Parsonages, paychecks and rendering unto Caesar (2)

The problem with a clumsy, kludgey mess like the tax structure of clergy compensation isn’t just that it’s inefficient and burdensome. Such systems also tend to become inequitable. Whatever it was they were originally patched together to do, they eventually wind up benefitting those who have mastered the art of exploiting them.

For an example of what that looks like in this case, here’s some background from Sarah Pulliam Bailey for Religion News Service:

The law’s tax exemption has been contested since a decade-old dispute between the IRS and California mega-church pastor Rick Warren. In 2002, the IRS attempted to charge Warren back taxes after he claimed a housing allowance of more than $70,000.

He eventually won the federal court case, and that led Congress to clarify the rules for housing allowances. The allowance is limited to one house, and is restricted to either the fair market rental value of the house or the money actually spent on housing.

Bailey notes that it’s not clear how this clarification of the rules applies to someone like the Rev. Steven Furtick:

The Southern Baptist pastor of one of the nation’s fastest-growing churches is building a 16,000-square-foot gated estate near Charlotte, N.C. The tax value on the 19-acre property owned by Steven Furtick of Elevation Church is estimated to be $1.6 million.

Both Furtick and Warren are Southern Baptist clergy, but neither one is a typical SBC cleric, so the denomination’s Russell Moore isn’t completely wrong when he argues that the housing-allowance exemption is particularly important to “clergy in small congregations of all sorts.” That’s how kludges tend to sort-of work. They become essentially vital to those with the fewest resources, while at the same time becoming extremely lucrative for those with the most resources who have learned to milk them for all they’re worth.

Russell Moore is completely wrong, though, in the full context of his remarks:

The allowance is neutral to all religions. Without it, clergy in small congregations of all sorts would be penalized and harmed.

This is doubly wrong. The allowance may be neutral among religions, but it is not neutral to religion. It privileges religion. The housing-allowance exemption may be available to Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy alike, but it is not available to computer programmers or to plumbers or to nurses or to violinists. It is a tax advantage provided to clergy. And it is very hard for me to see how such an advantage does not constitute an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

For Moore’s talk of clergy being “penalized and harmed” by the removal of such an advantage to make any sense, then, it would have to be true that anyone not currently able to take advantage of this privilege is, at this very moment, being “penalized and harmed.” If Moore believes his own defense of clerical privilege, in other words, then he’s expressing a cruelly callous indifference toward the “penalty and harm” being suffered by laypeople “in small congregations of all sorts.” Moore is saying, in effect, that all Southern Baptists who are not clergy deserve to be penalized and harmed.

That’s a big screw-you to the pews. I hope he wouldn’t have said that if he’d thought this through. But since he hasn’t thought this through, that’s what he said.

Photo snurched from the website of St. Petri Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Flanagan, Ill.

One of the weirder aspects of this whole business is that the lawsuit challenging the housing-allowance tax privilege for clergy was filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Their suit initially was denied because they lacked standing (legalese for “none of your business, this doesn’t affect you”). So the FRFF started treating its executives as though they were atheist clergy — paying them a housing allowance as well as a salary. The federal government responded by offering to treat these FRFF officers as “ministers of the gospel” — qualifying them for the housing-allowance exemption as well.

The fact that “ministers of the gospel” is the language of this particular tax rule underscores just how shaky the government’s case here is, and why it’s not surprising that U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb would rule that a special tax privilege exclusively for ministers of the gospel “provides a benefit to religious persons and no one else, even though doing so is not necessary to alleviate a special burden on religious exercise.”

Creating a special sweet deal just for religious people isn’t constitutional, even if you broaden the deal a bit to also include a handful of atheists — magnanimously offering to rechristen them as “ministers of the gospel” too.

So the current system of clergy compensation is unconstitutional. But it’s still the current system of clergy compensation. It may be a kludgey, unconstitutional mess, but that mess is how things operate at the moment. You can’t knock out a bearing wall and then put in the new support beams to replace it. You’ve got to replace it first or you’ll wind up with an even bigger mess when the ceiling falls in.

Here’s some of the big picture of what this means, from Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s piece:

The clergy housing exemption applies to an estimated 44,000 ministers, priests, rabbis, imams and others. If the ruling stands, some clergy members could experience an estimated 5- to 10-percent cut in take-home pay.

… Churches routinely designate a portion of a pastor’s salary as a housing allowance. So, for example, a minister that earns an average of $50,000 may receive another third of income, or $16,000, as a tax-free housing allowance, essentially earning $66,000. Having to pay taxes on the additional $16,000 ($4,000 in this case), would mean a 6-percent cut in salary.

The exemption is worth about $700 million per year, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation’s Estimate of Federal Tax Expenditure.

Bailey’s reference to a “6-percent cut in salary” is misleading. Closing this tax loophole would mean that this hypothetical clergyman’s take-home pay would be 6 percent less that it is with the loophole in place, but that’s not a “cut in salary” — that’s just having to pay taxes just like laypeople do. Their salary isn’t getting cut, the federal tax expenditure being paid to them as a subsidy is being eliminated.

But that subsidy is the current system. Those 44,000 clergy entered into their current employment contracts under the rules of that system. It’s important, then, how we go about transitioning from the old system to the system that will replace it. That transition — if done abruptly or crudely — could end up causing the “penalty and harm” Russell Moore is worried about, even though the new system, in which clergy are in the same boat as the laypeople of their congregation, is in no way unfair or harmful to them.

Think of the home mortgage-interest deduction. That’s a much, much larger annual tax expenditure — $90.8 billion in 2010. It doesn’t violate the First Amendment the way the housing-allowance lagniappe for “ministers of the gospel” does, but one could make all sorts of arguments that this massive wealth transfer to homeowners is unfair, subsidizing property-owners at others’ expense, or that it creates dangerous distortions in the housing market. Yet even if you were utterly opposed to the mortgage-interest deduction, you couldn’t advocate just wiping it away overnight. Millions of people entered into contracts based on the existence of this deduction. Abolishing the mortgage-interest deduction would have the same effect as increasing everyone’s mortgage by something like “5- to 10-percent.”

A system without the mortgage-interest deduction might be more efficient and more fair than the current system, but unless the transition were done carefully, over time, a lot of people could get hurt by that falling ceiling.

Churches and their lawyers will no doubt spring into action to challenge this district court ruling. They will likely spend several years in court, arguing that a tax expenditure that “provides a benefit to religious persons and no one else, even though doing so is not necessary to alleviate a special burden on religious exercise” is somehow constitutional. Maybe they’ll even win — for now.

