Saturday, July 7, 2012

An Email from A Scientist Who Is Taking Money from the State

Hi Robert,

I'd like to tell my side of the story when it comes to whether or not it's ok (i.e. libertarian) to take money from the state. I'm motivated to write this in hopes to bring some depth to a rather irritating discussion.

I am finishing up my PhD in medical research. Seeing as how it's quite rare for a laboratory at a university to be completely funded by private institutions, my income ("stipend") currently comes from the US government's own National Institutes of Health (NIH), as does the money for my project.

Now that I'm at the end of my degree, I need a new job, but what is a poor libertarian to do! Believe me, I was very concerned about getting into a situation where I was stuck in academic research, eventually arriving at a point where I run my own lab and get funding from the government from grants I have written myself. Right now, I'm funded by the grants received years ago by my lab's boss.

I rejected the idea of going on to do a post-doctoral position at a university or hospital for a very long time. The debilitating libertarian guilt I felt frankly put my job search back much more than I'd care to add up. Most of this was fueled by my desire to one day be able to be a force of libertarian perspective in the scientific community. That's not a good idea when you rely on the NIH for your livelihood. So, I was very late to the game in finding a job.

To add to my credibility on the issue, think of how many people you know who are self proclaimed Rothbardians/anarchists/whatever who work in an NIH funded laboratory (I know of one, but that's only because she is the co-host of a very popular liberty radio show). I am intimately familiar with the arguments against the state AND the mechanical workings of peer review grants and publications in medical research.

All that being said, let's do the math.

I COULD care about what people in the internet comments sections think about my libertarian purity and toil over how to live in a career cave to be a martyr to the state. Oh, how noble of me! ...to spend months looking for the right laboratory that's entirely funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation etc, vs the NIH. I could sacrifice being in the geographical area I want, being at an institution with good resources, staying in my current field of research, the opportunity for authorship, etc. That's what it would have taken. Frankly, the types of labs that even come remotely close to being decently removed from government funding (oh, I looked!) are way below my level of professional achievement.

But you may be saying "get the heck out of academia!" For what? A drug company who's very existence relies upon their special connections with congress and the FDA? I consider these cozy connections to be far more damaging than government funding for basic research. And if there's any place I could NOT be the next Stephan Kinsella, fighting the cause against my own profession, it's in the pharmaceutical industry. At least in academia I'm expected to be a bit of a quack with new and challenging ideas. I would also be burning quite a few bridges by leaving academia at this point in my career.

So, I found a good post-doctoral research job at a great laboratory at a quality university. I was interested in this lab months before I finally gave up on my search for libertarian purity. I'm happy I made this choice, and I will gladly spend much of my income on books from Mises.org.

Now, I ask the average internet commenter with the cliche, and, yes, naive view that I should seek libertarian purity in all angles of my life...what sacrifices would you make if you were in my position? I didn't accept my "pure" libertarian viewpoint until long after a practical stopping point in my PhD. Are you saying that the instant I accepted libertarian truth, I was doing the world and the cause of liberty a disservice for continuing to accept government money? Are you really saying that me accepting this new job is encouraging or endorsing coercion?

My long term goal is to teach biology at a small liberal arts college. Yes, all but two American universities take govt funding (I would LOVE to teach at Hillsdale one day) but this goal would be a much better step in the right direction away from complete reliance on the NIH. Taking this next job in the fall is a necessary step on my way to this goal.

Where would you rather I be? Stuck in a dead end job that basically does not exist, or contributing to the fight for liberty in a position where I have intellectual credibility?

Walter Block is right.

-Greg

74 comments:

  1. Of course Greg and Walter are right.

    If your money is stolen, you have a right to take it back.

    Let's move on, now, shall we?

    P.S. eloquently stated, Greg

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    1. "If your money is stolen, you have a right to take it back."

      If the entirety of Greg's career has consisted of him earning an income from government funding then it is not his money.

      Block's view about 'clawing back' stolen money from the state only applies when you have worked in the private industry, when you have only worked in a socialist enterprise then you have never actually earned money of your own, rather you've merely stolen it from others since day 1.

      Delete
    2. Just because a person works in a job where there isn't price discovery because the state has interfered doesn't mean he's only been paid stolen money. It's entirely plausible to believe that he would be getting paid more if there were capitalism fully in force.

      Delete
    3. @Anonymous July 7, 2012 9:39 PM

      How is one to know whether they are doing society a service or disservice when working in a socialist enterprise? The reason I ask this isn't to disqualify libertarians working in socialist enterprises, it's to qualify them working in socialist enterprises. If there is the possibility they are working in a field that would benefit the free market had it been left to the free market, i.e., earn a profit, can we blame them?

      I don't find any hypocrisy as long as you don't complain or actively lobby government to retain your job if/when they choose to defund it.

      Delete
  2. The Walter Block position is self-serving.

    I have worked very hard to have as anarchistic a career as possible, and I resent the idea that there is no difference between the tradeoffs and considerations I make, and the ones that someone who takes state money makes.

    It's total nonsense, but then much of what Walter Block promotes is not rooted in principle, but convenience.

    A libertarian who takes state money is no different materially than anyone else who takes state money, despite attempts to justify it otherwise.

    Also the canard that expropriated funds can't be repatriated is nonsense. We have the tax documents. We know exactly who was stolen from and when. The notion that Block or this fellow are liberating stolen goods is farcical.

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    1. "The Walter Block position is self-serving.

      I have worked very hard to have as anarchistic a career as possible"

      The DixieFlatline position is self-serving. It is nothing more than attempts to justify his personal choices as the ultimate moral truths all libertarians should be forced to adhere to.

      Delete
    2. Honestly, if the money is there, why not take it? We know the system will eventually crumble; taking the goods stolen by government will hasten the crumbling, and hence, hasten the rebuilding. If libertarians take the money, and find ways to invest the money in things that will be profitable *after* the collapse, are we not doing the entire world a favor?

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    3. Robert, the only truth libertarians need to adhere to is the non-aggression principle. Profiting from the state is not non-aggression.

      I appreciate the best argument you can make is attack my decisions, rather than defend Greg or Walter's, because frankly there is no defense for taking state money, AND having the gall to claim it is a libertarian good.

      The state of the state changes when we stop recognizing it, not when we rely on it for an income.

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    4. I am confused. Are you claiming that .gov employees do not violate the non aggression principle? I would say that by his very existence a .gov employee is the embodiment of aggression. It is probably unavoidable to have some dealings / workings with the government at this stage of the world though.

