Regarding Poverty: On the Balance of Libertarianism and Government

“By the standard of all scriptures, neglect of the poor, of widows and orphans, of the sick, the homeless, the insane, is an abominable perversion.”
-Wendell Berry
Like ·  · Share · February 4 at 11:53am near Los Angeles, CA ·

  • Richard Bloodworth yes but where in the scriptures does it say that that is a government and not an individuals responsibility
  • Richard Bloodworth No one argues that we should not take care of those individuals we argue that it is an individual responsibility not a government one. Also using this argument negates any mention of Separation of Church and State. You cannot on the one hand say that religion has no place in government and then make an argument from a religious perspective for a government welfare.
  • Col James RW Hiatt All that government is is the collective action and will of all individuals working together.Specific Religion has no place in government. Unless you want the Scientologists to institute Scientology law, if they ever take over.The term “Scriptures” here could actually refer to almost any holy book in the world, from the Torah, to the Bible, to the Quran, to the Vedas, to the writings of Confucius. The perspective embraced is a universal one.Personal Religion has a role in individual lives. The nature of the doctrine of “Separation of Church and State” is designed to keep any singular faith from foisting their individual doctrines upon a people, the way the Anglicans and Catholics and Orthodox have done in the past in Europe. State sponsored religion is intellectual and spiritual tyranny.

    The right wing does not have the corner on faith. Nor should they. There are many left-leaning people with a strong faith. However, they do not legislate their religious faith. They use reason, and ethics as the basis of legislation, and when Scripture reinforces that, a wonderful synchronicity follows.

    The teachings of Jesus are specifically and wondrously socialist. He urges societal principles which cause Ayn Rand to slit her wrists and vomit in rage. Government is the mean collective will and actions of individuals.

    Thus it is right and proper to encourage spiritual arguments when they line up. Also, it is useful to use Scriptures to persuade when speaking to people who believe them. It becomes a matter of urging internal and intellectual consistency, and discourages hypocrisy and Pharisaical behavior.

  • Dulce Chalé · Friends with Robby Strong and 1 other

    If you read the Old Testament, most of the directives to help the poor, the widow and the foreigners were to the nations, and the nations were the ones who were judged, not just individuals.
  • Richard Bloodworth but government is not the collective will of all individuals since there is dissent so obviously your definition is false.
  • Col James RW Hiatt That is the definition of a democratic representational constitutional republic, aka our government.
  • Richard Bloodworth dulce but we do not live in a nation that lives under old testament law and if you read the new testament Christ brought it to the individual level and the individual who shall be judged. Obviously James and I disagree on this because he is wrong. It is was and always will be the responsibility of the individual to take care of the less fortunate. This is a necessity of a FREE Society. Government infringes upon personal liberty and so should be controlled not trusted. The private sector is far more efficient at handling things. Government breeds bureaucracy and waist. Private sector breeds efficiency and results. ALWAYS.
  • Richard Bloodworth oh and I never said that the right had a monopoly on faith nor do I believe in theocracy. I am pointing out the hypocrisy of using a religious argument on the one hand while on the other saying religion has no place in politics. It is logically inconsistent.
  • Andrew Thomas Hussmann loved the Ayn Rand bit haha
  • Nathan Richter “All that government is is the collective action and will of all individuals working together. ” True! Unanimity is the basis of government. Hence the lack of laws and police.On a significantly less dishonest note, it turns out that government is composed of those most able and willing to commit violence.Which is really what the core, profound evil warned against by those who condemn institutionalized socialism on a governmental scale: it turns out that being willing to do violence upon the non-violent, even if one takes their wealth and inefficiently distributes it to others, is not a virtue. A lot of folks try to dress it up in fancy language in order to obscure the issue, but every law that collects money for redistribution is a gun pointed at the wage-earner’s head. It is an act of violence, even if we sanitize our language and hire many degrees of separation to act as middlemen.A fun thought exercise!
    Charity : Wealth redistribution :: Healthy sex : ?

    Hint: just add the threat of (or actual) violence, and see how the virtue flourishes!

