

I would begin by saying that the choice to live is in no way the root of morality. in fact, in many instances it has been the root of decidedly immoral behavior. The choice to live is in most cases not a choice at all, but a primal instinct that most cannot ignore.

The root of morality is doing good for others as opposed to doing harm to others.

Ignoring the needy while keeping your own well being in mind is, therefore, absolutely immoral. Conversely, sacrificing a portion of what you have earned (or taken, as would sometimes be the case) is the moral thing to do given the circumstance.

You speak of taxation as though it is an incredible injustice, when in reality it 's simply a facet of a functioning society. there have been innumerable cases in history of unfair taxation, but that doesn't make taxation itself unfair. You drive on roads maintained by the government, mail Christmas cards (or whichever holiday happens to be driving you to mail cards) using a socialized, cheap and efficient mail system, you more than likely heat your home through a city run energy supplier, and (in all but extreme cases) you don't have to worry about being robbed on your way to dinner with your family, thanks to the police department which is paid for with your tax dollars.

social systems like mail and the police and fire departments keep our society running smoothly and safely, and tax dollars pay for it all. similarly, charitable organizations and the Social Security of yesteryear are ways that we improve our society, help to mitigate class difference and social discrimination as a result of those economic schisms, and help to maintain a thriving democracy.

Also, examples like Stephen Hawking are truly inspiring, and although no one wrote "a brief history of time" for him, he was able to make the amazing leaps that he has because of the help of those around him. after all, if he were left to fend for himself he would have died in weeks, and I'm almost positive that the wheelchair and vocal aid weren't there at birth.

In short, morality favors taxation for charity since it is aiding other human beings and benefiting our society.
Debate Round No. 1
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

You regard behavior designed to continue life as immoral? Then why are you alive?
Man does not live by instinct, tell your declaration to all the people who die young every year. Except for those hooked up to an IV, eating is a volitional action, and without that action no one lives.

The "morality" you speak of is precisely why many people are turned off at the thought of morality- it makes no goddamn sense to do things with others as the end. Human beings cannot experience the "good of others," they can only experience their own. What you regard as morality rewards most those who do not engage in that behavior, at the cost of those who do.

Furthermore, "ignoring" the needy does not harm them, it leaves them as they were before. You speak of sacrificing as "moral?" What is a sacrifice? A sacrifice is the elimination of that one values- in the name of that one does not. You regard then, the destruction of value as moral?

Justice occurs when people receive the consequences of their actions. By thisdefinition then, taxation is an injustice, because the government's actions did not result in the wealth in question, the actions of the party being taxed then.

I do not in fact drive on roads made by the government (I don't drive,), but if I did, the fact remains toll roads would be a much fairer way to pay for it, the payment being proportional to the use. The mail system is essentially private whether the government operates it or not, because it is independent of tax money (the money spent on stamps and such pays for it). I don't own a home to heat, though the local energy company is in fact private, even if it does happen to have a legal monopoly (not something I approve of).

The police department doesn't stop you from being robbed, it just captures the guy who did it later. A worthy endeavor, but not one in fact that demands taxation- every function of a legitimate government could be paid for voluntarily if a small percentage of every contract were charged to make that contract enforceable in court. No need for theft would then occur, businesses wouldn't want to have their contracts become worthless pieces of paper.

The "mitigating differences" you speak of consists of cutting down those who succeed so as to save the feelings of those who fail. You can cry all you want about human misery, but it doesn't create a right.

Stephen Hawking may have required the "help of those around him," but what you are failing to realize is that I am not advocating a return to the jungle where help is forbidden. Stephen Hawking earned that help through the value his mind provided to those who helped him. Help was not their purpose, not their standard, but a means to the end. Mutual aid by dividing and specializing labor is not called taxes, it's called capitalism.

"Taxation" and "charity" are of course mutually exclusive terms, charity is voluntary, taxes are not.

When you speak of "morality," you seem to mean- sacrifice of that which one values to that one does not. When I speak of morality, I mean- the creation of new values, values deemed such by the mind of the creator.
bringtheshred429

Pro

behavior designed to continue one's life is not immoral, doing so at another's expense is. putting yourself above others is the kind of primitive and feral self-preservation that has become a hindrance to our social progress.

