I am not a slave

A few days ago I mentioned that it is Capitalism Day on this Sunday 7th (it’s always the first Sunday in June). On the facebook group that I launched for the occasion we quite quickly got 100+ members. I asked them all to do what they could to promote capitalism in association with the occasion. Alex Hutton did this:-

52 thoughts on “I am not a slave

  1. I’m back, had to stay and train a couple of new guys but it was worth it as they were bloody good.

    Great concept Terje, capitalism is the only only economic system consistent with the concept of individual sovereignty and is therefore the only moral state of being. We need to be more aggressive in support of it and less apologetic.

  2. I don’t get it.

    I wasn’t eligible for the bonus payment, and think the handout was terrible economic policy, but I wouldn’t give it back if I were.

    I don’t really see the sense in it, and don’t find the video the least bit inspiring.

  3. That is just because you don’t actually have principles, Fleeced. I think it’s a beautiful gesture. Wouldn’t do it myself, and on a more practical note the LDP could certainly use the donations, but I certainly “get” it.

  4. It is the purity and fundamentalism of libertarian ideals of which an analogue is shown in the video above pretty much proves that libertarianism is a concept which will never be supported by mainstream Australia nor the block of centrists who decide elections here and around the world.

  5. “That is just because you don’t actually have principles, Fleeced.”

    Rubbish… it’s essentially a rebate. A highly inefficient way of doing things (churn, baby, churn), and is done with the totally wrong motivations (Keynesian/pork barrelling/whatever), but I see no conflict in taking the money.

    Money is taken from us by force (taxation) to be redistributed. Like most here, I am opposed to this, and will campaign to have taxation and spending reduced. In the meantime, I see no contradiction in “taking back” as much as I am legally entitled to. In the end, it’s paying tax that makes you a slave.

    As Kerry Packer said, the government isn’t doing such a good job that you should be paying them extra.

  6. Wayne,

    What is your complaint exactly? It smacks of ignorance.

    Alex was extremely principled. He has no moral obligation to do this.

    If only those who wanted more services from Government would do the same with the tax refunds.

    BTW your missive reads like dogma. No “fundamentalism” is being shown here. The last 49 years of macroeconomic research have shown policies like this result in an overall decline in our welfare.

    Alex is prepared to stand against a bad policy at the expense of a personal loss.

    Are people who want more and more services which can’t be justified “mainstream” or unprincipled bastards, trying to rip each other and everyone else off?

    Tell me how many “extremists” or centre left or centre right politicians are willing to do that?

    You are also grossly misinformed. The median voter does not have power by design, but by accident. There is also no “median voter”. It is simply representative of second best choices dictated by the maths of elections. Hence why John Howard was Prime Minister for nine more years and implemented a GST with only 33% support from the electorate.

  7. Wayne seems to be saying that if the truth isn’t popular, then you should sacrifice the truth. It’s a common position, but not one that I agree with.

    I understand that many people will disagree with many things that I (and other libertarians) say. However, I don’t form opinions for the purpose of winning a popularity contest. I form opinions because I’m interested in the power of ideas and keen to follow where the logic takes me.

    The video was a political point. Analogous to a hunger strike. Hurting yourself in order to get a point across. Good on the guy for doing it… though I won’t be following (if I ever get my cheque).

  8. Agree 100% with Fleeced. The stimulus cheque for net taxpayers like this guy presumably is, is indeed an administratively expensive way of delivering a temporary tax cut. But there is nothing inspiring about this silly campaign. I missed the bit where it’s somehow libertarian to give your money back to the parasites. Why not just provide proof that you’re banking it and won’t increase your spending in the immediate future because of it?

  9. I agree with Jason and Fleeced more than it appears than I do. I would not give my money back to support the Office for the Status of Women, baby bonus etc. I kept mine, which is nothing but a poorly administered, partial tax refund.

    The inspiring thing about it is this, as I said before:

    “Alex is prepared to stand against a bad policy at the expense of a personal loss.”

