Posts tagged America
Posts tagged America
This guy randomly came into the bar tonight, planted an American flag, and led the entire place in an acapella rendition of the Olympic’s theme music and a “USA USA!” chant. Then he started to sing the Star Spangled Banner but forgot the words. So he began doing shots.
If this isn’t a metaphor for American history, I don’t know what is.
Both are *very* drunk…
Bro #1: “Yeah, but Jesus wasn’t American.”
Bro #2: “So then why is the Bible written in ENGLISH? He wasn’t British! He definitely wasn’t Canadian, dumbass.”
Bro #1: “America didn’t fuckin’ exist yet!”
Bro #2: “Naw man. America always existed in God’s heart y’know?”
Fine. If you take Ted Cruz back, we will keep Celine Dion and Nickelback.
It was a difficult decision to make, but he has clearly damaged America beyond what either of those two forces of awful could do.
Please. Take him. Keeping Bryan Adams is also on the table.
Richard Hofstadter, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”
This was published by Harper’s magazine in 1964. Same as it ever was.
For “God” and “Country” folks! There’s PASSION! FIRE! PATRIOTISM!
Q: How can you go wrong with questionable quotation marks and PASSION FIRE PATRIOTISM in ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME?
Y’know, Columbus Day.
Because America totally gets a ctrl+alt+delete on Inauguration Day.
Either that, or she’s a firm believer in the Etch-a-Sketch theory.
Remember that one time right before Barack Obama took office and gas prices immediately dropped, the bailouts under George W. Bush were erased, the national debt reset, foreclosures immediately stopped, every single person had a job, and eagles flew out of Joe Biden’s ass, singing “God Bless America” as he danced with sparklers? And then Obama went and undid all that stuff, instituted the dreaded “Sharia Law,” made being a Christian illegal, and replaced the American anthem with “O Fortuna,” and Joe Biden cried as Obama dunked his sparklers in the tears of good patriots? Remember that?
Yeah, neither do I.
The Atlantic, weighing in on Gabby Douglas being singled out by a Fox News’ segment on American exceptionalism for lacking patriotism through her clothing choices.
This article is snarky. Well done, Atlantic.
Oooh, it does bring the snark.
Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian.
And can we please drop the BS about “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” sometime soon? Please? If that were truly the case, all I’d have to do when I wanted to shoot someone is point my finger and go *BANG* multiple times. The person supplied the intent, the gun provided the mechanism.
In some cases, there’s no intent. A toddler picks up a gun carelessly left out and shoots a playmate. Playmate dies. We fall all over ourselves saying it was a terrible accident. But by right-winger standards, that child is totally guilty of murder y’all. See, the gun didn’t kill the other kiddo, that toddler did it!
Guns kill people all the time. And there’s a lot of guns that don’t every single day. But to say guns don’t kill people is factually wrong and intellectually dishonest. Someone pulls the trigger, purposefully or not, and that gun became a mechanism of murder. It enabled the killing of another human being.
Have y’all seen that commercial? It’s for the Doritos Taco Locos at Taco Bell, which was sent from heaven as proof baby jeebus is cool with stoners. Or something. Seriously, they’re awesome.
Every damn time I see that commercial, I’ve taken to yelling, “My corporation is a person!” But my person can’t be a corporation, no matter how much I as a Uterused-American wish it to be so. That’s TOO freedomish! Therefore, less rights for you, Meg!
And now with SCOTUS shooting down Montana’s defense of their campaign finance law, it’s more likely the Citizens United decision is here to stay. And it’s more likely other states could see their campaign finance laws go the way of Montana’s.
My Doritos is a taco, my corporation is a person…
Tastes like freedoms!
