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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Libertarian Hero--Robin Hood? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Libertarian Hero--Robin Hood?
Dan_raven
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Yesterday I was watching the Errol Flynn Version of Robin Hood, made in those grand old days of 1930's Socialist Hollywood. I was a bit surprised about the amount of "preaching" that went on around the action. Whether it was Maid Marian's speech to Guy Gisburn and Prince John, where she attacks the Norman/Saxon racism, or Robin's speech to Marian about the Government's responsibilities to the people, not to the wealthy.

This was the era that brought about Franklin liberalism, where stealing from the rich to give to the starving proved to be a cure for the common man.

Of course, my imagination did not stop there.

It struck me that "Steal from the rich and give to the poor" is the anti-thesis of the Libertarian way.

Yet a remake of Robin Hood as a Libertarian is not hard to imagine.

Robin Hood did not fight the wealthy as much as he fought--UNFAIR TAXES. He robbed the rich IN THE GOVERNMENT. He also robbed the churchmen, but only those who abused their position to support the crooked government.

The abuses mentioned in the movie, and in most of the books and series I've watched about Robin Hood, were the results of the agonies of tax collection.

The government controls everything in Robin's world, right down to the food that runs wild. The hard working people are "taxed to death" literally, and not allowed to feed themselves.

The "poor" who received the wealth that Robin had stolen were not the lazy poor or the needy poor. No. They had earned that money originally, but had it taken from them by the government.

Maid Marian is a "ward of the King". What is that than another way of saying Welfare Recipient.

So picture a modern telling of Robin Hood.

Wealthy industrialist Robin Locksley supports good King George's war. Yet when he turns around he discovers his employees are starving at home. He tries to open up new plants to put more people to work so they can earn their keep.

Such plans require EPA approval. The Kings' forest must not be tampered with, even to feed the starving. When one of his employees tries to develop a business without the appropriate permits, the government comes down hard and the Sheriff is called in to shut him down.

Locksley, a willing venture capitalist, defends the employee. This brings the wrath of the protective sherrif and the IRS down on him.

Locksley loses everything to the IRS. He flees into the same woods he wanted to develop, and begins his reign of championing the workers and stealing from the Government to give to the People.

He meets Made Marian, a lifetime Ward of the State--Welfare Queen who while captured by Robin discovers the errors of her lifestyle. She joins Robin, working from th inside of the welfare system to bring true justice and nobility to those they have been abusing for power.

Dr. Tuck, an educator, joins Robin when he realizes that the governmental education system is corrupt, selling the souls they should be educating.

The Norman tyrants are now called Democrats.
The Saxon suffering workers are now called Republicans.

Eventually, after many adventures, King George returns home in disguise. Evil Prince Obama won't let him return to the thrown. In disguise he seeks out Robin, (played by Ron Paul). He even asks Robin if he blames Prince Obama for the evil times.

"No, I blame King George. He shouldn't be off fighting foreign wars when his duty is here at home." (That's almost an exact quote from the movie.).

Yes, this could be a good movie, but a powerful message.

Too bad I disagree completely with the message.

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The Pixiest
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Funny, I was just thinking the other day how Robin Hood stole from the government and gave back to the workers, yet if you ask anyone what Robin Hood did, they'd say "stole from the rich and gave to the poor."

This perversion of morality gets drilled into people's head from a young age. The Hero steals from those awful RICH people. Stealing is ok if it's from RICH people. Is that really a message children should be learning?

Though I guess most of you would say "Yes" since you've bought the message hook, line and sinker.

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Shawshank
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I have to ask: why don't I ever get any of the cool fantasies?
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Epictetus
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It seems to me that Disney's Robin Hood kind of meets the Libertarian ticket. As I remember you only ever see him steal from the government (Prince John) and his real arch-nemesis being the Sherrif (the corrupt law-enforcement officer.)

Edit: That being said, I think your re-telling is very humorous. I'm going to have to send this thread to my friends.

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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Though I guess most of you would say "Yes" since you've bought the message hook, line and sinker.

You're assuming most of us even like or care about Robin Hood to begin with. [Smile]

And even then, watching something in escapist fiction !=condoning it in real life. I enjoy watching the Dini/Timm Batman cartoons, but that doesn't mean I advocate masked vigilantes in reality.

I would think many of those who -do- care about and follow the stories of Robin Hood admire him mainly as an exciting fictional character, not as a role model for the ethics of stealing.

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Shan
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Interesting take. I just need to correct a wee bit of misconception on Marian.

She was not a "welfare queen."

