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    You have not objectively proven anything.You have expressed a belief. Just because you believe it is objective reality doesn't make it so.
    Wrong i believe in objective truth not relatvism. See past posts.

    The fact is that since time immemorial and even more so since people have been educated society has always comprised of people with different ideas about what is right or wrong.
    So? Does that mean there is never objective right?


    One has to be pragmatic and develop a state of affairs that the vast majority will tolerate.
    They will tolerate what they believe to be right and beneficial. I have shown in my past posts why i think people would accept rationalism and so the idea tax is theft, for example religion is decling in the uk -something rationalism can benefit from.

    It is naive to believe that because you believe something is right one day everyone else will see the light and so it will work.
    Optimistic.


    In answer to your question 'is tax immoral?' I cannot tell you. I can only give you my opinion
    What forms your opinions - your morals.

    So was the holocaust only subjectiely immoral?

    and as a general rule I would say yes
    Glad to see you agree




    zealots.
    Just someone with principles.
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    The fact that you say "I believe in objective truth" demonstrates the futility of your attempt to pass off your personal commitments as anything but.

    You assume ownership is in some way both universal and prior to the existence of public money, that is, the state. Property is however nothing but a societal construct, an artificial relation of man to object. As Rousseau said, "The first man who, having fenced off a plot of land, thought of saying, 'This is mine' and found people simple enough to believe him was the real founder of civil society."

    It makes no sense to speak of property, or of "our money", without the concept of the general framework that has enabled us to acquire that money. Imagine that you have just received a check for $20k from a car-making firm for assisting them in the production of some cars. Is this all "your money" or "your property"? No. The corporation could not make its cars without a legal system that fosters and protects mining rights, private ownership of land, an accepted currency, systems of transport, the production and sale of energy, the existence of an educated labour force, corporate oversight, the protection of patents and the prevention of monopolies, judicial resolution of disputes, national defence and the protection of trading routes. Even if it could make them, without security and at least a moderate degree of prosperity, few people would buy them. In other words, without taxes, and the system of regulation that could not exist without taxes, the corporation would not be able to pay you $20k at all—and if, somehow, you did get paid, the money would be of little value because you could not be secure in your ownership of anything you bought with it.

    The conclusion to draw is that, if we put aside utopian fantasies that have no relevance to the real world, it makes nonsense to talk of the money you would have if the government did not levy taxes. A system of government is conceptually prior to property rights—and a system of government requires taxation.

    As Oliver Wendell Holmes is famously quoted as saying, 'Taxes are the price we pay for civilisation.'
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    You assume ownership is in some way both universal and prior to the existence of public money, that is, the state. Property is however nothing but a societal construct, an artificial relation of man to object. As Rousseau said, "The first man who, having fenced off a plot of land, thought of saying, 'This is mine' and found people simple enough to believe him was the real founder of civil society."
    So because its not natural i.e there is not some force which prevents others taking anothers property, this makes it wrong. On that logic lets reject medicine after all its not natural, man made it.


    It makes no sense to speak of property, or of "our money", without the concept of the general framework that has enabled us to acquire that money.
    I agree the state protects our property. Theres a difference between a night watchman state and a welfare state. I do not want to abolish the state as i have repeated said.


    The corporation could not make its cars without a legal system that fosters and protects mining rights,
    I want a legal sysem


    private ownership of land,
    And that as well

    an accepted currency,
    People thought of currency, it is a social development not governmental. It is only worth something becuase people accept it. If they did not, the government could do nothing.

    systems of transport,
    Yes i agree, if theres a demand this will happen.

    the production and sale of energy,
    The same as above

    the existence of an educated labour force, corporate oversight, the protection of patents
    Yes this has all been covered.

    and the prevention of monopolies,
    Free market capitalism does this

    judicial resolution of disputes,
    See above

    national defence
    See above (again)

    Even if it could make them, without security and at least a moderate degree of prosperity, few people would buy them. In other words, without taxes, and the system of regulation that could not exist without taxes, the corporation would not be able to pay you $20k at all—the money would be of little value because you could not be secure in your ownership of anything you bought with it.
    Only if a state of nature exisited which im not advocating. I support the state just a one that has very limited roles.



