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Old 10-11-2019, 12:24 PM   #196
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Why People Are Dying from Vaping in the U.S. and Not the U.K.

There's a reason—actually, a few—and none of them are very flattering to American politicians.

Whenever Matt Culley travels to England, he feels as if he has entered a sort of Twilight Zone.

A prominent vaping advocate on YouTube in the United States, Culley went so far as to describe the scene in the United Kingdom, where he often attends conferences, as a sort of "alternate reality."

Imagine: You're visiting a loved one in the hospital, and after popping into the cafeteria to eat a premade bologna sandwich or Jell-o, you're jonesing for a cigarette. Smoking, however, has been prohibited in or around the place—even in your car. You're out of e-juice, too. But that's not a problem: You're at the hospital, after all, and you can just run into the vape shop attached to it.

That scenario may sound absurd, but it's plausible in England, where, in July, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals actually agreed to allow a vape company to open stores on their property. The hope was that it would discourage people from smoking cigarettes outside.

"Meanwhile, in the U.S., now you have people going to vape shops and telling the owners that they're killing people," Culley said. "It's crazy."

Although experts canvassed by VICE acknowledged the U.K. is in no way immune to nicotine-related health problems, the American vaping crisis that has produced at least 1,000 cases of illness and roughly two-dozen deaths is pretty much nonexistent over there. There also appears to be far less official concern that vaping is a gateway drug sucking otherwise uninterested teens into a lifetime of nicotine use. Without lobbyists killing oversight and 1990s-style drug war hysteria hamstringing policy, U.K. officials have produced a piecemeal regulatory system that carefully monitors nicotine levels in vape products.

The stark contrast has American harm-reduction advocates and their counterparts across the pond touting the U.K.'s measured approach to vaping as more logical than the full-throttle panic in Washington and state capitals across the country. The only problem is American institutions seem ill-equipped to emulate it.

"I think the difference between the U.K. and the U.S. are due to the American propensity to turn health issues into moral crusades," said Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville and an expert in tobacco-addiction harm-reduction, who also noted that another big issue is the bureaucratic mess in obtaining funding for research in the States. "It appears that policymakers in the U.S. are either completely ignorant of the history of tobacco, or completely ignore it."

All the information Rodu needs is right in front of him: State after state, it seems, has begun to adopt a prohibitionist stance (on Tuesday, Montana became the most recent one to issue a sales ban on flavored e-cigarettes), and agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are currently weighing whether to federally strip certain vaping products off the market. And though it might ultimately be difficult to directly compare statistics, as Rodu emphasized, pointing to the fact that vaping prevalence is measured according to different age groups and frequency (the U.K. doesn't judge regular use as harshly, say, as the U.S.), it's more important to recognize the mistakes that might be getting repeated.

American regulators have been roundly criticized for moving too slowly to get a handle on vape products, only to embrace prohibitionary tactics, which could drive vapers back to cigarettes, or additional users to a black market that may very well be what's causing many of the illnesses in the first place. (Many of the cases so far seem to have been linked to THC products, which are often purchased on the black market, and vaping advocates have insisted flavor bans would only encourage people to experiment with mixing e-juices, even if they don't know what they're doing.)

Likewise, state and federal crackdowns appear poised to cause small vape stores to begin closing, which could potentially hand over even more of the market to the giant JUUL, a company partially owned by the Big Tobacco producer Altria.

"It's basically reefer madness revisited in the U.S.," said Harry Shapiro, the director of DrugWise, a U.K.-based drug-education website, and the author of the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction report. "In the United States, you can go around firing guns, but they don't want you to vape. Which is to say, certainly, that there's a real disconnect between what counts as public safety and what people are actually, or should be, scared of."

Of course, it's a tempting analogy to bring up—and others have done it before. But it's worth stating all of this plainly: These starkly opposite policies between the U.S. and its former colonizer are largely due to both the rhetoric surrounding e-cigarette use in the U.K.—health officials there have primarily touted these products as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, and as a helpful means to quit—and the fact that the country has stricter regulations in place. England wants to be smoke-free by 2030, and many public-health officials and politicians want vaping to help achieve that. It's a bit too early to say how effective this plan will be—it was announced this past July—but Shapiro said that's at least "a date for everyone to shoot for."

Since 2016, the U.K. has been following the European Union's Tobacco Products Directive, which puts barriers on what advertising can be done and limits the nicotine strength in the liquids found in e-cigarettes. As CNN noted, that's capped off at 20 mg/ml, a restriction that's perhaps best understood by how it compares to what's common in JUUL pods—sometimes as much as 59 mg/ml.

"Where we differ most strongly is that we have some excellent politicians and people at Public Health England, or PHE, who are all committed to evidence-based decision-making and legislation," said Dave Cross, a trustee of the New Nicotine Alliance, a writer for the blog Planet of the Vapes, and a vaper himself.

In short, it's all about perspective—as well as a shared vision for a collective goal. PHE, a government agency whose closest U.S. equivalent is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has repeated its claim over and over again that "vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking."

"The U.K. has a long history of adopting a harm-reduction approach for changing behavior and improving health," said Deborah Robson, a senior postdoctoral researcher in tobacco addiction at King's College London. "We have recognized, based on empirical research for several decades, that nicotine is not the harmful substance in tobacco. It's inhaling thousands of other toxic gases and particles of tar the come from setting fire to tobacco that harms and kills smokers."

Whether Britain's robust framework would survive whatever form a potential Brexit took remained to be seen, but Robson said she suspected immediate, drastic changes were unlikely. People in the U.K. simply do not view nicotine the same way Americans do. This month, for example, which is designated as "Stoptober" to urge people to ditch smoking, the U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS) is literally pushing for smokers to switch from combustible cigarettes to e-cigs.

"Vaping is working here, as it would around the world if given the chance," Cross said. "Nobody is going to take that away from us."

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/b...and-not-the-uk
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Dude, Baron has been a valued member of this forum for quite some time.
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:13 AM   #197
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Academics want sex robots capable of withdrawing consent. Even our fantasies aren't safe from the virtue police

Researchers are calling for sex robots to be programmed with the ability to give and rescind consent, lest their human 'partners' become rape-crazed maniacs. Apparently, they no longer trust us to distinguish fantasy from reality.

Suggesting sex bots can be used to "help nudge users towards virtuous (or vicious) behavior," university researchers Anco Peeters and Pim Haselager have called for the robots designed solely to fulfill human fantasies to come with built-in safeguards to ensure those fantasies don't exceed the bounds of social decency. Let your imagination run wild - within limits, of course.

"Consent culture" has long since lost touch with reality. Forcing first-year college students to sit through a "consent course" to learn something as obvious as "no means no" suggests admissions staff don't trust themselves not to pick a herd of rapists - it's equivalent to making students sit through a film on proper toilet hygiene. Must the virtue police impose their infantilization of the bedroom even on people's interaction with glorified computerized sex toys?

The pair admit that merely programming a sex robot to give or not give verbal consent hardly addresses the totality of the phenomenon - humans can be pressured into sex, or too intoxicated to understand what's going on, both scenarios that would be difficult if not impossible to replicate with AI. Yet they still suggest "compassion cultivating sex robots" could be used to teach sex ed to teenagers - as if "programming" young people to expect a predictable series of behaviors from their sexual partners isn't setting them up for disappointment, even shock when faced with the real thing.

The fear that acting out "vicious" sexual fantasies with an inanimate object will encourage humans to act them out in real life overlooks the fact that porn has been there, done that - and provided a far more disturbed view of sexuality than a robot ever could. Yet the ubiquity of porn hasn't transformed humanity into rapists, despite grotesque and sometimes downright disturbing content.

Pearl-clutching over the thought of people acting out rape fantasies with robots ignores the fact that they already have the rape fantasy. If people are really such slaves to their imaginations, how have they refrained from acting that fantasy out on humans before the robot came along?

If anything, the opportunity to act out their forbidden fantasy with a hot hunk of silicon makes it less likely a person will go looking for someone to rape in real life. And being turned down by a sex robot might push that person over the edge, leading them to seek revenge among the living. Who wouldn't throw their phone across the room if, asking Siri for directions, she refused to provide them? Sex robots - like any other AI-enabled device - are built to obey.

This urge to police what is essentially an act of high tech masturbation - for all their advanced programming, a sex robot is just a thing - is characteristic of a growing trend toward elite distrust of the mass imagination. The same puritanical urge to make sure no one thinks they're raping a robot wants to take violent films off the big screen, lest some viewer decide to pick up a gun. It assumes people are incapable of understanding and obeying social norms even with respect to something so obviously wrong as rape and murder - and that they would never conceive of committing such acts without fictional stimuli. Such an urge simultaneously demonizes and dismisses the imagination.

Programming sex robots to give and withdraw consent in order to stamp out the “normalization” of rape is a slippery slope that ends with the virtue police probing the population’s sexual fantasies, sifting through the thoughts recorded by an individual’s Neuralink (or Facebook thought-reading implant) in order to render those fantasies squeaky-clean and politically correct. And that future - one in which authorities have veto power over the imagination - is something no one should consent to.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/471275-sex-...gination-fear/
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Dude, Baron has been a valued member of this forum for quite some time.
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:16 AM   #198
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WT actual fuck?

