On Leaving the Lifeboat….

February 26, 2010

"If you don't want to paddle with your hands, then you can leave the lifeboat. There's a plank. Gee, I wonder how that got there. And here's the end of my sword. Oh look! The end of my sword is getting closer to you. It must like you."

Over the past few weeks I’ve heard these three different formulations of the same general slogan, each offered in objection to the libertarian position:

“I think anyone who doesn’t see the value in paddling can leave the lifeboat.”

“If you don’t want to participate in the world, then you should probably excuse yourself from it.”

“So, you don’t avail yourself of [tax-funded government services]?”

The thrust of the slogan is that those who use publicly-funded goods and services should not object to paying taxes.  I hear this so often that it is high time I concocted a blanket, boilerplate response.  Here it is.  Listen:

First of all, most who resort to these slogans do not distinguish between those who merely object to paying taxes, and those who actually evade taxes.  There have been times when I have neglected to tally up cash payments for tax purposes.  Yet by and large, my tax payments have been involuntarily withheld from paychecks, and I have never failed to file a reasonably complete annual tax return.  I am paddling, whether I see a value in it or not. Read the rest of this entry »


Links for 2010-02-17: LAPD Harasses Sidewalk Food Vendors, Learn Marx’s Capital via Podcast, others….

February 18, 2010
  1. reason.tv | Taco Truck Takedown! Why is the LAPD harassing food carts?

    Forty-five days in jail for selling hot dogs? And you thought this was a "free" country…..

  2. LibriVox | Capital Volume 1 by Karl Marx

    The real deal? Das Kapital in a free audiobook podcast.

  3. David Harvey.org | Reading Marx's Capital

    Ooh! A 13-part video podcast on Das Kapital. Can't watch now, but my comments will surely follow! Read the rest of this entry »


links for 2010-02-08

February 9, 2010
  1. Body in Mind | Capitalism saves beautiful women

    There was probably some misrepresentation of the collectivist position in there somewhere. I wasn't really paying attention. (NSFW!-nudity)

  2. World Socialist Web Site | Rio Tinto Borax locks out 570 California mine workers

    Socialists have a love/hate relationship with management. When they are working under management, management is the villain because it exploits the workers. When management does not allow them to work because they refuse to sign an exploitive contract, management is again the villain for declining to exploit the workers. The attitude is summed up well in this statement: "Merrilees added, '[Mgmt] want[s] to be able to pick and choose who works, who doesn’t, who gets promoted, who gets raises and who gets what jobs,' He said, 'To their credit, people are standing up and saying, 'Enough is enough….'" What seems to be a fairly fundamental and necessary managerial task is unacceptable to Merilees. Merilees apparently believes that management should be prohibited from paying and retaining workers on the basis of individual worker productivity. To me, this is unfair. More productive workers should be paid more and have greater opportunity for promotion than less productive workers. Read the rest of this entry »