Patterico's Pontifications

9/26/2014

How Important Is Your Vote? The Tale of the Slave

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

It’s Friday and the news is stupid. Let’s have a philosophical bull session. Today let’s consider the Tale of the Slave, from Robert Nozick’s book “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” — and consider what implications it has for those who consider the vote sacred:

Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.

2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.

3.The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.

4. The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.

5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.

6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

Nozick at this point pauses to reflect on what he’s saying here:

Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.

Nozick then takes us back to his progression:

7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.

8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)

9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.

The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?

The point, I think, is clear: we all have a vote on various issues of the day — and our vote is all but guaranteed to have no effect on the outcome. Yet the government arrogates to itself the right to tax us for absurd ends, whether it’s taking our money to pay people who are unwilling to work, or arming Syrian rebels who are likely to use those arms against us one day. In essence, aren’t we being forced to work to pay for things we disagree with? And how is that different from slavery?

I know there are many here who believe the vote is very important. I offer this tale as a polite and friendly challenge. Discuss it in that spirit. I wouldn’t bring it up if I weren’t particularly interested in what those folks have to say.

BONUS DEBATE POINT: Feel free to raise and discuss the issue of the consent of the governed. I plan to address that in a future post or posts.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit and Hot Air for the links. I have a related follow-up post about whether we truly consent to be governed by this government, here.

140 Responses to “How Important Is Your Vote? The Tale of the Slave”

  1. Also feel free to vote not to have this discussion. Your vote has been counted and considered, and the discussion is happening anyway. :)

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. There is something you forgot, another more powerful vote. A slave cannot leave his master, but a citizen is free to vote with his feet. Witness the flight from the Democratic People’s Socialist Republic of California to places that don’t hate prosperity.

    One thing you did not note – the 10,000 are also subject to the same rules. In the ideal case, at least, everyone of the 10,000 is in the same boat as we are. A master, on the other hand, does not live by the same rules as his slaves. That’s why cronyism and special interest cutouts are so corrosive to liberty.

    Lastly, this sounds like an argument for anarchism, which only would last long enough for someone to become the master.

    OmegaPaladin (f4a293)

  3. In a way, you are talking about manufactured consent, like Ace was recently. All sides of an issue are not discussed or accepted as possibilities, only those closest to the ruling class’s (the master’s) choice.

    No one ever talks about the underlying philosophic foundation of these issues, that slavery is inherent in forced redistribution, that taxation is basically confiscation, or one is branded a nut. People just talk about what taxation schema are the best to encourage certain types of behavior or industry, when really that is only tangential to the real reason for it: power and mastery over others.

    http://minx.cc:1080/?post=352033

    Patricia (5fc097)

  4. If nobody’s stopping you from going to the Kalahari to live on beetles and grubs and water sucked from a sandhole a sip at a with a grass stem, what’s the beef? Your chains are the ones you put on yourself. Your individual existence creates no obligation in anyone — your co-existence with others creates mutual obligations which you may choose to accept or not. Now, I’m going to get in my car but I won’t drive to the Kalahari. I will drive to the next county where cigarettes are $6.00 a pack cheaper than they are in Chicago.

    nk (dbc370)

  5. I would actually say the cutoff is not even on that list

    “You can (at your own discretion) both possess arms and use them to defend yourself or others against those who would violate the master’s rules in a way that would leave you unable to seek protection from the master.”

    Soronel Haetir (208a1b)

  6. I think the issue of what point you are no longer a slave is tied to your ability to cast off the control of whatever master you have. 1 through 9 did not ever cease to be a slave because the premise is that you ARE a slave in those scenarios. The ability to leave a master is what makes the difference (Kind of like the post about the Scots voting to leave). If you are forced to maintain the same master regardless of their decisions and regardless of your vote, you are still a slave.

    Dejectedhead (a094a6)

  7. I also think this scenario posited isn’t exactly analogous to the US government. Since we have a Constitution that puts limits on government power, there is a different dynamic at play. (Of course, the more the Constitution is violated, the less it is applicable. But that makes it more akin to a group of managers misbehaving than a group of masters.)

    Dejectedhead (a094a6)

  8. What complete and utter nonsense.

    Where is this experiment supposed to lead – to the conclusion that only universal, sovereign, anarchy actually constitutes “freedom”, and that any form of government at all is actually slavery?
    Riiiight.

    And where pray tell does this leave contracts?
    If having to vote with others on something is slavery, then isn’t a business partnership slavery as well?
    Likewise isn’t a jury trial an exercise in slavery by this perverse construct?

    The simplest of reduction ad absurdum demonstrates immediately just how absurd this is at core, and removes it from any serious consideration.
    At least it should.
    Clearly anarchists opposed to anything even vaguely resembling the Constitution and the principles behind it will find it appealing, but for those who actually like a government on that basis it is immediately exposed as the fallacious construct that it is. Consider:

    “9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.”

    Really?
    How do you know that?
    How do you know that your original input did not convince sufficient people to support your position in the first place and that your vote is not contributing to the majority?

    More deeply though, if your vote is the sole and exclusive determining factor on a particular issue, how are you not now the absolute master and everyone else the slave?
    (And note, this is why I trust no anarchist or pseudo-anarchist or crypto-anarchist or whatever who assures me that he simply doesn’t want someone else telling him what to do. If he can only be free when his vote is the ruling factor on anything he feels concerns him then in fact what he desires is to be a dictator, and at best he is merely deluding himself as to his aspirations as he seeks to delude others.)
    (Additional note, this requirement pretty much eliminates any consideration of the concept of the “consent of the governed”. Once the governed require a liberum veto to remain free, any situation wherein an individual is outvoted is instantly conflated into slavery.)

    And further still, where do these 10,000 come from?
    Are they eternal?
    Are they self-perpetuating?
    If not, then the entire experiment explodes immediately as a fraudulent representation.
    Indeed, as others have noted, if one can simply withdraw from the supervision of the 10,000 then one is clearly not a slave, directly or indirectly or by strained and spurious comparison.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  9. Tell us an election, a half-dozen elections will change the following:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-26/how-goldman-controls-new-york-fed-475-hours-secret-goldman-sachs-tapes-explain

    What we need are killing fields.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  10. Yet the government arrogates to itself the right to tax us for absurd ends

    Nozick’s problem was thinking that philosophical discourse could substitute for historical or sociological inquiry. You’re is in thinking it’s obvious whose ends are ‘absurd’ and whose are not.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  11. if voting actually changed things, it would be illegal.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  12. I was told there would be no math on the Friday Quiz.

    Sacramento (f51089)

  13. even when voting does change things, it only takes a couple of corrupt political types (redundant, i know) to overturn said change and restore the status quo.

    see Prop 8, English Only, etc here in #Failifornia.

    the voters ignore their leaders, pass laws we want, and then a hand picked judge overturns them, and the politicians refuse to defend them.

    the only reason to vote is so you have the moral authority to complain about being raped.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  14. Nozick’s talking about America? I thought it was about British South Africa, and wondered if I weren’t being too unkind to the Zulus and Bantus for not joining the Bushmen in the Kalahari.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. #13. Corruption is the key to many failings of Government. That is why separation of power was a key design for the Constitution. Many of the problems we have are due to corrupted influences that override Constitutional restrictions.

    That’s why it is important to divide power. It is harder to corrupt 50 systems than to corrupt 1. California’s failings impact California. Federal failings impact the whole nation.

    Dejectedhead (a094a6)

  16. I see nowhere an ideology or overarching philosophy of governance, yet it is exactly that which gives rise to and fuels movements, to wit: the Tea Parties. These movements can and do exert enough influence to lean the whole thing one way or another, even if the turn is not sudden. Even moderate pressure, if applied long enough, can make a significant difference.

    NeoCon_1 (ff7ff2)

  17. You forgot to mention the other 10,000 friends of the master who do no work, get their entire living from the master, and whose votes count just as much as yours and the other 10,000 slaves.

    Parallel (c1e79a)

  18. 7, 8, and 9 – You convince a majority of the slaves to agree, whether or not they let you vote, that work is not mandatory and that no remittance is due to the master from any wages earned, that the master is required to provide free housing, food, healthcare, and education, and distribute a differential equivalent to what is determined to be the difference between a living wage and what is actually earned by those slaves choosing to work in the city or those not choosing to work. If the master is required to purchase additional non-voting slaves to comply with the terms of the above vote, that is his problem.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  19. In all the scenarios you are a slave. Dejectedhead touched on the matter, the Constitution. These slaves or masters are voting on who will be masters or what will be allowed for slaves. This was not how our Republic was set up. The idea was that we voted to decide who we would hire to run the government for us, not who would run or rule us. A citizen’s rights were birthrights recognized in the Constitution and the neither the government or the majority of other citizens could violate those rights unless the Constitution itself was amended, requiring a much higher threshold. The fact corrupt men wanted to enslave us and we sold ourselves into slavery for free birth control or promises of loot taken by force from others makes us no less slaves. Many of the original settlers of this country sold themselves into indentured service for passage money. They were slaves until their service was fulfilled. We have sold ourselves and our children into bondage indefinitely for promises of free loot or a utopian society. The Constitution contained all the means we needed to protect our freedom but we let evil men strip them from us and now we are sheep waiting to be fleeced, butchered, or picked when the Shepard is lonely. Any time the government “gives” you your rights but can take them back in an “emergency” you are not free, you just have long chains. It does not matter how much loot master gives you or how well intentioned he or they are.

    machinist (313c6a)

  20. You are still working from a starting assumption of slavery.
    Why not start from a starting assumption of freedom?
    Tell me when the free person in the following example becomes a slave:

    1. You walk into the wilderness, clear some land, and set up a farm. You decide what to grow and when, but you are still subject to the limits of your body, the fertility of the soil, and the weather.

