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In a movie theater you pay $10 cover to go inside to watch a movie. The $10 ticket price pays for all the services on the premises, such as the bathroom and cleaning.

Contrast this with a country. A country must have three basic services, the courts, the military and police, so why not charge the citizens a cover fee? The fee must be flat, the same for all people, like a movie ticket. Not a percentage.

USA has 300 million = 3E+8 citizens. Let's say that every citizen in USA pays $10/month. Thats 3E+9 dollars per month, 36E+9 dollars per year. Assuming an average salary of 100k = 10E+5 for a government employee, this means that this is sufficient to cover 36E+4 = 360,000 employees. This is seven times bigger than number of Google employees, and three times bigger than number of Microsoft employees, and I bet would be sufficient for a limited government in USA.

My question is why the $10 can not be a mandatory payment, not a voluntary payment? In a movie theater you have to pay the cover to get inside.

asked Mar 31 '15 at 12:25

Bop's gravatar image


retagged Jun 03 '15 at 17:14

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

Mandatory as in you go to jail if you don't pay it?

With a movie theater, you have a choice to pay or to forego the movie. If you think $10 is too much, you can go to a different movie theater, or make your own movie theater, or wait until the movie comes out on DVD, or just not watch movies. Movie theaters don't send a DVD to your house and then send you a bill for $10, like it or not.

That said, if all taxes could be replaced by a $10 per head capitation, it'd be much more fair than the current system. I'd vote for that in a heartbeat as an interim solution.

(Mar 31 '15 at 14:01) anthony anthony's gravatar image

(Alternatively, maybe you meant that failure to pay the $10 means that you're no longer a citizen, and don't have access to the courts, etc. If that's the case, please clarify that. I'm not really sure whether that is acceptable or not.)

(Mar 31 '15 at 14:06) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Yes, I mean that if you don't pay $10 you are no longer a citizen, and actually you have to leave the country because otherwise you are benefiting form the military protection that you didn't pay for.

Aren't countries a bit like companies ? You can leave one and join another if you are not happy with the terms of service.

The analogy of country=company can be taken further. At the moment, there is no empty land in which you can form you own country, but if all property is privately owned, there would be no space to start your own company. So you have to accept some terms, some country.

(May 29 '15 at 12:24) Bop Bop's gravatar image

The government doesn't own the land which I live on, I do. (In fact, a proper government doesn't own any land at all.)

As far as benefiting from something that you didn't pay for, that happens all the time.

"A moment’s reflection will show that one should not be compensated for all the benefits one causes, nor be made liable for all the costs one imposes. One should be compensated only for those benefits one gives to others which those others freely contract to receive."

(May 29 '15 at 13:00) anthony anthony's gravatar image

"According to the logic of the doctrine, beautiful women and the owners of beautiful homes and gardens should demand compensation for the pleasure the appearance of their persons or property brings to others without charge. Even the senders of unsolicited merchandise through the mail should also be able to demand compensation, if their merchandise confers any benefit on the recipients."

(May 29 '15 at 13:01) anthony anthony's gravatar image

"Indeed, on the basis of the externalities doctrine, it is arguable that people are liable for payment for all the benefits that now come to them freely in the form of the work of all the inventors and authors whose discoveries or creations are not eligible for patent or copyright protection, starting with such contributions as fire and the wheel. Whether or not these payments are to be made to the descendants of the inventors or innovators, to the government, or to some other party, is a separate question. The principle holds that payment must be made for benefits received."

(May 29 '15 at 13:01) anthony anthony's gravatar image

George Reisman, Capitalism, p. 96, https://mises.org/sites/default/files/Capitalism%20A%20Treatise%20on%20Economics_3.pdf

Objectivists reject the doctrine which says that one may properly be forced to pay for every benefit which one receives.

(May 29 '15 at 13:02) anthony anthony's gravatar image
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The original question was presented with almost no context -- no mention of where the premise of three basic functions of government comes from (it comes from Ayn Rand), and no mention of whether or not Objectivism (the philosophy of Ayn Rand) has ever offered an answer to the question of how such a government should be financed (Ayn Rand did offer an answer). The question then proceeds to offer a solution to the issue of government financing based on mandatory taxation, without any attempt to acknowledge Ayn Rand's alternative ideas and her identification of mandatory taxation as an instance of initiation of physical force. The question and follow-up comments by the questioner frankly represent a perfect illustration of Ayn Rand's observation in "Philosophical Detection" (PWNI Chap. 2, p. 17pb):

The layman's error, in regard to philosophy, is the tendency to accept consequences while ignoring their causes—to take the end result of a long sequence of thought as the given and to regard it as "self-evident" or as an irreducible primary, while negating its preconditions. Examples can be seen all around us, particularly in politics.... There are sundry "libertarians" who plagiarize the Objectivist theory of politics, while rejecting the metaphysics, epistemology and ethics on which it rests. That attitude, of course, is not confined to philosophy: its simplest example is the people who scream that they need more gas and that the oil industry should be taxed out of existence.