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    5. Do you pay taxes and live in the United States? If you answered yes to either of these two questions then YOU too serve the state. Maybe we should all kill ourselves for not being ideologically and metaphysically pure enough. Then we could rid our movement of the impure (everyone) and finally be free because, obviously, the problem with the world today is libertarians that function in a state society, not the neocons and neoliberals running the world.... Pol Pot would be proud.

      Delete
  3. One more thing. Greg doesn't have intellectual credibility when he takes state money. He's making an ends justify the means, instead of a libertarian principle argument.

    It's not our fault he picked a career path that depends on the state for a decent job. That was his choice.

    Now he wants to play a pity party that he took state money rather than do the right thing? Nonsense.

    Sorry Greg, you're probably a decent guy, but you're a very poor libertarian. No one is going to listen to a guy who doesn't do what he says. Credibility comes from consistency.

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    1. When I made that choice, I was a predictable neocon. But that's beside the point. Feel free to not read or endorse any writing or talks I will hopefully be giving at libertarian/LvMI conferences on my experiences in science (they are well under way). I just think it's too bad you won't be a part of the discussion.

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    2. "Greg doesn't have intellectual credibility when he takes state money."

      Is that so? And does that also apply to Hans Herman-Hoppe, Tom Woods, Ropert Murphy, Ludwig Von Mises, and Murray Rothbard? It would appear they somehow managed to trick millions of people into believing their arguments for libertarianism, despite lacking "intellectual credibility" by taking state money.

      You have strong personal moral beliefs about how to live your life. That is fine. Attempting to act as if those morals are the only valid libertarian ones is absurd, however.

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    3. Greg, I have put a lot of man hours in at mises.org. You don't need to be a state sponsored scientist to have credibility or make a difference. There are thousands of us who make a difference every day with employees, family and private sector voluntary associations.

      I can understand if you say, "this is the best I can do right now, but I want to change it" however justifying taking state money as somehow making you credible and delivering market value is the same fallacy that statists rely on to justify taxation.

      I get you were a neocon. I am sympathetic to your journey. It has just started. Don't stop moving towards consistency.

      @Robert, sure it does. I am talking about principle, not cults of personality.

      My only moral belief is in the non-aggression principle, and being consistent with the non-aggression principle. If you say you're a libertarian, but you use money stolen by the state from other people, how libertarian are you really?

      Again, attacking me personally or making appeals to authority isn't good argumentation. The issue here is whether Greg is entitled to money from the state because he made a particular career choice.

      Then there is the silly Walter Block rationale that he is somehow liberating money, as though all of those people stolen from with taxation don't have a higher claim than him, or that the state actually functions as a sort of money laundering racket which removes any claim to ownership.

      If the latter is true, then taxation is not theft. If taxation is theft, then we know the crime has happened, and who was committed it against whom.

      Block isn't entitled to MY tax money. I am entitled to it.

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    4. How do you know the physical dollars he receive are yours and not his?

      Delete
    5. The amount of lying you engage in, in this reply, illustrates just how far removed from reality your personal definition of libertarian is, and your mindset when attempting to defend it.

      You claim that I personally attacked you.

      "Again, attacking me personally or making appeals to authority isn't good argumentation. "

      This is a lie. I would like you to provide evidence for this claim.

      I then point out that there have been many successfully "intellectually credible" libertarians such as Murray Rothbard and Ludwig Von Mises that have taken state money, despite your claim that by doing so one loses all intellectual credibility.

      You attempt to dismiss this as an "appeal to authority" argument. Do you know what an argument is? Can you please provide me with a quote of mine where I say "You are wrong because Rothbard said so?" That would be an attempt at an argument.


      Asking for confirmation that you believe Murray Rothbard is not a libertarian because he does not conform to your personal ethical code, is not an argument, it is a question.

      But because you are embarrassed to plainly state that, and highlight the absurdity of your dogmatic personal libertarian litmus test, you choose to instead lie and misrepresent my comment as something other than it was, so that you may safely dismiss it.


      You immediately lie again when you change that which I am saying and replace it with the fabricated claim that I think "Greg is entitled to state money."

      Good luck finding a comment of mine where I say or imply anything of the sort.

      I have no interest in engaging you in your definition of what constitutes a libertarian. You have demonstrated your commitment to this authoritarian definition of a libertarian that only you, so far, seem to fit into.

      I have zero interest in arguing with that. I merely asked questions so that your position, and its implications, could be seen clearly.

      The fact that your response to that was to interpret it as "personal attacks and an appeal to authority argument" is extremely revealing.

      Do not be so uncomfortable stating the logical applications of your moral code, if you believe so strongly in it!

      You can remain safe in the knowledge that despite having to admit neither Murray Rothbard, Ludwig Von Mises, Hans Herman-Hoppe, Lew Rockwell (adviser to Ron Paul - a politician!!!) are libertarians, as they all took state money, at least I failed to offer any argument disproving your dogma!

      So fret not, you're still safe in rationalizing this dogma of you being the only "true" libertarian!

      Delete
    6. DFL,

      Do you think Richard Ebling is a libertarian? Nevermind, of course u don't. Don't answer that please.

      This article I just received in my inbox is timely to say the least

      www.thedailybell.com/4064/anthony-wile-

      Delete
  4. While you are in bed sleeping you are using the state for protection (like it or not). If you step out the front door and walk down the street or back out of the garage onto the street you are using assets controlled by the state (like it or not). Flush the toilet? Whoops. On and on. Short of killing the state in total (which I support) the only solution would be everyones death. Is someone suggesting there is a libertarian-o-meter that measures when you have crossed the acceptable threshold? Strange.

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    1. Thank you, Nathan... Yours is a voice of sanity.

      I especially like the "libertarian-o-meter" phrase... There seems to be a "Inqusition mentality" developing.

      Delete
    2. Nathan, are you suggesting that there is no difference between libertarian (non-aggressive) activity and statist activity?

      That one cannot be more or less libertarian?

      Because that sounds like some silly relativism to me.

      I think a pretty safe definition of being libertarian is an adherence to the non-aggression principle. Robert, appealing to Rothbard, has to accept that Rothbard promoted the non-aggression principle.

      If that is the case, then stealing from people is probably not very libertarian.

      The idea I am challenging, is that if you benefit knowingly and deliberately from the theft, can you really say you're a libertarian? If so, then what is the difference from any of the crony capitalists and Greg?

