Now, of course I’ve read Tim Worstall on Murphy, and occasionally DK on Murphy, but until this moment I’d never read any Murphy himself. Somehow, as a result of that, I’d unconsciously been giving him the benefit of the doubt, the sort of ‘I won’t attack what I don’t know about firsthand’ kind of indifference, wherein my only thoughts containing Richard Murphy tended to centre around the effect he has on Tim.
But having had a firsthand look, I can confirm that he is a low specimen of humanity indeed. And also more than a bit foolish.
For reference, let’s take this comment by Adrian, responding to Murphy’s quite unsupported assertion that tax is the price paid for living in a democracy:
No, clearly I don’t get it.
There are lots or people who don’t pay tax because they don’t earn income. They may be supported by another adult (eg spouse, parent). They may be reliant on social security. They might even be in jail!
They are part of society and a democracy just as much as anyone else. Payment of tax is not a pre-condition of membership, and nor should it be.
Under my suggestion, participants would be behaving perfectly legally. And I am not suggesting they won’t have paid their way. If the lump sum is set to the right level, they will have done so.
I understand tax is not currently a DCF concept. But we use the concept everywhere else, including the public sector (DCF thinking is widespread on a range of issues). And the current arrangements aren’t working too well. So why can’t we stretch our imagination and use DCF here?
If my neighbour paid his tax this way, I wouldn’t know, care, or think any differently of him as a person or a member of our community. Why should I?
Adrian’s quite sensible view here is, of course, that tax and democracy are not linked, nor does he think they should be. There is a certain rhetorical danger in linking them, as we’ll see later on.
But does Murphy think through what Adrian is saying, consider his point rationally, or respond in a constructive way to this reasonable comment?
If you want to end democracy, go ahead
I suspect most who understand DCF are quite happy with that
But I, and most of those who do not appreciate DCF value society – and that’s built on democracy
You clearly don’t understand
I think it’s a form of autism
Yup, that’s right. This Adrian, for daring to disagree and fail to understand what passes for logic in Murphy’s assertion, gets called autistic for his pains. And when, further down the thread, someone calls out Murphy on this ‘silly and offensive’ remark, he responds:
No, actually serious and considered
I mean that I think this attitude is probably on the autistic spectrum
It reveals a profound lack of understanding of others, and an inability to read their responses to situations
That places it on that spectrum
A ‘serious and considered’ diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder by a non-psychologist reading an unknown person’s blog comment. Either this is a serious case of mote-and-beam, or Richard Murphy truly is a low piece of scum who sees nothing untoward in employing a mental illness as an insult to be wielded against debating opponents.
Then Murphy falls into his own rhetorical trap, the danger he was always going to face if he started linking tax to democracy. It’s a pitfall sensible Adrian was trying to guide him away from gently, but like a wildebeest racing toward a cliff, Murphy failed to look ahead:
The vote always carries the obligation to pay in my opinion
And there’s Adrian, waiting at the bottom of the cliff with point-ed sticks:
“The vote always carries the obligation to pay in my opinion”
Are you saying those who don’t pay because they don’t earn income (or make capital gains etc) shouldn’t be allowed to vote?
Or by ‘always’ do you mean ’sometimes’?
Or do you mean ‘the two concepts – tax and voting – are completely unrelated’? Whether you do either is unrelated to your right (in the case of voting) or obligation (in the case of tax) to do the other?
But answer came there none—
And this was scarcely odd because
Adrian ate Richard Murphy and his stupid idea for breakfast.