But those churches and their lawyers should also be hard at work on figuring out what the next system of clergy compensation will look like — the one without this special privilege just for clergy. And they should also be trying to figure out the best way to make a smooth transition from the current system to that new one.

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  • FearlessSon

    Incidentally, if you wanted to watch it again, someone has been generous enough to put it on YouTube. Better watch it before it gets pulled.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    The title of this articles implies that the author (or headline writer) has misinterpreted Jesus’ profound statement, “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” to mean “pay Caesar’s tax.” That misinterpretation of Jesus’ plain-spoken words egregiously diminishes the flawless character of Jesus, and falsely implies Jesus supported the payment of taxes, whereas the contrary is true. He opposed taxation as a palpable violation of his Father’s command, “You shall not steal!” If you will look up the definition of the felony crime of extortion among virtually any jurisdiction’s laws, you will see that collecting taxes and extortion are indistinguishable. The only reason all tax collectors aren’t in jail is because the state they work for immunizes their actions in collecting taxes from its criminal law. Of course the state cannot immunize them from God’s law.

    Jesus said what he meant and meant what he said, and anyone who says otherwise is egregiously wrong. Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar means just that. If you have anything in your possession belonging to Caesar, give it back to him. Otherwise, give that murdering, plundering notorious pedophile nothing of yours. Resist paying his thieving tax by every nonviolent, honest means at your disposal.

    Notice, too, Caesar never owned a damn thing. Everything in his possession was stolen by means of direct plunder, taxation or enslavement. “Have nothing to do with the bugger or his empire,” is closer to what Jesus meant if you feel you must explain his plain statement. How could Caesar own anything if Scripture doesn’t lie? “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” (e.g., Psalm 24:1, and elsewhere.)

  • AlexSeanchai

    Do you or do you not benefit from public roads, public schools, environmental regulations keeping your air and water reasonably clean?
    Yes, in fact, YOU DO.

    Therefore, NOT paying your taxes is you stealing the benefit of tax-funded programs, and you paying your taxes–as Jesus did in fact instruct you to do–is you paying for the benefit of tax-funded programs.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Ellie, do those caps indicate you are angry? Please don’t be. I didn’t mean to upset you. No, Ellie, I do not benefit from any of those things you mention. Without public roads, the people of this nation would enjoy a much cheaper, more efficient means of transportation. Without public schools, the people of this nation would be much better educated. Just look at how most home-schooled children outshine their p.s. counterparts. My air and water would be much, much cleaner without government regulators, because the absence of regulators could only happen in the absence of the world’s Number One polluter: government, and, obviously, without government the air and water would be cleaner and the world would be a better and far more peaceful place to live. No governments, no wars, which have caused more pollution of the environment than the Industrial Revolution.

    If you willingly consume government benefits, which the government acquired by force or coercion, you are an accessory to the crime. You are a thief. Is that why you are angry, because I pointed out you foible? My dear, you can learn to get along on your own without OPM (sounds like opium, is equally addicting, stands for Other People’s Money, forcibly taken).

    And stop lying about what Jesus said or did. Jesus never told anyone except his disciple Peter to pay a tax, and he only did that because Peter had shot off his mouth and mistakenly said Jesus did pay the Temple tax. But Jesus chastised Peter for doing so, said that he (and Peter) were exempt from taxes, and made Peter jump through a hoop in order to get the money to make good on his word as mistakenly given..

  • AlexSeanchai

    Yeah, transportation would be so efficient that there’d be fifteen toll roads from point A to point B instead of one to three roads (mostly not toll roads) and a bunch of the land that people’s food and houses grow on. Home-schooling would efficiently lock up half the country’s parents in schooling their children instead of earning money to support those children, hardly a child among them would have the opportunity to learn things the homeschooling parent doesn’t know, and any child in a household where all the parents must work in order to afford rent and food would be shit outta luck educationally. Pollution would drop by a negative percentage in absence of laws restricting pollution.

    You do in fact benefit from taxes, and do not try to pretend you do not.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Oh, come, come, Ellie. All of your speculations about what would or would not happen in the absence of government and forced taxation are based on your religious indoctrination in Statolatry.

    I do not benefit from taxes, and neither do you. You see the so-called benefits of taxation, but you are blind to the costs. The first and worst cost in the introduction of force and violence into human relations. Taxation is the Alpha and Wars are the Omega of the State. Your almighty State takes a dollar and spends it on roads. That you can see. But what the dollar would have accomplished if it had not been forcibly taken, that you cannot see or refuse to even think about. But I know you know that your taxes also pay for drones to kill innocent strangers, weapons of mass destruction capable of ending the lives of everyone on earth, executions including some innocent people, NSA, FBI, CIA, DEA. a Republican House of Representatives, etc., etc. etc. Does that make you feel good?

    Why do you think you need to rely on force and violence for your daily bread? Is your imagination so limited that you cannot envision life without forcing others to do as you would have them. If you renounce the use of force in the conduct of your affairs, you will have to rely on persuasion and voluntary cooperation–and you will grow in the process by leaps and bounds. As the words to an old hymn put it, “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”

  • AlexSeanchai

    No, I’m not at all pleased about my tax dollars going to fund drone strikes and the NSA. What I do about that is I try to talk my congresscritters into supporting cutting funding for drone strikes and the NSA. I don’t–unlike, it seems, you–try to talk anyone into believing collective action is of the devil.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    It isn’t collective action that is of the devil, it is the use of force and violence, really the initiation of the use of force, to require funding or participation in the collective’s measures, which inevitably include such things as wars and drone strikes. Inevitable because those who use force, if only to collect the taxes on which the collective depends, upon seeing how easy it is to collect huge sums of other people’s money will find other things to spend it on other than the collectives mere survival, and because using force for any acquisitive purpose corrupts the users and deprives them of integrity, they will soon enough put that money to nefarious purposes–like wars and drone strikes. You may not like those things, but you certainly own them. When you allow your government to collect taxes even for seemingly noble purposes (they are not), you strengthen its hand to perpetrate wars and drone strikes. The more revenues in the hands of the rulers, the safer it seems to them to commit acts of violence, for money can and does buy the superior force.

  • AlexSeanchai

    Mm-hm. So who would you rather trust with the use of force, (1) the government of the people (including you), by the people (including you), and for the people (including you), or (2) the local warlords (who do not include you)? Because trusting no one with force is not actually an option unless you find some way to change human nature en masse.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Oops, Ellie, I missed this tidbit of yours, but I can’t let it slip by unanswered.

    Elllie, unless you are a member of the ruling class, which would explain your devotion to OPM, by which I mean an elected, appointed or hired, direct or indirect, government employee, the idea that you have anything to say about government is something you’ve been indoctrinated with by the ruling class since an early age to make your domination easier to swallow.

