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Old 06-06-2017, 11:34 AM   #1
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Taxation, Donations, and the Future World Order

The main difference between a tax and a donation is that a tax is gathered through the use of force, while a donation gathered through the use of persuasion.

To get a tax, the State does not really need to appeal to your mind or heart. Whether you are persuaded or not, it will confiscate your property by force ( if you resist, it will have the right use weapons so that you get with the program or else be, ultimately, killed)
.
To get a donation, the agency needs to persuade you, to appeal to the gift of God in you (your rational soul) so that you give part of what is honestly yours, to the service of others.

It is my understanding that, as the spiritual consciousness of mankind develops over centuries to come, taxation will stop being the way to address human needs.

Free exchange
of goods and services among free men, PLUS voluntary sharing of profits, will be the hallmark of the New World Order.

Today, I work 33% of my time as a slave of the elite that governs my country. They force me to work for them, and then use what I earn as they see fit. Part of what they take is returned to me in some kind of benefits... but for the most part it is spent in projects and activities I do not support, or in plain corruption. I have no way to control the fate of the money I pay for taxes. It is, literally, stolen from me under threat.

Certainly, a theft of 33% is much less than the theft of 100% slaves had to endure in the past. And that 33% is used more wisely now than in the past. Mankind has been waking up. Still, there is a long way to go.

What do you think of persuasion vs. force as the driving principle of the economy of the New World Order?

Last edited by camachoe; 06-06-2017 at 11:56 AM.
 
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Old 06-06-2017, 01:20 PM   #2
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The way I see it is that voluntarism is the only real way forward.

For the purposes of charity and helping those in need, I can really only see two possibilities. Either mankind is generally giving in nature, and will naturally help those in need, or mankind is generally not giving in nature and will try to gain for itself without helping others.

I think most people can agree that either one or the other must be the case.

Now if the first one is true, then using force is unnecessary. People will give of their own free accord and people will be helped by natural, voluntary action.

But if the second one is true, then we cannot trust an entity, made up of those same flawed people, to run a forced charity scheme without doing so primarily for their own enrichment.

So either man is giving, and forcing people to help others is unnecessary, or man is not giving, and forcing people to help others can only lead to corruption. Either way, I can't see force being used in a way that is constructive, regardless of humanity's state.

These have been my view since long before finding the Baha'i Faith, and are, in part, mostly a result in my background in Taoism, where force is seen as being not the right way forward philosophically. Though I've found reinforcement in these ideas in the Baha'i Faith. I've seen numerous quotes of 'Abdu'l-Baha stating that we will come to such a state of spiritual development that the rich will give to the poor freely and the problem of wealth inequality will be remedied and ended in such a fashion.

I can't find all of the quotes of 'Abdu'l-Baha on this topic at the moment, but here's one that quite agrees with your post:

"The rich too must be merciful to the poor, contributing from willing hearts to their needs without being forced or compelled to do so." -'Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace
 
Old 06-06-2017, 01:48 PM   #3
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Thank you, Walrus.

You have no idea how your post has been balsam to my heart, as I also believe in voluntarism.

Just as you, I believe that an enforced solidarity is not solidarity at all, but slavery and theft.
If a virtue is not exercised out of free will is not a virtue: on the contrary, it helps to create violence, resentment, and corruption.
Bahá'u'lláh was known in Tehran for his generosity, not for taking by force the property of others to hand it to the poor.

Now, when I read the criticism of Shoghi Effendi or Abdul'Bahá to capitalism, I realize that what they condemn is the irrational practice of that system: consumerism, purposeless accumulation of wealth, and disregard for workers needs. They are condemning what we sometimes call "crony capitalism": the complicity of the rich and the government to strangulate competitors, keep wages low, distort regulations or fight unions. They are not condemning free market nor private property as such.

Maybe this is why in his writing on the Three False Gods, Shoghi Effendi includes Nationalism, Racialism and Communism, but not Capitalism.

What do you think?

Last edited by camachoe; 06-06-2017 at 01:59 PM.
 
Old 06-06-2017, 02:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Thank you, Walrus.

You have no idea how your post has been balsam to my heart, as I also believe in voluntarism.

Just as you, I believe that an enforced solidarity is not solidarity at all, but slavery and theft.
If a virtue is not exercised out of free will is not a virtue: on the contrary, it helps to create violence, resentment, and corruption.
Bahá'u'lláh was known in Tehran for his generosity, not for taking by force the property of others to hand it to the poor.