    2. You find a neighbor and agree with him to clear a new field to work. However, he insists on getting a portion of the land directly proportional to the amount of work he does.

    3. You find another neighbor and he agrees to clear a field with but to share the land. However, he insists that the two of you vote as to what to grow in the field each year, and if you cannot agree you must flip a coin.

    4. Wanting to grow even more food, you find a smith and seek to trade for a plow. Unfortunately, he doesn’t want what you grow and insists you get some gold to pay him. You can get the gold either by finding and mining it or by trading with a third party.

    5. Still looking to expand you try and find some people to work your fields for you. They insist you give them a portion of the crops they grow or that you pay them. That of course requires you to give up some of your food, mine some more gold, or worst of all, find that third party to trade with for gold.

    6. One of your workers is a lazy git who isn’t worth what you are paying him. You fire him but he insists on being paid for the time he has already worked. You refuse to pay him the full amount insisting that his poor work product reduces the amount you owe him. He says that wasn’t part of your contract, goes upside your head, takes his full wages, and marches off.

    7. Being laid up, you ask your neighbors for help in tracking down the miscreant. They ask why it should concern them and suggest you need to pay them for their assistance.

    8. While paying them, one of them asks just what the uppity ex-employee did. When you tell him, he says the person is right and refuses to help you, even for money.

    9. Several other people hear what he has to say about the matter and agree with, refusing to help you as well, returning any money you have paid up front for their assistance.

    10. With all the people taking the side of the ex-employee, the few remaining decide it will be too dangerous to help you and return the up front payment as well, leaving you to seek vengeance on your own.

    11. Deciding that pursuing the matter is too much effort you focus on your remaining employees. Since you don’t want anymore slackers you assign a quota for their labor. A bunch of them immediately quit leaving you short handed for the harvest. Rather than lose your investment you hire replacements who demand a significant bonus for showing up on short notice.

    12. Since you have invested so much in the replacement workers you decide to make sure they meet their quotas by hiring an overseer to keep them at their jobs. That causes a new batch to up and quit, leaving your overseer with no choice but to whip the remaining workers so they get the entire job done on time.

    13. One of the whipped workers is upset. He insists he was meeting his quota without your overseer whipping him. More, he declares that your overseer has caused permanent injury to him and demands compensation. When you refuse he seeks help from the community and they take his side, insisting that you compensate him. When you refuse that they shun you, refusing to do any sort of business with you until you make amends.

    14. Facing disaster you finally make amends. However you now have a bad reputation in the neighborhood and when you go to hire workers for the new season everyone who applies insists on a very strict contract. More, they insist on third party security for it, specifically all those people who were against you the last time.

    15. With your stress level rising from all the hassles with your farm you decide to take up fishing to relax. You build a large fishing pond by damming the local stream. The villagers come to you and inform that your dam has caused problems with the water flow to the village. Worse, you set it up so that runoff from your fields now feeds the stream as it leaves your land, causing health problems for the village. You laugh at them and tell them you will do with your property as you see fit. They tell you that is all well and good, but if people are getting sick from your runoff you are still responsible.

    16. The people in the village get together and decide to build a bridge. They ask you to contribute. You refuse to be taxed to support this community project. They shrug and build the bridge without your participation. When you come down to the village you look to use the bridge. They tell you that you must pay a toll to use it. You refuse, insisting that the ford was perfectly acceptable and you didn’t want the bridge in the first place. More, the bridge takes up the ford, and is thus the only way into the village for many miles. They tell you too bad – they wanted the bridge and built it on land that you did not own and you can either pay the toll or swim.

    So . . .

    Have you become a slave yet?

    Or at the people of the village just resisting your attempts to enslave them?

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  21. It seems your understanding of the word “slave” is rather weak.

    Freedom is not license or immunity from responsibility, quite the opposite. You can not have freedom without responsibility. This is why the left is so against the idea of individual responsibility.

    machinist (313c6a)

  22. Yes, Sam. I always start from the default state of freedom.

    http://www.thesestonewalls.com/Graphics/LovelaceGraphic.png

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  23. “In all the scenarios you are a slave. Dejectedhead touched on the matter, the Constitution. These slaves or masters are voting on who will be masters or what will be allowed for slaves. This was not how our Republic was set up.”

    machinist – Exactly right. If we want to pick a new starting point without state granted property rights, state enforced laws, etc., etc., there are complicated and time consuming legal ways of achieving such libertarian utopias assuming people can be convinced to go along, or extra-legal avenues.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  24. Our country did rather well before the government claimed ownership of us and what we made, or a portion of such. When one is owned he is a slave.

    The idea of the State charging fees or tariffs for services tended to be limiting to government growth as people could forgo the fees if they became excessive. When the State owns you and everything you make or create, then there is no limit and government will grow like cancer, as it has. Cancer kills it’s host in time. It does not serve the host by redistributing resources.

    machinist (313c6a)

  25. Well said, Machinest.

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  26. I intended that as a response to Daleyrocks.
    Still:

    That is not my understanding; that is the natural consequence from the quoted list from Robert Nozick:
    If you are a slave because you are outvoted then clearly you are a slave the moment we get to the second question as something you want to do is subject to the opinion of another.

    Immunity from responsibility is irrelevant if you did not agree to what you are being held responsible for ahead of time. That was the defense the Japanese used at the war crimes trials after WWII, and which they still stand on.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  27. My Constitutional rights are not subject to the vote of others. This is what makes us a Republic rather than a Democracy, the rule of law, not men.

    I am responsible for what I do. This was the lesson of Nuremberg. Rulers at any level can not absolve you of this responsibility. As a free man you are always accountable and “I was just following orders” does not change that.

    machinist (313c6a)

  28. If I am not willing to take responsibility for my actions then I am subject to restraint or should put myself in the charge of someone more mature or capable. But then I am no longer free. Your rights and liberty are birthrights but so is your responsibility to respect the rights and liberties of others.

    machinist (313c6a)

  29. In what of the list I gave were any of your Constitutional rights subject to the votes of others?

    Note: That does not account for the difference between and the existence of rights above and beyond the Constitution, or the premise that the rights enumerated in the Constitution merely serve as reinforcement of the supremacy of those natural rights as opposed to a granting of said rights by means of the Constitution, and thus implicitly through the votes of others.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  30. “felipe (b5e0f4) — 9/26/2014 @ 12:24 pm”

    Thank you, Sir.

    machinist (313c6a)

  31. Anyway, to answer the question, It is still, and always will be, the tale of the slave if we take the points made as axiomatic.

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  32. You are most welcome, machinist. It is always a pleasure to see you comment.

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  33. “Note: That does not account for the difference between and the existence of rights above and beyond the Constitution, or the premise that the rights enumerated in the Constitution merely serve as reinforcement of the supremacy of those natural rights as opposed to a granting of said rights by means of the Constitution, and thus implicitly through the votes of others.
    Sam (e8f1ad) — 9/26/2014 @ 12:34 pm ”

    I am having trouble understanding this.

    The Constitution does not give me rights, it recognizes that these are birthrights as an American. “Rights” given by law are not rights but privileges and subject to change or revocation. My Constitutional rights are not, except through amendment. This was the significance of the concept of tyranny by the majority. Our founders knew that Democracy was as doomed to failure as Socialism. It has never worked and never will.

    machinist (313c6a)

  34. “Our founders knew that Democracy was as doomed to failure as Socialism. It has never worked and never will”.

    This is the stuff of what great “thread -jacks” are made – or should be. What say you?

    When I was an undergraduate, I taught myself to program in assembly language (first for 6502/10) and began to take up Hofstadter’s challenge to write a self replicating program. My efforts began with first writing code that would rewrite itself in a manner that would aproximete “evolution”. Let me tell you, it was fun, but like democracy…

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  35. I am having trouble understanding this.

    What do you not understand? You repeat it right here:

    My Constitutional rights are not, except through amendment.

    Amendments are passed by votes.
    If your Constitutional rights can be changed by votes then in fact they are:

    “Rights” given by law are not rights but privileges and subject to change or revocation.

    As such, they cannot be birthrights.

    Further:

    The Constitution does not give me rights, it recognizes that these are birthrights as an American.

    Well actually, it doesn’t.

    Nothing in the Constitution says that any or all of the rights enumerated within it, particularly those within the Bill of Rights, cannot be amended, including being amended out of existence.

