Taxes are “stolen?” Those who don’t know history, shouldn’t pretend to complain about taxes


No, taxes are not “stealing.”  Here’s the offending poster I found on Facebook:

Who are the history-illiterates who make these offensive posters?  Taxes are not

Who are the history-illiterates who make these offensive posters? Taxes are not “stolen,” at least, not according to patriots like George Washington.

I told one guy who posted it that I thought it was a crude misrepresentation of George Washington, there on the left — but that I had always suspected he didn’t like the “founders,” and was grateful to have any doubts I may have had, removed.

He said, “Huh?”

This Prominent Americans series stamp of the U...

Pay your taxes, maybe they’ll put you on a stamp. This Prominent Americans series stamp of the United States from 1968 features Oliver Wendell Holmes. Wikipedia image

One could always refer to that wonderful line from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., about how he liked to pay taxes because “with them I buy civilization.”  But I suspect most tax revolters in the U.S. don’t much like civilization (and they have the guns to prove it).

Instead I simply told the story of George Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion, the first, and mostly-forgotten, case of U.S. tax rebels.  You know the story.

I wrote:

Yeah, in 1794, a bunch of farmers out in western Pennsylvania got ticked off at taxes. They said paying taxes was like the government stealing from them. And, they had their representatives explain to President George Washington, didn’t they fight a war against paying taxes?

Washington, you may recall, was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in the great American Revolution against Great Britain. “No taxes without representation” was one of the original war cries.

Washington said, ‘It takes money to run the government, and that money is collected from the people in taxes fairly levied by their elected representatives.’

The farmers weren’t having any of that. They were way out in western Pennsylvania, near the wilderness Fort Pittsburgh. The federal government, what little bit of it there was, was in Philadelphia. ‘How are they going to make us pay taxes?’ the rebel leaders shouted to crowds.

George Washington

A more friendly portrayal of George “Pay Your Taxes or Swing” Washington – Wikipedia image (which bust is this? Library of Congress?)

Washington got a dozen nooses, and a volunteer army of 13,000 Americans, and marched to western Pennsylvania to hang anyone who wouldn’t pay the tax. Oddly, by the time Washington got there with the nooses, the rebels decided maybe it was a good idea to be patriotic about it after all.

So I assumed you just updated the pictures a little. [In the poster] There’s George Washington on the left, with his Smith and Wesson “noose,” telling the big corporate farmer to pay his taxes.I think your portrayal of Washington is a bit crude, but it’s historically accurate, with regard to taxes.

I always suspected you didn’t like George Washington. Now I know for sure you don’t.

You could have looked it up: The Whiskey Rebellion – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/duel/peopleevents/pande22.html

I don’t much like crude political dysfunction and disinformation from people who don’t know U.S. history, and won’t defend American principles.  Am I being unreasonable?

More:

Gen. Washington, astride his favorite white horse, reviewing his troops at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, before the march to the western part of the state to put down the Whiskey Rebellion.  Image from the Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Gen. Washington, astride his favorite white horse, reviewing his troops at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, before the march to the western part of the state to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. Image from the Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. (Just try to find who painted it!)

” . . . to execute the laws . . .” a painting by Donna Neary for the National Guard, on the Whiskey Rebellion. National Guard Caption: In September 1791 the western counties of Pennsylvania broke out in rebellion against a federal excise tax on the distillation of whiskey. After local and federal officials were attacked, President Washington and his advisors decided to send troops to pacify the region. It was further decided that militia troops, rather than regulars, would be sent. On August 7, 1794, under the provisions of the newly-enacted militia law, Secretary of War Henry Knox called upon the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for 12,950 troops as a test of the President’s power to enforce the law. Numerous problems, both political and logistical, had to be overcome and by October, 1794 the militiamen were on the march. The New Jersey units marched from Trenton to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There they were reviewed by their Commander-in Chief, President George Washington, accompanied by Secretary of the Treasury and Revolutionary war veteran Alexander Hamilton. By the time troops reached Pittsburgh, the rebellion had subsided, and western Pennsylvania was quickly pacified. This first use of the Militia Law of 1792 set a precedence for the use of the militia to “execute the laws of the union, (and) suppress insurrections”. New Jersey was the only state to immediately fulfill their levy of troops to the exact number required by the President. This proud tradition of service to state and nation is carried on today by the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard.

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81 Responses to Taxes are “stolen?” Those who don’t know history, shouldn’t pretend to complain about taxes

  1. Black Flag® says:

    The facts, Ed, as much as you wish to obscure them

    1) It was repealed
    2) Most people and most territories did not pay – ever.

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  2. Black Flag® says:

    *cough*

    Well, you failed, since you have not quoted a darn thing about what I said regarding Washington.

    I guess you do fail.

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Yes, the best I can do to convince you that you said what you said is to quote you directly, with a link to your post. If that won’t sway you, I suppose nothing will.

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  4. Black Flag® says:

    That’s it???

    Come on, Ed.

    You said – EXPLICITLY – that I said something about Washington.

    And the best you can do is post a whole bunch of quotes that …
    …say nothing like that.

    In the past, when you’ve been shown to be so off base to be an idiot, you’ve done such tactics – and sadly, age has not improved you here.

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Now you claim you didn’t make the argument:

    PS: Nice shot at a strawman – never said “Washington” didn’t enforce it because it was repealed.

    But in an earlier comment, you quoted me and answered:

    “No, there was not a large, organized campaign against taxes.”

    It was unnecessary as it was repealed.

    “No, the tax rebels did not continue to fight against the government”

    Since the government retreated and withdrew, then repealed, it was unnecessary.

    If we wait long enough for you to sleep on it, you’ll refute your own arguments, Black Flag.

