Why are Republicans trying to spoil the race in TX-22?

Libertarians are often accused of entering candidates into political races in order to be a spoiler. The opposite may be true in Texas.

As most of you can guess, the reason I’ve not had time to blog here lately is because of all of the media excitement about the Bob Smither campaign in Texas 22. There is one key topic about the Thursday night meeting in Pearland that seems to have beem missed by the mainstream media so far. (I’m linking to FortBendNow because Mr. Dunn seems to be providing significantly better coverage than some of the more traditional media sources).

The way the story has been relayed to me by several parties (some of whom were inside the closed meeting), former congressman and potential future inmate Tom “Don’t Drop the Soap” DeLay spent his time trying to ensure there would be no support for Smither. According to what I’ve heard, DeLay suggested some outlandish conspiracy theory that Smither and Lampson are secret buddies and the only reason Smither is in this race is to siphon off Republican votes. The direct quote from DeLay seems to be that Smither is “a Lampson plant.”

According to Smither, there isn’t such a relationship and he’s only met Lampson in public when working on issues related to missing children. For those of you not familiar with the horrible tragedy which fell upon the Smither family and how this plays into this campaign, details are available here, here and here.

Of course, Lampson is exploiting that relationship to help his campaign. During the heat of the controversy leading up to Thursday night’s meeting, Lampson released a television commercial that seeks to associate his name with those very same issues. Smither made it very clear to me on the phone that any suggestion that he is working with Lampson to siphon off Republican votes “is a vicious lie.”

While there was clearly some support for Smither in the GOP meeting, DeLay’s antics killed any chance for Smither to address the audience. Now Republicans have a tougher pickle than the simple issue of whether or not to support the Libertarian candidate. They’ve probably got two write-in candidates, one of whom has a very difficult to spell name.

Texas 22 is rated around 65% Republican and areas of the district are certainly libertarian friendly. My question is why the “Hyphen Lady” and Wallace are running spoiler write-in campaigns to keep Smither, the only economic conservative actually on the ballot, from winning. It seems to me they are placing their personal interests ahead of those of the voters. If I was still a Republican (and I was for years), I’d be strongly supporting and then voting for Smither simply because he has a greater chance of winning than the write-in Repubs. I’d simply have considered a vote for either of the Republicans a wasted vote.

My suggestion to Republicans is to work with Smither to help ensure that Nancy Pelosi isn’t the next Speaker of the House.

My challenge to Libertarians is to take the Smither campaign to the blogosphere, much like DailyKos did for Lamont in Connecticut. With that sort of support, you can show local Republicans that Smither is indeed their best option.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. The real question is not “why are Republicans trying to spoil the race in TX-22?”

    It’s “why is the Libertarian Party posturing as ‘conservative’ and pushing a candidate on the basis that the gridlock caused by a having a Democratic House of Representatives poised versus a Republican White House would be a bad thing?”

    For the love of God — if Smither is going to be the Libertarian candidate, run him as a LIBERTARIAN candidate, not as “Tom DeLay, only Tom’s out of town.”

  2. Good point. Apparently the bigwigs in the Republican party would rather have a Democrat win than a Libertarian. This just goes to show that the Republicans care more about power than any issues.

  3. I like it when the questions are easy.

    The answer to the first question (why are Republicans trying to spoil the race?) is because that is what Republicans do. Republican politicians like to lie and their supporters think it is clever and adopt the lie as their own. This is yet another example of why it is a bad plan to jump into bed with Republicans (or Democrats).

    I think Tom Knapp knows the answer to his own question (why is the LP posturing as conservative?). That is because there are many in the LP that think this is the route to electoral success. There are also a few in the LP who don’t seem to know the difference between libertarianism and small govt. conservatism.

    Perhaps Texas Republicans will vote for Smither, but if the recent Reason article about Smither is accurate, the Republicans certainly aren’t donating to his campaign.

    Maybe Smither is just too good for DeLay’s people. They’re used to voting for the greater of 2 evils.

  4. Knapp – What makes you think that Smither is anything but a Libertarian, and running as such?

  5. Mike said “What makes you think that Smither is anything but a Libertarian, and running as such? ”

    …Well, of course Smither is a Libertarian. But the “angle” postured on this and other blogs as well as from Smither himself ( “I am conservative. I won’t vote for Nancy pelosi..etc”) is that Smither is the only “conservative” on the ballot and openly courting Republican support and endorsement. So I see what Knapp is saying….

