Monday, July 9, 2012

How to Deal with Government: Become a Libertarian Bitch

The recent debate that has occurred as a result of the post here at EPJ : An Email from A Scientist Who Is Taking Money from the State  has been fascinating. However, in many ways, I believe that important concepts, which might shed light on how libertarians should act in relation to the government given the current general views held by most in society, did not enter the debate.

I think it is important to recognize that we don't live in a libertarian society and that most people in our society are not now in favor of a libertarian society. This results in a situation where, even if we don't want to, we must interact with government to some degree. As Walter Block points out:
 I have in my time been "guilty" of accepting subsidies from the state. I shop for food in supermarkets, and eat even more of it in restaurants. I therefore indirectly avail myself of agricultural subsidies (I full well realize that farm goods would be cheaper in the fully free society, but, still, given our lack of economic freedom, there may well be a subsidy in it for me from dining.) I have U.S. fiat fractional reserve bank currency in my wallet and use it too, even though as a libertarian I favor free market (e.g., gold or silver) money. I use streets, sidewalks, roads and highways, brought to me courtesy of our least favorite institution.
The question then must become, how much interaction should a libertarian have with government. My answer to that is that a libertarian should be a "libertarian bitch" and take and take and take.

Here is how I justify this position:

I think it should be recognized that governments in general, and certainly the United States government, attempt to take as much money as they can from the economic sphere they control, through taxation, borrowing and money printing.

It should be further recognized that any money the government takes is dispersed according to the value scale set up by those in government who control the money.

Thus, if say, for example, scientist, John Jones, turns down a job in government because he is a libertarian, it is not going to be the case that all taxpayers will then receive a check back from the government with a letter saying, "attached please fine a check for two cents which is you pro-rata share of refunded taxes as a result of the fact that John Jones has turned down a job working for the government."

This will not happen, those who control the purse strings of the captured loot will simply spend the money on the next thing on their value scale (which likely will be another person to fill John Jones' position--or it could be something else like buying more bullets).

If we look at it this way, it may be heroic for Jones the scientist to take the money, so that there is no chance that it is used to buy bullets. I consider this action being that of a "libertarian bitch".

We have all seen the role of the femme fatale played in movies, where the mysterious but deadly woman ensnares a man in a way that brings about his downfall. In the movie, Casino, the character played by Robert DeNiro is brought down by Ginger McKenna (played by Sharon Stone).

Now let us think of another situation, a top mob leader, of the worst kind, not one who provides black market services that are not allowed to be marketed openly because of government regulations, but one who is a real psycho thug. One who shakes down legitimate businesses, steals merchandise and kills for the fun of it. Now, let's assume that there is a woman, who this thug is attracted to. She sees all the stealing he does, all the killing he does. She realizes that there is no chance that he will stop this, that there is no chance she will be able to coax him into returning stolen money and goods. She realizes he will occupy all his waking hours stealing and killing.  

She also knows that some of the money he takes is passed out to "soldiers" who do even more hits and robberies. She may not be able to stop his activities, but she knows that because of his attraction for her, she can get him to spend time with her, which has to cut down on the time he is robbing and killing, and she can ask for things, diamonds, fancy clothes. And she can ask for more and more, which means he has less money to pay out to his "soldiers" to do contract killings etc.

Is this woman heroic? Absolutely. There is no way she could ever get the thug to tell her who he stole money from, there is no way she could demand that he stop his ruthless ways, but by occupying his time and taking and taking, and being a real bitch about it, and demanding even more, she is saving lives and preventing even more thuggery.

The situation is much the same with government. It is a thuggish operation that will never stop taking as much as it can and use much of the money in monstrous ways. We need to look no further than the CIA sponsored torture chambers and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and soon Syria and Iran).

Thus, an employee (or contractor) of the government that takes and takes, without coming up with ways the government can be more aggressive is pretty much playing the role of an unsatisfied, always demanding bitch, that drains the thug.

I would much rather have a government employee building a bridge to nowhere Alaska than see that money end up being used to build more drones. In short, if the money is going to be thugged out of Americans anyway, then the libertarian should do everything possible to see to it that it is spent in ways that do not advance aggression, e.g. war.

The goals is to be a libertarian bitch that is always demanding and demanding and ultimately bringing an overburdened government to its knees. In some respects, this is going on in Greece now.  The Greeks don't want to see any of their government handouts cut, yet they don't want to see any taxes increased. This is a perfect scenario when dealing with an overbearing state. The state starts to malfunction and could ultimately collapse. When the government is so overbearing, and they all really are, the role of the libertarian should be to take and take, so that the funds are not used for aggressive purposes, but do help speed up the fall of the state. In short, become a demanding, never stop taking libertarian bitch.

Now, while being a libertarian, it is okay to take government money, there are some things that a libertarian should never advocate:

1. increasing taxes

2. closing of tax loopholes

3. the Fed increasing the money supply

4. attempting to put government in a good light

5. creating any products or services that will enable the government to become more aggressive against others, in any way, for example, it would violate libertarian code to make government prisons, drones, bullets, tracking software or nuclear bombs.

Any of the above activities would result in aiding the aggressiveness of the state, which, of course, would violate the non-aggression principle.

But to take government money so that it is not used in an aggressive manner, and so that it moves the government towards collapse and confusion is a noble cause. 

Three cheers for libertarian bitches!!!



  1. Fail. Your participation in the plunder is used as a statistic by central planners to seize more of other people's property.

    "Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone." - Frederic Bastiat

    1. And we all know the central planners would just stop planning or seizing if only you wouldn't be part of those statistics, right?

      Oh wait.. we don't know anything like that because it's a stupid point that is entirely false. Please try again.


  2. You write: "Now, while being a libertarian, it is okay to take government money"

    Fail. It's not "government money" - it's your neighbor's money.

  3. Why should I restrict my choice of vocation simply because the Government has bullied itself into a monopolistic position in the industry I happen to have a real passion for? Why should my choice of how I want to, not only make a living, but spend a great part of my life doing, be constrained at all for any reason, especially because the Government has chosen to infiltrate an industry corresponding to my natural likes and talents? I'm not asking to be an assassin or a rapist. If I want to be a scientist, grocery bagger, taxi driver, doctor, lemonade salesman, I can't prevent myself from doing so merely because the Government has gotten its dirty hands on the field. If we thought the way some "libertarians" thought we'd never be able to leave the house...hell, we'd have to live on a boat far from civilization. Until we have more limited government sadly, many of us can't help but to act within the system that's been erected around us, or else live a miserable existence. Unless you like thinking about yourself as being some kind of martyr.

    1. I assure you, I leave the house. And I minimize my involvement with the state. And I live very well doing so.

      You're not entitled to any particular position or career. I could be a famous military general, but if it involves killing innocent people, I could never bring myself to do it.