In fairness, the questioner hasn't quite stated an open rejection of Objectivism's foundation for its view of government and voluntary financing; it is conceivable that the questioner is merely unaware of Objectivism's foundation. However, the questioner apparently is not unaware of Objectivism's view of "three basic services," which he may have learned about only through other questions, answers and comments on this website.

The original question asked:

My question is why the $10 [per month] can not be a mandatory payment, not a voluntary payment? In a movie theater you have to pay the cover to get inside.

Follow-up comments by the questioner have now made the implicit premise here explicit:

Aren't countries a bit like companies ? You can leave one and join another if you are not happy with the terms of service.

The analogy of country=company can be taken further....

This premise evidently sees no clear difference between political power and economic power, for which additional Objectivist discussion can be found in The Ayn Rand Lexicon under the topic of "Economic Power vs. Political Power." The questioner apparently sees no difference between voluntary trade and a government ordering a citizen to give up his citizenship, his home, his land, and all other property and personal relationships that he can't take with him, and get out of the country if he doesn't want to pay the government's mandatory fee of $10 per month (which probably wouldn't stay that low for long, as voices of altruism clamor for more government "services" of all kinds).

For those who may not already know, Ayn Rand's explanation of the proper functions of government is presented most definitively in her article, "The Nature of Government," published in both VOS and CUI, originally published in the December 1963 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter. Just two months later, in February 1964, Ayn Rand addressed the question, "What would be the proper method of financing the government in a fully free society?" Her answer was subsequently published in VOS as Chapter 15. Key excerpts can be found in the Lexicon topic of "Taxation," including Ayn Rand's explanation of why mandatory taxation is a form of initiation of physical force. One excerpt also points out:

The choice of a specific method of implementation [of voluntary government financing] is more than premature today -- since the principle will be practicable only in a fully free society, a society whose government has been constitutionally reduced to its proper, basic functions.

If the questioner and others see philosophy and political theory as a mere game of floating abstractions haphazardly compared and contrasted through logic detached from reality, it should be emphasized that Objectivism upholds a radically different view of the role of philosophy in man's life. Objectivism is offered as nothing less than a fully comprehensive, practical philosophy for living on earth -- actual living, not hypothetical existence in some floating realm of disconnected abstractions.

answered May 30 '15 at 07:57

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

I think we can safely assume that all readers on this website are all objectivist, and have read every Ayn Rand book. The purposes of these questions is a debate, and not an analysis how much the questioner has read. Lets get back to the content of your answer.

(Jun 20 '15 at 03:08) Bop Bop's gravatar image

Ayn Rand suggested methods to fund government, but left it up to following generations to figure it out. I am not convinced that voluntary government funding is moral, because it leaves the door open to "The Sanction of a Victim". What would happen if 10% of people voluntary fund the govt, and 90% do not. Isn't the 10% a Rearden's, carrying others on their back?

(Jun 20 '15 at 03:12) Bop Bop's gravatar image

A country, like a company, has certain interests, as codified in its constitution. These interests are basically to protect private ownership of citizens. A company has also a set of interests, they may be different, but it is still a set. A movie theater has an interest to keep its seating isles clean. One way, or another, protecting interests costs money. What is so wrong by expecting participants to chip in?

(Jun 20 '15 at 03:17) Bop Bop's gravatar image

You said that relocating is hard for someone who is settled, but this is a technical, not a moral issue. But lets consider an immigrant -- when he thinks of moving to a country, he has to accept the requirement of paying a cover fee, and has to teach the same his children. Where is force in that?

(Jun 20 '15 at 03:22) Bop Bop's gravatar image

In comments above, the questioner seriously misrepresents the purpose and operation of this website:

  • "I think we can safely assume that all readers on this website are all objectivist, and have read every Ayn Rand book."

  • "The purposes of these questions is a debate...."

These statements are incorrect. The purpose and operation of this website is stated in the "about" page and "faq" page that are both linked in the upper right corner of the home page.

I also maintain that the questioner's substantive points about government financing are adequately answered in Ayn Rand's article, "Government Financing in a Free Society" (VOS Chap. 15). There was also a very similar question asked and discussed on this website nearly three years ago: link.

(Jun 21 '15 at 01:53) Ideas for Life ♦ Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image
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Asked: Mar 31 '15 at 12:25

Seen: 2,535 times

Last updated: Jun 21 '15 at 01:54