    It is only government and political theory that declares certain rights to be birthrights and thus properly above being subject to alteration by vote.
    And it is legal precedent, itself a government and political theory, that sustains this.

    You appealed to your “Constitutional rights” rather than your “natural rights”.
    That was your choice.
    I am merely holding you to that choice both in my examples and as your appeal, as I personally reserve to myself my natural rights, and regard the Constitution as merely an additional affirmation for the purposes of the rule of law.

    And, as a bonus:

    Our founders knew that Democracy was as doomed to failure as Socialism. It has never worked and never will.

    In which case Nozick’s entire presentation is even more absurd as it presumes a direct democracy and not a republic.
    Those 10,000 people voting are not the various neighbors but the elected representatives. For someone to have veto power over the elected representatives would be to supplant the republic with democracy.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  36. “I intended that as a response to Daleyrocks.”

    Sam – Which one? I was staying with the example Patterico gave rather than rewriting it, which defeats the purpose of the exercise. In mine, the slaves vote themselves their own utopia and leave it up to the master how to deliver it.

    Sort of like progressives today.

    If your reference was to your comment #20, with respect, I don’t plan on diverting down a rabbit hole of a different hypothetical. It’s not considerate to the host.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  37. I said repeatedly that the Constitution could be amended, as it has been. The process is in the Constitution and calls for rather rigorous approval. This is not at all the same as 51% voting to enslave 49%. That is Democracy and anathema to the principles of our Republic. The people are not supreme, the individual is.

    Our rights have not been usurped by Constitutional amendment but by Legislative, Executive and Judicial abuse. Politicians have entrenched a ruling class and made the vote little more than an auction to pick who from that class rules. That is not freedom and it is certainly not what our founders intended. I rather think it is exactly what they tried to prevent and warned us about. I think they would spit on us.

    machinist (313c6a)

  38. When “Representatives” act outside their legal limits as specified in the Constitution then they are gangsters ruling by force and fear, not elected representatives exercising legal authority. Having the votes of 51% of the voters does not change this.

    machinist (313c6a)

  39. The thing is, there is no perfect government. Anarchy will fail the minorities, the disapproved of, and the weak. Aristocracy (and most governments boil down to some form of Aristocracy, if only when those in power start making out their wills) will enshrine the incompetent, the corrupt, and the mad. Democracy will hare after will-o-wisps and run from hobgoblins.

    Those who do not choose their government will have someone else’s choice stuffed down their throats soon enough.

    The thing to do is find some form of government that splits the difference between ineffectuality and iron-fisted fascism.

    And it ain’t easy.

    C. S. P. Schofield (848299)

  40. It’s actually very complex in this busy life to listen news on Television, therefore I only
    use the web for that purpose, and take the hottest news.

    Test Xtreme Review (31e618)

  41. OT:

    Patrick, are you following the efforts by many Wikipedians (a) censor the entry for Neil deGrasse Tyson to exclude revelations of his serial fabrication of self-serving quotations, and (b) the effort by at least one of the Wikipedians to delete the entry for TheFederalist.com, the site that broke the story of (a)?

    Here’s the latest, with internal links to the background: http://thefederalist.com/2014/09/26/wikipedia-is-now-trying-to-eliminate-the-federalists-online-entry/

    Mitch (341ca0)

  42. Internet is a human right. — Barack Obama

    Pick your favorite “right” and when Santa does not leave it in your stocking, whine that you’re a slave. Anarcho-libertarian agitprop is as puerile as socialist agitprop and nowhere near as entertaining.

    nk (dbc370)

  43. To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize”

    Voltaire

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  44. Apparently opposition to terrorism, including the Taliban is doubleunplusgood:

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/25/uae-qatar-camstoll-group/

    narciso (ee1f88)

  45. Voting does not matter when the master (the judicial system) just disregards the outcome and refuses to even consider anyone questioning them.

    malclave (1db6c5)

  46. you want my vote you gotta work for it you can’t just be less slightly less sleazy cheesy than someone else

    and you can’t be an obamacare-inventing weirdo-assed boys-from-brazil daddy

    and you can’t be Jeb Bush

    and you can’t be a momo in the style of Rick Perry or Sarah Palin

    and you can’t yammer on about the “sanctity of marriage” like a half-wit, especially while America is so sad and problem-plagued

    you might could be Rand Paul, just cause you would get bonus points for originality

    you can definitely be Scott Walker though

    that’s about it

    be Scott Walker

    done and done

    this is not hard

    how is this hard

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  47. SW kinda needs to show he can get re-elected as WI governor first, feets.

    elissa (84a54b)

  48. why are a certain demographic, so dependent on government, to a degree they can’t live without it:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/09/26/Palin-The-Medias-Favorite-President-Just-Cant-Stop-Telling-Lies

    narciso (ee1f88)

  49. ok yes that’s a good point elissa

    Mr. Walker needs to win

    then he can be president and make America more better

    and there will be cake and potato salad and ice cold fanta

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  50. No mac and cheese?

    nk (dbc370)

  51. jalapeno mac and cheese!

    it was gonna be a surprise

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  52. Elissa, I like SW. He has proved to me he can get re-elected until the cows come home. Someone will have to define “when the cows come home”, though.

    felipe (40f0f0)

  53. I had the blue cheese mac n cheese at Ramsay’s steakhouse located inside Paris casino. I was offered a choice of cheese to be in the mac n cheese. When I asked for English Stilton, they said “we don’t have any” – and a Monty python sketch flashed in my mind – so I settled for generic blue cheese. Oh it was good!

    felipe (40f0f0)

  54. that does sound really really really good

    my blue cheese thing is a super simple and amazingly tasty dessert

    you duck out and make it while someone serves postprandial sippy things

    you use one of those apple slicers to super-fast get you some fresh green apple slices – any old kind of green apple will do so get the ones that are on sale

    then you put the slices in the dessert dishes – however much you want – and *lightly* drizzle this on top (the ghirardelli brand works too)

    then you crumble blue cheese on top!

    it’s the best thing ever

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  55. I, too, like SW, felipe. I hope he can pull off his current re-election race which will prove that he has a well developed conservative message, that he walked the talk as an officeholder, that his message, policies, and results resonated with voters, and that therefore he can be a viable candidate for higher national office. But according to polls it’s going to be close and RCP has it as a pure toss-up at this time. Fingers crossed for Gov. Walker.

    elissa (84a54b)

  56. Sam – Which one? I was staying with the example Patterico gave rather than rewriting it, which defeats the purpose of the exercise. In mine, the slaves vote themselves their own utopia and leave it up to the master how to deliver it.

    That one.

    Sort of like progressives today.

    And like anarchists, including Rothbardian anarcho-capitalists.

    If your reference was to your comment #20, with respect, I don’t plan on diverting down a rabbit hole of a different hypothetical. It’s not considerate to the host.
    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

    Well he did invite discussion.

    And as I said, the original hypothetical is inherently flawed, as starting from slave and using the parameters given it will be impossible to arrive at free with any sort of representational government, leaving anarchy as the only “reasonable” choice.
    My hypothetical is to demonstrate that I can make up a similar progression starting with anarchy and prove that the anarchist intends to assert that slavery begins at any instance their whims are not met by the general public, and thus the true intent of the anarchist is to establish their own personal dictatorship leaving everyone else a slave.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  57. 37.I said repeatedly that the Constitution could be amended, as it has been. The process is in the Constitution and calls for rather rigorous approval. This is not at all the same as 51% voting to enslave 49%. That is Democracy and anathema to the principles of our Republic. The people are not supreme, the individual is.

    Except nowhere in the example given is the general suggestion made of 51% versus 49%.
    The only specific results referenced are an exact tie allowing the individual to be the only relevant voice, with everything else casually lumped together as total irrelevance.

    And again machinist, that still leaves you as having classified all of your Constitutional rights as in fact privileges, to be granted or retracted at the whim of the electorate.
    It is bad enough when de facto repeals are secured by overreach.
    A de jure repeal would be utterly intolerable, and the clear beginning of the process to establish a new government.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  58. I want a GOP nominee in 2016 who has shown they have the killer instinct. That was one of Romney’s failings. But that wasn’t his only failing. They should have a broader message beyond, “We need better economic growth and some more defense spending”. There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s not enough. We need someone who can channel Reagan. But I can’t figure out who that is.

    Gerald A (d65c67)

  59. #46 & #47, feets and Elissa: SW is the governor of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Game Wardens staged a massive (9 Game Wardens, 4 County Sheriffs) raid on the St. Francis (no kill) Animal Shelter in Kenosha, Wisconsin, about a year ago. They descended the place and forced the employees of this shelter into a pasture where they confiscated their cell phones and other cameras, and then, while the employees were under gunpoint, proceeded to do their duty. Which was to kill a baby dear. Their duty isn’t the problem. The excessive use of lethal force is. SW appears to be indifferent to this abuse of power. If someone is the Governor of a State, I would expect that “someone” to be respectful of the citizens of that State. Walker is not ready for prime time. I donated to his initial election and to his defense against the recall. So I come to this conclusion reluctantly. He is a disappointment.

    bobathome (41dcc0)

  60. “…there is nothing more dishonest than labeling those who reject Mitt Romney, an outright socialist, as “purity of essence folks”
    His entire life is about using government to get insanely rich, just as Chelsea Clinton, another child of a politician, has.

