Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why is the government allowed to take money but not labor?

If it's ok to take someone's money to build a road. Is it also ok to force someone to do the labor required to build it?
Why is it always assumed that it's ok to take money but not labor? Why do the people who build the roads need to be paid? Why don't the poor people, who are getting all the benefits of socialism, but aren't contributing, do their "fair share" by working in press gangs to build roads and parks?
The answer is easy. The answer is "slavery is wrong". But for some reason we don't consider it slavery if we steal someone's past labor. Only if we steal their current labor.


JT said...

Wow. I love that logic.

I am not the litigious type, but could see a strong case for theft of 'past labor'. It reminds me of the method used to compute the cost of a cow (plus its offspring and their offspring, ad nauseum) that the government has to pay each time a tank or stray bullet kills the livestock that roam Fort Hood. If cows are worth a price equal to the next three generations, surely there is a case to be made for the past labor and earnings that the government has taken from me.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Yeah, somewhere in all that mess is a great blog post about the true value of your Social Security contributions.
If you KNEW that you were going to live to be 100 years old, and you KNEW that you would retire at age 65 - had you rather have the money back you've paid into the fund now, with no interest, at age 35?
Or had you rather have Social Security payments for 35 years at the end of your life?


Waldir said...

Tax money is not stolen. You simply get a percentage of your work paid in other services (roads, for example) rather than money. So this cannot be considered slavery.

Now, getting poor people to work without payment could be ok and wouldn't be slavery, as long as 1) their work will support them -- that is, they'll get food and shelter because of it; and 2) they have the chance to get a "real" job and get paid fully in money. i.e, they are free.

Sir Nicholas said...

By your own logic, buying apples when you want oranges with your money is not thieving?

The second part of your response is similar to the ideas of slavemasters who justified slavery by saying that it was good for slaves. The slaveowners took on the burden of caring for the interests of inferior beings, seeing that they would be fed, clothed and given religious instruction.

Think about it.

Waldir said...

1) People are aware that some the payment for their work will come in services and that's an agreement they assume with the government. It's not that they're forced to pay taxes: in an ideal democracy, if people didn't want that, it could be changed. That's not the same as me selling you oranges if you ask for apples. And even that isn't thieving. Perhaps fraud or something (I don't know the legal term).

2) No, in slavery people didn't have a choice. As I said, the work-without-(monetary)-payment scheme would only be ok if people are given the choice to do something else to earn their living. Besides, slaves were treated as property, i.e., didn't have rights as human beings -- but that's another subject altogether.