14 votes

Is it possible to be a libertarian and have a government job?

Libertarianism is based on the nonaggression principle. That means anyone who receives a paycheck from the taxpayer is anathema to this principle as he receives his paycheck by force and theft. Anyone who makes his living from the government is a bureaucrat. Public school teachers, cops, city, county and state workers, and the biggest employer of all - federal workers. Are these workers de facto anti-libertarian?

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Libertarian vs Anarchist - i follow FredrickBastait

There is a wide range covered by libertarian. You cannot throw insult to the anarchist range when describing libertarian. It is not a sub-set. If we have formed to defend our individual natural law then those that bond together to form a government to defend these laws are not violating libertarian principles. Just like you find self proclaimed anarchists going out and stealing and destroying property, you will find those who use the force set up to defend your individuality as a force to destroy others. Our current situation is textbook failure because too many libertarians failed to occupy government and protect the law. Too many libertarians translate that they want to be left alone to mean they don't want to make an effort. Everyone here should find themselves a government job and hire libertarians to their teams. Conspire to take over the world with the sinister plot to leave everyone alone.



Stefan Molyneux has addressed this many times...

I cannot find a video or podcast by Stefan specifically on this topic at the moment, but Stef has answered this question repeatedly.

1. So "If you believe that taxation is theft... then to stick to your intellectual guns... you should refuse to pay taxes..."

And if you did that, you would let your UNFORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCE (being taxed or extorted) PUNISH YOU TO THE MAXIMUM. You would be volunteering to become a slave to your unfortunate circumstances.

2. If the cartel/mafia were threatening your shop if "you don't pay extortion fees..." and you stuck to your intellectual guns... you would forfeit your life/comfort to this unfortunate turn of circumstance.

So Stef argues that, just as in 1 and 2, the PRACTICAL choice is to RECOGNIZE THE WRONG DOING (taxation/extortion), but PAY THE EXTORTION to LIVE LIFE LIKE A NORMAL PERSON, not become a fugitive.

And the SAME APPLIES to your work. Don't become a REAL LIFE FUGITIVE in the job market just because you recognize the wrong doing.



I'm glad Stephan Molyneux addressed this already, now we can all stop thinking about it and move on.

I almost wrote a very brash and probably cruel post to someone

In your honor. I decided against it. But really, you are setting a bad example around here. People think they can just go around advocating statism without putting in the time or effort to really understand alternative positions or views on history. Hell sometimes I wonder what historical competency these people have at all.

You have a little puppy dog following your lead bill, and he is about to get(as rothbard would put it) SMASHED.

I am grateful for the time you have spent humoring me. But it is not because you offer arguments, so much as you offer insight.


Just let him burn out on trolling

He is not even replying with substance anymore.

Everyone knows you are the sump1

Who follows me around to downvote, Son
You are the troll of whom they speak!
You have been following me for weeks!
Weak weak geek all in a tizzy
Take a break from the stalkin fo shizzy
Obsessive energy, creepy compulsion
Get a life and stop the trollin'

I have no idea of what you say

If you elaborate clearly, then I may

I am not going to throw names around

But I betcha you could guess. There is a guy who wants to be like you bill.

Trouble is, he doesn't know the difference between saying something compelling, and arguing to achieve nothing. I think he wants attention. He needs to start asking questions. You should take him under your wing. Teach him logic.

It feels like when I was first starting to learn jazz. I didn't know how it worked. Didn't know that I was supposed to study. Then somebody just said flat out "you don't know what you are talking about". It was hard to take, but it made me a better person.

Anyway, it won't work coming from me. I think you ought to tell him. I have no problem with people being statists. As long as they are principled.

(It doesn't help when in one post they define one word three different ways, then claim their argument as irrefutable)


You wouldn't be referring to me, would you?

Because I've been hear 6x longer than you and 3x longer than Bill...I'm no johnny-come lately.

How dare you...

At least now its obvious what an arrogant and contemptable person you are, at your core...you expect me to debate you?

And seriously, to criticize Bill for not engaging when we minarchists are the ones that get the endless downvotes is laughable.

Ventura 2012

wolfe's picture

What's interesting to me...

Is that there was a time when anarchists would have been endlessly down voted, had voting existed (I do not agree with down voting due to disagreement, but that is a different topic).

Hell, just about the only two people you had to debate on the subject were me and OctoBox, and a relatively few others. We were told to keep our beliefs quiet (which I did). We were told to go start the "dailyanarchist" which someone apparently did. Etc...

I like to believe, perhaps erroneously, that the current climate is based on converts.

I love the quote, "The only difference between a libertarian and anarchist is about six months." which someone here said previously...

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

We didn't have downvotes back then

This site was like 90% activist and 10% anarchist at the beginning, and the 10% seemed bigger and bigger as the activists left post election. I would say you are winning the debate on this site via converts but probably just a drop in the bucket in the movement at large. Mike closing new members probably makes it seem like more of a rout for anarchists than it actually is, haha.

From what I remember, Me and Octobox agreed, he wanted a minarchist system more or less. He just recognized that we should always be moving towards less government to avoid stagnating. I think we were basically the only outspoken minarchists here.



Ventura 2012

wolfe's picture


Me and OctoBox shared that position, to which I still agree.

I miss having him around. I miss a lot of the old folks. Perhaps I am overly sentimental (though I have never been accused of that... lol).

But to be clear, OctoBox was not a minarchist... :)

Edit: A thought on your comment about activist vs. anarchist. These are not mutually exclusive positions. I organized more gun show booths, events etc in south Florida than possibly anyone else. I was even invited/attended by the campaign to the south Florida debates, including the big one by the major network (which I can't recall which network off the top of my head), acted as a bundler, etc.

