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You don't coerce or injure others. Why can politicians do it?

Do “free riders” justify initiated-force?

Free riders are people who benefit from things paid for by others. Statists use free riders as an excuse to initiate force. But this makes no sense. Please consider…

Every person who receives a tax-funded handout is a free rider. They are receiving benefits that were paid for by others. So how can The State be the cure for a supposed problem of which it is the greatest example. This contradiction doesn’t stop statists from arguing that certain goods may not be provided unless everyone is forced to pay for them. But there are many examples to disprove this, including…

  • Lighthouses
  • Volunteer activities
  • Free Internet services
  • Private fireworks displays

In reality, people create things they value, even when they can’t persuade everyone who benefits to pay for them. Statists counter-argue that funding will be insufficient in some cases, but…

  • The amount of something a society needs is always a matter of personal opinion. So…
  • The “insufficiency” argument is just another example of statists trying to impose their personal preferences on other people

Libertarians view free riders as a sign of an affluent, generous, empathetic society, not as an excuse for state aggression.

Libertarians believe governments must obey the Zero Aggression Principle. Governments must not initiate force. They must only use force defensively. 

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By Perry Willis and Jim Babka

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