      If you have values, libertarian values, there are some things which are off the table for you. And that includes living at the expense of others.

      This isn't a problem if you aren't a libertarian, and I don't care much if that is your choice given how many people in the world are already making bad choices.

      But for the sake of the few of us fighting and making sacrifices to set a good example and live what we preach, please don't identify as a libertarian if you believe it is ok to accept stolen goods.

    2. Dixie, under your banner of libertarianism there seems to be nobody but yourself. What do you do for a living by the way?

    3. In DFL dreamland, DFL doesn't pay taxes, taxes pay him! NOT.

      Furthermore, if DFL still pays taxes, DFL has not made much of a sacrifice.

    4. Dan, how so? There are plenty of libertarians who are functioning with minimal state participation or interference.

      I develop small businesses.

      @MM, I pay taxes. I have to or I will be put into a rape cage and have the remainder of my property confiscated. I don't like it one bit, but that's how aggression works. Aggression means it's no longer a voluntary transaction.

      I'm not sure the line of reasoning that because I am a net tax contributor (by a lot) that I am somehow less credible as a libertarian. If anything, I am a poor man's Hank Rearden in this scenario.

      Do you guys have anything to say about libertarian principles, or are the responses restricted to ad hominem?

    5. the rape cage excuse is no more valid than the food on the table excuse. There is a difference though. Most tax evaders go unnoticed, it is hard to not notice hunger.

      If you truly are superior to our friend Greg in libertarian values, I fail to see how so. If you truly believe in liberty or death, you wouldn't pay.

  4. The thing which increases state aggressiveness is doing business with, and giving sanction to, the state.

    I cannot understand this rationale that it is bad for the state to steal from me, but good for you to profit from it.

    The state goes away when we organize our lives away from it. As long as people like you and Walter Block advocate using the state, the state will print more money, and steal more in taxes from me. Your supposed cure creates a lot of harm which should be morally repugnant to a libertarian, if we're talking about people who support non-aggression.

    I know Walter is a luminary, but he's brutally bad on this point, and politics in general. His economic work is very sound, but like Friedman focusing on money, Block spends too much time on politics and hokey social theories like "libertarian bitchery".

    You're obviously a bright man Bob. You must do better because you have a tremendous platform here. The ideas you promote have a real chance of catching on with 100s and 1000s of people. If you promote that it is ok for libertarians to accept goods stolen through intimidation and violence, you've completely abandoned principle for Blockian pragmatism, and it's a very short and slippery slope to statism from there.

    In fact, I would argue, if you truly believe what you posted above, you can't justify the "things libertarians should never advocate" except as something ad hoc.

    And that's pretty weak argumentation.

    1. Conflating "doing business with" as "giving sanction to" is the reason you cannot understand the rationale. You specifically exclude anything that would enable you to understand the rationale.

    2. Agree. It's such a tempting theory though, that's what makes it so dangerous. Soon we have a huge percentage of libertarians DEPENDENT on the state. Are they going to fight hard to reduce it's growth? Are they going to be as passionate about the injustice of the state, when their lives, careers, friends, are all interwoven with that institution? Of course not. They'll be "fair weather libertarians" - believing in free markets on the weekends and vacations - can someone say "cato"? "Reason magazine?"

    3. @Matthew, are you saying that choosing to do business with criminals is not giving sanction to them?

      It's hard to make decent libertarian arguments when you're living off the loot stolen from honest people by the state.

      Maybe you feel otherwise. Maybe you think there is no difference between being a net tax producer or consumer, as Bob seems to argue above.

      This a dangerous argument, because he is saying that what we do doesn't matter as much as the rationale for doing so. By taking this stance, one rejects libertarian principle, and abandons any ideological consistency. Anyone can do anything atrocious and say, "I am doing it for the libertarian good."

      I'd advise you and Bob to watch the Lou Church Memorial Lecture from LvMI a few years ago on Youtube. The one with Daniel Lapin. Why we do something matters much less than what we do. Actions have consequences.

  5. Au contraire, the Mob Boss in your example would need to pillage even more in order to feed his gluttonous bitch.

    1. I agree. Taking more from the State will stimulate it to steal more from the people. I don't think it is wrong to take the State money, but taking more is simply greedy for self interest. Claiming to be a "Libertarian Bitch" is just trying to fool others that prostitution is a noble job.

      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.

  6. Bastiat: The Law, comes to mind

    Thomas A. Trosko
    Libertarian High School Teachers on Facebook

  7. Very pragmatic. I feel that I was born into this system and have to work with what is around me. Would I refuse to work as a state engineer if I didn't have a better, or comparable (or even any other private consulting job opportunity)? And then, can I still try and exert as much influence as I can around those around me while at the same time attempting to adhere to libertarian principles (without being too much of a libertarian nag)? Of course.

    1. If you're not a principled libertarian, what is the difference between you and a statist? I mean, sure you can call yourself a libertarian, and I can call myself the Emperor of the Galaxy, but that doesn't mean very much, does it?

      You want to violate libertarian principles, so you can adhere to libertarian principles, and then think that people will be influenced by your standard of consistency and reason?

      It's not about being a nag. I don't care what you do in your life, just don't participate in aggression. That's it. Libertarianism is very simple. You can be gay, young, old, white, black, male, female, lazy, tall whatever. You cannot support aggression, and by taking money from the state, you're giving sanction to the theft they perpetuate against people like me.

      Being a libertarian in today's age is hard. But that's the burden we bear in order to do the right thing.

    2. Can you explain how you jump from "taking money from the state" to "giving sanction to the theft they perpetuate"?

      Secondly, how do you know the money you receive from the government is not your own? I see people make this claim over and over ("it's not your money! it's your neighbors!"), but it seems to me there's really nothing to it except for a probability lower than 1, which is not absolute certainty.

      Also, have you checked to see if the property you own was stolen from Native Americans by the government a few hundred years ago? If you haven't, and it's in fact true, you've "stolen" by your definition of aggression.

    3. Do you accept money that was accepted by a person who got it from the government? Aren't you committing aggression if you don't return it to its previous owner?

      And what is the difference between using a road created from government money and directly accepting government money? Do both constitute aggression in your mind or only one? And why?

      I'm looking for absolute consistency in your beliefs. This is a very important issue, and if I am actually aggressing against someone else by interacting at all with the State, I'd like to know.

    4. The difference is everyone HAS to use government roads. You don't HAVE to work in the public sector. No inconsistency.

