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no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Social Programs

April 29th, 2010

I appreciate social programs as long as they’re social and voluntary. But I oppose all government “benefits”, because I recognize that all the “benefits” a government provides to its citizens are really incomes extorted from one half of the citizens, in order to ameliorate the other half of the citizens.

Jobless benefits, entitlements as they are, are really the 2010 equivalent of “Let them eat cake!” It’s not enough to really live on, but it’s enough to survive by.

And the longer you go on surviving the more likely it is that you forget what it’s like to live. You change, you adapt, and complacency sets in. The security of pitiful survival is adequate enough to, in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics, keep resting objects at rest.

Which really means: to keep the slaves enslaved.

A Guy’s Gotta Eat

March 8th, 2010

In response to my recent post, Government Employees Are Overpaid, someone objected via e-mail, I believe to one of my statements in the comments section, “Most of them don’t know it, because they’ve never had an honest, reflective thought in their entire lives, but they’re all thieves” (to be fair, many n the “private” sector fit that bill in one way or another too, so I’m not trying to single anyone out).

I know government = bad, but you know a guys gotta eat.

“Yes” a guy’s gotta eat. And “Yes” I’d steal a loaf of bread to feed my starving family. I can rationalize it, but it’s still probably theft. Sure, it gets insanely complicated and quick-like, because now you can take some of Chartier’s points and start overlaying them: perhaps the people you’re “stealing” from are really thieves to begin with, and you’re just reclaiming what is rightfully yours. Perhaps they owe you that debt (I’m sure they do).

Now we look around and we can’t say with very much certainty, who is (or is not) a thief. And among the thieves, who is the most heinous, who is the real thief. Behavior like this isn’t natural; we’re the smartest goddamned species on the planet, and we’re perfectly well capable of taking care of our own. We shouldn’t have to grovel. How do we find ourselves here?

Ask instead why you find yourself in such a situation, where perhaps welfare is your only option, or if you’re lucky maybe a government job is your only or best option?

Gary Chartier has posted 11 points about poverty and the State; a list which I’d be hard-pressed to modify in any manner. I’m trying not to just regurgitate what Chartier says, but take a look at his top three – this is all great stuff and he gives a lot more detail, I just want to tee it up because it’s relevant:

  1. States don’t treat recipients of their aid well.
  2. States actively make and keep people poor.
  3. States raise the cost of being poor.

As my Public Finance prof used to advise, “People respond to incentives,” no matter how perverse they are. When the job market for your skills has been co-opted by some bastardized union, or when some government program crowds out private initiatives, where do you turn? what do you do? When that same government offers income, or food, or employment security (even after taking so much from you), most people take it. It’s instinctual, and for most people it jives with all the propaganda that they’ve swallowed their entire lives and they’ve been conditioned to accept it.

But this is what I mean when I say that government destroys community. It’s pitting us against our own. Everyone starts clamoring, in a sense, begging for what’s theirs.

Memo to Pelosi: You Are Running Out of Victims

November 10th, 2009

According to a recently-released letter from the Joint Committee on Taxation, any individual who willfully abstains from purchasing a government health plan (under your H.R. 3962) will face severe criminal penalties, up to and including incarceration.

Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

Let me get this straight: Anyone who, for whatever reason, refuses to subsidize this corporate welfare to the tune of $15,000 per year, will be thrown in the general population with rapists, murderers, burglars and the rest of the unsavory lot of real, violent criminals, at an annual cost-to-taxpayers of approximately $31,000, and net annual dead-weight loss to the economy in excess of $100,000.

Anyone of us who rejects this one-size-fits-all fascist monstrosity, which you command we buy, will go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Directly. To. Jail.

Allow me to cast this in a different light:

  • Maybe someone can’t afford the policy.  No matter, you determine what we can afford.
  • Maybe someone doesn’t want the policy, or wants something a little better or a little worse.  No matter, you determine what we are permitted to obtain.
  • Maybe someone legitimately doesn’t need a policy.  No matter, you will cannibalize his contributions to provide for others.

According to you, disagreement (regardless of how principled or well-reasoned), the exercise of a different opinion as to what one can or cannot afford, prefers or does not prefer, needs or does not need, will be punishable by incarceration.

This is not the mark of a free society.

It is the sort of thing one expects from a society that is, each and every day, backsliding and hopelessly leeching the last drops of productivity from those precious few still willing and able to produce anything of value. Like vandals and drug-addicts ripping the copper wire from the last abandoned buildings and unsecured air-conditioners hanging from 1st-story windows in downtown Detroit, there is nowhere to turn once those veins are bled dry. When you run out of victims, it’s game over.

And you are running out of victims.  Although all of humanity deserves it, this is not a plea.  I refuse to beg you for the what we deserve, and I have learned never to expect sympathy from tyrants.

Neither should tyrants expect any sympathy from those they oppress.


no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics