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Is it moral to accept gov. aid for education?

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ernie
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How about blowing the whistle on my competitor who employs illegal immigrants pays less than minimum wage?

Instead of whisteblowing, maybe you should ask him how he gets away with it and see if you can too.

How about using the threat of a racial discrimination claim against an employer who is about to fire me?

Given that the scholarship answer with which you disagree hinges on a restitution theory, can you tell me where in this instance you have been deprived of something by the government for which this would be restitution?

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How far can we go in justifying individual actions on the basis of what the "system" allows?
Up to the point where you have received restitution for your confiscated property. There is no such thing as a "check paid from the tariffs imposed on a company that imports goods competing with yours". There are, simply, checks, and no system of source-tracing so that you can know that this particular check comes from the "Mathis-competition tariff" bank account. When you threaten to sue an employer for racial discrimination, you initiate force and thereby lose your rights, so don't do that.
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So to accept a grant of federal aid is to receive retribution for funds extorted from my family and people directly related to the moral furtherance of my life?

So it is moral to accept Robin Hood's stolen riches if he offers them willingly?

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So to accept a grant of federal aid is to receive retribution for funds extorted from my family and people directly related to the moral furtherance of my life?

So it is moral to accept Robin Hood's stolen riches if he offers them willingly?

If Robin Hood stole from you, and then offered to return the earnings, then I'd say yes.

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I think we should make a distinction between cases where 'exploiting the system' causes additional damage to others, and cases where it doesnt. If I accept a scholarship, no extra damage is being done - taxation has already occurred and noone is going to suffer further injustice as a result of my actions. The same applies to social security fraud and suchlike.

Those who accept government scholarships contribute to the "demand" for such hand-outs. Bureaucracies receive budgetary allotments on the basis of how previous allotments were spent. If no one or few take advantage of a welfare program, it is difficult to get Congress to approve additional funds for it. So it is not exactly true that "If I accept a scholarship, no extra damage is being done." The greater the number of moochers, the greater the pressure on politicians to use tax money to win moocher votes.

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Instead of whisteblowing, maybe you should ask him how he gets away with it and see if you can too.

Yes, but the question is whether it is moral to blow the whistle.

Given that the scholarship answer with which you disagree hinges on a restitution theory, can you tell me where in this instance you have been deprived of something by the government for which this would be restitution?

Okay. Let us say A gets a scholarship paid for with money stolen from B. Now B is entitled to restitution money. Where will that money come from? It may come from A, but it may just as likely come from C. Now C is entitled to restitution money. Where will that money come from? From D?

In short, at some point someone's restitution is going to come from someone who never did anyone a wrong.

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Up to the point where you have received restitution for your confiscated property.

Does my compensation come from those who stole from me, from those who were paid benefits out of my wealth, or from some other tax-slave who has paid tens of thousands more in tribute than he has received in benefits?

There is no such thing as a "check paid from the tariffs imposed on a company that imports goods competing with yours". There are, simply, checks, and no system of source-tracing so that you can know that this particular check comes from the "Mathis-competition tariff" bank account.

"Normally, proceeds from tariffs on imported goods go to the U.S. treasury. Not this time. A law passed in 2000 allows U.S. industries that win anti-dumping suits to keep the profits from tariffs imposed on foreign competitors. It's a called 'double compensation . . ."

http://www.cato.org/dailys/01-03-05.html

When you threaten to sue an employer for racial discrimination, you initiate force and thereby lose your rights, so don't do that.

Now let’s contrast that with the recipient of a government scholarship. Is it really fair to say that those on the federal educational dole do injury to no one? That they just sit back and collect the loot that the boys at the IRS harvest for them? If that is the theory, then we can similarly argue that those who file discrimination suits are not the ones actually employing force. The force would be on the part of federal marshals or other enforcement officers of the court that ruled against the discriminator.

Edited by Eric Mathis
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If that is the theory, then we can similarly argue that those who file discrimination suits are not the ones actually employing force.

You DO use force when you accept government funds as restitution. You use retaliatory force. Retaliatory force is moral.

When you file a discrimination suit against an employer who actively supports anti-discrimination laws, you also use retaliatory force. It is moral--PROVIDED that he is FOR such laws and you are AGAINST them.

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You DO use force when you accept government funds as restitution. You use retaliatory force. Retaliatory force is moral.

How is the force used by the IRS to collect funds for my government scholarship retaliatory? When did the tax-slave who pays for my education first use force against me?

When you file a discrimination suit against an employer who actively supports anti-discrimination laws, you also use retaliatory force. It is moral--PROVIDED that he is FOR such laws and you are AGAINST them.

