Logic?

It’s important to use logic and rational thought in discussions. Thus, it’s important to check your premise. It’s my premise that it is morally wrong to take something, be it the fruits of your labor or the private property bought with those fruits, if it doesn’t belong to you. No one else has the right to take that which you own. Can we agree on that premise?

A robber comes into your home and steals everything of value: your gold and diamonds, your TV and computer, your iPod, iPhone, and iPad. That’s wrong, is it not? If anyone came home to find your home ransacked, you would feel outraged, vulnerable, angry, sad, depressed, and other negative emotions. The same if a pick pocket stole the wallet from your purse or back pocket. That’s a horrifying experience!

And yet. People argue with me when I say that taxation is theft. How is it not? You went to your job, you worked those hours. What moral right does the government have to take your money? And it’s no small amount!

Taxation is also slavery. If freedom is where the slave master takes 0% of the fruits of your labor, and slavery is where the slave master takes 100% of the fruits of your labor, at what point does it become slavery? Would it not stand to reason that the moment someone claims the “right” to take what is yours through your labor, it’s slavery? Does it matter the percentage?

With the premise that it is wrong for anyone to take what’s yours, it’s easy to see how taxation is both slavery and theft. But is it so easy to see? The level of cognitive dissonance regarding this matter is astounding to me.

Why is this? Well, the thing that gets brought up the most is what tax dollars go towards. Everyone brings up the roads, schools, police (or security), helping the poor, etc. Name whatever you wish that tax dollars go towards that you agree with. Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? So long as you agree with it, it’s okay. What about the other things that your tax dollars go towards? Funding the CIA so they can have agents go in to other countries and meddle, and then when the people that live in that country and get angry, they attack the US, and then that attack is the so-called “justification” for war or furthering the police state USA. Do you agree with the tax dollars that go towards that? Because that’s where most of it goes. And the tax dollars from your children. And your children’s children. Or how about the tax dollars that go towards droning US “citizens”? The tax dollars that fund Guantanamo Bay and all the people that have never been tried and consequently convicted of a crime because there’s no evidence?

How about the tax dollars that go towards this?:

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Well. It’s okay. Because your roads, schools, police, and helping the poor (supposedly) are taken care of too. The young son of a human being being torn apart is of no consequence.

What people fail to realize is that there are alternatives to these same services that the government provides that cost less (In which a government road costs 20X less than privately fixed). What people also fail to realize is that things like security and schooling are more expensive in the private sector because the government has a monopoly on these things, and subsidizing actually makes things more expensive (due to a high lack of efficiency among other problems). You’re paying various levels of government bureaucrats to see and oversee and oversee the overseers and regulate and enforce, and while all of this overseeing is going on, things somehow fall through the cracks.

It’s no secret that the school system in America is failing miserably, what with 90% of New York kids not ready for college. A one-size-fits-all education system clearly does not work. But that’s what the government public schools are, right? Not everyone learns in the same way, but that’s what’s expected from a student.

In Detroit, the police stopped responding to 911 calls. However, a private security firm stepped up to the plate. Can we stop looking towards the government for solutions yet? Can we unwrap our heads from the box that’s there, and look outside the box? In a world where no one takes what you earn to pay for what you may or may not agree is a good idea, can’t we pay for the services we find worthwhile? The government makes it hard for you to do that at the moment, because in most places it’s illegal or very expensive to feed the homeless.

But, according to people with cognitive dissonance, none of this matters. Taxes go to pay for the things they agree with, while willfully ignoring what they don’t agree with, including enforcing laws that put people behind bars for trying to do the right thing, such as feed the homeless. It doesn’t matter what the taxes go towards, because it’s still morally wrong in the first place.

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“But I was just following orders.”

I do not like the public “education” system. I say “education” because there’s a difference between education and school. School is through and through an indoctrination system of obedience. This is just one aspect of why I don’t like schools.

From the time we are young, we are told that we have to raise our hand for everything. To go to the bathroom, to speak, to ask a question. To clarify. As adults, we see that this is not the way the world works. In board meetings at work, we do not raise our hands to make a point. If there’s a quarterly meeting where all the employees are in one meeting, yes we raise hands hands to ask questions of the speaker, or other presentations, but that’s only because there’s a specific speaker in the front and they have an agenda; after all, that’s the polite thing to do rather than jump into the middle of the speech. We do not send emails to our bosses to ask if we may use the restroom. Somehow as adults, we manage to navigate the world without raising our hands.