This is an informative discussion over the differences between primaries and caucuses. It’s well worth your time. Personally, it’s shocking when I’m reminded of how much of this electoral process is just a clusterfuck…
^^Here’s hoping that becomes one of those meaningless wisdom quotes^^
Of course, I’m not spamming catchy slogans or anything. I’ve hopped on Tumblr to say something, anything as I’ve been absent for the past few weeks. So after I scrolled down my feed and had a look at what has been happening, I noticed another argument that taxation is theft. This may be my fault. I have anarchist and capitalist sympathies and may have followed the ultra-liberal blogs of tumblr. Usually, this argument flows over me, I greet it as a old friend and with a nod and a wink, send it back. On this occasion sadly, I nearly drown.
Tax is Theft.
The argument that tax is theft stems from the involuntary nature of tax. It either asserts that a government that respects the liberty, freedom and rights of the people must not threaten them into submitting to the state’s authority or that government and it’s actions can never be justified. The anarchist pose the latter and as such, the question of legitimate taxation is moot for them. This article is mostly directed at the governmental-minimalists, such as liberation doctrine. However, I do urge the anarchists to continue reading, as natural property remains an issue they must address and is something I will cover.
Let us examine the argument:
A: “Theft is depriving of someone the usage of something they own.” I looked around for definitions from dictionaries and such but most of them tied theft to the unlawful taking of property, so clearly they were in many ways bias. Equally, it was simply impossible to articulate theft without reference to property. I concluded that theft could be widely thought of as the denial of usage of something one owns as property is fundamentally about usage rights. If you steal my car, I still own it but am denied the right of usage entailed by ownership. Lastly, theft is differs from borrowing because it lacks consent. I therefore initially added “without consent” to my definition. However, I removed it as the right to usage presumes voluntary allowance and I therefore felt it redundant.
B: “Government taxation is universal and non-negotiable at the individual level.” Clearly, I presume quite a specific form of enlightened government. The Ancien Régime of the French Valois and Bourbon dynasties taxed heavily the Third Estate with little to no taxation for the first or second. Incontestably, universal is not necessary. However, many minimalist governments positions stress individual liberty and corollary equal treatment before the law. As such, when this argument is used, it presumes universality, even if that isn’t always the case. Equally, you don’t get to barter the amount or refuse to pay at the individual level. It can be argued that tax can be changed via political mechanism but other than that, we all pay the full amount. I therefore felt it important to acknowledge this as it plays an important role further on.
C: “Tax is theft.” This is an outcome.
So to recap:
A: “Theft is depriving of someone the usage of something they own.”
B: “Government taxation is universal and non-negotiable at the individual level.”
C: “”Tax is theft.”
The argument thus goes like this: If A^B :: C
Tacit Consent, Locke and Toilet Roll!
There you have it then, the argument against taxation. This is put very simply and loaded with assumptions, assumptions we may have to examine in turn to see if we still follow the argument to the conclusion. For example and mentioned earlier, one must identify what property is. If property is something wholly imparted by the government, property becomes a privilege. If you follow British philosopher John Locke however, property is natural and you have it before government. Property is thus a right. As many American libertarians cite constitutional rights and the founding father whom wrote it cited Locke, it is reasonable to presume that the concept of natural property rights is what American libertarians work from. Thus, it may be useful to know what Locke taught of the matter.
Locke, a social contract theorist thought like the others that if one could conceive of human nature without government, one could rationalize as to why people would rationally choose to be governed. In fact, I’m of the avid belief that anarchists are social contract theorists whom couldn’t find a good enough reason to play matchmaker between people and governance. For Locke, good government ensured freedom by bringing in an impartial judge to punish those whom would attempt to deny one’s rights, to both liberty and property. So it was imperative that rational people come together and found said impartial judiciary. Now, unlike Hobbes whom figured that was the end of things, Locke felt it wasn’t right to condemn the unborn generations to the will of their forefathers, no matter how rational they were been. He thus required consent to be given to the collective on a continuous basis. This is important, as if you consent to government, you consent to the levy needed to run it.
Let us take a momentary detour from Locke and head down to the local shop. You’ve got business to do but no toilet paper in the house. So you have come down here to exchange your property, a 2 Euro coin for the shopkeepers’ bogroll. You walk down isle, pick up a pack of TP and approach the counter. You drop the coin into the shopkeepers’ hand while swapping pleasantries and then head back home.
