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Challenge the Zeitgeist

Maybe it’s just a personality thing, but I find myself adopting the contrarian position quite a bit.  Sometimes it’s for the fun, or shock value, sometimes its defence of the underdog or the socially excluded* other times, I just thing the zeitgeist has it massively, glaringly wrong.

Anyway, I took the boy to a country park yesterday and we happened upon a couple of his friends, so I began to talk with their mothers.  They started going on about Starbucks and tax evasion and both looked utterly stunned when I said that Starbucks shouldn’t pay any more tax than they legally have to.

So after a bit of open-mouthed gaping in disbelief that anyone could adopt that position, a few clichés were trotted out.

“But if they paid their fair share of taxes, we wouldn’t have to pay so much”

“Yes you would, the state would just spend more”

“But how would we fund the NHS without taxes?”

“Just like we did pre-47 when the whole thing was nationalised”

“But people would be left to die in the streets”

“As opposed to unattended in a hospital bed in Stafford”

“But you have to pay tax”

“Only under threat of violence and kidnap, the government is just a criminal gang”

“No they are the government, you vote don’t you”

“Hah, no, what’s the point?  Can you name anything that’s changed since Cameron came to power, democracy in the UK is just a suggestion box for slaves”

“But if you don’t vote you can’t influence what’s going on”

“But if you do vote you don’t influence what’s going on either, you just legitimise it”

Well at this point, the Mrs is giving me the “shut your mouth or I will eviscerate you” type looks and whilst I will bravely face down conventional opinion, I promptly deserted the high-ground at the prospect of an evening’s hostility from ‘er indoors.

But my question is this.  Do you leave people in the conventional statist paradigm (leading to a major party being elected at Eastleigh for example and no change) or do you risk social ostracism and challenge ‘em?  There’s no point talking to politicos, they don’t listen, but our peers might.

(* The boy goes to a nursery attached to a private school which, whilst it’s not Eton, is a bit snooty.  Pretty much all the parents there are in their thirties or forties, and as ever, the nouveau riche are the absolute worst snobs.  Anyway, the sole exception to this demographic is a single mother aged 21 who has worked out that if the government will fund 15 hours a week, it is wise to spend the cash at the best possible place.  Needless to say all the married ‘yummy-mummy’ types in UGG boots and 4×4 cars who have ponies for dear little golden-haired Amelia, exclude her horribly; so I absolutely don’t.)

31 Comments

  1. Julie near Chicago says:

    Well, my own experience is that somebody expresses to me an opinion I find both shocking and revolting, to the point that I spend 20 years raging against it in my head and arguing up a storm, and then one morning after a decent night’s sleep and a good cuppa, I think, Oh yeah, that’s absolutely right.

    And I feel as if I’d always known it.

    Now, if the guy had kept his mouth shut ….

    Of course, (1) It doesn’t happen terribly often, but once in awhile….

    And (2) The guy has to either be able to state his position (with some sort of sensible, though preferably simple, argument for it) in a way that’s neither going to alienate everybody nor hurt their feelings, OR be the kind of guy who’s thick-skinned enough not to mind if he does. I don’t seem to be either one of them. And it drives me nuts.

    So, if you can take the heat and you don’t mind doing it (or, preferably, you actually enjoy it), I think here and there you’ll do some good by, in the long run, causing a few people to re-think and maybe even change their minds.

  2. peter horne says:

    I love to go for the throat.

    My particular favourite is when some idiot claims to be a ‘socialist’ without actually knowing what that means. I normally ask them how they manage to get past all the dead bodies. There then follow desperate attempts (midst much handwringing and whimpering) to class the genocidal, mass-murder perpetrated by socialists in the real world as somehow nothing to do with socialism at all. And of course to define the men who perpetrated perhaps the greatest crimes against humanity ever committed as somehow NOT socialists, in spite of they and their contemporaries regarding them as socialists and their implementing socialist policies. Heh!

    ‘I see? Socialism is warm and cuddly and we should forget about all the piles of corpses and the rivers of blood’ is how I like to put it.

  3. John Galt says:

    I think perhaps it comes down to the path you took to reach libertarianism.

    For some, it was an instinctive dislike of being told what to do by a bunch of nosey busy-bodies who we are forced to pay for (hence public servants), but act like our rulers.