      I'm happy if people disagree with me, that means we're having a debate. But stake out a clear position, don't erode someone elses position with the suggestion that everything is relative, because that is sloppy thinking.

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    3. Isn't Nathan's (and Block's and Rothbard's) point that we are all "benefiting" from the State basically by being alive? By your own words, "...if you benefit knowingly and deliberately from the theft, can you really say you're libertarian?" So, would you ever call 911? Do you walk on any "public" property? If so, are you not benefiting from stolen loot? You say, "I have worked very hard to have as anarchistic a career as possible..." Well, have you succeeded 100%? If not, are you not simply acting as Greg has, albeit to a different degree?

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    4. Again, DFL,

      Do you pay taxes? That is not non aggression. Purge yourself from the movement please. Ahem....

      okay, just kidding on that last bit, but please stop with your cultish exclusionary holier than thou b.s.

      Thanks

      Delete
  5. The best of us are people like yourself. The worst are those who do nothing but bitch about nonsensical "betrayals of libertarian principles!" in the comments sections of blog posts on the Internet.

    There's a reason Murray Rothbard worked in politics, Walter Block works in academia, Hans Herman-Hoppe taught at UNLV etc.

    More often than not, those who fail to do anything meaningful to advance liberty do so because of their own inadequacies. These type of people tend to have nothing else, other than attacking those who represent a more successful form of themselves.

    Great article, and sound logic. I wish you the very best in your career!

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  6. I've no stomach for arguing about which one of us is a "better libertarian;" I've always found libertarian in-fighting counbterproductive and quite frankly dull. For what it's worth, I've personally made the opposite choice; it wasn't at such a high level (I certainly don't have a PhD), but when faced with the choice of taking the "easy road" of a government job or having to start over on my own with no government backing, I chose the latter. This isn't because I wish to be known as the purest, best libertarian ever -- I know Dr. Block, for one, would say I made the wrong choice in that regard -- but because it was the choice that I believed (and still believe) was best for me. And that, it seems, is a pretty libertarian idea all by itself: look to your own benefit and do no harm. The "greater good," insofar as it exists, can be served no other way.

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    1. I wager he wouldn't say you made the wrong choice Darien- he'd likely say you made YOUR choice. As you did so peacefully, he'd cheer you for the decision.

      Dixieflatline can play armchair purist all he likes-- If he demands "true" libertarians live on an island, cut off from the infrastructure we were born into and will die under, fine.
      His opinion, and mine for that matter, are worth what you payed for them.

      Delete
    2. This is a bogus argument anonymous. I am only asking that libertarians be consistent with libertarian principles.

      If you claim to be a duck, then walk like a duck and quack like a duck.

      If you claim to be a libertarian, but you don't live like a libertarian, are you in fact, a libertarian?

      That is the question here.

      If you want a libertarian society, you better be willing to make sacrifices to get it. If you don't, that's fine. Just don't tell me how libertarian you are.

      Delete
    3. Okay, seriously. purge yourself.

      DFL may as well be a government operative trying to focus pur efforts on PETTY differences instead of opposing the state. So DFL, please quit serving the state with your B.S.

      Delete
  7. I gave up a career in Human Intelligence Operations. I had job offers from multiple three letter agencies after a stint in the army, but I turned it down because I couldn't accept either the money or the questionable activities that I might have to be involved in. I only learned about my hatred for the State when I was in the belly of the beast. It all depends on how you personally view it. If you have no problem with taking money from the State, good for you, no real skin off my nose. Libertarian in-fighting is an absolute waste.

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  8. "I'm happy I made this choice, and I will gladly spend much of my income on books from Mises.org."

    Don't forget, if you donate $50 or more per year to the Mises Institute, you become a Member, and get a 10% discount on everything in their store!

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  9. Greg - you need to find something else to do, and soon. I'm sorry you chose badly in selecting a career. Nobody told you the state is evil, and should be avoided. That is unfortunate. Now you know better. Take steps to leave your job! There are many things you can do in the economy that do not require you to work for these criminals.

    It is not easy to pursue your principles when they conflict with your short term reality. But, in the long run, doing so will benefit you much more. I imagine it's similar to slave owners in the south during early 19th century. Many KNEW it was wrong, but the implications of living that belief we so dramatic, so difficult to comprehend and square with the life they knew, that they simply ignored it. They began to suffer a sort of "character sloth" that poisoned every aspect of their lives.

    Everyone who works for the state from the President to the local meter maid should feel the same guilt and angst as you. That money is NOT YOURS. Your job should not exist. Your entire life is predicated on the coercive theft of the state, how do you justify that? You should refuse it, or leave. Then you can join us in shouting down those that say "but I had to!" "compromise is part of life" and all the other justifications we hear all the time.

    When you leave, you'll see others having more success, more ease in life. Living like comfortable slaves. But you will have joined the ethical elite. In the long run, you'll win.

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  10. I'm somewhere between an anarchist and a libertarian at heart (though i despise Aynn Rand lovers and always have - so that means most people who call themselves libertarians)

    I detest the very most people who "vote right but spend left" - that's what i call people who live in swank houses, send their kids to private schools, vote on the right but work in senior public service positions where they think nothing at all of spending other peoples' money

    I work for the public service.

    My view is that working in the service of the public is not only an honorable thing to do it is almost the only honorable thing to do if you lean towards the idea that the hard earned money of real wealth creators (ie everybody who earns their money) should be spent with utmost care and diligence.

    I came into my current role after having run my own companies for many years. What i discovered shocked me. Most of the people here are either avowed lefties or they are in senior positions and vote right. Both will spend your hard earned money without any thought whatsoever about how hard it might have been for you to earn that money or how much angst and trauma you might have suffered to pay your tax "bill". I have spent a good part of my time trying to get people to see themselves for what they are when they happily spend millions of other peoples' money and the rest of my time showing people how they can avoid spending as much money as possible.

    I say you can happily work for anyone - government or private practice.

    You just have to never lose sight of the real value of money - and what a dollar means to someone for whom that dollar is the difference between eating or going hungry.

    Honesty is not about being seen to be honest.

    It is about working the very hardest you can every day of your life to be able to view yourself and the world around you with total honesty.


    pop

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    1. You can't happily work for government if you believe government to be evil and unnecessary. All the libertarians I know are either minarchists or anarcho-capitalists,. neither of which approves of government stealing money from the people and redistributing it through a public sector.

      Government can only exist through use of force. Use of force violates the zero-aggression principle of the libertarian philosophy.

