Anarchists Accepting Government Assistance?

August 8th, 2013   Submitted by Austin Scott

DependentSome of us are so unfit to be a part of this society that it’s as if we were born into anarchism. We are unable to let ourselves be controlled by authority, and society shuts us out for it. So, we live a depraved life on the streets. My friends and I are not that much different from other people. At heart all of us are kind and caring people. Without this small group of friends I would most likely starve. Helping each other is crucial to our own survival, health, and happiness out here on the streets.

None of us would be out here if we didn’t stick together. We’re all anarchists and we openly advocate anarchism. We have been brought together to fight the authority that despises us so much.

This is not as simple as it sounds. Living on the streets has a way of forcing this issue in my life. I see these people all around me struggling to decide if they should accept food stamps or not. Some people accept government assistance because its the only option they have.

I am too young to receive government assistance, but I have an older friend who gets food stamps every month. He sells the food stamps and buys LSD and weed with the money. I’ve kept an open mind to things like psychedelic drugs, and at first I found this amusing. It was as if the government was buying him drugs. I even enjoyed the benefits of the money we made selling food stamps.

But then I asked myself, if I am using government assistance to get drugs, isn’t it still government assistance? I’ve spent hours thinking about this. At first I completely rejected the idea of accepting government assistance. I felt like a traitor to my own beliefs. But this isn’t really the case.

If you look at the issue with an open mind it’s easy to see the problem with accepting welfare as an anarchist. The problem was the insecurity I felt by accepting the government money. State welfare is as much about government control as it is about benefiting those in need. The people who are most suppressed by society, who would be the most willing to fight authority, feel that they cannot because it would be biting the hand that feeds them. It’s easy to see how it could influence how you think about government if you become dependent on government assistance.

Even if the government isn’t intentionally seeking this control, it doesn’t matter. They are still gaining control in this way. But it gives us a perfect opportunity to reject that control. If you step back and look again, taking the money and using it to fight authority is a good way to undermine that control.

To complete this act of rejections, why not take the money and use it in a way that spreads the anarchist message? I would still feel like I was accepting help from the wrong people if I used the money to support myself. This applies even more to buying drugs with the money instead of food. But showing people that society and government today is incomplete and dehumanizing and immoral is the only way to overcome the government’s control.

Why not use the government’s money to enlighten people to this open minded way of thought, to spread anarchism, and show people the benefits of things that society rejects? People are more and more willing to reject social normalities and some are eager to accept anarchist ideals, but they must be shown.

If government money was used to support the people spreading this belief, the system itself would be taken and turned against the government. Instead of gaining control over suppressed people they will lose it.

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65 Responses to “Anarchists Accepting Government Assistance?”

  1. Pete SiscoNo Gravatar says:

    Remember, it isn’t “the government’s money.” It’s money taken from innocent people. I’m sure you wouldn’t share the spoils of a friend who is an armed robber who just took $500 from a woman at gunpoint.

    But here’s the thought that occurred to me when I read your post. You’re a literate person who knows enough to operate a blog and likely much more. Why not be a prosperous anarchist? Why not make a great living and not live in scarcity? Anarchy and poverty are supposed to be opposites. Free people are free to prosper to their fullest capability. It’s the oppressed who live in scarcity.

  2. ErvNo Gravatar says:

    Agree with Pete, sounds like you are rationalizing receipt of stolen property. Also, living on the streets and openly thwarting government statutes sounds like a search for martyrdom, Pete’s advice is sound, find a way to make an honest living and show the region in which you live that anarchy can be prosperous.

    Anarchy starts with a state of mind, not a series of actions.

    • RanDominoNo Gravatar says:

      There is no way to be both honest and prosperous under this system. Whether your wealth was stolen by the State or stolen by capitalists, if it ends up in your hands it’s still covered in blood.

  3. ErvNo Gravatar says:

    Along a similar vein of Austin’s article; my wife is ~14 years older than I am and is approaching the point where she can collect from that wonderful government scam known as Social Security. She will be eligible to collect roughly 6000FRN per year whereas I have over twice that amount stolen from me (direct + employer mandated) to supposedly support the same system. If she collects while I am gainfully employed am I really receiving stolen property or simply reducing the amount stolen from me? I have been struggling with this one and would like to know what others think.