    I am glad you talked about the choice between “your” warlords (government) and other, not-your, warlords because that is essentially the only distinction. Because you think your warlord is yours, which it isn’t, its your rulers’ you passively allow it to boss you around like a child with minute regulations of what you can eat or smoke and how much pop you can buy (under 20 ounces for NYers.), and allow it to plunder you for as much money as the rulers think they can take from you without you resisting. So tell me Ellie, is there any difference from a moral point of view between what your warlord does and what that other “local” warlord does when it is essentially the same thing? If it is wrong for the local warlord to take your money by force, what makes it right for your government to take my money by force? Huh?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh god not this angels on the head of a pin discussion about the initiation of force.

    Lemme guess you’ve already decided all the force you use is “retaliatory” force, right???

    Wouldn’t want to transgress that Holy of Holies about initiating force.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Nope. Your wrong–again. I’m a pacifist. No force, no how. Turn the other cheek, blessed are the meek, etc. I leave the use of force to others. Not my cup of tea. But tell me, how complex is it to know who shoved first? Your analogy seems rather far fetched.

  • AlexSeanchai

    Wait, I just realized you said something truly absurd. “No governments, no wars”. No governments, nothing BUT wars! Anarchy is not a viable peace strategy!

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    How do you know? Prove it!

  • AlexSeanchai

    You haven’t thought it through, have you? Anarchy means, if I want to steal your stuff, and I can pay more armed people than you can, then there is not a damned thing you can do to stop me from stealing your stuff. Anarchy means no police to call about the theft, no courts to decide whether I’m guilty of stealing your stuff, no way to penalize me for stealing your stuff, no recourse for you whatsoever save hiring more armed people than me and attacking me right back.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Ellie, I have thought it through and studied it very carefully for almost fifty years. There is a wealth of information on the subject on the web, put there by some very intelligent people refuting your stilted concept of how anarchy would contend with any and all of the problems you raise. Anarchy doesn’t mean any of those things you imagine. Please take the time to study the issue. Websites with a wealth of info include, Voluntaryuist.com, Mises.org, Anti-State.com and a host of others you can find by googling “anarchy.” And just for starters, consider this: If you try to steal my stuff, I can deal with that far more safely and effectively than when government tries to steal my stuff. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot murdered literally hundreds of millions of their citizens. Without the collective resources of their respective states, these psychopaths might have killed dozens or even hundreds of people, but it is only possible to kill by the millions through the offices of the state, with it police powers.

  • AlexSeanchai

    mises.org saying anarchy is a paradise.

    a glance at Somalia, which is in a state of anarchy.

    Yeah, I’ll go with the side that’s got actual evidence on it, thanks.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    That means you’ll go to Syria, where there is at least one government? Somalia is 10 times safer than Syria and a number of other places where governments reign supreme. You are in a state of denial.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Actually Somalia is slowly inching back towards developing governmental structures, but there are several countries in Africa that could approximately qualify as well in which there are at least subnatiional areas with no effective government presence.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Uh, and are those subnational areas any less rapine than the national areas? Syria, Egypt, Libya, goodness, gracious gubbermints are all good since 1945. (Sarcasm)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot murdered literally hundreds of millions of their citizens.

    I love how this is like the standard go-to for Libertarians, just hold up the extremes of the use of state power and subtly imply that that’s the norm and it proves using government to STEAL MAH STUFF!!!!1111 is so easy and is always on the knife-edge of happening.

    News flash: many stable democracies around the world manage to conduct their daily affairs without such things. Western Europe since 1945 is an example.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Oh, come off it. The reason libertarians pick those examples is because you statist hold up state accomplishments to show gubbermint is good, without ever even acknowledging something economists call “opportunity costs,” which really ought to be called the lost opportunities of individuals to taxation.

    News flash. There is a lot of history before 1945. I think there’s an adage or something like those who forget it are bound to repeat it. And, ahh, where were you when the Serbs were demonstrating the benevolent ministrations of statism.

    Nutrino, baby, you may not be patronizing but you certainly drip with sarcasm–not particularly biting, nor sharp, nor witty, just kinda oozing.. Wipe your chin.

  • AlexSeanchai

    something economists call “opportunity costs,” which really ought to be called the lost opportunities of individuals to taxation.

    Opportunity cost of NOT having taxation: either all the roads are toll roads or all the roads have potholes that nobody’s willing to pay to fix. Opportunity cost of NOT having taxation: the next Rosalind Franklin spends her life not making the next big scientific discovery because she could not get educated past how to read rite and rithmetic.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Statolatry! Worship of the state. Without the state and its reliance on force everybody would be a dodo. Hmmm. Logical analysis?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Sure, Canada since 1867 and the USA since 1783. Neither have descended into hellholes because they have governments.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Oh, my, if you believe government saves you from hell, does that make government your Savior?

  • dpolicar

    On your account, are there any groups of humans that currently exist without governments? Have there ever been any such groups?

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    In 1778, 12 people met in London with the express purpose of abolishing slavery in the British Empire. At the time 3/4s of the world population lived in one form of bandage or another and most people thought that slavery was as necessary as government. Those twelve were almost certainly the only people in the world who thought civilized people could get along without slavery. The 12 who inaugurated the most successful civil rights effort in history, the Abolition Movement were 9 Quakers and 3 evangelical Anglicans. Their campaign was predicated on the nonviolent principles of Jesus. Same with the tax abolition movement.

    To answer your question, I only presume there are small groups of people in remote areas of the globe who have no contact with government. I’ve seen a study that indicated people living in highly inaccessible mountainous or other forbidding locations generally do not rely on government to any notable extent, and the study suggested some people chose to live there for that reason. Ireland survived quite well without anything like a central government as we know it until the Brits arrived and forced their laws upon the Irish and banished the Brehon laws. If you take the time to research anarchy you will find other examples. But I think the important point is the similarity between government rulers and slave masters, both of which most people once thought were indispensable.

  • AlexSeanchai

    Difference between slavery and taxation, jackass: money isn’t people.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Hmmm. You are angry, aren’t you. Not good for you. Name calling is a reflection of many things, which I won’t name. Taxation is like slavery in many respects. In both cases the fruits of one’s labor are forcibly taken. Studies have indicated that taxation replaced slavery as a more efficient and productive means of appropriating the labors of others. People, real humans, are forced to pay taxes, Ellie, just as real people once lived as slaves. Open your mind.

  • AlexSeanchai

    Taxation is NOT slavery. Taxation is not even LIKE slavery. For reasons I have already cited adn you ignored.