    Regardless, your self-refutation still doesn’t touch the facts: Washington thought it a patriot’s duty to pay fairly levied taxes, and when some yahoos started yelling like the Weak Tea Party and threatening not to pay taxes and armed up to oppose the government, Washington treated them as traitors, in rebellion, raised an army of patriots and put the rebellion down. Your claim that Washington retreated in defeat is nowhere in evidence, and not even suggested by those who argue the tax was ignored by a few lonely Kentuckians by themselves in the woods on the frontier.

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  6. Black Flag® says:

    PS: Nice shot at a strawman – never said “Washington” didn’t enforce it because it was repealed.

    Come on, Ed. That was too weak.

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  7. Black Flag® says:

    Nonsense, Ed.

    He did not (nor any president) enforce anything outside of N. Penn., and the territories did not pay – that is the fact of the matter.

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  8. Ed Darrell says:

    So your claim that Washington didn’t enforce the tax because it was repealed is false. The law remained through Washington’s presidency, and through the Adams administration.

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  9. Black Flag® says:

    So?

    Fact:It was repealed.

    During the 6 years between, the territories did not pay the tax.

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    The law wasn’t repealed for another eight years, two presidents later.

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  11. Black Flag® says:

    The TEA party is a non-starter.

    It is nothing more than a partisan organization that is as mired in ignorant politics as your Leftists are, Ed.

    Both sides argue that government money must be spent on their own “most important” issues and that money should come from “other people”.

    The Left say the Right should pay for the Leftist policies.
    The Right say the Left should pay for the Rightist policies.

    The reality: the costs of government accelerates with no end in sight as both the Left and the Right fund each others policies.

    The TEA party do not want anyone to touch their Social Security or Military and want the Social Welfare and Food stamps to pay for Army.

    They are no different then any other political movement (Left or Right) – totally and utterly ignorant as well as morally confused.

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  12. Black Flag® says:

    LoL

    Right, since it was appealed, it did not exist – thus the sense of “optional” was non-existent!

    You’re funny

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  13. Ed Darrell says:

    “No, there was not a large, organized campaign against taxes.”

    It was unnecessary as it was repealed.

    More than six years later, two presidential administrations later, it was repealed, yes. And Whiskey Rebel Albert Gallatin was Secretary of the Treasury then, too.

    In that time, in those positions, the Whiskey Rebels no longer argued that taxes were optional, nor that they were theft.

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    William Hogeland’s sharp and partisan views probably carry way too much nuance for some — but among current historians, and those looking at the Whiskey Rebellion with regard to parallels to the modern Tea Party, he’s must read.

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  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Slaughter blends a Turnerian and Marxist approach by emphasizing the unique conditions on the frontier that prompted antifederalist sentiment and how these conditions overlapped with economic class distinctions. His analysis thus divides Americans into two camps: the Eastern, aristocratic “friends of order” and the Western, rural “friends of liberty,” explaining the conflict of the Whiskey Rebellion and other similar contests as the natural friction between these groups.

    No doubt a good read.

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  16. Black Flag® says:

    Thomas P. Slaughter, The Whiskey Rebellion (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); and Steven R. Boyd, ed., The Whiskey Rebellion (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985)

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  17. Black Flag® says:

    “Conceived in Liberty” supplies ample references, Ed.
    Too bad you really don’t like reading history that hasn’t been tainted with your liberal-left diseases.

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  18. Black Flag® says:

    I am not just “sorta” correct.
    I am absolutely correct.

    As pointed out, Civil War was the turning point, not the Whiskey Rebellion

    “More to your point, while people groaned about taxes, and while collection was not perfect, no one took up arms against the government in treason to avoid the taxes.”

    This is false, Ed.

    It the territories, tax collectors were tarred and feathered and those whiskey distillers who decided they would pay their tax found their distillers bullet-shot.

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  19. Black Flag® says:

    “No, there was not a large, organized campaign against taxes.”

    It was unnecessary as it was repealed.

    “No, the tax rebels did not continue to fight against the government”

    Since the government retreated and withdrew, then repealed, it was unnecessary.

    Matters little who was SoT – the excise tax was abolished and would not appear again -permanently- until the destruction of these United States in the Civil War

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  20. Ed Darrell says:

    Great for Rothbard to claim. Any evidence?

    I worry when nutter polemicists are used as the source for historical claims.

    One wonders where Rothbard got the idea that Washington was chicken. In the only show of force, he got 100% compliance simply by showing up.

    Claims counter to the evidence should be regarded with great suspicion.

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  21. Ed Darrell says:

    You’d be sorta correct if you exclude tariffs from the category of excise taxes, but you’re arguing with Noah Webster and Messrs. Black and Bryan there.

    Specific excise taxes were enacted to try to pay for the War of 1812 (unsuccessfully; we never did pay back Stephen Girard for his carrying the nation in that war): http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/files/docs/pn40-1.pdf (see page 9).

    And if you see Table 1, you’ll see that excise taxes were never less than 40% of federal income from 1863 on.

    More to your point, while people groaned about taxes, and while collection was not perfect, no one took up arms against the government in treason to avoid the taxes.

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  22. Ed Darrell says:

    The government did, yes. Washington felt the rebellion had been put down, and went back to Philadelphia to run the country.

    Yes, there were people who still flouted the taxes. No, there was not a large, organized campaign against taxes. No, the tax rebels did not continue to fight against the government — and as I noted, Albert Gallatin, a leading light of the Whiskey Rebellion, went on to become Secretary of the Treasury, our tax-collecting arm of the government (there’s a statue of him in front of the Treasury building in Washington).

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  23. Black Flag® says:

    Murray Rothbard sums the situation up nicely in his Whiskey Tax Rebellion piece:

    Washington, Hamilton, and the Cabinet covered up the extent of the revolution because they didn’t want to advertise the extent of their failure. They knew very well that if they tried to enforce, or send an army into, the rest of the back-country, they would have failed. Kentucky and perhaps the other areas would have seceded from the Union then and there. Both contemporary sides were happy to cover up the truth, and historians fell for the deception.