  4. AuNeroNo Gravatar says:

    Walter Block says that it’s very libertarian to take money from the government.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/03/walter-block/may-a-libertarian -take-money-from-the-government/

  5. R.R. SchoettkerNo Gravatar says:

    This issue pops up with such regularity that I composed the following response some time ago. Another posting seems in order.

    In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other.
    —-Voltaire, Dictionnaire Philisophique [1764]

    Your principle has placed these words above the entrance of the legislative chamber: “whosoever acquires any influence here can obtain his share of legal plunder.” And what has been the result? All classes have flung themselves upon the doors of the chamber crying: “A share of the plunder for me, for me!”
    —-Frédéric Bastiat, Selected Essays on Political Economy [1848]

    The illogical origin of “justifications” for the receipt of “government” (sic) money is generally based on either a naive fallacy or an unethical personal character flaw; or, most usually, a combination of both . The fallacy is the error of believing that money; stolen from an individual and which theft is justified under the excuse of some subsequent request by that individual to reclaim it; is held in some kind of specific account or “trust fund”. The plain fact is that NO such repository, fund or account of any kind exists or ever existed-PERIOD! The expedient rationalization that one is thus somehow retrieving ones own money is totally false. The thieving State spent the funds stolen from you the instant it was taken. It does NOT hold on account any funds for any later withdrawal. You have nothing but the promise (of a pathological lying pack of criminals) that it “may” if it so chooses, respond to your application to receive these moneys back by then stealing anew a fresh portion of plunder from a subsequent set of victims (you included) in order to give it to you.
    The ethical flaw, and a disgustingly common one, is the belief that having been the victim of a theft in the past somehow excuses and justifies that person becoming a perpetrator of a new theft when instigated by their “claim” submitted to the State. This is the hoary old mistake of believing that “two wrongs make a right”. I might add that both of these errors are compounded by yet another fallacy; that the State has any money that can legitimately be considered its “own”. The only money that the State has is that which it has previously stolen from the rightful owner or fraudulently created out of thin air by its fiat fabrication. It is my tenet that no honorable man much less a consistent libertarian can thus maintain that being the “receiver of stolen goods” is ethical behavior. Those who may acknowledge that the money thus received is stolen and do so anyway because it harms and deprives the State of funds that it would spend on even more sordid ends are just indulging in a callous utilitarianism that sees the end as justifying the means. A wrong is a wrong, and no specious sophistical rationalizing can alter that fact.

    Mine is better than ours.
    —-Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac [1756]

  6. AuNeroNo Gravatar says:

    You said that you disagree with the justification that people are just re-possessing their stolen tax money. I don’t think it matters that the state isn’t keeping the money in a repository.

    If a thief steals your money and you take it back, it doesn’t matter if the money you took back was the same federal reserve note with the same ID number on it. It doesn’t matter if that money was freshly stolen from someone else.

    It matters that the thief took your stuff and you take it back from him — and this is justified.

    • R.R. SchoettkerNo Gravatar says:

      ” the thief took your stuff and you take it back from him”

      I repeat…..he doesn’t have it. It is NOT “justified’ to ask the thief to go out and steal again to give you back what he stole from you previously and has already spent. I repeat…..two wrongs don’t make a right.

      • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

        I don’t think anybody is “asking” the state to go out and steal more. In this case, the state is willing to hand you a check. Furthermore, Dollars are just monopoly money anyways. And as far as I’m concerned the sooner they print it into oblivion the sooner Bitcoin will take off.

        • R.R. SchoettkerNo Gravatar says:

          “I don’t think anybody is “asking” the state to go out and steal more.”

          I fail to see how “applying” for SS can be legitimately regarded as anything but this in essence. Knowing that the State has NOTHING but what it steals from the rightful owner and that it spends every penny it steals and then borrows more and spends that also; what else could such a request factually and tangibly be?.
          At the root of all rationalizations for receipt of government money is the fundamental personal reasons motivating the actor. If this prime reason is to “get back the money” then any and all excuses will suffice and sophist rationalization will predictably throw ethics ‘under the bus’. If ethics and principle are the prime motivators however, then even serious financial detriment can be tolerated before character debasement and dependency are readily acceded to. The good can NEVER be advanced through the use of evil means.

          • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

            The acceptance of money is not evil, period.

            It is not the person accepting money that is guilty of violating the NAP.

            There is a difference, however, between the lady accepting the Obama phone and an anarchist taking a welfare check. The lady accepting the Obama phone believes it’s okay for the government to take from others to give to her. The anarchist does not believe it is right to take from others, period. After it is taken, however, it is good to take from the thief.

            Not only do I think it is moral to take a welfare check from the state, but I also think it would be moral to take some guns out of police departments, steal police cruisers, pirate some electricity from the library, you name it. Take all the things!

  7. Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

    Voluntarily playing the state’s game is acknowledging the state. But the state is a fiction. It is an illusion of security. It is an illusion of organization. It is an illusion of humanitarian caring. There is no state. There is only a group of people who do not see you as a sovereign individual. They see only dependents who are obligated to serve, to sacrifice, to obey. For these people, obedience is a duty and a virtue. Disobedience is dishonor and dangerous to the group, i.e., society, i.e., the common good, i.e., the state. Your only value is as a cog in the wheel of the state machinery. And cogs are interchangeable, replaceable, expendable. Your life is of no value compared to the life of species, i.e., the hive, i.e., the state.

    This may not be the exact words statists use, but it is the meaning of their actions.

    Do you want to encourage this illusion? This insanity? This inhumanity?

    Do you want to engage with the people who do? Do you want to play the “welfare game”, e.g., accept assistance? Do you want to play the “security game”, e.g., be a soldier or a cop? If so, you are pretending with and supporting the very people whom you profoundly disagree.

    How will you teach them to question their values by joining in their fantasy? How will you show by example? How will your actions be different from the statists? Will you be living as a free person? Will you be independent? Self sufficient? A sovereign?

    How you answer these questions will determine your actions.

    • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

      No one is their own soveriegn yet. You’re fooling yourself if you think you are.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        If people treat us like slaves and we respond by acting like slaves, then we are slaves. But if we act like free people, i.e., sovereigns, we are free. You claim we are not free because of how others perceive us. This “other centered” epistemology is not objective. It does not define me. Don’t let it define you. You are not responsible for other people’s illusions, nor are you obliged to respect them. When you are forced to act by overwhelming violence or threat thereof, you do not give respect or permission to the authorities. Morality is not decided by physical force, but by force of will. Only you can totally control yourself. As long as you do not concede your sovereignty, you are sovereign.

        • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

          You know that’s a fair point Mr. Duncan you could even say that you ARE a free man most of the time considering the State can’t possibly control your every move. It’s just in those moments when the thugs are in front of you that you realize how precarious and precious freedom actually is.

  8. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    As a minarchist I used to be very much against the idea of taking money from the state. As an anarchist I’ve come to the complete opposite viewpoint. I say take as much money as you possibly can.

    Here’s my take on it:

    http://dailyanarchist.com/2011/01/09/better-to-take-welfare-than- pay-taxes/

    I will say, though, that while I support taking money from the state, I highly recommend figuring out a way to make a separate living in the underground economy. You definitely don’t ever want to be dependent on the state.

  9. VanmindNo Gravatar says:

    Block makes similar arguments as attempts to justify his own parasitism.

    “Everyone jump on the dole train like us professors, because surely someone out there will at some point deliver liberation — and then the rest of us can crow about how we weren’t required to make the same sacrifices.”

    “Sacrifice in the name of liberty for thee, but not for me.”

    “I’m a victim so I am entitled to revenge paychecks.”

    See, here’s the thing, though: it’s never a case of “getting back” what government stole. All one is ever able to “get back” is a fraction of a penny of their own stolen property, plus a fraction of a penny of their neighbor’s stolen property, plus a fraction of a penny of … and once everyone starts doing likewise it ends up being exactly the society about which Bastiat warned, with each striving to live at the expense of everyone else.

    “Oh, as it is right now I’m helping, but I would not be able to help without the dole train continuing to offer those revenge paychecks.” Sincerely is how one would pretend to make such (paraphrased) assertions?