    However, obviously to have any shot in a 65% GOP disctrict he needs to appeal to a large chunk of Republican voters. The district is mostly Republican and partisan Dems already have their man on the ballot.So I understand the angle…

    To be honest I would rather Libertarians not have the endorsement of Delay and I’m about the last person that wants the LP to be “‘Republican-lite.” The appeal should be a true Libertarian who has some values that Republicans (who dont suck-off Delay) share and could vote for. But politics is politics.

  6. First of all, Bob Smither *is* running as a Libertarian. He’s listed on the ballot as such and I’ve seen no evidence that he’s trying to hide that fact. Even the script they’re using on BallotBase (targeting Republican voters in the district) specifically mentions that he’s a Libertarian. Bob often says he considers himself to be a “Ron Paul” type of candidate when it comes to his stance on the issues and most people would agree that Ron Paul qualifies as solidly libertarian.

    The campaign strategy being taken by Smither is purely pragmatic. The district is considered 65% Republican based on voting history, there will be NO Republican on the ballot, and his fiscal conservative message should sell well, particularly since a significant portion of TX-22 used to be in Ron Paul’s district. To me, this seems to be the right approach to take – it gives him a realistic (albeit longshot) chance to win without trying to deceive anyone.

  7. Mike,

    You write: “What makes you think that Smither is anything but a Libertarian, and running as such?”

    Nothing — that’s why I didn’t posit that he’s anything but a libertarian, or running as anything but such.

    What I said was that the LP is posturing as “conservative” and “ooh, big bad Pelosi” with respect to Smither’s race, not that Smither is doing so himself. Big difference. I haven’t talked with Smither to see how he’s approaching things as an individual.

    All of which is neither here nor there, for one simple reason: My opening comment was pure troll, and purposefully so. You know that we’re going to have this discussion (i.e. “is Smither pure enough? Is his campaign saying the right things?”) eventually. I just figured it might as well be sooner rather than later.

    Personally, I hope that Smither is actively appealing to GOP voters on the basis “I’m all the good things you’re promised, but don’t get, when you vote Republican.”

  8. Get Smither on BOORTZ! He’s a Fairtaxer.


    What has he not been on BOORTZ yet? Get him on BOORTZ. He’s a Fairtaxer. Get him on BOORTZ. Did I mention get him on BOORTZ? Personally, I think he should be on BOORTZ. I wonder if BOORTZ would put him on? With all this “libertarian” talk that BOORTZ gets into, maybe he would put Smither on. Maybe BOORTZ would talk him up and get people revved up about it. Fairtaxers are crazy. BOORTZ is a rabid Fairtaxer. So is Smither, so I am confident that BOORTZ would put him on BOORTZ. He should really be on BOORTZ.

  9. Oh and the reason why they are spoiling it? Because they want business as usual and they don’t want Libertarians to be legitimized. For one, it would expose the Republicans as total liars when it comes to the pro-liberty, limited government rhetoric. Anyone who still beleives that is a stupid sack of shit. Never underestimate the perverse stupidity, stubborness, or selfishness of a Republican.

    That’s why Delay did the Christian thing and bore false witness about Smither. Delay was there to make sure that the race was spoiled. Getting Smither elected would be a disaster for the REAL Republican party. Those rank and file members have no clue how they are being used. When the powers that be put their foot down, in swoops the party leadership to do their bidding and steer the rank and file off of a cliff. Those rank and filers have no clue of the evil that they are abetting or how they are being exploited.

  10. Yo Tom, old buddy. Charlie Cook rates TX-22 at R+15. The L candidate got 1.8% in 2004. The Ds are on the ballot and the Rs aren’t. Which base should we go after if the desire is to actually freaking win something big for once?

  11. Steve,

    Oh, you want a pragmatic political argument? OK!

    Yes, Cook rates the district at R+15. All other things being equal, the GOP candidate is going to get 65% of the vote.

    Of course, things aren’t equal, because there are THREE GOP candidates: DeLay (who, last time I noticed, was still on the ballot) and two write-ins.

    Unless he manages to get off the ballot, DeLay will pull at least 20% of the vote, regardless of what stops the GOP pulls out on behalf of Ms. Unpronounceable.

    Ms. Unpronounceable is probably good for 10% if the GOP really puts muscle into it. The other write-in, possibly 5% if he really hits it hard.

    Lampson is sitting on 35%.

    That leaves 30% that’s up for grabs. Smither is probably good for 10% right now, and might be able to romp the other 20% if he and the LP go balls-out (if not, it goes to DeLay by straight-ticket GOP default).

    So, if DeLay remains on the ballot, Smither needs to take at least some out of Lampson’s hide to win. (cont’d)

  12. (cont’d from comment 13) There’s also a good chance of enhanced Dem turnout (GOP blood in the water) and depressed GOP turnout (“DeLay’s outta there — why bother voting, Dems have it”).

    So, how does Smither maximize his “GOP base vote” while getting some of Lampson’s, too?

    It’s probably too late for him to credibly unharness the Fair Tax albatross from around his neck, so I’ll set that one aside.

    The war issue probably isn’t going to help him much with Dems and it would hurt him with Republicans (assuming he’s on the right side of it).

    I’d say you’re on the right track: He should emphasize “fiscal responsibility” and “I won’t vote Pelosi for speaker” to his Republican audience.

    Possible Lampson weak points: A 30% NARAL rating (where is Smither on abortion?) Voted for the anti-marriage amendment (GLBT community — small but high turnout). Vote to continue Cuba embargo (how’s the Hispanic demographic in TX22?).

    On the GOP side, spam. On the Dem side, target.

  13. BTW, I’d guess (have not polled on this one) that Smither is at 10-15% at the moment. Probably a better base than either Repub after the press dies off in a week or two. And he can also hit a lot of indys and Dems that the Repub write-ins can’t — and there is no good way to poll for how many people show and accurately vote for a write-in.

    I suspect that someone will publish a poll on this over the next few days and we are accumulating internal numbers now. We’ll see how these numbers stack up.

  14. Yeah, DeLay isn’t on the ballot, which slightly throws off that analysis. Straight-ticket Republican voters will vote for nobody for TX-22, which is why we need to target themand ensure they vote for Smither.

  15. I wonder about this bit about vote for Smithers to keep Pelosi from being Speaker of the House. How would voting for Smithers do that? Unless he is planning to caucus as a Republican and help keep the Republicans in control. If I lived in his ward, even as a Libertarian, I would then vote Democratic because I think the Republicans are the biggest danger to freedom today, not the Democrats. If Smithers is going with the GOP then vote Democratic.

  16. Okay, I see. The last I’d read — and I follow political news daily — is that the courts were continuing to reject the GOP’s attempt to remove him from the ballot as “no longer qualified.” Somehow I completely missed that he had voluntarily removed his name regardless of that outcome (which does not allow the GOP to nominate a replacement).

    That does, indeed, change things considerably. It probably puts Lampson at more like 50% than 35% after the straight-ticket ballots with no GOP congressional candidate on them get factored in. That means that Smither is going to have to take even more Dem votes to win than if DeLay WAS on the ballot.

    Or maybe I’m just not awake yet.

  17. I am helping to organize the Libertaian Party in my county. I believe that the Libertarians suffer from a credibility gap. We are costantly percieved as outside the mainstream, whatever that means, and nothing more than a bunch of drugged out flakes preaching anarchy. I have said before, and I will repeat, it is time to downplay some of the more extreme positions of the Libertarian Party, and focus more on fiscal responsibility, eminent domain, asset forfeiture, civil liberties, etc. these are gut issues which will make us more credible in the eyes of the majority of the voters. NEITHER of the major parties will touch these issues.

    If I was advising the Smithers campaign, I would try to attract votes from both Dems and Reps by selectively emphasizing certain positions to specific groups. Actually, there is enough fodder in just those topics alone to attrack votes from the left, right, GOP, and Dems.

    Smithers can be elected, if he focuses strategically and plays to his audience.

  18. All of this is very good for us chatterbox types, but does he have enough volinteers to get the message out?
    Is the campaign doing door to door and a few mailers, yard signs and the whole nine yards?
    Keyboard consultants like us are good to a point, but it requires people willing to get hot and sweaty during a Texas Summer to get the word out.
    Money, money, money. The ‘ol mother’s milk of politics.

  19. While I think that running as “Republican lite” is a bad strategy in most cases, this case is unique. I feel dirty about supporting someone who promises to help elect a Republican speaker. I would much rather have Nancy Pelosi. I feel dirty about having my philosophy or political affiliation associated with the fascist cabal known as the GOP. However, if I were in Smither’s position, what would I do? The same thing. Is it worth it in order to increase the chances of electability? I think so. But what would the longterm implications be? That is a matter of concern, for sure. Of course, it would be best for him to be elected, by any means necessary, and then worry about all the other stuff. The worst, and most likely outcome, if Smither were elected, would be that he would run for re-election in two years as a Republican. How would the LP brass feel about that? Would they bow to him the same way they do to their theocratic idol, Mr. Paul?

  20. UA,

    Smither has been in the LP since 1972. It’s tough to see him doing the DeLay cut and run.

