Someone accused me today of being a hypocrite because I draw unemployment compensation when I am seeking work. (Let me add that this individual is a ‘public employee’ and a member of a ‘public employee’s union. i.e. They work for the government.) I wrote the following in response:
I am fully aware unemployment is little more than a welfare transfer. But not much unlike social security, it is sold as an ‘insurance’ system. It is something that they charge your employer in any W4 based position. I know, because I have kept books for people hiring others on a W4 basis before. So, let’s imagine an analogy…
Let’s say someone breaks into your car and steals your laptop and your car stereo. The cops catch him but he has already sold the thing, even admits to it, but there is no way to recover the stereo or laptop. However, he does have the cash. The cops offer you the cash in return for your lost stuff. Are you gonna turn it down?
Or let’s say you retire, are you gonna turn down your social security check after having the money deducted from your paycheck for 40-50 years?
How’s about this one? You are required by law to get insurance to drive your vehicle. Someone smacks into your car. Are you going to refuse the check from the other guy’s insurance company?
How is it hypocritical to take advantage of a program that you ‘WOULD NOT QUALIFY FOR’ if I hadn’t worked a minimum amount of time in the last 18 months?
I also went on to clarify that unemployment is a ‘state’ (as in State of Mihigan) run agency and that I thought the existence of such programs was at least more justified than federal ‘welfare’ programs due to the 10th amendment.
Among other things, the individual also chose to make implied criticisms on my life and lifestyle asking “you’ve done well?” I decided to have fun and play a little Francisco D’Anconia on this one:
Is that what I’m doing? Well isn’t that what they want me to be? Am I not living up to the [progressive] ideal? Or am I?
Who is John Galt?
I thought it worthy to make a few more public comments on the subject. First off by asking, by what standard do we call that hypocrisy? And what is a hypocrite?
Who is more justified in arguing against a welfare state? Someone that has a job and pays their bills or someone that is currently seeking work and could actually benefit from a ‘transfer payment? Is either ‘more qualified’ to state facts and argue ideological vs. objective principles?
Could you not say of the person with the long-standing, government job protected by a public employee union that they have ‘no frame of reference’ for someone that is seeking work or low on money? Could you not call them a hypocrite or at least accuse them of having no frame of reference one way or another to take either side in the issue? (kind of like how some say men should not be involved in a debate on abortion, or whites europeans having a say in civil rights issues) Would such be justified?
Who do we find that lives up to a claim of ‘no hypocrisy’ when we use this kind of standard? Do we invent one such a the persona of Jesus represents to the church? (I’d suggest some even in the O’ist community come dangerously close to doing this with John Galt or even Ayn Rand herself) Who’s standard of living do we set up as the ‘ideal’?
It would depend on the principles being argued and the ‘solutions’ being suggested now wouldn’t it? It would depend on the facts!
Although there are some situations where ‘do as I say, not as I do‘ is worthy of consideration for criticism, I don’t think this is such a situation. Furthermore, even if you could make a case that it was I don’t think criticism is warranted.
If someone takes bread from my table and offers me bread down the road when I needed bread, I would be a fool not to take it – especially if the alleged justification for taking it (against my will) in the first place was to provide it to me later.
I am arguing that government should be limited:
The only legitimate role for government in a free society is to do for it’s people that which they cannot reasonably or should not morally do (or participate in doing) on their own behalf.
I am arguing that no one should be punished or rewarded in a free society [without cause]:
A truly free society is one where every man has equal opportunity to pursue his goals, and where no man has special privilege granted to assist in achieving them.
I am arguing that individuals should be held responsible for themselves, and that ‘not’ helping someone is not ‘doing them harm’ – that helping someone when it does someone else harm is not compassion:
Fulfilling someone’s immediate needs does not necessarily equate to compassion. Helping enable someone to fulfill their own long term needs (that facilitated the immediacy) does.
I argue that it is not government’s job to solve people’s personal problems:
You can’t legislate away stupidity, and to try to do so is to legislate away freedom.
I argue that we should encourage others to be responsible and think for themselves and not to abdicate that role to the state:
Proselytize responsibility, accountability, self-sufficiency and critical thinking.
I am arguing that I should be able to keep my bread and that others be allowed to do so also. I am asking that each person be responsible for themselves including seeking the voluntary ‘good will’ of others if they ever have need.
When compared with progressive principles, the desire of a progressive is to use government power to enforce an ideology upon others. To use government threat-of-force to impose their concept of what constitutes right and wrong. Not in a reactive nature as when responding to a crime, but in a proactive sense which presumes guilt of the achiever [without probable cause or due process] before the fact, something that I thought was forbidden [by the 4th and 5th amendments] in our society. To require one person to labor for another’s benefit against their will, something that is forbidden [by the 13th amendment] as well.
THIS is what I am arguing against. Some might argue that any government is enforcing an ideology on others – guess what, I AGREE. And to this end, I think therefore that ANY GOVERNMENT should be AS LIMITED A GOVERNMENT AS POSSIBLE.
Power does not necessarily ‘corrupt’. Rather positions of power attract corruptable and power hungry men. And corrupt power hungry men should be given as little ‘power’ as possible.
Hot For Words did a great vid on the word ‘hypocrisy’ and it’s origins, which stemmed from acting or playing a role. What about my position is acting? The long and the short of it is, I am not asking for government to do anything for me. I am asking government to stop doing things for anyone and to stop making other people pay for it. Taking back some of what was taken from me, under the same premise justifying it’s seizure is hardly hypocrisy.
(see these quotes and others on my ‘Facebook Stati’ page)