    I myself have endured dozens of days during my adult life, not all in a row, when I spent an entire 24-hour period unable to afford anything to eat. At all. I have quit well-paying jobs that demanded the compromise of important principles, and have been canned from others for being vocal about anarcho-capitalism (mind you that particular company was a Boeing subsidiary out to protect its own seat on the dole train).

    Thanks to the student loan bubble, though, Block owns homes in two separate countries and is doing “great things” for future humanity (*cough*).

    As for the OP, try counting the number of people over the centuries who have been sure that they could do “great things” with any money they might be able to get on top of what they earn themselves. Some of them ask for investments and are known as “Oppenheimer’s economic entrepreneurs.” Some hope to use “government’s money” (as if there could ever be such a thing), and are called “Oppenheimer’s political entrepreneurs.” People like Block convince themselves to be as comfortable as possible about their own faustian bargain, so how about you, OP, what’s it gonna be?

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      If you want to be a real stickler, stop using Dollars altogether. All fiat money is stolen/blood money.

      The only reason why the system survives is because of people that refuse to take the government money, but continue to pay into it. If everybody stopped paying into it, and only took from it, the system collapses.

      • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

        That is on-its-face laughable: one must defeat the enemy by insisting on placing a more egregious boot — just temporarily, mind you — on the neck of one’s neighbor. Except the temporary never becomes anything other than permanent, just ask parasitic Block (“Sacrifice is for the next generation”).

        “The Obama Phone lady is a hero — because collapse the system.”

        “The Pride Parade organizers in Vancouver are performing a civic duty by lying about attendance in order to maintain public funding — because collapse the system.”

        “When my kid goes running around the streets throwing rocks and breaking windows, he’s helping to provide much-needed stimulus for both police and glaziers — because collapse the system.”

        “Go, Detroit’s newest Joe, go — because collapse the system.”

        “Raise the minimum wage — because collapse the system.”

        Seriously, a standard retort to the Broken Window Fallacy is to ridicule the proponent with questions like: “Should everyone then build wealth by breaking as many windows as possible?” Similarly, should everyone now try to game the proverbial system in order to bring about by some esoteric Underpants Gnomes magic a facsimile of liberty? Who would ever be that mind-mushed? “Collapse” in that sense is not liberating, it is guaranteed genocide followed by an “established order” of total government dominance over those “obviously failed markets.” Oh, but after that, wow the freedom, I can almost taste it — except, dammit, that would coincide with the end of history like Marx promised and a forever-utopia of stateless…

        Fu*king nihilistic determinists. Have you considered neither paying in nor demanding so-called benefits that you didn’t earn? It’s been thousands of years, so just where is that honest man? He certainly isn’t the one claiming “Oh, I’ll accept those proceeds from the theft of others’ property, no problem — because collapse the system.”

        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          What we’re really talking about here is Robin Hooding the state. Take from the takers. It’s deceptive because in the form of welfare the state is voluntarily giving individuals money. But in the form of WARFARE, the state is involuntarily being stolen from by the individual.

          Both welfare and warfare as a means of taking state wealth are totally legitimate, as far as I’m concerned.

          • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

            Robin of Lockley was kind of a lowlife who never actually “robbed the rich to give to the poor.” Romanticized knaves the Merry Men were, like wild west outlaws and gangland tommy-gunners.

            When you’re out to vanquish fraudsters, never let your revenge fantasies turn you into a fraudster. Rather than rush toward a personal failure milestone, choose the penury that comes with neither giving nor taking. “Taking back” is political activism, when what you really want to be is an economic activist. Ancap is The Way, so don’t stray.

            “I paid in so they owe me.” No, they don’t. You got robbed nice & legal, and anything you say or do about it merely legitimizes the crime syndicate’s continued existence as it will need to replenish the kitty after you “get what’s yours” (unless of course you want to get yours without anyone else getting anything — which is an entirely different kind of monster-themed horror story).

            Sorry to say it’s boo hoo for you if you didn’t clue in to the fraud at an earlier age. The entrance to the garden of wisdom lies along the path of learn as you burn.

