Justified Concerns

by Don Boudreaux on August 15, 2009

in Health, History, Less Than Meets the Eye, Seen and Unseen

Here’s a letter that I sent yesterday to the New York Times.

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Randy August 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I’m more concerned about the intended consequences than the unintended, because I understand Progressivism as a steady and determined assault on liberty.

“And hence it is that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; …to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life. For I have reason to conclude that he who would get me into his power without my consent would use me as he pleased when he had got me there… for nobody can desire to have me in his absolute power unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom–i.e., make me a slave.” John Locke

Name August 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm

So if I understand your letter right, you basically saying that Obama’s health care reform is bad because just like some other critically needed innovations (the addition of an income tax is your example) there is hyperbolic opposition to it.

Is that correct? Are you against the income tax too?

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Yes, I oppose the income tax.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm


With that answer, you’re invited to my house in for a BBQ dinner next Sunday afternoon, Aug 23, 09. We eat at 0100PM.

Those attending, like you, oppose the income tax and we all have been in the fight a long long time. You might find some education that would surprise you. They all supported me in my Fed court appearance, in which I managed to luck out a victory, and I have supported them in court appearances. They would support you too if they knew you and you asked.

Furthermore, it isn’t just the income taxes we oppose. We have also found that property taxes are mostly claimed and administered in a quite illegal manner in most areas of this nation. One of our group (PHD in math) knows more about property taxes and excise taxes than anyone I have ever known or heard of.

Just RSVP and I’ll give you directions, and then I’ll just batter up a little more of my home grown Giant Gourmet Okra for the deep fryer, make the cajun okra & tomato stew (homemade Tasso in it) expand, and slice a little more brisket. BTW, we don’t do white wine in this group, so expect good rich Syrah or a Chilean Mournde.

I could introduce you as a novice rebel, or an honored guest. Your call.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 6:48 pm


What a kind — and tempting — invitation. Alas, though, I’ll be in Indianapolis on that day attending a Liberty Fund conference.



Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Pity that! I appreciate the thoughtful response.

I’m no Paul Prudhomme, but, (tooting my own horn) I ain’t shabby either.

Of course a one week notice is much too short. Right now our participation is about 13, but as, in 2002, we put 55 in our home to hear Michael Badnarick speak on the Constitution at our first BBQ down here, I bet I could have matched that number to listen to your conversations.

Maybe next year, and I am serious about the invitation. The home is no palace, but the people are good ‘ole down home nice people (we just don’t think like the enculturated mass thinks), and the food is good; and good lord, do people ever need to hear some realistic viewpoints about how to intelligently look at what is happening as it is with progress and change.

Sam Grove August 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm

When the income tax was proposed, one representative proposed that a 5% cap be placed on any income tax. He was laughed down for his absurd idea that an income tax would ever get so high.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I think it was a 10-percent cap. The first federal income-tax-rate structure following ratification of the 16th amendment were rates that ranged from 1 percent to a top rate of 7 percent.

Sam Grove August 15, 2009 at 8:07 pm

That sounds right. I haven’t crossed that account in a long time.
Also, at the time, a small percentage of the population actually fell under the income tax, but after decades of FED sponsored inflation, most people have been affected by bracket inflation.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm

I agree with Don that there certainly is risk from the unknown but more so from the unknown unknowns. Excuse me for paraphrasing one of the greatest neocons ever. Obviously no health reform plan will ever live up its billing but we have to start somewhere.

Regarding his belief that the sky could fall, I disagree totally. We’ve heard the same story regarding income taxes, social security and medicare. The last time I looked the sun was still shining, my grandchildren are playing in the next room and the government hasn’t confiscate my truck. Good thing too, bc it’s paid for!
These doomsday, fear mongering arguments are pushed by the fiscally elite to preserve the status quo, and sadly a large part of the population
believes them.

Sam Grove August 15, 2009 at 8:12 pm

That’s what most people said in nations that actually did collapse, you know, like the Roman empire and the more recent colonial empires.

