The other day in my political research class the proffesor went on another rant about how much he despises libertarians and the right. After a little back and forth about libertarinism in general he made the the following statement:
If libertarians really believed in their ideas, why would you attend this school? Why would you accept Social Security or go to a public high school. If you are true to your words you should not utilize any government service what so ever.
My reply to him was: “So what am I supposed to do about the roads?”
This later got me to think about the morality of accepting government funds. I went to a public high school, drive on government roads all the time, pay taxes, and I attend a public college. I have obviously used, and have benefitted from government funds. For being so anti-state, I sure do use it a lot.
This has always made me feel ucomfortable but I accepted it because school, and roads are for the most part monopolized by the state. However, I asked myself if I were out of school working full time and had a family that needed my income, would I take unemployment benefits if I were to lose my job all the sudden? Would I apply for food stamps?
After some thinking I decided that I would take both, just as Rothbard and Walter Block have decided. I came to this decision largely on two points: I did not steal the money and you have to play the hand you are dealt. The first one is obvious — I did not use violence to steal (errr…tax) money from an individual. Is taking money from the one who stole it morally wrong? Perhaps it is; I certainly feel guilt every time I think about attending a state subsidized school, but I’ve also paid into this system.
My second justification is that we live in a statist society and you are stuck with the hand you’re dealt or you fold. We are working to change that society but meanwhile we have no choice but to participate in it. I think it is best to avoid the state when possible, but it is not my fault the Fed is decimating our currency and thus inflating prices. With all of the terrible policies we have in place, of course people will need help to get along.
I’m sure many would disagree with me, but I would not blame a libertarian for taking unemployment or other state assistance. On the other hand, I appluad the man or woman who refuses to accept such funds.Published in