  21. A couple of other comments on the campaign. The word “conservative” has a bad ring with many African-Americans and there are plenty African-Americans in the district. Libertarians need to find another word, or phrasing to use in its place. Too often county governments in the ‘ol South, couldn’t be bothered to help people, but had a raft of codes on the books to keep people from helping themselves.
    And where is the Libertarian Congressional Campaign Committee in all this? That group should be available to help with fund raising, mailings and volunteers.

  22. Michael Wilson:

    Apparently Eric Dondero is willing to get hot and sweaty – he was here the other day talking about walking the district and going door to door.

    Speaking of the mother’s milk of politics:


    Open Secrets reveals a pretty sad state of fiscal affairs for Smither – maybe the Texas LP has stretched itself too thin. I hate to rain on the parade, but optimism doesn’t win elections. Unfortunately, the candidate with the most cash wins over 90% of the time.

    Smither has raised $2,486 and Lampson has raised $2,894,602. Wallace has raised $203,421 and Sekula-Gibbs has raised $44,338.

    Smither will need an awful lot of media exposure, in-kind contributions, and volunteers to offset Lampson’s big bucks.

    I hope Smither at least has the opportunity to debate Lampson.

  23. Gordon challenges me to take it to the blogosphere. I accept and I have. I have also sent $200.00 to Smither, and I in turn, challenge everyone else to do the same. Money is the mother’s milk of politics, and it’s not enough to wish Smither well. (I have also sent Badnarik $200.00 – He’s running a hell of a campaign.)

  24. Wilson and Blanton – stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and send Smither as much money as you can afford. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a Libertarian in Congress! My household has sent him $1,150 so far. Plan to send more…

    Zander – thank you!!

  25. I hope Smither at least has the opportunity to debate Lampson.

    If there is a debate and they let the write-in’s attend, that will really chap my hide – especially since they won’t let Werner in the debates.

  26. I’ve been working the San Juan County (NM) fair all week and was surprised to find Smither a hot topic at the Republican booth. Many seem disappointed that the reps are going to run a write-in as a spoiler.

    And how disappointing to learn that he is a “fair” taxer. I will absolutely NOT support him for that reason, not one dime, not even a kind word.

    Any consumption-based tax violates our right to the free exchange of goods and services, and is regressive in nature. To be exempted as a poor person, I and others would have to plug back in to “the system” that I’ve opted out of.

    Just say NO to Republicans – and imitation Republicans pretending to be Libertarians. If the LP becomes just another gang of thieves who want their hand in my pocket, the Boston Tea Party will look better and better!

  27. I am vehemently opposed to the “Fair Tax” as well, and deeply concerned with it being affiliated with the philosophy of liberty.

  28. Picking up on Joseph Knight’s comments U-A writes: “I am vehemently opposed to the “Fair Tax” as well, and deeply concerned with it being affiliated with the philosophy of liberty.”

    I too am opposed to the so-called Fair Tax, but if we were able to get rid of the Income Tax overnight what would you gentlemen suggest we replace it with? I am assuming that the Federal government would not be reduced in size at the same time. And given the political realities of life that probably would be the case. Hell I have been trying to get people to bring our troops home from abroad for 30 years and that’s like pissing into the wind. Can’t even get the LP to focus on it.
    M.H.W. in Vancouver, WA

  29. I can’t support a candidate that seemingly takes no stand on the biggest issue of this decade – the open ended “global war on terror”.

    Also, I will not support any candidate that promotes the Fair Tax – an insidious plan that would increase the size and scope of government.

    I am completely bewildered by the recent obsession with some libertarians to have the government send checks to everyone in the nation – as evidenced by the Fair Tax plan and Carl Milsted’s Citizen’s Dividend plan.

    I know it is politically incorrect to suggest that these ideas are not libertarian in nature, so I won’t. Individuals can make that decision themselves.

  30. Every citizen gets money back from the state of Alaska each year as part of letting the oil companies pimp the crude like Jed Clampett. Just for informations sake:


    Alaska has no income tax or sales tax.

  31. How fortunate Alaskans are that they pay no income or sales tax. Unfortunately, neither the Fair Tax plan or the Citizen’s Dividend plan include eliminating income or sales tax – quite the opposite.

    Alaska distributes income. The Fair Tax and Citizen’s Dividend plans redistribute income. You are comparing apples and lemons, Tim.