    5. Absolute consistency is extremely difficult, as you have pointed out. I have thought of this already, and have resolved to do what I can. It is far better to try as best as I can to respect other people's property to the fullest extent that I can, as opposed to being reduced to utter inaction for fear of not being utterly consistent in my libertarianism. In the current system we all find ourselves, can't we try and effect change in the way that we can, and to deny the state when we can?

    6. Bharat, I am a net tax producer. I get virtually nothing back from the system, not even the roads as I don't own a car. And I do pay dearly.

      You guys are creating a false dilemma here. I'm not being an absolutist. I am saying, if you deliberately choose to take stolen property, you're not being libertarian.

      That's predicated on the notion of being a libertarian actually being concrete. My definition is trying to align ourselves to the non-aggression principle. Others may differ.

      If what you do is what crony capitalist and welfare people do, then what is special about taking that state money? Bob argues, there is some ideological difference that translates what you do into something noble, but what the Kochs do is something insidious.

      It's irrational at best.

    7. I don't deliberately choose to take state-stolen property. I avoid it whenever possible. I am in the business of making things for people, a vocation I chose because I want to make people's lives better with as much net benefit to them as possible. I am also in a heavily subsidized field. Am I going to starve because my civic religion, my fundamentalist libertarian principles disallow me from designing a public school? I own property, and my property taxes fund the public school system. I have no choice in this. Of course, on principle, I would rather design a privately funded structure. So can I still work towards reducing the public sphere as much as I possibly can in my own way? Look, if you are completely off the grid, grow your own food, pump your own water, produce your own power, use your own security force, use your own fire brigade, do your own medical procedures, etc. than my hat goes off to you. I wish I could do that. But I can't right now. Like many people. It is irrational to expect others that consider themselves libertarians to be able to live as I am assuming you do. It drives an unnecessary wedge between people. Should people be aware, though, of what it truly means to live as a libertarian? Of course.

    8. @Anonymous July 9, 2012 4:49 PM
      "The difference is everyone HAS to use government roads. You don't HAVE to work in the public sector. No inconsistency."

      This is false. You do not have to use government roads. You make a choice to use government roads. This is a difference of degree, not of kind. You could go and live in a forest. It's not impossible.


      "Bharat, I am a net tax producer. I get virtually nothing back from the system, not even the roads as I don't own a car. And I do pay dearly."

      A net tax producer? So you do get something from the government? You're still stealing according to your definition, aren't you?

      "You guys are creating a false dilemma here. I'm not being an absolutist. I am saying, if you deliberately choose to take stolen property, you're not being libertarian."

      Aren't both deliberate theft and accidental theft still theft?

      I understand the dilemma in trying to not appear as welfare recipients or the Koch brothers, and I actually agree with you on a personal level. I don't think I want to do what Wenzel is suggesting, because it instinctively feels bad after learning about libertarianism. But a bad feeling doesn't make it necessarily unlibertarian, nor does it mean you are actually aggressing against anyone else.

    9. Trying to impose one's morality on others is aggression. Libertarianism means everyone is free to do what he/she likes, including taking State money, as long as he/she does not rob others or infringing on their rights. Go on! Take the State money but vote for Ron Paul.

  8. AMEN!

    NAP at work.

  9. Libertarians are, in fact, the ONLY people who have a moral right to accept money and services from the state.

    All others support state theft (taxes) and are merely trying to claim a share of the loot.

    1. "It's only ok if we do it." Right bestquest? Thus say every group of evildoers in history. The means do not justify the ends. If it's not ok for someone else it isn't ok for us. How do you define a libertarian in your ethical world anyway, if not one who refuses to legitimize the state, and refuses it's dirty money?

    2. It is perfectly OK to steal from thieves (e.g. people who favor taxes). This is not controversial, even amongst politicians and other thieves

      Theft is only morally reprehensible when it involves stealing from honest non-thieves (e.g. libertarians)

  10. Let’s consider a specific example of a libertarian bitch accepting social security payments. Should a libertarian accept the social security payment from the government, knowing full well it is not a return of previous “contributions” but instead the booty of government thugs stealing (taxing) younger citizens who are still working? Sure! Be a libertarian bitch as described. Deprive the state of funds that will be elsewhere used. Accelerate the collapse of the state by taking your share of the loot.

    Now, once you have the cash, what to do with it? In this specific case the libertarian bitch is in possession of cash. Not diamonds or a job to build the bridge to nowhere, but cash. Sending back a tiny fraction of a cent to each person from whom the booty was taken is not feasible. Most likely the cash came from the expansion of the money supply anyway, so it was really theft from all of us. So, what to do with the cash? Spend it? On what?

    I suggest when the libertarian bitch has successfully received cash from the state, the only moral thing to do is convert it from a bank deposit to paper currency, and burn it. In this way the libertarian bitch takes positive action to fight the state, and at the same time restores purchasing power to all those who have suffered the theft of taxation. By burning the cash the libertarian bitch also avoids personal gain from the initial aggression, which is the only way to be a moral libertarian bitch.

    This is my plan, but I would prefer one minor change to the label. I would like the masculine title of a moral libertarian bastard.

    1. Buy gold with it. Burning money is pointless, they will simply create new money.When the whole system collapses, your gold will once again flow into the economy and provide a benefit to the economy as real money enters the economy.

  11. Thank you for this write up. The logic seems sound. It clarifies some things for me.

  12. Great post, Bob! I agree with all of it.

    When I was a young kid, my father taught me a rather good life lesson about stolen goods. We were at the market, and he told me that it was actually okay to buy stolen things (as long as they weren't being stolen FOR you). In other words, when some thief is selling a stolen watch, it's okay to buy it. After all, if you don't pick it up, someone else will. The watch is already there. It will be sold one way or another. But; he quickly added, that it was morally wrong to ask somebody to steal a watch for yourself.
    I think this story relates to this issue. If government is offering a job, just take it. Because turning it down doesn't eliminate the position - somebody else (possibly a socialist) will be hired. At least the money is paid out to one of our own (who could do some good with it - donate it to Mises Institutes all over the globe or smth).

    1. Or you could make sure that the watch isn't stolen, because you don't want to reward that behavior. Sorry the "someone else will do it" argument is a cop out. Ever hear of marginal utility/price theory? It is a fundamental tenet of Austrian economics. Your individual actions make a difference in the market. Just because your dad told you something, doesn't mean he's right.

  13. This is my feelings on the matter entirely when I am faced with the question. The best way to compel the state to the natural consequences of it's action and structure (collapse) is to simply follow the rules. The best way to destroy any 'system' is to simply follow it's rules. Doing so also demonstrates far better the cause and effect of statist policy much more than any violent uprising or revolution, which would simply allow for power to change hands. This is the simplest, non aggressive, and ethical way for such to happen.