    The conclusion to draw is that, if we put aside utopian fantasies that have no relevance to the real world, it makes nonsense to talk of the money you would have if the government did not levy taxes. A system of government is conceptually prior to property rights—and a system of government requires taxation.
    Please seem my posts about how a government is funded voluntarly due to it and only it having the right to legislature and view court cases (the contract funding thesis). I'm afraid your whole post is irrelevant and you have wasted your time writing it and i have wasted my time reading it. This is because i do not want to abolsih the state or take away its monoply of legitimate violence thus it is still capable of maintaing defence, property rights, police, border control etc.


    As Oliver Wendell Holmes is famously quoted as saying, 'Taxes are the price we pay for civilisation.'
    He would say that after all he was a judge and where do judges get their salary from? Compulsory taxation.
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    I am not an anarcho-capitist, i believe in the state maintaing law and coercion. The difference is that I believe in great limits. It is the fact that man has a certain amount of business 'savvy' that they do contracts. You point to the example of gambling, however this is wrong as people have an understadning that if you gamable and win you take the money, if you lose you give your money to the house. This is the nature of the industry. It is SO different from many other industries, from housing to steel to computers that people in these industries do make contracts. Surely you can see the difference?

    Are you seriously arguing that businessmen would sign a contract but than accept legally it means nothing? Such a view seems odd and perverse.
    So it is different. They can diversify. If like everything else, contract insurance is optional, it becomes an extra cost, therefore people will forgo it, and the courts will occasionally have to enforce uninsured contracts, like they do with verbal agreements now.

    Therefore as this will be enforced, nobody need pay for insurance, no money, no state.

    People still have legal rights. People may not attack one another, the law still exists. They may have bodyguards, just like people today have, but if they break the law they will be punished like all else would.
    Your scheme won't raise enough income to form a national defence, boarder control, court service (that struggles now) and police. So it will form vigilantism
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    So it is different. They can diversify. If like everything else, contract insurance is optional, it becomes an extra cost, therefore people will forgo it, and the courts will occasionally have to enforce uninsured contracts, like they do with verbal agreements now.

    Therefore as this will be enforced, nobody need pay for insurance, no money, no state.
    You could not be more wrong. It would be a much higher extra cost if someone did not keep to their side of the contract, thus people will sign it. Why do people take out insurance? After all its an extra cost. Under your logic people just would not bother. But they do, because they know that if there house burns down for example it would be a much BIGGer extra cost to rebuild it etc if they had not insured it.



    Your scheme won't raise enough income to form a national defence, boarder control, court service (that struggles now) and police. So it will form vigilantism
    What do you base that on?

    1) Today there are many contracts made each day, from cars to houses to new businesses. Thye happen all the time and are not unique
    2) In a zero tax area MORE businesses would emerge and relocate thus yet MORE contracts would occur than happens even today.
    3) Defence - with nuclear weapons and alliances no nation would invade. They are an effective deterrent. Also the money could still support an army.
    4) Having to rely on vol contracts encourages services to spend money wisely. Today if they waste it they just get more after all its compulsory. Thus courts and police would spend money on doing their jobs not red tape. Not only that they would have just as much if not more as expalined in my first two points.
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    Thus courts and police would spend money on doing their jobs not red tape.
    And i'm assuming thats catching criminals at all costs. Having the legal system we have means loads of red tape is inevitable. Unavoidable. so they need money. And the courts need capital investment
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    And i'm assuming thats catching criminals at all costs
    Catching criminals at all costs though within the law of course.

    Having the legal system we have means loads of red tape is inevitable. Unavoidable. so they need money.
    Now your just getting silly. We NEED to waste money? We dont need to waste money to allow justice to be served. We dont need police officers to spend seven minutes filling in forms everytime they stop one person in the street, never mind actually arrest someone. Come up with some real arguments.

