(L100) Income Redistribution

“Would it be moral to grade exams, so that all students get C’s? If not, is it moral for the state to redistribute incomes?”

It would be nothing less than immoral for a teacher to assign grades in accordance with equality, rather than true individual scores. The reason that giving every student a C (for example) would be wrong, is that every student did not earn a C. Some students earned a much higher grade, and are being punished (receiving negative sanctions) because of those who did not score as high as they did. Others however scored lower than a C, and are being rewarded (receiving positive sanctions) for doing worse than the other students. While obviously far from fair, this system cannot even be chalked up to being remotely positive as it rewards the underachievers and punishes the successors.

The only way to fairly award grades to students would be to grant them the exact grade that they earned. Each student, regardless of each others score’s, would have to reap the rewards or consequences of the grade that the results of their test’s warranted. (Now, yes, I do recognize the flaws in standardized testing, and I understand that many students fail not due to effort exerted, but because of the fact that they are being forced to learn in a way that they do not understand. In this example however, I am referring to an imaginary class of students, all of equal learning ability who have either scored higher or lower based upon the effort they put into studying and learning the test material. In short, this would mean that it would take every student the same amount of time to learn the same amount of information; thus, every student gets the grade that they worked for and can all be graded using the same scale.)

In both the academic and career worlds, people (should) get what they work for. I personally work my little butt off to earn an income that can support my needs, and to be stolen from is heartbreaking. Now, when I speak of being robbed, I am not talking about a masked purse-snatcher assaulting me on the street. No. I am speaking directly about your friendly neighborhood politician; I am talking about his superior, and the man in charge of him too. Every single hard working American is robbed at gunpoint on a daily basis, but does it hurt you the way the plain-sight bandit does? Would you cry the same, or file a report with the police the very same? Do you even notice?

More often than not, these questions are answered with a simple no. Sometimes however, these practices are even encouraged with phrases resembling, “I am just doing my part” or “it’s for the greater good”. So what exactly is the greater good and who is the authority on such? In my opinion, the greater good is to “love thy neighbor” and the overall authority is God. What I do know however is that funding the lives of lazy, alcoholic, drug using, and/or jobless adults and their offspring with stolen money is not the greater good. Welfare programs not only theoretically encourage mooching and joblessness, but have been proven to increase poverty levels throughout the United States. It also has been shown to destroy marriages, reduce the likelihood of a welfare child having a successful future, and increase mental health and home abuse issues.

Why should somebody be granted what another person earned at the threat of force and violence? Would God believe that this is the greater good? Did God say that “thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote”? Absolutely not. God said to help those around you, he said to be generous and love every man. I believe that there are people out there that do truly need help, but I do not believe that coercion and theft are the ways to help them! Allow people to keep that which is theirs; their income in full. Encourage one another to share, trade and lend a helping hand. Charity has changed hundreds of thousands of lives already, and I don’t believe that the power in giving is lost. We can make a difference, even as one person. We can reduce poverty, mental illness and spousal/child abuse. We can build communities that revolve around charitable action and helping rehabilitate people; but first, we must stand up against being forced to enable these things with our own weekly paychecks.

Theft is immoral whether you wear a business suit or a hoodie. It hurts the lives of people on both the receiving and the losing ends.

“Equality Should Be Enforced By Law” (L45)

Pick any chapter in How to Argue, and write 100 words on this: “How could voluntary arrangements solve this problem if the state did not impose the politics of plunder?”

Enforcing equality by law means, more specifically, enforcing equality of outcome using coercion. This issue could be simply resolved if the government would butt-out, and allow free-market voluntary exchange to take over, because then there would be equality. However this would be equality of opportunity, rather than the government’s enforced equality of outcome. Free market competition means that everybody would have the same chance to get the same job as everyone else, and could bargain their price. The hardest worker offering the best wage would get the job, just as he should. This extends much father than the job market though, and it fits comfortably into every aspect of life.

To break this into simpler terms, imagine yourself in a class of 29 other children. You each had to take a test, and were given a week to study. On the day of the test the teacher told you that the winner would get a cupcake; this upsets some students because they did not know there would be a prize, therefore they did not study. You on the other hand, being the hard worker that you are, studied all week. You ace the test, get the highest score in the class and you get the cupcake. Fair, right? Right. But some students do not think so. Typically, these students are the ones who do not want to do the work for themselves. So, little Timmy, who didn’t study because he didn’t know there would be a cupcake, gets mad. He tells the teacher that everybody should get a cupcake because that is the only way for her to be fair to all of her students. She responds by saying “you all had the opportunity to study. The circumstances were completely fair and equal for each student; one student studied harder than the other students, he made that decision without an incentive. He got a cupcake for doing what everyone was supposed to do in the first place. Do you think that the one cupcake should be shared evenly among 30 students for all their combined efforts when some people are scoring zeros and some are getting 100’s? Should you be rewarded for someone else’s hard work Timmy?” He contemplated this for a moment, sat back in his chair, and said “well, no. I guess not. I wouldn’t want to be the one pulling the weight of the whole class and getting skimped on my treat.”

We live in a world where the government is always testing, and our only incentive to pass is to avoid being plundered and abused. Voluntary arrangements completely abolish the threat of force the government has imposed on our decisions.