Eating is a volitional act, but the issue is not convincing orphans to eat. quite so, it's the opposite. They can't be fed enough. They certainly can't provide for themselves, so who can they count on? in your harsh and dystopian world view, these unfortunate souls would be thrown to the lions. After all, child labor prevents them from working for their meals, and they certainly won't fill their stomachs on YOUR dime. and, of course, meals are only the first in a long line of expenses! there's housing, there's medical care, there's education, and day to day care of children who are by no fault of their own entirely dependent on the charity of others.

I say that a system that fosters this kind of thought IS immoral. it is harsh, and it is un-American. Am I to believe that we, the world's wealthiest nation, cannot be counted on to care for those who cannot care for themselves? Are we so cold as to refuse aid to our neighbors? I say that our obligation as people to help other human beings thrive and progress forward as one human race, and not to draw lines in the sand over petty economic schisms and personal greed.

You say the government steals from you? I say that it is because of people in this world who think the way you do that the government is forced to do so to help its people.
Debate Round No. 2
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

Behavior designed to continue one's life as such is not at the "expense of others," except of course if those others happen to be trying to kill you or otherwise interfering with your life. Indeed, usually things harming innocents cause them to want to try to kill you. So since the only real instance in which the behavior you describe as "immoral" occurs is self defense, may I ask if you regard self defense as immoral? Is man required to die just because someone wants him to?

"Child labor" does not prevent orphans (the older ones anyway) from caring for themselves, child labor laws do. Those are the fault of your ilk, not mine, I would never support a law abrogating the right of children to freely pursue the continuance of their life anymore than I would support one abrogating mine. Besides, orphans are the exception to the rule, and as such what makes you think I or those similar to me would not choose to use some excess time or money in raising a few? I'm certainly not going to produce any children of my own, what with the world overpopulated and such, but frankly I'd say its quite rational to willingly feed, shelter, educate etc. a few orphans once I've achieved some wealth, rather than have them grow up to support the people who want to tax me :D.

Your comment about "throwing them to the lions" considering not only my prohibition on initiating force but also the probably near complete lack of lions in a capitalist America (no tax dollars for zoos, meaning a lot fewer zoos since only a few are profitable :D) is hardly coherent enough to merit a response.

You speak of me as "un-American" and yet you then speak of "obligation to help others." Slavery is american now? I thought there was a war fought over that, and the people deciding you could force people to some sort of obligation (the South) lost. Indeed, America was founded by people who were sick and tired of taxes, taxes much lower than the ones today. Who is un-American again?

The government is forced to do NOTHING. To "force" a government is a contradiction in terms. A government is nothing more and nothing less than the party with controlling force in a region, if you force a government, it's not the government.
bringtheshred429

Pro

i guess i'm just confused. Do you honestly in your heart of hearts believe I meant that throwing them to the lions is meant literally? are you kidding? it's a euphemism.

mother of god.

anyway, let's get more to the point. you skated nicely around my point about "the expense of others." in no way is taxation related to self defense. nice try, but that's in no way the same. of course your self preservation comes first, but OF COURSE if you're in a position of such dire financial distress you won't be taxed. also, behavior designed to continue your life is misdirection. as I said, if you're in such dire financial straits then you won't be asked to give up your earnings to others. Thus, this question of "behavior designed to continue life" is in fact a non-issue, because the question pertains only to those with means not only to support themselves but those with enough excess to be taxed. we're not talking about survival, we're talking about greed. You are unwilling to give up some of your earnings for the benefit of others in need, and it is that simple. we as a society have deemed that it is our responsibility to care for those among us who cannot do so for themselves. The perceived injustice here is that you are being compelled to contribute, when in fact you should be compelled more readily by conscience than law.

If you'll forgive a minor digression, I'd like to address an earlier retort of yours regarding Stephen Hawking. It's true that his mind has benefited mankind greatly, but it was not because of this that he was awarded to tools necessary for him to thrive in society. not only would there be no way otherwise to discern his incredible talents, but dispensing that equipment based on ability is a horrifying and terrible policy. It implies that ordinary people (speaking in terms of mental capacity) are less deserving of a fruitful life than geniuses. Speaking frankly, if the world were to abide by your social policy then we would never have the benefit of Stephen Hawking's tremendous genius. In no uncertain terms, I condemn this policy as inhuman, and I would remind you that a policy which rids the society of those who cannot contribute, as in the case of people with mental or physical incapacitation, is not only IMMORAL but was in fact the official policy of the Nazi Party.