    Taxation is, there are things we collectively need to do that we cannot or will not individually do, and since we collectively benefit from those things, we collectively pay for those things. We can argue till the cows come home over what exactly those things should be and how much exactly we should pay for them, but “nothing” and “none” are not actually viable answers.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Ellie, stop pretending it’s “we” doing stuff collectively through the gentle ministrations of government. Every tax law includes enFORCEment clauses, which means force will be used to ensure their collection and make your neighbor pay for your benefits. Force, FORCE, VIOLENCE. That ingredient is in every tax, but you have scratched it out on the jar. You are like the three monkeys, hear no evil, see no evil, etc. I deduce that you are utterly dependent on OPM, and will defend your “right” to forcibly take other people’s property unto the gates of hell.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Seeking to gain the benefits of taxation without paying taxes is theft from those who do pay and theft from those who provide.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    The reason people pay taxes is because they are afraid of the tax collector. There are no benefits of taxation–none. Everything the government provides through taxes could have been had cheaper and of better quality without the government, because you don’t have to include the cut for the politicians and their cousins. Taxation precisely fits the legal definition of extortion, which is theft, a felony in every U.S. jurisdiction. All tax collectors would be imprisoned but for the the fact that the state grants them immunity from the laws against extortion and aggravated menacing.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Otherwise known as “reality has a liberal bias.”

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Nope. Liberals and conservatives are equally out of touch with reality ’cause their smoking, snorting, eating, shooting up, or otherwise consuming too much OPM (sounds like opium, is equally addicting, stands for Other People’s Money-forcibly exacted), which completely alters their perception of reality. You have to get off the OPM before you can begin to recover reality. A twelve-step program would help.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I live in poverty without a dime of government money. Try again.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Congratulations.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Um. I kinda like roads, fire departments, police departments, public education not only for my own child but for the other children who will one day be my son’s coworkers, employers or employees, some amount of armed forces, research grants, bridges, food that contains no more than a modest amount of rodent parts and feces, milk that is made of milk, air that I can breathe, weather reports, a stable currency, the rule of law, a system of impartial courts, guarantees that my medications will actually treat my illness and not just give me cancer, a truck that comes to my house once a week to collect the trash, standards that ensure my car will not disintegrate at highway speed, folks who make sure my son’s toys aren’t made out of lead-painted asbestos, standardized accreditation bodies which ensure that the doctor who treats me has been trained in the practice of medicine and isn’t just some guy with some purdy knives and someone to stop the factory down the street from dumping toxic sludge in the water. Also NASA.

    We’ve tried. Private industry won’t do half these things and the other half it will do inefficiently because it is inefficient to provide fire fighting only to subscribers. I don’t pay taxes because I’m afraid. I pay them because I am not a thief, and therefore believe that because I am provided by the government with civilization, I should pay the fucking tab.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Wow! You are really hooked on OPM. It has you so deluded you think only government can provide all of those things. Maybe it is that small amount of rodent feces you’ve admittedly been eating. Every good item you mention can and would be provided by the free market. Private industry has never been free to provide those items you mention so I don’t know how you reached your determination that only force can get those things for you. And to the extent that government hasn’t prevented and forcibly monopolized most of the goods and services you mention, private enterprise not only has performed all of those desirable functions (no, not war) better and cheaper, and in most cases invented them. And you haven’t mentioned the bad that goes with your worship of a forcible god. Get off your duff and do some research into anarchy and voluntaryism and you will find that everything you think only your higher power, government, using force can provide can be readily obtained at a lower cost and a higher quality, assuming they are worth obtaining, through the free market. Of course you’ll have to give up some things the free market wont get you, which do come with government, like wars of naked aggression, genocide, executions, drone strikes to boost the production of collateral damage, etc., etc., etc. P.S. With the money wasted on NASA the free market and private enterprise operating therein would have us eons ahead of where we are because we rely on that bumbling bureaucratic monopoly.

  • spinetingler

    “Private industry has never been free to provide those items”

    Wrong, wrong, provably wrong. As one example, I give you the private fire companies (and their spectacular failures).

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Try again. You are so naive you believe the Huffington Post. I hate to use a conservative source, because I find cons quite as addicted to OPM as progressives, but if you google “history of private fire companies” you’ll find lots of info refuting your “provable” b.s., including an article in the American Spectator. You can safely ignore any history written by public fire fighters, for their understanding will be warped by OPM, Next time don’t make up “proofs.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You sound like Christian fundamentalists making up new meanings by emphasizing particular syllables of words.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    And may I say that you sound like a Statolatry fundy defending the government’s account of the Creation of all things wondderful?.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Force and violence are synonyms now? The world that exists in your head must be a scary place.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    My dear child, here is the second definition of force in my AppleMac dictionary: “coercion or compulsion, esp. with the use or threat of violence…” Welcome to this debate, but I will be leaving it soon for the ratio of statists to voluntaryists has grown to the point where I’m spending to much time responding.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’m a child because I questioned your emphasis on part of a definition? Right…Maybe you should use that dictionary to educate yourself on what “child” means.

    If you have to resort to belittling people, you have no point and shouldn’t be arguing. Come back when you can speak like an adult.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Nice try, Baby_Raptor, but if you haven’t noticed, you own name suggests a child, and my use of that term, instead of saying, my dear baby, would only offend a baby raptor who was looking for an excuse to drop out of the debate, logic having failed him or her. The world that exists in your head must be a very confused place.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    For a moment, you sounded exactly like someone I knew in second grade. While he was still in the second grade.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Obama?

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’m looking for an excuse to drop out of a debate I haven’t even officially entered? I made one passing comment…A passing comment that you haven’t actually disproven, for what it’s worth.

    But okay. Since you seem to feel the need to tell everyone what they’re going to do and why, I’ll let you dictate that I’m leaving now. You obviously need the power trip, and I have better things to do than argue with someone who can’t even respect the rules of engagement anyway.

  • dpolicar

    On your view, if I sign a contract saying I will give you my house in exchange for certain goods and services, and you provide those goods and services, and I refuse to give up my house, ought the terms of that contract be enforced?

    Do you have the right, on your view, to forcibly take my house under those circumstances?

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    dipolicar, are you not familiar with the Law Merchant? It was the “rules” that governed international trade and transaction arrived at and agreed to by those engaged in such commerce. It operated for years without any government courts or regulations and until governments stuck their noses in it to mulch the participants of a little lucre, such trade grew by leaps and bounds during that period to the benefit of the general populations in those countries whose merchants played by the rules. No force!

    Both of your questions, relying on hypothetical situations, are not germane. I would not enter into a contract with someone who wouldn’t live up to its terms.

