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Sunday, January 3 - 7:40pmSanction this postReply
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That rant will win you Atlas Points, no doubt, professor, but it is not up to your usual standards of scholarship and inquiry. Like Ayn Rand, I also accept benefit payments - social security now; unemployment when I am unemployed - and, like hundreds of millions of American Objectivists, libertarians, and conservatives, I also attended public schools, kindergarten through university. However, as Ayn Rand counseled, I vote against those policies and against the politicians who propose and support them. In Rand's words, only those who are opposed to the payments are entitled to them. It seems hypocritical, I know, but there is no arguing with Ayn Rand.

 

I cannot be so special that no one else shares my viewpoint. When I lived in Lansing, I knew self-styled libertarians who worked for the state government. Their argument was quite simple: (1) Who else would you want holding this job: me, or a real statist? And (2) It was my career until the government supplanted it with their regulations; so, I, too, am a prisoner of the system. 

 

Again, you can charge us all with hypocricy... as long as you do not benefit from the public streets, the post office, the city parks, the county fair grounds, the intercoastal waterways ... Would a real libertarian even use Federal Reserve Notes and coins when free market alternatives exist?

 

Eventually, perhaps 100% of Americans will be within the government payment system. I warrant that the majority will still be against it. 

 

I know that you are well versed in American history. Is it not true that one of the arguments of the British Crown against the colonists was that "we" (the Crown) are protecting you against the French and Indians? The colonists accepted the protection, but were actually proposing a different discussion entirely.



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Sunday, January 3 - 9:38pmSanction this postReply
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Just what are you arguing, Marotta?  That socialism is inevitable so why not accept it?  Or, that we should stop criticizing forced redistribution since so many have benefited in some way?  There certainly is no thread of logic in your post that justifies saying that Professor Machan's standards of scholarship are less in some way. 

 

As best as I can tell, you declare us all to be hypocrites who are receiving benefits while objecting to their being offered.  And at the same time you seem to be annoyed that anyone should be criticized since in your view we all receive some benefits (doing your usual failed logic - in this case conflating those who are welfare parasites with those who drive to work on taxpayer provided streets).  And you go on to imply that we should accept that this is the natural state of things.

 

Perhaps you should read what Professor Machan actually wrote.  He notes that the benefits must come from those who produce wealth and he asks if they will continue to produce as their load grows heavier.  And he points out that the administrators and dependents of this system will start demanding the producers work harder.  He noted that "... democratic socialism degenerates into Soviet style socialism."  I thought it was an eloquent depiction of the unavoidable degeneration of altruistic redistrbution into the horrors of massive confiscation, re-education camps and the elimination of those who won't go along.

 

Margaret Thatcher said that the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money.  But the real problem is that the socialists won't accept that and when their revenues decline, they get out whips and chains.  It is a very short article but it does a nice job of giving lie to the position Marxists take that the brutality of the USSR, or Maoist China don't represent 'real' Marxism.  And it ties this to where we are... with Romney's 47% remark and with a Democratic Socialist making such a strong showing in the primary race.



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Monday, January 4 - 10:17amSanction this postReply
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"...47 percent of Americans choose to be dependent on the government..." (emphasis added)

 

I do not agree that 47% choose to be dependent on government.  For the most part, politicians (and their supporters) of both major parties have consciously or unconsciously made the electorate dependent on them.  By taxing us, regulating us, enabling our competitors and, yes, creating enemies that threaten us, most of us have little left, other than a welfare/warfare state, to secure our lives and what little property we are allowed to keep. 

 

To reject all of that, for me, would mean not using a public road or sidewalk, passport, community college, or even doing a government-protected job such as I had when I worked for Intelsat.  That, however, does not mean that I chose these things.  If politicians were running who promised to end all such welfare/warfare, I would vote for and send them money (and have done so) even if it meant foregoing social security - which I am eligible for now but not receiving.



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Monday, January 4 - 10:48amSanction this postReply
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David,

 

To reject all of that, for me, would mean not using a public road or sidewalk, passport, community college, or even doing a government-protected job such as I had when I worked for Intelsat. 

 

There is a fallacy in that approach to this topic.  "Dependent" in this context means the concept of accepting welfare as a way of life, as opposed to the concept of working to support oneself.  That is the choice being discussed. 

 

Because I use a taxpayer funded street to drive here or there, I'm not dependent upon keeping liberal politicians or their programs in place. If I'm not supporting or doing anything to further the cause of socialism or the progressives, then I'm on the right side and no more needs to be done.  To suggest that I'd have to give up driving or using anything that has been provided by the government where there is no reasonable free-market alternative is not logical.  For example, the water that comes out of my tap has been processed by a municipal plant, should I have to find a source of bottled water, even for bathing, that has never been subject to government expenditures?  That would be silly.  That isn't where the battle is being fought.

 

I believe it was Ayn Rand who said that you don't stop the Juggernaut by throwing yourself in front of it.

 

The "choice" that matters here is between a free market (or moving towards a freer market) and socialism (or moving towards socialism).   It is a form of mis-direction, or dropping the context, to talk about city streets, passports, community colleges, etc.  People should not choose welfare as a way of life and we should vote for and advocate for economic freedom - and those are the choices.



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Monday, January 4 - 1:02pmSanction this postReply
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I agree with what you say here, Steve.  It was Romney I disagreed with.  His statement, which I remember, was in the context of what voters he should appeal to, and how.  Rather than say "Romney was right", I think it would have been better if Tibor just analyzed the implications of Romney's statement in regards to democracy's limits.



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