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What Welfare Does to People

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Thomas M. Miovas Jr.
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This is an excellent article on how welfare induces people to become dependent on the State and therefore feel no longer responsible for themselves or their actions -- they become only wanting masses, no longer in control of their lives.

http://mises.org/story/2190

I don't know the author, and it is too bad he is an anarchist instead of a capitalist.

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I'm not trying to pick bones here..

but welfare can't do anything to anyone can it?

It is a program people as free agents sign up for.

My thinking had always been that the person who signs up for it already is what they are.. and welfare just allows them the time & money to be who they've already chosen to be.

Unless we're talking about children, who don't have the choice to not be brought up in the welfare cycle?

Edited... it is a very good article though.. so probably silly of me to quibble about the nature of the blame.

Edited by QuoVadis
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The author's point is that if you teach people they have a right to a good life that others must provide, then it is difficult to persuade them otherwise, once they accept those premises. And the welfare state, including public education, does convince people they have a right to have things provided by others. While they are responsible for accepting the illogic of others providing for them, if they can get that sustenance without having to work for it, then it is only a few generations before the country is populated by slobs who won't go out and earn anything beyond what they welfare state provides, and the morality of sustaining production of capitalism goes down the drain quickly. I thought he outlined that superbly. And it is happening here with some people having been on welfare for at least one full generation.

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The author's point is that if you teach people they have a right to a good life that others must provide, then it is difficult to persuade them otherwise, once they accept those premises. And the welfare state, including public education, does convince people they have a right to have things provided by others.

Not only that but it seems they get furious when others do choose to be responsible for themselves.

In one article deriding the opposition showed at the HCR "townhalls" they were taking cheapshots at one of the protestors because he himself was uninsured.

As though the man were an idiot for not demanding something be handed to him he couldn't provide for himself. Whereas I see it as moral and courageous to refuse to accept something that may make your life easier based on principle.

I think the article is excellent.

Its just that I have a strong reaction to anything that seems to attempt to shift some of blame off the people who make the choices.

I mean.. if getting used to having things provided for you unearned made it so difficult to ever become independant then what about the fact that children go through childhood fully dependant and cared for and then still manage to become adults?

It seems as though it is giving environment too much power over human free will.

I will give it some thought.

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I mean.. if getting used to having things provided for you unearned made it so difficult to ever become independant then what about the fact that children go through childhood fully dependant and cared for and then still manage to become adults?

It seems as though it is giving environment too much power over human free will.

I will give it some thought.

Having things provided for you unearned AND being taught in school that the state must provide for you and you must provide for others who can't provide for themselves is the deadly mixture.

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This is an excellent article on how welfare induces people to become dependent on the State and therefore feel no longer responsible for themselves or their actions -- they become only wanting masses, no longer in control of their lives.

http://mises.org/story/2190

I don't know the author, and it is too bad he is an anarchist instead of a capitalist.

Here is another great article on the destructive consequences of the welfare state by Andrew Bernstein. It is entitled The Welfare State Versus Values and the Mind. I think Dr Bernstein's analysis is much better, why we do not need to sanction such horrible, immoral anarchists such as Per Bylund. (I know who he is, I have talked to him before. He is no good.)

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but welfare can't do anything to anyone can it?

Many people would have been able to find jobs if it weren't for welfare. As you know, welfare destroys jobs.

The system here in Sweden also discourages finding work. It is not allowed to accept a part-time job and recieve only half of the welfare check. It's all or nothing. Therefore, because part-time jobs can't support your living (due to taxes, which are used to fund...?) you have to go full welfare.

Voter factory.

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Here is another great article on the destructive consequences of the welfare state by Andrew Bernstein. It is entitled The Welfare State Versus Values and the Mind. I think Dr Bernstein's analysis is much better, why we do not need to sanction such horrible, immoral anarchists such as Per Bylund. (I know who he is, I have talked to him before. He is no good.)

Andrew Bernstein's article hit more of the philosophical roots of welfare and why it doesn't lift people out of poverty.

I certainly wasn't trying to give a sanction to anarchy. I don't know anything about the previous author, except that his analysis of welfare / socialism in Sweden was good.

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Many people would have been able to find jobs if it weren't for welfare. As you know, welfare destroys jobs.

Isn't it more of a guns don't kill people- people kill people situation though?

Welfare isn't anything in and of itself. Welfare is a device of certain people.

Without those people- the architects, the looters and the looted welfare is nothing- just an abstract.

Therefore welfare doesn't destroy jobs, or the human spirit.

People who promote this false form of altruism do.

I don't mean this to quibble over a fine point or definition.. what I'm trying to say is that just as a murderer will find something else to kill you with if not a gun so will the govt agents who promote welfare find other ways to destroy without welfare.

This is the point of philosophy- to deal not with the symptoms (and I believe welfare to be the symptom not the sickness) but with the root.

Am I taking this too far off topic?

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This is the point of philosophy- to deal not with the symptoms (and I believe welfare to be the symptom not the sickness) but with the root.

No, I agree. I've been on welfare for a short time when I was recuperating from the harassments of 2005 and my parents were on welfare for a short time when I was a young child. But overall, our philosophy of independence and self-sufficiency got us off the dole and into the workforce. So, individual philosophy and not wanting a hand-out are definitely key to not being a welfare bum for the rest of one's life. Nonetheless, when people are being taught that the welfare is theirs by right and that it is not charity, then many are going to accept that and not think about it; of course not thinking about it and how to improve one's life is the root cause of people staying on welfare most of their lives. And when the Republicans made welfare only a short-time provision, then they were able to find jobs.