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Old 10-19-2019, 11:31 AM   #199
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WT actual fuck?

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This. Is this F'n real?
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Old 10-19-2019, 04:50 PM   #200
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You’ve already gone off the rails when you shopped, bought, and boned a cyborg. Yes, you RG.

Unless we believe that is how SkyNet was born - unwanted cyborg butt secks.
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Old 11-03-2019, 07:45 AM   #201
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Not an op-ed, but sort of a verbal op-ed.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:04 AM   #202
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This. Is this F'n real?
As real as a sex doll with AI...
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:50 AM   #203
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You know, it occurred to me, that in today's day and age of an overly lawyered society....

If your sex doll refuses consent, can you sue the manufacturer for violation of contract or something like that?

I mean...if I want to be refused sex, I'll just ask the wife.
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:46 PM   #204
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Roadgrader:

First American charged with raping his Sex Doll.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:30 AM   #205
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Couple of really solid pieces from Mises today...

Yes, Taxation Is Theft

Libertarians think that taxation is theft. The government takes away part of your income and property by force. Your payments aren’t voluntary. If you think they are, try to withhold payment and see what happens.

An influential book by Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel, The Myth of Ownership, tries to show that this view of taxation is wrong. Many people, they say, foolishly resent taxes. By what right does the government take away part of what we own? Isn’t this legalized theft? The government may claim that it needs the funds to provide essential social services: are the poor to be left to starve? But these assertions do not justify its policy of forcible seizure. Isn’t it up to each owner of property to decide what, if anything, he wishes to donate to charity and other good causes?

You might guess that the authors will respond, along conventional leftist lines, with a denial that property rights are absolute: you do not have the right to keep all that you own, if the government’s exactions are devoted to a good purpose. Quite the contrary, they adopt a much more radical stance. You are not giving away anything at all to the government when you pay taxes, since you own only what the laws say you do.

Our authors are nothing if not direct on this point: "If there is a dominant theme that runs through our discussion, it is this: Private property is a legal convention, defined in part by the tax system; therefore, the tax system cannot be evaluated by looking at its impact on private property, conceived as something that has independent existence and validity. Taxes must be evaluated as part of the overall system of property rights that they help to create. . . . The conventional nature of property rights is both perfectly obvious and remarkably easy to forget . . . We cannot start by taking as given . . . some initial allocation of possessions— what people own, what is theirs, prior to government interference."

An example quickly discloses the authors’ fallacy. Suppose that the government banned advocacy of libertarian property rights. Against those who claimed that this interfered with free speech, advocates of the new measure replied in this way: "Don’t you see the obvious conceptual error that underlies your protest? ‘Free speech’ is a legal category. People have no independent liberty of speech, apart from what a particular legal system grants them. Your opposition is absurd: away with you!"

I doubt that Murphy and Nagel would display much patience for this sophistry. Legal rights indeed depend on the specifications of a particular legal system; but it is perfectly in order to say that people have moral rights, not created by the legal system, that the law ought to respect.

In like fashion, opponents of taxation are guiltless of the conceptual error Murphy and Nagel impute to them. They maintain that people possess property rights that the government ought to recognize. Why is the falsity of this view "perfectly obvious"? It is rather Murphy and Nagel who have lapsed into grievous error: they confuse legal with moral rights.

The authors at one place acknowledge the point at issue: "[D]eontological theories hold that property rights are in part determined by our individual sovereignty over ourselves. . . . On a deontological approach, there is likely to be a presumption of some form of natural entitlement that determines what is yours or mine and what isn’t, and this prima facie presumption has to be overridden by other considerations if appropriation by taxes is to be justified. On a consequentialist approach, by contrast, the tax system is simply part of the design of any sophisticated modern system of property rights."

Our authors of course reject the entitlement view, but they have here made a crucial admission. Given that this theory exists, is it not evident that their earlier account is false? The alleged error that opponents of taxation commit is present only if the conventionalist theory is true. Supporters of Lockean entitlements to property may be incorrect, but they at least have a theory: they stand acquitted of simply failing to grasp a conceptual point, the charge that Murphy and Nagel bring against them. Do they think the Lockean account obviously incoherent? They say nothing against it but instead go on interminably to accuse opponents of their view of confusion.

