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If I am forced to do good, is it still good?

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December 20, 2009 – Comments (25)

I want the same things as you.  I want a world where people get all the health care they need, where the small business can compete fairly with its larger competitors, where international disputes are solved without bloodshed, and where everyone gets a quality education.  And so much more.....

But I want to do my part.  Every day my money is used to do good things.  For the most part, my money is taken from me, either through inflation or direct taxation (I am not completely taxfree overseas), to fund bank bailouts that perhaps saved the global banking system, to fund the American military empire to fight the global war on terror, to fund Social Security and Medicare, etc.

But I didn't do any of that.  I did nothing.  I had no control and can take no credit for it. Pardon me for saying so, but I don't feel like I did any good.  Tell me, what did I do?  I made no conscious decision to contribute to anything.  I didn't evaluate the needs of anyone.  I made no decision about the implications of any of that money.

In other words, I don't feel that I have done anything with that money to promote the "greater good."  All I've done is go about my business while another human being stepped in and usurped my responsibility to society.  How am I supposed to feel any dignity in that?

Therefore, that money was never mine.  I never had the chance to employ it as a tool to make people's lives better.  So please, explain to me why I should feel any pride or take any credit for any good that may have come from the taxation of my income (directly from my earnings or indirectly through inflation).  

Not only was this distribution of money outside of my purview, as I stated before, the distributors act as though it was never mine to begin with.  I never saw it.  They spent it without consulting me.  They chose how to spend it without consulting me.  They made all the judgments and evaluations of the multitude of worthy and not-as-worthy causes without consulting me. 

I feel as though I don't even matter.  What difference does it make that I even exist to them?  Am I just a wage slave to be exploited for my supposed charitable contribution?  Am I just a social security number on a W-2 form?  Would it make any difference to the distributors of my "charitable donation" if I earned the income or you earned it?  Could they replace me in an instant without even batting an eyelash, as long as the money flow remained the same?

Why go through the whole charade of justifying the practices of taxation and inflation?  Just tell me to pony up or else.  Why do the bright minds of the intellectual class spend lifetimes legitimizing and waxing philosophical about such practices, when they could just say, "pay or else." 

I think that would save us all a great deal of time.

David in Qatar

25 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 20, 2009 at 7:56 AM, blesto (31.64) wrote:

You sound a little depressed.

You're doing "good" to be able to express your views. I don't know what kind of monetary value you can attach to it, but I'm sure you have influenced some people's decision making.

Merry Christmas

or Happy whatever your affiliation.

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#2) On December 20, 2009 at 8:53 AM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

David,

In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, I spoke my belief that Iraq was an almost insignificant threat to the USA, did not have weapons that could threaten North America, and was no supporter of Osama Bin Laden.

Right or wrong, does that absolve me of responsibility for the deaths of Iraqis?

Perhaps in the presence of Government, you would prefer a tax form that requires Gov't to spend your money as you see fit. 20% for healthcare, 50% for renewable energy, 20% to preserve open land, 10% for defense as an exampple.

I know I would.

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#3) On December 20, 2009 at 8:56 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

Good to see you back writing.  i was suffering from David and Dare withdrawal :)

I think this way more at a local level when it comes to school funding.

I wonder if we will get to the point where a global state will control the money supply and the necessities like food, water and shelter, then pay the commoners a "livable" wage?

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#4) On December 20, 2009 at 9:22 AM, vriguy (78.46) wrote:

To be fair they do consult you. Infrequently, and without giving you too many options. It is called voting in elections.  But, the system is rigged thanks to gerrymandered constituencies, and the inertia of the majority of our populace, and the advantages of incumbency.  Bottom line - you have little practical influence in a country of 300 million people unless you are very rich, or very well-connected with the powers that be.  Democracy can work in small populations - a canton in Switzerland for example, but the larger the electorate, the more dysfunctional the process.

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#5) On December 20, 2009 at 9:25 AM, catoismymotor (38.90) wrote:

Taxes suck. But they are a part of life. And with the way governments are set up to operate they are going to have the biggest say in how the cash is distributed.

I would like to see is a decrease in government spending. There are hundreds of wasteful and un-needed programs that could be trimmed that would save the tax payers billions of dollars a year. That would put more cash in our collective pockets to do with as we please, including charitable giving.

Not all good is done with money. Giving your time and energy to a cause is very important. If the cash is not at hand you can always volunteer. As blesto pointed out you are doing "good" by promoting liberty and individual responsibility TMF and elsewhere. And that is not being done with money, just free time.

Keep doing what your doing until there comes a time when you can do more. As Ghandi said, "You must be the change you wish to see." And you are doing exactly that.