    For others, it is the never ending, ever increasing drain on our wallets by the state in its various forms from income tax to council tax, petrol duty to vehicle licensing. Why should faceless bureaucrats have an unlimited right to demand at the point of a gun whatever financial impositions are ‘good for us’.

    My own ‘Road to Damascus’ experience was having a parent-teachers evening with my then 6-year old daughter Samantha (yes, even closeted faggots sometimes have kids) and being told that having taught our daughter to read and write before joining the school was a problem as the teacher was having to devote unnecessary time to dealing with Samantha separately. We were then asked politely, but firmly to cover only the aspects in the homework guide, which Samantha had largely covered a year and more earlier.

    How my wife stopped me from punching this woman in the face I don’t remember, but a few months later my wife and child returned to her home country of Malaysia to continue her education there. She’s now 12 and speaks 5 languages and has far better mathematical ability than I have.

    Any system which extorts money at the point of a gun for alleged services never rendered deserves to be crushed underfoot. I have no tolerance for the Common Purpose bastards that infest the system or those who support it at any level.

    If this makes me some intolerant libertarian Nazi, then so be it, but I will no longer hide my contempt for those who live off the sweat of another’s brow just for the sake of politeness. It’s being prepared to put up with that sort of crap that got us into this mess in the first place.

    “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

  4. Mr Ed says:

    It sounds as if SAoT’s interlocutors have unquestioningly absorbed the ’5 minute hate’ without even realising it.

    I have the occasional similar discussion with people I barely know, with similar outcomes. I wonder if there is a best way of getting the message across, such as ‘Who does it suit for this to be an issue, when the NHS is killing people on an industrial scale?’ or ‘Can we really expect them to spend money wisely in the NHS when they haven’t earned it and can take whatever they want?’

    Oddly enough, I know of very similar types with young children in fee paying schools, with Ugg boots etc. in Suffolk. Is there a tribe?

  5. PeterT says:

    Good for you. I don’t have the patience or calm and get upset. Recently broached the guns in America topic at a dinner party (all my friends and family are varying shades of red – actually the ones I get on least well with are the bansturbator Tory couple); went rapidly downhill quickly and wife had a go at me later :-(

    No it’ll have to be flight not fight for me.

  6. Mark in Mayenne says:

    The moral imperative to minimise, within the law, the tax that one pays, as an individual or as a company, has nothing to do wth the legitimacy of the government.

  7. John Galt says:

    “minimise, within the law, the tax that one pays”

    Q: So what do you do when, as with a historic Labour administration, the law demands 98% of everything?

    A: Expatriate or hang the cunts – your choice.

    Because by saying “within the law” you are giving them the rope to hang you and take everything you own. These bastards control the law and they are using it to salami slice us out of existence. You expect me to put up with that just because they have the monopoly of force on their side?

    Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

  8. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    @ Peter T “wife had a go at me later” ~ I know your pain

    @ John Galt “So what do you do when, as with a historic Labour administration, the law demands 98% of everything?”

    I know what you mean. but using force against someone who has disarmed you but claims exclusive rights to use massive force against you is futile. Various strategies (none I am recommending for the avoidance of doubt) include; don’t earn it, hide it or leave the country.

    You are quite right however, the ‘law’ as we know it today is just ruling class preference enforced at the point of a gun.

  9. bloke in spain says:

    I’m reminded of being in a London pub, not long after the Hyde Park bombing, listening to one of that city’s Irish nationalist community extolling the legitimacy of violence for political ends. On leaving the pub, he walked into a length of scaffold pole. An experience I’m told he sadly survived, due to the endeavours of the emergency services. I’d like to think that was an argument he won.

  10. Mark in Mayenne says:

    John Galt, it could be that I didn’t get my point across. I am saying that everyone has a moral obligation to minimise, legally, the tax they pay. If you have an argument about the legitimacy or otherwise of the government, that is a separate subject.

  11. John Galt says:

    Mark, given your nom-de-guerre, I presume you have already chosen option A, specifically to expatriate to Mayenne in Northern France.

    On this basis I also presume that you are answering your own question, in which case don’t let me get in your way.

  12. Mark in Mayenne says:

    Where I live is irrelevant to any point under discussion. Besides, taxes are higher in France.