So why, as children, are we taught that we must raise our hands for everything in school? The reason has nothing to do with politely waiting your turn. It has to do with obedience and authority. We are taught to never question authority. If children so dare as to question authority, it’s called “talking back,” and the action is usually quickly stifled. “Don’t you talk back again, young lady!” If we don’t raise our hands, there’s various punishments to show that disobedience in this realm is unacceptable, from the teacher ignoring kids who speak out of turn to the principal’s office for repeat offenders. I think that this is unacceptable.

Whenever I say in discussions that authority must always be questioned, I am agreed with (I have never been disagreed with). However, is this what we are teaching our children? Is questioning authority ever practiced, or do people just agree with the theory and principle without ever actually questioning authority? When you stifle a child’s natural inclination to question what’s valid, they are being told not to “talk back.” How does this circular logic make any sense? Do any of these adults actually believe that authority should be questioned? I think that children should question the authority of everyone, including their own parents.

There is a reason I think this is very important, and should be closely examined. How many terrible things happen because no one questions authority, and just does as they’re told? Psychological testing has shown that people will do horrific things if they believe in the authority role someone else supposedly has over them. This has also happened in real life.

There are two well known tests that show this. One is the Stanford prison experiment. There were two groups randomly chosen from the participants: the prison guards, and the prison inmates. They played their roles in a basement of a building at Yale. The two groups quickly fell into the roles, even though they were just acting. The experiment was supposed to last for two weeks, but was stopped after six days because of the harassment and abuse the “guards” inflicted on the “inmates,” even though the abuse started on only the second day. The professor who designed and carried out the experiment got caught up in the experiment, and it was an intern who said that the experiment should stop. This study was a good example of how people fall into the role of authority and how it can be abused.

The other study was done by Stanley Milgram. He would have the participants come in, and had an intern, and they would draw slips of paper to determine the “learner” and who would be the “teacher.” However, both would say “teacher” and the intern would say he had the paper that said “learner.” The third person would be the authoritative figure. The learner would be strapped to a chair connected to an electroshock system. The teacher would have to read lists of words that the learner was supposed to learn, but would always get something wrong. The teacher was told to shock the learner every time an error occurred, and to notch up the amount of electricity delivered. There was actually no electricity and no shock, but the teacher did not know this. The learner would also say he had a heart condition, and after a certain point of “shocks” would start screaming in agony. The authority figure would tell the teacher to keep going, until all 450 volts of electricity were amped up. 65% of people went all the way, because the authority figure told the participant to keep going, even through screaming and pleading, and finally silence at some point.

Milgram’s experiments were controversial, because the participants were not aware that there was no shock actually being delivered. But if they had known, would they have gone as far as they did administering shocks? But this has also happened in real life. Did all of the soldiers under Hitler actually believe that they were doing the right thing to the Jews? Or were they just following orders? At what point do you stop simply saying it’s a good thing to question authority, and actually doing it? When it starts harming other people? If you were a soldier, and ordered to kill people in a certain house, would you do it? How about if your commanding officer tells you that your family is in that house, but there’s also “the bad guys” in there, and you have to kill them all? Is it because you’re taught to dehumanize the “enemy?” They aren’t people, they don’t matter? How many innocent people are murdered because people are just following orders?

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Where’s the line? When are people going to start actually standing up and questioning the validity and legitimacy of these perceived authority figures? People are all too good at rationalizing behavior. “Well, there are terrorists out there, so, yeah, we need the government to spy on us.” Is that really legitimate? Who creates the enemies? It’s a really good question to ask yourself. The CIA puts people all over the globe to intervene in foreign matters. Doesn’t that create a situation where there could be some upset people that want retribution? Since this is a country that claims to have control over the government because they are the People elected by the People, other countries think that attacking the inhabitants of this soil is the same as attacking the government. Nationalism, right?

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So when does it stop? Where does it begin to stop? This is why it’s SO fundamentally wrong to indoctrinate children to not question authority. It’s downright dangerous. It puts everyone in jeopardy, from liberty to actual physical harm because the US government meddles. How many people need to die? How many liberties are going to be taken away, before people start questioning the authority of the people in power?

Thankfully, there ARE people that question authority. People like Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and other whistleblowers. The brave journalists that continue to publish information that’s important for the People to know. I just wonder when more people will start to do the same.

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