Happy Festivus,

Cato

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#6) On December 20, 2009 at 9:48 AM, tkell31 (< 20) wrote:

Of course it is. Doesnt mean you are a good person, but the act or acts still are good.

Sounds like you dont like our current parties and processes.  I would have to agree with you.  Why not try and change it?  Organize on a social networking site. I mean it worked for Obama.  This is just mental ma..., but if it makes you feel better knock yourself out.

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#7) On December 20, 2009 at 10:10 AM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

I'm glad I sparked some nice discussion, and in a not vile or mean way.  I will have more to say about this a little later, but I've got a nice dinner planned with my fiance, who just returned to me from Baghdad, so in response to the first commentor who thought I may be depressed.... hehe... not quite, just kinda thinking out loud and trying to open some discussion up.

Happy Holidays everyone.

David in Qatar

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#8) On December 20, 2009 at 10:33 AM, cashkid79 (94.23) wrote:

------- 

I think it is becoming a very well-known fact that media and especially, the internet (Twitter for example), has connected the world's population (those with internet access at least) in such a way that any one person can now have a major influence on large masses of people...this should eventually, I think, bring about more of a movement to find a balance in ideals between those involved as voices that reach others ears/minds and so on...

I remember hearing something about Twitter on the news and how the American actor Ashton Kutcher made the news voicing himself and the ability he had to reach over 1 million people who were 'followers' of his on the website...

Time is about the most valuable thing I think anyone has, if you consider that one cannot work to earn money if they don't put in the time at their job, etc..or put in their time educating themselves in a way that will develop relevant knowledge to accomplish their personal goals.  But, to spend time making points to consider public on TMF or any public forums (twitter, facebook, major blog sites on WWW...) that promote the causes that would make you feel good, or make you feel as though you were doing good - is more effective than many other alternatives because of the number of people that hear the opinions you have voiced.  Surely, if your argument is compelling, some of those reading will consider and may take the point to heart and further spread the same views, possibly even reaching those who can directly affect changes in the 'system'...

Its because of this that I am wondering when some form of controls will be implemented to contain the free/open nature of information and thought sharing across the globe...some of which could be viewed as 'not in the best interest' of those in power to retain their power - because of the opposition that can result from those who are of the opinion that more power needs to be spread across more of the world's populus or individuals...

There are many new implications to consider when for the first time in history, nearly all of the globe is interconnected real-time to one another, especially when you figure in the organizational infrastructure of those people and their physical locations - coming from different countries with separate governments, laws, leaders, cultures, etc...

Time will tell, but to know if one is doing good is something that only the individual can determine for him/her self based on their individual values, morals, beliefs, etc...Noone else can ever 'truly' know what another persons intentions/motivations are based on their individual perception of the actions observed from the other.

cashkid79 

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#9) On December 20, 2009 at 12:20 PM, starbucks4ever (98.98) wrote:

All philosophers and even most theologists unanimously agree that forced virtue is no virtue at all. 

#2,

"Right or wrong, does that absolve me of responsibility"

Yes it does. 

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#10) On December 20, 2009 at 12:26 PM, tkell31 (< 20) wrote:

Open media is good and bad.  Most people are sheep and willing to follow anyone with some charisma, an "evil" to target, and a promise of a better future.  How else did Obama get elected?  Fortunately if you live in the US you wont have to worry about it being restricted (once again for better or worse), but many other countries cant say the same thing. Improvements in technology and communication should find humanity better off, guess we will find out where it takes us.

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#11) On December 20, 2009 at 1:09 PM, selfdestruct2 (50.61) wrote:

David, keep the blogs coming.   Merry Christmas

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#12) On December 20, 2009 at 2:54 PM, Option1307 (29.90) wrote:

Intersting thoughts, happy holidays!

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#13) On December 20, 2009 at 3:14 PM, kdakota630 (29.81) wrote:

Another great blog, David.

Your heading "If I am forced to do good, is it still good?" reminded me of one of my favourite parts of my favourite movie, A Clockwork Orange.

MINISTER
Fine. Absolutely fine. You see, Ladies and Gentlemen our subject is, you see, impelled towards good by paradoxically being impelled toward evil. The intention to act violently is accompanied by strong feelings of physical distress. To counter these, the subject has to switch to a diametrically opposed attitude. Any questions?

Priest rises and moves to Alex.

PRIEST
Choice! The boy has no real choice, has he? Self interest, fear of physical pain drove him to that grotesque act of self abasement. Its insincerity was clearly to be seen. He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice.
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#14) On December 20, 2009 at 8:45 PM, jatt22 (55.32) wrote:

as u state >> if I am forced to do good << i dont think by taxing human beings on higher extent is any way good so there is no question of  doing good . our respectable govts r forcing us to be a part of their evil agendas if i had to write da same blog i will go wth other line  IF I M FORCED TO DO BAD , IS IT STILL BAD .    + rec  thought provoking blog , good effort  .