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  24. Black Flag® says:

    And, Ed, your half-truth history continues.

    Except during the War of 1812, the federal government never again dared to impose an internal excise tax until the Civil War, which arguably was the end of these United States of America born from the War of Independence.

    From the Civil war came the permanent federal “sin” tax on liquor and tobacco, to say nothing of the federal income tax, an abomination and a tyranny even more oppressive than an excise.

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  25. Black Flag® says:

    So, Ed, did Washington enter other territories to enforce the tax?

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  26. Ed Darrell says:

    Washington and his army did not enter other territories for a practical reason – he would have been slaughtered if he tried.

    Of course you had a citation for that claim.

    Somehow it didn’t come through. Would you be so kind as to repost?

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  27. Black Flag® says:

    “Please tone down the scatology a bit.”

    Ed, you created this entire post based on “scatology” and your demonizing of people who oppose your stealing and theft. Perhaps YOU should reconsider your topics, no?

    The facts of the Rebellion are stated as I have noted them. The taxes were not paid in most areas and was repealed a couple of years later. Washington and his army did not enter other territories for a practical reason – he would have been slaughtered if he tried.

    Those are the facts.

    No doubt evil never rests and the battle against it never ends.

    What the Rebellion does show is that tax resistance works and that meek submission to ethically challenged power hungry groups is not inevitable.

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  28. Ed Darrell says:

    Please tone down the scatology a bit.

    Facts of the Whiskey Rebellion are stated as I noted them. Washington’s tax-enforcing army was not withdrawn, but returned victorious (without shedding blood), and in those areas where the rebellion was most loud, obnoxious and violent, it was put down. Taxes were paid.

    Yes, enforcement of law on the frontier is always a problem, and rarely so solid as it is next to the sheriff’s office in town.

    You’d do well to follow the career of Albert Gallatin, as I suggested. You’d learn points to please you, and you wouldn’t need to mask your history distortions in adolescent-speak.

    Plus, you’d learn that the original whiskey tax was repealed — but new ones were devised, and enforced, and became the key source of funding for the federal government.

    History is always interesting, and the true stories of history almost always present ironic turns and unexpected twists that fiction cannot match. I’m sure you can write as much near profanity as Norman Mailer’s early work, but the story you spin doesn’t pass the Hemingway Detector without setting it to clanging.

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  29. Black Flag® says:

    Your opinion on what OTHER people may think is quite cute. Your mind reading skills must be a gift from God.

    The fact: “fair share” – the typical lie the Statists make when they rob their neighbors.

    Your fair share, Ed, is you paying for you.

    But you don’t like that – you want me to pay for you too.

    Your hypocrisy: you’ll claim until your blue about the monies given by government to cronies but you’ll have no complaint about the monies given to you.

    You can’t see nor contemplate that, in fact, you and the cronies are exactly the same – wanting something with the cost paid by someone else.

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  30. Black Flag® says:

    “Nothing like rewriting history when it stands against you.”

    Ah, so you claim – out of your ass – that I’m rewriting history when I give you fact. Typical Leftist brain farting, Ed.

    Facts are – they were withdrawn.
    Facts are – most territories, they were never paid.

    Go ahead and manufacture your fantasy with half-truths, Ed, but your gig is up.

    Your post is nothing but half-truth pretending to represent a reason for massive taxation today.

    You fail.

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  31. Ed Darrell says:

    I hope it wasn’t because I don’t get close to walking that talk!

    I had a great professor at Utah, George Everett. He said I used some awfully big words in science pieces, and he reminded me of the old saw that you had to write for no more than a 10th grade level in newspapers.

    But then he showed me an easy out: Use the word, especially if it’s the one the scientists use, then add a paragraph explaining what it means.

    Between his advice and Roy Gibson’s hacking my copy down to active verbs and leaving in the politics, I won some Hearst awards.

    Had ‘em both the first time one quarter, saved money on texts. They both required we use the AP Style Guide. Only had to buy one.

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  32. jsojourner says:

    Ed says, “My third profession is journalist. I prefer the AP style, where authors explain what they’re talking about, instead of making cryptic references.”

    Okay, I confess. I laughed out loud.

    Jim

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  33. Ed Darrell says:

    BF, I found your Feser half-quote at Cafe Hayek, from “tax the poor until they go away” Don Boudreaux:

    … is brought to you by EconLog’s Art Carden; it’s from page 44 of Deirdre McCloskey’s 2006 volume, The Bourgeois Virtues; I had marked this quotation to be used as an eventual entry in my own “Q.o.D.” series here at the Cafe, but why wait? It’s splendid!

    The tempting shortcut of taxing the rich has not worked, for two reasons. First, I repeat, taxation is taking, and as the philosopher Edward Feser puts it, “Respecting another’s self-ownership … [reflects] one’s recognition that that other person does not exist for you … The socialist or liberal egalitarian … rather than the Nozickian libertarian … is … more plausibly accused of ‘selfishness.’” No left egalitarian has explained how such takings square with Kant’s second formulation of the categorical imperative: “So act as to use humanity, both in your own person and in the person of every other, always at the same time as an end, never simply as a means.” Taxing Peter to pay Paul is using Peter for Paul. It is corrupting. Modern governments have been encouraged to think that any abuse of Peter is just fine, that Peter is a slave available for any duty that the ruler has in mind. A little like nonmodern governments.

    Austrian economists often occupy the clouds with their favorite philosophers, and philosophy is in the clouds of the clouds — twice-separated from reality. (No wonder Feser’s an anti-evolutionist, eh?)