    You can advise your children to beware of certain habits or actions but unless they choose on their own to do so, even if it means to discover the consequences of such, at least they have truly learned. In history there have been few times where the public has ever had the chance to fully learn from the failure of government before it was simply replaced and refinanced.

    The best thing an American citizen, or any citizen of any country, could do for his neighbor is discuss and rationalize what is going on. Prepare and warn one another and help spread the intellectual revolution so that when things get to their worst people might have the seeds of courage planted in them to see the true causes and nature of their troubles and simply opt out of a re occurrence.

    1. I agree with what you've stated here completely. Being self-righteous like some ancaps are being here is totally unhelpful. There isn't one person who will be "converted" by "consistency." Yes, they'll whine about it when they think we are being hypocrites, but I haven't seen one person who does this that I thought was seriously on the fence. Perhaps there are some people out there but I haven't met one yet.

    2. Because what's important is what people think, not doing what's right. Just saying...

    3. @Matthew, there are thousands of us doing what certain Rothbardian ancaps are proposing.

      Those of you with your snouts in the trough of the state would do well to lift up your chins for air now and again.

  14. As usual, Block nails it in this "micro" view of strategy--or rather tactics, since this doesn't really rise to the level of a strategy unless done in an organized way by millions. Rothbard wrote about the large strategic picture, see and the last chapter of The Ethics of Liberty.

  15. This is the problem I have with those who oppose libertarians taking money from the State. How do you know the money you receive from, say a food stamp, wasn't originally your money but someone else's? Other than probability, of course, because probability isn't absolute certainty. You very well could be reclaiming your own stolen money.

    1. We're not talking about foodstamps. Btw, how would you collect foodstamps if you were a net tax contributor? It's not even an example rooted in reality.

      We're talking about Greg taking a state funded job because that's all there is in his career area. Basically, if you choose a job that is a state job, then it is ok if you take state money, because everyone should be able to do what they want, morals and principles notwithstanding.

    2. If you paid taxes in the past but were unemployed at the time of taking food stamps. It's certainly a possibility to discuss in a search for consistency.

      I agree, this argument does not apply to someone who works directly for the government.

  16. I agree, with one minor exception. The more one depends on the government, the more the government can influence and manipulate them. While there is nothing wrong with stealing from the thief. If you are dependent on a thief, it is almost undeniable that you will be constantly bombarded with social pressures and influence to be just like them.

    People are finite. In order to get anywhere in this world, we need to be able to trust others to cover our backs, and to be vigilant when we let our guard down. That's not going to happen in the government dependence world. So while I really agree that we should steal from the thief, depending on them when we don't need to is very unwise I believe.

  17. I disagree with point 2. I see no reason that libertarians should not wish for the closing of tax loopholes, provided the loopholes alter market behavior. In the case of loopholes for food, or a first house, then certainly, keep the loopholes. There will be minimal change by closing those loopholes, except that the users of the loophole would be worse off by closing it.

    On the other hand, loopholes meant to specifically alter economic activity *should* be closed. Corporations should *not* gain competitive advantages from lobbying. All else equal, a simpler law is better than a more complex one, and a non-existent one better than a simple one. Thus, I see loopholes as a problem more often than not.

  18. " is not going to be the case that all taxpayers will then receive a check back from the government with a letter saying, "attached please fine a check for two cents which is you pro-rata share of refunded taxes as a result of the fact that John Jones has turned down a job working for the government."

    This will not happen.."


    It certainly COULD happen if enough people said NO. There is no dialectical materialism inevitability. The future is up to us to determine. Each individual's action affects the outcome.

    Almost every person could justify taking stolen money because "it's better if I take it than the next guy... blah... blah... blah..." I'll take a thug's money, and work for him, because BETTER ME THAN SOMEONE ELSE, because I'm "good." BS. Why not buy stolen merchandise then? Someone's going to do it! The theifs aren't going to stop, are they? We have no personal, individual responsibility in what we do, right?

    Thus does evil perpetuate itself, when everyone says: repeat it with me: "Someone's going to do it, better it be me!!"


  19. I tell libtards that I will give up my government job when they start paying more taxes and use more of their free time to help with the 'greater good' and 'social justice'.

    1. Your comment fails from the moment you descend to the useless insult: "libtard."

      One, using "retard" to mean stupid or foolish shows ignorance, not wit. It is disrespectful, like any slur. Simply by virtue of being a human being, you can and should do better than that.

      Two, your statement itself shows a very weak understanding of libertarianism by suggesting that libertarians should/would start paying more taxes, when "Taxation is theft" is a strongly libertarian idea. Why would people agree to more of what they consider theft for any reason, much less to induce you to resign your government job? That "reasoning" sounds rather egotistical. Your comment suggests that you do not know libertarianism at all.

      Third, your comment implies an identification of government with the "greater good" and "social justice." You are suggesting that you refuse to give up your government job because that job serves the ends of the greater good and social justice. Do all government jobs and actions translate to the greater good and social justice? How did the deaths of thousands upon thousands of Iraqis from the first Gulf War to the present reflect the greater good? How did the destruction of homes, families and communities attain social justice? The welfare state in America has been a disaster for the poor. The regulatory state has stifled economic freedom. The growing police state tramples our liberties. These injustices and evils are all brought to you by the U.S. government. In at least these respects, so much for government as the agent of the greater good and social justice!

      There is no need to answer these next few questions here, but just ask yourself privately: How do I define the greater good and social justice? Considering what I do in my government job, can I honestly say that my work contributes to or furthers the greater good and social justice?

      Lastly, I encourage you to read scholarship of liberty. Robert Wenzel's 30 day reading list would be a great start. I just started it by reading Hazlitt's "The Task Facing Libertarians." It is a fine article, and I look forward to reading the next one.

    2. @Matthew: I may be wrong, but I think the original comment was directing the term "libtard" at modern day liberals, not libertarians.

    3. Matthew: @Drigan If so, my mistake and I will gladly have a slice of humble pie. I saw "libtard" and from the context believed it to be a relative of "Paultard."

  20. I agree with "The Freedom School." It isn't like the mob boss can't hire a few more thugs to abuse a few more productive people. The "libertarian bitch" isn't receiving back her own production, rather she's receiving the stolen production of others and become part of their oppressors.

    Jim in Kenai

  21. I'm glad to see most people commenting here agree with Wenzel on this.

    1. Does it make you feel less guilty? "Cause everyone said it was ok..."

    2. I don't work in the public sector, so I don't have anything to feel guilty about even by the standard people like you suppose libertarians should abide by. I just agree with Wenzel here and I'm glad most people commenting here seem to agree, as well.

  22. I believe it is ethical to interact with, or even work for, the state, provided one is not directly participating in its aggressive activities. After all, the ethical cannot be impossible.