By that reasoning no one may morally accept benefits paid for with money stolen from Objectivists or other advocates of laissez faire. Therefore, until taxes are lifted from all Objectivists, it would be immoral to accept benefits financed with those taxes.

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My retalitary force used in accepting federal grants is morally justifiable with the fact that I am preventing the funds from being used for evil i.e. provisions related to a palistinian state. Though it has already been collected at the barell of a gun it is moral to prevent the funds from assisting the thief in using his booty for evil.

I feel this is a final judgement.

Is there an overlooked concept?

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My retalitary force used in accepting federal grants is morally justifiable with the fact that I am preventing the funds from being used for evil i.e. provisions related to a palistinian state.

In that case, it would be moral to rob anyone on the grounds that you better than he could prevent his "funds from being used for evil."

Though it has already been collected at the barell of a gun it is moral to prevent the funds from assisting the thief in using his booty for evil.

I feel this is a final judgement.

Is there an overlooked concept?

Yes, you overlook the fact that your government scholarship coming through force at someone else's expense is evil.

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Does my compensation come from those who stole from me, from those who were paid benefits out of my wealth, or from some other tax-slave who has paid tens of thousands more in tribute than he has received in benefits?
It "comes from", i.e. was last in the hands of, those who stole from you. It was, of couse, created by you, but then stolen from you by the tax thief.
"Normally, proceeds from tariffs on imported goods go to the U.S. treasury. Not this time. A law passed in 2000 allows U.S. industries that win anti-dumping suits to keep the profits from tariffs imposed on foreign competitors.
Clever. Well, if you can locate the actual law and a real application, I'll see whether it counts as earmarked funds.
Now let’s contrast that with the recipient of a government scholarship.  Is it really fair to say that those on the federal educational dole do injury to no one?
It's more than fair, it's correct.
If that is the theory, then we can similarly argue that those who file discrimination suits are not the ones actually employing force. The force would be on the part of federal marshals or other enforcement officers of the court that ruled against the discriminator.
They are implementing the use of force: you are the initiator of force. They would not use force were it not for your initiation. That is what it means to initiate force.
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This has been troubling me for some time. I've read material such as "Government Financing in a Free Society" in Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness but it's still hard for me personall to come up with a judgement.

It seems however that taxes, as they stand now, are not collected in a moral way . This leaves to consquence the fact that any monitary (and possibly ANY)benifits drawn from the government are immoral from there conception.

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It "comes from", i.e. was last in the hands of, those who stole from you. It was, of couse, created by you, but then stolen from you by the tax thief.

It ultimately comes from taxpayers. However, we cannot very well include bureaucrats, politicians and many of their welfare clients as taxpayers, since their net contribution to tax loot is less than zero. Thus, the burden for paying for my compensation will primarily fall not on those who are responsible in the first place for the looting of my income but on those who are themselves victims (i.e., net tax producers).

Clever. Well, if you can locate the actual law and a real application, I'll see whether it counts as earmarked funds.

See the link I provided and go from there.

It's more than fair, it's correct.

As I said in a previous post, “Those who accept government scholarships contribute to the ‘demand’ for such hand-outs. Bureaucracies receive budgetary allotments on the basis of how previous allotments were spent. If no one or few take advantage of a welfare program, it is difficult to get Congress to approve additional funds for it. So it is not exactly true that ‘If I accept a scholarship, no extra damage is being done.’ The greater the number of moochers, the greater the pressure on politicians to use tax money to win moocher votes.”

They are implementing the use of force: you are the initiator of force. They would not use force were it not for your initiation. That is what it means to initiate force.

Fine. If zero students applied for federal scholarships, virtually zero federal dollars would be spent on them. Fewer demands on the federal budget means less pressure on the branch of the government charged with revenue collection (i.e., the initiation of force). Whenever deficits climb, watch how there is a scramble to “close loopholes” and clamp down on “tax cheaters.”

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It seems however that taxes, as they stand now, are not collected in a moral way . This leaves to consquence the fact that any monitary (and possibly ANY)benifits drawn from the government are immoral from there conception.

The benefits come from an immoral source, that is correct. It is also correct that it is immoral to argue for the perpetuation or expansion of such benefits. But it is not immoral to accept the benefits as a restitution for what has been taken away from you in order to provide the benefits.

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It ultimately comes from taxpayers.
Right, and as a taxpayer, I claim my right to restitution for money stolen from me.
See the link I provided and go from there.
I did, and it contained no substance, so since you have nothing further to contribute on that point, the conclusion is obvious that checks from the government do not come labeled as to the source of the money.
Fine.  If zero students applied for federal scholarships, virtually zero federal dollars would be spent on them.  Fewer demands on the federal budget means less pressure on the branch of the government charged with revenue collection (i.e., the initiation of force). Whenever deficits climb, watch how there is a scramble to “close loopholes” and clamp down on “tax cheaters.”
Wow. It's amazing how little you seem to know about how the federal government operates. Well, I suppose I should assume... I only recently tumbled to the fact that Hal is probably a Brit, so maybe you're from some place like Germany where things work that way. Anyway, there are plenty of websites that you could look at, to see how revenue collection and tax authorization works.