 HAPPY HOLIDAYS .

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#15) On December 20, 2009 at 10:23 PM, topsecret09 (38.86) wrote:

  Kinda thought provoking....    Very good David...   Merry Xmas, and a better New Year......     TS

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#16) On December 20, 2009 at 10:57 PM, usmilitiadude (30.66) wrote:

Is Medicare and Social Security a good thing? Why can't people take care of themselves or receive help from charity? I meet some people that say they would like to retire, but will not do it because they would have to pay for medical insurance. If universal health care is passed, people that are still productive will retire. Why do I have to pay for their retirement? When and why did retirement become a birthright bestowed by the government?

I would rather give money to a charity that helps unemployed people than to the government to do the same thing. The difference will be the passion that drives the people working for the charitable organization. Mr. or Mrs. govt. worker is just collecting a check most the time.

 

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#17) On December 20, 2009 at 11:14 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

It is funny the 'do gooders' always want to do good with somebody else's money.

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#18) On December 21, 2009 at 9:04 AM, KhelSkie (68.31) wrote:

It's beacuse they don't want to spend they're money.

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#19) On December 21, 2009 at 9:51 AM, russiangambit (29.49) wrote:

> Perhaps in the presence of Government, you would prefer a tax form that requires Gov't to spend your money as you see fit. 20% for healthcare, 50% for renewable energy, 20% to preserve open land, 10% for defense as an exampple.

#2 -  exactly, that is what I always been saying for years. I want at least some control and whole lot more of information where my money goes to. Not only the federal and state taxes but also the inflation taxes (through oney printing by FED). I want to know what FED finances with these printed money and I want to have a choice.

I am very mad about my money sponsoring wars in Iraq and Afganistan.War is something I fundamentally oppose. Especially the inavasion type wars, where the home country is not attacked. If people can be freed from military service on the basis of their believes, they should be able to opt out from monetary contributions also.

Congress is not able to be responsible with our money and so we should take the contorl of our money away from them and put it back into the hands of the citizens.

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#20) On December 21, 2009 at 1:12 PM, kdakota630 (29.81) wrote:

More from A Clockwork Orange:

Goodness comes from within. Goodness is chosen. When a man cannot chose, he ceases to be a man.

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#21) On December 21, 2009 at 1:45 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

What if a clockwork orange was written by a woman?  Maybe it would be "my pretty mauve clock", lol.  wtf is mauve anyway?

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#22) On December 21, 2009 at 2:52 PM, dsp444 (79.21) wrote:

This is the classic "Forgotten Man" idea.  (read Amity Shlaes The Forgotton Man).

briefly consider a society of 4 people:  Person A,B,C, and X.

Person A sees that person X is somehow boned (health, lost job, oppression, whatever), so he feels he should help person X.  He discusses person X's problem with person B and they decide that they should give money to person X.  A vote will be taken to help person X, which of course passes by simple majority.

However, you have person C (who is the forgotten man) - it doesn't even matter how he feels about the matter...he is compelled to give person X some of his money, whether he wanted to or not.  Persons A and B knew that they didn't need to involve him, and his vote essetially didn't count.

The person A's of the world will argue that person C benefits because helping person X is for the "common good" - but still, what if person C disagrees with that argument.  It doesn't matter - he is forced to pay.

The rest of us would argue person A, B, and C should all be free to give or not to give as they see fit.

Unfortunately there are plenty of person A's in the world who don't want to use their own money :   a brief review of your favorite liberal congressperson or president's tax records under "charitable giving" will suffice for proof of that fact.

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#23) On January 04, 2010 at 2:37 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

David,

I made no choice to have my "labor" or "treasure" invested in the causes of others decided by my representative. It is taxation with corrupt and Constituion-trashing altriustic politicians (but that is repetitive) at the helm. What evil has been done with my tax dollars? What good?

I have been removed from the decision making process. As such it is theft and evil by it's nature - despite the best intentions of the statists among us.

Known as nzsv since z and 9 were taxed from me.

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#24) On January 04, 2010 at 3:22 PM, lemoneater (79.38) wrote:

Interesting topic. 

Government should restrain those who wish to do evil: murder and theft for example--so that those who wish to do good can do so without fear.

 

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#25) On January 06, 2010 at 10:28 AM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

lemoneater,

Not so sure about your use of the phrase "government should restrain those who wish to do evil" ... since a wish is not an act. You may wish me harm, but proivided you do not act on it - you have committed no crime, since there is no injured party.

If not, I should be in jail now for all my not-so-nice wishes about my neighbors .... ;-)

Known as wish-maker nzsvz9

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