    I also believe it is ethical to take money from the state with the intention of undermining it or curtailing its aggressive activities.

    However, I do not believe this is an advisable tactic for achieving libertarian goals. It makes one vulnerable to accusations of hypocrisy. If the arguments in favor of this tactic are debated even within the libertarian community, how convincing will they be to non-libertarians? Any attempt to implement this tactic would probably do more harm than good to the libertarian cause.

    I believe it is ethical for Dr. Block to work for a state-subsidized institution, not because of the relatively trivial amount of money he takes from the state’s coffers, but because of the tremendous amount of positive good that it enables him to do.

    1. Don't kid yourself about how much money Block has made from the educational industrial complex. It may be trivial to you, but it could be the difference between a business being able to operate, or let 5 or 6 employees go.

  23. Bob, what about Deficit Spending?

    IMHO libertarian should never advocate deficit spending.

  24. Anarcho capitalist philosopher Ice Cube agrees: "Life ain't nothin but bitches and money."

    And THAT is arguing from authority...


  25. Too long, I skimmed. Anyway "In short, become a demanding, never stop taking libertarian bitch." sounds to me like Francisco d'Anconia's attitude in Ayn Rand's (gasp!) "Atlas Shrugged".

  26. So I'm getting the vibe that being a libertarian means you need to despise government and have an all-or-nothing approach. I feel like there are many schools of libertarian thought, and they are colliding here.

    I feel like 2, 4, and 5 are such stringent requirements.

    If Congress went on TV and said they were going to close every tax loophole, give us a flat tax and lay off a boat load of IRS employees that are no longer needed, are you telling me I wouldn't be libertarian to revel in this development? To be libertarian, I'd have to say- "No, taxes must be zero!" Why does everything have to be so all-or-nothing?

    As for putting government in good light, do you mean *our* government, or the concept of government? That's where I became alarmed. Sorry, but libertarian != anarchism. I can put Plato's definition of government in the Republic in good light, because he correctly points out that government's true role is to protect you and your property. Of course, I wouldn't advocate OUR government today, because its crimes against us and the world are many.

    Finally, I'm not a pacifist. But, I'm not a warmonger, like most of this country and its government. I believe "defense" is important. I think those countries that might be strongholds of free-market capitalism and libertarianism (like Singapore, Estonia?) are in danger. Truly, they should try and protect themselves. I'm more of a constitutionalist as well- I respect that the country is supposed to defend itself. This is, of course, not what happens today. The US is imperial, interventionist, and aggressive. But your #5, although it does point out "aggression" is bad, makes it sound like pacifism is a necessity for libertarians.

    Overall, I agree with Wenzel, but not with many of the folks responding here. I feel like one of the above posters put it most clearly- it is far more important for "libertarians" to spread their views to all strata of people. This is because when the bad system collapses, we want everyone to know enough to reject the false truths that will appear.

    If you want to live irrationally, and bring about the end quicker, so be it. The truth is, if you aren't saying a word about libertarianism to your friends, family, and co-workers, you are a bigger problem. This because when the opportunity arises for freedom and a manifestation of libertarianism, if people are deceived again it will all have been for nothing.

  27. The Austrian school of economics, which I presume we all support, is virtually FOUNDED on the idea that each individual matters. Our marginal impact on the economy affects demand and prices, and by implication the structure of production.

    The exact same principle applies to the state. If the money is stolen, you should not take it, and not work for the state. YOU MATTER. Your decision should be based on your own ethical principles not the idea that "someone else will do it anyway." NO. Buying stolen stuff is bad, because on the margin, you are removing your demand for that product.

    If libertarians give themselves a free pass to take illicit money, they will, most likely, weaken their own nerve in fighting the state. Everyone will become "weekend liberty lovers" - bitching about the government on vacation and weekends, but dependent upon it for your livelihood.

    In addition, any talent you have is going to legitimize and promote the state. Your contributions to whatever agency xyz will make the government more effective etc. People of talent should leave the government so it is completely incapable of executing it's devious plans.

    The analysis offered by Walter Block, and Robert is incorrect, because the proper answer to a thief is to 1. reject what he's stolen. 2. Tell others of the misdeed 3. Try to gain support to remedy the misdeed. Accepting money makes you unable to do these things - and destroys any ability you have to fight for liberty.

    No deals with the devil. It's not ok.

    1. In general I *think* I agree with you . . . but I'm not certain your idea is best. When dealing with a thief who is giving you items with no strings attached, the best tactic might be to take the item back to the original owner.

      The difference between the two positions appears to be an "ends justifies the means" thing. Wenzel says yes, you say no.

      According to Catholic moral teaching, there's something called "The principle of double effect." It boils down to "If something evil *must* be done to achieve a greater good, and you do your best to minimize the evil and maximize the good, that something is permissible." Example: shooting down an enemy bomber even if an it is known that a non-combatant is held captive aboard the bomber.

      The principle of double effect *may* be sufficient to cover your objection in this case.

  28. Bravo, Wenzel!

    I know that you hate anarcho-capitalist nonsense and have nothing but contempt for lemming libertarians (a flock of whom settle on this branch regularly).

    What a clever way to satirize their positions so powerfully that no sensible person would after this ever consider anarcho-capitalism anything but

    1. Moral and intellectual idiocy
    2. A front for financial fascism

    As somoene who also thinks anarcho-libertarians are by and large intellectually incoherent and mostly just stealth socialists, you and the Blockster have done a fantastic job.

    Bravo, I say!

    1. I'm pretty sure Block is an anarchist, and I was under the impression Wenzel was as well, but I don't think I've ever seen him declare it.

    2. Oh, I apologize, obviously I misunderstood your comment.

    3. Lila, I don't remember when you got so full of vitriol, but there are a lot of us ancaps who shower regularly and are pretty decent people guided simply by the desire not to hurt others.

  29. Read . By buying services from the state when the state does not directly force you to buy them or by asking the state for money when the state itself did not offer you that money in the first place, you are helping the state keep up its air of legitimacy. If you treat the state as a legitimate supplier of services (like protection, grants,...), you help legitimize its existence. As explained in that link, the only difference between the state and a gang of thugs is that the state has managed to convince a large part of its victims that they are being robbed for their own good. Expose the state for what it really is!

  30. I have read & re-read Block's piece a number of times. I enjoyed your take on it and will revisit this post.

    It is wise to be thoughtful and careful with the choices you make, as your life is the culmination of them. Be wary of entitlement life-styling as nothing compels you to develop autonomy in the long run. I suspect there's a fine line between being a killer libertarian bitch and a social parasite. You could easily find yourself ass-bitten in the end.