The point is, if someone steals your property, it is still your property, and you have a right to reclaim it. Ownership of property can only be properly transferred with the consent of the owner. There are some books written on the topic, for example Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal, which you might want to look at if you are not familiar with these concepts. Hmmm. I promised myself I wouldn't do this anymore.

[PLONK]

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  • 2 months later...
Whose money is the government giving away! Objectivism eschews the redistribution of wealth, pure and simple. If a private citizen or business wants to partner with a school of higher learning by providing funds for financial aid then it’s all right. The government ought not use our money for projects in social engineering.

I would agree with this completely were it an abstraction, but one does not practice morality in a vacuum. It is immoral to accept government grants, even though you (do or will in the future) pay for them via taxation. It is immoral to use the U.S. postal service, it is immoral to drive on public roads or use public parks or buildings etc.

Or is it immoral? I guess my point is that you did not create the world we live in, but you have the right to thrive as best you can in it, while striving to create a better world.

Ayn Rand wrote: "The victims do not have to add self-inflicted martyrdom to the injury done to them by others; they do not have to let the looters profit doubly, by letting them distribute the money exclusively to the parasites who clamored for it... Those who advocate public scholarships, have no right to them; those who oppose them, have."

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Whose money is the government giving away! Objectivism eschews the redistribution of wealth, pure and simple. If a private citizen or business wants to partner with a school of higher learning by providing funds for financial aid then it’s all right. The government ought not use our money for projects in social engineering.

Ayn Rand specifically dedicates an entire essay to the subject of taking governmenet grants and scholarships. She comes to the conclusion that it is a moral thing to do, so long as you oppose the welfare state.

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According to the Objectivist perspective,  would it be immoral to advocate or accept government grants for college-education?  I'm talking mainly about need based financial aid, rather than loans or scholarships.  These loans aren't given for academic performance, but strictly based on income.

Immoral to advocate? Yes. Immoral to accept? Ayn Rand says no, if certain conditions are met. (See "The Question of Scholarships" in The Voice of Reason.) The most important one being that one opposes such programs.

The need-based versus merit-based distinction is irrelevant.

Also, please review the forum rules. "Objectivism" should be capitalized. I changed your post to do this. Welcome!

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  • 9 months later...
Ayn Rand specifically dedicates an entire essay to the subject of taking governmenet grants and scholarships. She comes to the conclusion that it is a moral thing to do, so long as you oppose the welfare state.

I haven't read the essay but from what I have read in this thread, it seems that she comes to the conclusion that it is moral to accept govt. grants and scholarships as long as you oppose the welfare state and have had money stolen to you from the govt. For example, it would be immoral for a foreigner to accept government grants/scholarships from the US government whether or not the foreigner intends to stay in the US because he has not had his money stolen by the US govt.

Am I correct that this is her position?

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That's not a valid distinction, because most students haven't really had that amount of money stolen from them at that point. Rather, it will be stolen from them in the future. I doubt many 20 year olds have worked enough to pay for their own education, as that can be quite a lot depending on what you study.

I don't really see the difference between an American student and a foreign-born one, unless the reason it is moral is that the parents paid taxes.

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  • 6 years later...

*** Mod's note: Merged with an earlier topic ***

So, does the objectivist standpoint say that going to a free trade school (in other words, tax payed trade school) is wrong, due to the idea that it is funded by taxes?

Would it be wrong according to the objectivist standpoint for me to use government money to go to college, due to my dad being a disabled veteren? The government made an agreement with my dad, but since I know that the money is coming from taxpayers, then is it moral or recommended to pursue this action?

Edited by softwareNerd
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Which is why one should not vote for Bush, Kerry, or any other candidate that that doesn't see such transgressions as a breach of individual rights.

No, you should have voted for Kerry. Voting is a matter of choosing the lesser evil. It's okay to vote for someone who advocates the violation of individual rights if the other candidate is worse.
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Would it be wrong according to the objectivist standpoint for me to use government money to go to college, due to my dad being a disabled veteran?

No, it wouldn't be. It wouldn't be wrong even if he wasn't a veteran. Withholding the benefits of a socialist scheme from yourself, while being subject to all its negative effects is not something Ethical Egoism would require of you.

Objectivism is in favor of Capitalism (the political system), not in favor of Objectivists who are forced to live in semi-socialist countries acting as if they're living in Capitalism.

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