      As far as the value of money, government destroys it on a daily basis. If you are truly concerned about those with little money going hungry, then you should despise the entity which destroys that value. I don't see how you could justify working for this evil entity. Your positions are inconsistent.

      IMHO

      Peace!

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    2. You're the noble, selfless bureaucrat, the rarest animal in the human jungle. lol

      Delete
  11. All that really matters is that those who engage the state, retain a respect, an ancient respect, for those of us who just aren't going to do it, based on some weird wiring that works against self-interest. With such conditions, the fraternity can be maintained.

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  12. “On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson

    Character is doing the right thing even when it costs more than you want to pay. ~Michael Josephson

    There are many government intrusions that we are forced to be a part of, but no matter what excuse/argument you make, eating out of the government trough is not one of them.

    The state exists because we have chosen practicality over principle. The state will cease to exist only when each of us as individuals chooses principle.

    IMHO

    Peace!

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  13. Hmmmm....I keep coming back to Ron Paul not taking his pension and wonder why he chooses to do this in light of Block's position.

    Wasn't there some other some other stuff Ron Paul chose not to indulge in?

    Did he use the GI Bill? I seem to remember something about him not allowing his kids to take gov't guaranteed loans for school.

    I'm sure someone here knows better than me, can you elucidate?

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  14. We need brave souls willing to slay the dragon from the belly of the beast.

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  15. For god sake, Libertarianism is not an individual philosophy that forces us to follow certain individual morals. It is a political philosophy that applies morality to governments to reduce the size of government. It implies that a policy of minimum intervention is most moral for a government.

    The individual's only duty is to follow incentives set before him; if the government makes it profitable to take money from it, why not? Take it. Your duty as an individual is to be rational. Denying money and being irrational is similar to not responding to incentives and is contradictory to the basic laws of economics on which libertarian theory is based.

    Not taking the money because it is not yours is foolish and only self-damaging. If you don't take the money, someone else will, and your abstinence will have no effect on policy.

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    1. So are you saying Ron Paul is being irrational by not taking his pension?

      Delete
    2. Your definition of libertarianism is fallacious. Many libertarians believe government is unnecessary and in direct violation of the first principles. In fact, zero-aggression, property rights, and liberty cannot exist in a statist society.

      It is not my only duty to simply follow incentives before me. If I take money from the state which has been taken by force from others, then I am violating the zero-aggression principle. And, just because others violate this principle doesn't make it okay for me if I know it to be wrong.

      Your argument for practicality over principle is the very reason we live as slaves in a statist society.

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    3. Ron Paul, on a purely fiscal level, is being irrational. However, since he is a politician who is elected by popular vote, and the masses of Americans fallaciously connect individual conduct to government philosophy, taking that money would jeopardize his election chances and to him, getting elected and spreading his philosophy and getting following from libertarians is far more important than taking the little money his pension contains. Therefore, on an individual level, he is being perfectly rational by following his self-interest.

      There's no such thing as the zero aggression principle. If there were such a thing like the zero aggression principle, it would only apply to government, telling the government that it is immoral to use its coercive power to redistribute property, infringe on others's liberties and to not use its coercive power to prevent stealing, murder or the violation of individual liberties by private citizens.

      In a society free of government, Private Defense Agencies (PDA's) would replace government and perform the same functions, but charge consumers for services instead of taxing them.

      Your idea of a zero aggression society where no government and no PDA's exist is impossible. Stealing is within human nature; Frederic Bastiat says that people will always want to steal because they want to obtain the benefits of labor yet not undergo the pain of labor.

      The reason we live in a statist society is because libertarians have not won the intellectual war. Keynesian and socialist ideas have dominated modern ideas due to state sponsorship, and various interest groups (ex: fractional reserve banks) behind them. Meanwhile, us libertarians attack things like human nature and don't organize and never compromise on issues so we can never effect policy change and always sound divided. As Robert Murphy states, the only path to a stateless society is an intellectual revolution, minimization of government and the subsequent privatization of government. Aggressive organization and alliance with other interest groups is the only way we can effect policy change and reduce government in our lives and make libertarian ideas a reality.

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    4. Okay, but did Ron Paul take his check from the government for being in the U.S. House of Representatives every month and working for the state (you could say against the state but truly he is working for the state trying to make it smaller and better as best he can)?

      So Ron worked for the state and got paid. He also did a lot of good things for the movement, way more than DFL and any other libertarian holy rollers on the blogosphere. Greg works for the state and gets paid. He is also a libertarian. DFL is annoying. See the differences here?

      You cannot criticize Greg here for working for the state and make an exception for Ron working for the state. Sure, Ron did amazing things, but what Greg has or hasn't done for the movement isn't being criticizes. What is being criticized is his employment by the state. So DFL must then also criticize Ron Paul for the same reason. I would prefer it if he would just go sleep under a rock though.

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    5. "There's no such thing as the zero aggression principle." So because something may never exist in all human beings, It is invalid. It's a principle that can only exist in individual human action. Government is made up individual human beings.

      I'm well aware that life is imperfect and always will be.
      There is no utopia. And, I'm not claiming that living in a stateless society will bring utopia. I'm stating that zero-aggression, property rights and liberty must all be present in order for us to live our lives the way I believe we were intended to- free!

      I did not get into the mechanisms that might take the place of the state, but that doesn't mean I don't understand that many different answers are possible. Imagine the ideas that would come about with everyone free to voluntarily participate.

      You can't change the world, you can only change yourself. You can certainly set an example for others to follow, but only through your actions.

      As I said, liberty cannot exist without non-aggression, and vice versa. There is no compromising when it comes to the principles of liberty. If you compromise, you will lose the moral high ground as well as the basis upon which the argument for liberty is founded. That is all you really have that will make a difference. There is no intellectual war. What intellectual debate can there be between the rational and the irrational. There is only individual liberty vs. an irrational delusion in the necessity of the state.

      IMHO

      Peace!

      Delete
  16. Greg, keep doing what you're doing. I'm sure you can have a hand in making things better both medically and politically. We need libertarians who can reach out to people in the medical world and speak their language. That's going to require that there be libertarians working in that world, be it principled or not. In the future, you'll be one of the people libertarians turn to for help in deconstructing the socialist arguments for various aspects of government meddling in healthcare. And as the system becomes increasingly unsustainable, medical workers are going to be looking for alternative answers to more socialism and you can be there to give them those answers.