    A lot of this Romney stuff is really about elitists spitting in the faces of conservatives, AKA the former base of the GOP and now independents. ”

    – Lemuel H. Lemming IV

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  61. Gov. Scott Walker has entered the fray when it comes to Giggles, the fawn that state agents took from a no-kill shelter in Bristol and euthanized last month.

    Walker on Monday said he asked members of his cabinet to study ways to avoid similar situations in the future.

    “I don’t ever want to see something like that again,” Walker said.

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  62. I like him better by the minute.

    nk (dbc370)

  63. bobathome (41dcc0)

    What evidence do you have that walker was at all responsible for this act of game wardens?
    From what you describe, it surely sounds like a major overreach, but I doubt the governor was too involved in the day to day running of the Department of natural resources.

    But I would agree that anyone who thinks sending 13 armed men to kill one baby deer is a good move lacks judgment.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  64. nk, driving to Kalahari is easier than you may think, and more pleasant, too:
    http://www.kalahariresorts.com/media/33844/sanduskymap.pdf
    http://www.kalahariresorts.com/ohio

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  65. But I can’t find my airplane ticket to South Africa, MD. The midwife must have thrown it out with the placenta or my parents left it in the delivery room.

    nk (dbc370)

  66. That was a “natural rights” joke.

    nk (dbc370)

  67. nk, why are you talking about South Africa? Look at the map.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  68. The only vote of import is the one I make, either now or at some point in the future, with my right-index finger, either singly or repeatedly, in voicing my discontent with the Tyranny Of The Majority in refusing to listen to the voices of non-consent.
    If I am a solitary dissenter, I will be shunted aside; if others stand with me, we shall perhaps prevail and upend the Tyranny.

    “When in the Course of human Events….”

    askeptic (efcf22)

  69. Ok, I read the address this time. 😉

    nk (dbc370)

  70. i heart Sandusky it’s as quintessentially America as anywheres in the whole whirl

    when I move to Illinois I’ll be able to go there on holidays and eat out every night at Arby’s

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  71. #63, Philly Doc: I take it for granted that Walker had no direct responsibility for this event. My concern is what he did about it AFTER the event. Feet’s has provided a link suggesting that he wanted his aides to look into the situation. That was one year ago. What has happened to the Game Warden who organized this fiasco? Has that warden been disciplined? My internet search abilities are clearly less than feet’s. But I don’t think so. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Our limited, civil government is only as good as the oversight provided by our elected officials. If they are incapable of disciplining the agents we have armed. then they are not the sort of people we should be putting at the helm.

    For myself, I would have liked to see the photographs and the patrol areas of the wardens involved published, just a week or two before dear season. I doubt that anything would have happened, but they are out by themselves, and if they have reason to fear every citizen, they would surely find a more appropriate occupation. And if something did happen, it would be karma, and the lesson wouldn’t be missed by the remaining Game Wardens. Being a Game Warden is a position that requires more than a willingness to gun down anyone who objects. It should be a position of honor that dignifies civil society. But if someone finds that they are incapable of fulfilling the office of Game Warden is not the end of the world. In SeaTac, WA., pretty much anyone can earn $15/hour at businesses near the airport. Unless, that is, they are unionized in which case their salary is set by union contract.

    bobathome (41dcc0)

  72. bobathome- if you don’t support Walker because he didn’t declare open season on game wardens, then I don’t know what to say.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  73. If making your name and face known to the general public is the equivalent of declaring open season on you, then we all have a lot to worry about. My point is that these agents should not be allowed to exercise their powers anonymously. They MUST be responsible for their actions. It would be sufficient if the Governor demonstrated his concern that HIS agents behave in ways that bring credit to his administration. But this requires transparency, something we seemed to have lost in the past six years. Are you comfortable that dozen armed agents might descend on your place of business for any purpose and hold you at gunpoint?

    bobathome (41dcc0)

  74. It’s kinda late to enter the fray here; but, I only noticed one mention of one of the really salient points of being a slave or not being a slave, the freedom to leave at any time you are willing to pack or liquidate everything and move somewhere else.

    Now, within the US, so far, that is a right of mine. Although Moonbeam and company are rather unhappy about that and use taxes to make it painful. Fortunately for sanity there are limits to what they can get away with.

    There seem to be rather fewer limits with the Federal government involved. All California can do is nail you to the extent of your resources left in California and the portion of your last year as a California resident. The Federal government, on the other hand, claims several years of future income taxes and charges you a hefty fee to tell them to get the censored out of my life, completely.

    From where I sit I find this troubling. When did I become a slave that I cannot freely go as I choose and freely declare my association with a locality or rescind it at will?

    {^_^}

    jbd (770dee)

  75. Some of the responses address (as I expected they might) the notion of implied consent to be governed — and a couple of people have raised this issue of freedom to move. While freedom to move is wonderful, do I have to move to another country to show that I have not agreed to be ruled by people who want to invade my privacy, take my money and give it to others, and create a bunch of stupid rules that limit my freedom? As many have observed throughout history, what kind of contract is it, that I must leave the country to show I don’t agree with it?

    But more about all that in a future post.

    I’ll try to respond to more of this tomorrow, but right now I am tired.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  76. Bobathome
    You said this:
    I doubt that anything would have happened, but they are out by themselves, and if they have reason to fear every citizen, they would surely find a more appropriate occupation. And if something did happen, it would be karma, and the lesson wouldn’t be missed by the remaining Game Wardens.
    Which is what I was referring to about “open season”.

    Are you comfortable that dozen armed agents might descend on your place of business for any purpose and hold you at gunpoint?
    No, and apparently neither was Walker, as he said he “never wanted to hear of this happening again”.

    You wanted him to make a public reprimand of the people involved and have turned against him for not handling it the way you wanted. Fine, but I don’t think it is fair to say he didn’t care and didn’t do anything.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  77. Patterico, my Kalahari allusion was more metaphorical than literal. You can opt out of the demands and expectations of your fellow citizens and your government by ways other than moving, as any panhandler at the end of the off-ramp will tell you. The main point I was trying to make that there is a quid pro quo — you trade a certain amount of your free will in return for considerations from your society which may be as material as iPhones and David Bowie recordings or as refined as a sense of belonging and contributing to something greater than yourself.

    Which point I might have drowned in snark and if so I apologize.

    nk (dbc370)

  78. And does free will come in certain amounts? A degree of free will? 😉

    nk (dbc370)

  79. nk, no need to apologize, perhaps I need to apologize for going off topic. (My folks live in NW Ohio, and every time we visit we drive by signs advertising “Kalahari”).

    Dostoevsky said that even a little free will was free will.
    Yes, I do not have free will to make the sun go dark or to make a boss give me a raise or to make certain people like me. I don’t even have free will to make a “good” decision and be praised by people for doing it. So we do have only a degree of free will, but it is enough to count in the scope of eternity.
    But I guess that was OT too, as I am discussing “theological” free will, not “political” free will.

    If I didn’t want to pay city taxes, I guess I could go in the middle of nowhere, establish a township or something, and have no taxes, no police department, no fire department, no trash pick up, no zoning ordinances, etc. But can’t do that with the state and feds, unless I make an uninhabited island in the middle of one of the Great Lakes and say it belongs neither to the US or Canada.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  80. Here’s a way to think about voting. People often do not take their local–especially local school board– elections seriously. But they should. This is a good story. The kids in this district are learniing an important life lesson first hand.

    A suburban school district is cutting its food service budget after giving up nearly $1 million in aid by quitting the federal school lunch program. The Arlington Heights-based Township High School District 214 approved its budget for the 2014-15 school year at a board meeting last week.

    The food service budget, however, is smaller than last year’s by about $450,000, notably due to a loss in government aid that the district said it will cover both by cutting costs and making more money in food sales.

    The school system cited the Smart Snacks in School guidelines that went into effect July 1 as the last straw, as it marked the first time food outside of the proper school lunch and breakfast meals would be dictated by federal nutritional standards.

    The district said the newest federal restrictions went too far and that it would lose students and business if they complied. …. district officials said it risked losing millions because most of its food service revenues come from a la carte sales of such things as pizza, fries and Subway sandwiches and vending machine sales. Those foods would have been subjected to restrictions on calorie, fat and salt levels, among other limits.

