Thursday, January 24, 2008

Give Them Guns

I get the whole "what about the poor" argument a lot, as though the existence of an underclass is an argument for the State, per se. Nevermind the fact that the market is an empirically proven success at rolling back one obstacle after another in the process of improving living standards. Nevermind that it’s the State itself that erects barriers, breeds dependency, and destroys the very things that are essential to progress, thus hurting those on the margins of society the most.

The argument goes, that without the State, those "poor" would perpetually be locked out of rising levels of prosperity, while the rich get richer. That’s why we need the State – if not to engage in outright redistribution of wealth, but at least to force some people to pay to provide for certain goods and services to be available to those who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

So, I’ve made a decision. With such a persuasive argument like the one above, I guess I have to concede the Statist’s point. So here is my new proposal on how to deal with the problem when asked, "What about the poor?", or "How will the poor get (fill in the blank)?"

From now on, my new answer will be: Give them guns, and let them go take what they need from others.

Yes, that’s right. If the Statist is worried that without the State, then some disadvantaged fellow can’t get something he thinks he needs, then we should allow him to grab a gun or a knife and go rob someone in order to get the funds he needs to buy those services on the open market. We should reform our legal system to allow for a claim of poverty as a defense strategy when a person is charged with a violent crime.

It’s the perfect compromise. The "rich", who make large incomes and are able to afford the purchase of goods and services, will have to resort to buying the things they need. The "poor", who have lower incomes, will be allowed, if they can’t afford to buy it in the open market, to go steal from people who have more than they do, so that they can buy what they need too. If you are "rich" and have a large degree of wealth, then it is absolutely unjustifable that you should be allowed to commit theft just to enrich yourself. The "poor", on the other hand, that’s ok. If they need to mug an old lady, or hold up a liquor store, then we should excuse that. After all, it’s the only just thing to do, right?

Oh…you don’t like that solution?

Why not? After all, it’s what we ask the State to do. Instead of the "poor" (or some other special interest group) doing the actual robbing, we delegate the task to the politicians and the bureaucrats in the IRS. They are the ones that say, "give me your money, or men with guns will be knocking on your door". What’s wrong with letting the poor do the deed themselves?

I think, under my system, we take the mask off what we are really advocating. It’s a more honest solution. If you want the State to take care of the poor, then fine, I’ll agree with you. Let’s solve the problem of poverty through violence. But let’s have the courage of our convictions, and be honest about it. Plus, it’s a more economical approach, as we reduce the agency costs. Instead of the poor having to hire someone to steal for them, they can get the same result for a lower price, say, the couple hundred bucks it takes to buy a gun and a few shells.

You say you don't like my proposal?

Then maybe you will want to reconsider yours.

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