  13. Thornavis says:

    I’ve had conversations like that, regularly and they either degenerate into a maelstrom of voices with no one listening to anyone else – my family this is, we are all rather opinionated and voluble – or I get dismissed as a contrarian old git with funny views. Yet if I talk to people individually it’s much calmer, I even had a sensible discussion about gun control the other day in which I put forward arguments against that actually got a hearing. So I would say that it’s a waste of time trying to change minds en masse which includes voting in our oligarchic stitched up electoral system, just try and offer other individuals a differing viewpoint if you get the chance, it may eventually make some difference as unlikely as it may seem at the time.

  14. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    Thornavis, yes, one-to-one is clearly better. In a group they are afraid to break collectivist ranks. I also find that questions work better than statements. It forces interchange of ideas. Adam Kokesh does this very well on his youtube channel.

  15. Lynne says:

    I spread the same message every time I walk my dog. I’ve been doing it for several Some fellow dog walkers have even begun to respond favourably because it made them think and become observers of the body politic. You wear them down, drip by tiny drip. I’m not confrontational about it though. That tends to get up people’s noses. Demonstration and example work best for me.

  16. Andrew Duffin says:

    Did you ask them whether they pay tax on the income they get from their ISA’s?

    I find that generally leads the conversation in a rewarding direction.

  17. John Galt says:

    @Mark in Mayenne:

    “Where I live is irrelevant to any point under discussion.”

    I disagree, for it is exactly the point under discussion. Neither you nor I are subject to taxation by the Argentine Internal Revenue Service, precisely because their demands are territorial in nature and also because domestic courts tend to be reluctant to enforce foreign taxes (known in common law jurisdictions as the “Revenue Rule” dating from about 1729).

    Since the rule of law and its basis for the “monopoly use of force” are territorial in nature, I would argue that where you live has EVERYTHING to do with the point under discussion.

    My family and I emigrated, specifically to escape such territorial interference by state sponsored busy-bodies. As we now live in a non-welfare state economy we are (to a certain extent) insulated from their collapse – again this has EVERYTHING to do with where we live.

  18. Stonyground says:

    If a commercial operation wants some of my money, they have to offer me goods or services that I regard as acceptable quality for the price that they are asking me to pay for them. If we do business, it is on a mutual basis in that we both freely agree to the transaction. This arrangement has built in safeguards that prevent the price spiralling upwards or the quality spiralling downwards because I have the choice of either not spending my money or taking my business elsewhere.

    In the case of taxation, the fact that the government can take my money whether I like it or not, and then spend it on things that I don’t want them to spend it on, means that there are no such checks and balances. Maybe the existing system could work better if such checks and balances were in place, but I can’t think of any mechanism that could be made to work.

    I’m not sure how there could be a system without certain basic things being funded collectively, although I think that these things should be kept to a minimum. I suspect that if many government services were properly privatised (as opposed to pretend privatised where a private company is simply paid to provide the service with government money) Some would be done better due to being in a competative market, but some would simply disappear due to there being no demand for them.

    So, this is a serious question. Can anyone suggest a better system that would either do away with taxation altogether, or at the very least make sure that we only pay for such services as we agree to buy?

  19. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    SG, the answer is in your question. Let’s deal with each other without the threat of violence. Let’s not initiate force, let’s respect each others property. In a word, Voluntaryism.

    If we want to agree to buy something, thanks to technology we now can without government, otherwise, let’s just be free. So tell everyone you know to stop voting for the tax farmers and be free.

  20. Stonyground says:

    So I could voluntarily insure my house against fire, the insurance company would provide a fire service because that would be cheaper than letting my house burn down and having to pay out to replace it. A private company could build and maintain the roads and I would buy an annual permit to use those roads without the government stealing 75% of the revenue. That sounds good, but how could we prevent the abuse that comes from that being a monopoly? The notion that technology could provide the answer is a promising one. I quite like the idea that I can opt out of paying for police protection as long as I am allowed to make up the shortfall with electrified fences and gin traps.

  21. Mr Ed says:

    @ Stonyground. At Common law, damages for trespass as been the loss of the rent, so a freerider on a private road is liable to pay the notional value of the road use, as the squatter would the rent du on the ad. Presumably therefore, the claim of the monopolist road owner is the ‘rent’ due on the road. Here I see a risk of arbitrary judgments creeping in as to the ‘loss’ of the road owner.

