Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nit-picking ‘fairness’ only leaves you bitter

Nit-picking ‘fairness’ only leaves you bitter 

(My Clovis News Journal column for July 12, 2013.)

A "free rider" is someone who uses a service that someone else paid for. In a free society, where everything is financed voluntarily, a person who uses the road, firefighters, or a tornado warning siren without paying towards funding those services could be described as a free rider.

Just how important a stumbling block do you consider this to be?

When a local shopkeeper helps fund the road, he does so in order to make it easier for people to get to his store. Everyone wins.

If a local shopkeeper who refused to help fund the road gets the business of a customer who also refused to contribute toward the road, then do those who paid for the road lose? Who does the "selfish" shopkeeper trade with locally and with whom does he spend the money he got from the "selfish" customer? Does he exist in a vacuum? If you still don't like the fact that he didn't contribute, you would be free to refuse to do business with him in any way.

Don't you think a road that's "worth it" would be built and maintained?

Firefighting is a similar situation. If your house is on fire your neighbor benefits when the fire department you contract with puts out the blaze. And if his house is on fire, but your fire department puts out the flames in order to save your house, he also gets a free ride. In that case he might get a bill for "services rendered", and if he doesn't pay, everyone in town will know who to refuse service to. But aren't you still getting all you paid for? Might nit-picking over whether someone else benefits unfairly just make you bitter?

Is it even possible for everyone to pay equally for every service they use? Not even under communism. However, that's only a problem if you insist on keeping a running tab to make sure everything is "fair". Scott Adams of "Dilbert" fame says fairness is just a concept invented so dumb people could participate in discussions. When I observe the world, I think he's on to something.

Why not accept that you will be someone else's "free rider" in some circumstances, and the roles will constantly change?

Besides, in a free society you'd have enough money that you would never have to live with the guilt of not paying what you feel you owe, nor would anyone force you to associate with anyone else for any reason.

Is the free rider really important enough for you to give up your liberty to foil him?

And please don't forget.


"Taxes", welfare, theft, and the rest

First off, let me emphasize I am not advocating anything here, and my numbers are totally made up and meaningless, other than to illustrate a point.

Let's say that Larry makes $100 at his job.  He is "taxed" $30 even before he gets his money.  (If he manages to get a "refund" from the IRS of all or part of this money, then that amount drops out of the figuring.)  Everything he buys is "taxed" so that he actually only gets $50 worth of buying power in exchange for the life he has traded to his employer.

Now, if he gets food stamps and "free" medical services that amount to anything under $50, I can understand how he could be considered to not be stealing from other people.  If, on the other hand, he is getting "free stuff" in the amount of $55 I think it's pretty reasonable to say he is stealing (or at least "receiving stolen property") at least $5.

Of course, you also have to consider that the price of everything he buys is grossly inflated due to "taxation" at every step of the way.  No one EVER pays "taxes", fees, or any other governmentally-added expense except for the final purchaser.  (That's the "consumer"; you and me.)  This could give him some extra wiggle room.

So, I no longer really fault those who get some of their own money back- or believe they are doing so.  Plus, I suspect that it's all just an accounting trick and every dime of welfare is actually paid with Fed-counterfeited "money" rather than coming from "tax" money stolen from other productive humans.

Now, if you get your paycheck by working directly for "government", then all this goes right out the window.  You pay no "taxes"; it is just a game of smoke and mirrors (and more accounting tricks) to give the illusion of you paying.  If you do a "tax"-supported "job" that shouldn't be done by "government"*, such as a "public" school teacher, a cop, a DMV drone, military, a licensing bureaucrat, etc. then you are doubly wrong if you get additional "free stuff" from your employer in the form of "welfare".

But, assuming you are doing something that actually needs to be done, and would still need to be done even if no one were coerced to finance it, I don't think your are ethically wrong to take some of your money back from the thief- however much you can get.  That doesn't mean it's a good idea or won't hurt you, though.

Remember that there is a grave danger of becoming dependent upon handouts.  Think about how you'd react if the handouts suddenly stopped.  Or, worse, if you were told they would stop unless you did something you know to be wrong, to appease those who control the handouts.  Don't get yourself into that compromised position.

You'd be better off to only use any handouts to undercut The State and its agents in some way.  Use the "welfare" to buy silver, bullets, extra food, and things like that rather than the latest computer game or fancy "athletic" shoes.  But, it's your life and your choice.  Do with this information as you see fit.

*(Notice I am not saying that there would be no similar positions in a free society, but in that case, those who didn't want your "services" wouldn't be forced to pay for them.  But obviously, some of those "jobs" couldn't exist in a free society.)

And please don't forget.