            Mephistopheles claims that you made a Social Contract bargain. What now? Harm others? Gut check?

            • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

              So, you claim to be an an-cap. You do realize that most an-caps would agree that criminals, once caught, owe restitution to their victims, right?

              How will we ever get rid of the state unless we can reclaim all of the stolen property, like forest land, buildings, gold, etc.?

              • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

                Claiming that you did a kind of NWO dragnet and got some solid evidence on specific individuals “in possession of stolen property” certainly is loverly dreamy-time herpa derp. Was the trial held in the one-world court of gumdrops and rainbrow bridges?

                • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                  You haven’t addressed my issue at all. You keep beating around the bush. If we abolish the state, what’s going to happen to all of the millions of acres of forest land currently under the control of the BLM? What about the buildings that are controlled by the DoD, like the Pentagon? What about the Smithsonian?

                  You think the state is going to magically disappear and then all of the stuff I just mentioned will never be owned by anybody forever and ever? It’ll just sit there? No, somebody is going to claim it. And truth be told, all of that stuff is going to be repossessed BEFORE the state is abolished.

                  • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

                    The repo fairy will take care of it.

                  • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

                    I most certainly did give that comment the response it deserved.

                    How many more herps do you have in reserve? Surely you’ve been saving the “Prove that things would automatically become perfect under anarchism” super-derp. No? Shot that wad already?

                    Your team is weak, the two of you need to regroup…

        • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

          Genocide is likely to happen anyway. This is war, in war men die all the time.

          • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

            So you’re gonna grab what you can while there’s still stuff to grab? Then what? Lie down to die? Become one of the genocidal perps? Something in between with a picket fence and a willow tree?

            What are the coolest cats gonna do after “Give me mine” falls on those inevitable deaf ears? Start naming names?

            • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

              I’ll burn that bridge down when I come to it. Until then I’ll burn the bridge in front of me.

              • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

                In other words, your mind is weak. On the plus side, there’s a LE gang out there waiting for your application.

                • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

                  Wait, I was being rash. Burning down a bridge once one “gets to it” is waaaay different than burning a bridge that lies ahead. Ha.

                • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

                  You like telling people their minds are weak if they disagree with you. What does that say about you?

                  • VanmindNo Gravatar says:

                    It tells me that I’m entitled to my opinion. What’s your weak excuse, seeking permission and prohibiting admission?

                    Burn any bridges lately that laid ahead of you? Wait, my mind is weak, remind me again: how does one cross over a newly-burned bridge in order to get to the next bridge that needs burning?

                    • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

                      It just makes you an asshole and you know it. Which is fine, no skin off my nose.

  10. Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

    Take the money and don’t pay into the system.

  11. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    Also, let’s not forget about opportunity costs.

    Every Dollar given out in welfare to an anarchist is one Dollar less that is spent on warfare and police statism.

    The state does not have infinite resources. The more they tax, the more resentment is cultivated, the more the anarchist’s message will resonate.

  12. R.R. SchoettkerNo Gravatar says:

    Clearly my opinion is one that does not resonate with the majority on this site. Fortunately, for me , I AM the owner and sovereign of ME and my actions will be determined by me in accordance with my ethics. I fear you have “slide down the slippery slope” by adopting the tactics and behavior of your enemy in a vain hope of defeating them through an emulation of their actions but this is a lesson that cannot be taught from outside but only realized from within.

    • Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

      You can declare yourself a Free Man all you want, until you resist and the thugs kill you.

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      Your heart is clearly in the right place but I don’t think you’re conceptualizing this correctly.

      I hate to use statist analogies, but I’m going to do so anyways. Here goes.

      Let’s pretend we anarchists are the Americans in WWII. And let’s pretend the state are the Nazis.

      If the Nazis are sending ammunition and supplies to an area that they THINK will be received by their own troops, but are actually going into the hands of us, the Americans, what should the Americans do? Send the ammunition back to the Nazis? Of course not! We’re going to let them keep sending the supplies until they realize their folly.

      Okay, poor analogy maybe, but let me explain.

