T Nation

Do You Owe A Debt To Society?

"Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.

Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came."

Thomas Pain - Agrarian Justice Part Three

Do I owe a debt to society?

Sure, but I’ve been paying it for awhile now. I’m not just talking about taxes here. May career affords me the opportunity to help people every day.

I’ve been a net giver for a little while now in my opinion

The civil society has already been destroyed so it’s a moot point.

Private property rights are inextricably linked with individual liberty. And Tom Paine was a radical English Jacobin whose ideology was completely at odds with pretty much all the other founding fathers. He was kind of like the Ron Paul of the revolutionary era.

Does one still owe a debt to society if one is born into wealth?

Countingbeans: will you ever consider your debt paid in full?

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

The civil society has already been destroyed so it’s a moot point.

Private property rights are inextricably linked with individual liberty. And Tom Paine was a radical English Jacobin whose ideology was completely at odds with pretty much all the other founding fathers. He was kind of like the Ron Paul of the revolutionary era.[/quote]

I once read (can’t remember exactly where now) that if the Founding Fathers were the Superfriends, Tom Paine was their Aquaman.

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

The civil society has already been destroyed so it’s a moot point.

Private property rights are inextricably linked with individual liberty. And Tom Paine was a radical English Jacobin whose ideology was completely at odds with pretty much all the other founding fathers. He was kind of like the Ron Paul of the revolutionary era.[/quote]

I once read (can’t remember exactly where now) that if the Founding Fathers were the Superfriends, Tom Paine was their Aquaman.

(as I recall, the article was flattering of Paine, but I think that comparison is apt and there is little to flatter Paine about)

[quote]ephrem wrote:
Does one still owe a debt to society if one is born into wealth?[/quote]

Everyone does. We are only as strong as our weakest link.

But don’t confuse “debt to society” with “give people shit”. People put too much vaule on the useless shit we buy and own.

Paying your debt can, and does, include not assulting someone for cutting you off in traffic, not going on a rampage and stabbing people for whatever reason. “Playing along” is paying your debts too.

No. But there is a difference between a net taker and net giver.

No. Saying an individual has a debt to society simply due to the presence of personal property is silly. We don’t observe the right of personal property in order to gift people (which we then later demand a debt be paid) this ‘thing’ for the hell of it. We practice it not because it benefits them, but us. So what ‘debt’ do they owe us, for a system of property distribution that society chose to institute/protect for it’s benefit?

There is no empirical/objective ‘debt to society.’ That’s the language of ‘moral obligations.’ And if morals are relative how could we ever state authoritatively and with confidence that there is some invisible debt floating around out there. And again, this debt is certainly absent in a system for which the society chose, and maintains, for it’s own benefit (more liberty, more overall wealth, whatever).

[quote]ephrem wrote:
"Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.

Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came."

Thomas Pain - Agrarian Justice Part Three
[/quote]

There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are
families.

Margaret Thatcher

[quote]ephrem wrote:
"Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.

Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came."

Thomas Pain - Agrarian Justice Part Three
[/quote]

In the end, this is all twisting the meanings of words.

Sure, there is no such thing as private property when there is noone around to take your stuff and the second there is, we need rules for the acquisition and transfer of property.

That in and of itself does not mean that I owe society anything, what I owe I paid to the one who produced it, who paid the one he got from what he needed to produce it and so on.

I am not entirely sure, what society, apart from not doing anything because it does not exist, has contributed that was not bought and paid for at some point and is factored into the price I paid.

I owe society? Which society? The society in my house, my neighborhood, city, county, state, region, country, continent, hemisphere, world?

I am looking at this from an entirely different persepctive than you guys, lol

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
I am looking at this from an entirely different persepctive than you guys, lol[/quote]

Explain?

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
I am looking at this from an entirely different persepctive than you guys, lol[/quote]

Explain?[/quote]

I’m assuming society as a constant I guess, and answering without specific thought to property ownership.

I didn’t even read his quote in the first post.

The system that allows you to live your life in relative safety, that provides healthcare and education; the system that allows you to manifest your dreams, we may like to think we owe it nothing but where would most of us be without it?

[quote]ephrem wrote:
The system that allows you to live your life in relative safety, that provides healthcare and education; the system that allows you to manifest your dreams, we may like to think we owe it nothing but where would most of us be without it?

[/quote]
Dunno?

Better off, most likely?

One could make the same argument for the North Korean system.

That depends on the requirements you demand from the system.

There is no comparison between the West and North-Korea in terms of freedom and safety.

[quote]ephrem wrote:
That depends on the requirements you demand from the system.

There is no comparison between the West and North-Korea in terms of freedom and safety.

[/quote]

Oh, if I DEMAND something, thats another matter.

You play, you pay.

But, if someone provides a shitton that I never asked for and then tells me that I owe him I do not really care for it.

[quote]ephrem wrote:
The system that allows you to live your life in relative safety, that provides healthcare and education; the system that allows you to manifest your dreams, we may like to think we owe it nothing but where would most of us be without it?

[/quote]

So what you’re saying is that the poor owe society the most since they really on these things the most? Like, perhaps they owe society certain moral and behavioral obligations. Abstaining from casual sex and multiple partners, abstaining from smoking, drinking, recreational drugs, and stuffing their faces with the newest super-duper size meal at the local fatty-burger. As in, they owe it to society to marry the baby’s mama/daddy. They owe society an intact home, with both biological parents present, in order to maximize production of the next generation of ‘debtors’ to carry the growing burden of aging ‘debtors.’ Or is this conveniently all about owing a monetary amount, in order to subsidize the poor choices of others?

[quote]Sloth wrote:

[quote]ephrem wrote:
The system that allows you to live your life in relative safety, that provides healthcare and education; the system that allows you to manifest your dreams, we may like to think we owe it nothing but where would most of us be without it?

[/quote]

So what you’re saying is that the poor owe society the most since they really on these things the most? Like, perhaps they owe society certain moral and behavioral obligations. Abstaining from casual sex and multiple partners, abstaining from smoking, drinking, recreational drugs, and stuffing their faces with the newest super-duper size meal at the local fatty-burger. As in, they owe it to society to marry the baby’s mama/daddy. They owe society an intact home, with both biological parents present, in order to maximize production of the next generation of ‘debtors’ to carry the growing burden of aging ‘debtors.’ Or is this conveniently all about owing a monetary amount, in order to subsidize the poor choices of others? [/quote]

And those who use the system the least aren’t required to follow those moral/behavioral obligations you listed…?