Tuesday, October 23, 2007

LiberalRob, we salute you

You irked Megan so much she had to make her biting retort a separate post. And her sycophants are swarming.
This began with Megan asking, in comments,

if selfishness is the *only* explanation of anti-tax agitation, how do you account for libertarian journalists and policy wonks living on salaries in the low five digits who will in all probability never break $100K? What is their selfish interest? It's not like lowering taxes would make their salaries go up; surely rich people donate more to institutions that want lower taxes when taxes are high?
LiberalRob answers
It is the belief that some day (soon!) they will join the ranks of the elite millionaire pundit class; at which time, having achieved wealth, they do not want to be obligated to give any part of it (or as small a part as possible) back to the society in which they have succeeded. Or if they do not hold out such a hope, they have been brainwashed (willingly or not) into believing in a philosophy that does not serve not only their own self-interest, but that of society as a whole. There is no other explanation than that, once you strip away all the obfuscatory language.

To use the language of gambling, you are betting on the "come." The odds are against you, yet you persist in playing the game; because maybe, just maybe, you'll be the one to win.

And of course there is the raw selfishness of simply not wanting to see your money go to taxes. But I assume you meant a principled objection.
Good answer, though I must add my own two cents, namely that folk like Megan often find employment because the wealthy folk who own journals and fund think tanks like having people come up with arguments justifying their selfishness. Maybe Megan ain't gonna get rich as all hell doing this, but stroking the right rich old men will produce the effective equivalent of tenure. There's always a market for helping greedy rich folk dodge their guilt.
But Megan is obviously not a careerist, so pfffft.


Anonymous said...

How old are you, brad? Seriously, you have such a cartoonishly simplistic view of the world that I suspect you are either 12 years old or mentally retarded. Perhaps both.

brad said...

Oh, come on, provide more detail. How exactly am I cartoonishly simplistic? It's hard to be irked by you if you don't give me enough to care.

American Patriot said...

Why should people be allowed to keep any money? Isn't the most efficient allocation of resources best decided by a central committee of enlightened progressives? The problem is not that taxes are too high, it's that we have to waste time filling out a form every year - nationalize industry and let government pay us based on our need. Can you imagine how many things will be free then?

Fishbone McGonigle said...

The irony of a "taxation = theft" glibertarian calling anyone else's worldview "simplistic" is so gob-smacking that I am nearly stunned into silence.

I salute you, jasonc.

Anonymous said...

Well lets answer the question:

Why should people be allowed to keep any money? Because the government lacks sufficient information to distribute goods and services in a manner that would maximize future production. Why should people have to pay a portion of their income in taxes? Because the individual lacks the ability and/or incentive to provide for communal goods that: improve economic efficiency (roads); distribute risk (catastrophic recovery ie California forest fires); protect against external and internal threats (Army/Police); maintain public health (vaccinations AND emergency medical treatment); provide for de minimis education, nutrition and housing for families and the elderly (on the theory that investing in a child's well being will reduce the chance that the adult will be socially disruptive and in the case of the elderly a simple moral imperative); and research (areas that do not lend themselves to commercialization). No doubt I left out a large number of traditional government functions that are equally important, but my point was more that it is easy to make a simplistic argument that taxation is theft. It is impossible to posit a functioning modern society wherein all of functions and duties outlined above are provided by private parties or on a charitable basis. Government is necessary. Therefore taxation is necessary. Feel free to dispute around the edges as to specific functions that may be better privatized, but to argue we would somehow be better off with a radically restricted government is unsupported by the facts.

Anonymous said...

fishbone (if that is indeed your real name), you will be happy to know that i am not a taxation = theft person.
also, glibertarian is dumb. whatever you think of libertarians. think of something more clever to call them(cleverer? i don't know. it's late in Chicago).

oh, and brad, i'll provide more detail on your simplistic worldview when i get a chance but jobs, and school and girlfriend have to come first. i hope you understand.

brad said...

jason, glibertarian refers to a specific type of libertarian, who doesn't so much argue for libertarian principles as appropriate the word as a convenient excuse for selfishness. Conservatives who smoke pot, as it were. The official FMM policy, layed down by MEMEMEMEMEEEEEEEEE in the first post here, was careful to distinguish between libertarians who argue a complex, sometimes compelling, often not, political and social ideology, and Megan. I don't agree with libertarians but am perfectly willing to respect their perspective.
As for your view as to my worldview, please, go ahead. And don't forget to presume I physically resemble the Simpson comic book store guy, and live in my parents' basement.

Fishbone McGonigle said...

Of course "Fishbone" is not my real name. My parents didn't hate me that much. The origins of this moniker are, at this point, lost to the mists of time.

However, whether I really am of the clan McGonigle or not is a question I will leave unanswered for now. If that's all the same to you.