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A Question for Bob Murphy
I recently listened to the debate between Walter Block and Robert P. Murphy on the Tom Woods Show on whether a libertarian should accept money from the government. Murphy took the negative position, though I think his position is actually more nuanced than just being an outright no, and Block took the affirmative.
I have in the past agreed with Murphy that libertarians generally ought not take money from the government, having turned down unemployment benefits multiple times, but I have come to favor Block's position over the years. Unfortunately I don't believe Dr. Block ever made the argument in the debate with Dr. Murphy that leads me to believe that libertarians shouldn't feel particularly bad about taking money from the state, and that position is that the government took that money from me first.
I've had many jobs over the years and I have always paid taxes on the money that I earned, not to mention sales tax and other forms of taxation, so when I was attending Kent State University full time and had no job, and thus no income, I decided that I would accept government grants. Over the course of two semesters I received roughly $5,000 in grants from the government. This was justified to me on the basis that I had paid taxes over the years, meaning the government had taken my money against my will for things that I did not want them to do, and that this was one way for me to get some of my money back. Even assuming that I had yet to pay $5,000 in taxes at that point in my life, I had every intention of getting a job and paying taxes that would inevitably exceed the amount that I received in grants in my lifetime.
So my justification rests on the basis that either, A.) I had already had taxes taken from me, and this was a way to recoup my losses, or, B.) I would inevitably pay the amount in grants that I received and more in taxes throughout my lifetime. This justification, at least in my mind, does not hold for somebody who has never paid taxes in their life and has no intention of ever doing so. The professional welfare moocher, in other words, need not apply.
So the question I would like Bob Murphy to answer is: Do you think it's justified for a libertarian to accept government money on the basis that they are simply reclaiming a small portion of property that was taken from them, or will be taken from them, by the government?