      Currently, the state LOVES to give out freebies like phones and food stamps and welfare checks in order to buy votes and gain legitimacy. Now, if you’re taking the welfare check and foolish enough to believe in the state and support it morally with your friends and teach statism to your children, then that’s bad.

      But if you’re an anarchist and you’re getting a check from the state and you’re still smart enough to know the state is illegitimate, then I say great!

  13. Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

    The objective it to gain freedom and self sovereignty but we have to win before we can do that… At least IMO, perhaps I’m crazy…

    • don duncanNo Gravatar says:

      We “win” by not joining the majority who cooperate with govt., e.g., paying and receiving money or benefits. We win by not playing the statist game. We win by boycotting the state, e.g., not calling the cops, not voting, and not relying on the state for anything. We win the minute we stop giving any legitimacy to the collectivists by action or inaction.

  14. Michael BarkerNo Gravatar says:

    I like Seths answers. Starve the system. Work for yourself if possible. Turn everything into cash and pay what’s needed through the bank to show only your expenses. When you file taxes you show that you don’t make money. You can live comfortably doing this but you wont’ get rich unless you play the game of the state which means conforming to society. Were not here to conform, were her to change things. It also doesn’t matter where you live. I’m in California, one of the most anti business states in the union, and because of that the gray market is flourishing. The more regulation, the more people opt out the system. I’ve never taken government money and the government has spent 100’s of hours auditing me. One audit lasted six weeks. In the end those crooks owed me money but because the money owed to me was from longer then three years ago the IRS weren’t obligated to pay me back. And truthfully I didn’t give a shit about it.When I’m 65 I wont have a problem collecting S.S.

  15. Pete SiscoNo Gravatar says:

    I’m always amazed when I discover “anarchists’ and ‘anarcho-capitalists’ who give every appearance of relying entirely upon the State for their subsistence. I like to see the best in people and be positive but the truth is deep down I harbor a suspicion that they might be habitual freeloaders searching for a philosophy to justify their parasitism.

    The same thing happens when I hear a ‘capitalist’ declare ‘Intellectual property doesn’t even exist, Dude. It’s a sham perpetuated by a coercive State’ – as he downloads copyrighted music, movies and software by the torrent-load. In other words, as soon as an artist labors to make something it becomes mine to use for free according to terms I unilaterally set and to which the artist did not agree. Because, ‘Screw the State, Dude.’

    And here we go again with ‘Screw the State – let’s plunder everything we can get our hands on.’

    1. This is no way to build a superior social system. Progress requires building better technologies that supplant inferior ones. Burn all the steamships you want, it won’t create the first airplane. Bitch about steamships, plunder them, stop supporting them – none of it builds a superior replacement.

    2. Despite everything I just said, I am sympathetic to the argument of bringing down the coercive State. But I don’t want to look in the mirror every day and see a man who is a net burden to his fellow man. If I saw myself in that way I know my self-esteem would steadily diminish with every plundered dollar I found a way to collect. I’d be living from the misery and injustice to others – and I’d know it. Some of my self-esteem, and I expect many people reading this are the same, comes from knowing that I create more than I consume and I am a willing burden to no one. Yes, I drive on tax-supported roads and my plane lands at tax-supported airports but those are the only roads and airports available and there are guns involved in keeping alternatives unprofitable.

    3. Finding ways to not pay taxes taken at gunpoint is moral – finding ways to personally receive those taxes is not moral. It means living at the expense of other productive men. How can that be right?

    4. Our coercive social system has not evolved significantly in 5,000 years. How about we find a better social technology where nobody plunders anybody and every individual can know his own property is secure from coercion? Isn’t that better than a barbaric feeding frenzy of State plunder?

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      People on welfare aren’t paying any taxes to the state, and thus are not in any way financially supporting the state. If you work and pay taxes, any at all, you are paying for the police state and warfare being waged. You are far more guilty of supporting the state than the welfare queen.

    • JasonNo Gravatar says:

      1) Your steamship analogy is not really applicable. The better alternatives to coercive states already exist–agorism, voluntary states, minarchism, anarcho-capitalism, &c.. The problem is not developing these alternatives, it’s implementing them.