The perfect should never be the enemy of the good.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Sure i was.

But no hard feelings, hey.

I am sorry you feel that I am arrogant and contemptible. And I am sorry that this post struck a nerve. You are right. You are the veteran here at the daily Paul. I apologize. I will read the links you posted. You are welcome to take a look at the material that I referenced.

I don't downvote. I never downvote any of you. Its not good for conversation. Good luck.


Bmore always

has cogent posts, and evinces an expertise in the area of contract and property that I've noted on many occasions. He is no green sprout in this debate, he's been in all these debates that I've been in. I envy his lesser expenditure of time in these fruitless discussions, which I look to imitate.

I do not know of whom you speak

Nor do I care, for this doth reek
Of personal drama and vain theatrics
On the internet, moreover, and that's just tragic


Thanks Bill3. I might just come to you whenever I am feeling down, or have spent to long away from my kids.

You got one more to leave me with?


I certainly do

There is no limit
To the words I can twist with
Or ways to rhyme them to discover
How many pens are in my quiver

Some derelict fool has already downvoted me
To prove my point in irony

Tell you kids if they are bad or aggressive
Big Bad Bill3 will come down the chimney
And argue them to submission

Give them glad tidings
From the DP
And tell them to be good
Or deal with BogeyBill3

The ghost of TheGranger

Be in you.

O sump1

must we be at odds?
We've had so many rich exchanges
Learned nods
Ahs and Ohs, exchange of wisdom
Disagreement, but then so what
Agreement only would be prison
Not a prism to let light through
Don't yew want to be friends tew

This person sounds interesting

I doubt he or she is worthy of a poem.

Your poetry is better than your arguments.

It's just sump1

I used to know.

Of Course and Libertarians should be the dominant philosophy

of citizens working in government. How else can the preamble be carried out?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Libertarians are the only group consistently demanding the government remain within its bounds.

Title question's answer - NO.

Final sentence of the OP question's answer - YES.

One might argue an exception for Peace Officers (but NOT Police Officers) judicial branch magistrates, clerks of court, and some will even make the case for other elected officials such as legislators and chief executives.

Anyone involved in providing a "public service" however would be right out as those are not in comport with the SOLE purpose of government, and in fact, serve to act counter to that sole purpose - securing the inalienable rights of the People.

Those employed to oppress and subjugate the People to the whims of the State, such as Police Officers and various 'executive departments' as well as 'administrative courts' would be non-starters. They are the very criminals that compelled our separation with England. It is quite absurd to be employing them here, and some would claim an act equal to pissing on the graves of those who fought for us to be independent and free.

Religious institutions survive via donations,why not government?

Yes, but only when the government is sustained by donations and service fees and not force individuals to pay property and income taxes. Of course a omnipotent central federal government would be un-necessary.

Okay all you answering no....

Okay all you answering no.... Then you can't work at all earning "earned income".

Why? Because "earned income" is taxed and that supports government and supports the forced tax system. :)

So in conclusion working any wage job is no different than working directly for this government. It is just an arms length form of slavery.

You are really close to the truth here, but you are making an

assumption that is incorrect.

I suggest you do not assume that everything you are paid for doing a job is "earned income."

"Income" is a specific legal term, not a generic word. (when used in the taxing statutes)

It's meaning can't even be defined in the law because it appears in our Constitution.

The Supreme Court has already ruled (back in 1920) that the term means (and can only, and forever mean) what it meant to the People back in 1913 when they ratified the amendment it appears in - the 16th. Neither Congress, nor the IRS, nor any court is allowed to define or redefine it for any purpose. The only way to change the definition is to pass another constitutional amendment.

They ruled in 1920 that the term "income" as used in the 16th has the same meaning as it did in the 1909 Corporation Tax Act. (beacuse that is the act which was ruled unconstitutional, and which Congress offered the 16th as an amendment to MAKE constitutional - it is the definition the People had in their minds when they ratified the amendment in their various States)

This act defined "income" to be the net gain or profit arising from a corporation. (not any business, but ONLY corporations)

The salaries and wages paid to employees of those corporations were NOT taxed, but rather the profits of the corporation itself. And then, not specifically the profits, but rather the privilege of earning a profit in that manner. (limited liability of the stockholders)

As for government employees, and those employed by private companies on government contracts, they are NOT paying Subtitle A "Income Tax" but rather Subtitle C "Employement Tax" wich is an entirely SEPARATE tax altogether, and which does not find its authorization in the 16th amendment but rather the original delegation of power to Congress to "lay and collect excises..." Subtitle C is an excise on PUBLIC employment.

Now, take this information (please verify it as well) and apply it to your previous comment.

I would suggest you will see the folly of your claim.

wolfe's picture

It depends on why someone said "No".

Just because you can't stop someone stealing from you, does not make you complicit in their use of that stolen money.

However, working for the government is actively supporting their goals. Unless you deliberately do a bad job to try and thwart them, and even then, the distinction is dubious.

You cannot on one hand rail against the evils of the government, while on the other hand work to make those evils exist.

Can you put an end to gang violence by joining a gang and doing what the leader tells you?

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Of course it is.

A true libertarian government would not "collect" taxes but receive donations. Thus not infringing on the NAP. If your government job is one that works off of donations, like many universities, then I believe you would be okay.

But why not work for the private sector? Plenty of jobs out there, just gotta be willing to do them. Or move to another country. All depends on how much are you willing to live by your principles.

Soon everyone will have

Soon everyone will have government jobs. Government jobs are usually more secure than the private sector.