    And the courts need capital investment
    And i have explained how this is provided.
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    You are the one creating a straw dog to tear apart here, not me. I never implied that property was wrong (that was Proudhon) - I explained that property is a societal construct. My argument doesn't rest on an implication that you wish to abolish the state, I recognise that you are a minarchist and not an anarcho-capitalist.

    The question at hand was never the abolition of the state - you are arguing that taxation is theft, which rests on the premise that all money is owned by private individuals and rejects the concept of social capital. This is a notion with which most economists would disagree. For one, Herbert Simon, Nobel prize-winning economist - he has estimated the proportion of income in wealthy countries that is the result of social capital and suggests that social capital is probably responsible for or at least 90 per cent of income in wealthy societies like the United States.

    For taxation to be, as you have suggested, theft, we must assume that no contribution to our accumulation of wealth has been made by the state. That our wealth has been brought to us, in effect, solely by our own efforts. But this, as I have demonstrated, is untrue. We have worked hard for our money but would have been unable to do so without all the above listed contributions of the state.

    In addition to attacking your argument that taxation is theft from its basic premise - that all capital is private capital - we can attack it from the position of government necessity. Yours is a fundamentally different view of the hypothetical role of government today to that of the vast majority and indeed the institutions of power, something I hope you do not contest. The role of a democratic government is generally accepted as to be government of the people, by the people, for the people. Something again I hope you do not contest. The question then arises as to what is required of a government to act in the best interests of those it governs. Your view is that government's duty is to be nothing but the night watchman state - to maintain law and order and nothing else, ensuring total negative freedom while preventing license.

    To fund this, you suggest some form of lottery - a theory untested in the modern capitalist world that may or may not provide sufficient funding for a night watchman state. If it does, and personally I am far from convinced that it does, then that suffices as one way in which government can fulfil whatever you hold to be its fundamental duty to the people it governs. Very well - if you wish to outline your exact proposals for the funding of a standing army, a democratic executive, a judiciary, a legislature, a legal framework with enforcement, free and fair elections, international representation and everything the night watchman state entails through a public lottery or other voluntary system, please do so, and I will do my best to assess them (if your philosophy of being absolutely right permits the assessment of your proposals by others).

    That is irrelevant though. The point is that today's societies have democratically chosen to make it the fundamental duty of their governments to do more than merely ensure the prevention of a Hobbesian state of nature. Victorian classical liberalism is dead and modern liberalism dictates the role of government - modern liberalism does not see mere negative freedom as in the interests of the greatest number, or as producing the greatest good, or greatest freedom, or whatever goal the different divisions set themselves to attain. Rather, it sees ensuring positive liberty for all as the fundamental aim of government. This is done through a far more expensive system than the night watchman state's. All people, according to the modern liberal consensus, must have access to healthcare, education and at a basic level life's necessities. This is in the interests of all, that is, of society as a whole, so is most fairly funded through a system of general taxation (indeed this can only be funded through a system of general taxation). If we believe that liberalism means the maximising of liberty for all, we are led necessarily to a system of general taxation.

    Take our treatment of a criminal - if a man is killing people, it is deemed necessary to society that he be removed from it. If he is jailed for life, the state may take ownership of his property. Is this theft? Has the state robbed this murderer? Is it kidnapping? Has the state kidnapped him? Most would argue no - because we value human life and reject violence the imprisonment of this man is necessary to society. Likewise, the modern liberal consensus that we should guarantee positive liberty for all makes taxation necessary to society. Unless the imprisoned criminal is kidnapped, the taxed man is not robbed.

    Finally, we can consider theft from a legal perspective. Theft is not the acquisition of another's property without consent but the unlawful acquisition of another's property without consent. As the guarantor and originator of law, both the concept of property and the concept of theft are dependent on the state. The state determines what is our property and determines what is theft of it - how can we then turn to it and say that something is a) our property and b) has been stolen when the law, which defines both, is in disagreement?