  • dpolicar

    If you are able to reliably predict whether I’ll live up to the terms of a contract I sign, and decide whether to enter into such a contract on the basis of that knowledge, that’s awesome. I’m duly impressed, and I absolutely endorse you not entering into such contracts.

    I also encourage all the people who share that ability to form their own civilization and live under anarchy. They would be far more efficient and productive than us ordinary humans, who demonstrably lack that ability.

    All of that said, I didn’t ask you whether you would enter into such a contract.

    I asked whether you had the right, on your view, to enFORCE the terms of that contract were you in it.

    It’s a simple question, and I’d still like to know the answer.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    I’ll tell you a little secret, dpolicar, although it is actually fairly well known among some people: If you try your best to be absolutely honest in everything you do, even though you fall short of that goal as we all do, you will find yourself surrounded by people you can trust and very seldom if ever transact business with someone who would not live up to his or her contracts, even when it was disadvantageous to do so. I worked in the financial securities industry for ten years as an over-the-counter proprietary trader, transacting ten to perhaps a hundred trades every day all worth thousands, tens of thousands and more dollars, and all by verbal contracts, and I do not think in all those years I ever experienced anyone not living up to their verbal commitments, even when, by the time some transaction called for settlement, the other party might be out a lot of money on the trade. I don’t think my experience was at all unusual, for business is conducted that way all over the world everyday. Interestingly, about the time I entered the business (1961) Bernie Madoff was just getting starting with his o-t-c- trading firm. At least among the traders I knew, his firm had a reputation as what we called “a weasel,” and I avoided trading with his company.

    However, to answer your question: I do not have the right to use force for any purpose, including enforcing a contract. I would take my loss, and of course wouldn’t do business with you again if I thought you were dishonest in breaking the contract, and I might even share my experience with others, which could possibly make your decision not to live up to your contract regrettable in due course. By declining to use force there is a very good chance my loss to you would very quickly be negated and more than offset by some unanticipated good fortune. I can’t explain how that works, but it does, at least in my experience. I suspect it is a spiritual phenomena, which the principles Jesus espoused could probably explain, although I doubt if I could for not fully understanding them.

  • dpolicar

    OK, fair enough.

    And, sure, if there are spiritual and unexplained forces making it very likely that those who eschew force and deceit experience unanticipated compensatory good fortune when abused by the force and deceit of others, then the rest of your position follows.

    Thanks for clarifying.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Just leaving aside for the moment how incredibly offensive it is to suggest that slavery and taxation are similar, that is the stupidest thing I have heard in a very long time.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Incredibly offensive? Why? Are you dependent on OPM? And, btw, I don’t suggest. I state apodictically.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    You really don’t know why it is incredibly offensive to suggest that centuries of systematic forced labor, systematic rape, systematic torture, forced relocation and the breaking up of families is pretty much the same thing as having to pay something vaguely resembling your fair share of the upkeep of the country you live in?

    DO you also go around saying how Obamacare is just like the holocaust and jaywalking is just like apartheid?

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    I assume it is offensive to you, not me, for the following reasons. Both slavery and taxation are utterly dependent on the legally sanctioned initiation of force to take the fruits of other folks labor. This commonality cannot be denied. Since slavery in most places today is universally condemned as brutal or worse, and because people no longer rely upon it at all to obtain their wants and needs, but the same people do rely on taxation to get many of the things they desire, it is offensive for me to call their attention to the similarity between two force-based means of taking the fruits of other people’s labor or property. There is also another similarity, which I call to your attention, which I presume may offend you. Both slavery and taxation are systematically organized by the same force-dependent institution, which you regard so highly, and my objection is a condemnation of the god of your religion.

    Both Obamacare and the Holocaust are or were government enforced and institutionalized. The similarities may end there, but that seminal similarity cannot be denied. I am also very aware that the Nazi regime gained popularity and broad acceptance among ordinary Germans after it came to power by initiating numerous “social welfare” programs similar to Obamacare. Many Germans refused to see and failed to condemn the Holocaust for fear they might lose their government benefits or job.

    Define fair share. In my opinion, something that is fair need not be forced. You and I gladly and without any cops standing over us pay what we determine is a fair price for all of the things we buy at the grocery store and from other merchants. Only government makes a pay what in most cases is too high a price for what we get. We don’t buy the same things because our determination of what is fair is bound to differ. What is fair is so subjective that to talk about paying one’s fair share is useless pleonasm. I should also point out that if you are a U.S. taxpayer you don’t p[ay your fair share, rather you palm off a percentage of it to your own and other’s children without their consent in the form of debt and deficit spending on yourself. Isn’t that an example of greed?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The similarities may end there, but that seminal similarity cannot be denied.

    You know who else ate sugar? Hitler. That may be all you had in common, but we can’t overlook the similarities.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I am also very aware that the Nazi regime gained popularity and broad
    acceptance among ordinary Germans after it came to power by initiating
    numerous “social welfare” programs similar to Obamacare.

    Gee, I wonder who Chancellor Bismarck was. Hint: he actually developed the foundations of the German social welfare state, not the Nazis or even the Weimar Republic.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Your right this time, sorta, for the first time. But tell me something I don’t know. I suspect all you OPM eaters celebrate Bismark’s stupidity instead of Christmas because of those programs he instituted thinking it would trump the commies’ promises of nirvana and allow him to survive as a ruler. As if socialism was somehow different than communism. Of course I didn’t say Hitler and the national socialists “developed” “social welfare,” they just initiated some of the many programs that had been ditched by the German Weimar socialists due to the Great Depression (proving in advance the truth of Maggie Thatcher’s witty remark that the problem with socialism and socialists is that eventually they run out of OPM), and added a number of their own, falling for the economic theorytales aold J.M. Keynes recommended to Hitler in the foreword to his German edition of his, ha, ha, GENERAL THEORY, etc.. Nice try, Neutrino, but don’t quit now just because you fell into an empty pool.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You are a very odd collection of words centered around “OPM”. Tell me, *chinhands* have you ever benefitted from anything you consider “OPM”?

    And please, enlighten me as to why you haven’t moved somewhere with considerably lower taxation? I hear Russia and Africa are quite in vogue for that these days.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    No, never benefited, since ALL government initiatives are predicated upon the initiation of force, which is all of ’em, and due to that methodology they cost far more in taxes than they are worth, and since I’ve been mulcted for my “fair share” of taxes by government thugs, as I can safely presume you have been as well, although you don’t know it, I have never benefited from anything paid for with stolen wealth. I,m sure I can say the same for you. I’ve been ripped off on a net basis for such amenities as roads and national defense, paying, twice to exponentially more for all those stolen resources you confusedly believe are “benefits” derived from OPM.