    The proposal to leave indicated that the schools could make up for the lost government money by drawing more business with a revamped lunch program with more variety and better food.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/arlington-heights/ct-district-214-budget-tl-20140923-story.html

    elissa (41d7cb)

  81. We’ve had a nightmarish three years at District 96 (Riverside), and it’s still going on. Unbelievable scandals from obscenely fat crony contracts, severance packages, and pensions, to nervous breakdowns by school principals, to indiscriminate head-chopping by new administrators, to sexual affairs between superintendents, principals, and lawyers who are supposed to keep them in check. On one side we have the PTA moms and on the other side we have the childless fogies who want to keep their taxes low, composing the schoolboard, and neither has a clue about how to administer a school district. Can you tell me why we need a fourth K-5 school with only 80 students, and after that tell me why it needs a $120,000.00 a year principal, and this is the smallest of the scandals. Our daughter will finish middle school there, but for high school she’s going to St. Ignatius or Fenwick.

    nk (dbc370)

  82. #80, Elissa: Your story illustrates how the Federal reach into our local (and State) governments can be much more disruptive and harmful than anyone could imagine. After all, in this case the Fed’s only wanted to give some kids a “healthy” lunch, right? Not mentioned in your story is the very real threat that other Federal subsidies will be cancelled in retaliation for this act of defiance. The School Districts I have dealt with have staffs of lawyers who spend their time trying to anticipate what the Feds might object to, and then they jam crazy policies down the throats of the schools to forestall any potential infractions. The underlying problem is that it is relatively easy to discern the Federal rules, whereas it is difficult to figure out how to make the schools better. So the rules are written to ensure the little subsidies keep coming in without any thought as to their effect on the learning experience. And viewed in the larger scale, a lot of the financial benefit of the Federal support is lost because the administrative staff grows so large. The costs of these administrative positions are almost never considered when evaluating individual policy options. They are taken as a fixed cost, a necessary overhead.

    bobathome (41dcc0)

  83. How long before jebby the republican is for sharia law, a week?

    mg (31009b)

  84. I don’t know, four or five years back, the voters in the school district I used to pay taxes in voted down a proposal to rebuild a palace of a high school, which draws from several towns, arguing we are taxed enough already and don’t need a facility that lavish, and sent the school administrators back to the drawing board.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  85. #79
    They’d just send 13 Fish SWAT cops to your island in this piece of Pentagon surplus:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP7Um61zaFg.

    steveg (794291)

  86. I agreed that in Novick’s hypothetical which Patterico used there was no step in which the people transitioned from slave to non-slave. They were originally described as slave and the description did not change by step 9. Words matter.

    That is one overall issue I have when libertarians use phrases such as “taxation is theft” or we are “slaves to the government” due to taxation because in this country that is not the case in the commonly used sense of the words and it would be nice if those making the arguments defined the terms they are using rather than using hyperbole to sex up a political argument.

    Butthurt is not a political philosophy. The ability to tax has been approved by appropriate popular, legislative and legal extant in our country. Disagreement or disapproval by some over the type, form, or method of tax collection no more recharacterizes it from just a form of financing the government into theft or slavery than does disapproval by some over the specific expenditures of the money by the government.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  87. “Butthurt is not a political philosophy.”

    Are you new here, daleyrocks?

    elissa (41d7cb)

  88. elissa – Maybe I said that rong?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  89. The ability to tax has been approved by appropriate popular, legislative and legal extant in our country. Disagreement or disapproval by some over the type, form, or method of tax collection no more recharacterizes it from just a form of financing the government into theft or slavery than does disapproval by some over the specific expenditures of the money by the government.

    daleyrocks,

    The ability to force slaves to return to their masters was approved by appropriate popular, legislative, legal, and constitutional processes. But a slave born into this system had no say in the matter.

    If someone is born into this system and had no say in the way the country was set up, how are they other than a slave if they are immediately pushed into circumstance #9 described in Nozick’s example?

    But now we’re getting into issues of consent to be governed — and again, that’s a separate post. Although I am happy to talk about it. That’s pretty much what we’re talking about here anyway.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  90. 75. While freedom to move is wonderful, do I have to move to another country to show that I have not agreed to be ruled by people who want to invade my privacy, take my money and give it to others, and create a bunch of stupid rules that limit my freedom? As many have observed throughout history, what kind of contract is it, that I must leave the country to show I don’t agree with it?

    Utterly and absolutely irrelevant when contrasted to a more critical question:

    Do you have the right to move into a country and insist they change their contract to accommodate your demands?

    Now you can claim that you didn’t choose to be born here, but that is equally irrelevant as the facts at hand are that the contract was made before you were present and you are insisting that your mere presence requires the contract to be altered to suit your requirements.
    As I suggested earlier, compare this a business: if you purchase one share of stock in a company with 10,000 other shareholders each having one share of stock, have you become their share because your vote is “irrelevant” except when there is an absolute tie among the other shareholders and your input is the key to determining an issue? Is the company required to change it structure to make your vote more “important” – especially if that is defined as giving you the key deciding vote in all circumstances?

    Meanwhile, compare this to current events with both illegal aliens and certain refugees with severe cultural differences. Are they slaves because we fail to make sufficient accommodation for them? Especially are they slaves because we do not give them the deciding vote, or even allow them to vote at all?

    Just because the contract does not entitle you to inherit controlling power over the contract does not mean the contract is flawed; it means your demand to inherit such controlling power over the contract is excessive and flawed.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  91. 86.That is one overall issue I have when libertarians use phrases such as “taxation is theft” or we are “slaves to the government” due to taxation because in this country that is not the case in the commonly used sense of the words and it would be nice if those making the arguments defined the terms they are using rather than using hyperbole to sex up a political argument.

    Butthurt is not a political philosophy.
    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

    Indeed.
    I recall when I was challenged by someone making this assertion, insisting that an income tax constituted slavery as the power to tax something meant ownership of that thing, and thus the only “proper” tax was a universal flat sales tax.
    So then I asked, all sales would be taxed, such that:
    Food is taxed – therefore the government owns all of what you eat, and can of course decide what you should eat.
    Clothing is taxed – therefore the government owns all of what you wear, and can of course decide what you may wear.
    Your car is taxed – therefore the government can decide what you can drive.
    Gasoline is taxed – therefore the government can decide when you can drive and how far.
    Land is taxed – therefore the government owns all of it, and can reclaim whenever they desire.
    Your house is taxed – therefore the government owns that as well, and can decide where you may live.
    Books and printers are taxed – therefore the government owns them, and ultimately decides what you can read and relate to others.
    And, most critically, guns and ammo are taxed – therefore the government owns all of them, and can decide which you are permitted.
    But your income is not taxed! And so the government does not own you! And so you are not a slave, even though the government decides what you can eat, what you can wear, where you can travel, where you can sleep, what you can know, and when you can defend yourself.

    “Butthurt” barely covers how he felt.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  92. Do you have the right to move into a country and insist they change their contract to accommodate your demands?

    Assumes they have a “contract.”

    What country in the world has a “contract” signed by its citizens consenting to be governed?

    If you and I agree to a sale of a house, no court will enforce that contract if you didn’t sign it. But, even if it doesn’t happen these days, we are expected to be subject to forced conscription for a war we don’t agree with, based on an unsigned contract. Isn’t that a bit more important?

    So your question assumes away a very important assumption: that any government anywhere in the world has a “contract.”

    Patterico (9c670f)

  93. Sam,

    As far as your reverse slave hypothetical, please understand that while I am interested in discussing the philosophical assumptions behind anarcho-capitalism, I am not sold on the philosophy, and I personally believe in a limited government that punishes crime, provides for the common defense, and other basic functions.

    However, there are some flaws in your response. The basic flaw is: it’s fine for a collective to require you to pay for services that you want to use, such as a bridge or punishing crime. Use it and pay, don’t pay and don’t use it, your choice. That’s freedom. Freedom doesn’t require that I get my benefits for nothing. Duh.

    But everywhere, government spreads to require citizens to pay for things they don’t want. That’s a different matter. Now, my choice is gone. How is that not slavery?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  94. “But your income is not taxed! And so the government does not own you! And so you are not a slave, even though the government decides what you can eat, what you can wear, where you can travel, where you can sleep, what you can know, and when you can defend yourself.”

    Sam – I disagree. Apart from deciding certain processed or foods sold by others are unsafe, the government does not tell you what you can eat, it does not tell you where you can travel if you choose to be unsafe, where you can sleep, where you can work, how much you must work, where you can worship, etc.

    I have surrendered a limited number of choices I might have had living in a lawless society in order to live in a society with laws, but I don’t consider that slavery.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  95. Meghan’s coward daddy likes to take away choices

    nannywhore fascist #theydidsomethingtohisbrain

    and Sarah Palin tells us he’s the best man for the job

    so, voting in failmerica is super-gay, that kind anyways

    but we vote everyday in our choices where we shop what we buy what we invest in where we live

    and a pikachu must be mindful

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  96. *every day* I mean

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  97. “The ability to force slaves to return to their masters was approved by appropriate popular, legislative, legal, and constitutional processes. But a slave born into this system had no say in the matter.”

    Patterico – Butthurt would be the argument that each succeeding generation has not had the opportunity to approve and reratify the Constitution and its amendments and is a seriously silly argument. Is there any stable and successful country in the world which subjects itself to such generational tests of its governing documents?