    The idea that taxation is theft is nonsense on stilts.
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    The question at hand was never the abolition of the state - you are arguing that taxation is theft, which rests on the premise that all money is owned by private individuals and rejects the concept of social capital. This is a notion with which most economists would disagree. For one, Herbert Simon, Nobel prize-winning economist - he has estimated the proportion of income in wealthy countries that is the result of social capital and suggests that social capital is probably responsible for or at least 90 per cent of income in wealthy societies like the United States.
    But these things you point to like defence, law and order, the prevention of monopolies etc can still be provided without compulsory taxation. I accept they are needed and are good as they create the right condtions in which it is right to make money. But why must they be funded by compulsion? I suggest they dont need to be due to the 'contract thesis' as suggested by Rand and noted in my past posts in this thread. You seem to think two things. The first is that to fund these things we need compulsory tax, i show this to be wrong. Secondly you seem to beleive the state is responsible for certain things which they are not like preventing monopolies. In a pure free market the market prevents these.


    For taxation to be, as you have suggested, theft, we must assume that no contribution to our accumulation of wealth has been made by the state. That our wealth has been brought to us, in effect, solely by our own efforts. But this, as I have demonstrated, is untrue. We have worked hard for our money but would have been unable to do so without all the above listed contributions of the state.
    True we need the state thats why i support it. The state has helped but that does not justify theft and the state can still provide the framework to allow us to accumulate wealth without compulsory tax.


    In addition to attacking your argument that taxation is theft from its basic premise - that all capital is private capital - we can attack it from the position of government necessity.
    I agree it is neccessary thus your argument is redundant. I support a state and government.



    To fund this, you suggest some form of lottery - a theory untested in the modern capitalist world that may or may not provide sufficient funding for a night watchman state. If it does, and personally I am far from convinced that it does, then that suffices as one way in which government can fulfil whatever you hold to be its fundamental duty to the people it governs. Very well - if you wish to outline your exact proposals for the funding of a standing army, a democratic executive, a judiciary, a legislature, a legal framework with enforcement, free and fair elections, international representation and everything the night watchman state entails through a public lottery or other voluntary system, please do so, and I will do my best to assess them (if your philosophy of being absolutely right permits the assessment of your proposals by others).
    See my past posts.

    That is irrelevant though. The point is that today's societies have democratically chosen to make it the fundamental duty of their governments to do more than merely ensure the prevention of a Hobbesian state of nature.
    Does that make it right? The people of Germany voted for the Nazis, does that make it right?



    All people, according to the modern liberal consensus, must have access to healthcare, education and at a basic level life's necessities.
    This can be provided by the market. I ahve explained in my past posts why. Briefly increased incomes, increased investment, increased charity, bigger markets = able to lower prices, no government interferance = better economic conditions, trickle down effect. Though read my past posts for further information

    This is in the interests of all, that is, of society as a whole, so is most fairly funded through a system of general taxation (indeed this can only be funded through a system of general taxation).
    There is no such thing as society. Individuals are so different that it is wrong to put them into a collective. As we are all different we cant all agree how money should be spent, thus it is wrong to have compulsory tax. Rather people should be free to choose how they spend their money.

    If we want people to benefit we need businesses, the best way to attract them is to have a zero tax zone. That is what benefits individuals not a welfare state which creates dependency, waste, unproductivity and corruption (see Hayek)

    If we believe that liberalism means the maximising of liberty for all, we are led necessarily to a system of general taxation.
    Wrong, giving people equal rights before the law and maximum freedom i.e my freedom ends where your face begins is what maximises the liberty of all. Positive liberty is dangerous which leads to dictatorships as Berlin argues.

    Take our treatment of a criminal - if a man is killing people, it is deemed necessary to society that he be removed from it. If he is jailed for life, the state may take ownership of his property. Is this theft? Has the state robbed this murderer? Is it kidnapping? Has the state kidnapped him? Most would argue no - because we value human life and reject violence the imprisonment of this man is necessary to society.
    I agree. That is why i support the idea of a law. Those who go against the law give up their right to freedom. How is that not in accordance with the idea of a minimalist state?

