On Rand, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Some people are “rejoicing” over the news that Rand accepted government handouts (social security, medicare etc) in the last few years of her life. Apparently, the scum indulging in such schadenfreude expect laissez-faire capitalists to be true to their principles: refuse government benefits, and not make use of government-funded infrastructure, even if they have paid for it in the form of taxes. I’m amazed at the stupidity that goes behind such reasoning. Of course if Rand cheated on her taxes, that’s a different matter, though even that wouldn’t bother me. Learning that she converted to Buddhism in the end, or that she got caught up in the mysteries of Tao, or Kabbalah, or similar crap; that would probably disturb me.

In other news, the first part of the Atlas Shrugged film trilogy will be released in a couple of months, and here’s the trailer. Can’t help thinking that filming the story like they did with Sky Captain, or even the animated Batman series of yore would have added to the drama. Flat screens and cell phones don’t get along that well with steel mills and railroads.

Immoral, and irrational, laws deserve to be broken, but without getting caught. The world doesn’t forgive people who get caught. Government employees who get paid for doing unproductive work harassed a singer who was leaving the country with his own hard-earned money. That’s how I see the Rahat Fateh Ali Khan fiasco. The sum in question pales in comparison to what officials of the various “revenue” departments of the state have amassed from bribes. And people point fingers at “tax dodgers.” I hope Mr. 10% and his revenue department don’t show up at the airport to receive Khan, after the Indians are through with him. That would make a bad situation worse.

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  • you12  On February 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Assuming the claims are true,the criticism toward Rand is completely justifiable. She portrayed welfare as this devil that she opposed on ‘principles’. But when the time came she went to the devil herself.

    ‘Paying taxes’ is a weak defense. If you oppose something as theft don’t take part in it when you are desperate.

    Rand disappoints. Again!

    • Aristotle The Geek  On February 21, 2011 at 12:04 am

      You didn’t answer my question. If my choice is between paying 25 different kinds of taxes, and not paying them and going to prison, what should I do? Pay once in the form of taxes for the whole world to enjoy, and then a second time for myself?

      Rand’s principles don’t include self-sacrifice. Why do you think Ragnar Danneskjold, in Atlas Shrugged, couriers gold to honest people who were looted in the form of income tax?

      Rand does disappoint in some of her stands. But I don’t think this act reflects badly upon her. If it turns out that she cheated on her taxes, it would.

  • you12  On February 21, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Ofcourse you should pay taxes. Self preservation is important. Its impractical to oppose in a manner that will lead to your demise.

    But it should be just to escape the tyranny of jail. Not to reap benefits later on if you are taking a moral stand against taxes as completely immoral.

    ‘Rand does disappoint in some of her stands. But I don’t think this act reflects badly upon her. If it turns out that she cheated on her taxes, it would.’

    Why? No libertarian can support forced taxation. I would probably admire a tax cheater if he were morally opposed to taxes (consistent) than someone who opposes social welfare taxes then takes the benefits when he sees fit.

    Ofcourse KIM that I see taxation as an inherently immoral activity. Especially the income tax.

    • Aristotle The Geek  On February 21, 2011 at 2:03 am

      # “Not to reap benefits later on”
      Again, what benefits? If you force me to pay taxes which I would otherwise have used/spent/invested in specific ways, what do you expect me to do if I fall ill, or break my leg? Why should I not make use of my money that I was forced to pay to the government? This is what I mean when I say she didn’t believe in self sacrifice. You are not barred from taking your own money. This was her position on the whole issue of government payouts of various kinds-

      Since there is no such thing as the right of some men to vote away the rights of others, and no such thing as the right of the government to seize the property of some men for the unearned benefit of others—the advocates and supporters of the welfare state are morally guilty of robbing their opponents, and the fact that the robbery is legalized makes it morally worse, not better. The victims do not have to add self-inflicted martyrdom to the injury done to them by others; they do not have to let the looters profit doubly, by letting them distribute the money exclusively to the parasites who clamored for it. Whenever the welfare-state laws offer them some small restitution, the victims should take it ….

      The same moral principles and considerations apply to the issue of accepting social security, unemployment insurance or other payments of that kind. It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.

      She said this in ’66, a decade or so before she started accepting payments. But she must have felt a bit sad to have come to this position. Who wouldn’t?

      That said, the way these “communal pot” ponzi schemes are set up, you don’t necessarily get back what you paid. The money that you put in goes to someone else, and the payment that you get is deducted from people who are earning today, and so on. But that’s how welfare states are. The “Welfare State” is a well-planned effort to turn straight forward folks into beggars, letting windbags like this fellow snigger at so-called contradictory positions-

      Rand was not forced to give her money to the U.S. government. As I recall, Rand was an immigrant who had come to the U.S. by choice. All the same, she was free to emigrate to the tax-free Nirvana of her choice.

      […]

      Somalia and rural Afghanistan await you; mind the doorknob on your way out.

      No doubt, principled person that he is, he “minded the doorknob” when he ran off to Cuba during the Bush presidency.

      # “Why? No libertarian can support forced taxation.”
      I meant it would reflect badly on her if she didn’t pay her taxes, and then claimed benefits. In that case, she would be no better than those she condemned, at least as far as this action is concerned.

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