To: Walter Block <[email protected]
Subject: Working for the government
Dear Prof. Block,
I’m sure you must have written about this: Is it morally defensible to
work for government as an anarcho-capitalist and receive pay funded by taxes?
Asking for a friend 😉
On Fri, Mar 12, 2021, at 17:43, Walter Block wrote:
I think so. I’ve worked for several public universities, as did Murray Rothbard, Hans Hoppe, Joe Salerno, Tom DiLorenzo, and many other solid libertarians. Ron Paul worked for the govt too!
Block, 1972, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009A, 2009B, 2010, 2011A,
2011B, 2011C, 2011D, 2012, 2016; Block and Arakaky, 2008, Block and
Barnett, 2008, D’Amico and Block, 2007
Block, Walter E. 1972. “The Polish Ham Question.” The Libertarian Forum.
June-July, Vol. 4, No. 6-7, p. 5;
Block, Walter E. 2002. “Accepting Government Subsidies,” Fraser Forum,
February, p. 27;
Block, Walter E. 2004. “Radical Libertarianism: Applying Libertarian
Principles to Dealing with the Unjust Government, Part I” Reason
Papers, Vol. 27, Fall, pp. 117-133;
Block, Walter E. 2006. “Radical Libertarianism: Applying Libertarian
Principles to Dealing with the Unjust Government, Part II” Reason
Papers, Vol. 28, Spring, pp. 85-109;
http://www.reasonpapers.com/pdf/28/rp_28_7.pdf; (death penalty
justified, net taxpayer, ruling class analysis p. 87)
Block, Walter E. 2007. “Ron Paul and Matching Funds,” October 1;
Block, Walter E. 2008. “Replies to readers” September 23;
hypocrites for using public school?)
Block, Walter E. 2009A. “Libertarian punishment theory: working for,
and donating to, the state” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 1;
Block, Walter E. 2009B. “Toward a Libertarian Theory of Guilt and
Punishment for the Crime of Statism” in Hulsmann, Jorg Guido and
Stephan Kinsella, eds., Property, Freedom and Society: Essays in Honor
of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, pp.
Block, Walter E. 2010. “You are a rotten kid (rent control and
libertarianism),” February 27;
Block, Walter E. 2011A. “It’s Ayn Rand Bashing Time, Once Again.”
Block, Walter E. 2011B. “May a Libertarian Take Money From the
March 11; http://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block175.html;
ake-money-from-the-government/ Block, Walter E. 2011C. “Toward a
Libertarian Theory of Guilt and Punishment for the Crime of Statism,”
Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 22; pp.
To: Walter Block <[email protected]
Subject: Re: Working for the government
I’ve revisited our correspondance shown below, since I’m currently considering doing freelance work for my country’s Tax Authorities.
Now, I am full-blown ancap, and could use my moral stance as the justification for draining money from the state. But to be honest, I am mostly considering doing it because it is fairly easy money.
A fellow ancap’er and I discussed the problem of how much money I can justifiably take from the state in this capacity. His view is that I can only take as much as I’m owed, i.e., the amount taken from me by the state. But I remember one of the articles below arguing that there is no explicit limit when it comes to taking from an evil institution. I buy the argument that 1) I am not the one originally violating tax payers’ property rights, and 2) that tax victims have no positive right in getting anything from me.
His counterexample would be: Imagine thief A stole your gold watch and sold it to B. The gold watch is rightfully yours, and thus you have a claim against B (and A). He argues that otherwise everyone could knowingly buy stolen goods and then get away with saying it wasn’t they who stole it.
So my question in essence is: Can I freelance for the government and justify it morally?
I ask that you keep my details anonymous if you decide to publish my question online.
Your motive for doing so (“fairly easy money”) is irrelevant. The issue is, is doing so compatble with libertarianism.
First of all, only a libertarian would even think of raising such a question.
Second, my answer is a clear YES. I think that you should get as much “easy money” as you legally can.
But while you do, do give a thought to my favorite character in Atlass Shrugged, Ragnar Danneskjold.
Walter3:38 am on April 18, 2023