Taxation does not place your livelihood in danger. If you continue to make your points based on "behavior designed to continue life" then you surrender your credibility from this point forward. the simple fact is that not helping others while it is in your means is not immoral, but trying to stop aid for those in need is. The government has few means to raise funds and taxation is the foremost. More importantly our republican form of democracy ensures that the majority of people in this country believe that safe houses for battered women and food for the needy are more important than a new Xbox, and for that I'm thankful.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by artC 9 years ago
artC
I voted for Ragner even though I believe and support social programs. Social programs are essencially stealing. They are not supported by everyone, making the matter unjust.

However it obviously can't be left up to most people to make the "right" (in my opinion) decision and give some of their earned wealth to a human who may not be able to earn their own.
Posted by bringtheshred429 9 years ago
bringtheshred429
In response to SirJD,

I agree to an extent that giving to charity should be a voluntary action, but there is a distinction to be drawn between charity and government programs as well. I don't mean to discredit our thrust off social responsibility on an individual level, but the variance between government and private aid is such that charity alone cannot bridge the same gaps.

charity can and does support shelters for battered women and food for the homeless, as well as other such altruistic endeavors, and they do it without government support. However, larger scale undertakings, such as housing projects or community reform, are simply too big for private groups (with the possible exception of private groups based in the Hamptons.) This is why I say that morality is such a key element in this particular facet of the discussion on taxation. I understand a certain amount of dissatisfaction with parting with your hard-earned wages, but if it weren't for taxation we would not be able to make the kind of drastic changes sometimes, perhaps even often necessary, and as a result I see fighting the taxation to benefit such programs as somewhat immoral.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
one hundred fold? The new deal started in the 30's and presently it's about fifty fity by most estimates.

Pork barrel spending, by the way, is impossible in a world in which the premises that call for social welfare programs do not exist. You can't build a bridge to nowhere on tax money- if building bridges is a private function. You can't give handouts or subsidies to corporations in a free market, it just doesn't work.

Conversely, you cannot have the government step into the market without the result of pork barrel spending, corporate welfare, and subsidies, no profit-motivated agency, once regulated, will pass up the opportunity to control the regulator.
Posted by partizan246 9 years ago
partizan246
I agree with the the view point of the pro side. He gave a compelling argument. It is true people should be irate about taxation, but they are for the wrong reasons. Time and time again social welfare programs are drops in the bucket compared to the amount of tax dollars being spent on defense spending, pork barrel spending, corporate handouts, and subsidies. If you look at the fiscal spending for the past 50 years you will see that military expenditures outweigh programs one hundred fold.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Tell your last argument to those among the people of Soviet Russia who were taxed until they starved. when you have established the principle of theft, nothing stops you from stealing the last bit.

And if you can't keep the fruits of your labor, what incentive would people have to continue producing the things you steal from them?

the official policy of the nazi party was that man exists for the sake of his fellows (altruism), which is the same moral system you are using. I am not speaking of "ridding those who can't contribute," if you say I am you lose credibility. I am speaking of not stealing in their name.
Posted by Thoreau 9 years ago
Thoreau
The reason I voted Pro is that the Con team did not explain their arguments. They made jumps between observation and conclusion that were difficult, at time impossible, to follow. The Pro team tended to explain what they were getting at more clearly.
Posted by SirJDKnightCroix 9 years ago
SirJDKnightCroix
A comment to the pro guy.

So if you don't give taxes to help the poor or needy, that's absolutely immoral?

I find it more immoral that you would thrust off the social responsibility that is upon individuals with able resources to assist those in need, to a government institution.

THAT to me, is more immoral. Why would you waive your responsibility to a gov't agency? When people pay taxes and give to the gov't, it coerces the releasement an individual responsibility to a collective entity that will distribute monetary assets as it sees fit. Essentially, you're having the gov't give your money out, as it sees fit.

I personally feel the social responsiblity to help the poor, help the needy, voluntarily.

Why do people often refuse to give to charity willingly? Cause enough money is already taken, forcingly. If there were no income taxes, and other insidious fabrications of other scrupulous government factions that harass and coerce the fruits of one's labor, then people would probably be far more willing to donate to the poor, the needy.
Posted by jwebb893 9 years ago
jwebb893
I agree completely that the gov. has no right to take your property for the expressed mission of redistributing it. However, I also have no problem with the virtue of generosity, so long as we respect people's autonomy (not simply keep people in vicious cycles) when we do it.
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