  31. My two cents...

    Wenzel's argument may be persuasive, the logic tight. As Block points out, there may not be much I can do to avoid benefiting from government subsidies in food, roads, currency, and all the other places they find themselves.

    But for me, I will refuse to take a government check and avoid the dependency and control that comes with that check. My personal thinking is that government money makes an individual and business weaker.

    I think I am better off creating the free market institutions that will one day replace the collapsing government institutions.

  32. Recently, I was torn on utilizing government money to have my property surveyed to qualify for a Forest Management Plan (aka a way to lower your property tax bill). The more I thought about it, the more I realized its my money to begin with, and if they are dumb enough to dole it out to me, then so be it. I am not dependent on the Government for the service, but if I could use the survey to pay LESS in taxes in the future, than its a win-win in my book. I am proud to be a Libertarian Bitch!

  33. In DFL utopian dreamland, medical degrees and bar exams are against the libertarian code.

    1. Libertarianism isn't Utopian. It's simply a social system predicated on not using violence against innocent people.

      Medicine and law have become monopoly state industries. I don't know why a libertarian would like to participate with the state in a monopoly racket.

    2. I feel like you're missing an important point that people are driving at. We need doctor's and lawyers and teachers and any number of other professions that have been monopolized by the state. Just because the state took over these social functions doesn't mean they aren't vital social functions.

      If you do work for the state however, you need to make sure that you consistently oppose it's expansion and expenditures, as well as proposing and supporting changes towards privatization.

  34. Robert, I think your argument is somewhat compatible with Gary Norths's "Gum it up!"

  35. Austrian economics teaches marginal utility. Each person counts. The market does not exist independently of each individual action. In the same way, the state exists because individuals do not resist it. To say "someone else would do it" is removing your OWN agency in the world. You are responsible for your own actions - they should should stand on firm moral grounding independently of what other "would do."

    It is not ok to buy merchandise that is stolen, because you are raising the marginal demand, and therefore contributing to the evil in the act of theft. In the same way, working for the government, is contributing to the aggression of the government against the citizens.

    When aggression occurs in the world, we should 1. identify it. 2. tell others about it. 3. try to remedy it. You are unable to do these this if you are working for the government. Government libertarians are by definition "weekend libertarians" - bitching about the government in their free time, but dependent upon it in their day to day life. Working for the government would dull the fighting nerve of any true libertarian.

    This is a very dangerous, and WRONG analysis. It is not okay to take STOLEN money. There is no justification. There is no deal with the devil. Free yourselves.

  36. Oh what a tangled web….

    The purists come out in force; but how pure are they, really?

    Do you use Federal Reserve Notes? It is possible to live life without doing so, barter is still legal. Do not complain of the difficulty, after all you are a purist. Being pure isn’t easy.

    Do you use the services of a bank? Virtually every bank would go belly up if not for direct support from the federal government. You are benefiting from this subsidy – and you don’t have to use the services of a bank to survive.

    Do you pay taxes in any form? I admit some might be difficult to avoid (sales taxes, perhaps); however it is not too difficult to structure your life such that your earnings are below the limit for income tax purposes. Earning more than this could be considered voluntarily contributing to the funding of aggression. Don’t equate the state to a thief in this instance – the thief is a random event, whereas with income taxes it is a certainty that you will pay the state if you earn over X.

    Walk on the sidewalk? Drive on a street? Is it really necessary to leave the house these days? With the internet and UPS, everything can be delivered to you. Too hard? Come on, you are a purist. Who said purity was easy?

    I haven’t run the numbers and don’t care to, however I will guess many people who take a social security check pay more in taxes (in all forms) than they receive in social security – in the current year, not as an accumulation of prior years. So just because someone takes social security doesn’t necessarily mean he is taking someone else’s money- it could very well be his own.

    For many who abhor the initiation of aggression, and view all state actions as this, it is a struggle at times to determine where to draw the line. There are certainly some black and white issues, but most issues that get the purists spun up are gray – and gray is where we live. I find it hard to get spun up about gray.


      I didn't have time OR I just wasn't able to communicate it. This is point as well.

    2. Mosquito, there is a reason the purists didn't respond to your post. I am sure you know what it is.

  37. @bionic mosquito

    No one is arguing about using stuff in the course of living or holding jobs etc.
    That's kosher, although of course, it's better to make your living without it, if possible.

    We're discussing whether it's OK to milk...or bilk..the state for AS MUCH AS YOU CAN...

    It's legitimate only if you take out what you put in, less services you used.
    Otherwise, you're certainly a looter...and a good deal worse. Because state actors believe their legitimacy.
    You don't. You're more culpable.

    1. @Lila Rajiva

      The government is milking taxpayers, no one else. If we assume that the government milks as much as they can, as Wenzel does, then it becomes a case of where the money is spent.

      Should libertarian bitches take it to spend as they please or should libertarian bitches refrain from taking the money and allowing it to be spent on drones, land mines and nuclear bombs?

    2. Lila

      “No one is arguing about using stuff in the course of living or holding jobs etc.”

      Many on this thread are arguing exactly this. Read from the top.

      “That's kosher, although of course, it's better to make your living without it, if possible.”

      Many on this thread disagree with you.

      “We're discussing whether it's OK to milk...or bilk..the state for AS MUCH AS YOU CAN...”

      Some people are on this topic, others aren’t.

      I have never been comfortable with this argument. The practical outcome is no different than those who use and abuse the state for transfer purposes. In both cases, the state sees increased demand for services, thereby ensuring increased appropriations the following year.

      A libertarian approach that seems more consistent to me is to stick to the position of advocating lower taxes and structuring your life to pay less in taxes. This will have the effect of reducing resources to the state, as well as increasing the deficit which will only hasten the end.

      “Otherwise, you're certainly a looter...and a good deal worse. Because state actors believe their legitimacy.

      “You don't. You're more culpable.”

      I don’t believe in their legitimacy or mine? And this makes me more culpable for what, exactly?

  38. Barter is not legally enforceable. Legal tender laws. Yes, to bank you must use... banks. No other option. No option again with taxes. A thief takes my money by force. The state is a thief. Walk on a sidewalk - no option - all roads owned by the state.

    Yes, in soviet russia - eat from the government breadline. Much different to survive and to plan and scheme for the future via a government job. There are many jobs in the private sector. We are talking about being employed by the state. Sorry, but your straw man fails.

    1. You should re-read the post and address each item. You certainly can structure your life absent the state-supported and provided items. It will be complicated, costly and risky, but it can be done in the examples I provided - absolutely.

    2. I have re-read your casuistry, and stand by my original response.

    3. There are "other options." You are not trying very hard. Must not be very "pure." I think I'll put you in the "Greg" category. Good day.

