Is statism generous?

The statist approach to aiding needy people has two main features…

  1. It uses taxes, which means some people were victims of extortion — pay or face violence.
  2. Tax-funded aid programs need not perform well, because they get funded whether they succeed or fail.

Is such an approach actually generous?
How you would feel if someone pointed a gun at you and demanded money? Would you consider yourself generous if you forked over the dough? Would you consider your neighbor generous if he robbed you and gave your money to the Red Cross? These examples drive home three key points…  statist-help-300x231

[wp-svg-icons icon=”key-2″ wrap=”i”]Key Point #1: You aren’t being generous when you donate money you violently extorted from others. True generosity is giving your own resources
[wp-svg-icons icon=”key-2″ wrap=”i”]Key Point #2: Paying taxes isn’t generous, anymore than giving money to a mugger is generous. True generosity is thoughtful and voluntary.
[wp-svg-icons icon=”key-2″ wrap=”i”]Key Point #3: It’s greedy and uncaring to demand, on threat of violence, that others fund your preferred way of helping people.

In summary, please observe how statists…

  • Praise their own violence-based approach as representing generosity
  • Call people who don’t want to pay for their programs “selfish”*
  • Use The State to take things from others
  • Dictate not only the recipients of aid, but also the means of providing it
  • Care nothing about the feelings of people who prefer more effective and peaceful methods of rendering aid

None of these attitudes are generous! They are ungenerous.

Jim Babka

About the Author

Jim Babka

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Jim Babka is co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and President of, Inc. He’s an author and former talk show host.
Previously, he was the President of, Inc., defending free press rights all the way to the Supreme Court. He and Susie are the proud, home-schooling parents of three teenagers. He enjoys theology, UFC, target practice, and Tai Chi.

Perry Willis

About the Author

Perry Willis

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Perry Willis is the co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and Downsize DC. He was the National Director of the Libertarian National Committee on two occasions, and ran two Libertarian Party presidential campaigns. He has an extensive background in marketing and fundraising, and has ghost written direct mail appeals for numerous luminaries, including Karl Hess, Ron Paul, Charlton Heston and Harry Browne.

* – The statist actually craves a resource that doesn’t belong to them — the taxpayer’s wealth. Who here is really being selfish?

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Show Comments 6


  1. I just went and saw the new D’nesh D’sousa film, “Hillary’s Amerika”. If you don’t believe in Jim’s article on Statistism, you should see this film. Actually, EVERYONE should!

    1. I once got the argument that taxation was not theft because this person paid willingly. I replied: “But I don’t”. He replied: “I do.” I replied: “Ok, but your consent is not relevant. The tax is taken, whether or not you volunteer.” He replied: “I don’t mind paying.” The statist was my brother-in-law so I could not be too blunt, in front of his family, but I was tempted to say: “Why should everyone be forced to view the world as you do, with death the ultimate punishment for disagreement?” Looking back two decades, I wish I had said it. His hidden assumption was that his view was the majority view, and the majority view was moral and practical, and therefore the only valid view, the only view that counted, and it was not subject to a reasoned argument.

  2. I shared this article and got the following response after a particular gentleman read your piece. I feel his objection deserves a logical response. I’d appreciate some help in answering him.
    “Sooooo…the police, fire department, military, CDC, highways, patent and copyright offices, FEMA, NOAA, Veteran’s Affairs are all evil and incompetent? I’m sorry that is all I get from this kind of reducto-absurdem argument with its sweeping over-simplifications.”

    1. Post

      Glad to help! Actually, his characterization is not what was written in the piece. Worse, the real “reductio ad absurdum,” in this instance, is the assumption that one Mental Lever — one little 230 word article — covers all thoughts. Simply, that’s not what we believe, which is why you’re looking back to us for help in answering.
      The answer to his concern (though not yet complete) is in our Elements of a Voluntary Society collection. Start with the second item and keep clicking the next arrow (at the top of each Lever) until you’re done with the set (Post-statism), ten panels in all.

  3. All governments, big or small, are based on a faith in force. Their goals are not worked for voluntarily, unless you claim that one can volunteer to be a slave to authority, and that makes slavery freedom, which is exactly what is claimed with respect to obedience to religious authority. Such a claim is absurd, but religion gets around that criticism by further claiming to be exempt from reason/logic, using faith instead. What is faith? Trust in a “superior consciousness”, instead of your supposedly inferior mind. Evidently, your mind is good enough to recognize that you should defer thinking, but not good to think past that, e.g., question authority. If this seems to be flawed circular reasoning, remember that reason is not allowed, but instead “a leap of faith” is required to reap the promised rewards of subservience.
    The religious “experience” or superstition can be used as a model for the superstitious faith in force called govt. The superstition of govt. adds a “club” to incentivize. If faith in wanting, servitude is not granted, then the govt. will punish. If punishment is not accepted, death is the final punishment.
    If this seems too barbaric or anti-life, one is encouraged to ignore any threat or fraud and focus on the central planning objectives. But not too close. Efficiency may be lacking. Competence may be lacking. Goals may the opposite or in opposition to what is stated. All this does not matter. The govt. way is the only way allowed, under threat of violence. Any/all negative results do not change the paradigm of involuntary servitude.
    But if you can’t face “the gun in the room”, you will be encouraged by the statist to ignore it and argue over goals. That’s called “working within the system to change it”.

  4. Too often the go to rebut to this is the one asking who will pay for the roads and police, fire, etc. I tell them those who want those things will pay. They say that no one will want to pay because everyone will think the others are not contributing a fair share. I argue, no one gives a fair share now. In fact the share each gives is totally unfair and based on nothing but avoiding personal harm meted out by gov’t thugs following orders or just doing their jobs. Or there is always the ones who claim they don’t mind having half their gross pay confiscated from them and spent on whatever whomever in gov’t chooses to spend it on. Usually on a gov’t workers paycheck and pension. After those two it is the inevitable “conflicts” they engage in with other countries to drive the economy and continue all the R&D to first be used militarily of course, then in the private sector. And lastly to fulfill the needs of those who have been the victims of the theft. Always not enough left though so more is demanded and stolen yet again without any consent given, which of course will first go to pay gov’t workers and their pensions, then wars, then again not enough left to fulfill the needs of those in need. Gov’t is nothing but a gang of thugs with guns and laws they create to justify their criminal activities.

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