Charity vs. Taxation – What is the Difference?

Charity vs. Taxation – What is the Difference?

[MUSIC] Hi, I’m Rob Gressis. I’m a professor of philosophy at
California State University, Northridge, where we are right now. My job is to ask students
difficult questions in order to improve their philosophical thinking. Today, the difficult questions I’m
gonna be asking along with learn and liberty are about morality and
I have some predictions about this. I think every student is gonna say it’s
wrong for an individual to use force to take another individual’s money and give
it to a charitable cause of their choice. However, I think they’re
all gonna say it’s okay for the government to do that very same thing. I’m gonna ask them why. My prediction is that they’re
not really gonna know why. Here’s the first question. Are there any causes, political,
charity, that you agree with?>>I like AIDS research and
cancer research. I think that’s good for the community.>>PETA.
>>PETA.>>I give some money to PETA.>>I personally donate to my high school.>>I am in a sorority, so we have national philanthropies that each
of our separate organizations benefit. Ours is Reading is Fundamental.>>I like Habitat For Humanity.>>Okay. Habitat For Humanity.
>>I think it’s a great cause, building homes for people.>>Great, great answer. Here’s another simple question. Do you think it’s morally okay for you to
give your own money or time to Habitat for Humanity?>>Yeah, I think it’s a good cause,
so I wouldn’t see why not.>>Yes.
>>Yeah. Obviously, I haven’t had anybody
disagree with me about that. Now here’s another question. Is it moral to force others to
give to the cause of your choice?>>No.>>No, okay, so put it no. Would it be morally okay if you forced me
to give my money or time to this cause?>>Force is a really harsh word.>>Yeah, yeah. Let’s say you say, do it or
else I’ll fine you.>>No.>>I guess the answer is no. Would it be okay for
you to stick a gun in my face and say give money to
the Red Cross [CROSSTALK] or else I’ll shoot you in the knee.>>No, no.>>So that’s one kind of force. How about just lightly beating me up?>>No.>>What about just the threat of force?>>No.>>Why is it not okay for you to force
me to give my money to the homeless?>>Out of respect to charity,
you’ve got to respect people’s wishes, if they want to donate to something,
then they’re going to donate to something. If they don’t want to donate to something,
they don’t have to.>>I certainly believe that there’s
certain organizations that people should give to. But then if somebody is
given that same power, then they can obviously use it
against me and make me donate money to something that I think is either bad or
something that I wouldn’t agree to.>>Let’s go to the next board, here. Let me just reveal this. [SOUND] Is it moral for the government to force others
to give to cause of your choice? Let’s say a cause you really
believe in is women’s heart health. Is it moral for the government to use the
threat of force, police, IRS, that kind of thing, to force others to give some
of their money to women’s heart health?>>No.>>I feel like it’s just like taxes. It’s a civic duty. The fact that we all use roads. The fact that we all use school and
things and public services and they’re all funded by taxes,
I think that it is morally okay to do so.>>Is what makes it morally okay,
the fact that we all benefit from it?>>Definitely,
especially if my choice is education. If more money is put into education,
then we are producing far more successful students, which could
then benefit us on an economic level.>>But what if you just gave
me the same argument earlier? What if you said, hey, I’m gonna force you to give me your
money to support my high school. After all,
we all benefit from my high school. So then you, Raul, tell me Robert, you
say, hey Robert, give me some money and if you don’t, I’ll fine you. I’ll take even more of your money and
if you don’t pay that fine, then I’ll lock you in my basement. You say, hey, we all benefit
from education, so it’s okay.>>I think this kind of goes back to
the nature of like what a society or even a city is. One person cannot do all
the jobs of everyone else, so we have this agreement,
this social contract.>>And you said no.>>I say no, yeah.>>Why is that?>>I said yes at first. I wanted to say yes, but
then after second thought, I realized that if I include myself
as being part of the government, which I think most people would say
that their choice matters in government, at least, in democratic process,
then I didn’t see how I could use force to make others
give to any cause of my choosing.>>Right.
>>This would be the same.>>Same thing as over here,
where you said no>>Yeah, even though, intuitively, I wanted to say yes,
given what we understand government is, I just couldn’t say yes. I just followed my logic there and
brought it over here.>>So it’s okay for the government use force to make people
donate to something everybody needs. Is it okay for you to use force to get somebody to
donate to something everybody needs? Could you beat me up, take my money,
and give it to the police and say, I’m using this money to support you?>>I couldn’t do that, no. I don’t have the morals for that.>>How come it’s okay for
the government to do it but not you?>>Maybe they’re a lot stronger than I am. [LAUGH].>>Why isn’t it okay for me to force you to give money to
the police to help that community? Why is it only okay for the government?>>I do see the immediate conflict.>>Here’s one thing I might want to say,
it’s okay for the government to use force when it’s okay for you to use
force but when it’s not okay for you to use force, maybe it’s also not
okay for the government to use force.>>I feel like this is kind of
like a contract with this country. It’s just kind of like how
they’ve built their system, while others might not do that,
I think because of that, yes, it is fair.>>Was this contract something
that you and I signed or anything?>>No, I was born here, so.>>Did you have a choice about that?>>No. You can’t not agree to it, right? If you don’t vote,
you still have to do it.>>Yeah.
>>If you vote for the person who loses,
you still have to do it. Is it really an agreement, if there’s
no way to opt out of the agreement?>>I think it does
undermine the agreement.>>Is it okay for
the government ever to use force to get people to give money,
like taxes or anything like that?>>I don’t think so.>>Doesn’t that make you like
an anarchist or something?>>Everyone’s going to do what they want
to do, they’ll have their own opinions but the government just kind of goes
with the majority of everyone.>>Yeah. It just depends, I guess.>>Is it okay for the government to force
a minority of people to give to a cause the majority likes? Let’s say the majority wants to go to
war against Iraq or something like that. Is it okay for
the government to say, okay, you have to spend tax dollars to
support the military so we can do that?>>These are hard questions.>>I know, I know,
I just try to make people think.>>[LAUGH]
>>It’s good. I don’t know,
that’s kind of how society is now and people are just prone and
used to how it works.>>It’s okay, cuz they’re used to it? Should they say, know what? We’re sick of this, we’re gonna stop.>>Yeah.>>You think they should?>>Yeah.>>All right, maybe you are an anarchist.>>You don’t look like an anarchist but
maybe you are.>>I think, yes, because it’s our system. It’s the way things work. If we didn’t have that going on,
who knows how we would get money toward the military,
how we would get money towards education. I think we need something in place
to make those things happen.>>What if it could get done without
taxes, then would it be wrong for them to do it? What if you, we can have a society where people
voluntarily donate money to the military.>>Then they would have no reason
to tax us and things like that. I mean, but would it be okay?>>Yeah, would it be wrong to? They might not have a reason but
they’d still do it.>>I don’t think it’d be wrong?>>Why not?>>Cuz it’s not a horrible pressing
thing you’re asking people to do.>>What if said to you, give me 50 bucks
or else I’ll lock you in my basement. Now 50 bucks isn’t that harmful.>>Right.
>>Is it okay for me to do that?>>No.>>Why is it okay for the government
to take 50 bucks but not me?>>Because the consequences aren’t that.>>No they are, right?>>I guess jail. [LAUGH]
>>It’s not my basement but it’s not necessarily better but
my basement is pretty cool. [LAUGH]
>>It’s got games and everything. So is it okay then, for the government to
put you in jail if you don’t pay taxes but it’s not okay for
me to put you in basement jail?>>If you put it like that,
it’s not okay for anyone to do it. [LAUGH]
>>Right, but yet, I think most people think it’s okay for
the government to do it but not okay for
an individual [CROSSTALK] or a mob.>>Yeah, like I said, because the government has this
prestigious like look on them.>>They have the badge. [CROSSTALK]
>>They’ve got authority.>>Exactly, some people are like
screwed that, like no taxes, they can’t make us do it but then other
people are this the way it’s been, you just got to keep the system flowing.>>Yeah, it’s almost like this is
just what we all tell ourselves.>>Yeah.>>What I think is best for the nation,
may not be best for the nation. So if the majority of the nation feels
one way and they vote someone in who is looking out for what most people
believe is in their best interest, then I’m all for listening,
going with that person.>>Let me ask you this question. Let’s say you’re hanging out
with four other friends.>>Right.>>You go to a restaurant and
you get a check. The five of you have a $200 check.>>Okay.>>Then the four friends get together and
they say, you know what? We all want Chris to pay for
the whole thing.>>Right.
>>It’s in our best interest if we don’t pay at all and Chris pays everything.>>Right.>>Would that make it okay?>>No.>>Why not? They voted.>>There was a majority vote.>>Right, but I didn’t vote for
them to make that decision for me.>>What if you don’t vote for
the candidate who goes to war and you still have to give your taxes?>>If my friends were
elected by a different body. Say, we’re a part of a group in whole and
just our friends went out to dinner but this whole group that we’re a part of
voted them to make decisions for me, then I’m going to let them
make decisions for me. But if we’re just a group of people
that no one like allotted of them to do anything, then yeah, I’m not going to
let them make me pay for anything.>>What if you knew that your
friends were out to get you?>>Right.>>You were trying to tell people
to not vote for these guys.>>Right.
>>But they still voted for your friends to hold the office
of restaurant deciders and then they made you go to
a restaurant that you hated and they made you pay three times
what everyone else pays.>>No one’s going to make me do anything.>>The government can though.>>Right.
>>And you think it’s okay when the government does it?>>Right, because I trust our government.>>What would happen if it fell apart? That’s tough.
>>Yeah, that’s tough. It wouldn’t be able to do
what it’s supposed to do. [CROSSTALK] Force us to do certain things.>>Yeah, that we need to do or
else we’ll maybe collapse.>>Right.>>Even if that’s right, even if it’s
true that there are only certain things the government does and
if it doesn’t do them, we collapse, most of what the government
does isn’t that, is it?>>Right, it would only be
a certain number of things.>>Right, so that would only, at best, justify a very small number-
>>Yeah.>>So this collapse argument,
it seems like, it’s your big thing.>>Yeah.>>If you can be shown that there’s
a society that could work pretty well, or as well, or even better than our
current society and it had no taxes, everything happened voluntarily,
then you’d be on board with that?>>Absolutely.>>Do you think most people ever
even think of this question?>>No, I don’t think so. I think we just blow right by it,
and if more people stopped by and saw only this question,
I think the tax would be filled.>>Yeah, they would all be yeses.>>Yeah.>>Yeah, when you do this question
first and this one, things change.>>Yeah, definitely.>>Which is an interesting lesson
about the power of philosophy.>>Yes.>>I think we’re gonna leave it there. What have we learned today? Seems to me that we’ve
learned a couple things. First of all, people value self ownership. They value the fact that they have
control over their own lives. They think it’s okay for them to do with their bodies and
their property what they want but that it’s not okay for other people to
do to them what those other people want. That makes sense. This is how most people live. This is how most people want to live. But all of a sudden, when you bring up
the government, things start to change. As you’ll see, a fair number of people
thought it was okay for the government to invade your self ownership in order
to further causes it wants to do. But why is this? Why do people think things change
when the government gets involved? Does it have to do with philanthropy? Does it have to do with large numbers? Does it have to do with the fact that
people claim that they have agreed to it in some way? Then why do they think agreements
are these funny things that change when it comes to the government? This brings up a fundamental question
about the proper role of government. What is government allowed to do? A very natural answer is that
people own themselves and they own their property and the government
is not allowed to do things to those people that they
don’t let others do. However, when people
are actually asked about this, what is a government allowed to do,
their answers change. They think, the government is allowed
to tell me what I’m supposed to do with my property, with my body,
with these sorts of things. Why is that? What gives the government
the right to do that? Is it the fact that there’s
lots of people in it? Is it the fact that it’s gonna have
some allegedly beneficial effects? Is it the fact that we have all
agreed to it, whatever that means? It’s not entirely clear based on
talking to the students if there is any general thing that most people mean that allows them to think that
the government has this right. At the end of the day, I think that people
aren’t really sure why they give this answer but they do give this answer and I
think one of the things we should try and figure out is why people
are thinking the way they do. In fact, what do you think? [SOUND] [MUSIC]