    The question then I suppose is does this encourage or discourage reckless Government largesse?

  10. The question then I suppose is does this encourage or discourage reckless Government largesse?

    Perversely I reckon it would make things worse, although I do admire the person sending it back.

    The reason is that if enough people were to send the money back, it could encourage them to focus more of their spending on their constituents and you know they wouldn’t give it back.

    The money could have been sent to charity too.

  11. I was very torn about taking the money (which I did).

    I justified keeping the money because as far as I can work out it’s temporary tax cut.
    However, I think it would be bad for this method of tax cut to become common.

    Many people pride themselves on their independence and do not wish to take any welfare.
    So perhaps people that refuse the cheque thought the government was effectively forcing people to become reliant on these “stimuli” or maybe they thought this precedent would be harmful in some other way down the line.
    So I can understand refusing the cheque on that level.

    Also, this video may get a lot of publicity and hits on YouTube. Get people reconsidering the morality of state intervention.
    After all this act speaks on a moral or at least a principled level. Because you see the short term loss of $900.
    And that attention and the possibility of influencing even one or two people out there, may be worth $900 to some.

    I don’t think it’s worthwhile to be a martyr though. (As I have pointed out this act is not necessarily being a martyr but it may be by some people’s judgement)

    So once again we see the unnecessary complications of a semi-facist system of over-bearing government control.

  12. “Wayne seems to be saying that if the truth isn’t popular, then you should sacrifice the truth. It’s a common position, but not one that I agree with.”

    You sound like a 9/11 truther.

  13. This is the most dishonest and moronic statement we’ve seen here for a while.

    A few US Senators opposed the Iraq War.

    Were they “troofers” when they opposed the war, and suddenly “became correct” when the war became unpopular?

    Piss Christ – you’re a bloody charlatan.

    What motivates you? Poor reasoning skills or a vested interest in the status quo?

  14. Many have replied angrily to my comments however what I say is still precisely true. History has vindicated what I have said and will do so well into the future.

    Will this be for better or for worse, who knows?

  15. I don’t think Wayne was saying we should sacrifice anything- but I understood him to say that Libertarianism is unlikely to be mainstream anytime soon, and libertarians should at least accept that they’ll stay unpopular for a long time to come. People are just too addicted to government action to ‘fix’ things. Right on, Wayne!
    That’s why we should plan to start our own state somewhere. (Notice, ASIO, I did not actually SAY Kimberley or Tasmania!)

  16. I am not overwhelmingly critical of libertarianism, I am fond of it in many ways. I wish it played a greater role in modern governance and I would feel voting for the LDP is a good thing. I would have great delight in seeing an LDP Senator in the Australian Senate.

    Unfortunately I am a pragmatist and I recognise that it is not mainstream and will not be for a while if at all, unfortunately. I am also a moderate so although hard libertarianism does many things right, they also do many things wrong (in my mind).

  17. Wayne,

    What you are saying now is different and actually factual.

    Your history was wrong before and your statement made brash and sweeping generalisations.

  18. PS

    Liberalism was once popular. The policies of Cleveland the old post war Democratic Party and the short lived National (Gold) Democrats was essentially liberalism.

    George Reid was Australian PM. He was the leader of the free trade party. Henry Parkes was the NSW leader and four time Premier before Reid’s NSW Premiership.

  19. Mark, everything I have said is correct and true :). Nothing has changed, everything is of the highest consistency.

  20. I take exception to the idea that a majority of people would never at least admire the taking of a personal loss to stand up to an idea which is seemingly attractive individually but is detrimental to us all.

    I do not think such a path of action is “fundamentalist”. Most libertarians believe in reason and evidence based ideas, even the rights based part of the movement.

    I think I took exception to the way you said something. I need to be more tolerant.

  21. But Mark, look at how Fleeced and Jason have reacted angrily to the idea. And they’re at least semi-libertarian in their ideas. The general non-libertarian exposed public will just be flapping their mouths in disbelief and lack of comprehension. Which backs up Wayne.

