|Daniel and Matthew,|
The lines seem pretty clear in the instances of real need, and maybe even "giving something back," although I have other problems with the latter since its a commonly used justification for taxation.
But, take two more common instances where such a need is not so heavily involved: Education and Social Security.
In the case of Education, should Objectivists avoid sending their children to government schools, on that basis alone? There are, of course, a myriad other reasons to avoid those institutions. Then consider college. Most are also state-supported, and therefore, "welfare programs," like it or not. Do all Objectivists attend only private schools and universities, thus avoiding the public dole?
In the case of the Social Security Ponzi scheme that the US government is operating, the "contributions" are taken from workers' paychecks for a lifetime. There is no opting out. Some of that money is then returned on a monthly basis when the worker reaches the qualifying age in their 60's. Disregarding the person's financial status on retirement, is it morally acceptable for an Objectivist to apply for (it isn't automatic) Social Security benefits?
And lets not forget that the application for those benefits includes a mandatory participation in the Medicare program. Again, there is no opting out of Medicare without losing the Social Security benefits themselves. This has the effect, of course, of being drawn into an even deeper into socialist system.
Yet, as Matthew has noted, the money for those programs was taken from us through taxation. Once taken, has ownership of that money been rightfully transferred, or does it still belong to us?
Do we just shrug off a robbery? Or, do we make an effort to retrieve what was wrongfully taken from us?
PSóElizabeth, I look forward to your comments. I've read some of your other posts, so I know you're going to make it interesting.