    Ideas test themselves in the marketplace in competition with other ideas. The libertarian ideas you have floated in your various posts are not new although they may be new to some readers. The fact that libertarian ideas have not gained more widespread popularity tells you all you need to know about how they stack up against other political philosophies.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  98. feets you gotta just stop thinking so hard, you might stain your pants and that could be an NC-17 moment my mommy would not want me to see.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  99. McCain had 27 million in his war chest, the notion he was going to be defeated was unlikely in the extreme, that only happens in California, where one loses to ‘Betamax Brown’ to the tune of 150 million

    narciso (ee1f88)

  100. i can’t help it I’m a deeply contemplative pikachu I got it from my dad

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  101. “But everywhere, government spreads to require citizens to pay for things they don’t want. That’s a different matter. Now, my choice is gone. How is that not slavery?”

    Patterico – Would it be better if each person were able to pick and choose which laws he/she decided to obey because some feel it is tyranny to punish them for stealing from others or going 100 mph on a highway? Can we feasibly send tax bills with 500 individual boxes to check to everybody indicating what government programs they are willing to support or not support and to send the appropriate funds?

    Haven’t we grown a little larger than voluntary associations of individuals to contract together to pay for only those tasks that association of individuals deems necessary?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  102. But everywhere, government spreads to require citizens to pay for things they don’t want

    It is a characteristic of public goods (of which roads are the salient example) that they have to be provided collectively and with levies. It is also true that not everyone desires them to the same degree. You’re not making a distinction that can be made operational.

    There are other services which could be vended on the open market but for reasons of public health it would be inadvisable to do so (e.g. city trash collection). There is a tendency to provide other items collectively because viable actuarial pools do not form readily absent state organization (or they form and exclude so many clients you have a public order problem on your hands or are beyond the breaking point of what philanthropic concerns can handle). You see that with medical care and especially long-term care.

    Schooling is a service which can be vended on the open market but for civic and social reasons has been provided collectively since the middle of the 19th century. You can certainly contrive better modes of service delivery (vouchers over public agency). There’s a reason, though, you do not find Republican politicians running on a platform of ending collective purchases of schooling or medical care or long-term care and it’s not because their ‘RINO’s or pandering to moochers. It is very doubtful you would find a critical mass of people from any social stratum who would assent to that being done: it’s favored by some Objectivist and Libertarian sectaries and some Randy Weaver – type survivalists. I’ll wager there are people who would like to shut down the public defenders’ office, but annoyed prosecutors are not the most winsome constituency group.

    If you’re going to power-wash the government and scrape barnacles off, the best targets would be patronage beneficial to fairly circumscribed constituencies: government employees qua government employees, agribusiness, higher education, real estate development, the social work industry, &c. That’s going to involve removal of tax preferences, loan guarantees, and regulatory sluices as well as excision of public expenditure.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  103. Regarding consent of the governed: see this new post of mine.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  104. It is a characteristic of public goods (of which roads are the salient example) that they have to be provided collectively and with levies. It is also true that not everyone desires them to the same degree. You’re not making a distinction that can be made operational.

    Let’s talk about “public goods.”

    Paul Samuelson, in his paper “The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure” (.pdf), said that public goods (he called them “collective consumption goods) are goods that “all enjoy in common in the sense that each individual’s consumption of such a good leads to no subtractions from any other.” Technically, the good is “non-rivalrous” in consumption. Put more simply, no matter how many people want to use the good, each of them can use it without causing other people to be unable to use it. For example, I can watch a movie, and so can you, and your ability to watch the movie (as long as you turn off your cell phone and keep your mouth shut) does not diminish my ability to watch the movie.

    Samuelson also said public goods must be “non-excludable” which means that it’s impossible to exclude people from consuming the good. This means there is a potential for a free-rider problem such as I discuss in my latest post. A good example would be a criminal justice system: even if you don’t pay for the criminal justice system, you will benefit from the fact that criminals are kept off the streets, making you a free rider if you don’t pay your taxes.

    There are several problems here. Tom Woods, who I know you love, Art Deco, makes the point that the free-rider argument could be used for almost any private action or goods. If I take etiquette lessons, others benefit from my proper behavior without paying for it. If I wear deodorant, you benefit from not having to smell my body odor. If I grow pretty flowers in my front yard, the whole neighborhood benefits from the improved appearance of one of the houses in the neighborhood. Does this mean that the public must pay for my deodorant or etiquette lessons or my flowers? Of course not. Since the free-rider argument could be applied to almost anything, you need some kind of limiting principle. If you required the public to pay for any good that had positive externalities that are enjoyed by all but paid for by some, there is no limit to what the government can force people to pay for.

    There is an unquestioned assumption here that goods that fit both of Samuelson’s characteristics (non-rivalrous and non-excludable) necessarily must be provided by the government. And history proves that assumption to be wrong.

    Take, for example, the situation where a business sets up a Web site. The site is, as much as a movie theater, largely non-rivalrous in consumption. You could say that an additional user of the site takes up bandwidth, and that means there is some marginal cost for an additional user, but that is negligible, just as with the example of the movie theater, where an additional viewer might spill a little popcorn on the floor, taking a bit of extra effort to clean the theater afterwards — but really, one additional Internet user is almost negligible, so it’s functionally non-rivalrous, like watching a movie. And businesses don’t typically exclude anyone from the public from their sites (although they can choose to), meaning everyone can have the benefit of access to the site without having to pay additional money. But business provide these sites with no problem. We don’t need government.

    The same was true of broadcast TV and many other goods that might be thought to fit the definition of public goods.

    If you have goods that can be provided by either government or the market, only the market provides for price signals that lead to the most efficient allocation of resources. So the assumption that only the government can provide “public goods” is not only wrong but leads to misallocation of resources and a decrease in human satisfaction.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  105. There are other services which could be vended on the open market but for reasons of public health it would be inadvisable to do so (e.g. city trash collection). There is a tendency to provide other items collectively because viable actuarial pools do not form readily absent state organization (or they form and exclude so many clients you have a public order problem on your hands or are beyond the breaking point of what philanthropic concerns can handle). You see that with medical care and especially long-term care.

    You see that with medical care under a system of overwhelming government intervention and regulation. Would you see that with medical care in a true free market? You are making the assumption that we have a free market now, and that assumption is not accurate.

    Just because we are used to government providing certain services in a certain way does not mean that a free market could not figure out a different (and likely more efficient) way to provide those same services.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  106. I’ll chip in for your deodorant Patterico, flowers not so much.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  107. Amazon widget on the sidebar pays for both! And the PayPal button still works, folks! Let’s keep me and my neighborhood smelling good!

    Patterico (9c670f)

  108. 92.Assumes they have a “contract.”

    What country in the world has a “contract” signed by its citizens consenting to be governed?

    First you asked:

    As many have observed throughout history, what kind of contract is it, that I must leave the country to show I don’t agree with it?

    Now you declare there is no contract.

    I am confused . . .
    If there is no actual contract, then how do you have grounds for complaint that is has been violated?
    If there is a contract, how do you presume to usurp it?

    93. But everywhere, government spreads to require citizens to pay for things they don’t want. That’s a different matter. Now, my choice is gone. How is that not slavery?

    Irrelevant.
    Again, you declared there is no contract, so how do you have any grounds to complain about the expansion of the government?
    Or, if there is a contract, then if the the expansion occurred along the contracted lines, how do you have grounds for complaint simply because it is against your preference?

    However, there are some flaws in your response. The basic flaw is: it’s fine for a collective to require you to pay for services that you want to use, such as a bridge or punishing crime. Use it and pay, don’t pay and don’t use it, your choice. That’s freedom. Freedom doesn’t require that I get my benefits for nothing. Duh.

    And there is a basic flaw in your declaration of services: if you choose not to pay to punish crime, then what?
    Are you declaring that people are free to commit crimes against you with impunity?
    Worse, are suggesting that you are free to commit crimes against others with impunity?

    Further, you overlook that you are in fact deriving benefits from those things even if you do not pay to use them.
    You may not cross that bridge, but if someone is to deliver goods to you and they use the bridge then you very much benefit from it.
    Likewise a crime against you may not be punished directly but the punishment of a criminal may very well prevent you from being a victim of a crime at all.

    Freedom may not require you to get your benefits for nothing but it may very well result in that.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  109. 94.Sam – I disagree.

    I didn’t explain sufficiently.

    I disagree as well.

    I was merely highlighting how, from the assumption that taxation is equivalent to ownership, we can see that a simple sales tax confers absolute ownership of all property and goods upon the government. Similarly, if it happened though I didn’t detail it, a business tax would confer ownership of all enterprise upon the government.
    Seeing as those are too absurd for consideration, particularly since the opponents of an income tax insist that sales and corporate taxes are fine and dandy, it must follow that a tax upon income does not confer ownership either, and thus is not equivalent to slavery.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  110. There are several problems here. Tom Woods, who I know you love, Art Deco, makes the point that the free-rider argument could be used for almost any private action or goods.

    Yes, I do have the sense not to make Thomas Woods my guru on matters economic. He’s a popularizer of fringe theories and the research program of those fringe theories is sterile because they reject the validity of tools of analysis and verification. Invest your time in reading the work of real economists.