    But, to complicate matters, is there an implied easement over the private road?

  22. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    @ SG ~ Murray Rothbard does monopolies brilliantly, far better than I could, if you have a spare 55 minutes

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76pWdExqfkY

    @ Mr Ed ~ God alive is there a more inequitable doctrine than that of the implied easement? The operators of the various Severn bridges don’t seem overly bothered by such issues, I imagine such a system could be rolled out easily enough, perhaps with electronic payment at trigger points rather than the somewhat clunky handover of cash.

  23. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    @ SG, Sorry I should have added that no-one has any right to prevent another protecting his property as he sees fit. The question should perhaps be reversed. Given that the police don’t protect you (they investigate the subsequent crime sometimes, but they don’t protect you in the way they protect say Cameron or Milli or the Queen etc) why should they have the right to prevent you defending yourself and leaving you wide open to predatory criminals?

  24. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    And of course the medieval mark of a freeman was the right to carry arms whereas serfs could not.

    We are tax serfs; slaves who can neither defend themselves, not fully own their own property without it being taxed. We can’t take a range of products the government doesn’t like, nor purchase others without lectures, bans and heavy, heavy duties, nor do as we will on our own land.

    We are slaves and the first step to freedom is to see the chains for what they are. There is no-one so desperate as the slave who does not realise what he is.

  25. JuliaM says:

    There’s always that old adage that you can’t reason someone out of a position if reason didn’t get them there in the first place to consider..

  26. Mr Ed says:

    @SAoT I was referring to the tendency of judges to sabotage property rights by finding easements of necessity, and I suspect that judicial licence would run far in a free society if State judges prevailed. I would suspect that without a carefully worded Statute (repealing judicial immunity into the bargain), HM Judges would sabotage a free society until impeached.

    Equity is the bastard step-father of socialism, easements are Equitable, not Common Law, struictly speaking.

  27. JuliaM says:

    “We are slaves and the first step to freedom is to see the chains for what they are. There is no-one so desperate as the slave who does not realise what he is.”

    This comment on a US blog (http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=47394#comment-959116) sums it up very well:

    “They are the product of the “high self esteem” instructional system that is in place. They believe that they are smarter than, more fully informed than, everyone. They can’t be reasoned out of their ideas since they “know” they are smarter than whoever is arguing with them. Eventually the “school of hard knocks” will bring about a different view for most of these people but for some they will never have an experience which shatters their “self-esteem” cocoon.”

  28. Peter Horne – given that you quite rightly detest the likes of Stalin and Mao and everything they did, why are you so willing to accept their self description as socialists? I doubt if for example Bakunin or Proudhon would have done so. Indeed, if the 1872 Hague Congress had gone the other way they probably would not have even wanted to use the term but seized power, given the chance, like every other murderous bastard – think Hitler, Pinochet, Galtieri, Pol Pot, Stroessner, the Junta in Greece, Franco – the 20C is not short of examples.

  29. Paul Marks says:

    In the United States it should be even less difficult to refute the left – as the answer normally is “the 1950s”.

    “Without foodstamps people would starve to death”.

    Starvation was no more common in the 1950s (before food stamps) than it is now.

    “Without governement housing people would sleep in the streets”.

    There were less homeless people in the 1950s (before the creation of Federal government housing) than there are now.

    “Without government healthcare the poor would get no hospital care”.

    That simply is not true – again look at the 1950s (at a time when there was no Medicare, Medicaid, free E.R. Act, Schip…..).

    The only questions for which the answer is not “the 1950s” seem to be….

    “Without government pensions the old would be without income”.

    Not true – look at the 1920s.

    And “without governmnet schools the poor would not be taught to read and write”.

    Not true – even H. Mann (the “Father of the American Public School system”) did not claim that, as it was obviously untrue as a glance at his own State (Mass – with all its various free, Church, schools for the poor) showed.

    Of course the left do not normally ask the question “can private enterprise create money” (because the question does not occur to them).

    However, the answer is “yes – up till the 1850s, when Congress banned them (for bad reasons), private mints dominated the American West”

    There is also the other question that the left do not think of – “what of government police”.

