Found 2 comments on HN
jamesrcole · 2018-10-23 · Original thread
Despite what we hear in the media, the world has gotten so much better in many ways in the last couple of hundred years. That's not to say there aren't big issues, or no things that have gotten worse, but there's a clear and very strong overall trend.

See for example

The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity, by Steven Pinker

Or the first chapter of Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World, by Rutger Bregman

igravious · 2013-08-20 · Original thread
Ok. I'll bite.

For argument's sake let's consider me normal. Also for the sake of argument let's assume I will _not_ get hostile ;-)

1) It appears that there is a reduction in violence when one entity (usually the state) achieves a monopoly on law and force. This is because a) individuals when wronged (victims) have an avenue of redress and no longer can take matters into their own hands and perpetuate cycles of violence and b) if an individual trangresses against another's person or property they can be assured of at least some response from a well-resourced state rather than a weak individual. That's the theory anyway but it appears borne out by the stats. I would direct you to read the very excellent Better Angels of Our Natures[1] by Stephen Pinker which changed my thinking on this issue. There's a ton of convincing researched data to back up my position contained within its pages.

2) With 'funded by theft' you of course mean taxation. This is probably where you encounter most hostility. Most people will obviously prefer less taxes (for them) as opposed to more because they'll have more money in their pocket, right? Never mind the fact that barring corruption their taxes go into a common pool to be used for public services and infrastructure and that a higher rate of taxation might improve their lot -- witness the oft touted Scandinavian model. Now to the logical conclusion of this train of thought is, "why not desire zero taxes!" (ie. less and less and less taxes until you reach zero.) You could argue for this. It's quite _another_ thing to argue that taxation is thus theft. That, frankly, makes you sound like an extremist and usually signifies that arguing with you will be a futile experience. Like it or not you live in a society that has public services and infrastructure, money is a consensual public tool -- you gain enormous benefit from this system, you wouldn't even have money to steal if there wasn't the agreement that we'll use this money thing is a exchange mechanism in the first place. I'll be honest, this position exasperates me -- I see it often on HN but rarely respond because what's the point, you won't change your mind. But I'm putting it out there this time, I _strongly_ disagree with your position and I would _not_ like to live in the society you envisage. Over to you :)


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