Letters to the Editor (August 2004)

by | Aug 24, 2004

Clarifying the Meaning of Initiation of Physical ForceAugust 21, 2004 While I agree with the administration’s use of preemptive attacks against the Hussein regime, I note that Dr. Hurd’s endorsement occurs in an article linked to the Capitalism web site in which it is indicated that initiation of violence by an individual or a state […]

Clarifying the Meaning of Initiation of Physical Force
August 21, 2004

While I agree with the administration’s use of preemptive attacks against the Hussein regime, I note that Dr. Hurd’s endorsement occurs in an article linked to the Capitalism web site in which it is indicated that initiation of violence by an individual or a state is not justified under any circumstances. I would appreciate some guidance as to how I can overcome what appears to me to be a contradiction, in case I am beset by the same question from a collectivist.

Thank you,
William R. Baranowski
Palm Desert, CA

CM responds: Saddam was the initiator of physical force. The U.S.’s “preemptive” response was a retaliation. There is no statute of limitations, so to speak, for taking out dictators who invade other countries and murder people. Dictatorships that violate the rights of their citizens have no claim of sovereignty, as they do not protect the inalienable rights of their citizens. For further elaboration read War and Morality by Peter Schwartz.

Taxation: Constitutionally Valid vs. Morally Illegitimate
August 17, 2004

Taxes to finance certain federal activities may be constitutional and legitimate (depending on your definition of legitimate), but they are not moral. In his article Socialism is Evil: Part II, Walter Williams correctly states that taxes are immoral because they “forcibly use one person to serve the purposes of another”.

If the use of force is the fundamental criteria in determining taxation’s immorality, then it is immoral even for things specifically enumerated in the constitution such as national defense. Taxes to pay for military spending are certainly not voluntary. Morality is more fundamental than the constitution–one cannot derive an action’s morality from whether or not it was included in the constitution.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding Walter William’s position because he does not state explicitly that taxes are “moral”, only “legitimate”, for certain things. However, if he truly believes that there should be exceptions to the principal that taxes are immoral, and that “certain things” should be financed through confiscatory taxes, then what defense does he have when someone says, “Walter, I agree with you, but in addition to national defense and a court system, we also need taxes for welfare and social security.” He could claim these additional programs are unconstitutional, but not that they are immoral.

I am a big advocate for certain government functions (i.e. national defense, the court system, etc…) but believe that the amount of money required to finance a government limited to its essentials is small enough to be financed through voluntary means.

Kevin Bates
Rochester, NY

What About The Government?
August 16, 2004

Principle Four of the new UN Global Compact states “Businesses should uphold the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour.” At www.unglobalcompact.org/ they explain as follows: “Forced or compulsory labour is any work or service that is extracted from any person under the menace of any penalty, and for which that person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.”

If words are to have meaning, any country that taxes its citizens is in direct violation of Principle Four. Taxes are the “extraction” of a portion of a person’s “work or service” taken “under the menace of a penalty” and “which the person has not offered… voluntarily”.

Of course it is more likely that Principle Four applies ONLY to businesses, while governments are free to extract work or service from their citizens, i.e. enslave them, any time they choose. Given its membership and the moral positions it is most willing to accept, the record of the UN, and of Kofi Annan, makes this pretty clear. At the UN, slavery is fine, the only problem is deciding who gets its benefits.

Richard Bramwell
Mississauga, Canada

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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