    You’re confounding the problems which arise from public goods, externalities, and common property resources. Deodorants and dance lessons are not subjects of public controversy and discussion because the benefits to third parties are unimportant in the first case and non-existent in the second.

    You see that with medical care under a system of overwhelming government intervention and regulation. Would you see that with medical care in a true free market? You are making the assumption that we have a free market now, and that assumption is not accurate.

    I am making no such assumption. Medical care financing in a barnacle encrusted mess. It has also always had a guild and philanthropic aspect to it. It’s not an ordinary commercial service because medical care is given to unpredictable spikes in expenditure, the trade therein suffers from chronic information deficits, and no one this side of Ayn Rand is down with the implications of treating it as a purely commercial service. Risk-pooling would assist in ameliorating these problems, but unstructured risk pooling will tend to exclude wide swaths of the populace.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  111. You’re confounding the problems which arise from public goods, externalities, and common property resources. Deodorants and dance lessons are not subjects of public controversy and discussion because the benefits to third parties are unimportant in the first case . . .

    You clearly have not been to Europe.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  112. A sales tax is a tax on commerce. One is free to avoid or limit the tax buy reducing purchases or producing ones own goods, or by working with others to provide what is needed without buying it. In the case of State tax I can buy from outside the state.

    An income tax is a tax on my work, time or creativity. If the government can order me to spend half my working time on government work or pay them what I earn by such then how is that not a claim of ownership of me? What if the government demands I spend 100% of my working hours in unpaid government service? How is this not slavery? The government can even charge me taxes on income I don’t make because they claim I could have made it. If I have enough money I don’t need to work then the government can steal it because an unelected local official decides it might have been earned illegally. They do not have to prove this or even charge me with anything, they can just take it without due process. This violates standards that go back even farther than our Constitution. Wasn’t this a main grievance in the Magna Carta?

    We elect officials to do a job or represent us. They are not above the Constitution and do not have the legal authority to violate our Constitutional rights. Their only authority in doing this is force, like ant criminal. We give government officials the power to impose taxes and pass laws to accomplish the duties of government, but when they consider themselves above the law or violate the Constitution then they are no longer a lawful government.

    I am not for anarchy but the power, scope, and authority of government were strictly constrained by our founders. Anyone, foreign or domestic, who tries to seize power beyond those constraints is a criminal and an enemy of the people, even if they justify it by promising free birth control or bigger welfare payments.

    machinist (313c6a)

  113. Good points, machinist. And it’s great to see you commenting, too.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  114. @redc1c4 Of course voting can change things, it just can’t make them better.

    Michael Price (3fe550)

  115. Of the choices permitted by the question, the move between step 4 and step 5 is the move from slave to subject. A subject is no longer a slave, but is still subject to compulsion by the state (including in such matters as taxation and conscription).

    The move from step 8 to 9 is democracy.

    Obviously none of these nine steps corresponds to complete personal freedom without fear of consequences from the state. I’m not sure how that can exist within a state, nor within any settling but that of a single person on a desert island.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  116. Beldar,

    I guess that’s the traditional way to look at it. But slapping the label “democracy” on it makes it sound like it’s a good thing, and the obvious point of the mental exercise is to show that it’s not very far removed from a situation where we are subjects (I like your use of the term). At best, it’s a theoretical difference.

    To me, the lesson here is that what we consider “democracy” doesn’t really allow us much say at all in what happens to us. Which is an argument for keeping government as absolutely lean and small as possible.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  117. “In all the scenarios you are a slave.”

    – Machinist

    It’s worse than that. In all scenarios we are slaves, period. We are slaves to the reality of other people and their interests and desires, which is probably what prompted Sartre’s observation in the first instance.

    Before the “social contract,” a man could sneak into my home and try to kill me for whatever reason. He might succeed. He might not. I would have a say in the matter. If he succeeded, he might get away with it. He might not. I would have no say in the matter.

    After the “social contract,” a man can sneak into my home and try to kill me for whatever reason. He might succeed. He might not. I would have a say in the matter. If he succeeded, he might get away with it. He might not. I would have no say in the matter.

    We formed a big group because we thought the group would help protect us from scary people – and I don’t say that derisively. We were probably right, and there are some very scary people out there. But it’s a protection racket: you play by the protector’s rules and you pay your protection money, or somebody comes by to break your knees.

    So, are we still scared of the scary people, or not? Can we protect ourselves without the group, or not? Are we self-sufficient, or not?

    The questions are simpler this way than deciding whether or not we’re “slaves.” Of course we’re slaves, in the sense that others may force us to do what we don’t want to do. But slaves can fight back, just like anybody. And if they lose, they die, just like anybody. It’s the fight that matters, not the result. Frederick Douglass talks about it: one of his first steps away from slavery was in fighting back against a brutal overseer and telling him “you can kill me, but you can’t whip me.”

    Leviticus (d96251)

  118. 112.A sales tax is a tax on commerce. One is free to avoid or limit the tax buy reducing purchases or producing ones own goods, or by working with others to provide what is needed without buying it. In the case of State tax I can buy from outside the state.

    Oh?

    So you can drill for your own oil, refine it into gasoline, and store a sufficient quantity to provide for your driving needs every year?
    Indeed, you can mine the minerals, produce the composites, craft the parts, and build your own car from raw materials?
    And the same of course for your computer?
    And I am sure you can produce and refine your own antibiotics, not to mention diagnose all of your own medical issues, doing the required lab work as well.
    And while doing that you are growing your own food, crafting your own clothes, and everything else required for survival.

    How . . . interesting.

    Back in the real world that is past the Stone Age or Early Iron Age, we actually need a marketplace to manage all of that, which means paying that theoretical sales tax.

    And do note, your “work with others” is not a functional runaround.
    Try explaining that you bartered for that new car and so don’t have to pay any sales tax on it and I am sure once the judge stops laughing he will finish sentencing you for tax evasion.

    An income tax is a tax on my work, time or creativity.

    No, it is a tax on your transactions with another person.
    Certainly you can parse it that way, but then I can parse a sales tax as a tax on my dreams, ambition, or choice.
    Really though it comes down to something more fundamental:
    What are you paying that sales tax with?
    Your . . . income?
    Oh yeah, right. You pay every single tax with your income. All that changes is the legal categorization of the tax from “direct” to “indirect”. The money to pay for it still comes from the exact same source – your work, time, or creativity.
    Parsing the language to declare it “indirect” is a nice pretense, but it doesn’t change the ultimate source of the money used to pay it.

    Worse, and this is where elements of government power come into play, indirect taxes are much less transparent than direct taxes.
    How much total sales tax did you pay last year?
    What is the line fee on your phone?
    How much FCC tax are you paying on your internet connection?
    What were your total gas taxes last year, divided by federal and state?
    I expect you don’t have the least clue.
    Conversely I expect you can tell me precisely how much income tax you paid last year.
    Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if the government had to let us know EXACTLY how much they were collecting from us in taxes every year, particularly if it were in a single lump sum?
    Hmmm . . .

    Your arguments might seem reasonable in an extreme abstract.
    On a functional level they are smoke, mirrors, and tricks of language and law.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  119. My problem with the sales tax is that it’s so backward. It’s minimal for necessary things like food and medicine, and maximal for luxury items. That’s no way to raise revenue. People can opt out from buying the luxury items, and you collect little or no tax at all. But people need to have food, medicines, clothing, shelter, light and heat. Those are the things to tax, if you’re really serious about taxes.

    nk (dbc370)

  120. Please don’t give “them” any ideas, nk.

    felipe (40f0f0)

  121. I agree with everything you wrote in # 116 (9/28/2014 @ 12:48 pm) above, Patrick.

    That a state may be a “democracy” is, on its own, no guarantee whatsoever that it will be worth a damn. It says where the power resides, at least in theory. It says nothing about the wisdom or lack thereof that is displayed by the voters and their elected representatives. Even if democracy is the least bad of all the alternatives, it’s sure easy to find examples of it leading to poor decisions.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  122. ” Sam (e8f1ad) — 9/28/2014 @ 2:29 pm ”

    This may come as a surprise to you but some people don’t have cars and still survive. Some people have gardens at home where they grow food that they eat or feed to their families. The government does not come in and tax them on this food, though they are becoming increasingly intrusive. I have had such gardens in the past so this is not an extreme abstract. Now I am old and lazy so I buy my food and pay taxes as needed but I still could grow some if the tax became oppressive. Some people also do their own home or car repairs, avoiding the tax they might have to pay for professional services. Friends or neighbors can cooperate in doing things for each other without payment, bringing some home grown tomato to someone that changed a battery for you, that type of thing. I build my own computers though I do buy the parts. I decide how often to upgrade and how much to spend on it, giving me much control over the amount I pay in tax. I repair my family’s computers without charge and therefor without collecting any sales tax, though the IRS could charge income tax on the services I gave away. I am currently paying tax on interest I am not getting, the IRS feels I could charge interest so I have to pay the tax even if I didn’t. I can not avoid all sales taxes and don’t try but I can exercise considerable control on what I pay if the taxes are excessive. This is real world, not your extreme abstract. Since you insist on claiming I said things or supported positions I never stated or would support, I must conclude you are trolling rather than trying to have a discussion or debate so please excuse me if I don’t waste much more effort on you.