  32. No, just giving some background on another form of these plans that actually exist. No other point. Info only.

  33. LOL Citizens Dividend. I don’t even have to read that article. I got to “Why don’t we just give every citizen a chunk of money each month and be done with it?” and had to quit. Obviously the REAL question should be “Why the hell do we take it in the first place?”. These plans are just clever ways to get all Americans on the dole. And then that can become the big political issue. Who gets what, how much, how often. Blah blah blah.

    The last thing in the world that we need to do is put every American on wealth redistributionist welfare.

  34. they already are. There’s virtually no one in the country that does not recieve some form of social ‘welfare’ either directly or indirectly.

    what do we do bout it?

  35. Tim ask the question: “…what do we do bout it?”
    So how would you go about reducing the government?
    What programs would you cut first?
    Any specific laws that you would repeal?
    This doesn’t have a lot to do with the Smither’s camapign, but it may develop into talking points others can use.
    Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party candidate, had a plan that was 15, or 20 issues most of which were adopted in some way by the government. Maybe we can help define 15, or 20 issues Libertarians can use as talking points nation wide and in turn help make some change.
    Your turn.

  36. Ideally, the income tax should be phased out and replaced with a tax on the value of unimproved land. This is the fairest, most traditional, most American form of taxation. In fact, taxation in this form, so long as it is used only to fund the minimum constitutional requirements of government, is a good, not an evil.

    Realistically, I support Steve Forbes’s flat tax. Generous standard deductions make the tax more “progressive” than the current tax code, and its simplicity would eliminate the sacrifices to productivity the current code necessitates, and the corruption it breeds. I am not in 100% agreement with Forbes’s plan, however, as I would prefer that all income be treated equally – earned income, capital gains, dividends, etc. “Conservatives” lose the people when they argue that earnings from daddy’s trust fund should be tax exempt or taxed at a lower rate than earnings from you working at the mill.

  37. I would also favor the elimination of FICA, but realistically, I would support its application (in revenue neutral reduced capacity) to all income (capital gains, dividends, etc.) with no cap. THAT would be a “fair” tax!

  38. People have natural rights.

    Personal income tax violates our natural right to the fruits of our labor.

    Property tax violates our natural right to private property.

    Sales tax violates our natural right to the free exchange of goods and services.

    The corporate income tax violates NO natural rights since a corporation is not a natural person. Since the corporation is a creation of the state, let it bear the cost of the state. The machinery is already in place. Of course, the taxes are passed on to consumers as higher prices so this is no substitutue for reducing the scope and expense of government. But it could level the competitive playing field for mom-and-pop propritorships.

    Coming soon: LAST (Libertarians Against Sales Tax).

  39. Here’s how the un-fair tax rebate would work:

    “How does the rebate work? All valid Social Security cardholders who are U.S. residents receive a monthly rebate equivalent to the FairTax paid on essential goods and services, also known as the poverty level expenditures. The rebate is paid in advance, in equal installments each month. The size of the rebate is determined by the Department of Health & Human Services’ poverty level guideline multiplied by the tax rate. This is a well-accepted, long-used poverty-level calculation that includes food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical care, etc.”

    Gee, all of us who hold “the card” would get a gov’t check every month. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

  40. Mike,

    I’ll post some possible solutions later today after I get back from my PT session. ( where I get bent and twisted in wonderful manners )

  41. The United States is quasi-feudalistic enough, the last thing we need to go to is a Federal property tax. The one thing the Fairtaxers seem to overlook is the Constitutional one. Not that they care about that anyway. We all know that the just a pointless argument.

    All tax arguments are pointless, really. They are just cover for the real problem: spending. That’s why Republicans love tax arguments. It allows them to shift the debate to something that won’t decrease the size and scope of government. That’s the last thing in the world a Republican wants to see.

  42. You are right to say that corporations are state chartered and “artificial.” So is land ownership.

    Land ownership is a legal construct enforced only by the state. Real estate is conferred by title. These terms date back to monarchy. Property tax is the ONLY legitimate tax.

    Locke said that private property ownership was only legitimate so long as there was enough land to go around. Babies born today have no ability to claim their fair share of land. Every inch of property that is conferred in title by the state is in fact a theft from each and every landless child. We can always produce more education, more health care, etc. People should pay for their own. We cannot, however, produce more land.

    America’s first tax rebels did not rebel against the idea of taxation in general. They rebeled against the fact that taxes were not based on land ownership. Take the Whiskey Rebellion for example.

  43. Property tax, when only the value of unimproved land is taxed, is a good thing – so long as the revenue collected is modest and only used for legitimate purposes.

    The income tax, in today’s society, may be a necessary evil. A simpler, more broad-based, flat tax would be acceptable to me, in lieu of a tax on unimproved land.