    Even at that, there are a hella lotta ellipses in that quote.

    Got an English translation?

    Robbing Peter to pay Paul is probably some sort of crime. Reminding Peter and Paul that they are brothers, and obligated to look out for each other, is closer to reality, and doesn’t savage the philosophies of both in order to make a snarky point. Neither Peter, nor Paul, regarded it as theft, to take care of the poor, nor to pay fair taxes, or taxes at all.

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  34. Ed Darrell says:

    Here’s a book you might enjoy, all you latter-day Whiskey Rebels:

    In the satirical novel Joyleg, A Folly by Avram Davidson and Ward Moore, a veteran of both the American Revolutionary War and the Whiskey Rebellion is found alive and very well in the Tennessee backwoods, having survived over the centuries by daily soaks in whisky of his own making, to hilariously face the world of the 1960s.

    Might find it at Amazon.com.

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  35. Ed Darrell says:

    Is this the creationist guy?

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  36. Ed Darrell says:

    Nothing like rewriting history when it stands against you.

    I am unaware of anyone’s claim that the Whiskey Rebellion was a successful subversion of the government of the U.S. (surely you gave us citations . . .).

    Facts are that the excise tax on alcoholic beverages was the single largest source of income for the federal government for more than a century. In fact, it was impossible to run government without it — which meant an entirely new source of revenue had to be found before banning alcoholic beverages (which is why we got a Constitutional amendment making an income tax legal before we could have a Constitutional amendment making it legal to ban alcohol sales).

    And, Porlock Junior’s point still stands: In addition to the precedent Washington established that paying taxes was a duty of patriots, the Second Amendment was never cited by even the tax rebels as a source of authority for rebellion.

    Got history? Don’t abuse it.

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  37. Black Flag® says:

    To you, the ethically challenged, a thug is a guy resisting real thugs from stealing.

    And they did not “repent” – resistance, in this case, was futile. Dying in futility does not solve the problem – but as you have no real principle behind your life, you haven’t ever tested this.

    But since you excel in half-truths, how about the rest of history.

    We know that no one paid the tax on whiskey throughout the American “back-country”: that is, the frontier areas of Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and the entire state of Kentucky.

    President Washington and Secretary Hamilton chose to make a fuss about Western Pennsylvania precisely because in that region there was cadre of wealthy officials who were willing to collect taxes.

    Such a cadre did not even exist in the other areas of the American frontier; there was no fuss or violence against tax collectors in Kentucky and the rest of the back-country because there was no one willing to be a tax collector.

    The whiskey tax was particularly hated in the back-country because whisky production and distilling were widespread; whiskey was not only a home product for most farmers, it was often used as a money, as a medium of exchange for transactions.

    Furthermore, in keeping with Hamilton’s program, the tax bore more heavily on the smaller distilleries. As a result, many large distilleries supported the tax as a means of crippling their smaller and more numerous competitors.

    Western Pennsylvania, then, was only the tip of the iceberg.

    The point is that, in all the other back-country areas, the whiskey tax was never paid.

    Opposition to the federal excise tax program was one of the causes of the emerging Democrat-Republican Party, and of the Jeffersonian “Revolution” of 1800. Indeed, one of the accomplishments of the first Jefferson term as president was to repeal the entire Federalist excise tax program.

    In Kentucky, whiskey tax delinquents only paid up when it was clear that the tax itself was going to be repealed.

    Rather than the whiskey tax rebellion being localized and swiftly put down, the true story turns out to be very different.

    The entire American back-country was gripped by a non-violent, civil disobedient refusal to pay the hated tax on whiskey.

    No local juries could be found to convict tax delinquents.

    The Whiskey Rebellion was actually widespread and successful, for it eventually forced the federal government to repeal the excise tax.

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  38. Ed Darrell says:

    My third profession is journalist. I prefer the AP style, where authors explain what they’re talking about, instead of making cryptic references.

    If Google worked, you’d be a lot less worked up, and a lot more enlightening in discussion.

    You did mean this guy, right?

    http://www.urban.uiuc.edu/faculty/feser/

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  39. Black Flag® says:

    Ed, for a guy who researches history to the degree you seem to do, you don’t know how to google “Edward Feser”?

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  40. Ed Darrell says:

    Do you have an English translation of Feser’s intent, perhaps with a citation (and who is Feser?)?

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  41. Ed Darrell says:

    I’m not sure what you’re asking, “provide a time when anyone ‘stood their ground’ in the face of the tyranny of breaking an amendment.’”

    The example offered here is the Whiskey Rebellion, when armed thugs (“patriots” in your parlance?) assaulted government agents. As Porlock noted, Washington raised a militia (under the 2nd Amendment?) and marched to put down the rebellion. The rebels realized the error of their ways and repented.

    If anyone was “slaughtered” it would have been the victims of the early rebels (I don’t think there were fatalities).

    Common sense ruled, eventually.

    Perhaps that’s what confuses you and makes you sputter invective?

    If you’re asking when the 2nd Amendment was ever used to fight tyranny, I’d have to agree with you that it wasn’t. That wasn’t the intent of the amendment anyway, which was the point of Porlock’s post, I think.

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  42. Black Flag® says:

    Edward Feser

    “Respecting another’s self-ownership … [reflects] one’s recognition that that other person does not exist for you …
    The socialist or liberal egalitarian … rather than the Nozickian libertarian … is … more plausibly accused of ‘selfishness.’”

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  43. Black Flag® says:

    Ed

    “Stand ground re: 2nd Amendment”

    Please provide a time when anyone “stood their ground” in face of the tyranny of breaking an amendment. (ie: never)

    So you demand a few men in protest get slaughtered by the massed evil.

    Heck, Ed, you would NEVER stand for a principle -ever- so why do you demand others must for them to prove their point?