    4. "There are many jobs in the private sector." Well, that is your perspective, one not many would agree with these days in many countries. But, I throw another "fact" right back at you. "There are many jobs in the black market." Also, "There are many ways to avoid taxes." So again, you have not engaged the argument, just labeled it a straw man and made up "facts."

    5. Oh, and why does barter need to be "legally" enforceable? I thought we were purists here. You actually need state approval to trade goods? poo poo!

  39. @ Tony G,

    You can CERTAINLY take away the money from being spent on aggressive actions, if you can tell which money is being spent...and which actions on which it was spent were illegitimate.

    Bullets shot in a just police/military action are legitimate self-defense.

    Bullets shot at civilians are illegitimate...or even bullet shot at soldiers in unjust wars..

    Can you tell which is getting the money?

    And even if you can, you then have only two legitimate things you can do.

    Return it to the person from whom it was taken..which will about 70 percent of the time be a large corporation...

    Some of those will also be doing quite immoral things, in league with the state, but nonetheless, it's their tax money.


    You should send the money to the victims of those illegal military actions.

    I notice no one mentioned those.

    If you're just stuffing your face with it, you're a looter too.
    Albeit, a hypocritical self-deceiving one, who is also making libertarianism look ludicrous.

    So for the sake of that extra bit of Blockian bitching, you have actually set back your cause...

    That was why I gave Wenzel a sarcastic bravo.

    I am sure a trained moral philosopher will be able to point out even many more holes in Dr.Block's reasoning.

  40. My wife works for the federal government, the EPA specifically. I consider it a gift, a way of getting much of our pilfered taxes back. The bonus is that she keeps we wonderfully informed about how dysfunctional government agencies tend to be. I wish such joy on everyone.

    1. That's not your money. Nobody has given you a gift, instead, her employer has STOLEN that money by coercion.

    2. ... from us, therefore it is the return of stolen goods.

  41. No - return of stolen goods happens when a judicial authority rules impartially as to a fair resolution of a crime. You are taking much, much more than were taken from you, AND, there is no public acknowledgement that the funds were illicitly taken in the first place.

    You yourself admitted as much "I wish such JOY on everyone" - your JOY comes on the backs of others, who on net SUFFER and you're benefiting from their suffering.

  42. None of the anti-Block-thesis (for lack of a better phrase) people have set up an objective system of determining whether some State-influenced action is ethical or not. All they have done is state that Block's (Rothbard's, Greg's, Wenzel's, my) argument is a statist one. This is fine, as far as it goes, but they have not explained why paying taxes, breathing epa regulated air, walking on public sidewalks, calling 911, drinking usda approved milk, etc. is not statist.

    Either it all is, or it all isn't, or you can objectively distinguish. All this "live as anarchist as possible" or "minimize state influence" is just bs.

  43. @@Anonymous

    You haven't defined statist.
    You haven't explained why it is by default bad (or good)
    You haven't told us why, even if you decide it is bad (or good), anyone else should agree with you or go along with you about it.

    Either it all is or it all isn't is bs....even in mathematics.

    Numbers can have some weird anti-intuitive properties.

    Life doesn't conform to math or logic and it doesn't follow syllogisms and neat propositions the way you think it should.

    That's why studying history and actual political situations rather than repeating logical propositions in a neat little circle made up of people who all look and think like you is about as useful for making changes in the real world as cybersex with an avatar prepares you to raise a family.

    1. Thanks for the reply. Please forgive my rather loose terminology. I don't have time to write a philosophy treatise on the comments section of Mr. Wenzel's blog.

      I did not explain anything as being "good" or "bad," because, obviously, those are subjective.

      I asked what action is "statist," by which I meant what action uses the state and violates the non-aggression principle.

      You claimed first: "No one is arguing about using stuff in the course of living or holding jobs etc." Then you say that it's "legitimate only if you take out what you put in, less services you used." First of all, those are not necessarily the same criteria. Second of all, "using stuff in the course of living" is hand wavy: what do you "need" in order to live. That condition is that same as wanting a "just wage."

      Asserting that you can take as much as is stolen is a worthwhile attempt an objectivity, but, given that economic calculation is impossible, how can you calculate this scenario? How do I know how much of a public road I am allowed to use? Am I allowed to take tax money from Alabama govt if I pay the same in taxes to New York? If I pay a million dollars in taxes, am I allowed to participate in a million dollar military industrial complex project?

      BS indeed...

    2. @Anonymous 7:31 PM: hmmmm . . . to take your point a step further, some effort was used by the government to process your stolen goods. IRS agents and the like. This means that even if you take back only the amount that was taken from you, you will have effectively taken some money that was taken from someone else. So should you be bound to take no more than the money you sent in minus 'handling fees'? At this point the (extended) argument pretty much says there's nothing that can justify working for the government.

  44. @Dixieflatland

    Vitriol is good.
    It burns up false smooth surfaces and shows what's underneath.

  45. @Anonymous

    YOU: I don't have time to write a philosophy treatise

    ME: I wasn't asking you to. I was suggesting that without those definitions it's hard to make sense of what it is you're saying


    You claimed first: " First of all, those are not necessarily the same criteria. Second of all, "using stuff in the course of living" is hand wavy: what do you "need" in order to live. That condition is that same as wanting a "just wage."

    ME: No. I said that one can go along with someone taking a job or walking on roads, even though the state might be behind them, because it would be quite difficult for them to survive if they didn't.

    That is not a hearty endorsement, it's just a refusal to regard people working at whatever they can get (they are giving value in return) as theft. Bilking, however, is not giving value in return.

    Between dying/starving yourself (and killing your family) out of misplaced scrupulosity and being the passive beneficiary of an action you didn't initiate and which in our society is not considered theft outside a narrow anarchist circle there is a difference, I think.

    Regardless, taking a government job is not quite the same as breaking and entering in our society.

    If you think it is, I suggest you try breaking and entering.

    Theft does require something more than your say so to be theft.

    However, by "bilking" you are certainly doing something affirmatively wrong even by the standards of the state.

    I was thus making a distinction between two sorts of things and suggested the first was not the same sort of thing as the other, even if the first is not the ideal libertarian behavior.

    YOU: If I pay a million dollars in taxes, can I participate in a mil-indust complex?

    ME: Where did I say that?

    I simply said if you take more than you put in that's theft.

    I didn't address the issue of what sorts of things were legitimate to participate in.

    If you are a pacifist, you might think it terrible to participate in the mil-indust complex, but a person who is not a pacifist, and accepts the need for self-defense might think it's OK.

    I personally know very few just wars in the 20th century, but that is my opinion.

    I know that Noam Chomsky holds defense stocks. Does that make him evil?

    It's not an all-or-nothing, one-size-fits-all issue.

