Even the most honest and competent bureaucrat will always lack the element of self interest in a transaction. This is why government is always inefficient at best and cannot create wealth.
To me, it isn't really a moral failing to accept aid from the government, given that the whole idea around the welfare system (and even student loans to some extent) is to break both your legs in the form of taxes, inflation, etc. and then hand you crutches. I think the only caveat is that you have an understanding of your plight and work to change it. I myself receive some federal student loans, and my mom is currently receiving unemployment. I don't see any point in starving yourself just to live by principle. There are so many things that contribute to our poverty today that are really out of our control as of now.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - - that's all."
―Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6
jbauer is not drawing any pro-state conclusion from this, and neither am I. We are just stating what is clearly true. It is relevant to this discussion because we are thinking about whether it is OK for libertarians to accept state money handouts, use state services, and receive other benefits from the state. If we are going to seriously ask ourselves this question, we should take into consideration the extreme pervasiveness of state benefits, in all corners of life, and thus the fact that refusing to accept any almost amounts to a mandate for suicide.
- It is a truth
- It is not useless
- It is not a half-truth
If we are discussing whether it is morally reprehensible to get something from the state (and we are), then it is relevant that, in fact, everyone is doing this morally reprehensible thing. It is highly significant/insightful/useful to note the universality of the act, and go from there. Let me note it again:
We cannot avoid accepting benefits from the state. Or at minimum it would be very difficult and impractical. The state has wrapped its tangly tentacles into all kinds of basic and indispensable functions of modern life. Water, electricity, food -- these are fundamental goods which one cannot obtain in any reasonably convenient fashion if one is keeping to a principled stand of not accepting state benefits.
If we were discussing whether the state is terrific or not, sure, then it would be important to note that obviously the state smashes stuff and destroys our lives about a quadrillion times more than it benefits us. Very true. But that's not what this thread was discussing.
Would anyone here say that walking on the state-funded sidewalk is immoral? If so, why? If not, and if you simultaneously think that receiving welfare payments from the state is immoral, what is the philosophical difference in the two acts which makes one moral and the other immoral?
Did anyone read Walter Block's thoughts on the matter? I find them clear and logical.
Dear Slimedia: We hate you utterly. Your days are numbered.
Cordially, Every Ron Paul Supporter on Earth.