Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Fun Tax Talk

Sam Harris talks about why taxation is necessary:

"Why do we have laws in the first place? To prevent adults from behaving like dangerous children. All laws are coercive and take the following form: do this, and don’t do that, or else. Or else what? Or else men with guns will arrive at your door and take you away to prison. Yes, it would be wonderful if we did not need to be corralled and threatened in this way. And many uses of State power are both silly and harmful (the “war on drugs” being, perhaps, the ultimate instance). But the moment certain strictures are relaxed, people reliably go berserk. And we seem unable to motivate ourselves to make the kinds of investments we should make to create a future worth living in. Even the best of us tend to ignore some of the more obvious threats to our long term security.

For instance, Graham Alison, author of Nuclear Terrorism, thinks there is a greater than 50 percent chance that a nuclear bomb will go off in an American city sometime in the next ten years. (A poll of national security experts commissioned by Senator Richard Lugar in 2005 put the risk at 29 percent.) The amount of money required to secure the stockpiles of weapons and nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union is a pittance compared to the private holdings of the richest Americans. And should even a single incident of nuclear terrorism occur, the rich would likely lose more money in the resulting economic collapse than would have been required to secure the offending materials in the first place.

If private citizens cannot be motivated to allocate the necessary funds to mitigate such problems—as it seems we cannot—the State must do it. The State, however, is broke."

I thought this might be appropriate to share after our conversation in July about the necessity of supporting a robin hood government. What do you guys think? Does Sam nail it, or does he just hate America?

8 comments:

Willie Y said...

There are some who want to make this small planet a safer,cleaner, healther place for all. And there are some who care about guns,god and white people.

Corsair491 said...

First the premise is wrong. Laws in this country are not there to keep you from acting like a child, they are there to keep people from infringing someone else's rights. The laws go overboard when they try to stop you from acting like a child. One persons rights end where anothers rights begin. If you want to turn your house and yard into a giant playpen and wear a diaper, you can, until you become a nuisance or keep someone else from doing what they want or need.

A nuclear bomb (dirty or otherwise) is a dangerous threat to the United States, in todays world, the material for such a bomb would most likely come from a nuclear Iran or North Korea. Most terrorist experts agree, why risk stealing from the former Soviet Union when Iran will give it to you, assemble the bomb and help get it to the target.

Secondly Senator Lugar or a panel commissioned by him is not a reputable source of information for most subjects, including this one.

Yes securing nuclear material is important but the biggest hurdle in this endeavor is Russia, not the amount of money spent. Russia has limited access to the materials, documentation on how much they have, and where THEY have hidden it.

On your point of a Robin Hood style government, treating people unequally is what this government was founded against. Promoting it through unequal taxes is a horroific injustice. The governement needs to prioritize the expenses, eliminate ALL waste, then see how much money is needed. Finding irrational reasons to steal money from the rich (aka Robin Hood)will not help. If the government responded possitively to every whine of "this is important and we need to steal money from the rich to do it", we would probably double the debt every month. You can not tax away a problem, every dime of every wealthy person (however defined) would not even dent the governements deficit.

You asked what I think.

Sam Harris is grasping at straws looking for a reason to tax more unequally a group of people for a problem that is being dealt with as effectively as possible considering the diplomatic and other road blocks provided. He is raising a threat on one front, ignoring the a greater possibility of danger. Mr. Harris has a perverse sense of what laws are for and wants to equate people wanting to keep money that they earn as some sort of treason. This is just my perspective of Mr. Harris from this writing. I could be as wrong about Mr. Harris, as he is on these subjects.

Corsair491 said...

There is no one that I know that wants a unsafe, unhealthy or dirty planet. For all we know Mr. Harris drives his modified Hummer 47 miles to work everyday, throws his styrofoam garbage from the fast food joint out his window on the way and only stops to deficate in the city water supply and leaves the hummer running with air conditioning on while he's at work so he has a cool vehicle to get into after work. All we can assume here is he wants more taxes taken and he thinks he's found a justification for it.

Judging by your comment, we are also to assume that anyone who finds any fault in his logic is a racist, makes perfect sense.

Corsair491 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Willie Y said...

Sorry I am watching to much Fox news and reading what right wing talking heads have to say a little to much. Things like getting rid of the EPA, calling people who advocate for healther foods,crazy,any sort of inteligent gun regulations unamerican,or tea-party-ers calling our presidents all kinds vile racist names.And the god loving people who seem to want a Taliban like lock on what and who we should all worship. Sorry.

Corsair491 said...