100 thoughts on “Charity vs. Taxation – What is the Difference?

  1. They are raised in an educational system controlled by the government. Of course they are taught to trust the government.

  2. The obvious breakdown in logical thought here is due, largely, to poor quality teaching in secondary schools and post secondary institutions. There seems to be more indoctrination that teaching going on.

  3. Kegan Speed wrote
    “They are raised in an educational system controlled by the government.
    Of course they are taught to trust the government.”
    It’s pretty obvious you’ve never seen the inside of a university.
    There are many controlling factors in addition to government.


  4. I think there are two ways to go about this. First is to differentiate between what is a public good and a charity. If there is such a way of drawing an objective line, this argument would be pretty much ended. You then limit the Gov role to only things that are a public goods (Roads, Police, Military etc), where the Democratic process would choose which public goods the Gov should then take on. Then charity and the public goods which aren't covered by Gov will be given over to the free market and citizenry.

    The second way that I can see, is to figure out which "charity" (using the implicit definition he is using in the video) is best covered by Gov. Which is pretty much how we are doing it right now through the Democratic process.

  5. Illegal wars (million plus dead) for oil 25% of the worlds prison population but "I trust our government". Indoctrination is powerful magic .

  6. I do prefer smaller government, but there is a role for the government that you are missing out. 2 Key things.

    First point: Addressing areas where markets neglect, and where it needs centralised control. Free market cannot often address things with delayed impacts. Things like climate change require government regulation because pollution in one corner of a country somewhere can impact the future of the entire planet. It needs a central body that can control (Global summit) these issues and apply them to government policies. Obviously US is doing a horrible job acknowledging climate change, but that is besides the point. Just because you are not interested in climate change, you shouldn't be contributing towards it because it is for the benefit of the entire future generation.

    Second point: We do want reduction of choices. Individuals are limited in the cognitive capacity to make the right decisions. We have so many choices to make with water supplier, electricity company, which charities to donate to, and so on. Free market gives us choices, competitions within each to make all the players fair; however these are still choices we need to make. Voting is different. Ideally, policy makers will address some of these issues that are overlooked by individuals so that as democratic decisions create policies where our taxes are distributed to areas where an individual like me would otherwise have neglected. It is like a package deal that is built based on a set of values and beliefs that we pay for (in the form of tax) and we don't need to understand each and every details in it, as long as we are happy that it is for the benefit of somebody. Even if that benefit is not for me, that somebody is equally paying tax for some of the policies that I voted for.

    Regardless, I completely agree that smaller government is preferred, but there is still a role for the government to be fulfilled (upholding some basic laws in addition to above) which require some form of taxes (or government owned businesses). They are prone to corruption, but so are big companies, and both if too big, are capable of media manipulation and monopoly.