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  44. Ed Darrell says:

    Obviously Washington didn’t understand the true meaning of the Second Amendment! I mean, like raising a militia to *enforce* the law? Every Real True Patriot knows it was written deliberately to help shoot Federal officials.

    Marvelous insight. I only worry that those whom the gods destroy and first make mad, often manifest their madness with a complete inability to recognize or process sarcasm.

    You raise a key point in 2nd Amendment discussion, and I must admit it’s one I haven’t seen discussed much. Had the intent of the amendment been to authorize citizens to fight government tyranny, surely the tax protesters would have stood their ground, wouldn’t they?

    I have seen arguments that literacy was much better in those days, ironically, and political discussion on a much higher plane. That would be one path of explanation.

    (And you’re right, you didn’t need to read the entire thread.)

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  45. Porlock Junior says:

    Usually it’s rude to post without reading the existing thread. Other times, not so much. Yet other times, reading the last comment is enough to save the trouble of reading *any* more of it. So, oblivious of all that:

    There’s a big problem with that bit of history. Obviously Washington didn’t understand the true meaning of the Second Amendment! I mean, like raising a militia to *enforce* the law? Every Real True Patriot knows it was written deliberately to help shoot Federal officials.

    Seriously, that account is marvelous. Why on Earth do (did) high school history mention the Rebellion briefly and vaguely, leaving us to wonder why it mattered? Probably afraid of making it too interesting. I mean, Washington himself leading the expeditionary force?

    No, I don’t think anybody would stick around to put up a resistance.

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  46. Black Flag® says:

    Ah, no. I fought no one. You are making up stories again.

    No one fought and died for my freedom.

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  47. Black Flag® says:

    You’re right.
    You only claim government is right when its theft and murder benefits you and you scream bloody murder when it doesn’t.

    Your base principle does not see murder and theft as wrong – except if you are the victim. If you are the benefactor, you wave your flag proudly.

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  48. Black Flag® says:

    Ah, no. I fought no one. You are making up stories again.

    No one fought and died for my freedom.

    No, you fought the British by yourself, twice; you personally held off the Germans in the trenches of Belgium, and then you personally stormed Omaha Beach and marched to Berlin where you dispatched Adolf Hitler; you personally pushed the North Korean army to the Yalu River.

    Unlike you, most of us owe a debt to your colleagues who fought and died with you.

    How many times did you die, by the way?

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  49. Black Flag® says:

    No, Ed.

    You need and champion government theft and violence because – and only because – you see it benefits you more than what you pay.

    You are a hypocrite. You say “pay your fair share” yet you are wholly unwilling to pay for your share – you want others to pay it for you – by force, if necessary.

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  50. Ed Darrell says:

    Madison warned us there’d be nuts who claimed taxes are theft. Jefferson said he thought people are better than that, but you’re here to stand for the principle that men are not angels, and so we need laws to “force” you to play nice as an American citizen.

    It just chaps the hide of every patriot to have to extend you the courtesy. Don’t mistake their courtesy for agreement with you.

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  51. Ed Darrell says:

    No, you fought the British by yourself, twice; you personally held off the Germans in the trenches of Belgium, and then you personally stormed Omaha Beach and marched to Berlin where you dispatched Adolf Hitler; you personally pushed the North Korean army to the Yalu River.

    Unlike you, most of us owe a debt to your colleagues who fought and died with you.

    How many times did you die, by the way?

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  52. Ed Darrell says:

    Where have I ever said I believe whatever the government does must be right?

    Which slaughter of millions do you refer to, and where did I ever say I agreed with it?

    Don’t confuse smoke rings with things I write. Rarely do the two coincide, and never are they the same.

    Take a step back, calm down, and write — nicely — what you mean. If you can’t write nicely, go sit next to Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

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  53. Black Flag® says:

    Ed
    “No man is an island, but you wish to pretend it’s so?”

    Who’s pretending? Because you’re my neighbor doesn’t give you any more rights then I have and you claiming you have a right to my wallet is merely your twisted ethics and thinking.

    The mob provides services too – so I suppose you think, then, the mob has a right to steal as well, huh?

    I pay my fair share when I buy what I want.

    It is not my fair share to pay FOR YOU and your freeloading ilk.

    Like this

  54. Black Flag® says:

    Uh, no.

    Taxes are theft, and its not a privilege.

    “Why don’t you leave?”
    Is that your answer to anyone who holds higher moral ground then you do?

    Like this

  55. Black Flag® says:

    Taxes are theft and it is isn’t slander when its true.

    Like this

  56. Black Flag® says:

    I don’t “owe” anyone for my freedom, Ed.

    Like this

  57. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    Yep, as point out before to you – The ethically challenged Ed – you believe what ever the government does must be right – so slaughtering millions, if that is what it does, is a good thing to you.

    Like this

  58. Morgan your side’s antitax screed would be a lot more credible if every single red state, except Utah, wasn’t wholly dependent on the blue states to subsidize them.

    Settle down big guy, I’m in California.

    Speaking of which, it’s looking like Reagan was right…our friends on the left aren’t truly ignorant or dumb, the problem is they know so much that isn’t true.

    Like this

  59. JamesK says:

    Morgan your side’s antitax screed would be a lot more credible if every single red state, except Utah, wasn’t wholly dependent on the blue states to subsidize them.

    Want to know why Texas has such low taxes? Because the federal government pays for nearly half their budget.

    If you don’t like paying taxes you are free to leave the country and find a place more to your liking. But taxes are the price you pay for the privilege of living in the United States.

    Like this

  60. jsojourner says:

    Morgan,

    There are just wars. There are unjust wars. Liberals led the way in calling The Decider’s war in Iraq and the Vietnam war crimes against humanity.