    I’m a native American. I look forward to the day when we Americans renounce the use of force to get our daily bread at gun point from out neighbors. I count on those living here who remain statists leaving for places that still engage in legal plunder, and taking their foreign-born gubbermint with ’em.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Never applied for welfare? SNAP? WIC? any payments from the Bureau of Indian Affairs? Even, oh, state tax rebates like in Oregon which mandate returning budget surplus funds?

    How about capital gains tax deferments? Oil depletion allowances?

    You would be surprised just how “OPM” gets into your hands.

    Or do you only define “OPM” as what shiftless lazy black people get while popping out babies? There is a whole layering of assumptions that lurk behind just what people like you define as “OPM” which is “taken by force and given to other people”.

  • AlexSeanchai

    I get OPM in my paycheck because I work for the government. Ned said so. Never mind that this division brings in enough money from happy customers that we pay our own damn paychecks.

  • spinetingler

    “Studies have indicated that taxation replaced slavery as a more
    efficient and productive means of appropriating the labors of others.”

    Citation f’ing needed

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    I make it a habit not to reply to a’oles who use such f’ing language, so I’ll let you find it but give you a clue: it is on the WWW.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Ooh Ooh! “Says incredibly hateful monsterous things and thinks it’s perfectly polite, but gets his panties in a bunch if you use words you’re allowed to use on broadcast TV after 9”. I think I’ve got bingo!

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Suggesting you stop relying on force for your daily bread is incredibly hateful? Hmmm.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And batting 1.000 for another language prude being a right-winger.

  • Baby_Raptor

    it cuts down on the people he has to reply to. It’s easy to declare yourself the winner of an argument when you’ve found ways to write off every single responder, so I imagine he makes rampant use of such BS.

  • AlexSeanchai

    This thread’s still going? He hasn’t got bored and left yet? Sad.

    *pokes about trash folder* *cracks up laughing* I make twenty-six grand a year, and that makes me ruling class because I’m a public servant. That’s the fucking funniest shit ever.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Please be benevolent to us plebes, Ellie. We love you!

  • AlexSeanchai

    *laughs harder* (not at you)

    The whole POINT (well, one of them) of having a government is so that the people who are not ruling class do not have to depend on the benevolence of the people who are!

  • Baby_Raptor

    Which is a flaw in the plan, apparently.

  • AlexSeanchai

    Yep. *sigh*

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Uh, hu. Sure. Sigh.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    How did I guess you were a public servant, Ellie?

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Funny thing about us voluntaryists, if we played the silly game of politics, which enthralls the leftists and rightists, we would be judged to be far more liberal than progressives, who worship the same god of the state as right-wing conservatives, and have more in common with neocons from our perspective than some Tea_party smarties.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Only children judge people based solely on the words they use. Run off to Mommy and cry because the mean person on the internet made sounds you don’t like. We’ll be here when you manage to come up with an actual argument.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    And your argument is what? I haven’t been introduced to anything but a boatload of progressive palaver.

  • dpolicar

    I only presume there are small groups of people in remote areas of the globe who have no contact with government [..] If you take the time to research anarchy you will find other examples

    OK.

    I think the important point is the similarity between government rulers and slave masters, both of which most people once thought were indispensable.

    Thanks for clarifying that.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    There is a fabulous history of the Abolition Movement titled BURY THE CHAINS, by Adam Hothschild (sp?). It reads like a good novel but doesn’t delve very deeply into the U.S.’s involvement. Mostly about the effort to end slavery in the British Empire, but lots of stuff about slavery itself, the slave trade in mostly British ships following it from England to Africa to the colonies–the so-called Golden Triangle. The economy and wealth of England was heavily dependent on slavery and the slave trade when the Movement began, with many members of Parliament owing ships in the trade or sugar plantation in the colonies. These latter folks couldn’t conceive of England surviving without the income it garnered directly and indirectly from slavery. Cognitive dissonance prevented them from seeing that the world could get along without slaves, just as today for the same reason many people do not believe we could get along without the use of force and the taxes so obtained..

  • dpolicar

    Thanks for the book recommendation about the abolitionists. Most of my familiarity with the Abolition Movement is from somewhat later in history, with the involvement of the American Transcendentalists in the mid-1800s.

    To clarify my own position, lest this continue indefinitely: my point, in asking you whether there were any groups of humans that currently exist without governments, was that if we could point to something in the real world and agree that it is an example of the kind of arrangement you are talking about , we could then look at properties of that group and perhaps make some progress towards understanding what such an arrangement would look like, based on our shared experience with real-world examples of it.

    You replied that there are presumably small groups of people in remote areas of the globe who have no contact with government.

    In the absence of a specific such group we can actually have experience of, I saw (and see) no way to move forward from there along my original line of inquiry, so I dropped it.

    As I understand it, your point in replying has been to argue many people have in the past have falsely believed that certain things (like slavery) were indispensable to a properly functioning civilization; therefore some things many people currently believe are indispensable (like taxes, or governments, or standing armies, or law enforcement, or plumbing, or
    food distribution, or whatever) might not be; therefore it’s possible that we can all get along wonderfully in an anarchic system with nobody exerting the thing you’re referring to as “force” here, and nobody has ever proven otherwise (nor ever could).

    I’m not arguing against this position; arguing against an undisprovable possibility is a mug’s game. I don’t argue for the nonexistence of God, either.

    So, yes, agreed, it’s possible.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    dpolicar, my argument is not against any of the things you mention per se, it is only against the use of force to obtain them. You are welcome to all of those amenities like standing armies if you are able to get ’em without resorting to violence. I’m not against government because of what it does, but because of how it does it, through the use of violence or threat thereof. I’d even embrace voluntary as opposed to forcible taxation if such an oxymoron was possible.

    As for examples of specific groups living without government, Wiki’s item “History of Anarchy,” is an easy read, and I would draw your attention to the paragraph referring to the absence of government in the Albermarle Peninsula of North Carolina. Also, as I believe I said before, Ireland endured for over 1000 years without a central government. There is a small amount of literature that examines the phenomenon of that period during which the so-called Brehon laws developed. The so-called kings of Ireland had not the authority of rulers as we think of them today. It is not a mugs game, for there are a few books that have been written on the subject and history of anarchy, which if you are sincerely interested in you can check them or reviews of them out.

  • dpolicar

    Awesome… thanks for the references.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Ellie, war requires massive amounts of money, which only governments with the power to tax can accumulate. Governments don’t suppress war, they promote it. War, it has been said, is the health of the state. The rulers acquire massive amounts of power during war time that citizens would not allow them at other times, and the power they accumulate during war is never, ever reduced to pre-war levels after the war is over.