    machinist (313c6a)

  123. Pah! I wish all of you would stop bragging about your “tyranny”. Draco would not deign to sneer at the general direction of your “tyranny”. No torture, no impalement, and I bet you couldn’t find a rape room if you looked in every police station within a thousand mile radius. Come back when you have a tyranny worthy of the name. 😉

    I’m also glad to see you here, too, Machinist.

    nk (dbc370)

  124. ” Leviticus (d96251) — 9/28/2014 @ 1:02 pm ”

    I am afraid I think I must respectfully disagree with much of this based on fundamental differences in the meaning of terms and the proper roll of government. Being a victim of crime does not make me a slave, even if a criminal threatens me with a gun to force compliance or take my stuff. When the criminal can use the force of government and the law to steal from me then I may be a slave. When the State can force me to buy a product I don’t want from a friend or supporter of the men running the State then I am not a free man. When the government can claim the product of my time, work or creativity then I am owned by the State and not a free man. When the State can seize my money or property without due process and without charging me with any crime or showing any link to illegal activity then I am not a free man. When I was your age we mocked other countries that allowed or did this but never expected it to be the case here unless we were conquered by a foreign State. I can not express to you how sad it makes me to see us brought this low.

    Our founders did not set up our Republic to protect us from burglars in the night, it was given that each man was entitled and expected to protect his own home and family. We do pass criminal laws and set up police to deal with law breakers but they were not intended to replace and eliminate a man’s right to defend himself and to have the means to do so. The Second Amendment does not speak of self defense or hunting for the same reason the Constitution does not give us the right to breath, this was taken for granted by the founders. The Second Amendment was to insure that the people would always have the means to resist or kick out an government trying to seize our Constitutional rights. People claim the Second Amendment protects the right of the people to have muskets but keep in mind that muskets were the state of the art in military weapons of it’s day. It was not suited to hunting or home defense, it was the assault rifle (the true definition, not the PC one)of it’s day in being designed for war, allowing rapid fire at close range and sustained use in combat. The communities muskets were often kept in armories for this reason along with cannon. Rifles, pistols, and shotguns were kept at the farm or home or carried.

    Our founders did not set up a government to run our lives and reduce us to livestock. That is the claim of would be rulers for stripping us of our rights, freedoms, and power to resist. The government provides services needing centralized structure like military services, border security, currency, civil courts and criminal justice systems, though many of these are best handles at more local levels if possible. It was never intended to dictate what our kids could eat for lunch or to have anything like the power and reach to imagine doing so. We are becoming sheep and our founders knew quite well the fate of sheep.

    machinist (313c6a)

  125. Thank you, NK.

    When a police officer uses a Taser to punish a woman or man for not signing a ticket or being suitably submissive is this not torture? When men are beaten to death on the street by multiple officers as they lay face down is this not a beating? Did we not have a discussion on this very site about an officer kicking a non-resisting suspect in the face as he lay face down with arms and legs spread, in complete submission? We might not use Saddam’s wood chippers but we have gone far down a dark road without people seeming to mind. I don’t think the founders had this kind of power or actions in mind for the government they set up.

    machinist (313c6a)

  126. I’m a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy. The senior Enlisted folks (E7-E9), in the Navy, have what we call a “mess”. It’s a place to eat, of course; but it’s also a private place apart from our Officers and our Sailors; a place to discuss various issues amongst ourselves on how best to run the ship, squadron, boat, or unit away from pressure up, down, and outside the Chain of Command. We are the grease that makes a well oiled Military machine run.

    One Rule of the Mess is “what happens in the mess, stays in the mess.” We often “vote” on policies and procedures; it can get quite heated depending on the subject. However, in keeping with the Rule, once the decision is made we all exit the mess and execute the policy as if it were our own – even if we disagreed vehemently behind closed doors. And sometimes all that gets vetoed by the Commanding Officer. It’s his (or her) ship after all.

    The point is: we get a vote; we don’t always get our way, and sometimes it seems unfair. This how our Republic works.

    Don’t like it? Make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.

    Jeff Weimer (bb9480)

  127. A “Headline” listing at Hot Air…..

    Well Done, Patrick.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  128. This may come as a surprise to you . . .

    None of that surprises me.
    Nor does your attempt to parse all of those partial exceptions into some grand independence from the marketplaces.
    Clearly you do not have the integrity to admit that your claim is nothing but hot air and want to complain because I exposed it for what it is.

    In the real world we live in a thoroughly integrated and interconnected economy.
    It is a nice theoretical pretense that one can casually drop off the grid and continue to enjoy the same standard of living but that is all that claim is – a theoretical pretense. And one that you clear enjoy trolling about as if it were something more than that.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  129. 127- more…

    And, at Instapundit @ 11:34pm (ET).

    askeptic (efcf22)

  130. UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit and Hot Air for the links. I have a related follow-up post about whether we truly consent to be governed by this government, here.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  131. I could write several pages about American exceptionalism, but nobody would read them. So I’ll just throw a couple of quick jabs about “American freedoms”.

    Lawrence v. Texas. I think that is as American a decision as could be. If Jim Bridger and Kit Carson had gotten fallen down drunk and crawled into the same bedroll together, and some constable had tried to arrest them for it, they would have scalped him. But to today’s conservatives, Lawrence v. Texas ripped the fabric of society wide open.

    U.S. v. Windsor, the DOMA case. That’s as federalist a case as could be. It was ridiculous for the court to say that the federal government cannot define marriage for exclusively federal purposes such as taxes (or immigration, veterans’ benefits, etc.) and it was solely a prerogative of the states. Too much of a stretch of the Tenth Amendment, in my opinion. States’ rights people should love it, though, but I don’t see the love. Because …?

    “Muslim” now seems to be the new “black”. We don’t want to be rousted by the police, but we applaud when “they” are shot.

    It seems to me that daleyrocks’s “butthurt” is right on the money. We’re whining about which sacred cow stuck its horn in the seat of our pants. Or maybe we pine for our father’s Oldsmobile because that was the most magical thing in the world when we were five?

    Anyway. This was a rant. This rant contains no GMOs or artificial colorings.

    nk (dbc370)

  132. BTW, no food is sold in the United States which contains GMOs not of the Mendelian birds-and-bees cross-fertilization type. But you wouldn’t know that from the agitprop of the health food stores or the anti-patent crowd.

    nk (dbc370)

  133. But to today’s conservatives, Lawrence v. Texas ripped the fabric of society wide open.

    Laws against consensual sodomy are antique chum (dating at least to the Tudor era in the Anglosphere) and quite prevalent. New York’s penal code provision regarding consensual sodomy was never legislatively repealed and only annulled through the judicial ukase. Get it through your head: the federal judiciary has no warrant to proscribe the exercise of general police power by a state government; there is no enumerated right to buggery in the federal constitution binding on federal or state authorities. Neither is there a warrant for state appellate judges to impose their policy preferences in this or any other matter. This was remarked upon by Mr. Justice White in the 1986 decision Bowers v. Hardwick.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  134. I said “American freedoms” and not what kind of laws some syphilitic, bloodthirsty, king, of some cold little island, who could not keep it in his pants, enacted, chum.

    nk (dbc370)

  135. As for Byron White, he was better as a football player. But like I said, he tended the Right’s sacred cows, no matter how statist he was in other matters, so he’s a hero to “yes, the government can tell consenting adults what they may or may not do in their bedrooms” crowd. There’s a better argument against dildos and inflatable dolls than there is against adult, consensual, private, sexual relationships.

    nk (dbc370)

  136. You are not a slave insofar as there are thoughts, words or deeds that you can choose to perform or not and which choice is NOT SUBJECT TO A VOTE – and that the government is bound to defend for you if other people, acting either as individuals or collectively in a public, private or governmental organization, attempt to impose a constraint on you.

    RonF (9fe479)

  137. I said “American freedoms”

    But the ‘freedom’ to engage in sodomy was not recognized as a legal right even in New York. It’s entirely an invention of the last 35 years.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  138. Get it through your head: the federal judiciary has no warrant to proscribe the exercise of general police power by a state government;

    And this probably has to be the most idiotic statement made since 1789.

    nk (dbc370)

  139. So you don’t think Jim Bridger and Kit Carson should have scalped the High Sheriff for trying to arrest them for sleeping together? Ok, slave!

    BTW, by the time of Lawrence, only Texas criminalized private, adult, consensual sodomy.

    nk (dbc370)

  140. ” RonF (9fe479) — 9/29/2014 @ 8:26 am ”

    What are hate crime laws but laws against certain unapproved beliefs or values? What are prohibitions against prayer but government prohibition against unapproved speech? What are campaign contribution limits but government control of political speech?

    machinist (313c6a)


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