In fact, if inheritance rights had been different, she would have been a wealthy landowner in her own right.

As it was, she was considered a part of the property and monies -- a package deal -- which, if she had been a man, she would have inherited upon her father's death.

Marian was a wealthy pawn.

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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Though I guess most of you would say "Yes" since you've bought the message hook, line and sinker.

You're assuming most of us even like or care about Robin Hood to begin with. [Smile]

And even then, watching something in escapist fiction !=condoning it in real life. I enjoy watching the Dini/Timm Batman cartoons, but that doesn't mean I advocate masked vigilantes in reality.

I would think many of those who -do- care about and follow the stories of Robin Hood admire him mainly as an exciting fictional character, not as a role model for the ethics of stealing.

The Pixiest basically defines taxing as stealing.
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MightyCow
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And slavery.
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the_Somalian
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In "Atlas Shrugged" Ayn Rand severely denounces Robin Hood as the essence of the "looter" mentality, but as I read one of her characters rail against this character/story I had the same thought as you--Robin Hood wasn't taking money from the productive rich but rather from unproductive nobility who made their living from unfair taxes--at least that's how I think the story goes.
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Juxtapose
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Though I guess most of you would say "Yes" since you've bought the message hook, line and sinker.

Well, when they bait it with kool-aid how am I supposed to resist?

Oops, there's a herd forming outside. I better go see what's going on. [Roll Eyes]

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AvidReader
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Robin Hood becomes what we want him to be. Wiki says the term was used to describe any typical outlaw back in the day. As in the 1200s. By 1450, he was getting his own folktales, generally similar to the ones told about other outlaws of the time. He doesn't want his men to hurt the poor, but he's not giving the cash away yet.

The oldest ballads have him as a yeoman, part of the gentry. In the 16th century, he got his promotion to the nobility. That's also when he was moved from a vague reference to the reign of King Edward to specifically during the time King Richard was away in the Crusades. He got domesticated.

In the 17th century he finally gets his rep stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. In the 18th century, he became a farcical character, outwitted by everyone but the sheriff. In the Victorian era, he became a children's story hero.

He became a Saxon fighting against Norman oppression in the 19th century. It wasn't until the film in '38 that he fought against Prince John to restore King Richard to the throne. He had been a local hero until then. In the 80s he got a Saracen in the band, and everyone's just had to have one since then. (Though the current series making her a woman with some medical training is a nice twist.)

Right now on the BBC, he's a light hearted pacifist who almost never kills. People are tired of war and violence; it's what they need him to be now. Somewhere down the line, someone will change things up in a way that speaks to the people of the time, and he'll become that for a few centuries.

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MrSquicky
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In our version of the Robin Hood myth, the government isn't really a government the way we understand it. It's more akin to rule of property owners over the people they allow on their land. Robin Hood would very much be a villian from the libetarian point of view.

A feudalistic wave slave society is consistent with an extreme form of libetarianism and not an unlikely consequence of adopting it.

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Samprimary
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Yeahhh, Robin Hood's wealth redistribution .. uh, 'system' is hardly Libertarian endorsed.

What robin hood is about is, well, rebellion against a tyrannical state of affairs. Swap gentry and aristocracy with "landowners" or sommat in the robin hood mythos and what robin hood is doing is explicitly condemned by libertarian economic and social concepts.

quote:
Though I guess most of you would say "Yes" since you've bought the message hook, line and sinker.
You tell us gullible unwashed statists what for!
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Dan_raven
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Avid, while I like your history of Robin Hood, you left out Sir Walter Scott, who had him aiding Ivanhoe to help restore Richard.

There was also a wave of 1970's era Spiritual Robin Hood where his spiritual connections to "the Forest" and "Puck" (often called "robin Goodfellow) are key to his powers.

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Lisa
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Rand makes a big deal of Robin Hood in Atlas Shrugged, where she takes him as the conventional picture of "rob from the rich and give to the poor", and has one of her characters basically go to war against that concept.

But I agree. He was fighting the government and its high taxes, and returning those taxes to the people they were stolen from. At least as I read it.

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kmbboots
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Was he "returning taxes" according to what people had paid in taxes or was he distributing the wealth according to need?
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MrSquicky
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quote:
He was fighting the government and its high taxes,
Maybe it's the word taxes. As I understand it, the main sources of income we're talking about here is rent and other considerations for using the property owner's land, fees for using the owner's services and buildings (the main one being the mill), and tolls on roads. (edit: I think there was also taxes on commerce, which occured at fairs the property owners owned.)

What were the property owners doing that was stealing?