The conventionalist theory they support leads quickly to disaster. Isn’t it "perfectly obvious" that it makes us all slaves of the government? Once more, Murphy and Nagel acknowledge the objection. Their view "is likely to arouse strong resistance" because it "sounds too much like the claim that the entire social product really belongs to the government, and that all after-tax income should be seen as a kind of dole that each of us receives from the government, if it chooses to look on us with favor"

They fail to see that their admission gives away the game. If, as they admit, individual rights require some degree of private property, then the government cannot morally tax away this property. If so, there are moral limits to the taxing power, and it is not "a matter of logic" that there cannot be a pre-tax income over which persons retain full control

Murphy and Nagel are pure conventionalists about property when this enables them to attack libertarians, but they shrink from the full implications of the position. How is this tension in their presentation to be resolved? I suspect that in practice they would not deviate very far from the total subordination of property rights to the state. They consider endowment taxation, in which people are taxed, not just on their income, but rather on their potential to generate revenue. Someone who abandoned a multi-million-dollar business career in order to become a Trappist monk might on the endowment account be taxed as if he continued to receive his former high income. Our authors eventually reject this monstrous proposal, though not on the grounds that it compels people to work.

To reject the proposal because it compelled people to work would put them suspiciously close to a famous argument, advanced very effectively by Robert Nozick, that income taxes are akin to forced labor. Of course our authors cannot accept so libertarian a view; "we may assume that this argument is not dispositive against taxation of earnings." Since taxation is acceptable—this we know a priori—no argument that holds it illegitimate is right. But then we cannot reject endowment taxation if we reason in a way that would also condemn the income tax. "[T]here is no intrinsic moral objection to taxing people who don’t earn wages" (p. 124). We can, then, maintain that endowment taxation is "too radical" an interference with autonomy; but we cannot in principle reject it.

If you affirm a “conventionalist” account of property, you will wind up in dark waters. Taxation is indeed theft.

https://mises.org/wire/yes-taxation-theft
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:35 AM   #206
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Keynes on Eugenics, Race, and Population Control

The literature on John Maynard Keynes’s life and ideas is enormous. However, his defenders have neglected his views on population. Why? His ideas in this area are highly problematic. This article provides documentation that shows Keynes advocated extensive government controls on the size and quality of the population.

Keynes was interested in eugenics from the very beginning of his academic career. His first major academic project was his fellowship dissertation, submitted in December 1907. In the dissertation, he refers to Sir Francis Galton’s essay Probability: The Foundation of Eugenics. This shows that Keynes was already interested in eugenics by 1907.


The famous British economist Alfred Marshall was extremely close to the Keynes family. Keynes’s biographers note that he and Marshall debated Karl Pearson in 1910, but they suppressed the debate’s relation to eugenics.2 Marshall wrote to Keynes on July 14, 1910, “I am keeping as clear as I can of your ground & urging every one interested in Eugenics to read your paper. It is splendid.”3 In 1911, Keynes became treasurer of the Cambridge University Eugenics Society. On May 18, Marshall sent Keynes payment for lifetime membership in the society.4

On May 2, 1914, Keynes gave a speech called “Population.” This is perhaps his most important work on population. Unfortunately, this inaccessible speech was not included in The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes. A full transcript of the speech is included in the appendix below. After praising Malthus, he declares,

That degree of populousness in the world, which is most to be desired, is not to be expected from the working of natural order. … The natural degree of populousness is likely to exceed the ideal. … In most places the material condition of mankind is inferior to what it might be if their populousness were to be diminished. … In many, if not in most, parts of the world there actually exists at the present time a denser population than is compatible with a high level of economic wellbeing.

To Keynes’s mind, “there would be more happiness in the world if the population of it were to be diminished.”6 Thus, he advocated government violence to restrict the size of the population. He wanted government to “mould law and custom deliberately to bring about that density of population which there ought to be.”7

Keynes was especially concerned about overpopulation in the East: “India, Egypt and China are gravely overpopulated.”8 He thought his race was facing a “race struggle.”9 He advocated the use of imperialistic government violence against Eastern races to protect the “white population.”

Almost any measures seem to me to be justified in order to protect our standard of life from injury at the hands of more prolific races. Some definite parceling out of the world may well become necessary; and I suppose that this may not improbably provoke racial wars. At any rate such wars will be about a substantial issue.10


In the early 1920s, Keynes wrote an outline for a book called Essays on the Economic Future of the World. The fourth essay was on “Population” and the tenth essay was on “Education, Eugenics.” Interestingly, the eighth essay was on Keynes’s “Theoretical socialist framework.”


On January 4, 1923, Keynes wrote an article in the press called “The Underlying Principles.” He advocates restricting the number of births with government violence. But this may be insufficient. He imagines “positive policy” to reduce the population.