    A national sales tax, however, would be far worse than even today’s convoluted tax system. It would penalize the very thing that makes our economy great – namely, economic activity. It would breed even more corruption than the current tax system, as people would create convoluted stories about how what they were buying/selling were “inputs” and not finished products. It would greatly favor the rich over the poor, and it would create an underground economy filled with the typical sorts of crimes and injustices that perpeatuate in such havens. IT IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE WORST IDEA IN THE HISTORY OF HUMAN THOUGHT.

    Socialism ranks higher on my list of good ideas.

  44. Devious David writes: “All tax arguments are pointless, really. They are just cover for the real problem: spending. That’s why Republicans love tax arguments. It allows them to shift the debate to something that won’t decrease the size and scope of government. That’s the last thing in the world a Republican wants to see. ”

    I could not agree more.Right on.
    I have always argued that we need to focus more on spending issues. Bring 280,000 troops home from abroad and save $100 billion. End corporate welfare – save $90 billion.
    Stop the drug war- save $50 billion. And on and on.
    Now how do we create a list of priorities for LP candidates to work on?
    Obviously the LCCC is not doing anything of the sort.

  45. OK, if I have to give money to the government for improving the value of my property, can I get money back from the government if I de-value it?

    I don’t really agree with U_A about property ownership being artificial – but Russell Means, who USED to be a libertarian, would agree with you. Native culture doesn’t concepualize private ownership of property.

    Yes, corp. income tax will increase the cost of goods and services – BUT NOT AS MUCH AS A SALES TAX because we can still get lots of stuff from non-corporations.

    Personally, any sales tax would hurt me the most – and I don’t WANT no damned government check. I just hope we don’t lose sight of the REAL problem. Taxation is theft and here we are debating shoplifting vs. armed robbery.

  46. Is anyone still paying attention to this now? Well who knows.
    Anyhow Devious David has a point about the spending. The LP has been reluctant, IMHO, to go after the spending issue.
    We complain about the Income Tax, but have not put much effort into showing people how to reduce government spending.
    One great example was the recent announcment by Ford that they were going to close more plants. It would have been great to get the word out that while Ford is closing its plants, the company and its workers will continue to pay taxes to support the U.S. military forces stationed in the countries of Ford’s competitors.

  47. “Enough people consent to taxes at some level to make the theft argument moot outside of LP circles.”

    This is a farily ridiculous argument. If “enough” people consent to taking your house without your permission, I’d still call it theft.

    We can argue about whether the theft is warranted, but it is still theft. We can argue about whether theft in certain circumstances is moral, but it would still be theft.

    If others consent to paying taxes, then it is not theft. So for you, Tim, taxes may not be theft. But I DO NOT consent. Therefore, the government IS stealing money from me. That 95% of the population consents to taxation (which is an equally ridiculous claim), does not give them the right to confiscate the wealth of the remaining 95% and claim it is not theft. This kind of thinking is — here comes that word that you hate — collectivism.

  48. Chris — so it’s okay for you to benefit from the tax money of others, and not contribute any of your own to redeem those benefits?

    In fact, for society to expect remuneration from you… this would be theft in all circumstances simply because you didn’t agree to pay for the services rendered to you?


  49. “so it’s okay for you to benefit from the tax money of others”

    Yes and no. If others wish to freely give their money for some cause that indirectly or directly benefits me, then fine. But if they are being forced to provide me with benefits, then that is different.

    “In fact, for society to expect remuneration from you …”

    Remuneration for what? And when you say “society” what you mean is “government”. I benefit a great deal from there being a society. I have people to trade with, etc. But how can “society” demand anything from me? A group of people can get together and decide to start demanding all they want, but they do not constitute society.

    “this would be theft in all circumstances simply because you didn’t agree to pay for the services rendered to you?”

    I didn’t ASK for any services to be rendered. If you steal $10 from my wallet, and then come by later and wash the already clean windows on my house, did you not steal? Government steals my $10 and then breaks my windows.

  50. The libertarian argument is circular. It argues that taxes are theft without consent but then assumes that no one consents. Most taxpayers believe that taxation is legitimate and that government has the right to tax. It doesn’t matter why they believe this. They could be brainwashed, have a divine epiphany justifying it, simply think it’s a good idea, or have never given it any thought at all. But at the core they believe the state has the right, if not the duty, to collect taxes.

    Remember the difference between rape and seduction. The state often seduces. It promises the taxpayer nice things if they consent to being taxed. And most citizens, by far the overwhelming majority of them, like the promises enough to consent. They may try to reduce their taxes. But most people simply do not think that taxes are a violation of their rights.