    When our nation is attacked, we believe in responding and doing so forcefully in an effort to prevent it from happening again. When our nation makes the grievous error of calling some human beings chattel, and then rightly seeks to rectify that error through law — and then, because of that, comes under attack by those who dislike the law — we respond and end the injustice in the process.

    But then, you and Flag are fans of the old Confederacy if memory serves. Perhaps I have confused you with some other Anarchist and if so, I apologize.

    You may not believe there are just wars. That’s an honorable point of view held with high integrity by the Society of Friends, Mennonites and some Brethren and Apostolic sects. Outside the Christian faith, some Bahaists and some Buddhists are total pacifists.

    I can completely respect that and I would never think any person committed to non-violence in every situation was a leech or a coward. If that’s you, my hat’s off in tribute.

    What I have found, however, is that Anarcho-Libertarians are only too eager to endorse violence and bloodshed when it serves their purposes. Witness the threats made against the President and members of Congress invoking “the Tree of Liberty”. Consider the bogus bravado of those in that movement who bluster, “I don’t need to pay no taxes for a police force…believe me, the dirty rotten so & so who tries to rob me is gonna get his”.

    Who is John Galt? A thief, a liar, a coward and a misanthrope.

    Like this

  61. Ed Darrell says:

    My beef is with those who call taxes “theft.” I don’t like slander.

    Although, now that you mention it, it would also be good if the Tea Party were to abandon their Government-by-Asshole philosophy, and come to support the Grand Old Republic.

    Like this

  62. Liberal war protesters paid their taxes.

    Ah good, then my point is made.

    Because the Tea Party protesters did too. Uh, what was your beef with them, again?

    Like this

  63. Ed Darrell says:

    Saving millions is a better idea — but our government determined it important to kill a few millions in order to prevent further attacks on American commerce and citizenry, as happened in the attack on the World Trade Center.

    You don’t have to use that freedom, as others have noted. You may move.

    But if you’re going to bathe in the warm waters of American freedom, you have a moral duty to pay for the tub, the clean water, and the water heater.

    Like this

  64. Ed Darrell says:

    Liberal war protesters paid their taxes. They did do the civil thing, and take the issue to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled, following the laws and examples of our founders, that citizens have a duty to pay taxes; if they wish to contest how the taxes are spent, as George Washington noted, there is a Congress there to talk to, to persuade to action.

    If the liberal war protester, or conservative war protester, fails to pay taxes, they go to jail for tax non-payment. They may continue to protest the war from jail, if they choose.

    You have the same option.

    But it is not “theft” to pay what you owe to keep your own freedoms. That’s usually considered “wisdom,” and “investment.”

    It is also the heart of conservatism. But you’ve moved way outside of conservatism, into something else entirely. Conserving freedom is a good and worthy goal, to which patriots gladly pay their share.

    Like this

  65. Ed Darrell says:

    So the guy who abhors theft – to you – is the guy stealing, huh?

    No man is an island, but you wish to pretend it’s so?

    No, I’m just asking if you shouldn’t regard the guy taking without payment as the thief. You claim the guy providing all the services is the thief — sorta like saying the guy who owns the grocery store “steals your money” because, after all, you can’t live without food, and so you have a right to it.

    The guy who abhors carrying his fair share of the load, the guy who abhors paying for the freedom he’s been presented, is more a thief than the guy who pays his own freight, yes, and more a thief than the freight hauler.

    At a minimum, the freight hauler is providing a socially-redeeming purpose to his “theft.” You’re defending the obscenity as not. You’re the one with the weird argument.

    In fact, that old von Mises B.S. runs exactly counter to the Declaration of Independence. Were we not so charitable, we’d probably call it un-American and ask those who make those claims whether they are now or ever have been a member of other terrorist organizations, and jail them until they confess.

    At least you’d get to be a martyr for your unholy, dys-patriotic cause.

    The government doesn’t steal your wallet. The road is a good public service, a community builder, and a protector of your security (Eisenhower Highway Act firmly in view). You don’t like those things, get out of the way. (What was it Bob Dylan sang to the old barnacles? “The old road is rapidly aging. Get out of the new one if you won’t lend a hand, for the times, they are a-changing.” Toward freedom. Sorry you don’t want to ride that train.)

    Like this

  66. Black Flag® says:

    Morgan,

    Indeed -to Ed and Jim, everything government does must be absolute good because Ed and his ilk receive some sort of benefit, somewhere, from the government.

    So killing millions makes Ed and Jim happy, since they have roads and medical insurance.

    Like this

  67. There is another way to entertain Ed’s argument: Treat it seriously, and follow it consistently — see what happens.

    Liberal war protesters are thieves. They benefit from the services…etc. etc.

    Like this

  68. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    Pretty weird argument you present.

    So the guy who abhors theft – to you – is the guy stealing, huh?

    No, Ed. Just because evil power builds the road with stolen loot and then prevents others from using anything other than that road does not make the people using the road thieves.

    Because a man steals your wallet and demands you dance on your toes to get your meal does not make the one dancing evil – the evil is the seizure of the wallet, not the dancing.

    Because you are ethically challenged, you have a hard time distinguishing the theft from the victim.

    Like this

  69. Ed Darrell says:

    Black Flag said:

    You believe – as long as YOU think it is so important – that you have a right to steal what is necessary for you. You don’t really consider that other people may not think it so important – and you really – at your core – don’t care, either.

    Any chance you’re projecting?

    Why do you believe that you have the right to steal from everyone else what is necessary for you? Who do you think built the road? Why do you feel you have a right to steal that use, without paying your fair share?

    Why do you have a right not to be put at the point of a Taliban bayonet? What right do you have to steal the protection your national government offers you from that?

    What makes you so sure you’re not looking at the thing backwards? You define as “stealing,” any “taking” of a good or service without the express charitable intent of the owner of the good or service. So is it the government who steals from you, or you who steals from the government, thousands of times a day?