  7. I see stupid comments of people wanting to end the government but people can even get along driving road raging trying to kill each other so who's supposed to control that. There has to be some kind of law and rule that is governed to control people from hurting each other and then someone has to pay those people who control those people hence government

  8. Scott wrote
    “The takeaway here should be: aggression & coercion are bad…
    therefore government is bad”
    The “takeaway” in your comment
    was that you possess a cerebral cortex the size of a watermelon …

    Aggression and coercion are not restricted to government.
    They are far easier to find in corporate Capitalism.

    This is something you should not have to be told.


  9. I think a way to fix this debate is to allow people to allocate their tax money to what is important to them. A tax form that has items you want your tax money spent on. You would eventually see where people would prefer their money to be spent, example for a municipality: roads, schools and education, welfare, etc. You could pick all items which would divvy up your tax funds to each one or pick just a few and again it would be divided evenly into the items you chose.

  10. I wish they would do this with higher IQ individuals, it would be interesting to hear actual arguments the other way like the leviathan argument.

  11. The obvious logical fallacy behind this video is "False Equivalency."
    The questions assume that
    just because something is moral/immoral on an individual basis
    it is necessarily moral/immoral on a collective basis.

    That is also a "False Premise."

    These students were apparently put on the spot
    without a chance to spend sufficient time thinking about their answers.
    Illogical questions require time to find the flaws and present counter arguments.

  12. What right, do you have to delegate to others, a right you do not have your self?
    This is the main reason why all governments are immoral and illegitimate.
    Because taxes, tariffs and regulations are nothing but slavery.

  13. Thanks for pointing those simple things out. Those forced taxes should rather be an optional in the tax form.
    People who want to pay for all kinds of crap should be free to do so.

  14. "Why is it okay for the government to use force, when it's not okay for me to use force?"
    Because you're not the one providing the service. If I build a driveway, then it would be okay for me to force people to pay to use it. It's not okay for the government to force people to pay to use my driveway. The government builds roads, so the government charges people to use those roads.

  15. Gamle Ole wrote
    “People who want to pay for all kinds of crap should be free to do so.”
    There is nothing stopping people from paying for “all kinds of crap.”
    What makes you think they are not free to donate their money?


  16. K. Solowoniuk wrote
    “Also many people have a percentage of their medication covered by group insurance plans covered by their employer(deductions) so the proponents of government coverage are most likely appealing to peoples desire to get something for free as a means to get votes.”
    Those things are not free. They are paid for by taxes.

    This is not something that you should have to be told.

    TOUGH LOVE !!!!!!!!!!

  17. K. Solowoniuk wrote
    “Our healthcare is terrible so why anyone would suggest that the government should also handle the provision of medication is a mystery to me.”
    If you think Canada’s healthcare is terrible,
    then it’s pretty clear that lots of things are a mystery to you.

    You should replace your brain
    with something much, much larger …
    like a walnut.


  18. K. Solowoniuk wrote
    “I guess I would say it is never alright for the government
    to force it's citizens to pay for things that the majority wants.”
    Where your thinking flew off the rails in that response,
    was in assuming that the majority is always right and moral.


  19. William Fagerheim wrote
    “This is the main reason why all governments are immoral and illegitimate.
    Because taxes, tariffs and regulations are nothing but slavery.”
    The alternative is to go back to living in single family caves.

    Brilliant Solution Bubbles!

    You are a lucky guy.
    Unlike the rest of us, you get to go through life
    never having to struggle with the burden of carrying around …
    a brain in your skull.


  20. The government allows you to do whatever you you want with your body. You are just not allowed to commit murder. Abortion is murder. Thankfully the government left it up to the individual states to decide.

  21. msgsgt wrote
    “Thankfully the government left it up to the individual states to decide.”
    The Blue states thank you.
    Now all your Red State bitches will have to travel here for their abortions.

    INSERT ANOTHER QUARTER TO TRY (and fail) AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!

  22. msgsgt wrote
    “You are just not allowed to commit murder.”
    Isn’t that what I just said above?

    Now you’ve contradicted yourself.


  23. msgsgt wrote
    “Abortion is murder.”
    Not according to the Supreme Court.


  24. msgsgt wrote
    “The government allows you to do whatever you you want with your body.”
    No it doesn’t.
    We have laws that limit your rights.
    You have to be the dumbest little freak on YouTube
    to write such an ignorant statement.


  25. The obvious logical fallacy behind this video is "False Equivalency."
    The questions assume that just because something is moral/immoral on an individual basis
    it is necessarily moral/immoral on a collective basis.

    That is also a "False Premise."

    These students were apparently put on the spot
    without a chance to spend sufficient time thinking about their answers.
    Illogical questions require time to find the flaws and present counter arguments.

  26. I think that the "educational" system has been indoctrinating people to not question authority for so long, that it has created an intellectually lazy foundation. I don't think people are even aware, anymore, that they could choose to question.

    Maybe, the first thing we need to learn to question is ourselves. Then, if it is ok to question our own thoughts and motives, it MUST be ok to question the same in others. If questioning ourselves (singularly), and others (singularly), then any collective is automatically able to be questioned. This simple thought perspective fundamentally changes everything. Suddenly, a thing that makes no sense has no weight, because NOBODY has the ability to say, "Just believe what I say." Suddenly, in order to gain a following, you'd have to actually make sense, and when the theories that used to make sense didn't pan out, people would want a new option.

