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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.
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.
But, I'm glad you and so many others equate mobile home living to sleeping on a bench somewhere. If you ever stopped, the prices would go up from their current ridiculously low levels. But that will never happen, and we merry few -- the lucky, the clear-thinking, the trailer trash -- will continue to get a much, much better deal than you.
The truth is, my parents are on a fixed income. They worked hard all of their lives and put into S.S. At one point my father worked 2 jobs to support his family. Maybe if there wasn't a tax on personal income, we wouldn't need S.S. because people would have been able to kept more of the fruit of their labor. So please, let's drop the judgemental attitudes. Thanks....
Paranoia is having all of the facts.
Exactly. That's precisely the advantage to them. They get very cheap, very fast. The 1,000 sq. ft. site-built home from the 1970s will have appreciated to $200,000, whereas the 1,000 sq. ft. mobile home from the 1970s with better build quality will have gone down to $2,000.they don't retain value like stick built
Again, precisely my point! Why get a loan for $2,000?its much much much harder to get a loan (atleast here) because the banks look at it as a riskier loan.
Our nationalist socialist pension system is evil. It is a black stain on our national character. As slavery, it must be abolished. Now.
All State transactions are "win-loss" in nature. But only "win-win" transactions can create wealth. Therefore, the State cannot create wealth. At best, it is a matter of "one step forward, two steps back".
(See post #116 below for further elaboration.)
Last edited by Occam's Banana; 01-04-2013 at 03:30 PM.
This is NOT the case in State-forced transactions - such as the building, maintenance and operation of "public" roads or hydro-electric dams or what-have-you. State-forced transactions are "win-loss." Some of the parties to such transactions may indeed end up wealthier (such as politically well-connected contractors & engineering firms, lobbyists, etc.), but some of the parties (such as taxpayers) are going to end up poorer - regardless of the fact that they are going end up "getting something out of it" (such as electricity). The "something" that they end up getting (whatever it may be) is not worth as much as what they would otherwise have gotten had they not been forced to participate in the transaction. It is NOT something they regard as being more valuable or desirable than what they were forced to give up in "exchange" for it (as evidenced by the fact that they had to be coercively taxed, for example).
As I noted in my previous post, it is at best matter of "one step forward, two steps back".
Last edited by Occam's Banana; 01-04-2013 at 03:34 PM.
But it has NOT benefitted you. You may have a nice pair of crutches, sure - but you are still worse off than you would have been if you had just been left alone to begin with.
You have gained something (crutches). You have lost something (the effective use of your legs). And wealth has been destroyed - NOT created.
But to say that the State "creates" IS a half-truth, and it IS useless. To arrive at the full and useful truth, one MUST acknowledge the fact that the State's so-called "creations" are made possible *only* by its (even greater) *destructions*.
Last edited by Occam's Banana; 01-04-2013 at 03:50 PM.
Right. The state supposedly creating wealth was not the true statement I was defending. The true statement was "everyone gets something from the State". Even that may not be completely true. There may be people somewhere who have avoided any contact with any state, or who have managed to only be abused and never helped in any way. But I think it is basically true.You have gained something (crutches). You have lost something (the effective use of your legs). Wealth has been destroyed - NOT created.
Well, we do have a choice as to whether or not we apply for and accept AFDC, food stamps, veterans benefits, the SS blood money, etc. So should we take that choice and receive the money?I have said absolutely nothing about the morality of accepting government "benefits" (whether they be in the form of services, physical goods or money transfers). The State has gotten its hooks so deeply into every aspect of society (and most notably when it comes to the economy) that it is simply impossible to avoid entangling oneself with such things to a very large degree. I therefore offer no normative judgements on such matters. By all means, walk on the sidewalks. Drive on the roads. Use the electricity. Etc., etc. That's fine. We unfortunately do not live under circumstances that allow us any choice in these matters.
I am with Walter Block that it is not only "fine" under libertarian theory to accept these, but positively good. It is "a mitzvah" as he puts it. By doing so, you are relieving thieves of some of their wealth and putting it back into the voluntary market. You are a one-man privatization crew, removing stuff from the "public" (yuck) sector and putting it back into the private sector.
I am in the strange position, however, of thinking it a good thing to actively accept gov't handouts, and not doing so myself, because it is not worth dealing with these people and becoming part of the system and the bureaucracy and the paperwork, etc. Handouts often come with strings attached. TANSTAAFL. If I have to look at these bureau-pathic freaks' faces, much less speak to them, that is a price too high.
I have no problem at all with the statement "everyone gets something from the State" (as long as you don't try to use this as a basis for claiming that the State is a wealth-creator).
How many people living on or availing themselves of food stamps, Social Security, etc. find themselves in that position because the State has taxed & regulated them into it?
The State has made our bed. Some will choose to lie in it, some will choose to sit on the edge of it, and some will try to remain as far away from it as possible. But the State is to blame for it all.
To be a "receiver of stolen goods" is made possible only by the fact that there is a stealer of those goods in the first place. Even if the former is a sin, it is a far less heinous one than the latter.
Given this, I make no condemnations of anyone involved - except the State itself (& its cronies/lackeys, who are responsible for creating & perpetuating these situations).
Last edited by Occam's Banana; 01-04-2013 at 05:22 PM.
From that standpoint there really is no such thing as a "public sector" when you think about it. It's all private when it boils right down to it, with everyone made a private thief, wittingly or unwittingly, by extension. As for "positively good", it depends on how you define that, but it's an oxymoron nonetheless, as those are mutually exclusive terms ("good" is absolutely and strictly normative, not positive).I am with Walter Block that it is not only "fine" under libertarian theory to accept these, but positively good. It is "a mitzvah" as he puts it. By doing so, you are relieving thieves of some of their wealth and putting it back into the voluntary market. You are a one-man privatization crew, removing stuff from the "public" (yuck) sector and putting it back into the private sector.