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Alcon
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quote:
He became a Saxon fighting against Norman oppression in the 19th century. It wasn't until the film in '38 that he fought against Prince John to restore King Richard to the throne.
Actually, it was in 1819 with the publishing of Ivanhoe that the modern cheery outlaw. And I'm pretty sure he aided Ivanhoe (and Richard in the form of the Black Knight) against Prince John (or at least, his minions). I can't remember what he was doing in the book before he ran into Ivanhoe and decided to help him.
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bootjes
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Or a libertarien Godfather:
The governement making you an offer that you can't resist. We will take care of you but it will cost you protection money.

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The Pixiest
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
And slavery.

Looks like Walter Williams agrees with me. At least I know I'm not completely alone, right?

http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=5199

I'd love to quote this, but I'd have to quote the whole article.

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Rakeesh
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Sure, and Walter Williams is wrong for the same reason you were: slaves don't get to leave, Pix.

Therefore his definition of slavery is invalid.

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Threads
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quote:
You might argue that my analogy is irrelevant because unlike American slaves and Nazi concentration camp inmates, we can come and go as we please, live where we want, buy a car, clothes and other things with the money left over after the government gets four months' worth of our earnings. But, does that make much of a difference?

During slavery, visitors to the South often observed "a great many loose negroes about." Officials in Savannah, Mobile and Charleston and other cities complained about "nominal slaves," "virtually free negroes," and "quasi free negroes" who were seemingly oblivious to any law or regulation. Frederick Douglass, a slave, explained this phenomenon when he was employed as a Baltimore ship's caulker: "I was to be allowed all my time; to make bargains for work; to find my own employment, and to collect my own wages; and in return for this liberty, I was to pay him (Douglass' master) three dollars at the end of each week, and to board and clothe myself, and buy my own caulking tools."

Here Walters redefines slavery to suit his purposes. He completely ignores the fact that a slave owner still has full control over his slaves. While some owners may have let their slaves enjoy a few liberties, that doesn't change the fact that they still could have exerted their full will over their slaves if they wanted to.
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The Pixiest
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Just as the government can draft us into the military or make us go to Jury Doody. They can do anything they want to us, including make us die, if if they wanted to.
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MrSquicky
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quote:
They can do anything they want to us, including make us die, if if they wanted to.
I not sure if we use words the same way. In my language slavery != "having to pay taxes if I choose to live in a country". I also don't that think some = any. That the government can make us do some things is not equivilent to them being able to make us do anything, to me.

Some would say you are trying to pass off silly hyperbole as accurate description. I'm not sure. Maybe the difference is just linguistic.

[ June 17, 2008, 04:14 PM: Message edited by: MrSquicky ]

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scholarette
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The thing is, that in using that analogy only those who agree with the libertarian ideas will take it seriously. Since I disagree with the libertarian ideals, I am all for Pixiest and anyone else framing their arguments in those terms.
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MrSquicky
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My problem is that I'm very sympathetic to many of the ideals and goals of limited libetarianism and believe that a serious libetarian influence would be a good thing in our political culture, but the people who generally push it do more damage to this than they help.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Just as the government can draft us into the military or make us go to Jury Doody. They can do anything they want to us, including make us die, if if they wanted to.
Well first of all, they can't do any of those things without our consent as the citizenry.

Slaves don't get that option.

Furthermore, by framing the argument like this you're basically saying that anyone who has power over me is a slave master and I their slave.

Well, the drug dealers a few miles away could bust into this house and kill me any time they wanted to!

The police could frame me for a crime I didn't commit, seeing me sent to prison for the rest of my life any time they wanted to!

I could go across the street and rob the neighbor's house blind any time I wanted to!

No one in any of these situations is a slave. Victims, obviously, but not slaves.

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The Pixiest
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Squick: I'd LOVE to hear your intellectually honest, no nonsense, charismatic defense of libertarian principles.

This is NOT sarcasm.

How do you get around the "You owe the state whatever they demand" mindset?

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MrSquicky
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quote:
How do you get around the "You owe the state whatever they demand" mindset?
I'm not aware of anyone I've ever met who has this mindset, so it really hasn't been a problem for me.
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The Pixiest
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Well first of all, they can't do any of those things without our consent as the citizenry.

So slavery is ok if there are many masters?

quote:

Well, the drug dealers a few miles away could bust into this house and kill me any time they wanted to!

Not legally. They can't do it by force of law.

quote:

The police could frame me for a crime I didn't commit, seeing me sent to prison for the rest of my life any time they wanted to!

There are laws against such abuse of power.

quote:

I could go across the street and rob the neighbor's house blind any time I wanted to!