  • Richard Bloodworth ooo ooo ooo I got it rape?
  • Col James RW Hiatt Money has no real existence. It is created by a government as a means of transaction, and is regulated by the Gov… It isnt sacred, and neither is wealth. Money is a societal tool.
  • Nathan Richter Is your point that citizens have no right to property? Is your point that because money (like liberty and dignity) is not fundamentally material, it cannot be owned by those who earn it? Or is it reasonable and right for violence to threaten or be committed against the non-violent as long as that of which they are being deprived fails to reach a certain threshold of being sacred? These are, on the face of them, absurd. I cannot understand how so many can consider a course of action reasonable that denies the simple and obvious truth that for every one who receives without earning, there is one who earns without receiving.
  • Col James RW Hiatt Things like Land ownership, Money, etc are created and regulated by Government. They are effectively “leased” to the people for a fee which we call taxes. You do not own your land in the ultimate sense. You do not own your money in the ultimate sense. You do not own or even run the economic system that you have flourished in. You must pay your entry fee into the arcade, and then you must pay for each game that you play. You do not own the game, and you do not own the tickets that you receive for playing the game. The tickets are simply transactional material as well. The arcade can choose to take a percentage of your tickets used in each transaction. You do not own the arcade, or the games, nor the system. You lease it. Taxes are your lease payments. 
  • If you wish to not be governed, go start your own anarchy based or libertarian based society, and see how well that works out for you. I bet Canada would give you a town (because they are such nice people) for this experiment. I bet that it would work perfectly if you keep the numbers small, and hand select the people in your community. As soon as you reach a certain point, it will crumble. It’s like your arguments against Swedish ways of doing things: you claim that things like Universal Healthcare will only work in small places with low population (while in this case I disagree).Libertarianism is truly only viable when there are few people. The Wild West was probably the best example of a laissez-faire economy and libertarianism practically instituted. It was lawless chaos. Gangs and Criminals ran things. Powerful and wealthy ranchers oppressed the small farmers and the smaller ranches. They would dam rivers upstream of whole towns and effectively kill the town, and sweep in and take the abandoned land. Whatever anyone wanted was theirs for the taking if they could build a gang and take it. This is the true face of unchecked capitalism, laissez-faire economics, and libertarianism. Too much personal liberty steps on personal liberty.People are not capable of governing themselves any more than children are capable of babysitting themselves or blind people are capable of leading blind people. A Democratic Constitutional Republic is the best form of Government. It is Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is government by a group of men for the benefit of all. Is our current government corrupt? yes, but not irreparably so. Government costs money. You have given your implied consent to be governed by your government, by choosing to live under its rule. Ergo, you have given your implied consent to be taxed and for your taxes to benefit society. You reap the benefits of our government every day. You pay for them. You reap other more indirect benefits by the government choosing to invest in other avenues that come back to benefit you. The Government takes responsibility for certain services so that you don’t have to do it everyday, like warfare, care for the sick and poor, education, etc.Should people only get the education that they can afford? If you can’t afford an education, does that mean that you are screwed, simply by the bad luck of being born to a poor person. Same goes for healthcare: because you are in poverty, and can’t afford to eat healthily, or get vaccinations, or preventative medical or dental care, should you just be allowed to rot and die? This standard of living is the natural end of unchecked libertarianism, and is a violation and an insult to the idea of human value and human dignity. We all benefit if everyone is well educated and healthy. More well-educated people means more entrepreneurs. It means less poverty, which actually means less welfare, and less Government assistance in the long run. Healthy people are more free to innovate and to create a stronger society. Sick and rotting people are innately limited in what they are likely to achieve. They are held back by their physical limitations.

    I strongly believe in Human dignity. Homelessness is an abomination. People Starving Is an abomination. People being held down through a lack of education is an abomination.

    You and I did not choose to be born in the culture that we had the good fortune of landing in that promotes values such as hard work, determination, growth, intelligence, discovery, etc. We did not choose our specific cocktail of genetic traits that makes us successful. We did not choose the socio-economic status that we were born with. In effect, very little of who you and I are is actually due to anything we consciously chose; “but for the grace of God, goeth I.”

    You argue that it is not the governments role to assist us. The government is comprised of the most fortunate people in society, who are leading society, and voting to help take better care of people. Wealthy and Powerful people are voting to take money out of their pockets, universally and equally to help those who most need it. The Government is not some inscrutable organizational Monolith. It is a group of people who see problems, and then decide the best way to fix them, and the best way to get everyone involved in fixing them. It is like a neighborhood association: you pay your dues, and they hire a security guard, or street cleaning, and sign painters.

    The Government is the aggregate will of the people through time.

2 thoughts on “Regarding Poverty: On the Balance of Libertarianism and Government

  1. ‎”The Law”
    by Frédéric Bastiat
    http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G003

    Excerpt:
    Life Is a Gift from God

    We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life.

    But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.

    Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

    What Is Law?

    What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

    Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

    Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

    If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.

    A Just and Enduring Government

    If a nation were founded on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable — whatever its political form might be.

    Under such an administration, everyone would understand that he possessed all the privileges as well as all the responsibilities of his existence. No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack. When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. And, conversely, when unsuccessful, we would no more think of blaming the state for our misfortune than would the farmers blame the state because of hail or frost. The state would be felt only by the invaluable blessings of safety provided by this concept of government.

    It can be further stated that, thanks to the non-intervention of the state in private affairs, our wants and their satisfactions would develop themselves in a logical manner. We would not see poor families seeking literary instruction before they have bread. We would not see cities populated at the expense of rural districts, nor rural districts at the expense of cities. We would not see the great displacements of capital, labor, and population that are caused by legislative decisions.

    The sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And, furthermore, these acts burden the government with increased responsibilities.

    The Complete Perversion of the Law

    But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.

    How has this perversion of the law been accomplished? And what have been the results?

    The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy.

  2. This is a classic Progressive/Socialist manipulation of the message of Jesus Christ to justify their own envy. It’s always easy to be “charitable” with other people’s money, which requires no personal sacrifice.

    “The teachings of Jesus are specifically and wondrously socialist. He urges societal principles which cause Ayn Rand to slit her wrists and vomit in rage. Government is the mean collective will and actions of individuals.”

    I think you better reread the teachings of Jesus Christ. His message was one of individual salvation, NOT collective salvation. Jesus speaks to the individual to choose to do the right thing. He did NOT speak to the Collective to force the individual to do the right thing. Government force is Collective force. It is a violation of Free Will.

    Christianity teaches “Free Will”, i.e., it is God’s will that the individual be allowed to choose to accept God and his teachings or reject God and his teachings and therefore, it is a violation of God’s will for another man to attempt to impose “acceptance” upon the individual.

    The Classical Liberal idea of Life, Liberty and Property is based on the Christian concept of “Free Will”. The Founders of the US incorporated this idea into the Declaration of Independence, i.e., all men are endowed by their Creator with the inalienable right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness [Property]. I suggest you read John Locke.

    The separation of church from state also finds it’s origin in Christianity.

    Jesus Christ said “my kingdom is not of this earth” and “give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto God the things that are God’s”.

    The US Founders were overwhelming Christian.

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