    I think it’s the latter. What gives you the right to a free ride? If you regard the stuff government does for you with taxes as ill-gotten gains, What makes you any different from the guy who kidnapped Lindbergh’s baby, Ponzi, Bernie Madoff, or Whitey Bulger?

    Like this

  70. Ed Darrell says:

    I remember the great feeling I had when I realized my income tax bill was considerably more than $30,000, more than either of my parents had made most of the years they worked (if they ever made that much). It felt great to be contributing to the nation.

    I think there is something wrong with feeling like support for our nation in the form of taxes is “being held up.” People who feel that way probably resent the cost of having children, too — must do, for exactly the same reasons. You can’t have your children and the money and time it costs to raise them.

    It sounds so much like the aged, alone Scrooge, before his repentance. I can’t help but wonder if there’s a description of this syndrome in DSM. Midasitis?

    If you feel your nation is stealing from you, why wouldn’t you want to leave it?

    But here we see protests that those who feel that basic duties of citizenship are penalties, do not wish to leave.

    Deep down, then, they must not really feel that taxes are theft. If they are sane.

    What an odd, odd view of the world.

    Like this

  71. Black Flag® says:

    Evening Jim.

    Different? Not much, except in principles.

    You believe – as long as YOU think it is so important – that you have a right to steal what is necessary for you. You don’t really consider that other people may not think it so important – and you really – at your core – don’t care, either.

    You have the Finger of God – what you decide is the God given right and damn all that oppose your finger!

    Your use of “we” is specious – you pretend that “society” is one mind – but in fact, it is not. It is millions of minds all in independent thought and of independent desire.

    Your specious “we” is a fraud – and you use that fraud to justify the grand theft of the very “we”!

    There is no need to “call” a promotion of welfare. It exist as human nature, regardless of your pompous and puerile retort about me.

    You believe that only men with guns are generous and that free men in voluntary trade are not.

    You believe that men with guns are honest and truthful and that free men are liars and thieves.

    You believe only thieves and murderers can organize, and free men wander around in chaos, unable to cooperate.

    Your base premise is perverse.

    For you, men who act voluntarily are evil and men who force others at the point of a gun are the epitome of goodness.

    Those that confuse voluntary choice to be a greater evil then coercion deserve their lesson.

    Like this

  72. jsojourner says:

    Evening Flag!

    I am certainly not going to convince you of anything as touching personal responsibility, morality or citizenship. We are different creatures, you and I.

    I believe we are called to be a people…a “we”…a society. You do not. You believe in “I”, “me” and “mine”. I believe we are called to be a union. You do not. You believe we are called to be individuals completely cut off from the other. I believe we are called to establish justice for all. You do not. You only believe in justice for you. I believe we are called to ensure domestic tranquility. You do not. You believe tranquility belongs only to those who can afford it. I believe in providing for the common defense. I could be wrong, but I suspect you do not. Has there ever been an American war you have supported? Or do you, like so many anarcho-libertarians, lay the blame for the Second World War at the feet of busy-body interventionists like FDR? As one Libertarian insisted to me, “If FDR had simply acceded to the demands of the Japanese for fuel and oil, they would never have resorted to attacking Pearl Harbor. And if he had simply ignored the declarations of war by the European Axis Powers, there would have been no need for American involvement there.”

    I believe we are called to promote the general welfare. You do not. You reject out of hand the notion that a thing such as “general” welfare even exists. You only acknowledge individual welfare. And of that, you only acknowledge your own welfare. And possibly that of whomever you might deign to call your “neighbor”. If, as your Lord and Savior Ayn Rand has suggested, you “feel” like being a do-gooder. Otherwise, your only duty to any man is to please yourself. I’ve got mine, Jack. Now root, hog or die.

    I believe we are called to ensure the blessings of liberty for ourselves (plural) and our posterity. You do not. You are concerned only for the liberty of Black Flag. You smugly claim to care for the liberty of others, but are willing to do nothing to advance that cause. No. That’s their job. Not yours. You do not believe you are your brother’s keeper. The Preamble? The Bible?
    Other sacred and secular declarations about our duty to one another? It’s all so much toilet paper to you.

    When asked how roads and bridges, hospitals and orphanages, airports and firehouses would be built — you offered some barely intelligible jubbjubb about competition, the free market and voluntary participation by whomever wishes to contribute.

    I’ll say it again — not that I believe it will persuade you: The road and bridge fairies do not exist. There is no such thing as Libertarian pixie dust. One cannot read a passage from Atlas Farted, sprinkle the pixie dust, click ones’ heels and wish upon a star for an airport or uncontaminated water or chemotherapy for those who cannot afford it. Life doesn’t work that way. It never has and it never will.

    Jim

    Like this

  73. Black Flag® says:

    Hello Jim!

    Actually, Jim, there is no contract. That’s a myth all made up – it doesn’t exist, never has, never will.

    There is, indeed, a whole lot of room of opinions on how to spend stolen lot, that’s true. But to the ethically challenged, like yourself, those that refuse to submit to thieves are not the thief – you are! You’re the one championing the pillaging – the likes of me champion its termination.

    As much as you’d like to think yourself pure of soul, you further debase yourself in presenting the old “:steal couch/abandon house” nonsense – as one must agree to thievery to live.

    How about YOU leave? I hear Somalia is ripe with pirates – your kin, except -unlike you- they aren’t cowards hiding behind some cloak called IRS to do their stealing – at least they are upfront about it.

    Take care, Jim and remember to duck when the shooting starts!

    Like this

  74. jsojourner says:

    Hello Flag!

    Actually, my invitation is rooted in the contract with the American people that is laid out in the Preamble. As the old hymn goes, “I need no other argument; I need no other plea”.