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  17. I could be making upwards of $60,000-$80,000 a year working for a military contractor due to my having gone through the Navy's AEF program. My father always asked me why I didn't do it, and I finally broke down and told him just a month or so before he died (I'm glad I did, he told me how proud he was). At the time, it had far more to do with the war, but it now goes far deeper than that (i.e. it is a principle thing due to my libertarianism).

    Today, I make half that, though I also only work about half the year (when I am working, it is HARD work). This gives me the time to read, play and learn new instruments, debate with you folks, enjoy the company of friends/family, and pretty much do what I want. I'm certainly not wealthy, but I am content. Could I earn more? Sure, but I like my stress-free lifestyle.

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  18. Can't write software; copyright enforced by the state.
    Can't be a doctor; government licensing props up the cartel.
    Can't be a truck driver; roads built by the government.

    Unless you're going to go live in a cave somewhere, the government is giving (and taking, of course) something to you in some form or another. It can't really be avoided.

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    1. The government gives nothing to net tax contributors.

      Block et al are not net tax contributors. They are net tax recipients. To argue otherwise, would be to undo Mises' calculation argument.

      Delete
  19. This place in which I live...It's like a rock on one side and it's very hard on the other. I try to wiggle but to no avail. I wish I could move the rock but to say it's a boulder would be the understatement of the universe. How do I change this rock and a hard place that envelopes my every move?

    Debate about whether the rock is more difficult to move or the hard place is not really that hard seems non productive. Perhaps I should try to wiggle more. If someone would render a pig and slosh some lard my way I might get more mileage from my wiggling.

    I do a lot of rendering unto Cesar. Seems like this rock is Cesar rendering back.

    What comes out: "Judge not that ye be not judged," really means condemn not. I don't and won't. My rock is difficult enough without calling someone else's kettle black.

    That was fun. Bon chance, Greg. Just keep wiggling and someday we'll all get loose. Karma is just that way. And don't ever give in to the long-lower-lippers and too-serious-for-their-own-gooders; keep your sense of funny bone.

    Hey, some say the glass is half empty. Some say the glass is half full. I don't care, I just drink what's in it and call it close enough.

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  20. I can certainly relate. My goal in life since I was 5 yrs old was to work and study fish/marine biologist. Like the author of these comments I too only accepted full libertarianism as truth at the beginning of my Masters at a state school where I got my BA. In looking for any colleges for a Ph.D that are private is nearly impossible I too counted only a few. Cornell would be the top option for reputation and is private, however, none of these institutions in the science field are privately funded all take grants from the government because they are the only institution offering enough money to conduct research for the most part. Myself I have been lucky to be able to fund my research through a foundation and supplies from my University. Most of the time I feel trapped by this as does the author of this "article". While my goal is to open my own aquarium with research lab which will be very difficult and a long way off. In the meantime a Ph.D is necessary to conduct the work I would like to do. I have a few thoughts on this. A) I want the state to collapse so the more money that gets spent the better, it's coming why try to delay it, and in the process we spread the message. B)I do or will feel guilty taking other peoples money when taking any grant C) it is most difficult when the current system has made essentially illegal privately funded science, or jobs in the private sector managing fish resources since all waters are treated as common property instead of privately owned which removes the incentive for property owners to invest in their fishery resources. But I am fearful of giving in too much and becoming a Dr. Sadler of Atlas Shrugged, which there seems to be a bit of in the above article. But it seems impossible to judge or condemn anyone for being born into an illegitimate immoral system. I can only attain my goal of a libertarian institution of learning in the field of fish science by continuing my career path and the resources I gain by working in the system and even then I will likely be assaulted and attempted shutdown of anything I try by the licensing and permitting system and the government monopoly and control of educational institutions. It's a tangled web they weave and we're all trapped in it. Where are all the libertarian foundations and charities for scientific research? If there's any field that needs it then science is it. State monopoly on science is one of the most egregious, science is one of the few realms of truth and sacrificing it to the state is unacceptable. This is how we end up with 95% agreeing that manmade climate change is happening without serious inquiry and the assumption that it'll be a catastrophe instead of the fact that it could be overall a positive thing. Till then I will attempt to build a reputation as a great scientist and when the time is right strike out on my own to create a bastion of libertarian science.

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  21. I still have not got an answer as to what sacrifices I should have made, and when. Some of you missed the point that I already made big sacrifices and came to realize that I was only suffering in silence. Do you not see that I don't have any other options?! Perhaps I danced around that point a bit too much.

    You're kind of kicking your argument in the foot when you miss this point and jump straight to "don't take it, you're not helping the cause, you're not a libertarian..." and don't give me any credit for having sacrificed as much as I already did. (as if the credit really matters...)

    You see, now I know that any sacrifice I make in the future will go appreciated by those with common sense, but will NEVER be enough for the hardcore "you're not a REAL libertarian" crowd. So for the sake of some magical and mystical purity, why even bother trying? That to me is religion wrapped up in rigid and pointless logic. As thinkers and scholars, we are dealing in the currency of ideas, not our eternal souls.

    So, if we're stuck at "don't call yourself a libertarian" I submit the following: You choose a word that's even more libertarian than libertarian, say, anarchist or voluntaryist or zaxlebax, and I will not call myself that thing. I will be happy to continue not calling myself "umm a libertarian because I hold to the non-aggression principle...BUT I have a pretty standard amount of reliance on the state as the average American, soooo....ummm it's kinda....ummm" while you can pat yourself on the back for being the purest zaxlebax the world has seen.

    I will continue taking a check with a children's hospital watermark, thank you.

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    1. My answer to your question is- you sacrifice whatever it takes to stick to the principles you believe in. There is nothing magical or mystical about it. Principles are rigid. A principle can only exists if it is followed one-hundred percent. Your characterization of this position to be "hardcore" is irrelevant. Your choice is quite simple. Your either believe in the zero-aggression principle, and therefore never knowingly violate that principle, or you don't.

      While it's true we are forced to use many of the apparatuses of the state, taking a paycheck from the state is not one of them.

      IMHO

      Peace!

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    2. How is me taking this job violating the non-aggression principle? First of all, this money now "belongs" to the children's hospital after it "belonged" to the NIH, after it belonged to tax payers. Would a libertarian bar tender be violating his principles for taking a tip from ME? Where does it end?

      I have not coerced anyone out of their property, nor will I be telling them how to use their property. The money was there. So which is it...I'm indirectly supporting the state, or violating the non-aggression principle? Both?