Now, when I read the criticism of Shoghi Effendi or Abdul'Bahá to capitalism, I realize that what they condemn is the irrational practice of that system: consumerism, purposeless accumulation of wealth, and disregard for workers needs. They are condemning what we sometimes call "crony capitalism": the complicity of the rich and the government to strangulate competitors, keep wages low, distort regulations or fight unions. They are not condemning free market nor private property as such.
I agree here. There's a rather big difference between the "capitalism" of Keynes and the "capitalism" of, say, Mises or Hayek, and the commentary given by 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi applied to the system that existed at the time they gave it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Maybe this is why in his writing on the Three False Gods, Shoghi Effendi includes Nationalism, Racialism and Communism, but not Capitalism.
While based on your posts above, I think we probably agree on many things, but I have a slightly different interpretation of Shoghi's statement there. I always thought it wasn't wholly about the system of Communism being a bad way to run an economy (though it very much is, in my view, a terrible way to run an economy), but rather that the entire philosophical foundation of Communism is rooted in the concept of Class Warfare. Which is a sort of "Manifestation of Division".

Thus, with the other two in mind, we have three philosophies called "False Gods":
One is a philosophy born of Division based on National Origin.
One is a philosophy born of Division based on Race.
One is a philosophy born of Division based on Economic Class.

All three are philosophies of Division and Conflict, just differing on how their proponents wish to divide society into "us" and "them".

Thus I'd say capitalism, at least Mises-style capitalism, is not included as it is a philosophy whose roots are not in any sort of division, but rather that kind of capitalist philosophy has radical non-aggression at the core of its philosophy and worldview, rather then the necessarily division-and-strife based philosophies that are the Modern False Gods.
 
Old 06-06-2017, 07:15 PM   #5
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Although not "authoritative" text, I will offer the following as a concept for consideration:

Talk (of ‘Abdu’l-Baha) at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 1 July 1912, notes by Howard MacNutt

"What could be better before God than thinking of the poor? For the poor are beloved by our heavenly Father. When Christ came upon the earth, those who believed in Him and followed Him were the poor and lowly, showing that the poor were near to God. When a rich man believes and follows the Manifestation of God, it is a proof that his wealth is not an obstacle and does not prevent him from attaining the pathway of salvation. After he has been tested and tried, it will be seen whether his possessions are a hindrance in his religious life. But the poor are especially beloved of God. Their lives are full of difficulties, their trials continual, their hopes are in God alone. Therefore, you must assist the poor as much as possible, even by sacrifice of yourself. No deed of man is greater before God than helping the poor. Spiritual conditions are not dependent upon the possession of worldly treasures or the absence of them. When one is physically destitute, spiritual thoughts are more likely. Poverty is a stimulus toward God. Each one of you must have great consideration for the poor and render them assistance. Organize in an effort to help them and prevent increase of poverty. The greatest means for prevention is that whereby the laws of the community will be so framed and enacted that it will not be possible for a few to be millionaires and many destitute. One of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings is the adjustment of means of livelihood in human society. Under this adjustment there can be no extremes in human conditions as regards wealth and sustenance. For the community needs financier, farmer, merchant and laborer just as an army must be composed of commander, officers and privates. All cannot be commanders; all cannot be officers or privates. Each in his station in the social fabric must be competent—each in his function according to ability but with justness of opportunity for all.

Lycurgus, King of Sparta, who lived long before the day of Christ, conceived the idea of absolute equality in government. He proclaimed laws by which all the people of Sparta were classified into certain divisions. Each division had its separate rights and function. First, farmers and tillers of the soil. Second, artisans and merchants. Third, leaders or grandees. Under the laws of Lycurgus, the latter were not required to engage in any labor or vocation, but it was incumbent upon them to defend the country in case of war and invasion. Then he divided Sparta into nine thousand equal parts or provinces, appointing nine thousand leaders or grandees to protect them. In this way the farmers of each province were assured of protection, but each farmer was compelled to pay a tax to support the grandee of that province. The farmers and merchants were not obliged to defend the country. In lieu of labor the grandees received the taxes. Lycurgus, in order to establish this forever as a law, brought nine thousand grandees together, told them he was going upon a long journey and wished this form of government to remain effective until his return. They swore an oath to protect and preserve his law. He then left his kingdom, went into voluntary exile and never came back. No man ever made such a sacrifice to ensure equality among his fellowmen. A few years passed, and the whole system of government he had founded collapsed, although established upon such a just and wise basis.