    Likewise, the modern liberal consensus that we should guarantee positive liberty for all makes taxation necessary to society. Unless the imprisoned criminal is kidnapped, the taxed man is not robbed.
    How did you go from supprting negative liberty to postive liberty. By saying 'likewise'? How come? You have not shown your thinking merely explained what certain theories are, but you provide no coherence.

    Finally, we can consider theft from a legal perspective. Theft is not the acquisition of another's property without consent but the unlawful acquisition of another's property without consent.

    The law is right because the law is right is a circular and weak argument. Stalin was right because Stalin was right?

    As the guarantor and originator of law, both the concept of property and the concept of theft are dependent on the state.
    People came together in order to preseve property as Cicero argues, thus law exists to defend property. People accepted the idea of law, the state was their instrument. Thus it is not higher than the people. Thats why people rightly have the right to civil disobedience for example as the writers of the American constitution argued that when the state did wrong the people had the right to overthrow it.

    Theft is theft, whether the state says it is or not. We know that because morality and natural law tells us. We are not here in order to die, we are here to live, thus it is wrong to steal as it deprives someone of their source of life -their freedom. Without that we are at the mercy of others.

    The state determines what is our property and determines what is theft of it -how can we then turn to it and say that something is a) our property and b) has been stolen when the law, which defines both, is in disagreement?
    You are using the state to decide what is right and wrong, i am using morality. States are not pefect, morality is after all thats why it is morality.

    The idea that taxation is theft is nonsense on stilts.
    I find it rather amusing that you quote Bentham, a great influence on Mill - one of those who advocated Victorian classical liberalism which according to you is now 'dead'.
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    You haven't addressed the argument that the existence of social capital and the necessity of the state to private capital mean that to speak of taxation as if it is the taking of private capital is incoherent.

    You haven't addressed the argument that since the principle that murder is wrong means that the criminal is not kidnapped, the principle that taxation is necessary to the existence of an enabling state means that taxation is not theft. Why is the criminal not kidnapped? Because his imprisonment is considered necessary to society. Why is the taxed man not robbed? Because his taxation is considered necessary to society.

    You also have failed to see the point of the argument from theft under law. It is not saying that taxation is necessarily good - it is saying that taxation is not theft because theft is the unlawful taking of private property. Taxation is the lawful taking of "private property" - theft is a legal concept, so while the law is not right because it's right, it is law because it's law. If taxation is legal, taxation is not theft.

    If there is no such thing as society and the concept of a collective is unacceptable, do you reject democracy? If you don't, how can you possibly reconcile its inevitable tyranny of the majority with the unacceptability of compulsory taxation? If a system of compulsory taxation and positive liberty cannot be enforced on all, why can a system of negative liberty and voluntary public funding?

    And out of interest, in what way is perfect competition the direction in which the free market moves? The undeniable advantages of economies of scale and supernormal profits ensure that all companies desire to acquire a dominant market share, something achievable through mergers, pre-existing capital and advertisement. An unregulated free market only removes the barriers that prevent a company achieving monopoly position. If monopoly is undesirable, so is the unregulated free market - the concentration of economic power is its inevitable result.

    Finally, I paraphrased, not quoted, Bentham. If Victorian classical liberalism wasn't dead, we wouldn't be calling it Victorian.
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    Tax is wrong, wrong, wrong. In so many ways.

    You can't choose how to spend your money, the government does. And the government doesn't spend it wisely. They're not a private business, so they're not efficient with it, nor can they spend it in your best interests either - it may go on something that doesn't benefit you at all.

    What if you go through life, diligently working and paying taxes, not smoking or drinking, living a healthy lifestyle, not going to hospital more than a few times in your life - and yet your money gets given to fund some loser whose never worked a day in his life, and has busted both lungs through smoking?

    If you're being taxed, you're not truly free.
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    Now your just getting silly. We NEED to waste money? We dont need to waste money to allow justice to be served. We dont need police officers to spend seven minutes filling in forms everytime they stop one person in the street, never mind actually arrest someone. Come up with some real arguments.
    Know we need to have forms.Have you ever been stopped and searched by the police? has anyone you've been with, been stopped and searched by the police? Not a nice experience, a record must be made, now if the Liberal Democrats want to introduce Blackberrys to make it quicker, thats all well and good but you need to have a record, just like you need a custody record, hence form filling when you arrest someone, because what happened before, back in the good old days before form filling.