      You are assuming that me taking this job must necessarily mean I endorse the state giving out money to scientists. I don't. Nor would I spend my valuable time campaigning for more NIH funds. I'm biting the hand that feeds me, and I look forward to talking some sense into scientists (which I did throughout grad school, and it may have hurt my reputation). This is academia...one more libertarian, principled or not...or one more standard lefty. I'll gladly take that spot.

      But given the opportunity to increase the NIH yearly budget by the $39,200 annual salary purely for my own purposes, I would turn that down on principle. Since that's not the case, I've done nothing wrong.

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    3. And the criteria in your answer, anonymous, would mean ron paul doesn't believe in zero aggression either. He too was employed and paid by the state which violently took money from victims.

      Furthermore- "if....then you would never.... simple is that."

      again with the perfection purity libertarian test. I don't believe in being mean to other people is a good thing to do. I have been mean to other people. That doesn't disqualify me from my belief that being mean to others is wrong.

      Get over yourselves holy libertarian rollers.

      The truth is your best measure of what greg believes are by what he says and writes since beliefs are privately held. The reason for his actions has many variables, including but not limited to, principle.

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    4. Make no mistake about it. When I say I won't "use my valuable time to campaign for more NIH funds" I'm referring to the size of their budget. There will very likely come a time in two/three years where I will be writing grants for independent funding. I will accept this money and know exactly why it should not have existed in the limited and pre-determined pool of NIH funds in the first place. It's an obsession of mine now, and will likely continue.

      My acceptance of this money has absolutely nothing to do with my understanding and promotion of ethics, economics, and libertarianism. If I find myself corrupted in some way by this money, I will only betray libertarian purity as defined by a few demanding different behavior...something I will lose zero sleep over. Especially if it's for something like raising a child, repaying massive student loans, or sustaining my job in a rapidly decaying economy.

      I have every bit of confidence I will come out the other end still wearing my Rothbard shirt proudly and holding strong to pure LOGIC, not pointless martyrdom. We will see, but either way, who freakin cares...seriously. Libertarianism is not a religion. There is no big file cabinet in the sky keeping track of my vague and ill-defined sins against the non-aggression principle. Don't make the same mistake of passion as the statists.

      Ugh, why am I engaging this so much, anyways?

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    5. "Where does it End?" It ends when the state ceases to exist and society exists as an open entity based on voluntary association and the voluntary division of labor.

      It ends when people wake up and realize that the state is not only unnecessary, but evil.

      To be more specific to your situation, it ends when people stop working for the state.

      Your arguments that the money has already been taken by force and is going to be used anyway, is a fallacious one. By that same logic, you would be okay with buying a stolen T.V. from a thief, after all, he is just going to sell it to someone else for cheap, so it might as well be you. Besides, maybe you can use the opportunity to counsel the thief on his bad behavior and change his thieving ways.

      In the end what this is really all about is what we do as individuals. This isn't about the NIH, or the government, or a bartender. This is about what you believe in as an individual. If you believe something to be wrong, something that violates a principle that you believe in and have chosen to live your life by, then there is no compromise. Wrong is wrong, and all the tortured arguments and straw-man rationalizations in the world will not make it right.

      If you're fine with your choices, then my beliefs are of no matter to you, but you wrote the email and posed some important questions and I felt the need to give my opinion.

      I don't believe there can be a middle ground when it comes to principles.

      IMHO

      Peace!

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    6. Still don't think I've violated the non-aggression principle. Not much more to say here.

      Delete
    7. We must not treat Libertarianism like a religious cult. There is no hard rule that we MUST obey or forced to adhere to. There is no hierarchy. No one can claim to be more libertarian than anyone. Libertarianism is about freedom at its core. You should not feel less freedom for following Libertarian principles. No one can accuse you of being less Libertarian for doing something.

      We do not like the current system. But we cannot escape the mandates to pay tax, to subscribe to Social Security, Medicare, etc. and we cannot prevent our money from being diluted. We are forced to pay in fiat dollar when we buy something from the market. So, it is not wrong to gain something from the corrupt system we live in, just to compensate for our loss. Everybody is probably gaining something from the corrupt system even if he/she doesn’t take State money; for example, we enjoy the convenience of paying with fiat dollar than to carry gold coins around; we make a profit from the property or stock market boom; our business was good because more people can buy our product when the Fed prints more money; we walk on State properties; etc. We are all "benefiting" from the State basically by being alive.

      Like a fish living in the lake. When the lake is contaminated, it still has to swallow the dirty water in order to survive. No one has the right to tell you to leave the lake since you don’t like the funny taste of the water.

      We have to live with the system or even enjoy the system so that we have a life no matter how imperfect is it. Of course, we have to do our part to change the system and hopefully we can live to see the change we wish to see.

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  22. I'm a libertarian but make no apology for having a government job. Since the majority of Americans are fools who like their slave status, I'm in agreement with those who try to extract the maximum amount they can from the system. Even when I worked at an engineering consulting firm, most of the work was government related without the time off.

    Luckily, my job does not entail telling others what to do with their property or anything else.

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  23. Unfortunately from reading the comments I don't think the author's writing was convincing to the morons who take the perspective that taking government money = aggression. It's a stupid position, but as long as they aren't out shooting anyone just leave them alone. I suppose this might work for people on the fence, but I don't know who really is.

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    1. Wow, is there anything more compelling than the, "Anyone who doesn't agree with me is a moron" argument. Especially, when it's followed by some incoherent reference to shooting people, and fence-sitters who, apparently, don't really exist. Or, maybe the morons shot them and that's why they're gone.

      Anyway, very powerful arguments. You've put everyone in their place with your numerous salient points.

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  24. yet another davidJuly 8, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    1) The genius of the state is to generally obscure the truth of politics and political ethics from us until our interests are so closely intertwined with those of the state that we are either reluctant to accept the truth or to act upon it if we do. At a minimum, coming to libertarianism as an adult, as I suspect may of us do, involves significant costs of transition, psychological or financial or both, regardless of whether we act or not.

    2) Some state-funded activities are fundamentally predatory (e.g., anti-trust, central banking, IRS, treasury), but not all. In Canada, almost all doctors and procedures are funded directly by a single-payer - the state. Does that mean it is a breach of libertarian ethics to want to become a doctor in Canada? No, not any more than it would be breach to be a pavement engineer or road construction contractor in any jurisdiction in which most roads and highways are publicly-owned (i.e., everywhere). One test might be whether the activity would exist and be privately funded in an anarcho-capitalist world. If an activity could be only be funded through coercion, then presumably it depends for its existence on coercion.