    And BTW, Methinks the lady doth protest too much – It is one thing to say you wouldn’t give back the cheque, quite another to say you absolutely don’t get it or run around proclaiming that if some Libertarians don’t think it’s crazy then clearly you need to stop calling yourself a libertarian. Just saying.

  22. so incentives don’t matter?

    what exactly did the Rudd government do that merited a donation of $950?

    actually even on rights based grounds this activism sucks. extortionist gives you back more of your money and you send it back to him?

  23. I think you’re half right Wayne… I agree that the majority of Australians now would not accept liberal ideas, and that centrists today are not inclined towards small government. But I don’t think that is due to inherent “fundamentalism” of liberalism.

    If we lived in a libertarian world, then social democracy would seem equally crazy and fundamentalist.

    Unfortunately, people are generally conservative (don’t like to consider things outside the “norm”) and there has been a bipartisan convergence towards social democracy over the past century.

    But it’s not clear where this criticism can go. Few libertarians hold their beliefs because they are seeking popularity… but because they think them true. If we were to change our views in order to get more popularity, then that would defeat the original goal of promoting those views.

    And the LDP is moderate. The party is basically calling for the government to shrink back to the size it was 20 years ago. A radical libertarian agenda would ask for much more.

  24. Jason/Fleeced/others — I agree it was pointless, and I would have preferred the money was donated to a charity (or the LDP, or the CIS). But I think it makes more sense to see it as an act of self-sacrifice to gain publicity. Like a hunger strike.

    Nobody thinks that the hunger strike actually hurts anybody but the hungry person or makes sense in some “anti-food principle” sort of way. But it gets attention for the cause that the striker cares about.

    Perhaps this entire strategy of self-sacrifice is pointless. I don’t know. Though it does seem to get attention occasionally, so if that is the goal, then perhaps it works?

  25. I see the analogy with a hunger strike but it doesn’t work perfectly. as some above have pointed out, if more people were to do the same thing there would be a net move away from rather than towards a more libertarian/efficient/utilitarian society as money that the recipients could have done anything with anyway (including just put under the mattress) gets channelled back to a government that has been relatively undistinguished in public management. By contrast if lots of people went on a hunger strike I doubt that would really hurt the prospects of the rest of us.

    As I tend to judge the value of a protest at least in part by whether I would also approve of a whole lot of people doing the same thing in terms of its impacts on my political objectives this is where I’m coming from

  26. Don’t worry, I am no social democrat :).

    John, you do rationalise it well and I do see eye to eye with the LDP on around 60% of issues.

  27. “I agree it was pointless, and I would have preferred the money was donated to a charity (or the LDP, or the CIS). But I think it makes more sense to see it as an act of self-sacrifice to gain publicity. Like a hunger strike.”

    Do hunger strikes ever work? They seem the most retarded form of protest to me.

    The fact that this was set up as a (slightly amusing) youtube video means that it may be worth more than $900 in publicity… but if so, it’s a one off – I certainly wouldn’t recommend others do likewise.

    Personally though, I think it sends the wrong message. He says, “I am not a slave,” but to me, the action makes him just that: a willing victim.

    I feel no guilt in taking the money (or wouldn’t, if I was eligible), because I consider it mine to begin with. There seems to be a notion that because I’m opposed to the handouts, that it would be hypocritical to accept the cash – and so I should either reject it, or give it away to somebody “more deserving”. If you genuinely support a charity (or LDP), and see value in giving them the money, then by all means go ahead – but I would think no less of someone who saw more value in, say, a plasma TV.

    I feel the same way about the first home owner’s grant… bad, bad policy – but I’ll still take it.

  28. Fleeced, you are onto something. If everyone gave the money ‘back’ to the government, wouldn’t the powers-that-bedazzle think that we trusted them with the stuff- that they could take even more? We should make protests that can’t be misinterpreted!

  29. Fleeced — While it failed in the long-run, Gandhi managed to stop conflict in India for a while by going on a hunger strike.