  • AlexSeanchai

    Yeeeeah. No. War takes a handful of people on one side and a handful of people on the other and either they hate each other’s guts or one side has something the other side wants, and the aggressor has weapons. Rocks will do. Sticks will do. Hell, fists will do. Taxation is not a prerequisite for war.

    And “it has been said” is hardly a reliable source.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Wow. You are really stretching it now. Handfuls of people do not constitute a war, except perhaps by Ellie’s definition. Can you point to a NAMED war that did not involve a state and/or taxes?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Wars have been fought without necessarily resorting to a massive state apparatus. One could consider various tribal conflicts in Africa or the Americas as acts of war.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    You mean like the United and Confederate states of America? With two governments that war set some records that your “tribal conflicts” have a hard time beating. (Sarcasm).

  • AlexSeanchai

    You initially said that government is the sole cause of war. Now you are saying that war involving government is worse than war not involving government. These statements cannot simultaneously be true. And since this is the second time tonight I’ve had to sort out a “Sentence two is true. Sentence one is false.” problem and my head hurts, I’m done listening to you. *plonk*

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Bye, bye, Ellie. Don’t wanna miss the free cheese.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Yes. The civil war would have been far less bloody if there hadn’t been a mean old government using force to make those nice slave owners stop enslaving their slaves.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    You talking about the mean old government that sanctioned slavery in its constitution for all of it first almost eighty years, passed fugitive slave legislation, and endorsed slavery north and south unanimously in all of its colonial predecessors governments for more than 200 years, and committed genocide against native Americans in order to obtain their land even during and after after the Civil War.?Is that the naughty government your talking about, or are you talking about the other American government that took a bunch of southern states out of the union for, among other reasons, to ensure that the practice of slavery established under the Union government would continue in those statess? Which of those two despicable slavery-endorsing and genocide practicing governments has you so enthralled?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I had to get the Shield-O-Tron 9000 for my monitor, the patronizing tone from your post was oozing so hard out of my screen.

  • AlexSeanchai

    Oh, it wasn’t just me?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The only way it could be more blatant is if he armed it with an air raid siren.

  • AlexSeanchai

    *nod*

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Sorry about that.

  • AlexSeanchai

    …you were patronizing to me and you’re apologizing to Neutrino.

    I smell bad faith.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Sorry, Ellie. I thought it would be redundant and Neutrino’s comment came first, My bad.

  • AlexSeanchai

    Bullshit.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Apologizing to me was also utterly unnecessary. And I’m sure you realize this.

    However, apologizing to EllieMurasaki would’ve been nice.

  • AnonaMiss

    Jesus said what he meant and meant what he said, and anyone who says otherwise is egregiously wrong.

    So at the end of days, Jesus is going to gather up all the sheep and goats in the world; and the sheep and goats are all going to be able to talk. And he’ll thank the sheep for clothing and feeding him, and upbraid the goats for not clothing or feeding him, and throw the goats bodily into Hell. What are human beings doing while all of this is going on, I wonder?

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Great satirical comment, AnonaMiss, but you will allow me (and Jesus) the latitude for similes and metaphors, which I am confident from your reply you are able to distinguish.

  • dpolicar

    Hee! This is pretty good, though it’s not quite believable enough to be a true Poe. Still, it lightened up a gray and rainy afternoon. Thanks.

  • Daniel

    I loved the idea that “render unto Caesar what is Caesar” is talking about returning Caesar’s stuff- plenty of people in Roman client states used to borrow things off Caesar all the time (there’s a passage in Seutonius where he talks about Tiberius executing a family from Gaul because the father had borrowed the Emperor’s favorite lyre, broke it and then tried to fob him off with a cheap replacement. It formed the basis of an episode of one of the earliest sit-coms, Juvenal’s Cloaca Maxima. This was cancelled after a series, and its writer’s exile.). I’d say it was a very good effort though if not an actual Poe then certainly very close.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Hey Daniel, I merely said, “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” means, “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” Those things plenty of people borrowed from Caesar didn’t belong to Caesar. Everything, literally everything Caesar claimed as his was stolen. Lending stolen property to someone else doesn’t change the fact that it is loot.

  • Daniel

    Except the stuff he bought, you mean? And you did also say “If you have anything in your possession belonging to Caesar, give it back to him.” Which suggests borrowing things.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Yes, and it suggests if you haven’t borrowed you have nothing to give back. Right?

  • Daniel

    Except you have accepted money from the treasury, from the state of which Caesar is the head, hence his image on the coin. If you accept the money from the imperial mint you accept the laws that come with it, including taxation.
    Look, I know you’re a parodist- we can smell our own. I was hovering a little, unsure of whether or not you were for real, but all that stuff about how everything would be better if it were privately owned… that pushed it a little too far. Still, good effort.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Whoops. I also missed replying to this comment. How in the name of Ben Bernanke did you get the idea that people “accept money from the treasury.. Government treasuries do not give out their money, they spend it into circulation and in order to make it acceptable to those the government buys from with their “fiat” money, the governors write laws called legal-tender laws forcing the sellers to accept their money. I certainly don’t accept it, and neither has anyone accepted it in all of history. They may have been forced to take it, but that is not acceptance, which by my Apple dictionary says, “the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.” I’m sure you’ve noticed that your government like Caesar’s didn’t OFFER you its money nor ask for your CONSENT.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    What? OF COURSE you consented. You’re free to stop availing yourself of the services this government offers whenever you like. No one’s put a gun to your head and made you pay taxes. You’re free to leave whenever you like. There are exits in all four cardinal directions.

  • dpolicar

    …except, well, north leads to Canada.

    The idea of fleeing to Canada because one is fed up with U.S.-style socialism has just given me a fit of the giggles.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Especially funny to Canadians.

  • dpolicar

    I expect so, yes. The ones I shared it with certainly got a kick out of it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I swear to god, if I had the money I’d personally buy all these Internet Libertarians one-way tickets to any governmentless jurisdiction of their choice just to shut them up.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Hey silly boy, it is you progs that will be leaving when we dispose of the state. You have to leave ’cause you wont have the IRS collecting OPM for you to suckle; no more gubberment teat so to speak.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Hey, paleface, I’m a native, so take your intrusive foreign gubbermint and its taxes back to where you came from.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I loved you in Saved by the Bell.