    I like his argument better. He’s talking bout you, actually.

  51. I DO NOT assume that others do not consent. I don’t have to assume that to come to the conclusion that tax is theft. So no. He is not talking about me. In fact, I have NO IDEA who this fellow is talking about, considering I’ve never heard ANYONE say that no one consents, therefore taxes are bad.

    99.9999% of everyone in the world can believe that taxes are A OK, and it would not change my argument. Taxes would still be theft.

    Like I said before, we can argue about whether a little theft is necessary to help secure our rights, but I will not let you get away with calling it anything other than theft.

  52. but both of you pay your taxes? If not, what taxes dont you pay? How do you not consent?

  53. I pay my taxes at the point of a gun. I do not consent.

    If a robber points a gun in my face and demands my wallet, then I give it to him. It doesn’t mean I consent to him having my wallet.

  54. nobody from the government has ever pointed a gun in your face.

    I dont want to have a convo with a cliche. Life’s too short. are you capable of independant thought or not?

  55. If I do not file, then the IRS will begin collection procedures. Eventually, they will get a judgement from a court. Then they will garnish my wages. If I quit and start collecting my income “under the table” they will eventually send an armed officer with a very real gun. If I refuse to cooperate with the officer, s/he will spray pepper spray in my face, cuff me, and drag me out of my home.

    They do not have to point a gun in my face. They just have to threaten to point a gun in my face. It’s much easier for me just to give the government what they want. But it is still theft.

    “are you capable of independant thought or not?”

    Huh? You are the one who claimed that taxes are A OK because “enough people consent to taxes at some level to make the theft argument moot”. You base your entire argument on what other people think and then ask me if I’m capable of independent thought?

    Your entire schtick is “will ‘the people’ accept it”. You base your entire philosophy on what others believe.

  56. ….then ask me if I’m capable of independent thought?

    Yeah, I do. When you go off, you sound like a “libertarian” robot. It’s all just bits and pieces of shit you’ve read somewhere or heard somebody else say.
    Do you realize how silly you sound talking about how you dont ‘consent’, when you really do?

    Anyways, we be done for now, Holmes. Go on with your bad self. You dont need my approval to do any godammed thing, and vice versa.

  57. “It’s all just bits and pieces of shit you’ve read somewhere or heard somebody else say.”

    No. It is not.

    You quoted an entire article as basis for your view. I’m simply relying on DEFINITIONS of words. You are trying to change the definition of two words: consent and theft. Yet you have provided no compelling argument for doing so.

    “Do you realize how silly you sound talking about how you dont ”˜consent’, when you really do?”

    In what way do I consent? What is your definition of “consent”?

  58. Timothy West, people from the government HAVE pointed a gun in my face, including people from the IRS. I guess if you slap a woman around until she consents, it’s not really rape.

  59. Main Entry:consent
    Function: noun
    1 : compliance in or approval of what is done or proposed by another : ACQUIESCENCE
    2 : agreement as to action or opinion; specifically : voluntary agreement by a people to organize a civil society and give authority to the government.

    you do in fact consent to taxation, becuase you comply with the law regarding same. A non consenter would renounce their US citizenship and declare themselves not subject to any US law. That you may feel forced into doing so means not a thing, you still consent and pay taxes. Consent is a yes or no action. It’s not conditionally based on the morality of the action. That you may not approve of the action does not mean you dont comply with it, and as shown above, compliance does imply consent.

    Source: Mirriam Webster online.

    All this BS is just sillyness. You’re just like the rest of us.

  60. I comply with the law, but I DO NOT approve.

    “A non consenter would renounce their US citizenship and declare themselves not subject to any US law.”

    If I do that, then the officer I alluded to previously will show up with her gun. That is why I comply. Definition 1 says compliance in or approval, so I guess in a way I do “consent” by Webster’s definition even if I don’t approve. I’ll give you that. But what difference does it make? You could claim that I consent to a robber robbing me by giving him my wallet. It’s still theft.

    Taxation is THEFT. Period.

    BTW, you brought all of this up. If you think it is all so much BS, then why do you continue to argue the point?

  61. I’m not sure. I actually HATE these discussions. Dealing with people like you just reminds me how much hassle and bullshit there is in having to constantly battle your kind.

    must be a masochist, I guess. There’s no other explanation.

  62. “… having to constantly battle your kind.”

    I have no interest in battle with you. I’m perfectly willing to work with you to incrementally decrease taxes and government spending. I do not expect, nor desire anarchy next Wednesday.

    I was merely stating that taxation is theft. There is no getting around that fact.