Getting the timing right is mostly accidental.

IAC, as far as where to start, how about if we start with an honest accounting of current problems rather than the automatic tendency to blame “the market”.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Hot damn! I have just been elevated to the fiscally elite by Schabby er scuse me, schwabby.

I must have missed my check from the BIIIIIG Pharma I kow tow to. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, there folks in schabby’s argument is the leftwing logic, if we oppose them we must have been bought.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Nice ad hominem. Intelligent and thoughtfull too.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 9:01 pm

More than I typically allow socialists, so count yourself blessed.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 9:06 pm

What was the name of that red wine you like with brisket? Sounded like expensive stuff.

MWG August 16, 2009 at 6:26 am

“These doomsday, fear mongering arguments…”

Kinda like when Obama pushed the stimulus through saying it needed to be passed immediatly.

…or may a better example would be how he was pushing health care (or is he calling it “insurance reform” now?) reform saying it HAD TO be passed by august.

dg lesvic August 15, 2009 at 7:59 pm

The socialist propagandist Bill Moyers on his PBS television show featured a congenitally ill child deprived of the care he needed by the inadequacies of the current system and the quality of our mercy. But, if history is any guide, the only mercy a child like that could expect in our socialist future would be mercy killing.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Is Sarah posting here now?

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 9:35 pm

The discussion has moved as much into right and wrong, law, and government power so here are some thoughts on those subjects.


In matters of jurisdiction, allegiance, loyalty, obedience, beliefs, and obligation, if one begins with and believes the premise that there is an authority that, upon your birth to the territory in which the authority holds sway, has an automatic claim on you by virtue of that birth, then government is the answer for you and you there is no question in your mind at the rightness of it.


If one begins with the exact opposite premise and believes that there is no authority that has an automatic claim on you by virtue of your birth, then in matters of jurisdiction, allegiance, loyalty, obedience, beliefs, and obligation you, as a natural free man, have those things to withhold or give as you decide, and there is no question in your mind at the rightness of your belief.

I, of course, belong to this latter group that has the audacity to believe that I am free and no one can claim me without my permission.

We are born a gift of God or Nature, to natural human parents, and those two people are the only humans on Earth to whom we have a natural connection to. Government had absolutely zero contribution to that birth. We are alien to government and government is alien to us. How then can it claim jurisdiction over us, our loyalty, our allegiance, obedience, assign an obligation to us, or claim any percentage of the fruits of our labor, sans our specific knowing, willing, intentional, and voluntary agreement or contract? Where does that binding power come from? What is it?

As this binding power is never specifically taught to any human being, it is the basis of the old statement that we are responsible for knowing the law. It is our, each of us individually, personal obligation to ourselves and to our community to educate ourselves sufficiently. That each of us does not know where there binding power comes from is our own individual fault.

Therefore we have no right to complain in any court of law that we are being abused, mistreated, or treated as a slave with obligations assigned not contracted. This is the exact attitude courts take towards us.

Is there a remedy? Yes, there is. There is always a remedy, though it may take you a long time to find it.

sandre August 16, 2009 at 12:46 am

From the letter…along with paid agents of a mysterious cabal of sinister billionaires “

Who belong to these anti-state cabal of billionaires! All the famous billionaires I know off heart the state – where as I have a hard time coming up with a list of 5 billionaires who are vehemently anti-state. I am sure they exist – but where are they? Do you think this is a coincidence. Now Daniel would ask, “This image of the sinister cabal of anti-state billionaires, an illusion?”. Like most you know already, we give too much credit to the Kuehns

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm

LOL, you’re talking to 10 dollar man. I can put decanted red wine in front of you that costs 10 bucks or less, and you’d swear I had spent 5 to 6 times as much.

If you like red wine, find a bottle of Folie Au Duex, Menage a Troi red. Pop the cork and let it breath for maybe ten seconds and pour.

If you’re a true wine drinker, you’ll know how true I just was as well as how funny.

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