    And it is certainly true that hunger strikes have gotten people attention before. If their goal was attention, then it succeeded.

    Wayne — Health & guns are often some of the last issues that people reconsider. The government position just sounds so nice and safe. I think it’s fairly clear that public health has serious problems and that gun laws don’t work… but I understand the instinct many people have for government involvement.

    But I don’t really understand the anti-drug or anti-euthanasia position. Drug prohibition has so clearly caused crime, death, corruption, waste and no benefit that it is an extreme example of fiction over reality. And voluntary euthanasia goes to the basic matter of who owns your own life.

    But anyway, 60% agreement is more than most.

  30. I didn’t agree with the LDP 100% when I first joined either, I too questioned the health and gun policies, but as I learned more and started to realise how much money was being spent and how much politicking was done in regards to these issues I started to agree more and more with the LDP stance

  31. On the euthanasia issue – this is a right I support in principle, but see too many dangers with it under a socialised health system.

  32. I agree with the LDP 100%, at least some of the time, except when I don’t. 🙂

  33. BTW, the term “hunger strike” seems something of a misnomer. A work strike is when you stop working, so a hunger strike should involve more eating. If you stop eating, that’s a “food strike” or a “hunger campaign”.

    When Scarlett O’Hara said, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” – THAT was a hunger strike 🙂

  34. Perhaps rather than send the cheque back to the government it should have been sent to Dick Smith or another wealthy, worthy Australian entrepreneur.

  35. Well people were complaining about giving the money back to the government. So in if the intention is to protest against a tax and spend government someone exceptionally wealthy that faces a large tax burden would be most appropriate to give it to. Especially an entrepreneur that has shown the power of the creative capitalist spirit.

  36. Donating money to the rich. Novel idea. I can’t say I’d be getting behind it.

  37. Well, at least you could be sure you were giving your money to someone who will probably make a return on the capital.

    In a true capitalist society giving your money to a person who has a proven track record of creating a return on capital is probably one of the best things you could do for the ‘common good’. But rather than give it to them, why not invest it with them so you get a return on that capital for yourself, while they still get to use the capital for the ‘common good’!

  38. Well… you could lend the money to a businessman. That way society is getting a return, and you are getting some of it. The most common way of doing this is by putting money in the bank.

  39. Hi there, just found this thread. Thank-you all for the comments. I’m glad people enjoyed the video.

    I honestly considered donating the money to charity then claiming the money back on tax then donating the tax return money to charity and so on, but in the end I couldn’t allow myself to think ‘it’s ok to take the money because I paid for it in tax,’ because that would imply that it’s ok for me to be taxed.

    I don’t see my action as anti-Libertarian. The idea of the stimulus is not reduce the tax base and bring about smaller government, the idea is to control the economy. If everyone sent their cheques back it would be a massive loss of control to the government. In any case, my cheque is now void, so that’s $900 off of the deficit. Each Australian’s share of the public debt is now reduced by $900/21.8 million. But the money will be spent elsewhere and I likely won’t have the opportunity to say no next time; it’s a rare opportunity to say no when the government spends your money, so I decided to make the most of it.

    I don’t consider it a hunger strike because having money means being able to earn money. If I start to confuse my ability to earn money with my ability to benefit by actions of government then I’d be walking down quite a dangerous path.

    All the best to everyone in the thread, and thanks to TerjeP for posting the video. It was a personal decision for me, I would expect people to make their own decisions about how to respond to stimulus.

  40. Alex, good to hear from you.
    Aren’t you worried that Governments will simply assume “Tax-slaves don’t want more money- they trust us to use it! Let’s grab even more!”? If plenty of people returned the stimulus, won’t that encourage all govermins?

  41. I am glad you did it. I can’t believe people are saying its un-libertarian. Being opposed to taxes/welfare means being opposed to handouts, especially ones that are aimed at controlling the economy, even if they are just throwing us back a bit of our stolen money.

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