The difference between all of these and what the government does is Legality. With all three of these cases you can appeal to the government for help. That's what they're FOR. To protect you from force and fraud. When the government turns to force and fraud, it becomes the abomination we have today.

And we have no recourse.

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MattP
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quote:
Squick: I'd LOVE to hear your intellectually honest, no nonsense, charismatic defense of libertarian principles.
Basically everything you say when someone asks you what you mean by "slavery" except, you know, the part where you actually call it slavery.
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Rakeesh
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Pix,

quote:
So slavery is ok if there are many masters?
Of course not. Unless you remember that those 'other masters' have the same rights as you do. Then they're not masters, they're peers.

It's almost self-evident, but you keep dancing around it: slaves don't get to try and convince their masters through voting to change things. Slaves live by the rules their masters set for them, period. Input from the slaves is not a necessity in a slavery-based system.

That's not what we have in our little democratic republic. The 'slaves' routinely throw out the 'masters' and get to pick the ones who will replace them, and if they don't like the job the new 'master' does, he gets thrown out on his ass too.

That's. Not. Slavery. The only way slaves get rid of their masters is by overthrowing him violently or running away.

quote:
The difference between all of these and what the government does is Legality. With all three of these cases you can appeal to the government for help. That's what they're FOR. To protect you from force and fraud. When the government turns to force and fraud, it becomes the abomination we have today.

And we have no recourse.

OK, so it's that they have the legal right to use force that you object to.

Even though we gave them that right, and still give them that right. And yet you say we 'have no recourse'.

Are you being deliberately obtuse here, Pix? This is baffling me. We have recourse often! Depending on where you live it's a big thing every couple of years, or even more often than that! It's disingenuous in the extreme to suggest that 'we have no recourse'.

Everyone has recourse!

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The Pixiest
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
quote:
How do you get around the "You owe the state whatever they demand" mindset?
I'm not aware of anyone I've ever met who has this mindset, so it really hasn't been a problem for me.
Time and time again I've been told in these threads that whatever the government asks is ok because the citizens vote for it. In fact, in this very thread, Rak told me that taxation isn't slavery because it's voted on.

How would you phrase it? How would you frame your arguments? Do you have anything that works? I really want to know.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Time and time again I've been told in these threads that whatever the government asks is ok because the citizens vote for it. In fact, in this very thread, Rak told me that taxation isn't slavery because it's voted on.
I might not keep bringing it up if you would just address a couple of points. Namely, slaves don't pick their masters like we do, and slaves don't get to leave if they want to, like we do.

Those two little facts damn your argument that we're slaves to the government, yet argument in reply is basically a non-response of, "So we've got lots of masters."

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fugu13
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You're willing to countenance taxes for fire departments and probably a few other limited things, but you can't possibly figure out how someone could countenance taxes for anything else without being okay with any level of taxes?

There isn't some hard and fast rule. Most people are okay with the levels of taxation we see in the world because it seems to work decently well. Would they be okay with any level of taxation? Probably not, but that they have a different comfort level and set of particular things they find sufficiently justifiable for the gov't to spend money on things doesn't mean their reasoning is particularly different.

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fugu13
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Rakeesh: especially as, as I pointed out in a previous thread or two, a system almost exactly like ours could arise without violating any libertarian ideals: Contracts to obey sets of law^H^H^H^H^H club rules or face the proscribed penalties and include a requirement to put a group membership (including for trespassing) rider on all land sales.
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The Pixiest
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quote:

It's almost self-evident, but you keep dancing around it: slaves don't get to try and convince their masters through voting to change things. Slaves live by the rules their masters set for them, period. Input from the slaves is not a necessity in a slavery-based system.

Wow.. So if the Massas in the old south had just put up a suggestion box we could have avoided a bloody war?

Compulsion by 1 person or a billion, it doesn't matter. You're compelling unwilling victims to OBEY. One person doesn't have the rights to steal the fruits of my labour. 300,000,000 people don't have the right to compel me to work till april for the government before I can start working for myself.

One vote is a spit in the ocean of people who don't care about politics (but still vote) and/or treat the constitution like toilet paper. Politics these days is all about stealing from the few to buy the votes of the many.

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Rakeesh
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Pix,

quote:
Compulsion by 1 person or a billion, it doesn't matter. You're compelling unwilling victims to OBEY. One person doesn't have the rights to steal the fruits of my labour. 300,000,000 people don't have the right to compel me to work till april for the government before I can start working for myself.
Tell you what: grow your fruit somewhere else, then. But at least you're not continuing-in this paragraph-with your nonsensical complaints about slavery.