    Take gold.

    Gold causes enormous damage to the environment, uses up water...Yet, if you are a typical libertarian, you probably do advocate gold...Your hero Ron Paul does. Mining in many countries involves the you tell me, good or bad? Am I impure unless I pan gold myself in Nevada in a voluntaryist commune?

    Next point.

    I don't know how much you paid in taxes, and if you paid it, you're likely to have used up your share by now.

    Most likely, we all TAKE more than any of us ever actually worked for, since the entire dollar system is held up by the enslavement and murder of people all over the planet.

    Most of us are beneficiaries of robbery, not victims of it , since the US system is an empire.

    The worst victims are the dead and the bankrupt in other countries. As long as we live in the US and its allies and pay taxes, we have some complicity. I agree.

    We can run away, but other states are likely not pure either, and you may be able to do even less there in the way of activism.

    So you will compound your complicity by ending up broke, dead, or unable to work.

    Which would be foolish and not change the system one bit.

    Even Gandhi found it wasn't and somehow I think he was a great deal more sincere about his beliefs than any libertarian on this board.

    1. U: No. I said...
      ME: I quoted you directly. I understand that it wasn’t a "hearty endorsement.”

      U: "...because it would be quite difficult for them to survive..."
      ME: By "survive" do you mean exist? To what level of comfort? You (accidentally) lost some of my context when you quoted me. I said, "Either it all is, or it all isn't, or you can objectively distinguish."

      U: " not giving value…"
      ME: Value is subjective. Wenzel apparently values it.

      U: Between dying/starving yourself…and being the passive beneficiary of an action you didn't initiate and which in our society is not considered theft…there is a difference, I think.
      ME: Is this just your opinion? Is theft defined by what "our society" considers? Does it require a majority? If the requirement is being a "passive beneficiary," wouldn't that still imply that using public roads (which one actively uses) and buying government-approved goods be unjust?

      U: By "bilking" you are certainly doing something affirmatively wrong..."
      ME: This is the assertion under discussion.

      U: I was thus making a distinction between two sorts of things and suggested the first was not the same sort of thing as the other, even if the first is not the ideal libertarian behavior.
      ME: We are all trying to make distinctions here. Some people draw the line at a different place than you. My question: is this all a matter of opinion? If so, why are some "purists" so nasty? If not, where is the objective line?

      U: Where did I say that?
      ME: You didn't; I never claimed such. It's a question I posed to understand your distinction between what is (reluctant) acceptable action and what is "bilking."

      U: I simply said if you take more than you put in that's theft.
      ME: I know. I asked how you calculate this.

      U: I didn't address the issue of what sorts of things were legitimate to participate in.
      ME: Because your distinction is subjective (bilking vs. survival), this is what I would like you to address!

      U: If you are a pacifist, you might think it terrible…but a person who is not…might think it's OK.
      ME: So, again, is this all a matter of personal opinion?

      U: I personally know very few just wars in the 20th century….
      ME: I agree and would go farther by saying that it isn’t opinion. State wars (which rest on taxation) are factually unjust.

      U: …Noam Chomsky holds defense stocks. Does that make him evil?
      ME: I don't know. Does it?

      U: "Gold causes enormous damage to the environment..."
      ME: The environment doesn’t have rights. People have rights to property, and damage to property is a violation of NAP. If I damage a piece of environment that I own, then no rights are violated.

      U: Mining in many countries involves the you tell me, good or bad?
      ME: This is what I am asking you! (Also, define good and bad…)

      U: I don't know how much you paid in taxes…you're likely to have used up your share...
      ME: How do I calculate this?

      U: As long as we live in the US and its allies and pay taxes, we have some complicity
      ME: So, then, are you saying it is unethical to live in the US? That is what your statement suggests. And, if so, we are all “bilking” (not just “surviving”).

      U: We can run away, but other states are likely not pure either, and you may be able to do even less there in the way of activism.
      ME: So if one has the option of participating in fewer violations of NAP, one is not required (ethically) to pursue it?

      U: So you will compound your complicity by ending up broke, dead, or unable to work.
      ME: What? Is even being a libertarian martyr insufficient? We all understand that completely eschewing all State intervention is practically impossible and would become instant martyrs to try. I am asking you to be more precise than vaguely saying that benefiting the State for survival is acceptable, but bilking it is not.

  46. @Anonymous
    I think you don't read what's actually written. I take a job to benefit me, not the state. If I didn't take the job, I might starve. The state isn't going to be affected one way or other, because there are enough people who need jobs who till take it.
    If you're unable to tell the difference between taking what I need to live and function, when I didn't initiate the "theft", from a collective entity, which is legitimate in the society in which we live...I my conscious actions I am returning service for the money I got.

    It is not immoral. It is not theft.

    By the way, if you want moral teaching, I think you would be wise to get it from moral practitioners who are widely regarded as saints. I would tell you to read Ramana Maharshi, far more liberated as a human being than anyone I know.
    He would tell you there is no evil. There is only error. And the very first error, he would say, is the one inside yourself.
    So become as "pure" as you can be. Then worry about what everyone else is up to.

    It seems to me that if you as an enlightened person can't discuss things without excommunicating and calling people evil, who think like you, I don't see how you're going to change anyone else.
    No wonder Mother Theresa said she'd never join an antiwar group, because they were mostly filled with the spirit of war.

  47. Please forgive my typo: I meant to write the word "from," i.e., "I am asking you to be more precise than vaguely saying that benefiting FROM the State for survival is acceptable..." And, to be precise, by "benefiting from the State," I mean benefiting from tax payers' money, and, by that phrase, I mean gaining in utility at the expense of tax payers. No, I can't tell the difference between "taking what I need to live and function" and "bilking," because I can't calculate in a socialist economy. And, even if I could, that doesn't make it ok because usually I am not entitled to someone else's stolen property, even if the same robber stole something from me. Note that I don't necessarily disagree with your conclusion, but I don't buy your reasoning towards it.

    Also, you have repeated (again without acknowledging) two different reasons for justifying your view. You seem to say that either A) you can benefit from the state if it's a matter of living and functioning (how comfortably, you do not say), or B) you can take back in the amount that was stolen from you (without explaining your arithmetic). But these two criteria don't necessarily overlap.

    You seem a little thin-skinned. I am not calling anyone "evil." I'm only trying to learn and develop a consistent understanding of ethics. In particular, from you, am asking simply for some clear determination of what is ethical and what is not. So far, I don't think you provided one. (And, obviously, you are not obliged to do so.) Rothbard's (and Block's and Wenzel's) argument are a bit clearer, but I still have questions.

    1. I believe your focus is on the wrong target. We need to stop supporting the system, not lament when people take from it.