  63. you all run together after a while. After years and years of listening to “taxation is theft”, “I never signed no contract” and all the other little pet phrases your branch of libertarianism says, you all sound alike. Your individuality is buried under someone elses books. You’ve accepted someone elses truth wholesale. You need to find your own truth. You do that by questioning and looking for it through study and examination. History is a must.

    If you want to reclaim it, then START QUESTIONING YOUR OWN BELIEFS. ACCEPT THAT THEY MAY BE FLAWED, AND START ASKING YOURSELF WHY. Start examining why. I do this all the time.

    As I find out new facts to consider, I do just that. My opinions & observations change as a result. This is not something to be feared but embraced. It’s called learning.

    If you can, assume for a few days that what you think might be flawed in some instances, or might not be true in EVERY circumstance. Study as to why. Question yourself.

  64. Tim, you assume way to much.

    Have you ever considered that people “like me” do question our own beliefs. We do “check our premises” (to borrow a phrase from a dead lady who I disagree with on MANY issues). And that through that evaluation we have come to the conclusions that we have. And then we re-evaluate those conclusions. I was not born believing what I do.

    Just because I do not agree with you in a certain instance, just because I believe taxation is immoral, does not mean that I follow someone elses truth wholesale.

    I try to find the truth. Period. I use reason, experience, and a little faith to do that. If it makes you feel better to blindly assume that those with whom you disagree are ignorant and don’t understand “learning”, then so be it.

  65. taxation in many instances IS immoral. On that we can agree. But there’s no way you have fully examined this area, becuase your conclusion is too simple and black or white to show any examination.

    Libertarianism makes a LOT of assumptions about things and how they work, or dont work. I find fully half of the philosophy is simply grand until you try to take it into reality, and then it breaks down – mostly becuase many people are weird and unpredictable, and often do not act in their own self interests, rational or not. Pure philosophies never work in practice. They always break.

    Can you give an example of where taxaion might not always be theft to you? Ever thought about it?

  66. On the ignorant thing:

    I dont think they are ignorant; I think they are much too smart for their own good. They apply reason and logic into areas *LIKE POLITICS* where reason and logic are very, very small factors into why anyone does what they do. Poeple neither run for office nor vote based on logic or reason, yet most libertarians continue to believe in using those levers to make the LP a factor. It wont work – their premises are faulty. They are done before they ever start.

    principles are strange things. They’re great to have, but they need to be measured with other human qualities. Libertarians ( Big L, mostly) have a hard time doing that to me.

  67. “Can you give an example of where taxaion might not always be theft to you?”

    Forced taxation is always theft by definition. What you want to ask is do I believe there are instances when a little theft is necessary to secure our rights? My answer: I do not know. Would I steal to feed my child if that was my only option? Probably. It would still be theft, though.

    “They apply reason and logic into areas *LIKE POLITICS*”

    I don’t know about others, but I apply morality to politics — that is to say, I cannot advocate that the government do something that I as an individual would not do myself. My morality is based on reason, experience, and a little faith, not necessarily complete deductive logic as you might assume.

  68. but your role as a individual and the governments role in the world are totally different things. you play a different part.
    I’m not sure your starting premises are good.

  69. Government is made up of and by individuals. If I say that it is OK for a group of individuals to commit some act, then I am saying that it is OK for me individually to commit the same act under the same circumstances. Calling it “government” changes nothing.

    You are implying that there is an individual ethic and a group ethic and that they can be dissimilar. I do not see how an otherwise immoral act can become moral based merely on the number of people involved in perpetrating the act. I’m not sure your premises are sound.

    I have evaluated my premises. I admit that I have some problems that I have yet to work out in my mind, such as issues concerning criminal justice. Which eventually leads to my earlier question: are there instances when a little theft (or a little invasion of privacy) is necessary to secure our rights? Again, I do not know. But I do not understand how you can make a distinction between the acts committed by governments and those committed by individuals.

  70. Chris,

    I’m going to abandon the thread. As I said, I really hate these theory type of discussions, and life is too short to keep doing things you hate. Especially when you dont know how much life you have.

    I just dont care bout this sort of stuff, except when it starts to make the political side of the LP hard to deal with and sell to the voters of this country. That’s my only concern. Toodles.

  71. No problem, Tim. We’re not going to change each other’s minds anyway.

    I can agree with what you imply, though: a lot of libertarians that do the “theory thing” completely suck at the marketing side of politics. And although I consider forced taxation to be theft and immoral, wiping it from the face of the Earth tomorrow is neither possible nor preferable.