[I]In the light of present knowledge I am unable to see any possible method of materially improving the average human lot which does not include a plan for restricting the increase in numbers [of population]. … It may prove sufficient to render the restriction of offspring safe and easy. … Perhaps a more positive policy may be required. … would like to substitute [government] schemes conceived by the mind in place of the undesigned outcome of instinct and individual advantage playing within the pattern of existing institutions.11

On June 8, 1924, Keynes wrote an outline for a book called Prolegomena to a New Socialism. As shown below, he lists “Eugenics, Population” as “Chief Preoccupations of the State.” Clearly, government control over the quantity and quality of the population was key to his new socialism, or “rightly conceived socialism of the future.”12


In July 1924, Keynes was a founding vice president of the Society for Cultural Relations with the USSR (SCR for short). This socialist society was financed and controlled by VOKS, the Soviet government’s international propaganda agency. In September 1925, he traveled with the SCR to the Soviet Union and he lectured to the Soviet Politburo. He said, “There is no more important object of deliberate state policy than to secure a balanced budget of population.”13 He exclaimed,

I believe that there are many other matters, left hitherto to individuals or to chance, which must become in future the subject of deliberate state policy and centralised state control. Let me mention two — (1) the size and quality of the population and (2) the magnitude and direction of employment of the new national savings year by year [that is, socialization of investment].14

Leon Trotsky attended Keynes’s speech, and he observed: “Even the most progressive economist Keynes told us only the other day that the salvation of the British economy lies in Malthusianism! And for England, too, the road of overcoming the contradiction between city and country leads through Socialism."15

Keynes was the chairman of the Malthusian League. He declared in his 1927 address to the league: “We of this society are neo-Malthusians,” and “I believe that for the future the problem of population will emerge in the much greater problem of Hereditary and Eugenics. Quality must become the preoccupation.”

Continued...very long article...

https://mises.org/wire/keynes-eugeni...lation-control
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Who is this self-important instigating douche-bag, anyway?
Dude, Baron has been a valued member of this forum for quite some time.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:53 AM   #207
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Well, it fits Keynes's thinking logically. This cat knew exactly what he was advocating.
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:26 PM   #208
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Yes, Taxation Is Theft...
If the government can take away my property (my house, income, life, etc.) if I do not pay the taxes they say I must, then the government, indeed, owns ALL of the property. I am nothing more than a lessee who leases my "property" (house, income, life, etc.) from the government at the rate we "agree" upon through the political and legislative process. But make no mistake about it, my property is not my own. It is the government's.

The vast majority of people, and especially politicians, do not like the way the property ownership/lessor/lessee concept sounds so they attempt to dismiss it with flawed logic because it makes what they want more palatable to their ears. They cannot justify their need for an ever-increasingly large government to exist "for the good of the people" without this lessor/lessee relationship and do not want to admit the grave reality of the situation that exists.

We all work and live at the pleasure of the government. "You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor [the government] with your bodies."
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:42 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by tehmackdaddy View Post
If the government can take away my property (my house, income, life, etc.) if I do not pay the taxes they say I must, then the government, indeed, owns ALL of the property. I am nothing more than a lessee who leases my "property" (house, income, life, etc.) from the government at the rate we "agree" upon through the political and legislative process. But make no mistake about it, my property is not my own. It is the government's.
By George, I think he's got it!

Ironically, most people believe this. They don't think they do, but they do. People who mock "Taxation is theft", cannot and do not actually carry their own beliefs to their logical conclusion.

It's theft unless the government owns your income, which means that you are not working for yourself, you are working for the government. You are a slave, because the government owns you, and by proxy owns your production...just like owning a farm means that by proxy you own the produce of the farm.

Taxation is theft, or the government owns you. Those are the two fundamental positions that all of one's political philosophy derives from, if their philosophy is grounded in any form of logic or rationality, rather than ad hoc and contradictory, which, frankly, most are.
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Who is this self-important instigating douche-bag, anyway?
Dude, Baron has been a valued member of this forum for quite some time.
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:39 PM   #210
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Originally Posted by Baron Samedi View Post
By George, I think he's got it!

Ironically, most people believe this. They don't think they do, but they do. People who mock "Taxation is theft", cannot and do not actually carry their own beliefs to their logical conclusion.

It's theft unless the government owns your income, which means that you are not working for yourself, you are working for the government. You are a slave, because the government owns you, and by proxy owns your production...just like owning a farm means that by proxy you own the produce of the farm.

Taxation is theft, or the government owns you. Those are the two fundamental positions that all of one's political philosophy derives from, if their philosophy is grounded in any form of logic or rationality, rather than ad hoc and contradictory, which, frankly, most are.
While we're on the subject...

https://reason.com/2019/11/14/pendin...f-vapers-cars/
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