  27. It's quite a false equivalency using an emotional argument. You pay taxes to the government to keep the public engines running, where it goes isn't your concern, you gave it to the government where it joins a pool of funds, after which it is no longer your concern. They decide how to break up that pool to run public interests and keep itself going. Saying your taxes are going to roads you don't care about is disingenuous, as you don't know where the money you gave them is going, it's just as reasonable if not arguably more reasonable to presume that money is going towards the things that you do support. But whether or not you support anything doesn't matter, it's not your money anymore.
    Imagine giving a friend 20$ then getting upset when a month later they spent 20$ on buying a video game when you dislike video games for some reason, and claiming that they spent "your" 20$ on something you found objectionable or a waste of time.
    Or imagine that you owed him that 20$ because he lets you live in his house.

    Taxation is not theft unless it exceeds reasonable levels, which I'd say cap out at 30$ and are ideally between 5 and 20% based on income, separate from sale taxes.

    Government has authority, authority is the monopolization of violence to limit any random person expressing violence to achieve their goals, and the expression of violence to intervene, retaliate, and prevent violence from a foreign party that would seek violence against your group.
    To maintain that authority, it requires wealth.
    The only alternative to taxation would be that the state owns everything, and we all know (I should hope) how that turns out…

  28. ok, so I think everyone that said no then yes simply would use force personally if they were strong enough to not have repercussions.

  29. When the government does it there’s oversight and control when random people do it there’s no control there’s no oversight that’s a huge difference

  30. I would have to say yes based on the verbal part of the question vs the written part of the question. As the verbal was always redirected toward the ability to taxation. For basic things. However, we define 'government' if I were to petition the government and the government enacted at my request using the powers of the republic to act who is one to disagree? This is the cost we all pay for our form of government with taxation WITH representation.
    And though I have already read the comments 'trust' is fundamental in democracy in which in order to wield power you must be able to use force or else you are not in power. So in order to maintain it as such; the powerless need to have trust in the safety of one's freedom at the restriction of one's liberties in the arena of taxation.

  31. @robinsss "the representatives derive their power from the voters……………"
    Ideally, yes. But I suggest reading Vice President Henry Wallace's 1944 NYT op/ed regarding the danger of fascism developing in this country even after it's defeat in Europe. And see General Smedley Butler's account of the fascist coup plot against FDR that he nearly single handedly thwarted. As Mark Twain mentioned, "Everyone's for democracy in principle. It's only in practice that the thing gives rise to stiff objection."

  32. Until about two years ago, I blindly trusted governments. I now have become sceptical about governments controlling too much.

  33. the QT3.14 using her hand as a sun visor while wearing sunglasses on her head…. atleast she things taxation is theft.

  34. Too many appear to see government as a higher institution greater than the sum of its parts (words and people) that holds itself to a benevolent and high moral standard much like the Christian God. Unlike Jehovah, they do not understand that government is not a person or even a thinking entity. At best, it is an unthinking juggernaut while at worst it is a tool of force wielded by tyrants.

  35. A government's roll should be very limited.

    The main goal of the limited government should be providing physical security to the public.

    Ensuring that the individual keeps thier liberties, falls to the public.

    I just wish people would understand that the government has it's power enforced by… Force… If you don't pay your taxes they fine you… If you continue to not pay they arrest you, if you resist arrest they shoot you…

    And with that knowledge it is my hopes people would loose thier self-righteousness in the idea of forcing others to comply with laws that benefit a few. Witch is what social security and the like are.

    The thing that sucks about freedom is the ball is always in the public's court…

    They have to be the change they want… And it's going increasingly difficult to ask of people today. It's much easier to be told what to change or have something else entirely do it for you…

  36. But if suporting the government is optional like the 13 colonys people tend not to suport as in the revolutionary war the military was dirt poor and all most lost because of the option of suport. In ww2 all most everybody was agents joining the war so if paying the government Europe would be controlled by nazi germany and tens of millions of more jews, British,rushan,french and other groops would of ben killed.

  37. “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” — James Madison

  38. "Why is it okay for the govt to use force, but not me?" Because vigilantism is a crime. The very definition of a state is its (hopefully legitimate) monopoly on force. If you want to argue that this monopoly is illegitimate, you must demonstrate that vigilantism is a good thing.

  39. People think the way they do because of propaganda and brainwashing done to them throughout their lives. What is most important is to remove this brainwashing and start towards propaganda that helps them.

  40. This experiment perfectly illustrates this heinous pathological need to control others that most people appear to hold. I despise this "busybody" aspect of human nature. The state makes slaves out of all of us. We desperately need a modern "Emancipation Proclamation"!!!!