    If they are totally needed (if we would all eat each other without them) why were County police forces not compulsory in England and Wales before 1856?

    Generally as technology advances it should be LESS difficult for people to look after themselves (and each other) yet statism has got WORSE and WORSE (the state has got bigger and bigger).

    This is the victory of ideology (statist ideology) over both reason and historical experience.

    Why did Iceland adopt state education in the early 1900s? Who there could not read and write?

    Why did tiny Andorra adopt a Social Security sytem in 1966 – which old person there was left to die in the mountain snows?

    No.

    It is all IDEOLOGY – collectivist ideology.

  30. Julie near Chicago says:

    Paul,

    Beautifully, clearly, logically, concisely layed out. Even I ought to be able to memorize it just as written, so as not to go nuclear in all directions when these discussions come up in real life. Thank you.

    Re the remarks on Social Security and related programs: And people believe it…and now, over here, people who in 1965 had a decent grasp of some aspects (at least) of reality and were then dead set against Medicare–are being scared out of their wits that it will be rescinded or cut back. “Granny off the cliff,” so forth.

    Of course one can’t blame them, in terms of the reality that all the conditions that made Medicare unnecessary and unpopular when it was “passed” have been nearly destroyed.

    (That’s before we get into the moral arguments against it.)

    Ancillary but important aspect of the Medicare/Social-Security issue:

    Has anyone noticed the ramping up of inter-generational (yet another form of “class”) warfare? This M/S-S issue is being raised loudly and often.

    Maybe I’m being paranoid (how unusual!), but I find this worrisome indeed. Of course, I was a late teen and “young adult” when this “everybody over 30 should be shot” business began to be heard in the cafeteria lines in rural high schools. The 60′s, “that scum of a decade,” with the New Left and its teachers (like Marcuse) ruining things for all they were worth…. Ripping away at the social fabric…at a very important section of the warp threads…deliberately.

    On the one hand, there is a strong moral argument that even if we did pay into those systems for our entire working lives, which amounts to theft plain and simple, that doesn’t give us the right to steal from the young to make up for it. If somebody comes along and steals my bankbook, that does not give me the right to go into the park and mug some other poor schmuck of a total stranger and take his wallet “to make up for it.”

    On the other hand…I see nothing wrong (in itself) with keeping your Soc. Sec. check and using it to pay the taxes that you shouldn’t have to be paying in the first place. If you give it to charity (say)–and I’m talking about a real charity, totally private and not yet another de facto quango, not the Church, not United Way, etc. etc.–you’re still using stolen money that should be returned to its rightful owners. Of course, they should all be returning my stolen money to me, too, as I continue to pay income tax, property tax, so forth. Also, the majority of the “social-program”-liberal-Dim voters are (so they say) “young people” (leaving M/S-S aside), and insofar as that’s true they’re the ones voting for Al Capone et al.; in other words, they’re the ones who think that taking blood money is just fine. I should worry about stealing it back from them??

    Personally I don’t think anybody under 50 (except for Kitty Kounters and like-minded social misfits) should be allowed to vote. Or even speak. *SNARL*

    I also–in defense of “the young”!–notice quite a few younger people at least on the Internet who seem not to buy into the “theft is righteous” idea, nor the whole anti-liberty view of what the political order should be.

  31. Paul Marks says:

    Julie the Frankfurt School (Marcuse and co) thought of everything – bar one thing.

    They have helped undermne the economic and CULTURAL basis of civil soceity – with endless work, and vast cleverness.

    They have out played their opponents (us) at every turn.

    However………..

    Their alternative system will not work.

    I believe that Karl Marx knew that himself – which is why he forbad any real discussion of how socialism was supposed to work (he denounced this as “unscientific” and “utopean”). His formal reasons for this are absurd – which leads me to expect that the real reason was that Karl, himself, knew it would not work (but was too committed to turn back).

    So it is all for nothing.

    All the lies.

    All the crimes.

    All the destruction.

    Is for nothing.

    The great “enemies of the Koch brothers”, the warriors of “social justice”, will just leave a pile of ash, where civil society once existed.

    Everything the collectivists have done, are doing, and will do – is for nothing.

    It in the end they will not even have power.

    Just ashes.

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