    Therein lies the problem with state-funded science. There are at least a couple of reasons to suspect that much state-funded science depends for its existence on coercion:

    a) If it was valuable according to a market standard, why is it not already being done in a private setting?

    b) The experience of much of mainstream economics over the last 80 years and global warming, to name two examples, is that the state funds science that provides intellectual cover for its activities and their expansion.

    c) The knowledge problem and socialist calculation problem are not simply problems for central bankers and other economic central planners, they are problems for those planning, pursuing or allocating government funding for medical and other scientific research. At a minimum, these problems mean that no one (neither the researchers nor the planners) can know whether the research would be demanded in a free market setting.

    Given a) and b) above, plus path dependence, turf wars, professional egos, personal fiefdoms, etc., one is inclined to think most government-funded research would not meet the market test, i.e., it would not be conducted in the absence of coercively-obtained funding. Furthermore, from the point of view of one’s personal satisfaction, one could never be sure that the work you were conducting, no matter how ably, was actually truly important and productive (in the libertarian free market sense) as opposed to be “important” in a government PR sense.

    I would suggest that it also puts into some perspective your feeling that you have made substantial sacrifices already by avoiding government-funded institutions. If an activity can exist only if coercively funded, is it reasonable to view abstaining from it as a “sacrifice”?

    3) If you haven’t already you might want to read How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World (by Harry Browne – available online in electronic form from his widow, I believe), The Boundaries of Order (by Butler Shaffer), The Rise and Fall of Society (by Frank Chodorov) and Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (by Etienne de la Boetie).

    4) The last point I will leave with is simply this: the state has grown so large because many people have found it in their interests to benefit from it.

    Best of luck.

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    1. Great thoughts, David. To answer your question about the market test, keep in mind that the US's quasi-economic justification for funding basic research is that the publication of research is a public good.

      As a public good, those actually participating in the market for drug production, medical knowledge, etc have an incentive to learn scientific ideas from these publications made available "freely" as they see it. Empirically, private firms will participate in this "basic" research in a much more "basic" form (i.e. not doing research for the sake direct product development) than does the government. Somewhere between the 1960s and the 1980s the Japanese government was very hands off with their science funding. What happened is that in-house university-like institutions were formed by drug companies. This served as a great recruiting tool, and an effective medium of scientific discourse. This is just one angle, there is lots of great literature about the incentives private firms face to do "basic" research.

      Luckily, it was observed very early (1940s) that if a govt funds research, a flourishing internal market of scientific debate must be allowed. Funny how that logic is never applied to everyone else. The big picture goals and institutional framework of science funding may be state directed, but once you experience reviewing, reading, discussing scientific papers, you become (well, I did) impressed by the effective market that is created, despite the false non-market signals given by state funding.

      Anyways, the point is, yes, the structure of science does not exists as it would in a free market. I'm well aware of this and look forward to writing about the mechanics of this structure.

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  25. If Greg leaves his job, then the NIH is going to close that position, right? If Greg leaves his job, the NIH will take that money that Greg would have earned and they will return it to the taxpayer, right?

    Since we all know that the above-mentioned will never happen, I would much rather have Greg taking their money (our money) than someone else. Sure, it's not fair that anyone takes our money, but it is happening. Having Greg go hungry is not a solution.

    Greg, I think that you will quickly tire of your NIH gig, and you will enter the world and work of the entrepreneur. Even in this state-controlled world we live in, there are plenty of opportunities out there for bright minds.

    I am not saying that you *need* to do this or that you *should* do this. I believe, however, that you will, one day, *want* to do this.

    If you do or if you do not, good luck.

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    1. I would not call this an NIH gig. I'm working for a group of scientists directly, indirectly with a hospital/university. I didn't even consider jobs working directly with the NIH in Bethesda MD, mostly because I fear my participation in the libertarian community would be a problem, partly because of my moral dilemma. They cracked down big time on computer and library usage after one of their congressional reports hit WikiLeaks. Who knows how they would approach things if I started representing them in opinion pieces to science journals.

      I don't think I will grow tired quickly because the job is not bureaucratic and my incentives are to produce the data I find interesting. In many ways it's a very cushy gig...you can extrapolate as to why that's not good for science as a whole.

      I will, however, grow tired of the job after a few years. I can see that happening. That's one of the many reasons I want to teach and not stay in research. This post-doc is a NECESSITY to get to that point.

      BTW, I confided in an openly socialist friend, who is a college bio department chairman, that I'd like to make a career out of teaching biology and publishing libertarian perspectives on science. He was very encouraging and said it would be a huge selling point for a faculty position that I bring a unique perspective to a department's publishing credentials. One man's opinion, though

      Thanks for the encouragement and the well reasoned thoughts, antiahithophel

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  26. So am I the only one here who feels that the government has, occasionally, spent money on talented people to further interesting goals that ultimately produce useful results?

    Am I one of the few libertarians who can acknowledge reality, which is that hard-earned money HAS, on some occasions, been well-spent? I fully acknowledge that DARPA, NASA, the NSA and perhaps the NIH have very smart people who have produced good results or otherwise advanced technology.

    Clearly, the vast majority of the federal government is composed of paper-pushers. However, not all. So don't you dare call me a statist for acknowledging the accomplishments of some institutions or groups that happen to get money from the "state".

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    1. I don't think anyone disputes what you are saying, I think the "argument" is that if gov't wasn't involved in the first place, advancements in technology would come more quickly on a larger scale because money wouldn't be taken from productive people/businesses for the attainment of the these gov't goals/projects.

      Even further, it may be that the technological direction under truly free markets would be more along improving the quality of life for humans rather than advancements in how to kill them, keep them from crossing borders, or make sure they are paying their "fair share".

      I was shocked initially when I would read Lew Rockwell bash the space program until I thought about it some more....what's had more positive impact on the human race? Henry Ford's affordable version of the car(and production line) or the Space Shuttle?

      I'd suggest the car....some might try to make the argument for the space shuttle via tertiary advancements...but I don't think that holds up under scrutiny.

      So again, the point is that under a free market the advancements most likely come faster and more importantly in areas that benefit humans more so over that that would be central/gov't planner goals.

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  27. Hi Greg,

    I am in the exact same position. I just defended my thesis a year ago. Since then, I've been a postdoc at a very well known university. I am being paid through the NSF (though, in full disclosure, I was under the impression I would be supported through private funds). I discovered libertarianism only midway through my Ph.D., and, had I learned about it earlier, would not have started down this route. Every day I go to work, I feel pangs of guilt, precisely because of this debate. Both sides have some good arguments.