    Justice needs forms. Thats the only way we can make it public record.
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    (Original post by rachaelmarie)
    Know we need to have forms.Have you ever been stopped and searched by the police? has anyone you've been with, been stopped and searched by the police? Not a nice experience, a record must be made, now if the Liberal Democrats want to introduce Blackberrys to make it quicker, thats all well and good but you need to have a record, just like you need a custody record, hence form filling when you arrest someone, because what happened before, back in the good old days before form filling.

    Justice needs forms. Thats the only way we can make it public record.
    Amen to that. Police officers should be able to thoroughly recount their actions during the course of their duties, that means filling in forms. Of course the forms should be as simple and quick as possible and that is where time needs to be spent.
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    Tax is morally just and legally sound. Without tax we would not have the NHS or a welfare system. The only problem with tax is that we dont have enough of it, hows it fair that a family earning £40,000 a year pay the same rate of tax as someone earning £500,000 a year?
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    Do you think it necessary to have a state? The state here meaning a legal and political infrasturcture, an army and border controls ect. I.e the things taxes fund.
    If so, please suggest another more "fair and just" way it could be funded.
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    (Original post by milady)
    Tax is wrong, wrong, wrong. In so many ways.

    You can't choose how to spend your money, the government does. And the government doesn't spend it wisely. They're not a private business, so they're not efficient with it, nor can they spend it in your best interests either - it may go on something that doesn't benefit you at all.

    What if you go through life, diligently working and paying taxes, not smoking or drinking, living a healthy lifestyle, not going to hospital more than a few times in your life - and yet your money gets given to fund some loser whose never worked a day in his life, and has busted both lungs through smoking?

    If you're being taxed, you're not truly free.
    The government is democratically elected, that gives it a mandate for use of the money. You seem to suggest in this post you would like the government to be run more like a company, personally I dont really want another enron on a bigger scale. Our state should not be motivated by profits which is what business is.
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    (Original post by Pepaim)
    Tax is morally just and legally sound. Without tax we would not have the NHS or a welfare system. The only problem with tax is that we dont have enough of it, hows it fair that a family earning £40,000 a year pay the same rate of tax as someone earning £500,000 a year?
    erm.. how is it not fair?
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    Because people earning more money have a higher standard of living and should contribute more to society in the way of taxes so that everyone can enjoy a better standard of living. Is it fair a nurse gets paid a low wage when he/she works just as hard (probably harder) than a company executive earning half a million pounds? If higher earners paid more taxes the extra revenue could be used to create a more equal society, leading to more productivity and a higher standard of living for the many not the few.
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    (Original post by Pepaim)
    Because people earning more money have a higher standard of living and should contribute more to society in the way of taxes so that everyone can enjoy a better standard of living. Is it fair a nurse gets paid a low wage when he/she works just as hard (probably harder) than a company executive earning half a million pounds? If higher earners paid more taxes the extra revenue could be used to create a more equal society, leading to more productivity and a higher standard of living for the many not the few.
    People who earn more money, do so for a reason. Either because they work harder or because they have skills that other people do not. Is it fair that they are forced to give up money, which they earned, to improve someone else's life?

    Yes, it is fair that a nurse earns less. More people have the ability to become nurses than company executives.

    A more equal society does not improve productivity and standard of living. The Soviet Union was a more equal society.
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    The Soivet Union was not a more equal society, the old style class system was replaced by a new one which centred around the party.

    Company executives often do not have special knowledge or skills but are put there through relations or contacts which come from moving in the right circles of society.

    Is it right and fair to pay taxes to improve someone elses life, this is the same argument you hear against giving poor countries aid and other help, we live in a world were we're all dependent on each otehr and for the good of societies from villages and towns to nations, the rich have a duty to help the poor, because if not we are all tainted by the injustice of poverty.
 
 
 
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