Friday, September 30, 2011

Compulsory Benevolence

Inevitably when I tell someone that I refuse to support a welfare state, that I refuse to support a system that mandates that people be provided with something that I must purchase, I'm accused of being heartless.  "You just don't care."  "How can you want children to suffer without insurance."  I am not Hank Reardon.  Guilt will not persuade me to support that which I know is wrong.  Compulsory benevolence is neither right nor is it especially benevolent to the people you claim to want to help. 

When you strip a person of their independence, when you offer them a minimum standard, you make it much more difficult for them to WANT to strive to achieve more.  Take my example in the Section 8 article I posted a month ago.  You have a situation where the economic incentive to do more creates a penalty.  In Entitlement Society, I discussed where this is leading us to as a nation.  Most of my early posts were in fact, devoted to the power of incentivizing success and the converse, offering a prize for failure.  To be fair, I think it's equally important to allow businesses to fail as well.

I haven't spent as much time on the issue of force, however.  And it's something that many of the well-intentioned actively seek to ignore.  They don't want to think about what actually happens when you pass a law requiring someone to give up that which they have earned in order to give it to those who did not.  Well, you need to stop and think about it. 

Let's say one day you go to a church.  They let you in and smile and give you a seat and a song book.  A little old lady may even give you a hug.  Well, if this church works like the United States government, then come collection time the plate comes around and you politely smile and shake your head.  That won't do.  You're taken at gunpoint to the back where your wallet is taken and searched.  If you don't have enough, they call your bank.  Still not enough, they call your employer.  Don't worry, the money will be put to good use, and you may even derive some benefit from it.  It will be less benefit than the amount deserves, but we've all got to pay our fair share.

Think I'm wrong.  Tell me about it.  If you don't pay your taxes, first they send you a demand, followed by a bank garnishment, followed by a payroll garnishment.  Actively seek to avoid these things and you are taken and placed in a cell and held sequestered for a period of years or until a ransom is paid to free you from captivity.

Think I'm right, tell me about that too. 

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