Yet with an apology you you are grouping any fringe idea with the "right", associating all with terrorist and using manufactured lies about the tea party. I have never met anyone against healthy food, have never heard of a call to eliminate the EPA (I have heard of a call to make them answer to congress and not allow them such dictatorial authority), and there is still a $1,000,000 reward out there for anyone that can present any proof (audio or document) of any tea party representative calling the President anything racist. I have said that I believe him to be a socialist (if the term is vile to anyone it is point of perspective, with any political idea, there is good and bad, if you want to tell me why he is not I'll listen research and respond) and can explain in clear terms and give examples why. Yet the President calls a police force stupid, the vice president calls the tea party terrorist, democratic representatives lie saying the tea party wants to hang blacks, people have been using the vile sexual reference of "tea bagger" to refer to a group that wants nothing more than government to be careful what they spend and not tax us to death. Those against the tea party have shown nothing but contempt and respond with vile name calling and lies, but they won't discuss the ideas they present. Being Baptist myself, I have never heard them indicate, imply, or demand that you had to worship anyone, anything or any government. Yes they pray, ask and teach (notice, I did not say educate, they can only show you what they believe then it is up to you) that you follow Christ. There is no movement from any Christian group that I know of to make it the official religion. Yes they lobby against particular items that they don't believe, just as aetheist lobby against what they don't believe. Your statement is un-informed at best, perpetuating lies to achieve political points at worse. Equating wanting low taxes and a government that doesn't spend more than they take as terrorist or the taliban seems a bit extreme (like a firecracker compared to the atomic bomb). If you want to call them terrorist because they negotiated hard and didn't fold to President "balanced and reasoned" approach, again its way to extreme.

Then you use words like intelligent gun regulations. Vague reqresentation of many groups who want everything from a registry of guns to out right ban of every gun in civilian hands and will use any means to achieve it. Using this type of language indicates less than an open mind. If you have an idea on any item, it should not be worded so that anything that may not agree is un-intelligent, not pragmatic, unrealistic or racist. Discuss the idea, don't be-little, insult or accuse of racism.

More to the point of the original post Sam Harris has a unusual idea of what laws are for. They are not to keep people from acting like children, they are there to keep people from stepping on other peoples rights. It is not money that is the big impeadance, it is the former Soviet Union itself. Poor records, theft, and Russia and other former soviet members not allowing the US to do what it needs to secure the material. Reality, a dirty bomb or true nuclear device is more likely to originate from Iran or North Korea. As one terroist expert said, "why steal from Russia when Iran will build it, teach you to detonate, and help you get it to the target". His whole arguament is just another vague excuse to continue and make worse the unequal taxation under law. This country was founded under the principle of treating all people equally, no it is not perfect in achieving the goal, but any law that does not treat people equally hurts all, not just the target. There will always be people that say this so important we have to steal from a group to achieve this goal for the "good of everyone". This is not an example that seems to have many facts behind it.

Willie Y said...

Healthy Meal": The Right-Wing Media Rages Against Healthier Happy Meals

Down with healthy school lunches, says House GOP

Republicans Divided on Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Campaign

Conservative Media Rail Against Efforts To Ensure Safe And Healthy Food

The Republican plan to abolish the EPA, ending the four-decade bipartisan consensus to ensure healthy air and water for our kids

Newly Elected Rep. Flores: ‘Republicans In The House As A Whole Want To Get Rid Of The EPA’

Michele Bachmann: Let’s repeal clean air and clean water for our children

Weak Gun Control Laws Show America is Crazy, Numb to Violence

What’s the Big Deal with the New Apostolic Reformation?

The English-language site for the Arabic news outlet Al Jazeera recently featured an editorial by Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor of Random Lengths News, on the neo-Pentecostal Christian network known as the New Apostolic Reformation. In the piece Rosenberg compares NAR with Islamist militia group the Taliban.

“Prior to 9/11, the Taliban government in Afghanistan did not register very much on American radar screens, with one notable exception: when it blew up two colossal images of the Buddha in Bamiyan province in early 2001. But destruction of treasured artifacts isn’t just limited to the Taliban. There’s a right-wing politico-religious presence centred in the US, but with a global reach, engaging in similar practises, destroying religious and cultural artifacts as a key aspect of its ideology of “strategic level spiritual warfare” (SLSW). Until recently a fringe evangelical movement, warned against as deviant, “spiritual warfare” is rapidly positioning itself within America’s mainstream political right. It’s well past time for political journalists to start covering what this movement is up to.”

Willie Y said...

Are Tea Partiers Racist?
A new study shows that the movement's supporters are more likely to be racially resentful.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/04/25/are-tea-partiers-racist.html

A new survey by the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality offers fresh insight into the racial attitudes of Tea Party sympathizers. "The data suggests that people who are Tea Party supporters have a higher probability"—25 percent, to be exact—"of being racially resentful than those who are not Tea Party supporters," says Christopher Parker, who directed the study. "The Tea Party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race."