Philosophy is at the root of why we have welfare and why people stay on it; but they are being taught bad philosophy and they accept it.

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You could also say that the Communist Regime was nothing in and of itself, too.

I think you are underestimating the conditions under which people have to live, when it comes to systems imposed by force. These systems have an effect upon the people they seek to govern: the individualists will feel oppressed and - depending on the level of tyranny at practice- probably end up either escaping or dying off, whilst the weak usually end up dragged through it by the inertia of their own mediocrity.

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You could also say that the Communist Regime was nothing in and of itself, too.

I think you are underestimating the conditions under which people have to live, when it comes to systems imposed by force. These systems have an effect upon the people they seek to govern: the individualists will feel oppressed and - depending on the level of tyranny at practice- probably end up either escaping or dying off, whilst the weak usually end up dragged through it by the inertia of their own mediocrity.

The point is that, and this has proven itself throughout history, that it isn't about the regime.

Get rid of one bad regime and without a complete philosophical change in the humans involved another regime just as bad or worse can take over.

If one gets rid of welfare as such without changing the philosophical grounds on which welfare was created, allowed and abused then you just end up with a welfare substitute created shortly thereafter.

To address the welfare problem is to address a symptom.

I'm not saying that to attend to the symptom is wrong (there may be no cure for a sickness but you could get rid of the fever for example) but one must always be mindful that the symptom does not overshadow the addressing of the illness.

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Isn't this whole site dedicated to the addressing of the illness? I mean, I usually take it for granted that what is always at stake is a faulty philosophical premise behind most problems.

You've been a member of the site for a couple years and I've discovered it only recently.

Perhaps as I get the opportunity to read through more old threads I will realise that it goes without saying. But I cannot take it on faith that everyone here is on that same page or that every poster or responder understands the difference between correlation/causation in all social matters. So, in the meantime I think it bears noting.

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Does it make sense to vilify something when it helped you in your life?
Sure it can make sense, if you are advocating an alternative to the thing you vilify and yet use it as the best option available to you. For instance, just because one vilifies the NHS does not mean that one may not use its services.
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Why and how does it make sense exactly?

If state care in any form was the best option available for you at any point in your life, shouldn't you be grateful it was there? How can there be any integrity of your criticism of the welfare state if you are literally alive thanks to it?

Why aren't you earning your own medical care? Or why can't you get people voluntarily to pay for it?

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The article he posted is about a cutlure of entitlement where one is part of a state run system before one could have possibly earned anything.

If he ever worked and is now working again (he has stated before that he has worked) one could argue that during a period of time he simply retrieved what was taken from him.

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... the best option available for you at any point in your life, shouldn't you be grateful it was there? How can there be any integrity of your criticism... if you are literally alive thanks to it?
Analogously, after an encounter with a highwayman who gave you the option of "your money or your life", should you be grateful that he gave you the option to live? Well, in the narrow sense of that option, I suppose you can be "grateful" that he did not kill you; but, surely you are not suggesting that one should be grateful to him, not vilify him, or say that if it weren't for him you would be dead?
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I don't understand how your analogy applies. Can you explain more explicitly?
Okay, here's a closer analogy...

Russian citizen complains about communism, even though his only food ration he gets is from the communist system. Should he be grateful for communism and not vilify it? After all, wouldn't he be dead if the commissars withheld his ration?

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You're not a Russian citizen. If you work more, you earn more and can pay for your own private medical care.
Just because you can do something does not mean you ought to. You have to decide what you spend your money on. There are advantages to opting for private health care in the U.K., or for private schooling in the U.S. However, one may well judge that the advantage of doing so are not worth the cost. (Note, these high costs are primarily a creation of government.) If you judge that you should use your money for something else, and use the NHS/public schools, the decision is completely moral. In fact, if you judge that to be the better use of your money, and yet act against your interests, then you are either mistaken or immoral. Edited by softwareNerd
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Thomas, why didn't you solve your problem without welfare?

Does it make sense to vilify something when it helped you in your life?

The answer is simple: I was unable to work for six months and I was living off my savings; and I had been paying federal and local taxes for the whole nearly thirty years I've been in Dallas. My options were to move back in with my parents, or to take welfare for long enough that I could get back on my feet. I chose the later option because of my high sense of independence. Now, if it wasn't for welfare, I would have moved back in with my parents, but part of my struggle was to become independent once again. My dad would not have let me stay home too long without getting at least a part-time job, so I decided to recover fully and get back out into the world. I mean, for a time there, I was completely helpless and could not take care of myself, but I was able to get on welfare and a Texas health plan until I recovered -- just a few months, actually. And the only people who can take welfare morally are those who speak out against it. I am not for welfare, and if it hadn't existed, I would have had no choice but to move back in with my parents for at least a few months. I decided to stay in Texas and recover on my own without their help, though I am thankful they were here for a few months to see me on the road to recovery. I don't think I did anything immoral because: 1) I paid my taxes all those years; and 2) I am against welfare on principle; and 3) I didn't say the state owed it to me. It was available, so I took advantage of it as a partial repayment for all the federal, state, and local taxes I was forced to pay for nearly thirty years at my current address. I also used a state clinic and still do under similar premises; I am currently "self pay" since I don't have medical insurance, by I do get reduced rates (which I will lose if I move out of Texas). So, I am against all state interference in welfare and medical facilities, but because I am fifty years old and have been paying all of my adult life into the system, if I can use it to my advantage, I have the right to do that, given my premises. And I fully recovered within six months or so; and I am proud of that achievement.

By the way, if I hadn't been taxed all those years and if we lived in a freer country politically (more capitalism), I would have had enough savings to have been able to weather the storm completely; because I only ran out for a few months.

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