  41. David Garcia wrote
    “privatize the government so instead of debt we have profit,
    is not that hard folks”
    (Sports Fans – they don’t come any dumber than this little half-wit.
    It’s obvious he’s never taken an economics class in his entire life)


  42. Better yet ask them to define "government." Who or what is it? Who actually makes decisions within its vast abyss? Are these smart people? What are their incentives to perform? What are their weaknesses? Is there anything they shouldn't be in charge of? (this last one for socialists)

  43. Oh i think it kind of a bad framing. The society is like a party where everyone is supposed to bring something like food, drinks and etc.
    Than everyone can eat and party.

    But you guy are like these people who want to the party to eat and drink but don't want to contribute.

  44. Our forefathers allowed for the Government to have a source of income. They make money off of tariffs and excises taxes, which is voluntary. If you want a new car, you pay tariffs/excises taxes on the new car. You don't have to buy a new car. We were free in this country until 1913 and the Federal Reserve started and income taxes started the same year. The American people have been really, really dumb to allow income taxes. How are we better because of income taxes? We are far worse off. The Government is bigger and bigger and society is degrading faster and faster.Our forefathers knew this and that's why they said the things they did, but we have forgotten their warnings and we are going down because of our apathy and complacency. People retiring for 30 years and they only worked 29? Who thinks this can sustain? More and more on disability every day! The system is just messed up and it's our fault. We let the idiots in Government do this to this great nation.

  45. If we would have stuck to excise taxes and tariffs, can you imagine how much less stressful ours lives would be? No income taxes would place so much more control in the people's hands instead of the politicians. This video shows that people think forcing money our of people is wrong and the forefathers would have agreed.

  46. You should only have the government do things that you'd be ready to kill for. Because that's what happens if you don't pay taxes, and don't comply with further demands.

  47. This phenomenon is best described by Kahneman and Tversky's nobel prize winning work on how humans actually think (check out the book "Thinking fast and slow"). People rarely put great effort into thought. They put in only as much effort as is required to solve the problems they are facing. Thinking is hard work, so we do it only when we anticipate benefits from doing so. When it comes to thinking about government, a big, complex system over which we have very little individual control, people don't see an obvious reason why they should think deeply about it. At a glance, things seem to be working.

    On the other hand, people do think about the social arrangements they have with friends. They know they have power to change them. They can see the problems, and they are empowered to address them. So, they think about them.

    Philosophy provides the well-reasoned arguments, but it's psychology that explains why people are not naturally inclined to discover these arguments for themselves.

  48. Great to let students/people think about this question… I have a bit of a double feeling on the use of the word "cause" though, which kind of misleads the conversation into thinking that government spending is the same as donating money to a cause. When talking about a cause to donate money to, we usually think of causes to support where there are no/limited government support systems for, but do feel it is important. Kind of a wealth problem, now the government has organized most of our existential needs. Let´s see what we have to say about forcing other people to support causes when the government doesn´t support any causes like health care, education, transportation, public safety, etc, (where we pay tax for, with indeed some force in order to maintain the system).

  49. This is a great video. One way to make government agencies more efficient and responsive to the voter is to have every agency compete for the tax dollar. Suppose you keep the tax system the same as it is now but allow each tax payer to allocate his or her tax dollars in whatever proportion they wish. That way, every government department headed by a member of the cabinet has to reach out to the tax payer and improve their service or product offering in order to get a bigger share of the tax pie. Competition between government departments will improve efficiency and cut waste. For example, if the department of education had to compete for tax dollars wouldn't they do more to improve test scores for high school graduates? If HUD had to compete for tax dollars wouldn't they be able to offer more housing units to the poor more efficiently?

  50. The one guy kept talking about "social contracts" that people in society are supposed to agree to whether they choose it our not, but isn't that really just a form of social constructionism which the postmodernist regressive left tends to reject when it comes to things they're passionate about like gender identity or socialist economic ideals?

  51. It's based on accountability. When you make individual choices you are held accountable so of course you'll try to do the right thing when questioned. When a group of people (gov) is asked the same question, it's much easier to switch the answer because it becomes a "it wasn't me" mentality. Just saying

  52. Government is not comparable with "somebody"". The government also includes you, also the government spends your money not on 1 particular thing but on many, some of which are comparable with a membership such as safety, security, vaccination, schools.. Some of the money is also used for products and services that you have already consumed
    during your childhood.. so this makes the second question way way more complicated

  53. We are conditioned by our educational system to place our government on a higher pedestal when it comes to who should be the benefactors of what we produce as a society. If we were allowed to believe in the sovereignty of the individual and his or her choices, we would need to foster a completely different, maybe more charitable, moray in every member of the human tribe or we would lose the whole idea of what a society is and the glue that holds us all together. I like to believe that the later ideology would be far superior because then the agreement of every individual would be needed to determine the direction humanity would grow as a whole. It could, over time, create and incubate the conditions and mindset that would enable the True Democracy to grow and thrive. We could all be the benefactors in relatively equal measure to the extent that each citizen forms an agreement to promote the greater good for all concerned in any given situation. In the end and ideally, no force would be required and we would be closer to the utopia we all think about and want to believe in. War would no longer be the imposing force and the power of decision would be shared by all. Although I am not saying this would be an easy road. We are human and mistakes would be made, lessons needed to be learned would be learned through trial and error in test after test and in many differing situations. I think tolerance and acceptance would be our greatest challenge. -Then again, maybe I am completely living in fairyland, and it would be a huge mess, but the concept sounds great on the page. : )

  54. There are services that the government provides for public benefit, and it is proper to pay taxes to pay for that. However, giving tax dollars to special interest which benefits only a few is wrong. Yet we see this all the time.