Here's a 'doesn't have the right to...' for you: one person doesn't have the right to enjoy the rights granted by living in a democratic republic, and refuse to live up to the responsibilities of that democratic republic just because the law disagrees with their individual whims.

Every day you continue to remain in the system. You say that that system doesn't have the right to do such and such to you, well here's another spin on it: the United States of America was here first. Why should it be the one that has to leave? Why don't you leave instead?

quote:

One vote is a spit in the ocean of people who don't care about politics (but still vote) and/or treat the constitution like toilet paper. Politics these days is all about stealing from the few to buy the votes of the many.

So the system is bad because you can't get enough people to agree with you?

quote:
Wow.. So if the Massas in the old south had just put up a suggestion box we could have avoided a bloody war?
*rolleyes*

Yeah, that's what I meant. And it's an accurate comparison you're making, too. That's what voting is. A suggestion box. Wait a second, that's a bunch of crap. Voting isn't a suggestion, it's an order. If sufficient voters vote one way, well then it's not a suggestion anymore. The politician is out. Period.

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The Pixiest
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I knew "love it or leave it" would pop up again.

But, once again, there's no where else to go. Every speck of inhabitable land on this globe is already claimed by someone who's either a statist and/or a more obvious murdering tyrant.

It'd be nice, though, to find an island I could move to.. I can see it now... a little garden, some fruit trees.. a satellite Internet link... Unfortunately islands cost a lot of money and I can't seem to save enough because 40% of my income goes to people other than me. (Probably closer to 60% if you include the nickle and dime taxes all along the way... Not just Federal/California/SS/Medicare.)

And the system is broken because they don't follow the Constitution. It lays out what the Government is allowed to do. Unfortunately, our elected officials ignore it and do whatever they want to do. Heck, one of our presidential candidates pushed for (and had his name attached to) a bill that severely limits free speech in the time of an election. And it didn't just pass, the supreme court said it was just fine and dandy. That's why the system is broken.

Pure democracy or even a democratic republic as we have is useless without a constitution to keep our laws in line with our principles. And these United States that have been around for longer than I have drifted from the principles of Liberty long ago.

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MattP
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quote:
I knew "love it or leave it" would pop up again.
No one is saying love it or leave it. They are saying that the fact that you are permitted to leave disqualifies the situation you are in as slavery. Most people here would probably suggest that you attempt to get things changed politically where you live rather than leave. Most people here also agree that there should be fewer tax-supported programs than currently exist. We all want to head in the same direction that you do, we just don't want to go as far.
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The Pixiest
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Matt: I'm allowed to go from one plantation to another. I'm not allowed to leave except by pill, razorblade or gunshot.
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MattP
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quote:
Matt: I'm allowed to go from one plantation to another.
Correct. However, in true slavery, slaves are not free to choose their owners any more than your coffee table gets to choose whose house it lives in.

The fact that other governments happen to be as bad or worse doesn't make your being subject to taxes in this one an instance of slavery.

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The Pixiest
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So if a slave owner said "If you want me to sell you to Bob, I'll do it." it would stop being slavery?
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MattP
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quote:
So if a slave owner said "If you want me to sell you to Bob, I'll do it." it would stop being slavery?
No, but you continue to torture your analogy. Whether you choose to go to another nation is entirely up to *you*, not the US government, and the US government receives no compensation when this occurs, despite losing the benefit of your taxes.
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The Pixiest
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The US government must issue travel papers in the form of a Passport.
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MattP
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Pretty much everyone who's not under investigation in a criminal proceeding can get a passport, so that doesn't seem like much of a barrier.
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The Pixiest
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Never the less, you have to ask permission. And they might not grant it. It's not "entirely" up to you.

And even if it were, Slavery here or Slavery there isn't much of a choice. And it IS still slavery.

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MattP
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If your typical historical slave could walk up to his master, ask for a note, have a 99% chance of getting said note, then take that note with them to work at another plantation, then your analogy would be sort of apt, at least in regard to freedom of travel. But that's not close to how it works at all. A slave doesn't change masters without an exchange of similar value being made to compensate for the loss of that slave and the slave doesn't get to choose to leave or where he goes.
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Dan_Frank
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Matt: Is the inability to change masters the most fundamental aspect of being a slave? Because I'm pretty sure that even if historical slaves could have fairly easily changed masters, they still wouldn't have been very happy with their situation.

And I think it would still have qualified as slavery.

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kmbboots
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Does the US require a passport to leave or just to get back in?
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