Why is this important to our discussion of government taxation rights? It illustrates the concept of tacit consent. By your actions, you agreed to a non-verbal, non-written contract exchanging coin for roll. Equally, whereas voting in a democratic process would be preferred as loud consent, the usage of public infrastructure offers tacit consent to the social contract. As discussed above, a government needs funding to run and consenting to the social contract is consent to carry that burden. Thus, the original argument is undermined as the government is not taking your property anymore, rather it is collecting payment for services rendered. The money levied is no longer your money and belongs to the government.
Revolts and Aliens.
Now, Locke laid the foundations for capitalist governments to develop, it could and has been argued so it seems strange that his writings oppose what is generally felt to be a “Free Market” position. However, as you can see, Locke proposed a consent-based view to taxation, where refusal was wrong not because tax must be paid as a rule but rather because you consented to pay. It is a “Free Market” position. What may be attacked is the idea of silent agreement, though I would move softly as the concept underpins many day-to-day activities and is the prime reason tourists and other foreigners must respect the law while present in the country.
Thus, if you truly belief tax is completely unfair you would seem to have three options at your disposal. First, you can join the anarchists and outright rebel! You would have to completely remove yourself from society to be successful in this case or you will give constant tacit consent. This is really only important if you wished to maintain ideas of property of course. Second, you can democratically lobby for lower taxes. This seems like the expected response most non-libertarians suggest. However, if you could conceive of convincing argumentation for the lowering of tax to nil, you may not need a democratic push to achieve it so what at first seems like the fair and logical way is really just pandering to the crowd. This suggests mutability of rights and arbitrary will which should be abhorred by a republic. Lastly, you could attempt to change the fundamental rules of your government to make tax illegal. I include this because it has been suggested in the past but if you’ve been paying any attention, you can see how frivolous a position it becomes.
Personally, I don’t have an answer. I also don’t consider this to be the last word on the subject. I do expect rebuttals and hate-mail. I no longer hold a vehement belief in no taxation. I am now in the muddled territory of indecision. I will likely hold this position until I have reasoned out many other areas of my political philosophy. However, I still appeal to the same premise for all my politics to subscribe to: Justice. For this reason, I’ll still likely be a torn in socialist behinds.
Shane Geoghegan, prefers Hobbes anyway.
Interesting perspective here… I identify more as a neo-Marxist, and it’s rare I see anyone try to defend the anarcho-capitalist point of view while still acknowledging there may be a necessity for taxation. Thoughts?
Posting might be light over the next couple of days, I’m heading out of town to visit my folks.
Hopefully if you get together with your family for Thanksgiving, it’s marvelously uncomplicated.
However, let’s remember the history of Thanksgiving is not uncomplicated - in fact, it’s fairly complex and brutal. This documentary, The Canary Effect, is a sobering look at the marginalization of American Indians in the United States.
The filmmakers, Robin Davey and Yellow Thunder Woman, are also members of The Bastard Fairies. Check them out - they put their own spin on the pepper-spray cop meme:
And I cannot believe this is America. This is not the America I was raised to love.
The America I was raised to believe in is a figment of history’s imagination. I have known this for years.
Yet the shock is overwhelming.
There was a woman screaming about throwing away the books. Five thousand plus books thrown in the garbage. All that knowledge.
The police are taking the food, throwing it away, blockading and arresting the press, closing the airspace above the park so news helicopters can’t film.
An NYC councilman was beaten about the head and face. He is bleeding profusely.
Residents near Zuccotti Park are locked in their buildings per the NYPD’s orders.
Streets and bridges are barricaded. The counter-terrorism force is on scene.
There is a sound cannon capable of blowing the eardrums of onlookers.
My fellow citizens are bloodied and battered.
And the music I’m listening to in the background as I watch this horror unfold just shuffled to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
And now I feel I am watching a funeral.
And a birth.