  • Daniel

    So many of the people on this site will demean you for what you say, but you are right. The sad part is that people on here claim to be Christian and claim to have read the bible, but have only done so with their eyes, and their brains.
    They allow themselves to be distracted by context and willfully misunderstand Jesus’ plain instructions- as you say egregiously diminishing his flawless character by implying that he may have spoken with subtlety, nuance or metaphor. They happily state, for example, that the parables are not literal accounts of actual events. I know. I weep for them too.

    They are wont to understand the passage “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” as meaning “pay Caesar’s taxes” just because Jesus points out that Caesar’s image is on the coin. They infer from this that Jesus means that the state is represented by the image of the Emperor, and that taxation can be charged by the state. They misrepresent Jesus egregiously by reading what he said and understanding what the words mean. In reality all this scene show is that Jesus is asking a question and then making a statement. Those two things are not connected, just because one follows immediately after the other- just because the coin has Caesar’s name and face on it doesn’t mean that when Jesus draws attention to that fact he is trying to imply the money belongs to Caesar. Even if he appears to explicitly say so. I don’t want to give away my money either, so I- like you- understand this passage much better than the other commentators on here who will insist on looking for interpretations that imply taxation is anything other than state sanctioned theft. Oh they may argue that the money helps people, that if we all pay in society as a whole benefits, but there is no single passage anywhere in the Bible where Jesus says we are to do this. So it’s wrong to expect anyone to.

    Jesus wants us to understand his words not with our brains but with our knees. If what he says sounds like something that would cause our knees to jerk upwards violently, then he has got his message through to us. In this case, the liars and “progressives” on this site argue that Jesus is telling people to pay their taxes in part to show that money is not as important as the “things of God”. They could not be more wrong.
    As you say, “The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” means that God owns all the money, and this can clearly be seen (because they do feel that plain statements need to be explained- often claiming the explanations offered are actually contradictory to the plain statement in the first place- as they no doubt will with yours) by the fact that so many of his strongest and truest believers are so wealthy. They are maintaining the Lord’s money. A coin is a token of God’s love. Taxation is trying to deprive people of God’s love and redistribute it. But God’s love cannot be turned into schools. It cannot be turned into hospitals. It cannot be turned into decent roads. God’s love exists to be distributed to the manufacturers of luxury goods. Taxation is the state supposing it knows better than God where his love should go.

    But good luck getting anyone on here to listen to you. They think they know it all, just because of “context”.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Jesus wants us to understand his words not with our brains but with our knees. If what he says sounds like something that would cause our knees to jerk upwards violently, then he has got his message through to us.

    What an absolutely absurd analogy.

  • Daniel

    It is not an analogy. Analogy implies that I am not speaking literally. How dare you call me a liar.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    *snerk* d(^_^)

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Hmmm. Daniel and Neutrino in a circle snerk. Yuk, yuk, wack, wack.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Dannyboy, You fail to meet the requirements of parody. True parody would cause one to suggest that in the “context” of trying to “trap Jesus in speech so as to hand him over to the authority of the governor,” (Luke 20), Jesus did not come out and say, “You should pay Caesar’s tax,” although that is what he meant, because that would cost him followers, and he would lose votes in his quest to become mayor of Jerusalem. So instead of saying, “You should pay Caesar’s tax because he needs the money to continue Rome’s conquests and subjugation of lowly people like us Jews, as well as to continue his plundering, crucifying and enslaving such foreign untouchables to enrich Rome’s benevolent rulers and Italians qualifying as citizens, we Jews must support Tiberius’s pedophilia prediictions for having sex with youths, children and infant boys and girls, and occasionally killing them thereafter so they wouldn’t tell their mothers, because our tribute keeps our regal ruler happy, and he is the son of god, you know, for that is what is says on the coin you just pulled out of your pocket with its graven image here in the Temple precincts, and rulers will be rulers as you all know, so pay up.”

    Of course just because the coy way Jesus expressed his desire to support the emperor and the man about to kill him instead of coming right out and saying, “Pay Caesar’s tax,” was a clear statement on how one is to treat the property of others in accordance with his Father’s commandment not to steal, and just because his statement managed to bamboozle the “spies” who were trying to trap him, and just because no one with an ounce of intelligence could misinterpret his plain statement of the truth as meaning something else like, “Pay Caesar’s tax,” doesn’t mean Jesus meant what he said, which wasn’t, Pay Caesar’s tax,” even thought that is what he meant. And as proof of all this we have only to look in our purses to see our dollars and our quarters belong to George Washington, and we must give them back to him if he should ever demand them as a tax. Yep, that’s what Jesus meant.

    Now, Daniel, my boy, that is parody and satire as well. But don’t give up. You’re still young.

  • Daniel

    You’re a terribly, terribly clever man and I struggle to see how I could ever have disagreed with you. And being colossally patronizing only furthers your case.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    Tell me Daniel, do progressives fell constantly patronized because they have an inferiority complex, or is it only when they are wrong?

  • Daniel

    Generally it happens when people talk down to them, for example by calling them “my boy” and diminutives of their names to make themselves seem superior to them. Just to answer your question.

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    People wouldn’t talk down to them if they didn’t engage in attempts at malicious parody and not-so-subtle put downs themselves. Come, come, you’re not fooling anyone,.

  • Daniel

    I wasn’t attempting to fool anyone, just to point out how bizarre your ideas were- that’s why I mistook you for a parodist. I wouldn’t call it malicious, either. I thought you were joking.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also, tax agencies have been tightening up on “self-employed” individuals when the company they work for has been trying to escape its obligations by attempting to classify them as independent contractors.

    One key criterion is that the “contractor” must not be acting effectively in the capacity of an employee – i.e. using tools provided by the employer and essentially “doing business” with only that one company.

  • P J Evans

    It has to be a part of the house that isn’t normally used for other purposes. (I have a friend who has a home-based business. He’s dealt with this for years.)

  • http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com/ Ned Netterville

    I must now bid adieu to all of you lovely progressives, and thank you for engaging in this discussion. I’m turning the thread off now, so you can say anything about me without fear of rejoinder. It’s been fun. If I’ve offended some of you, let me say I see it ithis way: progressives like to think of themselves as sympathetic to the plight of the poor and downtrodden, when along comes this voluntaryist implying they are not so kindhearted when the seek to succor the poor with other people’s money. I realize if you’ve never thought about your progressive government programs and policies the way I do that it may have come as a shock to your sensibilities. I only hope I’ve stimulated you to take a second look at your embrace of forcible measures.

    I’ve got my google alerts set so that if another article appears on this site claiming Jesus endorsed taxation or the violent state, I’ll probably see it andI will return to defend his reputation for unblemished integrity. Until then, tootleooo.

  • dpolicar

    * waves bye-bye *