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Comments on slavery and being the citizen of a collectivist state

Apparently in some United Nations Declaration of Human Rights it is stated that no person should be the slave of another person. But how does citizenship of a collectivist state differ from slavery? You are to have the social position and salary that the state allocates to you, you have no freedom of decision in relation to your own physiology and virtually all aspects of your affairs, and your attempts to increase your freedom of action by making money in any legal way will be heavily taxed so that the collectivist state, or its agents, can make such use as they see fit of the money which has been confiscated from you. The use which they see fit to make of your money is supposed, by definition, to be 'beneficial' to those who are chosen for collective attention.

Taxation of serfs by individual landowners (and body-owners) would nowadays be regarded as immoral and oppressive. What makes taxation by the collective slave-master less immoral? Just that no individual benefits, I suppose. No one gets any freedom out of it that he can use at his own discretion. Even the agents of the collective are not very highly paid (although excessively for the market value of what they do); they are rewarded only with the freedom to derive gratification from their power over the lives of others.

In a recent television version of Onegin, based on Pushkin's novel, a girl in a land-owning family says, 'It isn't right that one human being should be the property of another, just because of an accident of birth.'

It may not seem 'right', but there is nothing remarkable about it. I just happened to have been born in Britain, so I am the property of the British government, to whatever extent it sees fit to prescribe, and of recent decades it has seen fit to prescribe any number of restrictions on the rights of its citizens to make decisions about their own affairs, even within the most restricted territory.

It is frequently represented as oppressive that workers on the territory of a landowner were expected to pay him a tax of part of the crops which they produced for themselves. How is that more horrific than being forced to pay taxes to the government on practically anything that one earns or acquires in any way towards the improvement of one's position, and hence towards being able to do anything that one considers oneself to be worthwhile?

No doubt it will be objected that a tax paid to a landowner is only advantageous to an individual, or a small group of individuals, whereas one should be only too pleased to pay heavy taxes to the government, a large collective entity, which will distribute them in a way which a large collection of people considers to be 'beneficial' to an even larger population of people, i.e. the total population of the country as a minimum, and sometimes sections of the global population as well.

Actually, of the two, I would prefer to pay taxes to a landowner, because at least somebody would be getting something he wanted out of it. It is difficult to see whether the 'advantages' conferred on those members of the population who really want such advantages, and would pay for them with their own money, if they had it, are not outweighed by the disadvantages conferred on other people, and sometimes the same people, against their will, because someone else considers it to be 'in their interests' to be disadvantaged in those ways.

I realise that I have this unusual preference because I like to think of people being able to get what they want to have, whereas most people only like the idea of people being prevented from having anything they want. As this is the majority view, it is bound to be the major determinant of what goes on in a democratic society.




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