    Here is my question (open to all): where does non-libertarianism-because-one-benefits-from-the-State end? Greg and I take money from the State and so we "benefit" quite obviously. But (as Block or Rothbard would say), what about the use of public roads? Those who use public roads benefit from the State as well, albeit to a different degree. But, if we are talking about principle, degree doesn't matter. Either you are a libertarian (or anarchist) or not.

    A commenter above criticizes Greg and contrasts Greg with him(her)self by saying, "I have worked very hard to have as anarchistic a career as possible..." Well, that's great, but has this person succeeded 100% (and what about his personal life)? If not, does this not show hypocrisy on his part?

    Note, I don't quite know the solution here, and am sincerely interested in figuring it out, so please no sarcasm.

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    1. I feel your pain in a slightly different way as I'm a business owner forced at times to do business for the machine...

      We are all unwilling pawns...and I'm not sure you're going to get the answer you're looking for.

      I do the best I can in a "broken" world...and direct some of my gains towards libertarian goals. That's the only way I've been able to manage it mentally. If I was making "F U" money I'd reject all work for gov't entities...but if nothing else taking their money...stuffing some into gold/silver(to help collapse things earlier) and using some to fund libertarian groups is a nice irony.

      Delete
    2. Hi, fellow scientist. I'd like to know more about your career if you don't mind sharing. Send me an email: gna4@case.edu

      -Greg

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  28. yet another davidJuly 9, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    My comments above may address some of your questions but I would add the following.

    1) It would be perfectly reasonable to argue that a) I am a libertarian and would prefer to live in a libertarian world, b) however, arranging the world in a libertarian fashion is not my decision alone – it requires the agreement and cooperation of many others, c) most people are statists/collectivists/natural slaves so we are far from any tipping point in the climate of public opinion in favour of a libertarian order, d) consequently, my actions will at the margin have no effect one way or the other, e) the state imposes many costs and burdens on me that I can’t avoid, and f) willingly taking on more burdens or sacrifices that will have no effect on the progress of liberty is pointlessly self-destructive. I may disagree with such a worldview from a strategic or empirical perspective but it is not hypocritical or internally inconsistent. Furthermore, I can certainly understand why someone would feel that way and would never criticize them for it.

    However, one can’t adopt that approach and at the same console oneself that one is “working for liberty”. Advocacy and donations not backed up with individual action don’t count. Ultimately, the state is sustained by people such as you and Greg aligning and intertwining their interests with those of the state. The state is in large part a game of prisoner’s dilemma in which we all feel entitled to seek access to other’s property in order to compensate for past or expected future wrongs against us or because we have no choice given path dependence, i.e., how the state has evolved and taken over, for example, much of the funding of science. Nothing will change until people stop playing the game. There are things that we can’t renounce individually (like public sidewalks and roads where there are no other). However, one is not forced to work for an institution, or to do work, that would not exist but for coercive funding. We may not be able to avoid using some of the state apparatus but that doesn’t give us a license to choose to demand more of the state’s “coercive services”. On the contrary, if you believe in “working for liberty”, then you believe that your actions do count on the margin. One is thus required to minimize one’s demands on the state and consequently on the property of others.

    2) You and Greg sound as if you think you are in too deep, the die is cast, etc., because of past investments in your chosen career path and the fact that you only discovered libertarianism part way through your MA/Ph.d/etc. I recognize it can feel that way when you are young. But in fact you are in a much better position and have much more flexibility, I would suggest, than most libertarians. It sounds like you are both relatively young and have lots (and lots) of time to change direction. Imagine if you were in your 40s with a family and an established career and had just now come to libertarianism. Now THAT’S a barrier to change, not a few years of university. Choose how you want to choose, just don't delude yourself that you are being to "forced" to take a certain direction. You will regret it later.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to respond as you did. It is not lost on me that there are people who are in far worse situations than I. But (assuming you were responding to me) I think you didn't quite answer my question, which, granted, might not have been worded clearly and succinctly.

      Note, in particular, I wasn't justifying anything, nor was I looking for sympathy and acceptance. I was, however, showing empathy because there are many people who feel stuck. I neither was suggesting that I am "in too deep" to change my mind (though I would argue that such decisions do take courage).

      Further, I was not arguing anything on practical or empirical grounds. My question is one of principle: is it unethical to benefit from the State. You point out that Greg and I are not as "stuck" as we may perceive (agreed), but, as I pointed out, our situation is a difference in only a degree to those using public roads. You say: "There are things that we can’t renounce individually (like public sidewalks and roads where there are no other)." But you can forgo these things by owning a completely self-sufficient property. True, it impractical, but one still benefits from the State otherwise.

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  29. I know how value scales work, I'm well aware I'm not forced to take this job. I think I made that clear. The next best option, however, is not worth the sacrifice. If that makes me a pawn of the state, so be it.

    I guess I'm evil.

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  30. Nah Greg,

    Don't let em get to ya. They are just trying to make themselves feel "purely inline with their beliefs," by comparing themselves to you who works for the state. See, they kick u, and then they feel better about themselves. But the truth is, they pay their taxes. No one puts a gun to their head. no one even reminds them, but by every fifteenth of april they have voluntarily sent their check in, like good little tax slaves. then they come on here, and to avoid their own cognitive dissonance, they bash you and brag about how anarchist they are. But they make the same choices. It is inconvenient not to pay taxes, not to use the roads, not to take the job u most enjoy/leads to a better one/ pays the most. These are important life choices. It would be risky not to pay taxes. And it would be highly inconvenient not to use roads. The same with sales tax. But it is possible. If they were as hard core as they think they are they would operate only in the black market, and be self sufficient in every other way. Hell, I bet some of them even went to public or state schools!

    But the kicker, Greg, is the taxes. They should put their their money where their mouths are. Stand up for their beliefs or admit they too are a servant of the state. Maybe an unwilling one, but still voluntarily one. A true patriot would not do so and would willingly go to jail to instigate a tax revolt. Irwin Schiff tried and failed. But he has credibility. The reason he failed, was because all these armchair libertarian commentators wouldn't stand up and be counted with him.

    I pay mine, u pay yours, they pay theirs. We all are in this together. We oppose the state but we are still servants to it. They will hopefully realize this about themselves one day, and then either change themselves like they told u to do or maybe get less preachy on the blogs while in the comfort of the knowledge that they paid the irs this year and their door will not get kicked in any second.

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