Difference of capacity in human individuals is fundamental. It is impossible for all to be alike, all to be equal, all to be wise. Bahá’u’lláh has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through these principles. When the laws He has instituted are carried out, there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to say, a man’s capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax; if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore, taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the community.
Bahá’u’lláh, likewise, commanded the rich to give freely to the poor. In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas it is further written by Him that those who have a certain amount of income must give one-fifth of it to God, the Creator of heaven and earth."

Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 216 - 217

-LR
 
Old 06-07-2017, 01:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
Although not "authoritative" text, I will offer the following as a concept for consideration:

Talk (of ‘Abdu’l-Baha) at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 1 July 1912, notes by Howard MacNutt

"What could be better before God than thinking of the poor? For the poor are beloved by our heavenly Father. When Christ came upon the earth, those who believed in Him and followed Him were the poor and lowly, showing that the poor were near to God. When a rich man believes and follows the Manifestation of God, it is a proof that his wealth is not an obstacle and does not prevent him from attaining the pathway of salvation. After he has been tested and tried, it will be seen whether his possessions are a hindrance in his religious life. But the poor are especially beloved of God. Their lives are full of difficulties, their trials continual, their hopes are in God alone. Therefore, you must assist the poor as much as possible, even by sacrifice of yourself. No deed of man is greater before God than helping the poor. Spiritual conditions are not dependent upon the possession of worldly treasures or the absence of them. When one is physically destitute, spiritual thoughts are more likely. Poverty is a stimulus toward God. Each one of you must have great consideration for the poor and render them assistance. Organize in an effort to help them and prevent increase of poverty. The greatest means for prevention is that whereby the laws of the community will be so framed and enacted that it will not be possible for a few to be millionaires and many destitute. One of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings is the adjustment of means of livelihood in human society. Under this adjustment there can be no extremes in human conditions as regards wealth and sustenance. For the community needs financier, farmer, merchant and laborer just as an army must be composed of commander, officers and privates. All cannot be commanders; all cannot be officers or privates. Each in his station in the social fabric must be competent—each in his function according to ability but with justness of opportunity for all.

Lycurgus, King of Sparta, who lived long before the day of Christ, conceived the idea of absolute equality in government. He proclaimed laws by which all the people of Sparta were classified into certain divisions. Each division had its separate rights and function. First, farmers and tillers of the soil. Second, artisans and merchants. Third, leaders or grandees. Under the laws of Lycurgus, the latter were not required to engage in any labor or vocation, but it was incumbent upon them to defend the country in case of war and invasion. Then he divided Sparta into nine thousand equal parts or provinces, appointing nine thousand leaders or grandees to protect them. In this way the farmers of each province were assured of protection, but each farmer was compelled to pay a tax to support the grandee of that province. The farmers and merchants were not obliged to defend the country. In lieu of labor the grandees received the taxes. Lycurgus, in order to establish this forever as a law, brought nine thousand grandees together, told them he was going upon a long journey and wished this form of government to remain effective until his return. They swore an oath to protect and preserve his law. He then left his kingdom, went into voluntary exile and never came back. No man ever made such a sacrifice to ensure equality among his fellowmen. A few years passed, and the whole system of government he had founded collapsed, although established upon such a just and wise basis.

Difference of capacity in human individuals is fundamental. It is impossible for all to be alike, all to be equal, all to be wise. Bahá’u’lláh has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through these principles. When the laws He has instituted are carried out, there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to say, a man’s capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax; if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore, taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the community.
Bahá’u’lláh, likewise, commanded the rich to give freely to the poor. In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas it is further written by Him that those who have a certain amount of income must give one-fifth of it to God, the Creator of heaven and earth."

Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 216 - 217

-LR
I think the part here most relevant to Camachoe's initial post is that on the subject of taxation. It's interesting to note that taxation is only called for as a temporary measure in the above quote, only recommended "until an adjustment is effected", that "adjustment" specifically being an adjustment on "human capacities" in which all human beings have the ability to become "producers" (also a link to the definition of "effected", just in case, since I myself had to look it up).

So, overall, it seems like 'Abdu'l-Baha only recommends such taxation until a point of time in which mankind is legally afforded an equality of opportunity, which is an equality that has various legal barriers in most countries today. The tax in the quoted segment is not a cure, but a temporary remedy, until a principles-based cure can be brought about.

Since Camachoe is talking about the Future World Order, as in, a time in which Baha'i principles have been enacted, this quote here agrees with his premise, as 'Abdu'l-Baha's quote here states that the taxation is not to persist after Baha'i principles are enacted in the world, and equality of opportunity established. So in the Future World Order, this tax mentioned here will not exist, as there will be no need for it.
 
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