      2) You’re not a burden on others or not on the basis of your net tax incidence. Taxes are used to perpetuate a system that raises barriers to entry and diminishes class and social mobility. By being a net tax payer, you’re perpetuating the state–a burden for everyone. By being a net tax taker, you’re working against the state’s coercive abilities.

      3) This is not substantively different from 2, as I understand it.

      4) This is not substantively different from 1, as I understand it.

      • Pete SiscoNo Gravatar says:

        Jason, those alternatives you mention are not yet operational. Where is the service to protect my property outside of the State system? And from the State system? They have not been built. (And going on the dole certainly doesn’t build them.)

        I hate to sound so unscientific but the “pile on and grab more plunder” methodology doesn’t pass the sniff test for me. Here’s another analogy you won’t like. Suppose you learn that Fascists are operating death camps and are approaching six million victims. Is the answer to recognize the Fascists have limited capacity and finite resources for killing innocents so we should send wave after wave of people for them to exterminate until it crashes their system? Sure they can kill six million, but surely they don’t have the operational capacity to kill 10 or 30 or 50 million people – we will bring them down by over-participating in their injustice!!

        No thanks. I’ll just reduce the money they force me to send them.

  16. VolNo Gravatar says:

    My take? If it ain’t locked down, take everything from the state that you possibly can. The more people do this, the faster the state will collapse. That, plus working under the table so you don’t need to pay taxes on your income. An easy choice from this agorist perspective!

    • JasonNo Gravatar says:

      Exactly right. Turning down government “assistance” or “benefits” just presents an opportunity for free riders to perpetuate their undermining of free markets. Take advantage of every state program you can–if the statists are right, there is no downside. If we are right, than we’re taking effective action against the state.

  17. Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

    Enrolling in state programs requires entangling your life with bureaucratic paperwork which make you subject to more control. It also has a psychological effect. It may be very subtle, so much so that you are not even aware of a change. But the next time you hear a critique of the program you benefit from, your attitude might be changed. You might remain silent. If you do criticize, how will your credibility be viewed when someone points out you are participating? And will you work as hard outside the system if you are financial incentive is removed? Some people can “sell out” when they only meant to temporarily take the aid, the same as some get hooked on a drug taken temporarily.

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      These are all completely valid points.

    • JasonNo Gravatar says:

      These are legitimate concerns, I agree. But I think in most cases, “it is [more] difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it” if he didn’t already understand it before it became a part of his salary. I think in most cases people can understand free ridership. FA Hayek and Ayn Rand were not less effective advocates of freedom because they accepted public benefits. Folks who advocate higher taxes always pay as little in taxes as they can without it influencing their opinion, or the force of their opinion, from Warren Buffet to Barack Obama.

    • Pete SiscoNo Gravatar says:

      A very powerful point, Don. And it cuts both ways in terms of who personally benefits from State coercion. The guy on welfare for a decade certainly believes it’s a moral program, same with the college student wanting grants. But so does the producer of high fructose corn syrup who benefits from high taxes on foreign cane sugar -and all his employees.

      Pretty soon it’s hard to find people who don’t rely on some kind of State coercion to get by every day. And they all are motivated to validate the system come election day. “Hey, I make my living assembling cluster bombs, of course we should intervene in the Middle East!!”

  18. Gyorgy FuriosaNo Gravatar says:

    This is some of the most rivetting dialogue I’ve heard in a while. For myself I bunk with Seth – expropriation of capital from the State is a valid and valuable tactic.

  19. ElespartoNo Gravatar says:

    Its has always been the case that in battle the captured enemy’s swords has been redirected against them…I’m an ardent anarchist and I’m on welfare but understand that my mind is free…it’s given me time to increase my intelligence, to paint, to write novels, to theorize, to philosophize, to question, to delve into theoretical physics, to be an anarchist…to be truly free with knowledge at my side. Welfare means nothing to me except the freedom it gives me as an individual, as an ardent anarchist…long live Spartacus and all those who will not be crushed by a state system!!!

  20. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    Elesparto lists the creature comforts that living on welfare gave him. Nowhere does he say he is spending a good part of his time and welfare check actively fighting the idea of the welfare state out there in the real world.

    Apparently it didn’t occur to him. What a hypocrite.