    There is plenty of room for citizens to differ on the extent to which we tax and otherwise participate in the defense of our nation and the preservation of the general welfare of it citizenry. But no, there is no room to opt out and then call yourself a citizen. In fact, it makes you the thief.

    If you feel butt-hurt about having to participate in citizenship, that makes me sad. But yes. You have to. Or you may leave. But don’t despair. You have choices! You may…

    1. Go to Somalia. Where there are no taxes, no laws, no government regulations or standards, plenty of guns and where there is an abundance of both sunshine and ol’ time religion.

    2. Go to another country. Good luck finding one that doesn’t tax.

    3. Become the man without a country. This will, however, entail purchasing a boat of some size. But you and the rest of the moochers are more than welcome to help yourself to the trees on my property if you don’t care to pay the freight at the local lumber yard. Note, however: I will NOT build the boat for you. If you stay in international waters, you should be okay. If you run out of chum with which to attract your food, I would suggest using the well-worn copies of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Virtue of Selfishness” — both of which are favorites of the moochers and freeloaders.

    4. Buy an island and create your own paradise. This may also serve as Plan B if any of the above don’t work out. It will be fun watching you carve a life out of the rugged wilderness.

    I stopped believing in Santa when I was about seven. I can’t remember when I stopped buying into the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny. But there is a certain charming sweetness to the thought that there still exist some simple folk who believe in fairies and pixie dust.

    You’ll need a lot of it to build your bridges, pave your roads, keep yourself healthy, defend yourself from pirates and stock the pantry. But I wish you well. Send us a postcard and let us know how you’re doing.

    If you create that libertarian Xanadu, I’ll be the first to publicly apologize and — in dust and ashes — admit how very wrong I was. I’ve been wrong about a lot, so who knows — it’s possible.

    Good luck!

    Jim

    PS: Sunscreen is a good idea.

    Like this

  75. Black Flag® says:

    Jim,

    Well of course your only retort is to suggest people leave if they don’t like the theft.

    The old “If you don’t like us stealing your couch, you can always abandon your house argument” is rather old.

    But pointedly, you offer no real principle behind your thinking. It sorts out to be merely “as long as it is good for me, theft is a good thing”.

    Typical thesis of barbarians and thugs.

    Like this

  76. jsojourner says:

    Ed,

    Thank you. Your response was perfect. And considerably more decorous than anything I might offer.

    The slack-jawed mouth-breather who posted the original bit won’t learn a thing, of course. In fact, he or she might even surprise you by deciding — after all — that Washington and the founders were, indeed, tyrants and thieves.

    Many of these tinfoil hatters have opined that President Lincoln was a butchering thug of a dictator (Jeff Davis, not so much of course!), President Eisenhower was a closet Marxist and President Nixon, an elitist liberal with left-wing sympathies. Hell, I even read one screed by one of the Lew Rockwell dim-bulbs bemoaning Ronald Reagan’s tendency of warming up to Socialism in supporting the EITC.

    Somalia beckons folks.

    Just think — your chance to actually live in real time and space the narrative you have invented about pioneers carving a life for themselves out of the wilderness without any help from taxes or gubmint or big brother.

    Go east, old men. Prove us wrong.

    Jim

    Like this

  77. Wonder why Thomas Jefferson had a problem with all this. Why do you hate Thomas Jefferson? From your link…

    Alexander Hamilton was elated. The fledgling federal government had proven it could keep order — a necessity if the U.S. was to avoid instability. But many, in particular Thomas Jefferson, thought that this resort to military force was a dangerous mistake. It convinced them that Hamilton was a dangerous man.

    And the smaller whiskey distillers seemed to have the opinion that the tax gave an unfair benefit to the larger manufacturers…who, in turn, seemed to agree.

    Small farmers also protested that Hamilton’s excise effectively gave unfair tax breaks to large distillers, most of whom were based in the east. There were two methods of paying the whiskey excise: paying a flat fee or paying by the gallon. Large distillers produced whiskey in volume and could afford the flat fee. The more efficient they became, the less tax per gallon they would pay (as low as 6 cents according to Hamilton). Western farmers who owned small stills did not usually operate them year-round at full capacity, so they ended up paying a higher tax per gallon (9 cents), which made them less competitive. Small distillers believed Hamilton deliberately designed the tax to ruin them and promote big business, a view endorsed by some historians. However, historian Thomas Slaughter argued that a “conspiracy of this sort is difficult to document”. Whether by design or not, large distillers recognized the advantage the excise gave them, and they supported the tax.

    Why do you hate small business so?

    Seeing a lot of references from contemporary sources to something called the “Whiskey Insurrection.” This would be significant in the definition of the word, “a violent uprising against an authority or government.” Do you mean to say every Tea Party is a violent uprising?

    Why do you hate freedom of speech, and freedom to peaceably assemble, so?

    Hey, this “why do you hate” stuff is kinda fun. I can see how you got hooked on it.

    Like this

  78. Black Flag® says:

    Ellie,

    That would be no problem – except your evil seizes roads and “anything” else by force to become a monopoly in the provisioning.

    To declare that those that refuse to pay into the evil have to then abandon the use of the goods held by those that do – who would then would use the violence to prevent the creation of alternatives – is perverse.

    Like this

  79. Black Flag® says:

    Of course taxes are theft – a seizure of someone’s property by force.

    You speak of principles, but you do not apply any of them.

    To declare that violent force is required to make men civil is a claim of perversity – that increasing the violence on non-violent men and seizing their property -somehow- lowers violence in society.

    Like this

  80. Ellie says:

    I think your point was very … to the point. Personally, I’ll support someone who doesn’t want to pay taxes, as long as I can ensure he/she never, ever uses my (taxpayer) roads, for anything or in any way, shape or form.

    Like this

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