  55. Fantastic video! One of the best I've seen making the simple case for voluntaryism and self-ownership.
    I'm proud that at least a few college students seem to have some morals and seemed to use some logic properly.

    The government should not exist. They grow like cancer
    ( and the only thing they can do is threaten/use force.

    But if a person didn't like violence and didn't want the government to use violent force but still wanted the government to remain as it is today and provide the 'services' they do, I have good news! The government can really function like it does today (at least on state and local levels) with zero mandatory taxation! Check this out:

  56. Charities are for the wealthy to hide money. Charity doesn't fix the problem because it's a vehicle to hide money so why would the wealthy want to fix the problem, and the govt doesnt want to fix the problem for manuy obvious reasons

  57. I think its always been a case of less "this is morally justified" in terms of the government, so much as "this is what gives people the most piece of mind". You get enough people in a room and get them to discuss an issue, and they'll produce an answer that's "good enough"; and because its also a relatively quick method of coming to a functional answer, most accept it. Essentially its the answer that's the best for the most number of people… The problem we get to, is that its not right to have a single answer on an issue for all people.
    … One example of "a good voting system" vs "a bad voting system" was to get 5 vegetarians, 2 meat lovers, and 2 who like both, and ask them where they eat; with giving them one vote each leading to two people getting the worst solution (meat eaters in a vegetarian restaurant), and letting them vote as much as they want for any place they'll accept leading to them all eating at a place that at least serves SOMETHING they'll eat, which is a passable solution… But the ideal solution would be for them not to eat at the same place at all, or buy from whichever place they want and meet up to eat it after they all have their food; which doesn't require a vote, they just buy what they want and come back.
    … Which makes me think I need to comment on another video out there… Excuse me.

  58. I wish to applaud the editing of this video. Too many of these "man on the street" videos are edited to mock people or focus on some ignorance revealed through the interview. This one actually dwelled on the interviewees for a significant amount of time and showed people working through a process…one that really does not present a clear "yes" or "no" answer. I was impressed to see these young people recognize and work with the dilemma presented. The hope is that they never stop thinking critically about these issues.

  59. if its wrong for one person to do, its wrong for ten or a hundred or 320 million people to do. Might (numbers) makes able, not right.

  60. thanksfernuthin wrote
    “I'm very Libertarian”
    That’s not something you should be confessing in public,
    as if it is something to be proud of.

    Christopher Hitchens said it best:
    “I have always found it quaint and rather touching
    that there is a movement in the US [Libertarians]
    that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.”

  61. Gamle Ole wrote
    “Those forced taxes should rather be an optional in the tax form.”
    If taxes were optional, who would pay them?


  62. Good argument but for the answer is in the argument, the government should be allow to tax its citizens because it is given extra power by the people. For example employees of the government (police) are able to send people to prison for crimes and ordinary citizens are not.

  63. So these "social contracts"…The things we humans do considerably better then animals is learn by imitation.
    So what you'r close circles do, you first copy.
    That has an automatic survival assumption that what precedes you had value, or else it wouldn't exist.Each such "thing" that could be an ethical concept, "social contract", some behaviour would always come with merits and issues just the same.A basic thing that modern societies are embedded with are a set of morals, that create a trust in people and systems.An example is trust, trust is a base barrier for cooperation, without it an economy don't work, cause people won't transact..If you try to break the "social contract" of trust, and be too selfish in a visible know way, you would get pushback very very quickly and might easily be ostracised, as someone that shouldn't be interacted with. (this example could be more accurate with personal trust in a seller/buyer transaction and such…)

    The "social contract" of a government is inherited for most people, without major consideration on their part.
    Any social contract, would get to live (while it might be amended overtime), for the duration it's merits outwoutweigh it's costs/issues..So people accept the government they were born into, up until the moment where it's costs outweighs it's merits, at that time, people start revolting that contract, trying to get themselves out of that contract in it's current form.

    Even if you won't mention government but would build that contract in people's mind of a central taxation body, they know that social contract/construct, and they know it has more merits then downfalls by their teachings, so they would agree it's more valuable then personal financial freedom. As this historically has got us into a better place as a group, due personally it plays against me, overall I would be better off.

  64. NO Government anywhere in the world is a good thing. It is a necessity of social order. The basic man is prone to wrong or bad. Limited Government is also needed. For the larger it is, the more corrupt and intrusive it becomes. The main reason America's founding was to do more with how to keep Government in check. Sadly we have allowed Government to dictate what we will NOT do!

  65. If you are a professor i'd rather hear your opinion than any random person out there. It's a waste of time asking people on the street what they think. A more intelligent opinion is more worthwhile.

  66. The government run schools told us to think this way, think about it, they even made us ask permission to ise the bathroom or speak, told us we needed a driver's license and never bothered to explain our rights to us properly

  67. We are a republic where the rights of the individual is protected.

    Constitution Lectures 1: The Non-Consent of the Governed

  68. Really interesting experiment. I tried thinking of reasons to justify the difference- I could think of two.

    1- eminent domain/the governments ability to plan for the nation- it would be wrong for me to force you to sell your land to me to build a railroad, even if the railroad would benefit everybody, because there’s no assurance that the railroad is actually beneficial to everybody. But because the government has power over other aspects of society- how much your goods are going to be taxed, how alternative channels like roads and bridges are going to be built- they can say with more certainty that building a railroad will be beneficial because they can dedicate less resources to the other areas.

    2- in theory, because government officials are elected, if they spend the money foolishly the people will vote that person out and vote someone else in to reverse the change, and in the long run things will even out. Of course in reality in places like New York Republican causes will probably never be advanced and vice verse in places like Kansas. Also because politicians make so many decisions no one decision gets this type of scrutiny most of the time

  69. Firstly, throwing in "moral" to students is hilarous. Its a fundamentally complex philsophical complex to be asking someone for an off-the-cuff answer.

    Secondly, it could be entirely moral to force you to give you money to a charity, depending on how you attained your money and what the charity is. If you have 100 and a child is dieing in front of you it may be entire moral for me to take $50 from you to save that childs life. The benefit of saving the child would outweigh the injustice of taking your money.

    Thirdly, its far more morally acceptable for the government to redistribute resources in order to manage the economy because a Government is chosen by Democracy. So while democracy itself is a tyranny of the masses, its still more moral than any other system you could devise that would actually result in a moral society.

  70. We are equal with our fellow man and have no authority over each other. That is until I step into your self government jurisdiction & violate your life liberty or property. Now I've entered under your authority & get what I deserve in retaliation for my violation. Animals understand these natural rights under natural law. Animals will defend their life liberty & property. No one has any right to offend another's rights. We all have the right & duty to defend our rights. With reasonable force of course for the sake of the Jury. In a Republic, which is representative civil government; Can you delegate powers that you do not possess to your Representative? The only powers you have over another are in defense of these rights. Therefore defensive actions are the only possible powers any civil government may lawfully act upon. One may say we have surrendered certain rights when we entered into a civil societal compact. This may sound fair on it's face but is not logical or reasonable. Who would dare to state a surrendered right of any individual? Please comment upon a surrendered right if you can? Where is the document found that enumerates any surrendered rights? It doesn't exist in ANY civil government on Earth throughout history. Now even those Statist Liberals & Conservatives want civil governments limited in what it may or may not do. Especially when the State acts against them. But the problem is that they cannot agree where that line ought be drawn. They both agree that the State has powers delegated to defend their own life liberty & property. But they want the State to be responsible for more than this. This is where it all comes off the rails. Once the State does more than defend these natural rights, it becomes the largest detriment to the rights of man. It violates the rights of man than any other man could. Whom ought you to fear more; A stranger? A friend? A foreign government? Is it not your own government that holds so much power over you? All civil laws ought be measured by asking. Does this violate anyone's rights?……………… No more usurpation.

  71. Today the minority seems to be able to dictate what the majority should do.
    How did that happen? Oh yeah the fake news puts those people at the front of the line to push their agenda 🤔🤦🏻‍♂️
    I think there should be an opt out choice!!!!

  72. The "social contract" idea is nice.. but typically you review the effectiveness of a contract.

    Where is the statement of an audit of how much money went in and how much value towards the programs did we get out?

    Money is going in to help with homelessness and welfare which I dont agree with already but would probably change my mind if they showed me how much of a great job my money went to.

    Unfortunately it takes money to move money around and it is heavily mismanaged in the government and we the people are lucky if we 75 cents of value for every dollar we put in.

  73. It's not about your choice or my choice when it comes to government. It is about OUR choice, when it comes to government, taxation and how it's spent. All government expenditure by definition is our choice. Ok?

  74. You are a private entity.
    You have no ability to force others to or not to do something.
    The government is a private entity.
    Therefore, the government has no ability to force others to or not to do something.

  75. The immediate follow up to the taxation question is then: If no taxation is allowed then: Should government be abolished because without taxation, we all give up public roads, bridges, police, fire, rood and drug and banking and environment regulations and other public benefits. This is EQUALLY important to the two questions because to ask just whether it's right or wrong to forcibly take property is too simplistic. I think this is how the people who thought government taxation is okay would justify it.
    Naturally, the consequence is that some of the money is used for things disagreeable to taxpayers (maybe even a majority of them) that's the downside so there is a balance. You want a small government that carries out the functions needed without being corrupted to take more than is necessary for wrong reasons..
    As professor, I think you should have also included some explanation as to why you just stopped at a first grade level answer: Is it right to forcibly take money from people. No.
    Lastly, the real question then is: what happens to those public benefits provided by taxpayer funds via the government? Should it go away? Be subsidized on a negligle charitable donation basis? To all the posters below who say taxation is wrong, what would be the solution then?

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